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July 2012

Lessons from Olympic parents

One of the funniest moments to come out of the Olympics is a video of U.S. gymnast Aly Raisman’s parents reacting as she performed her routine. Her parents knew every step of her routine, leaning when she needed to lean, jumping when she needed to jump and, in general, having a very animated reaction to her routine. While people all over the world are laughing at the video online, they can also learn a lot from these parents and other parents of Olympic competitors.

Beware of Google!

Skip the self-freakout and go straight to the source.

For the past few weeks, I have been a basket case worrying about my six-year-old’s teeth. Her bottom two, brand-new adult teeth had a bit of brown color on them, making me freak out about it and, of course, Google it while we saved up for the dentist. The photos matched those of flourosis, and I found myself randomly crying all last week as I worried that she was poisoned by fluoride, that her whole life would be marred by this, and that it was all my fault somehow.

Jack and Jill

Why did I watch this, again?

You know, anyone who watches an Adam Sandler movie and gets angry because it was so damned awful really only has herself to blame. I’m not angry like I was after watching Sherlock Holmes 2, which falsely advertised its excellence in both misleading reviews and its previous movie; I’m merely in pain, even days later, from this god-awful mess.

I only wanted a laugh, I swear! I saw that copy of Jack and Jill and thought, what the heck. I swear I wasn’t feeling even remotely suicidal; I just remember laughing a lot even when I groaned through Water Boy and Billy Madison, and even though they really sucked, that if they made me laugh that hard, Jack and Jill would, too. Right?…RIGHT? How wrong I was. Not only was this movie mostly not funny at all—save for a couple of outrageous moments where you couldn’t help but laugh—it was also misogynist, stereotypical against ethnicities, and a romp into rape culture land.

Moms, take action

Use your voice to protect your family and yourself.

Check out the latest issues that may impact you and your family, then take action on the ones you care about.

Support the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2012

When millions of Americans aren’t making enough money to pay rent even while working full-time, there is a problem. Other nations have security nets to ensure that no matter what you do, if you work you are able to make a living. Help ensure that America can provide the same thing for its citizens by asking your representative to support the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2012, which would bring the minimum wage in America to $9.80 by 2014—which is the minimum a full-time American needs to make it in this economy. It would also mandate that the minimum wage continually be increased to match the cost of living. Want to double your voice? Click here for yet another petition asking for this raise as soon as possible.

Powder Valley Nature Center

Hit this free Missouri stop on your next visit to St. Louis.

Yesterday we were looking for a place to spend a few hours with my aunt while she is on vacation that would be fun and new for her without being expensive or hot (as it’s still hovering around 100 where we are in the Midwest; we are thinking about dumping a bunch of liquid nitrogen in the river just to make a few rain clouds). We ended up taking her to one of our favorite nature centers in Missouri, Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center.

Powder Valley is one of our absolute favorite places to go. Our homeschool group has been on a couple of free tours and taken free classes there, and our Science Club meets there monthly to do scavenger hunts, experiments, and more. Since my aunt had never been there before—and we couldn’t take her to the zoo or Grant’s Farm, where it would surely be too hot—we knew it would be a perfect place to take her.

On the drive up to the center, we saw a fawn on the side of the road, which just set the tone for our visit. It was so beautiful, even in the current drought. Inside, we were able to sit and watch the wildlife from the observation platforms. We identified various Missouri birds, squirrels, and fish. We also got to see live turtles and snakes that live there. My six year old put on a puppet show featuring native Missouri wildlife puppets, which she always enjoys while there.

St. Louis Science Center

It never disappoints and it’s always free.

My aunt is on vacation for most of the month, so we have been doing a lot of free or low-cost activities with her. Our family has had a wonderful time renting movies, heading to the nature center, and generally just getting out. One of the things she wanted to do for sure on her vacation was head to the St. Louis Science Center, an enormous facility with enough to do all day for FREE (as well as some paid exhibits if you are interested). We hadn’t taken our daughter in nearly a year, so we were excited to go, too.

Parking at the Science Center is the only thing that costs money for sure (it’s $10), though you can sometimes find places to park nearby for free (without supervision of your car). As hot as it is, I wouldn’t recommend walking far, though! When we entered the building, we were dismayed to discover that it was a summer camp day, and there were kids swarming the place—but since we did arrive later in the day, they were leaving, so eventually it wasn’t as crowded.