Currently, the Dallas Convention Center Shelter is housing more than 900 residents that have been evacuated from Houston and the surrounding areas due to the nearing threat of Hurricane Ike. As we all watch our TV screens to see the most up-to-date path of the hurricane, you might be compelled to help our fellow Texans. Here’s how you can help:
Donations to help purchase food can be made to the North Texas Food Bank through their Web site: www.ntfb.org.
Donations to help purchase other essentials can be made to the Salvation Army through their Web site: www.salvationarmydfw.org.
Volunteers may register for assignments with the Volunteer Center of North Texas through their Web site: www.volunteernorthtexas.org or by calling 866/797-8268.
Cash donations to help provide other assistance can be made to the American Red Cross by calling 800/RED-CROSS or at www.redcross.org.
While rifling through my mail last Friday, I unknowingly discovered a box holding the main source of my weekend entertainment: Namco Bandai’s Active Life Outdoor Challenge for Nintendo Wii. Let me just preface this entry by saying that I absolutely detest video games. Really, I cannot stand them. Why? Beyond the violence, gore and male-intended content (of most adult games at least), I’m not one to spend hours at a time sitting on the couch … that is, unless there’s a Law and Order marathon on TV! But that’s beside the point.
When my father decided he wanted to give into the video-gaming frenzy and purchase a Nintendo Wii, I rolled my eyes. But my apathy soon changed. Now I jump at the chance to play a pick-up game of tennis with my mom (yes, my ‘rents are technologically-savvy!) or bowl against my younger brother. I can see why this gaming device is the hottest thing since sliced bread (and why kids can’t get enough of it).
So, when I opened my mail to find a reviewer’s copy of the newest Wii game, The Outdoor Challenge, I couldn’t wait to visit my parents’ house and take the game for a test drive.
Outdoor Challenge is a part of Namco Bandai’s Active Life games, meaning that it’s similar to Wii Fit (read: you have to get your butt off the couch and participate). In the Outdoor Challenge, players stand on an Active Life Mat, reminiscent of Dance Dance Revolution. Players can compete (in one-person and two-person games) in a series of activities, like mountain boarding, log jumping, kayaking, mine-cart driving and – best of all – mole stomping. (Yep, you read that right.)
Imagine this: a room of four adults bouncing around on a mat while yelling, cheering and falling to the couch exasperatedly out-of-breath due to the on-screen challenges. It was a blast. (Several times my marathon-running dad joked that he was going to have a heart attack!) The games are physically challenging and require a great deal of focus, balance and agility, yet they’re kid-friendly and can be adjusted in difficulty for young followers.
I haven’t fully changed my opinion on video games. But this new addition has me one step closer to becoming a believer. Snag yourself a copy of this game when it hits shelves later this fall and have your own family gaming night. (Don’t forget to take water breaks!)
Moms and kids alike share the common craving of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When left up to the kids, however, the making of this classic sandwich can experience some creative twists. And that’s what the makers of Jif peanut butter wish to celebrate with a good old American competition.
The Seventh-Annual Jif Most Creative Peanut Butter Sandwich Contest kicks off August 4 through November 14 – and kids across the nation are encouraged to invent new creative peanut butter sandwich recipes for entry.
Sandwiches will be judged on the following criteria: creativity, taste, appearance, nutritional balance and ease of preparation. The grand prize is a $25,000 scholarship fund. Four runner-ups will each receive a $2,500 scholarship fund. (That’s definitely something worth talking about!)
To submit your original recipes (such as the peanut butter and jelly sushi rolls pictured at right), go to the Jif Web site.
While drought-like conditions aren’t as wide-spread this summer as in the past, The City of Dallas Water Utilities’ “Save Some Green and Go Blue” water conservation program offers these tips for staying water-wise this summer:
-Fill a bucket of water to wash your dog or car to avoid leaving the hose running
-Cover your pool or spa to reduce evaporation
-If you use an automatic sprinkler system, be sure it does not water sidewalks, driveways or streets.
-Fix leaky faucets.
-Take shorter showers, using low-flow shower heads.
-Upgrade your toilets (if installed prior to 1992) to a low-flow, water efficient model.
For more tips on how to save water this summer, visit SaveDallasWater.com.
As you might imagine, we scroll through hundreds of parenting product ideas each week, and I’m not going to say we are jaded, but we are picky! Recently, a Rockwall mom sent something that caught my eye: original hand drawn greeting cards and labels with a twist. The self-described “Cute Card Queen,” Courtney designs each card with colorful, whimsical cartoon characters to depict your family. I especially like her mommy business cards and her “send a card” service where you simply pick out a greeting and let Courtney jot a handwritten note and mail it for you! Plus, how could we not love a fellow mom (to a 1-year-old little boy) who confesses to being addicted to Cherry Coke Zero and LOST!
Check out her designs at Come Together Cards (hey, it’s not too soon to be thinking about holiday cards & labels)!
In the spirit of Father’s Day (past), I’d like to mention briefly a man I never knew in person, but only over the television waves. After this weekend though, it seems as the person America saw in front of the camera was the same as behind the scenes. I’m of course talking about Tim Russert, moderator of Meet the Press and Washington Bureau Chief of NBC, who passed away this past Friday as he was recording a voice-over for last Sunday’s show. He was a man who above all was a great father and a great son, writing about both in his book Big Russ and Me. It’s heart-warming to see a man that loved everything about his life, but especially his son and his dad, so outwardly proud of them both. Beaming when he spoke of them in interviews, and telling all of America how proud he was to be Luke’s dad.
So, grab your Kleenex’s and watch his only child, Luke, speak of his dad Monday morning on the Today Show with Matt Lauer. I only hope that Tim Russert’s legacy inspires fathers to become even better parents, letting their kids know just how much they love them, and how their life wouldn’t be the same without them.
Learning from his closes friends and colleges over the past weekend, Tim Russert is a man who truly inspires, both as a politcal journalist who loved every minute of his job, as a son who admired his dad ever so deeply, and as a father who let his son know just how much he loved him every day of his life.