Archive for October, 2010

Guest blogger: 10 ways to know you’re REALLY ready for parenthood

Our very own Jesse’s Girl has contributed a guest blog for us also. You would know it was her even without the byline. It just sounds likes her! Sorry no photo! She is still anonymous.

By Jesse’s Girl

One of my dear friends has gone and done something she swore — under oath practically — that she would never  in a million years do. She has procreated. Yes, my granola-crunching-the-world’s-population-is-too-big-already-and-to-make-amends-for-this-travesty-she-must-become-a-Peace-Corps-junkie….has spawned!

Recognizing the fact that I am the foremost authority on all things parenting/child related — due to the fact that Jesse and I have been slapped with every monster-rearing nightmare imaginable — she called me seeking wisdom. After I stopped laughing and crying, I told her I would do my level best to calm her fears. I did however remind her who I was, who my children were and that calling me was akin to asking Shirley MacLaine for advice on Christianity or Brittany …

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Guest blogger: Would horoscopes help us understand our kids better?

I asked my friend Beth Gates Bumgarner to be a guest blogger for us. We worked on the high school newspaper staff together. She is now raising four kids in Gwinnett County. Her kids are 2, 5, 8 and 10. She always has great links to news articles on her Facebook page or funny anecdotes about her kids.

Beth and her son Lucas.

Beth and her son Lucas.

By Beth Gates Bumgarner

As a child I identified with my horoscope sign, Taurus, as if it were as much a part of me as my eye color and last name. I loved my birthstone, emerald, and the Lily-of-the-Valley flower that represents my birth month of May. It didn’t really matter that I had never actually seen the flower in person; I knew it was special.

When I was a teenager I checked my horoscope religiously.  I was the Bull: loyal, stubborn, dependable, and a lover of the outdoors. I read the horoscope in the paper on a daily basis, searching for that “ah-ha” moment where I could identify myself as the exact person the astrologer had in mind when she …

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Guest blogger: Should the government be involved in our kids’ nutrition at all?

I asked my friend Beth Gates Bumgarner to be a guest blogger for us. We worked on the high school newspaper staff together. She is now raising four kids in Gwinnett County. Her kids are 2, 5, 8 and 10. She always has great links to news articles on her Facebook page or funny anecdotes about her kids.

We talked on the blog yesterday about the government using psychology to make our children choose healthier foods at school but Beth wonders if the government should be involved at all. Here’s her guest blog:

Beth and her son Lucas!

Beth and her son Lucas!

By Beth Gates Bumgarner

In a conversation with a friend I was lamenting the fact that I watched a boy in my son’s class open a lunchbox which contained half a sandwich, an entire sleeve of Oreos, and a large bottle of Gatorade. When the cookies and Gatorade were finished, I asked him if he was going to eat his sandwich. He answered, no, he wasn’t hungry. Well, who would be after eating that?

Upon hearing this story, my friend shook his head and …

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Can schools psych kids into eating better?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday a major initiative giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology to get kids to eat better at school.

From The Associated Press:

” ‘It’s not nutrition till it’s eaten,’ said Joanne Guthrie, a USDA researcher who announced the new grants. The initiative will include creation of a child nutrition center at Cornell University, which has long led this type of research.”

“Some tricks already judged a success by Cornell researchers: Keep ice cream in freezers without glass display tops so the treats are out of sight. Move salad bars next to the checkout registers, where students linger to pay, giving them more time to ponder a salad. And start a quick line for make-your-own subs and wraps, as Corning East High School in upstate New York did.”

” ‘I eat that every day now,’ instead of the chicken patty sandwiches that used to be a staple, said Shea Beecher, a 17-year-old senior.”

” ‘It’s like our own …

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Studying abroad increases drinking more than 100 percent

A new study from the University of Washington found that college students studying abroad increased their drinking on average more than 100 percent!

Students who were younger than the legal drinking age in the United States increased their drinking by about 170 percent abroad. The overall increase was about 105 percent

From as Associated Press story:

“Drinking increased most dramatically in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, the study by researchers at the University of Washington found. Students reported drinking more when they perceived their fellow travelers were drinking more heavily, and those who planned to make drinking part of their cultural immersion did so.”

“The study published in the current issue of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors looked only at drinking habits of students who went abroad from the University of Washington, but UW graduate student Eric Pedersen said he would expect to get similar results at other universities.”

“I don’t think this is just …

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What’s for dinner? Spaghetti Tacos thanks to ‘iCarly’!

Across the country parents are getting an odd request for dinner: Spaghetti Tacos!

Your kids haven’t knocked their brains loose doing tricks on their skate boards, they are just on top of a food trend sweeping the country thanks to the hit Nickelodeon show “iCarly”

If you’re not familiar with the show I’ll give you the quick run down. We watch it way too much!

Carly lives with her older brother Spencer. Spencer is an artist and is pretty eccentric. (Carly and her friends produce an internet show hence the name iCarly!

In one episode, Spencer was supposed to be making dinner. The camera flashed to what he was producing with his culinary skills and it was: the Spaghetti Taco.

The spaghetti taco has had several reoccurring roles on the show and now is sweeping the sleepover scene across the country.

From The New York Times (I can’t believe there’s a quote in The New York Times about this:)

“That punch line has now become part of American children’s cuisine, …

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Can you live without a home phone (just a cell phone)?

In a little experiment we have cut out our home phone (land line) service. It saves us about $30 a month. That service included unlimited long distance but I have that on my cell phone so it seemed redundant.

While I am happy to save the money, I do have concerns (of course!) about giving up my land line:

1.      I can’t hold my cell phone on my shoulder and talk while I wash dishes or fold clothes. I could use the head set but then the only place I have to set the phone is in my cleavage and invariably I hang up on people.

2.      Sometimes I forget to charge and/or lose my cell phone in the house.

3.      I don’t hear the ring all over the house.

4.      You can hook your security system up without a home phone but it costs you more to hook it up and more per month.

5.      I am worried the kids will never learn how to answer a phone. I don’t want them touching my cell phone (they will break it!), and it’s weird for a kid to pick up an …

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Are babies who don’t cry it out smarter, kinder kids?

A new group of studies from Notre Dame have found that children who received more positive touch and affection during infancy turn out to be smarter and kinder than their counterparts who received less.

From Time magazine’s Healthland:

“…Now another group of studies, led by Notre Dame psychology professor Darcia Narvaez, confirms earlier work suggesting that children who get more positive touch and affection during infancy turn out to be kinder, more intelligent and to care more about others.”

“Narvaez, who will present her findings at a conference in early October, conducted three separate studies. The first compared parenting practices in the U.S. and China. Another followed a large sample of children of teen mothers who were involved in a child abuse–prevention project, and compared outcomes of various types of early parenting practices. The third examined how parents of 3-year-olds behaved toward their children.”

“All three studies suggested the same thing: …

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Let your kids look at picture books! Stop pushing chapter books so early!

Picture books, long a staple of children’s literature, are in decline due to parents pushing children to read chapter books instead of picture books!

Scholastic says they have published 5 to 10 percent few hardcover picture books over the last three years. Simon & Schuster picture books are down 35 percent from a few years ago, according to The New York Times.

And while the economic downturn is partially to blame, parents are pushing their kindergartners and first graders to move on to text-heavy chapter books and leave their picture books for the babies.

From The New York Times:

“Parents are saying, ‘My kid doesn’t need books with pictures anymore,’ ” said Justin Chanda, the publisher of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. “There’s a real push with parents and schools to have kids start reading big-kid books earlier. We’ve accelerated the graduation rate out of picture books….”

“Literacy experts are quick to say that picture books are not for …

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Join us for online discussion of ‘The Help’

(Editor’s Note: I am revealing major plot points in the my very first paragraph and throughout this discussion!)

I thought “The Help,” by Kathryn Stockett, was an excellent book, and I loved reading it even though it was painful in many parts. I cried my way through the second half of the book weeping upon learning that Constantine gave up her daughter (and her daughter crying out for her mother to come back for her!! Can you imagine?) and when Abileene had to leave Mae Mobley. Abilene was the only loving “mother” that child had.

Someone commented when we proposed the book that it didn’t have anything to with motherhood but now after reading the book I completely disagree. I think the relationships between the maids and the children and the mothers to their daughters definitely qualify it for the mom blog. Obviously race relations play a huge part of the book and did influence how the children were raised.

I loved learning how the maids did their work (I could use some …

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