Saturday, July 26, 2008

Grocery Carts Done Right

Shout out to the Target on the Black Horse Pike in Washington Township, NJ. This newer store took the initiative of providing plastic, easily wipeable carts that make the potential for cross-germination less terrifying. They have also managed to figure out a way to seat up to 4 kids comfortably, without requiring any to hang from some precarious position or enhance the potential for sibling warfare.

Well done.

BUT, if you really want to impress me, you'll have to do exactly what the Kirsh Brothers, of Chevy Chase Supermaket in Maryland, did for their germ conscious consumers.

A full-scale shopping cart wash.

According to the Washington Post:

It is a "push-through device that sprays a misty peroxide solution over each cart between every use. It dries in a few seconds, leaving behind a faint whiff of beauty parlor and a cart promised to be 99.9 percent germ-free for the next customer.

"It kills all the nasty stuff, salmonella, staph, E. coli," said Bob Schwei, a technician with PureCart Systems, the Wisconsin-based manufacturer of the glossy white machine, which resembles an airport X-ray machine. "They're very popular in Korea: bird flu."

As Schwei finished installing the unit next to the row of checkout aisles, customers stopped to see the first sanitized carts roll through. Suzi Walsh, a self-described germ-phobe and a regular customer, said she had been waiting for the new system since the store announced it was coming several weeks ago.

"I'm the kind of person who uses a bit of paper towel to open the bathroom door," said Walsh, who said she prefers shopping in the winter when she can leave her gloves on. "This is great. I see the kids scratch their diapers, then grab the cart. No, no, no. I'm way beyond that."

Jason Kirsch said parents with young children are likely to be the most excited by the prospect of a clean cart. He made sure his collection of kiddie carts, the ones with big plastic police cars and firetrucks bolted to the front, would fit through the machine. "Hey, I'm the father of three," he said. "I know the first thing they want to do is chew, touch, feel."

Quote of the Day

"She never quite leaves her children at home, even when she doesn't take them along." ~Margaret Culkin Banning

Picture of the Day

Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk, I'm a woman's man, no time to talk.

Send your favorite kid picture to:

Friday, July 25, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Every night, before she goes to bed and after she completes her bedtime routine of bathing, teeth brushing, and reading, my daughter recites her bedtime prayers.

The prayer is a simple blessing followed by a list of "special prayers" she wants God to hear. These "special prayers" usually involve getting to play or swim the following day, having a good night sleep, and, always, without fail, ends with:

"And please let Daddy not go to work tomorrow."

And it never gets old. It is as sweet as it is sad, and it serves to remind us of the larger than life role we play in our children's lives.

We could kiss her goodnight forever.

And then, as we quietly say our final goodnights and slowly close her bedroom door, she proceeds to belt out "Tomorrow" and "Hard-Knock Life" for the next 2o minutes.


The Trailer

A must see....

Life After Tomorrow

If you find yourself watching Annie daily, or you're simply a fan of the musical, or you appreciate an interesting and engaging documentary, a priority for you this weekend should be to see the remarkable work that is Life After Tomorrow.

In this film, Julie Stevens directs a retrospective on the Broadway musical sensation that was Annie. Stevens, who not only played Annie but is also a family acquaintance, focuses on the many young actresses who found stardom at 7, and then often found themselves washed up by age 12. The film explores the resulting influence that experience had on their subsequent years.

Former "Annies" such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Allison Smith offer candid insights into life as a young, theatrical starlet, and the film proves to be as much a celebration of a character who was adored by so many little girls, as it is a compelling study of childhood stardom.

The film earned more awards than I can list, and is certainly worth your time.

If it is not available at your local video store, you can grab it on Amazon or even borrow it from me...

For more info, click HERE.

Guess Who?

This week's Guess Who? was actress Allison Smith (pictured center above) who played Annie on Broadway, as well as Allie's daughter Jenny on Kate and Allie. She has since gone on to appear in a lot of programs, with her most significant role being Mallory O'Brien on The West Wing.

Smith was correctly identified by Margaret, who also pointed out the fact that some drastic rhinoplasty has left her virtually unrecognizable.

On a personal note, I used to love Kate and Allie. I clearly remember sneaking out of bed and sitting at the top of our stairs to watch it unbeknownst to my parents. When it entered daytime rerun status, I would watch it everyday when I came home from school. What I failed to realize then was the remarkably contrasting view of family it portrayed, especially when you consider the fact that is typically followed The Cosby Show and Family Ties. Two decades later, the premise of the show no longer seems so unusual.

As the look of the "average"American family changes, I firmly believe in one simple truth: Wherever there is unconditional love for one another, especially children, there is family.

****Also, some of you may also recognize Chip, the young boy who played Allie's son, as he has been in a ton of commercials lately, and has also appeared in a number of sitcoms as the token coach potato.

Week In Review

The Top 5 Things I Learned This Week

5) Virginia may have a lot of what I love, but there is simply no place like home.

4) If I really want to get a deck, I need to start knocking some of my own teeth out. Who knew the Tooth Fairy was so recession-proof?

3) Ms. Hannigan is hysterical, entertaining, and the worst possible role model for an impressionable 3 year old girl.

2) Dr. Oz's lifestyle is great if you are an empty-nester, but for those of us fully entrenched in child rearing, chopping 3,000 vegetables on any given evening is simply not possible.

1) If my parents ever named me "Talula does the Hoola from Hawaii", I'd spend my entire adolescence finding ways to make them pay for it. Have you seen Problem Child?

Celebrity Daddies

Based on my impressions of Matthew McConaghey, I would imagine the birth of his newborn son involved bongos, natural labor, and a lot of talk using the word "womb".

The actual is so much better than my imaginings.

Click HERE to see what I He has no idea how entertaining he is.

Alright, alright, alright.

Shout out to Chris for sending this one along to me.

Quote of the Day

"When you are drawing up your list of life's miracles, you might place near the top of the list the first moment your baby smiles at you." -Bob Greene

Picture of the Day

Helmet: Check

Elbow Pads: Check

Knee Pads: Check

Completely Excited By Life: Check

Send your favorite kid pictures to:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Daytime Silliness

Possible inspirations for Peanut's name may have comes from the wacky list of soap opera character names. Though I never got in to soap operas, thanks to my grandmother and college roommates, I do know the true meaning of "Bizarro World".

Names include:

Britta (She must come with her own filter)
Creed (Probably a fan of really bad music)
Delfina (A pineapple heiress?)
Drucilla (101 vampire bats?)
Field (This is just silly)
Harley (I actually met her)
Holden (what a phony)
Hutch (Excellent with dishware organization)
Justus (And a few thousand viewers)
Lahoma (Token Okie)
Lujack (His brother will make sure your car is never stolen)
Mouth (Married to Nose, Father to Ear)
Ridge (Jump! Jump!)
Taggert (Probably always coughing)
Tangie (The resident Puritan, I'm sure)
Yurie (三浦 友理枝)

To jog your memory a bit....

Guess Who? --A clue, a clue

The actress who played her mother on her breakout sitcom has been compared to a cheap hand radio.

Wanted: Ingo Rademacher

Since we stumbled on the subject of truly over-the-top baby names, I decided I should probably post something about General Hospital star, Ingo Rademacher, and his newborn son.

He and his wife chose the hackneyed "Peanut Kai" as their first born's nomenclature.

Yes, Peanut.

In his defense, the father defended his choice by explaining that they had always referred to him in utero as our little "peanut" and it just stuck. Considering that, the fact that Peanut's parents' names are Ingo and Ehiku (she's Hawaiian), and the fact that he's a soap opera star (have you heard some of those names?) maybe the kid has a chance at surviving the long as they don't go with "Pea" or "Nut" as his nickname.

Justice is Served

A New Zealand judge recently made a 9 year old girl, whose parents were embroiled in a heated custody battle, a ward of the court in order to legally change her name. In addition to having parents who can not reconcile their divorce like human beings, it seems her parents are also guilty of horrible judgement in choosing the name of their daughter.

According to reports, "The girl had been so embarrassed at the name that she had never told her closest friends what it was. She told people to call her "K" instead, the girl's lawyer, Colleen MacLeod, told the court."

The judge presiding over the case when on to say that, "The court is profoundly concerned about the very poor judgment which this child's parents have shown in choosing this name," he wrote. "It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap, unnecessarily."

The child's name? Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii

This is not a joke. The only joke is that these people who decided to opt for a name that would obviously humiliate their own child actually try to pass themselves off as human beings. The judge spent a good deal of time scolding them (as he should) and then he granted the young miss another name, which will not be released in the interest of her privacy.

If we're being honest, I don't think the judge went far enough. He should have also legally changed the names of her parents for a year to prove his point. He could have chosen any of the other names already blocked by Registration Officials, including Fish and Chips, Yeah Detroit, Keenan Got Lucy and Sex Fruit.

Yes, people actually attempted to name their children that.

Heinous, ridiculous, and, in New Zealand, unlawful.

The Long Trip Home

Having returned to my home late last night, I can now reveal that my "remote location" was in the DC area where I not only enjoyed the company of family, but I also picked up some great additions to my "Virginia is for Mothers" list.

A great visit indeed, but the return trip was, unfortunately, far from great.

With two children in tow, I started my drive by just missing two funnel clouds which touched down right behind me, a harrowing stretch of blinding rain through Baltimore, and a return to a completely dark, air condition-less home due to a blackout in the town.

At least the kids slept....

until we got home when my son woke up, decided the 3+ hours in the car was enough, and proceeded to play until about midnight.

I am currently taking my coffee intraveneously.

Guess Who?

I wouldn't use the word "impossible".....

Quote of the Day

"New parents quickly learn that raising children is kind of desperate improvisation." -Bill Cosby

Picture of the Day

That bow and arrow would come in handy years later when the child finally decided to seek revenge on his parents for dressing him so.

Send your favorite kid pictures to:

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Something New To Add Some Gray To Your Hair

This may be the clearest example of faulty causal reasoning I have ever come across. It seems certain playground "mats", installed to protect children from dangerous falls, are actually causing serious burns to children with barefeet or even hands when they come into contact with the hot flooring.

The NYC park commissioner interviewed argued that the mats protect against serious injuries from falls, a more grave injury than the potential burn caused by the mats heated by the sun.

I realize common sense is kind of a crazy notion but, why not do something to address BOTH concerns?

I know...that's just crazy talk.

View the video below, but be warned, the pictures of a toddler whose feet were burned are pretty graphic. Also, if your child is anything like my daughter, a quick ride down the slide can often lead to a dismount on the backside with hands touching the ground....another potential for burns.

Click HERE.

The Panel of Experts

What is the greatest thing about being a kid?

1) "Christmas. You get more gifts as a kid." - Girl, age 8

2) "You more energetic than adults." -Boy, age 10

3) "Kids are more 'flexibuller'." - Girl, age 6

4) "Olivia." - Troublemaker, age 3

Not In Kansas Anymore

So, Dr. Oz will be on sabbatical for a least until I return to the Mother Ship.

My remote location may be remote, but the food temptations here are just too much for me.

Quote of the Day

"When a child is allowed to do absolutely as he pleases, it will not be long until nothing pleases him." ~Anonymous

Picture of the Day

Your application to preschool is much too important to fill out with any ordinary writing utensil.

Send your favorite kid pictures to:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Some more on teeth....

My niece just lost a tooth and, as a result, $5 magically appeared under her pillow!!

Apparently, no one has told the Tooth Fairy we're in a recession....

The Experts Weigh In

If you could give advice to any kid younger than you, what would it be?

"Don't listen to your friends if they tell you to do bad stuff." -Girl I, age 8

"Try to be good at your hygiene and stuff." -Boy, age 10

"Listen to your parents." -Girl, age 6

"I have to go potty." -Troublemaker, age 3

A Team of Professionals

As I mentioned before, I am currently hidden away in a remote location and that remote location just experienced the equivalent of a typhoon.

Since typhoons do not necessarily constitute ideal conditions for a trip to the pool, I decided I might put the rains to good use and interview some real experts on the subject of childhood and child least until the sun returns.

The team of childhood experts?


And the panel includes: Boy (age 10 3/4), Girl I (age 8), Girl II (age 6), and Troublemaker (age 3).

I will be posting the results of these interviews over the next few days as they are as enlightening as they are entertaining.

And most of all, it may help remind you what it is like to be a kid.

Confession Time

I may or may not have inadvertently placed one of my daughter's favorite books in a place other than her bookshelf.

It is one of those lift-the-flap books, but this particular one has about 50 flaps per page!

And the main character is Barbie....not exactly classic literature.


Toothwatch '08

Bring out the garlic, he's a vampire no more!

Learned Behavior

Special thanks to Ms. Hannigan for teaching my daughter some new phrases, namely:

Shut up!


Kill, kill, kill

The Votes Are In....(Along with some ranting)

As a former English teacher, I love the science of linguistics. A student of William Sapphire, I truly get excited about word derivations and the changing scape of our lexicon. With the inclusion of words like "bootilicious" and "celebutante" in the Oxford English Dictionary (yes, that means they are now recognized as real words), the English language is as alive as Latin is dead (shout out to Penny, The Latin Master).

While new words like "e-commerce" and "blogging" become regular additions to our conversations, there are some words and phrases, however, I am eager to see retire.

And that brings us to this week's poll.

The first phrase that has overstayed its welcome as voted by the majority is, "I'm just keeping it real." This atrocity earned my own vote and is largely a result of the Jerry Springer Effect. As people are encouraged to speak the truth and unburden their souls for the daytime television audience, this communicado became a mantra for anyone wishing to "tell it like it is". Not only does is sound bad, the intent behind it is also missing the mark. Yes, we should be honest and sincere in our feelings; but at some point this mentality became a license for people to say whatever they wanted, regardless of whether or not it may be hurtful or solicited. At some point tact and consideration for the feelings of others lost out to self-motivated criticism and over-zealous judgement of others.

Can you tell I feel strongly about this one? Whatever happened to the old adage, if you don't have anything nice to say.....? I am all for healthy venting and sharing your thoughts and concerns; but I am also so sick of people who sit in the peanut gallery, picking at every little misstep of everyone else to make themselves feel better.

Sorry....maybe this should be "Digression Tuesday".

Followed closely in second place is the trainwreck that is "You go girl!" Again, a product of daytime television programming (shout out to Ricki Lake circa 1994), this egregious affirmation, once a proclamation trumpeting the power of women, is now either spouted by teachers attempting to "keep it real" with their students or moms (shout out to me), looking to encourage their own daughters in an easy phrase. In this department, I am also guilty of "Rock on, sister", and "Word to your mother" (the latter for obvious reasons).

Third place goes to "Pardon my French", which, despite decades of usage, still manages to annoy the body linguistic. I imagine part of the distaste for this phrase comes from the fact that the speaker is never actually speaking French, and part from some persistent resentment towards the francophiles who speak it.

Finally, "Don't take this the wrong way but..." is just bad business. Not that the phrase itself is overly annoying, but the clear intent to say something that will probably be taken the wrong way means you should not only pass on using this phrase, but maybe also rethink sharing the sentiment as well.

Thanks for voting!

Quote of the Day

"When I stopped seeing my mother with the eyes of a child, I saw the woman who helped me give birth to myself." -Nancy Friday

Picture of the Day

The latest, ingenius baby invention: tryptophan flavored milk

Send your favorite kid pictures to:

Monday, July 21, 2008

I Promise This Is Not a Case of Slogging

I am currently blogging from a remote location since my Internet access from home is currently unavailble. Though I cannot reveal my current location (security reasons, of course), rest assured that tomorrow's blog will make up for today's absence.

If not, open your windows and listen for the sounds of distant expletives coupled with some not so nice characterizations of Verizon.


Monday's Meal

In the spirit of Dr. Oz, the following meal is not only delicious, but also very healthy...and, yes, it's the one requiring grated gingeroot.

Asian Salmon- 4 servings


4 skinless salmon fillets (about 4 ounces each)
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon grated gingerroot
1 teaspoon lite soy sauce
1 teaspoon maple syrup
2 green onions, chopped

1) Mix ingredients together and spread evenly over each fillet.
2) Heat a rigid grill pan over medium heat until hot
3) Cook 3-4 minutes per side, or until salmon is firm

Question of the Day

What is your favorite name for a child (other than the ones you may have picked for your own)?

Happy Birthday!

Sending out very special birthday wishes to Zachary Carter,

who turns 3 today!

Have a great day, buddy!

Quote of the Day

"All of us have moments in out lives that test our courage. Taking children into a house with a white carpet is one of them." -Erma Bombeck

Picture of the Day

Bored by the routine of your average playdate,
young Connor decided it was time to put his
advanced understanding of technology to work:
tele-playing via web cam.

Send your favorite kid pictures to: