Archive for January, 2011

How far would you go for the best education for your child?

An African-American mom spent nine days in jail and was released last week for falsifying her address to get into a better school district. The 40-year-old Ohio mother Kelley Williams-Bolar now has a felony conviction for lying about her address so her two daughters, zoned to terrible Akron city schools, could attend better schools in the neighboring Copley-Fairlawn district.

A  Washington Post columnist, Kevin Huffman, wants to know what does it say when parents’ options are so limited they are willing to commit a felony to avoid terrible public schools.

From The Washington Post:

“In this country, if you are middle or upper class, you have school choice. You can, and probably do, choose your home based on the quality of local schools. Or you can opt out of the system by scraping together the funds for a parochial school.”

“But if you are poor, you’re out of luck, subject to the generally anti-choice bureaucracy. Hoping to win the lottery into an open enrollment …

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Spring Disney deals end soon: Tips to help plan

The deadline for Disney’s spring (book by Feb. 13) and early summer (book by March 27) deals are rapidly approaching and some families are scrambling to get their plans in place. I’ve had several requests from friends for my Disney tips and strategies that have run over the years. I thought maybe other families out there could benefit from those links as well. So I have pulled for you guys a bunch of helpful links.

The first section of links is deals, the second section is news about Disney, and the third is tips and strategies.

Here were some of the deals and deadlines  from the Disney official site:

Up to 30% off at select Disney Resort hotels for stays most nights February 17 through April 16, 2011. …

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A parent’s guide to MTV’s ‘Skins:’ How bad is it?

Skins, MTV Shows

I have been hearing and reading a lot about the controversial new MTV show “Skins” and I finally watched it for myself – late last night after the kids went to bed. (They can’t hear any of that!)

I’ll give you a plot summary and my thoughts on it but first a primer on the show and the furor that surrounds it. (Skip the bottom for plot summary if you want that first.)

What’s the gist of the show:

“Skins” is a completely scripted drama. (I say completely scripted because there was a lot of debate about how scripted “The Hills” and similar shows on the network are.) It is supposed to depict what is really going on with teens – drugs, sex, rock n roll, oh yeah and lesbianism.  Unlike many shows about teens, teens actually play the roles, which has caused MTV some problems. (More on that below.)  The show currently airs Mondays at 10 p.m.

So what’s the big deal?

MTV says the content “addresses real-world issues confronting teens …

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How to choose smart glasses for kids?

I am almost legally blind. Michael can’t see either so I guess I should not be surprised that my 7-year-old appears to have some vision issues. He passed the eye exam at the pediatrician’s office but they thought he seemed to struggle. They suggested I take him to a real eye doctor, which now I need to do.

I am dreading being told the kid needs glasses. He’s not going to want to wear them, and I feel certain they will be lost or broken rapidly.

So give me your best advice for purchasing frames for kids? Are the plastic frames stronger? Do the metal frames bend in case he’s kung-fu chopping with some kid? Do you definitely do the scratch protection? Do kids needs the anti-glare? (They aren’t driving but they are on the computer.)

Are there brands of frames or retailers of glasses that hold up well or have good deals on kids’ frames (like they’ll replace them if they break)? Do you get insurance on the glasses for kids? Is that a worthwhile investment? What is a …

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Sleeping with your pets: Cuddly or gross?

While our dog is very cute, I know where his tongue has been and ther is no way he's licking my face or sleeping in my bed.

While our dog is very cute, I know where his tongue has been and there is no way he's licking my face or sleeping in my bed. However, I do let him take trips with us. In this shot, he's in his bed in the mini-van. He's a good little traveler!

I know several families where Fido is allowed in BED with the family but they may change that policy after reading a new study in the February issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the public health journal of the Centers for Disease Control.

While pets provide many positive health effects, Bruno Chomel, a professor of zoonoses at University of California Davism, found that sleeping with your pet increases your chances of contracting bugs and diseases ranging from worms to the bubonic plague.

In fact, of the 250 known diseases transmitted from animals to humans, more than 100 of them come from domestic animals, researchers say.

From CNN:

“ ‘It can happen,’ (Chomel) said.  ‘It’s rare when it happens and it can be bad. It’s …

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What is your family’s State of the Union?

I don’t want to get political (and don’t want you guys to get political) but the State of the Union always seems like an appropriate time to evaluate how your family is doing in comparison to the rest of the nation. (Here is a preview story about the official State of the Union.)

Supposedly the economy is rebounding. We are officially, according to the government, out of the recession. But what are you seeing at home? Are you better off than you were a year ago? What about two years ago? Do you feel more positively about your money and have confidence you will have money in the future?  (Christmas spending seemed to indicate some confidence. Online spending was up.)

(A news story on how some people are spending now and some numbers on spending.)

I definitely think that certain segments of the economy get hit before others and then are on the front-end of the recovery. For example, we have a friend with a trucking company and then my dad who is engineer selling HVAC …

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Call in professionals to treat lice? New treatment pricey but …

My head has been itching a lot and I’m starting to worry I have lice. There was one class at my kids’ school that had lice recently and I heard they were checking kids at school so now I’m paranoid. (I think my problem is just dry skin but …)

Thank goodness, so far, knock on wood, my kids have never come home with lice. My girlfriend’s school has had multiple cases year after year and her kids have repeatedly picked it up. It is such a nightmare to deal with washing everything in the house and picking through long hair. She’s finally found the treatment that works best for her kids. She kept having to retreat.

I did have lice once when I was a kid, and I just remember the stuff smelling awful and my mom yanking on my head combing it out. (My curly hair doesn’t comb well.)

The new twist on lice is I am hearing more and more about professional services that will come to your house to do the dirty work for you. I found multiple companies in Atlanta with a quick …

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Hate their veggies? Not if they were eating art!

Would your kids want to drink this cocoa? One of our regulars is creating salad art to help her kids eat more veggies and sharing it on her new blog

Would your kids want to drink this cocoa? One of our regulars is creating salad art to help her kids eat more veggies and sharing it on her new blog

Could this adorable owl concinve them to nosh some veggies? (From

Could this adorable owl concinve them to nosh some veggies? (From

We all know how frustrating it can be to watch your kids push their veggies around their plates and not eat them.

Well one of our regular contributors, New Mom, has created a lovely new blog to inspire parents to help their kids eat healthier by making it fun and beautiful. She calls the blog Kids Eating Art ( and each day she posts the artwork she creates from fruits and veggies.

She started out just posting the photos on Facebook, but with encouragement from her friends she created a blog to share with the world. (You guys may remember that New Mom and I went to high school together.)

I am amazed by the details she replicates and how the objects really look like what they are supposed to be. My …

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Busted by your kids while having sex?

This week “Modern Family,” one of the BEST shows on TV, hysterically addressed parents getting busted by their kids while doing the dirty.

Their three kids were planning to surprise their parents (Phil and Claire) with breakfast in bed for their anniversary. Instead the kids’ retinas were scorched off by the site of their parents’ amorous (and what appeared to be standing up) love making.

The kids freak. Claire and Phil freak (although Phil stops to eat the dumped breakfast off the floor).  Claire and Phil lock themselves in their bedroom to decide what to do now: Do they discuss it with the kids? Do they joke about it to lighten the mood? Do they ignore that it happen? (Claire is extra sensitive to the issue because she witnessed her own parents having sex  when she was a child and they never even addressed it.)

Meanwhile the kids are downstairs discussing how they DON’T want to discuss it!!  The final scene is just perfect. You have to watch it. It is the second …

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Did the snow days throw off your custody days?

I am hearing from some families that the snow not only wreaked havoc on school and work schedules it also completely screwed up divorce custody agreements!

Children that were supposed to visit the other parent couldn’t get there and now that some counties have canceled their winter breaks to make up school, some non-custodial parents are losing out on time there as well.

Some families split the school breaks so each parents can have vacation time with the kids – the mom may get fall break while the dad gets winter break and so on. But now whoever had winter break may be left out in the cold. (Sorry! You knew one was coming!)

Did the snow mess up your visitation schedule?  If so how?

Will your ex work with you to make up the time on other weekends or weeknights (less fun – school nights)?

Will the make-up days mess up other visitation plans later in the year? How can those be resolved? Does extra summer time or fall break make up losing winter or spring break?

Have the …

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