Christine Park

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Surviving Family Get-Togethers

I love my in-laws. I really do. My husband's side of the family has been kind, loving, and generous from the moment I met them when we were dating a decade ago. My mother-in-law keeps my freezer stocked with Korean food, which is very labor intensive, so my husband can get a taste of home on any given day with minimal effort on my part. And my sister-in-law, my brother's wife, is a dream. She is the most amazing auntie to my kids and she's an amazing cook. In fact, she is cooking up a Thanksgiving feast in my kitchen as we speak. I can't wait to sample her homemade pies and creamed corn and famous (or infamous) mac 'n' cheese (with bacon!)

But my TV husband, that's my male co-anchor for those of you not in the biz, showed me a hilarious Yahoo article he found about avoiding holiday family fights. The author explains how to manage 15 different and difficult personalities all clashing around the holiday dinner table.

I had a good laugh reading it, and you may too, because we all know a great aunt or second cousin (twice removed) who falls into one of these categories. Or maybe you do! Thanks to Real Simple blogger Amanda Hinnant for these tips.

The “Constructive” Criticizer: Often heard saying: “When I was in your situation, I knew exactly what I had to do.”
The offense: Gives you unsolicited advice about everything from raising your kids to raising your hemline.
Your course of action: “The criticizer relies on his ability to bait you,” says Sue Fox, author of Etiquette for Dummies ($22, Don’t take the bait. Thank him, point out facts he may have overlooked, and move on. If he keeps offering barbed comments disguised as advice, Caroline Tiger, author of How to Behave ($15,, suggests cutting him off with a breezy “Don’t worry about me—I’m fine!”
The Slacker: Often heard saying: “Yup, just a sec...I’ll be riiiight in.”
The offense: Refuses to help with the cooking, cleaning, child care, or even candle-lighting.
Your course of action: “Entertain the possibility that this person doesn’t realize anyone needs help, or perhaps he’s worried that if he were given a task to complete, he’d fail,” says Tiger. Give him precise instructions, something like “Vincent, it would be a great help if you went ahead and started rinsing the dishes. Let me get you an apron.”
The Cheerleader: Often heard saying: Anything with exclamation points. “Hey, guys! Let’s bundle up and go caroling in the snow!”
The offense: Hurls herself into the holiday spirit, donning seasonal sweaters with more doodads than a junk drawer.
Your course of action: If you’re not in the mood or if her joyousness feels forced, the cheerleader can be extremely irritating, says Fox. Don’t attempt to dampen her good cheer (she likes being the center of attention), but don’t let her cow you into wearing felt antlers to the table, either. Just keep your distance.
The Exaggerator: Often heard saying: “The Feds said the raid could not have gone down without my tip.”
The offense: Chronically oversells achievements, work situations, children’s accomplishments, size of fish caught.
Your course of action: “It’s rude to embarrass a guest who might be exaggerating due to feeling insecure,” says Tiger. “A little hyperbole on his part isn’t too much for you to endure if it makes him feel more comfortable.” Besides, everyone else at the table probably sees right through him, too, points out Barry Greenwald, Ph.D., associate professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
The Martyr: Often heard saying: Nothing. She’s still in the kitchen, slaving away over a hot stove.
The offense: Lets everyone know just how many potatoes she had to peel—and shows the blisters to prove it.
Your course of action: When she begins listing her suppertime sacrifices, interrupt with “And that is why you deserve to relax for the evening.” All you can do is ask if she needs help—if only to assure yourself that you tried. “She is obviously getting something she needs out of this, be it satisfaction or superiority,” says Tiger.
Keep reading, and see how to deal with your family's Bully, Gossip, Grinch, Drunk Uncle, and more! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Habits of a Happy Mom

I consider myself a happy mom. Sure, I have the occasional cry locked inside the closet (that time of the month!), but overall, I'm a pretty stress-free, go-with-the-flow, good-natured mommy. Poop on the floor? No problem! Hello Kitty stamps all over the wall? I try not to laugh. Late for preschool again? Oh well. I've learned not to sweat the small stuff.

My friend Lisa Gonzales, who is also a TV news anchor in Sacramento, started a Facebook page called Moms in the Morning. She posted this great little article from Yahoo about how to be a happy mom.

Here are 10 things happy moms do--so remember these tips in your day-to-day life!

1. Find time for yourself: Happy moms know they deserve a little time to themselves. When you know you're going to have a little room to breathe later on in the day, it's easier to take on everything that's in front of you. Our formula? Take 2 hours out for yourself every 3 days.

2. Don't make a happy baby, happier!: We all do see your baby's head at what you're sure is an unnatural angle snoozing in their car seat. You just know they'll be happier if their head was straight. So you move them. And they wake up. Then they scream. Or, you see them playing happily in the sand. You just know they'll be happier if they played on the slide. So you interrupt them and move them to the slide. And they're angry. And they let you know they're REALLY angry. Here's the thing, they were happy. It can be hard to do, but if your kid's not complaining, leave them be! Happy baby = Happy Mommy.

3. Embrace the mess: So your house doesn’t look like something out of a magazine. That just means it’s cozy! Your children have hands coated in dirt from the playground and faces coated in spaghetti from dinner. It’s not gross—it’s an adorable photo op! Life is about how you look at things. Next time that pile of laundry that’s been sitting on the chair for three days starts to get you down, just remember… it’s probably feng shui.

4. Make time for your friends: Your family can survive without you while you make time to see friends. You are a woman with your own identity and its imperative that you and that identity go out for some margaritas once in awhile!

5. Stop blowing yourself off: While you may be the one taking care of everyone, it doesn't mean you can't also get what you want. Help your family realize your needs are as important as theirs and when mom is happy, everyone is happy, but when mom is not....

6. Get in the zone: Take 10 minutes to do absolutely nothing but rest. Take a break from your day, close your eyes, breath in slowly and deeply through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Repeat several times. Think about a place you love that is relaxing, spend 10 minutes there in your mind.

7. Remember your dreams and goals: Everyday we are encouraging our children to reach their full potential. But sometimes in the midst of being a parent we forget about our own dreams and goals. The best thing you can do to encourage a child is to lead by example –happy moms hold on to their dreams and goals and don’t let go.

8. Be lighthearted: Don't be the uptight mom. Be silly and dance with your kids to their music or tv show tunes. Be romantic and pull your partner into a waltz. Dance in slippery socks in your kitchen while making dinner.

9. Bend the Rules: One of the best parts of making the rules is occasionally breaking them. Maybe it’s taking your child out of school for half a day on their birthday, or waking them up in the middle of the night to see a sky of shooting stars. Happy moms know how to turn the mundane into fun.

10. Mind your own business: Concentrate on creating your life the way you want it. Take care of you and your family. Don’t get overly concerned with what other people are doing or saying. Don’t get caught up with gossip or name calling. Stop seeking the validation of others and be confident in yourself.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Conquering the Cost of College

My cousin just finished applying to colleges. She applied to six UC schools, at $60 per application. She, or her parents, rather, spent $360 for the opportunity to try to attend one of these schools. If she gets in, the nickel-and-diming is just beginning. I found this great little chart for her to figure out the true cost of college, factoring in tuition and books -- whether she'll be living on or off campus or commuting from home. Either way, it looks like she'll be shelling out $20,000 to $30,000... a year. This is for public school.

And she can thank the state's budget crisis for that. The UC system has been hit with massive cuts in recent years. The State of California slashed $637 million from the UC school system in 2009-2010, and another $814 million in the 2008-2009 school year. So, to make up for that, the UC Board of Regents just voted in another tuition increase. Fees for Fall 2011 will go up by 8% next fall. This follows a 32% increase this year.

Earlier this month, the CSU’s Board of Trustees approved a mid-year tuition increase of 5% for this year and a 10% increase for the 2011-2012 academic year.The two step increase will raise undergraduate fees $105 for the rest of this year and approximately $440 for next year. This follows a 32% increase last year.

What's a parent to do? I mean, we've got a 529 savings plan for both kids. But at this rate, there's no way we'll save enough to cover the costs of college. I will, of course, fill out the FAFSA, but I'm not counting on any free money from the government. Our family's income disqualifies us from any grants or tuition breaks, and we don't want the kids to leave school saddled with thousands of dollars to repay in student loans. I recently did a story on finding cash for college. Applying for scholarships seems like the only option for students from middle to upper-middle class families.
Surfing for Scolarhips: Thankfully, the internet has made searching and applying for scholarships much easier. A couple good, free sites are and Just be aware, these are national scholarships, so the competition will be fierce. Also avoid services that charge a fee or any that guarantee money. You can find more info about scholarship scams here.
Look Local: Chambers of Commerce, Rotary Clubs, churches, and local businesses all award scholarships to local students. The advantage is the number of applicants is a lot smaller than some of the national awards you might find looking online. Your high school counselor will have a good idea where to start and what you might qualify for.
Ask Your Boss: Another good place to look is your own employer. Your children may qualify for help from your company or the parent corporation -- i.e. Disney owns ABC, so recently my co-worker's daughter applied for the Disney scholarship.
Happy hunting. Let me know if you have any strategies you'd like to share!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Holiday Cards for the Ambitious

Are you one of THOSE people? You know who you are. The ones who have their Christmas cards in the mail the day after Thanksgiving. The ones who remind the rest of us that indeed, whether we like it or not, the holiday season is upon us and we are already behind!!!

Well, even if you haven't even thought about it until now, here are some deals and sites to get you started on your merry card making.

GOOD FOR TODAY ONLY: Valley Daily Deals has teamed up with Milestone Memories to offer 60% off for a Holiday Memory Package (redeem by November 16, 2011). For $90, photographer Michelle will provide:

  • One hour Outdoor Family Photo Shoot (up to 6 members)
  • Digital Files on Disc for personal use & re-prints
  • 50 photocards with photo of choice
If you've already got your family photo (the only one where everyone is actually looking at the camera), and you just need to print them out:

COSTCO has a great photo center. Of course, you have to be a member. But you can't beat the price, and the instant gratification. You can design and order online, then pick up in a store near you. I also like Costco's photo cards because the envelopes are foil-lined and don't look cheap. Right now, Costco's coupon book offers $5 off 50 photo greeting cards through November 28th!

WALMART is another great option if you're on a budget. The photo cards start at $0.28. You also have the option of picking up in store, but right now, they are offering free shipping on all greeting cards to your home.

Strictly online photo services like Snapfish and are more expensive sometimes, but they are always having sales. Right now Snapfish is offering 25% off cards with a coupon code MERRY2010. They are also doing a daily deal, where they throw in free product. Today is a free flip book. Shutterfly has 20% off all holiday cards through November 17th and free shipping on orders over $30 with the code SHIP30.

Look for free shipping, which can make a big difference in what you end up spending on your cards, especially since you'll have to spring for postage on top of what you pay for the cards. is offering free shipping on all items and Christmas cards are 50% off. Right now Vistaprint is offering free shipping on orders of $19.99 or more. This expires 11/18/2010.

Friday, November 12, 2010

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Does Texting Lead to Bad Behavior?

I recently read a story about how hyper-texting, or excessing texting by teens leads to risky behavior, including having sex and underage drinking.

The study, presented to the American Public Health Association, says that "Hyper-Texting" teens are more likely to have had sex or used alcohol or drugs, than teens who aren't excessive texters.

"Hyper-Texters" are described teens who text more than 120 times a day. The study found that these excessive texters were three-and-a-half times more likely to have had sex than those who text less.

The study also found that "hyper-networkers" -- teens who spend greater than 3 hours a day on social networking sites -- have a greater likelihood of being involved in risky behaviors including fighting and drinking alcohol

Research for the study was based on surveys of more than 4,200 students conducted at 20 public schools in the Cleveland area. Critics of the study say the results are questionable due to its limited sampling. They also didn't really explain WHY texting leads to more risky behavior.

Whether your kid is a hyper-texter or not, it's good to stay on top of the technology. TVNewsMom suggests texting with your kids, if you don't already do so, to keep current on the lingo. You don't want to be like that blissfully clueless dad, Phil Dunphy, in the show Modern Family (one of my faves!) who claims WTF means "Why the face?"

This is an excerpt from a recent story by one of my colleagues on cryptic codes kids use while texting. I thought I was pretty young and hip, but I didn't know any of these.

"PAW" is an abbreviation for "parents are watching."

There's also CD 9, short for "Code 9," which is another way kids warn one another not to send certain messages because their mom or dad might see them.
"DOC" means "drug of choice."
Some codes just use the first letter of each word, like "GNOC" means "get naked on camera" or LGH, short for "let's get high."
Others replace whole words with one letter or number, like "CU 46" which stands for "see you for sex."

Do you guys know of any good ones?

Experts warn parents need to educate themselves. Samantha Segars, the Director of Sierra Vista Child and Family Services in Merced says, "It's a new language. I think adults can learn how to speak the language." She suggests parents search for teen texting dictionaries online. A good one is But since kids also make up their own abbreviations, she says the most important thing is communication. Talk to them about the risks and consequences of sexting -- how that stuff can easily get leaked onto Facebook or fall into the wrong hands if they lose their phones.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

DEALS AND STEALS: Free Meals for Military

In honor of veterans day, here's how vets and active military can score some free food today. I am just re-posting an article I found on SlashFood.

A whole slew of restaurant chains are getting into the spirit by offering free deals to both active duty and retired military personnel. And to show our own appreciation, here's a roundup of some of the best offers out there. (Just remember to take along your military ID or some proof of service to avoid any hassle.)
And for more free deals for veterans, visit WalletPop.

Krispy Kreme: Free doughnut of choice.

Hy-Vee: The Midwest supermarket chain is offering a free hot breakfast at all locations with in-store dining, including scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, hashbrown casserole and biscuits and gravy.

Subway: Free 6-inch sub (at participating locations).

Texas Roadhouse: Some locations are offering free entrées until 4 pm, so essentially lunch. Call your local Texas Roadhouse to see if it's participating.

Hooters: Choose from one of four free "specialty menu items" with the purchase of a drink: Nacho Ordinary Burger, BBQ Sandwich, Baja Burger or Speedway Chicken Sandwich.

Pizzeria Uno Chicago Grill: Free entrée or pizza with purchase of any entrée or pizza of equal or greater value.

Boston's The Gourmet Pizza: Free individual one-topping pizza from 5–7 p.m.

Chili's: Pick from six free menu items: Oldtimer with Cheese, Quesadilla Explosion Salad, Margarita Grilled Chicken, Cajun Chicken Pasta, Chicken Crispers or Chicken Club Tacos.

Applebee's: Probably the most heavily promoted Veterans Day promotion, Applebee's expects to serve more than a million free meals this year. The chain's special Veterans Day menu includes the 7-ounce house sirloin, bacon cheeseburger, Three Cheese Chicken Penne, a chicken tenders platter, oriental chicken salad, Fiesta Lime Chicken and Double Crunch Shrimp.

T.G.I. Friday's: Save this one for the weekend, because T.G.I. Friday's is offering its Veterans Day special from November 11 through November 14: free entrée with purchase of another entrée.

Golden Corral: The chain is celebrating its 10th annual "Military Appreciation Monday" on November 15, which includes a free dinner buffet and beverage.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

In Honor of Veterans Day: FREE WEDDING GOWNS

You might be wondering what wedding dresses have to do with our veterans. Well, I just caught this on The View. They did an entire episode on how to get things for free. It was great info... I suggest you watch, if you get a chance.

So one of the things I found out is, of you are a bride-to-be in the military, or you are engaged to someone in the military, you can get a FREE WEDDING DRESS over the next couple of days. It's called the Nationwide Military 2010 Wedding Gown Giveaway. Bridal salons are uniting across America to donate and giving away wedding gowns to qualified military brides. Most of the gowns are samples and overstocks and are worth approximately $500 to $3000. Dresses range in sizes from 4-22 and will be given away on a first-come, first serve basis as long as you qualify. Go to Brides Across America to look up a store near you. Unfortunately, for my Fresno readers, all the participating stores in California are down south. But I would say, it's worth the drive!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

DEALS AND STEALS: Disney Store Friends and Family

Just got a heads up on this great friends and family discount for the Disney Store. How could I keep this to myself?
Do you believe in magic? TVNewsMom does. Stepping inside any Disney store during the holidays can be magical... especially if you walk out without triggering an "I WANT THIS MOMMY!!!" tantrum.

Now you can afford to buy what your little one wants. From November 11 - 15, print out this coupon and redeem it for a 20% discount at any Disney Store in North America or enter the code DISNEYFAMILY online at .

Monday, November 8, 2010

DEALS AND STEALS: Free coffee and Gap's "Give and Get"!

Every Friday this month, get your caffeine fix for free at Burger King. The chain is trying to eat away at McDonald's breakfast business and you benefit. Every Friday in November during breakfast hours, BK will give away free 12-ounce cups of Seattle's Best Coffee. Customers don't have to buy anything. The chain will also give away coupons for free iced Seattle's Best Coffee for a future visit.

Gap is holding a "Give & Get" event. Basically, for 4 days only, November 11–14, you can shop at Gap, Old Navy, or Banana Republic and get 30% off using this coupon in stores. And in return, the Leukemia Lymphoma society or... you can designate a charity of your choice will get 5% of your purchase. If you're shopping online, here's a promo code: L9GK6YHQPL6W and shipping is free with a purchase over $50.

Friday, November 5, 2010

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Don't Try the Gouda...

Who doesn't love Costco? Who doesn't love the samples at Costco? In a pinch, TVNewsMom has been known to feed the kiddos their entire lunch on samples alone. A fruit drink sample here, a paper cup of mac 'n' cheese there. Luckily we skipped the gouda!

Gouda cheese given as samples and sold at Costco stores in five different states, including California, is being recalled after an E. coli outbreak sickened 25 people. The cheese was made by Bravo Farms... located right here in the lovely Central Valley town of Traver.

Health officials believe the people got sick after eating Bravo Farms Dutch Sytle Raw Milk Gouda Cheese (item #40654) sold and offered at in-store tastings between Oct. 5 and Nov. 1.
Symptoms of E. coli infection include bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, dehydration and in severe cases, kidney failure and death!!! The cheese was sold at Costco stores in California, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada.

Costco is offering refunds to customers.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

DEALS AND STEALS: Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale for Women and Kids

It's that time of year again! Nordstrom is having its half-yearly sale for women and kids. Honestly, I don't shop Nordies often... but sometimes the deals are too good to resist. Last year, I got both my kids crocs for an amazing price ($16.90, normally $29.95) plus free shipping. For the half-yearly sale, there's FREE SHIPPING on online orders of $100 or more. Use promo code HOLIDAY10 when you check out.

For the sole purpose of research (ha!) I've been perusing the site, and women's shoes are 20% to 40% off, even UGGs which never go on sale! Check out the kids clothes -- brands like Juicy Couture and Mini Boden are on sale 33% off.

One more note: one of my friends commented that comparing in-store and online prices, she found that online was usually cheaper.

Happy Shopping!

Not-So-Happy Meals?

First Santa Clara... now San Francisco. Officials -- citing concerns over childhood obesity -- have banned restaurants from giving away toys with their kids' meals. But what's a happy meal without the happy?

A McDonald's spokesperson said, "We are extremely disappointed with this decision. It's not what our customers want, nor is it something they asked for."

TV News Mom could not agree more. It is a parent's right and responsibility to decide whether or not to purchase a fast food meal. I don't know a single mom or dad who "unknowingly" bought these meals, thinking they were healthy. At least at our home, they are an extremely rare "treat" and the toy is part of the fun.

Under the ruling, scheduled to take effect in December 2011, San Francisco restaurants will be allowed to include a toy with a meal only if the food and drink in the meal contain fewer than 600 calories, less than 640 milligrams of sodium and if less than 35 per cent of the calories are derived from fat (less than 10 per cent from saturated fat), except for fat contained in nuts, seeds, eggs or low-fat cheese. In addition, the meals must contain a half-cup or more of fruit and three-quarters of a cup or more of vegetables. A breakfast meal must contain at least a half-cup of fruit or vegetables. SF Superviors argue this will promote healthier eating habits.

Seriously? Taking away a toy is your answer to childhood obesity? What say you, readers?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween's Over, Now What?

I just spent 15 minutes sorting through my two kids' Halloween buckets, picking out the "good" candy, like Twix (my fave!), Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and Butterfingers. But then I ended up with three pounds of the "undesirable" candy... or, like I like to call pinata filler. (Smarties, Jawbreakers, and Tootsie Rolls).

Then I stumbled upon this article in the Fresno Bee about some dentists who will pay cash for candy ($1 per pound). The dentists then donate it to Operation Gratitude, a national nonprofit organization that sends the candy and care packages to U.S. soldiers overseas.

Here are some participating dentists in the Fresno area:

Dr. Treva Lee's office at 2630 N. Fresno St., will collect candy between 4 and 6 p.m. today.

Dr. Tamer Michiel's office at 3796 N. Fresno St., will also collect candy between 4 and 6 p.m. today.

Dr. Michael T. Bodensteiner 4148 S. Demaree St. in Visalia will buy candy between 3 and 5 p.m. today through the next few days.

This is a win-win situation. Less cavities for the kids, and you get to help out a smile-worthy cause. Now how to convince the kiddos to part with a bucket full of candy. I think it's time to instill the fear of the dentist drill. LOL