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PTAN Retro Memory #12 - Platform Shoes

Platform shoes are, perhaps, the defining fashion statement of the 1970's. While they were often uncomfortably high, clunky and in many cases downright ugly, men, women, children and rock stars continued to wear them because they were, after all, groovy.


Single Dads, Double Duty

It's all about quality over quantity. This is what Doug and Joe have figured out as two single dads who are navigating the world of parenting as effectively and efficiently as possible. In this episode of the Parenting Then and Now podcast, Sam speaks with Doug and Joe about their best advice, tips and strategies for solo parenting, which they also share with listeners on their podcast, Life Hacks For Single Dads.


PTAN #11 - Charlie Demers

Raising kids in a rapidly changing world has always been a challenge, but perhaps not as much as it is today. At least that's what comedian Charlie Demers is finding as he navigates fatherhood with his four-year-old daughter. One-half Anglophone, one-half Francophone with a Chinese-Canadian wife and a daughter who is the most Canadian of them all, Charlie's view on raising kids in a scary political time is both humorous and insightful. On this episode of the Parenting Then and Now...


PTAN Retro Memory #11 - Barbie

Ever wonder how Barbie came to be? She was the brainchild of an enterprising American mom who, in the late '50's, visited Germany and fell in love with a doll that was modeled after a real-life adult. Unlike the standard children's dolls that were sold in 1950's America, "Bild Lilli" looked like a woman in every way. After returning to the United States, Ruth Handler and her husband worked to make an American version of the doll, and named their new creation "Barbie" after their...


PTAN Retro Memory #10 - Home Economics and Shop Classes

Whatever happened to Home Economics and Shop classes? Once upon a time, they were the norm, not the exception, and kids came away from school knowing how to cook, sew, build and repair. Not so much these days, when it's easier to relegate chores to others, or to pay someone to make meals, clean and fix things around the house (or outside the house, like our car). There's something to be said for being self-reliant. Take a trip down memory lane with this edition of the PTAN Retro Memory...


Free-Range Parenting in an Age of Fear

She was crowned the unwanted title of "World's Worst Mom" when she decided to let her nine-year-old son ride the New York subway alone back in 2008. And while Lenore Skenazy was surprised by the reaction to what she felt was an important step towards independence for her son, she didn't let the backlash stop her. Seizing the opportunity to discuss her disdain for society's increasingly protective stance as parents, Lenore founded Free Range Kids, a site that showcases the extreme lengths...


PTAN Retro Memory #9 - Video Stores

Before Netflix was the go-to digital destination for movies, there was this quaint thing called “The Video Store.” The Friday and Saturday night ritual for many of us included a trip to this now-extinct locale, a place where rows and rows of physical videos – via the now defunct technology known as VHS tapes – promised a night of romantic comedy, blood-curdling horror or, for the less adventurous, good old family fun. It seems quaint now, going to a physical location to pick up movies on...


#8 - Video Killed the Radio Star

When Stewart Reynolds (aka "Brittlestar") was a kid, he used to amuse himself by making radio plays via his tape recorder and imagination. How times have changed. The Internet's Favourite Dad - who himself has been a viral video star in his own right - has seen the shift from when he was a kid, growing up in the '70's and entertaining himself with what now appear to be low-tech" tools, to seeing social media as the norm, not the exception, to how kids communicate. Entertainment via...


Retro Memory #8 - Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Ferris Bueller was every teen's hero back in 1986, and his smooth yet deceptive style got him both the car and the girl, and not necessarily in that order. His irreverent attitude, wily ways and his ability to keep one step ahead of his parents and teachers gave him teen "hero" status that continues to this day.


Around the World in Eight Months

When a life-changing loss occurred, Jennifer Powell took a long, hard look at her life. Realizing that tomorrow is never promised to us and all we have is today, she knew that the time was now to live out her and her family's dreams. Having always wanted to travel the world, Jen, her husband and kids made the collective decision to live our their dreams and to follow their hearts. With a bit of trepidation but even more anticipation and excitement, they sold their house, packed up their...


PTAN Retro Memory #7 - Mood Rings

How are you feeling today? In 1975, all it took to find out the answer to this question was a quick glance at a person's ring finger. Like its ‘70’s counterpart the Pet Rock, "Mood Rings" burst onto the jewelry scene, enticing those who wanted to know how they - and people they cared about - were feeling at any given moment. Containing a thermochromic element such as liquid crystal, Mood Rings changed colour based on the body temperature of the person wearing the ring. The initial price...


The Psychology of Parenting Today

Things sure have changed for kids in the past 30-40 years. Ditto for parents. Life seemed easier and less threatening back in the day. Children could be latchkey kids and that was fine. Parents let their sons and daughters play outside without much fear of danger. Toys were sometimes unsafe, but parents bought them for their kids anyway. Why? And why, in the past few decades, was there a sudden shift towards fear regarding all things child-related? What happened? In this episode of...


PTAN Retro Memory #6 - Saturday Morning Cartoons

There was a time when entertainment wasn't "on demand." With no 24/7 digital content, YouTube or Netflix, kids had to get their viewing kicks via an archaic yet much-loved activity: waking up early to watch cartoons on a Saturday morning. The fun and festivities often began before the sun rose, as intrepid and eager children hunkered down to get their fix of their favourite TV characters. With the advent of digital technology and the popularity of the Internet, there became no need to...


When the Going Gets Tough...

Married at age 19, directly out of high school, Karen Finocchio, aka "One Tough Muther," had four children by the age of 28. By the age of 30, she chose to leave the marriage and became a divorced single mother to three young sons ages 4, 7 and 9 years old and a 2-year-old daughter. In a blink of an eye, Karen went from living around the world as a military wife to living in two rooms in her parent’s home with four children and a dog.Karen Finocchio, aka "One Tough Muther" She could have...


PTAN Retro Memory #5 - The Spice Girls

In the latter part of the 1990's the Spice Girls, a London-based "girl group," tore up the charts around the world with their smash hit, "Wannabe." Proclaiming "girl power" for females young and old, the group went on to global success and by the end of the decade, had become the fastest selling British act since the Beatles. And although the band went on indefinite hiatus at the beginning of the '00's, the band continues to influence female pop groups and individual singers, such as...


PTAN Retro Memory #4 - Hula Hoops

A simple toy, so basic in its construction, became one of the most defining fads of the 1950's. Originally created by Arthur K. Melin and Richard Knerr, the hula hoop craze took full effect in the late 1958 when Wham-O, a toy company in California, created a plastic version for the general public to enjoy. Through smart marketing to women, men, kids and basically anyone who wanted to give them a spin, hula hoops became all the rage in 1958. By the end of the year, 25 million of them were...


It Takes a Village

In this episode of Parenting Then and Now, the creator and host of the popular The New Family Podcast, Brandie Weikle, joins Sam to discuss changes to family life, parenting, kids and expectations both then - and now. Brandie provides some sage advice derived from her many interviews with a variety of different families as part of her podcast, and discusses her thoughts on structured and unstructured play, childhood responsibility and more.


PTAN Retro Memory #3 - Pet Rocks

Who would have thought that by packaging some rocks in a cardboard box with holes, and providing an "instruction manual" for the care and maintenance of said rocks, that one California entrepreneur would become a millionaire in a few short months? Listen to this episode of the PTAN Retro Memory for details on the "Pet Rock" craze that hit the marketplace just in time for Christmas in 1975. For more information, pictures and video, visit and click on "Retro Memories."


Second Screen, Second Nature

In this episode of Parenting Then and Now, Technology Expert, Author and Media Personality Marc Saltzman joins Sam to provide his thoughts on how tech has changed throughout the years, particularly with family and kids. Marc talks about the changes in how we consume media and how kids and teens in particular have a natural advantage and understanding of how to use various media to enhance and augment their lives through social and digital media.


PTAN Retro Memory #2 - Clackers

On this week's PTAN Retro Memory, we're remembering "Clackers." Two glass balls that kids are supposed to smash together at high speeds. What on earth could go wrong?


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