Thursday, July 31, 2008

Our favorite winter coat

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Wito has the pleasure of donning the minimum amount of outerwear during winters around our parts, but our trip to Oklahoma over the holidays warranted some much colder weather. Before we left, my mother called to let me know she had bought a suede coat for his trip home. Score.

When we arrived, I saw the coat sitting on a chair, and my word, it was DARLING. Chocolate brown suede, a faux-shearling hood and lining, three darling button loops, it was perfect. (And if you haven't figured it out yet, I am tres picky.)

Wito wore the crap out of that jacket, and looked pretty dang precious, to boot. If you are still in the market for a stylish and great quality coat, take a look at Pottery Barn Kid's website.
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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New use for sperm

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Scientists have big plans for the future of medicine. Treatments and other medical procedures will be isolated to only the specific part of the body that needs it. But there's one problem-how to get the tiny "smart probes" to where they need to be.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, researchers have started analyzing flagellum. (That's "sperm tail" to the rest of us.) Unlocking the mysteries as to how tiny sperm are able to move up to 7 inches in an hour might prove the key to powering nanotechnology.

I can already see the T-shirts: Sperm-It's Not Just for Knocking Up Anymore!

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jumping Frogs Push Toy by Bajo

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It's wooden, green (my favorite color), unique and simple. What's not to like?

This push toy by Bajo is one of the most charming toys I've seen this year. (A whole 5 days into 2008! Somebody stop me!) The faster your little one pushes the toy, the faster the frogs jump. However, the rubber insets on the wheels come in very handy for those of us who have wooden floors. Possible high-speed disasters averted!

Bajo wooden toys, baby toys, cars and furniture are hand-finished in a small village near the Carpathian mountains, and are made of locally grown apple wood, cherry wood, alder, maple, beech, birch or walnut. All of their toys are finished with child-safe, non-toxic lacquers.

Read more about Bajo Toys here.
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Monday, July 28, 2008

Britney's Mother Writing Parenting Book

The Associated Press reports that Lynne Spears - the mother of Britney Spears - is writing a parenting book called Pop Culture Mom: A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World. The book will be published by Thomas Nelson, a major publisher of Christian books.
"Pop Culture Mom: A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World" is set for release May 11, which is Mother's Day, said Curt Harding, a spokesman for Thomas Nelson Inc., a Christian book publisher.

"That is all we're releasing at this time," Harding told The Associated Press on Friday. "I have not seen a manuscript so I cannot comment on the content."

Spears, 25, continued to make headlines Friday when she arrived in a white Mercedes convertible for a court hearing in Los Angeles to work out custody arrangements of her sons, Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1, with ex-husband Kevin Federline.
Lynne Spears doesn't sound like the ideal person to write a parenting book. Britney has had tons of problems. She's been in rehab. She shaved her head. She's a terrible pet owner and she has a foul mouth. Most people probably don't blame Britney's mother for Britney's antics but they also probably wouldn't seek her out for parenting advice. The book will probably sell well anyway out of curiousity.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Grow a garden from a matchstick!

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At first glance, these look like run-of-the-mill matchbooks, but not so fast! Inside lies a secret!

Tear out one of the 10 matchsticks, plant it tip first into a pot of soil, water, and soon you will have an herb garden growing. On the tip of each match are seeds already mixed to grow. Pretty cool, huh?

There are two styles of Matchstick Garden available, the Mixed Herb Matchstick Garden containing Basil, Chives, Parsley, and Thyme, and the Wildflower Matchstick Garden containing Cornflower, Shasta Daisy, Corn Marigold, and Field Poppy. Each matchbook is 3" W x 2" H with 10 matchsticks.

What a fun and inexpensive gift for your friends or yourself. Learn more at Matchstick Garden's website.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Craving via instant messages

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A while back, Rachel sent me an instant message at work to ask me what time I would be coming home and what I was planning on making for dinner. I hadn't really put much thought into it and said so. Rachel suggested pasta and the conversation went downhill from there.

Rachel: You know, you can always make pasta tonight.
Rachel: You can put hot dogs in it.
Me: Ugh
Me: That's just gross.
Me: 8^)
Rachel: Sorry, it's the pregnancy talking I guess.

Needless to say, we did NOT have pasta and hot dogs for dinner.
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Friday, July 25, 2008

Hillary Clinton Suggests $5,000 Baby Bond

ABC News reports that Senator Hillary Clinton has introduced the idea of giving every new child born in the U.S. a $5,000 baby bond from the government. The $5,000 account could be used as a nest egg towards college tuition or home ownership.
"I like the idea of giving every baby born in America a $5,000 account that will grow over time," said Clinton, "so when that young person turns 18 if they have finished high school they will be able to access it to go to college or maybe they will be able to put that down payment on their first home, or go into business."

Clinton's Friday remarks to the Congressional Black Caucus were not the first time that she has voiced her support for the concept of using the power of compound interest to close the country's asset gap.

While speaking to the centrist Democratic Leadership Council in 2006, she discussed the idea of giving every child born in America $500.

Today was, however, the first time that she has floated the idea of giving every child born in America the larger sum of $5,000.
There is already a movement in the works - started by the New America Foundation -- to start Children's Savings Accounts, which would involve a smaller $500 sum. You can read more about the $5,000 baby bond in the Washington Post, Time and USA Today.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Are the MPAA's screwed up?

Filed under: Health and Safety, Lifestyle, Media, Movies, Monitoring your kids, Outings, Marketing to kids, Making a Difference, Drugs, Environmental Been to the movies lately? My guess is that, if you did, the film was either animated and/or part of the Disney franchise, one that was full of violence and/or gore, or one that was full of sex. That's basically because most movies out there, at least the mainstream (see: non-indie, although they can pack a wallop too) ones, fall into at least one of those categories. Oh, and let's not forget DRUGS! Everyone loves a movie about drugs! According to this blogger, More Than Fine, the MPAA ratings are off their rocker, and heavily influenced by big studios. He makes a compelling argument. Why was a love story using a few "F-bombs" given an R-rating while the ultra-violent Pirates of the Caribbean 3 given a mere PG-13? That movie shows a child being killed, an attempted rape and pretty much everything else. Angelina Jolie is essentially nude in Beowolf, and larger than life if you saw her on Imax, yet that movie only got a PG-13 rating as well. Hmm. Something does seem rotten in Denmark, or at least fishy. More Than Fine then goes on to lament he feels like he's coming off as a prude. He comments that he's not against these kinds of things in movies--he's against censorship. My take is that he's also against big business changing the standards for their own means even if it compromises a system the American public--and especially parents--is trusting to help them make decisions. Sometimes the system does work. I saw Children of Men and boy did it deserve an R. Honestly, it was so unbelievably violent--and I do mean violent--that I almost couldn't watch it. I nearly had to leave the theater. What saved it was the amazing acting, writing, directing, and everything else. It was a movie I truly loved, but one I will never see again. Ratings keep people from seeing movies they should not see, but they also, when bent to serve interests (and I have to agree with More Than Fine here), let people who probably aren't ready see things maybe it's best for them to wait to see. Who decides that? Well, it's not me. I couldn't tell you a thing about what goes or should go into that decision making process. But I want to trust the MPAA and other like resources to give me good, unbiased information. Do you trust the MPAA or do you use other resources to make decisions about what you, and your kids (if you have 'em) see? Read | Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

How to get a human customer service rep via phone

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You're balancing a crabby baby on one hip while trying to straighten out your credit card bill on the phone wedged between your shoulder and ear. Only instead of a friendly customer service person, you find yourself trapped in a circle of automated hell where #1 means "yes", #2 equals "no", #3 means "Shove it", #4 is "Baby, I'm sorry. Please don't hang up and make me start again!"

The nice people at GetHuman have created a crib sheet of buttons to press to bypass the automated nonsense and get straight to a human as quickly as possible, which is a handy bit of information for anyone.

However, I don't see my favorite method, which is to yell, "DAMMIT' into the phone when the voice recognition device can't decipher my Michigan accent. That gets me human assistance every time.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Belly Button philosophy

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Sometimes, kids can be very insightful. Sometimes, not so much. Children expect the world to be fair and notice when it isn't. As a parent, I do my best to even things out, but unfortunately, there is much that I have no control over. Jared discovered one such disparity.

Jared: Why do we have belly buttons?
Me: That's where the tube hooks up to your mommy when you're inside her tummy so she can feed you.
Jared: But I'm a boy. Why do I have a belly button?
Me: Boys need to hook up to their mommy so they can be fed too.
Jared: Will I ever have a baby?
Me: No, only girls can have babies.
Jared: That's not fair. That's not fair at all. That's what the government says.

I suspect there are a lot of women who would agree completely.
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Monday, July 21, 2008

ParentDish Size Six: When the electricity is out

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Hey there! Shall we consider this ParentDish Size Six: Survivor Style? You may wonder why I chose such a random topic, but our electricity went out tonight and we were ill-prepared, to say the least. I'd also like to point out that we are expecting a huge rainstorm in Southern California this weekend, and our neighborhood's transformer blew while it was sprinkling outside.


Dear Lord, we're in for a long weekend.

Without further ado, I give you Size Six: Things To Do With Your Toddler When It's Pitch Dark In Your House And They Don't Understand Why.

1) Light candles while they freak out.

2) Read books while they freak out.

3) Sing songs while they freak out.

4) Rub their back while they freak out.

5) Let them run around the living room while they freak out.

6) Remember the battery-powered DVD in the drawer. Turn on DVD and watch as their generalized freakdom subsides.

Long live the battery.

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