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Archive for February, 2008

ARE WE Overmedicating Our Kids?

Pill bottle, MCT Direct Are we overmedicating our kids? That’s the question of the hour. More specifically, it’s the question of the 9 o’clock hour this Sunday when Rona Renner’s “Childhood Matters” show looks at childhood psychiatric drug use. Interesting topic, no? Rona’s panel includes Dr. Glen Elliott, chief psychiatrist at the Children’s Health Council and author of “Medicating Young Minds,” and Walnut Creek’s own Dr. Lawrence Diller, behavioral pediatrician and author of  “Running on Ritalin” and “The Last Normal Child.” Tune in on 98.1 KISS-FM or 105.1 KOCN-FM. Join the discussion by calling 1-877-372-KIDS.

Posted on Friday, February 15th, 2008
Under: Advice, Parenting Issues | No Comments »

FAB FIVE for the Long Weekend

Ballet Afsaneh (photo by Daniel Bahmani)
1. Ballet Afsaneh, a Persian and Afghani dance company, graces the stage at the Bay Area Discovery Museum this Saturday at 11 a.m. ($7.50-$9.50)

2. Then come back Monday for a little “Gung hay fat choy” at the Bay Area Discovery Museum’s Chinese New Year Festival, complete with lion dancers, 9 to 4. (Free with museum admission.)

3. Got a Dungeons & Dragons fan at home? A board game lover? Or “Hey, That’s My Fish” aficionado? Then check out the game fest at DunDraCon in San Ramon all weekend. ($30)
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Posted on Thursday, February 14th, 2008
Under: Fab Five, Family Outings | No Comments »

TOY RECALL: Bible Bracelets

Recalled bracelet In case you didn’t get the memo, an alarming percentage of children’s jewelry is just a’bursting with lead paint and choking hazards. This time, it’s a “faith bracelet.” So much for any remaining faith we had in the toy industry. Do not, repeat do not do any Hail Marys, rub your fingers over the little pearly beads or kiss the religious icons on this little gem. These $15 Life of Faith charm bracelets were just recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission because they’re loaded with lead.

Posted on Thursday, February 14th, 2008
Under: Toy Recalls | No Comments »

“THIS OLD HOUSE” for Kids

Garage (Jennifer Hart, MCT Direct) We all remember the PBS series “This Old House” and its spinoff, “Ask This Old House” – although, wouldn’t the old house just say, “Creak creak”? Anyway, a new season gets underway today (or tomorrow or next week, depending on your PBS affiliate), and TOH is going kid-friendly with home improvement projects including DIY soccer goals, stilts, tool boxes and a sandbox. Cool. You can download video how-tos, step-by-step photos and templates online too. Supposedly, you can check the TV listings for the show on the ATOH web site, but we found it way confusing. Either we need vastly more coffee, or we’re spoiled by Tivo. If you’re a Bay Area-ite check the KQED-TV listings instead.

Posted on Thursday, February 14th, 2008
Under: Crafts | No Comments »

MOVIES: Spiderwick Chronicles not kind to fathers or goblins

MovieWeb – Movie Photos, Videos & More

If you’re a dad or a goblin, be prepared to take your lumps when you see The Spiderwick Chronicles. I am one of the above, but still enjoyed this movie. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, February 14th, 2008
Under: Movies | No Comments »

SIBLING WHAT? A Caption Contest

Olivia reacts
Er … welcome? Olivia Jane Skiles, 1, reacts to her newborn sister, Chloe Arnott Skiles (born Jan. 27, pictured above with their father, architect Kevin Skiles) … with delight? Um, we think not. And that’s where you come in because obviously, this photo needs a caption! Click “comments,” submit a caption by Sunday night, and you could win a stack of hot-off-the-press baby books.

Posted on Wednesday, February 13th, 2008
Under: Contest | No Comments »

“SPIDERWICK” a Scary/Fun Adventure


The first reviews for “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” the movie based on the fantasy book series by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, are just drifting in. Times movie critic Mary Pols gives the fantasy flick a solid B and describes it as “a modern-day family film, using swords, magic potions and otherworldly CGI creatures to dispense with divorce demons and adolescent anger-management issues. Its message, communicated with enjoyable verve, is that 48 hours in a creepy old mansion filled with scary secrets just might be enough to put any family back on the right track.” It’s not Harry Potter, but it’s fun, she says, as long as parents bear in mind the PG rating for scary creature action, violence and peril.
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Posted on Wednesday, February 13th, 2008
Under: Movies | No Comments »

TOY RECALLS: Flaming ‘Copters

Recalled toy helicopter It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a toy helicopter that bursts into flames! Yep, the Consumer Product Safety Commission just recalled 30,000 of these remote controlled “Fun2Fly Microcopters.” The toy’s rechargeable batteries can burst into flame during charging, igniting both the toy and any combustible materials nearby. In the prim prose of the CPSC, “This poses a burn or fire hazard to consumers.” Gee, ya think? Six cases of helicopters igniting, one injury to date. Get it out of your toy box.

Posted on Tuesday, February 12th, 2008
Under: Toy Recalls | No Comments »

SEATBELTLESS in Seattle?

Hannah Montana: Best of Both Worlds (courtesy Walt Disney Pictures) Actually, it’s seatbeltless in Montana, as in the new “Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds” movie. Bloggers from Consumer Reports magazine cried foul after noticing that the Disney star failed to buckle her seat belt while riding to a rehearsal in the movie. And daddy Billy Ray Cyrus didn’t buckle up either. “It seems to us,” the blog item said, ”that Miley, her father and Disney had a perfect opportunity to help influence teens and counteract – rather than encourage – this trend.”

The blog item drew some scathing commentary along the lines of “There’s a war in Iraq, and you’re writing about this?” and “At least she’s not Britney.”

But we wish Disney and its wholesome tween popstar had used the opportunity to reinforce such a basic safety rule. The Cyruses should have checked out the gruesome seat belt statistics on the National National Highway Traffic Safety stats page before the cameras rolled.

Posted on Tuesday, February 12th, 2008
Under: Health & Safety | No Comments »

YUMMER CAMP, plus hummus

Hummus at La MediterraneeWe don’t normally tout summer camps – partly because there are a million of them and partly because the very words “summer camp” remind us of that Martha Stewart column about her daughter Alexis, then six and off to sleep-away camp for the entire summer. The little girl was so homesick she wrote home every day … and Martha corrected the spelling and sent the letters back. Ahem. What is it with East Coasters and 8-week summer camps, anyway?

But Karen Rogers’ “Culinary Kids” is very, very cool, and it comes with a side of lemony, garlicky hummus. (Plus, the recipe.) So we’re making an exception. This UC Berkeley junior and her chef buddies from Chez Panisse, Caffe Venezia and other chic Bay Area eateries launched the day camp in Berkeley last summer and it sold out instantly. So Karen added more dates. Whoosh. Now Karen’s doing it again, so here’s the 2008 scoop – before it sells out. Plus, did we mention a recipe?
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Posted on Tuesday, February 12th, 2008
Under: Cuisine | No Comments »