HFVS Favorite Songs in the Classroom Episode with Guest DJ, Debbie Lan (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

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Favorite Songs in the Classroom Episode
with Guest DJ, Debbie Lan

The Hilltown Family Variety Show presents Guest DJ Debbie Lan, from the award winning band Grenadilla,(pronounced “gren-a-dill-a”, the South African name for passion fruit). Debbie is also a Teaching Artist in a school, enjoying singing and making music with children in parent/child classes through 4th grade. This week, Debbie will share some of her student’s favorite songs. — www.grenadillasings.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
August 16th & 17th, 2014
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

FEATURED VIDEO:  “Smiling” by Grenadilla.


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PLAYLIST

  • Grenadilla “Sunday Afternoon” [Grenadilla]
  • Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers “Give a little love” [For Our Children]
  • Ella Jenkins “An Arabic Chant that means welcome” [Call and Response]
  • Kathleen Hannan “Ancient Green” [Bodies and Voices]
  • Pete Seeger “Put your finger in the air” [Children’s Concert at Town Hall]
  • Doris Brasch “Brave Brave Mouse” [Pollywiggle]
  • Grenadilla “Arabella Angelique” [Grenadilla]
  • Elizabeth Mitchell “Little Bird Little Bird” [You are my little bird]
  • Laurie Berkner “The Goldfish” [Victor Vito]
  • Larry Gros “John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith” [Children’s Favorites Volume 2]
  • Grenadilla “Got Light” [Grenadilla]
  • Pete Seeger “The Foolish Frog” [Children’s Concert at Town Hall]
  • They Might Be Giants “7 Days of the Week” [Here come the 123s]
  • Sheb Wooley“Purple people eater” [20th Century Rocks: 50's Rock 'n Roll, At The Hop]
  • Max Bygraves “Katzenellenbogen by the sea” [Vintage Children’s Favorites]
  • Grenadilla “Doodle doodle doodle doodle doo” [Can’t Wait]
  • Cheryl Wheeler “Potato” [Sylvia Hotel]
  • Sweet Honey in the Rock “I love to laugh” [Still the Same Me]
  • Bill Withers “Lean on Me” [The Best of Bill Withers]

HFVS with Guest DJs, Keith and Ezra of Trout Fishing in America (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show
Guest DJs, Keith and Ezra of Trout Fishing in America

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This week on the Hilltown Family Variety Show, Keith and Ezra of Trout Fishing in America hosts the Hilltown Family Variety Show, spinning a diverse mix of musical styles! - www.troutmusic.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
September 7th & 8th, 2013
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

FEATURED VIDEO:  Title cut to Trout Fishing in Americas new CD, Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers.


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PLAYLIST

  • Trout Fishing in America – Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers – [Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers]
  • The Amoeba People – Cosmology, Your Futon & You – [Kids Corner 25th Anniversary]
  • Bubboon’s Tunes – The Cheese Song – [Songs To Blather By]
  • Mister Felipe – Muevete/Move Yourself – [Cruzando El Border]
  • Terrence Simien – Narration – [Creole For Kidz and the History of Zydeco]
  • Terrence Simien – Midland Two Step – [Creole For Kidz and the History of Zydeco]
  • Trout Fishing in America – Zoo Wacky Zoo – [Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers]
  • The Plants – Monster Under My Bed – [Kids Corner 25th Anniversary]]
  • Trout Fishing in America – Creepy Dead Bug – [Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers]
  • Trout Fishing in America – My Sister Kissed Her Boyfriend – [Rubber Baby Bu ggy Bumpers]
  • Sugar Free Allstars – All On A Sunday Afternoon – [All On A Sunday Afternoon]
  • John Hadfield – Robot Monkey Head – [Robot Monkey Head]
  • Justin Roberts – Obsessed By Trucks – [Jungle Gym]
  • Grenadilla – Arabella Angelique – [Grenadilla]

HFVS Back to School Episode with Guest DJ, Joanie Leeds (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show
Back to School Episode
with Guest DJ, Joanie Leeds

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This week on the Hilltown Family Variety Show, Joanie Leeds of Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights guest DJs our Back To School Episode. Joanie hand picked all of the school themed songs including a few from her new CD, Bandwagon as well as from artists such as: Pop Ups, Dizzy Gillespie, Justin Roberts, Bari Koral, Recess Monkey, Lunch Money, Astrograss, Miss Nina, They Might Be Giants, The Verve Pipe, Chuck Berry, Trout Fishing in America and Rocknoceros.  Joanie will be performing in Western MA for the first time at The Eric Carle Museum on Saturday, Sept. 28th!  Mark your calendars!www.joanieleeds.com

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
August 31st & September 1st, 2013
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

FEATURED VIDEO:  Joanie Leeds & the Nightlights , “Back to School.”


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PLAYLIST

  • Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights – “Back to School” (Bandwagon)
  • Pop Ups- “Math Rock” – (Radio Jungle)
  • Dizzy Gillespie – “School Days (When We Were a Couple of Kids)” – (School Days)
  • Justin Roberts – “Recess” – (Recess)
  • Bari Koral – “Backpack” (Family Rock Band)
  • Recess Monkey – “Science Fair” (The Final Funktier)
  • Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights – Use Your Words- (Bandwagon)
  • Lunch Money – “I Love My Library” – (Dizzy)
  • Astrograss – “Continental Geography” – (The Colored Pencil Factory)
  • Miss Nina – “New Alphabet” – (Sha Doo Be Doop)
  • They Might Be Giants – “Meet the Elements” – (Here Comes the Science)
  • The Verve Pipe – “Homework Blues Stomp” – (Are We There Yet)
  • Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights – Bandwagon- (Bandwagon)
  • Chuck Berry – “School Days” – (The Anthology)
  • Trout Fishing in America – “Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers” – (Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers)
  • Crossing Guard – “Rocknoceros” – (Pink!)
  • Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights – “Nightlights”- (Bandwagon)

Suggestions & Recommendations for Back-to-School

Back-To-School

“Children are often requested to carry a backpack to daycare or school so that personal items, work and projects can be safely carried to and from home. What should parents look for when making a purchasing decision about their child’s backpack?” Check out Robin McClure’s post, Before You Buy Your Child’s Backpack.

Labor Day weekend marks the return of school for many families! We’ve combed through our archives of questions we’ve asked our readers over the years that relate to this time of year and wanted to share a few gems that generated helpful community recommendations and suggestions that families with children going back-to-school (or just starting school!) can use.

Be sure to check out our weekly post, Learn Local. Play Local. for weekly highlights of educational opportunities in the region students can participate in to supplement their studies in school and at home.  We highlight many different types of place-based educational events, raging from local history to culinary arts, geology to nature science.

The most recent question was last week when we asked how Western MA families make wise purchases for back-to-school clothes:

Wonder what to do with those hand-me-downs from last year, especially old clothing that is ripped, stained or otherwise unable to donate/wear?

Look for that back-to-school hair cut?

PB&J. Cheese stick. Yogurt. – (Snore!) – Here are a few fresh, creative idea for back-to-school, lunch toting kids:

Once in school, kids often bring home colds and flu. Here are community recommended home remedies for beating and treating your kids sniffles and fevers:

Looking for a new pediatrician to care for your child when they come home from school with strep throat or in need for their yearly physical or vaccinations?

What about lice? How can you prevent your kids from getting lice from their classmates? What do you do if they do get it?

Pizza is great for sleepovers, Friday night family dinner, or before/after high school sports. Here are some great places to get pizza after school (or anytime!):

Other helpful Q&A posts:

[Photo credit: (ccl) o5com]

11 Suggestions on How Western MA Families Can Make Wise Back-to-School Purchases

Americans spent $7.7 billion at family clothing stores in August 2011! When shopping for back-to-school clothes for this upcoming school year, how can Western MA families make wise purchases? Share your thoughts/ideas…

Lissie Fein asks, “Where are some recommended places to buy children gym shoes/sneakers?” Share your recommendations! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

  • Jean Engel writes, “Start with the summer clothes that are on sale at all the stores. It will stay rather hot well into October or sometimes November. Just make sure they have a new pair of shoes and a transitional jacket. Buy warmer clothing piece by piece as the next few weeks progress. It starves off the impulse buying you regret later.”
  • Kara Kitchen writes, “When my kids were younger and style did not matter as much, I would buy their clothes after the season was over for deep discounts in anticipation of next years needs. Online shopping when free shipping is offered is also a wise purchase when living in the Hilltowns and travel is a consideration+cost! Kids who don’t like to shop at the mall, try on clothes, or wait in lines often like catalogs/websites to browse…  Stores like Land’s End (great quality guarantees for rough+tumble kids) and Old Navy (great for babies+mom to look stylish for cheap) make returns to your local store wicked easy. But our favorite wise clothing option is hand-me downs! Kids (surprises galore) and parents (free clothes/tax donation deduction) both win.”
  • Karen Hettlinger writes, “A clothes donation/ trading post.”
  • Heather Wrisley writes, “Consignment stores.”
  • Robin Morgan Huntley writes, “Organize a clothing swap with neighborhood families or your kids’ friends! And crafty older kids can modify old clothes to revamp them (and maybe make them fit!), or figure out how to navigate sewing patterns and make some stuff of their own! Beehive in Northampton offers hourly rates on sewing machines if you don’t have one at home.”
  • Catherine Snyder writes, “Rethreads in Shelburne Falls. Freecycle.”
  • Amanda Gadd writes, “There is a wonderful new children’s consignment shop on North St. in Pittsfield called Kidding Around Consignment. She’s got everything from maternity to tween and some fun handmade stuff.”
  • Jean Engel writes, “Another one in Adams for North County families… Experienced Attire on Park Street/next to the old Armory (across the street from the Library). Great consignments.”
  • Sue Lowery writes, “Salvation Army, Hospice Shop, Northampton Survival Center, Amherst Survival Center – and any consignment shops.”
  • Katryna Nields writes, “Also post on Facebook. people are also going to be getting rid of the clothes that don’t fit anymore.”
  • Erin Klett writes, “‎Hens & Chicks consignment in Greenfield!”
  • Lissie Fein writes, “Where are some recommended places to buy children gym shoes/sneakers?

HFVS Back to School Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

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Back to School Episode

Saturday from 9-10am
Original Broadcast: August 20th, 2008
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA


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PLAYLIST

  • Imagination Movers – “First Day of School” [Juice Box Heroes]
  • Ernie & Neal – “Pre-School Punk” [Rock the House]
  • Milkshake – “School” [Bottle of Sunshine]
  • Adam and the Couch Potatoes – “Go to the Playground” [One Size Fits All]
  • Station Id: Princess Katie & Racer Steve [www.princessracer.com]
  • Chuck Berry – “School Day” [His Best, Volume I]
  • Daddy A Go-Go – “School Bus Driver” [Rock of All Ages]
  • Rocknocerous – “School Bus” [Dark Side of the Moon Bounce]
  • Ernie & Neal – “Homework Blues” [Rock the House]
  • Tom Paxton – “What Did You Learn in School Today?” [Best of Tom Paxton]
  • Station Id: Steve Weeks [www.steveweeksmusic.com]
  • Bill Harley – “The Teacher’s Lounge” [The Teacher's Lounge]
  • Station Id: The Harmonica Pocket [www.harmonicapocket.com]
  • Barenaked Ladies – “Crazy ABCs” [Snacktime]
  • Little Monster Records – “ABC” [Soulville]
  • The Terrible Twos – “Consonants” [Jerzy the Giant]

Berkshire Family Fun: Back-to-School in the Berkshires

Fall Into the Season with a BANG

2011-12 Football Season starts off with a BANG! (Photo credit: Kelly Bevan McIlquham)

The 2011-12 football season started off with a BANG at our house this year — literally — after my son, Max, attended a Labor Day football jamboree and saw stars (or a least a bright flash of light as he describes it) after being tackled by a 7-foot, 200-pound mammoth of a player. OK, according to Max the kid was not much bigger than his 5-foot, 85-pound frame, but he looked big and as my son jumped to intercept a pass this kid laid him out. Max got up a little slow and unsteady on his feet after the hit and headed to the sideline where he stayed for the remainder of the jamboree. We spent Tuesday morning at the doctor’s office, and until we can get an appointment with a neurologist to further explore the extent of the concussion Max is grounded — again, literally. No jumping, running, skipping, sneezing, video-game playing, eye-rolling, head shaking, brother teasing … Nada! “How bad can that be?” you say. I’ll let you know. I’m thinking this very active, ADHD child who thrives on football and activity is not going to fair too well with these restrictions, but I’ve been wrong before. Let’s just hope we’ve kept the brain rattling to a minimum.

SPEAKING OF STARS

Hopkins Observatory (courtesy photo)

You don’t need to suffer a concussion to see stars up close and personal in the Berkshires this fall. I promised you I’d find out more about the Milham Planetarium’s fall schedule (located in the Old Hopkins Observatory on the Williams College campus in Williamstown), and I have. According to the college’s website astronomy students at the college will host free shows for the public on select Friday evenings at 7:30 p.m. through Dec. 9. Dates are as follows: Sept. 16, 23 and 30; Oct. 14, 21 and 28; Nov. 4, 11 and 18; and Dec. 2 and 9.

During these evening shows audiences will be treated to shows from the high-precision Zeiss Skymaster ZKP3/B opto-mechanical planetarium projector, installed at the college in April 2005. The Zeiss Skymaster is capable of demonstrating phenomena including: retrograde motions of the planets, phases of the moon, the varying temperatures/colors of stars, locations of neighboring galaxies, the mythological figures and zodiacal signs ascribed to constellations, the Southern Hemisphere’s sky, comets, artificial satellites and much more. The Hopkins Observatory, built in 1836-1838 by the first professor of astronomy at Williams College, Albert Hopkins, is the oldest extant observatory in the United States. Shows will last about 50 minutes.

For reservations (recommended) contact Michele Rech at 413-597-2188 or send an e-mail to mcr4@williams.edu. Others will be admitted as space permits. Large groups should call for special appointments.

SCHOOL DAYZ

Hilltown Hoot (Photo credit: Kelly Bevan McIlquham)

The kids headed back to school last week without much pomp and circumstance and returned home with a mountain of homework — for me! Emergency cards, general information forms, questionnaires to fill out, school handbooks to read and sign ensuring that you actually read them … Ugh! While my kids chilled out watching television after a “taxing” first day (Yeah, right), I spent the majority of the evening with carpel tunnel and a giant migraine.

Among those forms were the first of the fundraisers peddling candles and wrapping paper, calendars and must-have seasonal decorations, all of which I do not need. But there is one fundraising flier that caught my eye and made me smile, and in my opinion, is the way a fundraiser should be done. For the past five years local Central Berkshire Regional School District parents Abe and Lisa Guthrie (Yes, they are related to THOSE Guthries famous Berkshire Guthries Woody and Arlo) have organized the annual Hilltown Hoot, a “fun-raiser” to benefit local schools. Originally the fundraiser was for the Becket/Washington Elementary School in the district, but last year the two decided the daylong music festival had been so successful in past years that they wanted to extend the benefits to all of the schools in the district, and this year is no different. On Sunday, Sept. 18, from noon to 7 p.m. local bands and performers, vendors, and more will converge on Washington Town Park (Route 8, Washington, MA) for an afternoon of fun, food, children’s activities, MUSIC and more. Some of the local (and world-renowned) talent includes students from the Becket Washington School Band, Terry a la Berry & Friends, Hilltown Zydeco String Band, Modest Me, Ryan Blessing, Annie Guthrie, Jordan Weller, Xavier (a band consisting of members Abe Guthrie, Tim Sears, Randy Cormier and Dan Teichert that started playing at our school dances went to school the district) and none other than Arlo Guthrie himself.

Tickets can be purchased in advanced for a discounted price or at the gate. For more information on where to purchase tickets and for a complete schedule of events visit www.hilltownhoot.com.

MORE MUSIC

The Washington Town Park isn’t the only place Berkshirites can find music this fall, Central Berkshire Music Together, the internationally recognized music and movement program for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and the adults who love them, is offering free demonstration classes today, Sept. 8, and Saturday, Sept. 10, at 10 a.m. at South Congregational Church located on South Street in Pittsfield, and on Friday, Sept. 9, at First Congregational Church on Main Street in Williamstown, to prepare for the upcoming 10-week fall semester.

My twins began going to these classes in preschool and Shea, who was still in an infant car seat at the time, attended, too, and I swear that is where he got his rhythm. To this day, he loves to dance and sing, and has more of that “groove thang” than anyone else in the house. Thank you Sandy! For more information visit www.centralberkshiremusictogether.com or call 413-637-1265.

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Q&A: 6 Back-to-School Lunch Ideas

QUESTION AND ANSWERS

PB&J. Cheese stick. Yogurt. – (Snore!) – Does your inner chef have a fresh, creative idea to share for our back-to-school, lunch toting kids?

  • Leslie Lynn suggests, “Hummus and carrots, yum! Seaweed strips! Homemade granola bars!”
  • Hannah Monroe Litchfield suggests, “My kids love tortillas with just about anything rolled inside. Cream cheese and ham, hummus and lettuce, turkey and cheese, or Yes, even PB&J.”
  • Jessica Grant suggests, “Vegetarian sushi rolls are a big hit here!”
  • Beth Caissie suggests, “Peach leather made from Clarkdale Farm peaches the 1st day of school.”
  • Lauren Abend suggests, “Crunchy kale.”
  • Amy Kane-Coyne suggests, “Radiatori pasta tossed with (locally made) Ooma Tesaro Mariara (had to give a shout out–especially since Jackson–my picky eater–who does not like tomatoes–loves the Oomas).

[Photo credit: (ccl) Sean Kelly]

Berkshire Family Fun: One Last Hurrah Before Back-to-School

End of August in the Berkshires

Music fills the air in the Berkshires this week ranging from free lawn concerts in North Adams and Lenox, to on stage in Pittsfield, North Adams and Great Barrington. (Photo source: Mass Moca; Roomful of Teeth)

The natives are getting restless. The war cries signaling that two brothers have had enough “together time” this summer resonates throughout the house. A drum beats slowly and methodically in my head as I reach for the bottle of ibuprofen to stave off yet another kid-induced migraine — peace drums here, not a chance — while I ready myself to intervene in the latest battle between these warrior brothers: “I will not bet you a dollar that I can be quiet all the way home because you didn’t pay me the dollar last time I won a bet” … “Well, I didn’t pay you because you cheated.” … “I didn’t cheat, a yawn doesn’t count as talking.” … “Well, two years ago when I yawned during the bet you counted that as talking.” … And on and on it goes. And then the smoke signals appear from my seething 12-year-old daughter’s ears (her summer has been spent either loving me or hating me, there seems to be no in between these days), and for the moment she does not like the fact that I have asked her to change out of the short-shorts that are slowly creeping up her backside because she has grown over two inches since they were purchased in May.

This can only mean one thing: TIME FOR THE KIDDOS TO HEAD BACK TO SCHOOL! You know what else signals the end of summer and the beginning of another school year? The fact that family-friendly activities that once filled our summer calendars are slowly coming to an end. But there’s still more year-round fun to be had in the Berkshires and I am on a mission to find it all. Here’s what I’ve found so far:

STILL TIME TO BBQ

Start your weekend off right with a family-friendly outdoor barbecue where kids can play and parents can socialize. Berkshire South Regional Community Center on Crissey Road in Great Barrington is hosting a barbecue this Friday, Aug. 26, from 5:30-7 p.m., in their outdoor courtyard complete with hotdogs, hamburgers and more. For a small fee family members can grab a bite to eat, spend some time on the play structure or bounce around in the bouncy castle. All one has to do is sign up at the front desk or call 413-528-2810. For more information visit www.berkshiresouth.org.

Can’t make the barbecue? The community center will also host a Community Supper Mon, Aug. 29, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the lounge and meeting room. This supper, with seatings at 5 and 6:15 p.m. is free (monetary donations or donations of nonperishable foods are excepted) and features a fabulous meal prepared by some of the Berkshires’ finest chefs, including Naji Nejaime (Naji’s), chefs from the Route 7 Grill, Annie Dinan (Dinan with Annie), Jim Gop (Guido’s), Michael Ballon (Castle Street Café), the Berkshire CoOp, Tommy Lee, and the Masiero Brothers (Guido’s and Baba Louie’s). To reserve a seat call 413-528-2810, ext. 10.

OUTDOOR MOVIES

If the increased wearing of sweatshirts and layers are any indication that the end of summer is near then so, too, are the last of the outdoor movies. Today, Thursday, Aug. 25, at 5:30 p.m. the Norman Rockwell Museum will screen “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” in Stockbridge. For more information go online to www.nrm.org.

Then on Friday, Aug. 26, the town of Adams will celebrate Christmas in August with activities and a visit from Santa beginning at 6 p.m., followed by an 8 p.m. screening of “The Polar Express.” For more information visit www.celebrateadams.com.

The last of the movies on the summer schedule is set for Sunday, Aug. 28, on the Dalton CRA lawn, Main Street, Dalton, where a screening of “The Incredibles” will help celebrate Back to School Movie Night. The movie will begin at 8 p.m. Visit www.daltoncra.org for more details.

HISTORY IN THE AREA

If you have read any of my previous columns you will know that I’ve had a little infatuation lately with teaching my children about local history and, surprisingly, I have found that a cemetery is a treasure trove of historical information. Apparently the members of VOICES Theatre Company have found another use for the area’s cemeteries: performance space. Tonight Aug. 25, and also on Sept. 1 and 8 the company will perform “Shades of the Revolution: A Ghostly Re-Enactment of People, Places and Scenes from Pittsfield’s Past,” with actors dramatizing key scenes from Pittsfield’s colorful early history at the Wahconah Street Cemetery at 7 p.m. There is a small fee, but it sounds intriguing, for lack of a better word. For more information 413-442-1793 or pittsfield250.com for more information.

GOTTA LOVE ACTIVITIES FOR FREE

I love the fact that there is so much to do around the Berkshires that will entertain the entire family while leaving your bank accounts virtually untouched. I’ve discussed various free hiking opportunities throughout the Berkshires, and let me tell you the small price of a $2 parking pass was definitely worth the trip we took to Natural Bridge Stage Park in North Adams last week.

From local parks, to free community days at local museums and venues, to a plethora of art galleries and historic sites throughout the area, there is never a lack of something to do at anytime of the year. And if I wasn’t heading to Boston today for a much-needed parental vacation with my husband I would definitely be capitalizing on one of these free opportunities, Friday, Aug. 26, with my family. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield will offer free admission as part of the highland Street Foundation’s Free Fun Fridays. With myriad opportunities to view a variety of geckos, create an invention of one’s own, partake in an archeological dig, journey under the sea (lake, stream or river) and more, this is definitely a free activity you won’t want to miss. For more information visit www.berkshiremuseum.org or call 413-443-7171.

Another free activity for families, besides a hike on any one of the trails leading up to Mount Greylock’s summit (I still haven’t gotten to the Cascades in the Greylock Reservation, but summers not over yet), is the Aug. 31 “Guide to Understanding the Stars” with Kevin Collins beginning at Bascom Lodge atop the mountain at 6 p.m. Sounds pretty interesting, if the forecast is for clear skies that night our family just might take a short vertical drive that evening. Call 413-743-1591 for more details.

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Are your children’s back to school supplies safe?

Make sure your children’s back to school supplies are safe & PVC free!

Did you know your child’s school supplies may be loaded with toxic PVC plastic? Go PVC-free this Back to School Season with their free guide.

The Center For Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) has created a Back-to-School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies allowing parents and children healthier and safer options when it comes to choosing school supplies. CHEJ’s product list of PVC-free items include:

  • backpacks
  • binders
  • notebooks
  • lunch boxes, food wrappers & dishware
  • raincoats
  • shoes
  • art supplies
  • clothes
  • electronics
  • and more

Click here to download their free guide.

Amber’s 2010 Back-to-School Picks: Hilltown Family Variety Show (Podcast/Radio Show)

Listen Now

Amber’s 2010 Back-to-School Picks

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
September 18th & 19h, 2010
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

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Playlist by Amber Bodnar of Boston Children’s Music

Getting the kids back to school can be such a hectic time: trying to get everyone back on schedule, making sure they’ve all got their new lunch boxes and back packs, and soothing any new school jitters can take a lot out of a mom!

I don’t know how things work in your family, but for us music always helps to ease transitions, so of course I’ve compiled a list of school songs for Ivan to listen to as he gets ready to start his new year as a big five year old boy!

So far, so good!

  1. Outta SchoolBack to School by Steve Blunt – A great way to start the new school year! Steve’s song starts out sad about the end of summer, but he learns that his new teacher is actually pretty cool. Steve Blunt is a local musician from New Hampshire and his two CDs, Hang on Henry and Outta School, are really fun. He has a way of telling a story through song that can sometimes catch you off guard—in a good way!
  2. In the Back of the Bus by Bill Harley – Bill Harley is the ultimate story teller. I love this rock and roll song about the kids who sit in the back of the bus—they just might steal your hat or eat your lunch! But as with all of Bill’s songs and stories, it’s all just part of the fun.
  3. Take Me to Show-and-Tell by Sarah Lee Guthrie & Family – When I was a kid, one of my favorite things in school was Show-and-Tell. I remember taking my pet mongoose in once. I think the teacher in Sarah Lee Guthrie’s song would have been angry at me! Sarah’s voice is so sweet and I love how her kids join her on the chorus. Her music is definitely a family affair!
  4. Blast OffReading a Book by Ben Rudnick & Friends – There are so many great songs about reading and this one by Ben Rudnick & Friends is one of my favorites. They say that “anything can happen when you’re reading a book” and let your imagination take wing. So true!
  5. Once Upon a Time by Judy Pancoast – Judy Pancoast’s song about reading focuses on knowledge rather than imagination. Her princess character reads books to learn about the world because her father won’t allow her to go to college. She says she doesn’t want to just sit around and wait to be a prince’s wife… and she’s only interested in a prince who reads just like her! What a smart girl!
  6. Library by SteveSongs – Where are you going to find all those wonderful books? In the library! SteveSongs gets so excited about all the cool books at the library that the librarians need to hush him!
  7. AshebaRecess Time by Asheba – We all need a break after all that reading. Asheba’s up-beat reggae song is about children running and playing on the playground at recess. Asheba’s songs are all so positive and full of life!
  8. Sack Lunch by Recess Monkey - I love this song by Recess Monkey! The song is sung in the voice of your sack lunch while you (the student) are on a field trip. The guys of Recess Monkey are able to give ordinary things such importance—and if you get the chance, check out the video for Sack Lunch, it’s hilarious!
  9. Big Field Trip by Justin Roberts – Justin Roberts is one of the kings of kids’ music. We got to see him live this summer at the Regattabar in Harvard Square. What a show! Like so many Justin Roberts songs, Big Field Trip is so much fun to sing along to. Give it a try!
  10. Renee & JeremyShare by Renee & Jeremy – What’s the most important life lesson you learn in kindergarten? Sharing, of course! Renee & Jeremy use their perfect harmonies to get the message across beautifully: If we all share love will surround us!
  11. Taking Turns by Leeny & Tamara – Leeny & Tamara’s Taking Turns has a similar message: we can all get along and play together happily if we just take turns. Another great school lesson!
  12. Charlie HopeNaptime by Charlie Hope – You know what Ivan does when he gets home from school? He takes a nap. He has so much fun learning and playing all day that he comes home exhausted. Charlie Hope’s song about naptime is a great way to get in the mood—but her lullaby CD, World of Dreams, will seal the deal.

Back-to-School Episode: Hilltown Family Variety Show (Podcast/Radio Show)

Listen Now

Back-to-School Episode

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
September 11th & 12th, 2010
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA


Featured Video: Our friends over at Boston Children’s Music turned us on to this new video,Bookmobile Submarineby John Hadfield.


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PLAYLIST

  • Chuck Berry – “School Day” [His Best, Volume 1]
  • Imagination Movers – “First Day of School” [Juice Box Heroes]
  • The Not-Its! – “Welcome to Our School” [Time Out to Rock]
  • Station ID: Charity and the JAMband [www.jamjamjam.com]
  • Charity and The JAMband – “Jump into the Middle” [Rock Your Socks Off]
  • Ernie & Neal – “Pre-School Punk” [Rock the House]
  • Duplex – “Figure 8″ [Album]
  • Jack Johnson – “We’re Going to be Friends” [Sing-a-Longs & Lullabies for the Film Curious George]
  • Opus Ditty – “Folsom Preschool Blues”
  • Rocknocerous – “School Bus” [Dark Side of the Moon Bounce]
  • Tom Paxton – “What Did You Learn in School Today” [Best of Tom Paxton]
  • The RTTs – “Learning My Letters” [Turn It Up Mommy!]
  • Adam and the Couch Potatoes – “Go To The Playground” [One Size Fits All!]
  • Clint Holmes – “Playground in My Mind” [Radio Hits of the '70s]
  • The Terrible Twos – “Playground” [Jerzy The Giant]
  • Ellis Paul – “I Like To Swing” [The Dragonfly Races]
  • Rebecca Frezza & Big Truck – “Carnival Ride” [Special Kind of Day]
  • Lisa Loeb – “It’s Not Goodbye” [Camp Lisa]
  • The Sweet Colleens – “The Terrible Twos Step” [The Monkey Dance: All The Kids Are Doin' It!]Music
  • Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke – “The Rattling Can” [Rise and Shine]Music

7 Things to Tell the Teacher About Your Child

7 Things to Tell the Teacher About Your Child
By Emily Graham, PTO Today

When your child heads back to school, it’s a great time to start talking with his teacher.

What can you tell a teacher that will help him do his job better? You might be surprised. While your child’s teacher is the expert in education, no one knows more about your child than you do. It’s just as important for parents to tell teachers about issues at home that may affect school performance as it is for teachers to report how children are doing in the classroom.

Students do best when parents and teachers work together as partners. The start of a new school year is a great time to open a dialogue with your child’s teacher. Not sure where to start? Here are seven things teachers wish you would tell them. Sharing this information with a teacher will help her better understand your child’s needs and lay the groundwork for a cooperative relationship throughout the school year.

READ MORE:  7 Things to Tell the Teacher About Your Child – GreatSchools.net.

Tips for a New School Year

Dads’ 10 Tips for the New School Year
By Joe Kelly

Our children and stepchildren are starting the new school year. Dads & Stepdads are a valuable resource for kids in school. Here are a few simple tips to help you help them get the most out of this year (pronouns alternate because we dads have both girls & boys):

1. Listen to what’s happening. If she’s stressed or upset about cliques, teams, new subjects, or anything else—give her your attention. Provide her time to get things out and do some processing before jumping in with judgments or suggestions.

2. Help him keep perspective. Gently remind him that there are more important things than who’s wearing what, or who is going out with whom. Let him know (in word and deed) that you love him for who he is, no matter what.

3. Set the stage. Ask your child what a successful school year would look like for her—friends, sports, activities, dating—and then have her tell you about how important each goal is to her and if she thinks each one is realistic. It’s OK to discuss your expectations regarding grades, but remember the important lessons learned outside the classroom and all the pressures which face our kids today.

4. Nurture your special father-child bond. Go out for ice cream, go swimming, shoot hoops, or do something you know he loves. The beginning of school is a great time to begin a new tradition. How about a lunch date the last Saturday of every month?

5. Let her cope and experiment. School can be a great place for her to learn important personal and interpersonal skills which will serve her later in life. Don’t rush in to solve every problem – listen. But never back down where her personal safety is concerned.

6. Walk a mile in his shoes. Try to imagine what he’s experiencing and what it means to him. Your understanding and empathy can help him make it through his own trials.

7. Celebrate success. We dads sometimes tend to focus more on what’s not going right than we do on what is going well. Be sure to let her know how proud you are of her talents and accomplishments—even if they are not readily recognized by others.

8. Be his hero. Stay always mindful of his unique spirit and give him your loyalty, kindness, acceptance, respect, and support. Your influence in his life is unique, so make it as positive as possible.

9. Tell stories about yourself. Many things have changed since you were a kid, but most of the important stuff is still the same. Share your own youthful struggles with staying true to yourself, your values, and your friends. Don’t make every story into a lecture, and be sure to admit your mistakes—they can teach her a lot (starting with humility)!

10. Honor his interests. Even if his passion isn’t your first choice for fun, be there for him, let him teach you about his interests, and learn why he’s passionate about them. Your validation is a huge help to him.

Read the rest of this entry »

Green Mama: Healthy School Lunches Begin at Home

Hilltown Families Contributing Writer

Back-to-School Means Back to Healthy Eating for this Family

It’s just about that time again. Time for alarm clocks and protests to sleep “just one more minute.” Time for grumbles over homework and carpools to sport’s practices. Time for frazzled parents and days where the schedule dictates your life. (Cue scream.)

Yes folks, the vacation’s over. It’s back-to-school time!

Take a deep breathe and you can almost smell the nervousness, anticipation and excitement in the air. And that’s just what some parents are exuding into the environment. What about the kids?

School is a touchy subject. Everybody has an opinion — about teachers, MCAS, the abundance of homework, the lack of homework, the importance of recess, the elimination of recess and most recently, the state of school lunchrooms.

There has been a strong movement in the United States, since Mrs. Obama started her Let’s Move campaign to address the growing epidemic of childhood obesity, to revamp school lunch programs. In April I spoke to Josh Viertel, the president of Slow Food USA a grassroots organization that, according to its website, “envisions a world in which all people can eat food that is good for them, good for the people who grow it and good for the planet.” Viertel spoke to me about the organizations Time for Lunch campaign which advocates for changes in the Child Nutrition Act, the piece of legislation that is responsible for funding and establishing guidelines for the National School Lunch Program.

“School lunch administrators, nutrition directors, lunch ladies … they want to feed kids food that makes them healthy and that tastes good but they really have their hands tied because of federal funding,” Viertel said. “Schools get on average less than a dollar a day per lunch to spend on ingredients, which makes it really impossible to serve food that’s good for kids.”

Viertel and his organization members are not the only ones who headed to Washington this year to address this issue.

Rachael Ray made a trip to the Capitol in May to plead her case. In an interview with Nightline’s Cythia McFadden posted on Ray’s Yum-o.org website she commented on the importance of this bill for kid’s education: “It’s an opportunity to really level the playing field, no matter what socioeconomic background a kid comes from,” Rachael said. “When they are in school they (can) have access — all of them — to good nutrition if we the adults provide it for them.”

I am a firm believer in revamping the school lunch programs in our schools. Afterall, I am guilty of throwing the organic eating out the window during the school day and allowing my children to purchase the all-too-often unhealthy school lunches. But I also don’t want to put too much emphasis on the school’s responsibility in all this. Yes, they are responsible for feeding our children the healthiest, most nutritious food they can with the funding they have available to them, but so are we parents.

“Nutrition and healthy nutrition has everything to do with the success or the struggle that (your child) will have,” said Izzy Lenihan, a Pittsfield-based life, career and wellness coach and mother of two, in recent interview.

In the interview Lenihan discussed the importance of sending your child off to school with a good breakfast in their belly because if you don’t, she said, “there’s an indication that you’re already starting him (or her) off for failure.”

Read the rest of this entry »

10 Tips for Dad to Help Ease the Back-to-School Transition

10 Tips for Dad to Help Ease the Back-to-School Transition
By Joe Kelly, TheDadMan.com

The start of a new school year can be a nerve-wracking time for our children and stepchildren–and us. Here are 10 simple tips to help smooth your kid’s way.

  1. Listen to what’s happening. If she’s stressed or upset about cliques, teams, new subjects, or anything else-give her your attention. Provide her time to get things out and do some processing before jumping in with judgments or suggestions.
  2. Help him keep perspective. Gently remind him that there are more important things than who’s wearing what, or who is going out with whom. Let him know (in word and deed) that you love him for who he is, no matter what.
  3. Set the stage. Ask your child what a successful school year would look like for her-friends, sports, activities, dating-and then have her tell you about how important each goal is to her and if she thinks each one is realistic. It’s OK to discuss your expectations regarding grades, but remember the important lessons learned outside the classroom and all the pressures which face our kids today.
  4. Nurture your special father-child bond. Go out for ice cream, go swimming, shoot hoops, or do something you know he loves. The beginning of school is a great time to begin a new tradition. How about a lunch date the last Saturday of every month?
  5. Let her cope and experiment. School can be a great place for her to learn important personal and interpersonal skills which will serve her later in life. Don’t rush in to solve every problem – listen. But never back down where her personal safety is concerned.
  6. Walk a mile in his shoes. Try to imagine what he’s experiencing and what it means to him. Your understanding and empathy can help him make it through his own trials.
  7. Celebrate success. We dads sometimes tend to focus more on what’s not going right than we do on what is going well. Be sure to let her know how proud you are of her talents and accomplishments-even if they are not readily recognized by others.
  8. Be a hero. Stay always mindful of his unique spirit and give him your loyalty, kindness, acceptance, respect, and support. Your influence in his life is unique, so make it as positive as possible.
  9. Tell stories about yourself. Many things have changed since you were a kid, but most of the important stuff is still the same. Share your own youthful struggles with staying true to yourself, your values, and your friends. Don’t make every story into a lecture, and be sure to admit your mistakes-they can teach her a lot (starting with humility)!
  10. Honor his interests. Even if his passion isn’t your first choice for fun, be there for him, let him teach you about his interests, and learn why he’s passionate about them. Your validation is a huge help to him.

©Joe Kelly; All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. Learn more about healthy fathering @ www.TheDadMan.com.

HFVS Back to School Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

Listen to Podcast:

Back to School Episode

Saturday from 9-10am
August 20th, 2008
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA


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PLAYLIST

  • Imagination Movers – “First Day of School” [Juice Box Heroes]
  • Ernie & Neal – “Pre-School Punk” [Rock the House]
  • Milkshake – “School” [Bottle of Sunshine]
  • Adam and the Couch Potatoes – “Go to the Playground” [One Size Fits All]
  • Station Id: Princess Katie & Racer Steve [www.princessracer.com]
  • Chuck Berry – “School Day” [His Best, Volume I]
  • Daddy A Go-Go – “School Bus Driver” [Rock of All Ages]
  • Rocknocerous – “School Bus” [Dark Side of the Moon Bounce]
  • Ernie & Neal – “Homework Blues” [Rock the House]
  • Tom Paxton – “What Did You Learn in School Today?” [Best of Tom Paxton]
  • Station Id: Steve Weeks [www.steveweeksmusic.com]
  • Bill Harley – “The Teacher’s Lounge” [The Teacher's Lounge]
  • Station Id: The Harmonica Pocket [www.harmonicapocket.com]
  • Barenaked Ladies – “Crazy ABCs” [Snacktime]
  • Little Monster Records – “ABC” [Soulville] Release
  • The Terrible Twos – “Consonants” [Jerzy the Giant] Release

Back-to-School: Getting Out the Door

Getting Out the Door

For most families, back-to-school means a new schedule complete with homework, meetings, practices and new activities. Remembering everything that has to be ready to go each day can turn your mornings into a mad dash.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

With a little organization, you really can make this the year your family commits to making every morning a smooth one. Experiment with these tips, adapted from At-A-Glance and Stacy M. DeBroff’s The Mom Book (The Free Press, 2002), to find out which ones work best with your bunch:

READ MORE: Getting Out the Door – Parenthood.com.

Countdown to Back to School: Get Organized

Countdown to Back to School: Get Organized

Back to School: When your student and your whole family get organized, going back to school will be stress free.
By Lisa Rosenthal, GreatSchools Staff

The start of school is just around the corner, so now’s the time to make sure everything is in order at your house — initial back-to-school supplies are on hand, after-school activities and care are arranged, and you’ve established a quiet, orderly place in your home for your student to keep school papers and study.

READ MORE: Countdown to Back to School: Get Organized – Massachusetts – GreatSchools.net.

Back-to-School Supplies


School Supply Lists

GreatSchools.net has posted a K-2: Back-to-School Supply List families might find useful.

Before you shop for back-to-school supplies, it’s best to get a list of what’s required from your child’s school or new teacher. If the school list isn’t available yet, you can still take advantage of back-to-school sales by sticking to the basics that you know your child will need. Click here to read more.

They also have a 3rd-5th Grade Back-to-School Supply List along with a Middle School Back-to-School Supply List.

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