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Archive for August, 2010

Kids Crafts: Pretty Flower T-shirts

flower girls
For the last several weeks, we’ve been talking about awesome summer crafts, including some very fun, kid-friendly T-shirt projects. We’re not the only ones playing with tees, of course. We spotted these absolutely darling flower T-shirts over on BethanyActually, where blogger Bethany (yes, actually) used freezer paper to stencil the most adorable, pop-art flowers on shirts for her daughter’s birthday party. The gang is wearing them in the photo above (courtesy BethanyActually).

Basically, you use freezer paper, those rolls of white, wax-coated paper you find near the foil and plastic wrap at the supermarket, to cut your stencil design. Place the paper wax-side down on the t-shirt and iron it. The heat makes the paper stick to the fabric securely enough to prevent the fabric paint from seeping through, but when you’re done, you just pull the stencil off. Very cool little trick – and the way Bethany used it here is absolutely adorable. Check out the photos and full how-tos here.

More cool craft projects:

Posted on Thursday, August 12th, 2010
Under: Crafts | 2 Comments »

FAB Five for the Weekend

SF Museum of Craft+Design
Crafty Kids: The American Craft Council Show arrives at San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center this weekend with a variety of crafty activities suitable for the whole family. But the MakeArt Children’s Workshop, a paper craft extravaganza  sponsored by the San Francisco Museum of Craft+Design, sounds like the most fun (and yep, it’s pictured above). Build 3-D paper sculptures and learn folding and curling techniques from 1 to 3 p.m. Aug. 14. Free with show admission; $12 general admission, kids 12 and under are free;

Movies in the Park: Pack a picnic, and catch a screening of “Hairspray” at dusk on August 12 at Pleasanton’s Amador Valley Park, 4301 Black Ave. Free. Questions? Call the Pleasanton parks department at 925-931-5340. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
Under: Family Outings | No Comments »


Twilight Saga: Eclipse Premiere (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
Ahem. Apparently more than 8,000 parents gave their lovely little infants “Twilight” names last year. Yep, they’re naming their progeny after characters in Stephanie Meyer’s vampire series. Bella is suddenly the 58th most popular baby girl name in the nation – higher even than Miley (don’t get us started). Cullen is in the top 300, a ranking the name hasn’t held in a century. And there’s a sudden slew of Jaspers, Alices and Emmetts too, according to Social Security Administration stats.

None of this is terribly unusual, says Laura Wattenberg, founder of The 1960s and early ’70s saw a sudden rise in the popularity of “Bewitched” names – hello, Tabitha! And there are a bunch of Buffys and Pipers running around today. But, says Watternberg, “If you want the really hard-core ‘Twilight’ fans who were really inspired by the book and not just the name, there were 17 baby girls last year named Renesme (pronounced Ruh-NEZ-may). That’s not a name that you say, ‘Oh, yeah, I’ve always liked that name.'”

Renesme?? Seriously? OK, take the poll and tell us what you think.

Posted on Tuesday, August 10th, 2010
Under: Babies & Tots, Twilight Saga | No Comments »

DORA DVD Giveaway

Nick-Jr-First-Day-of-School It may be midsummer, but we’re hot into back-to-school season. So this week we’re giving away a pair of Dora the Explorer DVDs – “The First Day of School” and “Explore the Earth.” And they can be yours! Click “comments” and tell us, what back-to-school rituals does your family have? We’ll pick a luck winner next week. (Speaking of which, we have a lucky winner for last week’s Madagascar Penguins DVD. Congrats, Linda!)

Posted on Tuesday, August 10th, 2010
Under: Contest | 3 Comments »

PARENT TALKS: ABCs of Positive Parenting

Tot by Rick Nease, MCT Parenting Mindfully
August 9, 7-8:30 p.m. at Bananas, Oakland
Psychologist and parent coach Erica Reischer discusses how to raise happy, compassionate and confident children, with an emphasis on the ABCs of positive parenting: Acceptance, Boundaries, Consistency. This is part one of a two-part series.

How to Yell Less and Enjoy Your Kids More
August 12, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Bananas, Oakland
Rona Renner leads a family workshop on discipline, misbehavior and techniques for coping that don’t involve yelling. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, August 9th, 2010
Under: Parenting Issues | 1 Comment »

FAMILY Travel: 5 Cool Theme Parks

egoland Water Park (Courtesy Legoland) Looking for last-minute family travel ideas? Ann Tatko, travel editor for the Merc and Times, has put together a top 10 list of astonishing theme parks for those getaways when mere roller coasters and wave pools aren’t enough to thrill. Here’s just a taste… wait’ll you get to the crocs…

1. Xcaret, Riviera Maya, Mexico: An underground river, dolphin swims, pools galore, Mayan architecture and even the re-creation of a 3,500-year-old ball game – you know the one, where losing is a real, real, real bummer – woo families to this all-inclusive resort and theme park.

2. Legoland, Carlsbad: Build a Lego raft, float down a lazy river or brave the thrills of the water slides at Legoland’s new five-acre water park.

3. Six Flags Great Escape Lodge & Indoor Water Park, Queensbury, New York: This 38,000 sq. ft. indoor water park includes the Avalanche family raft ride, multiple water slides and the multi-level, interactive Tall Timbers Treehouse – a very wet ride indeed.

Crocosaurus Cove 4. Futuroscope, Loire Valley, France: This sci-fi themed park includes virtual reality safaris, and a 4D roller coaster ride.

5. Crocosaurus Cove, Darwin, Australia: Where you can swim with crocodiles in the glass-enclosed Cage of Death (pictured). Um, fun?

Posted on Friday, August 6th, 2010
Under: Family Travel | No Comments »

RECALL: 96K Fisher-Price Toys

Recalled toy Fisher-Price and the federal consumer safety folks just recalled 96,000 of these Little People Play ‘n Go Campsite toys. The plastic doll can break apart at the waist, exposing small parts that can pose a choking hazard. The problem seems confined to the Sonya Lee dolly in this set, not the tent or other play pieces, so if you’ve got one of these, remove the doll and contact Fisher-Price for a new one. Perhaps Barbie and Ken would like to go camping instead…

Posted on Thursday, August 5th, 2010
Under: Toy Recalls | No Comments »

Kids Crafts: Sea Star T-shirts

Courtesy Martha As we’ve mentioned before, summertime is synonymous with crafts at our house. So there are fabric scraps and paints scattered everywhere! At your house too?

This week, we’re browsing the Martha Stewart pages, where her clever crafty elves have been making beach-ready tees, printed with sea stars. Literally. They brush fabric paint on sea stars and shells, then use them like rubber stamps. Check out the cool results in the photo above, then grab the full how-to here.

More cool craft projects:

Posted on Thursday, August 5th, 2010
Under: Crafts | No Comments »

FAB Five for the Weekend

Music Man at Woodminster
76 Trombones: Woodminster’s summer musical series moves into high gear this week with the opening of “The Music Man,” which runs August 6-15 at the Amphitheater in Oakland’s Joaquin Miller Park. Even better: kids 16 and younger are free when accompanied by paying grown-ups (tickets $25-$40). Swing by the box office on the day of to pick up a free kid’s ticket, or visit for details.

Butterfly Tales: Butterfly lovers will flock to Oakland’s Children’s Fairyland this weekend to see “Mariposas,” a play based on Latin American folk tales about why butterflies are silent, why they flutter and why they migrate each year. The fluttery fun is at 12:30 and 3 p.m. August 7 and 8. Tickets $7, including admission and all attractions;
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, August 4th, 2010
Under: Family Outings | No Comments »

DVD Giveaway: Penguins of Madagascar

Penguins of Madagascar (Nickelodeon) Those irrepressible penguins of Madagascar are back in another Nickelodeon adventure, and this time, they’re collaborating with some new friends in “Penguins of Madagascar: New to the Zoo.” The DVD lands on August 10, but we’ve got a copy now and we’re giving it away. All you have to do is click “comments” and share your favorite kids-at-the-zoo story. (Our family’s involves an elephant, a pile of elephant poo, a very annoying spectator and the elephant’s revenge. Let’s just say, we had no idea pachyderms could throw with their trunks, nor that their aim would be so ACCURATE. It’s been years and my kids still break out in gales of laughter at the recollection.)

We’ll draw a winner’s name next week. Meanwhile, last week’s “Miss Tutu’s Star” is winging its way to Cindi – congrats!

Posted on Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
Under: Contest, Movies | 4 Comments »