Archive for October, 2012

How do I cook winter greens, beets so my kids will eat them?

These winter greens are so beautiful and I am sure nutritious, but I'm not sure how to prepare them for my family.

These winter greens are so beautiful and I am sure nutritious, but I'm not sure how to prepare them for my family.

These beets are beautiful but I'm not sure how to prepare them for my kids or which ones to choose?

These beets are beautiful but I'm not sure how to prepare them for my kids or which ones to choose?

My grocery store is full of vivid winter greens and jewel-toned beets but I have to admit that I don’t know how to cook this fall bounty.

My mother never cooked greens growing up (despite being from Georgia).  And any beets she served came from cans and were just awful. Last spring I tasted roasted beets in Oregon, and they were fantastic but I’m just not sure how to prepare them. I am afraid of staining things in my kitchen. The Food Network talks all about squeezing them but I’m not sure if I need to do that to roast them.

Can I just peel them and cut them up and roast them or is there more preparation to it?

I have cooked with kale in soups, and I like fresh spinach. But I don’t know what to do with all the winter greens. Which ones are the best to try first? …

Continue reading How do I cook winter greens, beets so my kids will eat them? »

Would your kids notice if Mom went on strike?

A mother of three girls stopped cleaning up after her kids to show them that they needed to help.

From Yahoo news:

“(Jessica) Stilwell went on strike when she noticed that her girls, twins, age 10, and her oldest, age 12, were not picking up after themselves and seemed to have the expectation that Mom or Dad would do it. Stilwell reached her breaking point one night when her husband, Dylan, was out of town. After a typical weekend of running errands and taking the kids to various sporting events, Jessica sat down around 11 p.m. on Oct. 1. That’s when she noticed the mess and knew that it had not been created by her or her husband…”

“Unfortunately, it took the kids a while to notice that the house was in total disarray. Stilwell began detailing the mess first on Facebook, then on a blog called Crazy Working Mom. On day one, dirty plates and clothes were piling up around the house. By day two, she wrote, “cereal left sitting in milk in the bowl begins to stink much sooner than …

Continue reading Would your kids notice if Mom went on strike? »

Open letter to Apple: ‘Genius’ and appointment not required to swap out iPod! Thanks for wasting my time.

Dear Apple executives:

It really shouldn’t take three trips to the Apple store to replace an iPod that is still under warranty. I shouldn’t need to make an appointment to hand you a broken iPod and you hand me a new iPod and someone ring up $100 on the cash register. None of these actions require a technician or a “genius” to complete.

Originally I called the help line and they told me the iPod could be replaced for $100 by just going to the store. I stopped by the store on a Saturday. It was completely packed and they said the next appointment would be two hours away. I said I would return on a weekday, thinking this would mean I could get in and out without an appointment for such a simple transaction.

I returned a few weeks later at 7:30 on a Monday night, and I was told you were completely full and no one could help me despite the fact that at least 10 of your “geniuses” were standing around chatting. I was glad your “geniuses” could take time away from their chatting to …

Continue reading Open letter to Apple: ‘Genius’ and appointment not required to swap out iPod! Thanks for wasting my time. »

‘Frankenweenie’: Darker than ‘Hotel Transylvania’ but fun for older kids

(Spoiler Alert: I do reveal some plot points to help parents evaluate if their kids can handle the movie.)

I took my 11-year-old to see Tim Burton’s latest stop-motion creation “Frankenweenie.” (The other kids were afraid to see it.) It was definitely darker than “Hotel Transylvania,” although not violent or super scary. (Yes, the dog dies and is reanimated but they don’t show the death.) The end is probably the scariest when other kids try to reanimate other animals with some bad outcomes. There is a pet graveyard that might be scary to some kids and a lot of lightning and thunder.

The movie is an homage to many other scary/horror/suspense movies with many references that kids probably won’t get but the parents will enjoy. The science teacher looks just like Vincent Price and there is an Igor character as well. It obviously pulls from “Frankenstein” and “Bride of Frankenstein,” but you may be surprised by throw-backs to “Gremlins,” “Godzilla,” and “Sleepy Hollow.”

I did pop …

Continue reading ‘Frankenweenie’: Darker than ‘Hotel Transylvania’ but fun for older kids »

Should race be considered in college admissions?

This week, the Supreme Court will once again consider the constitutionality of racial preferences in admissions decisions by public universities.

Abigail Fisher, a white 22 year-old, who recently graduated from Louisiana State University, said the University of Texas  held her race against her when it didn’t admit her.

From The New York Times:

“I’m hoping,” she said, “that they’ll completely take race out of the issue in terms of admissions and that everyone will be able to get into any school that they want no matter what race they are but solely based on their merit and if they work hard for it…”

“Three-quarters of applicants from Texas are admitted under a program that guarantees admission to the top students in every high school in the state. (Almost everyone calls this the Top Ten program, though the percentage cutoff can vary. Ms. Fisher barely missed the cutoff.) The remaining Texas students and those from elsewhere are considered under standards that take account of …

Continue reading Should race be considered in college admissions? »

Should students be tracked by radio ID cards?

Some Texas schools are testing out ID cards that allow administrators to track students. The cards emit a radio frequency that allow administrators to confirm that students are at school. It doesn’t seem like the cards are for class skippers. Administrators say the cards are to help track attendance even if the students are not in homeroom, which allows the school to collect all the state dollars it is entitled to.

From The New York Times:

“In Texas, school finance is a numbers game: schools receive money based on the number of students counted in their homeroom classes each morning. At Anson Jones, as at other schools, many students were in school but not in homeroom, so they were not counted and the district lost money, said Pascual Gonzalez, a spokesman for the district.”

Some have concern about the cards.

“Matthew Simpson, a policy strategist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, said the technology was easy to acquire, meaning people outside a school might be …

Continue reading Should students be tracked by radio ID cards? »

Study: Kids’ TV shows full of bullying

A new study has found that many of the 50 most popular shows for kids 2 to 11 in 2005 (many of which still air today) featured regular acts of social and verbal aggression.

The list included a variety of children’s shows such as “Hannah Montana,” “Suite Life of Zack & Cody,” “SpongeBob SquarePants” and a few adult shows (“American Idol,” “Survivor,” “The Simple Life 3”).

About 92 percent of 150 episodes reviewed featured some form of “social aggression” —averaging about 14 incidents per hour.

About 80 percent of the shows featured physical bullying.

From HealthDay via the Poughkeepsie Journal:

“Lots of attention has been paid to exposure to nudity and violence in the media, and rightfully so,” said study lead author Nicole Martins, an assistant professor in the department of telecommunications at Indiana University. “But parents are largely unaware that programs could be teaching children to be cruel and mean to each other as well. Just because a show is low on physical …

Continue reading Study: Kids’ TV shows full of bullying »

Smoking in movies has increased

The depiction of smoking and smokers has increased in movies despite studios pledging to clamp down on those portrayals, according to a study by the American Legacy Foundation.

From CBS News:

“There were nearly 1,900 portrayals of smoking and other tobacco usage among the 134 highest-grossing films at the box office in 2011, according to researchers at the University of California at San Francisco…”

“The consequence of more on-screen smoking portrayals will be “more kids starting to smoke and developing tobacco-induced disease,” UCSF professor of medicine Stanton A. Glantz told the LA Times.”

“Among the PG-13-rated picture with more than 50 on-screen tobacco portrayals were DreamWorks Studios’ “The Help,” Warner Bros.’ “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” and 20th Century Fox’s “Water for Elephants,” all period pieces. The only PG-rated release in that category was the animated western “Rango,” from Paramount Pictures.”

Have you noticed an increase in smoking in films? …

Continue reading Smoking in movies has increased »

My kids loved ‘Hotel Transylvania,’ even my youngest monster

My 11-year-old and 9-year-old really wanted to see “Hotel Transylvania” so we went this weekend. The 5-year-old was scared throughout much of “Brave” earlier this summer so I wanted to leave her at home with her father. When I told her she was going to be cleaning the playroom, she decided to be brave and see the movie with us. And as it turned out “Hotel Transylvania” wasn’t scary at all. It was mostly funny with a little bit of “sad stuff,” according to the 5-year-old.

I was worried at first. It seemed like a rip-off of “Nemo” and “Tangled” thrown together and I was seeing Adam Sandler and not Count Dracula. His song at the beginning just made me picture him in “Saturday Nigh Live” singing on Weekend Update. But then as the other characters were added, it got better.  Andy Samberg’s human was particularly loveable, and I really like Kevin James’s Frankenstein and the Steve Buscemi’s Wayne the Wolfman.

There were several times throughout the movie where Count Dracula would …

Continue reading My kids loved ‘Hotel Transylvania,’ even my youngest monster »

Should you pay extra to see ‘Hotel Transylvania’ in 3D?

I always look for reviews that specify whether it is worth the extra money to see a kid’s movie in 3D. I used to always say no and never paid. However, the last two movies I didn’t pay for 3D, I felt like we were missing integral parts of the story without the 3D special effects.

We finally saw “Madagascar 3” and you could tell all the shots that were meant to be in 3D, and I do feel like we missed a lot in that movie because we didn’t pay extra. I also felt that way in “Brave.” You could just tell “Oh that was 3D,” and I think the movie would have benefited from the 3D glasses.

I did NOT feel this way in “Hotel Transylvania.” There were not parts in the movie where I was like “Oh that should have been in 3D,” and I’m glad I didn’t pay extra this weekend for this movie. The 2D seemed totally fine.

Continue reading Should you pay extra to see ‘Hotel Transylvania’ in 3D? »