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Archive for October, 2008

FOURTH Day of Halloween…

Halloween bingoNeed a quick craft or game for that classroom Boo Party? Halloween bingo fills the bill. Make them yourself for a game station, or have the kids construct their own. Here’s how:

Heavy paper
Markers – candy corn or plastic spiders
Halloween rubber stamps, clip art or stickers with 25 different images (if you’re making six cards, you’ll need seven identical sets of images).

1. Open a new Word document on your computer. Hit the “insert a table” button near the top, and make one that’s five columns across and six rows down.
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Posted on Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
Under: Crafts, Halloween | No Comments »

FAB FIVE Halloween Safety Tips

PumpkinThe big trick-or-treat fest is just days away, and the American Academy of Pediatrics wants to make sure your kids stay safe and healthy when they’re out cavorting with ghouls and such. We’ll assume you already know the no-brainer stuff – make sure they can see out of their masks and their superhero capes aren’t tripping length, don’t go into strangers’ homes, be careful crossing streets, blah blah. But here’s a Fab Five of, er, brainer safety tips:

1. Use a votive candle – or a glow stick – to light your jack o’lantern, and place it on a sturdy surface, away from flammable objects, including small trick-or-treaters whose too-long capes might float dangerously near. While you’re at it, clear a path for those little ghouls so they don’t trip over hoses, bikes and other detritus. Make sure there’s enough light for them to see their way, and put Fido in the backyard so he doesn’t frighten anyone. Or vice versa.
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Posted on Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
Under: Halloween, Health & Safety | No Comments »


"Sing a Song of Wiggles" DVDHalloween is just a few days away and already, we’re starting to fret about holiday shopping. What will delight children and not drive us insane? So with that in mind, we’re offering up a brand new Wiggles DVD, “Sing a Song of Wiggles,” because we know there are zillions of very passionate Wiggles fans out there. As for us, we’re still in recovery from a near-fatal Raffi overdose, and the doctor has us on a steady Guns N Roses diet until we stop muttering about oh-pples and buh-no-nos. But we want to know what floats your kids’ musical boat. Click “comments” and tell us about your child’s favorite music – music you like too. We’ll draw a winner’s name Sunday night! (And congrats to Megan, who won last week’s “Nightmare Before Christmas Revisited” CD!)

Posted on Monday, October 27th, 2008
Under: children's music, Contest | No Comments »

FIFTH Day Before Halloween…

Beadles: Mad ScientistWe’ve always been big fans of Family Fun magazine, but our favorite FF craft ever would have to be the Beadles from the “Family Fun Crafts” book. Who knew pipe cleaners, wooden beads and embroidery floss could make children and adults so darn happy? We’ve entertained literally hundreds of children at a time with this craft project – you shoulda seen us on the fourth grade overnight with a sea of 9-year-olds, both boys and girls, all carefully drawing little faces on their beadle heads and threading embroidery floss hair. It’s a great project for grade schoolers, tweens and even teens.

We’ve always wanted to try this project as a Thanksgiving craft – little pilgrims and American Indians – but somehow, we always end up with mad scientists. Something about that neon green hair, you know?

Here’s what you’ll need:
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Posted on Monday, October 27th, 2008
Under: Crafts, Halloween | No Comments »

PARENT TALKS: Teens, Laws and Cash

Parental Juggling (Illustrated by Mark Hoffer/MCT Direct) “Your Teen and the Law: What Every Parent Should Know”
Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. at the Acalanes High School Theater, Lafayette. Speaker: Mary P. Carey, juvenile defense attorney, talks about current laws that affect teens, including drinking and driving, drugs, parties, consensual sex, illegal downloads, curfews and vandalism. Sponsored by Acalanes Adult Ed. Free.

“Autism Education Series for Parents”
Thursdays through October and November, 5:15-6:45 p.m. Center for Autism and Related Disorders at Packard Children’s Hospital, Palo Alto. A 10-part educational series for parents of young children (1-5 years) newly diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. ($5 per session)
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Posted on Monday, October 27th, 2008
Under: Parenting Issues | No Comments »

ON the 6th Day Till Halloween…

Orange Hot Chocolate (courtesy Matthew Mead)We couldn’t resist the cheery, orange cocoa in Matthew Mead’s new book, “Halloween Tricks and Treats.” It’s a hot, vanilla-scented concoction sure to warm up freezing trick-or-treaters. And we’re tempted to try it with a little orange extract too. (Or maybe some Cointreau for the parents!) Yum. Here’s how to make it…

12 oz. premium white chocolate
8 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 drops orange food coloring
Whipped cream and chocolate nonpareils or sprinkles to garnish

1. Coarsely chop the white chocolate and place it in a heatproof bowl. Set aside.
2. Heat the milk until not quite simmering, so bubbles just begin to form at the edge. Immediately pour the hot milk over the chocolate. Stir until smooth.
3. Whisk in the food color and vanilla, then continue to whisk until a light foam forms on the surface. Pour into 10 mugs and garnish with dollops of whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.
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Posted on Sunday, October 26th, 2008
Under: Cuisine, Halloween | No Comments »

TRAVEL Q&A: Special Needs Camping

Baby blocks (Stock.Xchng Photos)We’ve got travel guru Donna Airoldi, from the fabulous TravelMuse site, back with us and ready to tackle another set of family quandaries. Read on for special needs camping suggestions, then check back in two weeks for the lowdown on Olympic travel and, um, pinched fingers.

Q: We have a disabled child, and we’d like to go camping. What are our best options?
– East Bay Mom

Hot type A (Stock.Xchng Photos)Donna says: As with a lot of travel advice, it doesn’t hurt to begin by asking those around you for recommendations. Check with your doctors, teachers and parents of children with similar disabilities.

If you’ll be visiting a national park, be sure to review the National Park Service Web site to see what services are offered and how accessible the parks/campsites may be. Also, NPS has a National Accessibility Achievement Award Program, and you can view the list of past winners and nominees to get a better sense of the most accessible parks.
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Posted on Sunday, October 26th, 2008
Under: Family Travel | No Comments »

SEVEN DAYS Till Halloween…

Staff PhotojournalistI have a confession to make: I’ve always envied those tricked out front yards transformed into eerie graveyards and monster’s lairs at Halloween time. Problem was, I didn’t have the time or money to recreate a scene from the Addams family. Then came the perfect assignment: create affordable and simply Halloween decorations for a Home & Garden article. Essentially, the job was requiring me to turn envy into reality, or at least a scaled-down version of it.

Imagination took over. I wanted something spooky, but more eerie-like than frightful. The whole glowing fog image topped my must-have list. And so, the Ghoulish Cauldron was born, and less than $25 later, I had a make-it-yourself monster standing over a brewing black cauldron. In the light of day, it looks almost cute. But after dark, it startled both my unsuspecting husband and stepdaughter the first time they came home to find it waiting in the front yard. To try it yourself, follow these instructions (and to learn about more Halloween decoration ideas, check out the Home & Garden section):
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Posted on Saturday, October 25th, 2008
Under: Crafts, Halloween | No Comments »

56-YEAR-OLD woman is surrogate for daughter’s triplets

It’s easy for us men to say we’d do this for our children if only we could. But what about you women? Would you do what Jaci Dalenberg did for her daughter?

Ohio woman gives birth to triplet granddaughters
Not only has a 56-year-old Ohio woman given birth to triplets, but they’re her own granddaughters. Jaci Dalenberg, of Wooster, carried the babies as a surrogate for her daughter, Kim Coseno.
Full story

Posted on Friday, October 24th, 2008
Under: Babies & Tots, Just Bizarre, Other | No Comments »

MINE-itis Strikes Sesame Street

Brian Williams interviews Bert (photo courtesy of Sesame Street Workshop)Aww, too cute. NBC anchor Brian Williams brings his crack reporting to “Sesame Street” today after reports emerge that a mine-itis epidemic has broken out among the Muppet crowd. No one’s sharing anymore. Word is, even Williams was infected by the super contagious bug and that it was Oscar who saved him.

Oscar was probably working off the family sharing tips sheet from Sesame Workshop researchers Jane Park Woo and Autumn Zitani Stefano, who say that “mine-itis” is actually “a normal part of being a toddler. Young children at this age are naturally egocentric. They cognitively don’t understand others’ perspectives and concepts, like sharing, until around 3 years of age.” Here are their top five ways to encourage sharing and turn-taking, in an age-appropriate way:

1. Gently encourage sharing. It may be best if you don’t ask or require your child to share a toy that is special to him or has just been purchased. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, October 24th, 2008
Under: TV | No Comments »