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Recently, I discovered a great team activity. The team mom for my soccer team suggested that we establish a "Secret Sister." After a fun and secretive selection party when each of us chose a name, we were able to surprise our selected teammate at every tournament with a small token. I had so much fun with this activity because it was as enjoyable to receive a gift as it was to pick out treats for my Secret Sister.
Have you ever been tricked by Saint Valentine? Have you ever bought flowers and candy, made reservations at the most romantic restaurant in town, worn your most flattering outfit and rented a limousine, only to find yourself on the wrong end of a date-night disaster? Or worse, have you ever felt the full force of the Valentine's Day breakup, that particularly nasty hangover that afflicts so many romantics this time of year?
We've all experienced a bad mood. Everyone understands that occasionally they're going to have a bad day. As parents we become all too familiar with the symptoms signaling when a family member is about to have one. But what happens when a child has a bad day and keeps having them consistently? Depending on a child's age and developmental stage, they may not recognize their own symptoms or understand why they feel and act the way they do. They often can't talk about it or feel embarrassed and scared because they're different than the other kids.
Are you searching for a good book to read? I recommend the 13th book in the "Series of Unfortunate Events" series appropriately titled "The End." This novel in the last book (obviously) in the series by author Lemony Snicket featuring the Baudelaire orphans: Violet, Klaus and Sunny.
Are you searching for a good book to read? I recommend the 13th book in the "Series of Unfortunate Events" series appropriately titled "The End." This novel in the last book (obviously) in the series by author Lemony Snicket featuring the Baudelaire orphans: Violet, Klaus and Sunny. As the book begins, the Baudelaire orphans are adrift in a small boat in the middle of the ocean with the evil Count Olaf. A terrifying storm quickly approaches, causing their boat to be torn apart and separating the Baudelaires from the villain.
Teenagers today are plugged in and ready to communicate like no other generation before them via e-mail and cell phones. The popularity of internet sites, such as MySpace.com, has launched a new world that has parents shaking their heads and wondering just how much multi-tasking a kid can do. Ever watch a teen text message a friend? Have you ever seen fingers move so fast? Technology has advanced at a rapid pace and the internet is a wonderful tool, but there are potential dangers facing young adults whenever they are online.
Since winter break is here, I have been asking people what they most enjoy doing over the vacation with their friends and family in the SCV. The following list includes some of the places and activities kids have recommended to me. Doing different crafts such as constructing gingerbread houses are a great way to have fun on a cold or rainy day. Let your artistic talents shine as you decorate your dream house with tons of candy. You can build by yourself, with a buddy or even have a group of friends over for a quick get-together.
It's the beginning of a new year and many of us will be taking a good, hard look at ourselves in the mirror and think... "Jeez, I need a makeover!" Whether it's droopy eyelids or saggy breasts, one too many wrinkles or a dull, unattractive smile, there are plenty affordable options for those looking for a quick pick me up and a little self-confidence boost. More than 10 million Americans opted for some type of cosmetic surgery last year. Lasers, microdermabrasion, Botox, veneers and implants are just some of the procedures that are now done safely without breaking the bank or requiring too much down time.

Click to view our experts "before" and "after" photos

It was a Christmas tradition. Every year, the Ewart family opened their home to the neighborhood and went all-out for the holiday. After last year's celebration, as the family settled upstairs into bed for the night, the flame from a still-burning candle started a house fire that left several members of the Ewart family severely burned and injured. Fifteen-year-old Michael Ewart suffered the most serious injuries with third-degree burns over 50 percent of his body. His father and 81-year-old grandfather also were burned and injured.
Several years ago, a friend at work gave me the soundtrack to "A Charlie Brown Christmas." It was a surprising Christmas gift, not because of what it was, but because of what it did. I popped the CD into my computer on the spot and was greeted by the soft minor chords of jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi, accompanied by Chuck, Linus, Lucy and the rest announcing that "Christmas Time Is Here." If you were born between 1960 and 1975, you know that song very well, regardless of your religious persuasion. Every year it found its way onto our television sets. It was the holiday anthem of our generation, announcing that soon we'd be seeing beloved family members, stuffing our faces and opening presents.
You know what I hate? I hate hearing Christmas music before Thanksgiving. My guess is that piped-in versions of "Silent Night" are supposed to inspire me to make early purchases and spend more. If you are a member of the marketing brigade that came up with this idiotic idea, let me tell you: The only thing your saccharine tunes inspire in me is gas and a craving for apple cider.
If you tell your mom you want an "Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle" for Christmas, her response will probably be, "You'll shoot your eye out!" It's a good thing that nowadays most kids do not have that item on their list. A much better gift to ask for would be one of my all time favorite holiday movies, "A Christmas Story."
What better thing is there to do on Family Night than watch a movie? I know choosing a movie the entire family will like can be a challenge, but I have recently rediscovered the perfect choice, "The Princess Bride." This 1987 classic is a great movie that everyone will enjoy. No matter what age, girl or boy, you will want to watch it again and again!
She was pregnant with her second child when she discovered a lump. As with most pregnancies, it didn't seem unusual to have lumps and bumps over your body, but with a growing concern, she brought it to the attention of her obstetrician. For some reason, the doctors decided to "watch" it. As the as pregnancy progressed, the lump grew and subsequent tests revealed breast cancer. In her eighth month of pregnancy, the doctors induced labor and I was introduced to my new nephew. Shortly thereafter, my sister-in-law underwent a mastectomy.
Had I been watching the World Cup or something like it, my response last Wednesday afternoon would have been entirely justified. My favorite player had just taken a pass from a teammate, dribbled past a defender and kicked the ball into the goal - or at least that's what I saw through a pair of more-than-slightly biased eyes. That favorite player was in fact my 10-year-old daughter Darragh (like "Sarah" with a "D"). The pass? Well it was more of an accidental push of the ball in her general direction.
It seems like everyone knows about Martha. Every third grader who comes to Heritage Junction asks about her. Many have been seen waving up at the second floor window of the Newhall Ranch House, shouting "Hi Martha!" Martha is a spirit who resides (not lives) in the Newhall Ranch House. Soon after the house was moved to Heritage Junction in 1990, people started to report seeing a woman in the upstairs of the building, but no one was there.
In October comes one of the year's most fun holidays, Halloween! All kids look forward to dressing up, running around the neighborhood, eating tons of candy, and of course, going to the pumpkin patch! What better place to go to spend the day hunting for the perfect pumpkin than Santa Clarita's own Lombardi Ranch. A real family-owned and operated working farm, Lombardi Ranch dedicates the whole month of October to celebrating autumn.
Ahhh, the open road: The wind in your hair and your favorite tunes blasting from the stereo. There's nothing like the feeling of being behind the wheel of a car. It's a teenage dream. It signifies freedom and a chance to cut loose from mom and dad. Sophomore year? Forget the Algebra II; sign me up for Driver's Ed.
Ever picture yourself on stage performing in front of a live audience? With ESCAPE Theatre, you can turn this fantasy into a reality. ESCAPE stands for Experience Santa Clarita's Actor's Performing Ensemble. The goal of ESCAPE is to "educate children and young adults in the wonderful world of musical theatre."
Long before the mall, Olive Garden, Trader Joes and all of the other fantastic shopping and eateries graced our home here in Santa Clarita, Sunday mornings found the sides of Soledad Canyon Road lined with cars from the bowling alley all the way to Bouquet Canyon. We'd park and walk a half of a mile, if you arrived late, only to walk another mile or two looking for a good deal on anything from car accessories to furniture.
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