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Archive for July, 2009

Worst. Kid Vid. Ever.

Wow. Just … wow. We are, er, indebted to our friends over at Parenting.com for introducing us to Hippie Weirdo Yoga Farmers, thus scarring us for life. The section around 2:20-2:40 is particularly memorable. And to think we ever complained about Barney. Or that weird Spongebob Squarebutts video.

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Posted on Friday, July 31st, 2009
Under: Just Bizarre | No Comments »

Harry Potter & Jane Austen

MovieWeb – Movie Photos, Videos & More

If you’ve been wanting to watch a little Jane Austen, but you can’t get wrestle the remote from your Harry Potter-obsessed kids, guess what? Tell them “Sense and Sensibility” features nothing but Hogwarts actors. I watched it last weekend and my kids kept hollering out, “Madame Pomfrey! Cornelius Fudge!” It’s true. The Jane Austen movie stars Professor Trelawney (Emma Thompson) as Elinor Dashwood, Madame Pomfrey (Gemma Jones, above) plays her mother, and Snape (Alan Rickman) is positively dashing as Col. Brandon. Add in Fudge as Sir John Middleton and the “fat lady portrait” of Gryffindor Tower as Mrs. Jennings. And the moment you hear the high pitched giggle of Mrs. Jenning’s daughter, you’ll break out in shudders. Good god, it’s Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton). My kids want to know if England has any other actors.

Spotted any other Hogwarts actors elsewhere?

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Posted on Thursday, July 30th, 2009
Under: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

RECALL: Baby Bjorn Bouncy Seat

Recalled Baby Bjorn Bouncy, bouncy, ouch. The Consumer Product Safety folks and BabyBjörn just recalled 6,500 of these Balance Air bouncer chairs. Seems there are sharp metal objects in the padded area that can protrude and possibly injure babies. No injuries reported, but just the same, if you’ve got one of these, check the model number against the CPSC list. The $170-$190 seats were sold between last September and July 2009. If you’ve got one, contact the company for return instructions.

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Posted on Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
Under: Babies & Tots, Toy Recalls | 1 Comment »

FAB FIVE for the Weekend

Mary Poppins (Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures) MOVIES AT THE MUSEUM: Outdoor movie fests are popping up everywhere! Grab a blanket and head over to Stanford University’s Cantor Arts Center for a free screening of “Mary Poppins” this Friday night at 8:30 p.m. on the South Lawn. Bring a picnic or buy a boxed dinner on the spot. (Free.)


PIXIE RIDES:
Concord’s pint-size amusement park, Pixie Land, offers mini-train rides and tiny coasters, sized just right for toddlers and their happy parents. Open weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., till 6 p.m. on weekends through summer. (Rides are $1.50-$3 each)
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Posted on Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
Under: Family Entertainment | No Comments »

Outdoor Movies in the Park

Outdoor movies (MCT Direct photo)
Outdoor movies are popping up in parks all over. Among the upcoming offerings…

Pleasanton’s “Free Movies in the Park” series features Jack Black in “School of Rock” (PG-13) Aug. 6 at dusk, Delucchi Park. The park opens to the public at 4 p.m., screening time is approximately 8:30 p.m. Free – plus free popcorn, courtesy of Thriving Ink.

Walnut Creeks’ “Movies Under the Stars features “Kung Fu Panda” on Aug. 15 at dusk at Heather Farm Park, Ballfield #1. Free.
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Posted on Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
Under: Family Entertainment | 3 Comments »

COLLEGE Cheating on the Rise

Test cheaters (illus. by Richard Hodges, KRT) Fascinating story in Sunday’s Times and Trib about the rise of college cheating. Cheating is so much on the rise, universities have enlisted the help of Web sites, such as turnitin.com, to sniff out plagiarism – meanwhile, other web sites offer essays-for-hire. The story calls it a “technology war.”

Experts blame increased competition to get into colleges and grad schools for the spike in cheating cases. At UC Berkeley, for example, there were were 91 cases of academic dishonesty in 1998-99, and 236 in 2007-08. UC Davis had 286 in 1998-99 and 393 in 2007-08. Fascinating, disturbing stuff – although we can’t help thinking that the 236 cases isn’t quite as horrifying when one puts it into the perspective of Cal’s 35,000 students. Read the story and see what you think. Then punch a button on the poll and tell us, have you ever cheated?

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Posted on Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
Under: College Apps & Angst | No Comments »

SOFI Tackles the Sippy Cups

Our favorite guest bloggers, Trine Gallegos and soon-to-be second grader Sofi, are back with some CD reviews! And if you’ve got Sippy Cups fans at home, you’ll want to read on…The Sippy Cups

The Sippy Cups: To know the Sippy Cups is to love the Sippy Cups. For a while now, folks have raved about this Bay Area kids’ band, and for good reason. Although the music is aimed at small fries, the six-member group doles out songs that groove even for grown-ups. Its aptly title “The Time Machine” is full of grand ditties that meld San Francisco’s Summer of Love with Berkeley hippie cool. But enough about what this mom thinks … my 7-year-old Sofia was hooked on this CD from the get-go, instantly loving “Seven Is the New 14″ and “My Angry Voice.” She thought “Daddy’s Lucky Charm” was charming and “so pretty.” But our family favorite is “Don’t Remove the Groove.” This is THE best freeze-dance song. It’s not only a great little dance number, but a song with a message close to our hearts – decreasing global warming. We just saw the Cups at the Chevron Family Theatre Festival in Walnut Creek, and I have three words for you: So. Much. Fun. Again, great for the kids and entertaining for the parents. My recommendation: Buy the CD, learn the tunes and then go catch this infectious band live. The band plays Mountain View on Sept. 27, and on Oct. 10, it’ll be in Pittsburg. Check www.thesippycups.com for more details.

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Posted on Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
Under: children's music | No Comments »

SPONGEBOB Giveaway

To Squarepants or Not to Squarepants Forget Hamlet. Spongebob is pondering that great existential question, “To Squarepants or Not to Squarepants?” in his newest DVD. We’re not entirely sure whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the Krabby Patties of outrageous fortune, or to take arms in the battle of Bikini Bottom, but the DVD is sure to delight Spongebob fans. And it can be yours! All you have to do is click “comments” and tell us, what do you suppose is in a Krabby Patty and would your kids eat one?

(Congrats, by the way, to Mariano, who won last week’s Star Wars giveaway!)

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Posted on Monday, July 27th, 2009
Under: Contest | 8 Comments »

PARENT TALKS: Babies, Sleep & More

Sleepless baby “Booties Camp: Sleep Issues”
July 29 at 10 a.m. at Bananas, Oakland
Sleep, and the lack thereof, are the topic of this week’s Baby Booties Camp at Bananas. Register here.

“Childhood Matters: Breastfeeding”
Aug. 2 from 7 to 8 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and streamed live on Childhoodmatters.org. Rona Renner, RN, and panelists discuss breastfeeding and other inexpensive, healthy ways to feed babies.

“Living with Ones & Twos”
Aug. 4 at 7 p.m. at Bananas, Oakland
Speaker: Nurse practitioner Meg Zweiback leads a discussion on toddlers, their developing personalities and stages. (Register here)
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Posted on Monday, July 27th, 2009
Under: Babies & Tots, Parenting Issues | No Comments »

FAB FIVE for the Weekend

IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE (Photo by Nina Meehan)
1. If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to want an adorable theatrical production to go with it. Fortunately, Children’s Fairyland and Active Arts Theatre for Young Audiences are hosting exactly that, July 23-August 16. (Tickets $10-$12)

2. Grab your ruby slippers, spread your blanket and kick back for a screening of “The Wizard of Oz” July 23 at Pleasanton’s free Movies in the Park Summer Series. Films start at twilight — about 8:30 p.m. — on a giant screen in DeLucchi Park. (Free admission and popcorn.)
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Posted on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009
Under: Family Entertainment | No Comments »