Monday, November 30, 2009

American Girl Craft for Merriment in Georgetown

Today on WUSA 9 we demonstrated a craft that we will be doing at the
Merriment in Georgetown on December 6.

If you don’t know about Merriment in Georgetown, you should check it out.
It is going to be a great event with a special book signing with Valerie
Tripp, author of the American Girl books. Here is a link to more

The American Girl Felicity Merriman, described as the colonial girl living
in Williamsburg, VA, was the inspiration for FAMILY Magazine's craft we
will be doing where we will be making silhouettes.

A silhouette or a shadow picture was very popular during the 18th Century.
It was the only method of capturing someone's image before cameras were
invented other than an expensive self-portrait.

This craft would be great for kids to do for grandparents. It is very
personal and a great keepsake.


Materials Needed:
-Black construction paper
-White regular or thick paper
-Flashlight or lamp
-White chalk or white colored pencil
-Doilies (optional)
-Buttons (optional)

1. To make a silhouette, sit the subject 12-18" in front of a wall, facing
parallel to it.

2. Shine a bright light on them, so their shadow falls on the wall. You
may need to adjust the light until you get their shadow as sharp and
detailed as possible.

3. Tape a black piece of construction paper on the wall where the shadow
is falling. You should see it clearly on the paper. 4. Now, carefully
trace the outline of the shadow using your white chalk or colored pencil
including everything even their eyelashes. The subject must sit very
still for it to work.

5. Once you've completed the tracing take the black piece of paper and cut
out the picture you made along the white lines. Do this CAREFULLY!

6. Paste your silhouette onto the white piece of paper.

7. To finish off your project make a fun ribbon frame cutting a strip for
each side of the paper and glue it on. Doilies can be used in place or
along with the ribbon to give the picture more of a winter holiday feel.
Decorate your frame with buttons, glitter, or anything else you'd like.

Do you have a favorite American Girl Doll in your house? We would love to
hear from you.

Happy Parenting -- Brenda

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Traditions

With Thanksgiving coming this Thursday, there’s lots to do. This morning, on WUSA9 News, reporter Peggy Fox and Liz McConville, the Resource Editor for FAMILY Magazine talked about some really fun crafts you can do with your kids for Thanksgiving.

In our family, we love traditions. A couple of years ago my grandkids made name place cards for our holiday table and then assigned where each person would sit. We use these cards every single year (Christmas and Thanksgiving) just adding the new people when there are new ones at our holiday table. The kids get the place cards out and talk about when they made them. They also talk about how much better they can write now! But it is fun and really gives me a warm feeling to hear the conversation when they are arranging the table and assigning seats. It is a hoot!

Some of Liz’s decorations are really cute and such good ideas I think we will incorporate them this year.

Finger Stamp Place Cards
• Card stock
• Nontoxic stamp pads in brown, red, orange, and yellow
• Glue
• Googly eyes
• Paint markers

1. For each bird, fold a piece of card stock as shown (ours were roughly 3 by 4 inches). Set out nontoxic stamp pads in brown, red, orange, and yellow. Using your thumb or index finger, stamp rings of yellow, orange, and red, and a brown turkey body.
2. Glue googly eyes in place, then use paint markers to draw on a beak, snood, and feet and to write a guest's name below the bird.

For more crafts like this one, check out:

Indian Corn Napkin Rings
By: Amanda Formaro

What you'll need:
• Green construction paper
• Scissors
• Tissue paper: yellow, orange and burgundy
• White craft glue
• Pencil with an eraser

How to make it:
1. Cut construction paper vertically in strips about 1.5” wide. Each strip will yield two napkin holders.
2. Cut each strip in half to get 2 napkin holders.
3. Cut tissue paper into 1” squares.
4. Cover a 1” section of the construction paper strip with white craft glue.
5. Twist a square of yellow tissue paper around the pencil eraser and push down onto the glue. Remove pencil, leaving the tissue paper on the construction paper.
6. Repeat step number 5 with tissue paper, alternating orange and burgundy for every 2-3 yellow.
7. Cover entire strip of construction paper, leaving only ½” at the end without tissue paper.
8. Bend into a “ring” and glue together.
9. Let dry completely then carefully insert a napkin.

For more crafts like this one, check out:

Why not decorate the table with these festive crafts that the whole family will enjoy making as well as using in the future?

From all of us here at FAMILY Magazine we wish you a happy and joyous Thanksgiving.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Gifts to Go

With the holidays just around the corner, you’ve probably started making your shopping lists.

Today, Amy Bevins, Assistant Editor of Washington FAMILY Magazine, shared a few great ideas for this holiday season on the Moms Like Me segment on WUSA9.

Here are her choices for Gifts to Go,” items that are lightweight and inexpensive, making them perfect to mail, give in gift exchanges or use while your family is traveling. You can find many more toy ideas in the current issue of FAMILY Magazine. Go to our web site for a list of locations where you can pick up the magazine.

If you are looking for a stuffed toy, here are two great choices.

Normally you wouldn’t think of plastic water bottles as cuddly, but Fuzz That Wuzz stuffed animals from Mary Meyer Corporation are actually made from recycled plastic bottles. Swingzzz Monkey has more than 20 different Fuzz That Wuzz friends, including a moose, an elephant, a bear and a snowman.

Lubies, made by Rocket USA, are a wonderful combination of a soft, stuffed ball and a snuggly friend. So you can combine a little toss and catch with a sleepy time pal. There are over 20 Lubies available, including a flamingo, a panda, a shark and even a Thanksgiving turkey.

Here are three great things to keep kids busy while you are traveling.

YamSlam from Blue Orange Games is a fun, fast-paced game that combines a little Yatzee-type action with intriguing poker chip scoring for a great mix of luck and strategy. Best of all, the dice roll quietly in the game case and everything stores neatly, making it a perfect on-the-go game.

Gallison Mudpuppy makes wonderful magnetic figures for keeping kids entertained. Each one has several backgrounds and lots of outfits for imaginary play, all of which store in a tin box. Depending on your child’s interest, Mudpuppy makes sets from monsters and robots to fairies and mermaids.

Adams Cube by ThinkFun is a 6-in-one brain teaser puzzle cube. Best of all, the puzzle pieces store inside the cube, making it perfectly portable. It’s great for kids who love a challenge.

And if you need to wiggle, the JellyFlyer, by Noodlehead Fun can be tucked in a pocket, purse or backpack and pulled out wherever there room to play frisbee. Because it is made of soft silicone, it can be used indoors and it won’t hurt little fingers. Amy’s family loves things like this for long car trips. They pull them out at the rest stops and get everybody moving to shake out the wiggles.

For more great ideas, you can find Amy’s article “Gifts to Go” on the Washington FAMILY Magazine web site,

What suggestions to you have for some holiday “Gifts to Go?”

Monday, November 9, 2009

Nutrition and School Performance

As parents one of our major concerns is how well our children perform in school. Our worries often lead us to consult therapists, tutors, and other specialists. Good nutrition is another important, powerful tool to help our kids reach their potential. Studies show that certain types of fats in the diet might actually improve brain function.

Today, Judy Caplan, Registered Dietitian and author of the children’s book Gobey Gets Full – Good Nutrition in a Nutshell ( and Nutrition Editor for FAMILY Magazine, shared tips on Nutrition and School Performance during the FAMILY Magazine and Moms Like Me segment at 9AM on WUSA9 News Now.
Judy suggests:
Take a look at your child’s overall food preferences and assess the quality of fats in his/her diet. Some studies show that increasing healthy Omega 3 and monounsaturated fats in your child’s diet is good for brain function.
Why do we want to feed kids more fat?
Fats are important for brain function and hormone development, but not any type of fat. It needs to be healthy fat from Omega-3-fatty acids and monounsaturated fat. The problem is many children get too much of the wrong fats called trans or hydrogenated fats. Some researchers think this imbalance might play a role in decreased brain function.
What foods contain these healthy fats?
Monounsaturated fats or MUFA’S are found in olive oil, olives, sesame seeds, avocado and nuts like almonds, pistachios, and peanuts. Salmon, tuna, and sardines are high in Omega-3-fatty acids. Ground flaxseed is also high in Omega 3’s.
What is a hydrogenated fat and why should they be avoided?
Hydrogenated fats are solid at room temperature. Oils start out liquid. Food manufacturers shoot hydrogen into the oil to make it solid. Food companies rarely hydrogenate the healthy fats like olive oil and sesame oil because of expense and taste, but rather the cheaper and less healthy oils like corn oil and soybean oil. Eating too much trans fats and too little healthy fats can cause a ratio imbalance of the healthy and unhealthy fats and researchers think this discrepancy causes problems.
How does this translate into eating?
Kids need more nuts and natural nut butters, the kind with the oil on top (refrigerate after opening). If your school has a no nut policy, then serve those foods at home. Cook with olive oil; pack olives as a snack; dip veggies in hummus made with tahini or sesame paste; snack on guacamole and baked chips. Serve more fish – smoked salmon (nitrite free) on a whole wheat bagel with low fat cream cheese; grilled salmon, pan seared halibut, grilled shrimp, and other fatty fishes like tuna, though experts currently recommend limiting tuna to a few times a month due to elevated mercury levels.
What should be avoided?
Avoid anything with hydrogenated fats or partially hydrogenated fats. These fats are found in commercially fried foods like French fries, nuggets, and in commercially prepared products like frozen foods, cereals, candy and baked goods. It is also recommended to cut back on saturated vegetable fats like palm kernel oil as well as excess amounts of animal fat. Generally kids will benefit from a more plant based diet with lots of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, healthy fats, moderate amounts of protein, and a little junk just to keep them happy!

For more articles and resources about “Nutrition and School Performance,” visit the FAMILY Magazine web site –

Monday, November 2, 2009

Work at Home Parents

Have you ever considered that President Barack Obama is a work-from-home dad?

In today’s economy many moms and dads are looking at work-from-home options so that they can still be home with the kids but also develop their career or maybe just bring in some extra income for the family.

President Obama is an extreme example, and most work-from-home parents are moms.

There are over 120 million women in the workforce. Over 18% have children under the age of 18 and work one or more days a week from home.

According to, an online job source for work-from-home workers there are over 33 million people working from home. has thousands of job postings in over 70 categories for online and work-from-home job seekers.

On the web site they list 111 job categories for those searching for a work-from-home opportunity. And by the way, Washington area entrepreneurs Christine Durst and Michael Haaren run this web site. has over 50 categories with all of their jobs are hand-screened telecommuting/work-at-home jobs

Having workers that are home based reduces overhead expenses, allows access to talented workers who may not be available locally, provides off-hours support and helps retain employees. Many companies are becoming fans of telecommuting.

FAMILY Magazine started as a home-based business and still has many home-based employees.

Work-from-Home Web Site Resources

Data on women in the workforce --

Here are some examples of traditional work-from-home jobs:

Virtual assistant -- $15 to $100 per hour

Small businesses hire virtual assistants to help when they can't justify a permanent employee. The company I use for technology support just hired a virtual assistant to take all his incoming calls while he is out working on his clients computers and networks.

The International Virtual Assistants Association was co-founded in the 1990’s by Christine Durst of, began with 28 members and has grown to more than 600, who charge from $15 per hour to more than $100 per hour.

Medical transcriptionist -- $20 per hour or more

Good transcriptionists are in very high demand. Expect initial earnings of less than $10 per hour, but some transcriptionists earn $20 or more per hour.

Translator -- $20.74 per hour

Home-based translators with hard-to-find language skills are not held back by geographic location. The site, has 21 categories of jobs and within the translator listing there are 15 companies searching for translators.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008-09, which groups translators and interpreters, notes a projected employment increase of 24 percent over the 2006-to-2016 decade, much faster than the average for all occupations. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the mean annual wage for a translator is $20.74 per hour. Some industries have significantly higher wages for translators. It depends on the type of translation.

Web developer/designer -- $10 to $150 per hour

Of the more than 15,000 new monthly work-from-home job postings on, Web developers are in the greatest demand. There is a large range for income in this category. It seems to vary depending on your level of experience. $10 to $150 per hour.

Call center representative -- unknown

While some Web sites, such as, actually hire representatives, most use subcontractors. The pay may be by the minute rather than by the hour, so you may not be paid for time you spend waiting by the phone. It was very difficult to find a salary range for this. Most of the companies wanted to pre-screen you before you could find out what the salary range was.

Writer/editor -- $5-$20 per post, $50 per article

Writing jobs would include traditional writing as well as blogging. A list of blogging opportunities, for which the pay range is less than $5 per post to more than $20 per post, can be found at

Other Jobs –
Tech support specialist
Travel agent
Teacher or tutor

*****SCAM ALERT*****

There are so many work-from-home opportunities that it is hard to tell which ones are real and which ones are scams, cons and other ways to swindle people out of their money. Christine Durst of suggests watching for these positive indicators of "real" employment:

* The hirer is an established company.
* The ad includes the company name and does not have applicants reply to a blind e-mail address.
* Human resources personnel are available for questions.
* There is mention of information commonly associated with "real" employment (benefits, vacations, policies, etc.).
* There is an application and interview process, not simply an e-mailed offer.
* The employer can detail the job duties and expectations.
* References/work samples are requested.

FAMILY Magazine started as a home-based business and we have supported working from home moms for years. There are good businesses out there that need a workforce but don’t want or need to have the “brick and mortar” building to go along with it. Search carefully and you might find the perfect match.

Happy Parenting, Brenda