Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Read Freely: Banned Books Week


Celebrate Banned Books Week: Read Freely
Since 1982, The American Library Association has led an annual celebration of the freedom to read the last week in September. Freedom of expression, and personal choice can be a complicated thing, but it underpins our democracy. I encourage you to learn about the works that have been challenged and continue to be challenged currently.

Censorship equals blindness


Monday, September 29, 2008

Who Needs The Presidency When We've Got The Remote!: Relevant Relationships

News from the marital and parental state:


  • YES!!! We may have only managed to make 18 million cracks in the ceiling, but a recent Pew Research Center study says that we're gaining serious ground when it comes to...the remote control. This is big news, because as goes the remote, swings the real center of power don't you know? Small consolation, but I'll take it, for now. But then again, as you shall find at the conclusion of the article, both man AND woman is trumped by...? I'll give you just one guess.
  • BUT then we hear that men who hold more traditional, rather than egalitarian, views of women's roles in society tend to earn substantially more, according to a recent study cited in The Washington Post. But it doesn't go both ways. According to the study, "traditional-minded women suffer the greatest income disadvantage for doing the same work."
  • When children transition out of the nest, it's not only a life change for them, but also their parents. As Lisa Belkin writes in The New York Times, some people get a real head start according to Natalie Cain, the founder of Empty Nest Syndrome Support Services (emptynestsupport.com): "she gets calls from parents of kindergartners already mourning the day their children leave home."

A Baby Girl Has Three Mamas, and Still No One Wants Her: Relevant World News

Some interesting stories from around the world:
  • Spiegel Online International featured a fascinating and troubling story about the world of Indian surrogacy. A while back I wrote of a child that was caught in limbo because her Japanese parent's marriage had broken up, and the mother, who was not a biological parent, no longer wanted the newborn, and the mother who had carried her, and was not the biological mother either (an egg donor was--yes that's three mommies at current count), had surrendered her as a "product delivered." Meanwhile, because of this mess, she was not allowed to leave India, necessitating her father's mother (grandma) to come to India to care for her while things were straightened out. Confused yet? Well, as this article expands upon, it got worse for this helpless little girl; she became really ill due to some differences in how grandma thought she should be cared for, and the realities of India. This brave new world of birth has profound implications for not only this motherless infant but thousands of others being brought into the world in this manner. An interesting and important read.
  • In light of the now over 54,000 infants sickened by tainted milk and formula products across China, breastfeeding might be the route to go. Trouble is that the rates of breastfeeding have been steadily falling, due to the difficult existence of the average Chinese worker, who works very long hours, as well as the successful marketing campaigns of the formula companies, which have now succeeded in making formula feeding a status symbol. It's a fine mess, and again, children and parents suffer across China needlessly.
  • In South Africa, although legislatively outlawed, Zulu's are still performing the controversial "virginity tests" upon its female population, and eagerly so. The Zulu feel it is an essential tool in their arsenal to combat promiscuity and the spread of AIDS, and an important cultural mark of distinction for the women, many of whom willingly embrace the practice. Those who decry the practice worry among others things that it puts women at a higher risk of rape, due to a belief that intercourse with a virgin can cure a man of AIDS. An interesting cultural debate to consider.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Coping with Germs and Allergies Plus Breastmilk Cuisine: Relevant News Flash

  • In two months we've been through two cold like bugs in our household. This can't be a good sign for the winter. But, short of sealing your family in a hermetically sealed giant Ziploc, germs just happen. The folks at MothersClick.com offer some general guidelines for the germaphobe and the realists among us.
  • Living with food allergies is tough, especially when your kids suffer. Normal childhood food angst is escalated when allergies are a part of the picture. A new study is showing that getting help and support is essential to cope with the situation.We all know it, or hopefully we do, but yet curbing the impulse to argue in front of your children can be awfully difficult to control. An advice columnist gives some specific advice to put into action.
  • By now you have probably heard about PETA's call to Ben & Jerry's to start using human breastmilk, and here is where the idea first gained some public relations momentum last week in Switzerland where a restaurant serves dishes with breastmilk.
  • In the never ending quest for ideas about feeding the kids well, I came across this the blog WeeklyBento with some yummy, creative and healthy meal ideas to pack for the kids. They even look good for the mom!
  • Came across a profile for a mom who saw a need and did something about it. Meet the Bay Area's own Lisa Klein, who takes gently used infant items, and gets them into the hands that really need them, one box at a time!

The World Outside: Relevant World Snapshot

One of the things that is important to me as a mother is to raise my child with perspective and appreciation. It is often to easy to become so mired in our own day to day situations and drama, that we can lose sight of what we have and what the world outside our communities and country looks like. Take a moment to read the graceful story of a Senegalese beggar child. I do not offer this story as a pity ploy, rather as an appreciation for the beauty of a human spirit in circumstances we hope never to have to endure, but who can teach us and our children much about dignity and spirit.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Relevant Find: Story Nory

Fancy a story? Check out the excellent site, StoryNory, which features wonderfully performed original and classic stories. You and your kids will fall in love with Natascha. Thanks to Mothering.com for alerting me to this great site!




Stories by Storynory

Monday, September 22, 2008

53,000 Chinese Children Now Sickened by Tainted Milk Products

Yet another strong cautionary tale is becoming an epic debacle in China. Nearly 53,000 children and infants have now been sickened by Chinese milk products containing melamine, and at least four have now died as a result.

Although Chinese authorities are once again rushing to address the situation, quiet outcries, and allay fears, it is once again an after the fact exercise. This latest example casts strong doubts not only upon the government, but upon the very ethics of the Chinese business establishment.

It's important to note that no Chinese dairy products are currently allowed in the U.S. However, the remarkable suffering of Chinese families, recently grieving the loss of nearly 10,000 children in school collapses in the earthquake earlier this year resulting from allegedly substandard school building construction, and now over 53,000 of it's own children sickened, understandably further raises the concerns of worldwide consumers about the safety of other Chinese products.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Fin(ancial) Mess Plus Candidate Corner Chat: Relevant Political News

Are politics and the financial markets giving you a headache? It's hard to carve out the time to really assess what's going on, so here are some handy articles that I have come upon that will help get straight to the point:

In case you missed them, here are some past posts with some more political positions summaries:

Check the bottom of this post, and this post is all about basic positions.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Party Where the Gift is Chickenpox: Relevant Health News

When it rains, it pours. No, I'm not talking about the financial markets , but of a veritable ton of health news to bring to you:
  • The LA Times recently ran a great piece about environmentally friendly products and their increasing popularity in the marketplace, catching the attention of the likes of Walmart.
  • On this theme, some warnings about chemicals in cookware, and a caution for pregnant and nursing women.
  • There has been more aggressive action taken to prevent the catastrophes of the recent lead recalls, but here's an important point to note: although the legislation is now in place, it doesn't apply until after this holiday season, which means buyer beware and check out the products you buy. Some retailers have preemptively put the guidelines in place, but some retailers are still trying to move product that they have already purchased and don't want, or can't afford to take a loss on.
  • Good news: infant mortality worldwide has declined, but efforts to reduce maternal mortality is still struggling.
  • Two articles for the pregger ladies to share. As if you didn't know, avoid stress; they are finding a connection with increased stress and impeded brain development in fetuses, leading to possible delays in childhood, and are calling for more studies to explore. Also, an article that explores an issue near and dear to all pregnant women-weight gain-and how mixed the messages are about it.
  • So after reading that, you are thinking, "I really need to get to the gym," but oh the kids, they complicate that goal, if not outright prevent it. A growing trend is cropping us of family gyms that help the whole family go for their respective age appropriate work-outs, or take classes together. With the childhood, and heck the adult, obesity rate way too high, and competing schedules, this is an idea whose time very well may have come.
  • Would you take your kid to a chicken pox party? My grandmother took my mother to the hospital to ensure my mother got the chicken pox. I didn't get chicken pox until I was 18. Parents are debating whether this strategy is sound or suspect.
  • I went a little loony on the New York Times site one day this week, and came away with a cornucopia, including: mistakes that parents make about food with their kids and how to avoid them; a handy tool that has kid friendly healthy recipes (be sure to click on the pull down menu on the left to find the recipes); a really great common childhood health topic tool in their Well section(again use the pull down menu); and an interactive feature that shows brain development which was pretty nifty I must admit.
  • An important clarification about Graco products that have gotten caught up in the recent bassinet recalls.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Can Manolos For Babies Be Far Off?: Relevant Odds and Ends

Some odds and ends from the last several days:
  • I don't usually bring celebrity parenting news to you because frankly it is covered very well elsewhere; however, this article about the actress Natascha McElhone is worth a read in my opinion. She is best known for her role as the romantic interest in the movie The Truman Show, and as George Clooney's wife in Solaris. Just about to give birth to her third child, the interview movingly covers how she has carried on with her two boys after the sudden death of her husband this spring, and relates a true love story, and a truly lovely spirit whom you will root for and gain inspiration from.
  • Baby high heels: cute or gone to far? Decide for yourself.
  • Moving is never easy, and it is especially hard for children, especially when they are separated long distances from their best buddies. One couple explored what happened when their child's best friend moved away.
  • Some people may wish that they could drop off their pre-teen and teenaged children and surrender them to someone else to deal with, but all kidding aside a "safe haven" law in Nebraska was recently used by two guardians (independent of one another) to surrender their kids to hospitals because they could no longer care for them. Legislators are fluxomed and say they never intended the expanded law to be used in such a fashion. A very sad commentary on the times.
  • To make things a little better after reading that last one, read this mother's commentary on making it through the years with her teenaged sons, where nothing is straightforward, except a mother's love.
  • You've heard of workplaces that allow their employees to bring their pets to work, but how about their infants? With mother's increasingly looking for and demanding better work life balances in their careers, a few firms are taking them seriously and using it as a recruiting and retention strategy. A San Jose, CA firm allows their employees to bring their infants to work with them. I wondered how anything got done in the office, and then I realized, oh yes, I grapple with this issue everyday, working from my home! An interesting development to be sure.
  • I came across this story a while back. As school starts, many parents have had to contend with when to start their young children in school, and juggling different schedules for different children. Consider a woman in the U.K., whose twins were born 45 minutes apart, but technically on different days, which by U.K. law requires that they start school in different years since the days were the cut-offs for how they determine school start dates. Yes, you read years!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Relevant Recalls and Safety Alerts

Several recalls have hit the news, plus two important messages from Dr. Sears:
  • Listening to NPR this morning, I heard about the recall of a popular brand of soccer goal net. I won't recount the specifics of the description of what happened because it was just so horrible, but if you have older children who use a soccer goal net in the yard, and toddlers as well, PLEASE check this recall out!
  • Pottery Barn recently issued a recall for some metal water bottles it sells.
  • Recently Simplicity made bassinets were recalled, but there has been some confusion and doubts raised about a popular co-sleeper product, due to the wording in the original press release. The Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper is safe to use, and Dr. Sears has issued a special statement to allay any fears one may have.
  • Also on Dr. Sears' website is his discussion of the recent study that has refuted a key study that found a causal link between autism and the MMR vaccine. Dr. Sears, who developed an alternative "slower" vaccination schedule advises parents about the implications and whether or not they should still split the vaccine apart.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Is Trig Palin a Help or a Hindrance to the Children with Special Needs Community?: Relevant Health News

Some items about kids with special needs:
  • People are split about how they feel about Sarah Palin and her family thrust front and center in the election; some feel that it is completely normal, and makes her relatable, and others feel it is manipulative. When it comes to her four month old, Trig Palin, who was born with Down's Syndrome, the debate is particularly loud and divisive. Parents within the special need community are also split themselves, debating if Trig's prominent place in the recent convention and public appearances was a boon for the community, to put the needs of their "forgotten" children front and center, or rather was it just plain exploitative? Either way, this dimension of Palin's biography may prove to be a potentially powerful element to sway voters who are as yet undecided, especially when one considers the explosion of parents that now care for a special needs child.
  • On the subject of Down's Syndrome, in the U.K. new research is asserting that, "For every three unborn Down's syndrome babies prevented from being born, two healthy babies will be miscarried because of the methods used to detect the condition." In the U.K. they are actively evaluating how women are assigned to the high risk groups in an effort to make certain the tests, which do carry a risk, are appropriately targeted.
  • A wonderfully in depth look at kids that have Bipolar disorders was featured over the weekend in The New York Times Magazine. It delves into the puzzle that is Bipolar disorder in kids, and the struggles of the entire family to cope. It is a long article, but well worth the read.
  • There were so many cautionary travel tales this summer about traveling with kids, and especially kids with special needs. A recent article looks into the efforts of many families of Autistic children to reclaim the family vacation.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

What Does It Mean When Your Infant Has More Social Networking Friends Than You Do?: Relevant Quandry

My relationship with social networking runs hot and cold. Some days I have a lot of fun checking in with friends; seeing what's new, and meeting new people, and enlarging my circle in this ever shrinking world. But there are some days that I regret, or grow weary of having a public profile out in the world, and feel the intrusiveness of all these people looking in on my affairs.

As a writer, I am happy that when my name is Googled, I have so many more opportunities for people to find my work, and help me along in my aspiration. I guard some parts of my life pretty fiercely though, namely my child. I don't really like to post too much about him, nor too many photos. In fact when starting a "mommy blog," part of the reason I write about news is that I really don't feel comfortable putting too much out there that is also his to have a say about, although he can't yet.

There is a growing phenomenon of parents creating Internet profiles for their children, even in utero. Totspot is compared to Facebook for the infant and child set. I see the appeal, and I think it feels so natural in our world today, where we share so much more of ourselves, that we wouldn't exclude our children from that as well. Is it really for them, or are parents just finding the next generation way of rolling out all those recent baby pics from their wallet for every stranger that they encounter, and sharing each amazing-to-them milestone?

And there are other issues. How much is too much? Do I really need to hear on Twitter that Johnny just had his first poop, let alone a picture? And what does it mean when your 7 month old has more "connections" than you do?

Call it natural skepticism, or my own peculiar maternal instinct, but I guess as a mother it feels right to me to allow him to develop his own identity before I start assigning one to him, virtual or otherwise.

I wonder how others feel about this? Comments are welcome...click on the add comment feature to post your thoughts.

Money is Tight, Groceries Are Expensive, and the Chinese are Poisoning You (Again): Relevant Useful Bits

A round-up of useful bits, interspersed with some news:
  • I'm sure I'm not the only one who is struggling with the ever increasing prices at the supermarket! It leads sometimes to some uncomfortable calculations in my head, such as "how much pesticide is really on the non-organic version of this product and can I save a few bucks without making my kid glow?" I try to manage things with better meal planning discipline, emphasis on try. One "I can not live without" site I use is RecipeZaar.com, which is a recipe sharing community that has saved my bacon on more than one night when I couldn't get to the store, and was forced to figure out what to whip up with some chicken and odds and ends in the pantry. My favorite feature is the ingredient search--put in a few ingredients you have, and whala, a few recipes using those ingredients is generated for you. They also just recently featured a discussion topic that asked the community to give their strategies for spending $100 or less at the store which has some terrific tips. If you are lucky enough to have a grocery co-op nearby this is also an excellent option to get high quality goods, and control the costs.
  • In view of how much angst money management can cause, it's never too early to start educating your kids about how to do it effectively, even as pre-schoolers. The Tessy & Tab Reading Club website has some really nifty free printables to aid in these lessons, and others.
  • Did you know that at many libraries you can now check out things digitally? In most cases the digital check-out "checks itself back in," i.e. deletes itself within a set period of time. No more late fees, and struggling to get back to the library...not to mention the person who glared at you because your toddler dared to udder a peep while browsing in her general location!!!
  • More product updates. Simplicity, who has been forced to recall bassinets due to infant deaths, also apparently contracted to Graco to produce some products as well, and this article is worth a read. Also, if you have been using Mommy's Bliss Nipple Cream, stop immediately! The FDA has issued a strong warning about the product.
  • Finally, you may have heard that Chinese Formula has sickened over 400 children in China, due to melamine contamination, and although prohibited from sale in the U.S., may have slipped in illegally and may be found in ethnic grocers. Beware, and check the origin! Don't get me started about the fact that the Chinese company apparently knew about the tainted milk for weeks and did nothing! It's frustrating, but not surprising. Chinese authorities have only just recently started to acknowledge that the schools that collapsed and killed nearly 5,000 children during the huge earthquake earlier this year were possibly built in a substandard fashion, after cries from parents they tried to silence still managed to be heard; a topic I've written on before. The market has no morality, so in absence of a government and/or cultural ethic that values guarding the health, safety and dignity of it's citizens, we'll continue to see these alarming threats to our children.

Friday, September 12, 2008

When the Report Card is Also a Payment Due Invoice: Relevant Education News

Taking a look at some issues in education:
  • Although we've heard a little bit about education in this presidential cycle, it seems it should get higher billing, given it's impact to the "big" issues, such as the economy and our global diplomacy efforts. Recently, Harold Ford Jr., an up and coming voice in the Democratic party was interviewed, and he advanced the position that Barack Obama should make reforming education a central goal of his campaign and administration. Interesting read.
  • Where do the candidates stand on education? Check out a quick synopsis here.
  • Another story published recently describes the urban renewal of a downtown area in Arkansas, with it's central component being a new school added to a renovated building, whose past saw among other things, the offices of the Bill Clinton's presidential campaign headquarters. The school is thriving, and taking the neighborhood with it.
  • A Newsweek report delves into why school-age boys are struggling, and validates parental concerns about this growing trend.
  • Would you pay your kids for their grades? My parents never did, and do I feel gypped! I could have raked in some serious dough! Many from the business world have suggested that this would work effectively to encourage better commitment and results, but USA Today reports that CEOs are split in opinion about it. Meanwhile, Chicago schools are implementing the approach that rewards students for their grades with cold hard cash.

This story is not specifically on the education track, but a wonderful little gem as we transition out of the summer traveling season, and get back to school. Many plot and fret about long trips with children, especially in the confines of an automobile. One family decided to (gasp) not pack the DVD player, and found that they survived, and yes had a great time. Really!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

He Said, She Said 2.0: Relevant Cultural News

  • In a new twist on the immigration AND homebirth debates, birth certificates from midwife attended births in southern Texas, on the border with Mexico, are not being accepted as valid proof of citizenship when applying for a passport, due to challenges to their legitimacy stemming from past fraud cases.
  • You may joke with girlfriends about pre-arranging your offspring's marriages, but this may not be all that far-fetched! Some people are so fed up with the process of dating and seeking one's "soul mate," that more and more singles are turning to arranged marriages in the U.S.
  • Let's face it, parents really can cramp your style, and to "friend" them on Facebook is a tricky quandary. Teens are grumbling about the increasing parental presence in what used to be solely their territory. Do you know if they share their real profile, or their "for parental consumption" profile? Get some helpful info to help navigate parenting on a social network.
  • Have you ever had an argument with someone and called up all your friends and family to vent and seek validation that you were right? Now, through SideTaker.com, you can seek the validation of the entire Internet to call who won the argument.

Data Analysis for Desperate Parents

Obsessive-compulsives beware, but then if you are one you have probably already found the sites described in this article in the The Washington Post that allows you to track and chart everything from your weight to your sex life, and just about everything else in between, and you are nodding "great sites!"

People who have the analytical gene on overdrive (and I include myself in this group) will find it hard to resist tracking their lives in it's minutiae and using the data in an effort to "get it right." As the article describes, through relationship tracking one might be able to ascertain that particular events, or timing of events may lend itself to doom or success in a relationship. Fantastic! Data trumps chaos...or maybe not so fast.

I just knew there had to be some handy tracking software out there for child rearing, especially those especially chaotic first days, and sure enough I found "Babble-Soft."

I can just imagine the following exchange with my toddler son:

J: (Some forcefully delivered toddler ease, completely indistinguishable, but no less pointed, coupled with wild gesticulation)

M: Honey, what's up? Are you hungry? Are you sleepy? Do you have an owie?

J: Wild gesticulation leads to high pitched scream, as he throws out every sign he knows.

Cue...momma cringes and looks wildly for a way to MAKE-IT-STOP

M: Where is that report mommy just ran? Ah yes...sweetie you usually have a boom-boom at around 11am...let's check those pants (as if the odor isn't a clue?)

Fade...momma and baby in complete and peaceful accord over blissfully satisfied mutual needs.

Um, where do I sign up?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Toy Guns and The Tooth Fairy: Relevant Quickies

Quick, here's some news:

  • I'm not crazy about guns. Never have been. My husband however has a passion for competition shooting, and has cultivated a nearly encyclopedic knowledge. This is all in spite of his mother she tells me. My husband's parents were very anti-gun when he was a child, but all he wanted, yes you guessed it, was a toy gun. In the absence of one he used the trusty finger, and now borders on obsession, but in a completely unscary, ever safety vigilant way. Another father confesses his dirty little secret in an article in the U.K. Guardian. By trying to suppress it so hard, do we trigger their need to have it?
  • Another father on Salon.com shares his at turns hilarious yet serious angst that his toddler son isn't going through a phase, he's actually a jerk, maybe for life. Caution, this one contains some strong language.
  • The grass is always greener on the other side, as the saying goes, but not so say a group of couples that have made a conscious decision to not have children; they are as happy as can be.
  • You know it's bad when the Tooth Fairy isn't paying out like she used to.
  • Just when you want to complain a little more about your country(really easy to do during a contentious political cycle), you stumble upon a report that says that U.S. parents are adopting HIV positive kids from abroad in increasing numbers. Well shoot, good for us! Now if we could just deal with that Guantanamo issue...
  • And we thought dealing with custody in America is tricky, try Russia. Especially if your ex is a rather frightening looking KGB guy.
  • And you worry about being around to see the milestones for your kids, try having triplets at 59! A fierce outcry has arisen over the birth to a mother who went to India for fertility treatment, because France prohibits fertility treatment passed "normal childbearing age."

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Does It Matter If Sarah Pallin Is a Good Mother And Other Relevant Political News

I would be remiss if I didn't cover a story that is huge and relevant not only in the political election this year, but in the general mommy culture as well. You guessed it, Sarah Pallin. There are now veritable reams of commentary about her; her experience, or lack thereof, her values, and her policies, what she means for women, mothers and feminism. It's important I feel to evaluate her based on her record and what her policies are, but one can not deny that the "mommy factor" is an issue that revs up the female electorate and threatens to swallow the whole debate. But should it? I submit that this is an area to think about carefully in making your decision this election. Following are a few articles of interest:

The election has kept issues of feminism front a center, invigorating the debate about whether motherhood and positions of high authority and commitment work and are appropriate. The 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling aside, women are still struggling to breech the ranks of upper management in business and politics, and suffered a recent defeat in the legislature when the Lilly Ledbetter Act failed to pass. New reports coming from the U.K. are confirming recent reporting in the U.S. that women are losing some ground in issues of work and pay parity, and the brits in fact refer to that barrier as the "concrete ceiling." What is holding us back? Another report from the U.K. delves into the impact motherhood, or even the perceived possibility of motherhood, has on a woman's career.

In other political news:

Saturday, September 6, 2008

We Do Do The Oddest Things: Relevant Absurdities

Would be funny, but they are just a little bit too odd:


  • They personify "Evil," and they leap over babies like Evel Knieval, but just file this one under customs that I just don't get...like the running of the bulls. Wait! That's in Spain as well. Coincidence?

  • They are recruiting spies rather young now in the U.K., as in 8 to 10 year olds! Kind of blows many a mother's admonition to not "be a tattletale" right out of the water, now doesn't it?

Food, Fever, Foreclosure and Fun (With History): Relevant and Useful

A few useful and informative tidbits:
  • Children's author, Rick Riordan get points for bringing a concept to the pre-teen book market that engages children's imagination with history, but the marketing piece leaves me a bit wary. Still, I can't fault a publisher (Scholastic, who also publishes the Harry Potter series) for working to find ways to generate revenue, and also work with the new reality of the Internet and gaming dominance of our children's attention. It's good to get, and keep kids reading, but the literary product placement strikes a somewhat tacky note.
  • Food, what to make for every single meal of the day, can wear on the most creative and dedicated to quality fare mom. Finding the food that your child won't toss, and balancing the household budget are additional challenges that moms are facing as their kids head back to school. Check out some of Jackie Burrell's tips for easy, fast and economical lunchbox fare, and Jolene Thym's tips for those picky eaters.
  • And, on a commentary note, the cost of food pinch complicates the obesity problems our kids face, and it's important not to lose focus, according to The Associated Press reporter, Emily Fredrix's report on the rising cost of school lunch programs. A senior research analyst with Mintel International in Chicago, Marcia Mogelonsky, is quoted as suggesting that ""It's a good time to teach economics, nutrition and budgeting. It could become a major focus in parent-child relations." There are some handy tips for saving money on lunches in the article. Check it out.
  • As parents are increasingly assessing their homes for the preventable health hazards, it's only natural that they would also start taking a look at their children's school, and here are some tips for helping to "green" your school.
  • If you are looking for ways to live out your sustainable values for gift giving as well, consider opting for an alternative gift registry.
  • eBay is great to find just about anything, and now add "ethical goods" to that list. The company has just introduced a marketplace, WorldofGood.com,"offering goods produced with social and environmental goals in mind."
  • Love free stuff? Here are some tips about how to get some to guard your pocketbook.
  • For those inclined to address fever with medication, here are some recent guidelines and findings about ibuprofen.
  • In my state, CA, it was just reported hat 9% of homeowners are late and heading towards foreclosure. We're not out of the woods yet. The threat of foreclosure can be profoundly devastating for the whole family, and this article details some specific strategies to avoid it.
  • A nifty and useful place to find some great info is on the Parenting Press website. Try signing up for the monthly e-zine.

Friday, September 5, 2008

And Now Accepting the Nomination for President in 2032?

You might of heard of the audacious hopes of the one Barack Obama, but you might be interested to know that a young 8th grade democrat from Walnut Creek, CA just as audaciously wants your vote as well in 2032. Zachary Larkin hopes to build momentum to his eventual election, and he means to get going right now. He has at least four other challengers as well around the country. Whatever your politics, you must admit that this is truly a great country that can foster such hopes, ambition and determination.

Happy electoral season 2008 and 2032.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Dispatches about Disease, Debunking and Divorcing: Relevant Health News Flash

The intersection of the miracle of the human body and the dogged determination of science can be dazzling, and at times disillusioning. In the battles that rage between those that feel science devalues the natural, and those that feel science enables the natural through understanding, there should be a middle ground that allows for a third way, one that values and protects the natural, yet utilizes the wisdom gleaned from disciplined study and discovery. My humble opinion.

Dispatches from around the health headlines:
  • If you've got some time, read the in depth article from The New York Times chronicling cancer treatment while pregnant, which reveals unbelievable options being used, and the grace and grit of mothers facing motherhood and mortality in an immediate way that we all hope never to have to attempt.
  • Check out the groundbreaking methods being used to spot breast cancer.
  • Another really stunning miracle of anatomy and medicine is found in a story of a woman who delivered a baby successfully that had implanted outside of her uterus.
  • More is coming to light in understanding the mechanism of ovulation, and the role of a brain protein affecting fertility, which will hopefully yield valuable insights that may help those challenged to conceive.
  • The breast vs. bottle battleground in the news recently points to the confusing messages that mothers get in many hospitals, where they may get a pro-breastfeeding message before check-out, only to be sent home with some formula. The Natural News reports that recommendations have recently been changed that recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, rather than the previous guidelines that advised that solid foods could be introduced between four and six months.
  • Vaccines and the public relations battle. Recently a key British study that was cited by those that sought to prove a link between Autism and the MMR vaccine, was disproved, and called a "hoax." This has bolstered the PR fight that seeks to convince parents that the vaccines are safe, and that those who do not vaccinate constitute a fringe group among parents.
  • Something that started out as an effort to save lives, including fire retardant compounds in just about everything, may be making us sick, especially our young children. In a recent study by The Environmental Working Group, a research and advocacy organization, proof of an alarming unintended and horrifying danger to our overall health was further substantiated, with particular risk found for the especially vulnerable systems of young children.
  • The saying, "If momma isn't happy, then nobody is happy" is being found to be more true than you know. A link is now seen between the level of stress that a mother experiences and the obesity rates in children.
  • Finally, more proof that prospective spouses of the future may be asked to undergo a genetic vetting process. Researchers have claimed to have found a "divorce gene."

Love, medicine and miracles...and a genetic sample if your please?


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