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DFW Moms

CHICAGO - I'm still baffled by the Dow Jones industrial average and I'm not yet confident I could cook a turkey. But I take comfort in the many instructive notes I received upon admitting how little I know after four decades on Earth. ("Celebrating 40th birthday with a 10-year to-do list," March 23. Find it at chicagotribune.com/turning40.)

If you missed National Grilled Cheese Day on April 12, don't fret. April is National Grilled Cheese Month! This staple of childhood lunches can be either as simple or as stellar as the ingredients you choose. Switch up your bread, cheese and other fillings for a whole new take on a classic. Once you've exhausted those options, pull out a press or improvise with a grill pan for paninis or think south of the border with quesadillas. Whatever your pleasure, there's an option for grilled cheese and healthy side dishes for balanced family meals all month long.

"Giuliana & Bill" star Bill Rancic is set to host the Food Network show, "Kitchen Casino," which premiered April 7 at 9 p.m, ET/PT. The new show brings together four talented chefs in a high-stakes game of chance that requires skill, speed and adaptability.

You can really spend a ton on your kid's sports, especially if you have more than one child playing. Here are some ways I've cut the cost:

Are you raising an animal lover? If so, chances are they've already asked for a puppy, kitten, guinea pig, lizard, snake or bird of their own. Bringing home a pet is a big decision and shouldn't be taken lightly - especially if you have young kids in your home. I've put together some tips and advice to help ensure your decision is the right one - whatever that may be.

There are some names that we've become so accustomed to seeing on the covers of People et al., attached to the babes of Tinseltown, that we assume that their popularity has instantly spread beyond the confines of Malibu and Calabasas. But it ain't necessarily so. There are several appellations worn by more than one starbaby that have yet to hit the current Top 1000 list - though this could change with the new rankings coming next month! Some of these names did have some 19th or 20th century success; others have never entered the list at all.

Technology can tell parents how fast their teen is driving or where he is at any given time with ease.

So I'm looking at my day planner, and on April 11, I had penciled in "Last Day." I noticed it last week, but I was thinking that it was the last day of Lent. But that's next Thursday. And then I thought maybe it's the last day to finish my taxes. But that's next week too.

The first-born kids in a family do better in school than their siblings who follow, perhaps in part because they face more intense monitoring and rules, a new study finds. Parents tend to limit TV watching, for example, and monitor homework more with "earlier-born children" than with those that follow, the researchers found.

Give a traditional egg hunt a fun, nature-friendly spin with this idea from blogger Deb Olmstead of imaginechildhood.com. Fill emptied and washed eggshells with birdseed, then hide them in your yard (or a local park that allows bird feeding) for all your wild neighbors. "You can go on an outdoor adventure when you look for hiding places," says Deb.

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