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Archive for June, 2010

Vampires, Edward & Twilight Frenzy

Twilight Saga: Eclipse Premiere (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
As everyone knows, the newest installment in the “Twilight” film saga opens in theaters this week, and the reviews are already looking pretty darn good. The Times’ Randy Myers calls it the best one of the three. If the first two were “low-achieving C-students,”  “Eclipse” is their more mature big brother. “Greater attention and care paid to developing tension, plot and secondary characters pays off,” says Myers, “resulting in an entertaining and slick ‘Eclipse.’”

Of course, Twi-hards will be flocking to theaters no matter what the review, so if you’ve got a rabid Edward fan or a member of Team Jacob at your house, you might want to check out these fun vampire party ideas for pre-premiere festivities. They come from Penny Warner, the Danville author of scores of mysteries for tweens, teens and grown-ups. Our favorite idea? The red velvet coffin cake, frosted in deep, dark chocolate.

Posted on Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
Under: Movies, Twilight Saga | No Comments »

FAB Five for the Weekend

Fourth of July (Specialist 1st Class Paul J. Phelps/U.S. Navy News Photo/MCT)
Fireworks & Fairs: Of course, Independence Day weekend is a time for frolic and fireworks. Among the many offerings, Livermore’s Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration in Robertson Park including carnival rides, ponies, a petting zoo, live music and more from 3 p.m. on . Tickets $5, but kids 10 and under are free; www.larpd.dst.ca.us/event_flyers/4th_of_July_2010.pdf.

Eagle-Eyed: Walnut Creek’s Lindsay Wildlife Museum celebrates our national icon during “Eagle Days” on July 3 and 5. The festivities include special presentations and interactive displays on the impressive bird, as well as the usual array of cool wildlife exhibits and docent talks. Museum admission $5-$7; www.wildlife-museum.org.
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Posted on Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
Under: Family Outings | No Comments »

Road Trip Tips

Road trip (illustrated by Ana Lense Laurrauri, Miami Herald, MCT) Whine… are we there yet? How ’bout now? Now? There’s nothing like a road trip to make you rethink the wisdom of travel with kids. Fortunately, you guys have given us more than a few great ideas for keeping the backseat contingent well occupied. And this being summer travel season, we’re reprinting the best of the bunch here!

  • Classic car games are always winners – ABC bingo, license plates, I Spy and Slug Bug or Punch Buggy. (Thank you Melanie, Janelle and Cindi!)
  • Load up the iPod, and hook it up to your car’s sound system and you can all sing along. Just do yourself a favor and don’t load up any Raffi. Instead, try ABBA, says Noreen. Or the Beatles. And Katherine C says she keeps special CDs her family only listens to in the car. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, June 29th, 2010
Under: Family Travel | No Comments »

Mary Engelbreit Family Cookbook Giveaway

Mary Engelbreit Family Cookbook Hello, lovely readers! As you may have guessed, I’ve been on a much-needed vacation, but I’m back now and playing catch up on those bloggy giveaways! So first off, congrats, Jason – that copy of “Gator on the Loose!” is yours!

And now, let’s talk family suppers, tasty desserts and Mary Engelbreit. The queen of adorable illustrations and cozy crafts has a new family cookbook out, “Mary Engelbreit’s Fan Fare Cookbook, 120 Family Favorite Recipes.” Cute illustrations and plenty of yummy recipes for everything from Parmesan Meatballs to Chocolate Crepes and homemade Cheese Danishes. (We’re reprinting that recipe after the jump.)

And this fun book can be yours! Click “comments” and tell us, what’s your family’s favorite brunch or weekend breakfast tradition? (We always celebrated the day after school let out for summer with waffles, strawberries, whipped cream and hot cocoa … in bed!) We’ll draw a winner’s name on Tuesday, July 6.

And now for that recipe… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, June 29th, 2010
Under: Contest, Cuisine | 6 Comments »

A Sponge Bob Rectal What?

Sponge Bob Rectal Thermometer Every now and then we run across weird children’s products. And sometimes it’s REALLY weird. Can we talk about the Musical Spongebob Thermometer? We sort of understand the appeal of a toothbrush that plays Hannah Montana songs to induce kids to brush long enough. But a bright yellow Spongebob thermometer that sings while it’s stuck up your child’s…? Thanks, but we’ll pass.

Posted on Tuesday, June 29th, 2010
Under: Just Bizarre | No Comments »

PARENT TALKS: Teen Pregnancy, Tantrums & More

Teenage parents (Illustration/Fresno Bee 20007) Childhood Matters: Teen Pregnancy Prevention and Education
July 4 from 7 to 8 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and streamed live on Childhoodmatters.org.
Join Nurse Rona, Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Madams and Jeffrey Gould from Contra Costa’s Prevention of Adolescent Pregnancy Program as they discuss the problem of teen pregnancy.

Booties Camp
July 7, 10 a.m. to noon at Bananas, Oakland
Bananas’ popular Booties Camp launches a new series of five classes for new and expecting parents, starting with “Baby Basics.” Topics include bathing, breast feeding, sleeping, baby-proofing, time management and more. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, June 28th, 2010
Under: Parenting Issues | No Comments »

Another Million Crib Recalls

Simplicity Crib Recall (Courtesy CPSC) Ah, yes, another crib recall. Eight of them, actually, and they’re just the latest in a long, long line.

Look,  here’s the deal. If you’ve got a crib of any kind made by anyone. anywhere, check for missing, broken or loose parts. Tighten the hardware. Give it a good shake. And if the crib is 10 or more years old, its safety is questionable. Check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s crib safety website for more details on what to look for. More on the specific cribs in this recall in a moment, but first this…

A number of readers have suggested that people aren’t putting the cribs together correctly, and that a couple of DIY failures have prompted an overreaction. But it’s far more than “a couple,” as you’ll see in a moment and in at least one case, the problem is a design flaw that leaves consumers unable to tell – literally – which way’s up. The finished crib looks just like the picture in the instructions, but it’s wrong. And dangerous.

Here’s today’s list of recalled cribs. Sigh… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, June 25th, 2010
Under: Babies & Tots, Health & Safety | 1 Comment »

Teens & Online Dangers

online Teens and privacy? What privacy? According to a new Harris Interactive teen survey released yesterday, teens have few qualms about disclosing their physical location (69% of the teens said they had), or chatting with strangers (28%) and divulging their e-mail address (24%), image (18%) or cell phone number (12%). The survey, which was commissioned by McAfee, studied 955 U.S. teens between ages 13 and 17 – and it’s “a wake-up call,” says Tracy Mooney, McAfee Chief Cyber Security Mom (yes, that’s her official job title).

We’ve talked a lot about the need for parents to talk with their kids about online safety and privacy issues. Consider this yet another reminder…

Posted on Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010
Under: Technology & Video Games, Teens | No Comments »

FAB Five for the Weekend

Geometry PlaygroundGeometry Playground: Climb inside giant 3-D cubes, slither through spirals and play hopscotch while watching your reflection in a giant curved mirror at the Exploratorium’s newest exhibit, Geometry Playground (pictured, right) which opens June 25 in San Francisco. This fun-filled, mathematically-oriented play space includes 20 exhibits and it’s open for play from June 25 through Sept. 6, when it will embark on a national tour. Free with museum admission.

Farm Tunes: Farm animals and wannabe musicians star in this re-telling of the classic Brothers Grimm tale of the Bremen Town Musicians at 12:30 and 3 p.m. June 26-27 at Oakland’s Children’s Fairyland. Children’s Fairyland is $7 per person, including rides and entertainment.
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Posted on Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010
Under: Family Outings | No Comments »

PARENT TALKS: Toddlers, Schools & More

Toddler by Rick Nease, MCT Direct Living with Ones and Twos
June 22 at 7 p.m., Bananas, Oakland
Meg Zweiback, nurse practitioner, mom and Parent’s Press columnist, facilitates this workshop for parents of tots.

Childhood Matters: Public Education in California
June 27 from 7 to 8 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and streamed live on Childhoodmatters.org.
Join Nurse Rona and panelists as they discuss tweens, teens and the current state of public education in cash-strapped California.

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

Posted on Monday, June 21st, 2010
Under: Parenting Issues | No Comments »