Don't Tell Your Kids They're Smart

Telling kids that they are smart will make them dumb. That's the gist of New York Magazine's cover story, Praise is Dangerous. It's actually a pretty interesting topic for parents on several different levels.

1) There's the modern parenting culture of making our kids into "praise junkies" by just praising them constantly to try to inflate their self-esteem.

2) There's the issue that what parents are really trying to do when we do this is to stroke our own egos.

Road Rage

Whoever said, "the journey is the reward" has never traveled through holiday traffic with a car full of kids alternately puking and whining about how bored they are.

If you're planning on traveling with kids anywhere for President's Weekend or Mid-Winter Break, I suggest preparing for a family trip as if you are going into battle. And you should always head out for war well-armed - and no chintzy government-issue armor here, I'm talking about the good stuff - like what cops get.

That's where comes in. It's a homespun site written by Laurel Smith, self-made traveling-in-the-car-with-kids guru. The site has games and activities for babies, toddlers and kids. There are games you can print out, including travel bingo sheets. The site is so chock-full of kid travel ideas you might actually make it to Aunt Sadie's without hearing a single, "I'm bored!" But if just seeing that someone is so organized it makes you sick, there's even a list of car sickness prevention tips - she really does have it all covered.

Feel young and old with Sesame Street

There's some pretty good children's television out there today, but go back and watch some clips from the old Sesame Streets of our childhood and it's really amazing what they were doing. Artsy, adorable, witty, silly, insightful and emotional. It's all there. They're so wonderful they'll make you feel old and young at the same time.

You can look for Sesame Street clips on, but has been kind enough to compile some great snippets for us.

5 Museums You've Never Heard Of

The Museum of Natural History is great, but there's only so many rainy days you can stand staring at those damn dinosaurs. The Met and MoMA feel virtuous, but, depending on the kid, not necessarily reliable alternatives.

Wouldn't it be great if there were other museums - museums that offered a wide range of experiences, had free family programs and weren't as crowded as a Japanese subway car? If only NY had museums like this, families would never even think of moving to the suburbs.

Well, Mommy Poppins, ever eager to keep the price of family-sized apartments astronomical, has sleuthed out 5 museums, all within walking distance of each other, that offer a day of educational and creative fun.

PTA MOMS: Do Less, Raise More

Remember the old poster ""It Will Be a Great Day When Our Schools Get all the Money They Need and the Air Force Has to Hold a Bake Sale to Buy a Bomber"? Ha!

Quality Time: Plant Some Garbage

Quality Time postings are dedicated to activities for spending time with your kids to get the most out of your time together.

Kids of all ages love gardening projects, especially ones that magically transform something from one thing to another. One minute that big juicy oval thing is a piece of fruit sitting on their plate, and the next it's an activity. Talk about getting to play with your food!

Everybody knows how to plant an avocado, but did you know you can also plant many other things like pineapples and mangos. Mangos actually make one of the most attractive houseplants.

Eat Your Organic Veggies

We planned on eating a wide varieties of veggies, really we did. It just seemed like, with kids, our fruit and veggie shopping never really made it past the B's on the food alphabet chart - we were stuck at Apples, Bananas, Beans and Broccoli - maybe some Carrots. We never got anywhere close to Squash or Zucchini.

That was until we signed up with Urban Organic, a Brooklyn-based business that will deliver a box of organic veggies to your door once a week. You don't get to choose what you get. They send the same box to everyone, although you can make up to three alterations a week and you can tell them a couple things you never want to get.

Life is Good: Bulk TP Delivered to Your Door

Everybody knows about FreshDirect, but did you know that you can also have bulk groceries delivered to your home? For some reason doesn't sell the basic stuff we like to stock up on (diapers, toilet paper, paper towels, detergents, etc). Then we found, a local business that will deliver basically the same stuff as Costco, without the tempting gadgets you don't need and the three hours of your life lost forever.

We stock up on toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies and detergents, but we have also found it great for buying huge bags of broccoli florets, carrots, lemons and limes, sandwich bread, organic milk, and grapes. It's great for huge packs of string cheese for a fraction of the cost and lots of other snack foods. The only thing we've been disappointed with is the baby carrots which have been slimy the last couple of times.

Mommy Poppins' fearless investigators compared prices between Costco and YourGrocer and found them to be comparable. Prices range from cheaper to much cheaper than FreshDirect (except for beverages for some reason) and they deliver right to your door. There's a $10 delivery fee, but no club membership, so it's a great help toward living the modern American dream of never having to go outside for any reason.


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