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Archive for August, 2008

ZUMA NESTA ROCK? What was Gwen Stefani thinking??

Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale (MCT Direct Photos) We’ve come to grips with Fifi Trixibelle Geldof and her sisters Peaches and Pixie. We’ve forgiven Tea Leoni and David Duchovny for naming their kid “Kyd.” But Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale just named their baby boy Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale. Hello? Nesta, we’re told by baby name guru Bruce Lansky, was Bob Marley middle name, so the Stefdales (Rossanis?) are continuing the Jamaican thing – their older son is named Kingston. But … isn’t Zuma a video game?

Click “comments” and tell us, what’s the weirdest baby name you’ve heard lately?

Posted on Friday, August 22nd, 2008
Under: Babies & Tots | No Comments »

PACKING for the Dorms

Target lamp Fellow blogger Ann Tatko did a round-up on the latest trends in dorm decor recently for the Times and Trib’s home section with helpful tips on what to bring, where to get it and how to jazz up that dreary little cell. We particularly loved Ann’s 6-step plan to find more storage within limited quarters – more on that in a moment!

But first, some caveats: If you’re moving your little darling into the dorms this fall, bear in mind that everything touted in fancy dorm catalogs and web sites is based on national averages that may not reflect the reality of your kid’s college. The average dorm room may be 12×19, but the five dorm rooms we’ve moved kids – ours and their friends – into were closer to 10×10. Also, it’s a rare college that lets you move furniture out of a dorm room – they don’t have anywhere to put it – or hammer or screw anything into the walls. Check with your specific residence hall before investing hundreds of dollars in futons, easy chairs, heavy hanging units or elaborate free-standing loft beds!

And now to Ann’s handy list of storage-finders!
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Posted on Friday, August 22nd, 2008
Under: College Apps & Angst | No Comments »

FAB FIVE for the Weekend

Replica of the "Nina" (courtesy the Columbus Foundation) 1. Ahoy, matey! Is that the New World we spy? A replica of Columbus’ famous ship, the “Nina,” docks at the Petaluma Turning Basin this weekend. Clamber aboard and imagine seafaring days of yore. (9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 22-26 , $3-$5)

2. Catch the roller derby action at the SF Bay Bombers’ annual Kids Day Game. Kids 12 and under are free Aug. 23 at San Francisco’s Kezar Pavilion.

3. Load up a picnic supper, grab a blanket and head for Oakland’s Dunsmuir Estate tomorrow evening for an outdoor screening of the Mike Myers comedy “So I Married an Axe Murderer,” which was filmed at the Dunsmuir Estate. ($5, Aug. 22 at dusk)
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Posted on Thursday, August 21st, 2008
Under: Family Outings | No Comments »


Baby TV (Gary Meader illus./MCT Direct) Say “bye-bye” to baby TV. Or rather, say “au revoir.” France just banned the marketing of television shows to babies and tots. And foreign baby channels, including Rupert Murdoch’s Baby TV and Fox Entertainment’s Baby First TV, are required to run warning messages for parents that say: “Watching television can slow the development of children under 3, even when it involves channels aimed specifically at them.”

The French ruling goes on to say,

“Television viewing hurts the development of children under 3 years old and poses a certain number of risks, encouraging passivity, slow language acquisition, over-excitedness, troubles with sleep and concentration as well as dependence on screens.”

Naturally, the honchos at Baby TV and Baby First are aghast. And we keep hoping the Teletubbies weigh in on the debate. Perhaps Tinky Winky could refuse to buy French purses. Seriously though, how bad do you think baby TV is for kids? Do you let your little ones watch? Click “comments” and share your thoughts.

Posted on Wednesday, August 20th, 2008
Under: Babies & Tots, TV | No Comments »

OH PADMA! It’s Top Chef Junior

Teen cooks at Viking Home Chef (Susan Pollard/Contra Costa Times) Yes, it’s true – Bravo is launching a pint-sized version of its uber-popular reality show, “Top Chef.” And they’re casting for “Top Chef Junior” right … now.

The ideal Top Chef Junior is between the ages of 15-18 with “mad skills in the kitchen.” Bravo goes on: “Do you dream of a career in fine dining or are even on your way to one? Is everything about you ready for the kitchen big leagues except your age? Are you plating fine dining fare fit for a food critic?”

If that description fits someone in your household, e-mail their name, age, city, contact info, a photo, a paragraph-long description of the young chef and another blurb explaining why they’d be a perfect match for the show. We’ll have fun watching the results!

Posted on Wednesday, August 20th, 2008
Under: Cuisine, TV | No Comments »

BACK TO SCHOOL: 9 Ways to Fix the Morning Rush

Morning Routine (Hector Casanova illus., MCT Direct) Shifting children from the lazy days of summer to rigid school schedules is a challenge for most families. It’s hard enough when young sleepyheads don’t hear the alarm or wake up just enough to turn the ringer off before going back to sleep – we’ve also had a couple of sleepwalkers who actually went for a walk with the clock and left it somewhere.

But add in the frantic rush to get washed, dressed and fed, load the backpack, pack the lunch and get out the door and you’ve got all the elements of a nightmarish morning. So we asked some experts for help in beating the morning rush.

“Your child is not being a problem,” said parenting expert Bonnie Harris, author of “Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids: 8 Principles for Raising Kids You’ll Love to Live With.” “Your child is having a problem. When you shift your perception in this way, you can begin to address the underlying causes of the problematic morning behaviors.”

1. ID the problem: Some children aren’t morning people, others have trouble with transitions, and some get too easily distracted to focus on more than one instruction at a time. Make sure you’re solving the right problem.
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Posted on Wednesday, August 20th, 2008
Under: Kids & Tweens, Teens | No Comments »

PINT-SIZED Capricorns?

OK, we’ve been serious enough today. Wondering about your baby’s horoscope? Or how your little Capricorn is going to get along with his Virgo sis? Yeah, we thought so. just launched a page of horoscopes for pint-sized members of the Zodiac. Kinda irresistible. Here’s a sample:
Baby horoscopes from

Posted on Tuesday, August 19th, 2008
Under: Babies & Tots | 2 Comments »

LOWER Drinking Age to 18??

glassOn the front page this morning, a coalition of 100 college presidents is lobbying lawmakers to think about lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18. The current law, they say, is not working – 40% of college students exhibit at least one sign of alcohol dependence or abuse – and it may be indirectly encouraging harmful binge drinking. (Click here for links to more statistics on drinking by college-age teens and 13- to 17-year-olds.)

The Associated Press story quotes Duke University sophomore Moana Jagasia, who grew up in Singapore where the drinking age is lower, saying, “There isn’t that much difference in maturity between 21 and 18. If the age is younger, you’re getting exposed to it at a younger age, and you don’t freak out when you get to campus.”

What do you think? Is the current law working? Should it be changed? Or should we be considering a graduated drinking law that, like its graduated driver counterpart, offers a how-to/how-not-to educational component and gives freedom gradually. Punch a button on the poll or click “comments” and share your thoughts.

Posted on Tuesday, August 19th, 2008
Under: Health & Safety, Teens | No Comments »

WILL WE see more texting-while-driving accidents?

From the Associated Press:

Driver killed in crash had been texting
HIGHLAND — Authorities say a 16-year-old girl who died after losing control of her car had been texting on her cell phone moments before the accident. Full story

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Posted on Monday, August 18th, 2008
Under: Teens | No Comments »

DISNEY Underwear Fiasco

Controversial underwearThe words “Disney” and “underwear fiasco” don’t often appear in the same sentence. But it seems the mouse king was selling 3-packs of “High School Musical” themed panties for young girls, when a British grandmother complained about the motto emblazoned on the undies. The words “Dive In” were printed just below the belly button region. Disney quickly yanked the underpants off store shelves and said:

“The knickers in question were designed using our High School Musical 2 artwork, which uses the creative theme of a swimming pool, as this is a key part of the film’s storyline. Unfortunately a genuine oversight was made and the text on this product was used outside the context of the swimming pool. This product will not be part of any forthcoming collections.”

That’s probably the first time we’ve seen the term “knickers” in a corporate press release. But we wonder, what brainiac thought the words “Dive In” would be appropriate wording for an 8-year-old girl’s underwear?? Victoria’s Secret, sure. But Disney? What do you think? Punch a button or click “comments” and weigh in.

Posted on Monday, August 18th, 2008
Under: Just Bizarre | No Comments »