Weekly family rail, with a book review, Family Screening Room, how to know when your child is ready to potty train and more.
Book Report “Ma! There's Nothing to Do Here! A Word from Your Baby-in-Waiting,” by Barbara Park, Viviana Garófoli (Illustrator), 40 pages Ages: 2 to 5 “Dear Ma," says this story's prenatal narrator, "What's a baby to do in a womb with no view?" Park proceeds to catalogue in rhyme all the things lacking in his or her current environment ("No puppies. No toys./ . . . Not a sandbox or swings . . . / Or those monkey bar things"), and throws in a last-minute to-do list ("You're set for me, right? You've got a night-light?"). Garofoli contributes lots of sweetly silly, nursery-hued illustrations, wildly exaggerating her subject's oversize head while being slightly more discreet about the mother's oversize tummy (although the crowded in-utero portraits may remind some adults of the famous stateroom scene from “A Night at the Opera”). Strategic poses obscure the baby's sex, in keeping with Park's gender-neutral writing. But while there are many individually clever lines and pictures, the list-dependent premise here precludes the development of a full-fledged story. Accordingly, this book might be a better choice for expectant parents than expectant siblings, or for kids old enough to enjoy a fetal fantasy onto which they can project themselves. – Barnes & Noble Family Screening Room Movie: “How She Move” Rated: PG-13 (for some drug content, suggestive material and language) Length: 1 hour, 38 minutes Synopsis: “How She Move” is an energetic, gritty and ultimately inspiring coming-of-age tale about a gifted young woman who defies all the rules as she step dances her heart out to achieve her dreams. Bursting with raw talent and intelligence, Raya Green, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, has always been the family's one great hope. She won the rare chance to break out of their drug and crime-infested neighborhood when she was accepted into the exclusive Seaton Academy. But when her sister dies of an overdose, the family is shattered and Raya is forced to return to the place she tried so hard to escape. It's not easy to go back - especially when one-time friends, including the tough minded Michelle, see Raya as a stuck-up traitor who left the community behind. Feeling trapped and looking for a way out, Raya learns about a step competition with a $50,000 cash prize that could change her fate. Most of the crews that win the big money are all male, forcing Raya to fight her way in as the sole female member of the Jane Street Junta, led by the reining champ of the local steppin' scene Bishop. As sparks begin to fly between Raya and Bishop, a false move by Raya leaves her without a crew, and she finds herself in a battle between her loyalty, her determination, her family's ambitions and her heart. As the big contest approaches, she realizes it's no longer just about the money or the opportunity, but also the one thing that she's been missing in her life: a sense of self. (Movieweb.com) Message: One moment can change the rest of your life. Forcing yourself to be something you are not only leads to unhappiness. (www.kids-in-mind.com) Violence/gore rating*: 2 Sexual-content rating*: 3 Profanity rating*: 3 Scary/tense-moments rating*: 2 Drugs/alcohol rating*: 4 * Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.” Ratings are based on numerous parental movie reviews. Play Outside: Snowgusta Mini Golf You’ve never played golf like this! Set up a course in your yard where players have to work around slush, snow, ice and more. What you need: Spray bottles, green food coloring, various obstacles, scissors, felt, glue, tape, wooden dowels, plastic containers, hockey stick or broom stick, rubber ball (or regular golf ball) How to play: Stomp down an area around each hole (hard-packed snow holds color better than fluffy snow does). Mix water and green food coloring in a spray bottle, then spray the mixture on the packed snow. (Note: Unless you want green jeans, don't lie or sit on the sprayed snow.) Once the green is set, add wacky obstacles such as pool toy rings, a Hula hoop sunk halfway in the snow, a toboggan or skateboard upside down, a trash-can lid and a tunnel through the bottom of a snowman. And don't forget to make the holes: plastic containers sunk in the snow. To make a flag, cut a triangle from one color of felt and a number from another. Glue them together. Then tape or staple the flag around a dowel or ski pole. If necessary, wrap a rubber band around the dowel under the flag to keep it from slipping. -- FamilyFun.com Tip of the Week: How to Know When Your Child is Ready to Potty Train Age: Your child should be at least 20 months old and preferably 2 years old or older. Physical readiness: Your child should be able to pick up objects, lower and raise his or her pants, and walk from room to room easily. Bladder readiness: Your child should already be staying dry for several hours at a time, urinating about four to six times a day, and completely emptying his or her bladder. If your child is still wetting a small amount frequently (seven to 10 times a day), you should wait. Language readiness: Your child should understand your toileting words, words like "wet," "dry," "pants" and "bathroom." If your child does not understand what you are talking about, you should wait. Instructional readiness: Your child should be able to understand simple instructions, such as "Come here, please" and "Sit down." Just as important, your child should be following the reasonable instructions you give. If your child opposes you much of the time and has frequent temper tantrums, you will probably have problems with toilet training. Bladder and bowel awareness: Your child may indicate that he or she is aware of the need to void or eliminate. Children usually indicate this awareness not through words but through actions – making a face, assuming a special posture like squatting, or going to a certain location when they feel the urge to urinate or defecate. This may be a positive sign that your child is ready to begin toilet training. -- Parenting.org Arts&Crafts Time: Decoupage Vase What you need: Decoupage glue, glass or plastic vase or other container, tissue paper, brush, newspaper, scissors What to do: Cover the work surface with newspaper. Cut small squares -- about 1x1 -- or other shapes from the tissue paper. Cover a small area of the vase with the decoupage glue, then place the tissue paper on the glue. Coat with a layer of the decoupage glue. You can put on more than one layer of tissue paper to make it less transparent. Allow to dry overnight. When dry the outer layer should be hard and water resistant. -- www.holidaycrafts4kids.com Kids Kitchen: Bologna Quiche 12 slices chicken bologna 2 eggs 1/2 cup biscuit mix 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheese 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish 1 cup milk Place bologna slices in muffin tins to form cups. Blending remaining ingredients, pour into bologna cups. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until nicely browned. Serves 12. -- http://kids.cdkitchen.com GateHouse News Service