Click the link below to go to the weekly family rail, with tips on designing your child’s room, a review of “Ice Age: Continental Drift” and more. Or check out these other links.

Tip of the Week


Nurseries and playrooms on television and in magazines might have you thinking your child could use a more playful environment. Some of the more elaborate designs undoubtedly cost more time and money than you may want to spend, but don't let that discourage you. Creating a space your kids can call their own doesn't need to break the bank or require too much of your time. With a little creative thinking, you can transform any space into the perfect kid-friendly retreat.


- Color the walls: Children are drawn to bright colors that stimulate their creativity. And, though you don't want them taking matters into their own hands when it comes to wall art, there are other great ways to create a beautifully colorful environment. Paint an accent wall or even do custom designs or stripes. With a few hours and a little creativity, you can quickly and easily turn the kids room in your home into a magical, youthful escape.


- Fun-size furniture: Adult-sized furniture can leave your child feeling like Goldilocks, so bring in some pint-sized pieces to make them believe the room is meant just for them. Even if your budget is tight, there are plenty of options for fun-size furniture available. Kids' chairs and tables are great additions to help them comfortably color, read books, do crafts and exercise their creativity. And there is no need to spend a fortune. Garage sales commonly offer kids furniture, which can easily be restored. Even if a find appears worn, a fresh coat of white paint and some bright chair cushions will instantly make it good-as-new - for a fraction of the price. Let kids help choose the furniture, fabrics and color to give them the feeling the space is their own and turn the restoration into a fun project.


- Dreamland bedding: Making sure your little one has a cozy, restful space to sleep is important, and balancing comfort with creativity is easier and less costly than you might think. There are endless bedroom options to suit every style and age, and letting children choose bedding or a quilt cover they love can make their bedtime routine go more smoothly. Matching pillows can help create a cohesive look, and fun cushions or bright body pillows can help kids sit comfortably on the floor with a book or game. Whether they choose polka dots, bright patterns, cartoon images or solid white, a new design that's all their own will make bed and naptime something they may actually look forward to. Don't worry about matching the bedding to other decoration in the room - dreams are fun and unpredictable, so let your child's preference lead the way.


- Storage: Crayons and teddy bears and games, oh, my! Storing all of your child's precious belongings can be challenging, especially if the room is small. To avoid the "warzone" look, invest in a few storage options that will improve the look of your child's room while teaching him to clean up after himself. Closed cabinets and clear tubs are great for storing stuffed animals, craft items and action figures, while open bookshelves work well for books, games and puzzles. Open cubby systems are also a good way to teach young children organization skills while keeping their favorite toys easily accessible. Color-coded bins can help keep kids rooms bright and youthful while keeping their things off of the floor.


- ARA


Family Movie Night


“Ice Age: Continental Drift”


Rated: PG


Length: 94 minutes


Synopsis: Scrat's nutty pursuit of the cursed acorn, which he's been after since the dawn of time, has world-changing consequences - a continental cataclysm that triggers the greatest adventure of all for Manny, Diego and Sid. In the wake of these upheavals, Sid reunites with his cantankerous Granny, and the herd encounters a ragtag menagerie of seafaring pirates determined to stop them from returning home. – Fox


Violence/scary rating: 2.5


Sexual-content rating: 1


Profanity rating: 2


Drugs/alcohol rating: 1.5


Family Time rating: 2. This is a superb family film, and if your kids loved the previous installments, they’re sure to love this film.


(Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.”)


Book Report


“Insignia,” by S. J. Kincaid


Ages: 13-17


Pages: 464


Synopsis: More than anything, Tom Raines wants to be important, though his shadowy life is anything but that. For years, Tom’s drifted from casino to casino with his unlucky gambler of a dad, gaming for their survival. Keeping a roof over their heads depends on a careful combination of skill, luck, con artistry and staying invisible. Then one day, Tom stops being invisible. Someone’s been watching his virtual-reality prowess, and he’s offered the incredible — a place at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy. There, Tom’s instincts for combat will be put to the test and if he passes, he’ll become a member of the Intrasolar Forces, helping to lead his country to victory in World War III. Finally, he’ll be someone important: a superhuman war machine with the tech skills that every virtual-reality warrior dreams of. Life at the Spire holds everything that Tom’s always wanted — friends, the possibility of a girlfriend, and a life where his every action matters — but what will it cost him? - HarperCollins Publishers


Did You Know


According to a report in Pediatrics, a new study by Dutch researchers shows that caffeine consumption in pregnant women does not cause behavioral problems in children.


GateHouse News Service