Archive for January, 2010

Teen trend:Does her bracelet mean something sexual?

I got a note from one of our regulars who just found out that weaved bracelets the teens in her ‘burb of Atlanta are wearing have another meaning other than friendship. Here’s what she wrote:

“Apparently the kids in middle and high school are into colored bracelets. Kind of like the friendship bracelets we used to wear…the intertwined ones. Well…who knew that they now have sexual meaning? I certainly didn’t. And neither did my daughter. She wears them because she simply LIKES them. So when a girl came up to her and asked if she knew what they meant….she had no clue!…”

“Apparently the colors of the bracelets correlate to what you have done sexually or are willing to do. My child had no clue…she just happens to be the necklace/bracelet freak. ”…

“As her mom….do I instruct her to tell these bozo kids to shove it where the sun doesn’t shine…or tell her to just take them off? Before you know it…twister beads and parachute pants will mean you are into beastiality and …

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Are two Mommies as good as a Mom and a Dad?

Same-sex couples are just as good at raising well-adjusted, healthy kids as heterosexual couples according a new study published in the February issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family.

According to HealthDay on Yahoo:

” ‘There’s a deeply held and widespread view out there that children need both a mother and a father to do well,’ said study author Judith Stacey, a professor of sociology and of social and cultural analysis at New York University in New York City. ‘And it seems to be a bipartisan conviction — with a lot of public policy based on that premise — since literally both President Bush and President Obama have said exactly that.’ ”

“ ‘But the point is that this orthodoxy is supposedly supported not just by a belief, but by actual research,’ Stacey noted. ‘Yet we found that, in fact, there is no research that shows that children need both a mother and a father. And we looked everywhere.’ “

Stacey and study co-author Timothy J. Biblarz, chairman of the sociology …

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Teen pregnancies are up, but WHY?

The big news yesterday was that the U.S. teen pregnancy rate rose in 2006 for the first time in more than a decade, reversing a long slide.

According to Reuters: “The overall teen pregnancy rate was up 3 percent in 2006, with a 4 percent rise in the rate of births and a 1 percent rise in the rate of abortions, according to the report by the Guttmacher Institute.”

But the questions for today are: Why is the rate up? And what can parents do to stop their daughter from becoming a statistic?

There are many interesting theories floating around as to why the increase in teen pregnancy. Here is a sampling:

Larry Finer, Guttmacher’s director for domestic research, said in a telephone interview with Reuters: “We’re not quite sure yet whether this is just a blip or whether it’s the beginning of a longer upward trend. It’s interesting to note that this flattening out of the rate and the increase in the rate is happening at the same time that we’ve seen substantial increases in funding …

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Renovations: The Top 10 Things I Learned about Renovations (Pt. 3)

Whole Kitchen smaller

  1. You can be your own contractor – If you are an organized person who can think though a plan and communicate well with workers, you can do this. My girlfriend Denise Dermody, who is an architect and interior designer at Simply Design in Washington, D.C., kept encouraging me that I could run the renovation myself. She gave me the basic timeline in which things needed to be ordered and scheduled. Our timeline did have some setbacks (appliances didn’t show up on time) but by keeping my sub-contractors informed we didn’t have any problems getting the work done when we were ready. (See side bar for order of the work.)
  2. Only go with companies referred by friends or from other workers you trust. Several of our companies were recommended by the Realtor that sold our old house. They used the companies frequently and knew their work well. We also liked that several of the companies we used had been in business for more than 20 years in the area.  (New Mom on the blog recommended the …

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Can the state force prenatal care? When does baby get protection from possible mom harm?

You often hear about fetal rights versus women’s rights in terms of abortion cases but there’s a new case being heard in Florida where the woman wasn’t trying to terminate a pregnancy but she didn’t want the suggested prenatal care.  She’s now appealing a judge’s order she stop smoking and stay on bedrest in a hospital when she wanted to go home or even to another hospital, she said.

Here’s the story from The Associated Press:

“TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Samantha Burton wanted to leave the hospital. Her doctor strongly disagreed, enough to go to court to keep her there.

“She smoked cigarettes during the first six months of her pregnancy and was admitted on a false alarm of premature labor. Her doctor argued she was risking a miscarriage if she didn’t quit smoking immediately and stay on bed rest in the hospital, and a judge agreed.”

“Three days after the judge ordered her not to leave the hospital, Burton delivered a stillborn fetus by cesarean section.”

“And six months after the …

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Renovations: Laundry room, bathrooms, dining room Pt. 2

This is Part 2 of our family-friendly and budget-friendly renovations. We updated the kitchen, laundry room, all three bathrooms and the dining room. We also updated our entry way light and refreshed the trim paint on the entire first floor.

We took advantage of painting the laundry room to reorganize it. I actually use these bins everyday but wanted them out of the doorway where people could see them. By installing the drying rack up high (Ballards Outlet very reduced) we could move the bins over. It also left us a large open area on the left side of the laundry room. The color is one shade lighter than the color in the kitchen. (Photo by Christopher Oquendo.)

We took advantage of painting the laundry room to reorganize it. I actually use these bins every day but wanted them out of the doorway where people could see them. By installing the drying rack up high (Ballard's Backroom – very reduced) we could move the bins over. It also left us a large open area on the left side of the laundry room to place baskets while doing the laundry. The color is one shade lighter than the color in the kitchen. (Photo by Christopher Oquendo.)

We hung double rows of pegs from The Land of Nod for their school bags and coats. (Photo by Christopher Oquendo.)

We hung double rows of pegs from The Land of Nod for their school bags and coats. (Photo by Christopher Oquendo.)

The floral mauve wallpaper and crystal light globes gave our downstairs bathroom a very "Golden Girls" feel. In this photo the light fixture had already been changed to a bronze colonial fixture, which worked with our entry way. I also changed the mirror from a white frame to a black one to go with the soon-to-come black vanity. I was trying to decide between two blue paints.

The floral mauve wallpaper and crystal light globes gave our downstairs bathroom a very "Golden Girls" feel. In this photo the light fixture had already been …

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Renovations: Family- and budget-friendly kitchen! (Part 1)

Two months ago I posted photos of our kitchen as we started renovating and updating multiple rooms in our house on a tight budget. We saved for two years and literally did months of investigation before the first paintbrush even touched the wall. By getting quotes from multiple sub-contractors and relying on referrals from trusted sources, we ended up thousands of dollars under budget and pleased with the quality and speed of the work.

It took about three weeks to finish the changes and a month and half for me to publish the photos of the finished product! We are thrilled to have four burners that work on our stove, an oven that actually cooks at the set temperature and every scrap of wallpaper removed from our house. I’ve broken the renovation photos and story into three separate blogs:

Part 1 – Photos of the kitchen update and a list of our sub-contractors — published Monday.
Part 2 – Photos of the updated laundry room, dining room and three bathrooms — published Tuesday.

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Pinewood Derby: Tips, memories and the ethics of it all!

Mario straight on compressed

This is my son's first Pinewood Derby car. He wanted a Mario Cart. We tried to put all the weight in the back. I've heard that will make it go faster.

Mario side view compressed

He's still got to put the wheels on and we need to weigh it to make sure it's under 5 ounces.


Editor’s Update: Our race was Saturday morning and my son’s Mario Cart won two of the three heats he raced in. We headed out for swimming lessons and came home to a note from his den leader: Walsh’s car won 3rd place for showmanship for the Tigers. (I think that means it was the third cutest car!) We were shocked it actually rolled, much less won anything. I was very impressed with how professional the races were.They used a computer program to flash up photos of each kid with stats on his race. They even had a program that timed how fast the cars went. They put on a very good show and all the boys had a big time!

As it is our first year in Boy Scouts, it is also our first Pinewood Derby this weekend!  I say that with more …

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Would you adopt a Haitian orphan? Do they really need us?

Before the quake, Haiti had about 380,000 children in orphanages and now the U.S. State Department is estimating there could be tens of thousands more children left without parents.

From MTV News:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says:

“One area we are urgently focused on is the plight of Haitian orphans,” she said of the thousands or perhaps tens of thousands of children who were left without parents after the devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck last Tuesday.

” ‘We will also be doing everything we can to unite the many children and families that have been separated in the aftermath of the earthquake and to do all that we can to expedite the travel of children who were in the line for adoption who have a legal, permanent home [or] guardianship waiting for them. We will not let red tape stand in the way of helping those in need.’ ”

“According to The New York Times, that process was already under way, as a group of 53 Haitian orphans touched down in Pittsburgh on …

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How much screen time is your kid really getting?

A new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that kids between the ages of 8 to 18 are spending more than 53 hours a week (7:38 hours/day) using entertainment media. Ten years ago, that figure was 43 hours a week.

Other key findings as summarized to nicely by The Washington Post:

“ — Television still dominates among young people, followed by music, computers and video games. TV watched online and over phones has contributed to television viewing.

– Kids spend 38 minutes a day reading a print publication, compared to 43 minutes a day 10 years ago.

– When parents want to restrict or reduce media use, they can. But few parents enforce the rules they set.

– Nearly half of all heavy users of media platforms have C grades or lower, compared with 23 percent of light users.

– The biggest users of media are black and Hispanic youths in their early teen years”

One interesting part of the study found that kids are so good at multi-tasking between their technologies that their …

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