August in Virginia – Virginia Is For Kids!

28 Jul

Study: Cell phones don’t increase brain tumor risk in kids | Signal Strength – CNET News

28 Jul

Children who use cell phones are at no greater risk of developing brain tumors, the latest paper in a series of epidemiological studies suggests.

The study, which was conducted in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Switzerland, was recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. It surveyed almost 1,000 children between ages 7 and 19. The group looked at children who had been diagnosed with brain tumors between 2004 and 2008, as well as a control group drawn randomly from the general population.

Subjects were asked about how often they used their cell phones for voice calls. Some information about usage was provided by wireless providers when it was available. Researchers concluded that children who regularly used their cell phones did not have a higher risk of developing brain tumors than children who didn’t use cell phones regularly. There was also no increased risk of brain tumors in the areas of the head that likely received the most exposure from cell phones.

As cell phone use among children and adolescents increases, experts have warned that they may be at greater risk for cancer and brain tumors. One reason for concern is the fact that children who start using cell phones at a young age will inevitably have more exposure over their entire lifetime to cell phone radiation. But researchers are also concerned because children’s nervous systems are not fully developed. Also, their brains contain more fluid than brains of adults, which allows for deeper penetration of radiation. And finally, children’s skulls are not as thick as those of adults. And again, studies indicate that children are likely to absorb more radiation from cell phones.

While radiation from cell phones may actually penetrate further into the brains of children, it’s not known whether that radiation causes damage to cells. Cell phones emit non-ionizing radiation that propagates at much lower frequency than ionizing radiation, such as X-rays, which are also known to damage DNA in cells.

Some animal research suggests there may be some cell damage done at low frequency radiation. And a recent study on humans found that cell phone radiation excited brain activity.

Related links
Cell phone radiation: Harmless or health risk?
Complete ratings: Cell phone radiation levels
WHO: Cell phones may cause cancer

But what is still unknown is what long-term health effects this may have on people who use cell phones regularly over a long period of time. Epidemiological studies, including the World Health Organization’s decade long Interphone study, have generally shown no relation between cell phone use and brain cancer. But the data from the Interphone study is still being examined, and more reports are expected using this data.

A series of reports have come out recently again showing no link between cancer or brain tumors and cell phone use.

Still, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in May categorized cell phone usage as a possible carcinogen, putting it in the same category as lead, gasoline engine exhaust, and chloroform. While recent studies show no link between cell phone use and brain tumors, the WHO and other scientists have said there is enough conflicting evidence to suggest that more research is needed.

This most recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute is among the first to examine the effects of cell phone use on children. But even Martin Roosli, lead author of the study and an epidemiologist at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel, told The Wall Street Journal that researchers should still keep an eye on how cell phone use affects children.

As with most epidemiological studies there can be an inherent bias when subjects who already have brain tumors are asked about their usage. What’s more, brain tumors typically take decades to manifest, which means that exposure in childhood to cell phones could lead to health effects later in life. Also, the length of time that most children in the study had been exposed to cell phones was relatively short.

Kids poetry camp at JMU

26 Jul


4th of July Festival at VMI

3 Jul


Minor League Baseball in Virginia

2 Jun

While Virginia doesn’t have a major league baseball team, we do have our share of minor league teams.  Better yet, the cost of attending the minor league games is affordable and the some of teams also have fantastic kid’s clubs!  Each marker on this map has a link to the corresponding team’s website so go have fun at a ballgame!

View Minor League Baseball Teams in Virginia in a larger map

V4K’s Favorite Travel Apps

19 May

As of today, here are our favorite travel apps:

1. Kayak – easily compare multiple travel sites at once and also save favorite searches.  We love the calendar that tells you the history of fares for your destination.

2.  TripIt – the PRO version is heaven for business and vacation travel alike.  TripIt will scan your email for travel confirmations and automatically add them to your itinerary.  TripIt keeps you informed of flight delays, directions…it’s fantastic!

3.  It Happened Here – a VERY cool app that brings a city’s past to life by providing descriptions of the most interesting events that have taken place at or near your location.

4.  Open Table – the easiest way to make restaurant reservations…period.

5.  InnTouch – looking for the quaint inn or bed & breakfast?  This is the app for you.

6.  Virginia is for Lovers – the official travel guide for Virginia.  Customize your travel based on your present or future location.  You can also subscribe to special offers via text message.

7.  Virginia Wine in My Pocket – THE guide for traveling Virginia’s wine country.  Great “Best of” recommendations – including those that might not be so kid-friendly!

8.  Virginia Map – yep, that’s what it is…and more.  This is a new (and free) app from the Virginia Information Technologies Agency’s Virginia Geographic Information Network.  Not only do you get the roads throughout Virginia, but also aerial photography, parks, rivers and lakes.

9.  My Little Suitcase – a kids travel app where they get to pick where to go and pack for their family vacation.  Developed by parents, this app is colorful and fun and will keep the little ones occupied!

10.  Postman – forget the hassle of buying postcards, writing them out, stamping and mailing via snail mail!  Send an instant postcard, designed by you (or your kids) in the forms of an SMS or email message.  Grandma will be so excited to hear how the vacation is going!

Free Museum Admission with Bank of America

8 May

Show your Bank of America card and get free admission to the following museums in Virginia:


Children’s Museumn of Richmond

Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum – Williamsburg

DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum – Williamsburg


For more information, click here.

Natural Tunnel State Park – the 8th Wonder of the World

8 Mar

Chairlift at Natural Tunnel State Park

Natural Tunnel is a beautiful wonder of nature  that many in the Commonwealth have never even heard of.  William Jennings Bryan called Natural Tunnel the Eighth Wonder of the World.  Located in Duffield (Scott County), this park can easily fill your day with lots of fun and Kodak moments!

The are 2 ways to reach the tunnel from the parking lot.  You can walk…..or you can take a ride on the chair lift down into the gorge.  For those who need some extra help, a lot of thought was put into making this landmark accessible, visit the website for the details.

Once you reach the end of the chair lift, it’s a short walk to the tunnel.  I can’t even begin to describe what it looks like as breathtaking seems to0 weak a description.  The tunnel is 850 long and 100 feet high inside and it’s creation began more than a million years ago in the early glacial period.

Of course, with almost 1000 acres, Natural Tunnel State Park is much more than “just a tunnel”.  Cabins and campgrounds are available for overnight guests.  There is a 5400 sq ft pool with a water slide open to day and overnight guests.  For kids, the park offers guided nature walks, hayrides, campfires, cave tours and astronomy programs.   Special events and a calendar can be found here.

Click here for a great map of the park (.pdf file).

Tina’s tips:  if you have to bring a stroller, go with a lightweight one like an umbrella stroller.  There is a snack bar, but a few juice boxes and crackers would be a good idea just in case someone gets hungry or thirsty along the way.  There is a bathroom at the bottom station of the chairlift – but it would be wise to take bathroom breaks before embarking on the journey down into the gorge.  Bring some cash along as the chairlift and pool (for day visitors) are not free.  Call ahead or visit the website for exact rates and schedules.

Mosby Carter Cabin Built in 1784

11 Ways to Protect Your Child’s Online Reputation

7 Mar

We all know that the way our children communicate now and will communicate in the future differs greatly from how most of us communicated growing up. Many children today have never picked up a traditional, land line telephone and said, “Hello?”. They learn about what is happening in the world around them from the internet instead of a newspaper or magazine.

Along these lines, it is a parent’s responsibility to teach their children the proper use of technology and monitor their child’s online activity. The excuse of, “I don’t understand all of this technology” is irresponsible and careless. Protecting your child’s online reputation should be just as important as washing their clothes and making sure they eat their vegetables. Here are a few tips to help:

1. Register the domain of your child’s name and renew it every year.

2. Set up a Google alert for your child’s name as well as any common misspellings of the name.

3. Google your child’s name on a regular basis and monitor what comes up in the search engines.

4. Teach your child how to use their technology tools and take the role of a leader. Sit down at their computer every couple of weeks and clean it up, keep it updated, etc. Same thing with their cell phone.

5. Teach your child how to avoid getting a virus on their computer.

6. Require access to all of your child’s online accounts. Explain to them that having online access is a privilege and you trust them to make good decisions; however, it is also your responsibility as a parent to fix something if they (or one of their friends) make a mistake.

7. Show your child examples of the proper and improper use of social networking sites. Explain to them how what they post is permanent and could hurt themselves (or others) if they aren’t careful.

8. Don’t prevent them from using technology. Today’s children will need to be proficient in technology and communication in order to succeed in school and their chosen career. Because of how fast technology grows, many careers that will be available in 10 years don’t even exist today.

9. Have your child use a screen name other than their own when online. Help them choose an online id that is generic, unassuming and unspecific. Avoid using their name, location and anything that could be used to identify them or their age. For example:
No: ashleybaker123, dallasgirlashley, ashlovesjustinbeiber
Yes: summer321, riverdesert, greengrass3

10. On sites that require a “real” name, (such as Facebook), consider using a modified version of your child’s name (such as an abbreviated name or a middle name).

11. Do not use your child’s name online either. Use a nickname instead when mentioning something about them or posting a picture.

Ice Skating Rinks in Virginia

3 Jan

There are many places to ice skate in Virginia.  Some are year ’round and others are just seasonal.  Most offer skate rentals and all are an affordable way to enjoy some quality family time this season!  A list of rinks and their links are below, scroll to the bottom for an interactive map.

Northern Virginia:

Mount Vernon Ice Arena, Alexandria

Pentagon Row, Arlington

Kettler Capitals Ice Plex, Arlington

Prince William Ice Center, Woodbridge, VA

Ashburn Ice House, Ashburn

Fairfax Ice Arena, Fairfax

Reston Town Center, Reston

Skate Quest, Reston

Central Virginia:

Main Street Arena, Charlottesville

Skate Nation Plus, Glen Allen

Richmond Ice Zone, Richmond

Lil Rink, Richmond, VA

LaHaye Ice Center, Lynchburg

Shamokin Ice, Wintergreen

Southwest Virginia:

Roanoke Civic Center, Roanoke

The Homestead Resort, Hot Springs

Hampton Roads:

Chilled Ponds, Chesapeake

Iceland, Virginia Beach

MacArthur Center, Norfolk

Virginia Air and Space Center, Hampton

Hampton Roads Ice Plex, Tabb

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