Moms & Dads: Stories, tips, and advice on raising your kids from South Florida parents | Sun Sentinel blogs

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May 29, 2009

Five ways to save money on birthday parties

The next birthday party I need to plan is months away, but I'm already starting to think about the theme and I was gravitating toward something grand like a morning at the movies, or a spa day at Le Petite Youth Spa or a tea party at The Breakers. (I jest, sort of.) balloons.jpg

Then comes a story about how to reduce the cost of hosting a birthday party. And another about parents hosting parties during the week instead of on weekends because the rates at places like Chuck E. Cheese are cheaper.

I'm all for making sure the birthday party is about the KID and not pleasing the adults so the tips make sense:

1. Limit the number of guests.

2. Skip the goodie bags. (Whoa, pump the brakes! No goodie bags, really?)

3. Have a plan. (A good resource is PBS.)

4. Have age-appropriate games.

5. Don't go overboard. No limos or red-carpets.

What do you think? Are this tips on-point, or is the writer off her rocker saying parents should ditch the goodie bags?

POSTED IN: None

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May 28, 2009

Bristol Palin and Levi: The soap opera continues

I am obsessed with the Palin family, so I'll be sure to read the upcoming story in GQ magazine about Levi Johnston, father of Bristol Palin's baby.levi.jpg

According to New York magazine, which got an advance copy, Levi is an inscrutable type who likes to hunt and fish and "may or may not" be looking for a job. He and Bristol have been exchanging "flirty" text messages and are in regular contact.

Since I posted yesterday about Bristol's silly abstinence campaign, I had to check out what Levi's latest statements are re abstaining from sex, now that he has a five-month-old boy. He told the Early Show: "I don't just think telling young kids, you can't have sex, it's not going to work. It's not realistic."

Love the contrary messages from the confused teen parents! Keep it up, kids, this is fun!

POSTED IN: Lois Solomon (211), Sex (16), Teen (158)

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Guest blog: The perfect catch-all for cranky kids

McMommy has tales.

Short and long ones about traveling with kids, maternity fashions gone wrong, taking family pictures and putting together a color-blind outfit like Kate Gosselin of TV's Jon & Kate Plus 8.

McMommysmall.jpgThe McMommy Chronicles tracks the 30-something mother of two who says she has no clue how to parent, but tries to anyway. Here's her take on the most-used parenting excuse:

While on vacation recently, I dared to make the thoughtless remark of "OK kids, five more minutes in the pool and then we'll get out to clean up for dinner, OK?"

Have you ever made that remark to a young child?

If not, you better duck and cover, my friend. Because first you will get pummeled with "WHAT?!?! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! MomIDon'tWannaaaaa!! Waaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!! I'M NOT HUNGRY!!!! Waaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!! No! No! NO!!! YOU ARE SO MEAN!"

And then they will proceed to throw the World’s Biggest Tantrum right there before your very eyes.

And as you are pulling your water-logged children out of the pool, kicking and screaming and limbs flailing, you look around to everyone and mouth one of the most famous parental phrases in parenting history: "I'm sorry. They are so tired!"

If you are a parent, you cannot sit there with a straight face and tell me you have never used that line before. It truly is the perfect catch-all for any childhood tantrum thrown in public.

The kicker? It doesn't even matter if it's true or not.

My children could have just woken up from a nap 20 minutes ago, and I'll bust that line out if they have a meltdown.

I don't care.

Because uttering this phrase:

A.) Causes others around you to nod their heads sympathetically instead of throwing looks of disgust your way.

B.) Gives off the vibe "I totally know what I'm doing as a parent" and you look in complete control of the situation.

When in actuality you have no flipping clue as to why your kids have turned into little monsters.

Of course, there are variations of the famous phrase:

• “Someone’s ready for a nap!”

• “He’s just cranky because he went to bed late last night.”

• “Early bedtime for you tonight, Mr. FussyPants!”

All work remarkably well.

It’s also the one phrase that can be used no matter what the age of the child. You can be a parent for a mere couple of hours and if that baby starts wailing, throw out a simple: “Oh, you must be so tired after the morning you’ve had!”

Nice, you are off the hook. Everyone around you will murmur “Look at her parenting instincts! Oh, she is such a natural!” and applause, applause . . . you come off looking like a mothering genius.

And truly, isn’t that all we ever want as parents? To come across looking like we know what we’re doing when in reality, we are just flying by the seat of our spit-up stained pants.

Next time, I’ll cover the second-most famous saying in the history of parental excuses: “He’s just overtired now.” (What does that even mean? No clue, but guess who just said it 20 minutes ago?)


POSTED IN: Family Issues (231), Guest Post (79)

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Did Hialeah mom know of teen son's sex with teacher?

I had to look at the lead of this Miami Herald story several times yesterday to make sure I was reading it correctly:

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A 15-year-old Hialeah boy who had a months-long romantic relationship with a teacher at his religious school must end the affair, a Miami child welfare judge ordered Wednesday.

Where do we begin?

It was a religious school. It took place over months. A judge had to order them to stop!

Is there a loophole in the statutory rape law that I'm not aware of, one that says it's okay until the judge orders an end to it?

As you read further into the story, you can see why the judge felt a need to step in:

The mom, Hialeah police say, consented to her son's affair with 32-year-old Maria Guzman Hernandez, and allowed the couple to travel together for a weekend getaway at Disney World.

At the hearing, the mother's attorney, Roberto Villasante, said she is disputing some of the allegations against her by DCF and the police.

''She is in disagreement with some of the items in the affidavit,'' Villasante said, ``particularly certain knowledge she had of what was going on.''


You have to wonder about this one. I mean, if the mother knew about the affair, her fitness as a mom is, to say the least, questionable. But what does it say about her fitness as a parent if she didn't know?

I don't think the "I didn't know" defense is much better. I've got two teenage stepdaughters, and if either of them said she was going on a trip to Disney with a male teacher, they'd have to call the police to keep me from assaulting the teacher!

Is it okay when it's a teenage boy with a female teacher?

What about a teenage girl with a male teacher?

What about a teenager with a teacher of the same gender?

Why can't these teachers stick to their lesson plans and keep their hands off our kids?

POSTED IN: Rafael Olmeda (59), Rafael Olmeda 2009 (47), School Issues (135), Teen (158)

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May 27, 2009

Is TV OK at preschool?

Our toddlers don’t watch much TV. We limit it, on most days, to about 20 minutes of their favorite on-demand show, which is usually Thomas & Friends or Bob the Builder. We need them to sit still long enough to prepare dinner. And it works, providing us a respite from the chaos that usually surrounds these adorable but spirited little boys.

So I understand why preschool and day care teachers sometimes turn on the TV. I need a break with two kids; they endure 10 or so little ones for hours on end. It’s a long day, and plopping them in front of a TV probably seems like a way to regain one’s sanity. And I fully support sane teachers for my children. That said (and you see where this is going): What’s an acceptable amount of TV in preschool or day care? Our boys are 3 and 18 months.

My wife and I have debated this recently as we noticed that our 3-year-old seemed increasingly familiar with cartoon characters. Some he learned at a friend’s house, but others clearly are coming from TV sessions at his school – either during aftercare or the normal school day. We’ve raised this issue before with school folks, but I wonder how far to push it. What would you do?

POSTED IN: Family Issues (231), Matthew Strozier (59)

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Parents, let's meet!

Time to put some faces to our Tweets, blogs and comments.

Let's meet - in person.

We're in the planning stages and are hopeful that our first Moms & Dad's event will be held in June at the Young at Art Children's Museum, in Davie.

For future events, we want to blend the best of networking, seminars and mingling with guest speakers and activities.

Let us know when it would be a good time for you to attend.

POSTED IN: Activities (143), Cindy Kent (78), Entertainment (114), Family Issues (231)

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Big news for such a tiny being

This is an amazing story.

Wait, this just in: Update - earlier today, there was a report about a newborn about to undergo surgery to remove an undeveloped fetus from its mouth, in Miami. After a news conference, reporters learned it's NOT a twin.

At this point, I am also reframing my post to be more reflective of the new information.

A child was born with a tumor covering the face. Here is the story about the recent surgery and recovery of the now two-month-old child

Our hearts tug at stories about children and families facing challenges.

Operations for any child can overwhelm every family member.

KidsHealth.org provides some guidance of how to prepare your family - and you - for hospital experiences such as visits and surgery

POSTED IN: Cindy Kent (78), Family Issues (231), Health (111), Newborn (39)

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Gotta love Bristol Palin, abstinence spokeswoman

Is there a parent out there who believes Bristol Palin is a role model?
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Somehow, the 18-year-old daughter of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has gotten a job promoting abstinence through the Candie's Foundation, which seeks to prevent teen pregnancies. Bristol has a 5-month-old boy now.

She had previously told Fox News that abstinence wasn't realistic. Now she says: "It's a hard choice, but it's the safest choice and it's the best choice."

What was the Candie's Foundation thinking? I can't imagine any parent saying, "Be like Bristol Palin." Looks like more of a publicity move for this foundation than rational thinking on who would be a good teen role model.

POSTED IN: Lois Solomon (211), Sex (16), Teen (158)

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May 26, 2009

Rainy-day activities

It's raining, it's storming, the kids are going batty.

rainyday.jpgHere are four fab things to do:

Go out. Head to Chuck E. Cheese (just don't forget your headache-busting pills). There are games suitable for children as young as 2. Entry is free. Most games require one token at 25 cents a turn. Go bowling, window-shopping at the mall or to an arcade such as Boomers.

Get baking. Dig the frozen bananas out of the freezer and make banana bread. Or whip up a batch of cookies. Recipes for peanut butter, chocolate chip and sugar cookies.

Bond. Create a wacky story. One person starts a sentence, the next person finishes fills in a verb or adjective; the next person completes the sentence. Break out the board games, such as Apples to Apples.

Break the rules. Hand one of the kids a can of whipped cream and send him/her off to start a food fight in the bathroom or on the patio.


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Summer camp tips for working parents

Remember when summer meant the start of relaxation? If you’re a working parent, the word “summer” can be a dreaded term.

Figuring out how to keep your children busy while mom and dad are working full-time pulls at both your heart and wallet. Your heart, because as much as you want to “enrich” your children with all of these wonderful gymnastics, tennis, arts & crafts camps, you also realize that there are benefits to having some time to just veg out and do as little as possible. Your wallet, because the reality is Little Johnny can’t stay home alone, and the camps you’ve checked out amount to a sizeable car payment.

I consider myself one of the lucky ones. My son’s pre-school has a built-in camp option, so I’ve been paying for the upcoming summer sessions all year long. I’m putting off worrying about what to do when he enters kindergarten and actually has the summer off like most regular kids. My neighbor is going the smorgasbord route for her pre-schooler: Gymnastics camp for three weeks; general-interest camp at a different location for three weeks; then back to school for a camp to transition her daughter into the start of the school year. My sister-in-law, who is a personal trainer, is considering two weeks of soccer camp for her son. The rest of the summer, he’ll just have to tag along with her when she meets with clients. And my sister, the lucky one, is relying on Abuelo and Abuela to watch her three kids this summer.

If you’re one of those parents dreading the summertime blues, be sure to check out the Sun Sentinel’s online summer camp guide. And here are a few of my own tips to keep in mind:

- Ask for a group discount. If you have more than one child who will be enrolling in a camp, ask for a price break. It’s also worth asking if you get a group of your kid’s friends to enroll.

- Faith-based groups, city parks and recreation departments, and YMCAs usually offer camps that are reasonably priced.

- Ask about scholarships. Some camps work with foundations that set aside some money to be available to families in need.

- Organize play-date swaps. Check with the parents of some of your child’s friends to see if they’re interested in alternating days or weeks to watch over a small group of kids.

POSTED IN: Anne Vasquez (67)

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Water safety is your life line

It’s not just a summer thing.

However, any excuse to highlight the dangers of children around water is good enough.

Growing up – my parents had me and all of my siblings on swimming teams when we were very young.
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I passed on my love of water – and my respect for it – making sure my children could each swim before they were five years old.

None of the above guarantees a child’s safety 100 percent.

In fact, a little bit of exposure and a few swimming lessons can create over-confidence.

Parents should never let their guard down with children, around pools, lakes, etc.

Look at some safety tips in this South Florida Parenting article: Keeping baby afloat.

And here is one of our picture galleries. A safety tip accompanies each photo.

And happy swimming, or sailing or water polo!

POSTED IN: Cindy Kent (78), Health (111), Parks (12), Safety (59), Sports (29), Toddler (127)

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May 25, 2009

The rewards of stepping into parenthood

Last week I asked a couple of experts, stepfamily coaches, about the biggest challenge facing step-parents. They agreed discipline is at the top of the list. I'm not so sure, but it's certainly near the top, in any event.

Anyway, I've noticed a tendency in myself to focus on the challenges of being a stepfather, but I haven't really focused on the rewards, which are plentiful. Again, I asked for advice. The answer I got back from Arkansas family mediator Bob Collins was so good, I thought I'd just run it without further comment. So, without further comment...

STEPlogo.GIFWhen I became a stepdad in 1994, I was shocked to find that my 14-year-old stepdaughter was less than thrilled to have a new adult in her life to tell her what's what. Go figger!

Over the next four and a half years, she did her dead level best to chase me away. Verbal and physical attacks, silent treatments, and much worse failed to scare me away (they certainly scared me, just not away).

When my stepdaughter finally accepted that I was telling the truth about sticking around, she began calling me Daddy, saying she loved me, and she asked to adopt my last name for her high school graduation gift. I thought my heart would explode!

Stepparenting is the toughest job anyone can take on; it's also one of the most rewarding if done right. Think about it: for a simple investment of time, money, patience, love, and humility, you get the privilege of contributing hope to a child who has seen their parents turn on each other, divorce, and rip their family home apart. You get to show them that love can actually be unconditional and til death do us part - an important lesson they may have had cause to doubt. Yes it's very hard to withstand rejection on a daily basis, to keep giving when your gifts are scorned, to keep smiling when you're compared unfavorably to their other parent.

But YOU know. You know every night when you go to bed that you have done your best regardless of huge obstacles. You know that you are doing the right thing for the right reason.

And some day, maybe years down the road, but some day you will get a smile, a thank you, a hug, just out of the blue. And you'll know that you have bloody well earned it! Then, months later, another sign of acceptance. If you allow yourself to be bitter because the hugs come
too far apart, you lose. If you keep your eyes on the long term goal of a healthy young adult who has learned some positive lessons from his or her stepparent, you win. You win. Period.

At STEP-Carefully! for Stepparents, we consider stepparents who never give up, who keep on loving no matter what, who stick around forever, to be Heroes. Because Heroes don't win medals for just doing the bare minimum, or for sweeping out the barracks during peace time - they get the medals for going above and beyond the call of duty. Heroes get the glory.

My blessings of stepparenthood?

"Daddy."

A cute little key chain which was a gift, which says "#1 Dad."

A photo of a very happy girl, laughing while sitting on my shoulders.

Calls late at night that go, "Daddy? I'm feeling sick. Will you bring me some ice cream? Please?" Which I'm happy to do.

Weekly calls to see if I can take her to lunch (I get to pay!).

My stepdaughter is all grown up now, with her own home, job, and family. Including my greatest joy of stepparenthood - my 8-year-old grandson. He calls me Pawpa, loves to see me, likes to listen to my Irish history stories, and lets me teach him important stuff like how to climb trees, how to bait fishing hooks, how to whistle and how to pray before bedtime.

I wouldn't trade my stepfamily for anything. I am more blessed than I ever dreamed.

Follow Bob Collins on Twitter at STEPcoach

Follow Sun Sentinel Moms & Dads on Twitter at SSParents.

POSTED IN: Guest Post (79), Rafael Olmeda (59), Step-parenting (59)

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How to introduce daddy's new girlfriend?

dadanddaughter.jpg

A few weekends ago my 6-year-old met her dad’s girlfriend, for the first time.

When she returned home she had a string of questions. She wanted to know when daddy and I would get back together, why he had a girlfriend, and why wasn’t I mad?

I explained to her that daddy and I love her very much and told her that we should be happy that daddy found someone he cares for. I’m also in a committed relationship, and I told her I wanted daddy to find that same joy.

I’m fortunate that my daughter has a really great dad. We both co-parent, with very little drama.
But I realized that in addition to knowing my feelings, she needed reaffirmation that her space in her dad’s life wasn’t being threatened.

I grew up in a two parent household, with my mom and dad. I didn’t have to wrestle with these questions at six. These days, in a world where a lot of single parents have a relationship status that’s “complicated,’’ how do you break it down to kids in simple terms?

POSTED IN: Family Issues (231), Georgia East (44), Single moms (14)

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May 24, 2009

Wordless Weekend: Who said art is boring?

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Getty Images

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May 23, 2009

Wordless Weekend: People of color love soccer like Beckham

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Getty Images

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Wordless Weekend: Dinosaur puppet in Singapore

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Associated Press Photo

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Wordless Weekend: Haiti Flag Day

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May 22, 2009

Dad sentenced to 100 years for poisoning his children

A Georgia father is in the running for Bad Dad of the Year award for poisoning his young children in order to extort money from soup-maker Campbell's.

The man was ordered to prison for 100 years. Following the charges his wife divorced him, the Associated Press reported.

I'm nominating this sucker to FloriDUH, which chronicles wacky antics of folks in the Peninsula state. He's not from Florida but he deserves special mention in their upcoming Bad Dads round-up that will be done in the same vein as the Worst Moms of the Year.

What do you think of the sentence for this Dad just to the north of us?

POSTED IN: Joy Oglesby (134)

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Mom on the Go: Stuff to do with the kids this weekend

When it's not raining this weekend, the kid will be in a body of water or with her blades of grass between her toes.

Funtastic Fridays in Hollywood is on our to-do list. It's a free party just for kids.

marlins.jpgSaturday is looking good for a Florida Marlins game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Salsa great Oscar D'Leon is performing a free concert after the last run.

Another good bet for your budding movie critic, is the Delray Beach Film Festival, which is showing five films for FREE. One of the showings is a collection of puppet shorts by the daughter of master puppeteer Jim Henson. reel300.jpg


Here's a round-up of things to do with the kids this weekend:


BROWARD COUNTY

Free Math Trial Class: Weston. This hour-long class for ages 6 to 11 is an opportunity for parents to observe their children in a real classroom setting. Parents will see firsthand how their children perform, think and respond to new ideas. To register, call 954-791-2333 or visit www.imacs.org. 4 p.m. IMACS, 2585 Glades Circle, Weston.

Funtastic Fridays for Kids. Music, magic and more are in store for youngsters and their families. Every Friday from 5-9 p.m. Anniversary Park, 20th Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood. 954-921-3016. Free.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Pre-K Make and Take: World Turtle Day. Did you know that there are 25 types of turtles in Florida? Pre-k kids and their families will learn more about our shelled friends while making a paper turtle craft. Loggerhead Marinelife Center will be joining us with a special presentation. 6-9 p.m. Schoolhouse Children’s Museum, 129 E. Ocean Ave., Boynton Beach. 561-742-6780. $2.50 fee per child in addition to admission; members receive 10 percent off.

Science Club: Airplanes. Make paper airplanes and watch them fly. Age 8 and older. Register. 3 p.m. Wellington Branch Library, 1951 Royal Fern Drive, Wellington. 561-790-6070.

The Commedia Cinderella. May 22-23. The players Arlequin, Columbine, Punchin and Rosetta will infuse new life and energy into the classic tale of Cinderella using the theater art form commedia dell’arte. The troupe’s players will thrill audiences from young to not-so-young with acrobatics, dance, music and quick wit. May 22 at 7 p.m. May 23 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sol Children Theatre, 3333 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton. 561-447-8829 or www.solchildrentheatretroupe.org.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Greynolds Park: Creatures of the Night Hike. Come learn about the mysteries of the night and what lurks around the park when the lights go out. A naturalist will take you on a night hike through the park in search of its nocturnal residents. A walk through the park will follow a presentation. 7:30-9 p.m. Greynolds Park Boathouse, 17530 W. Dixie Highway, Miami. 305-948-2891. $6 per person.

Read on for Saturday and Sunday happenings.

Saturday, May 23

BROWARD COUNTY

Aquarium: Behind the Scenes. Learn about the inhabitants of the aquarium in the exhibit hall and observe them feeding. Every Saturday and Sunday. 2-3 p.m. Anne Kolb Nature Center at West Lake Park, 751 Sheridan St., Hollywood. 954-926-2480. $1 per person.

Family Day at Your Library: Welcome Brazilians. For parents, caregivers and students from the Brazilian community with informational workshops, a Brazilian Cultural performance, games, stories and crafts. Ages 5-11. Register. 1-4 p.m. North Regional/BCC Library, 1100 Coconut Creek Blvd., Coconut Creek. 954-201-2626. Free.

Mommies in Motion Fitness Class. Fitness classes for mothers and their children. The classes involve interval training, cross training, light weights and cardiovascular training. Strollers and picnic tables will be used for strength training. Bring a towel and a water bottle. 9-10 a.m. T-Y Park, 3300 N. Park Road, Hollywood. 954-985-1980. $7 per person per class or $60 per person for 10 classes.

Pool party. Enjoy a day at the pool with poolside fun including games, water slides, bounce houses, DJ music, and more Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Food will be available for purchase. No coolers, please. The party is at the Pool and Tennis Center (11600 Stonebridge Parkway). Call 954-436-7300. It's free, but please bring a canned good for a local food pantry.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Adventures in Marine Biology. This program is designed to provide a beginner’s look into the field of marine biology. Explore the diversity, threats, adaptations and biology of marine life with an emphasis on South Florida’s barrier islands. Ages 7-12. Reservations required. 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, 1801 N. Ocean Blvd, Boca Raton. 561-338-1582. Members, $6 per child; Nonmembers, $9 per child.

Barnyard Fun. Get ready to make your favorite animal sounds at this special farm-themed story time. All ages. Register. 10:30 a.m. West Boca Branch Library, 18685 State Road 7, Boca Raton. 561-470-1600.

Family Fun Program: Sea Turtle. Family Fun Programs are for those who want to explore and learn about Japanese culture through hands-on arts and crafts projects designed for the whole family. Families can create projects in an open workshop. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, 4000 Morikami Park Road, Delray Beach. 561-495-0233. Program is free with paid admission. Adults, $10; Seniors (65 and older), $9; Children and college students (6-17), $6, Children 5 and younger, free.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Greynolds Park Family Fishing Workshop. Enjoy learning the basics of fishing along the serene Oleta River. Encounter local fish while learning how to bait, cast and hook in the catch-and-release program, and hear fish lore stories and how to engage in stewardship practices. Age 9 and older. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Greynolds Park Boathouse, 17530 W. Dixie Highway, Miami. 305-948-2891. $15 per person.

Preschool Story Time. Stories, songs and activities for preschoolers. 1:30 p.m. Allapattah Branch Library, 1799 NW 35th St., Miami. 305-638-6086.

Super Saturday: Florida Marlins. Get your photo taken with Billy the Marlin. First 15,000 fans will receive a Marlin’s clapper. Special guest is salsa singer Oscar D’Leon. First pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays is at 7:10 p.m. Dolphin Stadium, 2267 Dan Marino Blvd., Miami. 305-626-7378. $12 and up.

Sunday, May 24

BROWARD COUNTY

River Ghost Tour. This tour includes a brief visit inside the Stranahan House and a boat ride on the New River while listening to authentic history and stories of some of the old colorful characters that once lived here and now occasionally come back to visit. Age 9 and older. Call for reservations. 7:30 p.m. Stranahan House, 335 SE Sixth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. 954-524-4736. $20 per person.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

MCM Players in Performance. Whether it’s an adaptation of the Lorax by Dr. Seuss or Elmo’s crazy adventures, the MCM players will have you on your toes with a performance that is always different and never the same. 3:30 p.m. Miami Children’s Museum, 980 MacArthur Causeway, Miami. 305-373-5437, ext. 104. Free with paid admission. Adults and children, $15; Florida residents, $12; 1 and younger, free.


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For the love of your family -- get a will

Death and dying are horrible topics for children to talk about. It’s really scary for them to imagine a life without you.


But it could happen, and you should have age-appropriate conversations with them.

Don’t be Morbid Mom or Downer Dad about the topic.
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In fact, there is nothing wrong with a bit humor, if you can manage it.

Regardless of your discussions with your children – you must have conversations with the other adults in your and your children’s lives – about the aftermath of your or your partner’s or spouse’s passing.

Single or married – get wills.
Step parents, same-gender couples – get wills.
Divorced parents – get wills.

The process of making a will causes you to address other topics too: guardianship; medical advocacy and end of life issues -all these issues will affect your children.

Begin with Liz Pulliam Weston’s MSN Money column. She asks Who will take care of your kids if you die? That will get you thinking and organized.

Next, look at this Florida Bar tip sheet that starts off with the question: Do you have a will?

Get additional information from the Florida Bar on what and why you should initiate other directives.

Doing some homework upfront will give you starting talking points when you meet with your attorney to get the paperwork done – and basically make you aware of what you DON’T know and why you need to know it.

Local law firms. such as Molder Legal Group P.A. in Plantation, can educate you on Florida-specific laws and procedures beginning with its 3-part series blog on parents and estate-planning.

Fort Lauderdale attorney Robin L. Bodiford of the Law offices of Robin L. Bodiford PA co-authored A Simplified Guide to Creating a Personal Will.

Both law firms help single people and same-gendered couples navigate the often confusing and not very friendly legal landscape related specifically to their circumstances.

Ask your lawyer what the costs will be. It can vary for a single individual to a couple. It depends on if you just do the will, or if you are going to do trusts, living wills and other directives. Ours began with starting costs at around $2,000 and go from there.

Last year, I blogged about my experience getting a will. I’m not for one moment sorry I went through it – or put my family through it.

It’s never too late.

And if you need an occasion (I chose Valentine’s Day because ‘I heart’ everyone) then consider the upcoming Memorial Day holiday, or Father’s Day in June.

Or how about just a: I-love-my-family-everyday Day?

You can also follow Cindy Kent on Twitter @mindingyourbiz

POSTED IN: Cindy Kent (78), Family Issues (231)

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May 21, 2009

Mom on the Go: Best family restaurant?

A hankering for fried chicken led us to a Piccadilly in Hollywood.

The cafeteria-style restaurant is the closest I can get to Morrison's Cafeteria. There were many Sunday afternoons spent in the carpeted dining room of the Skylake Mall restaurant "dining" on the Blue Plate special or inhaling the fried shrimp.

Fried%2520Chicken.jpgAt Piccadilly, I had the three-piece chicken dinner with two sides for $7.49. A drink and side order of fresh fruit tipped my portion to $11. My husband had the chicken pot pie topped with a biscuit and two sides for $4.99.

A fantastic deal for a family, right?

We shared portions of our meals with the toddler.

Do you know of a better place for a family to get a great meal for less than $10 per person?

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May 20, 2009

iPod applications every Mom should have

In April I wrote about three iPod applications that every parents should have: one for the kids (KidArt); one for the home (AllRecipes.com); one for the couple (FS5 Air Hockey).

iphone-apps.jpgAnd then there was the uproar over the inappropriate iPod app that allowed users to shake babies. (WTHeck, indeed.)

This week blogger Mama Sass at MomsMiami came up with apps that SHOULD be created just for moms, including "an app that provides an answer to some of those killer kid questions like "Mom, did you ever smoke pot?"

What's on your wish list of "must-have" apps for parents?

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Middle-school style learning for PBC's elementary schools

Lots of Palm Beach County parents are complaining about a school district plan to make elementary school teachers teach specialty subjects instead of a little bit of everything, as they do now. Click here for the story that ran in the Sun Sentinel.

I don't see anything wrong with this plan. Many elementary school teachers admit that certain subjects are not their strong point. Why not let them show their strengths, which ultimately will reflect on to the kids?

The kids also get to see a variety of teaching styles and get to move around a little more instead of staying glued to their seats for hours.

Some schools are taking the plan, designed for third-, fourth- and fifth-graders, and applying it to kindergartners. That may be going a little too far. And I still have lots of questions about the plan for the older kids (which I just e-mailed to my daughter's fourth-grade teacher). But overall, this seems like a creative idea that costs nothing and has lots of potential for good.

POSTED IN: Elementary School (54), Lois Solomon (211)

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When is the right time to talk to kids about sex?

Much has been written recently (including in this blog) about the two Palm Beach County moms who went on Oprah to talk about their kids’ sex lives. I’ve always been a consummate planner, so it got me thinking: When is the right time to talk to your child about sex?


Forget going to the bookstore to pick up a hardback on the topic. I took my research into the 21st Century and did what any respectable Gen Xer would do: I posed the question to my elaborate network of friends on Facebook. After all, as this blog so often reminds you, it’s the advice from parents in the throes of childrearing who can offer the best words of wisdom.

Here’s some of what I heard:

Take it slow. You don’t need to cram everything into one BIG talk. Instead, have ongoing discussions and make them short. One of my friends thinks the car is the best place. That way, her daughter can look out the window and pretend to stare off into space while Mom is driving.

The “right” age is relative. Everyone, though, seems to agree that if you wait until your kids are teenagers, chances are they’ve already started learning on their own. And the basics start early: Talking to kids about their bodies (and overall gender differences) begins when kids learn to talk. My pre-schooler right now has lots of questions.

Split up the work. If you live in a two-parent household, ask your spouse or partner to help. My friends from California decided early that Mom would handle talks with their daughter and Dad with their son. The talks began around ages 9-10. The kids are now 13 and 11, and they have grown accustomed to Mom’s and Dad’s talks. At the beginning of the conversation, daughter always says: “Awkward.” And Mom replies with: “For me too! Get over it…”

How this generation of parents deals with the sex talk will differ greatly from how our parents handled the situation. (I don’t think I ever had a “talk” with anyone in my family as a teen. The closest I came to one was a 5-minute conversation initiated by my older sister on a flight to Paris for a family vacation.)

What’s your plan?

POSTED IN: Anne Vasquez (67)

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May 19, 2009

Giving pre-teen a criminal record seems harsh punishment to me

I am on the run today so I'll have to wait till later to tell you the latest about my Mom Strike at home. And no, I still haven't gotten the Mother's Day gift that I so richly deserve.

But I do want to post a news story in here that is sure to spark debate. A dad in Plantation is pressing charges against his 12-year-old for driving off in his car for the second time.

My 13-year-old has started showing a fascination with the car, and has asked if he can drive it around the block.

(NO!)

But one mission I feel I'm given as a parent is to get him to the age of 18 with a clean record.

What do you think of this?

Girl, 12, takes dad's car on joy ride in Plantation
Father presses grand theft auto charges

By Sallie James
South Florida Sun Sentinel

May 19, 2009 PLANTATION A 12-year-old girl who took her dad's car on a joy ride and initially refused to stop for police has been charged with grand theft auto at her father's request, police said today.

Police quickly spotted the youth Monday because she forgot a basic tenet of night driving: headlights.

The child disappeared with the yellow Nissan about 10:30 p.m. while her father was visiting her ailing 19-month-old sibling at Plantation General Hospital, said police Detective Robert Rettig. The ordeal started and ended in the hospital parking lot at 401 NW 42 Ave., Rettig said.

She drove south on State Road 7 and made a U-turn, but didn't get far, hitting a police car near the hospital, Rettig said.

"Apparently she drove around and a couple officers tried to stop her and she wouldn't stop," Rettig said. "She ended up rolling into a police car."

When she finally did stop, she tried to flee, but once again, didn't get far, Rettig said.

Nobody was hurt.

Her father is pressing charges because it is the second time she has driven off in a car, Rettig said.

He did not have further details.

The girl was taken to the juvenile assessment center, Rettig said.

A reader informed the SunSentinel of this incident through Twitter.

Send your twitter-tips to @sunsentinel or @newsfisher or email us at newstips@sunsentinel.com.

Copyright © 2009, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

POSTED IN: Brittany Wallman (160)

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May 18, 2009

The stepparent's biggest challenge

nophones.jpgThe cell phones go on their chargers in the kitchen at 10 p.m. on school nights. Period. Or else. Or else… what?

I feel strange answering that question. Turn off the phones or I’ll, or I’ll, or I’ll tell you to turn them off AGAIN, this time in italics!

They’re not impressed.

“It’s 10:15. Time to put the phone away,” I say.

“I will,” each one responds.

Will? What’s this “will” garbage? I didn’t ask them to put it away later. I told them to put it away now.

Or else…

And I’ve got nothing.

Discipline is a challenge for any parent of any teenager. And while this isn’t a scientific or comprehensive social poll, the experts on stepparenting seem to agree that the challenge of disciplining teens is magnified for stepparents.

“Many stepparents subconsciously hold their stepchildren to unrealistically high standards,” writes Central Florida stepfamily coach Judy Graybill, answering an e-mail I sent her last week asking what stepparents should know before they take on their tasks. “As a result, their style of discipline doesn't align with the biological parent's style, or their choice of discipline is not befitting to the offense, age, or gender of the child. This issue is complicated by the fact that the children are less receptive to receiving discipline from a stepparent.”

A similar warning came from Claudette L. Chenevert, a stepmom and coach from Virginia.

“When a stranger comes into their lives, and essentially, a stepparent is a stranger to these kids, they will resent anything this person says or does to them,” she said. “A stepparent needs to build trust and shared experience with children before taking on the role of a parent.”

Neither of these experts offered cut and dried solutions, but both stressed the importance of communication as a key to success.

“I would suggest to a stepparent to identify with their partner what they think their role should be and then discuss this with the children” saud Chenevert. “Children love to participate in decision making and it makes them feel like a part of this new family.”

Graybill agreed that the rules need to be established before the need for discipline arises. “Then, when the biological parent is not around, the stepparent needs only to enforce the pre-established rules,” she said.

Sound advice from two people who know what they're talking about. In my case, the girls know that their mom and I stand together on discipline issues. We established that early.

Actually exercising that authority is a challenge for me sometimes because, frankly, I don’t want to be the bad guy who comes down on them because they didn’t put their phones away.

Their mom took care of this particular issue by reminding them of the rule on cell phones and establishing the consequences. I’m glad she was there, but I can’t help but wonder:

Should I have tried to handle this one with her instead of leaving it entirely in her hands?

Follow Judy Graybill on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/StepfamilyCoach.

Follow Claudette L. Chenevert on Twitter at www.twitter.com/stepmomcoach.

Follow SunSentinel.com's Moms & Dads at www.twitter.com/ssparents.

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

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What's the family's favorite rainy-day activity?

rain-drops.jpgOn Friday, our yellowing sod got a dose of rain.

Then came Sunday's bullets of rain drops and the difficult decision on whether to stay indoors or wade through the wet mass to see Star Trek.

Going boldly where other moviegoers have gone to the tune of $147.6 million we braved the rain.

It looks like we're in for a week of rain, according to Ken Kaye of the Storm Center, and I'm trying to gather a list of rainy-day activities we could engage the wee one in.

My favorite things to do when the rain in pelting the house is to curl up with a good book or burrow under the covers for a nap.

But my toddler is wise to the Nap Game (who can keep their eyes closed the longest) and so I'm in the market for some other things to do.

What do you suggest?

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Don't hang up on Daddy!

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If you co-parent you know the phone is like a lifeline.

My daughter’s dad lives out of state and he calls her almost every evening to chat. There are some evenings when she runs to the phone and there are those other nights, when she is simply not up for talking.

I know it’s not easy having your child treat you like a bill collector. But I think some parents go about getting their child to open up on the phone all wrong. Some tips I picked up while observing others:

1. Believe it or not, some children don’t want to talk about themselves all the time. They want to know what happened in your day. Share with them something funny that happened on the job, or a joke you heard.
2. Keep the conversation short sometimes. It shouldn’t seem like a chore for your child. Try to gauge if your child is losing interest.
3. I often ask my six year old two questions that get her on a roll. What was the best part of your day? What was the worst part of your day? Yes, more often than not, more time is spent on the worst part, but I’m guessing that’s human nature.
4. Try to stick to a scheduled time when you’re expected to call, every night. Some of my friends complain that they can’t get to speak to their kids when they call their child’s mother or father, but they call at all random hours. Custodial parents often have hectic schedules.
5. Come up with a funny sign off.
If you have some tips to keeping a conversation going, do share....

POSTED IN: Family Issues (231), Georgia East (44), Single moms (14)

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May 16, 2009

Wordless Weekend: Homeless, not hopeless

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Story by Michael Mayo,
Photo by Michael Laughlin

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Wordless Weekends: Mother, son and fun!

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May 15, 2009

Mom on the Go: Kid-stuff to do this weekend

blog-peace.jpgMake this weekend all about peace, love and happiness at the Greynolds Park Love-In in North Miami Beach on Sunday from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Or take the little ones to see a movie in the park. For a buck per head! Sugar Sand Park in Boca Raton will show Finding Nemo Sunday at 11 a.m.

On Saturday, there's the Haitian festival Al Compas in Lauderhill, a robot-building workshop in Fort Lauderdale and an interactive planetarium show in West Palm Beach.

More stuff to do with the kids this weekend:

Saturday, May 16

BROWARD COUNTY

Al Compas Festival. A Haitian festival for all ages. Call the park for more information. Central Broward Regional Park, 3700 NW 11th Place, Lauderhill. 954-321-1170.

Aquarium: Behind the Scenes. Learn about the inhabitants of the aquarium in the exhibit hall and observe them feeding. Every Saturday and Sunday. 2-3 p.m. Anne Kolb Nature Center at West Lake Park, 751 Sheridan St., Hollywood. 954-926-2480. $1 per person.

ArtWalk. Visitors to downtown Hollywood’s monthly ArtWalk will be treated to a free concert by Anthology, “South Florida’s Beatles Party Band.” In keeping with the spirit of the event, concertgoers are encouraged to dress in ’60s-style attire. 7-10 p.m. Balcony of Harrison Court, 2028 Harrison St., Hollywood. 954-921-3016. Free.

Build-a-Bot. Bring the youngsters over to the Build-a-Bot activity to construct robots out of paper and recycled products. Kids can design their own robot and take it home after it’s assembled. Also on May 17. The Museum of Discovery and Science, 401 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale. 954-467-6637.

Family Movie Day: Speed Racer. Rated PG. Live-action version of the famed Japanese animated series. Free refreshments will be available, or you may bring your own. Sponsored by the Weston Friends of the Library. 2-4:15 p.m. Weston Branch Library, 4205 Bonaventure Blvd., Weston. 954-389-2098.

Mark Twain’s Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. Smiley, the gambler, bets his frog can out-jump the frog in Calaveras County but the mysterious stranger has something up his sleeve! The story is told through Mark Twain’s prose, bluegrass and country music, colorful costumes and high-jumping dance movement. 2 p.m. Nova Southeastern University Library, 3100 Ray Ferrero Jr. Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. 954-262-4600. Free.

Robo-History. This presentation will give visitors a glimpse at the history of robots. Learn what a robot is, why we need them and what the future has in store for the world of robotics. 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. The Museum of Discovery and Science, 401 SW Second Street, Fort Lauderdale. 954-467-6637.

Under the Sea. The underwater world is full of interesting animals. Learn about some these fascinating creatures through displays and crafts. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Anne Kolb Nature Center at West Lake Park, 751 Sheridan St., Hollywood. 954-926-2480. $1 per person.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Auditions: West Side Story. Auditions for the Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s Conservatory of Performing Arts Summer Camp production of “West Side Story.” Students must audition in order to register for production. Ages 13-20. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Maltz Jupiter Theatre, 1001 E. Indiantown Road, Jupiter. 561-575-2672, ext. 2.

Girls’ Day Out. Bring your mom or grandma along and decorate a keepsake, wooden handle purse and enjoy some girl time. Materials provided. Age 8 and older. Register. 2 p.m. Hagen Ranch Road Branch Library, 14350 Hagen Ranch Road, Delray Beach. 561-894-7500.

Giselle and Art Comes Alive. May 16. First act is the ballet, Giselle and second act is the dance concert, Art Comes Alive where famous works of art are interpreted through jazz, tap and hip-hop. 7 p.m. at the Maltz Jupiter Theater, 1001 E. Indiantown Road, Jupiter. 561-575-4422. $20.

Spirit of America. Joining the Symphonic Band will be “the world’s oldest musician,” historical artist Scott Shelsta who portrays 1890s Americana. Experience a real old-fashioned Sousa concert -- a simpler time of concerts in the park and toe-tapping, hand-clapping patriotic music. 7:30 p.m. Duncan Theater, 4200 Congress Ave., Lake Worth. 561-832-3115. $15.

The Friendly Stars. Meet Sol, the sun, in this all-digital, interactive planetarium show for ages 3 to 6. Get to know the “star” and meet some new ones. Every Saturday at noon. South Florida Science Museum, Planetarium, 4801 Dreher Trail N., West Palm Beach. 561-832-1988. Adults, $4; Children, $2.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

‘Miss Nelson Is Missing’. Actor’s Playhouse will present a live preview performance. 11 a.m. Kendall Branch, 9101 SW 97th Ave., Miami. 305-279-0520. Free.

International Museum Day: Family Fun at the Bass Museum. This fun-filled afternoon will focus on the museum as a public space and resource, encouraging children to observe the structure, content and public function of an art museum, and drawing parallels between museums and other public spaces such as parks and libraries. 2-4 p.m. Bass Museum of Art, 2121 Park Ave., Miami Beach. 305-673-7530. Free.

Super Saturday: Florida Marlins. Get your photo taken with Billy the Marlin. First 15,000 fans will receive a Marlin’s pompom. Special guests include Freestyle Flashback with Stevie B and TKA. First pitch against the LA Dodgers is at 6:10 p.m. Dolphin Stadium, 2267 Dan Marino Blvd., Miami. 305-626-7378. $12 and up.


Read on for stuff to do on Sunday, May 17

Sunday, May 17

BROWARD COUNTY

A Bug’s Eye View. Discover what critters live in and around Butterfly Island with hands-on exploration and a movie. 2-3 p.m. Secret Woods Nature Center, 2701 W. State Road, Dania Beach. 954-791-1030. $3 per person.

River Ghost Tour. This tour includes a brief visit inside the Stranahan House and a boat ride on the New River while listening to authentic history and stories of some of the old colorful characters that once lived here and now occasionally come back to visit. Age 9 and older. Call for reservations. 7:30 p.m. Stranahan House, 335 SE Sixth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. 954-524-4736. $20 per person.


PALM BEACH COUNTY

FitKids Triathlon. This is a youth triathlon to promote physical fitness and an active lifestyle. Ages 4 to 14. To register visit www.wpb.org/park/athletics.php. 8 a.m. at Gaines Park, 1501 N. Australian Ave., West Palm Beach. Call 561-8044960. $20.

Sunday Funday: Back to Basics: Color, Shape and Contemporary Art. Family tours and hands-on workshops introduce children and their parents to the world of art. Ages 4 to 12. Drop-in visitors are welcome. 1:30-3:30 p.m. Norton Museum of Art, 1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach. 561-832-5196.

Sunday Morning Movie Madness. Spend your Sunday watching “Finding Nemo,” a film the whole family can enjoy. Limited seating. 11 a.m. Sugar Sand Park, 300 S. Military Trail, Boca Raton. 561-347-3900. $1 per person, includes popcorn and a drink.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Sixth Annual Greynold Park Love In. This is a celebration of the 1960s music, vintage clothing and memorabilia. There will be a live concert with a national act from the ’60s and activities for the entire family. Activities include: ’60s costume contest, a fun kids’ zone, arts and crafts, food and drink vendors, ’60s-style vendors and vintage Volkswagen Bug exhibits. 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Greynolds Park, 17530 W. Dixie Highway, Miami. 305-945-3425. Admission, free; Parking, $7.

Let's Dance. Dancers from the Miami City Ballet present a children’s hour devoted to ballet. The young audience will be guided through the journey of preparing a ballet, rehearsing and finally the polished performance.

Seay, principal dancer, and her friends teach firsthand the challenge of the basic steps and partnering. 3 p.m. University of Miami, Gusman Concert Hall, 1314 Miller Drive, Coral Gables. 305-271-7150. Adults, $12; Children, $10.

May the Force Be With You. Have light saber duels, play Star Wars trivia, make a collectible Star Wars box and play the Force Unleashed on the Wii. Age 8 and older. Register. 2 p.m. Palm Beach County Main Library, 3650 Summit Blvd., West Palm Beach. 561-233-2600.

Tea at the Ritz. Tea at the Ritz with the PlayGround Theatre benefits The PlayGround Theatre’s Education and Outreach Program. 3-5 p.m. at the Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, 1 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach. 305-751-9550, ext. 223. Adults, $125; Children, $50.


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Tweet this

It was bound to happen.

We parents are saving the world -- or managing our children -- one Tweet at a time -- as long as we can do it in 140 characters or less

twittermomuntitled1.jpg MomsRule: hey-you better be following me. Yes, I mean you. Your room has to be clean by the time I get home

twittermomuntitled1.jpg MomsRule: RT @awwDoIHaveTo? I love you too. There is a special surprise snack in the fridge, AFTER you get your homework done

twittermomuntitled1.jpg MomsRule: No @please,mom?

twittermomuntitled1.jpg MomsRule: No @IpromiseI’llBhomeOnTime

twittermomuntitled1.jpg MomsRule: They have homes and mommies of their own. We can’t always be feeding the neighborhood.

twittermomuntitled1.jpg MomsRule: You broke WHAT? @IDidn’tMeanTo @Sister @Brother @TheNeighbor’sKid

twittermomuntitled1.jpg MomsRule: How many times have I told Umath is a ladder subject. U can’t skip steps. Here is really cool website 4 U 2 get some good geometry help

twittermomuntitled1.jpg MomsRule: RT @Icantbeinbothplacesatonce You’ll have 2 ask 1 of the other mothers 4a ride and dinner. Can one of the moms help you with that assignment?

twittermomuntitled1.jpg MomsRule: RT @Whereisit? Right where you left it – I didn’t move a thing. You put it in the top right-hand drawer next to the scotch tape

twittermomuntitled1.jpg MomsRule: No

twittermomuntitled1.jpg MomsRule: RT @WaitUntilIGetHomeYouAreSoGrounded On your report card? Every class? What’s your principal's Twitter name?

twittermomuntitled1.jpg MomsRule: I’ll gv U Ur $$ if all Ur chrs R dne N tme 4 Us to …4get it – pick up fone-that’s me calling 2Tlk 2U!

(Tips on talking to your little person - in person can be found on FamilyEducation.com

Advice on long distance/virtual parenting can be found here.)


POSTED IN: Cindy Kent (78), Family Issues (231)

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May 13, 2009

Would you talk about your kids' sex life on "Oprah"?

Will people do just about anything to get on TV?
oprah.jpg
I'm thinking of the Palm Beach County moms who appeared on "Oprah" recently to talk about how they handled their 14-year-olds' love affair.

Lisa LaPlume, mother of Pierce, and Beth Greene, mother of Courtney, went on the show with the kids after LaPlume responded to a query on Oprah's Web site: "Parents -- need help talking to your kids about sex?" The show took up the question, with the help of sex therapist Dr. Laura Berman, of whether the teens were ready to get into bed.

LaPlume admitted she had bought condoms for them, which apparently drew lots of criticism from the audience and the Web. Ultimately, the teens did not have sex and are now "friends."

Can you imagine airing this personal family drama on TV? Shows me that people will gladly humiliate themselves for their 15 minutes of fame.

POSTED IN: Lois Solomon (211), Sex (16), Teen (158)

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May 12, 2009

Can you child-proof a paper shredder?

Paper shredders and little kids, or pets, don’t mix. We’ve all heard the stories: Little fingers mangled, dog and cat tongues torn apart. And more. This site has a sampling. Not fun reading.

So I don't want a shredder. But that creates a dilemma: How to dispose of all those personal documents? Cut credit card offers, or whatever, into tiny pieces and then toss them in the trash? That doesn’t seem terribly efficient. I imagine someone has devised a child-proof paper shredder. But I haven’t come across it.

I’m a bit surprised to see that some Web sites just suggest unplugging the shredder and putting it away. Is it worth the risk of forgetting, even once? Then again, identity theft isn't anything to take lightly.

How have you resolved this?

POSTED IN: Matthew Strozier (59)

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Mom on strike: Where is my Mother's Day present?!

Here are four words that have really ticked me off this week: "Happy Belated Mother's Day.'' Or, as it was put to me the day after my gift-less Mother's Day: "Happy Mother's Day Week,'' the implication being that sometime in the span of seven days, I might get the token of appreciation I deserve.


flowers.jpg
Flowers and a messy table cancel each other out,
don't you think?

Yes, that's right. Even though Mother's Day is printed on all calendars in America, and advertisers have sent a lot of ideas in the mail that my husband could have caught onto, I was snubbed.

Only Lily, my 7-year-old, remembered Momma. She brought home three Mom's Day presents she had made at school. (That included a poem with these lines "my love for you is as humongous as a tiger's roar, and as everlasting as the deep, blue ocean's floor.'' Nice!)

The two males in the house acted like any other day. I had to pout for 24 hours to get belated Mother's Day flowers, set on a table Monday night in a horrendously messy kitchen. I looked at them and went to bed. It was only 8:30 p.m. I never got up. I was on strike.

Creed, who is 13, is way past the age when he might write me a poem. But couldn't he have cleaned the kitchen? A friend of mine was treated to a rose petal bath by her teen-age son. That hurts!

Creed was asking me for something Monday morning and I told him, "Tell whoever you gave a Mother's Day card to. Maybe she'll listen.''

I don't think I'm overreacting. A Mom Strike feels just right.

There is no such thing as a belated Mother's Day gift. If you missed the opportunity to honor a mother on the day that is designated as such, then it's a Mother's Day apology.

Help me feel sorrier for myself -- tell me what wonderful gifts your family heaped upon you. Anyone?

POSTED IN: Brittany Wallman (160)

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Mother's Day redemption for working mom

What a difference a year makes.

A year ago, I wrote about my guilt over being a working mom, in response to an innocent Mother’s Day questionnaire completed at school by my then-three-year-old son. He told his teachers that his “Mommy loves to _(work)_.”

For this Mother’s Day, teachers again posed the question to my son. Only this time he answered: “My Mother likes to _(cook)_.”

No, I didn’t quit my job and become a stay-at-home mom.

But I did make a New Year’s resolution that I would make sure we had more family dinners at home. I rearranged my son’s night schedule, so that I had a better chance of making it home in time for dinner. And I started preparing meals early. Sometimes days early. Just to give myself a fighting chance to actually succeed.

Despite lots of talk in recent years about a phenomenon coined mothers “opting out” of the workplace and returning home to take care of the kids and household, a study last year showed that more women with children (not fewer) are working full-time -- and logging longer hours.

There has always been pressure to live up to an unrealistic idea of what motherhood can and should be. Just think about all the moms on the silver screen and TV shows: How many can you recall featured a working mom who didn’t always get it right? Who struggled to get dinner on the table, failed to attend PTA meetings or never made it to a weekday soccer game?

Help me come up with a list. I’ll talk about it Wednesday morning on the new SouthFlorida.com/LIVE morning show.

POSTED IN: Anne Vasquez (67)

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May 10, 2009

Wordless Weekend: Water Wonderland

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May 9, 2009

Wordless Weekend: Vintage swing, a tennis champ

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Wordless Weekend: Sign him up? Couldn't hurt.

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Photo by Mike Stocker

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Worldless weekends: How do they DO that?

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POSTED IN: Brittany Wallman (160), Wordless Weekend (22)

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May 8, 2009

Moms deserve a day off!

Comedian Jeff Dunham posted a series of Mother's Day E-cards on his YouTube page. This isn't my favorite of the six, but it's the one I feel most comfortable posting here.

Oh, and that thing is Peanut. And, well, I don't know what he is.

POSTED IN: Entertainment (114), Mother's Day (6), Rafael Olmeda (59)

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Mom on the Go: How to mosquito-proof your home

The universe created mosquitos. Worker bees created citronella, foggers, and ultrasound zappers to combat the blood-suckers.

MOSQUITOALONE.JPG_L1174.JPGBut those buggers are still winning, at least at my house. Here's a tip sheet that tackles how to control the 'squitors (calibrate sprinklers, repair screens) and how they are made.

If you have some "green" tips to keeping the buggers at bay, SHARE!

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May 7, 2009

Mom on the Go: Weekend activities for the kids

WATERpark.JPGThe weekend is (nearly) here.

If you've introduced your child to sushi, consider attending the Sushi & Stroll event at Morikami Japanese Gardens and Museum in Delray Beach. The party is 5:30 - 9 p.m. May 7. Admission is free for kids younger than 3. All others pay $5 plus cost of sushi.

For a soaking good time for FREE, head to a city water park, such as Croissant Park's in Fort Lauderdale.

The Fort Lauderdale water parks are for ages age 7 and younger and are open on Fridays from 3:30 - 6:30 p.m. and on the weekends from 1 - 4 p.m. until this school year ends.

For a list of Palm Beach County water parks, check here.

Other stuff to do this weekend:

Friday, May 8

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Magic Show. Dylan Ace performs his magic show. This is not your typical magic show, everything is performed on a stripped down stage with no smoke or mirrors just pure magic. Prepare yourself for a fun, interactive and unique theatrical experience like no other. www.dylanace.com. 8 p.m. The Main Street Playhouse, 6766 Main Street, Miami Lakes. 305-461-1161. Tickets will be sold at the door. $10.

BROWARD COUNTY

Funtastic Fridays for Kids. Music, magic and more are in store for youngsters and their families. Every Friday from 5-9 p.m. Anniversary Park, 20th Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood. 954-921-3016. Free.
Mother’s Day Celebration. Celebrate Mother’s Day with music, games, crafts and refreshments. Ages 6-17. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Boulevard Gardens Community Center, 313 NW 28th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale. 954-625-2988. Free.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Have I Got A Story For You! Mij’s engaging narrative style will create stories that will allow children to use their imaginations to see, feel and believe each tale. 3:30 p.m. Boca Raton Library, 200 NW Boca Raton Blvd., Boca Raton. 561-393-7968. Free.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. May 8 and 9. The biblical saga of Joseph and his coast of many colors comes to life in this musical. Joseph is a boy blessed with prophetic dreams as he endures a series of adventures in which his spirit and humanity are continually challenged. 7:30 p.m. at Maltz Jupiter Theatre, 1001 East Indiantown Road, Jupiter. Call 561-575-2223. Cost is Adults, $20; Students, $15.
Mother’s Day Lock-In. Give mom a night off by having the kids skate the night away. An overnight program filled with fun, games and activities and possibly sleep. 9 p.m.-8 a.m. Phipps Skate Park, 4715 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach. 561-835-7170. Residents, $30; Non-residents, $40.
Tots Celebrate Mother’s Day. Celebrate moms in stories, music and a movie and make a gift to give. Ages 3-5. Register. 11 a.m. Greenacres Branch Library, 3750 Jog Road, Greenacres. 561-641-9100.

Saturday, May 9

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Counting Songs. This program teaches younger children their numbers 1-8 while at the same time teaching the multiplication tables for the same numbers to older kids. Each number comes to life with an original song by local composer Devin Marsh and a dance by Momentum's high-energy dancers. Each song is in a different musical style and each dance has a special element such as puppets, scarves, stuffed animals, rhythm instruments and more. 11 a.m. Coral Gables Branch Library, 3443 Segovia Street, Coral Gables. 304-442-8706. Free
Family Fun Day: Passport to the Far East. With the use of the in-house Latin American map collection you will learn about the Asian influence in our community. Kids will learn about geography, make Asian kites and participate in an interactive map program. Ages 4-12. 12-4 p.m. Historical Museum of Southern Florida, 101C W. Flagler Street, Miami. 305-375-1492. Free.
Greynolds Park Family Fishing Workshop. Enjoy learning the basics of fishing along the serene Oleta River. Encounter local fish while learning how to bait, cast and hook in the catch and release program. Hear fish lore stories and how to engage in stewardship practices. Ages 9 and up. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Greynolds Park Boathouse, 17530 W. Dixie Highway, Miami. 305-948-2891. $15 per person.
MCM Players in Performance. Whether it’s an adaptation of the Lorax by Dr. Seuss or Elmo’s crazy adventures, the MCM players will have you on your toes with a performance that is always different and never the same. 3:30 p.m. Miami Children’s Museum, 980 MacArthur Causeway, Miami. 305-373-5437, ext. 104. Free with paid admission. Adults and children, $15; Florida residents, $12; 12 months and younger, free.

BROWARD COUNTY

Aquarium: Behind the Scenes. Learn about the inhabitants of the aquarium in the exhibit hall and observe them feeding. Every Saturday and Sunday. 2-3 p.m. Anne Kolb Nature Center at West Lake Park, 751 Sheridan Street, Hollywood. 954-926-2480. $1 per person.
Children’s Festival of the Arts. Celebrating 20 years of creative excellence, children can create and sell their own artwork and compete for prizes in the juried show. Fun for the whole family, hands-on art activities, face painting, live entertainment, refreshments and more. 4 p.m. Robbins Park, 4005 Hiatus Road, Davie. 954-797-1147.
Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Come enjoy tea with Alice and her friends. Wear your fun hats to be judged at the end of the day. 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Burt Reynolds and Friends Museum, 100 N. U.S. One, Jupiter. 561-743-9955. Adults, $15; Children, $10.
Target Fundays. Family fun for ages 3 and up. This month's theme is Hang It! It Moves! The art of mobiles. Call to reserve a spot. 3:30 p.m. Coral Springs Museum of Art, 2855 Coral Springs Drive, Coral Springs. 954-340-5000. $4 per person.
Walenstein Symphony Orchestra’s 2nd Annual Mother’s Day Concert. The program is sure to please the entire family, for it is designed to show appreciation to all mothers and mothers-to-be. It will also feature the finalists of Walenstein’s 2nd Annual Essay Competition, where the students between grades 5-8 read their essays in honor of their mothers to the audience and receive various awards and prizes.7:30 p.m. Amaturo Theater, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW 5th Ave., Fort Lauderdale. For tickets visit www.walensteinmusic.org or call 954-462-0222. $10, $25, $37, $52 or $75.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Asian Fair and Cultural Show. May 9 and 10. Continuous live Asian music and dance, arts and crafts, costumes, food and children’s activities, presented by the Bangladesh Association of Florida. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Old School Square Parking Lot, 51 North Swinton Ave., Delray Beach. 561-279-0907. $5.
Lost Sock Memorial Day. Is your sock drawer filled with mismatched pairs? Remember your missing socks by reading stories and making a craft. Wear your best pair of mismatched socks for a fashion show and runway walk. Ages 4-7. Register. 10 a.m. Palm Beach County Main Library, 3650 Summit Blvd., West Palm Beach. 561-233-2600.
Marvelous Moms. Celebrate Mother’s day with special stories and make a surprise Mother’s day craft. Ages 4 and up. 3 p.m. Palm Beach County Main Library, 3650 Summit Blvd., West Palm Beach. 561-233-2600.
Young Singers of the Palm Beaches Concert. The Young Singers of the Palm Beaches will perform “Thank You for the Music,” its spring concert. The concert also will feature guest performances from Street Beat dancers and the orchestra of the Palm Beach Music Academy. 7 p.m. Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach. www.yspb.org or 561-659-2332.

Sunday, May 10

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Family Fun Fest. Family Fun Fest is Biscayne National Park's award-winning program that provides fun, hands-on, learning for kids and families. This month's theme is A Salute to Mom: Celebrate Mother’s Day with a tribute to some of the park’s best parents. 1-4 p.m. Biscayne National Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Key Biscayne. 305-361-6767. Admission, free; Parking, $4.
Walenstein Symphony Orchestra’s 2nd Annual Mother’s Day Concert. The program is sure to please the entire family, for it is designed to show appreciation to all mothers and mothers-to-be. It will also feature the finalists of Walenstein’s 2nd Annual Essay Competition, where the students between grades 5-8 read their essays in honor of their mothers to the audience and receive various awards and prizes. 3 p.m. Colony Theater, 1040 Lincoln Road., Miami Beach. For tickets visit www.walensteinmusic.org or call 954-462-0222. $10, $25, $37, $52 or $75.

BROWARD COUNTY

River Ghost Tour. This tour includes a brief visit inside the Stranahan House and a boat ride on the New River while listening to authentic history and stories of some of the old colorful characters that once lived here and now occasionally come back to visit. Ages 9 and up. Call for reservations. 7:30 p.m. Stranahan House, 335 SE Sixth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. 954-524-4736. $20 per person.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Family Fun Program: Origami: Flower for Mother. Origami folding tables will be set up in the lobby for young ones to create an everlasting flower for mom. Family Fun Programs are for those who want to explore and learn about Japanese culture through hands-on arts and crafts projects designed for the whole family. Families can create projects in an open workshop. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, 4000 Morikami Park Road, Delray Beach. 561-495-0233. Program is free with paid admission. Adults, $10; Seniors (65 and up), $9; Children and college students (6-17), $6, Children under 6, free.

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We meant it when we said "No Gifts Please"

Lucas Emilio turned 1 last week. We invited a handful of friends over very informally for a small party. We made sure to tell people not to bring gifts. Yet every one of the guests brought something.

nogifts.jpg

Don’t get me wrong. We appreciate their generosity and thoughtful gifts. But we really meant it. We just wanted to have people over to celebrate my son’s milestone birthday.

We’re guilty of doing it too. My wife and I both have brought gifts to parties when the host said don’t do it.

That got me thinking of how do you get the message across in the future that we are sincere in our request without being overbearing.

It’s all in how you explain your wishes to guests, according to an etiquette expert the Emily Post Institute. Simply saying “please no gifts” won’t work.

“You’re really trying to change a tradition,” said Cindy Post Senning, who has a new book coming out next week, “Table Manners for Kids”.

If you’re inviting guests over the phone or in person, she said, tell them that you’re trying to start a new tradition in your family. You want to make birthdays about a celebration and not gifts. In a written invitation, add a sentence to the “no gifts please” note saying the same thing.

There will still be gift givers. Senning said, but don’t open the presents at the party. That would make for an awkward situation for others who listened to your wishes and didn’t bring gifts. She suggests telling the gift givers that you plan to save the gift and give it to your child at another time.

Maybe we’ll try this for Ana Isabel’s upcoming birthday. She turns 4 in August. We’ll see if it works.

POSTED IN: Family Issues (231), General (185), Luis Perez (32)

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May 6, 2009

Is animal dissection in high school still necessary?

My 9th-grade daughter is about to dissect a pig in biology class.pigdissection.jpg

I remember dissecting a frog in high school and learning a lot about anatomy by picking through its body. But for some reason, the idea of dissecting a pig has made me a sudden animal-rights activist.

In our computer-assisted age, it seems so antiquated to be killing animals for high-school dissection purposes. There are excellent Web sites, such as this one, that my daughter's bio class used to dissect a computerized frog.

There's probably no comparison between the real thing and the computerized version. But I say save the real animals for medical students.

POSTED IN: Lois Solomon (211), School Issues (135), Teen (158)

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Mother's Day: Gift ideas for a single mom

Is your best friend a single mom? Mother’s Day is a great time to let a hardworking single mom know you appreciate her, and you don’t have to run to the mall to do it.

My top 7 gifts for a single mother:

Pedicure1.jpg1. A weekend of baby-sitting. Single moms often have very little “Me” time. You can get creative and make your own baby-sitting coupon and stick it in a card.

2. Offer to take some pictures of your friend with her little one, and create a photo collage. I have so many pictures of my daughter, but so few of us together. It’s nice to have someone capture some of those everyday moments.

3. A manicure and pedicure gift certificate. (But again, offer to baby-sit so she doesn’t have to drag the kids to the salon)

4. Get a calendar and fill it with free summer activities for kids happening in the area. Every time that mom is short of ideas she can reach for the calendar.

5. A CD or downloads of inspirational songs that celebrate motherhood. (I like Fantasia’s “Baby Mama”)

6. Offer to help her organize. Homework, bills, junk mail. She might appreciate having someone she trusts help her purge.

7. Cook a few family size meals and zap them in her freezer.

POSTED IN: General (185), Georgia East (44), Holidays (49), Mother's Day (6), Single moms (14)

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May 5, 2009

Mom throws tantrum, wants pacifier back!

I sucked my thumb until I was 11, probably because my mom was like you folks who don't believe in pacifiers. Well, I do. And I bought them for both of my kids. Hence, they don't have callouses on their thumbs like I did.

For those of us who provided our kids with a piece of plastic to suck on, taking it away for good can be tough. And I'm not talking about the tantrums your toddler throws when forced to live without. I'm talking about the MILESTONE this is. In other words, it's Baby No More.

I met a Fort Lauderdale mom the other day who has a very amusing parenting blog. She's going through this my-pacifier-sucking-baby-is-not-a-baby-anymore issue right now.

Read her post about it by clicking here on her blog, The McMommy Chronicles.

POSTED IN: Brittany Wallman (160)

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May 4, 2009

A two-year-old Mensa member. Why didn't I think of that?

I'm feeling a little slow on the take as a mom for not nominating my daughter for Mensa membership. She's a genius, of course. Duh.

Check it out. This girl is only 2!

POSTED IN: Brittany Wallman (160)

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Top 5 reasons to be pregnant during a recession

I am expecting Baby No. 2 this fall. Now that I’m well into my second trimester, you’ll be hearing from me on a variety of issues – from medical tests to preparing older brother for the baby.

I must admit that, at first, I almost felt like I needed to explain why my husband and I chose to have a baby in this economy. But that’s nonsense. A baby is a blessing at any time. And think of all the other potential benefits…

Top 5 reasons a recession is as good a time as any to be pregnant:

-- Forget your credit card bills for a moment. This is one “due date” that you can actually look forward to.

-- Keep the family together. Rather than focus on your plunging home value, you can instead fantasize about your little one actually being able to afford a home near you one day.

-- Help stimulate the economy. Just think about what millions of moms buying loads of diapers, baby products, cans of formula could do to help bring the economy out of this slump.

-- A sense of accomplishment. Layoffs are a fact of life these days, but having a baby is a lifelong project you can help guide well into old age, if you’re lucky.

-- No one can tell the difference between whether you are overeating because of stress or simply “eating for two.”

POSTED IN: Anne Vasquez (67)

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May 2, 2009

Wordless Weekend: Aye-aye, or awwwwwww?

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Photo by Amy Beth Bennett

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Wordless Weekend: Next Gen Tiger Woods?

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Photo by Carline Jean

POSTED IN: Wordless Weekend (22)

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May 1, 2009

Mom on the Go: What to do with the kids this weekend

I cast my vote for throwing an impromptu Kentucky Derby party for your kids and a few of their friends. The race is 6:04 p.m. Saturday.

You could have the kids make derby hats, the more outlandish the better, and parade around the backyard. Have them race to a finish line to burn off energy.

For things to do beyond your yard, there's the SunTrust Jazz Brunch on Sunday in Fort Lauderdale along the riverwalk from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., and the staging of Sleeping Beauty by Boca Ballet this weekend at FAU.

For more things to do this weekend, keep reading.

Friday, May 1

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Fabulous First Friday. Visit today for an array of activities and demonstrations with a live planetarium show, music with laser-light dynamics and telescope viewing from the rooftop observatory. 7-11 p.m. Miami Science Museum, 3280 S. Miami Ave., Miami. 305-646-4200. Adults, $18; Students and Seniors, $16; Children (3-12), $13; Children under 3, free.
Second Annual Mad Dog Mandich Fishing Classic. Hosted by Jim "Mad Dog" Mandich. The entire family will enjoy a weekend filled with fun, great food, parties, weigh-ins, a huge silent auction and, of course, fishing. Fish for dolphin, tuna and kingfish. Win prize money for the heaviest fish in each category or try to win $15,000 top boat. Continues through May 2. Miami Beach Marina, Miami Beach. 305-667-0399.

BROWARD COUNTY

Funtastic Fridays for Kids. Music, magic and more are in store for youngsters and their families. Every Friday 5-9 p.m. Anniversary Park, 20th Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood. 954-921-3016. Free.
Tinsel Town Cabaret. Local top rated talent of all ages is spotlighted in this competition. This is a fun and entertaining evening that the whole family will enjoy. 7:30 p.m. Volunteer Park, 12050 W. Sunrise Blvd., Plantation. 954-452-2558.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Books and Babies. Delight and stimulate your baby's senses with books and music. Ages 12-24 months. Register. 10:30-11:30 a.m. West Palm Beach Public Library, 411 Clematis Street, West Palm Beach. 561-868-7700.
Family Night. Kids age 2 and older can discover Florida's pioneer past by milking the cow, riding the train, delivering the mail, exploring the mangroves, and so much more -- all from the historic 1913 schoolhouse. 5-8 p.m. Schoolhouse Children’s Museum, 129 E. Ocean Ave., Boynton Beach. 561-742-6780. Free.
Lei Day! Celebrate Hawaii with tropical music and awesome crafts. Make your very own lei. Ages 8-11. Register. 3:15 p.m. Palm Beach County Main Library, 3650 Summit Blvd., West Palm Beach. 561-233-2600.
Phantom of the Opera. May 1-17. A musical based upon Gaston Leroux’s classic story of a brilliant young singer and her “Opera Ghost.” The Sol Children adaptation weaves a musical tapestry of love, mystery and intrigue while bringing to life the famously heart-wrenching story. Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. Saturday and Sundays at 2 p.m. Sol Children Theatre, 3333 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton. 561-447-8829 or visit www.solchildrentheatre.com.
Sunset/Stargazing Tour. Enjoy a leisurely paddle in the tranquil waters of the Jupiter Inlet Aquatic Preserve. This tour is great for beginners, families and nature lovers looking for outdoor fun under the twinkling stars. Wear clothes you don't mind getting wet. Every Friday and Saturday. 7-9 p.m. Jupiter Outdoor Center, 1000 Coastal A1A, Jupiter. 561-747-0063. $40 per person.
The Sleeping Beauty. May 1-3. The Boca Ballet presents this classical ballets traditional version of this timeless fairytale. May 1 at 7 p.m. May 2 at 8 p.m. May 3 at 2 p.m. at FAU University Theater, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton. Call 561-995-0709 or visit www.bocaballet.org.

Saturday, May 2

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

3 on 3 Youth Basketball Challenge. Children ages 9-12 will demonstrate their skills on the court while participating in a basketball challenge. Prizes and trophies will be awarded. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Scott Rakow Youth Center, 2700 Sheridan Ave., Miami Beach. 305-673-7730. $20 per team (up to four players on each team).
Arch Creek’s Trail Tour. Join in on this naturalist guided tour through a tropical hardwood hammock where you will find an assortment of interesting plants and animals native to South Florida. Also, learn about Arch Creek’s role in early history of North Miami. Registration is required. Every Saturday from 10-11 a.m. Arch Creek Museum and Nature Center, 1855 NE 135th Street, North Miami. 305-944-6111. $3.
Bank of America Banking On Success Financial Literacy Fair. Saving, spending, budgeting…OH MY! With the help of Bank of America, the Miami Children’s Museum will host a financial literacy fair for children and their families. Join in for a life-size money management game and other educational activities. Free with admission the museum. 12-4 p.m. Miami Children’s Museum, 980 MacArthur Causeway, Miami. 305-373-5437, ext. 104. Adults and children, $15; Florida residents, $12; 12 months and younger, free.
Cinco de Mimo Street Festival. Step back to the 1950s to celebrate Historic Biscayne Boulevard. Included in the festival are antique and collectable market, live music, street theater, children’s activities, karaoke and a fresh market. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Biscayne Blvd. from 67th to 73rd Street, Miami. Call 305-609-4288.
Family Fest. Featuring interactive activities for children to share with their friends and families, including puppet-making, face painting, arts and crafts, storytelling, movement and theater classes and outdoor performances. 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. 305-949-6722. Free.

BROWARD COUNTY

4 Kids of South Florida Fitness Class. Event is set to include a 5k Run/Walk, cardio class with DJ and fitness instructors, boot camp workout with former Dolphin Trent Gamble, Kid Fit Class for ages 6 and up and a yoga class. Also included are local sports celebrities, face painting, post workout mini massages, food and much more. 8 a.m.-12 p.m. at Tradewinds Park, 3600 W. Sample Road, Coconut Creek. 954-968-3880. Park entrance, $1.50. Cardio classes, $10-$35.
Aquarium: Behind the Scenes. Learn about the inhabitants of the aquarium in the exhibit hall and observe them feeding. Every Saturday and Sunday. 2-3 p.m. Anne Kolb Nature Center at West Lake Park, 751 Sheridan Street, Hollywood. 954-926-2480. $1 per person.
Family Day. Enjoy half price admission during Family Day at the museum and gardens. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Bonnet House Museum and Gardens, 900 N. Birch Road, Fort Lauderdale. 954-563-5393. Adults, 1/2 price admission; Children 12 and under, free.
Family Picnic to Cure Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Event is in conjunction with the Grand Opening of the Town of Davie New inclusive ADA Accessible playground. Enjoy a fun filled day with food and drinks, clown and face painting, petting zoo, bounce houses and more. Great raffle and silent auction items to win such as tickets to Disney World and more. 9:30 a.m. Davie Pine Island Park, 3801 S. Pine Island Road, Davie. E-mail southfl@fsma.org. Adults, $15 donation, Children 5-12, $5 donation; Children under 5, free.
Seaside Craft Fair. May 2-3. Whether you are a craft enthusiast or looking for that unique one-of-a-kind gift item, there is something for everyone. From folk art, pottery, handmade jewelry and paintings, to personalized gifts, handmade clothing, scented soaps and body products, a full spectrum of craft art mediums will be on display and for sale with prices ranging from as little as $3 to $3,000. www.artfestival.com. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Hollywood Beach, 3601 N. Ocean Drive, Hollywood. 954-926-2480.
Surfers for Autism. Bring your child to the beach and register him/her as a surfer. They will get paired with a qualified and trained surf instructor along with one to two volunteers. Then enjoy a beach party/fundraiser with lots of activities for the kids, live music and raffles from sponsor donations through out the day. Lunch is provided to all of registered families. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. North side of the Deerfield Beach Pier. www.surfersforautism.com.
The Great Alphabet Adventure. Filled with audience participation, colorful and surprising characters, and all the suspense of a treasure hunt, The Great Alphabet Adventure engages audiences of all ages as it explores the value of friendship and the joy of reading. 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Miramar Culture Center, 2400 Civic Center Place, Miramar. 945-602-4500. $14.
Worldfest. The festival will cover an array of multi-cultural entertainment, cuisine and culture that salutes the diverse population in the Coral Springs area. Delicious cultural foods, live music, arts and crafts, educational activities, and amusements for children will be featured. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sportsplex at Coral Springs, 2575 Sportsplex Drive, Coral Springs. Admission is free. Parking, $3.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

Cinco De Mayo Festival. Come on out for food, entertainment, kid’s activities, dancing, and the 3rd Annual Chihuahua Race presented by Hispano-Latino Cultural Alliance. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Old School Square Parking Lot, 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach. 561-279-0907.
Disney on Broadway. May 2-30, every Saturday. Disney's current and past Broadway hits in one musical collection. Musical review with songs from: Disney's Lion King, Tarzan, Aida, Beauty and the Beast, and Mary Poppins. Children will love singing along to their favorite Disney tunes accompanied by live singing, dancing, and professional costumes. 2 p.m. at Showtime Dance and Performing Arts Theater, 503 SE Mizner Blvd., Suite 73, Boca Raton. Call 561-394-2626. Adults (12 and up), $14; Children, $10.
Kinder Turtles. Spend some one-on-one time with your little one learning about sea turtles. Decorate a paper plate sea turtle to take home. Ages 5-6. Reservations required. 10:30-11:15 a.m. Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, 1801 N. Ocean Blvd., Boca Raton. 561-338-1582. Members, $2 per child, Non-members, $3 per child.
Meet a Master, Create a Masterpiece. Children will learn about a master artist on exhibit at the Museum and have the opportunity to create a masterpiece in the style of the selected artist. This month’s artist is Cleve Gray with abstract painting. Grades 3-5. Reservations required. 1-2:30 p.m. Boca Museum of Art, 501 Plaza Real, Boca Raton. 561-392-2500, ext. 106. Members, free; Non-members, $5.
Saturday Morning Drop-In Story Times. Celebrate the renewal of spring with stories of things that bloom, flutter and weave. Ages 2 and up. 10:15 a.m. or 11:15 a.m. Wellington Branch Library, 1951 Royal Fern Drive, Wellington. 561-790-6070.
The Big Bad Musical. The Big Bad Wolf is being slapped with a class-action lawsuit by the fairytale characters who want to get even: Little Red Riding Hood, the Three Little Pigs and the Boy Who Cried Wolf. The two greatest legal minds in the Enchanted Forest—the Evil Stepmother and the Fairy Godmother—clash in a trial that will be remembered forever after. The jury – the audience - must decide the outcome of the biggest trial ever in fairy tale history. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Cuillo Centre For The Arts, 201 Clematis Street, West Palm Beach. 561-835-9226. Cost is Adults, $17.50; Children, $10.
Tiny Turtles. Spend some one-on-one time with your little one learning about sea turtles. Decorate a paper plate sea turtle to take home. Ages 3-4. Reservations required. 9:30-10:15 a.m. Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, 1801 N. Ocean Blvd., Boca Raton. 561-338-1582. Members, $2 per child, Non-members, $3 per child.
Youth Studio: Sculptures of Felt: Joseph Beuys’ Art. Students, ages 10-13, will take tours followed by studio time for to create their own art. Space is limited to 20 participants. 1:30-3:30 p.m. Norton Museum of Art, 1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach. 561-832-5196. $5.

Sunday, May 3

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Dance Now! Ensemble Dance in the Park. Dance Now! joins the Arts in the Park series to celebrate the arts in North Beach. A wonderful afternoon of dance is slated, including a new site-specific work created for this outdoor venue, and an interactive improvisational work. 3 p.m. North Shore Open Space Park, 7929 Atlantic Way, Miami Beach. 305-858-7002. Free.

BROWARD COUNTY

River Ghost Tour. This tour includes a brief visit inside the Stranahan House and a boat ride on the New River while listening to authentic history and stories of some of the old colorful characters that once lived here and now occasionally come back to visit. Ages 9 and up. Call for reservations. 7:30 p.m. Stranahan House, 335 SE Sixth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. 954-524-4736. $20 per person.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

ARTful Adventure. This family program features art workshops that weave inspirations from the Museum’s Permanent Collection into a studio class led by seasoned art educators. May’s theme is paper sculptures. 2 p.m. Boca Museum of Art, 501 Plaza Real, Boca Raton. 561-392-2500, ext. 106. Free admission for workshop only.
Special Needs Family Fun Day. Enjoy an afternoon of aquatic fun, including water slides hosted by the Hochman JCC. 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Calypso Bay Waterpark, 151 Lamstein Lane, Royal Palm Beach. 561-790-6160. $12 per child and $15 per adult for JCC members; $15 per child and $20 per adult for non-members. Price includes admission and snacks.

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Make Mother's Day simple

Mother’s Day is around the corner – May 10 – which gives us this weekend to plan and shop.

Ducks.jpgI’m a simple gal, so I really don’t want anything. Really.

A nice little kiss on the cheek from each kid, a hug – and I’m happy. Seriously, honest.

For my own mom, I’ll roll out the red carpet – it’s her day. It’s whatever she wants, whatever she wants to do. Typically, I make dinner – whatever she’s in the mood for!

Plants, hand-made cards and family time – all top the list of my favorite gifts I've received.
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Come next Sunday, we’ll be with my parents for some good inter-generational fun! Sure it’s Mother’s Day, and I suppose I could sit one meal preparation out. But frankly, I love to cook! That’s what I want to do and anyway, it’s all about us moms that day.

This year, what’s in your gift bag to Mom?

POSTED IN: Activities (143), Cindy Kent (78), Entertainment (114), Food (56), Holidays (49), Mother's Day (6)

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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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