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South Florida parents share their stories and advice


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April 30, 2009

Dr. Laura: Praising stay-at-home moms, or insulting moms who work?

Say this for radio personality Dr. Laura: she inspires strong feelings, among her fans and among her detractors.

We're following Hip Moms Who Work on Twitter (you should, too), and she made it clear today that Dr. Laura's book, "In Praise of Stay at Home Moms," ticked her off.

Hip Mom writes:

I hate the entire stay-at-home/working mom debate. I really do. It's unwinnable and does NOT NEED to be won by either side. It's not a contest. All moms work hard, all of us. We all love our kids. A lot of moms work because they have no other choice.

Here's the thing, though: Hip Mom hasn't read the book. Neither have I.

On Amazon.com, a reader from California offered her review:

Dr. Laura's new book In Praise of Stay at Home Moms is a blessing for us mothers who choose to stay home with our children. We need some recognition and praise for the sacrifices that us moms make. My husband works a full time job for very little money. He also tries to make some extra money on weekends so that we can barely make ends meet. We are not "LUCKY" to be able to stay home with our children, we made the choice. We eat PB&J sandwiches, drive crappy cars but live a very nice and happy life. If I went to work, we could have a lot more stuff that we don't really need...

Another reviewer, this one from New York, had the opposite opinion:

I was appalled to see Dr. Laura on the Today Show promoting this book. HOW DARE SHE imply that working mothers are selfish and should stay at home! I worked hard for my degrees - B.S. in Education, M.S. in Literacy, so I am a very educated person. The decision to be a working mom was an educated, well-thought out one. I want to give my children every possible opportunity and in 2009, that can only be done on 2 salaries. We live in a moderate house, and drive moderate cars. We do, (GASP!) enjoy going out for meals with our children and taking them on vacations. We do not over-indulge them what-so-ever. A child will grow up to be a well-respected adult whether their mother worked or stayed home. It's QUALITY VS. QUANTITY..."

This reminds me of the formula feeding v. breastfeeding debate I ventured into recently: families make choices based on any number of factors, and the last thing any of us needs is to be judged by someone who's not in our shoes.

No judgment intended against Dr. Laura: as I said, I didn't read the book. But I have a general question: is it possible to praise stay-at-home moms in 2009 without insulting moms who work?

POSTED IN: Rafael Olmeda 2009 (47)

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What should parents with small children do about swine flu?

For those of us with small children something like the swine flu brings another layer of worry.

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How to do you get a 3 1/2 –year-old to protect herself? It means it's time to stress to the kids what are already good hygiene habits.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control say we parents have to set good examples. Teach the kids to wash their hands often and well. Show them how to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing.

It sounds practical. But then there’s government talk that just doesn’t make sense with small children. The CDC wants us to teach our children to stay at least six feet away from people who are sick. And if there’s a swine flu case in South Florida, keep the children away from crowds.

What toddler is even going to know what six feet means? Never mind to stay that far away from another sick child. And how are they supposed to recognize when a playmate may be sick? And are we supposed to keep the kids out of day care? It just doesn’t make sense.

It falls to us parents. And really, we have to depend on the judgment of other parents to keep their sick kids at home.

For now, we have not changed the routine for Ana Isabel or Lucas Emilio, who just turned 1. But if things get worse, it could mean cutting out trips to the playground they so enjoy. No more visits to the children’s museum that Ana asks to go to almost every weekend. We could be spending a lot more times in the backyard with fewer playmates coming over.

As parents we have to be even more vigilant than ever. And worry just that much more.

Here what the CDC's says are the symptoms to keep an eye out for and what to do if your child gets sick.

POSTED IN: Child Care (26), Health (111), Luis Perez (32), Safety (59)

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April 29, 2009

Need a new children's book?

Check out “Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee” by Chris Van Dusen.

This is a household favorite these days. Our boys, ages 17 months and 3, delight in it. It’s about an adventurous boat ride of Mr. Magee and his “little dog Dee.” As I write, I hear the first lines in my head:

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Mr. Magee and his little dog, Dee
Loved spending time
In their boat on the sea
So early one morning at 6:32
They made a decision:
That’s just what they’d do!

Our 17-month-old Rowan is a bit young for the book, but he still loves mimicking the whale sounds described in this tale. Alexander can follow along, and has even memorized a couple of lines. This is his first mastery of rhyming – aside from the line of “Rapper’s Delight” detailed in my post last week.

POSTED IN: Entertainment (114), Matthew Strozier (59), Toddler (127)

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Free "family fun'' day at Fort Lauderdale pool on Saturday

The city of Fort Lauderdale is holding an open house at the beach aquatic complex, also known as the International Swimming Hall of Fame complex, for city residents.
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Address: 501 Seabreeze Blvd.

Date: Saturday, May 2.

They're suggesting you bring a swimsuit. You can sign up for junior lifeguard training, swim or dive team, or just swim laps.

Here's a link for more info.

POSTED IN: Brittany Wallman (160), Entertainment (114)

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Mom on the Go: Creating a summer emergency kit

Old Man Winter taught me two things.

1. When doing a 360-degree turn on snowy/icy roads don't pump the brakes.

2. Keep a winter safety kit in the trunk. Said kit was for the unfortunate incident of being stranded in a car. On the side of the road. In hypothermic conditions. (Curses to Old Man Winter!!).

I have happily adopted Lesson No. 2 for the warmer clime of South Florida and built a summer emergency kit over the weekend for those spontaneous jaunts to the beach, county water park or pool.

Those looking for ideas on what to pack for real emergencies such as hurricanes, can find info here.

beach.jpgFor those who sweat the small stuff, here's what you'll need for your Summer Emergency Kit:


• A square, sturdy container to store all the goodies.

• A beach towel (or two). Target has beach towels on sale for $5.50. Check out thrift stores, Anna's Linens, your closet for a towel that can be stored in your car's trunk.

• A roll of quarters for plugging city meters. Better yet, get a beach parking card from your city. Fort Lauderdale residents can park at the North and South beach lots and at the Intracoastal/North Birch lot for $5 all year vs. paying 75 cents to $1.75 an hour.

• Sunscreen.

• An inexpensive beach bucket and shovel for the kids to use.

• A pair of flip-flops.

• A brush for cleaning the sand off. (A large nail brush does the job).

• A magazine. (I stuck an Elle Decor in the cube because it has pretty things to ponder in short form for those two seconds I have to read between watching the little one.)

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Autistic 13-year-old drives to airport and flies to California

In case you missed this story in today's Sun Sentinel, check this out.

It's a story about a teenager who ran away from Boca Raton and ended up in California.

I like how the dad's reaction was to be impressed that his kid actually drove the car to the airport.

I mean, he was upset, also. But as the mom of a 13-year-old, I have to agree. My first reaction might be pride that he was able to drive to the airport and get on a plane by himself.

The story's on the jump page.

Boy, 13, found in California after missing from suburban Boca Raton
Jerome Burdi

South Florida Sun Sentinel

10:24 AM EDT, April 29, 2009

WEST BOCA

A missing Boca Raton-area 13-year-old boy with health problems has been found safe with relatives in the San Jose, Calif., area, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said.

Kenton Weaver's father reported him missing Tuesday after he drove off that morning in his SUV.

The teen drove to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and boarded a plane to California, where his mother lives.

"He has never driven before, as far as I know," said Kenton's father, Dean Weaver. "I am impressed that he was able to drive to the Fort Lauderdale airport and do all those things."

Weaver is also upset his son stole and lied to him.

At about 2 a.m. today, San Jose police notified the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office that the boy was in their area.

Mom Kimberly Casey said she has no idea how Kenton managed to get on an airline flight, and that she's looking forward to seeing her oldest son. Kenton has an 8-year-old brother who was jealous Kenton got to see their mom, Weaver said. His teenage son is fascinated with flying.

"He always wants to fly somewhere, he wants to be a pilot," Weaver said.

With a spare set of keys, Weaver retrieved his SUV today at the airport. The doors were locked, he said.

It is not clear whether Kenton will continue to stay with his California family, or be returned to his current home west of Boca Raton.

The search for Kenton, of 17200 block of Boca Club Boulevard, and his father's 2006 blue Ford Explorer lasted well into Tuesday night.

Weaver has a heart condition and Asperger's syndrome, a developmental disorder that affects the ability to communicate and socialize, according to MayoClinic.com.

Weaver had not taken his medication in more than 24 hours and was considered a "missing disabled and endangered teenager."

Jerome Burdi can be reached at jburdi@SunSentinel.com or 561-243-6531.

Copyright © 2009, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

POSTED IN: Brittany Wallman (160)

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Wherefore art thou, teens who like "Romeo and Juliet"?

I was thrilled when my 15-year-old daughter told me her language arts class would be reading "Romeo and Juliet."romeo.jpg

Finally, some real literature! A short respite from the FCAT essay-writing and fill-in-the-correct-answer obsession!

Unfortunately, my joy was shortlived. She told me she could hardly understand a word. She said she would blank out until the teacher translated into modern English.

I got out my college Shakespeare text and reread it myself. And even I had difficulty getting through it. In our age of e-mailing, texting and Twittering, Shakespeare seemed dated and foreign.

How depressing. "Romeo and Juliet" has drama, teen lovers, sex, priests, poison and death. We could learn a lot from the silly family rivalries that prevent the pair from going public. Shakespeare's final line still holds true: "For never was a story of more woe/Than this of Juliet and her Romeo."

POSTED IN: Lois Solomon (211), Teen (158)

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Texting while driving is okay, if you're from Krypton

Superman.jpgAre you Superman? You know, invincible? Able to withstand pain and injury, maybe whiz around the world and turn back time if you screw something up and hurt someone unintentionally?

Rocky Kaller wants to know. He’s 17, got his driver’s license last year, and has already shown considerable common sense about an issue that affects us all: people who text while they’re driving.

Are you one of those drivers?

I am. And I shouldn’t be.

Ordinarily, I’d be afraid to make such a confession. Who wants to admit they’re doing something so obviously dangerous and avoidable? My older stepdaughter takes her driving test in a couple of months. What kind of example am I setting?

So I interviewed Rocky yesterday morning for this story, and I have to admit he embarrassed me by giving the subject much more thought than I have.

“In all honesty, I think we both know no one’s going to stop texting,” he told me. “You don’t learn anything until it happens to you. Everyone thinks they’re Superman. It’s not just teenagers.”

He’s right. It’s not just teenagers. It’s me. And I’m willing to bet it’s many of you, too. So can we all take a lesson from Rocky and put the phones down while we’re driving?

POSTED IN: Rafael Olmeda 2009 (47), Safety (59), Step-parenting (59), Teen (158)

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April 28, 2009

Mom on the Go: Must-have iPhone apps for parents

Here are three applications every iPhone/iTouch-equipped parent should have.


1 A distraction for the kid(s). My 2-year-old likes KidArt, which allows her to choose from 10 colors and four "canvases" for finger-drawing. Drawings are limited to stick figures and outlines. Cost: 99 cents.

apps.pngOther kid distraction options:

Koi Pond. See three koi swim, "feed" the fish by shaking the iPhone/iTouch and watch them snap up the food. Cost: 99 cents.

Art Gallery is a mobile museum. For younger children it's a good tool for identifying shapes, animals and colors. For older kids, it's a good introduction to popular artists and art forms. Cost: Free

2 Something for the home. I've fallen head over ladle for All Recipes.com's DinnerSpinner. Select a dish type (appetizer, entree, breakfast), an ingredient (vegetable, fish, grain), and how long you want to be in the kitchen cooking (20 minutes or less, 45 minutes or less). Presto, a meal option is presented.

I made the pineapple chicken (substituting pork) last night, which was ready in 40 minutes.

Other home app options:
A "virtual" friend at the Palm Beach Post recommended Zenbe, which allows users to share task and grocery lists with family/co-workers. Cost: $1.99.

Grocery IQ has made shopping for groceries much easier with its favorites, history and list queques. I simply check off the grocery item as I pluck it off the shelf. I've seen a reduction in impulse buys when using the gizmo. Cost: 99 cents.


3 A distraction for you (and your partner). During intermission at a theater production, my sister and I passed the time playing air hockey courtesy of FS5 Hockey. Cost: Free.

Other adult distraction apps:
Word Warp has kept me and my husband busy while out at restaurants during the lag between ordering and diving into the grub. Cost: Free.

A friend swears by Scrabble, but I can't imagine plucking down $4.99 for an app. Yet.

What's your favorite app for distracting the kids, or the one you and your beloved get a kick out of? Let me know!

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Best idea for organizing crayons, yet

Let's be practical today. Wouldn't life be simpler if for some reason, in the same way China allows families only one child, America decided each family had to get by on just one box of 64 crayons?

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I've thought of giving them away. But there they lay, scattered in shoe boxes and cute plastic buckets. Lined up in that car compartment where you didn't realize they would melt into one mega-crayon. Under beds, and under foot, broken.

I recently found the best idea yet for how to take care of the scores of needy crayons in your house. The solution involves brightly colored duct tape (did you know this product exists? It does!), some zip-lock baggies, and a three-ring binder.

The picture is self-explanatory, I think. The duct tape (aqua, in this photo) reinforces the plastic baggy so it doesn't rip. I've made a bunch of these, filling the baggies with crayons and the pockets with paper.

If you lay awake at night thinking, "why do I have all of these crayons?'' you owe it to yourself to try this out.

POSTED IN: Brittany Wallman (160)

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April 27, 2009

If you're worried about putting your child on a county bus, check this out

I've told you that our 13-year-old gets around the county on the bus.

My colleague Scott Wyman writes that the county is considering putting cameras on the buses. Click here to read about it.

POSTED IN: Brittany Wallman (160)

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Think you deserve $10,000 for tuition?

I'm already late posting this, so here's the deal: UPromise is offering three $10,000 scholarships to someone deserving, clever and convincing. Like maybe this Miami teenager, Torrance Klimoski:

You can vote for his entry, or submit your own by following this link. But you only have until Sunday to submit your video.

The videos will be judged on creativity, quality, and a demonstrated need for college aid in three categories: Saving for College, In College Now and Paying it Back.

Keep reading for the official promo info:

The Upromise Tuition Tales Video Contest gives students, parents, grandparents, graduates – essentially everyone – a chance to win money to help pay for the rising costs of higher education. In contrast to typical college scholarships, grants and loans, this contest adds fun and creativity to the college funding process. Contest participants can enter until May 3, 2009, on behalf of themselves, a family member or friend, by uploading a 30-seconds-or-less video clip on why they or someone they know deserve money for college. The public will have a chance to vote for their favorite video and help decide who wins. The twelve videos with the most votes will receive a $250 Bed Bath & Beyond Gift Card and a $250 Bank of America Visa Gift Card and enter the final voting phase, May 12-May 20. Three grand prize winners will each be awarded $10,000 for college expenses.
POSTED IN: Rafael Olmeda 2009 (47), School Issues (135)

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April 26, 2009

Wordless Weekend: I guess teeth would help

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Personal photo: Rafael Olmeda

POSTED IN: Rafael Olmeda (59), Wordless Weekend (22)

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Wordless Weekend: Just a coupla hoops fans

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Photo by Gerald Herbert, Associated Press

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April 25, 2009

Wordless Weekend: Recycle; it's what's right

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Photo by Jim Rassol

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Wordless Weekend: Tropical Earth Day

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Photo by Carline Jean

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Wordless Weekend: It's a bird! No, wait, it's a ponytail!

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Photo by Robert Duyos

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April 24, 2009

My fave five blog entries this week

VH1 is the only one who can have the best week ever.

These blog entries were bright spots during the daily grind that was this week.

5. Mom orders bickering kids out of the car, by Whoa, Momma. How many times have we threatened to pull over this car if you kids don't stop bickering over who gets the window seat or who has been called a boogerhead? Well, a White Plains, N.Y., attorney/mom did it. She booted the kids out of the car three miles from home and drove off. To find out what happened to the mom, read on.

4. Sex is the new green, by Moms Miami. These are by far our favorite ways to help the planet:

Lube up organically -- say goodbye to parabens & chemicals and hello to natural aloe & flowers.

Bamboo sheets -- style your bed in silky bamboo & enjoy a pesticide and chemical-free romp.


3. Mother Suckers, by The Big Money. Vampires are having their moment in, well, if not the sun, then certainly the Twilight. The real-life plot twist here, though, is that it's not 'tween and teen girls who make up Twilight's ardent -- and profitable -- fan base. It's their mothers.

2. Baby T-Pain likes fish sticks, by Daddy Types. The video is the blog entry and it's a hoot. A boy's cries are produced like a T-Pain song.


1. A touching moment, by Hipster Mom. (Boy says to mother:) "Hey mom?" "Yea?" It's crazy how when you cry it's kind of like you have "sweat buds" inside your eyes!"

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April 23, 2009

Great moments in parenting: ‘Rapper’s Delight’

Can’t beat this: My 3-year-old starting singing “Rapper’s Delight” the other day. Here was his line: “Hotel, motel, Holiday Inn…” I consider this among my greatest successes as a father. There’s a huge demand for video of this event, but it doesn’t exist yet. So enjoy the real thing in the meantime.

POSTED IN: Matthew Strozier (59), Music (22)

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Virtual violence and the Baby Shaker App

Quick, what's more offensive? South Park, or shaking a baby until it dies?

If you had to think about it, you might have a job waiting for you vetting apps for the Apple store.

Did you see this story?

Baby advocates weren't happy about the Baby Shaker iPhone App. Credit: boinger@gmail via Flickr.

It was an application bound to rattle. Baby Shaker, the $0.99 app that went on sale at the App store Monday, made iPhones emit the sound of a crying baby, while showing a charcoal drawing of a kid. The only way to make the noise stop was to shake the iPhone violently, until red X marks appeared over the baby's eyes.

"On a plane, on the bus, in a theater. Babies are everywhere you don't want them to be! They're always distracting you from preparing for that big presentation at work with their incessant crying. Before Baby Shaker there was nothing you could do about it," the app's introduction read.

The app was developed by Sikalosoft, which has one more app available in the App store: a dice mosaic for $0.99.

Now, it doesn't suprise me that some sick mind would come up with something like this. On my wife's phone, we can shake dice. It doesn't take much for a sick mind to take it a step farther.

No, my beef isn't with SickSoftware, or whatever the heck they call themselves. In a free society, some free minds will wallow freely in the sickest forms of entertainment available.

My problem is with Apple, which initially approved the sale of this app.

According to the Associated Press, the company "screens each iPhone application, a process some prospective iPhone application developers have complained can take weeks or months."

It has"rejected apps that let iPhone users throw virtual shoes at President George W. Bush or watch clips from the 'South Park' cartoon."

But this is okay?

Apple did finally pull the app. Here's hoping they improve their app-approval process.

POSTED IN: Rafael Olmeda 2009 (47)

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April 22, 2009

Reasons to NOT participate in Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

Who says you have to always take parenting and working seriously - and when you combine the two -- forget it -- just look at the lighter side.

We did.

Today is Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work day.

chan.gifSo we came up with a few reasons you might NOT want to bring them.

We started with a few light and fun missives of our own:

Reasons NOT to take your kid to work:

• I'm ashamed of my work.

• You might lose your job. What boss could resist a cheaper, younger version of you?

• Your brown bag lunch will consist of a juice box.

• Do you really want your kid to see that your office now consists of a broom closet, an abacus and scrap paper, thanks to budget cuts?

Now, it's up to you to comment to add to the list.

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Jill Scott has a boy

Mystery solved: It's a boy for Jill Scott.

jill%20scott.jpg The singer and actress in the The No. 1 Ladies' Dectective Agency on HBO welcomed Jett Hamilton Roberts on April 20, People.com reports.

The singer is engaged to drummer Lil John Roberts.

This is the first child for both.

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What do you tell a Jewish girl about Jesus?

"Did the Jews kill Jesus?"
jesus.jpg

My 10-year-old daughter asked this at the dinner table, the day after Easter.

Kids at her public school were taunting her, and she was confused. She said it was not the first time she had heard it.

Jewish families like ours don't talk about Jesus much. Through osmosis in American culture, we learn the basics of Christianity. But beyond saying, "It wasn't the Jews; it was the Romans," my husband and I weren't sure how to proceed on a 10-year-old's level.

I did the best I could over the next few days, but still am researching how to give our religious perspective on the many parties involved in the crucifixion.

POSTED IN: Lois Solomon (211)

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April 21, 2009

Son, here's your new car. It's a Broward County transit bus!

About a year ago, my husband and I made one of the best parenting decisions of our lives. In response to one of our son's many, many requests for a ride somewhere, we finally said, "Take the bus.''250px-Broward_County_Transit_logo.png


I think requiring your young teen to use public transit, such as it is in Broward County, is the most useful parenting advice I have to offer, along with "always keep a blank sheet of white posterboard on hand.''

How many times have we run into those scheduling impossibilities, and then suddenly a stinky exhaust pipe went off in our minds and we realized: Phew! He can take the bus!

I was nervous at first. Some of you probably would be, too. I tried out the bus, taking it on the occasional weekday to work downtown. Because as parents, we know we should never ask our children to do something that we personally wouldn't do, if we're going to be writing about it and exposing that hypocrisy.

I felt satisfied that riding the buses around here is safe, even if it's not a very efficient way to get around.

Creed was only 12 when we forced him to join the car-less and the people who've lost driving privileges. But he was ready for this new mobility.

Now he rides the bus quite a bit, of his own volition. He rides with a friend or two, and with cell phones. These suburban boys are learning to get around their part of the county, to malls and movie theaters.

When I tell other parents, they often react with an, "Oh!''

Like, "oh yeah, we do have buses around here, don't we?'' mixed in with, "oh my gosh! Dear Lord!''

I think if the masses of youth in Broward grew up familiar and comfortable with our bus system, we'd have a better Broward for their adult years. There might be fewer cars on the road, and better transit options instead. Dontcha think?

Here's the county transit website. You can buy a student bus pass for your kid's next birthday, for $26. That'll buy them a month's worth of rides, and buy you a month's worth of freedom from giving rides.
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POSTED IN: Brittany Wallman (160)

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April 20, 2009

Happy 420 to my teenage stepdaughter?

Anyone remember this classic (and compelling) anti-drug ad from the 1980s?

Happy 4/20!

In case you don't know it, today is some sort of counterculture holiday. If someone wishes you a Happy 4/20, you've been identified as a marijuana smoker, past, present, future or indifferent.

My 16-year-old stepdaughter got a Happy 420 text message this morning.

What the?

I doubt she's using: none of the tell-tale signs are present. But clearly at least one friend is. Or plans to. Or doesn't think it's a big deal.

I'm proud to say I have never, ever smoked a joint or taken any illegal drug (I drank before I was 21, so I used a legal drug illegally, but I've never had so much as a puff of marijuana).

We all try so hard to keep our kids safe. How do you handle the drug talk in your family?

Here's a tongue-in-cheek look at "ineffective" ads, although I don't dislike them all that much.

POSTED IN: Health (111), Rafael Olmeda 2009 (47), Step-parenting (59)

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April 18, 2009

Wordless Weekend: First time father

LeoNDad.jpg

Well, you're only reading this if you're really curious, so here's the deal: The Orlando Sentinel parenting blog, Moms At Work, has this thing called Wordless Wednesdays, during which they post a picture and say nothing (or next to nothing) about it. I thought it was a great idea, so here's a Wordless Weekend entry. We'll still post on the weekends if we find something interesting, but otherwise, enjoy the photos, and let us know what you think.

POSTED IN: Rafael Olmeda (59), Wordless Weekend (22)

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April 16, 2009

Noises, noises everywhere: Can you explain them?

How does your kid feel about noise? Scared? Fascinated? Both?

HOOVER%20VACUUM%20CLEANER.jpg

Our 3-year-old frequently falls on the scared side. Sure, vacuum cleaners bother him, but that seems to be universal for kids. He goes beyond that. Subtle but unexplained noises outside spark his curiosity, and sometimes alarm. He asks me about them, and sometimes I can’t even hear them myself. (Of course, my wife tells me I don’t hear her, but let’s not get into that right now…)

I raised the noise issue with the pediatrician the other day. She had an interesting observation, and then a suggestion. What’s striking, she said, is that he’s so fascinated by trucks and machines, and yet sometimes is scared of their noise. So perhaps it might help him to understand how engines work. How do they produce that noise, after all?

So I turn to you. I need good books for little kids about engines. Ideas?

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Opportunity knocks: Museum of Art/Fort Lauderdale Studio Arts School offers summer camp scholarship

Submitted by SunSentinel.com schools reporter Kathy Bushouse

Students entering first through 12th grades next year can compete Saturday for a chance at a scholarship to the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale’s Creative Summer Art Academy.

The competition is from 9 a.m. to noon at the museum’s Studio School Annex, with check-in starting at 8:15 a.m. Students will be separated into three groups based on their age, then will have up to two hours to create one drawing for the competition.

For more information or for applications for the art camp, visit www.moafl.org and click on the Creative Summer Art Academy link on the left-hand side of the page, or call 954-262-0239.

For more summer camp ideas, check out SunSentinel.com's Summer Camp Guide.

landing_studioschool_photo.jpg

POSTED IN: Activities (143), General (185)

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April 15, 2009

Mom on the Go: Mani-pedis for 4-year-olds? Why not!

Mani-pedis for 4-year-olds?

Um, I don't think so!

spa-kids.jpgOr so was my initial reaction to the Miami Herald story about kiddie salon Le Petite Youth Spa.

But the girly-girly mamas, clearly with a credit line that is stronger than mine, have swayed me. It's just for fun. It helps the girls with self-image, they say.

I mean how can you argue with Mom's perspective: "At school, they do what they see. But here she learns how to be different, like not running [inside] a place like a little boy.''

Plus, the salon doesn't cut cuticles -- just puts pretty paint on teeny toes and fingers.

The girls are playing dress-up. No harm, right?

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Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Supermom

I keep thinking about Debbie Wasserman Schultz.debwassermanschultz.jpg

She's the Broward congresswoman and mother of three who recently revealed she underwent seven surgeries for breast cancer, including a double mastectomy, without telling almost anyone. She is talking for the first time now to increase awareness of breast cancer among young women (she's 42).

I keep thinking how I would have handled the same situation. Without sounding too overdramatic, I would probably come close to a nervous breakdown. I probably wouldn't be able, physically or emotionally, to work. There would be lots of tears and feeling sorry for myself.

So when I read about her steely resolve, unyielding focus on her congressional duties, how she served as host for a Nancy Pelosi fundraiser nine days after surgery, how her family life has continued as normal, I can't relate. We all cope differently with life's traumas, but I know few people who would be as emotionally unaffected as our congresswoman.

POSTED IN: Health (111), Lois Solomon (211)

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Listen to Hannah Montana movie tunes, for free

I know I'm not the only somewhat normal person who enjoyed the new Hannah Montana movie. Am I?!

Here's a link my colleague found where you can legally, and without cost, listen to the soundtrack of the movie. The songs are great.

Of course, my favorite show ever was the live performance of Barbie Fairytopia at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. So that's where I'm coming from.

Click here to listen.

POSTED IN: Brittany Wallman (160), Entertainment (114)

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April 14, 2009

Imaginary friends are here!

Oh, it’s arrived: that rich childhood imagination full of stuffed animals coming to life and trucks and trains capable of talking. This isn’t the stuff on TV; it’s the conversations in the backseat of the car or the corner of the living room as I talk on the phone. Here’s what I love the most: summaries of the exchanges. I’m told one day that my 3-year-old’s stuffed elephant saw a red helicopter as we drove near Orlando. "Juliana the giraffe" is still asleep, he tells me another day, because nobody woke her up. “Lamby the lamb" likes her new toy train, he reports.

These are not, strictly speaking, imaginary friends, but I sense we are not far from there. And, really, I can’t wait. Adults worry about the world we know. Kids dream up the world they want. That’s a beautiful thing. In honor of passage into this phase, I’m going to reread Adam Gopnik’s New Yorker essay, “Bumping Into Mr. Ravioli.” It’s about his daughter’s imaginary friend, Charlie Ravioli. Gopnik evokes the magic of his daughter’s conversations with Charlie, and what they say about her world. Enjoy Gopnik’s piece, and share your story about imaginary friends.


POSTED IN: Matthew Strozier (59)

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98 percent of infants suffer from bipolar disorder

My toddler suffers from manic depression.

One second she is happily playing with her puzzle. The next she's deep in the throes of depression; a lake of tears.

Last night I was ready to Baker-Act her when I came across this study that gave me comfort:

cryingbaby.jpg"A new study published in The Journal Of Pediatric Medicine found that a shocking 98 percent of all infants suffer from bipolar disorder.

"Additionally we found that most babies had trouble concentrating during the day, often struggled to sleep at night, and could not be counted on to take care of themselves -- all classic symptoms of manic depression," said the study's author Dr. Steven Gregory.

In a quick online search of advice on dealing with the massive waves of happiness and sadness, I found more grounded explanations that the emotional swings come from difficulty explaining oneself, and "loss of image" and that I need to better "explain" changes to my daughter.

I prefer for diagnosis of manic-depressive by satire news-site The Onion. I mean really, high-pitched screams over a puzzle piece not fitting after happily finding the puzzle piece??

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Hannah Montana movie surprisingly good

I put it off as long as I could. My 7-year-old started talking about the Hannah Montana movie long ago. She knew the date it would open in theaters (April 10), and she begged me to take her. It seemed unavoidable so I said yes and started dreading it.

The big day came, and we had other plans. Couldn't take her. She cried. Next day, same story. We don't practice "consensual parenting'' in our house, by the way. So what we say goes, and Lily doesn't control the schedule. Life is full of disappointments, and now she has a fresh example of that.

Anyway, last night I finally took her to the movie. I know the reviews are mixed, but I tend to agree with this one I saw on the Rotten Tomatoes website: "I'm almost embarrassed at how entertained I was.''

Now, I do admit I like cheesy music, like Abba and John Denver. So I really liked that this movie has a lot of music in it. Believe me, I've seen many an episode of her TV show. The movie was definitely better, and worth the money.

Oh, and Lily liked it, too.

My only beef with the movie was that the person Lily identified as "the bad guy'' was a reporter. Sigh.

Click here for movie times.

p.s. If you search online for "Hannah Montana coloring pages'' you can print out some pretty cool looking stuff for your kid to get creative with.

POSTED IN: Brittany Wallman (160), Entertainment (114)

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April 13, 2009

Many are victims in death of 11 year old who hanged himself

This hurts.

Read this today in MassLive.com:

SPRINGFIELD - Hundreds of people filled the Alden Baptist Church Monday for the funeral of Carl J. Walker-Hoover, the 11-year old boy who hung himself last week after complaining of bullying by classmates at the New Leadership Charter School.

"Our prayers are that this crisis will make Springfield a better community," said the Rev. Hugh A. Bair, who delivered the eulogy that capped the 2.5-hour service.

"The name calling must stop; the bullying must stop," he said, resulting in applause from the overflow crowd.
...
His mother said he suffered taunts and threats from other students who made fun of him, insulted the way he dressed and called him gay since he began attending the school in September, Walker said. Read the rest here.

I had a very difficult time reading this article because it’s so senseless and painful, to know people can be so unenlightened and cruel.

I am sorrowful for the mother, for young Carl. I'm sad for all of us. In the death of this 11-year-old boy, a victim of harassment and bullying, who hanged himself, we're all victims, regardless of our sexual orientation.

There are untold numbers of victims in this case: Those who fear coming out about their sexuality; those who fear helping; those who have LGBT friends and family members. Those who just want to ask questions.

This month, a local church is hosting a workshop that many people can benefit from.

Riviera Presbyterian Church is hosting “Gender Identity and Our Faith Community,” a public workshop from 1p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 26.

This is Riviera's promotion about the event:

Do you know what 'gender identity' means to you? Have you ever wondered what struggles transgender people face? Do you have questions about where our ideas of 'appropriate' gender expression stem? Do you feel called as a person of faith to stand with those who are marginalized, but are not sure how to advocate politically from a religious voice? If you answer yes to any of these questions than we have a FREE workshop for you!

Please join Riviera Presbyterian Church on Sunday, April 26th from 1 pm to 4 pm for a moving discussion on 'Gender Identity and Our Faith Communities' sponsored by the Religion and Faith Program at the Human Rights Campaign. We will be joined by HRC staff member and transgender educator, Allyson Robinson, who will lead us from acceptance to advocacy on issues of gender identity and LGBT equality. This workshop will challenge us, liberate us, and help us grow as a community committed to justice for everyone.

Address: Riviera Presbyterian Church, 5275 Sunset Drive, Miami. The free workshop is open to the public. RSVP: Phone: 305-666-8586. E-mail: rivierachurch@bellsouth.net. Website.

There are resources all over the country as well as locally.
Volunteers and experts are dedicated to getting the word out about nonviolence, LGBT issues, mentoring and more.

Pridelines Youth Services

YES Institute

Parents, Family and Friends of Gays and Lesbians

Compass Community Center, Palm Beach.

Gay, Lesbian Community Center, Fort Lauderdale.


There are many opportunities to embrace, to learn, to understand issue that surround sexuality and gender orientation.

People of all ages can learn a thing or two –and they should. It’s OK to reach beyond what you know, beyond your comfort zone.

Sometimes that might mean hearing what you don’t want to hear. It might be being with folk that aren’t like you.

But nothing is quite like making yours and your child’s world bigger – through understanding and knowledge.

POSTED IN: Child Care (26), Cindy Kent (78), Elementary School (54), Family Issues (231), Pre-Teen (57), Safety (59), School Issues (135), Sex (16), Teen (158)

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President Obama is stupid (my doctor said so)

It took my wife's pregnancy and my blunt doctor to get me to quit smoking.

obama_smoking.pngMy wife told me the day before Father's Day 2008 that she was expecting our first child. I vowed then that I would stop smoking, that I would stop sneaking around and pretending no one noticed my bad habit. I'd made such promises before. I made that promise before I got married, before I assumed parental responsibilities for my wife's two daughters, now teenagers. Still, I didn't quit. I only smoke when I drank, of course. Except for those few I snuck at work. And on the way to work. And on the way home from work. I thought I was kidding people. I thought people didn't know. And I was lying to myself and everyone around me, and fooling no one. For a cigarette.


Then, on July 11, I had a routine physical exam, and my doctor, who had never met me before, asked me if I smoked. I didn't lie to him. I said yes.

"So, you're stupid," he said.

I wasn't accustomed to such unpleasantries. But I had no comeback. The best I could come up with was, "Well, it's not my smartest habit."

No, the doctor said, it's stupid. As in unintelligent. As in dumb.

And, as if he needed to, my doctor rattled off everything we all know about the hazards of cigarette smoking. You've read it before. You don't need me to recite it here the way my doctor recited it to me. Shortened life expectancy. Decreased quality of life. The physical stench of your presence. Don't kid yourself. Everyone knows you smoke. Sure, it's a free country, and you have the right to smoke if you want to. I'm not disputing that. It's just stupid. My doctor said so.

I keep thinking back to that picture of President Obama, some time back, with a cigarette in his mouth, along with that empty promise he made not to break the White House rules against smoking. Smokers have made promises like that before. I won't smoke at all, unless... unless I'm drinking. Unless I'm away from home. Unless I'm really stressed. Unless I'm...

Stupid, my doctor said.

"But I figure, seeing as I'm running for president, I need to cut myself a little slack," he said last year.

Stupid, my doctor said. You're not cutting yourself slack. You're selling yourself short. Now that you actually are president, what's your excuse? Too much free time? Not enough to keep yourself occupied?

President Obama took office with an enormous amount of goodwill behind him. I submit a public decision to quit, coming from him, would have a profound effect on many lives.

I can think of two in particular.
Obama%20girls.jpg

Are you smarter than a U.S. President? Prove it. Quit smoking. Visit Tobacco Free Florida for details, or just talk to your doctor. Tell him you're serious this time. And mean it.

POSTED IN: Rafael Olmeda (59), Rafael Olmeda 2009 (47), Step-parenting (59)

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April 10, 2009

Top ten reasons to take Amtrak on your family vacation

Background: We took the train to our vacation in St. Augustine. Our toddler boys love trains so we thought it would be an adventure. It was.

AOS.train.jpg

10) Seats. The seats feel like, as a friend described it, a barber’s chair. There’s a footrest, a comfy headrest and friendly people around you (with whom you sometimes even want to chat).
9) Dining car. Not that the kids sat still, but it’s a cool picture later on.
8) Conductors. Sure, they’re on commuter trains, too, but we don’t ride those much down here. And for a 3-year-old, nothing is cooler than getting your train ticket punched.
7) Windows. Kids can stare at all those trucks, cows and orange groves in Central Florida. When they start crying, point at something out the window.
6) The coffee. It's good, and helps you survive the long ride.
5) Sleeper cars. We didn’t take one (trip was seven hours), but our 3-year-old was still fascinated by them. How can you not be?
4) Café car. Another distraction, even with the spilled milk and juice.
3) Regular stops. It’s the train, so who cares if the kid is crying? If somebody can’t handle it, they can get off at the next stop.
2) No traffic. Watch the traffic jams on I-95.
1) Your kid’s face when the train pulls in: You can’t beat that.

POSTED IN: Matthew Strozier (59)

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Gentiles won't passover an opportunity to share

Its' a no-brainer, really.
When you acknowledge the spirituality of others, you learn more about yourself. You gain insight.

That's what we told The Kid when we explained why we were hosting a Passover dinner in our home this week.

Our guest list included Jewish people and Christians. We invited friends, neighbors and co-workers to a "Gentile Passover". Everyone was touched by our invitation. One said she had been thinking about what she would do this holiday.

We made Matzo Ball soup, from scratch; and roasted chicken and lamb. Our neighbor cooked a brisket.

All of us, including The Kid and his friend, listened as one of the guests explained the meaning of the opening plate and what the food on it signified.

Everyone brought something to the table.
But the main courses were inclusiveness, love, respect and friendship.

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April 9, 2009

Lying to children to get them to eat healthy foods

Don't just hide the junk food. Talk up the superpowers of the carrots.

veggies.jpg

Or as my wife does, hide the vegetables; she purees them into a marinara sauce.

This article in Newsweek says a Cornell researcher found that telling kids they're eating "X-ray vision carrots" helped kindergartners eat 50 percent more carrots. The researcher doesn't seem to have a problem with lying to kids in order to get them to eat.

Sounds like an old trick to me. I remember my mother telling me and my friends that eating spinach gave Popeye big muscles. So we should eat our spinach to. That was a lie, too, and it didn't work. It wasn't until I was older that I appreciated a good spinach dish. And I loved Popeye as a kid.

Generations of parents have faced the challenge of trying to get our kids to eat healthy. My guess is that the kids will mimic their parents' habits. So we have tried to be better role models for my daughter, 3 1/2, and son, who turns 1 this month.

Even so, we just don't leave the cookies out on the counter. They're kept out of sight and come out only as a treat.

Also, we offer the kids apples and oranges for snacks or give them broccoli or asparagus with their dinners. A crazy thing happens many times. They just eat it.

I wonder, though, when they don't want their vegetables, should we just lie to our kids? What do you think, is a "healthy" lie OK?

POSTED IN: Food (56), Health (111), Luis Perez (32)

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April 8, 2009

A belt buckle that can get your kid killed

Anyone raising a teenage boy, listen up. There are fashion trends, and there are stupid ideas that will get you shot - by a thug or by a cop.

belt_buckle_gun.JPGThe belt buckle you see here is an example of the latter: The Monroe County Sheriff's Office sent us a news release about a 17-year-old Stock Island boy who was on the business end of a deputy's pistol because he was wearing a belt buckle that looked just like a gun. There's a little more to the story, but fortunately the teenager was sharp enough to follow instructions and the deputy was careful enough to refrain from firing his weapon.

But whose brilliant idea was that gun-shaped belt buckle?

I was one of the first reporters on the scene of the Amadou Diallo shooting in New York 10 years ago. He was shot at 41 times by cops who thought he had a gun (turned out it was a wallet). It was a tragic end to a good life.

A gun-shaped belt buckle isn't tragic: it's poor and dangerous judgment (and that's putting it diplomatically).

Both the teenager and the deputy are okay, but in an era when law enforcement officers are second-guessed for everything they do, I don't know too many people who would have questioned the deputy if he had decided to shoot.

And a life could very easily have been lost.

Over a belt buckle. Is looking tough really worth that risk?

I don't know who deserves the most criticism here: the people who made the belt buckle, the people who sold it, or the people who bought it? I wonder if this kid's parents can shed some light on this: I know I didn't run my fashion choices past my dad when I was a teenager in the Bronx, but I also know what he would have, um, "said" to me if I came home wearing a gun-shaped belt buckle.

Your thoughts?

POSTED IN: Rafael Olmeda 2009 (47), Safety (59), Teen (158)

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Do 15-year-olds have the maturity to drive?

My almost-15-year-old is about to get her driving permit, and I am extremely nervous.
teendrive.jpg

Traffic deaths are the leading cause of death for teens. But as every other parent of a teen knows, it's not necessarily your kid who will be the bad driver. It's everyone else, especially here in South Florida.

I was surprised but impressed with the difficulty of the questions on the permit test. A sample:

If you receive 12 points within 12 months, for how long will your license be suspended? (30 days)
What is the maximum speed limit for passengers on a two-lane highway? (70 mph)

Not that knowing these answers will help her make split-second decisions. I've found that a big part of driving is not only those quick judgments but letting go of the ego and not caring if someone cuts in front of you and speeds ahead. I still think most 16-year-olds don't have that maturity.

The Dori Slosberg Foundation, based in Boca Raton, has started a campaign targeting teen driving deaths, including a Safe Teen Driver Awareness Week April 20 to 25. Click here for some tips on how to keep our teen drivers safe.

POSTED IN: Lois Solomon (211), Teen (158)

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April 7, 2009

Mom on the Go: Making an edible Easter basket

Easter just isn't Easter without wearing a frilly itchy dress, being squished on the church pew and indulging in sweets.

The blog Moms at Work has a cute recipe for creating edible Easter baskets, called Easter basket cupcakes.

cupcake.jpgGet the recipe here.

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Miami Seaquarium birthday a good ticket, overall

One factor it pays to remember when planning that fabulous one-on-one day with your child where you're going to spend all day bonding, just the two of you: Children are crazy. .Lily7thBday%20099.jpg


Really. If I took an adult friend to Miami Seaquarium, paid for an annual pass, bought her a slushy and practically knocked people over to get her second row seats to the killer whale show, and then she got splashed by the whale in the first 15 seconds of the show, and burst into tears and said she wanted to go home, we would all conclude that my friend was nuts.

But this is what happened last week when I took my daughter there to celebrate her 7th birthday. And this kind of behavior is just normal for a little girl turning 7. You just can't plan for it. If you don't believe me, go to Disney World and look at all the crying kids, and their parents, who spent $700 for that experience.

Anyway, at the Seaquarium, as we wiped salt water out of our eyes (Thanks, Lolita the killer whale!), no one even noticed that one of us was sobbing. I got out a packet of Yogos and handed them to her one by one. I recognized the outburst as a cry of hunger. And the day was all uphill from there.

I'd been warned by friends that I might not be impressed by the Seaquarium. But it was a great afternoon, except those few crazy minutes at the whale show. Click here for the Miami Seaquarium website.

My son would say that anyone who keeps a giant sea-being captive is a "monster.'' But the exhibits and shows promote appreciation for nature, and for sea life. If a few sea creatures spend their days bonding with fun humans, for this purpose, that is OK by me.

It takes about four hours to see all the shows and have a good time.

And a bonus at Miami Seaquarium: They still have those machines that make a wax model of a dolphin or a shark, for only $2.

POSTED IN: Brittany Wallman (160)

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April 6, 2009

Mom on the Go: Recipe for easy cooking in the Crock-Pot

"Because Gabby wants to have dinner ready when she walks through the door, she's come to rely on her slow cooker. Her first experiments with this appliance led to dried-out dishes."

She shared her recipe for Moroccan Chicken with writer Tracey Broussard and the Sun Sentinel.

Tracey writes: "The recipe contains enough liquid so the cooker can be set on low and heat all day without the dish drying out. Olive oil assures the dish is heart healthy; olives and dried prunes provide a salty-sweet depth of flavor yet are healthful ingredients. Although Gabby does not add any salt to the dish, it can be added to taste."

moroccan%20chix.jpg Recipe for Moroccan Chicken.

"This dish pairs well with either couscous or rice. Gabby prefers couscous because it takes only five minutes to make and has the same ethnic background as the chicken dish. Gabby also likes that the recipe makes eight servings. She can refrigerate or freeze leftovers."

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April 3, 2009

Anti-smoking commercial with little boy sparks controversy

If this video doesn’t pull on the heartstrings of parents everywhere, you probably need to have your heart checked.

An anti-smoking campaign commercial shot in a busy Australia bus station pictures a little boy who is separated from his mother amid the bustling scene. The boy looks sincerely lost. The cameras capture a very real moment where he turns from surprised to scared to just plain sad, with tears streaming down his face.

Queue the somber music, followed by an ominous voice: “If this is how your child feels after losing you for a minute, just imagine if they lost you for life.”

The ad by Quit Victoria, a nonprofit established by a local government in Australia, is creating a buzz.

Parents are asking whether it was appropriate to put the little boy in a situation where he very seemingly believed he had lost his mother. Quit’s executive director appeared on the Today Show this morning and said the boy and mother were actors who were coached for the commercial. Still she came short of denying that the scene, captured in one take, was anything but real for the little boy.

My question: Is it wrong to try to evoke a real response from child actors? Matt Lauer seemed to think so. But is it so different than the photographer who tries to capture a few alligator tears for the camera? (My parents have one of those shots of my sister when she was just a few months old.)

POSTED IN: Anne Vasquez (67)

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Mom on the Go: What kind of parent are you?

When you look at your bed do you see a trampoline or a place to sleep?

Is the vacuum intimate or estranged from your carpet?

If your child dropped a lollipop would you buy replacements or declare the 10-second rule?

These are the kind of pressing questions that get to the heart of the type of parent you are.

Take the Parenting Quiz and find out your type.

deniserichards.jpgI took the quiz (mainly geared toward women) and I'm in the same league as Melissa Joan Hart, Denise Richards (Denise Richards???!!!) and Megan Ward (Megan, who??) --- a fixer.

The results can even pinpoint your favorite store (Home Depot, for me) and favorite TV shows (Charles in Charge -- How did they know? NOT!)

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Is child really acting?

At what cost was this child acting? Or was he?

The controversy surrounding this anti smoking ad has brought a great deal of attention to the issue of smoking.

But also it has many questioning if this child was truly acting.

Let's say he was. As the commercial director stated, he was coached. The piece was shot in one take. Is this tremendous acting at such a young age?

How many films and shows have we all watched where the child's emotions move us to tears? Why is this so different?

What's your take?

POSTED IN: Child Care (26), Cindy Kent (78), Entertainment (114), Health (111), Safety (59), Toddler (127)

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April 2, 2009

Mom on the Go: Ideas for Easter baskets for toddlers

A tisket, a tasket, a bountiful Easter basket.

Here are some ideas for filling baskets for children younger than 5.


11 Great Non-Food Items

Peeps bubbles (found at discount stores such as Dollar Store)

Balls such as tennis balls, small Nerf balls.

Toddler-sized utensils, cups and bowls

Board books play-doh.jpg

Minature Doodle-Pro

Seed packets of flowers or vegetable that can be seeded indoors and replanted outdoors.

Deck of cards such as Hasbro's Go Fish! card game

Bottle of bubble bath

Yo-Yo

Beach shovel or rake

Play-Doh


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An oh-so-cute chubby baby could lead to obesity at 3

My daughter Ana Isabel was one of those chunky babies. She weighed 20 pounds at six months.

fat.jpg

If I would've read this story back then, it would have worried me. It basically says that infants who gain weight rapidly in the first months of life have a greater chance of being obese by the time they turn 3. This story is based on a study published in the April issue of Pediatrics, a medical journal.

I'm glad to report Ana, now 3 1/2, is not obese. She weighs about 35 pounds now, which is normal for her age.

Nonetheless, the study goes against the common perception that a heavier baby is a healthier baby. It also comes at a time when many experts worry about childhood obesity.

So now what are we supposed to do now put infants on a diet? What do you think?

POSTED IN: Health (111), Luis Perez (32), Newborn (39), Toddler (127)

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April 1, 2009

Consensual parenting? Thanks, but no!

I just heard on the radio this morning about something called consensual parenting. It's also referred to by some as consensual living.

The idea is that your child gets to help make the decisions, is taken seriously and treated as an equal in the household.

No thanks.

That's probably all you need to know to figure out what a bad idea this is, and to look into the future and see the spoiled brat never-grew-up adults they will become.

Here's a link to more information about this abdication of parenting.

An excerpt: "If we take the right to self-determination away from any individual, we are changing the course of their life, and may never come to know the person they were meant to become."

Right, why should you as parents get in the way of your children's fate, however horrible it may be? Go ahead, just hand them the joy stick to control their own lives, and see what happens.

POSTED IN: Brittany Wallman (160)

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Grandparents: Good intentions, bad advice?

He needs water. My mother said so. Water will get rid of his hiccups.

LeoOlmeda.bmpYes, I tried to explain that giving water to a newborn is not generally a good idea. We talked to our pediatrician about Leo's formula because he seemed to be spitting up a bit. We are following our pediatrician's advice, which brings us back to rejecting my mother's advice.

And then Leo has another hiccup.

He needs water. My mother said so. Water will get rid of his hiccups.

It worked for me when I was an infant. My mother raised five kids, thank you very much, and did it without all this expert advice from the expert experts who are now telling her, through me, that she was wrong to raise her kids that way.

Is that the rub? When my mom gives advice, do my wife and I take it to mean she thinks we don't know what we're doing? And when we reject that advice, does my mother think we're criticizing the way she raised her kids? Honestly? Yes, and yes.

So my wife and I need to realize that my mom's advice is not a criticism of our parenting methods, and my mom needs to realize that a lot has changed in the 39 years since I was Leo's age. Breastfeeding, once discouraged, is now recommended. Letting a baby sleep on his tummy? Great idea then, bad idea now. Those car seats that "thou shalt" place your child in now? Didn't even exist until relatively recently.

The issue pops up on my wife's side of the family, too. Leo cries too much and won't sleep through the night? There's a cure for that, my wife's grandmother insists. Applesauce. Just a teeny bit of applesauce will do wonders, she assures us. It should be noted that the formula made today is dramatically different from what was available in 1950, so advice that may have been completely understandable then is now unecessary at best, unhealthy at worst.

I found a few good suggestions on this subject on this Web site, which offers this recommendation:

If your baby's grandparents are having a hard time understanding how parenting, medical, and safety advice have changed, consider inviting them to one of your baby's visits to his pediatrician. That way, they can hear that advice firsthand, ask questions, and learn to better support your methods of raising your baby.

Good advice. I wonder what Mom's doing Saturday?

Oh, and yes, that's Leo in the pic. He's doing great. And those hiccups? Yeah, normal. Turns out they bother us more than they bother him. How do I know? He's a baby. If they bothered him, he'd be crying. Okay, Mom?

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POSTED IN: Child Care (26), Family Issues (231), Health (111), Newborn (39), Rafael Olmeda 2009 (47)

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About the authors
Gretchen Day-Bryant has a son in high school and a daughter in middle school. She’s lived to tell about the struggles of juggling little kids and work.
Joy Oglesby has a preschooler...
Cindy Kent Fort Lauderdale mother of three. Her kids span in ages from teenager to 20s.
Rafael Olmeda and his wife welcomed their first son in Feb. 2009, and he's helping raise two teenage stepdaughters.
Lois Solomonlives with her husband and three daughters.
Georgia East is the parent of a five-year-old girl, who came into the world weighing 1 pound, 13 ounces.
Brittany Wallman is the mother of Creed, 15, and Lily, 7, and is married to a journalist, Bob Norman. She covers Broward County government, which is filled with almost as much drama as the Norman household. Almost.
Chris Tiedje is the Social Media Coordinator and the father of a 7-year-old girl, and two boys ages 4 and 3.
Kyara Lomer Camarena has a 2-year-old son, Copelan, and a brand new baby.


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