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Archive for November, 2008

4th Grade Letters to Obama

President-Elect Barack Obama meets with President George W. Bush (Eric Draper/The White House/ MCT)
Every new president deserves congratulation so teacher Linda Zittel put her fourth graders to work writing letters to President-Elect Barack Obama. And we were so charmed by the results, we couldn’t resist sharing. So here, from Mira Vista Elementary in Richmond, are excerpts from “Letters to Obama”:

“I’ve been waiting my whole life for you to win.”
- Yasmin Saif, age 9

“You are the first black president and I love you so much!”
- Anthony Locicero, age 9

“Your speech in Chicago, Illinois, it was great.”
- Miguel Rodgriguez, age 8
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Posted on Tuesday, November 18th, 2008
Under: politics | 4 Comments »

PRESCHOOL Admissions Mania Hits the Silver Screen

"Nursery University" documentaryWe’ve all heard stories of Manhattan’s cutthroat preschool admissions game, a scene so competitive it rivals the Ivy League college frenzy. Now there’s a new documentary out – “Nursery University” – that follows New York families trying to get their 2- and 3-year-olds into nursery school. The flick premiered Saturday as part of the Margaret Mead Film Festival at the American Museum of Natural History and the buzz is considerable. Loved the New York Times spread on it, and columnist Susan Dominus’ comment that the movie tackles the topic of uber-competitive, NYC parents as a “fascinating anthropological subculture.” So naturally, we went looking for the trailer. Check it out! Then you can join us in counting down the days till the documentary comes out on DVD – Spring 2009.

Posted on Tuesday, November 18th, 2008
Under: Movies | No Comments »

MOTRIN MOMS Ad Spurs Headaches

So, are you a “Motrin Mom”? Or a “Mom Ticked Off at Motrin”? The pain reliever company launched a million headaches over the weekend with its flip new ad that implies moms wear their babies in slings or front packs as a fashion statement. Actually, it says it outright, and refers to baby carriers as “the sling, the shwing, the wrap, the pouch.” The SHWING? Really? As in the erection reference made famous by Mike Myers’ SNL alter ego, Wayne Campbell? The ad, which infuriated legions of new moms with its line about baby carriers making mothers cry – “but it’s a good pain” – coincided with International Babywearing Week. Here’s a video clip so you can see what all the fuss is about:


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Posted on Monday, November 17th, 2008
Under: Babies & Tots | No Comments »

WILDFIRE Sweeps Westmont College

Firefighters at Westmont College (Steve Chawkins, Los Angeles Times)
This weekend’s SoCal wildfires have impacted several universities, including Santa Barbara’s Westmont College where the Tea Fire burned eight structures, including the physics building (pictured) and a dormitory, as well as homes in Las Barrancas, where many professors and faculty members live. Fifteen faculty families lost their homes and 50 students lost their dorm rooms when the wildfire raced through campus Thursday night, but everyone is safe. An evacuation order is still in effect, and Westmont’s president is holding a conference call with parents this evening. (Click here for more photos.)
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Posted on Monday, November 17th, 2008
Under: Other | No Comments »

ALVIN & the Chipmunks DVD Giveaway

"Alvin's Thanksgiving Celebration" DVDThanksgiving is just over a week away and we’re already in the mood — turkey, stuffing, cranberries, mmmm. Judging by the cover of this Alvin and the Chipmunk’s DVD, “Alvin’s Thanksgiving Celebration,” Theodore, Simon and the gang are also getting ready for the big holiday. So, to get you in the mood too, we’re pairing the DVD with a beautiful picture book, Diane Shore’s “This is the Feast.” All you have to do to win both is click “comments” and share your favorite Thanksgiving memory – favorite food, children’s table antics, or whatever you’d like. We’ll draw a name on Sunday night! (Congrats by the way to Abby, who won last week’s Star Wars Fandex!)

Be sure to check back Thursday when we start our seven day countdown to Thanksgiving, complete with kid-friendly recipes, crafts and other ideas!

Posted on Monday, November 17th, 2008
Under: Contest | No Comments »

PARENT TALKS: Preteen Summit, Teen Drivers and More

Pencil pushing (Margaret Spengler, MCT Direct)“Oakland Schools Town Hall Meeting
Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. at Piedmont Avenue Elementary, Oakland.
Speakers: School board director Kerry Hamill and director-elect Jody London will discuss how Oakland Unified recruits and retains teachers.

“A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children”
Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School Library, Moraga
Speaker: Psychologist Daniel Peters talks about identifying gifted children, nurturing motivation, curbing perfectionism, dealing with depression, building social skills and finding a good educational fit for the child. (Free. Questions? E-mail Vera Babor.)

“Smart Money: Using the Bank Instead of Mom and Dad”
Nov. 20 at 7 p.m., Las Lomas High School Theater, Walnut Creek
Speaker: Christine Fields Dillow, CEO Metro1 Credit Union talks to teens and parents about how to make smart credit choices, apply for auto loans and the hidden expenses involved, and more. Sponsored by Las Lomas PTSA’s Parent Ed and Healthy Choices Committees. Free.
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Posted on Monday, November 17th, 2008
Under: Parenting Issues | No Comments »

SCHOOL HEADLINES: Got Milk, Got Schools, Got Cash?

amador valley hsIt’s been a busy week on the Bay Area education scene. In the happy news department, Pleasanton’s Amador Valley High took the “Got Milk” slogan one step farther. Students in their ROP Marketing Class snagged second place in a “Got Milk” ad contest and won $1,000 for their school (pictured, left). Now, they’ve “Got Money” too.

Folks aren’t looking so happy in other quarters, though. Martinez schools are looking for a new leader after superintendent’s John Triolo’s surprise announcement that he will be stepping down at the end of the month.

West Contra Costa just announced it would be shuttering schools next year, due to declining enrollment and budget woes. Closing an elementary school saves $300,000 a year. A middle or high school saves $800,000. Needless to say, parents are upset, but…
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Posted on Friday, November 14th, 2008
Under: Schools | No Comments »

TEENS, Sex and School

Tyra Banks (Robert Pitts/Landov/MCT)You may have seen that alarming Rand study earlier this month that found that teens who watch a lot of sexy TV shows are twice as likely to become pregnant over the next three years as peers who stick to tamer entertainment. Researchers think racy content, which has doubled on television in the last few years, and rarely shows contraception efforts or risks, is promoting unprotected sex at earlier ages. In other words, you get a skewed view of sexual risks if your health ed consists solely of Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf‘s couplings.

Now comes word from Tyra Banks, talk show host , supermodel and Glamour Magazine’s 2008 Woman of the Year, that teens …
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Posted on Friday, November 14th, 2008
Under: Teens | 3 Comments »

FAB FIVE for the Weekend

MOCHA1.There she is… er, Mr. Potato Head? Yep, this Saturday is MOCHA’s Fifth Annual Mr. Potato Head Beauty Pageant. “All spuds,” says the MOCHA staff, “no duds!” Families decorate potatoes in this zany competition, then vie for the title of most extravagant, eccentric, glamorous or potato-iest. The fun runs from 1 to 4 p.m. ($7 per child)

2. Then, check out San Francisco’s MoMA and its family studio salute to Alexander Calder’s magnificent mobiles this Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Free)

3. Pleasanton’s Museum on Main celebrates Ohlone Days with stories and activities this Sunday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. ($5 per child)
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Posted on Thursday, November 13th, 2008
Under: Family Outings | No Comments »

‘RELIGULOUS’ AT THE CERRITO: Tuning out the baby brigade the manly way

Couple after couple parked their minivans and walked into the Cerrito Speakeasy carrying an infant in a car seat. It was Baby Brigade night. I walked in with a two-pint glass of Eye of the Hawk.

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Posted on Thursday, November 13th, 2008
Under: Babies & Tots, Dads, Movies | No Comments »