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Every day, one in three women die as a result of domestic violence.

Scary number, isn’t it? Here’s another scary one: three out of four women know someone who is affected by domestic violence. That means that you probably know someone who is affected in some way.

The National Coalition of Domestic Violence defines domestic violence as “the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. It is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background. Violence against women is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior, and thus is part of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence results in physical injury, psychological trauma, and sometimes death. The consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and truly last a lifetime.”

Domestic violence (DV) is a scary reality for many men and women in the country. It is an important topic to discuss. Women especially, need to talk openly about domestic violence. Tell your Gal Pals – whether it’s your best friend, sister, mother, daughter, niece, cousin or neighbor – to face domestic violence, share their opinions and experiences and show support for survivors.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline has some tips for people who want to help a friend or family member:

Don’t be afraid to let him or her know that you are concerned for their safety. Help your friend or family member recognize the abuse. Tell him or her you see what is going on and that you want to help. Help them recognize that what is happening is not “normal” and that they deserve a healthy, non-violent relationship.

Be non-judgmental. Respect your friend or family member’s decisions. There are many reasons why victims stay in abusive relationships. He or she may leave and return to the relationship many times. Do not criticize his or her decisions or try to guilt them. He or she will need your support even more during those times.

Encourage him or her to talk to people who can provide help and guidance. Find a local domestic violence agency that provides counseling or support groups. Offer to go with him or her to talk to family and friends. If he or she has to go to the police, court or a lawyer, offer to go along for moral support.

If you need help getting a conversation started with a friend or loved one, visit ClickToEmpower.org for easy ways start the conversation, check out resources for survivors or read inspirational survivor stories. This website is a wonderful resource, and even has information on local DV coalitions in your area.

How can you help right now?

For each person who “likes” the Click To Empower! Facebook page, The Allstate Foundation will donate $1 to the National Network to End Domestic Violence (up to $20,000). Click here to go to the Facebook page.

The Allstate Foundation will donate another $1 if you take the pledge to Tell a Gal Pal about domestic violence. As part of the pledge, your photo will be added to the “Faces of Support” gallery to show survivors that they aren’t facing domestic violence alone.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call: THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE at 1-800-799-7233


I wrote this blog post while participating in The Allstate Foundation’s Tell a Gal Pal blogging program with TwitterMoms, making me eligible to get an interview with Cheryl Burke. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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Over the 9 months, my husband and I have been working to make our diets a little healtheir. Mostly this is because we have a young daughter and we want to be healthy for her, but also because we want to model a healthy lifestyle for her. So here are 10 ways we’ve come up with making our food healthier.

1. Use whole wheat or low carb pasta. I’m particularly a fan of Dreamfields brand pasta – it’s low carb, but you’d NEVER know it to taste it! It’s lower on the glycemic index, making it great for people on a low carb diet. You can barely taste the difference between it and “regular” pasta.

2. Try frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. Many kinds of frozen yogurt are creamy, and still come in fun flavors like cookies & cream or Moose Tracks (YUM!!!). It’s lower in sugar and fat, making it a great alternative.

3. Use corn flake crumbs instead of bread crumbs. You’ll barely taste the difference, but they’re lower in calories than most bread crumbs.

4. Use brown rice or long grain rice. Again, this is lower on the glycemic index, making it a better choice for people who enjoy a low carb lifestyle. Brown rice is flavorful, and makes a great add in for stuffed peppers, fajitas and so on.

5. Use ground turkey in place of ground meat. The two are interchangeable, so you can pretty much use them however you want. Turkey is lower in fat, but is still full of a meaty flavor. It’s a great alternative in meatloaf or soups and chilis.

6. Use applesauce in place of oil in cake mixes. The flavor is almost identical, but don’t use any sort of flavored applesauce, or you WILL skew the flavor of your cake!

7. Eat whole grain foods whenever possible. You’ll find them to be more filling, so you’ll eat less. Plus, whole grains are a better source of fiber and protein.

8. Eat Romaine lettuce instead of Iceberg lettuce. Romaine has a higher amount of fiber, B vitamins and folate. It also contains more calcium, potassium and trace minerals–and it has seven times the vitamin C and 18 times the vitamin A.

9. Add two cloves of garlic to soups, sauces, stir fries and stews. Garlic is great for heart health, and help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.

10. Opt for organic whenever possible. This can definitely be a problem for those trying to live within a tight budget, but it’s definitely something worth exploring. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one in every two people tested positive for one or more of up to 116 chemicals that were coming from food. However, if that doesn’t fit in with your finances, be sure to wash all your fruits and veggies thoroughly.

I wanted to include a widget on the sidebar of this post, but unfortunately, it wasn’t working in my blog, so I couldn’t share it with you. I hope these tips help you get on your way to having a healthier diet. I know they’ve definitely helped me! Happy eating!

DISCLAIMER: I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and WeightWatchers SmartOnes blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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With back to school shopping getting under way around the country, parents are now looking for great ways to save money. Here are some ideas to help you save a bit of cash.

1. Shop in your house first. Look through your closets, cabinets, junk drawers and anywhere else you can think of to see what you already have. You may not need a new pack of pencils if you’ve got 10 that are still usable. You may find a calculator, making it so that you don’t have to buy one. While these items may not seem expensive, they can definitely add up quickly, especially when shopping for more than one child. Let kids decorate old binders with stickers or photos to jazz them up. Instead of buying book covers, use paper shopping bags that kids can write on and decorate themselves.

2. Coupons, coupons, coupons. Kind of self explanatory, you’re going to save extra when using coupons. You’ll save even more if you can pair them up with sale prices at stores.

3. Shop for clothes after school starts. You’ll get a good vibe at what’s going to be the fashion trend, and prices will be coming down as new things start coming out for the next season.

4. Stick to the class list. Many teachers say that they are amazed at the number of students that come in with things they probably won’t use. If your kid is going to need it, it will be on the class list.

5. Decide how much you can spend, and stick with it. Don’t be afraid to let your kids know that there is a limit on anything they might want for school, and anything above and beyond either needs to wait, isn’t needed, or will have to come out of their piggy bank.

6. Pounce on the “loss leader” items at stores. You know the ones, the 10 cent spiral notebooks or the 25 cent box of Crayola crayons? But don’t go overboard. If you find out that the pens are on sale this week, buy the pens. If filler paper is on sale next week, wait until then to get it!

7. Separate wants from needs. That pencil sharpener that lights up may look really cool, but it’s going to be a distraction in class. The $1 three pack of sharpeners will do the same job without getting the child in trouble.

8. Buy basics in bulk. If there is a great sale on notebooks at the store, stock up. Your kid will probably need a few over the course of the school year.

9. Buy quality when necessary. If you buy that cheap backpack, it may break during the school year. If you replace it with another cheap one, it may break again. If this keeps up, you’re going to wind up spending more money on cheap backpacks than you will on one quality one that will last for four, or even eight, years. Leaky pens may cost more than that if you have to replace your son or daughters school uniform or clothes because you can’t get it out.

10. Invest in fun, reusable lunch-ware. Reusable water bottles and lunch boxes are better for the environment, and will save you money in the long run. It’s cheaper to buy juice in a bottle than to buy single serve juice boxes or pouches. It’s easy to find BPA-free plastics now, so spend the money ahead of time, and you’ll get a return on your investment at the end.

I hope these help you save a little bit of money while planning your back to school shopping trips. Share your favorite tips in the comments section!

DISCLAIMER: I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Staples blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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Many, many people said I should read this book. They’ve been telling me this for years, and now I know why. I suspected that I would feel sad when I reached the end of this book, which is why I put it off for so long.

I’ve learned, though that it really isn’t the case at all. Let me tell you why.

Morrie Schwarz, a Brandeis University sociology professor has an extraordinary personality, and a debilitating, life ending, disease. Mitch Albom, the author, had developed a friendship with Morrie while attending the school, but after graduation, despite his promise to keep in touch, moves on with life, always reaching for the next big thing.

He happened to be channel surfing one night when he saw his old professor being interviewed by Ted Koppel on Nightline about what it was like to be dying of ALS (also known as Lou Gherig’s Disease). This leads him to get in touch with his old professor, and they strike up their friendship again. Albom visits Morrie every Tuesday (“We’re Tuesday people,” Morrie had once told him, p. 52), always coming armed with food, and each week, Morrie manages to impart some facet of wisdom that seems to be so common sense.

Morrie spent his life listening to his heart and doing what was right for him, rather than playing by societies rules. When all is said and done, we will be remembered not by our bank accounts or stock portfolios, by by the time we spent listening to a friend or helping a family member.

There are some amazing quotes to be pulled from Alboms book, some of which I plan to use as personal mantras: “The truth is, you don’t get satisfaction from those things. You know what really gives satisfaction? … Offering others what you have to give.” (p. 126)

“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” (p. 52)

This book is a must read for anyone, young or old, male or female. I don’t think this book will necessarily appeal to any one group in particular. But it’s definitely worth every minute of the short time it will take to read it.

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I realized after I wrote my post last night about Free Range Kids that I needed to make some clarifications on my exact thoughts.

I agree in the idea of free range parenting, but obviously it has to be within reason. The age of reason is around 7 years old. It would be stupid to expect that my 2 year old, right now, would understand the “rules of the road” to ride a tricycle down our street. She doesn’t have that capability yet. By the same token, if she’s playing in the sandbox here at home, I’m not going to stand right next to her, I might hang out laundry or read nearby. That way, I can make sure she’s not eating sand, or something that will make her sick, but she doesn’t have to play a certain way either.

I agree that the way she advocates for free range does seem a little extreme. I don’t think I’d let a 9 year old ride the NYC subway alone, but maybe an 11 or 12 year old. I think that staying within earshot is reasonable. I also think that it’s definitely a highway/road safety thing, at least for me, than being afraid that my kid gets a scrape on their knee. It’s a good way for them to learn how to cope.

I hope that explains my position a little better!

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I’ve finally gotten my blog to a point where I am happy with it, and I’ve finally figure out the direction my blogs are going. Mama Luna’s will be a blog devoted to my crafting, and other craft related things that I either find online, or people share with me, or what have you.

One Mom’s Thoughts will be everything else. This will be my musings on parenting, family, life, politics, tv, books, video games, you name it.

I’m happy with the way my blogs are coming together at this point, and I think I’m finally at a usable point with them. I’m anxious to see where this leads me, and I’m hoping it begins to point me in a good direction!

Mama Luna

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Creating your own art at pottery painting studios

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