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Archive for October, 2009

THE Balloon Boy Game

Balloon Boy gameYou’ve read about the Balloon Boy and his nutcase parents – a publicity stunt? really? really??? – till you’re blue in the face. Or apoplectic. Now it’s time to play… The Balloon Boy Game! Chase the balloon, shoot down birds and see how many taxpayer dollars you can waste. Very fun.

Posted on Wednesday, October 21st, 2009
Under: Just Bizarre | 2 Comments »

BABY Food Recall

Baby Food recall If you’ve got any of those yummy Plum Organics baby food pouches lurking in your kitchen, pull them out and take a look. The Emeryville-based company just recalled a batch of its Apple & Carrot Portable Pouch baby food – it’s the 4.22 ounce size, with a use-by date of May 21, 2010, and the number #890180001221 on the bottom. No one has gotten sick and the rest of the Plum Organics line seems to be OK, but this particular batch lacked the FDA-approved acidity levels that prevent contamination with the nerve toxin – Clostridium botulinum – that causes botulism. Lovely, huh? As a precaution, Plum Organics recalled the batch. If you’ve got a pouch at home, return it to any Toys R Us or Babies R Us store for a full refund.

Posted on Wednesday, October 21st, 2009
Under: Babies & Tots, Health & Safety | No Comments »

FAB Five for the Weekend

Crowden's Instrument Petting Zoo (Photo by David Weiland/Crowden)
Five ideas for weekend family fun:
Trombone petting zoo: Berkeley’s Crowden School hosts a free instrument petting zoo and community music day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 25. This day long musical carnival includes face painting, singing, dancing and drumming sessions, as well as toddler-friendly performances by members of the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra at 11 and 11:40 a.m. and 12:20 p.m.

Time Out with Books: The Time Outs, that popular kid-friendly band, are hitting the books with a series of library shows. Among them: a free gig at San Ramon’s Dougherty Station Library at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 23.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, October 21st, 2009
Under: Family Outings | No Comments »

YO Gabba: DVD Giveaway

Yo Gabba Gabba (Courtesy Nickelodeon) Take four friendly, multi-colored monsters, add a hefty dose of preschool-friendly music and a Nickelodeon vibe, and what do you get? Well, Yo Gabba Gabba, of course. We’re giving away their latest DVD, “Yo Gabba Gabba: Meet My Family,” this week and all you have to do to win it is click comments and answer a simple question. Are you a Disney Channel or a Nickelodeon family?

Congrats, by the way, to Phillip who won last week’s Phineas and Ferb CD!

Posted on Monday, October 19th, 2009
Under: Contest | 8 Comments »

PARENT TALKS: Tweens, Teens and More

Teens (Illustration by Charles Bloom/MCT) “The Emotional Side of Learning”
Oct. 25 from 7 to 8 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and streamed live on Childhoodmatters.org. Second in a six-part series on navigating the middle and high school years. Rona Renner, RN, and guest Beth Samuelson, director of Walnut Creek’s SOS (Student Organizational Services), discuss ways to recognize the different pressures your teen is facing, how to stay connected and provide support and resources.

“Underage Drinking in Our Community”
Oct. 27 from 7 to 9 p.m. Miramonte High School Theater, Orinda
Panel discussion on the problem of underage drinking. Panelists include Orinda Police Chief Bill French, Miramonte Principal Adam Clark and medical experts. Free.

“Cyberbullying Community Forum”
Nov. 7 at 10 a.m. Community Presbyterian Church, 2800 Georgia St., Vallejo
A community forum for parents of teens and pre-teens, sponsored by the Benicia-Vallejo AAUW with speakers from the Benicia and Vallejo school districts and Napa AAUW Cyberbullying Task Force. Free.

Something to add to the list? E-mail us the details or click “comments” and add it right here.

Posted on Monday, October 19th, 2009
Under: Parenting Issues | No Comments »

DISNEY Opens Design-Your-Own Thrill Ride

Sum of All Thrills (Raytheon/PR Newswire)
Walt Disney World just opened a new ride, “Sum of All Thrills,” that lets kids design their own thrill ride, then actually ride it — aboard a robotic simulator. How cool is that? And how potentially barf-inducing? It’s sponsored by Raytheon, the defense and homeland security contractor, as part of Epcot’s Innoventions Pavilion. Raytheon’s VP says their goal is to boost middle schoolers’ interest in math and engineering. What do you think. Cool? Not?
Robotic simulator at Epcot (PR Newswire/KUKA)

Posted on Wednesday, October 14th, 2009
Under: Family Travel | 1 Comment »

SWINE Flu Vaccine a Twofer for Kids

Experimental H1N1 vaccine testing (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) Looks like families who are getting their kids vaccinated against the H1N1 – swine flu – virus may need to get a twofer. Clinical trials of the new immunization showed that one dose will help protect many children, but that two provide the most protection for kids under 10.

Are you planning to vaccinate your kids?

Posted on Wednesday, October 14th, 2009
Under: Health & Safety | 1 Comment »

FAB Five for the Weekend

Sendak on Sendak (Photo by Ray Chavez, Contra Costa Times)
The entire Yerba Buena arts district turns into a free family block party for Target Family Day this Sunday, Oct. 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Among the offerings:

Suddenly Sendak: Celebrate wild things and enjoy hands-on art activities and live music at the new Maurice Sendak exhibit at the Contemporary Jewish Museum of San Francisco. Free.

Creepy Crawly Sculptures: Cruise SFMOMA’s exhibits and new rooftop garden, then make your own mobiles, creepy crawly creatures and foil sculptures, and watch acrobats create living sculptures. Free.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, October 14th, 2009
Under: Family Outings | No Comments »

COOKIE Mag Goes Under

Cookie Magazine We were so stunned by the demise of Gourmet magazine last week, it’s taken a while for the rest of Conde Nast’s news to sink in too. It’s not just Gourmet going under, it’s Modern Bride and Cookie too. We’ve always been big fans of Family Fun Magazine and its accessible, affordable craft, cooking and travel ideas for families. But Cookie never really grabbed our attention. At first, we thought it was because our kids – them! not us! – were aging out of that demographic. But Amy Wilson’s Babble.com piece, “Why Cookie Crumbled,” makes us re-think that and realize why that magazine always made us feel so disengaged. We’ll give you a taste here (follow the Babble link for the rest):

“The idylls of Cookie’s pages, featuring toddlers in patent leather and cribs lined with flokati, altered not a whit with the collapse of Wall Street and our entire economy with it. Though Cookie’s media kit indicated that their readers’ median household income was $80,616, it would have taken five or ten times that amount to live the life depicted in its pages. And even if readers might once have aspired to that kind of lifestyle, when our gilded age came to an abrupt close, Cookie seemed suddenly – and glaringly – irrelevant.”

How about you? Were you a Cookie fan?

Posted on Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
Under: Other | No Comments »

DISNEY Stores to Get a High Tech Makeover

Disney Store (Photo by Dennis Wall/Orlando Sentinel/MCT) Interesting piece in this morning’s New York Times about a major, high tech makeover of the Disney stores you see in every mall. Apparently Disney has recruited Apple’s Steven Jobs and is planning to turn the old toys-on-shelves model into interactive “imagination parks” instead, a kind of entertainment hub to woo kids with such attractions as high tech, interactive trees and in-store theaters that let you watch your choice of film clips, do karaoke or do a live video chat with Disney Channel stars. It goes beyond the video screen too. If you’re watching Disneys’ “A Christmas Carol,” for example, the store could fill with the fragrance of Christmas trees. Hold a Cinderella doll or tiara, and an embedded computer chip signals the magic mirror nearby, so Cinderella can appear and talk to your child.

Part of me thinks that sounds really, really cool. Part is a teensy bit reminded of that creepy scene in “Minority Report” where the Gap ad comes to life. What do you think?

Posted on Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
Under: Other | 1 Comment »