Archive for February, 2011

Does good handwriting make you smarter?

I wage mortal combat each day with my 7-year-old over his handwriting. He doesn’t see the point of learning to have beautiful handwriting (or in his case properly formed letters that look like what they are supposed to be). He says to me , I won’t be hand writing things in the future. I will be typing them! (I said to him one time: what about love letters? No girl wants love letters typed. He said I won’t be writing any!)

I insist that he practices his handwriting daily and make up activities for him to do. He gets so angry, and it is literally is a constant fight. One day he got into trouble at school and his teacher was going to have him sit out and I said listen make him write about it. That way it’s punishment for him, and he gets to practice his handwriting. I’ve noticed other kids doing that now too.

A friend posted this article on Facebook, and now I have some scientific evidence to back up my reasons for making him practice his handwriting.

From The Week:

“ With the …

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Do you have energy hogs in your home? (Not your kids!) had an interesting story about some of the worst small appliance energy hogs in your home. I was shocked at how much energy these little guys can use and was guilty of several of the offenders.


“Digital picture frames are small, so it’s hard to think of them as energy hogs. But if each U.S. household had one of these frames running around the clock, it would take five power plants to run them all, says the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), an electricity-focused research and development nonprofit.”

“Large home appliances like refrigerators and dryers are typical examples of energy-hungry devices, but energy hogs don’t necessarily need to be large in size. Small devices are also collectively sucking a lot of energy from the power grid, and as these devices become commonplace their energy consumption rises exponentially. “It’s the subtlety of the effect of large numbers of very small consuming devices,” says Tom Reddoch, the executive director …

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Should Disney court newborn customers … in the hospital?

The Walt Disney Company has started a new product line and marketing campaign aimed at newborns.

Mothers of newborns are used to getting little packages of baby products at the hospital – sometimes it’s formula (although that has been criticized for discouraging mothers from nursing), sometimes diapers or diaper cream. But starting last month, mothers in 580 hospitals around the United State also got a free Disney Cuddly Bodysuit, a variation of the Onesie.

The New York Times reports that the mothers received bedside demonstrations from bilingual representatives about the new body suits and asking them to sign up for email alerts.  Disney estimates the North American baby market to be worth $36.3 billion annually.

The NYT reports that Disney has been trying reach an even younger audience than their Princess fans – including my two daughters. Feb. 14, Disney will debut new channel aimed at preschool viewers – Disney Junior. Plus Disneyland is starting a It’s A Small World tie …

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Do your kids have to ‘Friend’ you on Facebook?

For some parents just having passwords isn’t enough. They want to be their kid’s “friend” too.

A new study on social networking trends and practice found that 16 percent of teens say friending their parents was a precondition for joining the social networking site.

From the AJC:

” ‘Facebook continues to be the new frontier in the ever-evolving relationship between parent and child,’ said Kristen Campbell of Kaplan Test Prep, which conducted the study.”

“Although roughly two-thirds of U.S. teenagers feel at ease having their parents friend them on Facebook, for many teens getting friended by their parents is like, OMG, sharing a tender moment with them in public.”

“Andrea Shelton has personal experience with this when she posted “Spencer, you’re the man,” recently on his wall.”

“ ‘I thought it was cute,’ said Shelton, a resident of Buckhead. ‘He was mortified and I learned a lesson: lay low, mama.’…

“Shelton, who admittedly was late coming to the site, said that friending …

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Should Giffords’ husband leave his recovering wife for space?

The Associated Press is reporting from sources that the astronaut husband of wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will leave his recovering wife for his space mission targeted to leave April 19. Mark Kelly is scheduled to have a press conference later today to officially announce his decision.

It will be the space shuttle Endeavour’s final flight. Kelly has flown three times aboard space shuttles; April’s trip to the International Space Station will be his fourth. He will lead a veteran, all-male, American-Italian crew. The mission is scheduled to last two weeks.

The mission is the next-to-last for the entire 30-year shuttle program. It will deliver an elaborate physics experiment by a Nobel prize winner.

From the AP:

“He took a leave from training after his wife was shot in the head outside a Tucson, Ariz., supermarket as she met with constituents on Jan. 8. Six people were killed and 13 were injured in the rampage; a 22-year-old suspect is in custody.”

“The Arizona congresswoman …

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Forget the Super Bowl: It’s National Porn Sunday!

The XXXChurch is trying to fight porn by getting pastors to talk about the topic on Super Bowl Sunday.

Church founder Craig Gross recruited NFL players to tape a video that he says will be shown at more than 300-plus participating churches.

Part of this effort is also distributing a monitoring software for your computer that will automatically email your wife or whomever you choose if you visit questionable web sites.

From CNN’s Belief blog:

“Matt Hasselbeck, who led the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl in 2006, is one of the video’s stars.”

“Although he said he has never had a pornography addiction, Hasselbeck signed up for the free XXXchurch tracking software called X3watch.”

“ ‘If I go to a site that’s questionable, a teammate gets an email and my wife gets an email,” Hasselbeck told CNN. “I thought about adding my mom too but decided against that,’ ”

“ ‘It just keeps you accountable,’ he said.  ‘You know there’s a short term consequence to anything you do.’ ”

“He says …

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Family Fun: Sensory friendly film and free museum days

I wanted to share with you guys a couple of good family fun opportunities coming up this weekend and next weekend.

I got a note that  Bank of America and Merrill Lynch are offering free museum passes to their debit/and or credit cardholders (representing one out of every two households nationwide). The free museum weekends start this Saturday and Sunday and will run all year long the first full weekend of each month.

To qualify for Museums on Us, customers present their Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card along with a photo ID to gain free general admission to any participating institution.

In Georgia, the participating museums include:


Atlanta History Center

High Museum of Art


Booth Western Art Museum

Tellus Science Museum


Telfair Museums – NEW

Also wanted to let you guys know that Feb. 12, AMC Theatres and the Autism Society are hosting another Sensory Friendly Film. This time it will be “Gnomeo & Juliet.”

From the Autism …

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Series: How do couples handle their money? is offering a very interesting series on how couples handle their money.

Do they pool it, keep it separate or sometimes share? Does education play into what method they choose? How has the economy affected the choices of couples today?

The author, Jessica Grose, just got married. Before she was married they had kept separate accounts but split the rent and other household expenses. She wasn’t sure what they would do after they got married but it made her want to know how other couples were handling it.


“I wanted to find out what other couples were doing, and how they decided to become Common Potters, Independent Operators, or Sometime Sharers. I also wondered whether social changes—the staggering debt of recent college graduates, the loss of pensions and 401(k) matching programs, the dominance of women in higher education, the declining rate of marriage, and the increasing rate of cohabitation—were changing couples’ financial relations. And hey, …

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New study: How the flu spreads at schools

In a new study, researchers have figured out how the flu spreads from child to child at school.

(I can’t decide if this story is interesting or Duh!!? You decide.)

The Los Angeles Times reports:

“The latest science shows that flu predominantly spreads from boys to other boys and from girls to other girls. The study, conducted by a consortium of researchers that included experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also found that flu transmission is more intensive within students sitting in the same class. But sitting next to someone with the flu doesn’t, in itself, increase one’s risk.”

“The scientists examined flu spread among 370 children, ages 6 to 18, during a major H1N1 flu outbreak in a rural Pennsylvania community. The goal was to look at how social networks control flu spread.”

“Children are about three times more likely to pass the flu to children of the same gender, the researchers found. That’s probably because boys tend to mix with boys and …

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Does Costco really save you money?

I have been debating joining Costco for a couple of reasons, and I wanted to find out if you guys think it really saves you money or if you just end up with very large quantities of products you don’t really want. (IE – I am excited about 28 cans of Progresso soup I just wish it was more than two flavors in the box. I can get behind the 12 boxes of Lean Cuisines but just wish it had two of my favorites instead of just one. Is it a deal if I eat 10 boxes of Lean Cuisines I’m not crazy about?)

Here’s why I am finally seriously considering joining:

Two incidents have made me think I need to join.

No. 1: A few weeks ago a college-age male clerk at Target was helping me out to my car with my purchases. It was admittedly a lot of stuff. It was a lot of my packaged groceries – ie Dinosaur oatmeal, Neutella, peanut butter, chips, Coke products – and toiletry-type items – four-pack of toothbrushes, toothpaste, lotion, … You get the picture.

So the kid says “You know you really should …

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