Archive for February, 2011

Would tracking kids steps (and awarding prizes) get them moving?

Would giving kids a pedometer help them exercise more? Would giving them prizes from a company tracking their movement help them exercise more?

A new product GeoPalz ($19.95) is essentially a cute pedometer. But here’s the twist: each Geopalz has a serial number that you can log into a computer. The kids earn 1 Geopalz point for every 2,500 step that they use toward prizes.

From GeekDad on Wired.com:

“The goal is to get the kids motivated to walk/run/be active with the GeoPalz pedometer and earn prizes with each point earned—which can include GeoPalz-branded hacky-sacks, flying discs, footballs, or store gift cards.  Both kids are shooting for a $10 Target gift card (199 points or nearly 500,000 steps). They’ve been jumping, running, and wiggling to make their pedometer gain more points.”

“So, the GeoPalz world works this way—you buy a GeoPalz branded pedometer (for $19.95) or provide your own pedometer when registering (for $14.95) and the kids earn points …

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‘Kung Fu Panda’ partnership with Zoo Atlanta: Smart financial move or tacky?

I read on the AJC front page that Zoo Atlanta’s new panda has been named Po after the character in “Kung Fu Panda” and the new “Kung Fu Panda 2,” which is premiering in May.

DreamWorks, which produces the “Kung Fu Panda” series, has partnered with Zoo Atlanta. Other than naming the new panda Po I’m not sure what else the zoo has to do but in return for DreamWorks giving money to offset the Zoo’s panda conservation efforts. It will also continue giving money to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China.

From the AJC:

“The male cub born at Zoo Atlanta Nov. 3, has been christened Po, after the character voiced by Jack Black in “Kung Fu Panda.”

At the naming ceremony Tuesday outside the zoo’s Giant Panda building, Black unveiled the name from an envelope resembling an Oscar winner, then goofed around onstage with a giant costumed panda for an “interpretive dance.”

Zoo Atlanta has entered into a partnership with DreamWorks Animation …

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What store brands are you willing to use?

After my first trip to Costco I posted on Facebook photos of what I bought and how much I spent. A good friend, who is a mother of five, commented you’re doing it wrong. Those are all name brands. You need to be buying off brands. Well a lot of the stuff at Costco is name brand but it begs the question what store brands are you willing to use for which products? Which products do you insist on name brand? Which products will you not compromise on?

In general I like the Publix store brands more than other store brands. I will also buy the Target store brands pretty readily. I buy some Wal-Mart and Kroger store brands.

Here are a few products we won’t compromise on:

Diapers – I bought Pampers for the girls and Huggies for my boy (they seemed to leak less with a boy). The only time we ever  bought the store brand was when we were trying to potty train and wanted it not to feel quite as dry.

Pop Tarts – Michael has an issue with off-brand toaster pastries. I think it …

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Should New York call in bill collectors for owed lunch money?

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggested on a radio show that cash-strapped New York may have to cut off lunch to high school students whose parents are debt for past lunches. He said parents stiffed the schools out of $7 million in lunch fees last year.

From The New York Post:

” ‘It may be we get to that. The first thing is let’s try to get the parents to pay,’ Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show.” …

“Bloomberg said he wants to give the parents a chance to make good before calling on bill collectors.”

” ‘We want to keep this between the families and the schools and we don’t want to use collection agencies,’ the mayor said.”

A lot of teachers on our blog complain about kids being on free or reduced lunches when they don’t seem to need to be but what happens to kids that don’t show up with money? Our school stamps their little hands to remind you to put money in their accounts and will spot them a cheese sandwich if you don’t bring in money. …

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Chuckle through childbirth? Laughing gas may come back

The United States stopped using laughing gas during childbirth several decades ago, although it still used in Canada, Great Britain and other countries. The federal government is reviewing its use in the delivery room and it may make a comeback.

The Associated Press reports:

“CONCORD, N.H. – Labor pain is nothing to laugh at. Yet.”

“The use of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, during childbirth fell out of favor in the United States decades ago, and just two hospitals — one in San Francisco and one in Seattle — still offer it. But interest in returning the dentist office staple to the delivery room is growing: respected hospitals including Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center plan to start offering it, the federal government is reviewing it, and after a long hiatus, the equipment needed to administer it is expected to hit the market soon….”

“Though nitrous oxide is commonly used for labor pain relief in Canada, Great Britain and other countries, it’s been all but …

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Will you take your tween/teen to see new Bieber movie?

The new Justin Bieber 3-D movie “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” opens today, and I am grateful that none of my kids are into him.

I would probably take them if they did love him. If it was a Taylor Swift movie we would all be there!

The one part of the movie that I think I would like my kids to see (based on the commercial) is his dedication to accomplish something. You have to admire his drive whether you like his hair or his sound.

Here is Entertainment Weekly’s review of the movie. It shockingly gave it a B plus.

This is more of a news story about the movie from The New York Times.

So what do you think: Will you take your tweens/teens to see “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” this weekend or ever? (Maybe that’s what the title means – never say you’ll never go.) Will you pop for the 3-D? Do you think he’s talented? Do you think he’s better or worse than other pop teen idols? Did you see the Miley Cyrus movie or the Jonas Brothers’ movie — wait was that one …

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A Mom’s Top 5 Free Gift Ideas for Valentine’s Day!

I wanted to offer up my top 5 free to cheap Valentine’s Day presents that I think any mom would love. You’ll notice a theme – it’s all about alone time or getting more sleep!

1.       Surprise sleep-in for mom where Michael gets the kids up and ready for school. It’s hard to get up at 6:45 week in and week out especially on cold mornings. (When I had Lilina, Michael got the kids ready for school that entire first year of her life and I really, really appreciated it. So he has done it the past. It would be a nice treat every once in a while.)

2.       Quiet time for me to read while he takes the kids to park (or anywhere outside the house) to play.

3.       A bubble bath alone WITHOUT a 3-year-old inviting herself in!!! (“Oooh, mountains of bubbles,” she says while stripping off her clothes. I always try to convince her the water is too hot. However that only works for so long and then before you know it I am sharing my relaxing bath with a …

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Need a little help feeling sexy? 7 foods to get you in the mood

So it’s Valentine’s Day night and now you’re supposed to be in the mood for love – actually sex. Especially this year that may be tough to do since Valentine’s Day is on a school night. (Are you celebrating this weekend instead?)

I ran across this article on Health.com that might help you actually be in the mood for sex after taking care your children and working all day. It’s  7 foods to help get you in the mood for sex. There are recipes attached to each food suggestion.

So see what you think: Do you already eat these? Do you think food can put you in the mood and help keep you in the mood (or would a good nap do just as much?)

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How should elementary schools celebrate Valentine’s Day?

I am sure that in middle and high school the focus of Valentine’s Day is on love. I am guessing that students don’t bring in Valentine’s for the whole class anymore and concentrate on their friends or significant others. And I think that is appropriate for high school and probably even middle school. However, I don’t like seeing that in elementary school. I just don’t think the focus should be on boyfriend/girlfriend LOVE at that age.

This year I was very pleased that both of my kids’ classes have focused the holiday on friendship.

Rose’s teacher did her “friendship party” early (but they are exchanging cards with their friends on Monday). The teacher suggested a “Minute To Win It” party like the NBC show. NBC’s web site has a large list of these easy-to-play and easy-to-put together games. The kids went around to 17 stations and try to pass the task. They had a little check sheet to mark if they succeeded. At the end the kids who achieved the most …

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What are the fastest fat burners?

I am still on my quest to lose 20 freaken pounds. I found these tips last night and I think they seem good. They are labeled “Fasted Fat Burner Ever!” You know you want to look!

From Health.com, a few of the tips shortened:

Jogging keeps your body burning more fat later.

Switch between walking and jogging – I am doing this more now and am gradually working up my jogging time without feeling like I’m going to die. (I feel like I’m going to pee but not die. Freaken babies.)

Doing your weight lifting reps slowly increases strength. (Totally guilty of blowing through my reps on weights. It still take me 40 minutes to get through the weights workout but I do the reps fast. I will try to slow down.)

Lift heavier weights with less reps to burn more. (I always wondered about that.)

Do your strength training before cardio to burn more. (I do usually do that.)

Listen to fast-paced music – you will go longer and burn more. (I think this is true but often I end up watching the …

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