Archive for April, 2012

It’s National Park Week: Visit one for free!

April 21 to 29 is National Park Week, and your family can enjoy free admission to any national park this week. (There are 397 of them!)

Click here to find explore parks you would like to visit. Here’s a sample from the site.

Andersonville National Historic Site GA

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area GA

Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park GA

Cumberland Island National Seashore GA

Fort Frederica National Monument GA

Fort Pulaski National Monument GA

Jimmy Carter National Historic Site GA

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park GA

Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site GA

Ocmulgee National Monument GA

Many of the schools are having CRCT this week which often means no homework so there might be time to squeeze in an afternoon visit. It would be fairly easy to make it to the Martin Luther King Center downtown or the Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield.

If you can’t make it out this week, there are a few other dates during the year where you can also enjoy …

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Is the Etan Patz case the reason I am a paranoid mom?

I was 7-years-old when 6-year-old Etan Patz disappeared in New York City. He was taken less than two blocks from his home on the first day he walked to the school bus stop alone.

I had never heard of Etan before last week when I started following the reports about police digging up a near-by basement looking for evidence of the little boy’s death 33 years later. (Here’s the latest on their search.)

However, I was very aware of the missing and murdered children in Atlanta around the same time. I remember telling me mother that I was scared I would be kidnapped and killed during that time.

Some experts say that the Etan Patz, the missing and murdered children in Atlanta, Adam Walsh and Polly Klaas cases “catapulted concern about missing children to the forefront of national consciousness” and made parents anxious and paranoid about losing their children.

From CNN:

“It awakened America,” said Ernie Allen, president and chief executive officer of the National Center for …

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Tired of stiff family shots? Check out this Dad’s photo fun

The internet is abuzz with funny, adorable photos a dad took of his two little girls for his immune-compromised mother.

Jason Lee shot creative photos of his two daughters to share with his mother via a blog. His mother was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and couldn’t be exposed to kid germs.

Jason says most of the ideas came from his daughters 8-year-old Kristin and 5-year-old Kayla

Check out the shots on the blog. My kids loved them and wanted to try to recreate them. (This is guy is a professional photographer.) They adored the little girl Duct taped to the wall and the shot of her sister shooting her into space on a rocket. They also loved Mario and Angry Bird creations.

See what you think? Could you recreate? Do you have any favorite candid or posed shots that don’t look like stiff forced shots?

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HBO ‘Girls’ antithesis of how I want my daughters to turn out!

HBO has a new show called “Girls” that all the critics are loving. I sat down to watch it the other day and came away hoping to God my daughters don’t turn out that way.

It features a group of girls living in New York City who seem to be not so gainfully employed. (One appears to have a job.) The main character of the show, Hannah, has in fact been unpaid intern for two years since she graduated from college allowing her parents to pay for her to live in one of the most expensive cities on earth!

The crux of the pilot is her parents (FINALLY) cut her off. The dad doesn’t want to but the mom says enough is enough – plus she wants a lake house.

So Hannah all of a sudden (she’s had two years on the dole!) has to figure out how to get a job and provide for herself.

Another exciting aspect of the show is their love lives. The two main characters do a walk-and-talk where we learn the hierarchy of trying to communicate with men now. The boy she likes won’t “text” …

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Short, pregnant lady rant: No she is not about to give birth; she just looks that way!

My petite cousin went on a very funny hormonal rant the other day on Facebook that I wanted to share with you. (She gave me permission to share verbatim – other than her cursing.

“…Guess what people?… when someone is pregnant, they get big. really big. Especially short ladies. Why? Because babies are roughly 7.5 pounds and almost 2 feet long when they come out. Where the “f” are they supposed to hang out until then?”
“When one is tall and skinny, such as (expletive removed) Giselle, there is a nice long body cavity to hide the exact same size bump as I have. That’s right, I said cavity. And if you want me to get really gross, I also have 50% more blood in my body right now. Plus about 10-15 pounds of extra bodily fluid and 5 pounds of a giant uterus and placenta. ”

“For women to compete to be “petite” during pregnancy is impossible and dangerous and maddening when it’s happening to you. Stop asking pregnant women if they are going to “pop” or have …

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What legal ways can schools amp up their CRCT scores?

During the next few weeks, students from across the state will be bearing down and bubbling in their CRCT answer sheets.

We all know the wrong way to go about improving your school’s scores so what are some ways schools can legitimately improve their scores? Is there anything parents can do to increase their child’s scores?

Here are a few techniques that I have heard to improve performance:

– The classic chewing mint gum while taking the test – mint to help keep you awake, gum is supposed to engage the brain.

– Exercising before school starts – One school has exercise stations set up on the playground for the students to do right before they start taking the test.

– Signing a form stating that your child is getting 10 hours of sleep each night before the test.

– Brain food brought in by parents for snacks before testing begins.

– Working on practice computer programs at home. Our old school really pushed students practicing at home for the test but not so much here. I …

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Free breakfast served in classrooms, not cafeteria, increases consumption dramatically

One Connecticut elementary school with a high-level of homeless children has found tremendous success in getting their students to eat a free breakfast by serving it in the classroom  instead of in the cafeteria.

New Haven public school Wexler/Grant School is home to about 400 kids in grades pre-K to 8 and the has the highest number of homeless students in the district.

From The Huffington Post:

“In the first month in which kids started eating breakfast in their classrooms instead, the number of kids eating shot up. The average number of breakfasts consumed rose from 198 in February to 346 in March, according to Sarah Maver, school wellness dietitian for New Haven Public Schools.”

“That means about 91 percent of kids are now eating breakfast, according to her data. (There are 407 kids in the school; about 94 percent show up each day.)”

“We definitely are very happy” with the quick results, she said.

The article goes on to describe how one of the teachers, Michele …

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PTA says tens of thousand stolen: How can PTA protect accounts?

Tens of thousands of dollars have been stolen from PTA funds of an Atlanta elementary school and the PTA president says a parent diverted the funds.

From the AJC:

“Tens of thousands of dollars have been stolen from the PTA and school foundation at E. Rivers Elementary School in Buckhead, Atlanta police confirmed Tuesday. So far, there has been no arrest.”

“Though PTA leaders told parents at a Tuesday night meeting that nearly $54,000 had been recovered, they declined to put a dollar amount on the amount on the alleged theft, citing the ongoing investigation.”

“It is one of our parents,” PTA Co-President Elise Lowry said during the meeting at Covenant Presbyterian Church, across Peachtree Road from the school.

“Lowry alerted Atlanta police to the missing money on March 7, according to an incident report obtained by the AJC. Lowry reported that an account audit by the PTA discovered missing check payments from Peachtree Road United Methodist Church.”

“Lowry told …

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Who are the modern stay-at-home moms?

The Ann Romney stay-at-home debate from last week prompted a smart reporter from The New York Times to look into census data to find out who the modern stay-at-home moms really are? Are they rich ladies with husbands making big bucks? Or are they women who can’t afford day care or are they traditional women who want to be home?

From The New York Times via the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

“…65 percent of married women who stay home with children under 18 years old live in households that earn less than $75,000 a year, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau….”

“Stay-at-home mothers are younger, less educated and more likely to be Hispanic than they were in previous generations, and perhaps have a more traditional view of family and more limited job skills than other women these days, according to a Census Bureau report that analyzed changes in stay-at-home motherhood from 1969 to 2009. Eighteen percent of stay-at-home mothers lack a high school …

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Do you still actually like your spouse?

Today is our 18th wedding anniversary, and I am thrilled that I actually still like my husband after all these years.

I’m not making a joke. I think it’s a hard trick for couples to not only stay in their marriage but to actually want to be with that person and still enjoy that person after many, many years.

It’s still the highlight of my day when Michael comes home from work and I can’t wait to get the kids in bed and spend time with just him. I still want to know his opinions on world events, songs, articles, books, etc…. (I’ve been waiting for him to finish “The Marriage Plot” so we could discuss and now I need to him to read “The Hunger Games” so we can also discuss. He felt the need to suck me into “The Game of Thrones” so he’d have a partner with which to watch.)

Do we fight? Heck yes. Do we disagree? Yup.  Are we mean to each other sometimes? Absolutely.

In no way is our marriage perfect or unbreakable, but he is the person I would still …

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