Summer Reading Tips for Vacationing Kids

Summer outdoor play is central to a child’s development. Many experts agree that reading, however, is just as important.

According to Richard E. Bavaria, Ph.D., senior vice president of education outreach for Sylvan Learning, summer is the perfect time for learning and discovery. “It’s very important that children continue to practice their academic skills in summer as strong reading skills are incredibly important for all subjects in school. The more children read, the more they’ll enjoy reading, and the better readers they’re likely to become.

New Mission for Ex-Navy SEAL

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – If you saw the movie “Black Hawk Down,” you already know what happened to the soldiers on that mission-gone-bad to capture Somali warlords. Eighteen of them died that day in 1993, and more than 70 others were injured.
One of those hurt — then-Navy SEAL Howard Wasdin — was in such pain, for so long after retiring, that he sought the kind of medical help only now becoming increasingly available in the military.
“After being shot in the Battle of Mogadishu, a friend advised me to go to a chiropractor,” says Wasdin, author of the NY Times best-seller “SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper.” “Three adjustments later, I was sleeping through the night with no neck pain and walking without a limp.”
Ready for the neat twist to his story? So inspired was Wasdin by his own care that today he, himself, is a chiropractor — as well as an avid supporter of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress.
“It took a chiropractor to give me back my quality of life,” he says. “Today, my mission is to share the importance of chiropractic with the public, so more patients are able to get the care they need.”
For more information, visit www.yes2chiropractic.org.

Dreams Still Come True in Hollywood

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – We crave chills.
It’s why we get a rush when we see Jason take his axe to some unsuspecting teen in “Friday the 13th” or why we can’t seem to look away when Carrie, dripping with pig’s blood, incinerates her entire high-school class.
While mesmerizing, to be sure, the real question is: why do we pay for the pleasure of being scared?
On this, there are various schools of thought.
Some believe that fans of horror (be it movies or books) don’t actually experience fear, but are excited instead, while others believe that people are willing to endure the terror because they know there is no real threat, that they are essentially safe. Still others feel that moviegoers are willing to be scared in order to feel a sense of euphoric relief at the end.
Whatever the reason, movie studios like Seven Arts Pictures, a Los Angeles-based indie movie production company, are counting on customers who are willing to pay to be petrified, by releasing a horror flick like “Night of the Demons.” In the movie, three friends attend a party held in a mansion where, years prior, six people disappeared and the owner hung herself.
“We think that people have a morbid fascination with the dark side,” said Peter Hoffman, CEO of Seven Arts. “So even though a horror movie might be illogical on an intellectual level, people still like to be uncomfortable on an emotional level. It’s about people facing their fears,” he added.
Which makes sense and explains why many of us have (reluctantly) stuck our hand down the garbage disposal, just waiting for our fingers to brush up against something (or, perhaps, for the machine to turn on by itself, shredding the hand inside ? la Stephen King), or why we might refuse to put our leg out of the covers at night.
This, too, is why we keep creepy haunted houses busy at Halloween, why we tell ghost stories around the campfire and why we turn out for horror movies like they were giving away free popcorn.
It’s because we like it.
For more information, visit www.7artspictures.com.

From Man Cave to Kid Cave: Get the Most out of Your Home Theater

The term “home theater” used to mean a small room designated for the enjoyment of watching movies. Then gigantic flat screens and HD technology came along, and the video game industry upped the ante with Xbox, PlayStation, and Wii products that appealed to every age group. With so many different uses, the home theater has morphed into an auxiliary family room. How can one room be made flexible enough to suit all of the activities performed there?  Easy! According to the American Lighting Association (ALA) all you need to do is make a few tweaks in your lighting to satisfy the sports fan, the electronic game player and the movie buff.

Illuminate Your Home Theater With Easy Lighting Tweaks

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – The term “home theater” used to mean a small room designated for the enjoyment of watching movies. Then gigantic flat screens and HD technology came along, and the video game industry upped the ante with Xbox, PlayStation and Wii products that appealed to every age group. With so many different uses, the home theater has morphed into an auxiliary family room.
How can one room be made flexible enough to suit all of the activities performed there? Easy! According to the American Lighting Association (ALA) all you need to do is make a few tweaks in your lighting to satisfy the sports fan, the electronic game player and the movie buff.
“The affordability and popularity of big-screen TVs, high-quality sound and home entertainment systems has created many opportunities for using specialized lighting to enhance the experience,” says architect Joe Rey-Barreau, education consultant for the ALA and an associate professor at the University of Kentucky’s School of Interior Design.
Whether your home theater is part of new construction or a remodeling project, think in layers. According to Rey-Barreau, a lighting layer is defined as a specific type of fixture that is unique from others in that same area. For example, a room that has recessed downlights, a decorative fixture in the center of the room, plus wall sconces on one wall would be defined as having three layers. Each of the three types of fixtures would be controlled by separate switches and dimmers.
“The objective of using layers is to create lighting options for different tasks and activities in that space,” Rey-Barreau explains. The ideal lighting for the entire family to watch a full-length movie in the evening might be with the recessed lighting turned off and the decorative lighting at the ceiling and the wall sconces dimmed to a low level. If the kids are watching cartoons or playing video games, Rey-Barreau advises turning on the recessed lighting to the maximum output, and turning off the decorative lighting.
To learn more about how to light your home theater or family movie room properly, visit your local ALA-member lighting showroom. Go to the ALA’s website at www.americanlightingassoc.com to find a store near you.

Plan Family Activities On a Budget

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Families are tightening their budgets. For many, this means fewer activities outside of the home. With less dining out, movie outings, sports games or other extracurriculars, there’s no better time for budget-conscious moms and dads to really connect and spend quality time with their kids throughout the year.

Start at home

One of your biggest monthly investments is your family home, so why not get your money’s worth? If your kids don’t think staying home is cool, here’s your opportunity to get creative.

* Establish a weekly game night. There’s no need to buy new games, just ask other parents if they have games that you can borrow.

* Subscribe to a home movie-rental service. Let the kids add their favorite movie to the queue as rewards for accomplishments.

* Dining in style. Try to eat more meals at home. Keep the meal simple, so the family can prepare it together. I like to use affordable canned vegetables, like Libby’s, in recipes and as side dishes because they are delicious and easy to prepare.

Get Out of Town

No matter the season, families benefit from fun trips and activities. With a little creativity, families can plan little escapes that don’t jeopardize the mortgage.

* Plan trips close to home. Look for locations three to four hours away to make it a road trip and save on airfare.

* Try camping. Once a popular option, many young families are getting back into the adventurous spirit of camping. During cooler months, rent a cabin at a discounted rate.

For more tips from Hannah Keeley on how to connect with your family, visit the Libby’s Vegetables Web site at www.GetBacktotheTable.com.

Hannah Keeley is a mother of seven, the host of “Hannah Help Me!” on PBS and author of “Hannah Keeley’s Total Mom Makeover: The Six-Week Plan to Completely Transform Your Home, Health, Family, and Life.”

Quality Family Time On a Budget

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Families are tightening their budgets, and for many this means fewer activities outside of the home. With less dining out, movie outings, sports games or even summer camp, there’s no better time for budget-conscious moms and dads to really connect and spend quality time with their kids throughout the summer.

Start at home

One of your biggest monthly investments is your family home, so why not get your money’s worth? If your kids don’t think staying home is cool, here’s your opportunity to get creative.

* Establish a weekly game night. There’s no need to buy new games. Simply ask other parents if they have games that you can borrow.

* Subscribe to a home movie rental service. Let the kids add their favorite movie to the queue as a reward for an accomplishment.

Dining in Style

With the kids out of school and longer days, there is no better time for the family to be together than at dinnertime.

* Keep the meal simple so the family can prepare it together. I like to use affordable canned vegetables, like Libby’s, in recipes and as side dishes because they are delicious and easy to prepare.

* Dine outside at least once a week. It doesn’t matter if you have a patio or you do it picnic style.

Get Out of Town

You don’t have to give up the precious memories created during annual summer vacations. While theme parks and tropical escapes may be the gold standard of summer retreats, there are a lot of great locales closer to home.

* Look for locations three to four hours away to save on airfare, and make it a road trip.

* Try camping. Once a popular option, many young families are getting back into the adventurous spirit of camping.

For more tips from Hannah Keeley on how to connect with your family this summer, visit the Libby’s Vegetables Web site at www.GetBacktotheTable.com.

Hannah Keeley is a mother of seven, the host of “Hannah Help Me!” on PBS and author of “Hannah Keeley’s Total Mom Makeover: The Six-Week Plan to Completely Transform Your Home, Health, Family, and Life.”

Couples Learn to Face Economy Together

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Money certainly can’t buy you happiness, but that doesn’t mean that suffering finances can’t put strain on a relationship.

Money doesn’t make marriages end in divorce -; in fact, financial problems might lead to as little as 5 percent of divorces in the U.S. But when money’s tight, couples feel greater strain, which can lead to more disagreements.

Couples facing money problems can gain strength from each other. Here are some tips for couples looking to support each other through tough times:

– Take time to discover each other’s real needs. One spouse might feel alienated, not because there’s less cash, but because less cash means fewer restaurant and movie nights. But couples can enjoy quality time together no matter their finances.

Free activities, like community movie screenings or museum trips, can provide fun without breaking the bank. Instead of going out to eat, couples can cook meals at home and follow dinner with a romance-inducing beverage, like Magic Power Coffee (www.magicpowercoffee.com), which combines high-quality arabica coffee beans with healthy herbs. Gingseng, goji berries, epimedium herb and vitamins help increase energy, mood elevation and euphoria -; never a bad thing when pursuing quality time as a couple.

– Take a cue from your kindergarten teacher -; use your words and your indoor voice when discussing difficult subjects. Talk about how you feel without putting blame on your partner’s actions. If you can’t discuss a certain subject without becoming angry, at least attempt to write down your thoughts.

– Come up with a plan together. If one partner handles all of the finances, the other person might not realize how tight things are, or when money will be entering or leaving a joint account. Sit down together to determine a spending and saving plan. If you are in debt, consider going to a financial counselor who can help you consolidate loans and develop a sound financial strategy.