Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Should Toy Donation Programs Censor Toys?

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

When I was growing up, toy guns were strictly forbidden in our house and we were not even supposed to play with them elsewhere.  While I didn’t like that policy as a kid, now that I am a parent myself, I have the same rule in place for my children.  I don’t think guns are an appropriate toy for kids to play with and I don’t think I’m alone.  So what sort of donated toys do you suppose the Salvation Army destroys rather than see end up in the hands of children?

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Gingerbread, Disney Style

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

One of the reasons people go back to Disneyland and Disney World over and over again is that they’re always changing.  There is always something new to see, especially around various holidays.  This year, in the Grand Canyon Concourse of Disney World’s Contemporary Resort in Florida there is a 17-foot tall gingerbread tree.  Not a wooden tree that just kinda looks like it’s made of gingerbread but a real, honest-to-yummy-goodness gingerbread tree.

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The Internet Christmas Tree

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

I remember, from my childhood, going out into the woods with my parents, finding the perfect tree, and cutting it down to bring home.  We did that once.  That was far too rough and rugged for my parents — their idea of roughing it was Opera in the Park.  So they bought a plastic tree with little plastic bunches of green pine needles that kept falling off the brown plastic branches and we never had a real tree again.

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The Gift of a Year

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

I think I’ve finally learned not to begin doing something unless I am willing to keep doing that same thing for the rest of my life.  About 7 or 8 years ago, I started a tradition that has me staying up late at night, working all weekend, and generally running around like a chicken with its head cut off.  A very stressed out headless chicken.  And yet, I keep doing the same thing every year — because my in-laws say it’s the best gift they get.

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The Christmas Tree As Family Art Project

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Remember way back when, when kids actually made ornaments to decorate the tree this time of year?  In my day, we strung popcorn on thread and made chains of brightly colored paper rings.  There were the clay ornaments brought home from school shaped and colored by each child’s hand along with cut-out and colored paper snowflakes and macaroni-and-too-much-glue works of art.  Perhaps it is, once again, time to restore crafts and art to das tannenbaum.  After seeing this tree, I think I’m sold.

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Zero-Maintenance Pets

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

While we were on holiday this past summer, I noticed an advert playing in heavy rotation on whatever kids’ television station they had on in the dining room of the hotel where they served the free breakfast each morning.  At the time, it seemed like one of those annoying, over-priced, “as seen on TV” products that we’re all used to being disappointed by, should we be foolish enough to purchase one.  Fast forward to the advent of the year-end begging-for-toys season and I’m dreaming of the relative peace of blaring television ads.  Yes, my kids want Pillow Pets.

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Moms and the Gay Kid

Friday, November 5th, 2010

There aren’t too many Halloween costumes I would forbid my kids from choosing.  The more horrific costumes and characters are out, as are overtly sexual ones.  Other than that, however, pretty much anything goes.  I also have no problem with the kids crossing gender lines, if they so desire.  My youngest loves putting on his older sister’s outgrown princess costumes and ballet skirts.  I don’t have any problem with that, nor do a lot of other parents — including one who went so far as to write a book on the subject.

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Halloween Highs From More Than Sugar

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Whatever you might think about the idea of legalizing marijuana use for adults — California voters will decide next Tuesday whether or not to do just that — you probably don’t approve of giving pot to children, especially pre-teens.  If you’re a parent who doesn’t want their kids trying weed until they reach adulthood (or something close to it, anyway), you might want to be extra careful about checking their treat bags when they get home from trick-or-treating tonight.

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Halloween Costumes: The Milk Jug Storm Trooper Helmet

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Although my kids are not huge Star Wars fans (they’re too young for it), quite a few of their friends are.  So for them, this Storm Trooper helmet, made from two 1-gallon milk jugs, has got to be one of the coolest ideas ever.  I’m not sure I could make it without a few practice runs, but that’s only because I’m completely inept at such things.  It actually does look pretty easy to make.

The way I see it, this is a fantastic re-use of a discarded item and would make for the basis of a great holloween or  a nifty addition to the dress-up corner.  And if that isn’t enough for you, the same site has instructions on making your own lightsaber from a flashlight and a balloon.  So get out the hot glue gun and send your children off to join the legions of the Galactic Empire’s finest!

Happy Fourth of July!

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

Today is the anniversary of the signing of one of the most incredible documents ever composed in all of man’s history.  It formed what was to become, despite its problems, one of the greatest nations ever seen.  If you’ve got a moment, here are a couple of videos to remind you what this country is all about and, perhaps, bring a smile to your face.

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