Blog Posts by Charlene Prince Birkeland, Senior Editor

  • The Wonderpets as The Beatles -- how can you not love it?

    For the love of Pete, do the Wonderpets have to be so damn cute and loveable? Even I, the mom without a television, have allowed my kids to become smitten with all things Wonderpets. Yes, the theme song can be utterly annoying, but admit it -- you'll bust out the operatic voice when you want your little ones to do the "teamwork" thing.

    Every episode has the Wonderpets -- Linny, Tuck and Ming Ming -- working together to save another animal from a precarious situation. On Monday, April 21, Nick Jr. unveils their latest rescue operation with Wonderpets Save the Beetles (Hah! Just in time for National Turn-off Week!)

    And they dress up like The Beatles.

    Jessica in Health said her preschooler is so excited about it that they've marked the show date on their calendar. But if you're like me and don't have a TV, you can buy the DVD. They eventually make it to iTunes as well, which is where we get our Wonderpets fix.

    Even a Wonderpets hater has to admit the idea and photos are clever. You

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  • What did you miss while you were pregnant?

    Kristina Sauerwein over at Momformation posed a fantastic and fun question earlier this week when she posted about the things women miss while they are pregnant. The non-maternity clothes. Our pre-pregnant bodies (I'm still missing that one). Real, high-octane coffee. Sleeping through the night.

    Me? When I was pregnant I missed sippin' an ice cold gin martini. Mind you, I am allergic to juniper and get fully congested when I have gin. But when I sported the a baby bump, I would get giddy just hovering my nose over a nicely-filled martini glass. It's twisted, I know.

    What did (or do) you miss while pregnant?

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  • Simple ways for kids to be eco friendly

    When you think about teaching your kids to be eco-friendly, it's easy to focus on symbolic gestures like going to the beach to participate in shoreline cleanup efforts. But like most everything else in life, it's the little things that can matter.

    Kids can learn early on how to be earth friendly in simple ways as part of everyday life. And isn't that the way it should be anyway?

    Check out these five easy ways for kids to start on their merry, green way:

    • Turn off the lights. I can hear my dad's voice saying this to me from the time I have memories until just recently when I was visiting my parents. Teach your kids to turn off lights when they are not in when they leave their bedroom, the bathroom, the garage. So long as they're not leaving anyone else in the dark.
    • Ease up on the water use. Okay, I'll even admit this is a tough one since most kids -- especially young ones -- love playing with water. If my kids are in the backyard it's only a matter of minutes
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  • Retro ice bag for big and little boos

    Retro icebags are soft on the noggin.Retro icebags are soft on the noggin.When kids bonk their heads or injure some part of their body enough that it requires a bag of ice, "mommy fix it" mode usually jumps into high gear.

    For toddlers there's boo boo bunnies, but older kids would cry from the added embarrassment of mom putting a cold stuffed animal on their head. Well, at least my boys would. Sure, a bag of frozen corn or ziploc full of ice will work fine. But I dunno, something makes me want to go all June Cleaver and take care of my boys with a touch of glam.

    I adore this Retro Ice Bag (US$13) from Gal Pal and the funky designs have zero to do with it.

    It's the ease and longevity factor. First, it doesn't have to sit in the freezer all the time waiting for an injury to happen. You just fill it with ice (or hot water depending on whatcha' got goin' on) when you need to use it. And they will forever be age appropriate -- from toddlerhood through the adulthood. Plus, a retro bag is way more comfy than a plastic bag wrapped in a towel that never manages to

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  • Week of the Young Child (Day 4): Make a wish jar

    Wish Jar via littleelephants.typepad.comWish Jar via littleelephants.typepad.comVeronique over at Little Elephants inspired today's activity for Week of the Young Child.

    Check out the Wish Jar that her kids made for a school project. All you need is a small jar and a piece of paper that can fit inside the jar when rolled up. Or like Vero, you can attach their wishes to the jar with ribbon.

    Such a sweet idea, and wouldn't it be fun to keep their wishes as they grow up?

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  • Without the Kids: Get a (karaoke) room

    My husband likes to make fun of my singing. It used to bother me until I attended something called Ladies Rock Camp. Playing lead guitar and singing backup as part of a band was quite empowering. But it was the karaoke party that truly raised the roof.

    Which leads me to this week's Without the Kids tip for parental date night: Go to a karaoke bar.

    You heard me right.

    Sing. Dance. Act a fool. All in front of people who don't know you and who could care less if your vocal skills are worth a Grammy (or not). Date nights for parents don't always have to be filled eye-gazing and "Let's get back in touch with each other." Sometimes you just have to let yourself go and get a little, well, silly. And loud. Besides, there's no reason you can't throw in a romantic love song duet into your set list. Aaron Neville and Linda Rondstadt anyone?

    One of the reasons I dig the idea of a date night at the karaoke bar is that you can go with a group of other couples. Friends who are also parents and

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  • How do parents find time to Twitter?

    It sounds so risque, "Do you Twitter?" But I found myself knee-deep in a discussion about about all things Twitter last week while out with some of my blog mama friends .

    I created an account when the site first started but never really used it. I have a personal blog and work full time. How would I find the time to tweet? I can only multi-task so much before my head spins. And why would I even want to Twitter?

    I posed these questions to some mom bloggers. The answers were only a, ahem, Twitter away.

    Danielle from Foodmomiac says, "Twitter is easier than blogging. I love the instant feedback. So easy to find time b/c I do it from my Blackberry usually!" Erika from Plain Jane Mom likes the socializing aspect saying it's "a 24x7 party and I can drop in and out whenever I have the time." And Veronique from Little Elephants says that since she works full time, Twitter helps her feel in the "blog loop."

    I have to admit that after getting on the site this week, I found myself wanting to

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  • U.S. agency says plastic baby bottles could be harmful -- and that's news to who?

    The National Toxicology Program, a part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to re-consider their position that a chemical common in plastic baby bottles and toys is safe.

    According to research by the National Toxicology Program, bisphenol A, or BPA, could be linked to early puberty in girls and prostrate and breast cancer.

    We've already heard that BPA is dangerous for kids and adults. Studies have been done, reports have been read.

    So what's taking the FDA so long to change their position? I have visions in my head of that movie, The Insider.

    While we wait (again) for final word from th government on the FDA, you can check out glass baby bottles from Evenflo and the the Adiri Natural Nurser Ultimate Baby Bottle...some cool alternatives to plastic bottles.

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  • Crafty mamas sew ABC buttons on kid clothes

    Photo Credit: CraftzinePhoto Credit: CraftzineYou know those little labels or stamps with your kid's name that attach to jackets, bags or anything else that can be lost at school (or daycare or camp)? They're usually sweet or simple, right?

    But ABC buttons? Cute to the nines.

    Craftzine says some nine-hole buttons and, bright thread and a little initial-imagination all you need to create crafty label genius. No expert sewing skills necessary, just the ability to, well, sew a button. Takes less than five minutes total, even for an inexperienced needle and thread gal like me.

    I am not suggesting for a second that you sew buttons with initials on every article of your child's clothing, no-sir-e-mama. That type of crazy-making is best reserved for expecting mamas in their nesting stage (I speak from experience...I sewed an entire quilt border the day before my second baby was born.)

    ABC Buttons would be cute on those special clothing items that might benefit from a little extra love, like that jacket your son won't wear because it's

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  • Lies we tell our kids

    What is it about having kids that makes parents turn into experts in taking creative license with lies? Brilliant lies that have our unsuspecting kidlings mesmerized upon hearing these words fall from our lips...

    "If you are very very quiet you can hear the clouds rub against the sky."

    "Trees talk to each other at night."

    "We are all held together by invisible threads.

    All lies Heading East blogger and dad Raul Guiterrez said to his 3-year-old son. My personal favorite is "Sadness can be eaten." I'll probably use it within the next 24 hours with one of my sons.

    I've also told a few lies of my own. Though not nearly as poetic as those of Raul G., they serve their purposes:

    "The mayor doesn't let monsters live in our town." (The bedtime lie.)

    "Milk is really sugar for your bones." (The please-drink-your-milk lie.)

    "I always listen to you. You just weren't speaking loud enough." (The child-white-noise lie.)

    "Do I need to call God?" (The Catholic Guilt lie.)

    What lies have you

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