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Archive for March, 2008

FAB FIVE for the Weekend

Peking Acrobats 1. The Peking Acrobats take the stage at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall Friday through Sunday. ($12 and up)

2. Saturday’s Old Fashioned Easter at Dunsmuir Historic Estate includes the big bunny, games and egg hunts from noon to 3 p.m. Bring an Easter basket. ($1-$5)

3. Get your celt on at the annual Celtic Festival in Oakland Saturday and Sunday ($20)
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Posted on Thursday, March 20th, 2008
Under: Fab Five, Family Outings | No Comments »

CLIF BARS Go Kid-Friendlier

Clif Kid's ZBarsIt was just a few years ago that the Berkeley-based Clif Bar company came out with its line of ZBars for kids, a smaller, nutrient packed energy bar whose kid-pleasing flavors included chocolate brownie, peanut butter and honey graham. So we were intrigued when a Clif Bar care package, loaded with new fruity ZBar flavors and twisted fruit ropes, landed on our desks earlier this week. According to a recent National Public Radio report, only a quarter of the nation’s kids eat enough fruit. So Clif is trying to make it easier to get fruit into children’s diets via twisted fruit rope that equals one fruit serving, and fruity ZBars.

So we enlisted the help of some official tasters – our teens and their friends.
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Posted on Wednesday, March 19th, 2008
Under: Cuisine | No Comments »

SCHOOL NEWS: The Week in Weird

Worn sneakers (photo by Sanja Gjenero, StockXchng) News of budget cuts and teacher layoffs continues to flow – and we’ll get to that later this week – but first let’s turn our attention to the weirdest headlines of the week, starting with a Florida sixth grader who peed in a lunchbox because, according to classmates, their teacher told him to. The boy’s mother called the school to complain that the first-year teacher would not let her child use the restroom, and that he was forced to go behind a classroom bookcase and relieve himself in a lunchbox. School administrators have put the teacher on paid leave while they investigate, and the school board’s attorney says the entire affair is “beyond our comprehension.”
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Posted on Wednesday, March 19th, 2008
Under: Just Bizarre, Schools | No Comments »

DOUBLE VISION: Photo Caption Contest

Twins Day (Paul Tople/MCT)
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 …
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Posted on Wednesday, March 19th, 2008
Under: Contest | No Comments »

THE GAY UNCLE’s Guide to Parenting

We are dying over “The Gay Uncle’s Guide to Parenting.” This purple paperback landed last week and it’s 12 kinds of fantastic. Written by Brett Berk, a longtime teacher, preschool director and devoted uncle, the book includes down-to-earth, eminently practical parenting advice, and it’s absolutely hilarious. We were sold when Berk told a couple who’d spent months battling their 3-year-old over a tortuous morning routine that included eating breakfast under the table and half a dozen tantrums, “Let’s do a little role play. Pretend you’re the grown-up.”
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Posted on Tuesday, March 18th, 2008
Under: Advice | 2 Comments »


Oprah, he’s not. But the Today Show’s Al Roker launched a Kids’ Book Club last spring, and it’s pretty darn cool. The club site includes interviews with each author, a Q&A section and a spot so fourth and fifth grade teachers can submit their students’ questions too. A lot of what they’re reading will sound very familiar to you book lovers – “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” “Swordbird” and “Bud, Not Buddy” – but others were new to us. How did we miss the “Sisters Grimm“? And we love the audio clips and sample chapters. Interested in joining? Pick up a copy of “Chasing Vermeer,” Blue Balliett’s whodunit, and dig in!

Posted on Tuesday, March 18th, 2008
Under: Books | No Comments »

FRISBEE, Hacky Sack & You

The Frisbee turns 50 (MCT) Remember those joyous days of yore when children rode bikes and built forts, and Mom didn’t worry about where you were as long as you were home by dinner? We tossed Frisbees, and bounced Superballs … ahhh, childhood. Well, those retro pleasures could be yours once more. We’re giving away a Wham-O 50th anniversary Frisbee, Hacky Sack and “the ball with the incredible super high bounce.”

All you have to do is click “comments – we know Susan knows how to do this, because she won the drawing last week! – and share your fondest memory of childhood.

Posted on Monday, March 17th, 2008
Under: Contest | No Comments »

MAGNETIC Samurais, Gladiators & Death Toys

Recalled You might as well upend the toy box and just throw away all your magnetic toys. It’ll save time.

Some 1.3 million MagnaMan magnetic toy figurines – colorful samurais, gladiators, aliens and Vikings – were recalled today because the toys’ tiny magnets come loose. Swallow one and your child could choke. Swallow two or more, and they’ll tear holes through his intestines. And that’s not all. Also recalled today: 1.1 million magnetic toys for preschoolers , sold under the name Magtastic and Magnetix Jr. (The toys, we mean, not the toddlers.)

Honey, go play in the street. It’s safer.

Posted on Monday, March 17th, 2008
Under: Toy Recalls | No Comments »

PARENT TALKS: Empty Nests, Asthma & Cybersafety

College-bound (Hector Casanova illus. MCT Direct) Here’s what’s up on the parent education scene…
“The Empty Nest”
March 18 at 7:30 p.m., Julia Morgan School for Girls, Mills College, Oakland
Speaker: Karen Stabiner, editor of ”The Empty Nest: 31 Parents Tell the Truth About Relationships, Love and Freedom After the Kids Fly the Coop.” Sponsored by the Julia Morgan School and College Preparatory School. (Free. For info, call 510-632-6000.)

“Childhood Matters: Asthma & Children”
March 23 at 9 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and 105.1 KOCN-FM
Rona Renner and a panel of experts discuss asthma symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

“Child Exploitation on the Internet”
March 27 at 11:30 a.m. at Walnut Creek Intermediate
Brown bag talk by cybersafety expert and police officer Steve DeWarns; sponsored by WCI and Acalanes’ “Surviving the Tweens” series. (Free.)
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Posted on Monday, March 17th, 2008
Under: Parenting Issues | No Comments »

BIG Q: Domestic Violence

?! 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 the effects of domestic violence on families:

“I have a friend who I think is a victim of domestic violence. I want to help, but I’m just not sure what to do, and I don’t want to offend her by asking. What would you do?”

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

Posted on Monday, March 17th, 2008
Under: Advice | No Comments »