Suggested Events 02/02/08 – 02/08/08

IT’S THE HALF WAY POINT OF WINTER … LET’S CELEBRATE!

We’re starting off February with several fun and exciting events to shake those winter blues away!

On Friday (02/01) over at the Children’s Art Museum is a Sand Mandala “playshop” for families to discover Tibetan culture through art. The playshop is from 4pm-6:30pm in Shelburne Falls, MA. Give Tony(a) a call at 413.625.2030 to reserve your spot. This is the first of three in a series of cultural explorations through art. The next one is Discovering Russian Culture with Matryoshka Dolls on Feb. 10th. Be sure to sign up straight away. (Co-sponsored by Hilltown Families). (Update: Postponed until Sunday, 02/03 @ 10am due to inclement weather.)

Then on Saturday (02/02) it’s Uncle Rock at 10:30am at the Florence Civic Center (90 Park in Florence, next to the Lilly Library) with a kid/family concert. You can hear Uncle Rock live on Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child before the concert too. Tickets are only $6 per person and infants are free. Gather up your families and friends and come celebrate the mid-point of winter with a rockin’ kids concert! For more information call 413.296.0096. (Sponsored by Hilltown Families)

And on Sunday (02/03) join Marla BB for some dog sledding. Did you see last week’s article in the Hampshire Gazette about Marla’s adventures in Alaska, both at last year’s Iditarod and training for this year’s? She’ll be at DAR in Goshen from 10:30am-1:30pm Sunday (and from 1:30pm-4:30pm on Saturday) offering kids and their families an opportunity to mush with a full dog sled team. She’ll be MC-ing at the Uncle Rock concert on Saturday. Come by and find out more about her adventures. If you have a subscription to the Hampshire Gazette, click here to read last weeks article.

But that’s not all …

  • Peruse our list of Suggested Events below for a load more of fun and educational things to do with the family, include events for National Girls and Women in Sports Day.
  • Click here to see photos from the Deedle Deedle Dees concert last Saturday at Lyman Hall. Check out lead singer and stand up bass player Lloyd Miller rockin’ the house with his 2-year old daughter Hazel (what a trooper!).
  • Scroll down and check out our Groundhog’s Day links in the left-hand column under “the outside world.” This list of 100 web sites is added to nearly every day, offering new places on the web worth exploring.  We add educational web sites, curriculumn ideas, fun sites for kids, craft projects, articles, blogs, recipes … you name it.  So get off your blog reader and come check it out!

THIS WEEK’S LIST OF SUGGESTED EVENTS IS SPONSORED BY:

GRENDEL BOOKS (www.GrendelBooks.com)

  • Become a Sponsor
  • To find out how you or your business can help support Hilltown Families by becoming a sponsor, drop us an email or give us a call at 413.296.0096 for more information. By having individuals in our community and area businesses become sponsors, Hilltown Families can continue to offer a weekly list of suggested events, a weekly podcast, updated resources, articles and much more.

    • Submit an Event

    If you have a family-friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, or would like to submit your event to the Hilltown Families calendar of Suggested Events, email Sienna at swildfield@juno.com, or post your event on our community bulletin board. Comments are warmly welcomed!

    Local forecast | Get directions | Free Museum Passes | School Closings & Delays

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns
    The following key represents the sum cost of one adult and one child:
    (>$) Under $10; ($) Between $10-$19; ($$) Between $20-$44; ($$$) Over $45

    Saturday – 02/02

    Groundhogs Day

    8am – FAMILY RADIO – (Air Waves) While traveling around town, tune-in to WXOJ 103.3 FM in Northampton, MA, from 8-10am to hear fabulous family-friendly music on Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child with UNCLE ROCK live in studio! [All ages] (Free)

    Uncle Rock on Feb 2nd 2008 at Florence Civic Center

    8am & 9:15am – KIDS BASKETBALL – (Worthington) Throughout the winter months, the Worthington Recreation Department is offering co-ed basketball program for kids at the town hall. Grades 1-2 begin at 8am. Grades 3-4 begin at 9:15am. No registration is necessary. 413.238.5500 [Ages 6-9] (Free)

    10:30am – KIDS CONCERT – (Florence) Indie kids musician UNCLE ROCK will be performing a rockin’ kid’s show the whole family will enjoy at the Florence Civic Center (90 Park Street, next to the Lilly Library off Route 9). Click here to discover Uncle Rock. 413.296.0096 [Families] ($6 per person, Infants Free)

    10am-2pm – LOCAL FOOD – (Greenfield) The Winter Fare begins today at the Second Congregational Church. Click here to read more about this week long event that supports local food. 413.773.5188 [Families] (Free, $)

    10am-2pm – BOYS & READING – (Holyoke) The Dangerous Boys Club will be happening at the Holyoke Barnes & Noble Booksellers. Activities include essential hands-on-activities to keep boys engaged in reading: Worlds Best Paper Airplane, How to Make a Battery, How to Juggle, Navigation, and more. 413.532.3200 [Boys] (Free)

    1:30pm-4:30pm – DOG SLEDDING – (Goshen) Dog sled rides for families will be offered at the DAR with Marla BB from Hilltown Wilderness Adventures. For more information call 413.296.0187. [Families] ($)

    4pm-6:50pm – ICE SKATING – (Amherst) There will be a public skate at the Mullins Center Ice Rink. Skate rentals available. 413.545.3990 [Families] ($)

    5pm-7pm & 6pm-8pm – PUPPET SHOW – [Easthampton] Come see a magical shadow puppet presentation of Jane Yolen’s classic book Owl Moon and learn about the seven native owl species in Massachusetts. After the show, we’ll take a walk in the dark, brisk winter woods to call for owls. We can’t guarantee that we will see or hear owls, but we will certainly have fun trying. After the walk we will return indoors to warm up with a cup of hot chocolate and a snack. Dress warmly since we will be outdoors for about 45 minutes. [Ages 5-10] (>$)

    6:30pm-10:30pm – MARDI GRAS PARTY – (Westhampton) Come in costume and celebrate Mardi Gras at the Westhampton Town Hall. There will be finger food, desserts, maskmaking, party favors, and music by The Gypsy Wrangers. [Families] ($)

    7pm-9:30pm – MOONLIGHT SLEDDING – (Buckland) Red Gate Educational Farm will host a special sledding night at the farm. Warm your hands by the bonfire before you go sliding down the hill. Climb back up to enjoy some cocoa and company and then take another run! Bring your own sled or borrow one of ours! No registration is required, but your RSVP is appreciated. [Families] (Free)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    The Streets of Ashfield Cheer for Change – Sacajawea Dollar Coins to be Exact (Change)

    Notes from Nan: And the Crowd Leaps to its Feet!
    BY HF Contributing Writer, Nan Parati

    Thank you! Thank you! You have no idea how wonderful it is to be here tonight, standing on MAIN STREET! (pause for cheer.) You know, my campaign for president gained a mountain of momentum this morning, when a customer came in and paid me with TWO SACAJAWEA DOLLAR COINS! (pause for huge cheer.) If that’s not a mandate for change, I don’t know what is! (pause for wild cheering. Wait for it to calm to quiet.)

    You know, we carried Bronson Avenue, we carried Bug Hill, we’ve even carried Baptist Corner Road. (polite and patient pauses throughout while crowd applauds their street.) But to stand here tonight at the corner of Main Street and Buckland Road, knowing that you’ve heard my message for change and you support it, is just the push we need to WIN! (Hold up arms to symbolically embrace people leaping to their feet.)

    Thank you, thank you! Now, on to STEADY LANE!

    THE FARM REPORT

    I was just reading about the benefits of eating BEETS! They are particularly beneficial when we eat them raw.

    1. They contain folate and betaine which help lower the amount of homocystine in our blood stream. This is good because homocyseine is an inflammatory compound that can damage our arteries and increase our risk of heart disease.
    2. The natural pigments in beets – betacyanins –“ have proved to be potent cancer fighters in laboratory mice.”
      This information is from the following webiste: men.webmd.com/features/10-best-foods-you-arent-eating.

    The other 9 best foods are cabbage, guave, swiss chard, cinnamon, purslane, pomengranate juice, goji berries, dried plums, and pumpkin seeds. Read the rest of this entry »

    Postpartum Depression & Anxiety

    Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Coalition Hosts Open House and Training

    Did you know that …

    • 80% of mothers experience some symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety within the first year of motherhood
    • 10-25% of mothers (26-32% of teen mothers!) develop diagnosable postpartum depression or anxiety
    • The suicide risk for American women jumps seventy-fold in the first year after they give birth*
    • With approximately 8,000 births per year in Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden counties, it can be estimates that at any given time 6,000 mothers are experiencing significant postpartum stress, and 800-2000 mothers are experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety

    The Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Coalition of Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden Counties will host an Open House and Training on Wednesday, February 6 from 9:30-11:30am in the Upstairs Room at Community Action (56 Vernon Street) in Northampton, MA. Refreshments and networking begin at 9:15am. This event is FREE and open to the public. If you work with pregnant women and mothers, or are a member of the public who is interested in this topic, this open house and training is where you want to be on February 6th! Read the rest of this entry »

    Steve Weeks Guest DJ Episode (01/29/08)

    LISTEN NOW

    Molly & Willy Weeks. (c) Steve Weeks HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW

    Steve Weeks Guest DJ Episode
    with Steve, Willy & Molly Weeks

    WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
    Northampton, MA
    Tuesday evening @ 7pm

    01/29/08 PLAYLIST

    listen now | subscribe to free podcast | archived shows | contests

    • Peter Mayer – “Peppermint Wind” [Straw House Down]
    • Sweet Honey in the Rock – “Run Molly Run”[A Child's Celebration of Folk Music]
    • Dave Carter and Tracey Grammer – “Hey Conductor” [Tanglewood Tree]
    • Steve Weeks – “Zed & Zoey” [Alphabet Songs Vol. III (Rabbit Run)]
    • Steve, Willy & Molly Weeks – “Miss Bunny Feet and Robot Mike” [Live]
    • They Might Be Giants – “Four of Two” [No!]
    • Great Big Sea – “Lukey” [Rant and Roar]
    • Dan Reeder – “Three Chords” [Dan Reeder]

    Big thanks to Steve Weeks and his great kids, Molly & Willy, for being our guest DJs for this week’s episode of the Hilltown Family Variety Show, which includes a live performance of “Miss Bunny Feet and Robot Mike” by the Weeks family. Great job guys & gals!

    We’re big fans of Steve Weeks! He’s a quality songwriter, fine musician and a great guy all around. Using every letter in the alphabet as his inspiration, he was able to craft three CD’s that are full of engaging stories, fine pickin’ and funny antics. His newest album Alphabet Songs Volume III (Rabbit Run) was one of our top choices for the Fids & Kamily Awards, which includes the songs “Up” and “Someday” (his song “Up!” won first place in Childrens category of the 2007 USA Songwriting Competition, and “Someday” has reached the number one spot on the XM Kids Top 13 Under 13!). Steve also composed and performed the HFVS jingle you hear at the opening of every show. Find out more about Steve at this web site: www.steveweeksmusic.com.

    Uncle Rock on Feb 2nd 2008 at Florence Civic Center

    UPCOMING PERFORMANCE THIS SATURDAY

    FEBRUARY 2nd @ 10:30amUncle Rock will be at the Florence Civic Center (next to the Lilly Library off of Route 9) in Florence, MA. Presented by Hilltown Families. Uncle Rock just released his third album, Uncle Rock U. Visit Uncle Rock on-line at www.unclerock.com. Click here to print out a poster and help us spread the word!

    CONGRATULATIONS TO

    THIS WEEK’S CONTEST

    This week we’re offering the chance to win Steve’s newest album Alphabet Songs Volume III (Rabbit Run) along with the one-of-a-kind (sure to become a collector’s item) t-shirt he submitted to the HFVS T-shirt Review:

    Steve Weeks sent in the only one-of-a-kind design. Giving license (and markers) to his kids, they illustrated a fictitious shirt for the “Steve Weeks 2007 Tour of the Imagination.” And his kids got it right. They added all the elements our reviwers were attracted to on other shirts: brightly colored animals, a peace sign, a guitar, cars, aliens and other icons. And someone came up with a very funny tour schedule. According to the roster you can catch the tour at the Emerald City in Oz, Brontoburger Drive-in in Bedrock, or The Restaurant at the End of the Universe in Frogstar, among many other imaginative places. “Love the creative spirit!” commented David (dad) of Williamsburg, MA. “I love it because I love Steve Weeks,” beamed Persephone (age 5).

    • CD: Alphabet Songs Volume III (Rabbit Run) by Steve Weeks
    • T-Shirt: Adult Size S (it’s more like a medium)

    HOW TO WIN: For your chance to win, simply post us a comment below. We’ll randomly draw a winner from everyone who leaves a comment. IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is 02/05/08 @ 7pm (EST).

    Mid-Winter Kids Concert this Saturday with UNCLE ROCK!

    UNCLE ROCK TO PERFORM
    A MID-WINTER FAMILY CONCERT
    ON FEBRUARY 2ND @ 10:30AM
    AT THE FLORENCE CIVIC CENTER

    (c) Hilltown Families - Uncle RockReturning to the Pioneer Valley for a February Family Concert, Hilltown Families (that’s us!) is pleased to present NY based indie kids musician Uncle Rock, performing new music from his most recent release Uncle Rock U. A good time for all ages, this family concert will be held at the Florence Civic Center (at 90 Park Street, next to the Lilly Library who have posted good directions on their web site) on Saturday, February 2nd at 10:30 a.m. Tickets are $6 per person, infants free. All proceeds go to the artist.

    • Family Concert (all ages)
    • Saturday, February 2nd, 2008
    • 10:30 a.m.
    • Florence Civic Center in Florence, MA (next to the Lilly Library off Route 9)
    • $6.00 per person. Infants free.
    • General admission.
    • Email with any questions

    NEW MUSIC: UNCLE ROCK U

    Uncle Rock U, a collection of 17 songs, explores the joy, excitement and imagination of childhood. The album also reflects Uncle Rock’s indie-rock background (former bassist with The Fleshtones), his theatrical gifts (the lead in the London production of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story) and his knack for connecting with children (being a dad himself, as well as a preschool teacher).

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Suggested Events 01/26/08 – 02/01/08

    DISCOVERING WORLD CULTURES AT CAM

    Families wanting to broaden their children’s global awareness through fun activities like traditional folks arts, folktales and ceremonies, should check out the following series of three Art & World Culture Playshops happening at the Children’s Art Museum (CAM) in Shelburne Falls, MA (next to the Trolley Museum):

      TIBET: SAND MANDALAS & PRAYER FLAGS

      This series will begin this Friday (February 1st) with Sand Mandalas & Prayer Flags of Tibet from 4pm-6:30pm. Sand Mandalas are an ancient Tibetan art form that were used to teach compassion, environmental relations and impermanency. With Tibet being one of the last ancient civilizations, teaching kids the history behind this ancient art form can supplement their global awareness of world civilizations and cultures. Making a sand mandala and prayer flags joins the art and history together into a creative and tactile experience. Click here to see a video of Tibetan Monks making a traditional sand mandala. All ages are welcomed. Pre-registration is required ($). Click here to reserve your spot, or call 413.625.2030. Co-sponsored by Hilltown Families.  (Postponed to Sunday 02/03 @ 10am)

      RUSSIA: MATRYOSHKA MADNESS

      On Sunday, February 10th at 10am, Russian traditional folk art will be discovered with Matryoshka Madness. Not only can this traditional Russian icon be used to educate your kids about fertility and motherhood, it can also be used to teach them about world culture and customs too. In this playshop, families can discover Russian culture through the traditional Russian Folk Art by painting their own heirloom Matryoshka Dolls. (Please pre-register now for this class to reserve your Matryoshka Doll). All ages are welcomed. Pre-registration is required ($). Click here to reserve your spot, or call 413.625.2030. Co-sponsored by Hilltown Families.

      JAPAN: CELEBRATING GIRLS DAY

      Then, on Friday, February 29th at 4pm, just prior to Japan’s National Girls Day, CAM and Hilltown Families will be sponsoring a Mother/Daughter Tea, serving Peach Blossom tea and symbolic snacks. National Girls Day is also know as the Japanese Doll Festival, or Hinamatsuri. Our craft will be Kokeshi Dolls. All ages are welcomed. Pre-registration is required ($). Click here reserve your spot, or call 413.625.2030. Co-sponsored by Hilltown Families.

      SATURDAY MORNING KIDS CONCERTS YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS!

      • This Saturday (01/26) check out the Deedle Deedle Dees at Lyman Hall in Northampton at 10am.
      • Next Saturday (02/02) join us for a kids rockin’ concert with Uncle Rock at the Florence Civic Center at 10:30am.

      THIS WEEK’S LIST OF SUGGESTED EVENTS IS SPONSORED BY:

      GRENDEL BOOKS (www.GrendelBooks.com)

    • Become a Sponsor
    • To find out how you or your business can help support Hilltown Families by becoming a sponsor, drop us an email or give us a call at 413.296.0096 for more information. By having individuals in our community and area businesses become sponsors, Hilltown Families can continue to offer a weekly list of suggested events, a weekly podcast, updated resources, articles and much more.

      • Submit an Event

      If you have a family-friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, or would like to submit your event to the Hilltown Families calendar of Suggested Events, email Sienna at swildfield@juno.com, or post your event on our community bulletin board. Comments are warmly welcomed!

      Local forecast | Get directions | Free Museum Passes | School Closings & Delays

      Events Happening in the Hilltowns
      The following key represents the sum cost of one adult and one child:
      (>$) Under $10; ($) Between $10-$19; ($$) Between $20-$44; ($$$) Over $45

      Saturday – 01/26

      8am – FAMILY RADIO – (Air Waves) While traveling around town, tune-in to WXOJ 103.3 FM in Northampton, MA, from 8-10am to hear fabulous family-friendly music on Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child with the Deedle Deedle Dees! [All ages] (Free)

      8am & 9:15am – KIDS BASKETBALL – (Worthington) Throughout the winter months, the Worthington Recreation Department is offering co-ed basketball program for kids at the town hall. Grades 1-2 begin at 8am. Grades 3-4 begin at 9:15am. No registration is necessary. 413.238.5500 [Ages 6-9] (Free)

      9am – TRAINS! – (West Springfield) The Amherst Railway Society will be holding a weekend Railroad Hobby Show at the Eastern States Exposition on Saturday & Sunday. Bring your young train enthusiasts to see over 35 operating layouts, visit with historical societies, clinics and more. www.AmherstRail.org [Families] ($)

      10am – FAMILY BOOK CLUB – (Williamsburg) Family Book Club will be at the Meekins Library.Click here for more info. [Ages 9-12] (Free)

      10am – KIDS CONCERT – (Northampton) The Deedle Deedle Dees will be performing at Lyman Hall at the First Churches in Northampton, MA. There will be pancakes, carnival games, live music and dancing! Click here for more information. [Families] ($)

      11am & 1pm – THEATER – (Amherst) In the auditorium at the Eric Carle Musem, Castle Hill Theatre Presents an original adaptation of the Norse myth, Tatterhood. 413.658.1126 [Families] ($, ticket price does not include museum admission. Borrow a museum pass from your local library)

      1pm-3pm – NATURE EXPLORATIONS – (Williamsburg) Mass Audubon will be hosting Nature in Winter at the Meekins Library (indoors/outdoors). 413.268.7472 [Ages 4-8] (Free)

      1:30pm – 3:20pm – ICE SKATING – (Greenfield) The Collins/Moylan Memorial Skating Rink will have a public skate. Skate rentals available. 413.772.6891 [Families] ($)

      2:30pm-4pm – FAMILY ART WORKSHOP – (Haydenville) Art Star invites families to come make art together with art projects that celebrate the family. Materials included. 413.896.3709 [Families] ($)

      4pm-6:50pm – ICE SKATING – (Amherst) There will be a public skate at the Mullins Center Ice Rink. Skate rentals available. 413.545.3990 [Families] ($)

      Read the rest of this entry »

      Patty Pajama Irons … the Next Big Thing!

      Notes from Nan: A Change for the Different
      BY HF Contributing Writer, Nan Parati

      Despite the fact that Rob is back on his feet, he says he’s been “too busy” to write “Grocery Talk with Rob” this week. What a CHANGE from what we saw two weeks ago!

      But to give him equal time, Rob’s brother Chip has graciously stepped in to fill Rob’s shoes. So for this week and this week only we have:

      Rob’s Grocery Talk with Rob’s Brother Chip

      This week’s Talk is brought to you by Patty’s Pajama Irons:

      Yes, folks, Nothing gets those unsightly wrinkles out of your pajamas quite like Patty’s. If you’re embarrassed to answer the door, entertain guests, change your oil or even host a charity Jousting contest simply because of those nasty, unkempt jammies, let Patty straighten you out! Patty’s Pajama Irons use toxic waste and lead components for that “Life Long” confidence! And…It’s available it three odors. Get Yours Today at Elmers!

      Well, I’m just sick. Sick, I tell you. Not just because I can’t figure you people out good enough to order what I think you’ll want and what I know you’ll need, but I really AM SICK! I’ve been in bed for two days with the flu (Bird flu, typhoid flu, Mongolian flu, One over the cookoo’s nest flu- hey, pick a flu). But Nan- Darling little Nan , has been gracious enough to sort of attempt to fill my rather gigantic shoes. Please give her a little patience, as she’s new to this sort of thing.

      We at Elmer’s are starting something new this week and we hope you’ll be as excited about it as we are. We just purchased about 400 tons of cloned horse meat that was going to be shipped to Eastern West Virginia, but through our broker/bookie/barber, Chuck Salsbury, we were able to divert the flat-bed truck in the other direction. We hope you’ll like it. Chuck says it tastes like chicken. Cloned Chicken.

      Well, I’m still waiting to hear from some of you who look longingly at our shelves, searching for that item of food that reminds you of your childhood. Just let me know if it’s Ovaltine or Dog food. No Whipples earned this week. I just don’t deserve any.

      Rob

      Thank you, Chip and I think all you readers will join me in asking Chip, What the heck is a Pajama Iron? (Chip lives in Minnesota, so it may be one of those mid-western things that we just don’t have here. Or in New Orleans. Or in North Carolina. What the heck IS a pajama iron??)

      Read the rest of this entry »

      New Midwifery Medical Director at Cooley Dick

      Tucker Kueny, MD Accepts Offer of Midwifery Medical Director Post

      Cooley’s midwifery practice to progress at quicker pace; certified nurse midwife recruitment continues with a practice opening planned for June 2008.

      Following a nationwide search to locate the medical director of Cooley Dickinson’s new midwifery program, the physician who accepted the post resides in Northampton, MA and was recommended by area women at one of the hospital’s community focus groups.  Read the rest of this entry »

      HFVS Martin Luther King, Jr. Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

      Listen to Podcast:

       HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW
      Martin Luther King, Jr. Episode

      WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
      Northampton, MA
      Tuesday evening @ 7pm

      01/22/08 PLAYLIST

       Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter


      The Indigos K-1 Class from the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School came down to the radio station for a field trip. They got to see one of VFR’s reggae programs airing live and took a tour of the production room. Each student took a turn on the mic and shown how sound is recorded and then aired. Together with Jason Threlfall on guitar, the entire class gathered in the production room and sang “The River is Flowing,” aired in this episode. Here’s a slide show from their visit. Thanks to Jason for taking pictures!

      PLAYLIST

      FIELD TRIP TO VALLEY FREE RADIO


      | View Show | Create Your Own

      MUSIC FOR DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY

      Putting together this MLK episode was a great pleasure. It was very interesting to hear my co-host/daughter tell us what she’s learned about MLK in her kindergarten class and to share what her current understanding is of that time in American history. And it was interesting to hear her personalize the history by noting her father’s darker Mediterranean skin color. I could see fire in her eyes at the thought of someone discriminating against her daddy.

      We featured several classic Civil Rights movement songs on this week’s show, including

      • This Little Light of Mine,” an anthem for the Civil Rights Movement and a song all children should learn as a source of inspiration as they face adversaries and hard times in this life.
      • We Shall Not Be Moved,” an African-American spiritual that was sung during the slave liberation movement and the Civil Rights Movement. A great song to teach your children as they learn to stand up for truth and justice.
      • If I Had a Hammer,” a song that’s been sung during the Labor Movement and the Civil Rights Movement
      • We Shall Overcome,” a song that originated back before the Civil War, that Pete Seeger and Joan Baez have been credited for popularizing.

      Another great song that has become synonymous with the Civil Rights Movement is an African-American spiritual, “Oh Freedom,” which was sung by Joan Baez on the morning of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s great speech, “I Have a Dream.” Here’s a video of Joan Baez singing “Oh Freedom.”

      “The fact that so many folksingers joined Dr. King in his effort to spread the word about civil rights was hugely relevant, not only because it brought a little added media attention to the effort, but also because it showed that there was a faction of the white community that was willing to stand up for the rights of African-Americans. The presence of folks like Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Peter Paul & Mary, Odetta, Harry Belafonte, and Pete Seeger alongside Dr. King and his allies served as an omen to people of all colors, shapes, and sizes that we are all in this together.”[source]

      Check out PBS American Experience post Music in the Civil Rights Movements for more info on music from the time.

      What if Spring Break was Cancelled?

      It Could Happen to Gateway Regional Middle-High School Students!

      [Huntington, MA] – Spring Break for Gateway Regional Middle-High School students and staff is scheduled for April 21 – 25, 2008. But not if the district incurs too many more snow days.

      The 2007-08 school year calendar has school ending on June 26th if five snow days are used. Because of the way the dates fall in June, this leaves only two additional school days available (Friday June 27th and Monday June 30th) to make up for any additional snow days or days lost due to other events. Blandford Elementary School already has to make up an additional day because the school was closed due to a broken water main last fall.

      Read the rest of this entry »

      Celebrating the Seasons with Your Family

      SHARING THE SEASONS WITH YOUR KIDS:
      Nature Tables & Seasonal Literature
      By Tony(a) Lemos, HF Contributing Writer

      Photo credit: Tony(a) Lemos

      NATURE TABLES

      Creating simple rituals and seasonal celebrations have always felt important to me. The seasons are an important part of our lives here on earth, and living here in New England we get to experience the beauty of all four seasons. In our home, creating a seasonal Nature Table display is a part of that experience, keeping us aware of the changing cycle of the year.

      Our Nature Table dioramas are always evolving throughout a season. For instance, in the early Spring we may include something that reminds of the maple syrup season, and in later Spring may include seedlings bursting forth.

      While many of us value nature, it can be difficult to find the time enjoy a deep connection with it. By keeping a Nature Table we have created a constant connection in our home, forming a communion from the inside to the outside. For us it is especially important in the Winter. New England winters can feel endless at times. Experiencing the small changes of the season we bring to our Nature Table brings us hope that Spring will indeed come.

      Photo credit: Tony(a) Lemos

      Read the rest of this entry »

      The Deedle Deedle Dees!

      The Deedle Deedle Dees in Northampton
      By Bill Childs, HF Contributing Writer

      Deedle Deedle Dees Concert on Jan. 26th 2008

      One week from today, on Saturday, January 26, at 10 AM, Flywheel Arts Collective’s Pancake Mountain returns for the new year with a family rock show at First Churches’ Lyman Hall. We’re co-presenting (“we” being Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child): The Deedle Deedle Dees!

      The Deedle Deedle Dees, hailing from Brooklyn, are coming back for their third visit to the Valley. They packed Flywheel back in 2008, did a benefit for Flywheel last summer at Artifacts 20th Century, and now they’re back, again partially benefiting Flywheel, with a show at Lyman Hall at First Churches in Northampton, MA. They’ve toured all over the country, including a packed after-show during the Austin City Limits Music Festival and shows at Symphony Space in Manhattan.

      You can check out the band’s website at www.thedeedledeedledees.com, and hear clips at www.cdbaby.com/cd/deedle2 or that MySpace thing all the kids are doing: www.myspace.com/thedeedledeedledees.

      I think their newest record, Freedom in a Box, was the best family CD of 2007; I wrote briefly about it for Minnesota Parent. They have a slightly askew view on most subjects, and often sing about quirky bits of history.

      Their live shows basically just rock — it is what you’d expect, as the band says, from “four guys who were raised on Schoolhouse Rock, the Pixies, Dr. John, the Band, the Muppets, and Tom Waits.” The band is appropriate for all ages, and the space is such that if it gets a little loud, you can get away from the volume pretty well.

      But wait, there’s more! Carnival games, pancakes, and lots of friendly folks…  Read the rest of this entry »

      Modern Inventions in Medieval Life

      From the Palace: Day in the Life of a Medieval Princess
      By Princess Katie (of Princess Katie & Racer Steve), HF Guest Writer

      Well met, Lords and Ladies!

      Whenever I return to medieval society after my performances in New York City, I am completely bombarded by queries from the townsfolk, “What do they dress like?” “What are they eating?” “Has J Lo given birth?” Okay, so maybe not the last one, but they are very curious about life outside of medieval life.

      So desperate are they to modernize and be like you, that in their haste, they often fall short. Take for instance Henry Brickenden, the newly appointed 16 year-old Town Crier. The main reason we hire youth is because quite frankly, who else but a 16-year old boy has the energy to scream their lungs out all over town reciting such banal “news” as “Lady Baker’s gate is broken, so enter ‘round the back”?

      Read the rest of this entry »

      Suggested Events 01/19/08 – 01/25/08

      MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
      “I Have A Dream” Speech

      Families interested in discovering more about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement with their children might enjoy the following resources:

        THIS WEEK’S LIST OF SUGGESTED EVENTS IS SPONSORED BY:

        GRENDEL BOOKS (www.GrendelBooks.com)

      • Become a Sponsor
      • To find out how you or your business can help support Hilltown Families by becoming a sponsor, drop us an email or give us a call at 413.296.0096 for more information. By having individuals in our community and area businesses become sponsors, Hilltown Families can continue to offer a weekly list of suggested events, a weekly podcast, updated resources, articles and much more.

        • Submit an Event

        If you have a family-friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, or would like to submit your event to the Hilltown Families calendar of Suggested Events, email Sienna at swildfield@juno.com. Comments are warmly welcomed!

        Local forecast | Get directions | Free Museum Passes | School Closings & Delays

        Events Happening in the Hilltowns

        Saturday – 01/19

        8am – FAMILY RADIO – (Air Waves) While traveling around town, tune-in to WXOJ 103.3 FM in Northampton, MA, from 8-10am to hear fabulous family-friendly music on Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child. [All ages] (Free)

        8am & 9:15am – KIDS BASKETBALL – (Worthington) Through out the winter months, the Worthington Recreation Department is offering co-ed basketball program for kids at the town hall. Grades 1-2 begin at 8am. Grades 3-4 begin at 9:15am. No registration is necessary. 413.238.5500 [Ages 6-9] (Free)

        9:30am-11:30am – MOCHA MOMS – (Northampton) Mocha Moms is support group for at home mothers of color who have chosen to modify or eliminate employment outside the home in order to devote more time to their families. The primary mission of Mocha Moms is to support and encourage women who are making parenting a priority in this season of their lives. Come gather at the Forbes Library in the Community Room. [Mothers] (Free)

        2pm – MEET THE ARTIST – (Amherst) At the Eric Carle Museum meet Par Cummings, one of the many artists featured in the exhibition Children Should be Seen: The Image of the Child in American Picture-Book Art. Come hear him share stories. 413.658.1100 [Families] (Free w/admission. Borrow a museum pass from the library)

        5pm-7pm – ASTRONOMY FOR GIRLS – (Easthampton) Space Exploration for Brownies at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. Observe the night sky. Dress warmly. Indoors learn how the earth roates and make your own constellation. Call to register. 413.584.3009 [Girls Ages 6-8] (>$)

        4pm – SPORTS – (Amherst) Men’s basketball at the Mullins Center. UMass vs. Charlotte. [Families] ($)

        6pm-7:50pm – ICE SKATING – (Amherst) There will be a public skate at the Mullins Center Ice Rink. Skate rentals available. 413.545.3990 [Families] ($)

        Read the rest of this entry »

        Discover Russian Culture Through Matryoshka Dolls

        MATRYOSHKA DOLLS: A TRADITIONAL RUSSIAN FOLK ART
        by Sienna Wildfield

        (cc) Jeff Belmonte

        “Mommy, where did I come from?”

        By the time my daughter asked me this question, she was four and I had been preparing for a couple of years by collecting Russian nesting dolls. I had been picking them up at tag sales and white elephant sales and they’ve become one of my favorite tools for addressing this simple yet complex question. I start with the big doll, her Great Great Grandmother, open her up and pull out her Great Grandmother, open her up and pull out her Grandmother, open her up and pull out her mother, open her up and pull out, well, her. It has proven to be an effective illustration.

        “The name [Matryoshka] wasn’t chosen by accident… Matryona (lovingly Matryosha, Matryoshenka) was a very popular and common Russian name for a woman. Also, the word was derived from the Latin “mater” (mother) which was perfectly suited for the toy. “* The first time I demonstrated the concept of maternal lineage to my daughter she stared at the dolls, the little gears turning inside her head… “How did I get in there?” I then did it backwards, replacing the dolls, working back in lineage: this is you, you came from me, I came from Gram, and so on. It was the backwards method that got her engine going and put the concept of lineage into form, and gave me some more time to figure out how to answer THAT question.

        UPCOMING WORKSHOP

        (cc) yasmapazMATRYOSHKA MADNESS: Discovering World Cultures in the Hilltowns

        Not only can this traditional Russian icon be used to educate your kids about fertility and motherhood, it can also be used to teach them about world culture and customs too. As with our Sand Mandala Workshop that offers explorations of Tibetan culture, Hilltown Families and CAM will be offering a workshop for families to discover Russian culture through the traditional Russian Folk Art of painted Matryoshka Dolls: Matryoshka Madness.

        On Sunday, February 10th from 10am-12:30pm, families are welcome to come spend the morning making a family heirloom by painting your own Matryoshka Doll. Stories about the Matryoshka Doll will be read and kids can discover Russian tradition and customs while learning about this traditional Russian Folk Art at the Children’s Art Museum in Shelburne Falls, MA. All ages are welcome. Pre-registration is required by JANUARY 20TH, 2008 ($). Click here to reserve your spot, or call 413.625.2030.

        MATRYOSHKA’S BIRTHDAY

        Russia Today did a short piece during Moscow’s International Craft Fair on the Matryoshka Doll that takes a look at the dolls history and origin:

        Read the rest of this entry »

        Snowman in My Freezer Episode on HFVS (01/15/08)

        LISTEN NOW

        HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW
        Snowman in My Freezer Episode

        with Sienna & Persephone

        WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
        Northampton, MA
        Tuesday evening @ 7pm

        01/15/08 PLAYLIST

        listen now | subscribe to podcast | archived shows | contests

        PLAYLIST

        FEATURED VIDEO

        If you like the kitschiness of Rosemary Clooney’s song, “Suzy Snowflake,” you have to see this video put to Soul Coughing‘s version of this classic winter song.

        UPCOMING PERFORMANCES

        Deedle Deedle Dees Concert on Jan. 26th 2008

        This winter there are THREE excellent kids concerts happening that you won’t want to miss: The Deedle Deedle Dees, Uncle Rock, and Princess Katie & Racer Steve! All three bands are returning to the area from New York. If you missed them the first time, or want to come see them again, here’s your chance to see them in our area.

        JANUARY 26th @ 10amThe Deedle Deedle Dees will be performing at Lyman Hall at the First Churches in Northampton, MA. There will be pancakes, carnival games, live music and dancing! Co-presented by Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child and Flywheel Arts Collective. Check out The Deedle Deedle Dees at www.thedeedledeedledees.com.

        Uncle Rock on Feb 2nd 2008 at Florence Civic Center

        FEBRUARY 2nd @ 10:30amUncle Rock will be at the Florence Civic Center (next to the Lilly Library off of Route 9) in Florence, MA. Presented by Hilltown Families. Uncle Rock just release his third album, Uncle Rock U. Visit Uncle Rock on-line at www.unclerock.com. Click here to print out a poster and help us spread the word!

        Princess Katie & Racer Steve on March 8thMARCH 8th @ 1:30pm - Princess Katie & Racer Steve will be whoopin’ it up at Lyman Hall at the First Churches in Northampton, MA. Come in costume if you’d like! PK&RS just released a new album too, Fast & Feisty. Performance is co-presented by Hilltown Families & Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child. PK&RS have a cool website at www.princessracer.com.

        THIS WEEK’S CONTEST

        This week we’re offering music by Baby Rock Records and apparel from Beethoven’s Wig:

        • A sampler CD by Baby Rock Records, Rockabye Baby!, featuring lullaby renditions of favorite rock bands.
        • Youth size small t-shirt submitted by Beethoven’s Wig to the HFVS T-shirt Review.

        Beethoven’s Wig
        There seemed to be an equally positive response from kids and parents on this design. They all liked the otherworldly, flowing wig on Beethoven’s head. “I like that his wig is tubes,” commented Ruben (age 10). And Ruben’s parents, found the design fun, fanciful and imaginative. “Best graphic,” wrote Gus (Ruben’s dad).

        HOW TO WIN: For your chance to win, simply post us a comment below. We’ll randomly draw a winner from everyone who leaves a comment. IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is 01/22/08 @ 7pm (EST).

        CONGRATULATIONS TO

        Read the rest of this entry »

        Cool Stuff Happening Over at Elmer’s While Rob Lies Around in Bed All Day and People Have to Bring Him Soup!

        Notes from Nan: The Campaign Heats Up!
        BY HF Contributing Writer, Nan Parati

        (Commercial):

        (Male voice in ominous overtones):

        Last week Rob Taft made allegations that Nan Parati was loose with her change.

        Rob Taft said that he was “used to dealing with change.”

        Well Rob Taft has seen a change all right: Rob Taft went from being a healthy, up-right walking man to a weakling, stricken with the flu. Rob Taft lies around in bed all day and people have to bring him soup. What kind of leader lies in bed all day? A weak leader, that’s what kind.

        (Female Cheerful voice):

        Nan Parati has had to work all of Rob’s shifts for him for the last two days and no one sees that trend changing! She’ll probably have to work all his shifts for him all the way through February 5th, which incidentally, is voting day!

        Vote for Nan Parati for President of the United States! Because, as Rob Taft found out, some change isn’t good!

        I’m Nan Parati and I approve this message.

        VALENTINE’S DAY

        Hey guess what! For Valentine’s Day we’re going to have a special Thursday night dinner on February 14th! (We’ll also have our regularly scheduled dinner on Friday, February 15th, but without the added love.)  Our Valentine’s Day Dinner will be Reservation Only.  Call us at (413) 628-4003 to make your reservations.

        FRIDAY NIGHT’S MENU (01/18/08):

        Read the rest of this entry »

        World Civilizations: Explore Tibetan Culture in the Hilltowns

        Come Explore Tibetan Culture Near the Tibetan New Year
        through Sand Mandalas, Prayer Flags and Folk Tales

        ccl by ktpuppThe Tibetan New Year is known as Losar and is one of Tibet’s most celebrated holidays. This year Losar begins on February 7th and lasts for fifteen days.

        HILLTOWN KIDS CAN DISCOVER TIBETAN CULTURE

        On Friday, February 1st, 2008, (Postponed to Sunday 02/03 @ 10am) Hilltown Families will be co-sponsoring with the Children’s Art Museum an opportunity for kids to discover more about Tibetan culture by making sand mandalas and prayer flags. Tibetan folktales will also be shared. This class will be held at the Children’s Art Museum (same building as the Trolley Museum) in Shelburne Falls, MA, from 4pm-6:30pm. All ages are welcomed. Pre-registration is required ($). Click here to reserve your spot, or call 413.625.2030.

        TIBETAN NEW YEAR: A BRIEF HISTORY

        “The [New Year] festival is said to have begun when an old woman named Belma introduced the measurement of time based on the phases of the moon. This festival took place during the flowering of the apricot trees of the Lhokha Yarla Shampo region in autumn, and it may have been the first celebration of what has become the traditional farmers’ festival. It was during this period that the arts of cultivation, irrigation, refining iron from ore and building bridges were first introduced in Tibet. The ceremonies which were instituted to celebrate these new capabilities can be recognized as precursors of the Losar festival. Later when the rudiments of astrology, based on the five elements, were introduced in Tibet, this farmer’s festival became what we now call the Losar or New Year’s festival.*

        TIBETAN SAND MANDALAS

        Sand Mandalas are an ancient Tibetan art form that were used to teach compassion, environmental relations and impermanency. With Tibet being one of the last ancient civilizations, teaching kids the history behind this ancient art form can supplement their global awareness of world civilizations and cultures. Making a sand mandala joins the art and history together into a creative and tactile experience.

        The video above shows a close-up look at the application of sand to a Chenrezig the Buddha of Compassion Mandala by Tibetan monks, accompanied with Tibetan chanting. The chanting in this video captured my daughter’s (age 5) attention immediately, which led to an interesting conversation about sand mandalas and the impermanence of things. Her first inclination was to figure out how to make it permanent. Tape ended up being her suggested solution.

        Book Suggestions:

         

        TIBETAN PRAYER FLAGS

        ccl phitarOn the Tibetan New Year, it is tradition to take down old prayer flags and to replace them with new ones. Making prayer flags with your kids is an opportunity to teach them about other cultures and comparative religions. Because Tibetan prayer flags utilize color and animal symbolism along with positive intentions, parents can take the time to discuss with their kids the meaning of these symbols before making their flags.

        Suite 101 has a post on how to make Tibetan Prayer Flags For Kids, and Legally Kidnapped has a post on Tibetan Prayer Flags: Uses and Meanings.

        TIBETAN FOLK TALES & STORIES

         

        Read the rest of this entry »

        Suggested Events 01/12/08 – 01/18/08

        TIME TO LOOT THE TREE!
        by Sienna Wildfield

        ccl (c) furryscalySt. Knut’s Day is fast approaching (Sunday), which means it’s time to let the kids loot the Christmas Tree! Traditionally in Sweden, Christmas Trees might have been decorated with edible decorations, including gingerbread ornaments, candy canes, crackers and sweets. On St. Knut’s Day (the 13th day of January), kids were allowed to loot the tree and munch on all the edible (albiet stale) ornaments. In our case, the only sweet we have left hanging on our tree is one lonely candy cane.

        CCL (C) salladI’m fond of this holiday not because I’m of Swedish descent (because I’m not), but because it gives me a cultural nudge to take down my tree, otherwise “O Tannenbaum” would be left standing through Valentine’s Day! So on Sunday our daughter gets to gorge on ONE WHOLE candy cane!

        But then what do we do with our Christmas Tree once we’ve taken down the ornaments? I like Kara’s idea… her family takes their tree outside in the yard and props it up in the snow. Then she and her twin boys decorate the tree with stale bread, popcorn, birdseed pine cones and cranberries, thus creating a holiday tree for the birds and other wildlife. Clever!

        ON THE BULLETIN BOARD

        THIS WEEK’S LIST OF SUGGESTED EVENTS IS SPONSORED BY:

        GRENDEL BOOKS (www.GrendelBooks.com)

      • Become a Sponsor
      • To find out how you or your business can help support Hilltown Families by becoming a sponsor, drop us an email or give us a call at 413.296.0096 for more information. By having individuals in our community and area businesses become sponsors, Hilltown Families can continue to offer a weekly list of suggested events, a weekly podcast, updated resources, articles and much more.

        • Submit an Event

        If you have a family-friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, or would like to submit your event to the Hilltown Families calendar of Suggested Events, email Sienna at swildfield@juno.com. Comments are warmly welcomed!

        Local forecast | Get directions | Free Museum Passes | School Closings & Delays

        Events Happening in the Hilltowns

        Saturday – 01/12/08

        8am – FAMILY RADIO – (Air Waves) While traveling around town, tune-in to WXOJ 103.3 FM in Northampton, MA, from 8-10am to hear fabulous family-friendly music on Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child. [All ages] (Free)

        9am-1pm – PARENT WORKSHOP – (Hadley) The Hartsbrook School is offering Developmental Stages of Childhood: A Road Map for the Journey, a workshop with Nancy Foster. In this workshop, participants will be offered a reliable guide by looking at the stages of child development and the interesting challenges that accompany the child’s (and parent’s) journey through these stages. 413.584.3598 [Parents] ($$)

        10am-1pm – NATURE PROGRAM – (Ashfield) The Path of the Otter, the series of three Saturday earth awareness and nature exploration classes begins. Click HERE for program details. [Ages 5-7] ($$$)

        10am – Noon – CLAY ADVENTURES – (Pittsfield) Join ceramic artist Nancy Magnusson for Clay Adventures for Kids at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts. No registration ncecessary. 413.298.5252 [All Ages] (Free)

        10am-Noon – NATURE PROGRAM – (Easthampton) Discover Winter Plant and Animal Survival at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary with Rebecca Moretti. Children will play a game in which they act out the different survival strategies such as hibernation and migration. Dress warm as much of this program will be held outdoors. Pre-registration is requested. 413.584.3009. [Ages 5 & up] ($)

        11am – FIRST AID FOR CHILDREN – (Cummington) Do you take care of a baby under one year? Do you feel you would know what to do in an emergency? Would you like to practice how to handle choking on a training doll? Taught by Ed Vivier, Middlefield EMT. Designed for people with no experience – No test/certification. Offered with the CFC’s “Baby and Me” program for parents and babies under one year at the Cummington Community House Where: Cummington Family Center. 413.238.5511 x155 [Adults] (Free)

        1pm – 2:50pm – ICE SKATING – (Greenfield) The Collins/Moylan Memorial Skating Rink will have a public skate. Skate rentals available. 413.772.6891 [Families] ($)

        1pm – FAMILY PERFORMANCE – (Amherst) At the Eric Carle Museum is a performance in the auditorium, Music and More! This is an interactive program featuring songs, books, finger play, movement, and animal puppets. Families are welcome to sing and dance to traditional favorites and interactive songs while Michael and Linda play guitars, banjos, and percussion instruments. 413.658.1100 [Families] (Free w/ museum admission)

        4pm-6:50pm – ICE SKATING – (Amherst) There will be a public skate at the Mullins Center Ice Rink. Skate rentals available. 413.545.3990 [Families] ($)

        6pm – ART PERFORMANCE & POTLUCK – (Shelburne) The Art Bridge hosting a community potluck preceeding their Mystic 3-Ring Circus performance. There will be music, magicians, belly dancing, fire dancing, jugglers, clowns, puppeteers, and more. 413.625.8275 [Families] (Donation)

        8pm – DATE NIGHT! – (Goshen) It’s time to square dance! Round up your partner/friend and head over to the Town Hall in Goshen, MA for some dancing. Ralph Sweet is the caller. [Adults] (n/a)

        Read the rest of this entry »

        Running on Change. Standing for Change. The Race is ON!

        Notes from Nan: CAN YOU COUNT THE CHANGE?
        BY HF Contributing Writer, Nan Parati

        My name is Nan Parati and I am running for president. And I am running on change. I collect change—in fact, today, alone, I collected four dollars in brand new shiny Jefferson dollars and that is a lot of big, gold change. My opponent, Rob Taft also claims to stand for change. I happen to know, however that my change collection is much larger than his is; I have so much change I can’t even pick it all up. It’s about to break through the floor into my basement. Most of it is gold dollars. I also have several silver dimes –that Rob gave me. He’s probably going to want to change that. In fact, he probably won’t give me any more change, since we are now adversaries in the presidential race, a change that I will find to be too bad.

        I am Nan Parati and I approve this message.

        I am also going to change the Farm Report this week, giving you Donna Elwell’s Produce report, but I would also like to add that: Not only do we carry Steady Lane Beef from right up on the corner, we also now have a whole shelf full of Tom and Sandy Carter’s Lamb, all kinds of cuts and ground! Now that’s a full Farm Report!

        Friday Night’s Menu (01/11/08):

        Read the rest of this entry »

        Eat Locally Year-Round!

        Winter Fare Week 2008: Local Food in the Winter!

        Eating locally grown food is easy in August when area farmstands are overflowing and a Free Harvest Supper is served on the Greenfield Town Common (click here to see photos). But what’s possible in the middle of winter? “Lots!” according to Juanita Nelson of Deerfield, MA (pictured right). She and some friends want everyone to eat locally year-round, so they are planning a week of Winter Fare, starting with an indoor farmers’ market in Greenfield, MA, on Groundhog Day, February 2, 2008. The farmers’ market will feature locally grown food including vegetables, milk, eggs, cheese, meat, honey, and maple syrup as well as workshops and informational displays about how to eat locally year- round. There will also be a ‘barter mart’ section of the market for individuals to bring their own surplus of homemade products- jams, jellies, pesto, etc.-to swap with one another.

        (c) Hilltown FamiliesScheduled halfway between the first day of winter and the start of spring, Winter Fare will also include a week of meals featuring local foods, whether they are gatherings of friends or church-sponsored local food potlucks or special menus served at area restaurants. The Winter Fare organizers hope that their efforts will encourage everyone to include more local foods in their everyday life, whatever the season. Eating locally has many benefits, including saving energy, slowing global climate change, providing living incomes for area farmers, attracting new farmers to the area, and freeing far-away farms to grow food for their local residents instead of consumers in other countries.

        Even though February 2, 2008 seems far off, the Winter Fare committee asks farmers, gardeners and everyone who likes to eat to plan now for what will be in local cupboards next Groundhog Day. The committee seeks farmers willing to grow extra storage crops to sell at the indoor farmers market and is looking into food storage facilities for those crops.

        Read the rest of this entry »

        Ben Rudnick Guest DJ Episode on HFVS (01/08/08)

        LISTEN NOW

        Ben & Presephone at WXOJ in Northampton HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW
        Ben Rudnick Guest DJ Episode

        with Ben Rudnick & Persephone

        WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
        Northampton, MA
        Tuesday evening @ 7pm

        01/08/08 PLAYLIST

        listen now | subscribe to podcast | archived shows | contests

        PLAYLIST 

        NEW YEAR’S EVE WITH BEN

        How lucky we were to have Ben Rudnick in studio to guest DJ an episode of HFVS with Persephone! A great guy with a GREAT band, Ben Rudnick & Friends (BR&F). Persephone & I got to enjoy a New Year’s Eve performance by BR&F at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA (Click here to see photos). The snow was heavy outside the museum after the previous evening’s snowfall, and families filtered in, filling chairs with coats, scarves and mittens. With Ben on guitar, John on mandolin and Arni on bass, these three seasoned performers started singing and playing, giving the audience a real American roots style concert … and the kids couldn’t keep still! Thirteen years of playing together shined through, giving the audience a Class Act performance. But if my gushing over BR&F isn’t convincing enough that this is a band your family must discover, take it from Parent’s Choice and NAPPA who have doled out a number of awards to this finger pickin’ good band. Look for new music by BR&F this year!

        THIS WEEK’S CONTEST

        This week we’re offering Ben Rudnick music and apparel:

        • We have two copies of Grace’s Bell to give away:
        • along with their award winning t-shirt (Kid’s Pick) submitted to the HFVS T-shirt Review:

        Kids Pick Award - Hilltown FamiliesWithout a doubt, Ben Rudnick & Friends design was one of the top three designs amongst our “Official Reviewers,” getting the most positive comments out of all submitted t-shirts. This design pulled off the blend of color and graphic design that appealed most to the kids. “I like the pink in the middle and red in a circle,” commented Antonia (age 5) of Florence, MA. “I like the cool guitar and the three eyes!” shared Jaden (age 5). It is noted that the tie-dye designs can vary, with blue centers and green swirls, or orange centers with yellow swirls … they can all turn out with different patterns and colors, which gives every shirt its own unique aspects.

        HOW TO WIN: For your chance to win, simply post us a comment below. We’ll randomly draw TWO winners from everyone who leaves a comment. IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is 01/15/08 @ 7pm (EST).

        Read the rest of this entry »

        Web Review: ArtsEdge

        Web Review: ArtsEdge

        ArtsEdgeThe Kennedy Center has a fantastic web site for teaching art called ArtsEdge.  Discover an abundance of arts-integrated resources that both teachers and homeschooling parents with kids of all ages will appreciate.  Resources include featured lessons, how-to highlights, national standards for arts education and a fantastic list of recommended links.  Check it out at ArtsEdge: Teach.

        Zoe’s Big Adventure Across Eastern Europe

        Zoe Travels the World: Join Us in Our Adventures
        By Tony(a) Lemos, HF Contributing Writer

        (Photo credit: Tony(a) Lemos)

        Hi, my name is Zoe. Some of you may know me as I live here in the hilltowns. And while I love the hilltowns, one of my favorite things to do with MamaT is to travel. I LOVE to travel! I’ve taken an airplane to Europe when I was four months old, and I’ve journeyed by car from the hilltowns to Florida. I’ve traveled by bus and by train, and I even spent seven months in India (in utero!). I don’t remember much about that trip, but MamaT has stories to share!

        This spring (March 2008) we’re taking off again. I can hardly wait! We are flying to Amsterdam (Holland) and then caravaning through Eastern Europe to Greece to visit my Giagia (greek for grandmother). MamaT says that our trip this spring is just a warm up for the BIG ONE … a journey over land from England to Tibet! And all along the way we are planning our adventures with visits to many cities in seven different countries, including:

        • Berlin (Germany)
        • Prague (Czech Republic)
        • Vienna (Austria)
        • Budapest (Hungary)
        • Bucharest (Romania)
        • Sofia (Bulgaria)
        • and then into Northern Greece

        You can follow our adventures right here on Hilltown Families. You can read our posts, which will include photos, activities, maps and links to suggested readings. And when we return we’ll be sharing more stories and craft projects at the Children’s Art Museum in Shelburne Falls, MA.

        (c) 2006 Tony(a) LemosPOSTCARDS FROM THE ROAD

        If you would like to receive a postcard from us during our travels, send us your name and mailing address, along with a donation of $1.50 to cover costs and we’ll send you a card during our trip. Drop it in the mail to arrive before March 7th, 2008. Our road trip will begin the next day!


        About the Author: Tony(a) Lemos

        Tony(a) Lemos

        Tony(a) is the director of Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA and maintains an herbal practice in Northampton, MA. She is a graduate of Natural Therapy at Raworth College in England and has apprenticed with many influential herbalist, including Susun Weed. She is the vice president of the North East Herbal Association, and has taught at conferences and festivals all over New England, including Green Nations Gathering and the Women’s Herbal Conference

        Video Review: The Story of Stuff

        The Story Of Stuff: Online Film Details Costs
        and Consequences of Consumer Culture

        As the holiday shopping season passes us by, a lot of families were discussing their concerns about giving their kids more “stuff,” especially “toxic stuff.” The Story of Stuff, a new short film released online, takes viewers on a provocative tour of our consumer-driven culture, exposing the real costs of this use-it and lose-it approach to stuff.

        Last year Americans spent $456.2 billion during the holiday season, and this year sales are predicted to rise 4 percent to $474.5 billion**. “The Story of Stuff” reveals that holiday consumption is not a seasonal phenomenon, rather an American maxim that has devastating consequences for our environment, third-world nations, working class Americans, personal health and even the general state of happiness in America.

        Here is a sneak peak at the first chapter of this short film. The entire film can be viewed for free at www.storyofstuff.com. Parents should view it first and decide how to share this video with their kids. Click here for a fact sheet (pdf).

        Throughout the 20-minute film, activist Annie Leonard, the film’s narrator and an expert on the materials economy, examines the social, environmental and global costs of extraction, production, distribution, consumption and disposal. Her illustration of a culture driven by stuff allows her to isolate the moment in history where she says the trend of consumption mania began. The “Story of Stuff” examines how economic policies of the post-World War II era ushered in notions of consumerism — and how those notions are still driving much of the U.S. and global economies today.

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        Earth Awareness Program for Families in the Hilltowns

        Path of the Otter Program in Ashfield

        (c) Hilltown Families - Path of the Otter ProgramPath of the Otter is a newer family program in the hilltowns for children ages 5-7. This program is a playful introduction to earth awareness, nature exploration and naturalist and wilderness living skills. Kids participating will:

        • Learn to recognize, identify and follow animal signs
        • Learn to listen for and understand birds and bird language
        • Be introduced to exploration and survival skills
        • Learn to identify plants and their uses and hazards
        • To develop their senses
        • To be engaged in imaginative play
        • To listen to and tell stories

        This program will be on Saturdays once a month, from 10am – 1 pm in Ashfield, MA. Dates include:

        • January 12, 2008
        • February 9, 2008
        • March 8, 2008(c) Hilltown Families - Path of the Otter Program

        My daughter loved the Path of the Otter fall program. She enjoyed learning how to make a shelter with sticks and leaves, and she keeps talking about Rona’s fire making demonstration. This program is highly recommended for young, budding naturalists!

        – Sienna Wildfield, Hilltown Families

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          Suggested Events 01/05/08 – 01/11/08

          2007 … A LOOK BACK

          It’s been a little over a year since our first post here on Hilltown Families, and nearly 400 posts later we’re ringing in a New Year. Let’s take a look back at what happened here on Hilltown Families in 2007

          • Randy Kaplan (c) Hilltown FamiliesIn March 2007 a road trip to Brooklyn was planned, resulting in the discovery of great kid’s music at the Brooklyn Hootenanny (presented by Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child).

          Wow! Loads of fun stuff! 2008 should be barrels of fun too! And now … a look ahead with this week’s list of suggested events.

          THIS WEEK’S LIST OF SUGGESTED EVENTS IS SPONSORED BY:

          Tekoa Mountain Adventures www.tekoamountainadventures.com

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          All Dressed Up (in clean clothes) With No Where To Go!

          Notes from Nan: Holidays All Over the Place!
          BY HF Contributing Writer, Nan Parati

          December 31st, 2007

          Dear Diary,

          You know what I’m wearing right now? My pajamas, and I am not at a New Year’s Eve party; I am home writing this. Why? Because when you own Elmer’s Store, every single day is a party and staying at home on this night when all other hell is breaking loose is pure-tee joy. I’ve been cleaning the living room and doing laundry. And I am happy!

          January 1st ,2008

          Dear Diary,

          Damn it! I found out that Bob Nylen, Dick Todd, Jonathan Harr, Tracy Kidder and other revered members of the writing world were all sitting around talking at the party I would have gone to and that would have been so dang cool to be a part of and, as cool as doing laundry is, it would have been cooler to have been a part of that!

          January 2, 2008

          Dear Diary,

          I was supposed to post this a couple of days ago, but it was so freakin’ cold I decided I couldn’t go out again. So I didn’t. I am going to wait until tomorrow, January 3rd and I hope it’s not too late, but . . . it’s so cold (and I have to go to Elmer’s to send it out, which means I have to put those boots on and stuff.) I’ll wait.

          January 3, 2008

          Dear Diary,

          It still isn’t any warmer, but at least the sun is shining which makes it sort of warmer. And another thing: Every day you don’t do your post, the more you learn to add to it! So here it is. Stupid New Year’s Eve party. Stupid laundry. Now I’m all dressed up in clean clothes with no where to go!

          But you can come here for dinner!

          Friday Night Dinner Menu (01/04/08)

          Read the rest of this entry »

          HFVS New Year’s Day Peace Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

          Listen to Podcast:

          NEW YEARS DAY PEACE EPISODE

          Tuesdays at 7pm
          January 1st, 2008
          WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
          Northampton, MA


           Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

          PLAYLIST



          [Photo Credit: (ccl) Danny Hammontree]

          February Family Concert with UNCLE ROCK!

          UNCLE ROCK TO PERFORM
          A MID-WINTER FAMILY CONCERT
          ON FEBRUARY 2ND @ 10:30AM
          AT THE FLORENCE CIVIC CENTER

          • Click here to print out a poster to post, and help us spread the word!

          (c) Hilltown Families - Uncle RockReturning to the Pioneer Valley for a February Family Concert, Hilltown Families (that’s us!) is pleased to present NY based indie kids musician Uncle Rock, performing new music from his most recent release Uncle Rock U. A good time for all ages, this family concert will be held at the Florence Civic Center (next to the Lilly Library who have posted good directions on their web site) on Saturday, February 2nd at 10:30 a.m. Tickets are $6 per person, infants free. All proceeds go to the artist.

          • Family Concert (all ages)
          • Saturday, February 2nd, 2008
          • 10:30 a.m.
          • Florence Civic Center in Florence, MA (next to the Lilly Library off Route 9)
          • $6.00 per person. Infants free.
          • General admission.
          • Email with any questions

          NEW MUSIC: UNCLE ROCK U

          Uncle Rock U, a collection of 17 songs, explores the joy, excitement and imagination of childhood. The album also reflects Uncle Rock’s indie-rock background (former bassist with The Fleshtones), his theatrical gifts (the lead in the London production of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story) and his knack for connecting with children (being a dad himself, as well as a preschool teacher). Read the rest of this entry »

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