Family Time: ‘Kung Fu Panda’ a kick for the entire family

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Family Screening Room

“Kung Fu Panda”

Rated: PG (for sequences of martial arts action)

Length: 95 minutes

Synopsis: Enthusiastic, big and a little clumsy, Po is the biggest fan of Kung Fu around -- which doesn't exactly come in handy while working every day in his family's noodle shop. Unexpectedly chosen to fulfill an ancient prophecy, Po's dreams become reality when he joins the world of kung fu and studies alongside his idols, the legendary Furious Five -- Tigress, Crane, Mantis, Viper and Monkey -- under the leadership of their guru, Master Shifu. But before they know it, the vengeful and treacherous snow leopard Tai Lung is headed their way, and it's up to Po to defend everyone from the oncoming threat. Can he turn his dreams of becoming a kung fu master into reality?

Violence/gore rating: 2.5

Sexual-content rating: 1

Profanity rating: 1

Scary/tense-moments rating: 2

Drugs/alcohol rating: 1

Family Time rating: 2. A great family movie. Your kids might exit the theater wanting to try some kung fu moves on their friends and/or siblings, but otherwise, this is an ideal summer movie.

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

Book Report

“The Lost World,” by Arthur Conan Doyle

Pages: 272

Unlucky in love but desperate to prove himself in an adventure, Ed Malone is sent to interview the infamous and hot-tempered Professor Challenger about his bizarre South American expedition findings – especially his sketches of a strange plateau and the monstrous creatures that appear to live there. But rather than being angry at his questions, Challenger invites him along on his next field trip. Malone is delighted -- until it becomes clear that the professor was telling the truth about the terrible lost world he discovered. Will they all survive the terrifying creatures on the island? And will anyone ever believe what they saw there? This classic book is being re-released as part of the Penguin Great Books For Boys collection.

Tip of the Week: Crafty ways to keep the kids busy

While all children eagerly anticipate the lazy days of summer, parents know that early anticipation can quickly turn into the dreaded "there's nothing to do" attitude. While keeping boredom at bay for up to three months can be a challenge, a little planning and a handy list of projects and activities can inspire a summer that's educational and entertaining.

Activities

- Start a family garden. Let young children make holes for seeds-or plants for more immediate results -- and pull weeds. Older kids can plant, prune and harvest.

- Have a picnic at the local park or pool. Kids can help prepare the food, pack the basket and can even make and decorate placemats to bring along.

- Plan a show or play. Choose a favorite story, or help kids write one of their own.

Crafts

- String beads to form necklaces and bracelets. Add wooden hearts personalized and painted, or found objects like small shells, sea glass or stones.

- Create a scrapbook to highlight the school year or a summer family vacation.

- Use colored chalk to create art on sidewalks and driveways (the rain will do the cleanup for you).

- Make bookmarks.

- Create and decorate stepping stones for the yard and garden.

- Embellish tank tops, T-shirts and flip-flops in summer colors and designs. (ARA)

Kids Kitchen: Appetizer Cheese Bites

12 ounces extra sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

3 egg whites, stiffly beaten

1/3 cup flour

2 to 4 dashes hot sauce

Dash salt

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

1/4 teaspoon paprika

Cornmeal

Vegetable oil for frying

Beat egg whites very stiff. Add shredded cheese to egg whites, then add flour, hot sauce, salt, parsley flakes and paprika. Shape mixture into small balls and roll in cornmeal. Put oil in a heavy skillet to a depth of about 1/4-inch. Heat over medium-high heat. Place cheese balls hot oil; cook until golden brown, turning constantly. (About.com)

Play Inside: “Road Trip QuizWit Hollywood Flicks”

Ages: 10 and older

This trivia game is all about the silver screen, and while it has many easier-to-answer questions mixed in, it also has some real stumpers that will be sure to invoke conversation as the group of players sort out the facts they know to discover the answer to the question at hand. A great game to take in the car and also great for small dinner parties or family gatherings. Everyone will enjoy this one, young and old. Questions are in the true/false, multiple choice and question-and-answer format. Answers that are correct advance you one space on the magnetic playing board. First one to answer 11 questions correctly wins. (Familyreview.org)

Pet Tip: Consider a cat

Studies show that owning a cat can have numerous benefits on overall mental and physical health for people of all ages. Here’s a look at some of them:

Kids: Studies show that positive self-esteem is enhanced in children when owning a pet. Other studies suggest that children who suffer from ADHD are able to focus on a pet, which helps them learn how to concentrate.

Adults: A recent study reports that pets increase the survival rate of heart attack victims -- 28 percent of heart patients with pets survived serious heart attacks compared with 6 percent without pets. Cats have also been linked to decreased blood pressure and reduced stress levels. Cat ownership is also suggested as a way to help depression.

Seniors: The most prevalent malady for older people is not cancer or heart disease, but loneliness. Cats are an excellent option for the elderly because they can be lifted easily and fit even on the smallest laps. Also, there is only a small amount of work and cost required to care for a cat. (ARA)

GateHouse News Service