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Archive for May, 2008

CHILDHOOD Matters

Radio (Photo by Ann- Kathrin Rehse, StockXchng)Are you a “Childhood Matters” fan? You should be! This local radio show is a treasure trove of great parenting advice from Rona Renner, RN, and her ever-revolving cast of experts. This Sunday, Rona and guest Susan Linn, author of “The Case for Make-Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World” and “Consuming Kids,” talk about ways to nurture creative play. Imaginative play in early childhood is linked, experts believe, to creativity, critical thinking and emotional regulation down the road. In this age of tech-y toys, TV and hyper commercialized toys, are we losing the power of make-believe? How do you put imagination back into your family’s life? Join the discussion at 9 a.m. on KISS-FM, 98.1, and 105.1 FM.

Then come back every Sunday morning for discussions of family travel and summer safety on June 8, the emotional needs of new fathers June 15, community violence on June 22 and helping preteens develop a healthy body image on the 29th.

Posted on Friday, May 30th, 2008
Under: Advice | No Comments »

FAB FIVE for the Weekend

Ferris Bueller's Day Off 1. Save Ferris! Anyone? Anyone? And enjoy free movies at the park tomorrow night when the Moraga Youth Involvement Committee screens “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” at the Moraga Commons at 8 p.m. (Orinda’s Teen Council hosts a similar screening at the Orinda Community Center Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m., tickets $5)

2. Pleasanton’s Children’s Arts Festival is this Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. at Centennial Park. Sculpt clay, do pastels, make collages and create a miniature ocean scene at one of the dozen art workshops. Need details? Cal park & rec at (925) 931-5340.

3. It’s a fiesta at Walnut Creek’s Lindsay Wildlife Museum this Sunday from 2:30-7 p.m. Animals, music, Mexican food, children’s activities, big fun. (Tickets $5-$30)

4. Check out the Urban Kidz Film Series when it kicks off the 10th Annual San Francisco Black Film Festival Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. Featuring flicks for preschoolers to tweens, the kids film series unfolds at the Museum of the African Diaspora, 685 Mission St., SF. (Free for kids, $10 for grown-ups)

5. Or stock up on baby gear at the Twins by the Bay’s mega-garage sale this Saturday from 8 a.m. till 1:30 p.m. at Eagles Hall, 2305 Alameda Ave, Alameda. Proceeds benefit families in need.

More weekend fun? Click “comments” and add it here.

Posted on Thursday, May 29th, 2008
Under: Family Outings | No Comments »

INDIANA JONES, Narnia & More

Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Paramount Pictures/MCT)
With a crack of his bullwhip and a sweep of the fedora, Indiana Jones ushered in summer blockbuster season last weekend with considerable pyrotechnics and plenty of gee-whiz-appeal. So we figure it’s high time we resurrect our aParentlySpeaking movie reviews, a round-up of family-centric movie commentaries inspired by the notion that not all PG-13 movies are created equal.

We caught Dr. Jones and his crystal skull adventures last weekend, of course, and LOVED the thrill-a-minute pace, although those voracious red ants? Shudder. But here’s what critics from our favorite family-centric review sites had to say…
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Posted on Thursday, May 29th, 2008
Under: Movies | No Comments »

CHOKING on a Cell Phone??

Recalled Little Tikes phones We knew cell phones posed all sorts of dangers, but we thought that had more to do with texting and driving, or ticking off fellow restaurant patrons. Turns out, you can choke on them too. The Consumer Product Safety folks just recalled a million Little Tikes Toy Cell Phones. Seems the hinge cover on the Chit ‘N Chat toy phones can break off and pose a choking hazard. CPSC and the toy company have received reports of three broken phones and one near-choking by a toddler.

Posted on Wednesday, May 28th, 2008
Under: Toy Recalls | No Comments »

SIPPY CUPS launch Bay Area tour

The Sippy Cups, our personal favorite family psychedelic band, are embarking on a Bay Area tour. If you’ve never seen ‘em, get to a show near you. They are hip, colorful fun…the kind of tunes you’ll like as much as your kids will. We recommend getting tickets in advance.

The Sippy CUps

June 1: Woodside High School Performing Arts Center, shows at 1 & 4 p.m.

June 14: Benvenuti Performing Arts Center, Sacramento, shows at 1 & 4 p.m.

July 20: Blue Sky Family Club, Emeryville, shows at noon & 3 p.m.

July 26: Lesher Center for Performing Arts, Walnut Creek, shows at noon & 3 p.m.

July 27: Peninsula Jewish Community Center, Foster City, show at 4 p.m.
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Posted on Wednesday, May 28th, 2008
Under: children's music, Family Entertainment | No Comments »

BAGGED: Caption Contest

East Bay Regional Park demo (Photo by Eddie Ledesma, CCTimes) Ya know, when we’re out looking for good candidates for our weekly photo caption contest, one of the criteria is, the image has to spark that classic question: “What the-?!”

This one definitely does…

So, bring on the captions! Click “comments” to add yours. And we’ll send the cleverest caption writer a couple of brand new kids’ DVDs.

And now for last week’s winner…

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Posted on Wednesday, May 28th, 2008
Under: Contest | No Comments »

WAITING FOR BABY: Corruption tainting international adoption

WORLD NEWS ADOPTIONS-4 1 DA(“Waiting for Baby” is a closer look at adoption and my family’s personal experience as we go through the process. It will appear every Wednesday in the aPARENTly Speaking blog.)

The news reports last week had a familiar and sad ring to them. Guatemala has annulled 15 adoptions for U.S. couples and is looking to overhaul its adoption program. The reason: fraud and irregularities. An investigation has found that some babies may have been stolen from their birth parents, others were possibly sold by their poor birth mothers.

It follows too closely reports in April that the U.S. and Vietnam will not renew their adoption agreement when it expires on Sept. 1. Corruption and baby selling are the underlying reasons there. It is the second suspension of adoptions between U.S. couples and Vietnam. The first came in 2003, with adoptions resuming in 2006.

This is the ugly side of international adoption, the side that taints and overshadows all the good that can come from adopting babies and children from other countries. It’s also the primary reason why international adoption was never on our radar.

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Posted on Wednesday, May 28th, 2008
Under: Adoption | No Comments »

FACEBOOK for Babies??

Tech-savvy tot (MCT Direct)
We swear we’re not Luddites. We love Facebook just as much as our teens. But MySpace for babies?? Totspot.com, a new social networking website for babies and toddlers, launches this summer. We’re guessing Totspot’s makers are capitalizing on that odd new baby naming trend – some parents aren’t naming their kids till they’ve acquired baby’s Internet domain. And OK, we’re fairly sure this Facebook-for-tots site is aimed at moms and dads who want to post updates on precious widdle snookums — but admit it, for just a sec, you visualized baby posting provocative pics of that wild toddler party, didn’t you? Milk shooters, the chug-a-lug contest, woo-hoo!

Now we’re curious. How tech-y did you go with your baby? Punch a button on the poll or click “comments” and add yours.

Posted on Wednesday, May 28th, 2008
Under: Technology & Video Games | 3 Comments »

BREASTFEEDING Cream Recall

Mommy's Bliss Nipple Cream recall Nursing moms, beware — the Food and Drug Administration just issued a warning to women to stop using Mommy’s Bliss Nipple Cream, because the cream may cause respiratory distress, vomiting and diarrhea in babies. The mixture is supposed to help soothe cracked nipples and the label explicitly says there is no need to remove the cream before nursing, but it contains chlorphenesin and phenoxyethanol, both of which pose a danger to infants.

If your baby is experiencing symptoms – lessened appetite, difficulty awakening, limpness, or changed skin color, call your doctor immediately. Questions about this product or symptoms? Call the FDA’s MedWatch at 800-332-1088.

Questions about breastfeeding or about other ways to deal with cracked or sore nipples? Call your local La Leche League, or the John Muir Women’s Health Center‘s breastfeeding support experts for practical tips and wise advice.

Posted on Tuesday, May 27th, 2008
Under: Babies & Tots, Health & Safety | No Comments »

JUNIE B Book Giveaway

Junie B. Jones (courtesy RandomHouse) Every kindergarten and first grade parent knows Junie B. Jones, the excitable, freckled star of 27 beginning reader books. Now, Junie B. and her stupid, smelly bus – no, we’re not editorializing, that’s its name – are heading to a bookstore near you. And a trio of Junie B. books could be yours this week! Yep, we’re giving away copies of “First Grader (At Last),” “Graduation Girl” and “Monster Under her Bed” and all you have to do is click “comments” and tell us, who’s your favorite kid lit hero, male or female? (Congrats, by the way, to Katie, who won last week’s shark Slip ‘N Slide!)

As for the Stupid Smelly Bus Tour, featuring Junie, Mr. Woo and the famous “Big Pink Trunk of Junk,” here’s when it arrives…
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Posted on Tuesday, May 27th, 2008
Under: Books, Contest | No Comments »