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Now, the minority opinion. I’ve gotten a reputation for being the family curmudgeon when it comes time to attend the fair. That is based largely on the fact that the fair shakes more money out of my pocket than did a ride on the old roller coaster at Crystal Beach. After paying for parking, admission, ride bracelets, pizza and gyros, ice cream, extra attractions such …

Sometimes it seems like such a chore getting our kids to do chores that many of us just give up and do them ourselves (setting ourselves up for resentment later). In the olden days, one solution was to draw up a family chore list and post it on the refrigerator. These usually worked great for a week or so, and then everyone kind of forgot about them. Here is a new approa…

Health and Fitness

The first clue that the Baby Einstein Language Nursery video series might be over-promising and under-delivering in its attempts to enlighten your baby came from Einstein himself. He didn't speak until he was +/- 3 years old, according to Einstein mythology and Lisa Simpson, the ultimate authority on child development. The second clue comes from the Baby Einstein company…

Lifehacker.com has a great list of "10 ways to entertain young children for $1 or less (without the TV)." Our son and his around-the-corner friend communicate by walkie-talkie, so I'm not sure the tin can string and telephone is going to fly, but I'll give it a try. As for the part about catching fireflies, does anyone know of a good place in Western New York t…

Our 2007 Buffalo Tour of Festivals continued this weekend with our annual stop at the Lebanese Festival at the St. John Maron Church in Williamsville. This is always a fun family event with something for everyone. (The festival runs through today -- Sunday.) For me, it's falafel -- one of my favorite foods -- for my kids it's the bouncy house and games. Plus the Lebanese…

Here’s a new book with a novel approach: “Screamfree Parenting,” by Hal Runkel. Is that an oxymoron, like “ego-free blogging?” A reviewer at Time.com’s Work in Progress blog, LaDawn Clare-Panton, is impressed with the book. “Everything Runkel suggests is focused on changing the behavior of the parents,” she writes. “We all know you can’t change someone else. You can onl…

Health and Fitness

Our 14-year-old daughter is attending an academic program on the West Coast this summer. We have heard some really good things about the "unaccompanied minor" program for the airline on which she will be flying. Allison is not too concerned about our daughter doing this. I -- playing the role of overprotective dad -- have some reservations, although I clearly…

I’ve always felt like somewhat of a parental loser for not volunteering to read the Harry Potter books aloud to our children. I was kind of spoiled by the fact that our oldest daughter is a book-reading machine and she happily plowed through each Potter volume herself. Wizardry and fantasy were never my things, unless the fantasy involved the drafting of mythical sports t…

This week we went to one of our favorite summer festivals -- Old Home Days. It's held in the small and otherwise quaint Island Park in the village of Williamsville. For a few days in July, Island Park is taken over by rides, games, food vendors and a variety of entertainment. I choose to kick off our annual pilgrimage with the Parking Rodeo, an event of my own making. I i…

Paula Voell's story in The Buffalo News today details the baby boomlet that resulted from the October Surprise storm. Would it be appropriate to refer to the autumn outbreak of passion as Ardorgeddon? No, I didn't think so. I recall more stressful moments from last October than I do moments of marital bliss.  The way I remember that month at One Connors Drive, I wo…

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On Saturday night, we celebrated Caroline's 10th birthday at Chef's Restaurant. Spending birthday nights at Chef’s is a tradition we’ve been observing for more than 10 years, since our oldest, Maddie, was a toddler. While Greg and I didn't grow up here, our kids are all natives, and Chef’s feels like the place to pass along Buffalo traditions. We always go on Saturday, …

Wall Street Journal writer Jeff Zaslow wrote a thought-provoking column this week about the sense of entitlement that today's children grow up with. One culprit is allegedly Mr. Rogers, who told every child that he or she is "special," and they grew up believing it. But the column also cites the culpability of parents. Do we let our kids interrupt our conversat…

Health and Fitness

I'm not trying to steal any thunder from the Sabres Edge blog, but I am wondering today whether other parents are in the same boat I am, trying to console the hockey fans in their family over the losses of Chris Drury and Daniel Briere. Let's face it, a lot of our kids invested a lot of emotion in the Sabres for the past two seasons. Our 14-year-old, Maddie, was monitorin…

For some reason, the occupants of the White House often turn into our Exercisers-in-Chief. Theodore Roosevelt urged Americans to pursue the vigorous life that he did. John F. Kennedy created the Presidents Council on Physical Fitness. Bill Clinton used to jog to McDonald's. (Whoops, that was Phil Hartman playing Clinton on "Saturday Night Live.") President Bush…

There probably are no degrees of tragedy when someone dies. A child or a senior citizen, their lives are of equal value, their deaths equally tragic. But why does it seem especially heart-breaking when someone dies unexpectedly when on the verge of a new chapter in their life? The five girls killed in a car crash last night in Ontario County had just graduated from Fairpo…