Weekly family rail, with tips on pets and the holidays, a review of “Twilight” and more.


Tip of the Week

To ensure your pets have a happy, safe and low stress holiday, take extra care for your pet and plan ahead with these simple solutions:

- Try to maintain your pet's usual routine, including consistent feeding, play and exercise schedules.

- If possible, try to exercise your pet, especially dogs, before guests come over to help decrease any hyperactivity and stress.

- Consider leashing your dog before opening the door for visitors to ensure greater control over your pet and to prevent escapes.

- Dogs tend to pant more when they become stressed. Be sure to keep water readily available to prevent dehydration.

- Prepare a quiet place for your pet to use as a retreat when holiday activities and guests become overwhelming.

- Try a pheromone-based product, such as Comfort Zone with D.A.P. for dogs and Comfort Zone with Feliway for cats, which can calm and soothe pets having trouble coping with holiday stress.

- Never leave your pet alone with unfamiliar children, regardless of how well behaved your pet is, to avoid potential incidents.

- Do not let guests feed your pet food from their plates, which can be hazardous to your pet's health. Instead, leave treats out for your guests to give to your favorite furry friends as a reward for good behavior. (ARA)

Family Screening Room
Rated: PG-13 (for some violence and a scene of sensuality)
Length: 2 hours
Synopsis: "Twilight" is an action-packed, modern-day love story between a teenage girl and a vampire. Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) has always been a little bit different, never caring about fitting in with the trendy girls at her Phoenix high school. When her mother re-marries and sends Bella to live with her father in the rainy little town of Forks, Wash., she doesn’t expect much of anything to change. Then she meets the mysterious and dazzlingly beautiful Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a boy unlike any she’s ever met. Edward is a vampire, but he doesn’t have fangs and his family is unique in that they choose not to drink human blood. Soon they are swept up in a passionate, thrilling and unorthodox romance. But the closer they get, the more Edward must struggle to resist the primal pull of her scent, which could send him into an uncontrollable frenzy.

Violence/gore rating: 5
Sexual-content rating: 3
Profanity rating: 2
Scary/tense-moments rating: 5
Drugs/alcohol rating: 2.5
Family Time rating: 4. “Twilight” gets a fairly high rating because of the violence. But if your kids were able to handle the book, they should be OK with the on-screen depictions.
(Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.”)

Did You Know

The more often parents watched television with their teens and the more they limited television viewing, the less likely adolescents were to engage in sexual behavior. – FamilyFacts.org

Kids Kitchen: Holiday French Toast

12 slices cinnamon raisin bread, dry and firm
2 cups prepared eggnog
1/2 cup butter or margarine
Confectioner's sugar

Cut bread into 1-inch strips, trimming crusts from any long edges. Pour eggnog into a shallow bowl and dip each strip of bread into the eggnog. Coat each piece well on both sides. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Cook bread on both sides until golden brown. Dust with confectioner's sugar. Makes 12 servings. (www.xmasfun.com)

Book Report

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” by Dr. Seuss
Ages: 4 to 8
Pages: 64

How can you go wrong with “Grinch”? This beloved book always entertains the young ones (and adults). For those not familiar with the story, the Grinch, whose heart is two sizes too small, hates Who-ville's holiday celebrations and plans to steal all the presents to prevent Christmas from coming. To his amazement, Christmas comes anyway, and the Grinch discovers the true meaning of the holiday.

GateHouse News Service