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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Whoa Momma blog is leaving the nest

flamingomom.jpgGrowth and change are a big part of parenting, and it turns out it’s part of being a parenting blogger, too. Our mother ship, tampabay.com, is about to undergo a complete redesign and “reimagining.” It’s going to be a gorgeous looking website, but one of the changes will be that the Whoa, Momma! blog will not move forward with it.

We’ll still do popular features like Free and Cheap things to do with your kids this week, and you can find parenting features and things to do with kids quite easily at tampabay.com/things-to-do.

But like all growth and change, you can’t end something like this without a little nostalgia. For five years we’ve had hot debates over the Octomom, buying kids cell phones and teaching toddlers store manners (vs. using a leash).

We’ve had tips on discipline, your kid’s first Facebook page , how I stopped by toddler from biting in one week, and the most popular of all tips, things to do with the kids.

Along the way, our bloggers have also confessed our sins. I admitted being haunted by the fear that I might have left my baby in a hot car if he hadn't made some noise one day, Amy Hollyfield let us know what it's like when your 3 year old drops the F-bomb, and Kelly Smith wondered how she would look the teacher in the eye after spilling a glass of red wine on the homework. We've all been there, haven't we Mommas?

This has been a fun way to interact with readers and other parents. I hope that doesn’t end, but merely moves to the comments section on our online stories. You know I’m always up for a good debate.

— Sharon Kennedy Wynne 
 

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Great gifts and charity for just $5

horton.jpgI have long been a fan of the Kohl's Cares program, were $5 plush toys and hardback books go toward children's health and educational programs. But I just about swooned when I found the latest batch of goodies and that make great baby shower or birthday presents. 

Now they are bringing Dr. Seuss to the spotlight with playful and affordable books and plush toys. You can get hardcover editions of classic The Cat in The Hat, Horton Hears a Who!, Sleep Book, ABC’s and Happy Birthday to You! for only $5 each and also get coordinating plush toys, also just $5 each. I just adore the plush blue Horton elephant, left. 

Since the program’s inception in 2000, the Kohl’s Cares philanthropic program has raised more than $208 million for children’s health and education programs in local communities across the country.

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Follow us on Twitter@WhoaMomma

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Whooping cough makes a comeback -- and I got it

whooping.jpgWhen I read this story in Saturday's paper about how whooping cough had had its biggest year since 1955 a light went on in my head. So THAT'S why me, my teenaged son and husband had been coughing and hacking for the last three weeks.

Whooping cough ebbs and flows in multiyear cycles, and experts say there were at least 41,880 cases in 2012. The final tally is expected to be higher but is unlikely to surpass the nearly 63,000 illnesses in 1955, said Dr. Tom Clark of the CDC. Despite the high number of illnesses, deaths didn't increase. Eighteen people died, including 15 infants younger than 1.

But why would my fully vaccinated 14 year old have come home with it? Turns out the vaccine given to infants was revised in the '90s and the side effects were improved but the vaccine doesn't last as long. "This may explain why there are more whooping cough cases in older children," a public health notice from Washington state's health departnment notes about that state's recent outbreak. "Teens who are 13-14 years old today are the first group of kids to get only the newer DTaP vaccine as babies; they didn’t get any doses of the old vaccine." …

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Teaching kids manners

soupbook.jpgJust in time for those holiday thank-you notes and dinners at Grandma's house, a book lands on my desk called Soup Should Be Seen, Not Heard! a book of manners. The spiral-bound flip book is aimed at kids ages 4 and up, not parents, and there are illustrations on every page and a light touch.

It starts off with the basics, the Golden Rule, saying please and thank you. Then it delves into more precise coaching. How to introduce yourself, how to introduce others, "Mrs. Smith, this is my friend Emily."

There are chapters on telephone etiquette, dinnerware, writing messages, proper attire and my favorite: points of politeness in public places ("Do not kick, tap or push the seat in front of you").

We adults forget sometimes because it seems obvious but children do have to literally be taught such obvious things as look, but don't touch, treat public property with respect, how to ride an elevator without being obnoxious and how to behave in a movie theater. …

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How to secure a Christmas tree with a toddler in the house

christmastree.jpgThis is good information for people with cats, too.  If this is your first Christmas with a toddler in the house, you have to be dreading how much you'll have to police your precious Christmas treasures from the curious (and clumsy) hands of a toddler. To be fair to the kids, the room just got a big tree with lights and spinny things on it, who could resist?

Here's a game plan to keep your toddler from pulling the tree on top of himself or hurling your grandmother's antique ornament across the room:

Secure it: You know those ceiling hooks that your mom hung potted plants from? Those are a good solution to tipping Christmas trees. Use fishing line to secure the top of the tree to the hook. You could also do this mid-tree to a back wall.

Pyramid of greatness: Like the food pyramid, the Christmas tree should put the most rare and important baubles on top and proceed in descending order to the plastic M&M ornament that came in a cereal box on the bottom. Don't kid yourself that you can just teach them not to touch the tree. Sure you might, but on the off-chance yours has normal human curiosity, keep any valuables out of reach. …

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Free and cheap things to do with kids this week

manatees.jpgIf ever there was a time to find cheap diversions, 'tis the season. Luckily there’s free holiday action rolling as well local fun like manatee watching, left, or penguin appreciation. Read on for this week’s picks for things to do with the kids:

Got relatives in town for the holidays? Nothing impresses Northerners more than a herd of manatees lolling about (yes, the sea cows are collectively called a herd). TECO’s Manatee Viewing Center is once again open to the public to see the gentle lugs congregate in the warmer waters near the Big Bend power station. The center is closed Thanksgiving Day but otherwise open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Best of all, it’s free at 6990 Dickman Road in Apollo Beach. See tampaelectric.com/manatee for live web cams. …

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Group blasts children's book for 'sneaky ads'

Mercer Island Books also questions the practice asking, "Don’t you think sneaking ads into the pages of a kids book is questionable, to say the least?"

Back iun 2001 the publishing world was appalled to learn a novelist had

 

 

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Free and cheap things to do with kids this week

I hate to break it to you, but Christmas events are already popping up, but on the bright side they are fun and usually free. We also have some fun fall festivals this week and lots of wallet-friendly options this week as you try to block out the coming holiday season from your memory banks: …

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Free and cheap things to do with kids this week

I hate to break it to you, but Christmas events are already popping up, but on the bright side they are fun and usually free. We also have some fun fall festivals this week and lots of wallet-friendly options this week as you try to block out the coming holiday season from your memory banks: …

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Great American Teach-In is coming next week

schoolzone.jpgParents, grandparents and community members will be school classrooms next Thursday, Nov. 15 in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties to share their work, hobbies and life experiences with students. It's called the Great American Teach-in and it's a fun day for kids because it's a day filled with firefighters, dog trainers, cake decorators,  wrestlers, basketball coaches and more.

They'll talk about what they do and also how school got them there and the components of their success. It's a good way to show kids where education can take you, but it's also a good way for parents to appreciate what teachers do.

The first time I did it a few years back, I came home with even greater respect for teachers, if that's possible. First of all, it's hard to talk about anything for more than five minutes, so you need to be prepared. An easy out is to give them your story and then take questions. But be prepared for questions that have NOTHING to do with what you talked about. …

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Free haircuts for kids who recycle

Next Thursday, Nov. 15 is America Recycles Day, so Darren Pena Salon in Tampa is getting into the spirit with free haircuts for kids who care about the environment.

From 2 to 6 p.m. Nov. 15, every child who  brings in a recyclable donation of paper, plastic or glass will receive a free haircut. They also will have free refreshments, yummy snacks,and face painting. And you can enter to win giveaways such as gift cards to restaurants, tickets to attractions, gifts from local retailers, spa treatments and more.

And mom and dad can get 50 percent off a haircut while they are there. Kids have to be 12 years or under and the adult cut price break is good for event only. Must be present to receive a gift.

Please call to schedule ahead for kids cuts, adult cuts, and face painting. Phone:

Call (813) 969-2420 to sechedule hair cuts and face painting. The salon is at 10330 N Dale Mabry Highway Tampa.

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A gift for mom: Set the clocks back

clock.jpgDaylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4. Can you hear the rejoicing?

As our dear friend Tracey Henry, the Suburban Diva reminded us once, the Daylight Saving Fairy must be the patron saint of parents. Because it doesn’t occur at 11 a.m. when you could get an extra hour of time at work or on the treadmill. It doesn’t commence at 3 in the afternoon for an extra hour of car line. No, we are given our additional hour at drowsy 2 a.m., when we are sleeping.

It’s the one day of the year that living on borrowed time is a good thing.

So when we awake on Sunday morning to that beautiful, innocent joy of knowing that it is really 7 a.m. instead of 8 and roll back over and wrap up tightly in the sheets, we’ll not know for a blessed moment if it is just another day in October or Christmas morning.

It’s a gift of sleep before our worn-out selves get ready for Thanksgiving.

--Follow us on Twitter @WhoaMomma

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Free and cheap things to do with kids this week

kidsfly.jpgForget the Halloween basket, our day planner is loaded with goodies this week, from a free airplane ride where kids can take the stick to a great science festival and a huge gathering of sci-fi fans to the Fab Five gymnasts from the Olympics. We've got that and much more in this week's list of free and cheap things to do with your kids

Kids ages 8 to 17 can actually take the stick in flight at the Young Eagles Flight Rally and explore the world of aviation for free. Volunteer pilots will take children on a 15-minute flight from the Clearwater Airpark, heading north over the beaches area. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and closes at 11:15 a.m. Weather will be monitored; check eaa282.org for possible cancelation. Free. Clearwater Airpark, 1000 N Hercules Ave., Clearwater. (727) 458-4420. 8 a.m.-noon Saturday.

gymnasts.jpgIt’s the Fab Five! The golden darlings of the Summer Olympics are coming to Tampa for the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions: Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, Kyla Ross and an injured McKayla Maroney, who will still make an appearance. And there’s more. Tour producers also confirmed these gymnasts: Nastia Liukin, who took home the gold all around medal in 2008; and from the men’s team, Jonathan Horton, who won silver in 2008, along with his 2012 teammates John Orozco and Steven Gluckstein. 6 p.m. Sunday. $25-$200. Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-2500.

There's a great day in store for young science fans on Saturday, MarineQuest and the St. Petersburg Science Festival. The annual family-friendly Marine Quest, an open house at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, brings science to life with hands-on exhibits and activities for adults and kids. Visitors can touch sharks and rays, horseshoe crabs, sea stars, spiny lobsters and other marine critters commonly found in Florida’s waters. You can also create “fish prints” (gyotaku), catch fish in a barrel, and get your face painted. At the same time, the nearby USF St. Petersburg campus is hosting the St. Petersburg Science Festival with nearly 100 hands-on exhibits celebrating the wonders of science, technology, engineering and math. There will also be food trucks on hand. They both run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Marine Quest is at the institute’s campus at 100 Eighth Ave. SE, St. Petersburg and the USF campus is a block away on Seventh Avenue. Free.

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Free and cheap things to do with kids this week

kidsfly.jpgForget the Halloween basket, our day planner is loaded with goodies this week, from a free airplane ride where kids can take the stick to a great science festival and a huge gathering of sci-fi fans to the Fab Five gymnasts from the Olympics. We've got that and much more in this week's list of free and cheap things to do with your kids

Kids ages 8 to 17 can actually take the stick in flight at the Young Eagles Flight Rally and explore the world of aviation for free. Volunteer pilots will take children on a 15-minute flight from the Clearwater Airpark, heading north over the beaches area. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and closes at 11:15 a.m. Weather will be monitored; check eaa282.org for possible cancelation. Free. Clearwater Airpark, 1000 N Hercules Ave., Clearwater. (727) 458-4420. 8 a.m.-noon Saturday.

gymnasts.jpgIt’s the Fab Five! The golden darlings of the Summer Olympics are coming to Tampa for the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions: Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, Kyla Ross and an injured McKayla Maroney, who will still make an appearance. And there’s more. Tour producers also confirmed these gymnasts: Nastia Liukin, who took home the gold all around medal in 2008; and from the men’s team, Jonathan Horton, who won silver in 2008, along with his 2012 teammates John Orozco and Steven Gluckstein. 6 p.m. Sunday. $25-$200. Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-2500.

There's a great day in store for young science fans on Saturday, MarineQuest and the St. Petersburg Science Festival. The annual family-friendly Marine Quest, an open house at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, brings science to life with hands-on exhibits and activities for adults and kids. Visitors can touch sharks and rays, horseshoe crabs, sea stars, spiny lobsters and other marine critters commonly found in Florida’s waters. You can also create “fish prints” (gyotaku), catch fish in a barrel, and get your face painted. At the same time, the nearby USF St. Petersburg campus is hosting the St. Petersburg Science Festival with nearly 100 hands-on exhibits celebrating the wonders of science, technology, engineering and math. There will also be food trucks on hand. They both run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Marine Quest is at the institute’s campus at 100 Eighth Ave. SE, St. Petersburg and the USF campus is a block away on Seventh Avenue. Free.

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Free and cheap things to do with kids this week

kitefest.jpgFrom stilt walkers and magicians at an art walk to 10-cent trolly rides to the sky full of kites, we've got lots of wallet-friendly diversions to choose from this week. Read on for this week's picks of the best free and cheap things to do with your kids:

Now with stilt walkers! The monthly Gulfport Art Walk now includes lively street entertainment to engage the strolling audience. Keep an eye out for stilt walkers, jugglers, costumed strolling characters, magicians and more as you browse the arts and crafts along Gulfport’s main drag along Beach Boulevard. It starts at 6 p.m. Saturday. Free.

Kite fliers from all over the world will color the sky over Treasure Island Beach for KiteOberFest, with hundreds of kites up to 100 feet long this weekend. Demonstrations include aerial acrobatics set to music, kite boarding and more. There will also be family activities, food, a kite auction, raffles and kite supply vendors. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Children’s Cancer Center of Tampa. It runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday behind the Thunderbird Resort, 10700 Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island. Free.

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