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BEST WAY TO KEEP THE KIDS HAPPY DURING DINNER Phoenix 2004 - Wikki Stix

Some people have nightmares that they're back in school, naked, about to fail a test. We have nightmares that we're out to dinner with our kids. Let's face it: Fine dining isn't big among the toddler set. And so when we do venture out, we bring along a suitcase-size bag stuffed with art supplies and toys. Usually, that engages our youngster until the menus arrive. The crayons most restaurants offer are under the table by the time the chairs are pushed in. That's why we were delighted when the hostess at P.F. Chang's handed us a package of Wikki Stix on a recent visit. The "twistable, stickable, buildable, playable" sticks -- the brain child of Phoenicians -- look like brightly colored, oversize candle wicks. Turns out, you can twist them into all sorts of shapes, then untwist them and do it again. They're non-toxic, so it was okay when one disappeared.

Next time, we'll ask for two packages. We wanted to play with the Wikki Stix, but the toddler didn't want to share.

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