Archive for November, 2010

Have your changed your shopping habits forever?

Some Associated Press business writers have taken a deep look at the affect of The Great Recession (their words) on our shopping habits. They have produced a three-part series examining how our psyches and habits have changed because of the recession. The writers note that even though The Great Recession has been over for a year and a half and the economy is starting to recover, that shadow of uncertainty still looms and people may have changed their spending habits forever.

Here are a few quick observations from the series:

  • Leisure shopping is over.
  • People are spending more time finding the deal and less time browsing through stores.
  • They are visiting less stores when they go to the mall and spending less time in them.
  • People are shopping at stores they never though they would – like Goodwill Stores.
  • Consignment sales have grown so tremendously that regular stores are starting to include consignment sections.

From The Associated Press:

“This was a massive cultural …

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Is Will Ferrell’s ‘Megamind’ worth my megabucks?

I love Tina Fey and Will Ferrel but is their new movie "Megamind" worth my money? (DreamWorks Animation)

I love Tina Fey and Will Ferrel but is their new movie "Megamind" worth my money? (DreamWorks Animation)

Will Ferrell’s new animated super-villain comedy “Megamind” debuted at No. 1 this weekend and made $47.7 million but is it really worth my hard-earned money to take my kids to see it?

The AJC’s review gave it a C-. So that doesn’t seem promising, but it did make a bunch this weekend. Walsh has asked to see it but I told him we would wait until we heard more kid and parent reviews. So what did you think?

Is it good for all ages? Should I bother taking the 3-year-old or leave her at home with Daddy? (It is actually rated PG.)  Is it worth seeing in the theater or would you hold out for Netflix? (I finally saw “Toy Story 3” this weekend.)

Is this the one we want to spend money on or are “Tangled”, “Yogi Bear”,  or “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” better bets? I’ll be seeing the new Harry Potter but without the kids. (You have to read the books before …

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Are parents cheating with homework helpers?

The New York Times had a fascinating story about a new trend in parents hiring homework helpers/monitors to help their kids get through their homework. They’re not necessarily subject tutors. They are more there to help with organizational and motivational issues and to make sure the homework is done by the time the parents get home.

The indication from the story is that parents are often at work and can’t be there to make sure the homework gets done. Having the homework helper gets the homework done in the afternoons and allows the family to enjoy dinner and a happy evening without fighting over what is left to accomplish.

From The New York Times:

“As schools have piled on expectations and career paths have sucked in both mothers and fathers, this niche industry is catering to “students who are capable of doing the work,” but “need someone there who can just be there with them to consistently do the work in a regular manner,” said Mike Wallach, who along with Ms. Kraglievich …

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Mother of the 10-year-old who gave birth shocked by uproar

The Romanian mother of the 10-year-old girl who gave birth in Spain recently is shocked that people are shocked that her daughter gave birth.  (Did you get all that?)

From The Huffington Post:

“MADRID — A Romanian Gypsy woman whose 10-year-old daughter just gave birth in Spain says she’s delighted to have a new granddaughter and doesn’t understand why the birth has shocked anyone – let alone become an international sensation….”

“She also said she didn’t understand the attention the case was generating because she and her daughter are Romanian Gypsies, or Roma, and their custom is to allow girls to marry young even though that’s against the law in Romania.”

” ‘That’s the way we get married,’ the girl’s mother told reporters Tuesday outside the modest apartment building in the southern town of Lebrija where the family lives.”…

For the record Romanian law allows girls to marry at 16 with parental consent or at 18 without it.

“But arranged “marriages” between teenagers are …

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Do you risk wasting food to get kids to try new things?

Flipping through the October edition of “Everyday Food,” I was hunting for yummy foods to make my family for dinner next week.  The problem is that almost every dish that sang out to me I don’t think my kids will eat.

For example:

The slow-cooker short rib ragu

The ratatouille – served on pasta, with baked eggs or with baked in phyllo wraps.

Slow cooker green chili

Roasted chicken and butternut squash soup

And even the fall deserts are tough – I love brown bettys and crisps but I think I would be the only one eating them!

I think fall cuisine is harder to get kids to try and enjoy more so than other seasonal foods.  Fall food tends to be more casseroles and mixed food like stews and chilis. The vegetables also tend to be more green, leafy and less popular. Summer foods are often grilled meats with veggies they know like corn on the cob, beans and tomatoes. Kale is much harder to sell than green beans.

If Michael were in charge of the menus he would only serve pasta, ham, …

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Harry Potter wannabes: Would you buy an owl as a pet?

The owls in India had better take the sky or at least a high tree. Apparently parents are trying to capture them for their children thanks to the Harry Potter stories.

From the HindustanTimes:

“Fascinated by Harry Potter’s ‘Hedwig’ owl from the famous movie and novel series, urban middle class parents are gifting their kids with the real bird, which is one of the main reasons for its dwindling population, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has said. “Following Harry Potter (film), there seems to be a strange fascination even among the urban middle classes for presenting their children with owls,” Ramesh said on Tuesday after releasing a report on the illegal trade of the bird prepared by Traffic, an NGO working to curb the illegal trade of the endangered species.”

“This encourages illegal wildlife trade as due to pressure from their kids, the parents approach illegal traders in wildlife products to buy owls, he said requesting the parents to abandon these practices that …

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Are they really mean girls or is my daughter hormonal?

About two weeks ago my 9-year-old came home very upset and said some girls were being mean to her. She said this one girl in particular was picking on her in different classes and multiple times.

The first stuff she told me seemed like the girl was being bossy and pretty easy to deal with. The other item was that the little girl was talking about Rose and making fun of her to another little girl in music class. Apparently they didn’t think Rose was doing the dance moves correctly. Rose felt like it was obvious they were talking about her.

It’s hard for me to tell if Rose is being overly sensitive or if this little girl is going after her. Rose kept tearing up telling me but first three months of school never mentioned this little girl or her being mean to her. So did she have a bad day or has it built up all the time?

I don’t know the little girl or her family. I mentioned it another mom at school whose daughter is friends with Rose. She said her daughter had mentioned similar …

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What to do when Mom cusses like a sailor?

I am for the most part a good person, but I do have one major, major flaw – I cuss a blue streak!

It’s not all time, but when I get frustrated, mad or am retelling a story where I was angry then the F-bombs drop. I also tend to drop the S-word when something bad happens — like when I drop my cell phone on concrete!

I have a new curse I didn’t even realize I was saying frequently until my 3-year-old repeated it and in the proper context. I was putting her in the car and I either dropped something or forgot something and she says with exactly the right intonation: “Dumba@@.”

I was shocked but at the exact same time my mind flashed to me sitting in the front seat saying “Dumba@@” when someone cut in front of me or didn’t go in traffic.

I felt awful that I had taught my daughter that word.

I picked up the cursing habit from my big brother who picked it up from my father. Oddly, my father doesn’t cuss much anymore and not so much my brother either. But I am hooked!

It is …

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What to tell tweens about Demi Lovato entering treatment?

Demi Lovato, one of Disney’s biggest stars, checked herself into treatment center to deal with an eating disorder and cutting herself, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Monday night.

According to the Associated Press:

“The 18-year-old Lovato checked herself into a facility to address the concerns, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly due to the sensitivity of the matter.”

“Lovato, who is star of Disney’s “Camp Rock” movies and the sitcom “Sonny With a Chance,” was on an international tour as a special guest of the Jonas Brothers, but left the tour over the weekend to enter an undisclosed facility, according to statement released by her representative Monday night.”

” ‘Demi has decided to take personal responsibility for her actions and seek help,” the statement said. “She is doing just that. Demi and her family ask that the media respect her privacy during this difficult time.’ …

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Alcohol more dangerous than heroin? Should we be warning our teens more stringently about alcohol?

A surprising study from London has found that alcohol is MORE dangerous than illegal drugs like heroin or crack cocaine.

From The Associated Press: (For the quick read, just look at the bold.)

“British experts evaluated substances including alcohol, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and marijuana, ranking them based on how destructive they are to the individual who takes them and to society as a whole.”

“Researchers analyzed how addictive a drug is and how it harms the human body, in addition to other criteria like environmental damage caused by the drug, its role in breaking up families and its economic costs, such as health care, social services, and prison.”

“Heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine, or crystal meth, were the most lethal to individuals. When considering their wider social effects, alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine were the deadliest. But overall, alcohol outranked all other substances, followed by heroin and crack cocaine. Marijuana, ecstasy and LSD scored far …

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