Archive for December, 2010

Reporter: How does your interfaith family celebrate the holidays?

We talked last week about how much my Christian kids love Hanuakkah but we didn’t really talk about how interfaith families actually handle the holidays. AJC reporter Sheila Poole is working on a story about how interfaith families navigate this season and would love to interview you for her story. She wants to know: How do you celebrate Christmas if you spouse is Jewish or Muslim or a nonbeliever? You can email Shelia at or call her at (404) 5265488. You can also discuss here.

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Share your tips to make the holidays easier!

I’m always looking for good tips to make the holidays easier. There are tons of lists online of iPhone apps that are supposed to simplify things. I do like the ones that help you keep track of what you bought, how much you spent and how much is left in your budget. (I don’t have an iPhone for this function, but I do have a piece of notebook paper.)

So I thought it would be nice to share our best tips for making the holidays easier that don’t involve apps. (A few years ago we shared some favorite holiday recipes and you guys did a great job with that. I am still making the Rolo, pecan, pretzel melted snack. It is soo good. Who shared that one?)

I have one tip to start us off. My kids always like pressing out Christmas sugar cookies with cookie cutters. I am very picky about my dough and frosting so I always want to make everything from scratch but it just makes the process so long and not fun. So last weekend I mixed up some dough and rolled it out into sheets. I wrapped …

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Parents beware of micro-transactions: iPad app game charges add up!

Across the country, parents are shocked to find that their kids have unknowingly been racking up charges on their free IPhone and iPad app games.

From The Associated Press:

” ‘The Smurfs’ Village,’  a game for the iPhone and other Apple gadgets, was released a month ago and quickly became the highest-grossing application in the iTunes store. Yet it’s free to download.”

“So where does the money come from? Kelly Rummelhart of Gridley, Calif., has part of the answer. Her 4-year-old son was using her iPad to play the game and racked up $66.88 in charges on her credit card without knowing what he was doing.”

“Rummelhart had no idea that it was possible to buy things — buy them with real money — inside the game. In this case, her son bought one bushel and 11 buckets of “Smurfberries,” tokens that speed up gameplay.”

” ‘Really, my biggest concern was them scratching the screen. Never in my wildest dreams did I think they would be charging things on it,’ the 36-year-old mother …

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Should miscarriages, infertility make women feel like ‘failures’?

Journalist Lisa Ling said in a story that ran yesterday that she felt like a “complete failure” after suffering a miscarriage six months ago.

From The Assocated Press:

“Ling, who appeared on “The View” from 1999 to 2002, came back to the show Tuesday to talk about her experience. Her taped appearance will air Friday.”

“Ling says that after she’d been pregnant for nine weeks, she was told her baby had no heartbeat. She says she “felt more like a failure than I’d felt in a very long time.” Ling, who is 37, says she fears it might happen again, leaving her “devastated.” Ling is married to oncologist Paul Song.”

“She says she realized that many women she knew had miscarriages but rarely talked about it. She and a business partner have started a website that encourages women to anonymously share their experiences.”

Ling’s web site where women can talk about their miscarriages and other “secrets’ is

I felt so sorry for Ling reading …

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Elizabeth Edwards: Can death letter, Council of Dads help kids cope with parent’s death?

I was saddened to read about Elizabeth Edwards death and keep thinking about her children. She is survived by 28 year-old daughter Cate, 12-year-old daughter Emma Claire and 10-year-old son Jack. And I am sure each age brings a different struggle with losing your mother.

Edwards has known about her cancer for a while and knew she would die from it so it makes sense that she started preparing the children to live without her. I was interested to read about her “death letter” to the children.

The Associated Press reports:

“Before her initial diagnosis with cancer, Edwards began writing a letter to her children with advice they could use after she died — such as how to choose a church or a spouse. The message became more poignant in her final years, brought home when Jack once asked who would be the grandmother to his children.”

From Healthland on

“Letters from deceased parents become treasures, says Grace Christ, a professor of social work at Columbia …

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Should every couple only have 1 child? Ted Turner thinks so!

CNN founder Ted Turner told global leaders at a meeting in Mexico that the rest of the world should adopt China’s one-child policy, according to a Toronto newspaper.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

” ‘If we’re going to be here [as a species] 5,000 years from now, we’re not going to do it with seven billion people,’ CNN founder Ted Turner said Sunday at a conference discussing the impact of demographic trends on the future of greenhouse gas emission.”

“If such a plan was adopted, the father of five said, poor people could profit from their decision not to reproduce by selling fertility rights.”

“China claims its policy has resulted in 400 million fewer births since 1979, limiting emissions growth even as the country becomes more industrialized. But critics argue the mandate has contributed to more abortions and high levels of female infanticide.”

Did you catch that little factoid our reporter threw in – Turner is a father of 5! Which four children …

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Tulsa mall offers ‘Sensitive Santa’ for kids with special needs

A Tulsa mall is offering some quiet time with Santa so special needs children can enjoy a visit without being overwhelmed or overstimulated.

From Tulsa World:

“For two hours before the shopping mall opened to the rest of the public, no Christmas music played and the lights were turned way down low for Tulsa Promenade’s first-ever “Sensitive Santa” event.”

“He wouldn’t have been able to do this otherwise because normally, you have so much activity and noise. I mean, look, it’s already working. He’s calm,” said Amanda Smallwood, nodding toward her 7-year-old nephew, Isaiah Givens. …”

“Further back in the line, Braden Noojin, 6, was glued to the screen of his Nintendo Game Boy.

“It helps him tune everything else out,” said his guardian grandmother, Kathy Noojin. “We haven’t done this before because it just wouldn’t have been worth the stress for him or me. People would be like, ‘Get your child under control.’ Here, everyone understands….”

“Susan Frederick, …

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Gosselin kids reportedly blow lid off Santa: What to do when kids tell?

Radar online is reporting that some of the Gosselin children are blabbing about Santa Claus not being real at school.

From Radar online:

“The Gosselin children have been accused of spoiling Christmas for fellow students after telling them that Santa does not exist.”

” ‘The kids don’t believe in Santa Claus, and they’re telling other kids at school that there is no Santa Claus,’ a close friend of the family told”

“Children as young as six were told that ‘your parents are lying to you,’ causing reality TV dad Jon to receive calls from stunned parents upset that Santa Claus was exposed as a fraud.”

” ‘He has received many phone calls from parents because the kids actually told others that ‘your parents are lying to you’ causing them to get upset,’ the insider said.”

I know a lot of you guys don’t care about Kate Gosselin and her brood but it does bring up an interesting question: What do you do when kids are spoiling the Santa story at …

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Frazzled moms just say ‘NO’ to volunteering!

The New York Times is reporting that across the country frazzled mom are just saying ‘NO!’ to volunteering at their schools.

From The New York Times:

“Around the country there are a number of altruistic, devoted and totally burned-out mothers just like Ms. Lentzner who are becoming emboldened to push back against the relentless requests from their children’s schools for their time. What started out as an admirable civic gesture somehow snowballed into an inability to say no to any committee assignment or project request, and spiraled into night, weekend and after-school commitments, middle-of-the-night e-mail exchanges, as well as frozen dinners, takeout pizza and baby sitters at home. …”

“Many parents are happy to volunteer uncoerced, and most everyone recognizes the worthiness of the cause. But the heightened need and expectations are coming at a time when many parents have less and less time to give. ”

“ ‘Volunteerism is way down at our school this year,’ …

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Taylor Swift: Jake’s too old for you! How old is too old to date?

We’ve been hearing news reports and seeing photos of a new Hollywood/Nashville couple: Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal and they make me very worried!

(As of last night a story and photo of the pair getting coffee was’s most read story of the week.)

I have written before about how much our family loves Taylor Swift. She’s smart, beautiful, talented and just overall seems like a good girl. But that’s just the thing  – she’s a girl.

Gyllenhaal is a man. He’s 29-years old. Swift is only 20. He was in a long-term relationship with Reese Witherspoon (who was about five years older than him according to  and he seemed to help with her kids. (A very mature role for him to take.)

Taylor, we understand why you like him. Who wouldn’t? He’s gorgeous, sexy, hot, seemingly intelligent, seems nice, and who wouldn’t melt from his smile. We get it. But he’s just too old for you.

If a regular sophomore in college brought home a 29-year-old man who …

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