28 February 2008

"But NOBODY Wears a Helmet, Mom!"

Don’t give in to the wailing when your kids spy you packing the sports helmets for the spring break ski trip. Safety on the slopes seems to be catching on. These days, more kids than not are wearing their safety helmets when skiing and snowboarding.

An online study hosted by Bear Valley showed that 75 percent of the more than 250 people surveyed reported that their children under the age of 14 were wearing helmets to ski and snowboard. The National Ski Areas Association, which sponsors Lids on Kids, has seen a significant national upward trend in helmet use among kids over the past five years.

"Given the winter sports environment and the nature of children to have fun, ensuring a reasonable amount of protection makes good sense," writes Dr. Michael P. Pietrzak at Lids on Kids. "The use of helmets is a step in the right direction – they offer that extra degree of protection your family deserves."

So don’t let balky kids push you down the slippery slope – without a helmet, that is.

Allen Residents Rejoice

Fri, Feb 29 marks the grand opening of Allen's newest addition to the upscale Watters Creek at Montgomery Farm development: Market Street, a gourmet grocery store.

The grocer — comparable to Central Market — combines the everyday groceries that shoppers need with the specialty items (whole-health/gourmet products) and pre-prepared foods they want.

The store also offers yummy organic and all-natural in-store dining options for the whole family (or for kids who simply need some munchies before they have another infamous in-store breakdown!).

The Allen store is the first of three new Market Street openings slated on the company calendar for 2008. The second store is scheduled to open in west Frisco this summer, while a third new Market Street is targeted for completion before Thanksgiving in Coppell.

Which upscale grocer do you prefer more: Whole Foods, Central Market or Market Street? E-mail to editorial@dallachild.com.

Market Street, Allen. 985 West Bethany Drive. 972/908-3830. Open 6am - 10pm.

27 February 2008

It's (Almost) Primary Election Time: Get The Kids Involved

In honor of the nearing primary election (March 4 — go here to read about voting eligibility and locations), here's a mix of politically-infused items that have recently traipsed across our desks/computer screens:

  • Get your middle-school aged kids involved in the voting process by adding the Scholastic Online News' Election Center to their list of parental-approved internet sites. This site offers up-to-the moment news tickers, daily polls (such as "Do celebrity endorsements make a difference to voters?") and daily reports from the Scholastic News kid reporters who are covering the campaign efforts across the country. Kids also can play games that test their knowledge about the election or how they might fare if they were president.
  • Head to your local library to peruse children's books about the election process. There are tons to choose from — one title we like in particular is As if Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother is Running For President! by Donna Gephart. This book (for ages 9-12) is written from the perspective of a preteen girl who's mom is, well, running for president — and ruining her life! Girls will love this enjoyable tie-in to current events.
  • Your kiddos too young to read on their own, or be curious about the political atmosphere around them? Dress them in political-savvy style with these adorable T-shirts from Uncommonly Cute. (Reading: 'Lil Democrat and 'Lil Republican.)
Got another suggestion to add to our list? Send it our way: editorial@dallaschild.com. Don't forget to vote!

26 February 2008

Take a Moment to Craft With Your Kids

The new book from the well-known, crafty blogger Amanda Soule, The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections, is inspiring us at DallasChild to look differently at household objects that can be easily utilized to craft objects with the kids.

This adorably illustrated book — with Soule's colorful personal photographs, nonetheless — is chock-full of imaginative play, activity ideas for both indoors and out and crafts that will engage the whole family.

Take a peek for yourself: visit Soule's blog or read about her and her projects on her Web site. Soule's book is available on Amazon.com in April.

25 February 2008

Elle Décor Editor to Sign Copies of New Book

Attention all you home décor-obsessed moms: Margaret Russell, editor-in-chief of Elle Décor magazine (whom we all watched alongside Todd Oldham, Jonathan Adler and Kelly Wearstler on last year's Bravo reality show Top Design) will be making a stop at NorthPark Center's Robb & Stucky Interiors to sign copies of her newest book, So Chic: Glamorous Lives, Stylish Spaces.

The book gives readers more than a glimpse into the luxurious scenery of celebrities' homes, including Ralph Lauren, Sarah Jessica Parker and more.

Make it an evening event with your girlfriends: meet Russell at 6pm Thu, Feb 28 at NorthPark's Robb & Stucky. For reservations, call 1-888/715-3590.

A Hero in Their Own Minds

Remember those cool fantasy books your brother’s geeky friend used to read when you were little – the ones that let you choose which path to take at critical points? They’re back, updated for today’s kids. Your child will become a hero in her own fantasy adventure with the return of the beloved Endless Quest interactive series.

Endless Quest books are "literature that by its nature holds a reader by the throat and doesn't let go," according to English Journal, the publication of the National Council of Teachers of English. The books are expected to be a big hit among kids who enjoy video games, since the text mimics the gaming environment by allowing the reader to control the action.

If that’s still not enough interaction and engagement for you, check out the teaching and discussion guides. You’re bound to find some ways to get your 8- to 12-year-old reluctant reader fired up about slaying a dragon – and knock off a few good books along the way!

(Photo: Wizards of the Coast)

22 February 2008

And the Oscar goes to...

Do film-loving Moms and Dads need a night out on the town? Party-goers of The USA Film Festival of Dallas' Oscar Night America event will have a front row seat to the annual glitz and glamor of Hollywood's golden night.

Sunday, Feb 24, The Oscars will be televised on the Studio Movie Grill's big screen and accompanied with official program books, commemorative posters and — most importantly — a complimentary glass of champagne and a light buffet by Chef Thad Kelly.

Guests also may bid on items such as artwork, home furnishings, spa certificates, exclusive collectible wines from Sterling Vineyards and much more.

Doors open at 6pm and the telecast begins at 7pm. Tickets start at $45. Visit USA Film Festival's Web site for more information and to purchase tickets.

21 February 2008

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

If there are any baseball fanatics in your home (big or little), here’s an opportunity to have some fun before the start of the season this April.

Youth baseball program Diamonds in the Rough is sponsoring a contest for kids (7-14) to share what baseball means to them. More than just “fun with my friends,” the contest’s aim is to get kids thinking and talking about how the game helps them both on the field and off (confidence, health, teamwork, entertainment, etc).

With some of baseball’s “greats” making headlines for all the wrong reasons lately, the contest provides a great opportunity to think about the kind of character traits the game can build.

Kids can enter in a variety of fun ways, too, via video, essay or photos at www.briggsdiamondsintherough.com. The best part? Twenty winners from around the country will win $5,000 for their teams and compete for the grand prize—$10,000 for their home field and team and a trip to a New York Yankees game.

(PS—a look at our upcoming story on concussions might give you a few ideas for what your child’s team could do with $5,000. Namely: high-tech helmets. Don’t miss this feature in our March issue of DallasChild!)

Get your players thinking now, and enter by March 23.


Fresh baby gear with Peppermint

Hey mamas, there’s a fresh new spot for all things baby in town. Peppermint Baby Boutique in Richardson hosts its grand opening this Saturday with a special preview of Ricki Lake’s new movie The Business of Being Born, a donation drive for needy babes, free classes for moms – and of course, great shopping!

Owned by babywearing advocate and expert Marni Matyus, Peppermint.com and The Sling Station are the largest retailers of baby slings in the nation. The Peppermint Baby Boutique features a baby sling showroom, organic baby products and breastfeeding supplies and parenting classes.

The controversial birth documentary The Business of Being Born will show at 11:30am and 2pm; movie admission is $5, or free with the donation of a baby item. Donations are being accepted on behalf of The Network of Community Ministries, so bring in your baby basics: diapers, wipes, toiletries and baby food. A baby fair will run throughout the day with free demonstration classes including yoga for moms, baby sign language and sling/carrier use and selection. Want a shot at a $100 gift certificate? Enter the Peppermint Baby mascot contest and create the Peppermint Baby with dolls or other crafts.

Hit Peppermint’s grand opening Sat., Feb. 23 from 11am-4pm at 1778 N. Plano Rd., Suite 100 in Richardson. For more details, visit Peppermint or call 214/623-5080.

18 February 2008

No Oval Office for These Kids

Most Texas kids -- especially girls -- would pass if given a chance at the Oval Office, according to a recent poll of first- through eighth-graders by Scholastic News.
  • 55% said they would not want to be president
  • 45% said they'd take the job
  • 66% of boys said they'd like to be president, while 34% said "pass"
  • Only 19% of girls expressed interest in the presidency; a whopping 81% said "no, thanks"
  • Texas kids overwhelmingly preferred not to be president, with only 19% wanting a shot at the Oval Office and 81% voting "pass"
The Scholastic News poll surveyed 30,000 children nationwide, based on teachers who want their classes to participate and students who want to participate individually.

15 February 2008

Film Explores American Birth Culture

Birth is a miracle, a rite of passage and a natural part of life. But — according to former talk-show host Ricki Lake and filmmaker Abby Epstein’s film The Business of Being Born — birth is also big business in the U.S.

Lake was compelled to explore this subject after the delivery of her first child and recruited (fellow mom) Epstein to help her document and question the way American women have babies.

Epstein interviews several pregnant New York City women, some of whom are clients of Cara Muhlhahn, a midwife who, in-between filmed birth events, shares her own memories and experience with the filmmakers.

Footage of women having babies punctuates this film — as does interviews with a number of obstetricians, experts and advocates about the history, culture and economics of childbirth.

The film’s fundamental question: Should most births be viewed as a natural life process, or should every delivery be treated as a potential medical emergency?

This film presents some surprising answers that certainly make great topics of discussion amongst mothers, and is a must-see movie for anyone thinking of having a baby.

Netflix will release the DVD of The Business of Being Born (which was shown only at select theaters) on Feb 26 for rental and online viewing, including bonus material and follow up interviews with the filmmakers and their subjects. The DVD also will be available for purchase on the film’s Web site.

Dallas and Collin County residents may attend a sneak preview of the film at the Feb 23 opening of the Peppermint retail store in Richardson. The special screening will start at 11:30am and costs $5 (or free with a baby goods donation).

If you attend (or have already seen the film), tell us what you think! E-mail your thoughts to us at editorial@dallaschild.com.

14 February 2008

Gaming for a Green Planet

Girl power goes green at Hulala Girls. Girls ages 6-12 can create their own avatars, download ring tones and wallpapers, meet other girls and play green games imparting eco-friendly values.

Creator Christy Hui (Xiaolin Showdown) wanted to make her next project something for girls. “Like ocean waves, ideas came crashing in,” she says. “I realized that the Hulala Girls’ love of adventure and respect for nature are wonderful elements we all can relate to and share. This is where we all show our love and respect for nature. And personally, I think Mother Nature has a great sense of Hulala humor. Just look how She paints the tropical fish! And did you know that dolphins can sound like babies underwater?”

The site donates a portion of proceeds to its environmental efforts -- Mermaids4Reefs, Surf4Earth and Dolls4Trees.


12 February 2008

Fired Up

If you’ve seen recent news articles about the state of the Dallas Fire Department, you can probably tell that these guys have their hands full. As if fighting fires wasn’t grueling and dangerous enough, a recent surge in citywide 911 calls has demanded that many of them wear the hat of emergency medical technician, as well.

And so, a donation of new workout equipment to the Dallas Fire-Rescue Training Academy this week by the Leary Firefighters Foundation couldn’t have come at a better time.

The foundation’s namesake, Dennis Leary, is not a firefighter, but he plays a good one on FX Network’s Rescue Me. He also has no apparent ties to North Texas, just a passion and respect for the job and an organization that takes care of firefighters nationwide.

You can read more about the Leary Firefighters Foundation at www.learyfirefighters.org, including what inspired Leary to start it back in 2000. There are ways to help, funds to contribute to, and a strong message of support for those who come to our rescue at a moment’s notice - something that is easy to appreciate when it hits close to home.

11 February 2008

Cutting Through the Chatter on Pregnancy and Babies

There’s a familiar face with a whole new look on the scene today, helping Moms make sense of the latest medical and scientific research on pregnancy and baby health. The (old) new resource? The March of Dimes. MarchofDimesBaby.org, a new portal to the March of Dimes’ web site, opens the door to reliable answers to your questions about pregnancy and babies.

How much weight should you gain during pregnancy? What type of seafood is safe to eat? The March of Dimes cuts through the chatter of the overwhelming number of resources available to today’s moms.

Answers to questions by e-mail Trained health information specialists answer questions via e-mail on pregnancy health and nutrition, newborn screening, complications and risks, and many other topics.

9 questions to help you get your 9 months What questions should every woman who is thinking about having a baby ask her health care provider before she gets pregnant?

Which screening tests? The March of Dimes web site is one of the only places that moms can find up-to-date information about which newborn screening tests are routinely provided by their state.

Text messaging Daily test messages with a healthy pregnancy tip.

Podcasts Pregnancy and baby health information on demand.

Online scrapbooking Create a virtual scrapbook with photos and videos about your baby that can be shared via e-mail or on social networking sites.

Visit MarchofDimesBaby.org for more modern resources and reliable answers for today’s busy new mom.

07 February 2008

"Bad Dog, Marley" Illustrator to Sign Books in Allen

Illustrator of the New York Times bestseller, Bad Dog, Marley, Richard Cowdrey will make a kid-friendly presentation and answer questions at 10:30am, Sat, Feb 9 at the Allen Public Library.

Bad Dog, Marley is a picture book based on the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir Marley & Me by John Grogan. Through the comical illustrations, kids can learn how one bad dog became the heart of the family that loved him.

In this original picture book, Mommy, Daddy, Cassie, and Baby Louie welcome the puppy Marley to the Grogan family. Marley grows and grows . . . and grows. His eagerness and energy grow with him, getting him into trouble in a great big way. And, in the end, Marley's over-the-top energy is just what's needed to save the day.

Marley is a hit with families and dog lovers everywhere. And Richard Cowdrey's warmly rendered illustrations bring the story of this rambunctious dog to a whole new audience.

Bring your books along or purchase one at the Borders Books booth for Cowdrey to sign at this family event that you don't want to miss!

South Beach Doctor Rallies Forces Against Childhood Obesity

Science knows a lot about health and children and nutrition – but putting the pieces together, especially for busy parents, is sometimes easier said than done. South Beach Diet guru Dr. Arthur Agatston is helping position the pieces of the childhood obesity puzzle, inviting a bevy of scientists, health and policy professionals to put their heads together this week at a special conference in Florida. The star-studded panel brings together well known figures such as Rachael Ray and NBC-TV nutrition correspondent Joy Bauer, alongside government health officials from both the United States and Great Britain.

In an exclusive interview with DallasChild, Agatston explained why healthy nutrition isn’t only a matter of weight. “When the general public thinks of obesity, they think of all the reasons too much weight is not good for you – everybody knows that,” he countered. “But what we’re learning is that while we’re overfed, we’re undernourished.”

Shockingly, parents don’t always see the gravity of their children’s weight problems. Find out how the South Beach doctor is out to change their perceptions and change the state of children’s health at DallasChild.com.

06 February 2008

Red Hot (And Green) Gifts For Your Valentine

The GreenDallas initiative, launched by The City of Dallas as part of its commitment to environmental responsibility, offers great suggestions for eco-friendly Valentine's day gifts:

1. Locally made wine – This simple and enjoyable gift promotes the regional economy and sets the romantic tone for any special occasion. The Texas Department of Agriculture offers a guide to Texas wines at www.gotexanwine.org. We recommend Flat Creek Estate wines that are made from grapes grown in the Texas Hill Country.

2. Plant and dedicate a tree to a loved one – What is more romantic than dedicating a special present that will be around for hundreds of years to your Valentine? Visit the Dallas Urban Forest Advisory Committee Web site for more details.

3. Adopt a Dallas Zoo animal – Visit the Dallas Zoo’s Web site to find out how (with a donation ranging from $20 - $2,000) your Valentine can receive a personalized adoption certificate, a color photo, a Zookeeper’s Report that gives information about your animal, mailings about the Zoo and Aquarium, an invitation to the annual Adopt Parents’ Party and a listing on the Adopt Parents’ Honor Roll at the Dallas Zoo.

4. Take a romantic stroll - Take your Valentine to the Dallas Arboretum or Texas Discovery Gardens and stroll hand-in-hand through the parks' many gardens, such as the certified butterfly habitat, the scent garden and the heirloom garden. Also discover different ways to restore, conserve and preserve natural environments in your area at the various environmental education booths throughout the parks.

5. Give a blue bin with a big red bow… a recycle bin! – If you live in Dallas, sign up for a recycling cart by calling 3-1-1. Recycle your cardboard, metal cans, plastics and paper products. By recycling you help reduce the amount of waste going into the landfill. You can also fill out your recycling roll cart registration online (click on “Big Blue/Order Your Recycling Cart” on the left hand side of the homepage).

Visit the Green Dallas homepage for more green Valentine's Day gift ideas!

05 February 2008

Meet & Greet: Leigh Wilcox

Who knows better than mom how to fix scubs, bumps and bruises? Our friend and trusted writer Leigh Attaway Wilcox has created a fun, how-to manual for fixing such injuries in her new children’s book All Better: A Touch-and-Heal Book.

You’re invited to stop by the Barnes & Noble store on W 15th Street in Plano this Saturday (2/9) for a special signing event with Leigh. All Better shows kids how to treat boo boos on their animal friends all by themselves with special bandages. They’ll have so much fun treating the book’s characters, that their own boo boos will be history in not time at all.

Come by Barnes & Noble any time between 12 and 2 pm, pick up a signed copy and say hi to Leigh. This is one book your shelf is missing.

Barnes and Noble
801 W. 15th St, Plano

See you there!

Local High Schools Show MADD Love For Mothers Against Drunk Driving—You Can, Too!

High school students in Dallas, Plano, McKinney and Fort Worth have teamed up with the local family eatery, The Purple Cow Diner, to show MADD love for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). On Valentine’s Day—Thu, Feb 14—all three Metroplex Purple Cow Diner locations will donate 15 percent of the night’s sales to the school’s Walk Like MADD fundraising efforts.

The MADD North Texas Chapter will host Walk Like MADD, a 5K non-competive walk on April 19 at William’s Square in Irving. The high schools hosting these special MADD nights at The Purple Cow Diner are Thomas Jefferson High School in Dallas; McKinney Boyd High School in McKinney; Plano West Senior High School in Plano; and Western Hills High School in Fort Worth. Each of these schools have formed Walk Like MADD teams in conjunction with their Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) on-campus clubs.

What can you do to show your MADD love? Take your valentine out for a world-class burger and shake at your local Purple Cow Diner. Visit the Web site to find a location near you, and check out the diner's online menu—we recommend either the Portabella Mushroom Sandwich (with grilled onions, peppers and Provolone) or the Five Alarm Burger (with hot pepper jack cheese, jalapeños, salsa, chipolte mayonnaise and a secret seasoning). Put out the fire with a vanilla milkshake (or an Alka-Seltzer, sold for $.50!).

Or, you can register as a walker (or join an existing team) for Walk Like MADD, a 5K non-competive walk on April 19 at William’s Square in Irving. After you register as a walker, you can create a personal Web page to show what this cause means to you and your family.

Whatever your calling, this is an easy (and delicious) cause for your whole family to support.

04 February 2008

The Gift of Life -- Guaranteed

Little did you know when you checked the organ donor box on your drivers license that your own family could trump your wishes – refusing the donation at their own discretion, or defaulting on it if they couldn’t agree on the donation among themselves. In those cases, your organs would not be made available for donation, despite your wishes.

Until now.

Before the Southwest Transplant Alliance (STA) online donor registry went online in August, the STA had to present the option of donation to the potential donor’s family. Next of kin had the final say – and their wishes trumped those of the donor. But now, signing up through the STA registry is considered legally binding consent and allows the STA to move forward with organ donations.

More than 7,000 people in Texas are on a waiting list for organ transplants.

To officially register to be a donor in Texas, go to www.donatelifetexas.org or www.donevidatexas.org .