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Archive for March, 2008

FAMILY TRAVEL: Off the Beaten Path in Paris

A Paris market (by Greengrocery, StockXchng) Paris, anyone? This week’s travel experts are a pair of Lafayette retirees whose ideas for doing Paris on the cheap were so fantastic and so kid-friendly, we just had to share. Best of all, these intrepid travelers have a thing for YouTube, so you can catch Rick Steves-like glimpses of their travel finds.

THE TREK IN A SEC: This Lafayette duo spent six glorious weeks living in Paris, which gave them “oodles of time to explore off the beaten path,” says Steve. “Anyone for a canal ride under the streets of Paris?”

THE TRAVELERS: Early retirees Steve, a Lindsay Wildlife Museum volunteer interpreter, and Patty Tanenbaum.
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Posted on Sunday, March 16th, 2008
Under: Family Travel | No Comments »

AN EGRET outing you won’t regret

If you’re a city dwelling parent, like most of us,  and you want to give your kids a taste of nature they’ll never forget, consider taking a day trip up Highway One just north of Stinson Beach to see one of the largest snowy egret and blue heron nesting sites on the West Coast, the Bolinas Lagoon Preserve.


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Posted on Thursday, March 13th, 2008
Under: Family Outings | No Comments »

RACHAEL RAY Cooks for Kids

Rachael Ray (Photo by Jim Wright, courtesy Rachael Ray)
Got any Rachael Ray fans out there? The queen of EVOO has been whipping up kids’ recipes lately and this one sounds pretty darn tasty. And it’s adaptable, so junior can keep his own Chicken Taco Burger (Ray calls ‘em Chicken Taco Patties, but they’re baby burgers) tame and spice dad’s to incendiary levels. Here’s Ray’s recipe… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, March 13th, 2008
Under: Cuisine | No Comments »

EXTREME OUTDOORS Film Fest, Grab Your Teens

Credit: From the film

Our buddy Laura Casey, who writes the Seen blog, just tipped us off to something very, very cool – the Banff Mountain Film Festival, an REI and National Geographic-sponsored film fest with shorts about the outdoors, extreme outdoor sports, activities and animals. Meh, you say? Ah, click over here and watch the trailer! If that first 1 min. and 47 seconds don’t get your heart racing, you’re, ahem, dead. Fantastic stuff for any outdoor lover, and particularly fantastic for families with teens and tweens. It’s showing tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m. at UC Berkeley’s Wheeler Auditorium, and Friday and Saturday night at Los Altos High. Not from the Bay Area? No worries, click here for a state-by-state listing.

Posted on Wednesday, March 12th, 2008
Under: Movies | No Comments »

UP IN ARMS: Photo Caption Contest

Photo by Michael McAndrews, Hartford Courant (MCT Direct)
We’re having way too much fun with these photo caption contests. Last week’s airborne boy brought in some hilarious suggestions about Cirque de Soleil aerialists and haircut escapees. You’ll see who won what after the jump.

Meanwhile, these people are … actually, we have no idea what they’re doing. Captions, please! Click “comments,” submit your entry by Sunday night, and we’ll send the cleverest caption writer a copy of “Bad Baby Names: The Worst True Names Parents Saddled Their Kids With.”

For last week’s winner, read on …
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Posted on Wednesday, March 12th, 2008
Under: Contest | No Comments »

ORPLE in the Lunchbox

An OrpleWhile sleepily packing lunches this morning, we remembered all those great lunchbox ideas you guys supplied a few weeks ago – the cream cheese, turkey and cranberry sauce sandwich; the rolled PBJ sliced sushi-style into rounds; the simple turkey slice wrapped around string cheese; and the fruit leathers and freeze dried “Just Peas” and “Just Bananas” with no added anything. Fantastic ideas!

Now we’ve got a couple more to add, including this cool “Orple” idea from Family Fun magazine – or was it an “Applange”?
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Posted on Wednesday, March 12th, 2008
Under: Cuisine | No Comments »

TEENS AND SEX: Solution starts at home

Coed sleepover ILLUS.jpgA new study has found that more than 3 million girls nationwide — that’s one in four teens — have a sexually transmitted disease. The findings are alarming: among those who said they’ve had sex, 40 percent had an STD; 18 percent have human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cancer; and almost half of sexually-active black girls has one or more STD. If those numbers don’t jar us awake, nothing will. (For more about the study, read here.)

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying the study reveals that “the national policy of promoting abstinence-only programs is a $1.5 billion failure, and teenage girls are paying the real price.” Enough with blaming the education system and under-paid teachers who are constrained by an antiquated family values philosophy based approach to sex ed. If our country’s leaders won’t fix the problem, it’s time for America’s parents to take care of their own. Let’s be honest here: these are our children, which makes this our problem and our priority.

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Posted on Wednesday, March 12th, 2008
Under: Parenting Issues | No Comments »

DIY BIRTHDAY Parties

Birthday Cake (Bob Fila, Chicago Tribune, MCT Direct) Martha Stewart, eat your heart out. There’s a new DIY/reality show out that’s all about children’s celebrations. Fine Living TV’s new “Cool Kids’ Parties” series offers eyepopping ideas for putting pizzazz into birthday fetes and classroom parties. Some of them are ridiculously Martha-esque, and they all include those icky confessionals, beloved by reality show editors, where the viewer gets to hear the same inane thing twice. (Voice Over: “But Tiffany wondered, as a mother, if she’d be able to handle 35 birthday guests.” Tiffany: “I wonder, as a mother, if I’ll be able to, you know, handle 35 birthday guests.”)

That said, there are some great ideas in there. One episode offers ideas for a Mad Scientist party, complete with crazed scientist, cool decorations and amusing activities. (It airs again this Saturday and Sunday at noon.) Our fave was a surprise tea party for a beloved teacher that included the best teacher gift idea ever: ye olde coupon book with a classroom twist. One coupon was for “instant silence.” Adorable. We’re sold.
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Posted on Tuesday, March 11th, 2008
Under: Kids & Tweens | No Comments »

GAP YEAR Abroad

Education vacation (illus by Noah Musser, MCT Direct)
It’s Americans who pack their kids off to college directly from high school. In England, Australia and Canada, teens frequently take a “gap year” off to travel, work and get some real life experiences, before they buckle down to another four years of studies, followed by decades in a cubicle. (OK, just managed to really depress myself.)

The big question, of course, is how one spends a gap year, so it doesn’t turn into 12 months of loafing around. That question will be answered, we’re told, at this Saturday’s Gap Year Fair at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay in San Francisco (1835 Ellis St.). The free fair runs from 2 to 4 p.m. and includes reps from Global Quest, Thinking Beyond Borders, Sojourns Abroad and other philanthropic and education abroad programs geared toward teens.

Anyone out there have any experience with gap years? Click “comments” and share…

Posted on Tuesday, March 11th, 2008
Under: College Apps & Angst | 1 Comment »

EXHAUSTED MOM Fantasies: Book Giveaway

Time for another book giveaway and we think you’re going to love this one. (Congrats, by the way, to Michele, who won last week’s adorable springtime books!) Two books just landed on our desk, and we are dying of laughter. The first is “Porn for New Moms” – a collection of photos of daddies cooking, vacuuming and saying things like “Now remember, it’s my turn to do the midnight feeding, so don’t get up!” Ooo la la. The second is an everywoman collection – also hilarious, and also yours if you’ll share your exhausted parent fantasies. Click “comments,” dish and we’ll draw a winner’s name next weekend. We’ll start you off… Exhausted mom gets home, kids are flocking around the ankles and hubby says, “Let me cook dinner tonight. What would you like?” Oh yeah…

Posted on Monday, March 10th, 2008
Under: Contest | No Comments »