Wednesday, May 18, 2016

4th Movie Announced from the Creators of Fireproof - Courageous

Sherwood Pictures of Albany, Georgia has just made an announcement that certainly brightened my day. With God’s help, production on a fourth movie based on the theme of fatherhood, will begin in March 2010. The movie’s title comes from an oft repeated word in the book of Joshua: Courageous.

In a video on the movie’s website, Sherwood Baptist’s senior pastor and executive producer, Michael Catt, introduces Stephen and Alex Kendrick. The Kendrick brothers go on to explain that after a year of prayer they will be going forward with a movie to help men realize the importance of strength and leadership in their homes in regard to their children. They clarify their intentions of focusing on the role of fathers and how when men rise up, and take the role of father that God has intended and placed on them, healthier homes are established and children are provided clearer direction.

Says Alex Kendrick, co-writer/director of COURAGEOUS, “We focus on the crucial role of father; it’s not just to be a father who loves his kids, it’s to be engaged with a purpose-to be a father on purpose.”

The four-person team who heads up Sherwood Pictures consists of Michael Catt, Jim McBride, Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick… all are husbands and fathers. Pastor Catt has two children; Pastor McBride has four; Stephen Kendrick has four; and Alex Kendrick has six. The team’s past films include FLYWHEEL (2003), FACING THE GIANTS (2006), and FIREPROOF (2008). Like the previous three Sherwood films, COURAGEOUS will be marketed by Provident Films, a division of Sony Picture Home Entertainment.

COURAGEOUS — The Movie

According to the video and press releases, the story will revolve around four fathers who are all in law enforcement, who protect and serve together. When tragedy strikes close to home they begin to look at their roles as fathers. Together they challenge and encourage one another to fulfill God’s intention in the crucial role of father. From their struggle will come a decision that changes all of their lives. Proverbs 27:17 is a key verse for this story. As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another.”

The Kendrick brothers promise to bring action “beyond what we’ve ever done before”, tension, drama, a little bit of romance and, of course, humor.

Honor Begins At Home

The team’s desire is that the movie will embrace God’s promise to “turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers.” This verse is from the last verse of the Old Testament, Malachi 4:6. The Sherwood team asks that people and churches pray that God will bless and assist during the production, and use the completed film to stir souls and challenge fathers everywhere to have hearts that are courageous.

And, you can count me in on that, guys. Your movie, Facing The Giants, had a profound impact on my life at a time when I was questioning why God wanted me to pray for so many teenagers. That film helped me to see that I didn’t need to fear or dismay. God knew what He was doing. I just needed to obey. (To read more on my sometimes unusual ways of praying, see my articles,Creatively Praying For Teenagers and “Singing” To A Cup) Each of your movies has been a blessing to me in the past and you can be sure I will certainly be one of the first in line to see the new movie.

So, let the filming begin. Let the production commence.

May each on the team be strong… and courageous.

——————

For more information, visit their website at: http://ift.tt/mWJYke

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5 1980s Sitcom Reunions We'd Love to See

Sitcoms ruled the television roost in the 1980s, long before the wiles of the modern reality show charmed our collective sensibilities and dominated the airwaves. Here’s a look at 5 1980s sitcom reunions that’d be cooler than mile-high bangs, legwarmers and parachute pants.

1980s Sitcom Reunion Wish #1 – Small Wonder (1985-1989). The Lawson family achieved an impressive feat when dad Ted (Dick Christie) created V.I.C.I. (Tiffany Brissette), a robotic 10-year old girl, and then passed her off as he and wife Joan’s adopted daughter. Somehow, only the nosy Brindles next door had suspicions over the pony-tailed, monotone-voiced new addition. More than 20 years after the show’s end, would Vicki appear as a fully-upgraded ‘adult’? Did brother Jamie (Jerry Supiran) have a change of heart and marry the ever-annoying Harriet (Emily Schulman)? You know you wanna know.

1980s Sitcom Reunion Wish #2 – The Golden Girls (1985-1992). With two of the original four cast mates deceased – the mother/daughter duo of Dorothy Zbornak and Sophia Petrillo, portrayed by Bea Arthur and Estelle Getty – this one could be a supreme challenge to write and pull off. But with dim-witted Rose (Betty White) and sexpot Blanche (Rue McClanahan) still around to make us laugh and the magic of the beloved flashback sequence, the possibilities for reunion greatness are virtually unlimited.

1980s Sitcom Reunion Wish #3 – Family Ties (1982-1989). Michael J. Fox’s protrayal of the money-loving, corporately-focused eldest son of hippie parents was one of the hallmark acting achievements of the 1980s. Conservative Alex P. Keaton, sisters Mallory (Justine Bateman) and Jennifer (Tina Yothers), much-younger brother Andrew (Brian Bonsall) and parents Elyse (Meredith Baxter) and Steven (Michael Gross) lived together in suburban Ohio, enduring the trials, tribulations and joys arising from different political ideologies swirling under the same roof. Would Alex be a Wall Street loyalist in 2010? What about often dim-witted Mal? Only the would-be writers know for sure.

1980s Sitcom Reunion Wish #4 – The Cosby Show (1984-1992). Funnyman Bill Cosby starred in and lent his surname to the groundbreaking sitcom that featured the African American Huxtable family. The well-to-do family made their home in Brooklyn, and was headed by the highly educated and successful pair of Heathcliff (Cosby), an obstetrician, and Clair, a lawyer. The show chronicled the experiences – both good and not-so-good – of Cliff, Clair and their five children: Braniac Sandra, flighty Denise, sole male Theo, drama queen Vanessa and baby Rudy. Later seasons saw the addition of Raven Symone as Olivia, Denise’s spunky step-daughter. Would a 20-year leap into the future find Cliff and Clair retired? And how would Cliff handle a potential gaggle of grandchildren?

1980s Sitcom Reunion Wish #5 – Silver Spoons (1982-1986). Rick Schroder may have gone onto NYPD Blue fame, but he’s always and forever Ricky Stratton, son of toy company magnate Edward (Joel Higgins) and resident of a mansion that’s the stuff of every kid’s dreams. If we fast-forward to the 2010s, would Rick be in charge of Eddie Toys? Would he still be hanging out with break dancing buddy Alfonso (Alfonso Ribeiro)? Most importantly, would that awesome train still chug-a-lug its way through the Stratton mansion?

Those are five of my ‘oh, please do a reunion!’ picks. Which 1980s TV classics make your personal wish list?

Sources

Sitcoms, Wiki

Personal Experience

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4x4 Lift Blocks: Big Lift or Big Trouble?

Lift blocks have long been a popular and cheap way to gain clearance for larger tires on leaf-spring suspensions. However, they do have some drawbacks, and depending on the situation they can be pretty serious. Before you lift your truck using blocks in the rear, ask around and get opinions from some of the veteran wheelers of the area. They have likely encountered them firsthand, and will surely have something to say about them.

Lift blocks are just that – blocks of steel that go between the leaf springs and the axle, creating height. Very simple in design and cheap to purchase, it is no wonder these blocks can be found under so many big trucks! Leaf springs of the same height would be very expensive.

Keep in mind that the larger the distance from your leaf springs to the axle, the greater the leverage on the springs. This creates a phenomenon known as “axle wrap”, when the axle wants to actually twist away from the springs, turning them into an S-shape. This can cause the truck to bounce up and down violently, which becomes dangerous on hill climbs and on the highway, too.

NEVER install lift blocks on the front end of a solid-axle vehicle. Don’t think about it, don’t joke about it, just never ever do it. The reasoning behind this has safety in mind, and is a cardinal rule. If there are blocks on the front end and you need to turn while under power in four-wheel drive, all hell can break lose with steering components when that axle decides to start hopping and twisting.

Lift blocks are relatively easy to install and can be done in the driveway with basic hand tools and a good jack. Invite some friends over, BBQ some burgers and dogs and make a day of it. Just make sure you re-torque everything back to the manufacturer’s specs, and check on the U-bolts every few days to make sure they are staying tight.

Lifting a vehicle with blocks actually lowers the axle, allowing for more space between the rig and the tires. Make sure your brake lines are long enough to compensate for the increased space, and that they are in good shape. I do not recommend going over four inches on the blocks, however. Although six-inch blocks can be purchased, in my opinion that is just too much stress on the springs and leaves. In short, I recommend getting the full leaf-pack if you can afford it. You will end up with a better ride, less to worry about and higher quality springs than the stock units. However, if lift blocks are the way you wish to go, be careful and remember not to overdo anything. What is OK on the street may be very dangerous off-road, and vise-versa. Play safe and have fun!

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5 Activities to Do During a Power Outage

When the power goes for any reason, thinking of something to do until comes back on can drive a person crazy. As a society, we depend to much on electricity to run our homes, gadgets, and other things.

There are a few things people should have in their homes for when the power goes out. Candles, a battery powered flashlight, a windup radio, crayons, coloring books, books, pens, pencils and paper are good things to have on hand when the power goes out.

Activity One During a Power Outage: Read a Book Out Loud

If your whole family is at home when the power goes out, have someone choose a book to be read out loud. Reading the book out loud by flashlight or candle light can give your family a new way to spend the time together during the outage.

Everyone can read a page or chapter from the book during this time. This allows everyone to participate in a family activity during a power outage.

Activity Two During a Power Outage: Dance to the Music with a Wind Up Radio

We own a wind up radio that I bought at Atwoods several years ago when I worked there. Consider finding and buying a wind up radio for when the power goes out. Not only can you get a little exercise from winding up the radio, your family and yourself can dance to the music everyone agrees on when the power goes out.

This idea may sound retarded to your kids, but it beats sitting there doing nothing while the power is out. This can insure that the kids and yourself will get a bit of fun exercise during a power outage.

Activity Three During a Power Outage: Crochet an Afghan

A power outage can happen any time during the year. If you live in area where it gets cold, crocheting an afghan during a power outage can help you stay warm during an outage in the winter. Starting an afghan during the spring, summer, and fall when a power outage happens can keep you warm while it is finished during a winter power outage.

Activity Four During a Power Outage: Play Board Games

Keeping board games around the home can help pass the time during a power outage. Playing board games can bring the family together when the lights go out. There are quite a few board games available for different ages groups that can be kept so everyone has a game to play.

Activity Five During a Power Outage: Tell Stories

Having everyone tell a story when the power goes out can let their creative juices flow. There isn’t a wrong way for the person who is telling the story to tell it. The stories can be scary, fun, adventurous, or whatever the storyteller wants it to be.

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5 2008 Beauty Must Have's

Prevage: Anti Aging night Cream

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5 Affordable and Romantic Dates for Atlanta Residents

In today’s economy, finding and maintaining a romantic relationship can be difficult-especially living in an expensive city like Atlanta. Trust me they call it Hotlanta for a reason. However, I am happy to say that it is possible to enjoy the city and not be penniless in the end. Below are five romantic and affordable dates with just enough creativity that it may earn you a few brownie points with your significant other.

1. Georgia State Parks and Historical Sites

Visit www.gastateparks.org, a great website where you will find all the state parks in Georgia along with their campsite, golf course, and tour information. It also has a list of events that are currently at each park.

And Leaf Watch 2010 gives you information about how and why leaves change colors and where the best park is to see them. If you’re interested in this, be quick about it because it won’t last for long.

Combine romance with a little learning and drop in on one of the many historical sites listed including the Little White House in Pine Mountain, GA or the place that claims to be “the first true beginning of our country’s first gold rush” at the Dahlonega Gold Museum in Dahlonega, GA.

2. Atlanta City Passes

City Passes are a great way to visit many of the major tourist spots without having to pay at each venue. Visit www.citypass.com, pay one affordable price, and you will have nine days to visit six of the biggest attractions in the city including the Georgia Aquarium, Word of Coca-Cola, Zoo Atlanta, and CNN Studios. You will also have the opportunity to choose between the Fernbank Museum of Natural History or the Atlanta Botanical Gardens; and the High Museum of Art or Atlanta History Center.

3. The Local Arts

Enjoying a play at 7 Stages or taking in a FREE performance to see Georgia State University’s Symphony Orchestra could be a wonderful way to spend a day together. At http://ift.tt/1sAebPj, on-line discount tickets are available as well as same day half-price tickets for the local arts in theatre, dance, music, and film. Certain terms and conditions may apply so please read carefully before you purchase.

4. AMC Movie Theatres

According to www.amctheatres.com, AMC has a few great promotions including A.M. Cinema which offers discount tickets before noon. And Monday-Thursday tickets are half-price with their AMC Weekday Escape program.

5. Take A Drive

A 2 to 5 hour drive can land you on a beach in Jacksonville, Florida; at The Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga; or the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Alabama. The time spent driving will allow you to get a littler closer.

Hopefully these romantic and affordable dates will help you plan a great time with someone very special while in Atlanta.

Sources:
www.gastateparks.org
www.citypass.com
http://ift.tt/1sAebPj,
http://ift.tt/1sAdSUy
www.amctheatres.com

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5 Activities and Things Everyone Should Do in Quebec City

Quebec City is one of the more popular destinations in Canada, along with Montreal and Vancouver. Undoubtedly, the city and surrounding area is beautiful. There are plenty of different things for visitors to see and do around the city, which explains why it is such a big tourist destination. After two visits to this great North American city, I have five things that every tourist should see or do in Quebec City. The next time you visit the city, you’ll want to remember this list!

1. Visit Old Quebec.
Old Quebec is surrounded by walls because it was originally a military location. Inside the walls, there are tons of old buildings and structures with architecture dating back a couple to a few centuries. These buildings are beautiful, and the city looks incredible from a distance. Also, there are tons of attractions within the city, including the Chateau Frontenac. Nobody should go to Quebec City without seeing Old Quebec because it’s a reminder of the past in many ways – a beautiful reminder.

2. Attend the Winter Carnival or Summer Festival.
Quebec’s winter carnival is one of the biggest winter festivals in the world. Each year, thousands and thousands of people from around the world attend the event, which has attractions, foods, drinks, and many other things. In the summer, the Summer Festival is a popular local event that tourists will enjoy. Both events are worth attending for tourists because they are so enjoyable. For many, the experience will be incredible. I recommend that Winter Carnival but have not attended the Summer Festival.

3. Stay in the Chateau Frontenac.
Overlooking much of Old Quebec, the Chateau Frontenac is a historic hotel that looks amazing from outside the city and even better up close. The hotel was built just before 1900, so it’s pretty old and exhibits some amazing architecture from the time period. It’s fairly expensive to stay in, but you can actually tour the hotel and it looks incredible inside and out. Without a doubt, you will get an overwhelming sense of awe if you make a trip to the Chateau Frontenac.

4. Visit The Battlefields Park.
The Battlefields Park was the site of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, which occurred when the British defeated the French to decide the fate of Canada. Inside this region, you can see various pieces of artillery scattered about, along with the Martello Towers. It’s hard to overstate the historical significance of this national park, but it’s a great area to behold with your own eyes. Therefore, any tourists in Quebec should see The Battlefields Park.

5. Go to Place Du Marché.
Place Du Marché is located in Old Port of Quebec. In this area, you can purchase homemade foods prepared by residents of the area, ranging from fruits to pastries and more. Basically, Place Du Marché is a farmer’s market that has been around since before 1900. It’s pretty cool to go around buying and then eating the various foods that you can get around the farmer’s market. I have been here twice and I’d go back a third time too.

Visit Quebec City, Quebec!

Quebec City is – without hesitation – one of the most interesting cities in North America to visit. As of right now, I don’t have plans to visit a third time, but I would go again just to see some of the attractions I have seen before. Anyways, anyone that is considering a trip to Canada should head to Quebec City and see Old Quebec or attend the Winter Festival. You won’t regret it!

More Information

Quebec Information
http://ift.tt/1eO6c6R

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5 Alternative Ways to Hydrate

Keeping cool and hydrated during scorching summer months can be a challenge. While water may be the first choice when it comes to quenching your thirst there are a number of alternatives to choose from. Selecting options that are healthy for you and keep you hydrated may be easier when you know what to look for.

Fruit

Eating fruit is probably the last thing on the list for those who are not aware of just how well morsels of fruit such as watermelon can hydrate the body. Considerably more tasty than ordinary water, watermelon is cool, refreshing and an excellent source of hydration for the body and skin. Watermelon is comprised of as much as 90% water. This is definitely a fruit option that is wonderful to consume along with water throughout a long summer day. Other important aspects of watermelon as a source of hydration for your body is the presence of vitamins B, A and C. Watermelon also has an added ingredient of antioxidant lycopene and potassium to keep you hydrated for hours.

Milk

Recommended by a renowned sports nutritionist, milk is another very healthy option to stay cool and hydrated on a hot day. Surprisingly, milk is considered a much better option for hydration than even Gatorade. If choosing milk as an option to hydrate yourself then low-fat or skim milk is best. Full fat milk takes much longer to absorb in the body due to the high fat content. A tall glass of low-fat or skim milk offers the most effective results.

Tea

Drinking tea may be more popular in the UK then the USA. According to recent studies conducted by The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, tea is good for you. Not only is tea said to be good for you, but it also provides a great source of hydration. The finding for this study goes even further with claims of tea having greater health benefits than water. Green Tea, in particular, was used for this study. Green tea contains ingredients such as disease-fighting antioxidants that aid in the hydration of the body. The antioxidants ingredient also protects the heart from stroke or heart disease. It also provides protection for the body against lung cancer, mouth cancer, breast cancer and bladder cancer.

Water

Water is most likely the most popular drink used to hydrate the body. But, when water is consumed prior to workouts or exercise such as jogging the likelihood of the body staying even more hydrated is incredibly increased. When water is taken before exercising the body works at improved energy levels.

Frozen Popsicles

Chilled straight from the freezer, popsicles are the easy answer to staying hydrated in soaring heat conditions. Make your own or buy them from your local grocery store for instant refreshment and hydration. Low in calories and a delicious snack, popsicles are a delightful option for keeping hydrated all day.

http://ift.tt/27zAPah

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5 Alternative Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide

There are many alternative uses for hydrogen peroxide other than the common injury cleaning. Some of the alternative uses are better known than others. Many of the known alternative uses are myths or unproven but the uses listed below have been proven effective. These hydrogen peroxide uses may even save money or be a solution to common household occurrences.

Alternative Use #1

Hydrogen peroxide can be used as a whitening mouth wash, eliminating the need to buy whitening pastes and mouth washes. It is recommended to use the cap on the peroxide bottle full on peroxide once a day. Hold the peroxide in your mouth for ten minutes. This is usually the easiest to do while showering. This technique can also prevent and treat canker sores. Even though this alternative use has been proven effective, use should be limited.

Alternative Use #2

Hydrogen peroxide can be used as a cleaning product and disinfectant reducing the need for other cleaning products. When applied to a rag and wiped over counter tops, tables, and cutting boards it kills germs and bacteria. Peroxide use has even been proven to kill salmonella.

Alternative Use #3

Hydrogen peroxide can be used to easily add natural highlights to your hair. Dilute the peroxide so the solution is 50% peroxide and 50% water. Spray the solution on wet hair simply creating natural highlights. This is not a way to produce drastic highlights but naturally lighter highlights in the hair. The lightening is gradual and does not produce a drastic change.

Alternative Use #4

Use hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach when doing a load of laundry. Use on cup of peroxide in a load of white laundry. It can even be used as a stain remover. Pour the peroxide directly on the stain and let it sit for a minute. After the clothing has soaked, simply rinse in cold water and wash regularly.

Alternative Use #5

Use hydrogen peroxide to easily clean vegetables. Wash or even soak the vegetables in peroxide to disinfect and clean them easily making them safe to eat. Hydrogen peroxide has shown to reduce the chemicals on the vegetables and kill stubborn bacteria.

Many of these alternative uses for hydrogen peroxide are simple to use. Using hydrogen peroxide for these common household occurrences can save money by possibly eliminating the need for bleach, whitening pastes, and cleaning products.

Sources:

“Ten Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide” essortment.com, 2002

http://ift.tt/27zAPHb

“Household Uses of Hydrogen Peroxide H2O2” 2006

http://ift.tt/24ZS2aO

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5 Arguments for Bud Selig to Implement Instant Replay in MLB

Commissioner Bud Selig is a traditionalist; he does not believe in advancing baseball through the elements that have been presented to him through progression. One of these things is instant replay. Throughout the years, the MLB has suffered many controversies that may have been avoided with the use of instant replay. Here are five of the most convincing arguments for how instant replay could have changed the history of the MLB record books.

2010 Perfection:
On Wednesday, Armando Galarraga was pitching against the 27th and final batter of a perfect game. Jason Donald a soft roller between first and second that Miguel Cabrera fielded and threw to Galarraga for the final out of the 21st perfect game in MLB history.

Well, except that Jim Joyce didn’t see that Lee was an entire foot off the bag when Galarraga caught the ball. Joyce ended up calling him Joyce, and Galarraga was denied his perfect game by Bud Selig.

2007 Phantom Score
Remember the Colorado Rockies tremendous run into the 2007 postseason? It almost never happened because of a bad umpiring call in the 2007 tiebreaker game against the San Diego Padres. It’s okay, though; Matt Holiday would score in extra innings to lead the Rockies to a 9-8 victory. Of course, he never touched the bag…

1996 ALCS
In game 1 of the 1996 ALCS, Jeffrey Maier caught a fly ball that Derek Jeter hit toward the warning track. Unfortunately for the Orioles, it was a game tying home run and Maier was actually a 12 year old fan that interfered with the catch! The Yankees went on to win in extra innings and eventually reach the World Series.

1991 World Series
During the 1991 World Series, Ron Gant hit a hard line drive that resulted in a base hit. When the ball was thrown over to first, Ron Gant was forced off the bag by the Twins first baseman. The first base umpire did not see it, and Gant was tagged out.

1985 World Series
In game 6 of the 1985 World Series, Don Denkinger called the runner safe in the 9th inning of a game that would have put the Cardinals a couple of outs away from being World Series champions. Instead, the Royals were able to rally for two runs and eventually win the 1985 World Series in seven games.

REFERENCES:
ESPN Page 2, “The list: worst calls in sports history.” ESPN. 2001. June 4, 2010.

ESPN Page 2,” The reader’s list: Worst calls in sports history.” ESPN . 2001. June 4, 2010.

Mark Wolf, “Did Matt Holiday actually touch home plate?” Rocky Mountain News. Oct 2, 2007. June 4, 2010.

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5 Amazing Nintendo 3DS Games to Put on Your Shopping List

With money still short in the pockets of gamers, replay value is more important a factor than ever. Unfortunately, portable games are not highly known for a wealth of content, unlockables, and replay value. Most gamers see them purely as bastions of bite-sized game experiences with few exceptions. While many portable titles simply don’t deliver in terms of length, 3DS owners should look no further than below for some overachievers that’ll keep you gaming for months to years.

Samurai Warriors: Chronicles

Most portable Warriors games tend to leave gamers unsatisfied. Between the mediocre PSP versions of console Warriors games and the equally disappointing pair to be found on the Nintendo DS and GBA, gamers feared they would never get a true Dynasty or Samurai experience on handhelds. All that changed with Samurai Warriors: Chronicles.

The 3DS’s usage of the SW3 Wii engine made for a beautiful game of swordplay and strategy. Gamers easily racked up over a hundred hours hacking and slashing their way across Japan through the multiple campaigns. Koei fans adored the ability to customize their own character and take out teams of four into battle. This extremely addictive game is hindered only by the foolish decision to skip an English dub in favor of subtitles.

Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition

Our second launch game on this list- Capcom made gamers proud by delivering their first ever awesome portable Street Fighter game. The 3D effect is very impressive and the combat system is excellently tuned for handheld gameplay. While some exclusive additions to the roster would have been nice, it’s hard to complain about such a quality experience.

The online play is smooth- a huge step-up from their previous efforts on the original DS. The challenge mode is, well, challenging– and the unlockables are seemingly endless. Icons, costumes, titles, figures- there is a ton to unlock. You’ll be coming back for a long time to enjoy this excellent portable fighting game.

Kid Icarus: Uprising

While some of the titles on this list are either polished up re-releases, this homerun hit by the developers of Super Smash Brothers Brawl is entirely original. This is Pit’s first chance to take to the skies in two decades- aside from his appearances on the aforementioned fighting game and cameos in other games. Nintendo simply outdid themselves with this non-stop thrill ride.

The multiplayer is extremely addictive while the single player is simply awe-inspiring. With crisp, beautiful 3D visuals and an unprecedented wealth of unlockables and replay value- Kid Icarus: Uprising is an experience unlike any other gamers have experienced.

Tales of the Abyss 3DS

On the PS2, Tales of the Abyss never quite managed to escape the shadow of the far superior Tales of Symphonia. The characters and story simply didn’t have the same charm and playing with four players was a chore on the Playstation 2. It’s quite the blessing that after its past struggle that Namco decided to give it a second chance. Thank goodness!

Grab a handful of random 3DS games off the shelf and combined they probably can’t compare in content and scope to this amazing RPG. The characters are somewhat clichéd, but gamers have forgiven this issue for this amazing Tales experience. The battle system trumps Tales of Graces F while its story outclasses Tales of Vesperia. Gamers might miss the four player co-op, but it’s still an amazing package with unbeatable replay value.

Skylanders’s Giants

Skylanders is one of the most innovative new franchises to launch in years. Gamers adore the little figures and have thoroughly enjoyed the action RPG on both consoles and the 3DS. With these three you can dive into one of the most addictive RPGs available on the 3DS.

Of course before long you’ll want to invest in some more of their friends to experience all the game has to offer. The game’s only fault is the lack of co-op, but that’s easily forgiven when the game is this much fun. It might not be as deep a game as the previously mentioned Tales of the Abyss 3DS, but it is still an incredible title for any gamer’s library.

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5 Baby Items Every Mom Should Splurge On

When it comes time to decorate the nursery and prepare for a new baby, less is often more. Babies don’t actually need much, though baby stores and advertisers would lead you to believe otherwise. With three children, I can see clearly the places I’m glad we splurged, the places where we should have saved our money, and the items that I wish I’d spent more on. What are the 5 baby items that every mom should bite the bullet and splurge on?

Convertible Crib

You know to purchase a crib for your baby. It is going to be cost-effective to spend the money and splurge on a crib that will one day convert to a toddler bed and/or full-sized bed down the road. My experience has been that convertible cribs are typically well-made and more likely to stand the test of time than their less expensive counterparts. This is one baby item mom should splurge on.

Travel System

Invest in an infant car seat, base, and stroller system. With my oldest daughter, we went with a less-expensive set and instantly regretted it. The car seat didn’t seem as substantial and the stroller was smaller than we ultimately needed. We didn’t make that mistake again. A 3-piece travel system may run you $300, but it will last you through your child’s first year and beyond.

Rocking Chair

This isn’t the most practical baby splurge, but I still wish we’d done it. We did purchase a rocking chair for the nursery. We tried to stay in the $300 price range. We skipped the matching ottoman to save space. Six years and three children later, our chair is still standing, but only barely. It won’t ever be a cherished heirloom that I can pass on to my children when they are parents themselves. I wish I’d invested the money in a quality rocking chair from the very beginning.

Winter Wear

My girls wear a lot of hand-me-down clothes. Some have held up well over the years, and some haven’t. I always splurge on winter jackets, hats, and boots. They don’t often get a lot of use, so they hold up well from one child to the next. If you find a jacket you like, don’t let the price tag dissuade you. Spend the money now and know that you’ll be saving in the long run.

Sling/Baby Wrap

Don’t roll your eyes when you see the price tag on a quality baby sling, wrap, or baby carrier. These items can be a lifesaver for a busy mom or dad. They’re especially essential if you have more than one child demanding your attention. Babywearing will allow you to be close to your baby and keep your hands free. When done properly with a quality device, these items are worth every penny (and more!).

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5 Advertising Deceptions

I am not a marketing expert, an ad executive or a Ralph Nader wannabe. What I am is your average, run of the mill consumer who spends her hard earned money on products that are touted as the latest, greatest, best smelling, new-and-improved, delicious, insert catchy adjective here whozeewhatzit ever to hit your local shelves. I’m sure everyone has a mental list of things that didn’t quite measure up to how they were advertised and yet, we still buy them.

These are just my opinions of course, but here is a collection of my all time “They Lie!” products.

Sunless Tanner: New & Improved Scent! Now in floral!
I have yet to find any sunless tanner– unscented, floral, coconut, you name it–that does not smell like a combination of 3 day old diaper and Lysol. I don’t care if the product will turn me the most luscious shade of golden brown, give me that St. Tropez glow, and magically transport me to the Riviera. If I can’t leave my house because people wrinkle their noses and sniff uncomfortably as I walk past, it’s not worth it. Did I mention I can’t stand the smell of myself to the point of being unable to get to sleep? Pass.

Cherry Flavored Nyquil/ Robitussin/Whatever: Fruit Flavor Kids Love!
I always find it interesting what passes for fruit flavors: strawberry fast food shakes (does anyone think these taste like strawberries?), tropical fruit Lifesavers, lemon candies, sour apple Mentos. Honestly, does anyone think cherry flavored medicine tastes even remotely like its’ namesake? When I had that awful cold-that-never-ends that everyone seemed to catch about a month ago, I would take my nightly swig of cherry Nyquil or Robitussin, depending on my level of stuffiness. Average stuffiness equaled a small gag-producing shot of Nyquil, extreme stuffiness received a throat-burning, foot-tapping, “Oh, sweet Lord, what is this?” dose of Robitussin. They were both labeled “Cherry Flavored” and both made me think I would have preferred to gargle with soap scum remover. What I really want to know is, “Who was on the test panel that gave this flavor a thumbs up?”

Lemon Scented Cleaner: With Ammonia!
I will preface this by saying I love the smell of lemons: real lemons, fake lemon-y candles, citrus shower gel, whatever. What I am talking about are those lemon scented cleaners that, when you remove the cap, make your eyes water and your cat pass out. People, if it has ammonia in it, it’s going to smell like ammonia. No amount of additives is going to make ammonia smell like real citrus. You can dress up a pig in a suit, but it’s still a pig.

Bathroom Spray: Eliminates odors! Fresh Linen-Breeze-Rain-Mountain Scent!
While I’m rambling about stuff that smells, I tread carefully into the area known as Bathroom Odor. Probably every person you know has that ubiquitous can of aerosol on their shelf. It’s Fresh Linen Scent or Lilac or Daisies or Apple Cinnamon Muffins or Newly Washed Camel or something. It smells fine when you press the button in the store, releasing all those happy little scent particles. The problem is when you get it home and use it for its’ intended purpose: you spray, it hits the less-than-desirable odor in your bathroom and voila! You know have a room that smells like Lilacs & Sewage! Of course, that probably wouldn’t sell as much, so they just shortened the name.

Hair Coloring Kits: Fresh, pleasant scent!
Raise your hand if you’ve ever colored your hair at home. Okay, now raise your hand if your kit had the phrase “fresh floral scent” or “none of that ammonia smell” on the package and you ended up with no visible roots but you squinted your eyes so hard during the 20 minute coloring process because the smell was so awfully and overpoweringly bad that you thought you’d cry and you checked your nostrils to see if it also singed off your nose hairs. I have no idea why they so often say “floral scent” because, quite frankly, if I had a garden or patch of flowers that smelled like these concoctions I would mow it all down and hose down my lawn with bleach. The kicker is that I’ve heard all these experts recommend that you don’t wash your hair for a day or two afterward! Now you’re stuck with hair that smells like toxic waste while your color “sets”. Lovely!

I keep holding on to that belief that manufacturers will come out with something that will actually do what it says it does, tastes how they say it tastes or smells the way they say it does. Is that too much to ask?

Tags:5 Advertising Deceptions

5 Alternative Ways to Eat Ramen Noodles: Great for College Students on a Budget!

During your college days, you may not have a lot of extra money to eat (as we old timers say) high on the hog. We’ve all have heard of Ramen noodles and in fact I hear a lot of college students say they eat them a lot because they are so cheap (.17-.28 cents) per pack at Wal-Mart and they are so quick and easy to prepare. The downside of eating them so often is that they are high in fat and sodium. They contain approx. 8 grams of fat and some 800+ of sodium, if you use the seasoning packet included. This article will offer some healthier alternatives for eating Ramen noodles.

Ramen noodle idea #1- Try using Ramen noodles to make a quick Chicken Noodle Soup! With fall and winter right around the bend, this recipe will warm your bones. You can add canned cooked white chicken or used leftover chicken (without the skin), along with some cabbage, carrots and the Ramen noodles to a pot of boiling water and in 3 minutes, you have a healthy chicken soup to indulge in. Splash a little soy sauce in to give it an Asian flavor, if you so choose.

Ramen noodle idea #2 – Perhaps you’ve never thought about using Ramen noodles in a cold dish, but you can and you should. Use Ramen noodles straight from the package to top your favorite salad and give it some crunch. My favorite salad to add them to be my own creation of Spring Mix salad in a bag, topped with some raisins, almonds, pepper jack cheese, topped with Ramen noodles and raspberry vinaigrette dressing, the light option of course. Try this recipe or use the noodles atop your own salad recipe.

Ramen noodle idea #3- The college student who likes to stir-fry, try a Sirloin snap-pea using Ramen noodles. Stir-fry thin slices of beef, scallions, garlic and ginger, then mix some beef broth and soy sauce together to make a savory sauce for the dish. Cook the Ramen noodles separately. Toss the stir-fry, sauce, noodles with some sugar snap peas for a healthy stick-to-your bones meal.

Ramen noodle idea #4 –Toast some Ramen noodles, almonds and sesame seeds to add flavor and crunch to a salad of rotisserie chicken, lettuce, and green onions. Use your favorite dressing and you have another great meal in no time.

Ramen noodle idea #5- Try using Ramen noodles as a substitute for spaghetti. If you have a flair for Italian taste, cook your Ramen noodles, then add spaghetti sauce from a jar or make your own to pour over the noodles. Add parmesan cheese if you like and you have a quicker spaghetti meal to enjoy.

If you’re on a limited grocery budget, these alternative ways to prepare Ramen noodles will not add a lot of additional cost to your budget, but will give you healthier options. It will also cut down on the boredom of eating Ramen noodles all the time in their traditional form.

Tags:5 Alternative Ways to Eat Ramen Noodles: Great for College Students on a Budget!

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