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Archive for November, 2008

DAY 6: Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Pomegranate salsa (Contra Costa Times)It’s six days till Thanksgiving! College kids are flying home, and grade schoolers are celebrating a week – or at least a few days – off from school. So put your young chefs to work on a few delicious side dishes for the Thanksgiving table, courtesy of our readers. This Pomegranate Salsa, concocted by San Ramon mom Lorraine Kalajakis and her sisters, is so easy – and little fingers are the perfect thing to pry all those pomegranate seeds out of the fruit. Just be sure to cover your work surface thoroughly with layers of newspaper and paper towels, so your nice white tiled counters don’t blush. It’s best if a grown-up does the jalapeno dicing – the oils from the hot pepper pack a wallop, especially if accidentally rubbed into the eyes. And Fremont resident Marian Briones’ Maple Ginger Yams are divine, even for non-yam lovers. You’ll find both recipes after the jump!
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Posted on Friday, November 21st, 2008
Under: Cuisine, Thanksgiving | No Comments »

TWILIGHT’s Midnight Frenzy

"Twilight" premiere (Contra Costa Times)
“Twilight” fans started lining up for the much-anticipated movie’s premiere at noon yesterday – 12 hours before showtime! Our own Laura Casey was on hand last night for the fun that included a bridal shower group, 20-something fans and legions of tweens and teens. Our favorite line from the fans? Pittsburg resident Kelli French’s description of hunky vampire Edward’s appeal. The guy’s a gentleman, she says. He opens car doors, pays for dinner, lavishes attention. “I am,” she says, “looking for my own vampire.”

Did you go last night? What did you think??

Posted on Friday, November 21st, 2008
Under: Movies, Twilight Saga | No Comments »

DIVING Stick Recall

Diving Game RecallThis is weird. Apparently the Consumer Product Safety Commission banned weighted dive sticks back in 2001, saying they were an impalement hazard. And we guess, maybe they are … although they should probably recall the water in the pool too – drowning hazard, you know.

Anyway, despite the ban, a number of companies have sold the things anyway. A hundred or so of these toys were recalled last week. Now, Target just recalled 365,000 of them. So check your pool toys.

Posted on Thursday, November 20th, 2008
Under: Toy Recalls | No Comments »


Soap (Emma Payne/Stock.Xchng Photos)Soapy clean hands – now there’s an issue we can all get behind. Dial Soap is doing an online kids’ video contest, the Campaign for Clean Hands, and they’ve got the three finalists’ videos posted this very second. Idea is, you and your kids watch the videos, vote for your fave (one vote per e-mail address per day), and the winner gets a trip to Washington DC. Pretty sweet. What’s even sweeter, though, is that the adorable girls on the “Family A” vid belong to our buddy Noreen, who you all actually know — she’s a member of the aParently Speaking family, and you’ve read her comments on posts here several zillion times. So, go check out her girls’ views on owies, germs and the importance of clean hands. (The other two videos are pretty cute too, but we’ve got a thing for owie-prevention.)

Posted on Thursday, November 20th, 2008
Under: Health & Safety | No Comments »

7 DAY Countdown to Thanksgiving

Pilgrim Hat (Courtesy is a week away and we’re starting our countdown! For the next seven days, we’ll be bringing you kid-friendly Thanksgiving recipes, crafts and activities, starting with these adorable, pilgrim-inspired place cards. We found these on the Better Homes & Gardens web site along with other crafts, games and decorating ideas. And they were delighted to share these little pilgrim hats, both the pics and the directions, with us – and you!

SUPPLIES: Here’s what you’ll need for each “hat.”
A 3-inch terracotta flowerpot (sold at nurseries and craft stores)
Crafting foam – black for the brim and yellow for the buckle
Acrylic paint – black, white and a bright color of your choice
A black fabric paint pen or paint squeeze bottle
Thick white crafts glue, scissors

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Posted on Thursday, November 20th, 2008
Under: Crafts, Thanksgiving | No Comments »

FAB FIVE for the Weekend

Michael Cooper (Rhonda Farnham, Pleasanton Civic Arts)1. Pleasanton Civic Arts launches its new family series, “SaturYAY!” this weekend with an 11 a.m. matinee by Michael Cooper, the “Master of Masks and Wondertales.” ($6-$18)

2. Join the thunderous drum festival at UC Berkeley this weekend when the International Taiko Festival takes over Zellerbach Hall Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. ($36-$49)

3. This Saturday is Maritime Day at the San Mateo County History Museum. Make a signal flag, a cargo ship and a treasure chest to take home, and check out the model ship exhibit from 1 to 4 p.m. ($2-$4)

4. Swoosh across the ice at Walnut Creek’s holiday ice rink at Civic Park. The rink is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, till 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays. ($11-$15, including skates)
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Posted on Thursday, November 20th, 2008
Under: Family Outings | No Comments »

NO MORE abandoning teens in Nebraska

20081105 Teen suicideNebraska is on the verge of approving a 30-day age limit in the state’s safe-haven law. The limit became necessary after dozens of parents and relatives started dropping off tweens and teens at hospitals. Safe-haven laws were designed to protect newborns from being discarded in trash bins and the like, but Nebraska failed to cap the age of these children and since then, 35 — some from out-of-state — have been abandoned under the law.

Child experts are worried about the emotional effect this will have on children aware of what’s happening. Clearly, that’s an issue. So is being left in homes where the parents and guardians don’t want them. The possibility for abuse and neglect is alarming. At least legislators seem to be aware of this and plan to address improving resources for trouble, older youths in a legislative session in January.

Posted on Wednesday, November 19th, 2008
Under: Health & Safety | No Comments »

“TWILIGHT” Reviews Hit

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart at the "Twilight" premiere (AP Photo)Oh ouch! As we mentioned earlier this morning, “Twilight” is going to do just fine at the box office, no matter what those pesky reviewers say. But Times reviewer Randy Myers just weighed in and … well, here, we’ll let Randy tell you:

“‘Twilight’ – aka ‘I kissed an Abercrombie & Fitch bloodsucker and I liked it’ – should be slapped with a special parental warning: Drop the kid off at the cineplex, then flee like a vampire dreading daylight…”

Read the rest of his review here. Then after you’ve seen the movie, because we totally know you’re going to, post your own review here.

Meanwhile, check out this “Twilight” slide show, including photos from the movie’s glitzy L.A. premiere, and the near-riot when the movie’s star, Robert Pattinson, came to the Bay Area.

Posted on Wednesday, November 19th, 2008
Under: Movies, Twilight Saga | 3 Comments »

“TWILIGHT” Sequels in the Works

Summit Entertainment is counting its vampires before they hatch. They’re already lining up Twilight‘s screenwriter and stars for two sequels. Denise Martin, the LA Times’ entertainment blogger, quotes Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke as saying the movie will have to gross $150 million or more for the studio to consider a sequel. Um, honey? This is the “Hannah Montana” demographic. You guys are going to make more money than a counterfeiter. The Times sent a reviewer to the movie critics’ preview last night — we’ll post that review later today — and we’ll have staff on hand for the midnight spectacle tomorrow night, so check back Friday morning for the lowdown on that.

Posted on Wednesday, November 19th, 2008
Under: Movies, Twilight Saga | No Comments »

“TWILIGHT” at Midnight

twilightThe misty forests of the Pacific Northwest, the haunting, romantic story of a vampire and his love — the shrill buzzing of an alarm clock after too few hours of sleep. It’s all well and good to buy tickets for the midnight premiere of the hottest vampire movie in years, but heading off to homeroom with three hours of shut-eye is a bit of a bummer. And parents are feeling more than a little conflicted about letting their tweens, the core audience for Stephenie Meyer‘s best-selling “Twilight” series, stay out till 2 a.m. or later on a school night. We talked to a handful of parents about their plans for tomorrow’s midnight hour – go? stay home? – for a piece that ran in the Times and Trib this morning. Now it’s your turn! Punch a button on the poll or click “comments” and weigh in.

Posted on Wednesday, November 19th, 2008
Under: Movies, Twilight Saga | No Comments »