Friday, October 31, 2008

Exercise Your Right To Be Tacky: Relevant Halloween Greetings

Hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween!
Amidst the sea of normal Halloween stories and reports, I found these two a little different and worthy of a look:
  • I got a little "slightly annoyed, indignant American" when I read British ex patriot Elizabeth Murray's disdainful, dare I say it, "stuffy Brit" (sorry UK readers, but sometimes, really, c'mon, you know you can be--not that we don't have our moments across the pond, but I'm just sayin) perspective on the "Hallowe'en" revelry. She was taken aback at the scale, but really, she's living in TEXAS, and as the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas. Not all are as into the more gory elements as she recounts. Heck, I haven't even carved the pumpkin yet, so I guess it's "harvest au'naturale" for this decoration challenged family.
  • As I recovered from my annoyance, I then happened across Matthew Taylor's excellent meditation on the American embrace of all things tacky, homey, gory and well, uniquely American in our celebration of Halloween, and his assertion that it is deeply tied to Democracy.

I say tomAto, you say tomaaaato, I say Halloween, you say Hallowe'en. Enjoy the revelry. Vive le Tacky...or should I just leave the French out of this all together?

Note: Graphic courtesy of with my thanks!

Moms Help Moms VOTE: Relevant Community

I thought that this idea from was so brilliant and so simple that I just HAD to pass it along:

Before election day, put out the word to your personal network of friends and family to support one another and make sure you help each other out if it's proving tough to get to the polls.

We've all had those days when we really needed to get to the grocery store, or the post office, but life with little ones doesn't always cooperate, and you just push it to another day, and another attempt. But we only have one shot to vote, so make sure that you support one another and lend a had.

  • Host an election playdate--invite a few friends and kids over and take turns supervising while some run to the polls
  • Go to the polls together and take turns minding the children as each person gets to get into the booth and vote. Hey it may be the only relative peace you have all day...that is if you are at peace with your decisions--can't help you there.
  • Offer to take the kids to school in the morning, or pick the kids in the afternoon so a friend can get to the polls
  • Hold an election potluck dinner, so no one has to worry about cooking that evening, and can instead spend that time in line at the their polling place.

These are just a few suggestions--add your own and run with it!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Brain Lights Up for John Cusack: Relevant Science Trivia

This one gets filed under just plain odd, but oddly interesting all the same. According to just released scientific study findings, individual brain cells in parts of the brain are dedicated to specific people, like say, oh, Jennifer Aniston. If you really like Jennifer Aniston, and your brain is stimulated with photos, etc., the same brain cell will show a response.
So I can conclude that ultimately my brain will betray me, because although I generally don't buy into the celeb crazy culture, you can rivet my attention with a mere whisper about John Cusack. Sad and pathetic, I mean how old are we now anyway, but there it is. Ohh! Right there, I think I felt that brain cell twitch. So John C., I didn't give you my heart, but you have at least one of my brain cells, and something tells me that would please you immensely.
Who have you allowed to colonize your brain?

Is Your Voice Always That High Pitched, Or Are You Just Ovulating?: Relevant Scientific Revelations

This must be the day for oddball scientific revelations that catch my eye:
  • Is your voice just a little higher? A little, well, girlier? Quick, do the math, you may be ovulating. Science Daily reports that a new UCLA study has observed that "women unconsciously change their voices with the approach of ovulation, using a higher, more feminine pitch in social communication." And a few days later, it can hit shrill pitches when provoked once PMS has set-in...oh is that just me? Can I get some scientific clarification please?

  • Also the reproductive "time-clock" angst sets in for many women sooner or later, and scientists now tell us that "Doctors can now tell women when their reproductive life is likely to end by measuring hormone levels in the blood." So for those hyper organized types out there, you can now book it in your personal organizational device of choice and plan accordingly. Can you imagine a date? "I'm Ed, I like wine tasting..." "Wait, Ed, let's cut to the chase. I've got 4.5 years left before I become infertile, and I would like to be pregnant by January...what's your timeline for this relationship?" And for those that really want to plan things down to the last details, they can head off to Turkey for controversial sex selection IVF.

  • And this one I just throw in. It's not sexy, odd or all that interesting, except that it pretty much tells us what we already knew, but want to find an elaborate "easy" way around. Weight loss IS really most effectively managed by attention to calories in and calories out. And as the author cleverly alludes to, in a time when elaborate money schemes are proving themselves to be disastrous, perhaps it's good to get back to basics.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Vote, Vote, Vote, and Oh Yes, VOTE: Relevant Citizenship

We are in the homestretch folks! If you haven't yet voted, either by absentee or early voting, make sure you exercise your right and privilege to cast your ballot for whomever you have decided on, not only in the presidential race, but the critical local and regional races as well, including propositions. In many places the ballots are large, so be sure to mark it before you go and vote to make things go quickly.

There are lots of questions that might come up, and this link from The Machinist on covers just about everything. Remember if you are getting any push back at your polling place to not leave unless you have been given a provisional ballot and make sure to follow up with local officials.

Also, if possible, take your kids and make sure to make a big deal about it--it's certainly a teachable moment, and here's hoping they remember it for a lifetime.

For those who have had just about enough of the political pulpit, make time for just one more woman with a plan:

Please Make it a Priority to Vote
Kids Can't Vote, But Moms Do!

Pumpkin Post: Relevant Holiday

Happy Almost Halloween everyone! Check out two fun links:

All things deliciously pumpkin

For those procrastinators, like, um, me, fun jack-o-lantern idea, although it might not be suitable for artistically challenged me.

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!

BPA-Baddie or Bad Rap-Your Guess is as Good as the FDAs Apparently: Relevant Consumer

The debate about BPA goes on, and American consumers are still confused about what to believe. Of particular concern is reporting that reveals that the lead researcher for the FDA on the panel considering its safety also heads a research center which coincidentally accepted $5 million from a lead advocate for BPA. Canada has previously decided to err on the side of caution and ban its use in children's products, and while many U.S. retailers, responding to consumer pressure have voluntarily removed BPA products, it is still pervasive, and the questions about the impartiality of the FDA, and its handling of this situation causes serious misgivings about the agency's effectiveness in protecting the American public, as was explored on tonight's NBC Nightly News.

To ease the minds of the American public and maintain confidence in its ability to protect Americans, these questions need to be forthrightly answered. As a parent, I'm erring on the side of caution--my son can't wait for their conclusive proof.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Omaha, We Have a Problem: Relevant Family and Soceity

I've been following this sad sign of the times story out of Nebraska, where an attempt to widen a safe surrender law to include infants older than three days, has led to the unintended consequence of minors, even in their teen years, being abandoned by parents or custodial guardians who claim that they can no longer care for their children. As of today, twenty two children have been surrendered under the Nebraska law, with parents often traveling from other states to do so.

Often the parents allude to financial hardship, but many also speak of out of control children, some presumably with special needs, who they have come to the end of their rope with. This law has revealed a soft underbelly in American culture, and how are we to deal with it? In some of the accounts, family and community members were not alerted, and had no knowledge of the difficulties. Perhaps it signals a fundamental isolation that families and communities must take a hard look at themselves and find solutions to head off such a desperate last resort.

Remote Control Vermin and Other Vexom Virus Vitriol: Relevant Germs

How very apropos this a post from the AP was to my day which revealed that doorknobs and remote controls, among other common surfaces in one's household, are the primary suspects for spreading those germs. I had just doused my remote control in antibacterial solution after my toddler insisted that he be allowed to hold the honored object, and ended with a good chewing session.

Living with children, the amazing gook that comes out of them is an unfortunate reality, unless one wears permanent gloves. But be prepared to pay for the therapy bills later on!

Happy cold and flu season!

Adventures of a Rapidly Aging Aspiring Bride: Relevant Culture

Maybe I'm on a little American drama overload at the moment (and I'm sure there are at this moment some readers both foreign and domestic that are nodding vigorously), but ladies around the globe have been catching my attention in the press reports the last several days. Today I read an interesting story about marriage in the Middle East. As an American of northern European descent, I never really experienced the pressure to marry, nor the wheeling and dealing that attends the state in other families and cultures. Alright there was that "talk" my now in-laws had with my husband and I, oh about ten years into our relationship, but we took our sweet time. Call it a benefit or the downfall of our soceity, but it's all in how you use the freedom to chose I say.

Claire Soares' story in the U.K.'s The Independent writes about a new book, based on a favorite blog in Egypt, that follows one Egyptian woman's experiences on the marriage mart. It is at turns hilarious, informative and frustrating. She's just about to turn 30, and time is running short; by early last century's standards she's firmly "on the shelf." Nevertheless she meets with suitors, quite a bunch of characters in themselves. Think Sex & the City, without the sex of course.

In the West we elevate freedom, but we also elevate "love," for better or for worse. It is not so in many other parts of the world, which still follows the model common not all that long ago of marriage as a pact, or alliance between families, conferring some benefit to both parties.

Also, marriage is so expensive she reports, it has spawned mass weddings. On that point at least parents who fret about the wedding bills can find a patch of common ground.

Monday, October 27, 2008

What Would Happen If Women Ruled The World? Look To Rwanda: Relevant Inspiration

Women have been on the march in Rwanda to not only rejuvenate a nation in the aftermath of genocide, but significantly improve the condition of women. They now hold the majority in the Rwandan parliament, the only country in the world who can boast such a thing. Inspiring testament to what women can achieve.

Also, take a moment to read about a remarkable young woman who has taken on the government of Niger, suing them for her enslavement.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mother Can You Save A Dime?: Relevant Frugality

We could all use a little help saving our pennies these days:
  • If you don't think your children notice when things change, or there are challenges in the household, think again. Marilyn Gardner of the Christian Science Monitor writes about families that have taken the issue head on with their children. Usable tactics you can also apply.
  • Coupon clipping is in vogue once again. Yet another old tactic that the Internet has taken to the next level, with some excellent time saving innovations for busy parents.
  • So, time was that tired mamas wanted to get together, throw back a few cosmos, and buy a few amazingly priced accessories, but these days tired, fiscally, and ecologically conscious mamas can kick back a few cosmos and knock out two things at once by hosting a green cleaning party to make their homes greener and more cost conscious by learning about the amazingly simple household cleaning compounds they can make on their own. Make it green and save some green.
  • Always a great resource, has an excellent frugal living discussion board filled with great discussion and tips about saving money.
  • Also on Mothering, in looking forward to the holiday season, they also have a great "Frugal Holidays 2008" thread with some great tips and ideas.
  • I'll cause you some anxiety in one second flat...ready...i-n-v-e-s-t-i-n-g. Check the blood pressure. Take a moment and read Kathleen Connell's excellent article detailing steps to "survive a volatile market."
  • And finally, I've read countless articles and books about the impact that educating and empowering women can do for a society. Christine Grumm writes how investing in women has been shown to remarkably combat poverty.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Circumsicion Celebration and Targeting Tomboys: Relevant World Views

Interesting items from around the world:

  • In South Korea a story recounts how a man would rather that people believe that he had an extra-marital affair that produced a child, rather than divulge that the child had been adopted, such has been the cultural stigma in a country that takes pride in precise familial histories and bloodlines. But as increasing numbers of the country's orphans began to find homes with foreigners, an effort has mobilized to alter the cultural perception of adoption, and in fact the country plans to bar foreign adoptions by 2010.

  • Sex education is always a hot button issue. Britain has increased the heat with its recent announcement that it plans to begin sex education at the age of five in its schools. The children would not be taught the mechanics of sex, but rather taught awareness of their bodies.

  • I would have not done to well in today's Malaysia. Recently, Islamic clerics have banned tomboys. The cleric reasoned that "girls who act like boys violate the tenets of Islam." While I rode horses and built forts with the boys in the neighborhood, I was no less a girly girl. Ask my husband about my pre child/budgetary restriction accessory habit.

  • I think many western men may have difficulty calling this a "festive" occasion, but in the southern Balkans once every five years they hold a festival to mass circumcise their sons. Interesting cultural perspective.

  • Many people take shots at those they term "lactivists," but the current situation in China illustrates how vulnerable we leave our populations when breastfeeding rates significantly wane. As wealth has increased, access to formulas has spread, and pressure upon women in the workforce has increased, drawing them away from their children earlier and earlier, rates of breastfeeding fell in China. Currently as a result of the melamine dairy industry scandal, 34,000 children have been sickened by tainted formulas, and nearly 1,500 still remain hospitalized. Now anxious Chinese parents to be are turning back to breastfeeding.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Stink or Stroke?: Relevant Health News

A catch-up edition of health news for kids and families:

  • A common assumption is that children lack health coverage because their parents aren't covered. A new report reveals that in actuality many parents are covered through their workplace, but aren't able to add their children because the costs are prohibitive, adding for the calls for programs that ease access for the nation's children.
  • The lack of childhood access to medical care exacerbates the issue of declining national health and increasingly expensive tax on the health care system contributing to a destructive cycle of escalating costs and even more people without health care coverage. Adding to the urgency of a comprehensive reevaluation of health, especially amongst the youth, a new report from the CDC now reveals that "About 3 million U.S. children have a food or digestive allergy -- an 18 percent increase over the past 10 years."
  • As the numbers of children with special needs grows, more is being written to help the mainstream public understand the challenges these children and families face. The New York Times Magazine recently ran an in depth look at approaches now being taken to reach autistic children and adolescents. Also, parenting a special needs child increases the already normal challenges parenting poses to a marital relationship, and some relationships unfortunately are not able to withstand the strain. A report now has revealed that "Parents of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are almost twice as likely as other parents to divorce by the time their child is 8 years old, a new study suggests," and increasingly doctors are recommending that families and couples who experience the challenge of raising a special needs child seek counseling to maintain the overall health of the family.
  • Sensory processing difficulties are especially pernicious to effectively address in the typical clinical settings, so an innovative program called "snoezelen" (pronounced "snooze-a-lan") from the Dutch that means "explore" and "relax," which is used in Europe and approximately 30 countries, is starting to appear in the U.S. "A strange-sounding therapy of flashing lights, music, water bubble tubes and other fascinating sights and sounds is helping young psychiatric patients learn how to contain agitated, aggressive, angry or anxious minds...Instead of putting frustrated or impulsive patients in a bare seclusion room, staff of the REACH outpatient psychiatric child program instead have directed them into the snoezelen room."
  • I'm not to sure about the recent story that suggests that Internet and cell phones are perhaps strengthening the family unit, but I suppose there is something to be said for using the always connected phenomenon, and some say malady, to the advantage of the family.
  • Can you believe that we have had planning in place for what to do with our pets in the case of major disasters following the debacle of Hurricane Katrina, but only recently has the National Council on Children and Disasters convened it's very first meeting to address how we handle the needs of children in a disaster?
  • 2.5 children is not the one size fits all of the American family. Those bucking the cultural norms since the 1970s of shrinking family size are subject to scrutiny and some amusing, and at times pernicious comments. One mother writes about the blessings of a larger family and the lessons children learn from a big gang of siblings.
  • Significant reduction in a woman's risk of suffering from rheumatoid arthritis has been reported recently as a benefit of breastfeeding at least to one year of age.
  • I had to save this little health tidbit for last. As the only female in a house full of boys, I am subjected to a lot of commentary about flatulation. It turns out from some recent research results that flatulation may be one of the body's methods of keeping blood pressure low. I can hear my husband now...a big stink, or a big stroke, you decide.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Has the Brave New World Arrived?

British scientist have now successfully developed a "universal" genetic test that can be administered to embryos as new as two days old that is capable of screening for "almost any known genetic disease," and is expected to be available next year. The test can even forecast what conditions that child would be susceptible to later in life, such as cancers or Alzheimer's disease. While the test is expected to significantly aid in the IVF process by selecting embryos most likely to survive, it also has many attendant concerns surrounding it as well, such as privacy issues, designer babies and right to life concerns.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Forget The Birds and the Bees, Try Explaining Taxes to your Kids!: Relevant Policy Update

Ah taxes. Joe the Plumber's aside, what do the candidates have in store for your tax bills specifically? Check out a recent and surprisingly clear article on the differences.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Got Education Plans?: Relevant Presidential Policies

The final presidential debate is a wrap, and now it's the dash to the finish line. Education actually came up this time around, and wasn't a tiny blip in the rhetoric. I thought a recent article comparing the two candidates education plans would be helpful for those still making up their minds or solidifying their knowledge of their chosen candidate.

Also, I just got my super nifty bumperclinger from which declares "Kids Don't Vote But Moms Do!" You can still get a "MomsVote 08" clinger by clicking here. Seriously moms, get out the vote--your kids depend upon YOU! And take them to the polls to start learning about this important right and mandate of free citizens.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What Came First- the Egg or the Illicit Chicken Movement?: Relevant Miscellany

Happily my paid writing work is busy, but never fear I've still been following the news! These tidbits fall under "miscellaneous and interesting." Enjoy!
  • So this one is just plain odd, but a boxer has found an "innovative" use for his son's wet diapers; apparently they do wonders for his battered fists when wrapped around them, pee and all. It's his number one use for number one.
  • Can you imagine a boy at the age of nine having the opposite sex figured out, let alone a published author on the topic? Meet Alec Greven, author of How to Talk To Girls.
  • Were you aware that there is an "illicit urban chicken movement" growing across the U.S.? Peek inside the hen house next door. Just take it from me, don't be so dense as to build your coop mere feet from your neighbor's bedroom windows--it makes them rather peckish!
  • Here are the latest hot toys for the holidays. In view of the conservative buying most retailers have done for this sure to be abysmal holiday sales period, if you want one of these goodies, get them now!
  • Watch out for a nasty You Tube virus!
  • October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One of the more interesting stories I have read describes a special pair of gloves one can acquire which aids in detecting lumps in the breast. Pretty amazing.
  • The argument between the creationist and the evolutionists may now be rather moot, because according to one report, we're done--we're as good as we're going to get, genetically speaking.
  • That's one big baby! I thought I had it challenging tending to a very active toddler, but this brings a touch of perspective. In Kenya, a two ton rhino is tenderly cared for and fiercely protected by his ranger parents. British tourist, Deacon Smith gets the award for best comment: ""I've never seen people touching a wild rhino. They're usually moving in the opposite direction — quickly."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Celebration out of Grief and the Financial Toll of Birth: Relevant Pregnancy News

Pregnancy news to inspire and consider:
  • Recently I realized that I knew more women who had had a miscarriage than had not, but it never makes it any easier. One of the harder things is that it can be difficult to talk about, and difficult to hear about; one really struggles with what to say all around. As a result many women never really get heard about their complicated emotions, not to mention the vexom, at the least, and horrific at the worst, physicality of the experience. An inspiring event recently occurred in Virginia in which families found a way to remember and celebrate their lost children within the community, taking the grief out of the silence. "The Walk To Remember" is planned to be an annual event, and hopefully will spread to other communities to help bring a small measure of comfort through supportive inclusion.
  • The worst case scenario of finding out that there is a serious issue with your unborn child can test the fortitude of the most resolute of parents-to-be. What are parents to do when two doctors and countless Internet horror stories tell them there is no hope? They follow their gut and get a third opinion, and their healthy five year old child is a testament to their resolution to follow their hearts and intuition! An inspiring story for parents.
  • Once you hit 35, all kinds of daunting tests are proposed for the expectant mother to screen for issues and possible defects. There has been significant worry about the safety of these highly invasive tests, and in a percentage of pregnancies is suspected of leading to miscarriage. Recently a new report found that the CVS (chorionic villus sampling) "does not appear to raise the risk of fetal loss."
  • In a time of escalating health care costs and shrinking coverage the issue of how birth is handled in our culture and health care systems is receiving increased scrutiny due to the sheer costs that the procedures that are administered to the average pregnant women, let alone those requiring more intervention. The escalating rates of c-section, long a serious point of contention in the birth debate, in particular are adding an immense load, and perhaps unnecessarily, and continue to put women on the course of repeated surgeries for their subsequent pregnancies. Those who want to have vaginal deliveries (VBAC) following a c-section are finding an uphill battle to do so, spawning activism. An important dimension of the healthcare debate to consider as we tackle (hopefully) the healthcare issue in the national debate.

Keeping Pace with the Turmoil: Relevant Deciphering

Reading the news sources daily as I do, it's an understatement to say that the financial news is not good. Take heart though, we've been through terrible crisis before, and the times call for clear level headed thinking, especially as parents; remember the little ones are watching and look to us to help them understand how to approach tough and turbulent times. One of the best skills you can model is to work to stay informed so that you can make the best decisions you can about your immediate finances as well as in the larger direction of the country through the leaders we put in place to handle the situations. So that being said, let's talk rate cuts. The FED along with several central financial agencies around the world have coordinated to put an emergency interest rate cut in place. But what does this mean exactly? Check out this resource to get up to speed quickly.

Times like these call for strong families, and your job is more important than ever. God speed readers!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Nanny Monkey Business

Recent warnings have cautioned parents that infants and "exotic" animal pets are not generally considered a safe thing. So, although pretty endearing, this Indian mother might want to reconsider this unconventional "day-care" arrangement.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

These Little Critters are Expensive!: (More) Relevant Resources

Two online resources that landed in my in-box, courtesy of ParentHacks (and thank you by the way), are Baby Cheapskate and Freepeats. These are both "favorite worthy," so be sure to bookmark them.

  • Baby Cheapskate is a blog that tracks all those lovely deals to be had on baby stuff, including basics like diapers, so check back often.

  • Freepeats is a newer organization that takes the concept of FreeCycle and focuses it on baby and kid items. There is a nominal fee to join ($4.95), or if they are launching newly in your city, it is free for life if you join during their initial enrollment period.

  • For the uninitiated, FreeCycle is a widespread organization, and you simply join your local group via Yahoo Groups and swap stuff with other members FOR FREE. You are as likely to find things like "Free Wood," as well as "Free Crib-Barely Used," if you haven't checked it out, do so, but a warning, competition can be fierce for items, so quick on the mouse clicks to have a chance at getting a posted item. Freepeats takes the concept to just kid items. We'll see how it goes; I just joined.

Halloween is coming...have you heard? I ran across a helpful article to help moms exercise some good old fashioned creative frugality when coming up with a costume. If you've already got a costume, still keep it in mind on the off chance that the munchkin decides that it will be a fate worse than death to now be (insert popular character here) just like all five of his/her friends. Just a note of caution...make sure it's age appropriate; I'm still scarred by a "creative" costume dreamed up by my mom (Sorry Mom) that I swear had me dressed in what was probably an attempt at a cute flapper, but ended up rather looking like "woman of ill repute." Happy Haunting!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

That's $2.00 Worth of Chicken You Just Flung And Other Feeding Frustrations: Relevant Resources

Two of the biggest challenges my friends and I face are saving money and remaining sane whilst feeding the brood. I ask you, do you similarly want to scream in frustration when you have carefully plotted your food budget and purchases, only to watch your toddler proceed to toss whatever you make on the floor, or in my case land a direct hit with the tuna sandwich smack dab in the center of my furrowed brow? It is in these moments that I physically pray for restraint, and resist the time honored lecture about starving children in...he's not even two, I doubt it would resonate other than to cause mild amusement at the fact that mama has been whipped into such a frenzy that her normally high word count has now tripled. I imagine I sound much like the teacher in Charlie Brown at this point. Wha-Wha-Wha-Wha!

So in the quest to save money and feed the kid(s) (including husbands, who frankly sometimes lead the revolt...traitors), may you benefit from the fruits of my surfing:

  • One of my favorite parenting blogs is ParentHacks, which had an excellent posting containing all kinds of suggestions for good food presented in innovative ways designed to appeal to the discerning toddler. These responses stressed feeding the kids with humor and downright silliness.
  • Keeping up with a busy and opinionated toddler often leaves me tapped out in the cooking creativity department, and I'm not really willing to be a short order cook. So what is a mother to do on short time? I turn to another of my personal "parental lifelines": RecipeZaar! Seriously, bookmark it right NOW. Check out the results for "Ready in 15 Minutes" and the "Ready in 15 Minutes for a Toddler." Be sure to use the filter options to further limit your search sets, and save yourself some precious time.
  • Placement of a car seat in your vehicle is critical to keep your kids safe, and information about a new study asserts that whenever possible center position is definitely best.
  • The results of the Frugal Family Challenge, conducted by ABC News and USA Today are in. Find out how two typical American families trimmed their household spending, and get some good tips on trimming your own.
  • ParentHacks also had some very useful links to some recent articles about children and technology, with very useful information for parents trying to keep up to speed. But as my friend who related how much more adept her three year old was with her i-Phone, I suspect we all have an uphill battle--they seem wired for it out of the womb these days! Also check out an article about Twitter, and kid safe emailing tips.

And here are a couple of useful items, albeit not directly related to saving money and feeding the kids:

  • If you haven't already discovered as a reliable go-to source to check out rumors and current cultural mythology, read this great article that profiles the couple that are the driving force behind this Internet superstar.
  • Everyone is rushing to cash in on the growing eco-consciousness of the American consumer. But, not all "organic" is created equal, and sometimes a used synthetic is better than a new organic item as a recent feature in The Christian Science Monitor illustrates.
  • This is a sign of the times: forget the candle, lingerie, cookware parties of the past, nowadays gold is in!

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