Archive for April, 2013

A germ theory: If the oldest gets sick, then the family beware

I have spent two of the last four weekends sick as heck all thanks to my middle school child.

We have noticed a pattern this month. The middle schooler gets sick on a Friday, is sick all weekend and out on Monday. By Wednesday, the little girl has it. I guess because they play and cuddle. Then by Friday I have it. Then I spend the next weekend sick.

My pediatrician has a theory on this. She says that if the oldest child gets something then it’s more likely that the rest of the family will catch it because it’s less likely you’re family has already had it. If the youngest catches something then you probably won’t all come down it because your family could have already had it before they were born.

I think it’s a pretty good theory. What do you guys think? What have you guys experienced? (I’m so tired of being sick! I have too much to do!)

Continue reading A germ theory: If the oldest gets sick, then the family beware »

What do you make of the terror suspects’ mother?

You generally don’t hear from the mothers of suspects in mass shootings or terrorist attacks so I was fascinated when the Boston bombing suspects’ mother spoke out almost immediately after they were identified and said her sons had been set up and they didn’t do it.

From CNN:

“But the mother of the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings remains resolute in her belief that her sons were not involved in the attack.

“She told CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh in Makhachkala, Dagestan, that she believes the tragedy that killed three people and injured dozens more was staged and that the bombing was fake.

“Zubeidat Tsarnaev has seen a video supporting the idea that it was “something like a really big play,” she said, with “paint instead of blood like it is made-up.”…

But her disbelief wavered when she spoke of the victims.

“I really feel sorry for all of them. Really feel sorry for all of them,” she said, her voice cracking. But she is convinced that her sons, Dzhokhar, …

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Is A.D.H.D. actually sleep deprivation?

The New York Times has an interesting editorial from a professor of psychiatry at N.Y.U. School of Medicine who sees a lot of adults who think they have A.D.H.D. but they actually have sleep deprivation.

Vatsal G. Thakkar points out that there is a number of studies that show a huge proportion of children with A.D.H.D diagnoses often also have a sleep disorder such as apnea, snoring, restless leg syndrome or non-restorative sleep.

And for some people, especially children, sleep deprivation can cause them to become hyperactive and unfocussed instead of lethargic.

From The New York Times:

“We all get less sleep than we used to. The number of adults who reported sleeping fewer than seven hours each night went from some 2 percent in 1960 to more than 35 percent in 2011. Sleep is even more crucial for children, who need delta sleep — the deep, rejuvenating, slow-wave kind — for proper growth and development. Yet today’s youngsters sleep more than an hour less than they did …

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Girl Scout troops create new merit badge to attract girls to science

The Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles have introduced a new merit badge to help girls get into science and technology — a Game Design badge.


“The L.A. Girl Scouts chapter partnered with the Women in Games International organization to create a curriculum for the patch. Girls will be required to program their games as well as design them, using software called Gamestar Mechanic.”

“The Boy Scouts of America introduced a Game Design merit badge last month, but it does not include the programming requirement.”

“The Girl Scouts’ version hasn’t been approved by the national organization yet, thus it is only available to Girl Scouts in the Los Angeles chapter. According to NBC News, it’s designed for girls in 4th to 6th grade.”

“The games industry has recently been more aware of the gender discrepancies in its ranks. A few months ago game creators took to hashtag #1reasonwhy to talk about reasons the industry doesn’t employ enough women, uncovering issues …

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Why praise, response to challenges affect girls in math

Last year we discussed researcher Carol Dweck’s studies about how praising kids for their intelligence could make them less able or willing to take on challenges.

(See our discussion from last May and the original article about her research.)

A new article about Dweck’s research talks about how praise and that ability to take on challenges affects girls particularly in math.

From KQED (a NPR affiliate):

“Dweck’s research, which focuses on what makes people seek challenging tasks, persist through difficulty and do well over time, has shown that many girls believe their abilities are fixed, that individuals are born with gifts and can’t change. Her research finds that when girls think this way, they often give up, rather than persisting through difficulties. They don’t think they possess the ability to improve, and nowhere is the phenomenon stronger than in math.”

Of all the subjects on earth, people think math is the most fixed,” Dweck said. “It’s a gift, …

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How safe are your steaks?

The Kansas City Star investigated for a year a type of meat processing that mechanically tenderizes beef. The industry calls it “bladed” or “needled” beef, and The Kansas City Star found that “the process exposes Americans to a higher risk of E. coli poisoning than cuts of meat that have not been tenderized.”

The report is very long, and I can only pull a few graphs. So here is the basic gist of the study but please click on the link and read it all. It is very informative.

From The Kansas City Star:

“The process has been around for decades, but while exact figures are difficult to come by, a 2008 USDA survey showed that more than 90 percent of beef producers are using it on some cuts.

“Mechanically tenderized meat — which usually isn’t labeled — is increasingly found in grocery stores, and a vast amount is sold to family-style restaurants, hotels and group homes. In many cases, grocery stores don’t even know the meat has been tenderized.

“The …

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Camping for real this summer: Need your advice on equipment, how-tos!

It’s taken two years of baby stepping into camping but we are finally ready to go tent camping this year and set it all up ourselves.

If you remember last summer we camped in Yosemite National Park but in the Curry Village, they set the tent up for you and you had a bed. The campground was also just a short walk away from a cafeteria and restaurants. This was a safe way for us try sleeping in a tent, using a communal bathroom and showers and having some meals outside.

So this summer we are planning about three nights of camping in Yellowstone and then maybe two in the Grand Tetons. (You don’t make reservations for the campgrounds in the Grand Tetons so we could stay longer.) We may also camp in Zion National Park in Utah either driving up or down.

In Yellowstone we will be on a campground with bathrooms and showers and will be about a mile from food services if we need them. We are planning to set up our own tents, sleep on air mattresses and make at least two of the three …

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It’s National Park Week: Where will your family go?

Our family in Yosemite last summer.

Our family in Yosemite last summer.

It’s National Park Week, which means you get free admission to any of the 401 National Parks across the United States through April 28.

You know as a family we love our National Parks, and I love to promote them any chance I get. Last summer, we visited eight National Parks in California, including Yosemite, Sequoia, King’s Canyon and several around San Francisco. (We especially loved exploring the ships in the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.)

This summer we are planning to hit the Daddy of All National Parks – Yellowstone! It was America’s first National Park created in 1872. We also are planning to visit the Grand Tetons and Zion National Park in Utah and maybe some others along the way. (See the next blog around noon — we need camping advice!)

To promote National Park Week, which runs April 20 to the 28, and it’s Junior Ranger program, the National Park Service …

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15 prom trends for 201: What will your daughter be wearing?

The Huffington Post created a slideshow of top prom trends based off trends seen at awards shows and red carpets. Here are what they predict your daughters will be wearing this year to prom.

From The Huffington Post — there’s a slide show on the link to illustrate all the looks:

  1. Gold metallic
  2. Ravishing reds
  3. Bright white
  4. Long slits
  5. Sweetheart necklines
  6. Color pop – whole dress in bright colors
  7. Sequins
  8. Peplums
  9. Embellished prints
  10. Old Hollywood waves a la 1940s
  11. Statement necklaces
  12. Peeptoe booties – I don’t think girls are really doing this.
  13. Metallic heels
  14. Lace heels
  15. Colorblock heels

I saw on another site a lot of very scary sheer bodices and sheer cutouts. They seemed a little much for high school.

So will your daughters be wearing any of these trends? What are you seeing that’s in or our this prom season? Are girls registering their dresses so there are no repeats?

Continue reading 15 prom trends for 201: What will your daughter be wearing? »

Great prices now for a family, but would you cruise Carnival?

A mom sent me note wanting to talk about Carnival Cruises. She writes that after the cruise lines problems earlier this year, the prices have dropped making it more affordable for family to take a cruise, but would you want to cruise on Carnival?

The mom said her adult son was set to cruise with Carnival recently but his cruise was cancelled due to the earlier problems. She says he would never sign up for another cruise with Carnival again.

While Carnival’s pricing has been affected by the problem, USA Today reports other cruise lines are not dropping their prices as well.

From USA Today:

“It used to be that ‘as goes Carnival, so goes the rest of the contemporary market,’ but now it’s to a much lesser degree,” said Kevin Weisner, vice president of CruiseDeals. Weisner said that while Carnival pricing can “create a drag” on lines like Norwegian and Royal Caribbean, those companies have more of their fleet in Europe where they source locally.

“Carnival remains primarily a …

Continue reading Great prices now for a family, but would you cruise Carnival? »