Archive for August, 2012

Parents’ top concern for their kids: Lack of exercise

The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital found in a recent survey that parents’ top concern for their kids is lack of exercise.

Thirty-nine percent rated insufficient exercise at the top of the list.

From UPI:

“Childhood obesity was ranked second at 37 percent, followed by smoking and tobacco use at 34 percent, drug abuse at 33 percent, bullying at 29 percent, stress at 27 percent, alcohol abuse at 23 percent, teen pregnancy at 23 percent, Internet safety at 22 percent and child abuse and neglect at 20 percent.

“Childhood obesity remains a top concern, and adults know it is certainly linked to lack of exercise,” Dr. Matthew M. Davis, director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, said in a statement.”

“Hispanic adults were more likely to rate childhood obesity first at 44 percent, followed by not enough exercise at 38 percent, and also rated drug abuse higher than smoking and tobacco use. Black adults had higher levels of …

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Do you work out with hubby? Michelle Obama does

First Lady Michelle Obama often beats her husband to the gym in the morning but they usually spend part of their work out together. She writes on iVillage, where she is guest editor, that she and the President watch ESPN SportsCenter during their workouts and catch up.

From AP:

“”Barack and I work out every day,” the first lady told the site in an interview to appear online this week. “I usually get to the gym before he does. But he is usually there either in the middle of my workout or right at the end. And we’re watching ‘SportsCenter’ and we’re catching up. That’s why I know so much about sports … and you start having an opinion about (New York Jets quarterbacks Tim) Tebow and Mark Sanchez.””

“If she’s on the road, Mrs. Obama often brings a jump rope, she adds. “If I don’t have a rope or space, I might do a 30-minute routine that includes a minute of jumping jacks alternating with a minute of push-ups, then some sit-ups. You take a 30-second break and do it again.”

(The …

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Is ‘Odd Life of Timothy Green’ too sad for kids? What other family movies were unexpectedly sad? (Spoiler Alert!!)

Entertainment Weekly has posted a video of two boys crying their eyes out over the ending of “The Odd Life of Timothy Green?” (Spoiler Alert: It totally tell you what happens!!!)

The new Disney movie is rated a PG.

From Entertainment Weekly:

“Every weekend, parents around the country are faced with deciding if the movies playing at the multiplex are “safe” for their children to watch. Usually, “safe” translates to a G or PG rating. But, as any former child can tell you, some G-and-PG-rated movies geared for children can end up being the most traumatic moviegoing experiences of all.”

“Case in point, this weekend’s The Odd Life of Timothy Green. (Warning: SPOILERS follow, but parents may appreciate the advance warning!) The film follows Cindy and Jim Green (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton), a married couple struggling to start a family, who one night bury a box in their backyard filled with their dearest hopes and dreams for their imagined child. Soon after, young Timothy …

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The breakfast of champions: Ramen noodles?

My 9-year-old son hates breakfast foods. If he has to eat breakfast foods, he wants scrambled eggs and bacon, which are not super fast to make on a school morning.

I am so tired of fighting with him about “eat your waffle” or “eat your turkey sausage” that I finally made him his favorite thing in the world for breakfast – Asian noodles.

I used the Ramen noodles ($1.43 for six packs) and added only the touch of flavor package.

Now I am sure I can do a more healthy version by making a cold batch of wheat noodles with a Thai peanut butter sauce but for right now at least he’s getting something in his stomach, and he’s not complaining!

Walsh noted when a friend got to eat noodles for breakfast when she visited China, and he thought that was the greatest thing in the world.

My girlfriend says that she regularly makes her middle child vegetable soup for breakfast. She likes it. It’s pretty good for her. It’s fast! Done!

What are some great breakfast alternatives that you serve to …

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This fall beware of monsters at the movies!


Today starts the fall onslaught of monster movies for kids at theaters.

The first movie in the group, “ParaNorman,” opens today in 3-D. It’s animation but the story is a little bit dark. It’s about a boy that “can see dead people.” He’s called upon to use his power to stop an evil ghost from hurting their town.

I am sure this will be funny as well as exciting, but I think it’s definitely intended for older kids (not preschoolers). I would probably leave my 5-year-old at home for this one and just take my 9-and 11- year olds. (Walsh just told me he doesn’t want to see it because he thinks it’s going to be too scary.)

Then in September (Sept. 28), “Hotel Transylvania” opens. It’s about a vampire who runs a hotel for monsters to get away from humans.  All the classic monsters have checked in and then a human shows up!  It stars the voices of Adam Sandler and Andy Samburg, both formerly of Saturday Nigh Live. But it was created by Genndy Tartakovsky, who you may remember from …

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Sick already? The giant germ swap at school

So one week and two days into school and my kindergartner is already home sick! She fell asleep on the floor on Tuesday afternoon, and I thought she was just tired from the long days. (Seven and a half hours is a lot for a 5-year-old.)

When she woke she was complaining that her neck hurt. I asked is it  your neck or your throat? We finally got it was the throat. Her eyes were drippy and droopy too. By the next morning she sounded like a hound dog barking. So home she stayed.

I think Walsh brought home a little something too. Last Friday night I felt something coming on – nose stuffy, eyes burning, throat sore, and I still don’t feel right. He felt bad for one day and then was better!

You know they get back together at school and are exposed to all kinds of new germs, especially the kindergartners who haven’t been around big groups before.

Other friends reported illness the first week as well.

Are kids already sick at your house? Do you keep them out this early or make them go?

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What age can kids use keys/garage codes to let themselves in?

I am wondering at what age do you let your child take a key to school and use it get in by themselves? Corollary question: Are you better installing a garage key code or trusting them to carry your house key?

Walsh has a weekly meeting where I need to leave 10 minutes before Rose gets off the bus. So the question is do I let my 11-year-old take a key to school and let herself in? Or use a garage key code to let herself in?

I will be gone about an hour, and she can work on homework.

I had an older brother so he used to let us in even when I was pretty darn young – maybe even elementary school. He wore the key around his neck on a long chain. My mom was usually home within the hour but she couldn’t’ leave work quite early enough to beat us home.

My girlfriend used to let herself in with the garage key code in high school, which I thought was so neat. I know a lot of other parents do it that way too. I actually bought one but I am having trouble making it work with my side of the …

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Stinky kids: Did your teacher request air freshener?

One of my kids’ teachers had air freshener products on her class wish list. I thought that was such a funny thing to ask for but we all know sweaty kids do smell.

I do have a concern about some kids being allergic to certain scents. Last Christmas, I bought Christmas tree scent air fresheners, and I had a massive allergic reaction to it when I plugged it in. (I’m allergic to trees so I guess they actually had some tree oil in it.)

Did your teacher request air fresheners for the classroom? Would you mind if your child’s teacher used it? Teachers, do you find it necessary to use air fresheners in the classroom? Are allergies ever a problem?

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Hybrid school: K-12 curriculum led by a teacher instead of a parent

I recently read about a new hybrid school in Stone Mountain. I believe it’s in its second year and it started back this week. The curriculum is from the online K-12 program, which is generally taught at home. Usually, the child has his lessons on the computer with the parent as the guide.

With this new program, the kids are at a church in a mixed-age classroom. The kids are still on the computer but the teacher leads them through their lessons instead of their parents. (Although the school’s website says the parents are still the main educator.– “We do have similarities to a homeschooling co-op in that parents are individually responsible for our children’s education, and we pool our resources together to create a community learning center.”)

Here is from the Smoke Rise Prep’s website:

“Smoke Rise Prep is located  in Smoke Rise Baptist Church on Hugh Howell Road.  We offer onsite certified teachers who guide our children through the nationally acclaimed K-12 Curriculum.  Our …

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Growing market: Designers targeting high-end toddlers

Would you spend $10,000 on a 3-year-old’s summer wardrobe?

Fashion designers have found that many parents are willing to spend big bucks on their little people. Luxury children’s wear is the fastest growing segment of the children’s wear and clothing market.

From the AP via the AJC:

“Top fashion designers are pushing more expensive duds for the increasingly lucrative affluent toddler demographic. This fall, Oscar de la Renta, Dolce & Gabbana, and Marni launched collections for the pint-sized. Luxury stores Nordstrom and Bergdorf Goodman are expanding their children’s areas to make room for the newcomers, many of them with higher price tags. Late last year, Gucci, which launched a children’s collection two years ago, opened its first children’s store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.

Some designer houses like Oscar de la Renta and Marni say they’re careful to keep the clothes appropriate for kids. But there are plenty of miniature versions of the adult looks that raise …

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