Archive for October, 2012

What are great Halloween/scary movies for Tweens/kids?

As I mentioned in my earlier post today, I really am not a fan of scary movies for myself or my kids. However, ABC Family did run a bunch of older movies that my 9- and 11-year-old are really enjoying.

We recorded on the DVR: “Beetlejuice,” “The Nightmare before Christmas,” and “Corpse Bride.”  We also taped “Edward Scissorhands” but we haven’t watched it yet. (I have never seen it.)

They also like “Coraline.”

I wondered about Tim Burton’s “Sleepy Hollow” but I watched it earlier this month and it was way too violent and scary for them. Heck the Disney version is pretty scary. (I love that one! We borrow it from the library.)

I also taped some older movies off of TCM like “Abbott and Costello meet the Mummy,” “The House of Dracula” and “The Raven” with Vincent Price. (I need to preview the last two to see if they are too intense.)

I am wondering about “The Mummy” (Brendan Fraser version) but I’m not sure if it’s too scary.

What movies do your …

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Are there benefits to letting kids watch scary movies?

Anthony Breznican, of Entertainment Weekly magazine, recently argued in EW’s new family section of the website that there are benefits to letting kids be scared by movies.

Here is what Breznican said in Entertainment Weekly:

“Now, I don’t believe young children should watch The Exorcist. And I’m not sure humans of any age should watch the likes of Saw III. So we all have our opinions, and some are more easily agreed upon than others. That’s always how it will be. But as my generation of kids has turned into the parents, we’ve made a virtue out of sheltering our own children from any ghoul or ghostie less friendly than Casper. That can only lead to kids growing up to fear their own shadows. Generation X is raising Generation Ahh!”

“There’s a reason we crave scares, whether it’s the free-fall of a roller coaster or the dread of a Stephen King novel. As we clutch the edges of Pet Semetary, reading about a father resurrecting his deceased little boy, it’s the …

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Have you been ‘BOO-ed?’

Have you been "Boo-ed?" Are they doing this in your neighborhood? Pain in your bottom or just clean fun?

Have you been "Boo-ed?" Are they doing this in your neighborhood? Pain in your bottom or just clean fun?

Just the other day my girlfriend who lives in a different neighborhood asked me if our neighbors were getting “Boo-ed.” She explained it meant that a neighbor left a note and treats on your door step and then you were supposed to pass it on to two other neighbors. You leave a picture of a ghost in your window so neighbors know that you’ve already been visited. (You can find more info at

I replied no thank goodness. I do not have the time to mess with that. I haven’t even bought my candy yet.

But guess what happened late last night. Yes, we got Boo-ed. So now the dilemma.  Do you keep it going or just forget about it?

I will probably go and buy candy tomorrow so will probably keep it going but I am feeling like I don’t have time to be doing it. Hum-bug.

I have also heard it called “ghosting.”

Is this happening in your neighborhood? Are you into …

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I’m not OK with kids dressed up as movie murderers

A mom friend of ours, Melissa Rayworth, wrote a great story for The Associated Press examining why very gory, scary costumes are so popular this year even for the youngest kids.

Here is the trend according to AP:

“Gory Halloween costumes aren’t new, of course. …

“But in a year when Abraham Lincoln was depicted as a vampire hunter and zombies are everywhere, gory costumes that were once reserved for preteens and teens are now available in ever-smaller sizes.”

“One example among many: The national chain Party City’s “Boys Skinned Alive” costume will fit, according the company’s website, “most children over 4.” Even costumes that were once benign now have violent twists: The sweet, simple “sock monkey” is now a bloody zombie sock monkey with razor-sharp teeth, sold in sizes small enough for kindergarteners.”

“For the last couple of years, darker is where it’s been at,” says Melissa Sprich, vice president of Halloween merchandising for Party City. For babies and toddlers, …

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Let’s remember kindness during the storm and on the blog

I wasn’t sure what to write about for today. With a giant hurricane bearing down on our friends and family all along the East Coast, Halloween costume choices and seasonal Count Chocula cereal seems trivial.

But then I got a note this morning from one of the regulars on our blog. She was letting me know that another regular had left our group because people were always so mean on the blog.

It makes me so sad that people don’t feel welcome on the blog unless they’re ready to duke it out or have a thick skin. We’ve talked in the past about people on the mom blog being meaner than the people on the sports blogs, and it’s just not right. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Moms and dads should be able to turn the blog for news about parenting and family life, a lively discussion and even support. They shouldn’t feel attacked just for commenting or afraid to comment.

I have been thinking about Hurricane Sandy and in my mind picturing images of people helping their …

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Study: Twitter boosts grades/engagement for college students

A new study from Michigan State University suggests that university students that use Twitter as part of their education feel more connected to why they are learning and do better in class.


“Christina Greenhow, an assistant professor of education at Michigan State University, discovered that students using the microblogging service as part of their education are more engaged and have higher grades. In fact, she considers it “a new literary practice,” as she explains in her study “Twitteracy: Tweeting as a New form of Literary Practice.”

“Greenhow taught a class that required each student to have a Twitter account that was used in different ways throughout the semester. She noticed students were more engaged than in the twitter-less past. “

The video also reports that a 2010 study from a Pennsylvania school agreed that Twitter helped raise grades.

I teach Twitter as part of my digital media class but I think it’s much harder for people to get …

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Does your husband influence your vote?

I am wondering how much husbands, fathers, uncles or brothers influence positively or negatively the candidates for whom women vote?

My mother and father belong to different parties and usually they just don’t discuss politics. But one election year, my dad pressured my mother to vote for his candidate. He kept telling her that his business would fail if she voted for the wrong guy.

To this day, she talks about her regret in changing her vote.

On the flip side, I like discussing politics with my husband.  He is very well informed, and I always learn from our discussions.

Does your husband or any other man in your life influence your vote?

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Calif. high school athletes accused of drafting girls into fantasy league for alleged sexual activity

This story that makes me feel sad for the young men and young women. Here’s the full AP story. See what you think.

From The AP via The Washington Post:

SAN FRANCISCO — School administrators and parents are wrestling with how to respond to news that some male high school athletes created a statistics-based fantasy league that awarded points when girls the boys “drafted” were rumored to have engaged in sexual activity.

Parents at Piedmont High School were notified of the league’s existence in a letter and email Friday.

Varsity athletes used the online competition, modeled after fantasy leagues common in major league sports, as a bonding activity for the last five or six years, Principal Rich Kitchens said in the letter.

“Male students earn points for documented engagement in sexual activities with female students,” he wrote.

Most of the female students who were drafted into the league weren’t aware of the competition, he added.

Officials at the San Francisco Bay …

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Will you use your smartphone in the voting booth?

I use my smartphone to look up prices in the grocery store, nutrition information in line at fast food places, and mattress prices at Sears when I’m in Macy’s.

With 46 percent of American adults owning smartphones, I am wondering how many will use them to look up information on candidates or issues in the voting booth?

In the past I have taken in notes or pages from the newspaper with information about who or what I want to vote for. (Sometimes they use double negatives in the phrasing or the numbers on the item are confusing, and I need reference material.)

But I think this year, if I were voting in the booth, I would look up stuff in my phone. (I have my ballot at home and am voting early this year.)

I believe both parties put out voter guides so I can see people referencing those on their phones or even making notes to themselves beforehand in their phones.

Will you use your smartphone in the voting booth this year? How will you use it?

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Open to all parents: Experts to discuss future of Georgia’s Pre-K

Georgia’s lottery-funded pre-k program is turning 20 this year and parents are invited to a panel discussion of whether the investment in early childhood education has paid off, who should have access to free pre-k and what a successful pre-k classroom looks like. All parents and teachers are welcome. The event is free.

The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at Georgia Public Broadcasting in Midtown. It is sponsored by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and PNC Bank.

Panelists are: Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President for Outreach and Educational Practices at Sesame Workshop; Bobby Cagle, Commissioner of Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning; Regina Bowie, pre-kindergarten teacher at Woodland Elementary School in Fulton County; Dr. Gary Henry, Patricia and H. Rodes Hart Distinguished Professor of Public and Higher Education Policy, Department of Leadership, Policy and Organization, Peabody College at …

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