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April is National Kite Month!

April is National Kite Month Kite flying can be enjoyed at any age.

If you head to Zuanich Point Park to take the kids a sunset stroll on a windy day, it’s not uncommon to see kite flyers taking advantage of the bayside breezes. Since April is National Kite Month, take some time to learn a little bit more about the pastime of kite flying.

People have been flying kites for thousands of years. The first recorded example of kite flying took place in 200 B.C. in China when General Han Hsin used a kite in preparation for a military attack. Along with military purposes, kites have been used for scientific experiments, art and entertainment, and recreation.

One of the most famous examples of kite flying and science is Benjamin Franklin’s experiment using a kite and a key to prove that lightning is electricity, although some historians question whether Franklin himself ever actually performed the experiment that he suggested.

A famous reference in popular culture to kite flying is found in the song “Let’s Go Fly a Kite,” featured in the 1964 Disney film “Mary Poppins” that is based on P.L. Travers’ popular book series. In the film, kite flying acts as a unifying activity for a previously absent father and his family.

For diehard kite aficionados, you might want to visit the World Kite Museum & Hall of Fame, located in Long Beach, Washington. Check things out during the third week in August, when the museum hosts the Washington State International Kite Festival with competitions, demonstrations, indoor kite flying, and kites of all sizes, shapes, and colors.

If you really want to celebrate National Kite Month, you can’t do it right without a kite! Here are links to a few sites with plans for making your own kite:

And, of course, you can always buy a kite. Check out the selections at Fairhaven Toy Garden or Yeager’s Sporting Goods to find a kite for you and your family.

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Children’s Book Corner: April 2009

Welcome to the Neighborhood-Kids Children’s Book Corner! Each month I offer one title each for four different age groups. These recommendations are based on my experience as the parent of a bookworm, an elementary teacher, and a voracious reader of children’s literature. Happy Reading!

For Baby Bookworms (Birth to 2)
Binky or Blankie by Linda Patricelli (2005, Candlewick)

"Binky" by Linda Patricelli

The big-headed, single-haired baby of Linda Patricelli’s books is here to talk about his two most precious possessions. In Binky, he looks all over the house for the beloved pacifier, only to find that it’s been in his crib all along. In Blankie, he explains that “Blankie comes everywhere with me,” including the store and time-out. Blankie is especially important at night, when it bravely faces the dark. Babies and toddlers will love the visual simplicity of these books, while adults can view a special object through the eyes of a child.

For Preschool Power Readers (3-5)
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems (2003, Hyperion)

"Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" by Mo Willems

That pigeon…he’ll get away with anything if you let him. That’s why the bus driver tells the reader right away, “Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus!” The reader is then begged, pleaded with, whined to, and bargained with by the mischievous bird. Kids will enjoy being the one who gets to say “No!” and parents will get a chuckle out of the pigeon’s entertaining tactics. (Don’t miss the other Pigeon books, including The Pigeon Wants a Puppy and The Pigeon Has Feelings, Too!)

"Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid" by Megan McDonald

For School-age Scholars (6-8)
Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid
by Megan McDonald (2006, Candlewick)

Stink Moody is tired of being the shortest kid in 2nd grade. Not only is he short, but now he appears to be shrinking! He tries everything he can to make himself taller, including spiking his hair and eating large quantities of vegetables, all to no avail. Finally, he finds himself a short role model and realizes that he will grow in time. This book is the first of the entertaining series about Judy Moody’s younger brother, and will surely appeal to boys and girls, short or tall.

For Independent Intermediates (9-12)
Love That Dog by Sharon Creech (2001, HarperCollins)

"Love That Dog" by Sharon Creech

Love That Dog tells its story through an evolution of poetry. In the beginning, Jack’s assignment by his teacher to write a poem results in this: “I tried. Can’t do it. Brain’s empty.” Over the course of the school year, Jack’s teacher feeds him inspiration and he finds that he really does have a lot to say. Jack becomes interested in a poem entitled “Love That Boy,” and it inspires him to write about his beloved dog. As Jack experiments with writing and lets his emotions spill onto the page, the reader will connect with his feelings as well as his frustrations and successes with writing. Sharon Creech is the author of so many fantastic books it is truly difficult to choose just one. Love That Dog is a great book for all kids, but perhaps especially for those who feel like they never have anything to write.

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Cloth or Disposable: Which is Right for Baby?

It seems strange to say that cloth diapers are the hot, new trend since disposable diapers have only been around since the second half of the 20th century and children have been…well, you know… since the beginning of time. So if you’re trying to decide which option is right for your family, here are some points to consider.

Cloth or Disposable: Which is Right for Your Baby? Your baby will spend the first two years of their life, at least, in diapers.


If you’re on the go, throwing away a used disposable diaper is easier than dealing with a cloth diaper. And since disposable diapers are generally more absorbent and leak less than cloth diapers, disposable diapers mean less diaper changing throughout the day. Disposable might be your only option if your child is in a daycare, since some programs have a disposable diaper-only policy.

But with cloth diapers, you never have to run to the store to restock your diaper supply; just reload the washing machine.

Environmental Impact

There’s a lot of back and forth between proponents of cloth diapers and disposable. With so many conflicting reports from various sources, it’s impossible state which is “better” for the environment.

Washing reusable cloth diapers uses up more water, but the 6,000 or so disposable diapers that baby uses each year will end up in a landfill, not to mention all the chemical waste from the manufacturing process.

Just like when adults buy toilet paper and flush a toilet, there is always some environmental impact from diapers. In some ways, it’s a “lesser of two evils” judgment call. Just make sure to do your research so you can feel informed about your decision. If you decide to use a diaper service, ask about the chemicals they use in their laundering process. And remember that “biodegradable” diapers can’t break down in an airtight landfill.


If you plan to launder cloth diapers at home, your initial costs will be greater than if you use disposable diapers. However, in the long run, using cloth is generally considered to be less expensive. Once you’ve purchased your diapers, you can use them for subsequent children. Since disposable diapers are more absorbent, it’s harder for baby to feel the wetness. This could contribute to delayed toilet-training, meaning you could be buying disposable diapers for an extra year.

What About Baby?

Diaper rash can be caused by both disposable and cloth diapers. The chemicals in disposable diapers and the soaps used to wash cloth diapers have been cited as possible skin irritants. The largest factor in preventing diaper rash is frequency of changing. Also, because cloth diapers are made from natural fibers, they allow more air to “breath” through the material, which is better for baby’s skin.

As with many choices you’ll make about bringing up your baby, the choice to use cloth or disposable diapers is a personal one. Finding out what works for your baby’s health and your lifestyle are the most important factors.

If you’re interested in a diaper service, visit Baby Diaper Service to find out about pricing and delivery options in Bellingham. You can also consult your family doctor or visit the Mother Baby Center for their opinion on this topic.

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