6th Annual Handmade Valentine Swap for Western MA Families

Hilltown Families 6th Annual
Community Handmade Valentine Swap

Hilltown Families 6th Annual Community Handmade Valentine Swap! Free to sign up and open to all. Deadline to sign up: Jan 31st. Join us!

It’s that time of the year again! For the past six years Hilltown Families has coordinated a community Handmade Valentine Swap — and we’re doing it again! Making handmade valentines is a great way to push against the commercialization of yet another holiday, while being creative with your family and friends. Sign up below!  It’s free and open to all families in western Massachusetts!

A handmade valentine swap gives local families an opportunity to be creative together while connecting with other families in Western Massachusetts.  Through the swap, participating families mail out handmade valentines to ten assigned addresses, and in return, they receive handmade valentines from ten other participating families.  The cards can be handmade by any combination of child and adult, so if you’re kids aren’t completely up to the task, or if an adult would like to make their own design, there’s flexibility.  All are welcomed!

Deadline to sign up (below) is Friday, January 31st. On Saturday (02/01/14), you will be emailed your assigned names/address of participants to mail your handmade valentines to.  Everyone is kindly requested to mail your valentines off by Feb. 7th.

Here are a few samples of valentines swapped in years past to stir your creative juices:

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If interested in participating, the information below must be filled out and submitted by Friday, January 31st.  If you have multiple children and would like each one to receive their own list of families to swap with, please register each person separately. Click here to sign up!

5th Annual Handmade Valentine Swap for Western MA Families

Hilltown Families 5th Annual
Community Handmade Valentine Swap

Hilltown Families 5th Annual Community Handmade Valentine Swap! Free to sign up and open to all. Deadline to sign up: Jan 31st.

It’s that time of the year again! For the past several years Hilltown Families has coordinated a community Handmade Valentine Swap — and we’re doing it again! Sign up below!  It’s free and open to all families!

A handmade Valentine swap gives local families an opportunity to be creative together while connecting with other families in Western Massachusetts.  Through the swap, participating families mail out handmade Valentines to ten assigned addresses, and in return, they receive handmade Valentines from ten other participating families.  The cards can be handmade by any combination of child and adult, so if you’re kids aren’t completely up to the task, or if an adult would like to make their own design, there’s flexibility.  All are welcomed!

Deadline to sign up (below) is Thursday, January 31st. On Friday (02/01/13)  you will be emailed your assigned names/address of participants to mail your handmade Valentines to.  Everyone is kindly requested to mail your Valentines off by Feb. 7th.

Here are a few samples of Valentines swapped in years past to stir your creative juices.  Click on the thumbnail image to see a larger image:

If interested in participating, the following information must be filled out and submitted by Thursday, January 31st.  If you have multiple children and would like each one to receive their own list of families to swap with, please register each person separately.

SIGN UP:












Be sure to click on the submit button above!  You should receive a personal confirmation within 24 hours.  If you do not receive a confirmation within 24 hours, email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com to inquire.

Saturday Morning Music Party Continues this Saturday in Easthampton!

Saturday Morning Music Party & Pancake Breakfast
Continues at Flywheel in Easthampton
Saturday, April 7th, 10am-12noon

The Flywheel Arts Collective, an Easthampton-based, volunteer-run music and arts venue, along with the Hilltown Families and No-Nap Happy Hour, invites families with kids of all ages to a fun, creative, and educational series of events!

Flywheel R.O.C.K.This Saturday, April 7th at 10am, the third of four installments of the Saturday Morning Music Party continues! Families are welcomed to join us for a free pancake breakfast followed a family dance party by local kids performers R. O. C. K. (Royal Order of Chords and Keys).  R.O.C.K. is a family music “kindie” band featuring Aric Bieganek, winner of the 2011 WFCR Arts and Humanities Emerging Talent award, on vocals and guitar, Hans Dalhaus on drums and David Picchi on bass. Together they form the hardest rocking band for families in the world. Period. Suggested a donation of $5 for individuals and $10 for families to cover band expenses.

ABOUT FLYWHEEL: Flywheel Arts Collective, a collectively run, not-for-profit space, aims to build community and give artists of all types the opportunity to craft, practice, and perform their work in an environment where creativity is valued over profit. Volunteer-run and governed by consensus, Flywheel believes that art and information should be equally accessible and affordable to all people. For more information, visit www.flywheelarts.org.


“Saturday Morning Music Party!” is supported by a grant from the Easthampton, MA local Cultural Council  — a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Monthly Saturday Morning Music Party Series for Families at Flywheel!

Saturday Morning Music Party Series in Easthampton
Free Pancakes, Live Music, Dancing & Crafts

Known to its neighbors and fans for boisterous concerts and a DIY aesthetic, the Flywheel Arts Collective of Easthampton may not immediately spring to mind when considering a venue for a family-friendly activity for the kids. But with the announcement of the ‘Saturday Morning Music Party,’ a free monthly breakfast bash featuring a variety of activities, performances and diversions for kids (to run from February through May, initially), Flywheel becomes just that.

  • WHAT: Monthly Saturday Morning Music Party Series for Families
  • WHERE: Flywheel Arts Collective, 43 Main Street (Old Town Hall), Easthampton, MA 
  • WHEN: Saturdays, Feb 11, Mar 10, Apr 7 & May 12, 10am
  • COST: Free. Suggested Donation $5 ($10 per family) for Mar 10 & Apr 7 concerts.
  • CONTACT: 413-527-9800

Partnering with Hilltown Families and The No-Nap Happy Hour, the first of four installments of the Saturday Morning Music Party series kicks off on February 11 at 10am at Flywheel’s Easthampton location in the town hall building at 43 Main St. in Easthampton. Subsequent events take place on March 10, April 7 and May 12. Each month’s bash features a pancake breakfast followed by musical performances, various activities and guided arts and crafts.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11TH:

On Saturday, February 11th, following a free pancake breakfast which begins at 10am, the first installment of the series features a screening of an episode of Pancake Mountain, a Washington D.C.-based, public-access, Saturday morning TV show hosted by a goat puppet who often features indie rock bands as guests. After the show, kids join DJ Youthelectronix for the “best ever dance party before noon.”

Dj Youthelectronix, a.k.a. Jeremy Smith, a veteran Flywheel volunteer, led the effort to organize the Saturday Morning Music Party series. Driven to recreate the success of similar Saturday morning activities at Flywheel’s previous location, Smith says, “Offering unique and creative activities for families and kids while providing an outlet for artists to connect with the community falls exactly in step with Flywheel’s mission.” He’s particularly proud of the “diverse programming” to be offered, which is anything but the rote kids’ fare.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Subsequent month’s events will include live family concerts with award-winning musicians, Uncle Rock on March 10th, and R.O.C.K. on April 7th, along with a pancake breakfast and artist-­led arts and crafts, and other fun activities. Then on May 12th the series will close out just as the Easthampton Bear Fest kicks off with the Little Bear Craft & Dance Party!


“Saturday Morning Music Party!” is supported by a grant from the Easthampton, MA local Cultural Council  — a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

4th Annual Handmade Valentine Swap for Western MA Families

Hilltown Families 4th Annual
Handmade Valentine Swap

Handmade Valentine Card Swap

Hilltown Families 4th Annual Handmade Valentine Swap. Deadline to sign up: January 30th. Open to all Western MA families.

It’s that time of the year again! For the past several years Hilltown Families has coordinated a community Handmade Valentine Swap — and we’re doing it again! Sign up below!  It’s free and open to all families!

A handmade Valentine swap gives local families an opportunity to be creative together while connecting with other families in Western Massachusetts.  Through the swap, participating families mail out handmade Valentines to ten assigned addresses, and in return, they receive cards from ten other participating families.  The cards can be handmade by any combination of child and adult, so if you’re kids aren’t completely up to the task, or if an adult would like to make their own design, there’s flexibility.

Deadline to sign up (below) is Monday, January 30th. On Tuesday (01/31/12)  you will be emailed your assigned names/address of participants to mail your handmade Valentines to.  Everyone is kindly requested to mail your Valentines off by Feb. 7th.

Here are a few samples of Valentines swapped in years past to stir your creative juices.  Click on the thumbnail image to see a larger one:

If interested in participating, the following information must be filled out and submitted by Monday, January 30th.  If you have multiple children and would like each one to receive their own list of families to swap with, please make a note in the comment field.










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.

Do I Have To?: How Chores Empower Families

The Foundation of Childhood Chores

Hilltown Families presents ... Do I Have To?: How Chores Empower Families, a FREE interactive and fun presentation for adults with author Susan Tordella at 6:30pm on Wednesday, March 30th at Cup & Top Cafe (1 North Main St.) in Florence, MA. Learn how cleaning toilets, washing dishes and raking leaves empower families.

Author of Raising Able: How Chores Cultivate Capable Young People (www.raisingable.com), Susan Tordella will share how the triad of family meetings-chores-and-dinner empower children to make good decisions, enable parents to retire from family servant, and create a positive family atmosphere.

In this free presentation, expect to hear stories, laugh and participate while learning a positive system to influence children to make good decisions. The goal is to nurture young people to become trustworthy teenagers who choose wisely when they are 60 miles away going 60 miles an hour. Childhood chores establish a foundation for self-discipline and making good decisions.

This free presentation for adults will be at Cup & Top Cafe in Florence, MA on Wednesday, March 30th at 6:30pm. Donations to Hilltown Families are welcomed.  Refreshments will be available for purchase through the cafe, along with copies of Susan’s book, Raising Able.  For more information email Hilltown Families at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.  Childcare is NOT available.  We hope you can join us!

  • WHAT: Do I Have To?: How Chores Empower Families, an interactive presentation with author Susan Tordella
  • WHERE: Cup & Top Cafe, 1 North Main St., Florence, MA
  • WHEN: Wednesday, March 30th, 2010 at 6:30pm
  • COST: Free.  Donations to Hilltown Families are welcomed.
  • CONTACT: Hilltown Families, hilltownfamilies@gmail.com

ABOUT SUSAN TORDELLA

Susan Tordella, M.A., is a parenting expert, coach and author who has studied and practiced Adlerian psychology for more than 20 years. Susan credits living with four teenagers for 13 years as a teacher of how to manage people, emotions and events. A former journalist and director of a private non-profit, Susan received multiple awards for excellence in both fields. Susan has taught scores of people the Adlerian approach to manage families, business and life. She blogs at www.susantordella.com and is the author of “Raising Able: how chores cultivate capable young people.”

Photo credit: (ccl) Clogozm

Ticket Giveaway: The Deedle Deedle Dees Family Concert

THE DEEDLE DEEDLE DEES
Saturday, February 26th @ 1:30pm
At Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton, MA

Hilltown Families & Spare the Rock present Valley favorites The Deedle Deedle Dees in their triumphant return to Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton, MA at the Old Town Hall on Saturday, February 26th, at 1:30pm (doors open at 1pm). 

Part of the fantastic No Nap Happy Hour Series, The Dees will be doing a Black History Month Show — and we’re giving away a family 4-pack of free tickets. Deadline to enter to win: 02/23/11 by 7pm (details below).

ABOUT THE DEEDLE DEEDLE DEES

The Deedle Deedle Dees are an educational rock band based in Brooklyn, NY.  Since October 2003, the band has been entertaining family audiences with songs inspired by history and science — “Underground Railroad,” “Nellie Bly,” “Rancher Ants” — as well as simple movement-based tunes.

The Dees will be doing a special Black History Month show featuring tunes about Sojourner Truth, Fannie Lou Hamer, Cool Papa Bell, Satchel Paige, Henry Box Brown, and other folks worthy of song — including some songs never before performed in the Valley. www.thedeedledeedledees.com

ABOUT THE NO NAP HAPPY HOUR SERIES

Started by Bill Childs of Spare the Rock in 2009, the No Nap Happy Hour concert series continues at it’s new location, Flywheel (43 Main St., Easthampton, MA).  The series has been featuring the kinds of bands that seem to have taken their cue from They Might Be Giants in believing that kids’ music doesn’t have to condescend or, well, suck. The series has brought many fantastic acts to the Pioneer Valley, including Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Gustafer Yellowgold, AudraRox, Bill Harley, Justin Roberts, Lunch Money, Uncle Rock and the Deedle Deedle Dees. www.sparetherock.com

ABOUT FLYWHEEL

The Flywheel Arts Collective’s new home (Easthampton’s Old Town Hall) is a delightful space for families to come enjoy fabulous family entertainers! Home of the Easthampton Family Center, Flywheel is a collectively run, not-for-profit space, aimed at building community and giving artists opportunities to craft, practice, and perform their work in an environment where creativity is valued over profit. Volunteer-run and governed by consensus, Flywheel believes that art and information should be equally accessible and affordable to all people. www.flywheelarts.org

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a family 4-pack of free tickets to see The Deedle Deedle Dees at Flywheel Arts Collective in the Easthampton Old Town Hall on Saturday, February 26th at 1:30pm, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  1. SHARE THIS PAGE ON FACEBOOK BY SELECTING “LIKE” BELOW
  2. RECOMMEND A SONG FOR OUR COMMUNITY PLAYLIST and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address)
  6. We’ll randomly draw our winners and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline to enter to win: Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 at 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win, you simply still must come!  The Dees will be doing a special Black History Month Show, a entertaining way for families to learn a little history. Advance discount tickets can be purchased online HERE and are $5 in advance, or $15 for a family four-pack.  Tickets can also be purchased at the door the day of the show. Flywheel is located in the Easthampton Old Town Hall at 43 Main St.

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.

Handmade Valentine Swap for Western MA Families

Hilltown Families 3rd Annual
Handmade Valentine Swap

Handmade Valentine Card Swap

Hilltown Families 3rd Annual Handmade Valentine Swap. Deadline to sign up: January 30th. Open to all Western MA families.

The past couple of years Hilltown Families has coordinated a community Handmade Valentine Swap — and we’re doing it again! Sign up below.

A handmade Valentine swap gives local families an opportunity to be creative together while connecting with other families in Western Massachusetts.  Through the swap, participating families mail out handmade Valentines to ten assigned addresses, and in return, they receive cards from ten other participating families.  The cards can be handmade by any combination of child and adult, so if you’re kids aren’t completely up to the task, or if an adult would like to make their own design, there’s flexibility.

Deadline to sign up (below) is Sunday, January 30th. On Monday (01/31/11)  you will be emailed your assigned names/address of participants to mail your handmade Valentines to.  Everyone is kindly requested to mail your Valentines off by Feb. 7th.

Here are a few Valentines swapped last year to stir your creative juices.  Click on the thumbnail image to see a larger one:

If interested in participating, the following information must be filled out and submitted by Sunday, January 30th:








Ticket & Music Giveaway: Family Performance with Bill Harley

BILL HARLEY
Sunday, January 23rd @ 1:30pm
At Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton, MA

Hilltown Families and Spare the Rock present…

Hilltown Families & Spare the Rock present Bill Harley in his triumphant return to the Pioneer Valley as part of the fantastic No Nap Happy Hour Series at Flywheel in Easthampton, MA! Enter to win a family 4-pack of free tickets along with a copy of his newest Grammy nominated CD, "The Best Candy in the Whole World". Deadline to enter to win, 01/19/11 by 7pm (EST).

Grammy award winning storyteller Bill Harley will be singing songs and telling stories at  Flywheel Arts Collective in the Easthampton Old Town Hall on Sunday, January 23rd at 1:30pm as part of the on-going No Nap Happy Hour Series.  Families are invited to come sit and listen to Bill’s funny and engaging stories and songs.

“Harley delivers an uninhibited performance with wry sense of humor and has a love of life we can all share…” — Los Angeles Times

“He combines wry observation with well-crafted folk, pop and rock music to tell tales that tickle the funny bone and tease the brain.” – Boston Globe

Hilltown Families is giving away a family 4-pack of free tickets to see this show, along with 2 copies of Bill Harley’s newest CD release, The Best Candy in the Whole World. Deadline to enter to win is 01/19/11. Find out how to enter to win below.

ABOUT BILL HARLEY

A two-time Grammy award winning artist, Bill Harley uses song and story to paint a vibrant picture of growing up, parenting and modern family life. Poignant and hilarious, his work spans the generation gap, reminds us of our common humanity and challenges us to be our very best selves.

A prolific author and recording artist, Bill is also a regular commentator for NPR’s All Things Considered and featured on PBS. Harley joined the National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence in 2001 and tours nationwide as an author and performing artist.  Harley is the recipient of the 2010 lifetime achievement award from RI Council for the Humanities “for his use of music, song, and story in building community; promoting our common humanity; and encouraging lifelong learning, exploring and growing”.

Bill is the author of numerous children’s books and is working on a new project relating to school culture. His new collection of stories and songs, The Best Candy in the Whole World, was nominated for a 2011 Grammy Award in the Best Spoken Word Album for Children category. Harley also just published a new book for parents and educators called Between Home and School: Letters, Notes and Emails.

Find out more about Bill Harley at www.BillHarley.com.

ABOUT THE NO NAP HAPPY HOUR SERIES

Started by Bill Childs of Spare the Rock in 2009, the No Nap Happy Hour concert series continues at it’s new location, Flywheel (43 Main St., Easthampton, MA).  The series has been featuring the kinds of bands that seem to have taken their cue from They Might Be Giants in believing that kids’ music doesn’t have to condescend or, well, suck. The series has brought many fantastic acts to the Pioneer Valley, including Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Gustafer Yellowgold, AudraRox, Bill Harley, Justin Roberts, Lunch Money, Uncle Rock and the Deedle Deedle Dees. www.sparetherock.com

ABOUT FLYWHEEL

The Flywheel Arts Collective’s new home (Easthampton’s Old Town Hall) is a delightful space for families to come enjoy fabulous family entertainers! Home of the Easthampton Family Center, Flywheel is a collectively run, not-for-profit space, aimed at building community and giving artists opportunities to craft, practice, and perform their work in an environment where creativity is valued over profit. Volunteer-run and governed by consensus, Flywheel believes that art and information should be equally accessible and affordable to all people. www.flywheelarts.org

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a family 4-pack of free tickets to see storyteller Bill Harley at Flywheel Arts Collective in the Easthampton Old Town Hall on Sunday, January 23rd at 1:30pm, or a copy of Bill Harley’s newest CD release, The Best Candy in the Whole World, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  1. SHARE THIS PAGE ON FACEBOOK BY SELECTING “LIKE” BELOW
  2. RECOMMEND A SONG FOR OUR COMMUNITY PLAYLIST and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address)
  6. We’ll randomly draw our winners and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline to enter to win: Wednesday, January 19th, 2011 at 7pm (EST). We will randomly select three winners.  One winner will receive 4 tickets, and two additional winners will receive a CD.  If you can’t make the concert but would like to enter to win a CD, please note you are entering to win just a CD.

If you don’t win, you simply still must come!  Bill Harley is a fabulously funny entertainer and the show will be a great way to spend a Sunday in January. Tickets can be purchased in advance online HERE and are $8 in advance/ $10 door. Family 4-pack: $25 in advance, $35 door.  Flywheel is located in the Easthampton Old Town Hall at 43 Main St.

Hand-Knitted Hats for Hilltown Kids

Hand-Knitted Hats for Hilltown Kids

Hilltown Families is pleased to partner with Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of Hampshire and Franklin Counties (a United Way program) in the distribution of hand-knitted hats to hilltown children in need.

Senior Bertha Baranowski (age 93) of Hadley, MA, a recipient of the 2008 Presidential Lifetime Service Award, donates 300-500 (!) hats annually that she has knitted for RSVP. Hilltown Families is assisting in the distribution of child sized hats to families in need in the hilltowns. Hats are available to individuals on a first come, first serve basis. To reserve a hat for a child in need, email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com with “Hilltown Hats” in the subject line.

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HFVS is Moving to Saturdays!

The Hilltown Family Variety Show is Moving & Expanding!

On May 3rd, the Hilltown Family Variety Show will moving to Saturday mornings, and expanding to a full hour! Tune in between 9am-10am to 103.3FM (Northampton) to hear great family music and storytelling every Saturday! Our weekly podcast will be following suit, expanding to a full hour. Click here to subscribe to our free podcast.

But we’re not the only ones moving, our friends over at Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child will be moving up an hour from 7am-9am on Saturday’s too! – It’s a party!

So get your kids to exercise their groove-thang by turning off the Saturday morning, commercial-laced, cartoons on the boob-tube, and tune-in to WXOJ-LP 103.3 FM from 7-10am for three full hours of back-to-back, commercial-free, local family programing. It’ll be a rockin’ good time!

House Concert Series: Fingerstyle Guitarist, Michael Young!

Hilltown Families House Concert Series Presents …

Fingerstyle Guitarist, Michael Young

Michael Young

  • Saturday, April 12th, 2008
  • 6:30pm Social; 7:30pm Performance
  • House Concert in West Chesterfield, MA
  • $10 each. All proceeds go to the artist. Seating is limited.

All the way from Minneapolis, fingerstyle guitarist Michael Young (www.michaelyoungmusic.com) plays both the six and twelve-string guitar with driving rhythm and groove and will be performing a house concert in West Chesterfield, MA, on Saturday, April 12th starting at 7:30pm. This concert is part of the Hilltown Families House Concert Guitar Series and is open to adults and children with audience skills. Tickets are $10 and all proceeds go to the artist. Seating is limited. RSVP email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

Minnesota-bred Young is a world-class picker who shines on 6 and 12-string guitar. There’s something of the Leo Kottke style in Young’s playing, but he also has his own sound, which draws from folk, rock, blues, country and classical. Young knows his way around the guitar classics but also has a bag full of originals that jump. Listen for songs such as Plinko and Indio.” – San Antonio Express News

While in his mid-twenties, Michael has an ageless stage presence, and he displays his technically proficient fretwork by carrying his bouncy and energetic groove from powerful and compelling compositions to soulful ballads. Moving from daunting and alarming to lighthearted and idiosyncratic instrumentals, Michael takes advantage of the guitar’s possibilities by combining standard and alternate tunings with a mix of slide guitar into his playing. He has impressed audiences all over the country including appearances at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the legendary CBGB 313 Gallery in New York City, and the illustrious Knitting Factory also in New York City. While primarily an instrumentalist, Michael also incorporates his warm singing voice into his sets.

Michael’s dexterity, depth and tone will fool you into thinking you’re hearing an entire string section instead of just one dude with a 12 string. He channels real emotion and range in his songs, evoking dozens of moods and sounds out of his instrument.” – Arizona Daily Sun

Impressive . . . fascinating stage presence.” – The Observer (NJ)

Learn more about Michael Young at his official website: www.michaelyoungmusic.com

FOLLOW UP:

Here is a video from Michael’s performance in West Chesterfield:

He sounds great doesn’t he?!

Cookin’ Up a Rock ‘n’ Roll Casserole with Brady Rymer!

Hilltown Families & Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child Present …

A ROCK ‘N’ ROLL CASSEROLE MUSICAL POTLUCK
AND DEBUT CONCERT WITH
BRADY RYMER & THE LITTLE BAND THAT COULD!

Friday, April 25th @ 5:00pm in Northampton

Brady RymerBrady Rymer and the Little Band that Could are cookin’ up a rock ‘n’ roll casserole for their Northampton debut: a musical potluck supper!

Might just be the best-sounding band in children’s music.Stefan Shepherd of Zooglobble.com, heard on NPR’s All Things Considered

Multi-award-winning indie musician and From Good Homes founding member Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could invite families to share a meal and share the music at a high-spirited musical potluck supper at:

  • 5:00 p.m.
  • Friday, April 25
  • Lyman Hall at First Churches of Northampton
  • 129 Main Street, Northampton, MA,
  • Potluck contributions are welcome but not required.
  • Tickets are $7 per person. Infants free.

Co-presented by the local kids’ radio show Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child (93.9 The River, Saturday mornings from 7 – 9) and Hilltown Families (www.HilltownFamilies.org).

Brady Rymer toured and recorded with the RCA roots/rock band From Good Homes for thirteen years — sharing the stage with the likes of Bob Dylan, Dave Matthews, and the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir — before parenthood broadened the scope of his music. Five albums and countless live shows later, this veteran performer has established himself as one of the country’s most captivating creators of music for kids and families. Combining a feel-good R&B foundation with traditional acoustic arrangements and a scoop of sunny 70′s optimism, Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could have created a distinctive, modern American roots sound for families raised on rock ‘n’ roll. Every generation connects to this band’s strong, straight-ahead grooves, catchy choruses and irresistibly down-home, hip-shakin’ vibe.

Brady RymerPresenting music with the whole family in mind, Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could are sure to play some of their songs about the joys of eating (“Cookin’ Saturday,” “Look at My Belly,” “Eatin’ Animal Crackers,” and more). They’ll also showcase rollicking, roots-y new tunes like “Road Trip,” a boogie-woogie piano-driven rocker about piling into the car and driving through the heartland on a family adventure, and “Jump Up (It’s A Good Day),” whose percolating groove and rich harmonies are as uplifting as they are infectious, bringing audiences to their feet – and some into the air!

Brady Rymer draws on his folk, country, pop and blues roots in songs for pint-size fans and their parents. Rymer and his Little Band That Could get the whole family groovin’. – The NY Daily News

In an era of character-driven entertainment for children, Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could are the real deal, a soulful and spirited band bringing great musicianship, superb songwriting and pure joy to their performances for kids and all generations.

Lest anyone think this is musical Pablum, think again. His music has a rock ‘n’ roll heart. – The New York Times

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Spring Time Outdoor Adventures for Kids: Monday Afternoon’s in the Hilltowns

Registration Form

HILLTOWN FAMILIES
presents
Outdoor Adventures for Kids in the Hilltowns
Spring 08 Afternoon Program

A nine week Monday afternoon (4pm-5pm) adventure program for kids ages 5-7 at the TMO Base Camp in Chesterfield, MA, starting April 7th and ending June 16th, 2008. Led by Program Coordinator, Timothy Vogel of Tekoa Mountain Outdoors.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

Through age appropriate activities, young kids will explore their surrounding environment on foot and in a canoe while learning about ecology through outdoor adventures and activities. This nine week program will lead young Adventurers into the discoveries of spring while experiencing hikes, fishing and canoeing around the scenic 500 acre Base Camp in Chesterfield, MA. As spring arrives, bringing us April Showers, our young Adventures will explore vernal pools as the peepers emerge, make rain sticks to celebrate the season and hunt for insects. In May our young Adventures will go fishing while learning about fish habitat and local wildflowers and plants. And as we approach the summer months we’ll bring out the canoes and learn the basics of paddling and canoe safety. Our last day will conclude with a make-your-own ice cream social by using a tin can! Participants are asked to dress for the weather.

SPRING 08 SESSION

April 7th, 14th & 28th

Week 1 – Monday (04/07/08 )
RAIN STICKS

We will be starting off our spring session by making Rain Sticks and sharing their origins. Our young Adventurers will make a traditional Rain Stick out of materials found in their environment, and like people of other cultures, imitate the sound of rain. Having originated in South America and attributed to many cultures, the Rain Stick is a tubular rattle that has been used by many diverse cultures in various ways and played by children throughout the world.

Week 2 – Monday (04/14/08 )
STREAM EXPLORATIONS

As spring slowly arrives, our young Adventurers will trek down to the stream to explore our streams and surrounding areas. And there’s more than meets the eye! Upon closer look, we’ll identify different aquatic insects, animals and plants while discussing their importance to our ecosystem. Please bring shoes that can get wet and a change of clothes. Magnifying glass and reptile/insect ID books would be handy too.

Week 3 – Monday (04/28/08 )
THE BIG BUG HUNT

As their environment warms up, insects begin to emerge. We’ll identify bugs that fly, swim, crawl and even slither near our watershed while learning their value to our environment. Our young Adventurers will explore under logs and rocks while discovering which insects are useful and which ones we should avoid. We’ll also discuss how to keep ourselves safe from tick and mosquito bites while being adventurous outdoors. Please bring shoes that can get wet and a change of clothes. Magnifying glass and insect ID books would be handy too.

May 5th, 12th, & 19th

Week 4 – Monday (05/05/08 )
LET’S GO FISHING! (PART 1)

We are fortunate to have a rich resource of fish habitat in Western Massachusetts. For the next two weeks our young Adventurers will discover respectful fishing practices. We will learn about tying knots and casting a line while taking a look at different types of bait. We’ll also be discussing hook safety and fish habitat. Fishing poles and gear will be provided. Participants are welcome to bring their own poles too.

Week 5 – Monday (05/12/08 )
LET’S GO FISHING! (PART 2)

We’ll continue our fish explorations as our young Adventurers are introduced to the TMO/MA Angler Education Program. We will continue with learning the basics of fishing, simple biology, fish habitat, fishing gear safety, and courteous fishing habits while instilling respect for fish and their environment. Fishing poles and gear will be provided. Participants are welcome to bring their own poles too.

Week 6 – Monday (05/19/08 )
HIKING ADVENTURES

April shower’s bring May flowers, including Dutchman’s Britches, Trillium, Yellow Violets, and Trout Lilly’s. May is an excellent time to identify wildflowers, plants and trees while discussing how we can avoid poisonous plants while being adventurous outdoors. We will hike around the 500 acre Base camp, and see what April showers have helped to bring to life while discussing their importance to our ecosystem. Participants are welcome to bring along a plant press and ID books.

June 2nd, 9th, & 16th

Week 7 – Monday (06/02/08 )
CANOEING (PART 1)

Our young Adventurers will take to the water for the next two weeks. We will access the waters here at the Base Camp and learn safety skills around the water and canoes. Wearing provided personal flotation devices (PFD), we’ll learn all the different paddle strokes and proper techniques while paddling around our beautiful 60 acre wild and scenic Scout Pond. Please bring shoes that can get wet and a change of clothes.

Week 8 – Monday (06/09/08 )
CANOEING (PART 2)

Our young Adventurers will conclude their canoeing experience, beginning where we left off last week. Wearing provided personal flotation devices (PFD), we’ll continue to practice our canoeing techniques and safety skills as we explore our watershed on canoe. Please bring shoes that can get wet and a change of clothes.

Week 9 – (06/16/08 )
TIN CAN ICE CREAM SOCIAL

Our last day will conclude our Hilltown Families Spring 08 Program with our young Adventurers playing outdoor games and making their own ice cream by using a tin can! They will learn how to construct their homemade ice cream maker from materials brought from home and follow through by making their very own to enjoy. And ice cream social will follow.

REGISTRATION FORM

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Hilltown Families In the News: The Highland Communities Intiative

Reprinted with permission from
The Trustees of Reservations: The Highland Communities Initiative,
Winter 2008 Newsletter, Highland Happenings



STRENGTHENING HILLTOWN FAMILIES IN THE LAND OF DIAL-UP

While the highlands may enjoy reliable high-speed Internet access in the near future, local parents cannot wait to meet the needs of their growing children. For Sienna Wildfield, the Internet’s potential for connecting families led her to believe that it could become an invaluable resource for parents in this region, and in the life of her own daughter. With that in mind, Wildfield decided to brave the Highlands’ infamously slow Internet access to create the weblog, Hilltown Families (www.HilltownFamilies.org). Judging by the site’s growth in one year, with more than 33,000 visitors and 150 families subscribing to its newsfeed and email list serve, the need was real.

Wildfield felt isolated when she moved to West Chesterfield five years ago, and worried that her daughter might not have easy access to the physical, social, educational, and creative outlets that are available, but are spread across the sparsely populated area. Luckily, it was all a matter of connecting with those around her. She soon became the Communications and Community Outreach Coordinator of the Cummington Family Center and organized summer and weekend activities. She also brought together families to host information-sharing events. “I must have held 20 pancake breakfasts at my own home alone,” Wildfield recalls. Within three years, 80 families were participating in Family Center events.

When her daughter became school-aged, her mother found few centralized resources available to meet the needs of grade-school children, Sienna started her Hilltown Families blog to fill that void, and it has flourished.

Currently, the Hilltown Families blog coordinates five distinct services. The blog allows users to register for a list serve where families can privately discuss any and all relevant issues, ranging from school choice to health to fun activities. users can also subscribe to a newsfeed where they receive information posted to the site. On the blog site itself, Sienna and guest writers maintain an updated list of family-friendly local events, as well as links page of Internet resources. Podcasts of the Hilltown Family Variety Show, hosted by Sienna and her daughter on Valley Free Radio (every Tuesday at 7PM on 103.3 FM), are also available for residents who miss the show or can’t receive the station’s signal.

Hilltown Families aims to be inclusive, welcoming families of all compositions and philosophies, and highlighting events in both the Highlands as well as he Pioneer Valley. Families without computers are encouraged to access the site at their local libraries.

Wildfield feels strongly about connecting families with local communities, economies, and landscapes. Every year, the group’s craft bazaar introduces children to local artists and businesses. Recently, Hilltown Families has partnered with the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of Hampshire and Franklin counties in the distribution of hand-knitted hats to Hilltown children in need. It has also begun an Outdoor Adventures for Kids program in conjunction with Tekoa Mountain Outdoors.

“It’s been an amazing, enriching experience for myself and, I hope, for the community,” says Wildfield. She is not sure what she’ll do when her daughter moves on from grade school. For now, there are plenty of things to keep her busy. “We’re always looking for guest writers on the site,” she hints, reminding everyone that while one person started Hilltown Families, community is what makes it work. Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrate Japanese Girl’s Day with a Mother/Daughter Tea

CELEBRATE GIRLS DAY IN SHELBURNE FALLS
at the Children’s Art Museum

Kokeshi DollsHilltown Families and CAM present a special Mother/Daughter Tea this Friday, February 29th at 4pm, just prior to Japan’s National Girls Day at the Children’s Art Museum in Shelburne Falls, MA (same building as the Trolley Museum).

This Mother/Daughter Tea is a community celebration to honor happiness and health of our girls. Peach Blossom tea and symbolic snacks will be served. Participants are encouraged to dress festively and to bring a snack to share, especially snacks that are pink (implies peach flowers), white (implies snow), and green (implies new growth) foods, fruit, sweet rice cakes, and vegetable sushi.

Collectively, participants can create a display to honor girls with small objects, pictures or poems brought from home. All are welcome to add to the display and to offer a word or two about their contribution.

Japan’s National Girls Day is also know as the Japanese Doll Festival, or Hinamatsuri. Girls are welcomed to bring along their favorite doll. Our craft will be Kokeshi Dolls, traditional wooden Japanese dolls (pictured above). All ages are welcomed. Pre-registration is required ($). Click here reserve your spot, or call 413.625.2030.


Suggested Titles:

  • Japanese Celebrations: Cherry Blossoms, Lanterns And Stars!
    by Betty Reynolds
  • Tea Ceremony: Asian arts & crafts for creative kids
    by Shozo Sato, Alice Ogura Sato, Masturah Jeffrey (Illustrator)
  • Best-Loved Children’s Songs from Japan
    by Yoko Imoto
  • Girl’s Day in Hawaii with Yuki-chan
    by Tokie Ikeda Ching, Sets Arai (Illustrator)

Classical Guitar in the Hilltowns

House Concert in the Hilltowns
with Classical Guitarist, Steve Lin

Steve Lin

Saturday, February 23rd at 6:30pm, award winning classical guitarist Steve Lin will be performing at a house concert in West Chesterfield, MA, sponsored by Hilltown Families. This intimate performance has limited seating and is open to adults and families with older children. This concert is part of the HFHC Guitar Series, with classical guitar in February and finger-picking style in April with Michael West.

Tickets are $10 per person. In traditional house concert style, all proceeds go to the artist. Space is limited and RSVP is requested.

Steve Lin (www.linguitar.com) has performed for audiences throughout the United States, Taiwan, Mexico, and Italy in solo and ensemble engagements. His extensive repertoire spans from the Renaissance to Latin American, and he is also an advocate of contemporary music, active in
commissioning new works for the guitar.
He was the first prize winner at the Boston GuitarFest Solo Competition (’06) and the East Carolina University Guitar Competition (’01), and has appeared at festivals such as Yale Guitar Extravaganza, L’Accademia Musicale Chigiana, ChitarraImperia Festival, and Stetson Guitar Workshop. Read the rest of this entry »

Another ROCKIN’ Kids Concert in Northampton: Princess Katie & Racer Steve!

Hilltown Families & Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child Present …

PRINCESS KATIE & RACER STEVE!

Saturday, March 8th @ 1:30pm in Northampton

Princess Katie & Racer Steve, will make a triumphant return to Northampton with a rock concert for kids and their parental units at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 8 in Lyman Hall at First Churches of Northampton, 129 Main Street, Northampton, MA, co-presented by the Valley Free Radio programs, Hilltown Family Variety Show (HilltownFamilies.org) and Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child (click here to read about their performance last spring). Costumes for the kids are welcome, but optional.

Don’t let the name fool you, this Manhattan-based musical duo (and married couple) stirs up some seriously rockin’ music, ranging from alt-pop to country to reggae, all with a positive message.Publishers Weekly

Kids are encouraged to join Princess Katie, Racer Steve, Judo Champ Billy, and Crash in rocking out to “music with a message that hasn’t lost its cool.” The high-energy show will feature tunes from Princess Katie & Racer Steve’s critically acclaimed 2007 album, Songs for the Coolest Kids, as well as “sneak previews” of songs from their soon-to-be-released CD, Fast & Feisty, offering contemporary takes on popular music sounds ranging from jazz and swing to neo-Latin and electric rock ‘n’ roll to rap, West Indian, folk, country, and 12-bar blues. Princess Katie & Racer Steve use cool music, hip lyrics and zany skits to bring home messages about cultural acceptance, winning, losing, sharing, bullying, making friends, kindness, fairness, sibling appreciation, world peace, and just plain having fun being a kid.

Spontaneity and surprise are key to Princess Katie & Racer Steve’s shows. You never know what they’ll dream up. Princess Katie (aka Katie O’Sullivan) says, “I just can’t seem to do a show unless it’s spectacular for the kids!” She’s sure to bring her giant prize wheel and spin it to choose songs or activities like “Conga” or “Freeze Dance.” Princess Katie & Racer Steve might throw out inflatable soccer balls or surprise the kids with a confetti or Mylar steamer launch. Sometimes they’ll hand out mini racing flags so kids can wave them every time they hear, “Go, Go, Go” in a song about Racer Steve’s car racing. They’ll wear “funky hats” and sunglasses for their “Hey Claire” funk song, and for “Sneakers,” Katie has GIANT sneakers to wear under her princess dress.

Alternative rock-loving parents will dig how much Katie sounds like Natalie Merchant (only much more chipper), and the high-spirited high jinks of Racer Steve will keep their tots in stitches.FamilyFun magazine

Says Racer Steve (aka Steve Borne), “We’re really working toward entertaining kids on every level, not only through the music, but also by making them laugh. Behind everything we create, there’s an element of humor, and we’re so happy to see that the kids, get it and laugh along with us.”

Check out From the Palace: Day in the Life of a Medieval Princess, Princess Katie’s commentary as a contributing writer for Hilltown Families on life in the medieval ages. She’s pretty darn funny and worth the read! She’ll tickle your royal funny bone!

Read the rest of this entry »

World Civilizations: Explore Tibetan Culture in the Hilltowns

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

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

HILLTOWN KIDS CAN DISCOVER TIBETAN CULTURE

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

TIBETAN NEW YEAR: A BRIEF HISTORY

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

TIBETAN SAND MANDALAS

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

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

Book Suggestions:

 

TIBETAN PRAYER FLAGS

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

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

TIBETAN FOLK TALES & STORIES

 

Read the rest of this entry »

February Family Concert with UNCLE ROCK!

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

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

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

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

NEW MUSIC: UNCLE ROCK U

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

Outdoor Adventures for Kids: Monday Afternoon’s in the Hilltowns

HILLTOWN FAMILIES
presents
Outdoor Adventures for Kids in the Hilltowns

A ten week Monday afternoon (4pm-5pm) adventure program for kids ages 5-7 at the TMO Base Camp in Chesterfield, MA, starting January 7th and ending March 31st, 2008. Led by Program Coordinator, Timothy Vogel of Tekoa Mountain Outdoors.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

Photo of the Base CampThrough age appropriate activities, young kids can explore their surrounding environment and learn about our ecology through indoor and outdoor activities and games. This ten week program will led young Adventurers through the exploration of their environment by learning how to use their senses, compasses and maps while hiking and snow shoeing around the Base Camp in Chesterfield, MA. As the weather turns towards spring, they will learn about the relationship between the Eastern Bluebird and our local environment, build their very own Bluebird nesting box, and continue their educational flight with kites and discoveries of spring. Our last day will conclude with a make-your-own ice cream social by using a tin can!

REGISTRATION FORM

WINTER 08 SESSION

JANUARY 7th, 14th & 28th

WEEK 1 – Monday (01/07/08)
Introduction & Games

As an introduction to the winter program, indoor and outdoor games will be played and participants will learn about exciting activities and projects we will be exploring through the winter session. Our young Adventurers will be introduced to all the outdoor gear and materials they will be using throughout the course.
Hot drinks will be provided.

WEEK 2 – Monday (01/14/07)
The Shape of Things

As humans we depend on all of our senses to gather impressions of our environment. Through touching, tasting, hearing, smelling and seeing, our brains sort out the diversity of sizes, colors, and shapes that we see. In this activity our young Adventurers will explore this diversity that appears in both nature and in man-made environments by using their senses.
Hot drinks will be provided.

WEEK 3 – Monday (01/28/08)
Getting In Touch With Trees

Throughout the camp and with a Mystery Box, our Adventurers will explore the shapes and texture of trees by using their sense of touch, while learning how to identify different species and their importance to our watershed.
Hot drinks will be provided.

FEBRUARY 4th, 11th & 25th

WEEK 4 – Monday (02/04/08)
Discovering the Compass

We begin our Map & Compass exploration as our young Adventures will learn about a compass. Through both indoor and outdoor games they will discover what a compass does and how it works.
Hot drinks will be provided.

WEEK 5 – Monday (02/11/08)
Using a Map & Compass

Off our Adventures will go right out into the woods, using what we learned about compasses the week before. With a TMO local Base Camp map, we will learn how to navigate around the Base Camp using things called Bearings. We are also going to learn how to orient our maps, count paces and steps to measure distance to reach our goals and objectives.
Hot drinks will be provided.

WEEK 6 – Monday (02/25/08)
Snow Shoeing

With provided snow shoes, our young Adventures will explore the outdoors with snow shoes. We will be incorporating our map and compass skills while we will identify tracks and talk about why the tracks are there.
Snow shoes (for kids) and hot drinks will be provided.

MARCH 3rd, 10th, 24th

WEEK 7 – Monday (03/03/08)
Learning About the Eastern Bluebird

Our Eastern Bluebird nesting box building project starts off with a discussion about the Bluebird, why they left New England, and why it’s important to help them return to our Watershed. Our young Adventures will build their very own Bluebird nesting boxes* and then decorate them with natural objects found right here at the Base camp to take home. If necessary, this activity will be concluded the following week. Parent participation is required and parents are encouraged to bring a hammer and safety glasses. Limited supplies will be available.
Hot drinks will be provided.

WEEK 8 – Monday (03/10/08)
Which Way Does the Wind Blow?

The March wind is here, so let’s talk about kites! After finishing up with our Bluebird nesting boxes, we will discuss kite safety, styles, maneuvers and make a
Wind Sock to see which direction wind is coming from. Together we will assemble our kites, add the string and tails and then set off to our giant ball field to try out this fun and breezy activity. Parents participation may be required.
*Please bring a pre-made kite purchased from your local merchant to assemble.
Hot drinks will be provided.

WEEK 9 – Monday (03/24/08)
Signs of Spring

Spring has sprung and our young Adventurers will spend this afternoon discovering the signs of spring in the wetlands of our watershed. We’ll look for who’s out and about, and go on a hunt for Fiddle-heads and Trillum around the Base Camp pond and streams. Bring
a bug /fish net and we will make a hand lens to examine them.

WEEK 10 – Monday (03/31/08)
Tin Can Ice Cream

Our last day will conclude with our young Adventurers making their own ice cream by using a tin can! They will learn how to construct their homemade ice cream maker from materials brought from home and follow through by making their very own to enjoy. And ice cream social will follow to conclude our Winter Session. The Spring Session will beginning the following Monday.

REGISTRATION FORM

Read the rest of this entry »

Call for Kid Crafters

KIDS-MADE HOLIDAY BAZAAR @ THE MOONLIGHT MAGIC CELEBRATION

Hilltown Families (that’s us) and the Children’s Art Museum (CAM) will be hosting a Kids-Made Holiday Bazaar during the Moonlight Magic Celebration at CAM in the village of Shelburne Falls, MA, on Friday, November 23rd, 2007 from 3:30pm to 5:30pm.

Intended to inspire creativity while affording exposure to the field of cottage industries, children from the up to the age of 13 are invited to participate as vendors to sell their handmade, designed crafts. Crafts ideas will be posted here on Hilltown Families preceding the event, so be sure to check back.

HOW TO APPLY

Application fee $5 per child. Click here for an application (pdf file). Print it out , fill it out and mail it in with your application fee to the address on the form. For information call CAM at 413.625.6826 or email info@thechildrensartmuseum.org.

APPLICATION FORM: Kids-Made Holiday Bazaar

West Coast Kids Music Band Comes to the Hilltowns!

HILLTOWN FAMILIES & THE CHILDREN’S ART MUSEUM PRESENT…

Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang

  • Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang
  • In Shelburne Falls, MA
  • At the Children’s Art Museum (same building as the Trolley Museum)
  • Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 2pm
  • Tickets are $6.00 per person (infants free)

In their hometown of L.A., a recent performance by Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang was described like the second coming of Beatlemania, with kids shrieking and rushing the stage. Developing a following on the East Coast, this West Coast band will be touring through New England with a stop at the Children’s Art Museum in Shelburne Falls, organized by Hilltown Families (that’s us!).

“Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang, one of those rare kiddie albums that’s endearing to tots but has enough weirdo musicality to make it appealing to adults.” – LA Weekly

Both children and pop-art aficionados will enjoy this seven-piece band whose lead singer, Gwendolyn Sanford, dresses like a rag-doll with knee socks and exaggerated blonde pigtails. Their music has aired locally on both the Hilltown Family Variety Show and Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child radio shows on WXOJ-LP 103.3FM (Northampton, MA), and their music video “Farm Animal Friends” has been played nationally on Noggin (see video below). They currently have two released albums: Get Up & Dance, and their self-titled album, Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang.

“Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang adds to the kids music genre what the Muppet’s added to the prime time TV landscape when we were kids.” – Hilltown Family Variety Show

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