Next Up? The Holidays.

Night Walker Flashlight Pic: Night walker flashlight allows you to see in front and where your feet are going at the same time.

Now that Halloween’s over I fully expect to be barraged by Holiday music when I set foot inside shops November 1. Sad I know, but I figure my mood will be better if I just accept it and move on.

In the spirit of personal mental health I’ll move forward in step with a few links for the weekend.

First up is from Cool Mom Picks with their Safer Toy Guide. With all the recalls flying around these days I think you’d be well served to take a moment to review this one. By way of Parent Hacks.

I remember being freaked out by nutcrackers as a kid. Not by any risk they posed to me personally, but by the creepy expression on that soldier guy’s face. To be honest they still kind of creep me out. Rare Bird Finds offers up a nerdy alternative that appears to my Vulcan side with their post on Star Trek Nutcrackers which sadly I know for a fact my wife would never allow on the mantle. Live Long and Eat Almonds.

Finally, and frankly this might have been more useful leading up to Halloween, LikeCool provides a link to the NightWalker flashlight which includes the basic light facing directly forward as well two downward facing LEDs to help you watch your step. Yeah, I definitely screwed up on this one… I wish I’d found this one well before Halloween.

And that folks, is all for October 31. I’m jetlagged, cranky and in need of real food. I hope you had a happy Halloween!

Vancouver’s Halloween Dead Zone

So I missed every last one of them, which in my neighborhood isn’t very many. I give it about 5 years and then it’s game on as our neighborhood is comprised of old timers who’s kids have long since moved out, university students and young families with tots still in buggies. I think what we’re experiencing is a short term Halloween ‘dead’ zone in Vancouver :)

What was your experience this Halloween? Anything remarkable to share?

How Can It Be That I Have To Travel On Halloween?

Seriously. It happens one night a year and I’m going to be stuck on a plane until well into tomorrow evening. Weak.

I’ve made only one request, and that is that my significant other not pick me up at the airport and rather stay home to make sure we represent properly on the candy front. I refuse to be that home on the block with the lights turned out on Halloween.

Resource For Answering The Question: How Do I?

I’m sure you remember that kid at school who’s parents always seemed to have the answers to everything. Want to go kayaking? No problem, Gary’s father will build kayaks this summer out of fiberglass. Need a volcano for science fair, no worries, his dad will build one out of clay and a myriad of questionable chemicals. And you know what, without fail they always worked.

If you’re like me you don’t have a chance of playing this role on your own. Thankfully Monkey See may be able to save your butt in a pinch.

I expect more than one of you are on the hook for creating that perfect look with Halloween makeup this year or other seasonal tips. No problem, have a look at these clips:
How To Create Witch Halloween Makeup
How To Create Vampire Halloween Makeup
How To Dress Your Dog
How To Carve A Pumpkin

How about general parenting topics? Yup they have those too:
How To Childproof Your Kitchen
How To Diaper A Baby
How To Build A Perfect Nursery
How To Potty Train Your Child

If you really want to impress the kids you’ll want to give these ones a try.

I’ll leave you to discover the other tips and tricks to impress family, friends and most importantly your kids.

You Spend Hours On Your Kids For Halloween… Why Not Take Your Pets To Another Level As Well?

I think we’ve all seen the photos of pugs dressed up as bumble bees etc. Why not make a project with the kids of dressing up the family pet… btw, as this site will attest you need not limit this kind of thing to dogs. Cats and even turtles are just as available for embarrassment.

Cute Overload brings us this post of The 7 Types of Pet Costumes (though they actually list 8). Few of these really surprised me, but I wouldn’t have thought of categorizing them before reading :)

They are:

  1. The Famous Human Costume
  2. The Cutesy Hurl-a-Thon
  3. The Non Sequitur Costume
  4. The “I Had it Lying Around” Costume
  5. The “My-pet-is-going-to-kill me-but-I’m-doing-it-anyway” Costume
  6. Build on Your Strengths Costume
  7. The Epic Transformation Costume
  8. The Just Plain Wrong Costume

Our neighbourhood has far too many Cutesy Hurl-a-Thons and not nearly enough Epic Transformations.

It Was Too Good To Last

We’ve been blessed with some exceptionally good weather here in the Pacific Northwest of late. Just this weekend skies were clear and blue with not a hint of rain… and believe me that’s not the usual.

Kids were outside, everyone was walking their dogs. Unfortunately the powers that be have let us know that it’s all to end by midweek and the kids are going to have to content with some serious rain when they’re trick or treating.

As such, I’m making a humble plea to the holders of the candy baskets to be liberal with the plunder this year as those little monster will have put forth quite a sacrifice to entertain you on the evening of October 31st… let’s show them the love!

The Best We Can Hope To Do Is To Leave The World A Better Place

How many of us can, or will ever be able to say they’ve moved people like Jim Henson?

It’s been a long time since I last sat in front of the TV and enjoyed an episode of Sesame Street (cookie monster, oscar the grouch, bert, ernie, mr hooper, grover and I used to be tight)… but the importance of that program and the people behind it rushes immediately back upon watching these videos.

Recalled Toys, Games And Other Children’s Items

Warning photo: Keep up to date with children's product recalls to ensure that you kids are not playing with dangerour or otherwise recalled items.

It’s that time again. Time to list the toys, games, furniture and other miscellaneous items sold under the pretense of being fun for your kids, when in fact they pose serious risk. Recall time.

This post we have:
Speed Boats by Dollar General: burn hazard

Playset Gliders by Backyard Play Systems: fall hazard

Science Kit Bar Magnets by Home Science Tools: lead hazard

Baby Walkers by My Way: fall hazard

Convertible Cribs by Playkids USA: suffocation hazard

Drop Side Cribs by Delta Enterprise: entrapment and suffocation hazard

Rage Wireless Gaming Guitar by Performance Designed Products: chemical burn risk

Girls Sandals by Rack Room Shoes: choking hazard

Didj Custom Gaming System Rechargeable Batteries by Leapfrog Enterprises: burn hazard

Be sure to keep up with recent recalls to ensure your children continue to play safely.

Environmental Education: Worms Eat My Garbage

Earthworm photo: Earthworm composting is a great way to teach your kids about nature even if you live in the heart of the city

My neighbour just came home with a worm composter the other day. For those of you unfamiliar with these, they’re small(ish) containers designed to contain your vegetable waste, worms and a mixture of starter material so that you can compost that waste instead of throwing it out. The containers are designed to allow for aeration and maximize the survival of the worms and the efficiency of composting. Great idea.

This strikes me as a great way to stimulate an appreciation for the environment in apartment or condo-dwelling kids. The containers can be kept outside on a deck or balcony and you could let your child help you to set up the composter as well as (depending on their age) adding vegetable waste and ultimately harvesting the composted soil. Even if they just watch what you’re doing you can tell them why you’re doing it and what’s happening so they understand the process, and something tells me that just seeing the worms wriggling so close to home will keep them attentive.

These are becoming so popular here that there’s currently quite a wait to get your hands on the required hardware. That said, with a bit of research I’m sure you could build one pretty easily and get on the road to reducing volume in our landfills while improving your garden or flowerbeds.

I called the organization that distributes these worm composters to learn more and they suggested that people not in the area, or that don’t want to wait for a composter to become available can build their own, and that a great guide is a book called “Worms Eat My Garbage.” For anyone interested, I’ve included a link to the book discounted on Amazon in the middle of this post.