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Back-to-school shopping is ritual few parents relish


Most parents agree that getting the kids ready for the new school year is definitely not an easy undertaking. Balancing family needs with your children's wants can give the best of us an anxiety attack. The newspapers and magazines are full of advice and helpful hints from experts on avoiding the annual rush.

We're advised to start preparing immediately for the big day, which is less than two weeks away. Here are a few of their helpful hints, just in case you missed them.

* Shop for the basics, such as underwear, socks, pencils, pens and notebooks. Save some clothing purchases until after school begins so your child can see what the others are wearing.

I tried both tactics several years ago with my darlings. They didn't work then, and they won't work now. Shopping for practical items will never be on any student's back-to-school shopping list. You might be able to get by with it if you're dealing with primary aged kids. But after that, forget it.

The advice about waiting to find out the fashion climate at your child's school can backfire. My kids usually need a major budget overhaul to cover overpriced jeans they "just had to have," the correct sneakers or a pair of Doc Martins (combat boots) to wear with a slip dress.

* Limit television viewing.

It's easier during rerun season. This probably comes from an expert who doesn't have cable.

* Develop a lunch menu of easy, healthy meals. Sounds great, but how do you persuade a youngster whose idea of the four basic food groups features ample servings of Pop-tarts, Doritos, Skittles, and Edy's chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

* Train your children to get up on time. Wake them up 15 minutes earlier every day until the desired time is reached.

This one really sounded good. It took some effort to figure out, but I gave it a go. Desired wake-up time: 6 a.m. Actual wake-up time varied, but usually occurred around noon. Difference: six hours. According to a rough calculation, I should have started this one back in July.

So much for good advice.


While you're getting your kids ready for school, don't forget about updating their immunizations.

As a service to the community, the county Health Department and school system will offer two immunization clinics at Chesapeake Bay Middle School, 4804 Mountain Road. Vaccinations are free.

The first clinic will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 26, with the second scheduled from noon to 6 p.m. Sept. 9.

Parents also can have their children immunized at the Magothy Health Center, 2501 Mountain Road at Catherine Ave.

The clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Appointments are required. No fee will be charged, but a $5 donation is suggested.

Parents also should bring their child's immunization record so it can be updated.

For appointments, call the Magothy Health Center at 222-6640.


Stoney Creek Democratic Club invites you to attend upcoming open house events, starting at 8 p.m. at the Fort Smallwood Road clubhouse. Several candidates who are on the September ballot will be there.

Guest speakers for this month are: Wednesday, Maryland Attorney General Joseph Curran, State Sen. Philip Jimeno and Delegates Joan Cadden, W. Ray Huff, and C. Stokes Kolodziejski; Aug. 24, Earle Schafer, candidate for county executive; Aug. 21, Ted Sophocleus and Bob Agee, candidates for county executive.

Drop by the club from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. this Sunday for an afternoon of dining and dancing. The $7 cost includes a platter, chips, pretzels, beer and sodas. Music will be provided by Al Baitch.

Information: J. Rich Ames, 437-9388.


Lake Shore Democratic Club, 209 Maryland Ave., will hold an open house starting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The public is invited.

State Sen. Philip Jimeno and Delegates Joan Cadden, W. Ray Huff and C. Stokes Kolodziejski will be the guest speakers. James Bestpitch, William Turc Sr. and William Waldecker of the Democratic Central Committee also will speak.

Information: 437-3699.

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