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Archive for April, 2008

PARENT TALKS: ADHD, Wii & Childhood Stress

Worried mom “All About Attention Focus and Learning: Is It Always ADHD?”
April 29 at 7 p.m. at the Danville Library.
Speakers: William Shryer, clinical director, Diablo Behavioral Healthcare, and Rhea Brandon, educational psychologist. Free but call 925-648-4800 to reserve a seat.

“Booties Camp: Baby Language & Brain Development”
May 2 at 6 p.m. at Bananas, Oakland
For new and expecting parents. Sponsored by Bananas.

“State Budget Cuts and Local Schools”
May 3 at 10 a.m. at Encinal High, Alameda
Speaker: Assemblymember Sandre Swanson and a panel of experts. For info, click here.
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Posted on Monday, April 28th, 2008
Under: Parenting Issues | 1 Comment »

FAMILY TRAVEL: China with Children

The Roemer family in China
Planning that next family vacation? The Roemer family gives us the scoop on Beijing and Shanghai with kids.

THE TRAVELERS: Wine sales and Mandarin teacher Julie McCormack and prosecutor Michael Roemer, and their children Conor, age 7, and Erin, 5.

THE TREK IN A SEC: Two globe-trotting, Third World-loving parents from Orinda booked a two-week independent trip to China with their then 4- and 6-year-olds in tow.
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Posted on Sunday, April 27th, 2008
Under: Family Travel | No Comments »

GREEN CLEAN, Happy Home

Karen Rezai mixes green cleaning products (Dan Rosenstrauch/CC Times)
In case you hadn’t noticed, things have been very, very green around here. Not just here, but in your supermarket aisles, TV ads and everywhere anyone’s selling anything. Forget new and improved. Now it’s all about green and improved. Today’s Times features a Green Guide to living, complete with Bay Area resources for recycling just about anything. But we were particularly struck by Karen Rezai (pictured above) and her “green clean, happy home” outlook on life. Karen’s the president of the East Bay Holistic Moms Network and, she says, there’s no need to douse your home with chemicals when you can dig into the pantry instead.
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Posted on Saturday, April 26th, 2008
Under: Parenting Issues | 1 Comment »

SCHOOL HEADLINES: :-( & More

text Two-thirds of the nation’s teens have accidentally used texting shorthand – LOL-style abbreviations or emoticons – in their academic work. “OMG!” say researchers at the Pew Internet and American Life project.

“The findings don’t surprise local students and teachers, who say that instant messaging has become the primary form of communication for a generation weaned on BlackBerry and Motorola Razr phones,” writes San Jose Mercury News reporter Julie Lyons. “They often don’t realize what comes out when they let their fingers do the talking.”

Playground bullies are in the spotlight again after an Oakland 7-year-old landed at Children’s Hospital with a fractured skull, courtesy of playground thugs. Despite the name of the school – Piedmont Avenue Elementary – this school is one of the Oakland School District’s most violent campuses, and not a part of the nearby Piedmont School District. Horrifying story, and not the first time this particular little boy has been targeted at school. Where, we wonder, is the pro bono attorney to sue the bejeezus out of the attackers’ families, the principal, teachers, playground supervisors and school district? Because you know that if this had been a Piedmont kid, the mega-lawsuit would have been filed after the first attack, not the third.
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Posted on Friday, April 25th, 2008
Under: Schools | No Comments »

BABY MAMA, Harold & Kumar

Traditional movie critics tend to weigh a flick’s merits on the basis of cinematography and plot development, whereas we want to know, will our kids have nightmares? Start spouting new and inventive swear words? Or ask what those three people are doing and why they’re, um, naked?

So, as we head into blockbuster movie season, we’ll be sharing wisdom from some of our favorite family-centric reviewers – Common Sense Media, Focus on the Family’s remarkably even-handed Plugged In Online, and the very detailed Kids-in-Mind, which lists every violent, sexy or foul-mouthed scene. (And if you’ve got other favorite movie review sites, we want to hear about them too.)

So, let’s lead off with Tina Fey‘s newest, “Baby Mama.”
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Posted on Friday, April 25th, 2008
Under: Movies | No Comments »

PREGNANT Paper Dolls

Pregnant Paper Dolls
Just spotted these “Pregnant Paper Dolls” and we can’t stop laughing. Wondertime Mag has a bunch of fun Mother’s Day gift suggestions in its May issue – including a laminated wallet by Orla Kiely and a polka-dotted apron from Domistyle which is beyond cute – but this one? Very, very funny.
Pregnant Paper Dolls

Posted on Friday, April 25th, 2008
Under: Other | 2 Comments »

VIOLENCE, KIDS & Grand Theft Auto

Grand Theft Auto screen shot
Grand Theft Auto IV” hits store shelves next week. If you’ve somehow missed all the fuss, been living on a desert island or in a hermitage someplace, “Grand Theft Auto” is an insanely popular video game series in which players work their way up the criminal underworld ranks by stealing, pimping, killing or street racing their way through a gritty, urban environment. Needless to say, it’s controversial. And the latest entry in the franchise explodes Tuesday.

So Times’ video game columnist Gieson Cacho went for a ride-along with a Concord police officer this week to chat about real-life urban crime and the infamous video game, and talked with Dr. Lawrence Kutner, Harvard Medical School psychiatrist and co-author of “Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth about Violent Video Games.”
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Posted on Thursday, April 24th, 2008
Under: Technology & Video Games | No Comments »

FAB FIVE for the Weekend

Baby Blues at the Schulz Museum
1. Got peanuts? Or the baby blues? The Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa is hosting Jerry Scott and Rick Kirkman, creators of the comic strip “Baby Blues,” this Sunday at 1 p.m. for a talk and book signing. (Pregnant women get in free. Everyone else is $5-$8)

2. Check out First Five’s Children’s Fair in East County Saturday from 10 to 2 – educational booths for grown-ups, and a petting zoo, arts and crafts, bouncy house, amusement park rides and fun activities for the kids. All free at Small World Park in Pittsburg.
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Posted on Thursday, April 24th, 2008
Under: Family Outings | No Comments »

FLUNK The Budget Rally

March 11 music protests Frustrated with California’s state budget cuts and how they’ll impact your school? Join the San Ramon Valley Council of PTAs’ “Flunk the Budget” Rally this Friday at 12:30 p.m. at Danville’s Sycamore Valley Elementary School. Everyone’s welcome. You don’t have to live in San Ramon to advocate for a balanced approach to fixing the budget crisis that includes, say PTA supporters, both cuts and revenue increases.

Posted on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008
Under: Schools | No Comments »

TEEN REPELLENT: ‘Mosquito’ device deters teens

Lifestyles_Teen_AwayComing to your grouchy neighbor’s home: a repellent for teens. Considered a literal gang buster, Compound Security Systems’ Mosquito is an ultrasonic device that emits a high-pitched noise that only teens and most people in their early 20s can hear. The Mosquito has become so popular in Britain that the company is looking to expand to the U.S.

The device works by creating a sound that some teens say is as painful to hear as nails on a chalkboard or a persistent buzzing in the ear. People older than 25 generally can’t hear it because they have lost the sensitive hair cells in their inner ears. The device is used to discourage unruly teens from loitering outside businesses. (To see how it works, check out ABC Nightline’s video clip here.) In response, teens have turned the technology into Mosquito ringtones for their cell phones, making it easy to sneak one by their parents and teachers.

So, is the ‘Mosquito’ a good idea? Take our poll and tell us what you think.


Posted on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008
Under: Teens | No Comments »