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Archive for December, 2009

PARENT TALKS: Family Violence, Infidelity & More

Family living (illustration from the Detroit Free Press) Helping Victims of Family Violence Jan. 3 from 7 to 8 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and streamed live on Nurse Rona and Nadia Davis-Lockyer, executive director of the Alameda County Family Justice Center, discuss family violence, and how to get comprehensive and compassionate help for the entire family.

Parent Advocacy & Leadership in Schools, Childcare & More Jan. 10 from 7 to 8 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and streamed live on Nurse Rona and Malia Franklin, executive director of Parent Leadership Action Network (PLAN), and Jenny Ocon, executive director of Parent Services Project (PSP), discuss the power of parents in advocating for good schools, affordable child care and more.

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Posted on Wednesday, December 30th, 2009
Under: Parenting Issues | No Comments »

FAB Five for the New Year

Chabot Balloon Drop (Photo by Jane Tyska, Oakland Tribune)
Balloons and Space: Ring in the New Year at Oakland’s Chabot Space & Science Center with the museum’s annual midday balloon drop at 10:45 a.m., and 12:45 and 3:45 p.m. Tickets $4, but space is limited so call 510-336-7373 before you go. And if it’s all sold out, don’t worry — this space museum is fun any time. Winter break hours run 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, till 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Rock And Roll: Want to mix some family-friendly rock and roll with your New Year’s festivities? Walnut Creek’s Red House is hosting its fourth annual New Year’s Eve show featuring The Time Outs and their special brand of “kindie rock.” Expect a countdown to 2010, rock star-worthy makeovers and some awesome air guitar lessons at 4:30 and 6 p.m. Dec. 31. Tickets are $10 per person or $30 per family.
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Posted on Wednesday, December 30th, 2009
Under: Family Outings | No Comments »

FAB FIVE for the Weekend

Sendak on Sendak (Photo by Ray Chavez, Contra Costa Times)
Wild rumpus: Wild things abound at the Contemporary Jewish Museum’s special Maurice Sendak exhibit, but mark Dec. 25 down. That’s a Target-sponsored Free Family Day, which means not just free admission, but a wild rumpus, DIY shadow puppet shows, movies and kid-friendly crafts too.

Funny flicks: Enjoy the Exploratorium’s annual Humorous Holiday Animation Film Festival Dec. 26-30, then browse the always wonderful exhibits. The flicks, including “Sour Death Balls,” which offers a quirky look at how people react to extremely sour candy, are included in the price of admission.
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Posted on Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009
Under: Family Outings | No Comments »


Just a quick note to say congrats to Cindi, who won last week’s Nanook giveaway! We’ll resume the giveaways in the new year. Meanwhile, Happy Holidays!!

Posted on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009
Under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

NORAD Tracking Santa

NORAD Tracks Santa It’s almost time for what may be one of the most charming federal government traditions around. For the last 50 years, NORAD has tracked Santa’s progress around the world. Seems back in 1955, Sears Roebuck & Co. ran an ad with Santa’s phone number, but they accidentally transposed some digits and ran the hotline number for the commander-in-chief of NORAD’s predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD), instead. So operations director Colonel Harry Shoup had his staff check the radar and give children, who called, updates on Santa’s progress from the North Pole. NORAD volunteers – staff, family and friends (see photo below) – have been doing it ever since, answering phones, e-mails and now posting updates online. This year, they’re counting down the days till sleigh time with an entire North Pole village-full of children’s activities. Click on the clock tower and you can light up a Christmas tree by connecting all the electrical wires (folks, it’s hard – I’d still be working on the puzzle, but I have deadlines to meet!), an ornament game, music making and various other puzzles and activities. Very fun.
NORAD's Santa Tracking Center (Courtesy NORAD)

Posted on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009
Under: Christmas | No Comments »

RECALL: 447,000 Baby Car Seats

Recalled car seat Yikes. Some 447,000 infant car seats have been recalled by not just the manufacturer – Dorel – but the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration too. Problem is, these car seats are meant to double as an infant carrier but the child restraint handle can loosen and come off. Some 77 families have reported incidents in which the handle came off – in three cases, babies actually fell and incurred bumps, bruises and a head injury. It’s a Dorel car seat, but it’s sold under the Safety 1st, Cosco, Eddie Bauer and Disney brands, so you’ll need to match your model number and manufacturing date against the master list.

In other recall news, 700,000 packages of DayQuil were recalled because they lack child-resistant packaging.

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

PARENT TALKS: New Year’s Resolutions

New year (Illustration by Laurie McAdam/MCT)Setting Limits and Yelling Less in the New Year Dec. 27 from 7 to 8 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and streamed live on Nurse Rona and Iris Bradford, education manager for Marin Head Start, discuss how to create loving boundaries and a calmer home for your family.

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

Posted on Monday, December 21st, 2009
Under: Parenting Issues | No Comments »

TOY RECALL: Action Team Toy Darts

Recalled darts It sounds kind of silly to recall darts – the things are pointy projectiles by definition. But the latest CPSC recall involves  soft, pliable, plastic darts, that are part of a cops-and-robbers type toy – and an 8-year-old boy died while chewing on one. He inadvertently swallowed it and it became lodged in his throat. Now the US Consumer Product Safety Commission is recalling 22,000 “Action Team” sets, which include a S.W.A.T. watch, a badge, handcuffs and a toy gun with three soft rubber darts.

I have mixed feelings about this. My heart goes out to that Texas family for their, of course, tragic loss. But I can’t tell if this product was being marketed to tots, who have a tendency to mouth things, or if the recall is based solely on the terrible accident that befell a child who was certainly old enough to know better than to stick a squashy rubber thing in his mouth.  Because if it’s the latter, the CPSC should also be recalling wadded-up socks, rocks, toy cars and everything else on the planet that shouldn’t go in anyone’s mouth but might possibly… somehow … fit in there anyway. Is it just me?

Posted on Thursday, December 17th, 2009
Under: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

FAB FIVE for the Weekend

Mark Morris' "The Hard Nut" (Photo courtesy of Cal Performances)
Frothy snowflakes, hard nuts: The classic moves of the “Nutcracker” ballet are all well and good, but once you’ve seen “The Hard Nut,” the Mark Morris Dance Group’s hilarious, irreverent take (pictured above), you may never go back. The snowflakes are magical, the nursemaid a scream, and we swear we spotted someone doing Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” moves in the opening party scene. The production features the Berkeley Symphony in the pit, and the angelic voices of the Piedmont Children’s Choirs too. Cal Performances, Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley, now through Dec. 20. Tickets $36 and up, but children’s tickets are half off Dec. 17 and 18.

A cookie-loving mouse: You know what happens if you give a mouse a cookie, right? He’s going to want a glass of milk to go with it. And if you give audiences at Active Arts Theatre’s popular stage productions a play called “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” they’re going to want an extended stage run to go with it. So the show is running Dec. 19-23 at San Ramon’s Front Row Theater. Tickets $15-$19.
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Posted on Wednesday, December 16th, 2009
Under: Family Entertainment | No Comments »

SWINE Flu Vaccines Recalled

Experimental H1N1 vaccine testing (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) Oh lovely. Some 800,000 pre-filled swine flu vaccine syringes, destined for babies and tots’ chubby little shoulders, have been recalled. Don’t get too worried. There’s nothing wrong or harmful about them, but federal health officials say they’re issuing the recall because the vaccine is not retaining its full strength – they think perhaps the active agent in them is sticking to the inside of the syringe. Read the full story here…

Posted on Tuesday, December 15th, 2009
Under: Health & Safety | No Comments »