Archive for November, 2010

Time Shift Your TV November 29 – December 6

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Holiday programming is beginning to dominate the airwaves. Hallmark and ABC Family have particularly full schedules of Christmas-related programming, so you can always flip to those channels it you’re in need of a holiday fix. Meanwhile, here are this week’s DVR picks, and while some are seasonal specials, there are also some non-holiday shows for you to enjoy:

  • Why do we exchange gifts and hang stockings at Christmas? The History Channel takes an intellectual look at the holiday in The Real Story of Christmas, a one-hour special airing on Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 8 p.m. It explores the historic influences behind the holiday rituals of Christmas now, including an early Santa who is nothing like the jolly guy we know today.
  • I’m always intrigued by what makes us tick and by what will keep us sharp as we age, so I’ll be DVR-ing a new show on PBS that explores the emotional and physical fitness of the brain in Brain Fitness Peak Performance, hosted by Peter Coyote at 8 p.m. on Nov. 30.
  • Even though my kids are teenagers, there’s one holiday classic everybody gathers ’round to watch each year: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The 1960s Burl Ives special airs at 8 p.m. on CBS, also on Tuesday, Nov. 30.
  • The Science Channel takes a dive into the caves at the bottom of the ocean in Deadly Descent, premiering Friday, Dec. 3 at 10 p.m. Watch as a team of elite divers try to navigate the deep caves that twist and weave for miles below the earth’s surface. What they find, oddly enough, could lead to new cures in medicine.

    The 2010 Parents’ Choice Foundation Holiday Gift Guide

    Friday, November 19th, 2010

    Struggling to find creative stocking stuffers?  Shopping for a child with special needs?  Have no idea what toys are appropriate for a five-year-old?  Then let our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide lead you toward the perfect age-appropriate presents for any holiday!

    We’ve sifted through our winners and have compiled a treasury of lists that will cover everyone from the child who’s been extra good to the families in need of game night inspiration.  We’ll be featuring these lists through the next few weeks on Facebook and Twitter, so make sure that you’re following us!

    Midnight Madness

    Thursday, November 18th, 2010

    Like thousands of fans, I have tickets to tonight’s midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.  I’m taking my 13-year-old daughter—on a school night no less—along with several other friends and their children.

    Photo by Laura Fries

    For mom Denise Fulton, the choice was easy. “Harry Potter inspired my 12-year-old non-reader to devour all seven books between Labor Day and Halloween. She now reads willingly every day. The least I can do is pay Harry — and her — back by taking everyone to the midnight show. I’m not concerned about missing one day of school for such an important event. In fact, my highschooler has decided to go to school on Friday to take a test.”

    For me, Harry Potter isn’t just a character or a movie or even just a pop culture fad.  It’s a connection to my daughter.  JK Rowling’s books brought about a true renaissance in reading, especially for kids. Reading books became cool and kids actually grew up with Harry and his friends as each new novel added more nuance and depth to the story. When Deathly Hallows came out in print, it was thrilling to see the swells of people of all ages celebrating a book. I can’t remember anything like that when I was young, and it was exciting to see my daughter enjoy that experience.  We took turns reading the book aloud and it is a memory the whole family cherishes.

    While the movies don’t have the same detail and ultimate charm of the novels, they still allow us to celebrate Harry, our struggles to make the right choices and the triumph of love and friendship over the power of evil.  So yes, I am staying up late, savoring the connections I have with my daughter, even if it means she’ll be sleep deprived at school. This is the first of the last of Harry Potter.  We wouldn’t miss it for the world.

    Parents’ Choice 2010 Fall Book Awards

    Thursday, November 18th, 2010

    We are happy to announce the Parents’ Choice Fall 2010 Book Awards!

    Dive into our selection of fiction, non-fiction, activity, and picture books.  For those just learning to read, find inspiration in How Rocket Learned to Read.  Have an animal lover? Make new friends with Life-Size Aquarium’s penguins and More Life Size Zoo’s cuddly baby animals.  And if you were inspired by our post about performing, then have your children get in touch with their inner rock stars with a Make Your Own Music Video kit!

    These are just a few of our picks for this season, and we encourage you to explore all of our award winners!

    Time Shift Your TV: November 15- 22

    Monday, November 15th, 2010

    Red alert, kids: A special hour-long iCarly TV movie called “iStart a Fan War” features Jack Black as guest star. Black, who has hosted Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards twice in recent years, plays Spencer’s (Jerry Trainor) videogame nemesis, Aspartamay. The rivals come face-to-face at the show’s version of Comic-Con. The special airs Friday, Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. on Nickelodeon.

    Hallmark Channel is cranking out the holiday original movies designed to be good, old-fashioned family fare. On Saturday, the cable channel is airing The Night Before the Night Before Christmas, starring Jennifer Beals. The storyline: Santa crash lands in suburbia and gets amnesia, leaving Christmas in jeopardy. The subplot: The family he crashes into needs a lesson in the true meaning of Christmas. It airs Saturday, Nov. 20 on Hallmark at 8 p.m.

    You’ll think you’re watching an eerie feature film filled intrigue and suspense when you watch the new Smithsonian Channel special called Mystery of the Hope Diamond. To mark the 50th anniversary of the donation of the world’s most famous diamond, the show examines the history, science and “curse” of the gem that features near-perfect clarity and a deep blue color. The one-hour special, narrated by Kim Basinger, airs Sunday, Nov. 21 at 8 p.m.