Should schools develop relationships with universities?

Today I am chaperoning my daughter’s seventh-grade science class trip to the Arizona Statue University’s Marston Exploration Theater where they are going to see a 3-D planetarium show and tour the schools of Astronomy and Geology with ASU students.

Earlier this month, engineering students from ASU’s Barret Honor’s College came and taught a robotics lesson to her class.

And a few weeks before that her class went to the ASU Engineering School to participate in another engineering experiment.

I LOVE all the exposure our middle students are getting to college science programs. I love that they are working in a university-level laboratory and participating in college-level experiments. I love that they are able to observe how the college students are experimenting and learning what those programs are all about.

The university is just down the road from our school, and I am so glad the middle school science teachers have cultivated this relationship and are making the extra …

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Do you give your kids spring allergy meds?

I was helping in Lilina’s classroom the other day and the entire class was sniffling and sneezing. So many of their little eyes had allergy shiners and were swollen and teary. The teacher said she was out of tissues because everyone was suffering from allergies.  She said she mentions it to parents if the kids are suffering but a lot of parent don’t want to medicate for allergies.

I try to give Lilina half of a Zyrtec pill in the mornings before school. She often fights me but I know she needs it. The last few days she’s been taking it willingly because she realizes how bad it is right now. She always willingly takes her preventative inhaler.

My other two kids take Zyrtec too. They never fight about it. They know they need it.  The allergist says it’s a pretty benign drug.

Do you medicate your kids for allergies? Do you only do it if the pollen count is above a certain level? Do they fight about it or are they happy to have relief from sneezing and itchy eyes?

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Would you name your child for a ‘Game of Thrones’ character?

Somebody finally took some time to dig through last year’s Social Security Baby Names chart (2012 was released in May of 2013) and they noticed that three “Game of Thrones” names were rising in popularity.

Arya rose 298 spots from 711 in 2011 to 413 in 2012. Arya is the youngest daughter of Ned Stark and has been kicking major butt the last two seasons.

Another name that is showing up on the list is Khaleesi. A far more unusual name, it is the name of the Mother of the Dragons on the show. She is building an army of freed slaves to take over the throne. Her unusual birth name also is now showing up.

From EW.com:

“According to data from the Social Security Administration, in 2012, there were 146 female babies born named Khaleesi — the title given to Emilia Clarke’s character in Game of Thrones after she marries a Dothraki leader in season 1. This trumps some more common female names such as Brandy (130) and Alex (128). Khaleesi’s given name, Daenerys, wasn’t …

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Pregnant at 42 with six other kids: A mom shares her story

My friend sent me a great article from The Ladies’ Home Journal written by a 42-year-old mother who already had six kids and all of a sudden found herself pregnant. She was pretty panicked as I think most 40-year-old women with many other kids would be but her kids and her husband were thrilled. She shares that the experience has changed them all. I can only pull a few graphs so please click the link and read the whole story. She really did a lovely job on it.

From The Ladies’ Home Journal:

“In the summer of 2011 Jack and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary with a trip to Europe. Leaving the kids with our parents, we spent eight dreamy days traveling from Barcelona to the French Riviera, finishing up in Florence and Rome. Our actual anniversary was the week after we arrived home, so although we were in Tennessee now, not Tuscany, we partied on. Could it be that, amid all the fun, I lost track of the calendar? Calendar, you ask? I’m afraid so. After baby number six, …

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Let’s play a game: What country would you choose to live in; where would you refuse to go?

A family we know has joined the United States State Department and essentially they could be sent any where in the world. I don’t think they are allowed to say “No” to a country but I think they could mark off some countries that they weren’t really comfortable with. I think they could also list some countries they preferred.

They are a white couple who adopted Asian babies so they are obviously concerned about the safety of their family but also wanted to choose a place where their children wouldn’t face overt racism.

My other thought other than racism is choosing a country where women’s rights are protected. I don’t think I would want to take my kids where women were treated as second-class. On the other hand: Would that be a formative, eye-opening experience for them?

I wonder if military families face the same sort of decisions? I think they have even less say about the countries they are sent but I guess the family can always choose to stay home. Michael’s …

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What age is appropriate to see ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier?’

Both of my oldest kids wanted to see the new Captain America movie, which opened on Friday. Rose is days from being 13 and Walsh is about a month from turning 11.  “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”  is rated PG-13.

I knew there was no chance I was taking my 7 year-old to see the movie, but I thought it would be OK for my older kids because I had seen the first Captain America movie and the first Avengers and I didn’t think they were overly violent. My 10-year-old has seen about three super hero movies like this in a theater.

There was very little blood, and I do think they made a very conscious effort to not have blood spurting when people were shot or dying. They also did not show people being shot in the head or face up close, and I don’t really think they showed much of the bullets entering anyone – you just heard the noise and saw people drop.

However, there was lots and lots and lots and lots of shooting and lots and lots and lots of guns – handguns, …

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Are you helping your tween figure out her shape, skin care?

My oldest daughter is about to be 13 and during this last year I have been trying to help her figure out how to best care for her skin type and find clothes that best flatter her figure.

Rose has her father’s skin and tends to break out some. I have extremely dry skin and didn’t really have acne as a teenager so my skin-care regimen even from my younger years doesn’t really work for her. So we’ve been trying different products to figure out what out what works best for her. She was using a Clean and Clear pore cleanser but it seemed kind of harsh so now we are trying a Neutrogena grapefruit cleanser that has some Salicylic acid in it for the acne. (It’s funny because my mother has oily skin and never used to tell me to use lotion or buy me lotion and I was always so dry as a kid.)

She hasn’t really started wearing make up yet but I occasionally pick her up a lip gloss and inevitably choose the wrong shade. Again, her skin coloring is more like her father. She is …

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Prom dress shopping perilous for plus-size girls: Where are the best places to look?

Leanne Italie of The Associated Press took a look at the difficulties plus-sized young ladies face when trying to find an appropriate prom dress (not old lady) that fits! Interestingly she found that nationally David’s Bridal and an online site Sydneyscloset.com may be some of the best resources for these young women. I am wondering where you have found good plus-sized prom dresses in Atlanta. She also points out that there is a definite need for donations of plus-sized prom dresses. So if you have one stashed in your closet, some young woman might really be able to use it.

Here’s the story in full.

From The Associated Press:

“NEW YORK (AP) — Maria Giorno has nothing against long gowns with high waists and flowing fabric — dresses that are designed to camouflage curves on plus-size women.

But the New Jersey high school senior had no interest in buying a loose-fitting style for her senior prom, even though it was all she could find in a size 16 or so at nearby stores. …

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Is baseball a great way for families to connect or too expensive for most?

Last baseball season I thoroughly enjoyed seeing photos of our friends in Pittsburgh attending almost every Pirates home game with their two kids. I loved that they had carved that time out without iPads or ear buds to get in their way of sharing an experience as a family. They had three to four hours to sit together, talk and enjoy each others’ company during the game. (To me it’s almost like camping.)

Michael used to take me to tons of Braves games in college. I always loved going because unlike college basketball or even football, there was lots of time to talk in between actual things happening.

Now sitting through a baseball game just seems downright luxurious. Do I really have three to four hours to sit in seats with my family or friends and watch a game and not multitask? I cannot even imagine.

But the next question is: Are MLB games too expensive for most families to afford?

Here is a sample of prices from the 2013 season. From a 2013 Scripps Howard report that I …

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Are you faking the big O to make yourself feel hotter?

According to 2010 report nearly 80 percent of women admitted to having faked an orgasm but a new study published in the Journal of Sexual Archives looks more closely at their reasons why.  This study found that sometimes women faked it to feel more sexually excited and not just to get their husbands off of them.

From USA Today:

“The U.S. study looked at 481 sexually active, straight women with an average age of 20 who weren’t in a committed relationship, and asked why they faked it. Their top four answers:

• Altruistic deceit (making the guy feel better)

• Fear and insecurity (avoiding bad feelings about the experience)

• Elevated arousal (turning herself on)

• Sexual adjournment (getting sex over with)

The first two answers fit traditional thinking about a faked orgasm — that it’s for the man, or a woman’s emotional well-being — but the third shows a new self-determination by women in bed, says study co-author Erin Cooper.”

From The Huffington Post:

“While the …

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