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Archive for October, 2007

When alcohol abuse hits home

A story that was a DUI car accident news brief in the Bay Area media last weekend hit a little too close to home when I found out that my good friend’s son, a boy I and my kids have come to adore, was a passenger in the car.

Our sweet little friend was OK, but unfortunately a child in the car that was hit was taken to the hospital by helicopter in critical condition. Our family is sick with worry about her, and we cannot begin to imagine what her parents must be going through.

Any of us — any of you — could have been the unlucky victims. It happened in our hometown, on a street we all drive almost daily. They were just a family of four minding their own business when out of the blue, someone else’s decision to drink and drive changed their lives in an instant.

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Posted on Monday, October 22nd, 2007
Under: Health & Safety | No Comments »

How not to carve a pumpkin

Jack O Lantern 2 ILLUS.jpg Usually, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons writes to remind our readers of the dangers of trampolines (one a time please, kids). Today, their admonitions turned seasonal, with a cringe-inducing tip sheet on the perils of pumpkin-carving.

Please, they say, for safety’s sake:

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Posted on Monday, October 22nd, 2007
Under: Family Entertainment | No Comments »

SoCal wildfires close universities

California wildfire 10/07
UPDATED NEWS: As of 3p.m. today, UCSD and the University of San Diego had cancelled classes through Tuesday, Oct. 23. USD is monitoring fire and health reports, and says it is prepared to evacuate the campus should the need arise. At 4 p.m., San Diego State announced it will remain closed through tomorrow, as well, and it has opened its gymnasium to house displaced students, staff and faculty. Pepperdine remains closed, and all roads leading to campus have been shut down. University officials say everyone is safely sheltered.

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Posted on Monday, October 22nd, 2007
Under: College Apps & Angst | No Comments »

A cautionary tale for parents

kidpaint

You know you’ve seen a good movie when you can’t stop thinking about it the next day.

Falling firmly into that category is “My Kid Could Paint That,” a documentary about young artist Marla Olmstead, whose abstract oil paintings began selling to collectors for thousands of dollars when she was just 4 years old.

The film begins as a meditation on modern art, and the nature of talent, but midway through, turns into something else altogether. For the sake of anyone who doesn’t know the story and has managed the miss the NPR coverage of the film, I won’t spell out exactly what happens — let’s just say things get complicated….

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Posted on Monday, October 22nd, 2007
Under: Family Entertainment | No Comments »

Too old to trick-or-treat?

In today’s “Ask Amy” column, syndicated columnist Amy Dickinson got a great suggestion for what to do when your kids get too old for trick-or-treating: “Put them in charge of passing out the candy – dressed in full costume. The little ones knocking on our door were delighted, and our kids loved their reaction. The following year they dressed up and decorated the entryway for the trick-or-treaters.” Got other great ideas for how to include too-old to trick-or-treat kids in the Halloween fun? Click “Comments” and share them! But first, how old is too old?


- Jackie Burrell

Posted on Monday, October 22nd, 2007
Under: Kids & Tweens | No Comments »

Teen and tween reads

bad_kitty_1Voting ends today for Teen Read Week , YALSA’s literary teen choice awards. We’re betting the new #1 teen book choice will be Stephenie Meyer’s “New Moon,” but we were thrilled to discover the other nominees – and just in time too. We’ve been wracking our brains to come up with good reads. One of our family’s Christmas gift traditions is that everyone gets a box of cool books. Filling that box has become more problematic now that JK Rowling is done with Hogwarts, and we flatly refuse to buy any more Gossip Girl or Clique books – enough’s enough. But we’re mighty tempted by “Bad Kitty,” by Michele Jaffe ($8.99) …

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Posted on Sunday, October 21st, 2007
Under: Books, Kids & Tweens, Teens | No Comments »

School bus drag racing

Care for a serving of quirky with your Sunday brunch? May we offer … school bus drag races?

And here we thought retired school buses could only be used for hippie mobiles or as tour vehicles for rock bands that haven’t quite made it. Turns out school bus races and demolition derbies are a thriving grown-up subculture in other parts of the country – so much so that Florida sheriffs’ associations use the races as fund-raisers. How did we miss that?
- Jackie Burrell

Posted on Sunday, October 21st, 2007
Under: Just Bizarre | No Comments »

FAMILY TRAVEL – Cancun adventure

williams2Sparkling seas, hot sunshine and coconut drinks – how sublime! Last Sunday, we followed the Streshinsky family to the Big Apple and DC. This week, the Williams family weighs in on the joys of Cancun, Mexico – where to go, what to do and how to do it …

THE TREK IN A SEC: A week of beach frolic and amazing Mayan ruins. Read on for hotel, dining and sightseeing tips from this San Pablo family of five…

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Posted on Sunday, October 21st, 2007
Under: Family Travel | 1 Comment »

Luges, ruins and family travel

tourist We’re always on the lookout for good family travel resources, things like Rick Steves’ family-friendly European travel guides – our kids still talk about the Steves-recommended luge rides and salt mine tours in Austria. So when we heard about Travel for Kids, a web site with travel tips, hotel recommendations and sightseeing suggestions for families, we were eager to check it out, particularly since it’s run by Globetracks, a travel company started by two Lafayette moms. It’s garnered considerable buzz and …

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Posted on Saturday, October 20th, 2007
Under: Family Travel | 1 Comment »

Giving holistics a second look

pillsI grew up in a good ol’ Midwestern pill-popping family. Not in an illegal druggie way, mind you. In a “If you’re sick you go to the doctor and you get some medicine and you take it and you get better. Period.”

But fast foward 30 years to being a mom of two kids under age 6 on a day when an FDA committee says over-the-counter cold medicines aren’t OK for my little ones. (See previous blog post.)

Living in a world that’s become so much more accepting of non-traditional approaches to Western medicine, I find myself suddenly pondering making more frequent visits to my neighborhood natural pharmacy.

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Posted on Friday, October 19th, 2007
Under: Health & Safety, Parenting Issues | No Comments »