Family Favorites Editors' Picks

General aviation books come to life when you're sitting at the end of a runway. And stories about the Wright brothers, Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, and Chuck Yeager provide a tremendous opportunity to examine what determination, courage, and dreams can accomplish.

Or forget about books and instead unpack everyone's imagination. Where would we like to go? Where are the people in our lives from? What don't we want to miss in this whole wide world? Are there any destinations we've never dared mention? Even if no actual trip takes place, there is satisfaction in making the journey to the world of possibilities together.



Best Family-Oriented
Health-Care Service

Child Life Professionals


Even the most compassionate nurses and doctors don't always have the time to explain medical terminology and techniques at a child-friendly pace. Next time a child in the family is being prepared for an unfamiliar medical procedure at the hospital, ask if they have any child life professionals available. They have training and expertise in how to help children understand why something needs to be done and how it is likely to happen. Working as part of the medical team, a child life professional uses tools and guides to help a child gain mastery of a situation through preparation. When the process is understood, it becomes less threatening. Knowing what things might look, sound, and even smell like allows a child to move through a procedure with confidence.

If the medical intervention necessary is substantial, child life professionals can help families to assess the patient's emotional needs and to process the information over the long term. Fostering normal development in restrictive situations, child life workers believe that a kid is still a kid, no matter what is going on. Siblings and parents all benefit from the assistance, and the patient is afforded as positive an experience as possible.



Best Shopping

Garage Sales


This is still one of the most economical and fun ways to furnish a family. There's the random way of approaching garage sales that is perfectly acceptable and may well meet all the family's bargain-hunting and acquisition needs. You glance at the paper, notice a sign on a street corner, or follow the crowds to a busy driveway and saunter around, seeing if anything strikes your fancy. Sometimes you leave empty-handed, sometimes the trunk is full.

There is also the professional method. With the techniques of the experts--those folks who are always on sight as soon as the cash box is opened--homes can get furnished, children outfitted, and play rooms filled with four seasons worth of recreational equipment:


1. Make a list. Keep an ongoing list of the families needs and wants on hand in the car, so you always have a starting-off place. Going in without some sort of plan can be overwhelming, and you might overlook something long desired but obscure.

2. Be prepared. Use a large cloth bag for carrying smaller items. Make notes of dimension requirements for the large pieces you seek. Bring along a measuring tape (Is that dresser really going to fit in the corner of the baby's room?), bungee cords and blankets for hauling newfound treasures home, and a notepad and pen--which come in especially handy if you have to leave something to be picked up later and need to know the address. (People have forgotten from where they purchased practically new loveseats. No kidding.)

3. Have a plan. Highlight the sales you want to check out in the classified section and cross them off with pen as you go. Use a map to plan a route, but feel free to be sidetracked by unlisted sales that pop up by surprise.

4. Don't be afraid to take the kids. They can do shopping themselves, and it won't take long for them to learn that a dollar buys more in this venue than retail. They may also learn how to postpone purchasing gratification in order to find the right item at the right price. Children's clothes are also garage-sale staples and can stretch a budget immeasurably; how nice to have a spare pair of snow pants during a cold and soggy Minnesota winter!

Some tips from one who knows: The richer looking the house, the higher the prices tend to be. Thursdays are terrific days for prime shopping, but if you work during the day, take heart. Go before work or during lunch. Perhaps even with work associates. If there's an item you want that seems overpriced, try waiting. Bargaining is very effective as the day draws to a close. Even if there are Saturday sales in Friday's paper, grab a Saturday paper before you go. Some sellers don't make the newspaper deadline, and don't get listed until the day of the sale. Learn the intersections where people regularly hang posters. Be sure to cruise by early in day to note addresses.

And for the Aesthetic Garage Sale Experience...go the annual Crocus Hill neighborhood sale. The homes are beautiful, the alleys lovely, and the bargains plentiful.



Best Photo Shop

Pro Color

909 Hennepin Ave.


(612) 673-8900


Besides regular film developing, the professionals at Pro Color can do magic things with treasured family photos. Bring them those worn and fading snapshots of grandparents marking milestones, and they can reproduce, enlarge, and preserve memories.

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