Weekly family rail, with tips on making kids green, a review of “17 Again,” a kid-friendly Pillsbury recipe and more.


Tip of the Week

Families can celebrate Earth Month all year long by turning everyday tasks into fun and productive steps for children that illustrate how they can help make our planet a greener and healthier place. Inspire your kids to start thinking green with a few of these eco-activities:

- Plant a garden at home: Carve out a small patch in your yard just for your child to plant a garden. Incorporating toys like the Thumbelina Solar Garden Activity set are a great way to introduce kids to gardening.

- Turn recycling into a game: Turn this chore into something fun that the whole family can participate in by creating a fun sorting game or by decorating different recycling bins with recyclable materials.

- Choose reusable goods for everyday eats: Take a reusable water bottle to sports or dance practice and pack lunch in a fun reusable lunch box or bag.

- Conserve water: Talk to your kids about how much water they save by taking a shower instead of a bath and by turning off the faucet while brushing their teeth.

- Save electricity: Assign a "Power Captain" of the household -- someone responsible for turning off the lights whenever the family leaves leave a room or the house; give the Power Captain points or small rewards for every light they turn off.

-- ARA

Family Screening Room

“17 Again”

Rated: PG-13 (for language, some sexual material and teen partying)

Length: 1:42
 
Synopsis: What would you do if you got a second shot at life? Mike O'Donnell is a star on his high school basketball team. But he decides to throw it all away to share his life with his girlfriend Scarlett and the baby he just learned they are expecting. Almost 20 years later, Mike's glory days are decidedly behind him. His marriage to Scarlett has fallen apart, he has been passed over for a promotion at work, his teenage kids think he is a loser and he has been reduced to crashing with his best friend Ned. But Mike is given another chance when he is miraculously transformed back to the age of 17. Unfortunately, Mike may look 17 again, but his thirtysomething outlook is totally uncool in the class of 2009. And in trying to recapture his best years, Mike could lose the best things that ever happened to him.

Violence/scary rating: 3
 
Sexual-content rating: 4
 
Profanity rating: 3

Drugs/alcohol rating: 2.5
 
Family Time rating: 3. This isn’t as raucous as other recent teen comedies, but it’s still not “High School Musical.”

(Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.”)

Book Report

“The Last Olympian (“Percy Jackson & the Olympians,” Book 5), by Rick Riordan
Ages: 9 to 12
Pages: 400

All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of victory are grim. Kronos' army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan's power only grows. While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it's up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time.

Did You Know

According to FamiliesInCrisis.net, a child's exposure to the father abusing the mother is the strongest risk factor for transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next.

Kids Kitchen: Crescent Dogs

8 hot dogs
4 slices (3/4 oz. each) American cheese, each cut into 6 strips
1 can (8 oz.) Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Slit hot dogs to within 1/2 inch of ends; insert 3 strips of cheese into each slit. Separate dough into triangles. Wrap dough triangle around each hot dog. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, cheese side up. Bake at 375 for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 8. (Pillsbury.com)

GateHouse News Service