• Does it take forever to get your family out the door in the morning? Getting ready for work and school can make you exhausted before you even leave the house. Dr. Natalie Azar joins Ereka for this episode of "Easy Does It" to share helpful ideas for speeding up your family's morning routine.

    1. Get up 15 minutes before your kids. "When the kids are around, they slow you down," Natalie says. Use the short morning quiet time to start getting yourself ready before the kids get out of bed.

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    2. Motivate with positive reinforcement. Children will respond to small rewards for good behavior. "I usually say to my kids, first one who has dressed, brushed their teeth, and is standing in front of the car will get a treat today," Natalie says. "You take the focus off of the yelling, screaming, and reminding 10 times."

    3. Encourage multitasking. If you let your children watch TV in the morning, make sure they are brushing their teeth, eating breakfast, or getting

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  • The 15 Best Children's Books of 2013

    Each of these books is beautifully written and illustrated,original, offbeat, even strange-with sassy characters perfect in their imperfection. The stories push boundaries. And they have heart. Here are some of my favorites from 2013. By Randall de Seve, REDBOOK.

    That Is Not a Good Idea, by Mo Willems

    Talk about offbeat! Put a sinister-seeming, soup-making fox and a plump goose together in a silent movie that's really a hilarious picture book and what do you get? From the charmingly irreverent Mo Willems--a very good idea. (My kids' school voted it their favorite picture book of the year.)

    The Dark, by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen
    Laszlo is afraid of the dark. But the dark--an actual character full of graphic gravitas--is not afraid of Laszlo. One night, it comes to visit and teaches Laszlo how not to be afraid. And that is what will happen if you read this clever and visually engaging book. You will giggle nervously, deliciously so, at first--then in relief at how

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  • How to explain to your boss that you're pregnant. How to explain to your boss that you're pregnant. I know all about this, but probably not in the way you think. Yes I've had three kids in the last five years, but for the first time in my adult life, I've been out of the corporate environment; I've been a consultant working from a fairly cushy home office in Italy, and now North Carolina. No boss to deal with at all. What I know about lame bosses during pregnancy--"Wait, you have another appointment again tomorrow?"--is actually from the other side of the desk. I was the clueless one.

    As a young and ambitious VP of a big media company, it's not that I was ever unsupportive. I certainly didn't think poorly of my pregnant team members, worry about their career prospects or begrudge them that maternity leave. It was more subtle than that. When a mom-to-be from my team would say she'd be out or she was tired, I'd say, "Okay, sure. Whatever you need to do." But in my head, I'd basically minimize the whole thing, thinking judgy thoughts like, "What's the big deal? Haven't people been

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  • by Jay Cardiello for SHAPE.com

    Fitness experts dispel these common myths for goodFitness experts dispel these common myths for goodThere is no shortage of opinions on the best ways to lose weight and get into shape. Over my career I have heard some fitness myths over and over again, and still hear them today! To help decipher fact from fiction, here is some more information about eight persistent assumptions that might be holding you back.

    1. It's better to use a machine.
    Machine-only based programs train your body in a single, linear motion. These one-dimensional forms of exercise make you more susceptible to injury. Think about it: We live in a multi-dimensional world. Completing multi-joint exercises such as weighted squats, lunges, and deadlifts will prepare your body better for real life.

    2. Losing weight only happens in the gym. It takes 250,000 crunches to burn one pound of fat. I believe that 80 percent of all fitness success happens in the kitchen, not the gym. If you spend one hour (or just four percent) of your day working out, you have the rest of you day to nullify your

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  • Who Needs Wrapping Paper?

    Everyone loves receiving a beautifully wrapped present, but going through rolls and rolls of gift wrap around the holidays can feel a little wasteful. This year, get creative with wrapping by repurposing, recycling, and reusing for presents that will look stunning under the tree. Interior designer Jennifer Adams shares some of her favorite ideas on this episode of "Easy Does It."

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    Sheet music: Perfect for the music lover in your family. If you don't have sheet music around the house, wrap with pages of a book or magazine.

    Burlap: Use a burlap runner to wrap your gift, and fasten with kitchen twine and festive ribbon for contrasting textures that come together for a rustic and stylish presentation. Burlap bags also tend to cost less than traditional holiday gift bags. .

    Cloth napkins: Cloth dinner napkins can add an elegant touch to smaller gifts. Secure napkin corners with a rubber band, and then place a decorative napkin ring over the band for a special

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  • These kids love to cookThese kids love to cookby Jenni Grover MS RN LDN, Mother Nature Network

    It's been documented that kids who cook choose healthier foods.

    With all those holiday parties coming up, and plenty of food prep to go with it, now may be the perfect time to get your children cooking. Not only will it teach them an important life skill, but it also gives them an opportunity to create something they can show off in front of family and friends. Given we tend to have crazy schedules over the holidays, cooking together is also a rare opportunity for some true quality time. But as anybody who has actually cooked with kids knows, more hands don't necessarily mean less work. (And they certainly don't ensure less mess!) Below are some strategies for holiday cooking with children, without losing your mind.

    Make time to do it right
    If you are rushing to get a dish prepared for a holiday potluck and you're leaving in an hour, now may not be the ideal time to get the kids involved. By planning ahead, and carving out some quality

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  • By Raechel Conover, Cheapism.com

    As a parent, you're probably familiar with this routine: You're at a restaurant and your child is squirming, saying "I'm hungry," asking for bread or a snack from your bag. You order a meal from the kids' menu, but when the food arrives your child decides he's not hungry and doesn't take a single bite, or maybe one bite and pushes the plate away, pronouncing "all done." Well, terrific -- might as well throw $5 in the trash. On the flip side, you don't order a meal and this is the night he decides to eat -- and polishes off most of your meal, leaving you to walk out hungry.

    Related: Best inexpensive family restaurants guide

    Find out how to get free meals for kids. id=

    Maybe it's just my picky eater, although I doubt that. It's likely that many frugal parents think paying for a kid's meal at a restaurant is a waste of money. But there are times when you want or need to eat out. What's the work-around? Just head for restaurants that welcome kids with a free meal.

    Rules. The rules are few and mostly

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  • Read about young Santa, a delinquent tween, and Tolkien's letters to the North Pole. Read about young Santa, a delinquent tween, and Tolkien's letters to the North Pole. By Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media book editor

    Finding the right book for your kid can be a challenge. But if you guess right and keep new ones coming, you may be on your way to raising a lifelong reader.

    Check out our Essential Books for Kids and Teens guide to find more than 150 of our perennial favorites. Plus, every month we highlight a few books for different ages, including some exceptional titles that could be the perfect thing to pique kids' interest, get them hooked on a new author, or help them rediscover an old favorite.

    Here are our picks for December:

    • For kids age 3 to 7, there's Little Santa by Jon Agee, which offers a charming origin story of Santa Claus that bears no relation to the one about St. Nicholas. Who knew that Santa grew up at the North Pole with a snow-hating family desperate to move to Florida and that even as a tyke in a red onesie he had a taste for sliding down chimneys and riding flying reindeer? With deadpan humor and appealing art in a wintry
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  • Sam Kaplan/FITNESS MagazineSam Kaplan/FITNESS MagazineBy Sharon Liao

    Maybe it was a Top Chef marathon or the realization that you could probably buy a new wardrobe with the money you were shelling out on kung pao chicken. Whatever the reason, you traded your takeout menus for cookbooks. But even though you're spending more time in the kitchen (whipping up healthy meals, no less), your pants aren't getting any looser. What gives? Chances are, you're making a few all-too-common mistakes. Before you throw in the dish towel, read on for the super simple fixes that can help you look Padma-esque in time for summer.

    Related: 6 Ways to Snack Smarter

    Fat trap 1: Overcooking pasta
    Take that pot off the stove a little early and your bucatini will have a satisfying bite and keep you full for hours. "Hot water breaks down the bonds between starch molecules," says Johanna Burani, RD, the author of Good Carbs, Bad Carbs. The longer you boil your pasta, the quicker your body converts those carbs into fuel. This sets off a rapid rise in blood sugar that

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  • Crash-warning snacks

    It's 3 p.m. You're hungry again and feeling sleepy. You might be tempted to reach for one of these common -- and deceptively healthy -- treats to perk yourself up, but don't. Our nutrition experts offer smarter picks to avoid an afternoon crash and stay full until dinner.

    1. SKIP: Pretzels
    You may feel virtuous reaching for a bag of fat-free pretzels instead of fried potato chips. But don't do it. "It's not a snack that will energize you or keep your blood sugar level steady to get through the rest of your afternoon alert and focused," says registered dietitian Elisa Zied, author of Younger Next Week. "It provides calories, refined carbohydrates, too much sodium, and not much else to keep you nourished and satisfied long term."

    Try instead: A whole-grain, high-fiber cereal mixed with two tablespoons of nuts, such as almonds, cashews, pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts, or pecans, says Zied.

    10 Ways Not to Pack on the Pounds During the Holidays

    2. SKIP: Baked

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