Weekend Catchup: highlights from the week of 4/25/11

Weekend Ketchup! We've been sitting around here in Portland, waiting for Spring to spring, complaining about the cold, damp, gray that doesn't realize it has overstayed its welcome. But then the tornadoes hit the Southern United States, and it gave me pause. About what, exactly, am I complaining?

There are parallels to parenting. The relative "hardness" of parenting  changes so much, it's almost funny to think about. It's as if parenting an infant, a toddler, a kid and a teen are four completely separate jobs with their own challenges, skill sets, and outcomes.

If you live in one of the communities affected by the tornadoes, my thoughts are with you. I hope you and your families are safe and well. And if you are in the midst of a struggle with your kids over a habit or an issue, know that love, gentle teaching and time will often solve it.

Here's what happened at Parent Hacks earlier this week:

Strawberry basket as small-parts holder for your dishwasher: Keep those sippy cup valves out of dishwasher oblivion!

Amazon: The Happiest Mom: 10 Secrets to Enjoying Motherhood, by Meagan Francis Review and giveaway: The Happiest Mom: 10 Secrets to Enjoying Motherhood: I got to review a fantastic book plus give three copies away to commenters who shared their #1 new parent tips. The responses were wise, funny, and required reading for anyone getting ready for parenthood. Actually, everyone should read those comments. I felt renewed after reading them.

I was on CNN discussing the issue of pornography being available on New York public library computers. I haven't yet got the video clip, but as soon as I do, will share. It was a fascinating experience, and an important issue.

Amazon deal: Rayovac head-mounted flashlight 77% off: Love this headlamp for reasons I listed in the post, and several commented with more. The deal's on through the weekend…it's a good one in spite of the steep shipping charge.

Amazon: Rayovac High Pressure Xenon Head-Lite SPX3AAHL10 best tricks for fooling yourself to work: I passed along this link shared with me by Twitter friend @iMelissaBrunet…one of the 10 best "10 best" lists I've seen. Enthusastic response! My favorite quote from the post: "Fake relaxation sucks."

Backyard clubhouse: staple oilcloth to a play structure: The essense of Spring. The picture will make you melt from the cute.

How to help your kid/teen wake up on her own: Fantastic conversation about how to shift morning wakeup responsibility to your kid. My tips + great commentary.

"Save" Lego creations in digital photos as wall art: This great idea struck a chord with a lot of you based on comments and responses on Twitter and Facebook.

"Childproof" kitchen cabinets by hiding the knobs behind towels: Will work for some kids, others will get a miscevious gleam in their eyes and go to town. Led to conversation about "customizing" childproofing efforts based on your kid's particular proclivites. What do you think?

Twitter and Facebook highlights:

Lots of interesting back and forth about educational "paths" after I mentioned I was skimming The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home. The book is worth a read even if you have no plans for homeschooling — refreshing argument for old-fashioned learning via rote (among many other things). It's not that I want my kids to learn that way all the time, but downplaying the power and importance of memorization doesn't make sense, either.

In response to the towel/cabinet hack, @WriterCrafter shared that her two year-old tried to pick the front door lock with one of her vintage Fisher Price Little People figures. This is why you should never buy used toys. KIDDING! Hilarious…a future Parenthacker if I ever saw one.

Finally, this has nothing to do with PH (or perhaps it does, in the category of "sharing cool experiences with your family via FaceTime") but I have to show you this.

Kids and me watching Jamie Oliver at Twitter via Facetime

That's my husband Rael's hand, holding the iPhone. That's Jamie Oliver, doing a talk and cooking demo at the Twitter office in San Francisco. And that's me and the kids watching via FaceTime. I'm a huge Jamie Oliver fan, so this was a major thrill, and being FaceTimed in like that, well, wow. The future is here.

Wishing you a safe, beautiful weekend.

The Parent Hacks conversation extends from the site out to Twitter and Facebook and back again. Perfect place to ask questions, share links, and hang out with the smartest parents around. Come join us! Follow @parenthacks on Twitter, and/or "like" the Parent Hacks Facebook page. Different stuff happens in each place.

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