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summer 09

preventing thieves from stealing your child’s identity

Hollywood’s Stay-at-Home Dads: Billy Ashley Charlie Mattera Grant Reynolds

going to the dogs: Tamar Geller teaches about loving dogs best dog breeds for kids walking the dog reading to your dog

Is your child ready for kindergarten?

10 LA

summer staycation


Summer Dress Code

Wahine Style







grab bag little kids


grab bag subjects


grab bag activities








Carlsbad family getaway



dads stay at home



outdoor family dining


dog-inspired family books


Jacobus brothers Costa Rican adventuret


Tamar Geller love for the family dog



raise healthy and fit kids


dog breeds for kids





uncover your heritage



explore LA



read to a dog

time to walk the dog



prevent children’s identity theft



grab bag style sun and water

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tips to avoid summer brain drain

laid-back beach wear



sun print designs

visit the NEW and check out our calendar section for updated activities and events 2 kidsla summer 2009

image: Don Diaz Model: Awakea for

GreenEdge Kids, Tee, $27, Mini Boden, Two Piece, $28,

The Only Children’s Restaurant in Los Angeles Arts and Crafts Makeup And Dress up for boys and girls Face Painting Hot Rod Area for Boys Baby and Toddler Area Kid and Adult Friendly Healthy Menus Kid’s aids monitoring kids while you eat Nightly Events (check Website for Details )

Best Place in Town For Your Child’s Birthday Party

The Best Place for a private or semi-private Birthday Party Take-out, Delivery and Curbside pick-up available

$5.00 OFF on any order of $20.00 or more

310.478.HUGS (4847) • 11701 Wilshire Blvd. #11, Los Angeles, CA 90025 Monday - Fridays: 11am to 9 pm

Saturday & Sundays: Call in advance for weekend hours


illiams entice w nicole pr

ropeza Patty O

don diaz

karen le e mah

kathy se na

jo perry

SARAH BOWMAN and DIANE SHAKIN are LA moms and cofounders of, a website that provides parents with free weekly e-mails about great ideas for getting kids off the couch and into culture around LA. DON DIAZ loves to photograph children, working with such companies as Disneyland, Target and Kohl’s. His secret to taking great photographs of kids: “Just get down to their eye level and have fun with them.” Don lives in Southern California, where he grew up as a kid. KAREN LEE MAH is an educational consultant for School Choice International; assisting families who are moving to Los Angeles find the best K-12 school “match” for their kids. She also works one-on-one with students as an academic “coach”. For fun, Karen acts in community theatre. She, her husband and their three children live in the South Bay area of Los Angeles. PATTY OROPEZA is a Cal State Long Beach journalism major. When she isn’t writing about kids, she enjoys spending time with her many goddaughters. JO PERRY was born in Los Angeles, studied literature at the College of Creative Studies at UCSB and earned a Ph.D. in English. She has taught literature and writing, published poetry, written episodic television, and wrote the children’s book club


column for the L.A. Times’ Kids’ Reading Room. She is married to novelist Thomas Perry and is the mother of two daughters. NICOLE PRENTICE WILLIAMS and her husband, Robert, are the proud parents of baby Lucia. Nicole enjoys traveling, dining out and being the taste tester for her husband’s culinary creations. Nicole is an Emmy Award-winning television writer and producer. KATHY SENA is an award-winning freelance writer and essayist. She and her husband have an 11-year-old son and a slightly spoiled dog. Visit her blog “Parent Talk” at parenttalk.typepad. com. K.B. VanHorn lives in North Hollywood with her husband Erik, son Sage, 7, and daughter McKenna, 2. An avid thing-maker, she often chronicles her creations on her blog A Patchwork World. Her line of clothing and accessories can be found at kokoleo. com and in several boutiques and indie craft shows around Los Angeles. DR. RICHARD VISSER recently completed clinical research on 10,000 children and the obesity pandemic in Latin America and the United States. He’s the director of the Visser Wellness and Research Center in Aruba, as well as CEO of SimplyH and Simply Toddler in LA. Dr. Visser works worldwide to raise awareness of proper nutrition for healthy and fit toddlers and children.

Visit and enter to win any of the following prizes! Random winners will be picked each summer month.

The Jetsons: Season 2, Volume 1 on DVD June 2, Tom and Jerry’s Greatest Chase, Volume 2 and The Wiggles Go Bananas! on DVD this July.

4 kidsla summer 2009

orn k.b. vanh

Dr. Dolittle: Million Dollar Mutts on DVD now.

The Pink Panther 2 on DVD June 16.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop on DVD now, packaged in eco-friendly ultralight case, using 20% less plastic than a standard DVD case.

Congratulations to kidsLA Magazine spring promotion winners: Chanice DeCarlo, Traci DeMarco, Sharon Ferrier, Robin King, Deborah Quiran, Meredith Rednoske, Cindy Rivas, Marie Sidell, Vivian Sink



Tane Beauvois




Sarah Bowman, Karen Lee Mah, Patty Oropeza, Jo Perry, Nicole Prentice Williams, Kathy Sena, Diane Shakin, K.B. Van Horn, Dr. Richard Visser


Michael Mathews, Maria Helena Segovia Mathews/Segovia Partnership Marketing LLC



Melani Hurwitz, Nadia Kameli, Kelly Martin, Roselma Samala


Joe Carlone, King Holmes Paterno & Berliner LLP



American Web Certified Member of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)


kidsLA Magazine 9461 Charleville Blvd. #327, Beverly Hills, CA 90212



PRINTED ON RECYCLED PAPER kidsLA Magazine is published quarterly by Pearl Publications LLC. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily the opinions of this publication. 5

editor’s note

last night

Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope. ~Bill Cosby

we got together with some of our baseball friends — barbequing, telling jokes (mostly kid-appropriate) and just hanging out talking about our baseball season. I thought how great it was for our kids to see not only their moms in a social gathering, but their dads too. Dads are a bigger influence on their kid’s lives today, than in generations past; they are much more connected to their kids. Our summer issue showcases some Hollywood dads that have chosen to stay home with the kids. It’s great that no matter which parent stays home, we realize it’s good for parents to be the primary caregiver of their own kids. Children don’t have a choice of what family they are born into, but we parents choose to have children. Our chosen ones deserve their parent’s attention. They don’t need to be spoiled, but they do deserve to be taught the life lessons that we have learned in our own personal journeys. Kids need dads and moms to be the example of which to base their future upon. They don’t necessarily need to follow in their parent’s exact footsteps, but parents can be the example on whether or not their kids are helpful to others, enjoy all manners of cultural activities or stay physically fit. My dad was a wonderful example to me and my sisters. We lived a normal middle-class family life in the suburbs of OC. But now that I have my own kids, and my husband and I try to provide for our family, I’ve realized how much my parents gave up for us girls. My dad is a simple guy, who worked a blue-collar job, and got home much earlier than my mom, who commuted to and from downtown LA. He would cook dinner, help us with homework and listen to our problems. He did the shopping, including running to the store whenever we were in need of sanitary napkins. He deserves a lot more credit than we gave him at the time. Papa now gives much of his affection to his two grandsons. When they were much younger, Papa was the primary caregiver to my sons, until I became the stay-at-home parent. Then, he had to deal with trying to change eco-friendly cloth diapers and defrosting frozen breast milk. Now he still devotes much of his time to my kids — going to their little league games and watching school performances. From him, his daughters learned to give of our time, to help others in need and know that family comes first. And we plan to carry on that legacy with our kids. Take the time to enjoy spending time with your kids. Hanging out, shooting the breeze around the fire pit and viewing the evening stars are memories that will last forever. I hope when my kids become little league coaches, like their dad, they will remember the life lessons their dad taught them and their team — not just about baseball, but about life. Their dad, my husband, loves his kids — all “his” kids, and tries to mentor them all. My husband’s legacy to my kids — a dad that truly loves them. What will be your legacy? Happy Father’s Day to all parents,

Jemma Gafford Editor-In-Chief

6 kidsla summer 2009

Away to Aviara a coastal getaway for a weekend or a week words Jemma Samala Gafford

2:00 p.m. I quickly take out yet another load of laundry to make sure my family has some clean beach wear.

4:00 p.m. We arrive at the Four Seasons Aviara in Carlsbad and get a refreshing drink of mango iced tea from the lobby. 7


Just a quick drive down the 5 freeway, and my family and I are away from the stress of our daily lives (well, at least until I check my e-mail later that evening). If you want a luxurious coastal vacation, come stay at the Four Seasons Aviara. No airport waits, no passports and only a few minutes of freeway traffic — but that’s a small price to pay for fun and relaxation.


Carlsbad is in Northern San Diego County and close to many attractions. My kids’ favorite being Legoland. If your home is like mine, we have little legos hidden around the house, barely seen until you step on one while you’re holding something spillable. And every time we go to Legoland, we “have” to add to to our Star Wars collection, for which we already have a gazillion sets. Legoland really does appeal to the entire family. The rides are just the right speed, and during the summer there are plenty of attractions to cool you down. We enjoy the Pirate Shores area where you can shoot water at other guests on Splash Battle and get soaked at Soak-n-Sail. Be sure to bring swimsuits and towels. Legoland has great food. Yes, a theme park that has delicious and nutritious dining selections. Our favorite is the Upper Deck Sports Café, which offers a kids buffet, and parents can enjoy my usual — grilled salmon. You must experience the Granny’s Apple Fries — absolute heavenly fried apples dusted with cinnamon sugar and topped with vanilla whipped cream. Yummy. Before you leave the park, make sure you stop by Mini Land, a collection of regions recreated with Lego bricks. You’ll find California cities, New Orleans, the U.S. Capitol and New York City — try to find the guy sitting on the toilet. It’s amazing what big kids can do with legos, and they actually get paid to play with these plastic bricks!

8 kidsla summer 2009


Picturesque beaches line all of northern San Diego County, just pick one and you’ll be happy. Carlsbad State Beach (or Tamarack State Beach) is four miles of white sand and close to Carlsbad Village, Carlsbad’s downtown area where you can shop and dine. Our family’s favorite beach site is San Elijo State Beach, which is further south in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. San Elijo is perfect for swimming, surfing and snorkeling. San Elijo is also the family favorite for beach camping. Reserve spots in advance for your tents or RVs for a summer gathering of cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. If you get tired of roasting marshmallows, walk over to The Beach House for lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch.


Ahhhh. . . Aviara. Taken from the word aviary, a cage for birds, you do enjoy the sounds of the local winged fauna, but you don’t feel like a caged bird at the Four Seasons Resort Aviara in Carlsbad. Our family was just so content to be hanging out at such a luxury resort. Our favorite reasons: me — the spa; my husband — the golf course, and my kids — the game room, of course. But before heading to the game room, my kids were treated to sweet treats on a plate with their name written in chocolate and a nice cold glass of milk. Plus, on the beds were stuffed animals, and kid-sized robes and slippers — ready for their bath with “Welcome” written in the tub. My kids said they felt like celebrities with all the special treatment. Not to burst their bubble, I informed them that all kids are treated special as part of the Four Seasons “Kids for all Seasons” program for children ages 4-12. Kids can check-in daily during summer from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and participate in a variety of games, arts and crafts and storytelling. On the way to the Batiquitos Lagoon wildlife preserve, during afternoon walks, kids can stop by a life-sized teepee, go kite flying or throw Frisbees.

Carlsbad Checklist Shopping Carlsbad Premium Outlets — Over 90 outlet stores. 5620 Paseo del Norte, Suite 100, Carlsbad. 760.804.9000, Carlsbad Village — Restaurants, shops and art galleries. Farmer’s Market Saturdays and Wednesdays from 1-5 p.m.

Dining The Beach House — 2530 S. Coast Highway 101, Cardiff-by-the-Sea. 760.753.1321, Pelly’s Fish Market — 7110 Avenida Encinas, Carlsbad. 760.431.8454,

Older kids, like mine, will spend more than enough time at the game room, which has pool and ping-pong tables, foosball, shuffleboard, board games, arcade games, PS2 and Wii. They can also order room service there (make sure you check your daily bill). Little kids under the age of 4 can participate in the Kids for all Seasons program if accompanied by a parent or babysitter. All the restaurants offer a kids menu. My kids enjoyed the chicken strips during our fancy schmancy dinner at Vivace (we enjoyed our own gourmet 3-course meal) and actually ate their appetizer of carrot and celery sticks with ranch dressing. Golfers will enjoy the Four Seasons Resort Aviara Golf Club, which includes one of the U.S.’s top 25 golf schools, The Kip Puterbaugh Aviara Golf Academy, and offers lessons for kids. Green fees start at $205 per round. The Resort also has prestigious tennis facilities and summer tennis weeklong camps are designed just for kids. Camps are Monday-Friday, from 12:30-3 p.m., and priced at $225 per session. You have to indulge in a spa treatment while staying at the Aviara. I took a “Walk on the Beach,” a specialty massage treatment that integrates hot seashells into a traditional Swedish massage — think of a hot stone massage with seashells. The virtual walk on the beach ends with a sand-like exfoliating peppermint scrub on your feet. And speaking of beaches... .. . the Four Seasons Aviara actually has a Surf Concierge and Beach Butler! The surf shack is located poolside where the Surf Concierge will have the latest wave conditions, water temperatures, organize surf excursions and teach your kids proper surf lingo. Like, dude, that’s totally a killer job. Even better, the Beach Butler service takes you and your family to the beach, along with chairs, umbrella, towels and blankets. Your Beach Butler can also arrange to bring along your eats — morning coffee, afternoon picnic or oceanside sunset entrees. What a life. The best part of our getaway was that is was so close to home, we were able to invite friends to hangout with us for a day. The Risse and Bailey boys were able to enjoy the pool and game room with my kids, while my husband supervised — they are basically half his little league team. We all relaxed under the summer sun and in the cool pool waters, and our guests were still able to leave, with plenty of time, to make soccer practice!

Four Seasons Aviara restaurants: Vivace, California Bistro, Argyle Steakhouse. The Lobby Lounge offers evening light fare and Afternoon Tea.

Lodging Four Seasons Resort Aviara — AAA Five-Diamond Award, rooms start at $405 a night, various packages available. 7100 Four Seasons Point, Carlsbad. 760.603.6800, Rancho Bernardo Inn — Located off of Interstate 15, the resort offers a “Kidcation” program, for kids ages 2 to 12, “where the family that stays together — plays together!” Kidcation activities include welcome gifts, Wii Lounge, S’mores & Snores in-room campout, Dive-In Movies, MiniGolf and Family Yoga. Rooms start at $199 a night, check for available packages. 17550 Bernardo Oaks Drive, San Diego. 858.675.8500, Beach camping at San Elijo State Beach — Campsites start at $20 night, 800.444.7275

Activities Legoland — One day admission: $63, adult; $53, children 3-12. SeaLife, recently opened interactive aquarium, admission: $18.95, adult; $11.95, children 3-12. or 760.918.5346. Both Legoland and SeaLife offers inexpensive and educational school field trips. (Stop by the strawberry stand on Cannon Road — they’re fresh and delicious!) Wild Animal Park — Fly like a condor over exotic animals at the new Flightline adventure (minimum age is 10 years, and must weigh at least 75 lbs.). Other events include Roar & Snore sleepovers and weekly summer day camps. One day admission: $35, adult; $26, children 3-11. Flightline and other events, additional charges. 15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido. 760.747.8702, For more info: 9

The Househusbands of Hollywood are pictured, from left: Grant Reynolds, Darryl Bell, Charlie Mattera, Billy Ashley and Danny Barclay.

A New Reality

Hollywood’s Stay-at-Home Dads words Jemma Samala Gafford

Traditional family gender roles are increasingly changing during these times of an economic downturn, with the number of stayat-home dads tripling within the last 10 years. Hollywood isn’t immune to current societal changes, which Fox Reality Channel will showcase in their new series “House Husbands of Hollywood” premiering on August 15 at 9:00p.m. And although these LA dads never envisioned being their childrens’ primary caregivers, they’ve learned that they are part of an increasing number of men privileged enough to work at home.

10 kidsla summer 2009

Grant Reynolds husband to: Jillian, “Good Day LA” co-host child: Ruby, 2


eciding who should stay with Ruby was an easy choice for Grant and Jillian. They both wanted to participate in bringing up Ruby and they didn’t want a nanny or help

around all the time. So as Grant explains, “It was just us — the three

“you put yourself on hold and give all your mojo to the baby”

of us — a family. Jillian has been working the Good Day LA gig for what, 12 years now? That’s family too and a very conducive job for raising a kid I might add. It was the obvious choice for us. So off we

too, and I believe she does…that makes me feel good.” Grant realizes

went to raise our little girl…boy did I have another thing coming.”

that “I’m EXACTLY where I’m supposed to be.”

What has happened? Grant has learned the simple trait of

How has having a child changed his relationship with Jillian? Grant

patience and he practices it every day “by trying not to interfere

says, “I get to see a completely different side of her. The mother

with Ruby’s natural progression, her instincts, her energy.” And as

in her. She is absolutely crazy in love with Ruby. It wasn’t always

Ruby gets older he feels “curious to see what she wants out of life as

champagne and caviar for us, let me tell you. It was tough, still is at

she grows up. Will she like ponies or surfing or lacrosse?” Now, Grant

times because it’s tiring and you put yourselves on hold and give all

is content with being Ruby’s biggest fan and being the audience

your mojo to the baby. But that’s par for the course when you have

for Ruby’s swimming sessions, which gets her nice and tired before

a child. We have a great stride now, all three of us.”

going “night-night.” Grant, a former Marine, learned from both his military background

The Reynolds support a number of charities, and Grant will be cohosting a golf tournament to benefit ACT (Autism Care Treatment).

and his father to give a child structure, what he feels is a child’s best

What’s Grant’s ideal Father’s Day? Simply he answers, “To get

friend. And Grant adds that “Ruby is the biggest responsibility I’ve

up at the crack of dawn and be the first guy on the grass, play 18

had to date — ever for that matter. I want to make sure of her well-

holes of golf and be home by 9:30 to have breakfast with my ladies.

being and diet and sleep. The early years are crucial in the upbringing

Then maybe take Ruby to the park and let her watch the turtles and

of your child in my opinion and I want to be right there every step of

ducks and play with some other kids. I like it simple when it comes

the way, for as long as I can. I want her to know that I’m right there

to things like that — for now at least.” 11

Charlie Mattera husband to: Gail, psychologist child: Ryan, 1


harlie’s role as the stay-at-home dad was assigned by default since he is an actor/writer and worked from home anyway. His added job description is “to make sure that

both Ryan’s fundamental and emotional needs are met by working as hard as I can to give him a life that I never had.” Charlie only had a relationship with his own dad for the first 12 years of his life and

“I don’t think a boss would give you a list of things to do on Hello Kitty paper”

he doesn’t want history to repeat itself. And the life lesson he wants to pass on Ryan? “When you see trouble, turn around and walk the

at home? Charlie thinks, “Well, I would have a boss telling me

other way. It’s never worth it.”

what to do instead of Gail but somehow I don’t think it would go

Now Charlie loves to walk around his “hood” of over 15 years and

over as well. I don’t think a boss would give you a list of things to

show off Ryan to everyone. The local store and restaurant owners,

do on Hello Kitty paper!” Some causes that the Mattera’s support

workers and patrons have literally watched Ryan grow his first year

are The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Lost Angels

on a daily basis. He also enjoys throwing a ball around with Ryan and

Cat Rescue, and the Assistance League of San Gabriel Valley.

plans to take him horseback riding when he’s older. Charlie does hate

What makes Charlie feel good about staying home with Ryan?

taking Ryan to the doctor’s office, cringing he says, “I hate going to

Proudly he says that Ryan “gets bigger before my eyes and does

the doctor myself. I don’t even like taking the cats to the vet. When

something new and amazing every day.” And what has Charlie

I have to take him to the doctor it kills me to see him cry if he’s hurt

learned about himself after his day-to-day life has been filmed for

or has to get a shot.”

the “House Husbands of Hollywood?” “There isn’t anything I can’t

Both Charlie and Gail have learned to organize their time around Ryan, having to learn how to be on a schedule both as a family and as a couple. But what would be different if Gail stayed

12 kidsla summer 2009

do with the proper motivation.” Charlie’s ideal Father’s Day — “Sleep, a massage, and hanging out at the beach with Gail and Ryan.”

“every day is Father’s Day for me”

Billy Ashley husband to: Lisa, makeup artist children: Alexa, 11 and Sophia, 10


aseball was on the brain for most of Billy Ashley’s life, who prior to being a stay-at-home dad played for the Los Angeles Dodgers. But after a career-ending injury, and

wife Lisa starting to work full-time on a TV show, it was pretty obvious who would be staying home with the girls. Now, Billy plays softball with his daughters, is there for them no matter what,

since Billy has worked at home. He spends time answering the

and knows they appreciate him for it.

phone lines for Lisa’s makeup business ( He

Although Billy isn’t quite looking forward to his daughters

knows his wife loves her job and would probably “get a little stir

growing up — time goes by too fast. One unexpected experience

crazy” if she stayed home, as he does sometimes. But after being

was his daughter Alexa yelling down to him that she started her

filmed for the “House Husbands of Hollywood” Billy realized their

menstrual period — he knew before his wife! Billy really does feel

life are pretty funny. It’s always a good sign when you have a sense

good about staying home with the girls, saying that he “gets to

of humor.

really experience their life from the start of the day until the end. Every day. Not many can brag on that and for that I am grateful.”

Billy’s learned some lessons from his unexpected retirement from baseball, and he teaches his girls that “things can change in

Billy supports juvenile diabetes charities, as his good friend,

a blink of an eye. Follow your dreams as far as they will take you

Todd Zeile’s 10-year-old daughter has had the disease her entire

and when you’ve reached the end, know that you gave 100% and

life. Billy knows it can be deadly and that, “it’s a nasty way to have

you will have no regrets.” From his own dad, Billy hopes to inherit

to go through your childhood.”

“his heart, his kindness — he would give the shirt off his back for

The girls have been a part of Billy and Lisa’s lives for most of their time together, so their relationship hasn’t changed that much

you.” You know the man is content with his life when he feels that “every day is Father’s Day for me.” 13

a kid’s life

the Jacobus Brothers: an adventurous life in Costa Rica

three years ago, the Jacobus kids were living in the middle-American city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Now, they have become immersed into the eco-friendly lifestyle of Costa Rica. The Jacobus family consciously stepped out of their traditional American lifestyle and comfort zone to pursue a dream of expanding their world by moving to a foreign country. The parents, Maggie and Steve, wanted their three children to absorb another language (Spanish, in this case), feel comfortable in another culture, with people of varying socioeconomic backgrounds and, of course, to appreciate and value nature. “It’s been a wild ride, not without its challenges, but it was a dream we had and we went for it,” they say. Maggie, a journalist, and Steve, a business owner, brought their skills over to Costa Rica. Maggie (aka “jungle mama”) now directs their website and blogs at, while Steve runs their coastal resort Tierra Magnifica and their travel business Activated Life Experiences, which offers popular family camps. The boys have truly immersed themselves in the culture by attending the local school and becoming fluent in Spanish. Here’s a glimpse into the life of the Jacobus kids. KidsLA: First off, why did you move to Costa Rica from Milwaukee, Wisconsin? Ryan: I was ready for something new. We had lived in Wiscon-

sin for a long time. What harm could it do to check out a new country? It’s a good experience. We decided to move to Costa Rica because we’re all really into nature and the environment and this is a country that’s all about nature. So it’s a good place for us to be! Michael: To help people, to be with the nature and the forest and to experience something different from life in a city and life in the US. Will: I’m glad we moved because I like to travel, and I like the experience of being in a different place, learning a new language and making new friends. KidsLA: Describe your typical day.

14 kidsla summer 2009

R: Get up and surf at 6 a.m., get out of the water at 9, drive over on the ATV to home school, dry off, eat, and then start school around 9:30 a.m. I finish school around 2 p.m., and hop on the ATV and go surf again until around 5 p.m. Then we eat and go to sleep at 8. But that’s only a typical weekday. Weekends are usually time for more exploring — camping, or heading into the deep rain forest, or even driving to another nearby country, like Nicaragua or Panama, which would be like someone from LA driving up to San Francisco. But for us, it’s a totally different country we’re going to! M: I get up, eat breakfast, play around in the trees, ride bikes, or maybe swim in the pool until home school starts at 9 a.m. We do that until about 2 p.m. then go to the beach, swim, explore the tide pools, play with our dogs, play in the sand, play coconut football, then go home, eat dinner and go to bed. No homework! W: Sometimes we even take school on the road and go live in another part of the country for a few weeks, like when we went and lived at Tirimbina Rainforest for six weeks or when we lived on the Caribbean side of the country for two weeks. KidsLA: What are the main differences in your life in Costa Rica from Wisconsin? R: Here, I surf, it’s warm all year round, the people I’m around

are a little poorer, I live by the beach, and I live in nature a lot more then I did in the States.

“Nature is cool. It’s not going to hurt you — just get out and explore! ” KidsLA: What do you like to do in your free time? R: Play guitar, surf, skateboard,

and listen to music. M: Skateboard, play my instruments, run around in the woods, catch snakes, fish, go to the beach, ride my bike, and travel. W: Play with my friends, wrestle with my dog, watch TV, talk with my brothers, travel, go on hikes, explore new places, and play my drums. M: Nosara is more like a beach town; Milwaukee is a city. There are a lot of monkeys and lizards and snakes and bats and tarantulas and stuff like that here. In Wisconsin, the nature is different — deer, wolves, coyotes. My life in Costa Rica in a lot of ways is a lot more free — I can ride my bike places, I play outside all the time, my parents let us explore a lot. Sometimes we’re gone for hours or the whole day! We play hide and seek or go fishing or climb mango trees to get green mangos to eat as a snack. We explore the woods, look for snakes, stuff like that. We also have lots of pets here because we have so much space outdoors for them. We have three dogs, two cats, a parrot and sometimes a snake, if we catch one. W: The differences are that people here are poorer and live in really simple houses. They speak a different language. There are cows and horses in the street. The roads in our town are not paved. There’s a lot more nature here — it’s a tropical climate. KidsLA: What are the similarities? R: The vehicles are relatively the same, it is a democracy, and we

have a lot of the same sports. M: There’s a lot of beautiful nature in Wisconsin, too. When we lived in the States, we would go to Northern Wisconsin and do a lot of exploring. It’s just a different kind of nature. W: Even though most people are poorer, they are still people — they like to have fun and talk and make friends.

KidsLA: What is your favorite part about living in Costa Rica? Is there anything you miss about the U.S.? R: The surfing and the beaches are my favorite things. What I

miss about the States are the people. M: Having so much nature everywhere. We can drive to an active volcano go to different parts of the rain forest, go the Caribbean side of the country all in just a couple hours. We’re always doing cool things with Super Natural Adventures. I also really like that we have a hotel here as our business. I get to help my parents sometimes with the guests, be a tour guide, and meet lots of new people. Lots of families come and so I get to meet new kids all the time and show them our life here. What I miss is all the different kinds of sports that we have in the U.S., like baseball and American football. Here, it’s pretty much only soccer (futbal). W: I really like being around the nature, speaking a different language, experiencing a different culture, the people. It feels more relaxed and free here. I miss the house we had in the States, my friends, our cat Tiger, snow, sports like baseball and American football. KidsLA: When friends come to visit, what is the first thing you like to show them? R: The beach. Everyone loves the beach and it is my favorite

place. 15

a kid’s life

M: All the creatures around — the monkeys, the iguanas, the parrots. Kids get really excited about seeing all that. W: I like to give them a tour of our property showing them the nature, the monkeys in the trees, the waterfall, and I like to take them to search for snakes or scorpions. KidsLA: What do you think is the main lesson your parents want to teach you by moving to Costa Rica? R: How to relate to people and the other sides to life, such

as poverty. M: That not everywhere is the same as Wisconsin. That not everyone has money to have a nice house, a big car, or go to a nice school. And to teach us about nature because that’s what we really love. And to take us somewhere different than a city. I think they want to teach us that we can live a simpler life and be happy. W: To respect nature, learn about different cultures and languages, be less self-centered and be more open to different types of people and experiencing something new. KidsLA: What can other kids learn from your lifestyle? R: That there is more to life

than what is around them and that nature is an amazing thing. They could be changed people if they travel. And that poor people aren’t much different from the rich. M: That they should get out into nature and it’s good to explore new stuff. Nature is cool. It’s not going to hurt you — just get out and explore! W: To respect nature more, maybe to try to learn different languages and different cultures and experience living like them. They can learn that nature is cool and interesting. KidsLA: What’s your favorite activity during your Super Natural Adventure family camps? R: Repelling down waterfalls. This is really exciting and not

many people do it. It gets your adrenaline going, something everyone needs. M: Rafting. It’s really fun to do with your family because you usually get your own raft with a guide and then you can have fun splashing other rafts or racing down the rapids.

16 kidsla summer 2009

The Jacobus brothers want to learn about nature in California. So they invite readers to go outside and take a photo or make a short video and send it to the Super Natural Adventures website ( and they can check it out and share it with kids around the world!

W: Going down to the beach, teaching them surfing, playing in the sand, introducing them to our local friends, teaching them some words in Spanish. KidsLA: What do you want to be when you grow up? R: A biologist. I would love to work with and study

animals. It sounds interesting and I think I could discover something for the world. M: A nature guide. I’d also like to play football. W: A doctor. I think people would trust me and plus I think it’s interesting. I could also travel and help people in other countries as a doctor. KidsLA: There are lots of creatures where you live, what one animal best reflects your personality and why? R: A boa constrictor. These snakes are always tranquil and work

well with their environment. They also like to explore like me. I’ve caught a few and I love them very much. M: Monkey — because I’m kind of crazy and the kids in my class think I’m funny. W: The vulture. Vultures are my favorite animals now because they have such a big wingspan and they can go really far up and glide really high. I wish I could fly. It makes me think of what it would be like to fly when I watch them.

grab bag: little kids reading material

Spot & Leo

by Max Daniel is a collection of plush baby booties and rattles in engaging animal designs such as: Jazzy the Giraffe, Leo the Lion, Spot the Dog and many more. Starts at $10.50, to locate stores.

Just for dads: Baby Management for Men by Henk Hanssen is full of illustrations and diagrams, perfect for dads who hate to read! $14.95,

Burpie Blockers

are stylish burp cloths with a neck strap to keep them on your shoulder — and the spit off your clothes! Matching receiving blankets available. $15,

Diaper Dude, For those expecting: Your Best Birth by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein is an empowering childbirth guide to help bring control back to parents-to-be. $22, and Barnes & Noble.

Feeding babies and toddlers: First Meals & More: Your Questions Answered by Annabel Karmel offers 50 recipes for parents to establish healthy eating habits from day one. $22,

founded by hip dad Chris Pegula, offers diaper bags (the original Diaper Dude), dudepacks, changing pads, pacifier holders and clothing. Eco-friendly Green Dude, $98, Nordstrom and

Chic Tots Blanket Bag goes from roomy bag to a cozy blanket. Perfect for playtime at the park. $60,

Baby Memory Blankets by Willow Creek Studio reuses 16 pieces of clothing to make a blanket for babies or dads. Starts at $75, 17


a kid’s best friend the pitter patter of paws

words Patricia Oropeza

art Tane Beauvois

the pitter patter of a child’s footsteps in the house can’t be beat. Now how about adding the sound of some paws on the floor? Memories of time spent with a furry friend stay with a child for a lifetime. Not only that, having a dog can help children become more responsible — if you make sure they help look after their pets. Prior to your trip to a shelter and picking out the cutest dog in the bunch, be sure to do your research and make sure you have the time, energy and resources before you bring in a new addition. Think about the ages and activity levels of your children. Toddlers can be knocked over by an awkward, gangly puppy. Bigger kids can crush a small dog if they aren’t careful. You may consider getting an adult dog that has been around children since a puppy will require plenty of attention. To help you get started here’s a list of dogs that are perfect for kids.

Australian Shepherd

18 kidsla summer 2009

Australian Shepherds are working dogs that were bred to herd, which means they have tons of energy, agility and intelligence. However, that herding instinct may mean the dog will want to herd people or small children. Australian Shepherds love to learn obedience and tricks. Color-wise, Australian Shepherds are interesting dogs. Their coats can come in different color combinations, including fully black or fully copper or solid color trimmed with white.


Bichon Frise

Beagles (aka Snoopy) are friendly and clever. They may be a bit high strung at times, but they usually respond well to training. Beagles are considered a mediumsize dog breed and their long, muscular bodies mean they have lots of athleticism and stamina. Beagles hate to be separated from humans for long periods and can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone too often.

Often compared to a cotton ball due to its curled double coat, this breed loves to play, but is not often hyper. They love activity and require regular exercise. Plus, Bichons are small, so they don’t take up too much room. A Bichon’s hair grows continually and does not shed, so extensive grooming is a must to prevent mats. Bichons tend to be a good breed for allergy sufferers.

Cocker Spaniel

English Bulldog

Golden Retriever



If you’re looking for some good cheer, cocker spaniels are your answer. Besides being happy housemates, they’re also intelligent, sweet, gentle, playful and trustworthy. They adapt well to most living conditions and are excellent with children. Cocker Spaniels bond closely with humans and like to be with you at all times. Cocker Spaniels still have many of the hunting instincts that they were originally bred for, and many like to swim.

If you’re looking for a loyal companion to curl up with, then English Bulldogs are perfect — if you don’t mind their snoring. Blessed with wide, muscular shoulders and thick, strong limbs, they waddle along with a distinctive shuffling gait. Although they were bred to be aggressive and vicious, those traits have long disappeared and been replaced with a friendly, patient, playful and dependable temperament.

Golden Retrievers have a gentle, affectionate nature and are highly intelligent and loyal. They are one of the few dog breeds who truly build a strong, lasting bond with humans. They absolutely crave and thrive on human attention and are happiest when involved in all family activities. Goldies love to swim, retrieve balls and enjoy all types of dog sports and training. Separation anxiety can be a problem for Golden Retrievers left alone for too long.

Collies (aka Lassie) tend to be calm, gentle and tolerant, and often do well with children of all ages and sizes. Collies are intelligent and learn quickly, thriving on variety and new challenges. With their dense coats, Collies can handle any weather. But, that thick coat is more than some people can handle, so if you can’t spare about an hour a week for a thorough brushing, or if you can’t stand hair on your furniture, Collies may not be for you.

Poodles are extremely smart, have a great temperament and thrive on human companionship. Poodles are extremely versatile and adapt well to most household situations. Not only that, you can choose from a variety of sizes: toy, miniature or standard. Poodles do take a little more time and effort to keep in top condition than most other breeds. They should be brushed every couple of days, and bathing them every few weeks is advised.

German Shepherd

Labrador Retriever

Portuguese Water Dog



A mutt is the all-American dog. They tend to be loyal, healthy, smart and friendly — a virtual melting pot of positive canine characteristics. Mutts are typically wellbalanced and you can feel good knowing you saved a dog from life in a shelter.

Pugs love to be near people, are pleasers and their even tempers, playful personalities and outgoing, loving dispositions make them a family favorite. They are comfortable in small apartments because they need minimal exercise, but can adapt easily to all situations. Pugs shed, but their short coat requires little grooming.

German Shepherds are loyal and protective, but should be well-trained. German Shepherds have their playful side, especially when they are younger. They’re approachable, direct and fearless, with a strong, muscular body. Energetic and fun-loving, German Shepherds are fond of children once a relationship is established. They make loyal family pets and good guard dogs, and require regular exercise and grooming.

This breed is usually great with kids and smart, but they can be hyperactive if they do not get enough exercise. Labs are a great blend of intelligence, gentleness and strength mixed with a friendly, outgoing nature. They usually become attached to their human family, so they can experience separation anxiety and may become destructive if left alone and bored for too long.

Bred to accompany fishermen on their boats, Portuguese Water Dogs are great swimmers and divers. Besides being waterproof, their coats are hypoallergenic, but require regular maintenance. (President Obama and his family are the proud new owners of a Portuguese Water Dog.)

For more information on different dog breeds, tips on adopting and caring for a dog and a section for kids, visit the American Kennel Club’s website, 19

photography by don diaz In Los Angeles, we’re no strangers

hip earth- and ocean-friendly T-shirts

to the laid-back beach environ-

and cover-ups, we’ve taken our fashion

ment. The surf lifestyle has infil-

cues this month straight from the shores

trated our daily world and that

of Hawaii. Get Gidget styles for your kids

certainly includes girls’ fashion.

with the bathing suits and beachwear

From fun and sporty bikinis to

on these pages.

mini boden, Hotchpotch Swimsuit, $28, Model: Awakea for

gossip Girl, Two Piece Set, $37,

Enchanted Enfant, Crocheted Two Piece Set, $92, available at aggiehill. com and 77 Kids, Cut-off Jeans, $25,






1. mini boden, Hotchpotch Swimsuit, $28, 2, 3, 7. American Girl, Two Piece, $38, 77kids, Hoodie, $25, guess, Jean Shorts, $30, available at Bloomingdale’s 4, 9. Roxy Girl, Two Piece, $46, Boardshorts, $38, 5, 8. GreenEdge Kids, Tee, $27, Mini Boden, Two Piece, $28, 6. dakine, Headwear, $30,


7. 8.


Roxy, Two Piece Set, $46,

Juicy Couture, Ruffle Bikini Set, $92, availbale at Bloomingdales

childish, Tank Top, $42, Terry Short Shorts with Rhinestuds, 77 Kids, Sunglasses, $11

dakine, Headwear, $30,

grab bag: style

Mag-tagz are colorful, interchangeable,

magnetic jewelry — perfect for kids always changing their look. Necklace base, $9.99; tagz, start at $3.99,

Summer scents last in your home with Aroma Ducks. $8.99,

Dads and kids can rock n’ roll all night with Urban Bratz shirts. $35, Kitson,

Pop Flower Shop offers whimsical, everlasting designs, that are fresh year-round. $18+,

Kids love the Pawparazzi, a set that includes a pet, purse, collar, blanker, charm and celebrity magazine. $35, Nordstrom,

Sansa’s slotRadio players from San Disk are MP3 players pre-loaded with over 1,000 Billboard songs, and the option to purchase additional cards in a variety of music genres. $99, Radio Shack and

30 kidsla summer 2009

Pedal on with the Buddy Wagon and Trailer. Little ones can haul family pets. Trailer, $195, Wagon $295, Trike, $595,


here comes the sun fun with sun printing words K.B. VanHorn


an educational and easy craft that harnesses Southern California’s most abundant resource, try some family sun printing time. Sun printing, also known as heliographic painting or cyanotype, is a photographic process that uses specially treated paper or fabric that changes color when exposed to sunlight. By placing objects on top of your paper or fabric, you can print your own one-of-a-kind design.

You will need: Sunshine, a flat area, photosensitive fabric or paper, small objects, a large container of water or a sink, an area for prints to dry protected from sunlight Time required: About 20 minutes for the printing and rinsing process Ages: 5 and up 1. First, choose the sun print material that best suits your needs. With a little research you can mix your own solution of potassium ferricyanide and ferric ammonium citrate (found in photographic supply stores) or use photosensitive fabric paint (found in craft stores) to saturate your own fabric or paper. The easiest and least messy method however, is to use pre-treated materials that are non-toxic and archival. We purchased a set of 25 6” x 6 “ fabric squares (by bluesunprints) online from for $17.99. Some companies even offer pre-treated T-shirts, silk scarves and fabric by the yard. 2. Next, gather objects to print. Send the kids on a nature walk and encourage them to look for interesting leaves and flowers. Have them sift through their toy box to find small objects with sentimental value or interesting shapes. Raid the craft closet for beads and buttons and lace and pipe cleaners and string. Anything goes, as long as it fits. 3. Once you have your objects, practice a few arrangements. When you like the design, bring out your sun print material, place it on a flat surface, and set your objects on top. The areas exposed to sunlight will change colors and the areas blocked by your objects will turn white. You can use a pane of non-UVtreated glass to press down flat objects and ensure they don’t fly away. For objects that aren’t flat, be aware that the shadows they cast will affect your printed image, which can make for some interesting effects.

4. Now, leave them alone. After 3-15 minutes, remove your objects and rinse your prints in cool water in a shaded area. This is the exciting part — soon, through solar-powered photographic magic, your image will appear. 5. After the prints have fully dried in a shaded area, find crafty ways to showcase your designs. Appliqué them onto clothing or turn them into patchwork quilts or scarves or pincushions. Or, simply frame them and hang them on the wall. They will always remind you of that day, those things and that time you captured in the sun. 31

grab bag: sun & water

Take Zoocchini ocean animals on your next beach excursion. $30, Needles N’ Tee’s and Kitson Kids.

Renovation Nation: Save Water, Save Money DVD, $20,


Hint waters with an essence of fruit flavors. $1.79, grocery stores and

Y water — because it’s good for you. Drinks available in brain, immune, muscle and bone waters. $1.69, Whole Foods and Wild Oats.

Recycled water bottles become Revenge Is’s tees. $21, Save H2O, Don’t Shower, every boy’s way to conserve. $20,

32 kidsla summer 2009

sun The Organic Pharmacy cellular protection products are trusted to be clean. $58, The Organic Pharmacy, 435 North Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills (visit on Wednesday mornings for topical parent discussions) or

Coppertone Water Babies, pure and simple in 70+SPF. $10, major retailers.

Bethesda sunscreen soap applies an invisible layer of SPF 10 just by using it. $8, Beauty Shack, The Farmacy Venice or Rx Suncare Kids Sunblock, SPF 50, is one of the new Rx Suncare line. $3 to $10, Rite Aid.

containers MFS Eyewear offers 100% UVA/UVB impact-resistant sunshades with a neoprene band. $15+,

Zany dots on steel. $15,

BioGreen Bottles are child-sized and completely biodegradable. $4+,

Sun Protection Zone offers long and short sleeve rash guards and provides the textile equivalent of SPF 100, starts at $24. They also make Solar Safe UV Wristbands, which are waterproof and lets you know when it’s time to reapply sunscreen or seek shade, $7 for pack of 7. CVS, Rite Aid and

Gaiam steel water bottles. $19, 33

grab bag: activities

Locali is going mobile this summer with their “icycle” bike, carrying a variety of frozen desserts organically made by local artisans. Locali Conscious Convenience store offers additional local selections at 5825 Franklin Ave., Hollywood,

The Great American Staycation: How to Make a Vacation at Home Fun for the Whole Family by Matt Wixon. Perfect for the summer budget. $9.95,

AMC theatres will offer Sensory Friendly Films, partnering with the Autism Society of America to provide movies shown with the lights slightly turned up and the sound slightly turned down. Summer movies include Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Up and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Check for locations and movies at

Bring color to your sandbox with Crayola Play Sand, 20-lb. mom-friendly buckets of sand available in pink, purple, blue and green. $6.47, Walmart.


Camp Pelican at The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach is a separate facility catering to the Kids Club, ages 4-12, and the Teen Adventure Program for 13-17-year-olds, part of the “Family Togethering Program” summer getaway. Pelicanhill. com or 800.820.6800.

Paradise Ranch Country Club for Dogs is a cage-free doggy utopia in Sun Valley where they get all the perks – massages, waterfalls, cabanas, a Mercedes “mutt cab” and more. A camera system helps owners keep an eye on Fido by logging onto the website. For info:

Nickelodeon announces its Second Annual Parents’ Picks Awards. Vote in 30 categories ranging from best pizza to best Farmer’s Market at

Jeep products are perfect for air travel or for camping roadtrips. Luggage $100+,; sleeping bags $49, dome tents $99+, 47


LA’s dog whisperer Tamar Geller unleashes love for the family dog words Jo Perry

tamar Geller is best known as an inspiring and effective “life coach” for dogs and their human families. She’s also a visionary entrepreneur who launched the first cage-free dog day care facility in Los Angeles. Her nonprofit foundation, The Loved World, includes two programs, Another Chance for Love and Operation Heroes & Hounds, which rehabilitate shelter dogs by uniting them with at-risk youth and wounded soldiers. Geller is a tireless advocate for the humane treatment of animals through her work with rescue organizations, the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, and as an advisor to the Humane Society of the United States. Geller shared her sensible, affectionate and effective training

methods in her pioneering 2007 book, The Loved Dog: The Playful Nonaggressive Way to Teach Your Dog Good Behavior” and her DVD, “The Loved Dog Way of Training.” Geller often appears on television, most memorably when she coached Oprah Winfrey and her three exuberant golden retriever puppies on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” She’s also the resident dog expert on “The Today Show.” An in-demand private coach, Geller numbers Ben Affleck, Hillary Swank, Natalie Portman, Larry King, Nicollette Sheridan and Owen Wilson among her celebrity clients. Delicate, movie-star glamorous, warm and quick to laugh, Geller is not what you’d expect of a former intelligence officer in the Israeli army’s elite Special Forces, or of someone who got 35


“Each dog is unique as each child is unique — even with the same parents and environment.” down and dirty observing wolves in the desert. But it was her time in the army observing cruel and abusive canine training that moved Geller to create a reward and game-based training method modeled on the affectionate and playful interaction she saw between wolves and their young. Geller aims to help dogs become loved, understood and respected members of their “packs” or families, and to teach dogs and their people “good manners.” If you are considering bringing a dog into your family, Tamar Geller has a lot to tell you. Ditch your fantasies and be willing to work: “The first thing to realize when you get a dog,” Geller asserts, “is that you are not going to find Lassie. It took five male dogs to create one Lassie.” Geller recommends thinking long and hard about what you’re willing to give. “Before you get a dog, ask yourself if you have it in you to raise another child. Ninety percent of problem behavior in dogs comes from lack of stimulation. You can’t raise a child by giving only 15 minutes each morning and each evening; the same is true of a dog. In addition to teaching, we must give a dog, as we would a toddler, constant feedback with words, with looks, with touches.” Don’t think you already know dogs: Geller noted the three most disastrous misconceptions people have when bringing a dog into the family are “that the dog will be a toy or playmate for a child; that all dogs love children, and that a puppy will be the best choice.” Geller explained, “Sixty percent of all dogs brought to shelters are mature puppies relinquished by the owners who failed to teach them manners.” There was nothing wrong with these dogs except that the people who owned them misunderstood them and their needs. “It may be instinctual to be a parent, but it’s not instinctual to know how to raise a dog. A dog has the instinct of a wolf as well as the needs of a toddler.” Rethink puppies: Geller has learned that it is best to adopt an older dog rather than to purchase a puppy. “It is far better to get a dog from a shelter or a rescue organization. Some of these dogs come completely trained. Another Chance for Love, my nonprofit program, takes shelter dogs and unites them with juvenile prisoners who train them and prepare them for adoption by the general population. Many shelters train dogs and a shelter will let you know if a dog is good with kids or not.” It’s not when but how much: When asked how old a child should be before parents bring a dog into the family, Geller explained that it depends on “the maturity of the child” and the

36 kidsla summer 2009

involvement of the parents. She cautioned, “Every dog needs to be childproofed, which means teaching a dog to look forward to being physically mishandled by children. It’s crucial also to teach children that dogs are living beings. A few times I’ve seen a young child pick up a dog, and then drop it on its head with disastrous results.” Fido is not your kid’s best friend: It was sobering to be reminded that dogs and kids are not naturally friends and that to bring a dog into the family requires vigilant supervision of dogs and kids: Geller observed, “More often than not, dogs are afraid of children. And fear can make a dog nervous and aggressive. The biggest mistake you can make around children and dogs is to correct a dog when it growls. When you stop a dog from growling, all you are doing is getting rid of the alarm signal. What you want is to remove the reason for growling in the first place.” Allowing your dog to growl, to communicate its fear or distress, is the number-one way to prevent dog bites. Needs not breeds: Geller does not favor one breed over another as a family dog and noted that, “Each dog is unique as each child is unique — even with the same parents and environment. All dogs have the same seven basic needs: a sense of security, companionship, an understanding of their place in the family hierarchy, surprise and excitement, stimulation, and love.” Not your kid’s dog: These innate needs explain why a dog cannot be a nanny’s, a housekeeper’s, or a child’s responsibility. “Do not get a dog for your kids or for your nanny to raise,” Geller advises. “Neither wants to give a dog what it needs.” Fun equals success: Geller is confident, however, that with parental commitment and involvement, kids and dogs can learn to live happily together if they are “coached” — not trained. She explained, “The way I teach is with games. Because that’s the most fun. That’s why I don’t believe in the word, ‘training.’ Coaching is fun. Coaching is associated with sports. And training is associated with the military.” The best games for kids and dogs, Geller says, are hide and seek, a treasure hunt in which the child hides a treat and the dog finds it, fetch, and kickball where the dog is the goalie. Help for scared kids: Geller cautions that when your child is afraid of dogs you must strive to “minimize fear and increase joy.” Arrange for your kids to watch friendly dogs playing, then to drop and kick a ball for a trained dog to fetch — no hands. “Never force a frightened child to interact with a dog,” Geller advises.

“And don’t take kids to dog parks where they can be knocked down.” A new baby is a new littermate: “Parents must reeducate the family dog in preparation for a new baby.” Geller recommends re-teaching your dog to sit, to come, to lie down, all while you are lying on the floor (where you and the baby will be spending a lot of time), and to teach hand signals so that you can communicate while the baby sleeps. It is important for your dog to associate the baby with its favorite things: treats, toys and a walk. “Withhold treats for a day or two before the baby comes home, then give your dog a treat when the baby arrives. Continue to give treats and toys when the dog is around the baby, and to ready your dog for a walk in the baby’s presence.” Geller explained, “The dog must associate the baby with fun.” Geller noted, too, that, “A dog sees a baby or a toddler as a littermate. It’s important that parents teach children to maintain a status higher than the dog’s in the family ‘pack.’ This means never letting a child feed a dog by hand or from the table, or associating negativity or loss with the new baby.” Love and empowerment for kids: Geller knows firsthand that, “No one can give us the unconditional love that a dog gives.” Her own family dog, a Dachshund named Lori, provided love and solace during a painful and lonely childhood. Geller knows, too, how kids are transformed by having impact on the life of a dog. “I’ve worked with a few young toddlers and know that a 2-yearold can teach a dog to sit and feel empowered. Dogs offer children an amazing opportunity for independence and effectiveness. Dogs show children how much they have to give.” Important don’ts: Geller advises, “It is never safe for a child to walk a dog.” She warns that dogs should never be fed from the table (table scraps are fine — in the dog bowl); that it is never permissible to hit a dog or to be rough. Geller reminds adults and kids to “treat a dog, as you would any family member — with kindness and respect.”

Getting in touch with our inner wolf makes us better people: Because Geller wants us “to become the very best part of our dogs’ lives,” she teaches us how to love our dogs rather than how to punish them. Her method values play and fun — not discipline and submission. Geller knows that kindness enriches and empowers and that cruelty only diminishes and weakens. That is why her methods are so right for families with young children: Teaching through kindness brings out the best in us, our dogs, and our children. Maybe that’s why kids really get it when Geller asks us to be affectionate, to think like a littermate, to have fun and to let loose like a wolf pup and play. Specifics are explained in The Loved Dog and demonstrated in Geller’s DVDs. To learn more about adoptable dogs, visit: Featuring “Inspired Moms”

Real moms sharing stories. Sharing challenges. Sharing what works And...of course, Beautiful, Nurturing and Organic Gift Baskets for Mama and Baby

“Wait ‘till you read my story!”

ADVERTISER: Love Blessing AD SIZE/ISSUE DATE: 1/4 Summer 2009 DATE: 05.18.09 Ad Proof #: 1 (document name loveblessings_fina

PLEASE EXAMINE CAREFULLY This is how we have interpreted your WE CANNOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ERRORS YOU FAIL TO CORREC Please sign and fax back to (866) 941-5903 ______ OK as is and send to the printer ______ OK with corrections written on proof or emailed ______ CORRECTIONS please send another proof before final appro

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dog days LA:

and how to they can help them.

and the ways dogs communicate and think.

Sally Gets a Job by

Dogs for Kids: Everything You Need to Know About Dogs

books to bark about words Jo Perry

these books are sure to become dog-eared family favorites: out-loud-funny stories for young humans and dogs of all ages.

Three Dog Bakery Cookbook: Over 50 Recipes for All-Natural Paw-Lickin’ Treats For Your Dog by Dan Dye and Mark Beckloff. (ages 10 and up) Even young children can help prepare these simple and tail-waggingly appealing recipes to reward a dog for a trick well done or for just being himself. Pooches will pant for Bark Mitzvah Squares, Fourth of July Snaps, Birthday Bones, Howl-O-Ween Tricking Treats, Poodle Noodles, I-Tail-Ian Meatballs, Slobber Gobbler Loaf and Corgi Crumpets.

See Spot Smell: A Scratch and Sniff Book for Dogs by Sue Warwick (ages 5 and up). Kids and their best dog-friends can share whiffs of biscuits, cheese, old sneakers, steak, dogs and grass.

The Loved Dog: The Playful, Nonaggressive Way to Teach Your Dog Good Behavior by Tamar

Three Stories You Can Read to Your Dog and Three More Stories You Can Read to Your Dog by Sara Swan Miller and illustrated by True Kelley. (ages 4-8) Bark-

38 kidsla summer 2009

Geller. (Adult) The indispensable love and play-based guide to understanding dogs and teaching them “good manners.” Geller’s emphasis on affection and respect brings out the very best in dogs

and human beings. Kids will relate to Geller’s play-based methods. Endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States.

May I Pet Your Dog? The How-to Guide for Kids Meeting Dogs (and Dogs Meeting Kids) by Stephanie Calmenson and Jan Ormerod. (ages 5-8) Harry, a rescued Daschund, explains how to respect dogs. Includes information about Seeing Eye dogs and other working canines.

Stephen Huneck. (ages 9-12) The sweetly serious black Lab searches for her proper role within the family and the world, and demonstrates that canine love is dogged and joyful.

Good Dog Poems by Maya Gottfried, paintings by Robert Rahway Zakanitch. (ages 6 and up) The dog paintings are magnificently quirky, and the poems are full of canine exuberance.

Why Do Dogs Have Wet Noses? By Stanley Let’s Go Visit Best Friends Animal Sanctuary by Nola Lee Kelsey. (ages 5-9) This upbeat introduction to America’s largest animal sanctuary shows kids what animals, including dogs, need and deserve,

Coren. (ages 6-12) Kids (and parents) can unleash their curiosity about canine behavior with this demystification of mutts. Coren explains how dogs and humans became friends, why dogs point, and covers breeds, canine life spans

by Kristin Mehus-Roe. (ages 12 and up) Encyclopedic collection of hound facts and lore for older kids. Covers breeds, behavior, games, care and training tips with color photographs and an accompanying CD.

101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog by Kyra Sundance and Chalcy. (ages 12 and up) For ambitious dog owners and cooperative and highly motivated hounds. Kids will like Chalcy, an over-achieving and photogenic Weimaraner who jumps batons, climbs ladders, pretends to limp, does figure eights and retrieves tissues on cue.

Play Bow Wow Trivia and kibble is donated to shelters:


raising healthy and fit kids new information every parent should know words Dr. Richard Visser

art Tane Beauvois

“He’s just big-boned.” “She won’t eat anything else.” “I can’t control everything he does.” “Advertising for junk food is everywhere, and we can’t escape it.”


may be true, but there’s good reason to put up a fight. A big one. A fight you’re unwilling to give up because you know that, otherwise, the one who will lose — and lose big — is your child. Obesity rates among children have doubled since the early 1970s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Exactly who’s overweight? About 15% of children and adolescents in the United States: More than 10% of toddlers and preschoolers aged 2 to 5 are overweight, nearly 4 million children aged 6 to 11 are overweight or obese, and 5.3 million young people aged 12 to 19 are overweight or obese.

It’s been estimated that the rise in these obesity rates will shorten the future American lifespan by two to five years. This would make our children’s generation the first group to die at a younger age than their parents. Why? Because there are serious health consequences to childhood obesity, among them reduced lung capacity, poor metabolism leading to growth and developmental disorders, reduced physical activity leading to reduced bone mass and joint problems, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cancer.

Yet childhood obesity is highly preventable. There are a few key factors that you control, which can help your child avoid all of 39


this. Breast feeding exclusively for the first six months of life, influences the likelihood of a child maintaining a healthy weight versus becoming overweight or obese. Children

who are breast-fed exclusively until their sixth month are better able to control how much they eat. Satiety, or “feeling full,” depends not only on the volume ingested, but also on the composition of the nutrients. The “stop eating” mechanisms in a nursing child are largely associated with the fats found in breast milk. What’s more, compared to children who aren’t breast fed, those who are have been found to be more active and work more to extract the milk from the breast (developing an early habit of “exercise”), stay awake longer, develop fine motor skills as well as visual acuity more quickly, and be able to distinguish between colors earlier. So feeding your child in the first year of life has two goals: 1) to satisfy the child’s energy and nutritional needs for optimal development, and 2) to provide the best combination of nutrients and feeding method that will help create appropriate eating/ nutritional habits. In this issue, you’ll see how to affect the second factor: your home environment. You’ll see how the excuses (like those you read at the beginning of this article) can be shattered by a bigger truth: It takes just a few changes to help ensure the health of your entire family. You’re already aware that a child’s environment affects his or her health: When parents provide safety, love, encouragement and protection from harm, kids can flourish. If, on the other hand, caregivers are abusive or neglectful, children suffer. That’s not news. But what you may not realize is that your family environment is absolutely key to your child maintaining a healthy weight. At home, your child will learn to enjoy exercise and exertion (or not), choose healthy foods (or not), and eat an amount of food that is satisfying but not overindulgent (or not). These attitudes and skills, along with your own health, directly affect your child’s developing weight status. In fact, the strongest predictor of overweight and obese chil-

dren is the mother’s weight. Children of overweight mothers are three times as likely to be overweight, and children of obese mothers are four times as likely to be obese. It’s crucial for parents to actively provide their children with positive examples through their own actions. Again, it’s not news to you that your children learn how to live from your own conduct. Eating and exercise are no exception. Your child is more likely to form good dietary habits if you eat healthfully yourself. In addition, incorporating moderate to intense exercise into Eating breakfast every day. Eating small portions of food several (6) times a day. Not consuming food/drinks that contain excessive fat or simple sugars, like sodas. You give your child clear signals about what’s good to eat, when, and how much. Include fruits as snacks and vegetables in the meals as much as possible. Get your child involved in the shopping and preparation of the meals.

your lifestyle (not just enrolling your child in some activity) is a critical component to establishing a healthy activity level for everyone. Various clinical studies report that children from obese and overweight families have a higher preference for sed-

“your family environment is absolutely key to your child maintaining a healthy weight” 40 kidsla summer 2009

entary activities and pastimes. Maintain a healthy weight for yourself through positive eating and exercise habits.

Of course, your behavior isn’t the only issue — but it is the only solution. Even those things that pervade the culture can be counteracted by what you choose to do as a family. For example, it’s been shown that children who use electronic games and television as primary forms of entertainment have a significantly higher risk of becoming obese. And those who snack in front of the TV or game console (also known as “unconscious eating”) are likely to consume a quality and quantity of food that’s unhealthy. But by getting yourself and your child involved in physical activity — such as sports, active games, dancing or martial arts — you combat the vicious cycle of sitting and snacking, which leads to low energy from poor nutrition and lack of exercise, which leads to more sitting and snacking. Instead, you can choose to get the whole family up, out and doing something together. Keep in mind that although you may find that going to the gym and working out helps you stay active, it’s a poor choice for a child. Focus on making it fun! Especially if a child has already developed a weight issue, the key will be making exercise enjoyable. Exercise at a moderate to intense level 60 minutes a day. Make it a family happening whenever possible. Limit TV, gaming, computer time (combined), to less than 2 hours a day. Try martial arts and/or street dance as options for kids; they love it! Don’t take your kids to the gym; they usually don’t get that. When you’re thirsty “DRINK WATER” — that goes for the whole family! Be healthy yourself, develop moderate eating habits and choose active pastimes. Each of these familial factors has been proven to make a marked difference in children’s weight and health. Realize that you do have control. From your child’s first year on, demonstrate the behaviors and attitudes you want him or her to adopt, and encourage the lifestyle you know will promote health for your entire family. 41


walking the dog exercise for the whole family words Rosalie Ellsworth

walking is an easy way for kids and their families to exercise, especially if you have a dog. But why don’t we? We have errands to do, dinner to make, can’t find our pedometers — all excuses. We live in southern California folks, get out and walk! Not only is walking good for the kids to maintain healthy bones, build lean muscles and control their weight, but walking as a family will help open up lines of communication and reduce stress. The general rule for kids is they can walk up to ½ mile for each year of their age, so don’t start a 10-mile hike with your 5-year-olds, but they can handle a 2-½ mile stroll. Get outside, enjoy the natural wonders, make neighborhood discoveries and besides, your pet pooch just needs to get out. Ten places for the family to walk with their dogs:

Angeles National Forest Dogs are allowed on all trails if kept on a leash. Angeles is a scenic place for families to enjoy the natural environment. Check website for maps, hiking trail info and updated area closures. Forest Headquarters: 701 N. Santa Anita Avenue, Arcadia, 805.683.6711, Larchmont Village

A quaint neighborhood with lots of dogfriendly sidewalk cafes, Larchmont Village is close to Hancock Park, Windsor Square and Paramount Studios. You’ll get a small-town feel with a stroll through some beautifully preserved older homes. Just a lovely walk. Larchmont Blvd. (between Melrose and Beverly Blvds.),

Leo Carrillo State Beach Who wouldn’t enjoy the beaches of

Malibu, including your dog? Dogs are allowed north of Tower 4 while on a leash. Dogs and kids will enjoy chasing the waves. Make it a weekend getaway and stay at the nearby campgrounds. 35000 W. Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, 818.880.0363,

Los Feliz Village Enjoy a walk through this village of unique shops

and restaurants, many with pet-friendly patios. Known for being an independent and creative neighborhood, Los Feliz is south of Griffith Park and north of Barnsdall Art Park. For a map, visit:

Palisades Park

Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the fresh ocean breezes along Santa Monica’s Ocean Ave. Take some time to smell the Rose Garden, then shuffleboard along. Take your camera too to remind relatives back east why we live in Southern California. 1450 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, 310.458.8644,

Runyon Canyon An off-leash dog recreation area in Hollywood.

They offer trails for hiking, which are not fenced except for a small grassy area at the bottom which has water fountains for dogs. There is also a children’s play area. Open from dawn to dusk. 2000 N. Fuller, Los Angeles, 323.666.5046,

42 kidsla summer 2009

Silver Lake Dog Park Located at the south end of Silver Lake Reservoir, this quarter-acre fenced area has benches, tables, handicapped access, pickup bags, trees, lights, water, trash cans, and dog drinking fountains. Keep in mind it’s all dirt. Open until 10p.m. 1850 West Silver Lake Dr., 323.644.3946, Venice Boardwalk and Westminster Dog Park (aka Venice Dog Park) The boardwalk is always a fun place

for families to walk, shop and gawk. Then head on over to the dog park for the pooches to run around. Venice Dog Park is fenced, has separate areas for large and small dogs less than 25 lbs. and a ‘sandbox’ for dogs to dig in. Open 5a.m. to 10:30p.m.
1234 Pacific Ave., 310.301.1550,

West Hollywood Start your walk off at William S. Hart Park, 8341 De Longpre Ave., which has an enclosed dog area. Then try walking West Hollywood’s 2.5 mile (5 miles round trip) Parks Route Walking Path from West Hollywood Park to Plummer Park, with signs marking the route. The city’s website offers a map plus tips on Beginning a Fitness Walking Program. 323.848.6308, Woodbridge Park An idyllic neighborhood in Studio City, this walk brings you through neighborhoods filled with mature trees and traditional homes. Something will feel familiar, as you swear the Brady Bunch grew up here (11222 Dilling Street). Bordered by Moorpark St., Tujunga Ave., Ventura Blvd., and Vineland Ave. Best family walk: Get the dog and kids, a nerf ball for tossing around, go outside your front door, and start taking one step at a time around your neighborhood. You’ll never know who you’ll meet and what discoveries you’ll find.


kids identity theft identity thieves are targeting kids too words Kathy Sena


art Tane Beauvois

my son was in elementary school, we used the Internet to look up facts on dinosaurs, earthquakes and Benjamin Franklin for school reports. But now, as a seventh grader, Matt is starting to dip his toe into the social aspects of the Internet, such as e-mail and instant messaging. And I’m sure he’ll want to check out Facebook or MySpace before long. (Although I’m certainly not pushing it!) Of course, we’ve had conversations about the importance of not posting personal information on the Web, for safety’s sake. But now the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is urging kids to avoid posting personal information for another important reason: identify theft. The problem isn’t just for adults anymore, they say.

protecting children’s info online

According to the FTC, identity theft from victims 18-years-old and younger increased from 6,512 in 2003 to 10,835 in 2006. (These figures are based on formal complaints only, so actual incidences of identity theft are likely higher.) In 2003, about 3% of identity-theft victims were younger than 18. By 2006, the figure had risen to 5%. The “friends-of-friends” aspect of social-networking sites allows pre-teens and teens to provide information about themselves that can now travel far beyond the kids they know. And these sites can increase our kids’ exposure to people who have criminal intentions. The FTC and other online-safety experts (see below) suggest these tips for socializing safely on the Web: • Know the potential audience. Think about how different sites work before deciding to join a social-networking site. Some sites will allow only a particular community of users to access posted content. Others allow everybody and his brother to view postings.

• Encourage your child to think about keeping control over the information she posts. She might consider restricting access to a select group of people, such as her buddies from school, a club, a team or a community group. • Keep critical information private. Tell your child to never post his full name, Social Security number, address, phone number or bank and credit-card account numbers — and don’t post other people’s information, either.

• Keep screen names vague. Make sure your child’s screen name doesn’t say too much about her. Kids shouldn’t use their real name, age or hometown on social-networking sites.

• Remind kids that posted material never disappears. Once your child posts information online, he can’t take it back. Even if he deletes the infor-

44 kidsla summer 2009

Once your child posts information online, he can’t take it back. mation from a site, older versions exist on other people’s computers.

these organizations can help

To learn more about avoiding identity theft online, check out the following organizations: • i-SAFE (, endorsed by the U.S. Congress, is a non-profit foundation dedicated to protecting young people on the Web. The site incorporates classroom curriculum with community outreach to empower students, teachers, parents and law enforcement to make the Internet a safer place.

• National Cyber Security Alliance ( is a non-profit organization that provides tools and resources to help keep kids (and adults) safe online. NCSA members include the Department of Homeland Security, the FTC and many private-sector corporations and organizations. • Staysafe ( is an educational site that helps consumers manage online safety and security issues. • Wired Safety ( is a group made up of volunteers around the world. Wired Safety provides education and assistance on all aspects of cybercrime and abuse, privacy, security and responsible technology use. • Federal Trade Commission (, to file a complaint or to get information on consumer issues, visit the website or call toll-free 877.382.4357. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law-enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. • GetNetWise ( is a public service sponsored by Internet-industry corporations and public-interest organizations to help en-

sure that Internet users are protected.

• Internet Keep Safe Coalition ( website is the home of Faux Paw the Techno Cat, and created by a coalition of 49 governors, law-enforcement agencies, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and other associations dedicated to providing tools and guidelines to teach children to use technology safely.

other ways to avoid kids’ identity theft

Experts at Experian (, one of the three major credit bureaus, note that child identity theft can go undetected for years because it often isn’t discovered until the victim applies for credit, tries to rent an apartment or tries to open a bank account. There are things you can do to protect your child against identity theft offline, too:

• Don’t let kids carry their Social Security cards in their wallets. These cards should always be stored in a safe place.

• Keep your child’s magazine subscriptions under your name, not his. This helps prevent your child’s name from appearing on mailing lists.

• Pay attention if your child starts receiving junk mail. If your 12-year-old suddenly begins receiving credit card invitations in her name, it may mean that her personal information has been compromised.

• If someone insists he needs your child’s Social Security number, verify that he really needs it. I have started questioning this practice at doctors’ offices, and have refused to give out my family’s Social Security numbers to be used as patient identification numbers. When I explain my reason for refusing, most staff members have understood. Some have even said “Gosh, I guess I shouldn’t give mine out at my doctor’s offices!”

LifeLock protects children’s ID LifeLock is a service which will, for a $10 monthly fee, help protect your family, including children, from having their identity stolen. LifeLock’s CEO, Todd Davis regularly gives out his social security number in advertisements (457-55-5462) to prove that his service works in preventing identity theft. “Some of what we do, you can do yourself for free. The difference is that the only thing we think about is how to protect your identity. Think of it this way: all of us can change our own oil, but most of us have it done by specialists. We’d like to think that what we do is more complicated than changing oil, but you get the idea,” says Davis. When parents think their child’s identity may have been comprimised, the child can easily be added to the parent’s account. LifeLock will place fraud alerts on their behalf and keep them active, request annual credit reports, arrange for requests for an Earnings Report from the Social Security Administration, with WalletLock, help cancel or replace cards if the wallet is stolen, and maintains a $1 million guarantee if the child’s identity is stolen. For info: 45


avoid summer brain drain 10 expert tips to keep kids’ minds active

friends and classmates to learn about foreign cultures, history, and animals big and small.

words Duane Sider

duane sider, an education expert at Rosetta Stone,

8. Engage Their Investigative Aptitude.

offers tips on how to keep kids’ minds active during the lazy days of summer break:

immersion-based program for learning new languages on CD or online (best for ages 6 and up).

1. Get Lost at the Library. Research has shown that reading four or five books over the summer has an impact on fall reading achievement comparable to attending summer school. Stop by reading hour, sign up for a children’s summer book club, or just grab a few books off the shelf to read at home. Added bonus? An air conditioned place to keep kids entertained.

2. Turn Your Home into an International Destination. Immerse your family in a new culture via the web. Research your family’s heritage or a favorite foreign city and immerse kids fully in the adventure by helping them learn the local dialect. Since Southern California has so many cultures, you can also explore in your own backyard. Parents and children can learn a language together easily using computerbased language-learning programs such as Rosetta Stone, a completely interactive,

46 kidsla summer 2009

3. Create Your Own Cooking “Class.” How many pints in a quart? Cinnamon is which country’s major export? From measuring spoons to ingredients, preparing meals is the perfect time to ask math, geography, and even science questions. Getting them involved in measuring the ingredients and cooking will help them better understand the math and science that goes into their favorite cookies.

5. Plan an Educational Summer Vacation. In addition to building sandcastles and boogie boarding for days on end, plan a family vacation to an educational or historic site. Explore the Grand Canyon, climb to the top of the Washington Monument, experience the Wright Brothers’ first flight in Kitty Hawk, N.C., or even venture to another country to experience a different culture and language.

6. Get Up and Exercise Your Body and Mind. Getting the blood flowing always helps cognitive thinking. Therefore encourage games outdoors that require counting, group collaboration, and problem-solving. Make sure to have plenty of water and sunscreen on hand.

9. Break out the Board Games. Whether it’s Chutes & Ladders, Monopoly, Scrabble or even Blackjack, it turns out these family favorites can also be great tools to reinforce a variety of classroom concepts. Combining education and fun will help create a positive learning experience for everyone and remove some of the stress of day-to-day living.

10. Logging Your Adventures. Through all

4. Transform Your Backyard into a Science Lab. Bugs, animals and trees…Oh My! Your backyard is filled with a plethora of scientific wonders that will keep kids busy for hours. Challenge your children to identify and photograph as many species as they can.

Arm your kids with a notebook, pencil, camera and their inquisitive mind. Have them interview neighbors and do research on your home town. This allows kids to sharpen their thought and question process.

7. Discover the Possibilities in Your Community. Local zoos, museums, and parks provide an economical destination for learning. Plan a group trip with

these adventures and findings have your child keep a diary or notebook of their summer, or if you’re tech-savvy, start a family blog so relatives can read about your child’s experiences. Give them an assignment every week. Write a letter to a relative, a poem, a creative short story or what their favorite exploration was that week.

grab bag: subjects



Kids will spend more time on the Internet during summer, so keep track of what they are doing with The PG Key, which records everything done online and can filter unwanted content. $30,

Buddy Talk and Teen Talk, card games for friends to really get to know each other, $8,

Discovery Kids Pet Simulation, kids can raise and care for a virtual pet: Dolphin Discovery, Puppy Playtime, Kitten Corner and Pony Paradise. Nintendo DS, $30, GameStop, Target and WalMart.

Scrabble, a classic word game, Nintendo DS and PSP, $29.99, major retailers.

ART THE FUNKY GROOVY TIE DYE KIT includes everything kids need to make wearable art. $11.95,

SCIENCE Budding environmentalists will love the Bug Book and Bug Bottle, $14, and Bugs Fandex field guide, $11, for use during summer excursions. Barnes and Noble,

34 kidsla summer 2009


The Horrid Henry collection of books will keep your little pranksters occupied all summer. $5, Casey and Bella Go to Hollywood is inspired by real life dogs Casey, a Jack Russell Terrier, and Bella, a tea cup Yorkie. They’ve traveled to New York City and Casey and Bella is searching for their next book location by a contest available open to 3rd and 4th graders (info: $16, Barnes & Noble. Boys, and girls, of summer will love the Sandlot Summit, where the fate of the world depends on the outcome of a kids’ baseball game. $14,

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Begley’s Best has an exciting new line of environmentally sound cleaning products. Glass & Surface Cleaners and the Spot Remover/Household Cleaners start at $6. No animal testing was used and 5% of sales go to charity.

kids meals

summer eats words Nicole prentice williams

looking for fun summer-time spots with the kids where you can have a great meal too? Here’s a roundup of some of the best outdoor dining in Los Angeles for the entire family. Between the activities, views and great food, you’ll be planning your return trip as soon as you leave.

garden terrace café Give your kids a bit of culture, a stunning view of the City of Angels and a good meal at the Getty Center. The Getty has several places to grab a bite to eat, but it’s their Garden Terrace Café that offers some of the best outdoor dining in the city. You’re sitting in one of the most amazing pieces of architecture in the country. On one side flanked by travertine marble pillars; on the other, the kids can look down to visitors winding their way through Robert Irwin’s whimsical garden or look out to the bustling city, all the way to the Santa Monica Bay. The food is casual — sandwiches, salads and soups. The kids will be easy to please with the chicken sandwich, 100% beef hot dogs, organic yogurts, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and fruit juices. Family activities are going on year round, so after lunch there are plenty of ways for kids to burn off that fuel. They offer drawing classes for kids, kid-friendly tours through the museum, family art labs, story-telling and dance and music festivals (classes also offered in Spanish). The Getty Center is easy to access, right off the 405 freeway and the Sepulveda pass, and the kids will love the tram ride from the parking structure to the museum at the top of the hill. Garden Terrace Café, Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Dr., Los Angeles 90049, 310.440.7300

malibu seafood You might not think of an old college hangout as a great place to take your young children, but Malibu Seafood is just that. I’ve been going there since I was a student at Pepperdine. It’s now a favorite of my husband and our daughter. Usually it’s the upscale, over-priced, “grown-up” restaurants that have the

Garden Terrace Café

Malibu Seafood

best ocean views, but this very casual outdoor café is right on Pacific Coast Highway with a breathtaking view of the ocean. A couple of lobster fisherman opened the spot more than 30 years ago and they’re still running it.You order at the counter, grab a number and a seat at their picnic tables then take in the sea air, watch the waves and sometimes dolphins until your food is ready. They have the freshest grilled fish from snapper to swordfish and halibut. There are more than a dozen to choose from and they come with a choice of a two side dishes. They’re known for their Ahi tuna burger. If you have a nonfish eater with you, they do fried chicken strips and a chicken sandwich. You’ll also find fish tacos, fish and chips, scallops, oysters, squid and clams. Prices range from around $6 to over $20 depending on how decadent you get. Another kid-friendly 49

Photo: Alex Vertikoff ©2002 J.Paul Getty Trust

outdoor family dining

kids meals

Frida Taqueria

attraction is that they don’t serve alcohol. They’re also a fish market so you can buy seafood to prepare at home. The best part of this dining destination is carefully crossing the highway after a lazy lunch and spending the afternoon at the beach! Malibu Seafood, 25653 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, 310.456.3430,

frida taqueria The Brentwood Country Mart is a favorite in our family because it’s a little bit of rustic hometown that’s stood the test of time (61 years!) in one of the largest cities in the world. Kids will be fascinated by this charming, red barn that’s a maze of boutiques and eateries inside. It feels so inviting with its open cobblestone courtyards, picnic tables and fireplace. One of the newest places to eat here is Frida Taqueria with its authentic Mexican cuisine. This taco stand modeled after the typical taquerias in Mexico is a casual spin-off of their finer restaurants. They use the ingredients and spices that have been used in the preparation of Mexican food for centuries. Kids will love their quesadillas, bean and cheese burritos and chicken soft tacos. Of course, there’s an extensive menu for the less picky eaters and mom and dad. They do amazing fish tacos (sautéed or fried), cochinita pibil, chicken mole and carnitas. Kids love the paletas (traditional Mexican popsicles) for dessert or the creamy flan Napolitano. You order at the stand then grab a picnic table (communal or not) or one of the old school bar stools where you can watch the cooks at work. This is a onestop shop. There’s plenty of eye candy to keep the kids occupied and sometimes fun events like pony rides, balloon art, or face painting. Parents will love being able to stroll through the home store, bookstore, clothing stores and maybe even the toy store with little ones entertained. Frida Taqueria, Brentwood Country Mart, 225 26th St., Santa Monica,,

50 kidsla summer 2009

planning ahead

ready, set, go? kindergarten readiness: when should your child start words Karen Lee Mah

did you know that kindergarten is not mandatory? First grade (when a child is around 6-years-old) is actually the first year of compulsory education in California. Of course, the vast majority of Californians enroll their children in kindergarten, and before that pre-K and pre-school. But the question is: When should you start your child in “formal” education (often including kindergarten) in either public or private schools? Right now, children who turn five on or before December 2nd are eligible to enroll in kindergarten, although there are proponents who want to roll this date back to September 1st to give a child more time to develop. Often (especially if your child has a late birthday), public or private schools will screen the child to determine if they think your child is ready to start school. After the assessment, parents must weigh the options of starting their child in school or holding him back a year. In regards to your child’s education, this decision will be one of the most important ones you will make in laying down the foundation for their future education. If your child starts before he is ready, he might be held back a grade and have to watch all his friends advance to the next grade. This stigma could affect your child for his entire academic career (or at least through elementary school). If your child is ready and you don’t start him on time, he may get bored and become an “underachiever.” You might have to home school him in some subjects and areas to keep him engaged and at a par with

his overall ability at that time. What’s a parent to do? How do you know? Try to analyze your child by separating his abilities into three areas — social/emotional, motor skills and cognitive ability. Determine where he is in each area and see if there is a discrepancy when you look at your child as a whole.

social /emotional ability

Most parents feel the cognitive or intellectual ability of a child matters most. You often hear “my child can read” or “my child can add,” making parents believe the child is ready for kindergarten. Not so. At this age, the social/emotional factor is probably more important when determining if a child is ready for kindergarten. Interaction skills (or lack thereof) are a developmental factor that will affect self-confidence. Ask yourself the following questions. Can she separate from you? Is your child playing side-by-side with another child (playing independently) or playing with another child (sharing toys, talking to them)? Has she learned to play cooperatively? Is she able to use words to communicate or is communication more about body language and sounds such as crying or whining? Does she appear to be “young” for her age compared to her classmates? Many children (especially boys) are still squirmy at this age but a child should be able to sit at rug time for 10-20 minutes. This skill, along with being able to focus in the classroom, is developed in the kindergarten year. 51

planning ahead

motor skills (fine and gross)

Fine motor skills (the ability to hold a pencil, play with cubes or other small objects that children use to learn about math) and gross motor skills (the ability to skip, hop, run) is another factor. Analyze your child and ask yourself the following questions. Fine motor skills: How is his pencil grip? Can he cut with scissors yet? Gross motor skills: How is his basic running and jumping ability? Can he ride a tricycle? Use the monkey bars? “Pump” by himself on a swing? Is he currently seeing an occupational therapist (OT) to enhance fine motor skills or a physical therapist (PT) to assist in the development of his gross motor skills? Coordination and good spatial ability/body awareness will develop. Some parents like to hold back sons for athletic reasons, but giving your son an edge in sports while not considering his social/ emotional and academic needs may not be too wise.

cognitive (intellectual/ academic) ability

Lastly, I will mention cognitive ability because if a child has the self-esteem and social skills to survive in the classroom and the

52 kidsla summer 2009

motor skills to engage in writing, math or arts and crafts centers, then she will be ready to learn! Ask yourself the following questions. Has your child started to decode letters? Does she know her ABCs and letter sounds? Can she decode the letters into words? Does she know her numbers? Can she count to 10? Most children know their ABCs and their numbers before starting kindergarten. In kindergarten your child will learn to read (some already know how), increase her fluency and comprehension, and work on her vocabulary. She will also learn general math concepts in order to learn to add and subtract in first grade.

are all areas balanced?

The most important question to ask is are all three areas balanced? Is there a discrepancy? An obvious strength in one area along with a limitation in another would probably require another year for a child to have time to “balance out.” My oldest child had weak social and motor skills but tested gifted at age four. I gave her an extra year and she is right where she should be. My other children who also had late birthdays were balanced in all areas and started

kindergarten at 4-years-old. Although they are often the youngest kids in the class, they too are in their proper grade placement. In deciding whether your child is ready for kindergarten, remember that a child’s age is just one factor. Children have a range of development and classrooms usually have kids that are one or even two years apart in age. Just as a child may potty train as early as 18 months or as late as four years, a child may read as early as three or as late as six. Children develop at different rates. Weigh your child’s strengths and weaknesses in all of the above areas and look at your child as a whole. Remember, balance is the key. Lastly, if you make the decision to give your child an extra year and later you realize that he should have started earlier, your child could then skip a grade, which is better than starting him too early and giving him the stigma of being held back. If you made the wrong decision, the former is something we all would rather “go” for!

before kindergarten, finding the right preschool tips from Los Angeles Universal Preschool Los Angeles Universal Preschool’s goal is to make voluntary, high-quality preschool available to every 4-year-old child in Los Angeles. LAUP funds a wide variety of programs-including school-based programs, private centers, and Family Child Care homes. Not every preschool is right for every child, so here are a few tips about finding a quality preschool: Trust, but verify. Ask for recommendations from friends and family. Talk to parents of students at the preschool (drop by at pick up or drop off time). But most importantly, trust your intuitions. Qualified Teachers, Low Turnover. The staff should have the educational background to promote your child’s learning and development. You should also look for a preschool with good staff

benefits. Low turnover is a key factor in promoting consistent, stable care. Stimulating Young Minds. Those teachers should be experts at stimulating your child’s imagination. Four-year olds learn best from play and interaction, not instruction or rote memorization. Look to see how the teachers work with children: Do they work at a child’s eye level? Do they encourage exploration and guide a child at his or her own pace? In the Clean and Clear. Look around when you visit the preschool to make sure it is clean and safe. Check the bathroom for spills and mess. Make sure the preschool’s state license is current, which means it has been inspected for health and safety concerns. Check at Tips and info from 53


staycation 2009


10 tips for exploring LA this summer words Sarah Bowman and Diane Shakin

once the kids are sprung from the classroom, you don’t need to buy a plane ticket to keep them worldly. Stock the car with an international iTunes playlist and head out to discover the varied cultural resources of our global metropolis! 1. Downtown Reformed: The Lakers are no longer the only reason to visit downtown. With the new Nokia Theater and LA Live (nokiatheaterlalive. com) comes a plethora of fun eateries (we choose The Farm as best for kids), the fascinating Grammy Museum and an ESPN Zone. While you’re in the neighborhood, get posies on the cheap at the LA Flower Mart ( and take a tour of the rooftop garden and architectural delights of Frank Gehry’s Disney Hall, 213.972.4399.

2. Travel by Taste: Families can learn about new cultures while expanding their palate. Visit the Santa Sophia Temple and eat fabulous baklava at Papa Christos’s Taverna (2771 West Pico Blvd., 323.737.2970). After viewing the UCLA Fowler Museum’s glorious photographs of Indian women, drop into an Indian restaurant for chicken tikka and naan. Try Bombay Bite, 1051 Gayley Ave., 310.824.1046. Get Africasavvy when you smell exotic spices and watch coffee being roasted in the tiny neighborhood of Little Ethiopia — kids love scooping up their dinner

54 kidsla summer 2009

with a buckwheat crepe called injero. Best eats are at Merkato, 1036 1/2 Fairfax Ave., Little Ethiopia, 323.935.1775.

3. World-Wide Box Office Domination — the Half-Blood Prince and Beyond: Harry Potter will no doubt claim the summer box office, and if your kids are fans, they’ll love the Warner’s Brother’s VIP Studio Tour (818.972.8687), which ends at the studio museum, a whole floor of which is dedicated to all-things Potter. Keep the movie magic alive by visiting the Skirball Cultural Center’s excellent show about superheroes ZAP! POW! BAM! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938-1950 (, or learn about the movie monsters at Monsters and Beasts at the new Muzeo in Anaheim (

4. Why Not Be a Tourist? Have your kids found their favorite star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? Or tried to put their sneaker in Judy Garland’s tiny footprint outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater? They’ll be surprised at the colorful, costumed creatures that accost

out-of-towners; then, enjoy the familiar food at California Pizza Kitchen or relax by bowling at Lucky Strikes at the Hollywood and Highland mall (hollywoodandhighland. com).

5. Global Arts and Crafts: Art on the wall of a museum is much like the projects your kids bring home, and kids relate to museum pieces if they learn who made it and how they did it. Start with Eli Broad’s modern art collection at BCAM or go global by checking out a new exhibit comparing manga to traditional art forms at the Pacific Asia Museum’s The Samurai Re-imagined. If your junior artists are inspired, have them create something of their own at one of the many monthly art programs: The Craft and Folk Art Museum hosts Listen, Learn and Make (cafam. org); the UCLA Fowler Museum hosts Kids in the Courtyard (fowler.ucla. edu) and the Hammer holds writing and art workshops for kids regularly (

6. Bye-Bye Beckham, Hello Marta! David and Posh may be shipping out at the end

of the Galaxy’s season, but there’s a new girl in town. Brazil’s Marta Vierira da Silva, the best female player in the world, is now playing for LA’s new women’s soccer team, the LA Sol; games run through July ( la). If your kids love slap shots and the Zamboni, they’ll appreciate the Science of Hockey show at Discovery Science Center ( Or watch polo matches at the Will Roger’s Polo Fields through September (

7. Forget Alitalia: LACMA has a neat Pompeii exhibit with rare artifacts from the sumptuous villas of that Italian region ( Then, relax over a big plate of spaghetti at your favorite Italian spot or let the kids in the kitchen to make noodles and sauce for dinner. If they love to cook, send them to a cooking class this summer (

8. Armchair Travel: There’s nothing like spending a summer afternoon lost in the pages of a great novel. Starting a parent-child book club will help foster a love for reading and provide

a forum for interesting conversation with your child. Getting to know your local library helps, so find a good librarian and get lost in the stacks (

9. Listen to the Bard: Watching a play in the soft night air is a summer treat. Kids can enjoy the physical comedy of plays such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, on and off through the summer months, or As You Like It (Shakespeare by the Sea through August 8, shakespearebythesea. org). Read an abbreviated version of the play before you go (Lois Burdett does a wonderful series) and your kids will have an easier time understanding the basic movement of the plot.

10. This One’s AllAmerican: Ever heard of an Ice Cream Trough? Invite the neighborhood, put a long platter down the center of a table and create the world’s biggest ice-cream sundae. Better yet? Make the ice cream yourself using freshly picked peaches or berries from the farmer’s market.

Win a free

Nickelodeon Family Cruise

with Royal Caribbean International for four (4) people on the Mariner of the Seas, departing July 26, 2009 out of Los Angeles. The Nickelodeon Family Cruise stops at Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

How to enter?

What’s not included?

Send a 250 word, or less, description on what you or your family does to help the community to:, by June 30, 2009. One family will be selected from all entrants. Purchase not required to enter.

Ground transportation; passenger fees (taxes & gratuities) of $205/ person; alcoholic beverages; specialty dining and drinks; shore excursions; meals while in port; wireless services; photo services; phone calls; laundry or dry cleaning; spa treatments; and other incidentals typically not included in the price of a cruise package.

What’s included? Ship accommodations in an Interior quad occupancy stateroom, most meals on board (excludes specialty dining), soda and juice package, ocean transportation, most entertainment and activities on board the ship.

Winner must accept the prize in whole and is non-transferable. Value is approximately $4999. For information about the cruise:

kid’s service

Community Service Tail Waggin’ Tours is a program offered by Therapy Dogs International where students read stories to therapy dogs. The program helps students become confident readers in a positive and unique way. In turn the dogs get training time before visiting nursing homes, hospitals and other institutions where therapy dogs are needed. Samady, pictured with 6th grade student Bryanna, and her brother River are Samoyeds, whose handlers are Zach and Tracy Nathan, a teacher at High Tech Middle Media Arts in San Diego, where some of her students regularly enjoy reading to the dogs. Therapy dogs must be very well-trained, but they must also have a certain spirit and natural ease and gentleness. River is a lover and just wants to make sure everyone is happy. Samady is a princess. She loves toddlers and babies and is very nurturing and gentle with them. For more info or to volunteer:

Before growing up, every kid should. . . read to a dog. 56 kidsla summer 2009

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