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Archive for July, 2008

BINKIES RECALLED for Choking Hazard

Recalled binkies - choking hazard
The Consumer Product Safety Commission just recalled 115,000 of these “It’s My Binky” pacifiers, because they fall apart and pose a choking hazard for babies. The binkies, which were sold at Nordstrom and baby boutiques for $5-$6 apiece, are pink, blue or white and carry slogans such as “Stud Muffin,” “Mute Button” and “Flirt.” If you’ve got one, return it to the store or call (888) 689-9444 for instructions on getting a replacement.

Posted on Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008
Under: Babies & Tots, Health & Safety | No Comments »

JAWS TIME: Shark Week is Coming

Whale sharks in Atlanta (Frank Niemeir/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/MCT)
Cue the “Jaws” music. Shark Week starts this weekend! It’s all sharks, all the time on the Discovery Channel , and San Francisco’s Aquarium of the Bay and Berkeley’s Habitot are getting in on the action too with underwater themed activities and a shark-sleepover.

The Aquarium of the Bay — where a clear tunnel gets you up close and personal with sevengill, leopard, spiny dogfish and angel sharks — is hosting family sleepovers on July 26 and August 2. The fun runs from 7:30 p.m. to 9 a.m. and includes guided tours, shark-related activities, late night snacks and a full breakfast ($65). Don’t want to sleep wit’ da fishes? They’re also hosting leopard shark touching pools, scavenger hunts and special shark feedings July 27-Aug. 3.
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Posted on Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008
Under: Family Outings, TV | 1 Comment »

DARK KNIGHT Amps Up Parental Anxieties

Heath Ledger in "Dark Knight" (Courtesy Warner Brothers Pictures/MCT) The Dark Knight,” the latest, hottest entry in the Batman franchise, hit the cineplex this weekend, raking in $155 million and garnering considerable controversy for its PG-13 rating. In this morning’s USA Today, Scott Bowles describes parents aghast over the movie’s violence, which includes, among other things, torture and an impalement. Some parents who brought their 11- and 12-year-olds to see the Batman flick, starring Christian Bale and Heath Ledger, questioned why a movie this dark and this violent would be rated PG-13, instead of R. Others said blaming Hollywood was no excuse for not vetting what their kids see in the first place. “You have to do your homework,” parent Larry Olmstead told Bowles. “Did anyone not know this was a violent movie about a homicidal maniac in makeup?”

Click “comments” and tell us, what are your thoughts on the PG-13 debate? Is “Dark Knight” too dark for kids? How do you decide what is and is not appropriate?

Posted on Monday, July 21st, 2008
Under: Movies | No Comments »


Batman, Complete Fifth SeasonThe newest installment in the Batman saga, “Dark Knight,” descended on theaters this weekend. More on that later today, but first, we need to set up this week’s giveaway. Naturally, it’s Batman inspired: DC Comics’ animated “Batman, the Complete Fifth Season” on DVD.

And all you have to do to win it is click “comments” and tell us, who’s the greatest superhero of all time and why? (This contest is now closed – congrats, Sylvia! Interested in seeing what we’re giving away next? Just click here.)

Posted on Monday, July 21st, 2008
Under: Contest | No Comments »

PARENT TALKS: Preteens, Parenting and More

Parenting “Power Parenting: Frustration – Yours and Theirs”
July 23 at 7 p.m. at Loma Vista Adult Center, Room B-1, 1266 San Carlos Ave., Concord. Speaker: Karen Lingenfelter. The final Mt. Diablo Adult Ed parenting workshop in this series deals with frustration triggers, anger and coping mechanisms for you and your child. ($10; call 925-685-7340 ext. 2771 for details.)

“10 Great Dates”
Fridays through Aug. 29 from 7 to 9:15 Danville’s Community Presbyterian Church
Continuation of a 10-week series designed to energize marriages and strengthen families. Couples meet every Friday night for light hor d’ oeuvres and a 20-minute video on parenting, communication, love, etc. Childcare for kids in 1st through 5th grades (babysitting vouchers for younger kids). (One time charge of $15 per couple plus $10 for the book.)
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Posted on Monday, July 21st, 2008
Under: Parenting Issues | No Comments »

ENTERTAINMENT SCIENTISTS Warn of Hannah Montana Shortage

Are we facing a Cyrus shortage? The Onion, one of our favorite faux news sites, says yes…

Entertainment Scientists Warn Miley Cyrus Will Be Depleted by 2013

Posted on Sunday, July 20th, 2008
Under: Other | No Comments »

TO SPANK or Not to Spank

Spanking and discipline (Ill. by Marie Guglielmo, MCT)Today on Childhood Matters, host Rona Renner, RN, and her panel of experts tackled the controversial issues of discipline and abuse.

When is it OK to hit your kids?
Where do you draw the line?
And how do you teach right from wrong?

Click “comments” and share your thoughts.

Posted on Sunday, July 20th, 2008
Under: Advice | No Comments »

BULLIES as Victims?

Bullies (Illustration by Gaylen Floy/MCT)Apparently, it’s not just bullies’ victims who are at risk. It’s the bullies too, according to a just-released Yale School of Medicine study. According to a story in today’s New York Times, researchers found heightened risks for suicidal thoughts among bullied children — and their aggressors as well. Children who beat up other kids, physically or emotionally, are two to nine times more likely to entertain suicidal thoughts than youngsters in the general population, and young female bullies are at the high end of the spectrum. What’s unclear is whether bullying behavior increases the suicide risk, or whether suicidal kids are more likely to become bullies.

Your thoughts?

Posted on Friday, July 18th, 2008
Under: Kids & Tweens | No Comments »


Black Canary Barbie (Mattel) Sigh. Maybe instead of running scathing commentary every time a toy manufacturer produces yet another skanky Bratz-type toy, we should run stories about wholesome dollies. There are so few of them, we wouldn’t have to type much at all. (OK, we’re exaggerating. Slightly. American Girl and Only Hearts Club make lovely dollies.)

But Mattel just announced the fall release of Black Canary Barbie and we have to ask the obvious question, “What the–??” It appears that in her rush to don that black leather jacket, fishnets and boots, she forgot to put on pants. The doll is an homage, Mattel says, to a DC Comics character. But the blogosphere is alive with the sound of incredulous chortles … and a slew of new nicknames, including “Fetish Barbie,” “S&M Barbie” and, of course, “Biker Bitch Barbie.” What do you think? Much ado over nothing? Or sign of the coming apocalypse?

Posted on Friday, July 18th, 2008
Under: Other | 2 Comments »

DOUGHERTY POOL a wash for swim outing

A trip to take a friend and our three kids swimming last weekend turned into an hour-long journey from …well, you get the point.San Ramon toddler pool

I was excited to introduce her to one of my favorite East Bay kid-friendly swim spots, the toddler pool at Cal High in San Ramon.

I love the gradual beach entry to the tot pool (left) and am in awe of the designer who thought up cool features like huge mushrooms sprouting gentle rains and buckets that randomly fill and spill upon unsuspecting swimmers.

But that outing was not to be. A broken water main had lifeguards turning us away before we even parked — not a good feeling when you’ve got three kids all suited up and clamoring for some hot summertime fun.

The pool staffers got points, though, for thinking fast. They handed us a photocopied map to the Dougherty Valley Aquatic Center just a short drive away, near Venture High School up in the eastern hills.
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Posted on Thursday, July 17th, 2008
Under: Babies & Tots, Family Outings | No Comments »