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Archive for February, 2010

PARENT TALKS: Middle School Girls’ Issues & More

Teen sex The Truth About Girls’ Middle School Experience
Feb. 18 at 7 p.m., Joaquin Moraga Intermediate, Moraga
The Lamorinda AAUW hosts a panel discussion for parents on girls’ middle school experiences, including a Q-and-A session with four Acalanes district high school girls.

ADHD & Teens: Book Talk
Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. at Orinda Books
A book talk by Blake Taylor, UC Berkeley student and author of “ADHD & Me: What I Learned from Lighting Fires at the Dinner Table.” Free. Sponsored by P.O.I.S.E. Parents of Orinda Individuals in Special Education.

Early Identification of Social and Emotional Problems
Feb. 21 from 7 to 8 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and streamed live on Childhoodmatters.org.
Nurse Rona and Dr. Pamela Simms-Mackey discuss the importance of developmental screening at regular doctor visits as a tool for early intervention.
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Posted on Monday, February 15th, 2010
Under: Parenting Issues | No Comments »

PERCY Jackson & the Olympians

"Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief" (AP Photo/20th Century Fox)
So, every tween boy’s favorite book series – “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” – is coming to the silver screen this weekend and reviews are just starting to roll in.

It’s quite the explosive spectacle, says the reviewer at Minneapolis’ Star-Tribune, who gave it a measly C+. Director Chris Columbus, who helmed the first two “Harry Potter” movies, “paces this film like a demolition derby,” the review says, “There’s a ratio of one explosion, monster attack or life-and-death battle every 2.8 minutes, and Columbus makes sure they detonate on time.” Hmm, he says that like it’s a bad thing…

Variety magazine says the movie gets better as it goes along: “Action movies of this scale often start off strong and wind down to forgettable finales, but ‘Percy Jackson’ is the opposite, overcoming a clunky setup to deliver nearly all its thrills in the last half-hour.”

So… are you going?

Posted on Thursday, February 11th, 2010
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GARFIELD Noir? A DVD Giveaway

Garfield DVD Ah yes, the lasagna-loving orange cat strikes again, this time in a series of fantastical DVD adventures, including a film noirish take dubbed “Garfield’s Babes and Bullets.” Big fun, and we’re giving this “Garfield Fantasies” DVD away  to one lucky reader.

Click “comments” and tell us, what’s your favorite cartoon-to-screen adaptation? Garfield? Charlie Brown? The Flintstones? Click and share and we’ll draw a winner’s name on Monday, Feb. 22.

Speaking of which, congrats are in order for Cathy, who won the Valentine book in the last go-round!

Posted on Thursday, February 11th, 2010
Under: Contest | 6 Comments »

FAB Five for the Weekend

Ramona Quimby (Active Arts Theatre)Oh, Ramona: The East Bay production of Active Arts Theatre’s “Ramona Quimby” moves to San Francisco’s Zeum this week. Check out Ramona, Beezus and the gang at matinee and evening performances from Feb. 13 to 21. Tickets $14-18. Details: www.activeartstheatre.org.

House of Floyd: Got a teen or Pink Floyd devotee? Livermore’s Bankhead Theater is hosting a “House of Floyd” tribute, 8 p.m. Feb. 12. It’s an evening of Pink Floyd music, complete with video, fog and laser show — and it benefits the Livermore Valley’s school music programs. $28. Details: www.bankheadtheater.org
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Posted on Thursday, February 11th, 2010
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PARENT Talks: Anorexia, Middle School & More

"Hungry: A Mother and Daughter Fight Anorexia" Eating Disorders: A Mother and Daughter Tell a Story of Healing
Feb. 10 at 7 p.m., Temple Isaiah, Lafayette
Talk by Sheila and Lisa Himmel, the authors of the memoir “Hungry: A Mother and Daughter Fight Anorexia,” talk about Lisa’s process of recovery from anorexia and bulimia. Book signing and refreshments from 7 to 7:30 p.m., book talk at 7:30 p.m. This event is sponsored by P’tach Libeynu (Open Our Hearts), the mental health outreach program of a coalition of Jewish synagogues and agencies in Central Contra Costa County. $5 suggested donation. RSVP: dimakieve@sbcglobal.net .

Childhood Matters: Happiness
Feb. 14 from 7 to 8 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and streamed live on Childhoodmatters.org.
Nurse Rona’s book club continues with a discussion with Dr. Christine Carter, author of “Raising Happiness: Ten Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents.”
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Posted on Monday, February 8th, 2010
Under: Parenting Issues | No Comments »

DOODLE 4 Google Competition

Grace Moon, Google Doodle Winner (Oakland Tribune) You know the fun Google logos that adorn the search engine page every now and then? For the last couple of years, Google has challenged kids, kindergartners through high school seniors, to try their hands at doodling a Google too. (That’s Grace Moon, the 2008 contest winner, in the photo.) Now, they’re launching their third Doodle 4 Google competition and the prizes are pretty fantastic: a $15,000 college scholarship for the national winner, laptops, trips to New York and technology awards for 8 lucky schools.

The theme is “If I Could Do Anything, I Would …” Contest entries come in via classrooms. Teachers need to register their classrooms by March 17, and submissions are due by March 31. Then check back on May 27, because the glorious winning doodle – chosen by a team of judges that includes Eric Carle (yes, that Eric Carle) and artists from Pixar and Sesame Street Workshop – graces the Google home page.

Posted on Thursday, February 4th, 2010
Under: Contest | No Comments »

FAB Five of Valentines

Valentines (Courtesy BHG.com) Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. It’s a chance to express how we feel, not just to our spouses and loved ones, but to our friends too. That’s why the idea of storebought Valentines never thrilled me much. Well, OK – when you’ve got four kids under 10 and four classrooms worth of Valentines to churn out, storebought TinkerBell cards start looking really, really good.  But when you take the time to make your own cards, you’re not just saying hey, Happy Pink Cards & Chocolate Day, you’re also giving someone a piece of yourself. It’s not just the doilies and construction paper, it’s the thought and effort and love behind it all. Plus, Valentine-making is the sweetest family craft activity around.

So here’s a Fab Five roundup of adorable, handmade valentine ideas to get us started:

1. Hershey’s candy bar wrappers: Family Fun Magazine suggests making your own custom-made Hershey’s style logo to wrap around those candy bar valentines. The site has downloadable Heart-ey’s chocolate wrappers, but you can also make your own at home. (A friend used a similar idea to make baby announcements a few years back — filling in the baby’s weight, height and other stats in what’s normally the nutritional analysis box. Too cute for words.)

2. Swedish Hearts: We’ve always had a soft spot for these woven heart baskets, especially when they’re made from red and white, or red and pink paper. The instructions are here, but basically, you cut two, identical, long rectangles. Fold each in half and round off the ends. Now, cut two long slits in each, from the fold up, but not all the way through the end. Weave the two pieces of paper together. The first one takes forever, as you figure it out, but then they’re a breeze. And they’re the perfect little holder for a Peppermint Patty or similar treat.
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Posted on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
Under: Valentine | No Comments »

DISNEYLAND News

Pixar parade at California Adventure
So, we’re just back from Disneyland with the scoop on what’s new, what’s under construction and what’s still to come…

A great big chunk of Walt Disney’s park is under construction at the moment – more than usual, even for the depths of winter. Among the areas that are shut down: the entire Rivers of America waterfront area in Frontierland, including the riverboat and sailing ship Columbia and Tom Sawyer Island. All the water has been drained, and walls erected to screen off the area.
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Posted on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
Under: Family Travel | 1 Comment »

RECALLS: Baby Food, Tinker Bell Bracelets

Recalled Bracelet (CPSC) Not to be an all-recall, all-the-time kinda gal, but here’s what’s been recalled this week:

The FDA just announced a recall on some varieties of HAPPYTOT and HAPPYBABY Pouch Meals, due to a packaging defect that could cause bacterial contamination. You’re looking for pouches with plastic caps and an expiration date between Nov. 2010 and January 2011. Follow the link for specifics.

CPSC just pulled the plug on 174,000 Papyrus children’s cards ($7, pictured) with little wooden bracelets. Super cute, but unfortunately, the beads on the bracelets have excessive amounts of lead.

And they also recalled 252,000 Tiny Tink and Friends Children’s Toy Jewelry Sets, because the connectors that hold the charms contain lead. The recalled jewely includes two varieties of Tinker Bell’s Lil’ Tinker Bracelet, Rosetta’s
Rosebud Key Chain and Silvermist’s Water Lily Necklace. And if you’re a Tinker Bell aficionado, you’ll know that Tink, Rosebud and Silvermist are all Disney fairies. Again, follow the links for pics and instructions on what to do next.

Posted on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
Under: Babies & Tots, Toy Recalls | No Comments »

FAB FIVE for the Weekend

Lucky Ju Ju Pinball arcade (Photo by D. Ross Cameron/The Oakland Tribune)
PINBALL ART: If you’ve got pinball-loving teens, you’ll want to check out the opening of the “Pinball Art” exhibit at Alameda’s Pacific Pinball Museum — and yes, that’s the new wing of the Lucky Ju Ju Pinball parlor — on Feb. 5 from 2 p.m. to midnight. Enjoy finger food, punch (and a no-host bar for the grown-ups) and unlimited free play on the antique pinball machines, which date back to the 1930s. Tickets are $15 for adults, $7.50 for kids.

LIONS AND TIGERS: And dancers, oh my! San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum celebrates the Year of the Tiger with lion dances and art workshops Feb. 7. The lion dancing begins at noon, but the arts and crafts, storytelling — featuring Bay Area author Oliver Chin and the latest book in his Chinese Zodiac series — and fun run all afternoon. And it’s all free, thanks to the Target First Free Sunday series.
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Posted on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »