31 October 2007

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?

If you're like me and still scrambling through the stores to get your candy stash in place for trick-or-treating tonight (although my daughter has had her fabulous woodland fairy costume in hand for a couple of weeks now -- she's going to be a hit!), you may want to pick up this cute read as a last-minute gift for your kids. How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? combines a festive holiday theme with a timeless counting lesson.

Author Margaret McNamara (winner of the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Book Award) and illustrator G. Brian Karas (recipient of the New York Times Best Illustrated Book award) offer an endearing tale of children working toward a common goal, happily learning about pumpkins -- and the risk of making assumptions.

Speaking of assumptions, I just remembered that my laundry is not clean and I'll need to go wash the green pants my daughter will wear underneath her gauzy fairy skirt -- I'm off! Have a wonderful and safe Halloween.

~ Lisa

30 October 2007

Staying in the Pink

It's not too late to show support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month by shopping pink! Looking for ideas? Check out a few more of the items that have passed through our offices this month.

Pink Pony is Ralph Lauren's initiative in the fight against cancer.

Get into the swing of things with Golf Pride's limited-edition golf grip supporting Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization.

Girls4Sport's Pink Store features active swimwear and sportswear benefiting Boarding for Breast Cancer.

And my personal family favorite: Munchkin.com's Project Pink ducky raises money for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Buy a pink rubber ducky; dress up your own computerized ducky and e-mail it to your friends or enter it in a contest; or bid on a celebrity-decorated quacker.

Your purchases help women everywhere enjoy a few more moments. For the cure!

~ Lisa

29 October 2007

Superbug Strategies

Drug-resistant staph infections -- methicillin-resistant S. aureus, or MRSA -- have struck local schools, from Southlake to Flower Mound. The new strain of bacteria can cause severe infections that can send even the healthiest kids to the hospital. Breaks in the skin are the most common entry point for MRSA, making contact sports -- and contaminated locker rooms -- a frequent source of infection.

Carroll ISD, which has confirmed two cases of MRSA among secondary-level students, has posted a staph fact sheet and action report on its web site, in addition to taking a number of steps to combat the problem:
  • Disinfecting locker rooms, dressing areas and restrooms regularly.
  • Asking students/athletes to keep cuts and lesions covered.
  • Requesting parents/students report possible staph infections and/or confirmed cases to athletic trainers, nurses and principals.
  • Fogging locker rooms weekly with an industrial fogger designed to kill staph.
  • Requesting athletes/students empty PE/athletic lockers every Wednesday evening for a more thorough cleaning.
  • Having all coaches meet with their athletes about washing their towels, socks, uniforms, pads, etc., regularly.
  • Discouraging the sharing of clothing, equipment, towels, razors or soaps, etc.
  • Providing Clorox wipes to coaches/PE teachers to wipe down weight rooms, etc.
Parents should encourage frequent hand washing at home and school, instruct young athletes to avoid sharing personal items such as soap and towels, encourage showers after PE and athletic practices, wash sports clothes in hot water and teach kids to avoid contact with other children's open wounds.

~ Lisa

Jerry Seinfeld Buzzes About Bee Movie

Jerry Seinfeld hits the big screens this weekend (Nov 2) in his new animated feature Bee Movie. Seinfeld lends his voice to Barry B. Benson - a bee who leaves his hive and explores the human world.

DallasChild got to ask Seinfeld a few questions about the movie, what it's like to be a bee, and his real life as a dad.

DallasChild: What message should kids take away from Bee Movie?
Jerry Seinfeld: That everything in nature is related is one lesson that comes out of the movie. And they [bees] never realize that that little job that they’re doing has this huge effect on nature and biology and the world of pollination and produce, and it affects all these other things because they take their little job so seriously. And that’s the other message that I like in the film - take a little job seriously.

DC: Did your children influence your decision to make this movie?
JS: No, not really. I really kind of thought that this just would be a really funny movie, and it would be fun to make. But now as I’m finishing it, I’m thinking more that this is going to be a wonderful gift to children of the world, just a funny little movie about a subject that no one has ever made a movie about before. So now I’m really excited about it as a gift to children.

DC: How do you balance work and family?
JS: Oh, that’s a good question. Well, the answer for me is I am unable to. And, as a result, I’m not going to work as much after this because I have worked a lot in my life, and now I want to make my family more important. So after this movie, I don’t know if I’m going to do anything for a while besides perform stand-up which doesn’t require that much time. You know you can go out for a night or two and come home.

Enjoy the movie!

26 October 2007

No Leads on Lead

In the face of unrelenting recalls for lead-contaminated children's toys and products, you may have been tempted to run to the hardware store for a home lead-testing kit. The latest recommendation from the Consumer Product Safety Commission: don't bother. The home testing kits, which were designed to test paint, are not reliable for children's products, the CPSC said this week.

The CPSC tested more than 100 home kits on toys and found that 56 failed to detect lead, while two others warned of lead where it didn't exist. "Based on the study, consumers should not use lead test kits to evaluate consumer products for potential lead hazards," concluded the CPSC.

~ Lisa

25 October 2007

What's Your Treat?

You want to give out treats the neighborhood kids will love -- but you don't want to fill them up with sugar and candy, set off an allergic reaction with nuts or risk contaminating kids with lead from toxic Chinese-made trinkets. What's a thoughtful neighbor to do?

Many parents are getting creative, filling their goody trays with holiday pencils, markers and other crafty tidbits. Stickers and temporary tattoos are another safe and popular standby. Other parents have had success breaking up decks of trading cards and allowing children to take their pick.

Are you changing your tactics on what will be in your goody stash this Halloween? What will you be giving away to trick-or-treaters who come to your door this year?

~ Lisa

24 October 2007

Bully, Bully

This week is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Week, and the folks at Hazelden Publishing have put together a free, downloadable toolkit for parents to help end bullying. Topics include defining bullying, what to do if your child is being bullied, what to do if your child bullies others, and how to help if your child witnesses bullying.

The kit also offers information about online bullying ("cyber-bullying"), talking with school staffers and developing a bullying prevention program at your child's school. Download the kit now and learn how to help your child deal with this all-too-common problem.

~ Lisa

Soles for Souls

Cheers to General Growth Properties, which collected 3,583 pairs of shoes -- yes, that's nearly 4,000 pairs of shoes! -- for charity at Collin Creek Mall, Hulen Mall, Stonebriar Centre, The Parks at Arlington, Town East Mall and Vista Ridge Mall. The shoes went to Soles4Souls, which aims to impact as many lives as possible worldwide with the gift of shoes.

That's walking the walk, indeed!

~ Lisa

23 October 2007

Think You Know the Facts?

Despite the relative success of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in getting Americans to “think pink,” a new survey from the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) reveals potentially critical knowledge gaps among American women. Despite the fact that 61 percent of those surveyed reported having recently heard or read something about breast cancer and 76 percent consider themselves knowledgeable about breast cancer, the survey shows that awareness is not translating into knowledge.

A majority of respondents (56%) believe that most breast cancers occur among women with a family history or a genetic predisposition to the disease. The reality is that over two-thirds of women diagnosed have no known risk factor. Even though having an inherited mutation in certain genes is the most potent risk factor, the National Cancer Institute states that these genes are rare in the general population and are estimated to account for no more than 5 to 10 percent of breast and ovarian cancer cases overall." Breast cancer is expected to claim the lives of some 40,000 women in the United States this year.

Want more facts? Visit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation's fact page.

~ Lisa

18 October 2007

A Step at a Time

Just one bite of an allergy-causing food can trigger a life-threatening reaction in a child with food allergies. Strict avoidance of allergy-causing ingredients is the only way to prevent a reaction. There is no cure in sight -- but you can help scientists work toward solutions.

Lace up your walking shoes this weekend at the local Walk for Food Allergy, sponsored by the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. The 2.2-mile walk begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 20 at Bob Woodruff Park in Plano. Help raise funds for allergy research, learn more about food allergies and connect with others who are living with food allergies. Be sure to stay and play after the event at the after-walk carnival. Click here for more local event information.

In three years, the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network has raised more than $2 million from walk events and hopes to raise another $2 million in 2007. When you contribute to FAAN you are helping us further our mission. Eighty-one cents of every dollar is spent on innovative research and programs that help give families struggling with food allergies a fighting chance.

See you at the park!

~ Lisa

17 October 2007

Take Time for the Cure

It's raining pink at our offices, as companies continue sending tips and teasers for all sorts of Breast Cancer Awareness Month goodies. From pink vacuum cleaners to pink surfing shorts, it seems that virtually everyone has a spin on Pink Ribbon Month this year.

Every now and then, a product will rise above the rest to make an especially chic impression. Here's something every time-pressed mom can get behind: a Coach Bridle Classic Watch. A full $100 of your purchase for one of these rosy-hued classics goes to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. So take a Swarovski-crystal shining to pink this year, and be fashionably on time.

~ Lisa

16 October 2007

Bookmark This!

Impress with the best as you pull up in a Dana Buchman-designed custom 2008 Cadillac SRX, now up for raffle at NorthPark Center. Proceeds of this unique fundraiser will benefit Bookmarks, a new Dallas Public Library opening soon in NorthPark Center.

The new library opening in NorthPark Center is a one-of-kind creation designed by award-winning Dallas architects design associates. Bookmarks: A Dallas Public Library will be a “kid-friendly” space, with an abundance of bright colors, plenty of places to curl up with a book, and unique artwork. The 1,993 square-foot library is for children through age 12 and will be located on the first floor.

“I am thrilled to have designed this Cadillac SRX,” said Dana Buchman, “It’s a beautiful piece of machinery. It is my hope that donating the car to Bookmarks will raise sufficient funds to keep reading at the forefront of our children’s education.”

Tickets to win the Dana Buchman 2008 Cadillac SRX are available at the NorthPark Center Concierge through Oct. 31. from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Tickets will be limited to the first 1,000 sold and are available for $100 per ticket. All proceeds from the sale of the tickets will benefit Bookmarks. The winning ticket will be drawn on Friday, November 2 at NorthPark Center; you need not be present to win.

Worth bookmarking, indeed!

15 October 2007

Not Just Any Manic Monday...

It's Monday...and that means...It's Dancing With the Stars night, and also the night where your attention and fingers count the most. By now, I'm sure no one needs a reminder, but I'll say it anyway...vote for Dallas' Mark Cuban at 1-800-VOTE-411 or 3411 by text for AT&T Customers as many times as possible. He needs Dallas' (and Fort Worth's) votes!

Now what can be more entertaining than Mark in round 5...vote tonight!

Fun at the Fair

I stopped by the State Fair this weekend, just to check in on the big guy (Tex) and grab a funnel cake. Having not been to the fair in several years, though, I wasn’t sure what it might hold for a city girl who does not like heat or crowds. To my delight, I had a wonderful time! The weather was perfect, the grounds were pristine, the exhibits were fabulous, and the fried foods were just to my liking.

My family particularly enjoyed the Texas Skyway. It’s a welcome addition to the fair, and really, an unexpected treat. The ride is short, but the view is spectacular.

Also spectacular: The Neiman Marcus Fortnight exhibit in the Hall of State. Photos and memorabilia from the downtown store’s famed fortnight celebrations are on display here, and if anyone knows how to throw a party, it’s Neiman’s. A 1969 note from Stanley Marcus to the store’s visual director at the time strongly instructed him to keep within the $70-80,000 budget in the future. That’s about a $400,000 party, by today’s standards.

Only six more days to experience this year’s fair! Because, like Stanley Marcus, Dallas knows how to put on a show.


12 October 2007

Who's Your "Number One?"

Once again this year, we’ll be tallying up the crème of the crop for the best all over Dallas and Fort Worth. The results will appear in our December issue of each respective magazine letting you know who’s on top for 2007. Make your opinions count…vote now at dallaschild.com and fortworthchild.com to get your voice heard!

Voting ends Nov 1!


11 October 2007

Manufacturers Pull Infant Cough and Cold Meds

If you have any over-the-counter cough or cold medicine for infants lurking in your medicine cabinet -- throw them out! The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) announced voluntary market withdrawals today on behalf of the leading makers of over-the-counter infant cough and cold medicines. The withdrawal affects only "infant" oral medicines, not those intended and labeled for use in children age 2 and up.

At issue is concern that consumers could misuse the medicines in infants, causing a serious or even deadly overdose. Government scientists have said that there is little evidence the medicines actually relieve cough and cold symptoms in infants. The FDA will meet next week to consider adding the words "do not use in children under two years" to product labels.

Your best strategy for giving relief to the very youngest cough and cold sufferers are the old-fashioned remedies you've always relied on: humidifiers, nasal bulb syringes or saline nose spray -- and lots of hugs and kisses along with some tincture of time!

10 October 2007

Off the Page: Raising Athletes for Life

North Texas families are crazy about competition and team sports -- so it can be easy to overlook the rainbow of "lifetime sports" and recreation available in our area. But kids are more likely to continue sports like rock climbing, swimming, walking ... running, fishing ... racquetball and hiking after their school years.

"Certainly organized sports provide children with a sense of team and a sense of belonging, but they can find that in other activities and hobbies like riding a bike or rollerblading, too." -- Dr. Pete Stavinoha, child psychologist, Children's Medical Center Dallas

Read more about what the experts think -- and what the kids think! -- about finding the right sport, and check our list of 8 Questions to Find the Right Sport, in "Raising Athetes" from the October 2007 issue of DallasChild and FortWorthChild. Be a good sport and pick up a copy today!

08 October 2007

Dance Dance Mark Cuban

Don’t forget to vote for Mark and Kym as they tackle the jive on tonight’s Dancing with the Stars. On his blog, Cuban expresses concern that we Dallasites will forget about him tonight, while the Cowboys are battling the Bills on Monday Night Football. So, call 1 800/VOTE-411 to help them stay in the game; or, AT&T customers can text “VOTE” to 3411---as many as 11 times.

No excuses for stopping at seven votes, either.


Care About "the Cure?" Take a (Pink) Seat...

When the pink ribbons come out, it can only mean one thing…it must be October, breast cancer awareness month. There are hundreds and hundreds of pink products advertised everywhere this month, but one caught my eye in particular – the Florence Knoll bench at Design Within Reach (DWR). Their company, like many others around the world, have been “severely impacted,” says a statement on their website, and would like to give back. An online auction of the bench will begin Oct 16 and go through Oct 25; the in-studio auctions will be held in 9 studios (including Dallas) across the country on Oct 25. All proceeds from the auctions will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation.
Visit www.dwr.com to get the details.


04 October 2007

Off the Page: Surviving Childhood Cancer

Jennifer Hardy was only 2 when she was diagnosed with Wilms' Tumor; through treatments and time, the tumor disappeared (she's now 24), but she and her mother still carry the battle wounds on their hearts.

"(Jennifer) became a model patient, offering her hand and taking her treatment like an adult. I discovered then, and throughout the treatments, that children have a profound way of protecting their parents." -- Mary Ann Hardy

Read these reflections of a mother and daughter on a journey marked with hope and haunted by fear, in "Surviving Childhood Cancer" from the latest issue (October 2007) of DallasChild and FortWorthChild.

What would you do for love?

The October issue of Babytalk magazine features a poignant page of quotes from parents whose children have lost their loveys -- blankies, teddies and all manner of beloved items. My family's keepsake chest contains an entire section especially for retired loveys. Doggums, my own patched grey poodle from what my kids call Ancient Times, holds court over an assortment of dingy, patched seals, bears and other barely identifiable creatures. When I open the chest to take out a new season's worth of hand-me-downs, the whole family inevitably gathers around to greet and pay homage to our dearly departed loveys.

There's nothing sweeter than a reunion with a lost lovey. Have your children ever lost a lovey? What did you do to get it back? Leave us a comment and share your sweetest lost-lovey reunions!

~ Lisa

03 October 2007

The Good Book

The Neiman Marcus Christmas Book was unveiled yesterday, which, for some of us, means the holiday season starts NOW! It also means my Christmas (and birthday) lists just got a little bit longer.

One of this year’s ultimate fantasy gifts is a private concert by Russia’s famed Kirov Orchestra ($1.59 million). Or, there’s the Montana Wilderness Package ($2.3 million). Both unforgettable experiences, I am sure, but if you are looking into purchasing either of these options for me, please understand that I will need something to wear!

See page 11 of The Book for a frock suitable for the Kirov concert. Alexander McQueen’s red silk dress with pleated insert just begs for a night of music and culture. The dress looks superluxe, and McQueen’s exquisite, Savile Row tailoring takes center stage.

And, Manolo Blahnik’s black, sequined Carolyne sling back (named for designer Carolyne Roehm) is a perfect complement, seen on page 10.

For staying warm in the Montana wilderness, I think the Pologeorgis Lippi cat fur coat (see page 8) would do the trick.

Happy browsing and fantasy list-making!


01 October 2007

Hometown (Dancing) Hero

It’s showtime again tonight for Mark Cuban and his dancing partner, Kym, tonight as they tackle the Mambo. They were in the bottom two, barely missing the boot last week, so call to vote at 1.800.VOTE.411 tonight after what is sure to be another entertaining performance by the duo. On that note, want to hear Cuban’s thoughts on being a dancing daddy? Read his latest post on www.blogmaverick.com…it’s a softer side of the “bouncing bionic billionaire” that the media doesn’t tend to capture. It’s also cool to read about a dancer’s thoughts/emotions from that show…it’s a rollercoaster ride for us viewers at home, and now we know for the dancers too.... Blog or no blog, one thing is apparent...they're all having fun out there!