Friday, February 29, 2008

I've got six kids and we're headed to an amusement park. How can I keep track of them?

Buy six vividly-colored t-shirts, one for each, in all the same color. It's easier to keep your eye out for the shirt color than for children in more individual outfits.

Readers, do you have any other suggestions? I'd love to hear more great ideas about this very common challenge.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How do I get my kids to scoop the doggy doo?

I love this suggestion, given to me by a friend: "We have two dogs and a big yard, and no matter how much nagging I do, my kids never seem to get around to scooping--or they do, but they rush it and miss half of what's out there. (Obviously, we don't get around to it all that often!) I even bought a long-handled scooper so they don't have to bend over or get their hands dirty, but it's still a thankless job that's never done well, if at all.

Yesterday, however, I walked into the family room while they were watching TV and plunked down twenty $1 bills. I said, 'Here's twenty bucks, just for you guys. Go outside and scoop the poop. When you're done, I'm going to go out and look around. For every poop I find, I'm deducting a dollar. Whatever's left when I'm finished, you get to keep.'"

Twenty dollars may seem a little steep for a job that takes just twenty minutes, but in their case my friend said it was money well spent. Apparently, the kids filled almost half of a paper grocery bag with doggy doo, missing only one that their mother could find. Nineteen bucks for a poop-free yard? I'd say that was priceless.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Chapters of the Week

Learning to Fly by Roxanne Henke

New mom, Susan Schaffer, looks down at her newborn daughter, Lily, and wonders if she has what it takes to be a great mom. Each stage seems to bring a new challenge and Susan is filled with doubt. A chance meeting with former classmate, JoJo Nash, also a new mom, gives the two mothers a friendship to help each other, and their daughters, learn and grow. As the girls approach high school graduation their mothers are faced withthe question: Are the girls ready to `fly' on their own? Learning to Fly is a novel about living, loving and letting go.

Andrea Sisco of Armchair writes: "All the self-help books or parenting classes in the world will not score a direct hit like Henke's message...a must read for all mothers and mothers-to-be.

Forty to Life by Dave Jackson

"He came to pay a debt he didn't owe. Because I owed a debt I couldn't pay." Murderer. It's a word few people ever expect to apply to them. But for fourteen-year-old Ray, it's suddenly a reality. Provoked by a gang leader into the random shooting of an innocent guy, Ray now faces a forty-year sentence in Chicago's in famous prison system. As far as Ray is concerned, it might as well be for life. In prison, Ray finds his gangbanger ties difficult to escape and even necessary for survival. Just when he's resigned himself to this new existence, though, Ray receives an unexpected gift--forgiveness. Even ashe learns that the source of this forgiveness is God, Ray struggles with accepting it. And then the ultimate test comes: When faced with the man who ruined his life, can Ray extend the same forgiveness that has been handed to him?

Review: "Forty to Life reads ... like a documentary account ... taking you into life on the mean streets of Chicago." --Randy Brandt,

Q - My husband sometimes cuts himself when he shaves--but he can't go to work with a little piece of tissue stuck to his face. Any other options?

A - Tell him to skip the tissue and try a little dab of Chapstick instead. Sometimes, that's all that's needed to stop the bleeding--and it's not nearly as noticeable as toilet paper on your face!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Chapters of the Week

For Better or For Worse by Diann Hunt
She's a wedding coordinator. He's a divorce attorney. She begins marriages. He ends them. How could these two possibly find common ground?

The Max & Me Mysteries by Patricia Rushford
You'll enjoy meeting Jesse Miller and Max Hunter, both twelve, who form a deep but unlikely friendship. Jesse is thin and frail and hasleukemia. Max is wild and adventurous, with spiked hair that changes color from day to day depending on her mood. Jesse has no real friends until Max comes along. She sees Max as being very brave and adventurous and tries to keep Max out of trouble. Then Jesse discovers Max's dark secrets and must lead Max into danger in order to set her free. There are three books in the series, The TroubleWith Max, Danger at Lakeside Farms, and Secrets of Ghost Island.

To read a chapter from this exciting new title, sign up for ChapterAWeek at this link: or to order the title go to

Be sure to check back for another tip from Tulip!

Friday, February 1, 2008

How do I get water rings out of my wooden coffee table?

Unfortunately, once the damage is done, nothing short of refinishing will remove those rings entirely. However, here's a trick you can use to minimize their appearance in the meantime: Sand the rings down a little, then make a paste of cigarette ashes and vegetable oil to rub into the wood. As long as it's not too big of an area, this should nicely darken the wood nicely so the rings don't stand out as much. Good luck!