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Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Monday, December 17, 2012


Healthy, tasty holiday desserts


hile holiday memories often center on family meals, including special, traditional desserts, many families may be concerned about the extra caloriesbut there are some smart and simple ways for families to overcome this challenge. To preserve your traditions and help your family’s waistline, you may want to consider making some swaps that will still satisfy your family’s sweet tooth but offer more nutrients and fewer calories, less saturated and trans fats and added sugar.

As you plan your holiday get-togethers, consider these tasty dessert ideas:


oliday decorating is a big part of the holiday season. Bins are taken out of the attic or garage, and decorations are once again given their opportunity to shine for several weeks before being packed away again.

This holiday season, you can enjoy traditional treats with a more healthful twist.

Pile on the fruit.

Make it a mini.

Fruit by itself makes an excellent dessert. Try placing a bowl of clementines or apples on the holiday table. The fruit looks beautiful and is easy to eat, even for children.

You may have noticed that food portions have grown quite a bit over the past few decades. Fortunately, you don’t need to eat a large dessert to enjoy it.

Offer a fruit basket to friends instead of a plate of holiday cookies. Make a winter fruit salad with your traditional meal.

Consider serving bite-sized desserts instead of full servings. Mini pies, cake pops and onebite cookies are all ways you can control your family’s portion sizes. Just remember, just because they are smaller in size doesn’t mean you should eat more of them.

Update family favorites with healthy add-ins. If homemade breads are your family’s treat of choice, try baking with whole wheat flour or adding in healthful options such as bananas, blueberries, cranberries, apples, walnuts and pecans. Just be sure to use nuts in moderation since they are high in calories. Try the healthy Banana Nut Bread recipe from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at other/syah/banutbre.htm.

Make your own holiday decorations

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Among the many decorations families use to deck the halls are ornaments that were made by hand. This year creating homemade ornaments can be a crafty project that helps families make new holiday memories. Christmas tree ornaments come in all shapes and sizes and often tell the stories of holiday traditions. There are several different ways to create personalized, do-it-yourself ornaments and leave the cheap, easily broken ornaments from the dollar stores behind.

Photo ornaments Fun photo ornaments showcase how a family has changed and grown over the years. Experiment with different ways to create these ornaments. You can glue a photo to a ceramic ornament and cover it with decoupage glaze to set it permanently. Try purchasing clear, glass ornaments, then remove the top of the ornament, which is usually spring-loaded, before slipping a photo inside and replacing the top. You also can laminate a photo, punch a hole in the top and affix a ribbon.

Ceramic ornaments The popu la r it y of pa int-it-yourself pottery has led to an increase in ceramic and crafts shops across the country. During the holiday season such shops offer many holiday items that can be painted. Often the store will then fire the

pieces after they are painted so that they are shiny and hardened for display. Those who want to do their painting at home can visit their local craft or hobby shop, where typically there are unfinished ceramic ornaments that can be painted with acrylic paints found right in the next aisle. A finishing coat of clear glaze will help protect the ornaments from year to year.

Wood crafts Ma ny of today’s cra f t centers have expanded to include sections devoted to unfinished wood items. Everything from letters to animal cutouts to boxes and rocking horses can be purchased and finished. Turn keepsake boxes into painted and ribbon-adorned gift boxes. Stain a treasure chest that can be used to store reindeer snacks for Santa’s crew. Turn small decorative pieces into ornaments for the tree. Paint and affix wood initials onto stocking holders to identify to whom each stocking belongs. Crafty individuals also can turn plain wood plaques into signs with clever sayings, such as “Park your sleigh here.”

Scavenge around the house Young children can use any medium for making ornaments. Garlands made of macaroni or popcorn are traditional. Fabric scraps can be sewn and stuffed with potpourri for homemade scent satchels. Hand-drawn pictures can be made and laminated and hung on the tree. The only obstacle with regard to DIY ornaments is a limited imagination. Homemade items can add whimsy and a personal touch to the holiday season. (Metro)



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Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Monday, December 17, 2012

For that last minute gift, shop locally By Sharon Bouchard Feature Writer / Photographer


doesn’t need another tie; he rarely wears them as it is. Grandpa Joe hasn’t even opened the bottle of after shave you gave him last Christmas. And Aunt Susie has all the sweaters she will ever need.

Sometimes a gift of edibles will fit the bill and these can easily be found at local farm stands like Crystal Spring Farm and Carter’s X-C Ski and Market, both on Route 26 in Oxford. Carter’s also carries cross-country ski equipment and winter apparel which make great gifts. Jewelry is always a good gift, but jewelry stores carry so much more. A nice picture frame that you can put a loved one’s picture in or a fancy letter opener are nice possibilities.

And, now you need to get a gift for a co-worker for the office Christmas party and time is running out. On top of that, everything is so picked over in the department stores you just don’t know what to do. There are only a few more days left to do it.

In Oxford Hills, Creaser’s on Main Street, South Paris, and Diamond Cut Jewelers at the Oxford Mini-Mall, have some unique items to choose from.

Relax, there’s still time and a lot of great gifts available; you just have to think outside the box. Plus, a lot of specialty stores and gift shops put items on sale as it gets closer to Christmas and you just might be able to find the perfect gift and save some money, too.

No matter what area you live in, businesses similar to the ones mentioned here exist throughout Western Maine. You don’t have to go online or travel to the big cities to find that lastminute perfect gift. They are available right in your own town. When you shop locally, you not only support local businesses you help stimulate the economy in your community.

At a store like Pa’s Tradin’ on Route 26 in Oxford you’ll find a vast assortment of new and used items. From tools to DVDs, from snowblowers to appliances, you’re bound to find something different for most of the people on your last-minute gift list.

Most stores will be open at least until mid-day on Christmas Eve, and many of them provide gift wrapping. And, if you just can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, gift certificates to local shops and restaurants are always an option.

Above and below: Unique gift ideas at The Candle Place, Rt. 26, Oxford.

Thrift shops, consignment stores, and pawn shops often have new items at very reasonable rates and shouldn’t be overlooked as good places to do some last-minute holiday shopping. Scented candles, tart burners, and a large assortment of unique gifts can be found in abundance at local stores, including The Candle Place, Route 26, Oxford, and The Secret Garden, Fore Street, Oxford. As well as a lot to choose from, you’ll find many Maine-made products, too. If you’re still stumped, perhaps a book or a calendar might be a good choice. At Books ‘n Things on Main Street in Norway the shelves are fully stocked with hard copy and paperback books for both adults and children and there are games and toys, too.

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And those for whom a ride to the Oxford Hills area is not convenient, check out a book seller near you. You’ll be surprised at all they have to offer. The Village Gift Barn on Main Street, Norway, known as the “Purveyors of the Unique, the Unexpected and the Unnecessary,” may have just the right thing for that difficult person on your shopping list. There you will find moose- and bearthemed items like antenna toppers or stuffed animals and pot holders, not to mention a large inventory of unusual gifts.


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Above: A display of knives and swords at Pa's Tradin', Rt. 26, Oxford.



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Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Monday, December 17, 2012

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A gift of game: All pool tables are not created equal By Ronda Addy Feature Writer


ave you been considering buying a pool table for quite some time? Is this the year? Your family could enjoy years of fun shooting pool, but before making the investment, consider the following information in order to make a wise decision. Pool tables come in three main sizes: seven feet with a playing surface of 39" x 78", eight feet with a playing surface of 44" x 88" and nine feet with a playing surface of 50" x 100". The room the table is going in will, of course, determine the size you choose. You will also consider the space needed to use the cue stick without hitting the wall. The standard cue size is 57"; others are 42", 48” and 52". Choose a room with a level f loor. Carpeting or bare f loor doesn’t matter. The weight of the table will help keep it in place. Be sure the room is cool and dry; humidity and temperature will affect how the balls and felt play. The anatomy of the pool table is very important. The legs should be solid wood. The frame that attaches to the legs can be solid wood or MDF board; either will last as long as you take care of the table. The frame can be straight or tapered; either design is stable. Beams support the weight of the slate and table; for proper support the table should have a center beam that runs down the entire length of the table and two cross beams.

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The slate of the table is the most important feature. Slate comes in one and t hree pieces; t hree pieces are most common. Slate also comes in different sizes: 3/4" (found on less expensive tables), 7/8" and 1" (standard size). The slate (with or without wood backing) should be attached directly to the table using screws. The felt which covers the table comes in a variety of colors. The best to shoot on are greens and blues; other colors can more easily show chalk, grease stains and liquids. You can choose leather, rubber or plastic pockets. The most common type is leather; plastic is normally found on less expensive models. Leather pockets can have decorative fringe or a shield, neither of which affects the pockets’ performance. The table rails should be solid wood attached with screws through the frame, slate and rail so the cushions are tight and respond better. The cushions should be BCA approved K-66 profile. The rail should also have a tack strip to keep it even on the slate and give the cushions more bounce. Buy from a store that provides professional installation. Check to see if t here a re a ny compla ints aga inst t he company and, if possible, ask for references. Be sure to get all guarantees and service in writing. Do they re-level the table if necessary, or if the slate gets damaged, do they repair it? If the company goes out of business, is there someone in the area who works on pool tables? In addition to the table, you’ll need cues and a floor rack for storage, a set of decent balls with a wooden rack to line them up and a table brush to keep the felt clean. Buying a pool table doesn’t have to be stressful. You just need to know what to look for. Consider the options, choose wisely and have years of enjoyment on your specially selected table.

Gift a game of darts

be rotated easily from time to time to even out wear. Whatever dartboard you buy, make sure the metal is embedded to prevent darts from striking it and bouncing off.

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In addition to a dartboard, you will need some darts for the recipient, preferably three or four sets. Darts are made of a variety of materials. Brass is the least expensive, but because it is soft, it will wear down quickly. Nickel/silver is a little more expensive than brass but more durable. Tungsten is extremely durable. However, it is also the most expensive. When purchasing darts, you need to pay attention to the quality of the shafts as well. Darts with plastic shafts cost less but break easily. Darts with composite shafts are much more durable. Darts with solid aluminum shafts are the most expensive but last the longest. Along with the shafts, you should check out the flights of the darts, the fins or wings at the back that stabilize the darts during flight. Made from flexible plastic, soft flights often tear but can be mended easily, unlike hard flights, which are made from polyester plastic and must be replaced when torn. Hard flights are more durable than soft, as are nylon flights, which are made of ripstop nylon fabric. When shopping, ask for help in selecting the right dartboard and darts, and remember that even if the recipient knows how to play darts, their guests may not. Don’t break the bank buying the best. Set a budget and stick to it. You might also want to include a book on darts in your gift.

Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Monday, December 17, 2012

A great gift for the green thumb T hese days, gift-giving is a real skill. The best gift-givers pinpoint hobbies or interests that make for genius presents no matter the occasion – a birthday gift, a Valentine’s Day treat or an anniversary memento. So, what do you get the green-thumbed person who already has nearly every gardening tool?

A bold and unusual gift idea

If you’re searching for that cleverly thoughtful gift to surprise them, an indoor garden using LED lights is functional, sleek and attractive.

By Doris A. Black Feature Writer

Measuring only 7 inches wide, 14 inches long and 15 inches high, the LED Mini Garden available from InHomeGardeing. com is small enough to sit on the kitchen counter, where cooks can easily grow fresh herbs, children can grow microgreens, and avid gardeners can start seeds for their vegetable garden.

iving gifts at Christmas is a time-honored tradition. But who really needs more stuff? What do you give those who really don’t need anything? A poinsettia is nice, but in most cases, they only last a few weeks. This year, why not have Santa deliver a potted houseplant?

Whether for a cook, a gardener or a curious child, the LED Mini Garden is a truly unique gift that will bring joy and good health throughout the year. Learn more at http://www. (NewsUSA)


The LED Mini Garden is the first countertop garden of its kind to feature low-wattage LED grow lights that actually simulate real sunlight, making indoor gardening more efficient and rewarding. The 24-hour timer allows users to adjust for perfect light conditions for growing lettuces, greens, herbs, flowers and even strawberries.

If chosen correctly, plants make wonderful gifts. They brighten up homes and offices with exciting varieties of foliage color, texture and form. Some, like the African Violet, bloom regularly. Potted palms, ferns, ivy and philodendrons are common gifts but there are hundreds of choices from around the world sure to bedazzle. Many specimens require a minimum of care and all help clean the air.

Gifts such as this have that elusive “gift that keeps on giving� quality. The garden produces an abundance of edible plants, plus live plants clean the air by removing carbon dioxide, toxins and other pollutants. If a miniature indoor garden sounds ideal for a spouse, parent or close friend, consider the following best practices for indoor gardens:

You must decide how much space the recipient has for the new arrival, what lighting is available and whether the person you’re buying for will take on the not-too-cumbersome commitment of watering and fertilizing the plant. Pets and young children who may chew on tasty greenery need to be considered.

• Herbs are a good starting point. Herb gardens make great indoor displays since they’re equal parts attractive and edible. Most herbs also grow pretty quickly, so eager giftees won’t have to wait long for results. Popular herbs include chives, basil, sage, thyme, oregano and rosemary. • When buying plants, know their water and sunlight needs. Most plant tags will tell you this information. The LED timer allows users to set a sunlight schedule based on the plant’s needs to avoid over exposure. For seed starting or rapid growth of herbs and greens, set the timer to 18 hours. • Grow nutrient-rich veggies. Studies show that vegetables contain three times more antioxidants when you grow them yourself. Plus, with this garden, you can shorten growing times to see faster, continuous plant production. Parents can cultivate lettuce, spinach, peas, wheat grass and broccoli for the family to enjoy.

accessory to consider is a book on houseplants. There are books devoted to a single variety, such as African Violets and Bonzai. Grow ing in a terrarium or under fluorescent lights offers further options for specia lization. A ny reference book you select shou ld g ive tips on plant maintenance and propagation, or y ou c a n pr ov ide the recipient with a supply of fertili zer or att ract ive watering can. With all the varieties of plants ava i lable, f inding t he right one may be a challenge. A s long as you keep the recipient in mind, you’re sure to choose t he per fect plant that will last for years to come.

What are the plant’s lighting requirements? Unless the person on your list has a greenhouse or sunroom, choose a plant with low-to-medium light requirements. Although many plants from the tropics thrive in full sun, most will grow, but more slowly, in filtered or indirect light. Most plants will come with light and care instructions. But if you are not sure, ask your local greenhouse. Be sure to choose a healthy plant. The leaves should not have any brown edges, which indicate too much fertilizer or excessive heat. The lower leaves should show no sign of yellowing, a sure sign of improper watering. Inspect the intervals between the leaves. Some plants are overfed to produce rapid growth, leaving wide gaps. Choose a full, bushy plant instead. Check on the young stems and under the leaves for any sign of insects. Look at the bottom of the pot and the soil on top. If you see protruding roots in either place, the plant has outgrown its pot and should be passed over unless you intend to repot it. While you’re looking at the roots, check to see if they are white and healthy or brown, an indication that the plant is dying.

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In addition to commercial greenhouses, which usually offer an experienced staff, you can find wonderful potted plants at many locations. Florists often have beautifully potted plants, perhaps even a dramatic bonzai. Large stores like Home Depot have well-maintained plants, although they are usually offered in a plain green or black plastic pot. Still, the price is right. Your local grocery store usually has a small variety of plants, especially useful herbs. The latter can also be planted out in the garden for future culinary use. If you still haven’t outspent your gift budget after you’ve chosen a plant and/or a tasteful pot to go with it, a thoughtful

Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Monday, December 17, 2012

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The quick jewelry reference for last-minute shoppers By Doris A. Black Feature Writer

another less valuable base metal, while vermeil describes a layer of gold over sterling silver.


Gold jewelry dictates a different numbering system for mark ing t he pure content of t he meta l. The term “gold” is genera lly understood to mean 24 karat gold, or pure gold. Other markings refer to gold mixed with different metals to add strength. Commonly seen are 22K, 14K and 10K.

you looking for a nice piece of je wel r y t h i s hol id ay season? How about a pearl neck lace, a ruby pendant or a platinum bracelet? Do you know which is the most expensive of these three? Whether you are considering gemstones, gold or platinum, it’s wise to be familiar with jewelry terms before setting foot in a jewelry store. As the old adage goes: buyer beware.

Let’s start with the most expensive type of jewelry on the market today: platinum. It is rare to find a piece of jewelry made of pure platinum. A precious metal, platinum is often combined with other metals, such as rhodium, palladium, iridium or osmium. The amount of platinum used is indicated by markings such as 900 Plat. or Pt. In this example, 900 means 900 out of 1,000 parts pure platinum, or in other words, the item is 90 percent platinum and 10 percent other metals. If a mark ing reads w ithout numbers and just contains the word “platinum,” then the piece contains 950 parts or above pure platinum. Any amount over 900 may be indicated with just the word “platinum.”

Most men’s jewelry is made of 10K because of its higher strength and durability. When a layer of gold is added to a base metal, it is called gold plate, gold overlay or rolled gold plate and is indicated in the marking (22K Gold Overlay or 14K RGP). W hen the gold karat content in the layer is minimal, it is marked accordingly, such as 1/40 22K Gold Overlay. Gold plating will eventually wear off just as silver plating does, revealing a rather dull finish similar to nickel. Gemstones come in every color imaginable and can be obtained no matter what your budget, but know what you’re buying. Natural gemstones a re mined stones of Mot her Nature’s creation. In contrast, synthetic or imitation stones are not. Sy nthetic stones are laborator y created or “grown” with the same physical characteristics as natural stones.

However, it is not uncommon to see pieces indicating not only the platinum amount but also the amount of other metals such as 700 platinum/700 Irid. Naturally, the more platinum, the higher the price.

Imitation stones are either made of glass or pla st ic. G em stone s a re c om mon l y treated to enhance their color or durability. Color enhancers include heat treatments, irradiation, diffusion, dyeing or bleaching.

Silver is often marked in a similar manner. For example, a sterling silver piece marked 925 means that 925 parts out of 1,000 are pure silver. The term silverplate refers to a layer of silver over

Treatments that affect clarity or surface appearance include impregnating or fracture filling. Not all treatments are permanent. Some treatments increase the value of the

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stone and others may require that the stone be handled with special care. Reputable jewelers w ill inform you if a gemstone you are considering has any of these traits due to enhancements. Size, weight and rarity price gemstones. Size is expressed in millimeters. A stone measuring 5x7 millimeters will cost more than one 2x3 millimeters. Weight is measured by carats. There are 100 units to a carat so a one-half carat stone would be written as .50 carats.

magnification to determine diamond grade. A “flawless” diamond must have no surface or internal imperfections. Diamonds are measured in carats. Small diamonds may be stated as decimals. For example .20 carats represents a diamond with a weight range between .195–.202. As w ith other stones, diamonds may be t reated to en ha nce appea ra nce. Cubic Zirconia is a lab-created imitation diamond commonly used in less expensive jewelry.

As a genera l r ule of t humb, r ubies, sapphires, emeralds and some of the more exotic stones are high end. Garnet, topaz and amethyst are among the more common, less expensive stones.

Mother Nature creates pearls in a variety of colors such as purple, blue, bronze, gold, orange, black and white. Because they are made by oysters and other mollusks, unassisted by man, they are very rare and expensive.

Diamonds are perennia l favorites but it takes a practiced eye to detect clarity, color, cut and carat—the four criteria for valuing a diamond. That’s why experts use a 10-power

Cultured pearls are made by mollusks as well, but with human intervention. Pricing for natural pearls and cultured pearls are based on size, measured in millimeters, and the quality of their luster. Imitation pearls are made from synthetic materials such as plastic.

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Keep your w its about you when buy ing jewelry this holiday season. Determine how much money you want to spend and tell the salesperson so they have a good idea of what pieces to show you. Remember, jewelr y sa lespeople work on commission and may try to push you toward a more expensive piece. It’s easy to get swept away by the “spirit of giving” at this time of year, so keep in mind that it’s the thought that counts.

Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Monday, December 17, 2012

Make it special: Gift baskets aren’t what they used to be By Doris A. Black Feature Writer


ypically when we think of gift baskets, the first thing that comes to mind is fruit. How boring! With a little creativity, you can design a gift basket to dazzle your loved one no matter who they are or what their interests might be. You just have to think outside of the box or basket, so to speak. Here’s how to put it all together. The first step in designing a successful gift basket is to choose a subject or combination of subjects that interests the recipient. Next, you need an appropriate container to hold the gift or gifts. The container should be associated with the type of gifts it will enclose or decorative in its own right. From there, it’s just a matter of filling the container with the appropriate items.

Here are some ideas: • Gym bag—for the guy or gal who likes to work out. Fill it with towels, shampoo, hand weights or a gym membership. • Ice bucket—for the wine connoisseur. A nice bottle of red wine and a bottle opener are all that is needed, though you might throw in a brick of cheese and some French bread. • Backpack—for the outdoor enthusiast or bookworm. For the former, fill it with a water bottle, compass, topographical map, first-aide kit and a hiking book. For the latter, fill it with the latest copies of books by their favorite author. • Bucket—for just about anyone. Fill it with everything from cleaning supplies to gardening supplies or tools. Don’t forget to throw in a pair of gloves. • Zippered makeup bag—for girls. This pretty little bag could contain beads and art supplies for a little girl or jewelry for an older girl. • Guitar case—for the music enthusiast. Fill it with their favorite tunes—CDs or cassettes—even a Top ’40s Hit book. Or you could place a gift certificate inside and let them pick out their own music. It’s the presentation that counts. • Pillowcase—for anyone. Depending on the receiver, it can hold stuffed animals, books, games or toys for kids or linens for the ladies. But don’t stop there; let your imagination run wild. • Canister set—for anyone. Depending on the design, this can hold anything from food items to fishing gear.

Even a plain cardboard box can be used for that special present ... the magic is in the gifting.

• Laundry basket—great for the college-bound student. Fill it with either the traditional laundry supplies or folded new clothing. By thinking unconventionally and making eccentric choices, you can create a wonderful gift basket. Gift baskets are relatively easy to put together and sometimes, especially around key holidays, can be purchased ready-made. Grouping similarly themed items together to fit a particular interest can fit the bill when shoppers can’t decide on a gift to buy. The advantage to gift baskets is that they can be assembled for just about any hobby, interest or occasion. They don’t even have to be in a traditional “basket.”

• Toolbox—for your favorite toolman. Fill it with tools, or for a really big surprise something other than tools. • Tackle box—for the angler. Filled with fishing gear, it’s another obvious container. Anglers, however, would love nothing better than a few new tricks to get “the big one.” • Jardiniere—for anyone. This can really hold a slew of gifts, including but not limited to, a plant. • Cooler—for the camping enthusiast or beach bum. Tuck in an uninflated air mattress, lantern, beach towels, sunscreen or a radio.



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What children really want for Christmas By Doris A. Black Feature Writer


it ever occured to you in this fast-paced world that all your child may really want for Christmas is to spend a little more time with you? This year, why not try giving a gift that will allow for just that? Be honest. Have you ever hesitated purchasing a gift for

your child because you knew it would require you to help them put it together, participate in some way or supervise the use of the gift? Have you ever NOT bought a gift because it would infringe on your time? Most parents have. To avoid getting involved, many parents, whether consciously or unconsciously, purchase gifts that will keep the kids occupied and serve

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ALWAYS BUYING GOLD & SILVER Open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 1190 Main Street (Route 26) Oxford, ME 04270

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as babysitters while they do something else. Video and computer games are excellent examples. Kids will literally sit in front of the TV or monitor for hours at a time playing these games. Although it is most often a solitary endeavor, friends can join in the fun with multiple player units, serving as a babysitter for multiple kids. To make a positive impact on your kids’ lives, experts recommend giving gifts that require family participation. Your kids probably won’t appreciate them now, but it will make a difference in the way they view the world and in the way they respond to others. Try giving an age-appropriate board game, such as Chutes and Ladders, Life or Monopoly. If these silly games are not for you, there are many educational games that teach geography, history or science. How about the gift of a good book

that you can read to your child? The Harry Potter series is an excellent choice for children seven years or older. Each book is wonderf ully imaginative and entertaining for adults as well as kids. If you’ve already read them, try the Chronicles of Narnia book series.

Flip on the TV and spend some time with the kids watching their favorite show. Notice how excited they get because you’re there with them. It may be difficult to sit through an episode of Hey Arnold or Rug Rats, but try to keep your mind on the show. Asking questions about the characters will let your kids show off

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their knowledge. Sit through the commercials, too. During the holiday season, children are bombarded with commercials. Watch the advertisements with them and point out how the advertisers make the toys appear fun or cool. Teach your children to be wise consumers by analyzing the ads, looking for flaws or listening to what is actually said about the product. While you are spending time with your kids, it’s important to listen carefully. Often, during this time together, kids will express their thoughts or worries unrelated to the subject at hand. Instead of focusing on the board game you’re playing, focus on your child no matter where the conversation leads.

It is important not to put a time limit on your special time. We often say, “Okay, let’s play for half an hour before dinner,” or something similar. This creates a sense of urgency and puts pressure on the entire experience. Keep playtime open to allow for spontaneity. If there isn’t time to build the Lincoln Log cabin and play with it before dinner, wait until later when you won’t be interrupted by other responsibilities.

Hours for Main Offices and Maine locations: 349 Wilton Road, Farmington, ME • 207-778-2526 Open: M-F 8-6:00; Sat. 8-4; 53 River Road, Mexico, ME • 207-364-7079 Sun. 10-4 514 Lakewood Rd., Madison, ME • 207-474-8815

Now that you know what your kids really want for Christmas, go out and find the best hands-on products you can enjoy together.

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504 Main St., Gorham, NH 03581 1618 White Mtn Hwy (across from Settlers’ Green) 1-800-764-9969 • 752-4030 No. Conway, NH 03860 • Open: M-Sat 9-6; Sun 10-5

Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Monday, December 17, 2012

Western Maine Holiday 12-17-12