Hilltown Families Voted as Best Blog by the Valley Advocate’s Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll!

Hilltown Families Voted as Best Local Blog!

Wow! Thank you to everyone who voted for Hilltown Families in the Valley Advocate Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2011!

Maureen Turner of the Valley Advocate writes: “What began as a listserv six years ago has expanded with advances in technology; now visitors to the handsomely designed site will find podcasts of the Hilltown Family Variety Show, which plays eclectic family-friendly music; expansive lists of weekly events for families; and art and columns by contributors on topics that will appeal to folks raising kids or just interested in participating in their local communities.”

What a great way to celebrate the past five years!

Get Involved & Support Hilltown Families!

Hilltown Families Blog is part of an online grassroots communication network for families living throughout Western MA. There are many ways families and the community can both support and get involved with Hilltown Families.  Here are a few ways:

Community Comes Together to Celebrate & Support Hilltown Families

An Evening for Celebrating!

Wow!  What a great way to end the weekend this past Sunday evening at the Hilltown Families Birthday Benefit Bash!  Super fun celebrating with friends and community while raising money for Hilltown Families!  Check out all the great photos Angie Gregory snapped during the benefit:

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Couldn’t make it to the party, but still would like to show your support of Hilltown Families?  Make a secure donation online here:

THANK YOU!

So many thank you’s to all who made the event possible:

BREAD EUPHORIA
Thank you to owners Mark & Geri Pollard for hosting this fundraising event and their ongoing support of Hilltown Families!  Delicious pizza & cake, all night long!
www.breadeuphoria.org

MISTER G
Thank you to Ben Gundersheimer (A.K.A., Mister G) for performing!  Great family concert with kids having a crazy good time!
www.mistergsongs.com

NORSEMAN AV TECHNOLOGY DESIGN
Thank you to Shawn Gundersen for setting up the sound and our MC’s mic!
www.norsemanav.com

POWER OF THE PETAL
Thank you to Jen Schmidt from Power of the Petal for her donation of beautiful flowers for the event.

SETH GREGORY DESIGN
Thank you to Seth Gregory for his ongoing graphic design contributions to Hilltown Families!
www.sethgregorydesign.com

ANDREW QUIENT
Thank you to Andrew Quient for hosting the Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit in the corridor gallery.
www.andrewquientpottery.com

LOCAL CULTURAL COUNCILS
Thank you to the Chesterfield, Ashfield, Cummington and Buckland Cultural Councils for their support of the Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit
www.massculturalcouncil.org

KAREN LEET & TINA CORNELL
Thank you to Karen Leet and Tina Cornell for their graphic design contributions.

VOLUNTEERS
Huge thank you to all of our volunteers for making this evening possible!  Without their support this night wouldn’t have been possible (nor as much fun!).  Thanks to all, including:

  • Gina Krosoczka
  • Robin Morgan Huntley
  • Jen Reagan
  • Jenn Drumm (behind the bar!)
  • Jessica Tracy
  • Angie Gregory (behind the camera!)
  • Geri Pollard
  • Shawn Gundersen (our sound guy!)
  • Tina Cornell
  • Seth Gregory (Master of Ceremony!)

DOOR PRIZES
Thank you for all the donations for our door prizes, including Amherst Cinema, Pleasant Street Theater, and The Academy of Charlemont.

And thank you to everyone who join us for such a fun evening.  Great to see so many new faces and to see our community of families together getting to know one another!

Join Us! Hilltown Families Birthday Benefit Bash!

Hilltown Families Birthday Benefit Bash
Dinner, Dessert, and Family Entertainment
Sunday, April 10th ♦ 4-7pm

Come celebrate Hilltown Families 5th Anniversary at a fundraising benefit at Bread Euphoria in Haydenville on Sunday, April 10th from 4-7pm!  Spend a celebratory evening with your family and your community, enjoying dinner, dessert, and a family concert with Mister G, all while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Bread Euphoria will be serving up slices of their gourmet pizza made fresh on their delicious sourdough crust, and birthday cake for dessert, while supplies last, along with a cash bar (beer/wine). Suggested donation: $10 – $25 per person.

Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit will be on display in the Andrew Quient Corridor Gallery at Bread Euphoria during the celebration.  All images are for sale and net proceeds also go to benefit Hilltown Families!

PIZZA ♦ CAKE ♦ CONCERT ♦ ART

Pizza & Cake

Bread Euphoria Cafe & Bakery in Haydenville, MABread Euphoria owners, Mark and Geri Pollard, like to keep things simple. They never compromise the quality or purity of their ingredients. Most of their breads do not use commercial yeast, preferring the flavor provided by natural starters and a long fermentation. They use organic and locally grown ingredients whenever possible, and all of their meats are natural and roasted in-house. Soups, sauces, dressings and accompaniments are made fresh daily from scratch. They pride themselves on the variety of their products, from beautifully prepared standards like baguettes or croissants to dynamic new combinations in their cakes, pizzas, sandwiches and scones.

Belonging to a community of small farms and locally-owned food producers, Mark and Geri are proud to be part of their local food culture, providing  families with delicious sandwiches, pizza, breads, baked goods, and seasonal specials that are both great-tasting and nutritious. 206 Main St. (Route 9). Just over/before the Northampton line. www.BreadEuphoria.com

Family Concert

Mister G will perform a fun family concert beginning at 5pm. Over the past year, Mister G (Ben Gundersheimer) has performed with Dan Zanes in Northampton, and for kids in Europe and Latin America. He closed out 2010 with two shows at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Closer to home, Mister G played headlining sets at the Green River Festival, The River Meltdown and at the Hilltown Spring Festival this May. Winner of the first songwriting scholarship in the history of Berklee College of Music, Ben spent 20 years touring internationally as a bandleader and solo artist before getting his Masters in Elementary Education at Smith College in 2008. As Mister G, he has led innovative songwriting workshops in settings as varied as Sunnyside Preschool, Dana Farber Cancer Clinic, the 92nd St. Y, Horizons for Homeless Children, and the Smith College Campus School. www.MisterGSongs.com

In the Gallery

Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit features images of life and landscapes in western Massachusetts and moves to the Andrew Quient Corridor Gallery at Bread Euphoria where images in the exhibit will be available for sale as a fundraiser for Hilltown Families during the Birthday Benefit Bash. Featuring work by photographer and Hilltown Families’ founder, Sienna Wildfield, all images in the exhibit have been featured on HilltownFamilies.org over the years and net proceeds from the sale of images benefit the organization.

Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit is supported in part by grants from local Cultural Councils in Ashfield, Buckland, Chesterfield and Cummington — all local agencies supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.


Volunteers Wanted:
Want to be a part of this family fundraising event?
Sign up here.

Giveaway: 5 Family Tickets to 5 Family Performances @ the Academy of Music Theatre

The Gift of the Arts in Northampton
Musical, Ballet, Puppets & Chinese Acrobatics
5 Performances at the Academy of Music Theatre

For February we’re continuing our five year celebration with another fabulous 5 giveaway… this time we’re partnering with the Academy of Music Theatre (Northampton, MA) and offering 5 family 4-packs of tickets to 5 different performances this late winter/early spring!

Let’s recap our five year celebration to date: We started off the festivities in November with 5 Gifts Locally Handmade by Hilltown Mompreneurs, and in December we partnered with 5 Western MA Museums offering 5 Annual Family Memberships. We began the new year with 5 Gift Baskets from 5 Local Food Businesses in Western MA, which we did a drawing for at the debut opening celebration of Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit Featuring Life and Landscape in Western MA (see photos).

Now, for the shortest month of the year, we have a long list of five family performances you can enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see in Northampton, MA at the historic Academy of Music Theatre. Read about these terrific family performances and enter to win below. Deadline to enter to win: February 28th, 2011 by 7pm (EST).

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical
Friday, March 4th @ 7pm

It sounds so simple, just a quick trip to the laundromat with Daddy, Trixie, and her beloved Knuffle Bunny. But, before you know it, things go horribly… hilariously wrong. Chock-full of adventure, song, and gigantic dancing laundry, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical tells a tale of family, best friends, baby steps, and memories that last a lifetime. Based on his beloved Caldecott Honor–winning picture book, six-time Emmy Award winner Mo Willems joins Grammy Award–winning composer Michael Silversher to lovingly celebrate the heart and heartache that can only come from a family visit to the local laundromat. A Kennedy Center production. Mo Willems will be available to answer questions following this one hour Kennedy Center production. The Kennedy Center has a video that takes a look behind the scenes of the making of this musical. (Ticket Value: $44)

New Shanghai Circus
Sunday, March 13th @ 2pm

In 1999, the New Shanghai Circus realized the dream of all acrobatic troupes from China: they were the first Chinese acrobatic company to be invited to perform on Broadway in New York City. The record-breaking 28 sold-out shows at the New Victory Theater won them the title “Best Foreign Production on Broadway” that year. Today, the New Shanghai Circus is in residence at its own theater in Branson, Missouri where it is among the five most popular events in this mid-west theater mecca. – The Chinese acrobatic tradition dates back to 700 B.C.; The art of Chinese acrobatics developed out of Lunar New Year harvest celebrations, where a village’s peasants and craftsmen would hold a kind of Chinese Thanksgiving. Acrobats used household tools and common items found around the farm and workshop as part of their exciting feats. Performers passed their skills down from generation to generation and great acrobatic families of China entertained everyone from city rulers to village people, performing at ceremonial carnivals and public theaters across the country. Get a sneak preview of their performance in this video. (Ticket Value: $74)

Sleeping Beauty and The Firebird
Saturday, April 2nd @ 1pm

Pioneer Valley Ballet presents a ballet double feature: Sleeping Beauty and The Firebird. Set to Tchaikovsky’s lush score, Sleeping Beauty is an action packed one-hour production that has a fresh take on a classic ballet. Audiences of all ages will be enchanted by the story of a bewitched princess asleep for 100 years, the spiteful Carabosse, and the prince who battles dragons and evil forces to awaken the kingdom. – The full version of the exotic ballet, The Firebird, is a 40 minute performance that celebrates the centennial anniversary of Stravinsky’s musical composition. Based on a Russian folk tale of the magical glowing bird that is both a blessing and a curse to its captor, audiences will be thrilled as Prince Ivan and the Firebird battle “Kaschei the Immortal” for the freedom of the lovely Princess. Come be transported by Stravinsky’s incomparable score and the high quality dancing you have come to expect from the Pioneer Valley Ballet! (Ticket Value: $90)

The Woman Who Outshone the Sun
Monday, April 18th @ 10am

As part of the Puppet Festival at the Academy of Music Theatre during the school vacation week, Behind the Mask Studio performs The Woman Who Outshone the Sun. In this story, a beautiful and mysterious woman with magical powers is exiled from a mountain village and she takes away its water source, a vital river. Through their suffering for what they have lost, the villagers learn important lessons of tolerance, forgiveness, and the frailty of the ecosystem. The show is performed as a bilingual story ( Spanish & English), and based on a poem by Alejandro Cruz Martinez. (Ticket Value: $20)

Pinocchio
Thursday, April 21st @ 10am

The Puppet Festival continues with a production of Pinocchio by David Syrotiak’s National Marionette Theatre. Carlo Collodi’s epic about a puppet who wants to become a real boy is a classic example of storytelling at its best. This adaptation is a faithful re-telling of a childhood classic. Follow Pinocchio as he goes on a series of adventures and realizes that only by being truthful, selfless and kind to others will he realize his dream of becoming a real live boy. (Ticket Value: $20)

HOW TO WIN:

Your chance to win a free family 4-pack of tickets to one of these fabulous family productions at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, MA is  super easy. To enter to win simply:

1.) Check the dates of the shows and tell us WHICH SHOWS YOU COULD ATTEND. Select all that apply then continue below.

(↑↑↑ be sure to hit the “submit” button) Must continue below ↓↓↓ to be eligible to win:

2.) Next, SHARE THIS PAGE ON FACEBOOK BY SELECTING “LIKE” BELOW
3.) TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES HAS CONNECTED YOUR FAMILY WITH THE ARTS IN WESTERN MA THESE PAST FIVE YEARS in the comment box below, and be sure to tell us your
4.) FULL NAME (again) and where you
5.) LIVE (TOWN/STATE) Must include your town and state to be eligible. We’ll randomly draw a winner from those who participate and contact the winner via email.  So be sure to leave an
6.) ACCURATE EMAIL in the email field of the comment box (we never share your email address).

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! —  Deadline to enter to win: February 28th, 2011 by 7pm (EST). If you have any questions, please contact us before entering to win at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

Opening Celebration for Debut of “Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit” this Saturday!

Family-Friendly Opening Celebration
Saturday, February 5th, 2011 from 5-7pm
Cup & Top Café in Florence, MA

A traveling photography exhibit featuring images of life and landscapes in western Massachusetts will kick off celebrations for the fifth anniversary of the founding of Hilltown Families, an online grassroots communication network for families. - All net proceeds from the sale of images will benefit the organization.

An opening celebration for the debut of Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit Featuring Life and Landscape in Western MA happens this Saturday, February 5th from 5-7pm at Cup and Top Café (1 North Main St.) in Florence, MA, featuring work by photographer and Hilltown Families’ founder, Sienna Wildfield.

This family-friendly event is open to all to come celebrate the 5th anniversary of Hilltown Families.  Enjoy free appetizers, h’orderves, and Cup and Top Café’s delicious soups.  There will even be birthday cake, including a gluten-free one!  Let your children entertain themselves in the café play space where there will be a screening of The Nields The Organic Farm DVD for the little ones.

All photos in the show have been featured here on Hilltown Families over the years and reflect the beauty and diversity of life in our region.  This opening celebration is an opportunity to bring the community together to celebrate while raising money for the network.  All net proceeds from the sale of images will benefit the organization.

There will also be a GIVEAWAY of 5 gift baskets from 5 local businesses at the opening reception! All of the businesses included in the giveaway have products that are used or sold at the café.  Deadline to enter to win is Friday, February 4th and you must be present to win.  Find out more about the giveaway here.

The exhibit will be on display at the café for the months of February & March.  For more info on exhibit, email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com or call the café at 585-0445.


Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit” is supported in part by grants from local Cultural Councils in Ashfield, Buckland, Chesterfield and Cummington — all local agencies supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Giveaway: 5 Gift Baskets from 5 Local Food Businesses in Western Mass

Hilltown Families turned five at the turn of the year … and we are celebrating all year long!  This month we are offering 5 Gift Baskets from 5 Local Food Businesses, celebrating local food and businesses with a sample of products from Dean’s Beans, Tea Guys, Bart’s Ice Cream, Dufresne’s Sugar House, and Appalachian Naturals.

Deadline to enter to win is Friday, February 4th.  Five winners will be randomly selected and announced during the opening reception for Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit Featuring Life and Landscape in Western MA at Cup & Top Café in Florence on February 5th and must be present to win. All of the businesses included in the giveaway have products that are used or sold at the cafe. Details below.

One thing you can say about families in Western Mass is we are committed to creating healthy communities for our children to grow and thrive in.  One avenue that brings many of us together is food… more specifically, locally grown and produced food. Families and communities have come together to advocate for healthy locally grown foods to be served in our schools with programs like Fresh Wednesdays, and to celebrate these foods in our school cafeteria’s during the Massachusetts Harvest for Students Week.

Together we support family farms by choosing to purchase our food as local as possible, and shop all year round at both summer and winter farmers’ markets.  We like to discuss ways to prepare our garden surplus for the dinner table, where to pick local fruits, and organize ways we can share our bounty with neighbors.  In the fall, community harvest dinners bring together families to celebrate with events like the annual Free Harvest Supper of Local Food, and Western Mass restaurants often prepare their menus with locally grown produce. —  Our community is strong with the voice of many activists too and has rallied behind opportunities like creating a community farm, forming a perennial food growing group,  and supporting free workshops on food security. — We have a lot to be proud of living here in Western Mass, and our local food culture is one of the many reasons why!

Here on Hilltown Families we give a visual glimpse into our local food culture with photographic images taken at the multitude of family farms, community events and farmers’ markets happening in our region. Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit Featuring Life and Landscape in Western MA debuts this February in Florence with an opening reception on Saturday, February 5th from 5-7pm at Cup and Top Café in Florence, MA (1 North Main St. 585-0445).  As the show travels to different local businesses and institutes, the images will change, showcasing images relative to the season and the host town. The debut show at Cup and Top Café will include images from the Ashfield Farmers’ Market, Northampton Tuesday Market, Summit Farm (Plainfield), Florence Farmers’ Market, Clarksdale Farm (Deerfield), Free Harvest Supper (Greenfield), Red Gate Farm (Buckland), among others.

Both Hilltown Families and Cup and Top Café are celebrating their 5th birthdays and the café has been a proud sponsor of Hilltown Families for the past couple of years. Helen Kahn, owner of the café writes, “Over the last five years the café has literally grown up alongside Hilltown Families, and during that time we have developed a sort of symbiotic relationship. The café provides a physical space that compliments what Hilltown Families has created online for families.”

“The café is a great family friendly destination,” shares Sienna Wildfield, Founder of Hilltown Families. “Helen’s commitment to supporting local farms, local artists and local businesses can be seen on her menu and on her walls.  The café is the perfect spot to debut Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit Featuring Life and Landscape in Western MA.”

On the evening of the opening reception, Hilltown Families will announce the winners of each of the 5 gift baskets from 5 local food businesses. These business are featured below and have been selected for the giveaway because all of them have products that are used or sold at the Cup and Top Café. Find out how to enter to win below (it’s super easy), and make plans to come to the opening reception on Saturday, February 5th from 5-7pm at Cup & Top Café (1 North Main St. 585-0445). Must be present to win! Come show your support of Hilltown Families and maybe even walk home with a fabulous gift basket to add spark to your kitchen!

Dean’s Beans (Orange, MA)

GIVEAWAY: Dean’s Beans Gift Box includes a 12oz. bag of Moka Sumatra, a 12oz. bag of Peruvian French Roast Decaf, a Putumayo CD with music from the coffeelands, Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee written by Dean Cycon, Dean’s Bean Travel Mug, a Large Dean’s Beans T-Shirt, a 12 oz. bag of Organic Hot Cocoa Mix, a 12 oz. bag of Organic Baking Cocoa, a 24 oz. bag of Organic Sugar, and a pound of Dark Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans. (Value: $85)

Social activism, ecological responsibility, and great coffee meet at Dean’s Beans, a family-owned certified organic, fair trade coffee roaster. Offering fair priced, great tasting products that support peaceful social change, Dean’s Beans is characterized by an unyielding commitment to ethical business practices, people-centered development, and sound ecological practices. The quality of their products is a reflection of the quality of life of our farm partners. The health and strength of their communities are integral to our success. We design and fund grassroots development projects in the villages where we buy our beans. To read about these projects please visit our website at www.deansbeans.com.

Appalachian Naturals (Goshen, MA)

GIVEAWAY: Sundried Tomato Horserdish Dip (12 oz): Rustic blend of freshly grated horseradish roots, farm fresh buttermilk, & a touch of sundried tomatoes. Chipotle Bleu Cheese Dip (12 oz): Spicy southwest sauce with fresh buttermilk, bleu cheese & smoky chipotle peppers. Chipotle Honey Mustard (10 oz): Sweet & spicy mustard with honey from Warm Colors Apiary. Cape Cod Caviar (10 oz): Organic cranberry sauce sweetened with agave nectar instead of sugar, loaded with Cape Cod cranberries. (Value: $45)

Since 2004 Appalachian Naturals has been committed to bridging the gap between local agriculture and the grocery aisle, with a slogan “Local Agriculture Is Everyone’s Business.” Located 20 miles east of the Berkshire region of the Appalachian Mountains in the Hilltowns of Western  Mass, their dressings, dips, organic salsas, and barbecue sauces are made locally using ingredients from local farms & artisans; such as: Mapleline Farm, Warm Colors Apiary, Atlas Farm, South River Miso, Red Fire Farm, and Holiday Brook Farm. Appalachian Naturals can be purchased at local markets and co-ops, or at seasonal farmers’ markets and farm stands. Favorites include Sundried Tomato Horseradish, Organic Salsa Veracruz, Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette, and Applewood Smoked Barbecue Sauce. www.AppalachianNaturals.com

Dufresne’s Sugar House (Williamsburg, MA)

GIVEAWAY: Dufresne’s Sugar House is offering a gift basket containing a pint each of Light Amber Maple Syrup and Dark Amber Maple Syrup and five packets of maple candy made from the finest early-season light amber maple syrup. (Value: $38)

Located in the beautiful hilltowns of Western Mass, Dufresne’s Sugar House has been making award-winning maple syrup for four generations. That’s over 100 years of sugaring experience!  The Dufresne family works for the maple sugaring season all year round, practicing sustainable forest management, and harvesting  their syrup with a smoke-free, wood-burning evaporator.  They offer three grades of 100% pure and natural maple syrup, along with maple candy, maple cream, maple sugar block and Indian sugar.  Their maple candy make great table/party favors and all maple products are available for both home and commercial use, shipping out daily to customers from MA to California. Find out more about Dufresne’s Sugar House at www.berkshiremaple.com.

Bart’s Ice Cream (Greenfield, MA)

GIVEAWAY: Barbara and Gary are offering coupons for one pint of Bart’s Super Premium Ice Cream (redeemable in grocers in Hampshire and Franklin Counties and in the Berkshires in select stores); and one 56 oz. carton of Snow’s Premium Ice Cream (redeemable in grocers in Hampshire and Franklin Counties). They’re also offering a 9 oz jar of Bart’s Homemade Hot Fudge; and a Bart’s long sleeved t-shirt with“Think Local, Buy Bart’s” on the back (Value: $35)

Bart’s Super Premium Ice Cream and Snow’s Premium Ice Cream has been using locally sourced, high quality ingredients since the 1970’s. The Snow’s brand is a family priced premium product that sells in 1/2 gallons, while Bart’s is a super-premium, that appeals to adults who want something special and are willing to pay a bit more for it. Over the past 3 decades, owners Barbara and Gary discovered they are also passionate about giving back to their community. 1% of their gross sales is donated yearly to charities and fund raisers. They also contribute their time to community boards (CISA and River Valley Market) and are committed to supporting organizations that work toward eliminating environmental and social problems. www.bartshomemade.com

Tea Guys (Hatfield, MA)

GIVEAWAY: This Tea Guys gift box includes a selection of three tins of our unique blends: Tropical Green tea, Pomegranate Pear fruit tisane, and Toffee Chocolate Hazelnut black tea, alongside a ceramic teapot with a stainless steel strainer for brewing the perfect cup of tea. (Value: $65)

Tea Guys is a local family-owned business specializing in artisan whole leaf loose tea blends. Their culinary-inspired tea creations are blended in small batches daily and made with the finest loose tea from around the world, freshly hand-milled spices, vanilla bean, dried fruits, nuts and artisan ingredients to create unique and colorful blends that stimulate the eyes, nose, and palate – and truly taste like no other tea. www.teaguys.com

HOW TO WIN:

Your chance to win one of these glorious gift baskets is as easy as 1-2-3 (4-5)! To win simply:

     

  1. SHARE THIS PAGE ON FACEBOOK BY SELECTING “LIKE” BELOW
  2. TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES HAS HELPED YOU DISCOVER WESTERN MA LOCAL FOOD CULTURE in the comment box below, and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) Must include your town and state to be eligible. We’ll randomly draw a winner from those who participate and the winner will be announced during the open reception as explained below.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL in the email field of the comment box (we never share your email address).
  6.  

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! —  Deadline to enter to win is Friday, February 4th, 2011 by 7pm (EST).  Five different winners will win one of the above mentioned baskets during the opening reception of Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit Featuring Life and Landscape in Western MA on Saturday, February 5th from 5-7pm at Cup and Top Café in Florence, MA (1 North Main St. 585-0445). Winners will be announced at 6:30pm and must be present to win. If you have any questions, please contact us before entering to win at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

Show Your Support for Hilltown Families: Vote for Us!

Hilltown Families: Best Local Blog
Vote for Us by Feb. 9th!

Advocate for Hilltown Families! Invite your family, friends and neighbors to Vote for Us: Best Local Blog! - Deadline: Feb. 9th by 12Noon.

As Hilltown Families enters its sixth year, celebrate the past 5 by voting for Hilltown Families as best local blog in the Valley Advocate’s Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2011! Best Local Blog is listed under the “Media Mavens” category. Deadline to vote is Noon, Feb 9th. Participants must vote for a total of 10 local favorites… how about some of our sponsors (see below)? Spread the word!

Click here to cast your votes: www.valleyadvocate.com/ballot

ABOUT HILLTOWN FAMILIES

The Hiltown Families blog is part of a online grassroots communication network for local families.  Founded in late 2005 by long time activist and Hilltown mother, Sienna Wildfield, Hilltown Families serves thousands of families in western Massachusetts, including the Hilltowns, Pioneer Valley and parts of the Berkshires.

Through a dynamic web site/blog, social networking, listserv, podcast, online bulletin boards, and collaborations with civic and nonprofit groups, Hilltown Families connects people and organizations in the widespread communities of the Highlands region by helping area residents share ideas, organize activities, support their children’s education and increase participation in community life.

Dean J. Fusto, Head of Upper School and Assistant Head of The Bement School, Deerfield writes,“Sienna is an extraordinarily talented individual. The genesis of the Hilltown Families concept and website grew directly out of her vision. She has overseen its evolution from its modest infancy to a web presence of major scope. Hilltown Families is an internet destination for so many families living in the Pioneer Valley region and beyond. In addition, vis-a-vis RSS feeds, a Facebook presence, and so many other features … it is by far one of my top destinations to visit as a parent and aficionado of Hilltown culture and life.”

Hilltown Families aim is to reflect the positive work and educational efforts activists, families, teachers, artists and civic leaders work towards and accomplish in our region, and how that affects, supports and empowers our families/community.  Voices of parent’s surviving the struggles and challenges of parenthood and explorations of the region are shared too, along with photography of life and landscapes in western Massachusetts.

Seth Isman, Economic Developer, Hilltown CDC writes, “Hilltown Families is a model resource for the community. When we want to know what’s happening in the hilltowns, we turn to Hilltown Families first.”

Hilltown Families list of Weekly Suggested Events in one of the of the blogs anchor posts.  This weekly post helps to build and strengthen our local community by sharing family-friendly events throughout the area.

Jacqueline Jones of Holyoke writes, “Not only are the events kid/family friendly, they are unique and genuine. A great resource no matter where you are in the Pioneer Valley. Thanks for all you do!”

SUPPORT HILLTOWN FAMILIES SPONSORS

To take part in the Valley Advocate’s Best of the Valley Readers’ Poll for 2011, you must vote in 10 or more categories.  Over the years Hilltown Families has had many wonderful sponsors.  Consider voting for one of these local businesses, showing your appreciated of their support of Hilltown Families:

ArtStar Lounge in Williamsburg, MA Birdie Bunny Photography Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA Bread Euphoria Cafe & Bakery in Haydenville, MA Cup & Top in Florence, MA Earthwork Programs in Ashfield, MA Greenfield Center School in Greenfield, MA Hilltown Charter Cooperative Public School in Haydenville, MA Hilltown Wilderness Adventures, Western Massachusetts MotherWoman in Amherst, MA Paintbox Theater Red Gate Farm in Buckland, MA Sangha Farm in Ashfield, MA Show Circus Studio in Easthampton, MA Spirit of the Heart in Martial Arts Center in Northampton, MA Tekoa Mountain Outdoors in Chesterfield, MA Hilltown Tree and Garden in Haydenville, MA

BECOME A SPONSOR OF HILLTOWN FAMILIES

Interested in joining our bank of local sponsors? Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for more information. — Help us help you!

Photography Exhibit Celebrates Five Years of Western MA Grassroots Network for Families

Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit Featuring Life and Landscape in Western MA

In February, the show kicks off celebrations for the 5th anniversary of Hilltown Families with its debut at Cup and Top Café in Florence. An opening reception on Saturday, February 5th from 5-7pm offers the opportunity to bring the community together to celebrate while raising money for the network.

A traveling photography exhibit featuring images of life and landscapes in western Massachusetts will kick off celebrations for the fifth anniversary of the founding of Hilltown Families, an online grassroots communication network for families. Featuring work by photographer and Hilltown Families’ founder, Sienna Wildfield, the show will travel to five different towns in 2011, showcasing images relative to the season and the host town. All images have been featured on HilltownFamilies.org over the years and the exhibit is a fundraiser for Hilltown Families, a community communication network that has been helping to connect people in western Massachusetts for over five years. All net proceeds from the sale of images will benefit the organization.

Ellen Doyle of Williamsburg said, “Hilltown Families is the most amazing resource! It’s a great way to keep in touch with the rest of our unique corner of Massachusetts. I love the way Hilltown Families promotes local writers and artists, all while fostering a sense of community.”

The show begins February 1st, 2011 in Florence, MA for two months at Cup & Top Café, with an opening reception to be held on February 5th from 5-7 p.m. Reception is free.

“The community that benefits from and supports Hilltown Families is the same community that benefits from and supports our cafe,” writes Helen Kahn, owner of Cup & Top Café. “Hilltown Families is an incredible resource for connecting, informing and strengthening our community.  We are so pleased to be able to host the debut of Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit while assisting the fund raising efforts of Hilltown Families.”

From Florence, the exhibit travels to Haydenville in April, when Bread Euphoria will be the host; to the Bullit Reservation in Ashfield for May/June; the Northampton Center for the Arts will host the show in Northampton for July; to Williamsburg in September at Meekins Library; to Elmer’s in Ashfield for five weeks in October in time for the town’s Fall Festival; and finally, to Mocha Maya’s in Shelburne Falls in November.

Wildfield, who founded Hilltown Families over five years ago as a way to connect families and strengthen community in western MA, said “Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit is an opportunity to bring the community together to celebrate our past five years while raising money for the network.  All of the photographs to be shown in this traveling exhibit will have been featured on HilltownFamilies.org and tell a visual story that is unique to our community.  These images give a glimpse into the life and culture of western MA to families visiting, moving to and living in the region.”

The network now hosts a dynamic web site, online bulletin boards, social network, listserv, a weekly radio show and podcast, and collaborations with civic and nonprofit groups, including the Hilltown CDC, Flywheel Arts Collective, Hilltown Home Gardeners Exchange, the Old Creamery Co-Op, among others.

Seth Isman, Economic Developer of the Hilltown CDC says, “Hilltown Families is a model resource for the community. When we want to know what’s happening in the hilltowns, we turn to Hilltown Families first.”


Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit” is supported in part by grants from local Cultural Councils in Ashfield, Buckland, Chesterfield and Cummington — all local agencies supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Museums & Music: Hilltown Families Continues to Celebrate 5 Years!

Giveaway: 5 Annual Family Memberships to 5 Western Mass Museums!

Congratulations to:

  • Jen Hartley of Florence, MA

Jen has won 5 annual family memberships to 5 Western MA museums, including the Berkshire Museum, The Eric Carle Museum, Historic Deerfield, MASS MoCA and Springfield Museums! A big thank you to all five museums for participating in this giveaway and for their support of Hilltown Families!

An a huge thank you to all the families who participated in this giveaway by sharing your birthday wishes with Hilltown Families.  Your feedback is treasured!

WHAT NEXT?

Over the next year we will be having many more fabulous giveaways to celebrate 5 years.  In 2010, HF will be producing 5 photography exhibits of images featured on Hilltown Families in a show that features life and landscape in Western MA, titled: Hilltown Families: A Traveling Exhibit.  All net proceeds from the sale of images at these shows will go to benefit Hilltown Families.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Volunteers to make these show a success are warmly welcomed.  We are looking for graphic designers, volunteer coordinators, event organizers, bottle washers and task masters.  Anyone interested is encouraged!  Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.


Ticket Giveaway: Mister G Family Concert in Northampton

Congratulations to

  • Piet Slaghekke of Easthampton, MA

Piet has won a family 4-pack of tickets to see Mister G in concert at The First Churches of Northampton on Saturday, January 8th, 2011 @ 10am, along with a copy of his CD, Pizza for Breakfast.

Mister G will be offering music and chorus classes this year too, so check in with him at the concert for more information, or visit him at www.mistergsongs.com. They’re sure to be great!

Check back towards the end of January for another ticket giveaway to see The Alchemystics (Saturday, February 12th @ 10am) and then in February for The Nields (Saturday, March 5th @ 10am) – all part of the Nonotuck Community School Winter Family Concert Series.

COMMUNITY PLAYLIST

Thank you to Kathie, Jessica, Sandra, Piet, Kerry & Jessica for recommending songs for our community playlist. Great recommendations!

Tune in every Saturday from 9-10am and/or Sundays from 7-8am to the Hilltown Family Variety Show to hear music families have recommended for our playlists. – Or anytime to the HFVS Podcast (see below).

Hilltown Family Variety Show

The Hilltown Family Variety Show (HFVS) airs Saturday mornings on 103.3FM WXOJ, Northampton, MAfrom 9-10am, or anytime on the HFVS Podcast.

Giveaway: 5 Annual Family Memberships to 5 Western Mass Museums!

At the turn of the year, Hilltown Families will be turning five years old … and we will be celebrating all year long! We started off our celebration by offering 5 Gifts Locally Handmade by Hilltown Mompreneurs (see who won here).

Over the years, Hilltown Families has had the great pleasure of letting families throughout the region know about all of the wonderful events happening at the plethora of world class museums we have access to here in Western Massachusetts.

We are continuing our 5 year celebration with the Berkshire Museum, The Eric Carle Museum, Historic Deerfield, MASS MoCA and Springfield Museums! These 5 Western Massachusetts Museums have joined our party and are offering our readers an annual family membership! One very, very lucky family will win a family membership to all five of these local cultural gems! How wicked awesome is that!? It’s our birthday, but you get the presents!

Each week on our list of Weekly Suggested Events, we share family and community activities offered by these local gems, along with educational opportunities, performances and camps. We’ve featured many stellar museum exhibits including:  The Art of the Brick at the Springfield Museum;  Color Forms I: Pink and Blue Projects at KidSpace at MASS MoCA; and Armed & Dangerous: Art of the Arsenal at the Berkshire Museum.

Contributing writer Karen Bayne has shared her family day visits to Historic DeerfieldSpringfield Museums, and the Berkshire Musuem — and our outings have always been equally enjoyable: like our visit to Historic Deerfield for A Cozy Winter DayMidwinter Magic puppet show at the Springfield Museum; and Constant Wonder’s educational performance Wings of a Feather at the Eric Carle Museum.

The Berkshire Museum continues to delight us with their activities and exhibits. We discovered  truly amazing amphibians at the exhibit Frogs: A Chorus of Color; delighted in the Berkshire Children’s Theater’s performance of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid in the auditorium;  enjoyed soul food and a performance of Hip-Hop, African and modern dances at their Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday party; and dressed up and attended a fabulously kitchy retro gala to celebrate the exhibit, Kid Stuff: Great Toys from Our Childhood.

Over the years we’ve also shared ways to participate at the Eric Carle Museum, including the Be Kind to Animals Week contest and an invitation to create a butterfly for their Batches of Butterflies community display. And we’ve offered several opportunities to win tickets to family concerts hosted in their auditorium, including Gustafer Yellowgold, Princess Katie & Racer Steve, Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, and Elizabeth Mitchell.

The educational opportunities with our local museums are constant. Historic Deerfield has hosted a Homeschool Harvest Day and a historic look at chocolate during their American Heritage Chocolate Celebration.  The Springfield Museum has offered many opportunities to learn a bit of American history, including a reading of  Frederick Douglass Speech and an Underground Railroad Lecture.  And the Berkshire Museum has many programs for homeschool educators and teachers and has participated in the citizen science project, Firefly Watch!

To read more about how you can make your family visit fun to one of our local museums read the post, The Wonderment of Museums.

Deadline to enter to win an annual family membership to all 5 museums: Monday, January 3rd, 2011 by 7pm (EST).  Find out more about these museums below and the benefits of membership.

DISCOVER MORE ABOUT THESE LOCAL TREASURES

MASS MoCA

MASS MoCA is located at 87 Marshal St. (North Adams). Since opening in 1999 in North Adams MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) has become one of the world’s premier centers for making and showing the best art of our time, exhibiting large-scale and complex installations by many of the most important artists of today. An essential and integral part of MASS MoCA’s mission are the more than 75 performances staged year-round, including popular music, contemporary dance, alternative cabaret, world music dance parties, outdoor silent films with live music, documentaries, and avant-garde theater. (413) 662-2111 www.massmoca.org

Benefits of a family membership:  MASS MoCA is offering a free family membership ($90 value), which gives inside access to the best of contemporary art and performance. Members enjoy exclusive benefits, including free gallery admission, invitations to exhibition openings, opportunities to meet artists and performers, and discounts at MASS MoCA concerts, films, and live theater; Hardware: The MASS MoCA Store; The Porches Inn; and the Lickety Split Cafe.

BERKSHIRE MUSEUM

The Berkshire Museums is located at 39 South St. (Pittsfield, MA). At the Berkshire Museum, there’s something for everyone. The museum offers a unique blend of exhibitions, galleries, and attractions for families of all ages. See exhibitions, fine art, and sculpture from around the world. Pet a live starfish in their touch tank and discover their 20 aquarium tanks and assorted terrariums. Be amazed at their collection of artifacts from Native American cultures and ancient cultures. Marvel at the technology that awaits in the new Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation. And their Natural Science Galleries incorporate hundreds of rocks, minerals, fossils, and animal specimens into interactive exhibits, serving visitors of all ages and learning styles with hands-on experiences. (413) 443-7171 www.berkshiremuseum.org

Benefits of a family membership:  The Berkshire Museum is offering a free annual family/household membership ($75 value). Annual membership benefits include: unlimited free admission to 1st floor galleries and Aquarium; invitation to exhibition openings; discounts on Museum programs (including performances, camps & lectures); reduced tickets to Little Cinema; discount on Museum Store purchases; and free admission to 260+ museums participating in the ASTC Passport Program worldwide.

HISTORIC DEERFIELD

Historic Deerfield is located at 80 Old Main St. (Deerfield, MA). Historic Deerfield, an authentic New England experience, is a great place for families to learn about early American Life. Their museums and programs provide today’s audiences with experiences that create an understanding and appreciation of New England’s historic villages and countryside. Explore 11 museum houses with trained guides, world- class collections of antiques, special exhibitions, and an outdoor garden and meadow walk. Experience early American life from the 1704 Deerfield Raid and the French and Indian War, to the American Revolution and the first decades of the new Republic. Enjoy family programs, hands-on activities, special events, distinctive shopping, and tavern lunch—all in a 330-year-old village. (413) 774-5581www.historic-deerfield.org

Benefits of a family membership:  The Historic Deerfield is offering a free annual family membership ($60 value). The benefits of a family membership includes: free, unlimited admission to all museum houses; a subscription to Historic Deerfield; Special advance notices and member discount information for trips, classes and workshops; Free admission to all of their Hands-On History family programs; Discounts at the Museum Store and Deerfield Inn.

THE ERIC CARLE MUSEUM OF PICTURE BOOK ART

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, located at 125 West Bay Rd. (Amherst, MA), is a stunning, 40,000 square-foot facility in the heart of Western MA, is loved by families, art aficionados and book lovers alike. The Carle houses three Galleries with rotating exhibits of picture book art from around the world, and a permanent collection including works by artists. A hands-on Art Studio allows visitors to create their own masterpiece any time The Carle is open. The Auditorium hosts regular live performances, films, lectures, and guest appearances by renowned authors and illustrators. The comfortable Reading Library is the perfect spot for Storytime. The Museum Shop is stocked with unique gifts and a beautiful array of picture books. (413) 658-1100. www.carlemuseum.org

Benefits of a family membership: The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is offering a family membership ($65 value).  Benefits of membership includes free, unlimited admission for two adults plus up to four children. Enrollment of up to four children in the Caterpillar Club which includes: A Certificate of Membership with each child’s name. Invitations to Members-Only events. Subscription to the Museum Newsletter, Event Calendar, E-newsletter, 15% discount in the Museum Shop (30% during the annual holiday sale), Advance notice and discounts on various Museum events including classes, workshops, performances, films, and lectures. Free museum exhibition poster.

SPRINGFIELD MUSEUMS

Springfield Museums, located at 21 Edwards St. (Springfield, MA). A welcome committee of larger-than-life Dr. Seuss characters greets you at New England’s own “mini Smithsonian” – four outstanding museums filled with science, art and history, plus the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden. Encounter a life-size Tyrannosaurus rex in Dinosaur Hall, blast off to new worlds in the planetarium, take a safari through Africa, play among statues of Dr. Seuss’s most beloved characters, meet some critters in the live animal center, see Springfield-built antique cars and Indian Motocycles, enjoy hands-on activities in the Art Discovery Center, and much more. Picnic on the beautiful Quadrangle green in nice weather. One admission fee. Free onsite parking. Museum Store. (413) 263-6800 www.springfieldmuseums.org

Benefits of a family membership:  Springfield Museums is offering a household membership ($75 value) for all 5 of their museums. Become a member at the Household level and enjoy unlimited free admission to all museums and the planetarium for two adults and all children. Get discounts on Museum School classes, birthday parties, and Museum Store purchases. Receive invitations to members-only events. Get the museum event calendar, course and travel catalogue, and program flyers in your mailbox. Plus free admission to a host of other science and children’s museums nationwide.

HOW TO WIN:

Your chance to win annual family memberships to the Berkshire Museum, The Eric Carle Museum, Historic Deerfield, MASS MoCA and Springfield Museums is as easy as 1-2-3 (4-5)! To win simply:

  1. SHARE THIS PAGE ON FACEBOOK BY SELECTING “LIKE” BELOW
  2. TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES HAS BENEFITTED YOUR FAMILY THESE PAST FIVE YEARS in the comment box below, and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) Must include your town and state to be eligible. We’ll randomly draw a winner from those who participate and contact the winner via email.  So be sure to leave an
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL in the email field of the comment box (we never share your email address).

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! —  Deadline to enter to win is Monday, January 3rd, 2011 by 7pm (EST).  All five annual family memberships will be awarded to one family and issued separately from each participating museum.  If you have any questions, please contact us before entering to win at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

Giveaway: 5 Gifts Locally Handmade by Hilltown Mompreneurs

Celebrating 5 Years with 5 Fabulous Gifts from Hilltown Mompreneurs

At the turn of the year, Hilltown Families will be turning five years old … and we will be celebrating all year long! To start the celebration, we have invited five Hilltown mompreneurs to partner with us. These five crafty businesses, located here in the Hilltowns of Western MA, create handmade products that kids will enjoy receiving — and we have one of each to giveaway to one lucky family!  It’s our birthday, but we’re giving you the presents … just in time for the holiday season!

Read more about these local businesses below, surf over to their web sites to discover what other neat products they’re making, and find out how you can enter to win all five to give as gifts this holiday season below.  Deadline to enter to win: December 13th, 2010 by 7pm (EST).

JAR OF WONDER: jarofwonder.etsy.com

Kerri Simonelli and Niki Lankowski of Haydenville, MA started Jar of Wonder in 2009.  Their line of felt play food has been a fast success, selling at local venues like Twist and A Childs Garden in Northampton, MA, and as far away as Aspen, CO.  Their etsy shop features several felt play food sets, including breakfast, sushi, pasta dinner and lunch.  Their latest sets soon to be featured include Sushi and a new and improved Tea Party, along with play kitchens and aprons for the holiday season. All of their felt food sets are all hand sewn right here in Western MA, using ecofi felt which is made from recycled plastics. Each set comes packaged in a corn plastic compostable package.

Kerri & Niki are offering a Felt Food Tea Party Set ($22 value). The Tea Party Set includes 2 cookies, 2 tea bags and 1 tea sandwich. Deliciously fun play food for your little chef made even more tasty with recycled eco felt. This tea party set is sure to inspire your child’s imagination and plant the seed for hours of open-ended play. You will be surprised with what your little ones will come up with, when given this type of inspirational tool.

SMITHPHOTO WORKS: www.smithphotoworks.etsy.com

Jen Smith of Ashfield, MA is photographer and artist who first created a collection of photo jewelry in 1995, and more recently photo pillows, that both incorporate her original photography into handmade items for the home and body. Jen’s pillows are created with her original photography printed directly onto 100% cotton fabric using the cyanotype photo process. Cyanotype is a photographic printing process invented in the 1800’s. A permanent photographic image is achieved when a negative or object is placed on fabric or paper coated with light sensitive salts, then exposed to sunlight. Unexposed areas dissolve away when fabric is washed in water leaving what is often referred to as a “blueprint.” Jen Smith’s work can be found at Pinch in Northampton and her online etsy shop.

Jen is offering a Mini Lavender Photo Handmade Pillow ($22 value).  This 8″x8″ pillow is printed with a cyanotype image of a gorgeous moth with a solid blue backing.  The pillow is made of 100% cotton and filled with hypo-allergenic polyfil and lavender buds. Spot clean only.

SMARTYPANTS: www.smartypantsproject.org

SmartyPants are eco-funky children’s pants made from a combination of recycled, vintage, and new fabrics.  Lisa Ganci of Shelburne Falls, MA started SmartyPants when her daughter was 21 months old and she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Cancer turned her world upside-down as well as inspired her to launch this dual-purpose mission which includes a portion of the proceeds to be donated to Rays of Hope, a Western MA organization that supports families coping with breast cancer.  By using mostly repurposed fabrics, and employing local folks, this project is turning a little piece of the garment industry up-side-down by creating one-of-a-kind, beautiful children’s clothing that are practical, affordable, sustainable and locally produced.

Lisa is offering a gift certificate for SmartyPants to be redeemed for a pair of one-of-a-kind pair of pants ($22-$30 value).  With all of the amazing fabric designs to choose from, it will be hard to select! Her baby/toddler pants, 6m to 2T, have a “butt-panel” that provides extra room for a diaper.  Sizes 2/3 to 5/6 lose the butt-panel, but gain a contrasting rear pocket.  Waist bands are simple elastic and all seams are serged for durability.

SNACKTAXI: www.snacktaxi.com

Erin Kelly-Dill of Plainfield, MA invented snackTAXI back in 2003 as an alternative to the tide of plastic ziplock bags that flowed from her house to the landfill when their 3 kids started school. Her family pack over 500 lunches every year, and had definitely fallen prey to the easy appeal of the ziplock bag. SnackTAXIs was her answer.  Made in our home-based workshop by local sewers, she is committed to keeping her business local, and will never outsource labor.  The exterior of a snackTAXI is comprised of 100% cotton and the interior is lined with polyurethane coated nylon, confirmed to be lead, phthalate and BPA free.  SnackTAXIs are lined with coated nylon, and can be machine washed and dried, or simply wiped clean with a damp sponge.

Erin is offering both a Snack Sack and Sandwich Snack from her line of snackTaxis ($16 value).  With nearly 50 different fabric designs to choose from, picking one can be difficult.  Her Night Owls Espresso design are being offered for our giveaway.  The snack-sack neatly fits rice cakes, pretzels or corn chips, and is equally good for carrot or celery sticks, and the sandwich-sack is the perfect fit for a generous sandwich, bagel or wrap, or a hearty snack.

PEACE TRAVELERS GLOBAL GARLAND: www.etsy.com/people/tlemos

Tony(a) Lemos of Ashfield, MA has been making Peace Travelers Global Garlands since 2009. The tradition of hanging flags began more than 2,000 years ago. Inspired by the Prayer Flags of Tibet, Tony(a)’s garlands offer a special way to express some of the most important wishes of your heart.  The pockets on the flags are intended to carry burdens, hopes, worries, releasing them into the world as the flags blow in the breeze. Families participate together in the visual creation of wishes of peace and unity by tucking poetry, verse, quotes, pictures, paintings, etc. into the pockets on the flags. The garland help to spin a common thread of unity between this and other communities.  The garlands are available at Elmer’s in Ashfield and her online etsy store.

Tony(a) is offering a Peace Travelers Global Garland ($25 value).  Each garland has seven flags, many with designs from different world cultures.  This garland set is a gentle reminder to pause, notice, and honor your world …  a prayer for the environment.  The garland comes with a handout and book list, Ways You Can use the Peace Travelers Global Garland to Learn about World Cultures.

HOW TO WIN:

Your chance to win a Felt Food Tea Party Set from Jar of Wonder, Mini Lavender Photo Handmade Pillow from SmithPhoto Works, gift certificate from SmartyPants, Sandwich and Snack Sacks (Night Owls Espresso design) from snackTaxi, and a Peace Travelers Global Garland, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4-5)! To win simply

  1. TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES HAS BENEFITTED YOUR FAMILY THESE PAST FIVE YEARS,
  2. SHARE THIS PAGE ON FACEBOOK BY SELECTING “LIKE” BELOW and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) Must include your town and state to be eligible. We’ll randomly draw a winner from those who participate and contact the winner via email.  So be sure to leave an
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL in the email field of the comment box (we never share your email address).

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, December 13th, 2010 by 7pm (EST).  All five gifts will be shipped together to one address.  If you have any questions, please contact us before entering to win at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

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