Does Your Mouth Feel Dry? Winter May Not Be to Blame

(NewsUSA) – The winter season can be a busy time — family get-togethers, holiday parties, shoveling snow and many other distractions can make it easy to …

This Holiday, Give a Personalized Photo Gift

There’s a reason that photographs are such popular gifts; they preserve a moment forever and remind viewers of good times. But why settle for just a frame? Today, you can transform a memorable photograph into personalized photo gifts of all shapes and colors.

Snappy Photo Gifts, a company that prints photographic images onto a wide variety of items, offers the following suggestions:

•    Customized jigsaw puzzles. If you have puzzle fans in the family, why not allow them to assemble a favorite photograph? They’ll have fun putting it together, and, when they finish the puzzle, they’ll have a unique, framable piece of art.

Spruce Up Your Fall Wardrobe for Less

<b>Spruce Up Your Fall Wardrobe for Less</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – As the temperatures get colder, families start packing up their shorts and sundresses and pulling last year’s warmer garments from boxes. And inevitably, many of last autumn’s clothes no longer fit or are too worn.

Replacing entire wardrobes can create unneeded stress, but there are ways to dress the whole family without breaking the bank.

* Look for versatile wardrobe staples. Women and girls should build their wardrobe with a nice skirt or dress, dress pants, jeans, sweaters and a jacket. Men and boys need khaki pants, jeans, sweaters and collared shirts.

* Skip fancy department stores. You’ll save time and money by shopping at your local discount retailer. You’ll find inexpensive basic apparel, often for less than $16 apiece.

* Look for deals on denim. Everyone in your family is going to want several pairs of jeans, and those price tags can add up quickly. There are inexpensive lines available today that still offer quality and value. Dollar General sells Bobbie Brooks 5-pocket stretch denim for women, starting at $12, and Open Trails denim for men, starting at $10.

* Stock up on basics. Fall is the perfect time to assess your undergarments. Toss old or ill-fitting underwear, t-shirts and socks. Replace these pieces inexpensively with value packages of underwear and socks, which can be found at your local discount retailer.

* Find fun, useful accessories. Scarves, hats and gloves allow you to express your personality or embrace the newest trends in colors and patterns without breaking the bank. Better yet, they can help dress up wardrobe staples that will last for years, so you won’t spend money on a jacket or dress that will be unwearable by next fall.

* Sell old clothes. If your children are still growing, chances are there are some gently used, outgrown items taking up closet space. Take old clothes to a consignment store or thrift shop to make a little extra money to put towards updating their wardrobe.

For more information on the fashions available at Dollar General, visit

Tips to Plan a Fun Family Reunion

As extended families spread out throughout the country, it becomes more difficult to get everyone together. Holding a family reunion, then, gives everyone a chance to meet, catch-up and learn a little more about their family history.

Arranging a reunion can be a massive undertaking, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed. But with a little planning, anyone can pull off a successful family reunion.

Follow these tips to ensure a fun, rewarding family reunion experience:

Shopping for a New Home? Check Out the Kitchen

<b>Shopping for a New Home?Check Out the Kitchen</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Buying a home is the largest investment most people will ever make, so it’s no surprise that such a big decision may seem daunting. There are, however, some simple guidelines that can help you find a home that you will be happy with for a very long time.

A recent study conducted by Merillat, a leading manufacturer of cabinetry, examined what consumers think about when they’re purchasing a home. The study found that the kitchen sways more minds than any other room, followed by the great room and the master bedroom third.

“The kitchen is the gathering place for special occasions, family functions and day-to-day activities, which is why it is so important for prospective buyers to ensure their new kitchen will meet the needs of their family from a design and functionality prospective,” said Paul Radoy, manager of design services for Merillat.

Try creating a checklist to help you decide whether a kitchen is right for you. Ask yourself these questions:

1. Do I like the layout of the kitchen? Consider the kitchen from an overall perspective, and keep all the items that will require storage in mind.

2. Does the kitchen look comfortable? Do I feel good when I’m in it? You should feel at home right away.

3. Does the kitchen help facilitate frequent casual interactions with family and friends? Consider the views into the surrounding rooms, like the living and dining areas. Can you easily associate with family and friends?

4. Is the cabinetry durable and well-built? Is the finish on the cabinetry smooth and consistent? Investigate the cabinet interiors to determine whether they’re covered with a durable water- and stain-resistant material or a lower-quality product. Make sure that the color of the interior complements the exterior.

5. Does the kitchen have visual impact or a good focal point like an island, cooking grotto or other unique feature? Islands are a useful feature that many homeowners desire. When examining an island, identify the tasks or storage functions it serves to decide whether it will meet your needs.)

6. Does the kitchen have adequate storage space and built-in features to accommodate my possessions? Merillat’s study found that, after remodeling a kitchen, many homeowners find that they didn’t include enough storage features. Make sure you don’t overlook features, like drawer organizers, pull-out trays and lazy Susans.

To more learn about kitchen design and storage features visit

Are You Putting Facebook Over Face Time?

<b>Are You Putting Facebook Over Face Time?</b>“></td>
<p>(<a   href=NewsUSA) – Today’s technology allows us to stay in touch with extended networks of people -; but it comes with a downside. The more time we spend surfing the Web, tweeting or updating Facebook, the less time we spend with those closest to us.

Among the thousands of people I’ve taught, I often hear people complain they have a hard time connecting with their spouses and kids. Yet, I’ll bet many of them are well connected in Internet chat groups.

It is important to recognize whether technology is keeping you away from your family and friends. If you really have a problem regulating your use of technology, it helps to understand why you might turn to technology for fulfillment.

Do you feel like you are automatically turning on whatever electronic medium soothes you? This may be a sign that you have succumbed to what is known as the “iago trance” – a naturally occurring state of mind that lulls you into unconsciousness.

Huna, the ancient Hawaiian system of consciousness that I teach and practice, gives us tools to stay connected with the moment and the world around us. If technology is interfering with your real-world relationships, cut out screen time and do activities that keep you out of the trance. Here are some tips:

* Ask yourself whether technology is stopping you from meeting goals. At the end of the day, do you say, “I wish I had more time to work out, meditate, play with my kids or connect with my spouse”?

* Make a list of things that prevent you from being connected to your friends, family and loved ones, and pick one that you’re going to cut out.

* If a particular technology has you hooked, try cutting it out for a week to see what difference it makes in your life. Ask yourself whether you’re using it the way you originally intended, or is it keeping you in iago trance?

* Lay down boundaries for yourself and your family. For instance, try keeping your Facebook page very private and not just “friending” anyone.

* Find other “unplugged” ways to reduce stress, such as spending a few minutes outdoors in the fresh air or quietly in meditation or prayer.

I’d rather tell my wife good morning than tell the people on Facebook I just woke up. How about you?

Matthew B. James, Ph.D., is president of Kona University. His new book, “The Foundation of Huna: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times” details forgiveness and meditation techniques used in Hawaii for hundreds of years. To reach Dr. James, please e-mail him at

Patty Duke Family Reunites for Dinner: Medicare on the Menu

<b>Patty Duke Family Reunites for Dinner: Medicare on the Menu</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Patty Duke is back – and this time she’s brought the entire family. The cast of the Patty Duke Show reunited for dinner and to create a series of public service announcements to promote Social Security’s new online Medicare application.

You can view the television spots at

Patty Duke and her television family entertained American households on the Patty Duke Show in the 1960s. Now, they want to serve families again -; by telling them just how easy and fast it is to apply online for Medicare -; even if they are not ready to retire. The application takes less than 10 minutes.

Even if you decide to wait until after you’re age 65 to apply for retirement benefits, most people should start getting Medicare at age 65. If you’d like to begin your Medicare coverage, you should apply within four months of reaching age 65.

It’s important to note that people who already receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits do not need to apply; they will be automatically enrolled in Medicare.

Why apply online? Because it’s fast, easy and convenient. You don’t need an appointment, and you can avoid waiting in traffic or in line. You don’t even have to do it all at once. Our secure technology ensures your information will be kept private.

If you’re within four months of turning age 65 or older, what are you waiting for? As Patty Duke and her television family will tell you, it takes less than 10 minutes! Just visit and select the “Retirement/Medicare” link in the middle of the page.

And be sure to catch TV’s most famous identical cousins and the whole family for dinner at

Tips to Plan a Fun Family Reunion

As extended families spread out throughout the country, it becomes more difficult to get everyone together. Holding a family reunion, then, gives everyone a chance to meet, catch-up and learn a little more about their family history.
But arranging a reunion can be a massive undertaking, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed.  However, with a little planning, anyone can pull off a successful family reunion.
Follow these tips to ensure a fun, rewarding family reunion experience:
•    Create a family reunion committee. You will need at least two people to plan location, food, activities, budget, mailings, payments and record-keeping. The better organized your committee, the more smoothly your reunion will run. You can never start planning too early – you will need to start at least a year ahead of time
•    Pick a theme. Designing your reunion around a theme can make planning activities, food and decorations more creative. Family history themes, such a celebrating an anniversary, a birthday or a cultural heritage – a Mexican fiesta, for example – are always popular.
•    Develop a budget. Your budget will influence the rest of your decisions regarding housing, food and activities. When in doubt, plan for affordability – as much fun as a Caribbean cruise might be, it’s unlikely that every family member can afford to attend.
•    Plan housing. If possible, choose a location that offers a range of lodging choices. National parks, for example, often have hotels nearby and may have cabins or tent-camping available, giving your guests plenty of options.
•    Keep the kids entertained. Don’t presume that the grandparents or teenagers will act as babysitters for the whole reunion. Ask for volunteers, and rotate babysitting duties. Arranging competitions, like three-legged and costume races, will keep kids happy. You can even present the winner with a trophy – Plaquemaker Plus offers a variety of trophies, including “Trophy Dudes” with bendable arms and legs.
•    Create activities. Adults might be content to sit around and chatter, but integrating the whole family can be a challenge. Try giving each family member a family tree to fill out, or arrange a friendly game of family trivia. And don’t forget to take a family photo. Plaquemaker Plus can even create heirloom-quality wooden plaques or acrylic images, so you can offer a unique souvenir to any family member who wants one.

Stress-Busting Tips for Caregivers

Few things prove more stressful than caring for a loved one with cancer. While doctors handle the cancer treatment, caregivers often manage their patients’ everyday needs — transportation, food, recreation, medications and visits with friends. At the same time, caregivers must deal with feelings of helplessness and frustration as they watch their loved ones fight battles in which they cannot help. Many feel guilty if they focus any attention on themselves.

According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, studies have consistently reported higher levels of depressive symptoms and mental health problems among caregivers than among their non-caregiving peers.