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Friday, July 30, 2004


Family Hike: Saltwater State Park

Saltwater State Park is a popular destination for families in Western Washington. Located on the Puget Sound, it has three miles of easy trails to explore. The park also features tide pools and marine life, a sandy beach, and tent sites.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004


Summer Vacation

Back from a short summer vacation... Driving all over the Northwest, and always watching for the next rest stop, I had to laugh about this old column concerning one of the biggest inconveniences of travel.

Thursday, July 15, 2004


Family Conversation

A lesson in family conversation from the early 1900's. Still sounds valid today.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


Pop-Culture Assault

Parents are being ambushed on all levels by the entertainment industry. From movie trailers to TV screens at Wal-Mart to Internet pop-up ads, I seem to be doing a lot of eye-covering these days.

Monday, July 12, 2004


Everett's Jetty Island

Everett's manmade island is now open for another summer.

Jetty Island, the city's 2-mile retreat just a quarter-mile off the Everett waterfront, provides a relaxing escape with sandy beaches, shallow warm water, and countless educational programs for kids and adults.

The free ferry runs virtually every 30 minutes from about 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The park is open Wednesday through Sunday.


A Coughing Kid

A glass of water will do as much to relieve a child's cough as an expensive, over-the-counter cough syrup, a new study suggests.

Time and proper hydration are the best treatment for most respiratory infections and the benefit that comes from cough syrups is likely psychological.

Saturday, July 10, 2004


Oldest Building in Idaho

The Old Mission State Park at Cataldo, Idaho, is a great place to spend an afternoon with the family.

Located about twenty minutes east of Coeur d'Alene just off I-90, the park features some easy trails that meander through tall trees and thick grass. The mission is over 150 years old and has aged well over the decades. In one of the small rooms behind the altar you can view a cut-away of the 18-inch thick walls, which were made with saplings woven with grass and caked with mud.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004


Your Kids For Sale

Most parents won't be shocked to learn that children are a lucrative market for corporate America, which spends $15 billion a year to reach them with marketing and advertising.

The surprise is that it starts so early — and that so much explicit detail is available about children before they're even out of diapers.

Advertising aimed at children exploits their vulnerabilities and seeks to turn them into lifelong customers, privacy advocates say. Overexposure to advertising and marketing is blamed as a factor in eating disorders, irresponsible sexuality, materialism and more.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, co-sponsored the Children's Listbroker Privacy Act, which would prohibit buying and selling personal information about children under age 16 unless a parent consents (or if the purpose is noncommercial, as in distributing information about scholarships). The bill is slated for a hearing in the fall.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004


Partiers Pushing Out Families on Boise River

An estimated 5,000 people floated the Boise River on Monday. Although most enjoyed the experiences, there are complaints that the family floating activity is becoming more of a party activity.

This is too bad, when a few irresponsible partiers ruin things for the rest of us. I've floated the Boise River three or four times over the past decade, and it was a fun and relaxing two hour trip through the middle of town. However, I saw enough obnoxious young adults in recent years to make me want to be very careful about when and how I let my kids experience that kind of river trip.

Saturday, July 03, 2004


Outdoor Movies

The third season of Missoula Outdoor Cinema begins Saturday night.

David Macasaet, a graduate student in media arts at the University of Montana, conceived of and continues to coordinate the Outdoor Cinema as an offshoot of the North Missoula Community Development Corp.

He chooses the films, applies for the grants needed to buy equipment, organizes the volunteers who sell tickets and make popcorn, and - on Fridays - hangs the rubbery movie screen on the side of Whittier School.

Audiences for the Saturday night shows average about 200 people - although "The Princess Bride" drew 300 and even the prep work attracts gawkers.

"Instead of going and spending a ton of money for oversized popcorn and a big blockbuster summer movie, you can come to the playground and give a donation that makes sense and maybe even win a prize," Macasaet said. "And you can come early - we'll open the gate at 8 - and eat a picnic dinner with your friends and family as the sun drops behind the mountains."

Friday, July 02, 2004


Upcoming Family Events in the Northwest

Here's a selection of upcoming family fun events around the region:


Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes Surpasses Expectations

This review of the 72-mile bike trail makes me want to hop on my bike first thing in the morning. But, alas, the kids make it a bit more complicated. Still, I'm looking forward to getting them out on this beautiful trail through the wilderness of North Idaho.


Quality vs Quantity

Younger parents are increasingly dissatisfied with their balance between work and family demands. It used to be about "quality" time, but the focus now is on spending as much time as possible with your kids.

And this is a very good thing for your children. They want you home with them. Not out on the golf course or working extra hours to impress the boss.

Thursday, July 01, 2004


Digging For Garnets

There are only two places in the world to find Star Garnet gem stones... India and Idaho.

You and your family can play "treasure hunter" by digging for garnets at the Emerald Creek Garnet Area near Clarkia, Idaho.

It's wet and muddy, but what kid doesn't think it's fun to get all wet and muddy?