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  • Is This Food Done Yet?

    HamburgerFollow these tips for determining doneness in 17 popular (and often incorrectly cooked) foods.

    By Katherine Barreira

    Whether you're a seasoned chef executing an intricate holiday meal or a first-time cook trying your hand at eating in, knowing when a dish is done cooking is as important as using the proper ingredients. Use these no-fail doneness cues -- from precise internal temperatures to indications visible to the naked eye -- as signs that your dish is ready for the table. They'll help you achieve perfectly prepared food every time you cook.

    Cook the first side until bubbles appear on the surface and pop. Flip and cook second side until pancake is springy to the touch.

    Try our recipe for Perfect Pancakes

    Poached Eggs
    Let eggs gently simmer in water until the whites are set and the yolk feels like a water balloon.

    Cupcakes and Muffins
    Cupcakes and muffins are finished baking when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the surface is springy to the touch

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  • What Your Child's Name Says About You

    Mom and BabyBabies start off with a clean slate, so what you choose for your little one reveals more about your personality than theirs.

    By Linda DiProperzio

    Choosing your child's name is a big decision--after all, he'll be walking around with it for the rest of his life. And according to Laura Wattenberg, author of The Baby Name Wizard, when a child is born, the name reflects more on you than him. "The name doesn't belong to you--you're making the decision because your child can't do it for himself--but what you choose does say a lot about your personality."

    But as your child gets older, the name will also reflect on him--especially when he's doing things like sending out job resumes. "People do draw conclusions based on someone's name," says Wattenberg. "It sends out such a strong signal before the person even walks into the room."

    So how do you make sure you choose wisely? "When deciding on a name, you want to see it from the child's point of view and how she or he will have to live with it

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  • 12 Kids' Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

    Child SneezingThe wait-and-see approach is fine for some kids' health problems. But not these.

    By Kristyn Kusek Lewis

    When you become a parent, you earn a medical merit badge of sorts. Whether you're sopping up a goopy nose or extracting a dangling-by-a-thread baby tooth, eventually few things faze you. But sometimes it's tough to tell what warrants a call to your doctor's office: Which temperature actually classifies as a "high fever"? What kind of tummy ache means your child has more than your average stomach bug? And when something truly frightening happens -- say, your child suddenly breaks out in hives -- should you call your pediatrician or head straight to the E.R.?

    "Parents should always err on the side of caution and seek immediate medical care when they're worried about something," says Anita Chandra-Puri, M.D., a pediatrician at Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group, in Chicago, and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. However, to give you more specific guidelines to

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  • The Parenting Controversies that Changed the Way We Raised Our Kids in 2011

    MomHere, the stories that affected our lives and our kids' lives the most this year, from 'superior' Chinese mothers to tainted apple juice.

    By Holly Lebowitz Rossi

    Here's one thing most parents can agree on: there is no one right way to raise children. We are constantly tweaking, questioning, and adjusting to our growing, changing, challenging kids. What's more, we're adjusting to the constantly changing world -- the endless stream of warnings, recommendations, and philosophies put forth by so-called parenting experts. Read on to find out which big stories made our year-end list.

    "Tiger Mother" Calls Parental Expectations into Question

    What happened: Amy Chua, mother of two and author of "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," started a debate about how much pressure parents should put on their children to succeed. Her book, which was excerpted in January in the Wall Street Journal, attempt to explain why Chinese children are stereotypically such high achievers in math, music, and more.

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  • Please Don’t Tell My Little Girl She’s Pretty

    Julia LandryI don't mind if you think my daughter is pretty -- but please don't tell her.

    By Julia Landry

    Well, here's an awkward topic for you.

    My ex-mother-in-law always used to gush about how pretty Caroline was, to the point that it was almost uncomfortable. (I'm allowed to say this now because of the "ex" part. I think.) And I'm not just talking about the way your in-laws can annoy you no matter what they say. "You're so pretty, Caroline," she'd coo. "You're such a doll. A beautiful little doll. You are gorgeous. What a pretty girl." And so on, and so forth.

    And I know this is horrible of me to think, and rude of me to say, but… I really don't care for it when people go on and on to my daughter about how pretty she is.

    It's not that I don't think she is. I mean, she's my kid. I think she's beautiful. But must we zero in on little girls' appearances and ignore all the other great qualities about them?

    What's wrong with "You're such a smart girl?" "You're so creative?" "You're so good at

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  • Secrets of Happy, Healthy Families

    FamilyBike rides, creative meals, laughing out loud -- it's easy to have fun if you just know how. Try these mom-tested ideas.

    By Susannah Felts

    Making Healthy Fun
    At last! Warm weather has returned, and my family and I are eager to get out and enjoy it as much as we can. One of our favorite ways: a predinner family run or bike ride with our 3-year-old (she hitches a ride in the jogging stroller or her seat on the back of my husband's bike), ending at the playground so the kiddo can get some exercise (and we can cool down on a park bench). I rarely feel more positive about my parenting job performance than during these outings. We're having fun, modeling healthy activity for our daughter, and showing her that fitness can be a built-in perk of together time.

    Habits like this one are the stuff that happy, healthy families are made of -- from smart eating and exercise to discipline and downtime. And they're surprisingly simple to incorporate into your daily routines. Keep reading for more

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  • The Most Important Child Development Studies of 2011

    Richard RendeAlthough many important studies were published this year, some stand out because they not only offer new information, they also affect our way of thinking about parenting and child development. Here are my picks for the most important studies of 2011 -- and what lessons they hold for parents.

    By Richard Rende

    Study: Parents' Depression Corresponds with Children's Depression

    Study name: "Remission of depression in parents: links to healthy functioning in their children," Garber et al., 2011, Child Development, Volume 82 (1), p. 226 - 243.

    What was found? By conducting six observations across two years of parents (70 percent were moms) in treatment for depression, along with their kids, this study revealed that kids' symptoms of depression mirrored their parents' symptoms closely. These included decreases in symptoms that corresponded to treatment effects, increases in symptoms once treatment effects ended, and lack of improvement in depression if parents didn't respond to treatment.


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  • Buying Toys for Kids with Special Needs: 7 Smart Tips

    Ellen SeidmanRule #1 of buying toys for kids with special needs: Make sure it's their idea of fun. Just like any other child, kids with special needs won't play with a toy unless it's interesting to them (no matter how therapeutic you think it could be).

    By Ellen Seidman

    Whether a child likes funny noises, blinking lights, things that go fast or all of the above, you want to keep his or her fascinations in mind when you're looking for a toy that might give them a developmental boost. That doesn't mean they won't find the box the toy comes in more compelling, of course… like any child!

    I know a thing or two about buying toys for special kids because I've spent 9 years getting them for my son, Max -- not just for birthdays, but often when a therapist has recommended something. I've also done a couple of toy guides on my other blog, including this year's Best Toys For Kids With Special Needs. A few pointers I've picked up along the way for buying toys for kids with special needs:

    2. Make sure the

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  • 10 Ways to Have a More Sane Holiday Season

    Ellen SeidmanHo, ho, ho, HELLLLLLLLLLLP! Holidays may be the season of good cheer, but they're also one of the more insane times of the year. While I can't help you deliver gifts or deal with a mother-in-law who always complains the turkey isn't moist enough, I do have some ideas for having a more sane season.

    By Ellen Seidman

    1) Outsource. I'm not talking to India -- I'm talking to your husband. A lot of us (and I am definitely guilty here) tend to take the brunt of the holiday to-dos. But Santa has his elves, and so can you! Rope your husband into buying gifts and doing the home decorating. Get the kids to wrap presents -- who cares if they don't look perfect! You'll be a lot more merry if you're not a one-woman show.

    2) Make a list, buy it twice. The idea is to come up with one or two great presents you can give to a whole lot of people -- say, a bunch of candles wrapped in ribbon for neighbors. Obviously, you'll want specific presents for your family but there's no reason the mailman and

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  • The Best Online Resources to Stop Cyberbullying

    Richard RendeYou can't turn off all electronic devices for good, but there is plenty that parents can do to keep kids safe online.

    By Linda DiProperzio

    According to Pattie Fitzgerald, founder of Safely Ever After, Inc., cyberbullying is using computers, cell phones, or other electronic devices for the purpose of harassing, threatening, embarrassing, or taunting another person. It can be done through emails, text messages, postings on blogs or chat rooms, social networking sites, and sending photos or images online with the intention of physically or emotionally hurting another person.

    In a poll by, cyberbullying has eclipsed kidnapping as the greatest fear parents have regarding their children's safety. As a result, 75 percent of parents are now monitoring their children's text messages and social media activity. "Mean kids and bullies are not new, but the access to social media networks and cell phones that can make bullying both anonymous and seemingly innocuous is the new danger. And

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