Friday, December 15, 2006

Watch the Wiggles Pump It

I know I'm on a Wiggles kick lately, but I can't help it. Once I showed my kids the freaky puppet video, they asked to see more Wiggles, and a couple of links later, I found this gem.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I Dread Goody Bags

I'm really beginning to dread the end of the birthday parties when the hostess hands out goody bags to all the children. It's not that I don't want my children to receive a gift for being at the party, I fear what's inside.

Just this weekend, my friend Noshi held a birthday party for her daugher's 4th birthday. When the kids are as young as ours, the whole family is usually invited. I remember looking at her neatly arranged, personalized, and decorated goody bags with extreme trepidation. My first thought was, "Wow, she really put alot of work into decorating those bags, they look like something Martha Stewart would create for kids, ribbons and all." Noshi likes doing that kind of stuff, and I have nothing against that, some moms like to put time into extra touches and decorations, and others (like me) don't. The only thing I was hoping for was that there was NO candy in those goody bags. My kids had already skipped the pizza and made a meal out of the birthday cake, the last thing I wanted was to sugar them up more.

Honestly, I don't even care if my children get goody bags at birthday parties. When I was younger I don't remember ever going to a birthday party and coming back with anything more than a little plastic baggy with Reese's Peanut Butter cups and M&Ms. Maybe a few scratch n' sniff stickers if the parents were extra generous. Sometimes, there were no goody bags at all, and I was okay with that. After all, it wasn't my birthday, why should I get a gift for attending someone else's birthday?

But now, there seems to be a competition of sorts amongst moms as to who can pack and present the best goody bags. I'll be the first to admit, I'm lousy at making goody bags. I lack creativity in this department and have now resorted to just buying one or two little toys for each child attending and wrapping it or stuffing it into a bag. Nothing too expensive, I keep a budget of $3 to $5 per child and buy coloring kits or puzzles from Target or the Dollare Store. I don't have time to do things with ribbons, glue-guns, and construction paper. I'm sure I could make the time if I really wanted to, but I don't. I never saw goody bags as being that important as the food and activities at the party. But now that I've been working the birthday party circuit for a couple of years, I'm finding that the whole lasting impression of your party lies within your goody bag. If you hand out crap, people are going to walk away with the impression that your party sucked and you are cheap. If you go over the top, people will wonder if they gave your child a nice enough gift to deserve such a well-stocked goody bag. The hardest part about making a goody bag is finding that middle ground. We all know that kids will be happy to get anything, and they don't care whether the goody bag toys came from the Dollar Store or Toys R Us, it's the parents we are worried about pleasing. We want the parents to think we took the effort to write little Johnny's name on his bag and picked out a special gift just for him, no, make that 10 little gifts, and wait, there's candy too. What should be a special day to celebrate the birth of your child turns into an event riddled with performance anxiety.

I wish we could do away with goody bags altogether. Let's face it, moms have enough pressure to plan their child's birthday party and make sure junior eats his cake without ruining the little man's tuxedo your mother made him wear (or in my case, it was the little maharaja suit, complete with a turban fit for a prince). My first time, I didn't want to chance it and outsourced the goody bag making to Birthday Express. I got the Colorful Favor Boxes which looked nice, were budget friendly, and safe for all ages. Afterwards, I fell into the trap of handing out bags of candy, because that's what all the other moms were doing at their parties. Now, the latest trend I've seen is that the goody bags are stocked with not only candy, but toys, coloring books, crayons, you name it. Recently, my son received a remote controlled Ford Bronco in his goody bag. I was floored. This is the point when you think to yourself, did I give them a gift of equal or more value? I hope I did. At that birthday party I gave their 3-year-old birthday boy Diego's Talking Rescue Pack, I hope it was equivalent to the Bronco and the two dolls my girls received for attending the party.

So anyway, back to admiring my friend's neatly organized and personlized goody bags. What was inside? Well, the kids wasted no time pillaging them when we got home. All the kids got: a chalkboard activity set that looked like it cost at least $10, a measuring tape, a pencil, 8 permanent markers (why, Noshi, why?), a lollipop known as a Clicker Licker (once your done with the lollipop, you have a toy that makes clicking sounds when you shake it), an inflatable soccer ball (butterflies on a stick for the girls), a note pad, stickers, a key chain, a paddle with a ball attached to it by an elastic string, and a bag full of candy that included M&M's, a couple of Pixie sticks full of sugar, and a giant lollipop as big as the children's face (is there a child alive who can possibly eat a lollipop this big in one sitting? Is it even safe to eat that much sugar?) The only thing missing was a partridge in a pear tree.

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Well, the giant lollipops were licked twice and stuck to the carpet, the Pixie sticks were broken and sprinkled around the family room, and the permanent markers, holy hell, they opened all of them and started drawing pictures on their own legs, hands, arms, and tummies. While all this was happening, I was laying on the couch trying to rest and recover from attending the party. I hadn't slept much the night before and thought it would be a good idea to rest a bit while the children "played". By the time I noticed what had happened, the tatoo parlor the kids had opened up with the markers was in full swing. I initially got really mad looking at the mess, but then I realized, they're just kids. It's not their fault their Auntie Noshi went crazy over making goody bags and handed permanent markers to them (which I think is equivalent to handing car keys to a person who can't drive), and I really should have inspected the bag before I handed it to them, but oh well. I didn't get mad at them, I actually sat down to play with them. I'm always yelling at them for messes, it's time I started letting it go (I cleaned it up later). I drew pictures on their hands and my hands with the markers. Smiley faces, flowers, all that cheesey stuff. It's been a couple days since the event and the stains from the markers are just starting to disappear.

Well, this is getting really long so I'm just going to wrap it up. The point I want to make is, there really is no need to give so many things in goody bags, especially expensive things. I ended up having to throw those permanent markers away because they had started to write on the white carpeting with them. The giant lollipops, which cost Noshi $2 each (she left the price tag on by mistake), was just money down the drain. Instead of wasting money buying lollipops that were going to be licked twice and thrown away, I would have rather she saved that money. Or if she was really itching to buy my kids something, just go to the Dollar Store and buy them a book. Books are something that last much longer than sugar, and always please both the kids and the parents. I don't care about the quantity or cost of the items in a goody bag, it's the thought that really counts, and I would much rather have my kids receive one book each, than a bag full of sugar and toys I'm eventually going to trip on, and throw away.

photo source

The New Face of the Yellow Wiggle

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If you haven't heard the sad news yet, Greg Page (The original Yellow Wiggle) has retired from the Wiggles due to a horrible illness and has passed his yellow shirt to 27 year old Sam Moran, his understudy. I know for sure one of my friends is going to be heartbroken over this news. Greg was her favorite. I personally have a preference for the Blue Wiggle, Anthony, but I'm going to miss Greg. He has a very sweet way of letting the children know about his departure in a video on the Wiggles website, in which he ceremoniously passes his yellow shirt to the new Yellow Wiggle, Sam Moran. The whole scene is very reminiscent of the infamous Blues Clues episode where Steve "left for college" and introduced Joe to the kids.

My son watched Greg's video today showed neither sadness nor happiness. He was completely indifferent to the change. I, however, felt really sad for Greg after I saw the video. This was a man who really loved what he did, and it's painful to watch him suffer and not be able to sing and dance like he used to, or wants to, anymore. Also, I can't believe he's only 34 years old! I always thought he was a little older, and it is frightening that someone who seemed to be in the prime of their health could be debilitated by a disease at such an early age. My heart goes out to Greg.

On a lighter note, I do think Sam is rather cute and should be fun to watch. The news so far is that the kids have accepted Sam as the new Yellow Wiggle without any problems. Children really don't care who's doing the entertaining as long as someone is doing it. It's the Moms, on the other hand, who are going to need a little more time adjusting to the change. Especially the ones who answer "Greg" to the question "Which Wiggle would you do?", (a game nearly every mother has played in her head or with her friends at least once.) I really don't mind Sam's addition to the Wiggles, mainly because I'm an Anthony fan. I'm sure if Anthoney were to ever retire, then I'd truly be a mess.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Vintage Wiggles: The Four Creepiest Minutes on Children's Television Ever

When the Wiggles were just starting out (about 15 years ago), they didn't have a huge budget for "lights, camera, action", and relied mostly upon puppet shows to entertain children with their music.

This vintage Wiggles video is one of their earliest productions. I showed this to my four and two year old kids, and they didn't find it freaky at all, but I about died by the time the Captain Feathersword puppet appeared.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday Fun Links

Here are some fun links, some old, some new, but all worth a look.

This video is the best Nintendo Wii commercial you'll never see on TV (via YouTube)

KKKKramer, this picture is worth a thousand words (College Humor)

I like Vaseline for all its mulitude of uses, but Tyra Banks is just crazy about it! (Wampoon)
Tyra's reaction to Vaseline is what mine would be the day my twins finally get potty trained.

Amy Poehler Blasts the Coochie Flashers on SNL, plus my two cents. (Celebitchy)

The Video of Amy Poehler Blasting the Coochie Flashers (Celebitchy)

Laura Bush's Fashion Nightmare, this dress really got around (Celebitchy)

Britney Spears may have shacked up with Mario Lopez for two days (Celebitchy)

This Dora the Explorer toy looks more like a vibrator than a toy for little kids (Agent Bedhead)

Do Indian guys have small weiners? Hmm, no comment, but Neel Shah is a hottie! (Gawker)

And here's an extra special treat for the weekend, an extreme close-up of Teri Hatcher.

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Yikes! If this is what bathing in red wine does to your skin, no thanks, I'll stick to soap and water.

Teri Hatcher photo via WWTDD

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Jumping Monkeys

It was a busy morning at my house this morning. It all started last night when the kids decided to jump like monkeys on my bed. That's the latest thing with them. They pull the comforter off my bed and pretend it's a giant trampoline. Well, as the old saying goes, it's all fun and games until someone gets a tooth knocked loose, and that's exactly what happened.

I had my back turned to the event because I was in the bathroom pre-pasting everyone's toothbrushes. Our usual bedtime routine is that all the kids wash-up at the sink, wash their hands, brush their teeth (I help the twins) and wash their face. We have one kiddie stool set-up in front of the sink, so everyone basically stands in assembly line to wash up.

I could hear the kids jumping and laughing while I was in the bathroom and just thinking "All I have to do now is help them wash up, and then I can finally put them to sleep. Yeah!" when I heard what sounded like two coconuts crashing together. I turned around and came back to find Bigger Twin (the older twin) running away from the scene while the Littlest Twin (the younger one) was bleeding from her mouth. My son freaked out and said, "Call 911!!" and started crying. He was not going to be much of a help from this point, and the husband, as usual, had locked himself in the basement to pay bills and follow up on the after hour e-mails from work (he never stops working).

So Littlest Twin is spewing blood from her mouth while the other two kids are freaking out in the corner of the room. I was trying to control the bleeding with a washcloth while trying to find out exactly what happened and where in her mouth the blood was coming from. I had a feeling her chin came crashing down on top of her sister's head (hence that coconut crashing sound) but I didn't know exactly what got damaged inside her mouth. Did she bite her tongue, her lip? I took her to the sink so she could rinse out her mouth, and finally I saw that the blood was actually coming from the gum line around her lower front teeth.

I immediately called her pediatrician, who asked me to check if the teeth were loose. Littlest Twin shrieked when I touched her teeth, but they appeared not to move when I tried to wiggle them. The doctor said to give her Motrin and have her examined by the dentist tomorrow.

So this morning, after I dropped my son off at pre-school, we headed to our dentist, who is an absolute angel. She's so good with kids. The receptionist had to laugh as she was writing up the reason for the visit. She said, "This reminds me of that nursery rhyme, Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, except it's three little monkeys." After the dentist checked her teeth and took an x-ray, we found out her lower front teeth ARE loose, but will probably become more resilient over the next few weeks as her gums heal and tigten up again. She's allowed only soft foods for the next two weeks, and this means no more cookies for her. She can't bite anything with her front teeth, anything she needs to eat has to be soft and broken down into pieces so she can pick it up with her hands or a spoon and push it to the back of her mouth to chew.

When we came home, she didn't quite understand this and was begging for a brownie. She was hungry, and I didn't realize this at the time, but this morning she refused to eat her waffle at breakfast, and now I know it was because she couldn't bite into it. I had planned on giving her some fried eggs and buttered toast and making small bites out of it to feed her, but she really didn't want to wait that long. I figured I'd let her see for herself and gave her a brownie while I cooked the eggs for the twins' lunch. Once she had the brownie in her hands, she hesitated to bite it (thank goodness for natural defense mechanisms). While her sister was happily munching away at the brownies, Littlest Twin looked up at me and said, "I don't have teeth." I felt sorry for her, and since the brownie was soft enough to chew on her back teeth, I broke it down into tiny pieces for her so she could pick them up and eat them. Kind of like what you would do for a 9-month old. However, I'm glad her instincts are helping her take precautions against putting pressure on those teeth, the area around them has turned purple and looks pretty scary, but she'll be better soon. The doctor said it would be nice if she could eat a popsicle, but she has an aversion to cold foods other than ice cream. She's very stubborn.

Well, that's it for the drama in my life for now. Just when I think I can relax and everything is finished for the day, another disaster strikes. But I am going to start implementing a new rule in the house tonight. No more monkeys jumping on the bed! Seriously, she's very lucky. Judging from the amount of trauma dealt to her teeth, she's lucky she didn't bite down on her tongue. That would have most definitely warranted a call to 911, which I've learned through prior experience, is like trying to communicate with a hamster if you're on Vonage.

Close, But No Pants

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So Brit Brit finally decided to wear panties, and she flashed them to the paps to prove it.

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Nice. Maybe next time she'll remember to wear her pants as well.

photos via I'mNotObsessed

Monday, December 04, 2006

Teri Hatcher Bathes in Red Wine

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According to a new book, The Black Book of Hollywood Secrets, the secret behind Teri Hatcher's soft and smooth skin is bathing in red wine. Not a whole tub full of wine, but a cup of red wine added to the bath water, with rose petals sprinkled on top to make the experience extra special.

The polyphenols found in grapes jump-start circulation to reveal healthier glowing softer skin. The book advises, pour one cup of red wine (don't worry about stains on skin or tub) into a warm bath, put a few rose petals on top, jump in, and stay for 20 minutes. Teri Hatcher uses old wine and lets the sediments sink to the bottom of the tub. "I scoop them up in the tub and use them as an exfoliant. The only bad thing is you can't drink the whole bottle of wine," she says.
I've heard that Cleopatra used to bathe in goat's milk to keep her skin soft, but the idea of bathing in red wine is new to me. It sounds very interesting, but I guess you would actualy have to have the time to take a bath to experience the benefits of this beauty treatment. Other beauty secrets revealed in this book: Jennifer Aniston uses Neutrogena soap on her face and Mischa Barton curls her hair with velcro rollers (yawn). But according to the book review on Amazon, the book also reveals the beauty secrets of stars like Catherine Zeta-Jones, Beyoncé Knowles, and Charlize Theron. I might check it out the next time I take my kids to play trains at B&N.

photo via WWTDD