Gift registry: option, not requirement

Shower gifts: registries are only an option, not a requirement.

Q.  I just received a baby shower invitation and it listed where the parents are registered. Is this proper? Do I have to buy something from the registry? A.  Yes, it is proper — the majority of guests invited to a shower are grateful to know what the parents need and are pleased to buy... Read More

Competitions: Quiz Show, Moneyball, The Social Network

Quiz Show is one of the Reel Dad's recommended films on TV this weekend.

There’s something for just about every movie taste this weekend on broadcast television and non-premium cable. Take a look and enjoy family movie time at home! Quiz Show (1994) When television was new, in the 1950s, game shows were a national obsession. Viewers loved to watch others succeed, ...

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Happy Christmas: Interesting look at siblings

Lena Dunham and Anna Kendrick in the new film Happy Christmas.

No matter how stable a family can appear, a sibling with problems may lurk in the shadows. We all know the brothers or sisters we try to support, hope to encourage and fear what may happen the next time we meet. No matter how settled our immediate family, we may not be ready for the... Read More

Get On Up: Surprisingly strong musical bio pic

Chadwick Boseman as James Brown in the new film, Get On UP.

Hollywood loves to tell behind-the-scene stories of famous performers. These musical “bio pics” — with narratives of triumph and tribulation peppered with familiar songs — capitalize on audience interest in big names from Loretta Lynn to Johnny Cash to Ray Charles. But the formula becomes too ...

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The etiquette of sharing happy news


Q.  I just got engaged! What is the protocol for telling family and friends? A.  Assuming both sets of parents and your siblings know, you can inform everyone else with a phone call, email, or personal note. You never send a printed engagement announcement. If your parents and siblings do not ...

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Try grilled brie for a summer treat

Grilled brie with a fresh tomato compote.

Where did July go? It went by way too fast, but it was one fabulous month! The weather is still beautiful and warm and we plan to spend every minute we can out on the patio. From pancakes for breakfast with the kids, to entertaining friends on Saturday nights, we will be outside for sure.... ...

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Protecting the grandchildren from Grandma’s gloom

Etiquette: talking with grandma.

Q.  My mother-in-law is the original queen of gloom and doom. My children are now old enough to understand the things she says and I don’t want them exposed to this. It’s not possible to simply not spend time with her to protect them, so what can I say without hurting her feelings? A.  With... ...

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