Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for March, 2008


There’s a certain deliciousness about bad parent tales, so we can’t wait for the “We’re a Happy Family: Films About Bad Parents” Fest. It opens at the Yerba Buena Center this Thursday at 7:30 p.m. with “Frank and Cindy,” the fetching couple pictured to the left, followed by a night of ultra-bizarre vintage shorts on April 19. Filmmaker GJ Echternkamp will be on hand to introduce “Frank and Cindy,” a documentary about his oafish former rocker father and the mother whose glamorous daydreams have become, er, not so swell. Dysfunctional? You bet. Hilarious retribution? Sounds like it. Reviews have all been raves, and the trailer has a “Little Miss Sunshine” celebration-of-the-weird vibe. ($6-$8. Don’t bring the kids. Well, OK, bring the jaded teens.)

Posted on Monday, March 31st, 2008
Under: Movies | No Comments »


Fancy Nancy
Time for another blog giveaway, and you’re going to love this one – a set of “Fancy Nancy” books, starting with Jane O’Connor’s newest, “Fancy Nancy: Bonjour, Butterfly,” and an I-Can-Read book. Nancy, for those of you who’ve not yet discovered O’Connor’s fanciful creation, is a tiara-clad, sparkly shoed youngster who believes fancier is always better. How that translates into family relationships, trips to the museum and puppies, er, excuse us, Papillon, unfolds in the pages of these whimsically illustrated books. You might need a tiara yourself.

So click “comments,” answer the question (Melvyn’s adorable “Ladies and Jellyspoons” riff won him a Wiggles DVD last week), and we’ll draw a winner Sunday night. Here’s the question: who’s your favorite kid lit heroine? (We were always kind of partial to Harriet of spy fame, but Fancy Nancy? Ooo la la.)

Posted on Monday, March 31st, 2008
Under: Contest | No Comments »

PARENT TALKS: Ones, Twos & Teens

Not fair (Illustration by Hector Casanova/MCT Direct) “Mt. Diablo Community Meetings”
April 1 at 7 p.m. at Sequoia Middle School, Pleasant Hill
First of six sessions with Mt. Diablo parents, school board members and district administrators to discuss any K-12 concerns. Other dates: Foothill Middle (April 3), Oak Grove (April 17), Pine Hollow (April 29) and Mt. Diablo High (May 6).

“Positive Parenting Series”
April 7 at 7 p.m., first of a six-part series at Bananas in Oakland. Facilitated by Madeline Meyer Riley, MFT. Limited free child care available, so register early.

“How to Talk So Kids Will Listen”
Wednesday workshops April 9-May 7, 7-9 p.m., North Berkeley
Speaker: Parent educator Julie King ($186 incl. workbook)
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, March 31st, 2008
Under: Parenting Issues | No Comments »

BIG Q: Teen Stress

?! by Dhiegaum/StockXchng It’s your turn to play advice columnist! And here’s this week’s question, inspired by Sunday’s “Childhood Matters” radio show on stress, tweens and teens.

“I think my 13-year-old daughter may be stressed. She seems to have stomach aches all the time, trouble sleeping, she’s moody – yes, I know all teens are, but this seems beyond that. But when I ask if something’s wrong, she shuts me out. What would you do?”

Click “comments” to offer your advice. To see previous Q&As, check our advice archives.)

Posted on Sunday, March 30th, 2008
Under: Advice | No Comments »


The Osmers in Myanmar
Contemplating an exotic Asian trip? Yearning for a way to blend philanthropy and wanderlust? Here’s the scoop on Myanmar from this week’s travel experts…
THE TRAVELERS: Parent educator Ksenija Soster Olmer, civil engineer Miroslav Olmer and their daughters Solana, 18, and Naya, 15.

THE TREK IN A SEC: This Orinda family of four spent two weeks traveling in Myanmar (Burma), wandering through gorgeous pagodas, admiring floating gardens and colorful tribal markets, riding elephants and relaxing on deserted beaches. But the high point of the trip was visiting orphanages in the highlands for what would become the family’s philanthropic mission, the Hungry Duckling Project.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Sunday, March 30th, 2008
Under: Family Travel | 7 Comments »


Recalled rocker Bringing new meaning to the term “off your rocker,” the Consumer Product Safety Commission folks just issued a recall for 122,000 of these little rocking horses, which also come in unicorn, penguin, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and other versions, all of which have unstable bases. The CPSC has received 35 reports of the ride-on toys flipping over, so if you have one, take it away from your child and contact TekNekToys for a replacement base.

Posted on Thursday, March 27th, 2008
Under: Toy Recalls | No Comments »

FAB FIVE for the Weekend

Diablo Bowmen open house
1. Every Robin Hood fan dreams of lifting that bow, notching that arrow and letting it fly, unerringly, toward the bullseye. Now, you can give it a shot at the Diablo Bowmen’s annual archery range open house this Mt. Diablo Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ($6, including lessons and lunch)

2. The clothes-obsessed emperor gets a new and unusual set stitched during this East Bay Children’s Theatre staging of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” Saturday at 10:30 and 1 at the Oakland Museum. (Free-$10)
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, March 27th, 2008
Under: Fab Five, Family Outings | No Comments »

BRATZ Appeal?

Bratz doll Those pouty-lipped, fishnet-stockinged Bratz dolls are no strangers to controversy, so when Parenting Magazine asked moms to weigh in on whether dolls have gotten too sexy, we weren’t completely surprised to see Bratz take some heat. It was the quantity of heat that was striking – some 82 percent gave an emphatic yes and added such comments as “Parents should ask, ‘Do we want our children to start dressing like this?’ Because allowing them to have toys like this says that it’s OK.” On the other side, one mother said, “It’s not that I don’t wince when I see dolls like Bratz, but if you think the toy your kid plays with will make her promiscuous later, you might want to think more deeply about the issue.” Another asked where the outrage was over overly macho boy dolls. What do you think? Take a sec and click a side, or hit “comments” and weigh in at length.

Posted on Wednesday, March 26th, 2008
Under: Kids & Tweens | 2 Comments »

NOSES, TOESES & Other Body Parts

Little nose (photo by Paulo Gonçalves, StockXchng)
Body parts from toes to noses are the featured topic on KidsHealth‘s cool, just-updated web site, “How the Body Works.” Click on the body parts, then explore articles (everything from “Cerebral Cortex” to “What’s a booger?”), activities, puzzles, experiments, even an animated movie on your nervous system – which, you’ll soon discover, is “large and in charge.” Plus, did we mention our new favorite superheros, Glandman and Col. Lucy Leukocyte, commander of the body’s immune system?

Two thumbs up for educational value and kid-appeal, and if you’re going to let your youngster wile away his spring break online, this is wayyyy cheaper than Webkinz. (P.S. We had trouble loading the site with Firefox,  but it worked fine using Explorer.)

Posted on Wednesday, March 26th, 2008
Under: Health & Safety, Kids & Tweens | No Comments »

KID BINS: Photo Caption Contest

By Richard Thomason, Columbus Ledger-Inquirer (MCT Direct)
Time for another photo caption contest! Click “comments” to add yours, and we’ll send the cleverest caption writer a pair of hot-off-the-press children’s books.
And now for last week’s winner …
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, March 26th, 2008
Under: Contest | No Comments »