Family Game Night

Family is an important aspect in everyone’s life. Bonding as a family is very important and can help members feel secure and loved. Many families take vacations, have movie nights or partake in hobbies together in order to bond and strengthen relationships. Another popular activity that families enjoy is Family Game Night. Hasbro, a popular toy company, has re-invented game night and re-released several of their popular games, in hopes of bringing families together.

In honor of families and strong bonds here are some of the most popular games that families enjoy to play together:

  1. Pictionary: Not an artist? No worries. This game is actually more fun if you can’t draw. Get ready for loads of laughter when your team can’t decipher if what you’re drawing is a banana or an airplane! You can create your own game set with a white board and some fun words to draw written on small pieces of paper, or you can buy the actual Pictionary game.
  2. Charades: You can never go wrong with a classic game like charades. Simply split into teams and then have one person from each team act out a movie, book, or TV show to see who can guess the answer. This is a great game for introverts who want to be less shy.
  3. Telephone: You can never go wrong with a classic game like charades. Simply split into teams and then have one person from each team act out a movie, book, or TV show to see who can guess the answer. This is a great game for introverts who want to be less shy.
  4. Puzzles: An alternative to playing a game is to do a puzzle. This will give you a good opportunity to talk and catch up with family and friends instead of only discussing what is going on in the game. Puzzles come in a wide range of prices, but you can find some pretty good ones at your local dollar store.
  5. Twister: Twister is a game of physical skill produced by Hasbro Games. It is played on a large plastic mat that is spread on the floor or ground. The mat has four rows of large colored circles on it with a different color in each row: red, yellow, blue and green. A spinner is attached to a square board and is used to determine where the player has to put their hand or foot. The spinner is divided into four labeled sections: right foot, left foot, right hand and left hand. Each of those four sections is divided into the four colors. No one can share the same spot on the mat.
  6. Candyland: Candy Land is a fun board game for younger children. 2 – 4 players are allowed. Due to the design of the game, there is no strategy involved – players are never required to make choices, just follow directions. A “winner” is predetermined only by the shuffle of the cards.
  7. Sorry: Sorry! is a board game that is based on the ancient Cross and Circle game Pachisi. Players try to travel around the board with their pieces faster than any other player. Sorry! is marketed for two to four players, ages six through adult. The objective is to be the first player to get all four of his or her colour pawns from his or her Start location to his or her Home space.
  8. Jenga: Jenga is played with 54 wooden blocks. During the game, players take turns to remove a block from a tower and balance it on top, creating a taller and increasingly unstable structure as the game progresses.
  9. Uno: Uno is a popular card game that consists of 108 cards, of which you will have 19 of each color. Each card represents a number and players must use a wild card/pass card or use the corresponding number card that they have. The game is good for ages 7 and up.
  10. Scattegories: Scattergories is a creative-thinking category-based party game produced by Hasbro through the Milton Bradley Company and published in 1988. The objective of the 2-to-6-player game is to score points by uniquely naming objects within a set of categories, given an initial letter, within a time limit.
  11. Monopoly: Monopoly is an American board game published by Parker Brothers. The game is named after the economic concept of monopoly, the domination of a market by a single entity. The Monopoly game board consists of forty spaces containing twenty-eight properties (twenty-two colored streets, four railway stations and two utilities), three Chance spaces, three Community Chest spaces, a Luxury Tax space, an Income Tax space, and the four corner squares: GO, (In) Jail/Just Visiting, Free Parking, and Go to Jail.Over the years, several versions of Monopoly have been released. Monopoly is a fun game that is good for ages 8 and up; unless you purchase a version that is for smaller children. The game can last anywhere from 1 – 4 hours

Does your family partake in family game night?

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Today’s Moment With Kris Jenner

September 11th will go down in history as one of saddest days of our time. Terrorist and the malicious acts that they committed, took the lives of innocent people and changed the lives of all U.S. citizens. Regardless if you lost a loved one or not, everyone felt like their security and well-being was jeopardized. The safety of everyone will forever feel compromised and belittled.

Since that horrific day, 9/11 will remain a day where U.S. citizens mourn those lost and remember what the United States stands for. Most live broadcasts, sports games and even every day people living their lives take a moment during 9/11 at 8:46 a.m. to honor those lost and to remember what the United States represents.

Unfortunately on 9/11 during the Today show broadcast, NBC decided to interview reality star Kris Jenner rather than pausing for a moment of silence. NBC news president Steve Capus apologized to those that were offended my the omission of silence but never apologized for actual omission. Instead Capus pointed out that NBC had dedicated a substantial amount of airtime to anniversary events.

Recently, NBC received a huge amount of backlash for cutting Ann Curry and replacing her with Savannah Guthrie. The anchor replacement was made after the Today show was beat by Good Morning America in ratings.

Soon, based on future ratings, we will all see if NBC’s decision to omit the moment of silence was a wise one.  Kris Jenner’s discussion on expired implants was important but was it more important than the respect of the United States and the lives that were forever changed by the 9/11 terrorist acts.

Do you agree with NBC's decision to omit the moment of silence for 9/11?

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Billionaire Gives It Away

Charles Feeney is not a normal billionaire; he doesn’t own a house, he doesn’t drive a fancy car and he’s determined to give away all of his money by the year 2016. So far Feeney has given away $6 billion and has another $1.5 billion to spend by 2016. Sounds theatrical, but giving away his fortune was the plan from the beginning.

He never wanted to be rich for himself; instead he wanted to become rich so he could help others and make the world a better place.

“I had one idea that never changed in my mind that you should use your wealth to help people,” Feeney said in an interview with The NY Times. The Atlantic Philanthropies, one of the world’s largest private foundations, is Feeney’s company and he plans to close the doors for good in 2016. Atlantic has disbursed funds to countless organizations through grants for various causes such as direct medical care, immigration reform, education, criminal justice advocacy and peace building initiatives.

Feeney grew up in a middle class family in Elizabeth, New Jersey as a radio operator for the United States Air Force and went to Cornell through his G.I. Bill. Afterwards, he sold liquor to sailors who were in port, then developed the concept of duty-free shops around the world. Later in 1997 the company was acquired by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey (LVMH) for 1.63 billion. Feeney remained unanimous until the company was about to be sold. Unlike most moguls, Feeney likes his privacy and refuses to be viewed as a celebrity.

“When you’ve got the money, you spend it,” Feeney said. “When you’ve spent it all, let someone else get going and spend theirs.”

At 81, Feeney has helped so many people during his billionaire adventure. He’s lived a fulfilled and satisfying life. His goal and life purpose to help others become successful has been nothing short of a success.

Feeney doesn’t believe in expensive things and doesn’t want to be remembered as a billionaire; instead he wants to inspire other wealthy people to do the same. Donate to charities, donate to positive research, and to the future of the world. Feeney is inspirational because he shows the world, first hand, that life is not about the expensive things you wear, drive or do – it’s about making the world a better place for everyone to enjoy.

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Happy Labor Day!!!

Get the kids ready to go back to school. Get ready for a 3 day weekend. Get ready for one last cookout. Labor Day signifies the end of the summer. Here are some fun facts about Labor Day:

  • The first Labor Day observance was believed to have been a parade in New York City on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, organized by the Central Labor Union. 10,000 workers marched in the parade up Broadway.
  • By 1893 more than half of the states were observing Labor Day and a bill to establish Labor Day as a federal holiday was introduced in Congress.
  • On June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed into law an act making the first Monday of September Labor Day, a federal holiday.
  • In most other countries, Labor Day is celebrated on May 1st.
  • Labor Day is the third most popular holiday weekend for barbecuing, after July 4th and Memorial Day. 55 percent of Americans are expected to fire up their grills.
  • Labor Day is the official end to hot dog season. According to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, hot dog season begins on Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day.
  • More than 7 billion hot dogs are eaten by Americans between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
  • 99.44 percent of the time, the NFL plays its first official season game the Thursday after Labor Day.

How will you celebrate Labor Day?

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Breaking Down the Generosity of America

The Chronicle of Philanthropy did an article recently entitled “How States Stack Up in Generosity.” The piece ranked each state on its generosity. By taking federal tax returns and analyzing how much taxpayers wrote off in charitable contributions, The Chronicle was able to develop a generosity ranking system.

Americans, who earned more than $50,000 yearly, as a whole, have donated $135 billion dollars last year. 4.7% of the average household’s income is donated to charity and 26.5% of Americans volunteer.

Here is the breakdown of the top 10 most generous states:

1)      Utah: The average household claimed charitable donations totaling 10.6% of their income. Also, 46% of the residents are active volunteers.

2)      Mississippi: The average household donated 7.2 percent of their income. However, residents are more likely to donate cash rather than volunteer efforts. There are only 21 percent of active volunteers.

3)      Alabama: The average household donated 7.1% of their income. The state has one of the lowest numbers of registered nonprofit organizations.

4)      Tennessee: The average household donated 6.6% of their income. About 25% of Tennesseans volunteer, which is slightly below the national average of 26%.

5)      South Carolina: The average household donated 6.4% of their income.

6)      Idaho: The average household donated 6.4% of their income. Also, 32% of the residents are active volunteers.

7)      Arkansas: The average household donated 6.3% of their income.

8)      Georgia: The average household donated 6.2% of their income. Georgia is home to three of the nation’s 20 largest nonprofit organizations.

9)      North Carolina: The average household donated 5.9% of their income.

10)   Maryland: The average household donated 5.7% of their income.

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Marilyn Gambrell: Changing Lives

Founder, author, philanthropist, advocate, angel – those are just a few of the words that describe Marilyn Gambrell, CEO of No More Victims Inc.

“Today we have over 2,000 children that have enrolled in our program,” Gambrell said. The program began at M. B. Smiley High School in January 2000 and started with 24 participants.

NMV is a non-profit created for the purpose of reducing victimizing behavior within society by promoting mental health, improving the quality of life and addressing the relevant needs and issues of the child and adult. Gambrell was a Texas Parole Officer who witnessed, on a day-to-day basis, the consequences and impact a parent in jail can have on their child. Gambrell was compelled to make a difference and save children from making the same bad decisions as their loved ones; so she started NMV.

“My favorite aspect to my job is when our children feel safe enough to release their pain, fears and secrets that have kept them emotionally paralyzed and to actually witness them begin to breathe their own air,” Gambrell said. NMV is a structured program that consists of fundamentals, constructed by Gambrell and her team, to educate and inspire young minds into making the right decisions for their life.

“I teach classes in six schools, four high schools and two middle schools,” Gambrell said. “One school has the class during the day and in the other five schools, the class is after school, approximately ten classes weekly.” The children are the ones making the commitment to want more out of life. Gambrell’s program is completely voluntary and the students are the ones who choose to spend the time after school to commit to change their future. “It’s such a joy to see them as they grow, heal and become part of a mission to help other children and know that they are not doomed to go to the penitentiary even if everybody in their family is incarcerated,” Gambrell said.

Gambrell and NMV have received national attention. Actress Jami Gertz portrayed Gambrell in the 2005 Lifetime Movie Fighting the Odds: The Marilyn Gambrell Story, where Gambrell’s heroic efforts were retold. Also, celebrities like rap artist Trae Tha Truth and Miami Heat’s Rashard Lewis support NMV and the mission to save lives.

“Unfortunately, most of our parents never appear after their release from prison,” Gambrell said. “A lot of times, they go back within six months, relapse on drugs or alcohol or begin new relationships with others and begin taking care of someone else’s children.”

NMV supports the caregivers who have custody of the children and provide a variety of services to the children and their families. “It is amazing what we have accomplished with so little. What if we really had what we needed? What greater things could we do?” Gambrell said. Despite, highs and lows Gambrell has never lost her focus or will to make a difference.

Gambrell recognizes her daughter as the most precious and important support system that she has. “She is so compassionate and loving and was actually born into being a part of the mission,” Gambrell said. McKenzie Hart, Gambrell’s daughter, is a nurse by profession and, as Gambrell says, a “true treasure to the universe.”  Many of the children involved with NMV consider McKenzie their big sister.

Gambrell is committed to insuring that children are heard and continues to spread the message that the incarceration of one or both parents does not doom children to the same life. “I am inspired by the their ability to survive, their brilliance and their compassion for other children. For me, I am exactly in the right place and my commitment is for a lifetime,” Gambrell said.

“I am grateful that they have allowed me to be part of their lives and I am so honored that they are a part of mine,” Gambrell said. There is no doubt that Gambrell has changed the lives of thousands and is the reason why so many people have had a fighting chance at life.

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Strong Women of the 2012 Olympics

Representing your country – your flag – is a divine honor that only a few athletes have the honor of holding. Out of those amazingly talented athletes, stand women who represent more than their country or a flag – they represent freedom, womanhood and the strength to beat stereotypical odds.

The Summer 2012 Olympics have forever changed history and glorified what it means to be a woman. Ironically, this years’ Olympics mark the 40th anniversary of Title IX; which is the law passed in 1972 increasing the opportunity for women to participate in sports in America. Sports has become an important pathway for women to express themselves and break barriers that were set years ago.

U.S. women won 29 gold and 58 total medals; which accounted for two-thirds of U.S. team’s gold medals. Some of the amazing women of the United States include:

Women’s Soccer Team – Won third consecutive gold medal.

Women’s Water Polo – Won first gold medal in U.S. history.

Gabby Douglas – First African American to win the individual all around champion in gymnastics.

Kayla Harrison- First ever gold medal in judo for the US.

U.S. Women’s Basketball Team – Fifth consecutive gold medal.

Missy Franklin – 4 time gold medalist. Currently holds the world record in the 200-meter and the American record in both the 100-meter and 200-meter backstroke.

Kim Rhode – Five time Olympic medal winner and is the most successful female shooter at the Olympics, as the only triple Olympic Champion and the only woman to have two Olympic gold medals for Double Trap.

Serena Williams – Won the women’s gold medal in tennis.

Women, all over the world, made their countries proud as they paved the way for the future and even though some may not have won a medal, they still displayed the will and power to be an inspiration for future athletes. These women allow others, both male and female, to believe in themselves and press the envelope against the odds. These dedicated athletes are one reason why we’re all proud to be Americans.

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Operation Christmas Child

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Mercy Killing Or Murder?

Mercy killing, also known as euthanasia, is defined as the act of killing someone painlessly. (Especially someone suffering from an incurable illness.) These sorts of killings have been debated as to whether or not they should be legalized.

John Wise, 66 years old, shot his wife Barbara Wise of 45 years in the head while she was in the ICU unit in an Akron, Ohio hospital. Due to privacy agreements, the hospital cannot release why Barbara was hospitalized; however emergency officials were called to John and Barbara’s house a week prior and had to use advanced life support, including oxygen and a heart monitor. Barbara Wise was in critical condition for days, prior to her husband’s gun shot.

Earlier this year Annette Corriveau, a mother, was featured on Dr. Phil because she wanted to have the right to kill her children through lethal injection. Her children were diagnosed with Sanfilippo syndrome, causing them to lose motor function and be institutionalized. The children are unable to speak and they have to be fed through feeding tubes. According to Corriveau, she believes that if her children could choose that they would choose suicide.

In 2010, Kay Gilderdale was cleared of attempted murder charges after she gave her daughter, suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, a “drugged cocktail” that killed her. The judge deemed that Gilderdale was a loving mother to her daughter and that she did what any mother would have done.

John Wise was originally charged with attempted murder; however his wife’s autopsy declared that the gunshot wound was the cause of death. After the autopsy results, John’s charge was changed to aggravated murder.

Paul Adamson, John’s attorney, argued that, “Forty-five years of marriage, blessed to be deeply in love with his wife throughout those 45 years, and I am absolutely confident that everything that he’s ever done for his wife has been done out of deep love, including the events that just recently transpired.” On August 8, 2012 before the municipal court judge in Akron Adamson said, during the court session, that John acted out of love. No plea was entered. John is scheduled to return to court on August 22, 2012.

Do you believe mercy killings should be legalized, depending on a patient’s health?

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Planned Parenthood Patient Dies

Tonya Reaves, 24, was rushed to the hospital when doctors discovered that an incomplete second term abortion was earlier performed on the patient. Reaves’ uterus was perforated, during the botched abortion, which resulted in Reaves bleeding to death.

The Planned Parenthood facility in Illinois where the abortion took place was not regulated; these facilities in Illinois are exempt from inspections.

Troy Newman of the pro-life group Operation Rescue says, “Abortion deaths like this are completely avoidable. When a woman bleeds to death after an abortion, it is usually an indication of error on the part of the abortionist coupled with a delay in calling for emergency assistance.”

It is evident that the Planned Parenthood facility failed to treat the uncontrollable bleeding as a result of the abortion. It took the facility five hours to call for help. Perhaps if they acted in a more time sensitive manner, Reaves would still be alive today.

Pro-life groups all over are calling for action and requesting that regulations be put in place for the state of Illinois. Pastor Cesar LeFlore the mid-west director for Life Education and Resource Network (L.E.A.R.N.) said, “A woman who goes to an abortion provider naturally assumes that she is going to a medically approved facility and not to a company that is operating an unlicensed, uninspected, and unregulated surgery,” He went on to say, “The Planned Parenthood clinic is clearly not equipped to provide a second trimester abortion or to respond to an emergency situation.”

Reaves leaves her one year old son behind, as a result of this devastating incident. Planned Parenthood of Illinois CEO Carole Brite, in a written statement released to television stations, refused to give further details, saying, “We do not publicly discuss private patient matters and we follow HIPAA laws that forbid the disclosure of patient information.”

Do you believe that Planned Parenthood facilities in the state of Illinois should be regulated?

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