October 22, 2014 at 9:00 am (Candice Chouinard, Contributing Writer)
Tags: art and play, Creative Free Play, new baby, newborn, Parenting, toddler behavior
The Convenience of Crazy
Bringing a bit of order to creative free play.
Well, I am officially a mother now. Not just a care provider from 8-5, I am a Mama. I can’t send my daughter home after I have cleaned up and waved goodbye to all the other children. She stays – always.
I have historically been enthusiastic advocate for the arts and as my Bio states: “I revel in hands on messy projects.” But now, I see why some parents avoid it. The ‘messies’ are not convenient. Messy projects do not fit neatly into the nightly routine, the bath, the story and bedtime. It throws a big greasy wrench into the nice white mix of the night and clunks around in there distracting you. It distracts us from the dishes, the laundry and that book that you have really wanted to start. So how do we as parents, balance those projects with the rest of our lives? Read the rest of this entry »
October 15, 2014 at 9:00 am (Carrie St. John, Contributing Writer)
Tags: adoption, adoptive family, college friendships, Friendship, good with kids, kid friendly
Forest People in Massachusetts and Michigan
This October I am paying tribute to one of my college roommates. I first met, Erica, Labor Day weekend 1991. Twenty-three years ago. I was starting my sophomore year at the University of Michigan School of Art. Erica and her two assigned roommates, Katie and Ellen, were two doors down the hall in a converted triple. This means three freshman are mushed into a double room. Lots of freshman entered the Residential College that year ready to start an intensive language program on top of their regular major. As the year progressed, I was amazed at how they made that tiny room work for three while becoming life long friends. I was in and out of my single room odd hours staying up late juggling studio work, academics and my job downstairs in our dorm. Those three women at the end of the hall were a definite bright spot during a very stressful year.
I learned early that Erica was excellent with kids. Some people just have the “kid thing.” Erica was one of them. She watched little ones for extra spending money. When my niece or nephew visited on siblings weekends (I was the youngest of five, so no little sibs to bring), Erica just had the ability to talk with them and help them fit right in with our house full of crazy college women. Read the rest of this entry »
October 13, 2014 at 9:00 am (Contributing Writer, Sarah Mattison Buhl)
Tags: Parenting, race against the clock, rat race, running late, schedules, Stress, time
Where Has the Time Gone?
I’m not sure exactly what I did with my time when I was, say, 22. I know I was living with my BFF in an apartment in Milwaukee, WI, and working in an art gallery downtown. I did not have a computer, a smartphone, or a Facebook account. I think I read. I think I read the mail, read magazines, read books. I remember going to an upscale hotel where I had a gym membership and I exercised. I went out, I had people over. There was no reality TV, but I had plenty of time to watch it if there had been. But, where has the time gone? Really. Where has it gone? Read the rest of this entry »
October 8, 2014 at 12:00 pm (Contributing Writer, Food, Jim McSweeney, Nature Based Education, Sustainability)
Tags: arborist, gardening, Hilltown Tree and Garden, root vegetables, roots, storage, Western Massachuestts
Roots, Putting Them Up
Red & white onions, pumpkins and delicata squash ready for storage.
If you did not (despite good intentions) plant carrots, beets, onions, garlic, etc… it’s not too late to enjoy them well into the winter. The majority of our locally grown root crops can be stored with ease for up to 8 months. The easiest ones I normally store are: winter squash, potatoes (sweet and regular), onions, garlic, carrots and beets.
Think about visiting a local farmer or farmers’ market and asking about their “seconds” (ones with blemishes) that they normally do not sell. You can often get storage crops really cheaply if you get it in bulk. With proper storage this will take you through the winter for all your veggie needs.
Here is the way I store the my roots: Read the rest of this entry »
October 6, 2014 at 12:00 pm (Contributing Writer, Ginny Hamilton, Parenting)
Tags: Family Travel, mindfulness, Parenting, parenting and yoga, practicing yoga as a parent, stuffed toy, stuffies
Things that Fly
My boy is at school. Kindergarten. A whole new world. He’s only a mile away, much closer than the preschool over-the-river-and-through-the-woods. Still, it feels farther. Distant. I was in and out of his preschool room. Most days we said goodbye at his cubby-hole, but there were regular opportunities to come in and play, read a book, or just cuddle until he was settled.
Now, we say goodbye as he sprints out to the bus. If he remembers to say goodbye. He goes into a big building and hangs his new big backpack in a cubby I have never seen. May never see.
Apparently, stuffies don’t go to kindergarten.
I remember him that very first day, all wrinkled and noisy. Read the rest of this entry »
October 1, 2014 at 9:00 am (Angie Gregory, Contributing Writer, Sustainability)
Tags: Activisim, Climate Change, Parenting, people's climate march
Reflections on the People’s Climate March
NYC Sept 21st, 2014
I felt it was important to go to the Climate March because it was going to be historic—the largest climate rally in history, and people from all over the globe had an opportunity to share a collective stance. Indigenous groups joined with hundreds of thousands of people to be speaking with the same voice with a lot more presence. Singer Angelique Kidjo spoke with Amy Goodman from Democracy Now as she represented the women in Africa who are paying the price for climate change as it is directly affecting their crops and their livelihood right now. In some way I felt just as unheard as them. Al Gore and Bill McKibben stood strong leading the march though all fame aside there was an overall voice throughout of truly this being about ‘us the people.’
So what made my husband and I want to bring our children when the thought of taking 3 kids to the grocery store is daunting? Well, I guess it’s because we recognized that daily discomforts and mood shifts would be a part of our day with kids anyway, so we were ready for that. It was just something we were going to do. To have them not only experience a civil action for a cause they believe in, but also to let them know just how important our actions are. It’s a unique opportunity to broadcast the small ‘work’ we all do every day as individuals to minimize our impact. Read the rest of this entry »
September 30, 2014 at 9:00 am (Contributing Writer, Mister G, music, Video)
Tags: love to read, Mister G, music, Music Education, Reading, Songwriting, Video Blog, Vlog
Love to Read
Over the last few years, we’ve spent a lot of time touring around the US and Latin America. No matter where we go, we see kids playing video games and watching lots of television. Whatever happened to reading?! It’s not just kids, of course. All of us are spending more time in front of screens than we used to.
The songs I wrote for my new Mister G album, The Bossy E, are meant to reconnect kids with their innate love of learning and being creative. All of us love being transported by a great story. When I was a kid I used to stay up past bedtime reading under the covers with a flashlight. Does that happen these days? I certainly hope so.
Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I think it’s a fundamentally different experience to read a book (and use your imagination to envision the characters), versus watching a movie (where everything is explained for you). Read the rest of this entry »
September 29, 2014 at 12:00 pm (Contributing Writer, Hindsight Parenting, Logan Fisher)
Tags: back to school blues, child anxiety, Motherhood, Parenting, relationships
Who She Is Is Just Fine With Me
When our children encounter difficulties, when they run into brick walls or have a problem that needs to be solved, we need to meet them where they are, help them grow with what they already have in a way that they can.
I have been working against my daughter, Ila, under the guise of “improvement” and the misguided statement “she must be able to do such and such in order to be successful.” I have been working against her, which in turn has been sending her a message that she is not good enough just the way she is, which, of course, is not a message I want to send her at all.
Confused? Let me give you an instance: Ila gets anxiety everyday before going into her kindergarten class. When the door opens, and the teacher steps out, she buries her face into my legs, or if I am squatting down at her level she grips my hair or scarf with a vice-like hold. I have to peel her off me by prying her fingers open and kind of giving her a loving pat on the bottom towards the classroom while her chin quivers as if I am torturing her. This, as you can imagine, is agonizing each day, and so I decided that as her mom, I needed to “right” it, fix it, and make it so the anxiety was gone. I decided to start with a good heart to heart conversation. Read the rest of this entry »
September 24, 2014 at 3:00 pm (Contributing Writer, Kathy Puckett)
Tags: child development, language practice, motor maturity, speech development, speech habits, speech language pathologist
Observing and Coaxing Your Child’s Speech Development is A Sensitive Art
If a child seems lost for words, let them work a little to find them.
So we all know that kids make cute speech errors when they are young. My son is almost 40 years old but I still think “hopicopter” when I see a helicopter. It seems like yesterday that he was saying that! One of the dilemmas for a new parent is when family members think something is wrong with a child’s speech. How do you know if they are correct?
First off, speech is developmental. We don’t learn how to use all the speech sounds at once; they come into our speech over years of practice speaking. The first big concern is making sure our children are speaking so they will achieve the motor maturity to practice the sounds they can say and attempt new sounds. So getting your toddler to talk is always good. Unfortunately, we as caretakers are enablers. And we are psychic! We fill in words or ask yes/no questions rather than make our kids work a little (After noticing the child reaching for the ball, we say, “did you want the ball?”). Acting dumb is often my first instruction for parents. Choice questions really work (“I don’t know what you want. Do you want the ball or the block?”). Read the rest of this entry »
September 22, 2014 at 9:00 am (Contributing Writer, Ecology, Kurt Heidinger)
Tags: Connecticut River, Ecology, Hilltowns, Massachusetts, Nature, outdoors, Pioneer Valley, Rivers, rivers and streams, western massachusetts
Touch the River and It’ll Touch You
The Connecticut River is the lifeblood of the Pioneer Valley.
Thinking of how important it is for nature-lovers to spend time “being in” nature, the conservationist Aldo Leopold wrote: “We can be ethical only in relation to something we can see, feel, understand, love, or otherwise have faith in.”
Ethics involve what we judge to be right or wrong; and Leopold is correct: if we are to be ethical—if we are to wisely judge the rightness or wrongness of a thing—we need to have a direct experience of it. It’s easy to forget that a river is alive, and has a life that is valuable unless, from time to time, you touch it. Unless we touch the river, we can’t understand enough about it to be ethical towards it.
Rivers have always provided humans with perfect places to live, whether it be the nhà sông of Vietnam, the chickee hut of the Mississippi shrimp catcher, or the highrise of a hedgefund manager towering over the Hudson. We’ve always been attracted to rivers because they, of all landscape features, are the most alive: kinetic in movement and full of creatures. There is a big difference between viewing a river, though, and touching it. I want you to touch a river this month if you haven’t lately—and let that river be the Connecticut, which flows for over 400 miles from just over the Canadian border to Long Island Sound.
One way to touch the Connecticut River is to volunteer to assist the Connecticut River Watershed Council’s Source to Sea Clean-up, scheduled for Saturday, September 26 and Sunday, September 27, 2014. Read the rest of this entry »
September 17, 2014 at 3:00 pm (Carrie St. John, Contributing Writer)
Tags: art bombing, Arts and Crafts, Creative Free Play, Drawing, parent child collaboration, sidewalk chalk, third grade
Free Play, After School
We’ve all heard of Yarn Bombing… how about Art Bombing? Read on for Carrie’s Art Bomb idea, a fall version of her Play Bombs spread throughout the community in the spring.
We made the switch again. Library Monday. Music Tuesday. PE shoes needed Wednesday and Thursday. Art Friday. Nightly reading. Pack the lunch. We are in the school routine but missing something.
Third grade could not come quick enough for an 8 year old at our house. Third grade means being on the top floor with the big kids, having the teacher she wanted and more freedom and responsibility for herself and her school work. Third graders earn a second grade buddy in the spring. She is even excited about the tests in March and April. The school makes a big fuss over the third through fifth graders during testing. She wants the fuss. Curious.
“Mom, can I add blank paper to my backpack tomorrow?”
“Mom, can we just play after school today?”
“Mom, can we just draw all day Saturday? Both of us at the kitchen table?”
The answers are, “YES!”
I see what is missing. I realize the social and academic bonuses to school but September always leaves me with the feeling that the hours of 8:50am to 3pm are an obstacle to my fun time with my kiddo. I grow accustomed by October. September is my transition month as the mom with a kid growing up, quickly. We will transition together. Read the rest of this entry »
September 10, 2014 at 12:00 pm (Contributing Writer, Jim McSweeney, Nature Based Education)
Tags: arborist, gardening, Hilltown Tree and Garden, landcaping, Western Massachuestts
Four September Garden Chores To Enrich The Family Gardening Experience
The gardening season is starting to come to an end and it’s time to start to think about how to help your garden for next year. This is a perfect opportunity to get your kids thinking about the design of your family garden, and the importance of completing the season through some fall garden chores. Here is a list of four chores I would suggest you do with your kids this weekend or next: Read the rest of this entry »
September 8, 2014 at 12:00 pm (Contributing Writer, Sarah Mattison Buhl)
Tags: Back-to-School, County Fair, last days of summer
Summer’s Sweet Relief
This way for a welcome diversion!
Last weekend, I went with my littlest kids to the Tri-County Fair in Northampton, MA. It turns out that there have been close to 200 of them, and it is the oldest “agricultural fair” in the Nation. Being at the fair is a throwback. Not to a gentler age, but to the inescapable grittiness that has always been part of fairs everywhere. Sure, some things are different. In 1816, a person might have eaten beans and ham with corn bread on the midway. Now people eat fried cheese cake and chocolate covered bacon. Decades ago, a new showcase food might have been the now blasé ice cream cone. Last weekend I saw caffeinated peanut butter.
We spent money on slushies in swirly cups, “won” 50-cent stuffed animals after spending ten dollars, and saw an arctic fox. It was hot. We had a terrific time. You see, we were celebrating the beginning of a new school year. The earlier part of the day was spent trying frantically to connect with friends and make last minute plans for the final day of summer. Tensions and anxieties were running high as the kids feverishly recognized that summer was coming to an end. When it dawned on me that the real reason for their irritation and frustration was time, or really, lack of it, I changed my course. Read the rest of this entry »
September 2, 2014 at 12:00 pm (Contributing Writer, Hindsight Parenting, Logan Fisher)
Tags: child independence, growing up, Off to College, Parenting, Parenting Advice, Parenting Styles
Five Things You Don’t Do The Day After Leaving Your Child at College
Although he’s twenty, just last week, Son1 went “off” to college for the first time. For the past two years, he’d been attending classes at our local community college trying to figure out what he wanted to do. This past spring, all his hard work there paid off and he was accepted to many colleges and universities. He chose a college in Connecticut. (Not a huge surprise since Magicalfairyprincessgirlfriend goes there as well.)
Since this is a first for me, a child leaving…really leaving the nest…I had no Hindsight to lean on, and so I had to rely on my gut instead. The week before, I kept checking in with myself on how I was feeling with all this moving away to a new state, new city, hours away from his family. And well…for the entire week before…heck even while I was setting up his chic dorm room my gut said that I was just fine. All I was feeling, seemingly, was pride and excitement. This move ultimately was what every parent strives for while raising their children. He was unfurling his wings, moving into adulthood with grace and assurance. I am proud. I was and am excited. Even as I said goodbye, the pride swelled in me. “Off you go first born love of my life. Go and live this experience to the fullest.” Then I got in the car…Then I got home. Then…then I woke up the next day and well, the pride and excitement was still there, but so was this distinct melancholy; a weepy sort of lonely feeling that got worse as the day went on. I realized very quickly that the day after dropping my child off to college was going to feel worse than the day of. Tear triggers were everywhere and I learned the hard way the top five things NOT to do the day after dropping your child off at college… Read the rest of this entry »
September 1, 2014 at 12:00 pm (Contributing Writer, Ginny Hamilton, Parenting)
Tags: Family Travel, mindfulness, Parenting, parenting and yoga, practicing yoga as a parent
Enjoy the Ride
My five year old son is in his room, slamming the door. Deliberately and with precision. He’s got highly sensitive ears – auditory processing the occupational therapist calls it – and I can only assume he’s seeking Just. The. Right. Sound. The SLAM! that will echo through the walls and into my bones set my teeth on edge. Sound rises above the bathroom fan but is muted by the water pressure, warm streams trickling down my hair, ears, face, shoulders. The water, the curtain, the closed door give me the ever so slight space I need to view the scene with a hint of detachment. Amusement, even, though shame lingers around the edges, like mildew never quite scrubbed from the grout.
Occupying the weeks between school and camp, we’re back from a 3 day urban adventure: Amtrak, NJ Transit, and a myriad of subway lines. He’s a stellar traveler, fueled by curiosity and wonder and an obsessive love of trains. Take him out of his ordinary and he shows his extraordinary. I thoroughly enjoy time with the big boy he’s becoming.
So it’s no surprise really when blubbery-whiny-tedious boy returns upon arrival home. And along with him, short-tempered-uninspired-reactive Mama. Read the rest of this entry »
August 27, 2014 at 12:00 pm (Contributing Writer, Kathy Puckett)
Tags: Back-to-School, Double-Dip Feelings, Emotions, Feelings, Talking About Feelings
Creating a Environment for Children to Understand & Articulate their Feelings
Our memories provide a way for us as parents and grandparents to start discussions about emotions and the vocabulary of emotions with our children, explaining that we often have many feelings when things are changing. These conflicting feelings are called “double dip feelings,” as written about in Double-Dip Feelings: Stories to Help Children Understand Emotions.
As an Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP,) I work with people of all ages on their communication skills. This includes how to express emotions appropriately. As we all transition our children and ourselves to new routines, I’m thinking about the emotions that these changes trigger. I remember as a child the excitement and dread of starting a new year at school. It was always great to see friends again- especially if I hadn’t seen them all summer. But the sense of losing freedom, being on someone else’s rigid schedule, having to learn the new teacher’s style of teaching, and all the demands of acting older were kind of terrifying. I remember checking out the text books as we covered them with brown paper bags. I could never imagine how I’d learn all the hard stuff between the covers. It sure would have helped to have had someone notice my trepidation and to reassure me. Hardly the culture of the 50s! Read the rest of this entry »
August 27, 2014 at 9:00 am (Candice Chouinard, Contributing Writer)
Tags: emotional resiliency, new school year, Parenting, separation anxiety
Making Separation an Adventure
With the beginning of a new school year upon us, many parents might be planning on sending their children to school, daycare or even playdates for the first time. If your child experiences separation anxiety, there are a few things you can do to help ease their transition and enjoy their time away. As a daycare provider who often helps families move through separation anxieties, I cannot stress enough how significant it is to help your child build this early trusting relationship. In my opinion, children often learn to trust during these times of separation. They learn to trust that you as the parent will always return. “Mommy’s and Daddy’s always come back” is my go-to line. Read the rest of this entry »
August 25, 2014 at 9:00 am (Contributing Writer, Ecology, Kurt Heidinger)
Tags: Ecology, Geography, Hilltowns, Massachusetts, Pioneer Valley, western massachusetts, Western Massachusetts River
There’s Gold in Our Hills!
Gold in Mt. Tom anyone?
I met a person who was panning for gold in one of our hilltown brooks this summer who knew a lot about geology—at least enough to know that gold is produced by volcanic activity. We don’t think of our biome as having volcanic bones; Iceland, Hawaii, and the Pacific Rim come to mind, but Huntington?
Look closely, though, and you’ll find evidence of igneous geology all over the place: from Mounts Holyoke and Tom which were bubbling lava when hungry raptorsauri ran wild here 200,000,000 years ago, to the weirdly eroded lava ash boulders people place out by their driveways in Goshen, to the cocoa puff pumice balls that float in eddies just downriver from the Turners Falls dams. Read the rest of this entry »
August 19, 2014 at 12:00 pm (Contributing Writer, Hindsight Parenting, Logan Fisher)
Tags: child independence, growing up, Parenting, Parenting Advice, Parenting Styles
The Winds of Change
She swings by herself. Grabs the chains that hold the brown plastic rectangle that serves as a seat. Her muscular arms pull her up deftly and her bottom plops down. Her legs that are a full two inches longer than they were in June start to pump. Feet flex as her legs straighten and toes point as legs fold. Soon, very soon, actually unbelievably soon, she has a momentum that would satisfy any child. I am sitting in the swing next to her and she is chattering away about the dog and his bone and the hole he dug, but I am lost in the sight of her wispy hair and the way it covers her round cheeks as the swing takes her back and wiggles in the air like an octopus’s tentacles as the swing moves her forward.
“Slow down,” I long to say, but I know it isn’t about the swing. It’s not about the swing at all. Read the rest of this entry »
August 11, 2014 at 9:00 am (Contributing Writer, Sarah Mattison Buhl)
Tags: aunts, baby on the way, family bonding, family memories, family support
A Legacy of Love
My Aunt Janine was a teacher who had pop-up books and a knack for telling stories…
This August, we’re having a baby! Well, it’s not exactly our baby. In truth, my brother and sister-in-law are having their first child, and we are all over the moon. It is a guilty pleasure to watch this little life unfolding from afar, because I know sleepless nights are coming their way. I know that they may argue about the best way to get their cranky cherub to sleep, and they may wonder who else in the world is awake, rocking their own newborn at 3 am; I know I did. But now, having nursed my last baby five years ago, I see this tiny girl’s arrival with fresh eyes, and with an entirely different perspective: I get to be her aunt. Read the rest of this entry »
August 6, 2014 at 9:00 am (Angie Gregory, Contributing Writer, Sustainability)
Tags: activism, Climate Change, Environmentalism, Green Living, people's climate march
People’s Climate March
There is something important happening in September. It’s the People’s Climate March in NYC. They claim it will be the biggest climate rally in history. They also say it will be pet and family friendly, so I’m using encouraging Pioneer Valley locals to get to the march on September 21st, 2014. A local team of people are working on organizing charter bus transportation and carpooling to the march in NYC in September. You can travel round trip for $25 or less getting back the same day, so don’t let cost or time stand in the way. The atmosphere and tenor of the event is meant to be dignified, fun, impacting and empowering. This is not the place for terror and fright as it will certainly be permitted by NYC, peaceful and safe for all who come. Keep an ear out for fun, local, and creative activities leading up to the support of the rally.
Read the rest of this entry »
August 5, 2014 at 9:00 am (Contributing Writer, Hindsight Parenting, Logan Fisher)
Tags: family building, Parenting, Parenting Advice, Personal sacrifice, raising a child
Best Laid Plans
The spitting camel has wangled his way into the summer schedule!
We’re halfway through the summer. We’ve had a week of a vacation to the most popular destination in the country. We’ve had major Pinterest wins and Pinterest fails (don’t try the water blob…unless you want to sweat and swear…then by all means go right ahead.). We’ve had lesson after lesson; music, equine, swimming, OT and PT. We’ve begun the process of “real reading,” on the request of my daughter herself. We’ve gone to beaches, to parks, to fairs, to bouncy palaces, to zoos (where the camels got close and up front spitting on me for good measure) and to fancy schmancy concerts where we got to sit on the lawn and listen to the likes of James Taylor and our favorite Beatles tribute band. We bought an amazing sprinkler made up of individual flowers that spray water out at gentle angles and even put the kiddie pool directly underneath the kitchen window so that we could fill it up with warm water from the tap. Pretty successful huh? Not too shabby. Not too shabby at all…so why is it that the moment I realized we were at summer’s halfway point, I got a ginormous pit-of-death smack dab in the middle of my solar plexus? Read the rest of this entry »
August 4, 2014 at 9:00 am (Contributing Writer, Ginny Hamilton, Parenting)
Tags: Green River Festival, mindfulness, parenting and yoga, practicing yoga as a parent
Free to Be
Spinning my boy, wearing our rainbow sundresses. (Photo credit: E Goffredo)
The venue: 2014 Green River Festival. For those unfamiliar, it’s a music fest – Happy Valley style. Vendors sell food on a stick, but it’s chicken satay. The hotdogs? Grass fed beef. The fried dough is topped with rustic pesto and goat cheese. This was our third year enjoying eclectic music and family friendly extras, like circus acts and hot air balloons. It was here, two years ago, my son first expressed his desire for a dress.
I was choosing between two upcycled t-shirt sundresses in the Maker’s Market. She makes kids’ sizes, too, but they’re more costly than I would spend on one unit of children’s clothing, especially one designed for single-season wear. He’s an only child. There’s no amortizing the cost.
I want a sundwess too, Mama. I want mine to have a numbuh fwee on it so peopew wiww know I’m fwee.
I give a non-committal response. Maybe we can.
The dress is seemingly soon forgotten – until it comes up again the next year. This time maybe doesn’t suffice because it’s accompanied by that kicker of all questions: why?
Read the rest of this entry »
July 30, 2014 at 3:00 pm (Contributing Writer, Kathy Puckett)
Tags: Language, Speech, speech language pathologist
Midsummer Language Skills
The summer months are racing ahead. Many of our children are going to day camps or traveling with family. I know from my work schedule that families are shifting their plans daily, almost hourly in some cases. Spontaneity can be a double-edged sword for children. Too much can make them off balance but too much structure can stress them out. I see some children in my practice who lose ground with inconsistent speech therapy due to their looser schedules. But I also see others who gain skills over the summer, when the rigidity of schedules is relaxed.
I’m pondering today about this. So much seems to be determined by the personality of our children. For some, a loosening of structure takes away pressure, and they can learn and be creative at their own pace. Others depend on a schedule to be okay. As parents and teachers, we need to honor these learning/living styles in order to help kids be successful and happy. Of course, this applies to the style that works for their adults as well! What’s the style in your family? Does it work for all your children? Read the rest of this entry »
July 30, 2014 at 12:00 pm (Contributing Writer, Food, Leslie Lynn Lucio, Recipes)
Tags: basil, basil pesto, CSA, heathy eating, Local Food, Nutrition, pesto, recipe, snap peas, summer recipe
Summer foods that are easy to grow and that kids love.
One of the foods that we love to make a lot in the summer is basil pesto. We grow a lot of basil in our garden and at this time of the year it’s very abundant. We also are very lucky that many of our farmer friends hand off some of their extras to us. I love the taste and smell of basil…it’s one of my favorite culinary herbs! It works in so many dishes and also goes well in some fruity summer drinks. Just last week, we added basil to some seltzer water with simple syrup and sour cherries that we picked from a friends tree in their backyard. It was delish!
The past couple weeks we have also been eating lots of peas, in particular sugar snap peas which happens to be a favorite snack in our house. We also picked lots of shell peas from a farm we have a CSA share with, shelled them and froze them for future use. It takes a little time to do this, but it’s always nice to have these preserved in the freezer for when a recipe calls for them, like pesto!
See our recipe for basil pesto and pasta with peas
July 29, 2014 at 9:00 am (Contributing Writer, Mister G, music, Video)
Tags: Mister G, music, Music Education, Songwriting, Video Blog, Vlog
Reading Supports the Development of a Creative Mind!
Reading requires imagination and can inspire creativity.
I was a lucky kid: my mom was a children’s book author and illustrator and I grew up surrounded by books. For years, my mom and I had a weekly date at the library. I’d always check out the maximum number of books and couldn’t wait to get home to start reading. I loved everything, but my favorite stories were the really scary ones.
Not too much has changed over the years; I still have a stack of books on my bedside table and I still love learning about all sorts of things just by lying still and reading.
Read the rest of this entry »
July 28, 2014 at 9:00 am (Contributing Writer, Ecology, Kurt Heidinger)
Tags: Ecology, heat waves, Hilltowns, Massachusetts, Nature, outdoors, Pioneer Valley, River Walking, Rivers, rivers and streams, western massachusetts
The Beauty and Ickyness of Upland Wetlands
Thanks to wetlands, mountain rivers should be clear while valley rivers like the Connecticut can resemble a river of milk chocolate.
Last week, I stood by the side of the East Branch of the Westfield River in Chesterfield with a group of intrepid explorers, astonished by the gasp and growl of its raging flood waters. “Where’s Augustus Gloop?” I heard someone ask; “He would love all this hot chocolate!”
Laden with brown soils that had eroded from roadsides, construction sites and fields upstream, the river did look like it was made by Willy Wonka. A wild and scenic river like the East Branch of the Westfield should not look like hot chocolate because of its federally-registered conservation status, and the fact that there is little development in the hilltowns. And yet here was unmistakable proof that torrential rain on vegetation-less lands was causing extensive erosion. Read the rest of this entry »
July 23, 2014 at 9:00 am (Candice Chouinard, Contributing Writer)
Tags: Friendship, making friends, Parenting Advice, Parenting Tips, play dates, raising toddlers, toddlers
Fostering Friendships for Toddlers
By encouraging your toddler to be a good friend, they will make good friends and have lasting meaningful relationships into their later years and even adulthood!
Watching toddlers and preschoolers grow and mature is a beautiful and amazing thing. It is such a small window and one day it swings open and the toddler who was waddling and whopping with his friends just six months ago, is now the preschooler with a strong moral compass and a kind heart. It is remarkable how fast this transformation can be and it is even more incredible to be apart of it. Watching early friendships form, fostering a child natural longing for meaningful relationships, is awe-inspiring and humbling at the same time.
Laying the Groundwork: The Foundation of Friendships
Younger toddlers do not yet have the ability to see the world from others perspective. So often it is hard for them to play “with” other children. They often play “alongside” them instead. It’s not that they don’t like or care for one another, it’s just where they are developmentally. Children even at birth love one another; love spending time together. We are social creatures; it is what we do. Put two infants face to face and anyone can see how that interaction is special in itself. However, babies and young toddler haven’t really developed a sense of what is a friendship. It is not a give and take yet; it is more a large game of take. Read the rest of this entry »
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