The Ripple: Missing Winter

I Like Winter

Wintertime is a great season to look for tracks and for kids to discover their outdoor neighbors. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

I was supposed to write about ice.

I wanted to take you away from the CT river, up into the higher elevations, where the crystal trickles are, and where on steep slopes ice fountains rise below dripping cliff edge. When things really get icy, remaining springs of fresh water attract forest creatures. I wanted to help you find one, and urge you to look for tracks and poops.

Wintertime is a great season to learn who your neighbors are. Last year I found out that an otter lived right down the creek. It had been fishing a creek near Hampshire Regional, dragging itself up and over snow-covered boulders. The photo barely captures the thick, beautifully drawn line (finger through vanilla frosting) that linked the pools upstream. Uniform. Not a blemish or rupture in the smooth.

I wanted to tell you, too, about how winter time—ice 3 inches thick—is the best time to explore wetlands. When else can you safety enter the inner realms of white cedar, black mud and sphagnum?  Where else can you skate through snake labyrinths, around raccoon and tick islands, all secret but to the bladed voyager, who sweeps over beaver ponds, scaring the crows?

With maple sugaring already underway, I guess I’ll tell you that stuff next year. I will. I promise.

Weird winter: yes, I know the idea is a cliché at this point. But…

The hibernators never really went to sleep, the full several month cold shutdown they need and depend on.  Right now they’re hungry and we have about two months before new forage will be available. Unless spring has begun, that is. Expect to see plenty of black bears and deer. Look for hemlock trees bared near their bases of bark—porcupine. Perhaps there will be more predators—mink, fox, coyote—afoot. May you be lucky enough to see or hear the young girl’s crying sound of a bobcat.

Stoneflies are hatching. Ideally, they’d hatch when lots of hungry birds and fish are around. Are they hatching too soon? We’ll know by the end of the summer, when I’ll return to this issue.

Next up—thaw! At least that’s what I had planned to write about—but I’ve seen honeybees looking for blossoms already.

Sooooooo….anyway, it’s snowing right now.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kurt Heidinger, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of Biocitizen, non-profit school of field environmental philosophy, based in the Western MA Hilltown of Westhampton, MA where he lives with his family.  Biocitizen gives participants an opportunity to “think outside” and cultivate a joyous and empowering biocultural awareness of where we live and who we are. Check out Kurt’s monthly column, The Ripple, here on Hilltown Families on the 4th Monday of every month to hear his stories about rivers in our region. Make the world of rivers bigger than the world of pavement inside of you!

[Photo credit: (ccl) Bob Gaffney]

Citizen Scientists Wanted for Vernal Pool Habitat

Western MA Youth  Can Help
Deerfield River Watershed Association Protect
Vernal Pools as Citizen Scientists

During springtime, our surroundings burst with new life!  One of the most interesting and least known about natural environments is the vernal pool- pools develop in the early spring while snow melts and the ground becomes softer, and pools of water gather becoming home to a laying ground for frogs and salamanders.

BECOME A CITIZEN SCIENTIST

Vernal pool habitats are often accidentally destroyed or disturbed due to lack of knowledge about their existence.  This spring, older students have the opportunity to be citizen scientists and help report data about vernal pools in their neighborhoods!  Kids ages 10 and up are invited to monitor populations of vernal pool-breeding amphibians.

The project is coordinated by the Deerfield River Watershed Association, and requires that kids take part in two training sessions prior to assessing the pools; and also that kids visit a vernal pool twice during the month of April to check on their frogs and salamanders!  The project allows kids to become involved in the preservation of their local resources, and to learn about a unique habitat.  Taking part in the project can supplement studies of biology, ecology, environmental science, and species evolution (take a look at how species evolved to depend on vernal pools).  For more information, contact Pat Serrentino at 413-772-0520.


Related Posts:

Purim Events in Western MA

Not Your Grandparents' Shtel: Exploring Jewish Culture in Western Mass by Amy Meltzer

Purim in Western MA

Jewish heroines in the Bible are few and far between. The upcoming holiday of Purim is unique amongst Jewish holidays in that strong, independent women are at the core of the story – one of them even saves the entire Jewish people from imminent destruction. The story of Purim comes from the Bible, and takes place in ancient Persia. An evil minister of King Achasverosh concocts a plan to destroy all of the Jews in the empire because they refuse to bow down to him. Little does Haman know that the new queen, Esther, is herself a Jew. Esther has replaced Achashverosh’s first wife, Queen Vashti, who was banished for refusing to dance for the King and his drunk friends (Yay, Vashit!). After a series of plot twists and turns truly reminiscent of a Shakesperean comedy, Esther saves her people and Haman is destroyed instead. (For a great picture book version of the story, try Eric Kimmel’s The Story of Esther, which came out last year. You can also hear him read it aloud here:

The holiday of Purim has many rich and joyful traditions. Families gather in the synagogue on Purim eve (Wednesday, March 7, 2012) where the story of Esther is recited aloud in Hebrew, from a scroll known as a megillah. During the reading it is customary to drown out Haman’s name each time it appears in the story with loud noisemakers known in yiddish as graggers. Adults and children wear costumes to the megillah reading; these disguises are a reminder that God’s miracles are often worked behind-the-scenes, or in disguise. Often the story of Purim is also acted out in a humorous skit known as a Purim shpiel. Other traditions include giving gifts to the poor and exchanging baskets of food with friends and neighbors (John McCain once inaccurately referred to Purim as the Jewish Halloween, presumably because of the costumes and treats. Amongst the many difference is that children arrive at their neighbors’ doors offering treats rather than demanding them!).

One traditional delicacy that can almost always be found in a Purim basket are the three-cornered fruit-filled pastries known as Hamentashen. (The word means Haman’s hat, and recalls Haman’s triangular shaped headdress.) Every year, my daughters and I bake several batches of the recipe that’s  been handed down for generations in my family. My mother, whom my girls call Bubbe, yiddish for grandmother, used to make them with her Bubbe in her kitchen in Boro Park, Brooklyn.  Here’s the recipe – they are, quite honestly, the best hamentashen I’ve ever eaten.

Hamentashen

Dough Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stick butter or margarine
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup sugar

Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs. Mix. Add the dry ingredients (Sometimes I need to use my hands to get it thoroughly mixed.). Form a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

Prune Filling  (my great- grandmother’s specialty):  ½ lb pitted prunes soaked overnight in water (about an inch higher than the prunes) then cook with a little sugar and cinnamon until very soft. Mash to break up the prunes (I sometimes puree it with an immersion blender, but it’s not necessary.).  Squeeze in a little lemon to taste.

Roll the dough, and cut out circles ~3” diameter (I use a drinking class for this.). To see how to fill and fold the pastries, watch this video from Shalom Sesame, made by the Sesame Street Workshop (Folding starts at around 2 minutes, but the whole video is worth watching.).

Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes, until lightly brown around the edges.

PURIM EVENTS IN WESTERN MA

Here’s a round up of Purim events in Western Massachusetts. Hope to see you at one or more!

Friday, March 2nd at 5:30pm — “Purim Shpiel,” the annual presentation by Temple Anshe Amunim’s “Broad Street Players.”  This year’s theme is “A Purim Home Companion,” a parody of the public radio hit program, “A Prairie Home Companion.”  The production, under the direction of temple music director Alan Gold, will include klezmer and other music from local musicians and takeoffs on “Home Companion” staples such as the “Powder Milk Bisquit Song” and “The News from Lake Wobegone” (which will tell the Purim story.).  The show follows the Friday night shabbat service, and includes a pizza and hamentashen dinner.  Call 413-442-5910 for dinner reservations. 26 Broad Street, Pittsfield, MA ($)

Saturday, March 3rd from 4-5:30pm — PJ Havdallah at Hevreh of Southern Berkshires, will host a PJ Havdallah Service for children 8 and younger with siblings invited.  The program will feature the theme of Purim. The service, which is co-sponsored by the PJ Library, will feature a cozy Jewish story time as well as crafts and snacks followed by a brief Havdallah ritual.  Pajamas and stuffed animal friends encouraged as is an RSVP.  For further information, please call 413-528-6378 or email hevreh.temple@verizon.net. Hevreh of Southern Berkshire, 270 State Road, Great Barrington, MA(Free)

Sunday, March 4th from 11am-4pm —Join the National Yiddish Book Center for hamantashen, a costume contest, interactive workshop, and a lively performance of the story of Purim! “Esther: A One-Act Opera” begins at 2PM, with an upbeat score, juggling, dancing, and wry, poignant lyrics that recount the story of Purim for the whole family.  Come at noon and attend an interactive drama workshop led by Leslie Elias, artistic director of Grumbling Gryphons Traveling Children’s Theater. Dance, sing, and parade in a Purim Pageant adorned in festive masks and costumes. Free, pre-registration suggested. www.yiddishbookcenter.org. National Yiddish Book Center, 1021 West Street, Amherst, MA ($)

Monday, March 5th from 10:30-11:30am — PJ Pal: Purim celebration for young children (ages 1-5) and their parents/caregivers. contact Susan Frisch Lehrer, 413-442-4360, Ext. 14, jfb.volunteer@verizon.net. Held at The Church On The Hill Chapel, 55 Main St., Lenox, MA

Wednesday, March 7th from 5-7:15pm — Purim at JCA: 5-6:30 Purim activities, story and family service – make a grogger, design a mask, prepare your shpeil and enjoy a pizza dinner; 6:30-7:15 Family service: bring your own grogger, noisemaker, or box of macaroni to shake! Start with a costume parade, read the megillah, and do some shpeiling. contact the Jewish Community of Amherst at 413-256-0160 or http://www.j-c-a.org. 742 Main Street. Amherst, MA (Free)

Wednesday, March 7th at 6:30pm — Megilla Reading: Family program with musician and puppeteer Felicia Sloin. Contact Information: CBI religious school 413-584-3593 ext 203. Congregation B’nai Israel 253 Prospect St. Northampton, MA (Free)

Wednesday, March 7th at 7pm — Chabad House Family Purim Party! Megillah reading, costume party, yummy refreshments including hamantashen, entertainment and prizes for children. march 7th 7pm Chabad House Family Purim Party! contact: Yocheved Adelman 413-549-8749 Holiday Inn Express Route 9. Hadley, MA (Free)

Wednesday, March 7th at 7pm  — Purim service at Temple Anshe Amunim, highlighted by Rabbi Josh Breindel’ comic reading of the megillah. Call 413-442-5910. 26 Broad Street, Pittsfield, MA (Free)

Wednesday, March 7th from 7-8pm — Purim shpiel…with Puppets! Our annual celebration of the festival of Purim. We’ll host a play which tells the Purim story; come in costume, make noise with your graggers when Haman is mentioned, eat hamentashen, and make merry! This year’s spiel will be performed by puppets made by several CBI members and friends. www.cbiweb.org Congregation Beth Israel, 53 Lois Street, North Adams, MA (Free)

Friday, March 9th at 6pm — Beit Ahavah Purim Megillah Reading and Kabbalat Shabbat Service led by Rabbi Riqi Kosovske contact 587-3770  for information www.beitahavah.org 130 Pine St. Florence, MA (Free)

Sunday, March 11th from 10:30am-12:30pm  —Purim Carnival at JCA- Dress like a queen, twirl a gragger, nibble a hamantashen! Playful and educational activity booths for ages 3-12. Attendees who come in costume, bring Box Tops for Education, or bring food for the Amherst Survival Center will receive an extra shekel for prizes. Refreshments available at additional cost. All children must be accompanied by an adult.  For more information, contact The Jewish Community of Amherst at 413-256-0160 or www.j-c-a.org  742 Main Street. Amherst, MA ($)

Sunday, March 11th from 11:30am-1:30pm — Purim Carnival: Celebrate Purim with games, prizes, hamentashen and costumes Everyone is welcome Contact Information. CBI religious school 413-584-3593 ext 203 Congregation B’nai Israel 253 Prospect St. Northampton, MA (Free)

Sunday, March 11th from 3:30-5:30pm — Beit Ahavah Community School and Purim Justice Fair! – Games, music and the famous Hamantashen Bake-Off Contest – Bring a tray of your favorite treats. Proceeds to support your favorite Tzedakah organizations.  130 Pine Street, Florence, MA (>$)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amy Meltzer

Amy is a Kindergarten teacher at Lander-Grinspoon Academy in Northampton, MA, and the author of two children’s books, A Mezuzah on the Door, and The Shabbat Princess. She writes the blog Homeshuling for Beliefnet, and a monthly column for the Jewish parenting site Kveller.com. Amy lives in Northampton, MA with her husband and two daughters.

[Photo credit: (ccl) Joshua Bousel]

Dr. Seuss Turns 108! Let’s Celebrate!

Dr. Seuss Birthday Celebration
Springfield Museums
Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

(Courtesy Photo)

Do you like birthday cake?  Would you eat it in a box?  Or with a fox?  Or on a train or plane?  Join the Springfield Museums in celebrating Theodor Seuss Geisel’s (known to most as Dr. Seuss) birthday on March 3rd!

Dr. Seuss was born in Springfield, and the landscape and cityscape of his surroundings served as inspiration for many of his illustrations.  This year’s birthday celebration includes fun events and activities for families to enjoy, including a cake contest, where visitors can vote for their favorite Seuss-inspired cake; a craft activity where kids can make their own cap, a-la The Cat in the Hat; two performances of the Crabgrass Puppet Theater’s Haiku, Hip-hop, and Hot Dogs; and presentations of The ABC’s of Dr. Seuss, designed for kids ages 3-6.

The event takes place from 10am-5pm, and most activities are free with museum admission.  Being a part of the birthday bash is a great way to get kids excited about reading- kids will be able to do activities and see displays inspired by books they’ve likely encountered already!  For more information, visit www.springfieldmuseums.org or call the museum at 800-625-7738.

Other Dr. Seuss celebrations in Western MA include:

Friday, March 2nd from 10am-4pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday today at the Amelia Park Children’s Museum!  There will be a Dr. Seuss book reading with the mayor of Westfield at 10am, birthday cake at 11am, and face painting, crafts, treats, and more happening all day!  413-572-4014.  29 South Broad Street.  Westfield, MA.  (<$)

Saturday, March 3rd from 10am-12noon – COMMUNITY CELEBRATION: Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday today at the Edwards Library!  The event includes games, crafts, a performance from award-winning children’s musician Roger Ticknell, and, of course, birthday cake!  413-529-9480.  30 East Street.  Southampton, MA.  (FREE)

Sunday, March 4th at 2pm – DR. SEUSS: Celebrate Dr. Seuss 108 birthday at the town hall with stories, refreshments and music by Roger Tincknell. at the Town Hall. 1 Cooleyville Road. Shutesbury, MA (>$)

Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood Launches “Save the Lorax!” Campaign

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

"Let’s honor The Lorax’s important message by celebrating the story and saying ‘no’ to the film’s corporate cross-promotions," say CCFC director, Dr. Susan Linn. - (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield. Dr. Seuss Memorial Sculpture Park, Springfield, MA)

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood writes:

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has launched a campaign to “Save the Lorax!” from an onslaught of corporate cross-promotions.  For more than forty years, Dr. Seuss’s classic book, The Lorax, has been a clarion call for reducing consumption and promoting conservation.  But this Friday, Universal Pictures’ The Lorax arrives in theaters with dozens of corporate partners promoting everything from SUVs to Pottery Barn to Pancakes.  CCFC is urging anyone who cares about The Lorax’s original message to enjoy the story but pledge to shun the movie’s commercial tie-ins, including:

  • The new Mazda CX-5 SUV—the only car with the “Truffula Seal of Approval.”
  • Seventh Generation household products and diapers festooned with the Lorax.
  • IHOP’s kids’ menu items like Rooty Tooty Bar-Ba-Looty Blueberry Cone Cakes and Truffula Chip Pancakes.
  • In-store promotions featuring the Lorax at Whole Foods, Pottery Barn Kids, and Target.
  • Online Lorax games and sweepstakes for YoKids Yogurt, Comcast Xfinity TV, Target, IHOP, and HP.
  • HP’s “Every Inkling Makes a Difference,” a branded in-school curriculum produced and distributed by Scholastic.

“It is both cynical and hypocritical to use a beloved children’s story with a prescient environmental message to sell kids on consumption,” said CCFC’s director, Dr. Susan Linn.  “The Lorax that so many of us know and love would never immerse children in the false corporate narrative that we can consume our way to everything, from happiness to sustainability. Instead, The Lorax would join everyone who cares about children and the environment to give kids time and space to grow up free of commercial pressures.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Poetry for Young People by African-American Poet, Langston Hughes

Oprn Drdsmr: Kid Lit Musings and Review by Cheli Mennella

Langston Hughes, The Dream Keeper

“Bring me all of your dreams, You dreamers, Bring me all of your Heart melodies That I may wrap them In a blue cloud-cloth Away from the too-rough fingers Of the world.”

Bring me all of your dreams,
You dreamers,
Bring me all of your
Heart melodies
That I may wrap them In a blue cloud-cloth
Away from the too-rough fingers
Of the world.

This is the opening to one of my very favorite books of poetry for children. Originally published in 1932, The Dream Keeper, written by African-American poet, Langston Hughes, included 59 poems selected especially for young people. Hughes, born in Joplin, Missouri, in 1902, became an important literary figure during the Harlem Renaissance.

He was a successful poet, novelist, short story writer, editor, translator, and lecturer, publishing dozens of works during his lifetime. His experiences traveling around the world informed his poetry, which readers will enjoy in the section titled, “Sea Charm.”

Poignant, sensitive, passionate, brilliant, beautiful, sweet, musical, intuitive – the poems in this collection are all of the above. Ranging in subject matter from the sharpness of the winter moon to a piano player’s weary blues, Hughes is able to communicate universal truths that ring just as true today as they did 80 years ago.

Through verse that sometimes rhymes, and sometimes doesn’t, and images that are sometimes playful, and sometimes serious, Hughes expresses a love for humanity and a hope for the world which young readers will find deeply inspiring. His ability to write about the life and emotion of black people in poems such as “The Negro” and “Mother To Son,” while maintaining a child-like sense of wonder and whimsy in poems such as “Fairies” and “Snail,” shows his versatility in communicating diverse experiences through poetry and mastery of his craft.

The Dream Keeper was re-issued in 1994 with seven additional poems and more than 50 scratch-board illustrations by African-American illustrator, Brian Pinkney, making Hughes’ poems even more accessible to children today. Readers, both young and old, will be uplifted by Hughes’ message of love and unwavering faith in reaching for your dreams.

The Dream Keeper and Other Poems written by Langston Hughes, illustrated by Brian Pinkney, published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1994. 83 pg. ISBN: 0-679-88347-9


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cheli Mennella

Cheli has been involved with creative arts and education for most of her life, and has taught many subjects from art and books to yoga and zoology. But she has a special fondness for kid’s books, and has worked in the field for more than 20 years. She is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Valley Kids and teaches a course for adults in “Writing for Children.” She writes from Colrain, where she lives with her musician-husband, three children, and shelves full of kid’s books.

Classical Music Comes Alive this Saturday on the Hilltown Family Variety Show

Classical Music Comes Alive
Hilltown Family Variety Show this Weekend

The Hilltown Families Variety Show presents Guest DJs Bonnie Ward Simon and Stephen Simon, the husband-and-wife team behind Maestro Classics, this weekend! Tune in to WXOJ 103.3FM (Northampton, MA) on Saturday, March 3rd from 9-10am & Sunday, March 4th from 7-8am. or anytime to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcast.

Bonnie Ward Simon and Stephen Simon, the husband-and-wife team behind Maestro Classics, winner of over 50 prestigious awards for its Stories In Music CD series, will serve as guest program hosts for a special “Stories in Music with the Creators of Maestro Classics” radio broadcast of Hilltown Family Variety Show on Northampton radio station 103.3FM WXOJ-LP (Valley Free Radio) on Saturday, March 3 from 9-10am and Sunday, March 4 from 7-8am. Hilltown Family Variety Show programs are also available as podcast and posted immediate following their broadcast here on HilltownFamilies.org.

With a treasure trove of music and stories, Bonnie and Stephen Simon will take listeners on a magical journey on their Hilltown Family Variety Show segment, with offerings from luminaries like Rossini, Tchaikovsky, and Handel performed by a variety of ensembles ranging from the London Philharmonic Orchestra to the Michigan State University Marching Band, with an electro-pop dance remix of music from Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale thrown in! The program kicks off in rousing fashion with the New York Philharmonic blazing through Rossini’s William Tell Overture, then downshifts to an elegant performance by the Kirov Orchestra of a selection from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker before Arthur Fiedler takes the field, conducting John Philip Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever.

Other highlights include excerpts from Peter and the Wolf, a bit of original Dixieland jazz, and even the complete Maestro Classics story-with-music of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, familiar to listeners from the Disney movie Fantasia. Throughout the program, Bonnie and Stephen Simon interweave their special brand of friendly, informative narrative, making for a truly memorable hour of family radio listening.

A complete playlist and podcast available immediately following Saturday’s broadcast here at HilltownFamilies.org.

ABOUT STEPHEN SIMON & BONNIE WARD SIMON AND MAESTRO CLASSICS

Maestro Classic began in 2004 as an outgrowth of over a decade of sold-out Stories and Music family concerts at The Kennedy Center with the Washington Chamber Symphony, for which Stephen Simon served as music director and Bonnie Ward Simon as executive director. Experience convinced the Simons that if you educated as you entertained, developed sophisticated strategies that sparked the interest of parents as well as children, and offered only the finest musical performances, all children could develop an appreciation of symphonic music. www.maestroclassics.com

Stephen Simon, co-creator with Bonnie Ward Simon of the Maestro Classics Stories in Music™ series of CDs, is one of the most respected symphony conductors in the United States. For 25 years he brought creative programming to The Kennedy Center as music director of the Washington Chamber Symphony. Maestro Simon has been critically acclaimed for such innovations as presenting Beethoven Symphonies performed by an appropriately sized orchestra and for programming new compositions in a manner that allows audiences to conclude that not all contemporary works are painful! He also labored to resurrect forgotten musical gems by composers such as Clementi and Voricek, the “Czech Mozart.” During those years, he teamed with Bonnie Ward Simon to create extremely successful multi-generational programming for young people and their families.

Bonnie Ward Simon is president of Maestro Classics and executive producer/creative director for Stories in Music. From 1989-1998, she was the executive director of the Washington Chamber Symphony, the resident chamber orchestra at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. An authority in the field of children’s music education, she has served as an advisor to Scholastic Publications and is an internationally published writer in the fields of music and children.

HFVS Guest DJ, Mo Phillips Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

Listen to Podcast:

GUEST DJ, MO PHILLIPS EPISODE

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
Feb. 24th & 25th, 2012
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA


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PLAYLIST

  • Pixies – Here Comes Your Man [Doolittle]
  • Lori Enriques – Something You Learn [Outside My Door]
  • Mo Phillips – Puddletown Glide [Robot Rodeo]
  • Michael Franti and Spearhead – Everybody Ona Move [Yell Fire]
  • Johnny and Jason - I Can Fly [Go, go... go, go, go.]
  • Taj Mahal – Clara (St. Kitts Woman) [Mo Roots]
  • Burning Spear - Any River [Dry and Heavy]
  • Story break: The Story Of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
  • Mo Phillips – Hot Lava [Monster Suit]
  • Johnny and Jason – Laugh Out Loud [Go, go... go, go, go.]
  • Jon Butler Trio – Better Than [Grand National]
  • The Alphabeticians – Metaphor [Rock]
  • Ed Harcourt – Shanghai [Here Be Monsters]
  • Mo Phillips – Twirlin’ [Monster Suit]
  • Neil Young – Cinnamon Girl [Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere]

Suggested Events for Feb 25th-March 2nd, 2012

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Maple Sugar Season is arriving 2 weeks early this year! Trees are being tapped, sap is being boiled and many sugar shacks will be serving up breakfast as early as this weekend (most start serving next weekend). Click on the photo for a list of Sugar Shacks in Western MA. Give them a call to see when they will be boiling and serving up their sweet harvest! Take the kids and enjoy breakfast together as a family! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield

Suggest EventIf you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout Western Massachusetts while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Click HERE to find out more.

BEST BETS

Ice Skating in Western MASaturday, February 25 at 11:30am – FAMILY PERFORMANCE: Gustafer Yellowgold performs live today at MASS MoCA!  It’s a live/animated show for kids that parents will enjoy too- the New York Times described it as a combination of Yellow Submarine and Dr. Seuss.  413-662-2111.  1040 Mass MoCA Way.  North Adams, MA.  ($)

Later in the day on Saturday, February 25 from 5-8pm - FIRE & ICE: Red Gate Farm hosts Fire and Ice tonight!  Bring your own sled for sliding down the hill, then warm up at a bonfire afterward!  There will be food and a grill for cooking, as well as hot cocoa and s’mores for dessert.  413-625-9503.  4 Norman Road.  Buckland, MA.  (<$) [READ THIS UPDATE]

Sunday, February 26 from 12:30am-3pm in Franklin Co. - LOCAL HISTORY: In 1704, the English settlement of Deerfield was raided by a group of Pocomtuck Indians and French settlers.  Visit Deerfield today to learn about the controversy surrounding the event and the effect that it had on the area.  The Indian House will be open all day, and there will be historical re-enactors sharing stories about the event and what happened to Deerfield afterwards.  Kids can learn about the history of the settlement of the Pioneer Valley, and information that they learn can help them in developing a more sensitive view of the events that took place during the settlement of New England.  Old Main Street.  Deerfield, MA.  (FREE)

Family concert with Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem in Northampton on March 3rd. Deadline to enter to win is 02/29/12 by 7pm (EST).

Sunday, February 26  at 1pm in Hampden Co. - FAMILY ADVENTURE: Holyoke is hosting a Amazing Race-style event for families!  Beginning at Heritage State Park, the race requires that families follow clues and visit locations near the park in order to finish the race!  There are great prizes available and the race offers families a chance to learn more about Holyoke!  413-552-3363.  221 Appleton Street.  Holyoke, MA.  ($)

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Family concert with UNCLE ROCK at Flywheel in Easthampton on Saturday, March 10th at 10am. Presented by Hilltown Families, No Nap Happy Hour Series and Flywheel.

Saturday, March 3rd from 10am-3pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: It’s Free Family Day at the Smith College Museum of Art today!  Explore the galleries and enjoy hands-on art and music making!  A trip to the museum can teach kids about art within a family-friendly setting.  413-585-2760.  Elm Street.  Northampton, MA.  (FREE)

Sunday, March 4th from 12noon-5pm – COMMUNITY SERVICE/SEWING: Help BagShare today by participating in an afternoon of sewing!  Today is bag repair day- old bags that are beginning to tear or get worn out will be patched and sewn back together.  It’s okay if you don’t know how to sew- you can learn!  Kids can help out, too, as long as they’re old enough to use a sewing machine (use your own discretion).  Takes place at the Cummington Community House.  413-634-5591.  Main Street.  Cummington, MA.  (FREE)

BULLETIN BOARD

CHILDCARE OPENINGS: Little Bear Learn & Care, a high quality childcare program serving the Greater Easthampton Area, has limited openings available in their infant and two year classrooms. Offering childcare for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, Little Bear’s welcoming family atmosphere and creative free play environment supports the critical brain-building development of a child’s first five years of life, building a foundation of valuable social/emotional adeptness for later learning. Through basic sign language, modeling and role playing, Little Bear encourages the development of healthy communication skills. To schedule a visit or to find out more about current openings, call 413-203-1776, or visit online at www.littlebearlearnandcare.com.

HILLTOWN IDOLS: Coming soon: Hilltown Idols! An adult & child karaoke competition/fundraiser for the Cultural Arts Committee (CAC) of the Williamsburg Schools. Auditions are Sat., 3/3, with the Final Performance on Sat., 3/10 at 7pm at the Dunphy School in Williamsburg. The competition is open to children & adults from near and far! There are four competition groups: Grades 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, & Adults. Prizes will be awarded to winners. Entry fee for contestants in Grades 3-12 is $5.00 & $25.00 for adults. Register by 3/2! Tickets for audience members on 3/3 are $2/individual or $5/family for the day. Tickets for the Final Performance on 3/10 are $5(Ages 3-18), $10(Adults), or $20 per family. See sites.google.com/site/hilltownidols for details.

SUMMER CIRCUS ARTS CAMP: SHOW Circus Studio announces three rings of Circus Summer Camp for children ages 6-15 this August in Easthampton: Aug 6-10, 13-17 & 20-24. These three week-long camps will run from 9am-3pm each day and will cover all aspects of circus including trapeze, fabric, juggling, balancing, acrobatics, partnering, human pyramids, stretching, strength, & circus games/activities. Each week of camp will end with a performance for friends & family on the last day. A great way to spend your summer! Cost: $250/week. For registration & more information please visit: www.showcircusstudio.com/Programs.html & click on Circus Camps.

SPONSORSHIP & ADVERTISING: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. See your event, camp, workshop, business featured here in the bulletin board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and eNewsletter! Find out more about our Enhanced Publicity options and how we can help with your marketing.

MUSIC AT THE LIBRARY: The Springfield Library is offering free concerts in the Rotunda beginning Feb 26 at 1pm with the sweet sounds of Jesse Doane, whose original & improvisational Celtic harp music has the power to relax & inspire. Bring the entire family to enjoy the monthly hour-long performances featuring different types of music, including classical, popular, and ethnic improvisations presented by local, professional musicians. Other performers & Sunday dates include: Meadow Flutes on March 25, Carol Hutter String Quartet on April 22, & Dixieland Stomp on May 27. In addition, the New England Winds, a division of the USAF Band of Liberty, will play in the Rotunda on Wed, June 6 at 6:30pm. Please call the Central Library at 413-263-6828 x213 for more info.

FARM TO SCHOOL: The 2nd statewide MA Farm to School Convention will be held on March 15, at Old Sturbridge Village! Sessions will run from 9-4:45. Registration at 8:15 & attendance includes a lunch featuring locally sourced ingredients. This full-day convention will feature leaders in the farm to school movement providing info on everything from creating school gardens to overcoming barriers to local foods procurement to the growing partnerships between schools & community farms. Come hear how inspiring food service directors, educators, farmers, advocates, & students are building connections between cafeterias, dining halls, classrooms, & farms in MA, & learn what you can do to further those connections. Register at www.massfarmtoschool.org/convention.htm


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS:
Feb 25th—March 2nd, 2012

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes
Weekly eNewsletter | Events for Working Parents | Workshops for Parents

Read the rest of this entry »

Mark Your Calendars for the 6th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival: May 12th!

6th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival
Cummington Fairgrounds
May 12th, 2012

The Hilltown CDC’s 6th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival will be on Saturday, May 12 at the Cummington Fairgrounds! 2,000 people are expected at the Hilltown Spring Festival this year and entertainment will include musical performances and workshops, exhibits by artists and craftspeople, displays by local businesses, food from local vendors, a family contra-dance, kids-made craft bazaar, children’s activities and much more.

Here’s a recap from the last two years at the festival:

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NEW THIS YEAR

New this year is an Emerging Artists Stage for musicians who have had little public exposure and have made little income from their music.  Samples of their music will be juried by professional musicians, and up to eight emerging artists will be chosen to perform two songs at the festival.  The music played must be original, and must be family-friendly (no “metal”, no “thrash”).  There is a $5 fee for submissions and interested artist can email to festival@hilltowncdc.org or mail P.O. Box 17, Chesterfield, MA 01012 by March 23. Include names, instruments, and a brief biography.

Also new this year is a family contra-dance from 5 to 7 PM (beginners and children always welcome)!

JOIN US: VOLUNTEER, SPONSOR, DISPLAY

Support for the Hilltown Spring Festival is provided by thirteen Local Cultural Councils; by local business sponsors; and by the exhibiting businesses.  All proceeds will contribute to the work of Hilltown CDC, including support for small businesses and support for low and moderate income Hilltown residents.  Interested in being a sponsor, vendor or volunteer? Contact Seth Isman at sethi@hilltowncdc.org and join our team!

Online Science Fair For Teens

Everyone has a question. What’s yours?
Google Science Fair 2012

Calling all curious kids!  Google is hosting their own science fair for kids ages 13-18!  Students who enter are asked to develop a project based on a question of their own, then design a website giving information about the project and create a video or taped presentation about their work!  Kids can enter alone or in groups of two or three.  The contest is just like a regular science fair, except that kids will be presenting their work online instead of in person.  The deadline is April 1st, meaning students have just over a month to develop their question, do research, and find concluding information.  Students can pursue any question they want, so long as they’ve developed it themselves!  The science fair provides kids a way to exercise creativity within the realm of science- an opportunity that isn’t often provided within a traditional educational experience.  Kids will learn to ask and answer their own questions, set goals, and carry out independent work and research.

Check out Lauren Hodge of Pennsylvania, who was inspired by dinner with her family to ask questions and develop a project for the Google Science Fair last year… and won!

To learn more about the contest, visit www.google.com/sciencefair.

MUSIC GIVEAWAY: Music Collection from Uncle Rock!

Uncle Rock Returns to the Pioneer Valley
Saturday, March 10th at 10am
At Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton, MA

Saturday Morning Music Party Presents a Family Concert with Uncle Rock at Flywheel Arts Collective on Saturday, March 10th at 10am in Easthampton, MA. Enter to win Uncle Rock's entire collection of fabulous music CD's & DVD! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Hilltown Families, the No Nap Happy Hour and Flywheel are proud to present a family concert with Uncle Rock as part of the Saturday Morning Music Party in Easthampton at the Flywheel Arts Collective!  On March 10th at 10am Uncle Rock will rock the house and have all members of the family on their feet dancing away the winter blues!  Fill up on free pancakes before the concert, and for a suggested donation of $5 per person ($10 per family), enjoy a fun filled morning with the family!

Leading up to his performance we’re giving listeners of the Hilltown Family Variety Show the opportunity to enter to win Uncle Rock’s entire collection of music CDs & DVD.  One lucky family will walk away with a fabulous collection to add to their family music/video repertoire!  Find out how to enter to win below. Deadline to enter to win is midnight, March 9th!

And the day of the performance while driving on over to Flywheel, be sure to tune into the Hilltown Family Variety Show (103.3FM WXOJ) from 9-10am as Uncle Rock will be our guest DJ!  Encore on Sunday, March 11th from 7-8am and podcast anytime following Saturday’s broadcast right here at www.HilltownFamilies.org!

ABOUT UNCLE ROCK

Uncle Rock has shared stages with Joe Cocker, Vassar Clements and Hanoi Rocks. Hilltown Families has presented Uncle Rock here in Western Mass for performances at the Florence Civic Center in 2008 and at the Children’s Art Museum in 2007, and have had him as our Valentine’s Day guest DJ on the Hilltown Family Variety Show. And our friends over at Spare the Rock have brought Uncle Rock to the Northampton Community Music Center in 2009, the Music Meltdown in 2009/10, and to the Iron Horse in 2010 … Uncle Rock is no stranger to our area, and much admired by many families.

Uncle Rock (a.k.a. Robert Burke), is a musician with a “rock of all ages” persona who blends an inventive rock sound for families. His offbeat approach, plus a dynamic live show, has won critical praise from the L.A. Times & the New York Times. Before his nephew dubbed him “Uncle Rock,” Robert Burke Warren performed as a bass player in many rock and roll bands, including international garage rock titans The Fleshtones. He portrayed the title character in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story in London’s West End. He’s also co-written songs for multi-Grammy winner Rosanne Cash and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Wanda Jackson.

Uncle Rock’s CD, The Big Picture won a Parents Choice Award, and he was voted Best Children’s Performer of 2011 by Hudson Valley Magazine. Uncle Rock has participate in several collaborative efforts, including Healthy Food For Thought, which was nominated for a Grammy, and Many Hands: Family Music For Haiti, which has raised over 40k for Haitian relief! – www.unclerock.com.

GIVEAWAY: 5 MUSICAL ADDITIONS TO YOUR FAMILY MUSIC COLLECTION!

Here’s Uncle Rock’s entire catalog of CD’s and DVD which we’re giving away to one very luck family:

PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS: Uncle Rock – AKA Robert Burke Warren – has lost count of the number of parents who have expressed relief and gratitude that a CD has been created that they can enjoy WITH their kids. The former globe-trotting bass player stumbled onto his most satisfying creative endeavor yet as a teacher’s assistant at the rural School Of The New Moon in Mount Tremper, New York, where Uncle Rock was born.

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).

THE BIG PICTURE: Shel Silverstein meets Buddy Holly! The eco-rock on Uncle Rock’s fourth CD is a salute to his musical heroes, with stylistic nods to Bowie, the Stones, Cat Stevens, and Johnny Cash. Cross-generational toe-tappin’ tunes for kids from 2 to 92!

NUMBER 1 DVD: “Uncle Rock is a musical Icon in the Woodstock area,” reviews Amazon. When you go to one of his live concerts, the smiling faces and energy flows as much from the parents in the audience as from the kids. Number 1 DVD captures positive, hopeful energy through a live concert shot at the famed Utopia sound stage in Woodstock, NY, plus five videos.

EXPRESS YOUR ELF: Express Your Elf is a holiday CD with a few surprises, including Uncle Rock’s versions of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” plus some rockin’ originals! Sure to be a welcome addition to your holiday CD collection!

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win Uncle Rock’s entire collection of music CDs & DVD is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below,
  • TELL US HOW THE HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW ENTERTAINS YOUR FAMILY below (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  • FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  • LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  • ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  • We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Friday, 03/09/12 @ 12midnight (EST).

Ticket Giveaway: Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem Family Concert in Northampton

Win a Family 4-Pack of Free Tickets…

Family Concert with Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem
Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 @ 10:30am
at The First Churches of Northampton

Rani Arbo says the band is ready to party with the Valley: "Nonotuck knows how to cure the midwinter blues! Stir together a handful of musicians and a heap of kids and parents, pour into a beautiful old church, season with fund-raising goodwill, and presto: a party!"

For the third year in a row, Hilltown Families is a proud sponsor of the Nonotuck Community School Winter Family Concert Series.  This year the school ends their concert series with a family concert with Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, “one of America’s most inventive string bands” (Boston Herald)…and we have a family 4-pack of free tickets to giveaway to one lucky family! Proceeds from the performance go to benefit Nonotuck Community School, a local non-profit preschool! Deadline to enter to win is 02/29/12 by 7pm (EST). Find out how to enter to win below.

ABOUT RANI ARBO & DAISY MAYHEM

Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem is a rootsy, Americana-style string band of four musicians — all parents — who have played and toured together for 10 years. Their grooves are deep, their four-part harmonies are rich, and their adventurous, eclectic song selection serves their debut family CD Ranky Tanky well. Family music is a new endeavor for the band, but they have longstanding reputation for performances that are, as the Boston Globe put it, “playful and profound. Ranky Tanky sticks with that equation: it’s uplifting, danceable, playful, sometimes silly, sometimes wistful, and never sarcastic. Rani Arbo fires up the fiddle; Anand Nayak plays electric and acoustic guitars; Andrew Kinsy is on upright acoustic bass (and ukulele and banjo), and Scott Kessel pilots the Drumship Enterprise, a percussion rig made from cardboard boxes, tin cans, water jugs, and a vinyl suitcase. Together, they create a joyful, musical fusion of sounds both old and new — and a great soundtrack for family tim

ABOUT THE NCS 2012 WINTER FAMILY CONCERT SERIES

The NCS Winter Family Concert Series is an annual three-part Winter Family Concert Series hosted by Nonotuck Community School. The 2012 season started off with a family concert with The Nields in January, followed by A Family Dance Party with DJ Joan Holliday in February and Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem in March.  The family concerts take place at The First Churches of Northampton (129 Main Street). Proceeds from this concert series will go to benefit Nonotuck Community School, a nonprofit parent cooperative that provides early education and care for children aged 15 months to 5 years old, and is located in Florence, Massachusetts (221 Riverside Drive, 586-5996). For more information visit: www.nonotuck.org or call 413-586-5996.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem in concert at The First Churches of Northampton on Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 @ 10:30am , is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below,
  • TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES CONNECTS YOUR FAMILY WITH EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES DURING SCHOOL VACATION WEEKS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR  below (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  • FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  • LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  • ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  • We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, 02/29/12 @ 7pm (EST).

12 Great Educational Web Sites for Kids

Educational Web Sites for Kids

Today, I’ll point out some great educational web sites for kids. At our home, we attempt to balance educational and “just for fun” web sites with our five year old son.  For younger kids, simple things like printing out coloring pages (use Google Images with Safe Search set to Strict) or simply printing out posters of favorite characters or animals are some easy and fun ways to use the Internet.   We also look up answers to questions that we can’t answer ourselves at on Factmonster or using Google.   We also try to model appropriate use of the Internet.  Kids seem to ultimately follow what we do more than the limits we set for them. Read the rest of this entry »

Q&A: Kids Got Lice? What to Do!

QUESTION AND ANSWERS

“Nothing convinces kids to wash / treat their hair regularly and not share hair brushes etc. than the threat of being shaved bald,” writes Joshua Diamond.

One of our readers recently wrote about her concerns around LICE. Any ideas on how to prevent lice and/or how to treat it? Share your experiences, suggestions and resources!

  • Ann Dawson Saalfrank writes, “Hair spray.  Spray under the hair and on the sides. Lice like it warm so that is where they go and they can not stick to the hair spray.”
  • Shannon Madden writes,Fairy Tales Shampoo and Leave-In Conditioning Spray. Knock on wood my kids have never had them and I think Fairy Tales is why.”
  • Amy Meltzer writes, “My takeaway from the whole lice sage is the Nix Lice Treatment and RID Lice don’t work. If we had an expensive “lice lady” in town, I would hire her in a heartbeat next time we get lice, even if I had to take a second mortgage on the house….”
  • Maxwell Alexander writes, “Ditto on the Fairy Tales!”
  • Crissy Halloran writes, “Prevention = tea tree oil along the hairline.”
  • Joshua Diamond writes, “Nothing convinces kids to wash / treat their hair regularly and not share hair brushes etc. than the threat of being shaved bald. All it takes is one kid in the school every couple of years, and the story spreads…”
  • Amanda Kingsley writes, “I condition my kids hair with tea tree conditioner when I know it’s around and I try to keep long hair back. We’ve been lucky, so far.”
  • Susan Lillie Robert writes, “Add a few drops of tea tree oil to your shampoo as this prevents head lice.”
  • Li Dolan writes, “Other strong scented essential oils such as rosemary or eucalyptus will work just as well as tea tree with out the toxicity. It is the scent that repels them. As for treatment, I have had good results with the cetaphil treatments and The Lice Program combing regimen.  My favorite comb for doing my daughter’s hair is the Terminator Comb. I have to do my own hair though and find that any metal toothed comb works well.

For more resources on the topic of lice, here’s a Pintrest board with pictures and videos.

[Photo credit: (ccl) Gilles San Martin]

HFVS Guest DJ, Ellis Paul Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

Listen to Podcast:

GUEST DJ, ELLIS PAUL EPISODE

Enter to win a copy of Ellis Paul's new CD, "The Hero in Me" by emailing us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com with "Ellis Paul" in the subject line by midnight, Feb 22nd.

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
Feb. 18th & 19th, 2012
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA


New Podcasts ♦ Archived Podcasts Subscribe to Podcast
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Ellis Paul (www.ellispaul.com) and his musical friend Flynn provide today’s Guest DJ spot, spinning some of their favorite tunes. Included in today’s playlist are songs from Lead Belly, Leon Redbone, Dan Zanes, Bill Harley and Justin Roberts. The set leads off with two songs from Ellis’ brand new family album, The Hero in You: the title track and “Nellie Bly.”  

Known for his deeply felt and socially conscious songwriting, often about heroes, Ellis Paul was inspired by his own two growing daughters and four years of performing for families to write about people who contributed something to the world through their work and art. His first family music CD was Dragonfly Races. Read Hilltown Families’ interview with Ellis when Dragonfly Races was first released: The Dragonfly Races: An Interview with Ellis Paul.

ELLIS PAUL’S PLAYLIST

  • Ellis Paul – “The Hero in You” [The Hero in You]
  • Ellis Paul – “Nellie Bly” [The Hero in You]
  • Leon Redbone – “Polly Wolly Doodle” [On the Track]
  • Lead Belly – “Jimmy Cracked Corn” [Blues Routes Leadbelly]
  • Dan Zanes & Friends – “Hop Up Ladies” [House Party]
  • Jeannie B! And the Jelly Beans – “Sugar Buzz” [Sugar Buzz]
  • Ellis Paul – “Albert Einstein” [The Hero in You]
  • Thomas Dolby – “She Blinded Me with Science” [The Golden Age of Wireless]
  • Laurie Berkner – “Froggie Went a-Courtin’” [Victor Vito]
  • Brady Rymer – “It’s All How you Look at It” [Look at my Belly]
  • Ellis Paul – “Woody Guthrie, Working Man” [The Hero in You]
  • Bill Harley – “Wacka Wacka Woo” [Wacka Wacka Woo & Other Stuff]
  • Mel Brooks and Marlo Thomas – “Boy Meets Girl” [Free to Be... You and Me]
  • Justin Roberts – “Roller in the Coaster” [Way Out]
  • Vinx – “You are my Sunshine” [The Mood I'm In]

Suggested Events for Feb 18th-24th, 2012

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

The 15th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count takes place from February 17th-20th this year! If your kids have off for winter vacation week, this is a fun way to keep them learning and unplugged while out of school. Click on photo for more info. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Suggest EventIf you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout Western Massachusetts while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Click HERE to find out more.

BEST BETS

Ice Skating in Western MAIn the morning on Saturday, February 18th at 10am or 12noon in Berkshire Co. – FAMILY FILM: Share with your kids international films today at Images Cinema! The cinema is screening, “Lotte from Gadgetville,” an animated children’s movie from Estonia. The movie tells the story of Lotte, and the adventures she has learning about the many inventions created in her village. 413-458-5612. 50 Spring Street. Williamstown, MA. ($)

In the afternoon on Saturday, February 18th at 2pm in Franklin Co. – FAMILY THEATER: The New Renaissance Players perform Treasure Island at the Shea Theater! The show is a high-energy pirate adventure appropriate for families with slightly older kids (some parts are scary!). 413-863-2281. 71 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. ($)

In the evening on Saturday, February 18th at 7:30pm in Hampshire Co. – THEATER/HISTORY: Old Deerfield Productions is presenting the premier of the new folk opera, “Truth,” which tells the story of former slave, abolitionist, and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth. Kids with audience skills can supplement studies of American History by seeing the show. Seeing the show could be a great way to start a family dialogue about abolition and how it fits into the larger topic of human rights. Takes place at the Academy of Music. 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA. ($)

All day on Sunday, February 19th from 9am-5pm in Hampden Co. – HISTORY: The Springfield Armory is a National Historic Site where visitors can learn about the role of the armory within American history. This week beginning today there are special programs for families for school vacation! Along with the regular exhibits and learning opportunities, there will be a firearms scavenger hunt, an outdoor tour to look at architecture and building markings, and more! 413-734-8551. 1 Armory Square. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Flywheel Saturday Morning Music Party

Family concert with UNCLE ROCK at Flywheel in Easthampton on Saturday, March 10th at 10am. Presented by Hilltown Families, No Nap Happy Hour Series and Flywheel.

Saturday, February 25 from 10-11am in the Pioneer Valley – PUPPETS: Tom Knight is performing a puppet show at Hatfield Elementary School this morning! The show is designed for pre-school aged kids and their families and is sponsored by the Collaborative for Educational Services. 413-586-4998. 33 Main Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, February 25 from 10:30am-12:30pm in the Berkshires – STORYWALK: The North Adams Public Library has arranged a storywalk through downtown North Adams! It will be around until March 3rd for families to visit anytime, but this particular Sunday morning there will be a special craft at the library accompanying the story Annie and the Wild Animals by Western MA author, Jan Brett. 413-662-3133. 74 Church Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, February 26 from 1:30-4:30pm – FAMILY FUN: Northampton Recreation is hosting a fun family afternoon as part of Fabulous February! There will be ice cream and games of bingo beginning at 1:30, then open swim time beginning at 2:30. Younger kids can practice matching and identifying numbers by playing bingo, and kids of all ages (and adults!) can get some great exercise and swimming practice for summer during pool time. 413-587-1040. 100 Bridge Road. Florence, MA. (<$)

BULLETIN BOARD

CHILDCARE OPENINGS: Little Bear Learn & Care, a high quality childcare program serving the Greater Easthampton Area, has limited openings available in their infant and two year classrooms. Offering childcare for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, Little Bear’s welcoming family atmosphere and creative free play environment supports the critical brain-building development of a child’s first five years of life, building a foundation of valuable social/emotional adeptness for later learning. Through basic sign language, modeling and role playing, Little Bear encourages the development of healthy communication skills. To schedule a visit or to find out more about current openings, call 413-203-1776, or visit online at www.littlebearlearnandcare.com.

FAMILY CONCERT: Sunnyside Children’s Center Presents… R.O.C.K…Paper…Blizzard! Rock those winter blues away, eat pizza with your pals, make art, and try to win our Rock Paper Scissors Championship! Come spend the morning with the Valley’s own rockin’ family music band, The Royal Order of Chords & Keys (R.O.C.K.), with Aric Bieganek on vocals and guitar, Hans Dalhaus on drums and David Picchi on bass. Featured on the Meltdown Stage at the 2011 Green River Festival, together they form the hardest rocking band for families in the world. Sunday, February 19th from 10:30am-12noon at the Florence Community Center. Tickets just $5 per person ($25 maximum per family). All proceeds fund the Sunnyside financial aid fund for families in need. www.sunnysidekids.org

SCHOOL VACATION WEEK: This February vacation join The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA for live performances, art making, gallery exhibitions, scavenger hunts, and story times! There will be live performances of The Ugly Ducking in the auditorium by the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts School, Feb. 21 – 24 at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. $6 ($5 members). And while school might be out for some, kids can still learn about history through a new art exhibition, We Are The Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, paintings by Kadir Nelson, and by creating timelines in the art studio, highlighting significant events and journeys from the past. The museum will be open on President’s Day! For more information please visit: www.carlemuseum.org or call 413-658-1100.

ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS: Accepting applications for fall 2012. The Bement School founded in 1925 and located in Deerfield is a co-educational junior boarding and day school serving 245 students in kindergarten through grade 9. Bement’s rich, traditional curriculum motivates and challenges students with strong academics, a renowned fine arts program, and a diverse athletic program. Students participate in athletics and fine arts daily. The pervasive atmosphere at Bement is that of a family, learning and living together. Bement actively seeks an academically diverse, international, and multi-cultural student body. For information on how to apply, financial aid, or to arrange a visit to campus, call 413-774-7061 www.bement.org.

HILLTOWN IDOLS: Coming soon: Hilltown Idols! An adult & child karaoke competition/fundraiser for the Cultural Arts Committee (CAC) of the Williamsburg Schools. Auditions are Sat., 3/3, with the Final Performance on Sat., 3/10 at 7pm at the Dunphy School in Williamsburg. The competition is open to children & adults from near and far! There are four competition groups: Grades 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, & Adults. Prizes will be awarded to winners. Entry fee for contestants in Grades 3-12 is $5.00 & $25.00 for adults. Register by 3/2! Tickets for audience members on 3/3 are $2/individual or $5/family for the day. Tickets for the Final Performance on 3/10 are $5(Ages 3-18), $10(Adults), or $20 per family. See sites.google.com/site/hilltownidols for details.

SPONSORSHIP & ADVERTISING: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. See your event, camp, workshop, business featured here in the bulletin board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and eNewsletter! Find out more about our Enhanced Publicity options and how we can help with your marketing.

ADOPTIVE PARENTS: Berkshire Children and Families (BCF) is hosting a workshop for families interested in learning more about adopting a child. Prospective adoptive parents can learn about available children, as well as the process of applying to adopt. The process includes undergoing MAPP (Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting) Training, as well as a homestudy. If approved after applying, adoptive parents are able to adopt children from within the state’s DCF system. There are many children in need of families- if you’re interested in considering adoption, feel free to attend! The workshop will take place on Tuesday, Feburary 21st from 5:30-7pm at the BCF office (200 Russell Street) in Hadley. Questions can be directed to Linda Dugas at 413-584-5690.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS:
Feb 18th—Feb 24th, 2012

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes
Weekly eNewsletter | Events for Working Parents

Read the rest of this entry »

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Lucy Kaplansky at Iron Horse Music Hall

Lucy Kaplansky
Iron Horse Music Hall ♦ Northampton, MA
Sunday, Feb 26th, 2012 @ 7pm

Win a pair of tickets to see Lucy Kaplansky at the Iron Horse in Northampton on Sunday, Feb 26th at 7pm. Deadline to enter to win: 2/22 @ 7pm (EST).

Hilltown Families and Iron Horse Entertainment Group have partnered up to offer a chance to win free tickets to see adult venues in the Pioneer Valley for a PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT! You pay for the sitter, we’ll pay for the tickets!

For the end of February we have a pair of tickets to giveaway to see Lucy Kaplansky at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA on Sunday, Feb 26th at 7pm with opening act, Sandy Bailey. Win a pair of tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win: 2/22 @ 7pm (EST). Details below.

ABOUT LUCY KAPLANSKY

She started out singing in Chicago bars. Then, barely out of high school, Lucy Kaplansky took off for New York City. There she found a fertile community of songwriters and performers – Suzanne Vega, John Gorka, Bill Morrissey, Cliff Eberhardt. Lucy was everyone’s favorite singing partner, but most often she found herself singing as a duo with Shawn Colvin. Lucy temporarily left the musical fast track to pursue a doctorate in Psychology and open her own private practice, although she continues to tour extensively across North America, reminding audiences why she has been hailed as “a truly gifted performer…full of enchanting songs” (The New Yorker). www.lucykaplansky.com

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a pair of tickets to see Lucy Kaplansky at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA on Sunday, Feb 26th at 7pm with opening act, Sandy Bailey, is easy & simple!  To enter to win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below
  • TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES KEEPS YOUR FAMILY ENGAGED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY DURING SCHOOL VACATION WEEK below (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  • FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  • LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  • ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  • We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, 02/22/12 @ 7pm (EST)

If you don’t win you should still go. Tickets are available at the Northampton Box office, online at IHEG.com, or by calling 413-586-8686.

Intergenerational Interview & Writing Project

Listen to a Life
An Intergenerational Writing/Interviewing Project

Participating in the Listen to a Life project affords students the opportunity to learn to appreciate experiences of elders in their community and the value of their advice and guidance, something that is too often missing within American communities.

A loss of information and experiences between generations is accepted as relatively normal within American culture- but as each generation misses out on learning about those before them, valuable lessons and stories are lost.  In order to encourage learning from older community members, kids can participate in a unique intergenerational  interview and writing project, the Listen to a Life Contest!

The Listen to a Life Contest calls for students ages 8-18 to interview a community member over the age of 50 (who is not their parent) about their hopes and goals over the course of their life, the ways in which they achieved their goals or overcame obstacles, and how their goals may have changed or evolved over the course of time.  Students are then asked to write an essay (up to 300 words) on the information that they’ve learned.  There are great prizes available to winners (including a computer, EdOptions products for the student’s school, and more!), but the more valuable parts of the contest aren’t prizes.

By conducting interviews and writing the essay, students will learn about and reflect on the changes that take place throughout life and the process of becoming older and wiser as a result of experience.  Students will learn to appreciate the experiences of their elders and will hopefully also learn to value the advice and guidance of older community members- something that is too often missing within American communities.  To learn more about the contest, visit www.tcpnow.com.

[Photo credit: (ccl) Ronn Aldaman]

Citizen Scientists Wanted for the 15th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count

Great Backyard Bird Count Perfect for Families

(Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Get out your bird books- this year’s 2012 Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) takes place from February 17th-20th!  

The GBBC helps researchers gather an accurate count of bird populations, as well as determine the location of bird species.  Sponsored by Audubon and Cornell University, the event requires citizen scientists to watch and count birds in their backyard for at least 15 minutes on at least one of the days during the bird count.

After you’ve collected your data, you can submit your information online.  Tallies on the data site will grow as the count continues- check back to see how populations in your area look and to see how many other people are participating!

Although it’s called the Great “Backyard” Bird Count, the count extends well beyond backyards. Lots of participants choose to head for national parks, nature centers, urban parks, nature trails, or nearby sanctuaries. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

The GBBC is essential to ornithology research because without the help of volunteer citizen scientists, researchers wouldn’t be able to gather accurate data about populations and locations of birds.  The event is incredibly easy for families to take part in, and also offers ample learning opportunities!

While counting birds, families can practice identifying the different species they see, discussing with your kids why each bird looks (color, shape, and size) the way that it does, and talk about what the bird’s natural food sources are during winter.  Kids can also learn about habitat by thinking about where they saw each bird and what kinds of birds they didn’t see because they’ve migrated south.  For more information on the event, visit www.birdsource.org.  Happy counting!

Community Gathers to Discuss Creative Free Play in a Commercialized World

Creative Free Play in a Commercialized World
A Community Conversation

On Tuesday, February 7th, a group of parents, grandparents and childcare professionals came together for Hilltown Families’ Roundtable Discussion: Creative Free Play in a Commercialized World to discuss a variety of subjects related to the theme of creative free play in a commercialized world, a continuation of the presentation Hilltown Families hosted before the holidays with Dr. Susan Linn, author of The Case for Make Believe and Consuming Kids.

COMMUNICATION

The roundtable was a lively discussion with a variety of perspectives and ideas for empowerment.  One point reiterated several times during the conversation was the importance of communication.  Caring about the impact of media on our kids and their growing minds, we need to talk to them about commercialization, helping them navigate our media saturated world by pointing out advertising and marketing strategies geared toward children. Proactive ways parents can communicate with their kids include watching the same TV shows/movies their children are watching, or exploring the internet with them, giving parents opportunities to find teachable moments and openings for engagement in dialog.

TEACHING

One idea that came out of our discussion on how parents can make their kids savvy to the marketing strategies of corporate marketers was to take a walk with them through a big box grocery store in search of movie or television characters on products placed at their eye level, then talk about why these characters are on these products in these locations.  Another idea was to choose non-commercial educational videos and apps for children when consuming media. Video series like the Liberty Kids to supplement Colonial Studies, or Bill Nye the Science guy to supplement science studies were suggested.

CREATIVE FREE PLAY

As always, the notion of involving children in real world activities as much as possible is the antidote to too much media consumption, and Hilltown Families provides a comprehensive list of events each week for families that supports this practice.  Providing opportunities for creative free play that enhances imagination is essential.  A recent event at a local family center utilizing empty boxes for play was a perfect example.  Ironically, allowing children to be bored can often lead to creative solutions.  Several parents related stories of the most creative play originating out of moments of boredom resulting in toilet paper roll towers or made up stories exercising the imagination.

OTHER TOPICS

Related subjects discussed included:

  • violence and inappropriate language in media
  • sexualization in media and the impact on girls
  • children who are not exposed to certain media feeling left out among peers
  • over-scheduling of childhood
  • older teens/young adults and the over-use of Facebook
  • tensions from protecting our children from the impacts of commercialization in a media saturated world versus creating opportunities for dialog and critical thinking

A couple of resources were recommended to empower parents with young girls who struggle with the challenges they face. The book Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World was recommended to parents with tween aged girls.   And the video from the Dove Self Esteem Campaign Ad “Evolution,” which shows how models are photoshopped, was suggested as a video to screen with girls (and boys) to illustrate how the current ideal of beauty is manufactured and promoted through media.

CONCLUSION

The discussion was concluded with an invitation to parents and professionals who have ideas/thoughts on how to empower our community and children on these topics to work with Hilltown Families to share and grow these ideas. Drop us an email at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com anytime.  And please continue to be part of the ongoing dialog about the importance of creative free play and helping our children navigate a commercialized world.  To receive updates and notices on events and opportunities on this topic, share with us your email and we will keep you posted:

Big thank you to Northampton Public Schools for co-sponsoring this month’s discussion, and to Cup & Top Cafe for hosting.

[Image credit: (ccl) Monette Enriquez]

In Honor of Black History Month, 5 Award Winning Books

Oprn Drdsmr: Kid Lit Musings and Review by Cheli Mennella

In Honor of Black History Month, 5 Award Winning Books

Every January the American Library Association announces the much-anticipated Youth Media Awards, some of the highest honors given to books for children and young adults in this country. The Coretta Scott King Book Award is one of those awards. It commemorates the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and honors Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her courage and continuing work for peace. The annual award recognizes outstanding books for children by African-American authors and illustrators that reflect the African-American experience.

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans

The 2012 Coretta Scott King author winner is Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans, written by Kadir Nelson. This epic work, told by a nameless grandmother narrator, who interweaves her family’s trials and tribulations with the history of America, sheds light on how African Americans helped shape our country’s history. From colonial times and abolition, through several wars, Reconstruction, and the Great Migration, to the Civil Rights Era and a 21st century presidential election, the narrator takes listeners on a perilous journey, that in the end, leads to freedom and equal rights. The book comes to a close as the narrator proudly tells how she cast her vote for the first African-American president, Barack Obama.

The storytelling voice is direct, no-nonsense, unflinching in its truth telling. But the narrator’s tone and warmth, her endearments of “honey” and “chile,” which are sprinkled throughout, add a sweetness that makes this difficult period in American history a bit easier for children to swallow. This intimacy pulls the listener right in, you want to listen, even though what she’s saying is often hard to hear. There’s a sense that receiving her story is a gift, and a responsibility, to remember the past and to always be moving toward equal rights and justice.

Heart and Soul was also awarded the 2012 Coretta Scott King honor award for illustration. Kadir Neslon’s lush oil paintings are rendered in deep, colorful tones that shine with an inner brilliance. Their impact is enormous, powerful, arriving with every turn of the page, some spreading across two pages at once. These portraitures of history tell a story of their own.

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans, written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson, published by Balzer & Bray of HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 2011. 108 pg. ISBN: 978-0-06-173074-0

The Great Migration: Journey to the North

Two books received Coretta Scott King honorable mentions for authorship. One is The Great Migration: Journey to the North, written by Eloise Greenfield and illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist, a picture book about a transformational time in American history.

More than a million African-Americans left the south and moved north between the years of 1915 and 1930. They left behind all they had known to escape the brutalities of the Ku Klux Klan, a dire economic situation, and the harsh realities of segregation.

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Music Trekking: The Russian Guitar

Discovering The Balalaika

If you’re watching someone “rock out” in the USA, chances are they are playing a guitar. It might be a bass guitar, an electric guitar, an acoustic guitar or maybe even a 12 string guitar, but it probably is some kind of guitar. Along with the banjo and the fiddle, it’s one of our country’s “stringed instruments of choice.” Now if you were to travel almost halfway around the world to countries like Russia or the Ukraine, you’d also see some pretty amazing musicians and musical groups. But instead of the familiar guitar, they might be making their own musical magic with a triangular-shaped instrument called a balalaika.

Unlike the guitar, the balalaika is actually a family of instruments with a variety of sizes from the smaller, mandolin-sized prima balalaika to a huge contrabass balalaika which is so large that it needs wooden legs to support it as it stands on the floor. And the contra bass is so large that it is played with a pick made from a large piece of leather or even a boot heel – wow!

If you’d like to see a balalaika, check out this video in Yiddish and English called Tum Balalaika:

This folksong from Eastern Europe is actually a riddle song. In the original Yiddish, a boy is seeking a lovely girl who is as pretty as she is smart. So he stays up all night and devises a series of riddles that are questions for her. The chorus of the song: “tum bala, tum bala, tum, balalaika” imitates the strum of the balalaika. If you’d like to see some of the riddles he poses, there’s an English translation below.

Because I often sing for audiences that speak mainly English, I sing the original verse in Yiddish and then add new verses in English that tell the story. The girl is as clever (or more clever) then the boy. She answers all his questions then asks him to be her beau. It’s a perfect ending since the young lady also wanted a boyfriend as clever as he might be handsome!

If you’d like to see and hear an actual balalaika, check out this balalaika orchestra:

You’ll see a group of boys and men of various ages playing the Beatles Song “Yesterday” on their balalaikas. Notice the different sizes and shapes working together to create the beautiful melody.

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Valley Famous Residents Give a Little Love Back to Paradise

Mash Notes to Paradise by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Note 10, Our Famous People are Cool (& Give Back)

John Hodgman at the Amherst Cinema on March 11th, 2012. (Courtesy Photo)

There’s little question that Rachel Maddow’s rise is something many Valley folk feel a kind of personal cheerlead-y excitement over. I mean, she’s smart and funny and we loved her first. She brings some of our real politics into the mainstream (by real, let’s say progressive and a little wonky, the National Priorities Project and Free Press angles of seeing the issues writ less about political parties and more about issues of access and spending and information sharing). Her love story is pretty quintessentially a Valley one; she met Susan when she knocked on the door to fix something and you know, lesbians in love, happens all the time (around here).

She’s even been Tumblr’ed to better that oft-memed Ryan Gosling—what’s not to like?

Part of what makes it that much more fun to live here is that the people who somehow collide with fame and Paradise or its environs, before, after or during really do give back.

Case in point: Rachel Maddow helped raise money this summer for the Cummington Creamery (also, she and her partner are generous more generally around here).

❥ Next month, John Hodgman will offer his witty brand o’expertise to a Movie Trivia Bee for our (fabulous) independent movie theaters, Pleasant Street Cinema and Amherst Cinema. The event will be at Smith College (Weinstein Auditorium) on Sunday, March 11th at 3 PM. Bill Dwight, formerly the world’s oldest video clerk and now City Council President in Northampton (that’s how Northampton rolls) is emcee. Rather than glitz, we have cool, sharp and funny going—and gracious and loyal. Love of place and community, baby, that’s the bomb diggity.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah is a writer, who lives in Northampton with her husband and four children. She contributes to Preview Massachusetts Magazine, as well as other publications and writes a parenting blog Standing in the Shadows at the Valley Advocate. She moved to the Valley to attend Hampshire College—and found the Valley such a nice place, she stayed!

Q&A: Where to Dine in Western MA for Valentine’s Day with Your Family

QUESTION AND ANSWERS

Erin Burke Murphy writes, “Can anyone recommend some restaurants my Husband and I could go to with our 20 month old for an early delicious Valentine’s Day dinner?”

  • Matt Grillo recommends:Bertucci’s (Amherst, Longmeadow & West Springfield) is very family-friendly, inexpensive and tasty. ♥”
  • Lori Shine recommends: “The Apollo Grill in Easthampton! Especially on the early side (5:30pm) they are usually not that busy, staff is super kid-friendly, their menu has a luxurious side and less expensive options too. Not to mention if the 20-month-old needs a break from her seat, one of the parents can let her run in Eastworks‘ long hallways for a few minutes! Hands down our favorite restaurant for family dining! p.s. the food is fantastic.”
  • Ron Frost Wright recommends: “There’s always Four Main Street Bar and Grill in Huntington if your looking for a quiet atmosphere or the Russell Inn in Russell, MA.”
  • Kathy McDonnell Elsea recommends: “I’m with Lori… Apollo Grill… Roberto’s Restaurant (Northampton) is yummy too.”
  • Kara Kitchen recommends:Pizzeria Paradisio in Northampton, The Brewmaster’s Tavern in Williamsburg, Hope and Olive in Greenfield… I heard Chandler’s Restaurant (South Deerfield) is very nice for Valentine’s Day…and the little one would love a trip through Yankee Candle. Maybe Magic Wings before hand to really make it special-butterflies+flowers are a perfect celebration of love!”
  • Judy Bennett recommends:People’s Pint in Greenfield is kid friendly with great food & beer.”
  • Sandra Dias recommends: “Roberto’s Restaurant in Northampton is very family-friendly.”
  • Melanie Courtemanche recommends:Judie’s Restaurant in Amherst.”
  • Rebecca Trow Addison recommends: “I will add that while it’s not romantic at all .. the Route 9 Diner in Hadley is family friendly and on Tuesdays kids eat free. Valentines’ Day happens to fall on a Tuesday so… if kids ask nicely the cashier will let them pick a toy out from a bin tucked under the cashier’s desk when the family leaves. Plus of course the kids menus are made for coloring and doing activities etc… On nights other than Tuesdays the prices are reasonable. Kid’s pancake is about $2, burgers and other items a few bucks more. Great place!”
  • Erin Burke Murphy writes, “Great suggestions! Thanks everyone, I’ll let you know where we end up.”

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HFVS Valentine’s Day 2012 Episode with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn (Radio Show/Podcast)

Listen to Podcast:

VALENTINE’S DAY EPISODE
with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
Feb. 11th & 12th, 2012
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA


New Podcasts ♦ Archived Podcasts Subscribe to Podcast
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CHARITY KAHN’S PLAYLIST

Find out more about our Guest DJ, Charity Kahn at www.jamjamjam.com.

Previous Valentine’s Day Podcasts:

Feb 12, 2008 — Valentine’s Day Episode with Guest DJ, Uncle Rock — Playlist ♦ Podcast

Suggested Events for Feb 11th-17th, 2012

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Northampton's 2nd Annual Ice Art Festival happens this Friday, Feb. 10th as part of Northampton Arts Night Out. See sculptures being made during the day on Friday and enjoy them Friday night and throughout the weekend. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Suggest EventIf you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout Western Massachusetts while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Click HERE to find out more.

BEST BETS

Flywheel Saturday Morning Music PartyOn Saturday, February 11th from 10am – MUSIC/PANCAKES – The first in a series of Saturday Morning Music Party events kicks of at Flywheel with a pancake breakfast, screening of Pancake Mountain, and DJ Youthelectronix for a family dance party. This series is presented by Flywheel, Hilltown Families and The No Nap Happy Hour. 413-527-9800. 43 Main St. (Old Town Hall). Easthampton, MA (FREE)

Then later on Saturday, February 11th from 12:30-3:30pm – VALENTINES/HISTORY: Create your own Victorian-inspired valentines today at the Wistariahurst Museum!  The museum will have antique valentines on display for participants to view and gain inspiration from.  413-322-5660.  238 Cabot Street.  Holyoke, MA.  (<$)

In the evening on Saturday, February 11th from 5-8pm - COMMUNITY CELEBRATION: Easthampton’s annual Fire and Ice celebration takes place tonight!  It’s during the town’s monthly Art Walk event, and along with galleries being open across town, there will be ice sculptures all over town, street performances, and live music!  Families can see art created by local artists and enjoy the pop-up winter street art.  Easthampton, MA.  (FREE)

Parents' Night Out ticket giveaway for Valentine's Day to see Ruth Moody at the Iron Horse in Northampton, MA! Deadline to enter to win: 02/10/12 by 7pm (EST)

On Sunday, February 12th from 10am-12noon – CREATIVE FREE PLAY: The Cummington Family Center is hosting a valentine-themed potluck and box play event for families today!  Bring a dish to share, and then enjoy creative free play using a collection of boxes big and small.  Kids can exercise their creativity by building and creating- boxes are great for free play, and it’s a totally non-commercial activity!  33 Main Street.  Cummington, MA.  (FREE)

On Sunday, February 12th from 2-5pm – FATHER/DAUGHTER VALENTINE BALL: Dads and granddads can take the special daughters and/or granddaughters in their lives to Longmeadow Parks and Recreation’s annual Father-Daughter Valentine’s Ball! Dress up in your fanciest clothes and enjoy a fun afternoon of holiday-themed music, dancing, decorations, and treats! Perhaps dads and daughters can learn a few dances together before the event. Takes place at the Community House. 413-565-4160. 735 Londmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. ($)

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Enter to win tix to the Winklepicker Festival's Mardi Gras Ball with Buckwheat Zydeco at the Ashfield Town Hall followed by an after-party with The Primate Fiasco. Deadline to enter to win: 02/15/12 by 7pm (EST)

On Saturday, February 18th from 9am-1pm – ANIMAL ADVENTURE: Spend the day outside learning about animal tracking, botany, and how animals adapt for survival during the winter today at the Guyette Farm with the Franklin Land Trust!  Naturalist John Foster will lead the exploration. Registration required.  413-625-9151.  Gloyd Street.  Plainfield, MA.  (FREE)

On Sunday, February 19th from 3-5pm – FAMILY DANCE: Families are invited to Laurel Park for live music, traditional country dancing, singing and some games, all led by an experienced caller, for families with little ones. 413-230-7037. 2 Laurel Park. Northampton, MA (>$)

BULLETIN BOARD

ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS: Accepting applications for fall 2012. The Bement School founded in 1925 and located in Deerfield is a co-educational junior boarding and day school serving 245 students in kindergarten through grade 9.  Bement’s rich, traditional curriculum motivates and challenges students with strong academics, a renowned fine arts program, and a diverse athletic program. Students participate in athletics and fine arts daily. The pervasive atmosphere at Bement is that of a family, learning and living together. Bement actively seeks an academically diverse, international, and multi-cultural student body. For information on how to apply, financial aid, or to arrange a visit to campus, call 413-774-7061  www.bement.org.

Jennifer Van Beckum writes, “There are currently 2-3 openings in my home-based Waldorf Childcare Program in Florence, ½ or full day options.  The program is based on rhythm, a love of nature, the protection of childhood, and the belief that the caregiver should surround the children with the love and happiness which will help their capacities unfold and flourish.  Our days include creative play, crafts, painting, baking, and gardening, circle time, story time, outdoor play and rest time.  Warm, home-made, nutritious snacks and lunch are served.  I have 20 years experience as an Early Childhood Teacher and am also a Certified Simplicity Parenting Group Leader.  For more information call Jennifer Van Beckum: 413-586-0596 or email: javanbeckum@iglide.net.”

SPONSORSHIP & ADVERTISING: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. See your event, camp, workshop, business featured here in the bulletin board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and eNewsletter! Find out more about our Enhanced Publicity options and how we can help with your marketing.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS:
Feb 11th—Feb 17th, 2012

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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A Family Guide to Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell: Pictures for the American People
A Family Guide

Designed specifically for families interested in extending art studies past a museum trip, the Norman Rockwell Family Guide is full of Rockwell’s work and includes information and questions to keep in mind while examining the images.

The month of February is artist Norman Rockwell’s birthday month!  His birthday was on the 3rd, and to celebrate, the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA continues to offer resources for families to learn about his art.  In addition to the works available in the museum’s galleries, families can take an even greater in-depth look at Rockwell’s art using information available on the museum’s website.  There is a biography page, which includes a timeline of Rockwell’s life and work.  Another page offers information on exhibits past and present of Rockwell’s work, as well as a slideshow of the collection.  There is accompanying information for many of the images- it’s a great way to prepare for a visit to the museum or to get a glimpse in to his artwork if you’re not able to go.

Also, newly added to the site is a special Family Guide you can download.  Designed specifically for families interested in extending art studies past a museum trip, the guide is full of Rockwell’s work and includes information and questions to keep in mind while examining the images.  Questions range from plain observations to more critical questions about what you can deduce about the inspiration for the painting, the creation process, or the cultural context of an image’s creation just by looking at a piece of art.  The available resources can supplement learning done while visiting the museum or be used at home along with studies of other artists.  Rockwell’s work is particularly useful for teaching kids to look critically at images because most of his paintings are depictions of everyday events.  The images that kids will be considering are similar to the types of illustrations that they see in picture books- it’s a logical place to begin!

For more formal educators, the museum also offers a downloadable Educator’s Resource Packet and lessons plans for secondary students, as well as programs for schools (K-12) and both a Girl & Boy Scouts.

Norman Rockwell Museum is located on 36 park-like acres in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, Rockwell’s hometown for the last 25 years of his life. The Museum is open year-round; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. For more information visit the Museum online at www.nrm.org.


Ice Art in the Streets of Northampton this Friday

2nd Annual Northampton Ice Art Festival
Friday, Feb. 10th, 2012

For the second year in a row the streets of Northampton will be filled with ice shavings and the sound of chisels & chain saws while sculptors and ice carvers create magnificent works out of ice.  This year’s Northampton Ice Art Festival will take place on Friday, February 10th.  Artists will begin working at 10am on Friday, and will have completed their works by evening- spectators can check out the process throughout the day, then check back later on to see the finished product.

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The event is part of February’s Arts Night Out Northampton event, sponsored by the Northampton Center for the Arts.  Ice sculptures will be at many locations throughout town, and many galleries and businesses will be open and displaying work as part of the event as well.  Weather permitting, the sculptures will remain in town throughout the weekend!  This year’s ice sculptors are coming to the project from a variety of backgrounds- there are sculptors of all types (snow included), installation artists, carvers, and even a painter!  For more information on the event, visit nohoarts.org.  The Ice Art Festival showcases art in an infrequently utilized medium- don’t miss this opportunity to see the beautiful, unique, and ephemeral works of art!

Human Library Event Helps Participants Move Beyond Stereotypes

Williams College Invites Community to Experience the Human Library on February 10 & 11, 2012

Williams College invites all members of the community to experience the Human Library, Friday, Feb. 10, from 11am-3pm. and Saturday, Feb. 11, from 1-3pm. at Paresky Center on the Williams College campus. This is a free, interactive event and reservations are not required. The Human Library at Williams contains 35 to 40 books: living people who have volunteered to be “checked out” for 25 to 30 minutes each. As a reader, a visitor will be able to start a one-on-one conversation with any book in the Library. This is an opportunity to borrow another person for a given time and ask them what you want to know. The goal is for members of our community—both on campus and off—to learn more about each other, to explore and move beyond stereotypes, and to develop a greater understanding of each person’s unique story.

The idea of checking a person out from a library sounds like it came out of a futuristic science fiction novel.  In reality, it’s actually part of Williams College’s Human Library event in Williamstown, MA!  Instead of a traditional library where books and checked out and read, the human library is full of people who can be “checked out” and asked questions!  The human books will answer questions and help explain to their “readers” everything there is to know about their topic.  The goal of the event is to build community, encourage community members to learn more about each others’ life experiences, and to help the community begin to move beyond stereotypes.

Human books are available on topics like evangelical Christianity, feminism, Olympic athletics, Iraq War veterans, and more.  Each topic is something that the human book has experienced in their own lives, and the information provided is firsthand.  The event is appropriate for teens and parents- older kids can learn about acceptance and reducing prejudice, and can use the event to supplement cultural studies and/or studies of race, gender, and privilege.  The Human Library will be open at the college’s Paresky Center on February 10th from 11am-3pm and February 11th from 1-3pm.  For more information, call 413-527-9277.  The event is free and open to all.

A campus map can be found on the web at www.williams.edu.

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