Build a Beezer

Robbinsdale husband and wife team Ben and Julie Lindaman recently created a portable and collapsible playhouse made of recycled cardboard, called Beezer Playhouses.

Recognizing that while cardboard playhouses are fun, there are some inherent challenges, such as their lack of durability, and the fact that eventually they have to be taken down, inevitably leading to their destruction. The Lindamans also created the BeezerBits Construction System—quarter turn fasteners that hold the walls and roof panels together—as well as plastic doors and windows, capable of withstanding the wear and tear of creative, active play. Every playhouse comes with a storage carry-case.

The playhouses are now available for pre-sale through November 2011 at, a crowd-funding website dedicated to funding and following creativity. For more information visit


From a child’s perspective

Every year, approximately three million children and adolescents are hospitalized, but when it comes to evaluating their care, their parents are usually the ones who complete the patient satisfaction surveys. A new study, conducted by an interdisciplinary team of researchers to be published in the January 2012 issue of the Journal of Nursing Care Quality and available now online, reveals that soliciting children’s perspectives on the nursing care they received can be helpful in evaluating and identifying ways to improve that care.

The study is the first-ever to systematically elicit the views of hospitalized children and adolescents on the quality of their nursing care, and also the first to evaluate children’s perceptions of nurses’ behavior for evidence of any disparities across demographic groups.

The study included 496 children and youth, ages six to 21, who were treated in a free-standing children’s hospital. They were asked: 1) “What do you like most about your nurses and what they do for you, and how does that make you feel?” and 2) “What don’t you like about your nurses and what they do for you, and how does that make you feel?” Their responses were sorted into 18 categories of nurse behaviors, 12 that were regarded as positive (such as “gives me what I need when I need it,” “checks on me often,” “talks and listens to me” and “is nice and friendly to me”). These positive behaviors made the children feel cared about, safe, and happy. Six categories were regarded as negative (such as “wakes me up” or “doesn’t give me what I need when I need it”). Researchers found that, overall, children felt like their nurses cared about them, regardless of how many behaviors they did or did not like. For more information, visit


New book: Your Family Matters

Dr. Keith Kanner’s new book, Your Family Matters: Solutions to Common Parental Dilemmas, offers enlightening advice and tips on how to triumph over parental hurdles such as how to avoid babysitting nightmares, how to prepare siblings for a new baby, and simply understanding why moms sometimes get dumped by their children. Teaching children the right behavioral patterns (while remaining sane!) can be a daunting task if you’re not ready. Dr. Kanner hopes to pad the landing.

Drawing from his professional knowledge as a family therapist and also from personal experience, Kanner created an informative reference guide for parents. $21.95, 2011 Love Your Life Publishing or


Need a Cooqi?

Last fall Judy Malmon, owner of the popular Cooqi Gluten-Free Delights bakery in St. Paul, closed her bakery to focus on developing a collection of four gluten-free baking mixes, made of organic whole grains. She found that many of her bakery customers came from well beyond the Twin Cities, inspiring her to create a line of baking mixes that would allow people to bake their favorite Cooqi products at home.

The mixes are now available locally at select co-ops and also available online through the new website,

Minnesota Parent got its hands on a few of the gluten-free goodies and gives it an enthusiastic thumbs up. Two pound bags of gluten-free flour are about $10.