Summer Fun With Science

Kids love summer vacation, but parents often find it difficult to keep them engaged in productive activities. And most kids experience a summer learning slump during their time away from school. According to the National Summer Learning Association, at best, students show little or no academic growth over the summer, and at worst they lose one to three months of learning.

It’s possible to give kids a fun way to keep up with learning by providing engaging books that feature hands-on activities. Three new books from DK Publishing will help kids of all ages fill their summer with science fun.

“One Million Things: Space” (July 2010). Perfect for backyard sleepovers and camping trips, this book serves up imagery and information about all things cosmic: from planets, moons, and comets, to black holes, nebulae, distant solar systems and more. Young readers won’t be able to wait until sunset to start exploring. Elementary-aged kids will:

  • Learn about spherical and irregular asteroids by playing a computer game.
  • Find out about volcanoes in the solar system by comparing them to firecrackers.
  • Explore the universe with stunning photographic galleries.
  • “I’m a Scientist: Backyard” (July 2010). Part of a new series for younger readers, this book introduces kids to the world of science with a wealth of outdoor experiments. With clear, step-by-step instructions, the book is full of bite-sized experiments that help children absorb science easily. Preschoolers and early elementary students will learn how to:

    • Make a sun dial and tell time using the position of the sun.
    • Find out a tree’s age and then measure its height with just a stick and a piece of string.
    • Learn about centrifugal force with a simple bucket of water.

    “Big Idea Science Book” (July 2010). A comprehensive guide to key topics in science with a unique difference – an online component with 200 specially created digital assets that provide the opportunity for dynamic, hands-on, interactive learning. Older children can learn from video clips and interactive animations that take them:

    • Inside plants.
    • Around the human body.
    • Deep below the surface of the earth.

    Help kids flex their mental muscles during the summer with exciting projects and experiments that make learning fun. For more on these and other summer learning books, visit

    • Share/Save/Bookmark

    Your Family Can Help Change The World While On Vacation

    OK, we realize you’re going to want to take a vacation for more than 15 minutes (even with that pesky recession on!). But making the decision to take the family on a trip that involves helping others or respecting the environment instead of lounging at the beach can be made relatively quickly. There are a number of Eco tours and activist travel or work exchange programs that might even cost you less than that trip to Disneyworld and leave you or your family feeling more fulfilled upon your return home. – Listing thousands of options for a more sustainable vacation respecting the environments and local inhabitants, Responsible Travel is searchable by budget level, region, country, and even type of holiday and activities you’d like to do. Travelers are encouraged to review the tours they take, so you can also see others’ feedback on the trips you might be interested in.

    Ecotour Directory – This site currently lists 95 different eco holiday and responsible travel options, searchable by continent.

    TrekAmerica – TrekAmerica hosts tour programs focusing on appreciating and respecting the natural environment throughout North America. You get the opportunity to experience some unique environments while simultaneously having a positive impact on the land.

    Volunteer Vacations – Instead of taking ad nauseum “I was here” photos in front of tourist traps on your next vacation, you could use your next trip to volunteer abroad. This site offers a number of 1-4 week vacation options from helping at children’s clinics to preserving wilderness trails to teaching math to kids in developing countries.

    Global Volunteers – A clearinghouse of volunteer international service programs, Global Volunteers typically requires you front your own travel costs. They do however offer assistance qualifying for discounts or fundraising the cost of your service program fee.

    Do you have other great world-changing ideas that don’t necessarily require an enormous time commitment? Let us know in the comments!

    • Share/Save/Bookmark

    Fine Design For Your Yard

    (Family Crossings) – Landscaping not only makes your home more beautiful but also can make it more valuable. In fact, a Michigan State University study found that, depending on where the house is located, high-quality landscaping adds between five and 11 percent to its price.

    However, good landscaping is about more than just plants. Paths, benches, walls, water features – they’re all part of hardscaping and can make or break the look of your yard and garden landscape.

    In the competitive housing market, every feature of a home is crucial in attracting potential buyers. The home’s exterior makes the first impression, and hardscapes, as important elements of landscaping, play a critical role gaining a return on value. Along with helping a property stand out in buyers’ minds, a carefully thought-out landscape using hardscapes allows homeowners to express their creativity and personality through the variety of options available.

    Create Your Own Path

    A well-made concrete walkway or garden path not only stands up to years of hard use, it enhances the natural landscape and complements a home’s exterior features.

    Traditional walkway materials like brick and stone can be pricey and often difficult to install. As an easy and inexpensive alternative, you can build a new concrete path using manufactured molds, such as the Quikrete WalkMaker building forms. The result is a beautiful pathway that mirrors the texture and appearance of brick or natural stone with all the durability and economy of poured concrete. Typically, the cost to install a 10-foot-long concrete path is about $50 to $60 for materials.

    With a variety of form patterns available (Basket Weave Brick, European Block Brick, Country Stone and Running Bond Brick), you can create a pathway, patio or walkway that matches your home’s style.

    Colorful Choices

    Coloring gives molded concrete a more natural looking finish and is great for blending your path or walkway into your landscape design. Adding colorant to the concrete mix is the easiest method and produces consistent results.

    Easy ways to add extra appeal

    For other ways to add interest to your home’s exterior, think about incorporating hardscaping elements such as stone, rock and sand in your yard and garden landscape. They’re available in almost a limitless range of colors, sizes and textures. For example, the new HardScapes by Quikrete line includes an assortment of landscaping stones, pebbles, rocks and sands.

    For more project ideas, step-by-step instructions and a quantity calculator, visit

    • Share/Save/Bookmark

    Small Budget and Big Changes

    (Family Crossings) – If you have big design dreams but are working with a small budget, no fear – you don’t have to sacrifice style and professional-looking results.

    “When people think about do-it-yourself projects, they automatically think about costly, floor-to-ceiling overhauls,” says designer and contractor Amy Matthews of the DIY Network’s “Sweat Equity” and “Bathroom Renovations.” “However, there are several low-cost projects that homeowners can tackle to freshen up their home’s style and add a punch of personality.”

    Try these budget-friendly decorating tips from Matthews to help get you the priceless design you’ve always wanted without breaking the bank.

    Shed a little light: Give your kitchen an instant and inexpensive makeover simply by replacing outdated fixtures such as faucets, lighting and hardware. You can also add a tile backsplash or under-cabinet lights to really dress up your kitchen. Not only are these functional and design-oriented, they really help deliver a big bang for your buck.

    A little dab will do: Before you commit to a paint color, buy samples and try them out on the wall. See how the color looks during the day, at night and under various types of lighting. Also, be sure to have painter’s tape on hand, such as Scotch-Blue Painter’s Tape for Delicate Surfaces. Whether you’re painting one accent wall or tackling the whole house, masking trim, baseboards, and other areas with painter’s tape lets you avoid a mess and achieve clean, sharp paint lines.

    Something old, something new: Add one special piece in the living room that makes a great conversation starter. This could be a lighting fixture, a piece of furniture or a unique rug – something signature to your style. You can find great pieces by shopping at designer sales and discount showrooms, or uncover treasures in your own house. Rummage through the attic or basement to rediscover pictures, vases or your grandmother’s antique chest. You’ll be surprised with what you may find.

    Accent on accessories: Fancy towels aren’t just for your guests’ bathroom – treat yourself to new towels in the master bathroom and quickly transform it into an updated and inviting space. For your living spaces, changing couch covers seasonally will keep your décor fresh and make it look like you purchased new furniture. Try brown microfiber for fall, white linen for summer and sage green in the spring.

    Bring the outdoors in: Take a hint from nature and get inspired by the seasons and the beautiful hues outside. Once you’ve decided on one or two colors, buy pillows, lampshades and other accessories to place throughout your bedroom. Experiment with patterns, warm colors such as red and orange, or calm hues such as moss green and sage. Branches and flowers are inexpensive and can also add instant charm to any living area.

    Soak up the sun: When landscaping, buy smaller and younger plants that need time to grow. They’ll be ready in a couple of years when you’re ready to sell your house. Fresh cedar mulch or rock landscaping are other great ways to improve curb appeal – they’re inexpensive and will really make your yard pop.

    Priceless Kitchen Project

    An updated kitchen can add thousands of dollars of value to your home and create a welcoming space to entertain guests – and you can accomplish it without spending a lot of time and money. With a few coats of paint and stylish accessories, your kitchen can become a showpiece.

    Tired-looking cabinets? Breathe new life into your kitchen by updating your cabinets for a fraction of the cost of new cabinets.

    Tools you’ll need :

    • Paint roller and/or brush
    • Scotch-Blue Painter’s Tape for Delicate Surfaces
    • Screwdriver for removing cabinet doors and drawer and cabinet hardware
    • Primer
    • Paint

    Quick tips:

    • When selecting your paint color, keep in mind that a light color will make a room look brighter and more open, while dark colors can help old-fashioned cabinets look more modern.
    • High-gloss paint is often recommended for cabinets; however semi-gloss adds a rich finish.
    • When applying paint to cabinets, use a quality brush – the better the brush, the better the finish.
    • Begin painting at the center of the cabinets and follow the grain.
    1. Before getting started, wipe down cabinets with a tack cloth to remove dust. Sand any rough areas and remove sawdust from the area.
    2. Tape walls around cabinets and the backsplash.
    3. Remove cabinet doors and handles.
    4. Tape cabinet inner shelves and sides. Apply primer coat. Note: Using a tinted primer saves at least one coat of paint, so you can buy fewer cans.
    5. Apply two coats of paint. Allow time to dry (approximately 4 hours).
    6. Remove tape.
    7. Remove door hinges.
    8. Prime and paint doors. Note: Use a brush instead of a roller to apply primer and paint to uneven cabinet surfaces.
    9. Tape fully cured cabinets and trim.
    10. Paint wall base coat. Allow to dry. Carefully pull tape.
    11. Reassemble cabinets.
    • Share/Save/Bookmark

    Savvy Shopping For Back to School

    Bar·gain [bahr-guh n] – noun: an advantageous purchase, a great deal, especially one acquired at less than the usual cost.

    These days, people are getting more creative with how they spend. When it comes to shopping, many are turning to the Internet for great deals on seasonal items, trendy fashions and the latest in tech gear.

    One popular shopping resource is eBay. With more than 88 million worldwide users each month, it has long been known as a place to find deals on new and used items.

    Three eBay insiders – Constance White, style director, Cat Schwartz, gadget and toy director and Karen Bard, pop culture expert – have some tips to help deal-hunters in their quest for the hottest items and the best bargains this year.

    What to Shop For

    Savvy shoppers should look for deals in these trend areas this year:

    Family Staycation. Cat Schwartz: “This year, more families are trading the family vacation for a staycation. Look for the latest toys and gadgets at a great value to make this year’s backyard vacation more fun than ever.”

    Bring Sexy Back. Constance White: “Shop by look rather than by designer label and then choose the brand with the best price. Keep an eye out for those body-hugging dresses and bold Ikat prints!”

    What’s Hot. Karen Bard: “What’s old is new again. The 80s are back! Look for nostalgic, vintage and pre-loved pop culture classics – from retro clothing to vintage Madonna albums.”

    Rules of Savvy Searching

    To make sure you find exactly what you’re looking for keep these insider search tips in mind.

    “The key is in the keyword search,” says White. “To find the best deals, be specific with your search terms. Instead of searching for shoes in general, try searching by designer, style, trend or even intentionally misspell the brand name to unearth hidden gems.”

    Schwartz advises, “Consider searching pre-owned, re-furbished or used products, as well. Buying these goods eliminates waste going to landfills and scores you a great deal on a unique find.”

    Bidding and buying strategies also play a key role in how much you’ll pay and how soon you’ll get the item. The basic strategies are:

    Daily Deals. Follow eBay’s Daily Deals, hot items at steep discounts. Visit to sign up for the Daily Deals e-mail, and information about the freshest deals will be delivered directly to your inbox every day.

    Buy It Now. Buy the item at a fixed price, and forgo the auction process. “Buy It Now is an easy way to make a quick purchase without bidding,” says Schwartz. “Use this option to purchase the item at a guaranteed low price.”

    Bid Early. In auction-style listings, bidding early with the absolute highest price you are willing to pay (a true maximum bid) allows eBay’s Automatic Bidding to do the work for you.

    Watch, Wait, Bid Late. “Another approach to auction-style listings is to watch the listing,” says Bard. “Most bidding takes place at the end of the auction. Bide your time; you’ll get alerts when items you are watching are ending soon so you don’t miss out.”

    Whether you’re an eco-conscious fashionista or are trying to keep up with the latest tech trends, being a savvy shopper can get you what you want without breaking the bank.

    For more information and to find great deals on must-have items, visit

    Make Extra Cash

    Thinking about selling some items to make extra money? You’re not alone.

    An eBay survey from 2008 by Harris Interactive found that:

    • One in 10 U.S. adults (11 percent) is currently selling personal or household items to generate extra cash, with the majority (59 percent) doing so via online sales or auction sites like eBay.
    • Thirty percent of all U.S. adults say they are likely to sell their personal or household items over the next three months to earn extra money.
      eBay just made it easier for casual sellers to make some extra cash, risk-free. Now, you can post up to five eBay listings free every 30 days. Visit for more information.
    • Share/Save/Bookmark

    Road TRIP!

    Although many families are watching their finances this year, it doesn’t mean vacations, special occasions or family gatherings have to be out of reach. For example, road trips can be a great way to reach your destination while staying within your budget. Also, with some proper planning, your family can enjoy not just the destination, but also the journey.

    “Make the planning process fun by getting your entire family involved with decisions from where you stop along the way to keeping track of the budget,” says Kim Danger, family financial expert, founder of and Shell spokesperson. “By following these simple planning tips before you hit the road, you can learn how to save on travel costs and get more out of your tank of gasoline – something everyone can appreciate.”

    Continue reading Road TRIP!

    • Share/Save/Bookmark

    Children Who Give Back

    There’s a saying that charity begins at home. And when it comes to raising children to be generous, giving people, that expression is quite literally true.

    Schools, clubs, religious organizations, nonprofit organizations and civic groups often involve students in fundraising efforts or donation drives, but the best way to raise caring kids is to be a caring role model at home. When it comes to volunteering or donating money, for example, children are more likely to follow their parents’ lead. The Corporation for National and Community Service says that nearly nine out of 10 young people who give their time have parents and siblings who also volunteer.

    Major corporations are also lending a hand to encourage and support volunteerism by young people. One example is Build-A-Bear Workshop and its Huggable Heroes program, which recognizes young people between the ages of 7 and 18 who are giving back in their communities and beyond, and rewards them with scholarships, charitable contributions, networking opportunities and leadership training.

    “Kids today are very aware of what’s going on in the world and want to make a difference and we wanted to create a program that recognized their worthy efforts – large and small,” said Maxine Clark, founder and chief executive bear at Build-A-Bear Workshop. “We’ve found that the first step is often as simple as identifying a problem and taking action to resolve it.” And it doesn’t always have to be about raising money.

    Whether it’s deciding to collect suitcases to give to foster children after seeing them carrying their belongings in a trash bag, or working to assemble packs filled with goodies and school supplies to send to children whose lives have been torn apart by a natural disaster, kids are finding creative ways to solve problems.

    These are just a few real world examples of young people making a tremendous difference in the lives of others. Here are some easy ways to help your children put their feelings into action and develop a lifestyle of caring.

    Let them choose a cause.

    Children are more likely to stay with something they are really interested in. Whether it’s working with animals, bettering the environment, reading, the arts or sports, help them find volunteer areas that they’ll enjoy. Does your teenage son love soccer? Perhaps he can coach a team of underprivileged kids. Does your daughter love animals? Maybe she can start a drive to raise funds and supplies for a local rescue shelter.

    Make it a family affair.

    Doing something together can bring the whole family closer together.

    • Volunteer as a family to rake the neighbor’s yard, help sort food at a food bank, or set up a lemonade stand or a bake sale to raise money for a cause your family is passionate about.
    • Sponsor a child through an international organization that provides clothing, food and education for children. Your family will get pictures and updates about that child, and you can take turns writing him or her letters.
    • Set a family fundraising goal for the year. Decide as a family to raise a certain amount to support a specific cause. Keep a big jar on the kitchen counter so that everyone can drop in their spare change and parts of monthly allowances to help meet that goal. At the end of the year, count it all up and turn it in together.

    Get others involved.

    • A growing number of children are engaging their friends in charity work by turning birthday parties into opportunities to serve. Instead of everyone bringing presents, they bring a toy to donate to children in need or new clothing for a homeless shelter. Everyone still has a great time with games and cake, and they feel great knowing they’ve helped someone else.
    • Another fun way to let kids help other kids is to host a charity bear-making party. Schedule a birthday party at a Build-A-Bear Workshop store with the goal of having the children make special animals that they will donate to a children’s hospital. To make the giving even more special, they can make one of several stuffed animals that give back – sales support animal shelters nationwide, the World Wildlife Fund, First Book and other children’s literacy initiatives, or children’s health and wellness programs.

    There are thousands of young people taking action and making a difference every day. Some of them receive recognition but the best reward they get is seeing how they’re making their world a better place.

    Actions speak louder than words. Help your kids make a difference by taking action today.

    Think Locally

    There are opportunities to help in your own community. As a family, do some online research and make some phone calls to find out what local groups need and how your family can help.

    • Hospitals: toys and art supplies for children
    • Senior centers: cards and artwork to brighten up rooms, hugs to brighten up someone’s day
    • Food banks: Call and find out what items they need the most.
    • Schools and libraries: Some inner city children don’t have access to many books. Find out if a book drive will help in your area.
    • Share/Save/Bookmark

    Family Game Night

    Are you ready for a great family night in? If so, get ready for a night of fun and schedule a family game night! Hasbro, the maker of Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley games, suggests a few tips to maximize your family game night so that it is something the whole family will look forward to week after week:

    Schedule it!: Decide in advance which day will be your family game night. It doesn’t matter which night of the week you choose – any night will do! As long as the date is marked on a calendar that everyone can see and the parents make it a priority to keep the appointment, the night will be one to remember!

    Involve everyone in the planning: Involve the whole family in the planning process by allowing the kids to pick the games or choose the snacks. For variety, rotate responsibilities each time you have a family game night.

    Create a tradition: Whether it’s a specific family-favorite dinner before game night, the way that teams are chosen or a 30-minute extension on bedtime, establish an activity on family game night that becomes a family tradition. This element will create even more excitement with everyone in the family.

    Keep a family scoreboard: From week to week, recognize the family member who won the last game night by posting their name on a special scoreboard – perhaps it’s a place of honor on the refrigerator. Or, create a family crown that can be worn by the winner at dinner or during the next game night.

    Remind everyone: To keep the date with the family, set up reminders to make sure that game night happens. Set up an alarm on a handheld device or on the family computer. For the kids, put a note in their lunchbox reminding them about family game night. By building anticipation for family game night, you will help build excitement for family time.

    Mix it up with special guests: To expand the fun, invite other families in your neighborhood to participate in a family game night tournament. Or, if you have extended family members staying with you or if you are traveling during a scheduled game night, invite everyone to participate!

    The top reason to have a family game night is to have fun! However, whether enjoying a family-favorite game or discovering a potential new favorite, playing board games as a family provides other benefits too, including:

    Laughter: Games offer a fresh experience every time you play, providing new ways to have fun and laugh together. Some games, such as Cranium and Operation, are developed with giggles in mind and would be a great choice on nights when everyone needs a good laugh.

    Family Bonding: Game play allows your kids to learn from you and from each other. It encourages a sense of connectedness and respect among family members.

    Learning: Games can be a subtle learning tool. For instance, Clue is good for learning deductive reasoning. Monopoly is ideal for teaching beginning budget skills and Yahtzee provides a fun way to teach simple addition and multiplication.

    Life Skills: Games teach kids important life skills such as patience, concentration, teamwork and perseverance. By taking turns, following rules and even losing a game, kids learn skills that they can apply at school and in the home.

    By mixing together kids and parents, turning off text-messaging and playing a board game, you’ll have an evening of fun, laughter and love that will bring the family closer together and create memories for years to come.

    Games for all ages

    While the game you select isn’t as important as the time spent together as a family, you may want to consider the age of the players and the amount of time available for family game night when selecting a game. To get you started, here are some all-time favorites, and a few new games, to consider:

    Families with kids ages 6 to 8: Pictureka!, Sorry! Sliders, Operation, Monopoly Jr.

    Families with kids ages 8 to 10: Clue, Monopoly, Cranium Family Edition, The Game Of Life

    Families with kids ages 10 to 12: Monopoly, Yahtzee, Clue

    Families with teenagers: Monopoly Here & Now: The World Edition, Scrabble, Cranium Wow, Jenga, Catch Phrase, Trivial Pursuit

    For more game ideas, visit

    Did you know?

    • More than five billion little green Monopoly houses have been “built” since 1935.
    • Cavity Sam, the long-suffering patient on the Operation table recently received a face-lift. He now suffers from such modern-day ailments as phone finger and bad plumbing.
    • The highest sum of money that a player can earn in The Game of Life is $3,115,000, which is taking into account that the player lands on all of the spaces that give money and that the player has the highest salary amount.
    • Tokens from the United States Monopoly Here & Now: The World Edition were flown into space aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis in 2007.
    • According to a recent survey, Scarlet and Mustard are the most popular of the six Clue characters.

    Hasbro Games

    • Share/Save/Bookmark

    Grill Once, Dine Twice

    A sizzling steak hot off the grill and a glass of wine make a sensational pairing for steakhouse dining at home. Savor the warm weather with al fresco entertaining and create a restaurant experience in your own backyard for less.

    Simple rub and marinade recipes start you off on a double duty dinner – grill once and dine twice for even more savings, using remaining steak slices to top fresh salads and sandwiches.

    Delight your friends and family with flavorful beef recipes served with your favorite Sutter Home wine. The same wines served with the steaks make excellent companions to the “planned-over” recipes as well.

    Visit for beef grilling guidelines, safety tips and additional recipes. For more information on wine choices and pairings, visit

    Wine Tips

    • Offer a selection of red, white and blush varietals so your guests can sample more than one.
    • One 750 ml bottle of wine will yield approximately five 4-ounce glasses.
    • Serve red wines at 55° to 65°F. White wines are best well-chilled at 45° to 55°F. Avoid over-chilling- it subdues the wine’s aromas and flavors.

    Steak Preparation

    For naturally tender steaks, a simple rub using fresh herbs and garlic adds a depth of flavor. For less tender steaks, a basic marinade incorporating acidic ingredients tenderizes and adds flavor. Marinate the steaks at least six hours, but no more than 24 hours to help achieve perfect results.

    Steak and Asian Noodle Salad

    Combine cooked whole wheat or regular thin spaghetti with sugar snap peas, shredded carrots and thinly sliced red bell peppers. Combine equal amounts Asian vinaigrette and hoisin sauce. Drizzle over pasta and vegetables; toss to combine. Top with grilled steak slices and toasted sesame seeds.

    Wine pairing: Sutter Home Chardonnay

    Steak, Mango and Avocado Salad

    Top mixed baby salad greens with cubed fresh mango, sliced avocado and red onion, toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds, crumbled queso fresco cheese and grilled steak slices. Drizzle salad with lime vinaigrette.

    Wine pairing: Sutter Home Zinfandel

    Mediterranean Steak Pita

    Spread pita or flatbread with hummus. Top with sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, chopped Kalamata olives, crumbled feta cheese and grilled steak slices. Serve with plain yogurt combined with finely diced cucumber and minced garlic.

    Wine pairing: Sutter Home Merlot

    Steaks should be cooked at a medium heat setting. For charcoal grills, cautiously hold the palm of your hand at cooking height above the ash-covered coals. Count the number of seconds you can hold your hand in the position; approximately 4 seconds is medium heat. All cook times are approximate for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness. Use an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into the side of steaks to check doneness. Allow 10 to 15 seconds for thermometer to register the internal temperature. Always use tongs to turn steaks.

    Lemon-Oregano Rubbed Steaks


    • 2 pounds beef tenderloin, top loin, ribeye or top sirloin steaks, cut 1 inch thick
    • 2 pounds top blade (flat iron) steaks (about 8 ounces each)
    • 4 pounds T-bone or porterhouse steaks, cut 1 inch thick
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano or 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
    • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon peel
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon pepper


    1. Combine rub ingredients; press evenly onto beef steaks.
    2. Place steaks on grid over medium, ash-covered coals or over medium heat on preheated gas grill. Grill according to the chart for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally.
    3. Serve half of steaks immediately, as desired. Cover and refrigerate remaining steaks for later use. Before serving, carve steaks into slices; season with salt and pepper, as desired.

    Makes about 3 tablespoons rub

    Notes, Tips & Suggestions
    Wine pairing: Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon

    Lemon-Oregano Marinated Steaks


    • 2 pounds beef flank or skirt steaks
    • 2 pounds top round steaks, cut 1 inch thick
    • 1/3 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano or
    • 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
    • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon peel
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon pepper

    Makes about 1/2 cup marinade

    • Share/Save/Bookmark

    Learning To Share…Everything

    Two boys in a first grade classroom were arguing loudly over an item they both wanted to use at the same time.

    Their teacher approached them in a friendly way and said, “Boys, it sounds like you two are having a problem. Let’s talk it out.”

    One of the boys told his side of the story, his face still tense but his voice lowered to an “indoor” volume. The second boy listened and then, without any prompting, came up with a solution to which the first boy readily agreed.

    “Great job!” the teacher beamed. “See? You can talk it out!”


    If we approach unwanted behavior from the perspective of our child’s judge/jury/jailer, our first impulse may be to punish.

    But punishment doesn’t teach kids what they SHOULD be doing. It doesn’t expand kids’ problem-solving skills, teach them how to repair social mistakes, or improve their social perception.

    Fortunately, punishment isn’t the only available tool.


    When the teacher in the story above heard the two boys arguing, she spotted a chance to teach better social problem-solving.

    Inviting the boys to “talk it out” reminded them of their capacity to problem-solve without shouting or arguing. They saw that “talking it out” could work, and they were more likely to “talk it out” next time.

    A teaching perspective has room for punishment in some cases, but the focus is on helping kids learn the skills they need to behave appropriately.

    If we view inappropriate behavior as a learning opportunity for the child, new options open up.

    1. Redirect the child toward a more appropriate activity.

    2. Inform the child that what they’re doing “isn’t a good idea” or “isn’t safe.”

    3. Give a friendly reminder about the rule the child needs to be following.

    4. Guide the child through the steps of apologizing.

    5. Ask the child to consider how others feel when she engages in the inappropriate behavior.

    6. Help the child make amends to anyone negatively affected by the inappropriate behavior. Ask, “What can we do to help (name of person) feel better now?”

    7. In the case of a conflict, prompt the children to “talk it out,” providing assistance as needed.

    8. Give a new rule, if the situation wasn’t covered by the rules the child has already been taught.

    9. Invite the child to think of a better to way to ask for what they want or need in the situation.

    10. Teach the child appropriate words/behaviors to replace the inappropriate ones.

    The rules of appropriate social behavior take a long time to learn and an even longer time to internalize as habits. Even adults don’t do it perfectly!

    When we use our child’s behavior mistakes as opportunities to offer guidance, we’re giving our child their best chance to become more kind, responsible and socially competent. Find more great stuff at

    • Share/Save/Bookmark