Q&A: 18 Recommended Winter Resources & Activities for Families with Special Needs in Western MA

Q&A: 18 Recommended Winter Resources & Activities for Families with Special Needs in Western MA

When our readers ask, Hilltown Families does our best to find the answers. Please feel encouraged to share your favorite places in the comment section!

Jean Engle of North Adams writes, “Once the colder weather sets in, where are the best places to visit and socialize for parents and children with special needs? Are there any specialized activities?”

Holyoke High School’s Adaptive Physical Education Program is an inspiration! Here’s a video of the program they held at Fitzpatrick Ice Arena to inspire other schools and communities to model a similar program in their area:

Lisa Levheim writes, “It’s a little far from North Adams, but Whole Children in Hadley is amazing! They have after school programs and daytime programs for homeschoolers and younger kids.”

Swansea Benham Bleicher writes, “Most family centers will welcome children with special needs. Contact the Coordinators ahead of time if you are concerned: Northampton Parents Center, Easthampton Family Center, Belchertown Family Center, Amherst Family Center, Cummington Family Center, Gateway Family Center, South Hadley Family Center, Ware Family Center

Matt Sawyer writes,Ski Butternut offers skiing and snowboarding adaptive programs for people with special needs.” Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Thanksgiving Episode with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn (Radio Show/Podcast)

 

Thanksgiving Episode
with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn

Listen to Podcast:

This special Thanksgiving episode from Charity and the JAMband explores, through music and story, some of the many, many things we have to be grateful for in our lives — like the sun, rain, friends and family – – culminating in a vision for world peace where everyone finally has enough food, shelter, community and love. Incorporating songs by Snatam Kaur, Los Lobos, the Moody Blues, the Rolling Stones, and Nat King Cole, among others, the music and commentary weave a gentle yet thought-provoking meditation on gratitude, generosity, love and compassion to inspire folks of all ages this holiday season.

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
Nov 19th & 20th, 2016
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured video: Charity has a great song, “Loving Kindness.” She writes, “Love shouldn’t cost anything. This song emanated from the Buddhist practice of Loving Kindness (also called Metta), whereby you send wishes of health, happiness, safety and peace of mind to yourself and others.”  In this video she shows you the movements to the song so you can show your preK kids how to dance along! – www.jamjamjam.com


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Rolling Stones – “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” [Let It Bleed]
  • Beatles “Dear Prudence” [White Album]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “Grateful” [Family Values]
  • Snatam Kaur – “Long Time Sun” [Sacred Chants for Healing]
  • Gene Kelley – “Singing in the Rain” [Best of Gene Kelley]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “Green Beans Everywhere” [Family Values]
  • Nat King Cole – “Frim Fram Sauce” [The King Cole Trio]
  • William Steig – Sylvester and the Magic Pebble [Read by Charity Kahn]
  • Moody Blues – “Lovely To See You” [On the Threshold of a Dream]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “Love Is Herel” [Family Values]
  • Johnny Nash – “I Can See Clearly Now” [single]
  • Los Lobos – “Peace” [Kiko]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “We Are the Ones” [Family Values]

Originally aired on November 21 & 22, 2012 on WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio

20 Recommendations for Staying Entertained Inside on a Snow Day!

Staying Entertained Inside When It’s Too Snowy or Cold to Go Outside

We asked our readers how their families stayed entertained when they were snowed in… Answers ranged from playing games to playing music and included arts & crafts, baking reading, watching movies, and kitchen science! Let’s their ideas inspire you on this snowy day:

  • Amy Meltzer writes: “Blokus, Backgammon, Spot It, Clue, puzzles…baking cookies…and what my girls call “book conferences” when we all get in bed and read together.”
  • Andrew Woodland writes: “Play banjo!”
  • Gillian Kyle Budine writes: “Cozy up and read!”
  • Aviva Lester Sieber writes: “We do arts and crafts, and read.”
  • Robin Shtulman writes: “Board games!”
  • Leah Pilet-Stinson writes: “Making forts, baking, arts and crafts, set up our tent for indoor camping!”
  • Prudence Wholey writes: “Games, reading, Scrabble.”
  • Samantha Wood writes: “Reading near each other, watching movies, playing piano and making soups.”
  • Mercedes Echevarria writes: “Baking cookies, reading, playing games.”
  • Amy Jean Smith writes: “Baking, reading, coloring, playing music and lots of indoor activities that get you moving. My toddler’s favorite is a CD of music with different music for walking, marching, running (in place), skipping and formal walking. And watching the creatures outdoors.”
  • Michele Lussier writes: “Books, movies, baking, cuddling/napping…”
  • Mike & Mimi Blissed Ross writes: “Creating, music, art, reading, homeschooling, cooking things that require the oven! Dancing! Exercising! Latin music hot hot hot!”
  • Jeremia Pollard writes: “We go outside.”
  • Dorothy Elaine Lavachia Stant writes: “Go Crazy.”
  • Amy Kane-Coyne writes: Playing Banannagrams. Art projects. Baking brownies.
  • Michael Muller writes: Games. Reading. Audio books.
  • Kate Bailey writes: V.I.D.E.O.
  • Aime DeGrenier writes: Coloring, visiting with our awesome neighborhood kids, puzzle.
  • Joshua Farber writes: Kitchen table science experiments involving snow – predictions and proposed variations can be drawn by the under-literate crowd.
  • Sienna Wildfield writes: Make your own bubble recipe and then head outside and blow bubbles. You’ll be amazed in watching them freeze and then deflate!

[Photo credit: (cc) Michael Hartford]

Bedtime Routine: Let’s Talk Bedtime

What Time Does Your Child Go to Bed?

Let’s talk bedtime… What time does your child go to bed, and what is their age? Many parents struggling with bedtime routines with their young children wonder how other parents manage and what time they turn off the lights. Pulled from our archives, here’s what our readers had to share…

  • Myanna Carbin-O’Brien writes: “One son is 20 months…6:45-7:15ish depending on nap. My other son is 4, no nap and 7:30.”
  • Kara Kitchen‎ writes: “8 (almost 9) y.o. Twins in bed at 9 lights out at 9:30 sleep till 7 am-weekends they can stay up till midnight and sleep in till 10 when nothing to do!”
  • Sara Barry writes: “4.5 months and 2 years—Bed time is between 7 and 7:30, though this time of year we’re having trouble getting inside early enough to get to bed on time.”
  • Joan Griswold writes: “My daughter is 9, going to be 10 in September. We get her into to bed to read at 8:30 and lights out at 9PM. Weekends are a little later. I like seeing what others do!”
  • Michelle Huddy‎ writes: “1.5, 5 and 6. Between 7:00-8:00. The 5 year old is up at 6:00 every morning!”
  • See what other parents had to say…

Q&A: Email for Kids

QUESTION AND ANSWERS

“Email programs that are designed specifically for kids offer safety, security, and privacy features that regular grown-up email programs don’t,” writes Common Sense Media. “Unlike Gmail, Yahoo, or even Facebook, email programs for kids can’t sell ads based on the topics in your messages or suggest people for you to add to your contact list.” 

One of our readers is looking to set up an email account for their tween.  — “Are there any recommendations from other parents on how to set up a monitored email account for a grade school child (10yo), in particular has anyone ever used KidsEmail.org? Gmail requires kids to be 13yo+ and I’m resistant to having my child use Gmail until then, otherwise I might be modeling that it’s okay to lie about your age on the internet. Love to hear if parents have used other services that are specifically for kids. Thanks!”

  • Susan Countryman writes, “I’ve used kidsemail.org and been happy with it. It has a huge array of controls–including a set list for who can email your child (and vice versa), whether attachments or photos can be received, and the option to have in and outgoing mail be copied to your own account.”
  • Amber Ladley writes, “Thanks for this timely post. We just started the email discussion…also for a 10yo…will definitely check out kidsemail.org.”
  • Karina BlackHeart writes, “Norton has a great system for monitoring internet use for kids. You get to set up which email account they can use, what kinds of sites they can visit, etc. If Norton won’t let them on a site they want to visit, the child has to come and get your permission.”
  • Melissa Mason Hyde writes, “Just set up a regular email like Hotmail but only the parents know the password. What’s the big deal.”
  • William Buescher writes, “I have three teens. None of them email. Ever. They text 100% (well, they also post comments on Facebook – which is pretty easy to monitor.)”

[Photo credit: (ccl) Ruben Vermeersch]

Q&A: Let’s Talk Bedtime

QUESTION AND ANSWERS

Let’s talk bedtime… What time does your child go to bed, and what is their age? Pulled from our archives, here’s what our readers had to share…

  • Nancyjo Craig Rongner writes: “‎22.5 months. Somewhere between 7 and 8.”
  • Amanda Saklad‎ writes: “5, 9, 11 – all go to bed at 8pm (the 5 and 11yo share a room and it is tough to have the younger one go to bed earlier).”
  • Angela Golembeski‎ writes: “7pm. Ages 3, 8 & 10. We are early risers but they still get their 12 hours in.”
  • Drew Campbell writes: “Almost 10yo is in bed at 8:30, lights-out at 9:00.”
  • Meggin Thwing Eastman writes: “‎7-8pm, depending on whether he had a nap; 3.5yo.”
  • Heather Richardson writes: “My boys are 2 and 4 and they go to bed between 7 and 8.”
  • Kate Thompson Bader writes: “My son is 10 months and he goes to bed between 6:30 and 7:00. I wish he would stay up a little later!”
  • Myanna Carbin-O’Brien writes: “One son is 20 months…6:45-7:15ish depending on nap. My other son is 4, no nap and 7:30.”
  • Kara Kitchen‎ writes: “8 (almost 9) y.o. Twins in bed at 9 lights out at 9:30 sleep till 7 am-weekends they can stay up till midnight and sleep in till 10 when nothing to do!”
  • Sara Barry writes: “4.5 months and 2 years—Bed time is between 7 and 7:30, though this time of year we’re having trouble getting inside early enough to get to bed on time.”
  • Joan Griswold writes: “My daughter is 9, going to be 10 in September. We get her into to bed to read at 8:30 and lights out at 9PM. Weekends are a little later. I like seeing what others do!”
  • Michelle Huddy‎ writes: “1.5, 5 and 6. Between 7:00-8:00. The 5 year old is up at 6:00 every morning!”
  • Melanie Klein Courtemanche writes: “Would be great if you could change the question to include what time is your child up in the morning too.”
  • Kathleen Roden Spires writes: “5 y/o boy…bed and lights out (if no t-ball game) @7:15/20…he’s up in the AM (sleeps like a rock thru the night) 6:15/30 self waking up. He is in full day Kindergarten…”
  • Diane Hinze Kanzler writes: “‎4.5-year-old girl, in bed by 8 p.m. (7-7:30 in winter), self-wakes between 6 and 7 a.m. Awesome sleeper.”
  • Carrie St John writes: “‎5.5 years. Bath at 7pm, stories at 7:30, sleeping with seconds. Generally awake between 6-7am. A later bedtime means grumpies and she still wakes at the same time no matter the bedtime. She has had an internal alarm since birth.”
  • Vanessa Van Stee‎ writes: “15 month old – in bed at 7pm.”

[Photo credit: (ccl) Patrick]

Q&A: 12 Suggestions for Including Babies During Family Dinner

QUESTION AND ANSWERS

When your kids were babies, how did you include them at the dinner table?

Jennifer Shiao Page writes, “Well, when she was a wee one, we always ate when she was asleep. Once she could sit up, we put her in the high chair and she sat at the table with us. We always gave her appropriately-sized bits of whatever we were eating, for her to eat on her own (or not). We did child-led weaning, which is basically forgoing baby food and pureed food, and letting her experience the texture and taste of our food. It helped to not have to spoon-feed her.”

Carrie St John writes, “My daughter has always preferred being at eye level-sling or soft back pack instead of a stroller. Also true at the dinner table, so from about 1 month to 4 months she would be in the middle of the table (big table). Right in the action. Once she started rolling, she sat on my lap. Once she could sit, close to 6 months, she was in one of those baby seats that goes right up to the table, not a traditional high chair which tends to be back from the table. She was always right there being a part of the conversation.”

Rebecca Dejnak Svan writes, “High chair. Loved it.  It’s at table height and we started eating together as soon as they could be in it.”

Rebecca Trow Addison writes, “At 7 months our daughter had her 1st Thanksgiving and she ate everything we ate. Just cut it up small.”

Judie Isabella writes, “When mine were too little for high chairs, I’d put them right up on the table in their baby seat. When they could sit in high chairs, I would pull it right up to the table… Always… We still do have the best family dinners.”

Kerri Recore Vassar writes, “While infants they seemed to know when we were eating, so typically they nursed while I ate. As they grew, some times they were in a high chair or on my lap.”

Eileen Collins writes, “I rescued a Victorian bent wood high chair, bought a 4 point harness to secure my daughter and kept the table portion of the high chair always flipped back. This way I could push her high chair up to our table. She was at eye level and enjoyed having her meals with us.”

Janet McLaurin writes, “We have hooks in a beam right at the head of the table and we hung a baby airplane swing there-so I guess the boys started at the table but then if they got bored or fussy they ended up gently swinging often ending up asleep -family dinner time is important-good time to gather together.”

Olivia Leone writes, “Our children were always at the dinner table with us, in their high chair (tray off an pulled up to the table), in a booster seat and now in chairs. No matter how busy our lives get, we make sure to sit together at the dinner table even if it means on dance nights we don’t eat until 7, or when track starts, we picnic.”

Barb Raymond writes, “With love and patience.”

Julie Rodrigues Tanguay writes, “In a ring-sling, on our laps, in a swing next to us, on our laps, in the carriage, on our laps, in the highchair reclined, on our laps, in the highchair, ON our laps, in a booster, ON OUR LAPS, in a chair. Our dining room table is in the center our house, and that is a time and place we go to “talk out” any of the days events & plans for the days to come.”

Susan Lillie Robert writes, “When our girls were little we always included them at the table to teach them about proper manners and family time, we would also take them out to eat to show them how one acts out if public. We were always commented on how well behaved they were.”

[Photo credit: (ccl) Daniel James]

20 Recommendations for Keeping the Family Entertained in Subzero Weather

QUESTION AND ANSWERS

Rachael Laurie writes: “Board games: Battleship, Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Hullabaloo, Twister. Lots of games.”

How does your family stay entertained when you’re snowed in (and the temps dip below 0°)?

  • Amy Meltzer writes: “Blokus, Backgammon, Spot It, Clue, puzzles…baking cookies…and what my girls call “book conferences” when we all get in bed and read together.”
  • Andrew Woodland writes: “Play banjo!”
  • Gillian Kyle Budine writes: “Cozy up and read!”
  • Aviva Lester Sieber writes: “We do arts and crafts, and read.”
  • Robin Shtulman writes: “Board games!”
  • Leah Pilet-Stinson writes: “Making forts, baking, arts and crafts, set up our tent for indoor camping!”
  • Prudence Wholey writes: “Games, reading, Scrabble.”
  • Samantha Wood writes: “Reading near each other, watching movies, playing piano and making soups.”
  • Mercedes Echevarria writes: “Baking cookies, reading, playing games.”
  • Amy Jean Smith writes: “Baking, reading, coloring, playing music and lots of indoor activities that get you moving. My toddler’s favorite is a CD of music with different music for walking, marching, running (in place), skipping and formal walking. And watching the creatures outdoors.”
  • Michele Lussier writes: “Books, movies, baking, cuddling/napping…”
  • Mike & Mimi Blissed Ross writes: “Creating, music, art, reading, homeschooling, cooking things that require the oven! Dancing! Exercising! Latin music hot hot hot!”
  • Jeremia Pollard writes: “We go outside.”
  • Dorothy Elaine Lavachia Stant writes: “Go Crazy.”
  • Amy Kane-Coyne writes: Playing Banannagrams. Art projects. Baking brownies.
  • Michael Muller writes: Games. Reading. Audio books.
  • Kate Bailey writes: V.I.D.E.O.
  • Aime DeGrenier writes: Coloring, visiting with our awesome neighborhood kids, puzzle.
  • Joshua Farber writes: Kitchen table science experiments involving snow – predictions and proposed variations can be drawn by the under-literate crowd. My 8 year old wrote her first lab report this past Friday!

[Photo credit: (ccl) Renielet]

Q&A: 18 Recommended Winter Resources & Activities for Families with Special Needs in Western MA

QUESTION AND ANSWERS

Jean Engle of North Adams writes, “Once the colder weather sets in, where are the best places to visit and socialize for parents and children with special needs? Are there any specialized activities?”

Holyoke High School’s Adaptive Physical Education Program is an inspiration!  Here’s a video of the program they held at Fitzpatrick Ice Arena to inspire other schools and communities to model a similar program in their area:

  • Kara Kitchen writes, “There are several free programs for special needs children (ages 6 months+) throughout the year at the Dalton Community Recreation Association.  Late fall and winter is the start of the Splash program-swimming and other fun/learning activities… there’s a family swim from 11am-noon on Monday (small fee for non-members but so worth it-warmest pool in the Berkshires).”
  • Lisa Levheim writes, “It’s a little far from North Adams, but Whole Children in Hadley is amazing! They have after school programs and daytime programs for homeschoolers and younger kids.”
  • Swansea Benham Bleicher writes, “Most family centers will welcome children with special needs. Contact the Coordinators ahead of time if you are concerned: Northampton Parents Center, Easthampton Family Center, Belchertown Family Center, Amherst Family Center, Cummington Family Center, Gateway Family Center, South Hadley Family Center, Ware Family Center…”
  • Matt Sawyer writes,Ski Butternut offers skiing and snowboarding adaptive programs for people with special needs.”
  • Laura Lucchesi writes, “Special needs or not, the Holyoke Children’s Museum was a favorite when my kids where young… Don’t forget children’s bowling… great activity and cheap.  If you call ahead they put bumpers in the lanes so kids won’t get gutter balls!”
  • Karen Foster writes, “The DCR Universal Access Program partners with All Out Adventures during the winter to offer free outdoor recreation (snowshoeing, cross country skiing, ice and sled skating) in state parks to people of all ages with disabilities.”
  • Jean Engel responds, “I’m going to share one that we like and make a comment for more ideas: The New York State Museum in Albany has an indoor Merry Go Round on the top floor…with glass windows all around and benches for parents and grandparents. The splash-park at Look Park (Florence) is our all time favorite. I wish someone would build an indoor one that could be running year round.
  • Sienna Wildfield writes, ” Jean, while not in Western MA, there are a couple of indoor water parks within driving distance (CT & MA).  Closer to home in south Berkshire County, the Spectrum Playhouse in Lee has indoor performances for families.  If you’re not familiar with Spectrum Playhouse, they have a multi-purpose performance space where they host concerts and performing artists, as well as theatre productions, visual art and lectures.  Their mission is to encourage and develop artistic talents of young adults on the Autism Spectrum and with learning differences. To find out about upcoming events there check Berkshire Family Fun, Hilltown Families bi-weekly column, for events announcements, or visit their web site at bvpac.org/spectrum-playhouse.”

Q&A: 5 Ways to Enjoy Shorter Days with Less Light

QUESTION AND ANSWERS

With shorter days descending upon us, how do you get your kids to enjoy the outdoors even with less light? We want to hear from you! Share your ideas here.

Now that the days are getting shorter, do you have any ideas or suggestion on how to get the kids to enjoy  outdoors even with less light?

Community recommendations from our readers include:

  1. Head Lamps
  2. Glow Sticks
  3. Explore the Night Sky
  4. Listen for Night Sounds
  5. Games

  • Audrey Nystrom Anderson writes, “Getting dark at 5pm gives you the chance to experience the dark in the eyes of a 3 year old. My son and I donned our head lamps and went outside into the dark…we first did a hunt for dinosaurs, then chased our cat around the yard, then just yelled and listened to our echos. It was pretty fun, and I look forward to doing it again tomorrow. Who says you have to be stuck inside when it’s dark out?!”
  • Jenna Lyn writes, “Glow sticks!! Lots of glow sticks!!”
  • Shoshona King writes, “That sounds like a great way to teach kids not to be afraid of the dark.”
  • Abbe Laine Schiowitz writes, “Take the outside inside and go to the rock climbing gym in Hadley, Central Rock Gym. They even have a mini rock wall upstairs for the littles!”
  • Theresa D Lafer writes, “Get your star map and explore the heavens; lie on a blanket and just look up… And while there are no more lightening bugs, there are plenty of night sounds; practice holding still and listening together… is there a neighborhood owl perhaps?”
  • Andrew Varady writes, “That never made any difference to us and I grew up in Canada where we get the short days a lot sooner.Hide n’ Seek, Kick the Can, Red Rover, Relieve-Le, Simon Says and other games too numerous to mention.  The closest pole with a street light was always home base.

[Photo credit: (ccl) SPH]

Q&A: Where Do Babies Come From?

QUESTION AND ANSWERS

“I second/third Robie Harris’ books,” writes Susan Countryman. “We read It’s So Amazing together, and answer questions matter-of-factly as they come up.” (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Have your kids asked yet how babies are made, or where babies come from? What did you say? If they haven’t asked yet, how might you reply when they do?

  • Amanda Kingsley writes, “My five year old thinks that boy eggs are on one side and girl eggs are on the other… beyond that cuteness we’ve explained that the sperm meets the egg to make a baby.  She hasn’t asked how they meet, but we have a great book for that age group recommended by a client: It’s Not the Stork: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends. We try to answer questions as simply and honestly as we can, never giving more info than they ask for (girls are 5 and 7).”
  • Barbara Dunn writes, “In our house, everyone knows where babies come from: The Social Worker! Seriously, though, we have answered just one question at a time rather than doing the full traditional explanation all at once. Also have left age appropriate library books just sitting around for them to pick up on their own as an ice breaker.”
  • Pauline Delton writes, “Love the “It’s Not the Stork” series. That’s pretty much the same info we’ve given to our 6 year old (he was 5 at the time). It’s enough to satisfy his curiosity and it’s honest/accurate ‎(He knew from whence they birth when he was much younger, though, and we’d seen some birth videos).
  • Laura Lucchesi writes, “Reading books to them from their age group! There are many wonderfully written and illustrated books about everything. I have a collection in my library I started when they where born. From potty training to the World Book Encyclopedias. They had the ability to read whenever they wanted. Explaining things helps when you read to your child.”
  • Heather Dunham Katsoulis writes, “Sex and Sensibility: The Thinking Parent’s Guide to Talking Sense About Sex is a fantastic book dealing with each age appropriate response.”
  • Megan Rubiner Zinn writes, “I wrote a piece on this subject for Jezebel a few months ago, “The Moment When Your Son Asks About His Balls” – turned out to be one of the best conversations I’ve ever had with my son.”
  • Susan Countryman writes, “I second/third Robie Harris’ books. We read It’s So Amazing together, and answer questions matter-of-factly as they come up.”
  • Marissa Potter writes, “I am always honest, without over sharing. My kids have been more interested in how babies come out than how they come to grow in the first place, so far. My answer about conception, at this point, has been that is that when two grown ups have so much love between them that there is extra love, a baby grows.”
  • Jackie Amuso Dolby writes, “I think the answer is different at different ages. With four children ages 13-3, my answers have to be age appropriate. You can’t give them too much at 3 but you HAVE TO tell them the real truth at 13.”
  • Rebecca Trow Addison writes, “I agree that it depends on the age of the child. It is a lot more complicated now than it used to be too. It’s no longer ‘a man and a woman’…”
  • Annie Parker writes, “I was straight up with a blunt but simple explanation. The younger the child the less phased they are likely to be. Really penis, eggs, Santa and space ships are all the same amount crazy. Don’t make a big thing of it. They learn their attitudes from us.”
  • John L. Grossman writes, “When I explained it to my son 2 years ago the penis-sperm-uterus-egg thing didn’t faze him until he said, “Did you do that?” and I responded “twice!” (I have 2 kids), then he ran out of the room.”

Q&A: Getting the Family to Enjoy One Meal Together

QUESTION AND ANSWERS

Having kids help in the preparation of dinner is a great way to share with them the stories behind family recipes, the science of cooking and the nutritional goodness of whole foods... and in the end, maybe even be more inclined to enjoy one meal cooked together.

No one in my family eats the same thing come dinner time! Any advice?

  • Anita Morehouse writes, “LOL! We can’t even agree on a time to eat, never mind what to eat!”
  • Michael Muller writes, “Pizza?”
  • Brooksley Williams writes, “If my kids (ages 5 and 3) balk at what I’m serving for dinner, I express my confidence and excitement at how hungry they will be for breakfast. Eventually, they come around.”
  • Heather Richardson writes, “Everything my husband and I eat is offered to the kids…if they don’t eat it, then well they don’t eat! They won’t starve!”
  • Kara Kitchen writes, “Same here-and they’re identical twins! There are only a handful of meals that everyone will eat and we still usually have to provide different veggies! We are desperately trying to diversify but so far have only succeeded in creating more choices!”
  • Belchertown Mass writes, “When I make a meal, everyone must eat some of it, no matter how small of a portion. If they’re still hungry after that, they can make themselves something else…like a bowl of cereal.”
  • Mindi Palmer Fried writes, “No advice, but we’ve got the same issue here so I’m taking notes!”
  • Michelle Huddy writes, “When we had this issue a couple of years ago, I would make the meal and then have whole wheat bread and butter on the table. They needed to try what the parents were having, and if they didn’t like it, they could have the bread. I especially liked this because then my husband and I didn’t have to get up for different foods during the meal!”
  • Kate McCarthy Roy writes, “I agree with Brooksley…one meal made, eat it or don’t…your choice!!”
  • Pauline Delton writes, “I have a kid who it turns out had a lot of food sensitivities. Keep in mind that kids also reject foods if the foods bother them, even if they can’t verbalize it. We’ve been serving foods that I know he is clear to eat and has willingly eaten recently, keeping it simple because I know he doesn’t like mixed up meals. There are a few items to eat, and that’s it. But, if he’s not hungry at dinnertime, he can have leftovers before brushing his teeth. Not everyone is hungry at the same time…”
  • Amy Meltzer writes, “I insist they try everything, but don’t insist they eat something they don’t like. I don’t want to eat things I don’t like. I usually have a backup for the picky eater (whole wheat bagel or tortilla along with a fruit or vegetable).”
  • Jennifer Friedman writes, “We have a rule …. what is on the table is what is for dinner. If you don’t like it, you’ll be super hungry for breakfast! Nobody is forced to eat anything, and I try to always serve some of what I know people will eat, but the rule cuts down on the fussing. It only takes one night of not eating dinner to come around to eating what is served!”
  • Annie Bob DeCoteau writes, “We do the same as Jennifer and now my kids will eat just about anything. We do have the “try it once” rule and they are pretty willing to at least try something.”
  • Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod writes, “I know I am an excellent cook as I receive that feedback from my husband and friends so I really appreciate that I am not the only one saying – this is what is for dinner, take it or leave it.”
  • Julie Jones writes, “We ate in our ski gear last spring-boots, skis, goggles, etc.”
  • Jennifer Leveille LaValley writes, “We make our Sunday dinner a sit down family meal- we all help cook and we all help clean up ….it’s something we look forward to since our hectic schedules do not allow us to all eat together any other day.”

[Photo credit: (ccl) Mish Mish]

Q&A: 14 Recommended Websites by Western MA Parents

QUESTION AND ANSWERS

Share your favorite website that helps you best as a Western MA parent!

As a parent, what are your top websites you wouldn’t want to live without?

  • Harmony Niedzwiecki writes: “AllRecipes.com
  • Amanda Kingsley writes: “Am I allowed to say Facebook? It keeps me connected both to friends who can relate to my life with a family, and friends who I would otherwise hardly have time to communicate with. It’ s great way to stay informed and connect with other adults during days that could otherwise be consumed with the constant demands of children’s needs.”
  • Tara J. Bernier writes: “Pinterest is my new addiction.”
  • Danielle Currie writes: “‎#1- Facebook. It’s the only place I don’t have to be in “mom” mode. #2- BerkshireCountyReuseIt. Best place for hand-me-downs and trade-ins! #3- Snapfish. The cheapest place to buy all my photos! #4- Netflix. Family movie nights! #5- ehow.com.  Great place to learn anything!”
  • Deb Fiori writes: “My favorite would be HilltownFamilies.org!”
  • Kara Kitchen ‎writes: “1.) HilltownFamilies.org, for things to do, people to see, places to go WITH our kids. 2). Google, for all those questions kid ask and the homework we parents don’t understand. 3). Facebook, for staying connected to far away family, networking with other parents, sharing a good laugh and having at least one “adult” (albeit probably juvenile in nature ) conversation a day. 4.) Some sort of photo service, for documenting those little milestones. 5.) Favorite travel reservation website, to get away with and without the kids.”
  • Jennifer Shiao writes:Facebook, AllRecipes, HilltownFamilies, KellyMom, and Picasa.”
  • Judy Bennett writes:AskMoxie, BabyCheapskate, Google, Flickr and Hilltown Families.

[Photo credit: (ccl) Kannan Kartha]

Q&A: 25 Recommendations for Western MA Pediatricians

QUESTION AND ANSWERS

"Dr. Steele is the BEST!! Both of my kids actually look forward to going to the doctor's to see him! They always try to guess which cool tie he is going to be wearing and who knew someone could make a tongue depressor be so fun," writes Kristy Matusiewicz Dyer

Love your pediatrician? Share the love and let us know. Recommend a pediatrician to families in Western Massachusetts looking for a doctor for their children.

  • Rakhee Price writes: “Northampton Area Pediatrics are FANTASTIC! We LOVE Dr Steele. He makes every visit fun. All the other doctors and staff are all very welcoming.”
  • Oona Coy writes: “Dr. Feinland and Dr. Perry at Valley Medical in Easthampton — they are family doctors. Great with kids, open-minded.”
  • Eileen Hamel writes: “Dr. David Steele at Noho Peds is a former pediatric oncologist from Baystate and has been an incredible doctor to my three young daughters for six years. His “bedside manner” is unmatched and he NEVER makes you feel like a paranoid parent!”
  • Kristy Matusiewicz Dyer writes: “Dr. Steele is the BEST!! Both of my kids actually look forward to going to the doctor’s to see him! They always try to guess which cool tie he is going to be wearing and who knew someone could make a tongue depressor be so fun!”
  • Angela Golembeski writes: “Absolutely love Northampton Area Pediatrics. I’m mom to three kids with significant medical concerns. They have literally saved my children’s lives time and time again. I’m viewed as part of the team. It’s great to know someone is listening.”
  • Gillian Kyle Budine writes: “Noho Peds has my vote too. I have been going there with my three kids for the past 14+ years.”
  • Nancyjo Craig Rongner writes: “We also go to NAP. We absolutely LOVE Dr. Lyons.”
  • Beth Caissie writes: “We love Amherst Peds–Dr. Roche is our pediatrician and we have nothing but nice things to say about her. Everyone else we’ve seen there has also been great.”
  • Alisa Blanchard writes: “Dr Dallenbach in Pittsfield! ♥ him and he will do a home visit if you have a home birth!”
  • Sheila Gallagher Roberts writes: “Dr David Gotseggan and Dr Patrica Petrowsky… Holyoke pediatrics. My favs.”
  • Myssie Casintagna writes: “Dr Feinland and Dr Slack in Easthampton are great. They will make a house call for newborn check at a home birth. Both have wonderful bedside manners, are open to and will suggest alternatives to traditional medicine.”
  • Jessica Day writes: “Dr. Zinn in Greenfield! He was my husband’s pediatrician, and now he’s our girls’!”
  • Heather Richardson writes: “Love Amherst Peds-Dr. Hickman is our doctor and he is wonderful with my kids and very supportive of MY decisions! I do also like Dr. Stephen Anderson in Belchertown, he’s a family doctor.”
  • Ellen Ginsburg writes: “Another vote for NAP in Northampton!”
  • Michelle Huddy writes: “NAP! Love Dr. Steele and Dr. Kenny!”
  • Kimberly French writes: “I have to say Dr. Steele is an exceptional doctor!”
  • Susan Rees writes: “Love Dr Schwab!”
  • Lynette McKinney Knapp writes: “We love Dr. Susan Wang at Amherst Peds. She’s wonderful with our kids and us parents, too!”
  • Katie Flanders writes: “We go to Hampshire Ped. in Easthampton. Dr. Jennifer and Dr. Ray Lamond are wonderful. I don’t think I would have kept my sanity the first year without Dr. Ray Lamond. She is very calming and does listen to my concerns.”
  • Gayle White writes: “In Springfield area, Dr. Judith Tapper at PV Pediatrics. When we lived in Whately she went to Dr. Lyons, LOVE them both!!”
  • Myanna Carbin-O’Brien writes: “Dr Steele is my oldest son’s doctor and has been AMAZING as we deal with a myriad of mental/physical health issues. Dr. Jane Cross at Holyoke Peds is my younger two sons doctor and LOVE LOVE LOVE her. Embraces wholistic health like no other mainstream doctor I’ve ever known.”
  • Shoshona King writes: “Dr. Hickman.”
  • Sandy Soderberg writes: “Dr. Schwab and all of them at Northampton Area Pediatrics. I used to live there when my twins were little – and one of them was a head banger – so I need the support too!”
  • Angelique Challan-Walls writes: “Dr. Dallenbach in Pittsfield is awesome. Positive, supportive, caring, he’s so great.”
  • Jennifer Carriere writes: “Ludlow Ped’s – Dr. Willis… great mannerisms and will be very patient and answer all questions you have. There are also 2 other female doctors at the practice: Dr. Rounds and Dr. Kates. They are excellent, friendly. They all are very patient with answers and questions, and the nurses are great too, especially when it’s shot time… we all know how kids get then!!”

[Photo credit: (ccl) SFDenverLV]

Q&A: Getting Kids to Write Thank You Cards

QUESTION AND ANSWERS


Does anyone have any age appropriate recommendations on how to get children to write thank-you notes for gifts received this holiday season?

  • Pauline Delton suggests, “I had my (5yo) son just say something to me about his gifts for his birthday (I gave him ideas of what thank you cards might say), and I wrote his words down in a card without changing them much, and then he signed his name. So, for one thing he said something like, “I want to see what bones there are!” and I added “(he means in the excavation kit)”. And then I just let people know ahead of time how we did it so they wouldn’t be confused. –  Another thing would be to call people and thank them, thank them individually at the party if there is one (some cultures don’t send thank you notes; they consider the at-party thank you to be appropriate), or take a pic when the item is worn/used and send that.”
  • Audrey Nystrom Anderson suggests, “For my 3 year old- I have him color in the cards and I write a quick note of thanks (not everyone can decipher scribble ).”
  • Michael Rongner suggests, “Stickers.”
  • Sara Barry suggests, “My daughter is 3 and has recently started to like using the phone. She’s asked to call people and tell them that she likes or was using something they gave her, so that’s mostly what we are doing now. I’ll probably work on thank you notes with her in the future, but for this year, we’ll stick with calls and thank you in person.”
  • Susan Lillie Robert suggests, “I think if parents sit down and lead by example…set a night that is to write thank you notes and everyone joins in.”
  • Rebecca Dejnak suggests, “My oldest is 5 so I have her write at least her name on the thank you I wrote, often it’s what she tells me. When she was younger and for my 2 yr old, coloring on the non-written side of the card included them in the process.”
  • Lisa Osman suggests, “My child is to young (19 months old) to write, but I am thinking when she is old enough perhaps she can make her own thank you cards and it can be a drawing and I could give it to the person who gave the gift. It may not be in the words “thank you,” but its from their heart!”
  • Amanda Saklad suggests, “As soon as my kids knew how to make their letters, I had them copy a simple THANK YOU letter (one sentence). Before that, I had them dictate a letter while I wrote it and they drew a ‘thank you’ picture. The older ones (9 and 12) write their own and it has to have at least three sentences and be specific about WHAT they are thanking.”
  • Barbara Dunn suggests, “Take a photo of the child with the gift or take a photo of the child holding a hand colored THANK YOU poster. Depending on age and skill set, have them sign their name, copy “Thank you”, then work on sentences.”
  • Sally Yates suggests, “Tell them to. Whose the parent?”
  • Rhonda Anderson suggests, “I have my child make the Thank You card, from which I make copies to send out. Up to now I have been the stenographer taking dictation- she is able to do her own this year. It is important that YOU the parent are also doing Thank You cards- as a parent you are setting the example- and showing how important it is to take the time to Thank- Not to mention spending time with your child. – It should be a fun activity, not a chore…”
  • Rebecca Racz suggests, “Exactly, just make it a fun activity. Depending on the skills level… just a drawing with a little “thank you for the gift!” written by a parent, or a simple sentence and signature by the child is enough. Creating the “card” or other artwork is key, (and the fun part) I think. I have received plenty of cute little scribbles from kids that get the point across just fine!”
  • Megan Banta suggests, “My mom wouldn’t let me play with the toy, wear the clothes, or deposit or spend the money until after the thank you was written – made me write those notes fast!!”
  • Amita Guha suggests, “My mom used to sort of hover over me in the kitchen while I did them in the dining room. Sadly, this made them a hated chore, but I did get them done, and I still do them to this day.”
  • Karen Palmer suggests, “I’ve taught my daughter to truly appreciate any gift she receives and though she may not care for it she understands the importance of being thankful for what she has … and has given.”

[Image credit: (ccl) woodleywonderworks]

Q&A: How to Promote Creative Free Play For Our Kids

QUESTION AND ANSWERS

Get creative outside in urban spaces ... Keep a box of sidewalk chalk in your bag and car, and give it to the kids whenever there's a sidewalk or black top around for creative free-play! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

What can we do as parents (and as a society) to protect and promote creative free play for our kids? Share your suggestions, ideas and questions:

  • Joshua M. Gannon-Salomon shares: “More wild spaces, especially within easy reach of inner cities.”
  • Laura Hoffman shares: “Send them outside!”
  • Andrew DeSiervo shares: “Get out of the way.”
  • Amy Sundari Finlay shares: “Skip the soccer? Not that it’s bad, but, at least in our town, it means DAILY practices in high school. Too much structured time!”
  • Marya Zilberberg shares: “Remember that sticker, Kill Your Television? Well, an update for the 21st century: Kill your screens!”
  • Pauline Delton shares: “See where and how they like to be creative and allow it. Might even mean some screen time. My 5 1/2 year old has an amazing capacity for creating landscapes and structures on Minecraft, but he also does it a ton with real-life blocks of all kinds. It’s a nice mixture of what he can do with materials in his hands and the amazing stuff he can create in his mind (that he couldn’t produce with his hands due to lack of materials). Game-creators are amazingly creative. I’m not a gamer myself, but I’ve been impressed. – For non-screen creativity, having craft supplies where they can be reached has helped us. Whatever I’m okay with him using is at his level, and he knows (as do his friends) where to go for those items. And, yea, we don’t do anything super structured. I think the most structured activity we have is getting together with a homeschooling group weekly…but those are pretty much free-play events. If he wanted something structured, so be it, but he hasn’t as of yet. – Joshua, so true! I was reading Last Child in the Woods and got really anxious about how I don’t know where we could go to climb a tree without someone (property owner, sanctuary volunteer, etc.) possibly reprimanding us or asking us to get down. Makes the world seem SOOOOO small.”
  • Janet McLaurin shares: “My kids started treasure boxes of things they found when they were little -I realized they were collecting shiny things that I thought were trash like bottle caps. Also encourage them to make their own trading cards-great characters and games come out of these -you don’t have to buy creativity for them- hang a clothes line for them out to their play structure and tie on a basket to send across.”
  • Shoshona King shares: “Independent Study (aka-homeschool).”
  • Swansea Benham Bleicher shares: “Have free unscheduled time at home!”

Q&A: How to Get Kids to Practice Their Musical Instruments

QUESTION AND ANSWERS

Shannon Madden writes, "We found a music teacher who inspired him and now he plays all the time." (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Anyone have any tips on how to get kids to practice their musical instruments… with out nagging them?

  • David Walsh writes, “Take them to a show (more than once) of some kind. It worked for me, 50 years old and still playing all three saxophones.”
  • Scott McGinley writes, “I sit next to my daughter and listen. And help when needed. Seems to work.”
  • Mercedes Echevarria writes, “Sometimes to get my daughter interested I let her pick the song we will learn on the piano… that seems to keep her going.”
  • Katryna Nields writes, “I am beginning to believe that to expect a child younger than about 8 (or in the first year or two of learning) to “practice” on their own is not realistic. We, as parents, probably have to approach practice as “play.” Sit with your child and play along with them. Don’t expect longer attention span than for any other things when they are first learning. The fun of an instrument really takes a year or so to reach. And that’s if you are quick!”
  • Lee Bingham writes, “Ask them to make a list of their favorite songs, then get them the music to learn. Teach them how to pick out a tune by ear if possible. That is a really empowering tool for self-directed musical development.”
  • Craig Fear writes, “Get them out of school bands and into rock bands.”
  • The Harmonica Pocket writes, “Remember it’s called PLAYing music. When I play, I don’t stress about how long I do it. Picking up an instrument for a few minutes is fine. If the musician watches TV, have him/her mute the sound and play during commercials. Whenever possible help them to find and play music they enjoy.”
  • Laura Lucchesi writes, “If you have to nag then they shouldn’t be playing it!
  • Phoebe Shaw writes, “We are trying, as suggested by piano teacher, 2x a week, one time is with parent, one without.”
  • Judy Bennett writes, “My son isn’t old enough for real music lessons, but we use a visual timer (Time Timer) around the house for a variety of things. I think it would be practical in this application too.”
  • Molly Twarog writes, “We just sit them down and set the timer for 15 minutes every day. They don’t get to choose when. If we left it up to them, they’d never do it. And since they both begged (and I mean begged) to take piano, they get to stick out for at least a couple of years. But we’re mean that way. ;-)”
  • Barbara Dunn writes, “Play for the dog, cat, fish…”
  • Linda Bennett-Mason writes, “Incentive”
  • Shannon Madden writes, “We found a music teacher who inspired him and now he plays all the time.”

Q&A: Temper Tantrums… What to Do?

QUESTION AND ANSWERS

Temper tantrums! Remember them? Experiencing them for the first time? What works/worked for you when your little angel screams like a little banshee, holds her breath until blue, pulls his hair out, falls to the floor wildly kicking little legs into the air … in the middle of the grocery store?

  • Swansea Benham Bleicher writes, “I highly recommend Tears and Tantrums by Aletha Solter.”
  • Julie Gouldman Russell writes, “The best advice that I received, even though it sounds a bit weird, is to think of yourself as a slot machine. If they do a behavior (pulling the handle) and the action from you comes up that they want, even if it is only once – in their mind if they do that action again there is a chance that you will do the behavior again. (if the scream at the grocery store and you buy them candy to help settle them down – there is no reason for them to think that if they scream again that you won’t buy them candy again. It doesn’t always come up candy – but there is a chance…) It was good advice for me to think about my reactions and not always take the “easy” way out of a difficult situation.”
  • Sally Campbell Galman writes, “I’m lucky, mine only seem to flip out at home. Then we send them to the “pillows” – meaning, go somewhere soft and scream it out while Mommy ignores you. Not pretty.”
  • Karen Bayne writes, “I like “to the pillows” – that’s pretty sweet & wise. My kids pitched a few big ones at the store, but not many. I think with each kid I left a full cart of groceries in the store with my deepest apologies once each. That seemed to cure the worst of it (wish I had something as successful for whining). My little ones seemed to need to know that I was willing to leave it all there to deal with their outburst. We usually drove straight home (with mommy not speaking) and headed right into bed. That was not the picture they wanted to appear on their slot machine!”
  • Shoshona King writes, “Am I bad? I actually kinda like it when I see other kids having temper tantrums, it reminds me that mine aren’t the only ones!”

[Image Credit: (ccl) Rafael Edwards]

Suggested Events 12/18/10-12/24/10

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Ashfield Winter Solstice Celebration on the town common begins at 7pm on Tuesday, 12/21/10. Bring your stories, songs, poems and share at the community-led event around a bonfire on the longest night of the year. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

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

FEATURED EVENT

Hilltown Families Board Game Swap

On Saturday, Dec. 18th from 9-10am – BOARD GAME SWAP: Hilltown Families is hosting a Board Game Swap in the Meekins Library community room in Williamsburg, MA. Bring in board games you would like to swap with other families. Kindly make sure the games have all their pieces before bringing in. A fun way to recycle old board games and to discover new ones. Board games make excellent holiday gifts for the children in your life too! Surprise them with a new recycled game. This community swap is free and open to all families. RSVP here, or just drop in. Williamsburg, MA (FREE)

BEST BETS

On Saturday, Dec. 18th from 1-3pm – VICTORIAN CRAFTS: Victorian Crafts for the Holidays at the Wistariahurst Museum. Make orange pomanders, embellished gift boxes, paper lanters. (238 Cabot St.) 322-5660 www.wistariahurst.org Holyoke, MA (>$)

Later on Saturday, Dec. 18th at 6:30pm – SOLSTICE EVENT: 29th Annual Winter Solstice Storytelling and Songfest Celebration at the Roundhouse. Bring canned goods. Stories, songs, juggling and mime artistry. 624-5140 www.roundhouseculture.com Colrain, MA (DONATION)

On Sunday, Dec. 19th from 12Noon-2pm – SANTA: Santa Claus will make an appearance at the Springfield Science Musuem. Check out the special exhibit, “Sugar and Spice: The Land of Gingerbread” while visiting the old guy! 263-6800 www.springfieldmuseums.org Springfield, MA (FREE W/ADMISSION)

Later in the afternoon on Sunday, Dec. 19th from 3-5pm – FAMILY DANCE: Community Family Dance at First Churches (enter across from the Iron Horse). There will be live music and dances will be taught to families. All ages 3yo & up. 230-7037 Northampton, MA (>$)

BULLETIN BOARD

We are continuing our 5 year celebration with the Berkshire Museum, The Eric Carle Museum, Historic Deerfield, MASS MoCA and Springfield Museums! These 5 Western Massachusetts Museums have joined our party and are offering our readers an annual family membership! One very, very lucky family will win a family membership to all five of these local cultural gems! How wicked awesome is that!? It’s our birthday, but you get the presents! Deadline to enter to win: January 3rd, 2011.

SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON: Is everyone done with their holiday shopping yet? (Ha!) There are a couple of great places to get toys for the kids in the Pioneer Valley. One of them is Hilltown Families sponsor, The Toy Stop. Been yet? It’s on Pleasant St. down by the Oxbow Gallery. Owners Susan and Mary have all kinds of sledding toys in stock right now, including sleds, saucers and baby pull sleighs. They also have trucks, trains, dolls, kitchens, play food, magic sets, art projects, easels, games, stuffed life sized plush animals, 6 month and up toys … you name it! Stop in, check out what they have, tell them your a Hilltown Families family, and support this new toy store (just opened 4 months ago) with your holiday season. — Speaking of gifts this holiday season, gift certificates from Hilltown Families sponsors Bread Euphoria, Cup & Top Café, Birdie Bunny Photography, Blazing Star Herbal School and Show Circus Studio would make lovely gifts too!

WINTER CAMP: SHOW Circus Studio in Easthampton, MA will be holding a winter circus camp for ages 5-7 on December 29 and 8-12 on December 30. This day camp will run from 9am – 3pm and it will cover all aspects of circus including trapeze, fabric, juggling, balancing, acrobatics, partnering, human pyramids, stretching, strength, and circus games. Our 10% discount for more than one child signing up from the same family applies to our camps as well as our classes. Sign up today before the camps fill up! Each camp is limited to 15 students. Register online at www.showcircusstudio.com or call us at 203-4282.

TAKE ACTION: MomsRising.org is up to GOOD again! They are inviting you to take action by telling the IRS to allow breast pumps and breastfeeding supplies to be eligible for their tax-sheltered health spending accounts. Find out more at www.momsrising.org. And stay tuned in to breastfeeding issues with MomsRising Pioneer Valley and Motherwear’s Breastfeeding Blog.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: The Northampton Senior Center is seeking volunteers to shovel snow (great for teens!) for seniors and people with disabilities. All public sidewalks that are along the side of a property are the responsibility of the owner for keeping clear of snow, and many seniors and community members with disabilities need help clearing snow within 24 hours of a snowstorm. Call the Noho Senior Center to connect with a senior in the community to assist: 587-1231.

SPONSORSHIP & ADVERTISING: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Let us help get the word out about your event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for more information. — Help us help you!

HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW

This holiday season we will have several Holiday Podcasts available to download, including Charity Kahn’s archived holiday show.  Click on the banner to see which ones are available, and check back on Christmas Day.

Tune in every Saturday from 9-10am. Encore episodes are aired every Sunday from 7-8am. Families have several ways to tune in to the Hilltown Family Variety Show:

  • Streaming Audio: Surf on over to ValleyFreeRadio.org on Saturday & Sunday mornings and listen to us live via streaming audio.
  • On Your FM Dial: Tune in to WXOJ 103.3FM if you live near Northampton, MA.
  • Podcast: Listen to the most recent episodes of the Hilltown Family Variety Show anytime you wish! Click here to see our current select of episodes, and be sure to subscribe to our podcast too!

  • WEEKLY LIST OF SUGGESTED EVENTS

    Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

    Suggest an Event | Local Forecast | Free Museum Passes | Playgroups & Family Centers | Movies in the Valley | Movies in the Berkshires | Listen Here

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Suggested Events 12/11/10-12/17/10

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

    SUGGEST AN EVENT

    Happy holiday madness! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

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

    BEST BETS

    On Saturday, December 11th at 1:30pm – FAMILY CONCERT: No Nap Happy Hour continues with Uncle Rock, performing a family concert at Flywheel (43 Main St.). www.flywheelarts.org Easthampton, MA (>$)

    Also on Saturday, December 11th from 1:30-4pm – ECO-GIFT MAKING: Re-Wrap Afternoon at Sheep Hill (671 Cold Spring Rd.). A family-friendly event to make gifts from repurposed materials. Join other families to reuse a portion of the 25 million tons of trash generated in the USA every year to make origami boxes, decorated bags, scented sachets and decorated gift boxes for the holidays. 458-2494 http://www.wrlf.org Williamstown, MA (>$)

    And in the evening on Saturday, December 11th at 7:30pm – COMMUNITY HOLIDAY PARTY: The Old Creamery (Route 9) is hosting a holiday party. Story telling, holiday songs with Laura Wetzler, refreshments. Cummington, MA (FREE)

    On Sunday, December 19th at 2pm – SOLSTICE EVENT: Welcome Yule: Music, Dance, Songs, and Stories to Drive the Dark Away at the Shea Theater (71 Avenue A). Years ago, a tradition emerged of celebrating the return of the light at midwinter with music, dance, songs and stories. Mark your calendars for this festive and joyful celebration, and be with community to sing and dance away winter’s darkness and call back the warm sun of spring. 863-2281 www.welcomeyule.org Turners Falls, MA ($)

    MARK YOUR CALENDAR

    On Saturday, December 18th from 9-10am, Hilltown Families is hosting a Board Game Swap in the Meekins Library community room in Williamsburg, MA. Bring in board games you would like to swap with other families. Kindly make sure the games have all their pieces before bringing in. A fun way to recycle old board games and to discover new ones. Board games make excellent holiday gifts for the children in your life too! Surprise them with a new recycled game. This community swap is free and open to all families. RSVP here, or just drop in. Williamsburg, MA (FREE)

    BULLETIN BOARD

    CHRISTMAS TREE SALE: Notchview Christmas Tree Sale happens this Saturday, December 11th from 12Noon – 3pm at the Notchview Reservation in Windsor, MA. There is a good selection of trees this year; mostly the popular balsam and Fraser fir—all at $25. Contact Notchview at 684-0148. Benefits the Trustees of Reservations.

    Tom Adams of Williamsburg, MA writes: The Williamsburg Berkshire East Tuesday Night Ski Program has opened the program to students of ALL AGES (middle school & high school included). We still have room for a bunch of people to join, so please help spread the word: Deadline: Tuesday, December 14th. Please visit www.WilliamsburgSki.info to find out more information and to download a registration form. If you have any questions, please email TomAdams@gmail.com or call 413.575.9707. It’s going to be a great year for skiing!

    LIBRARY MITTEN TREE: The Springfield Library (220 State St.) welcomes donations of new mittens, scarves, gloves and hats for their annual Library Mitten Tree Project. Your donations can be dropped off at any branch library through Friday, January 7th. For more information about the Mitten Tree Project call the Central Library Children’s Room, 263-6828 x201

    The Food Bank of Western MA writes: Volunteer Orientation on Tuesday, December 14, 6-8 pm at The Food Bank (97 N. Hatfield Rd., Hatfield). Do you want to offer your time to The Food Bank and those facing hunger in the community? Nearly every aspect of The Food Bank’s work, including our office, warehouse, and public events, is dependent on volunteers. Without you, we would not be able to do what we do. To learn more about how you can get involved, please join us at the first of regular Volunteer Orientation sessions for the community. Please RSVP to Erin Sullivan at sullivane@foodbankwma.org or 413-247-9738. Space is limited. Click here for directions to The Food Bank.

    SPONSORSHIP & ADVERTISING: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Let us help get the word out about your event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for more information. — Help us help you!

    HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: GUEST DJ CHARITY KAHN

    Hilltown Family Variety ShowTune in every Saturday from 9-10am. Encore episodes are aired every Sunday from 7-8am.

    This week on the HFVS is hosted by our guest DJ, Charity Kahn of Charity and the JAMBand. It’s a holiday show about light, love, community and music!

    Families have several ways to tune in to the Hilltown Family Variety Show:

  • Streaming Audio: Surf on over to ValleyFreeRadio.org on Saturday & Sunday mornings and listen to us live via streaming audio.
  • On Your FM Dial: Tune in to WXOJ 103.3FM if you live near Northampton, MA.
  • HFVS Podcast

    PODCAST: Listen to the most recent episodes of the Hilltown Family Variety Show anytime you wish! Click here to see our current select of episodes, and be sure to subscribe to our podcast too!


    WEEKLY LIST OF SUGGESTED EVENTS

    Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

    Suggest an Event | Local Forecast | Free Museum Passes | Playgroups & Family Centers | Movies in the Valley | Movies in the Berkshires | Listen Here

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Suggested Events 12/04/10-12/10/10

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

    SUGGEST AN EVENT

    Barn Stars (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

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

    BEST BETS

    On Saturday, December 4th from 10am-4pm –WINTER FAIR:Green Craftmaking and Book Fair at the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School in the Brassworks building (132 Main St.) off of Route 9. Kids make holiday gifts out of recycled and natural materials. Chorus performance, baked goods. 268-3421 Haydenville, MA (FREE ENTRANCE)

    And in the afternoon on Saturday, December 4th from 1-9pm – HOLIDAY WALK WEEKEND: Williamstown will be filled with holiday spirit, including holiday film, gift fair, tree showcse, new toy collection, story hour, handbell choir, reindog parade (2pm), penny social, music, Santa’s workshop, tree lighting and much more. 458-9077 www.williamstownchamber.com Williamstown, MA (FREE)

    On Sunday, December 5th from 12Noon-4pm – YULETIDE: Music and more at Yuletide at Storrowton Village Museum. In addition to music, there will be sheep dog demos, ice sculpting, historic trade demos, hands-on kids crafts, animals, a Victorian Santa, caroling, and more. 205-5051 West Springfield, MA (FREE)

    MARK YOUR CALENDAR

    On Saturday, December 11th from 11am-4pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Holiday Family Fun Day at the Berkshire Museum.  See the Festival of Trees: Storybook Forest.  At 11am & 3pm, Mr. Punches Christmas Carol will be performed by Crabgrass Puppet Theater. At 1pm the Blafield Children’s Chorus sings . A Gingerbread Cookie Decorating workshop is at 2pm.  Blafield Children’s Chorus and Gingerbread Cookie Decorating Workshop are included with Museum admission. Fee for Mr. Punches Christmas Carol. Discount packages including full Museum admission are available as well as performance-only tickets. Call 443-7171 to RSVP for workshop. www.berkshiremuseum.org 443.7171 Pittsfield, MA (50% Off Museum Admission)

    On Sunday, December 12th at 2pm – SOLSTICE EVENT: Welcome Yule: Music, Dance, Songs, and Stories to Drive the Dark Away at the Shea Theater (71 Avenue A). Years ago, a tradition emerged of celebrating the return of the light at midwinter with music, dance, songs and stories. Mark your calendars for this festive and joyful celebration, and be with community to sing and dance away winter’s darkness and call back the warm sun of spring. 863-2281 www.welcomeyule.org Turners Falls, MA ($)

    BULLETIN BOARD

    CRAFTY RUMPUS: On Sat. Dec. 4th from 10am-4pm, Greenfield Center School will again host a Crafty Rumpus. This is a colossal arts, crafts and music event for all ages. Musician Jay Mankita, who, according to Pete Seeger, is “one of the half dozen best songwriters today” will perform children’s music. Span of Sunshine and the Carrie Ferguson will also perform. Rumpus hosts a 25+ booth craft fair featuring juried artisans from across the region offering fresh, lovely wares. In addition: free art and crafting workshops for kids, ages 3-12, savory and sweet foods, and a used childrens’ clothing sale. All events free. All are welcome! For directions: www.centerschool.net and check out the Rumpus blog: www.gcsrumpus.blogspot.com. For more info: 413-773-1700

    SPONSORSHIP & ADVERTISING: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Let us help get the word out about your event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for more information. — Help us help you!

    MOTHERING GRIEF: Special Event to Support Families in Pregnancy/Infant Loss. Empty Arms of Western Mass offers a special event for families experiencing pregnancy/infant loss. Author and artist Angie Yingst will present a reading and discussion of her essay, “Mothering Grief,” from the new book They Were Still Born: Personal Stories about Stillbirth. Angie’s second daughter was stillborn in 2008; through words and painting she shares powerfully about her grief journey. December can be tremendously difficult when you are grieving a loss. Please join us for time to connect, reflect, and receive support, even if you have not previously attended Empty Arms. Your friends and family are also welcome. Sweets and hot drinks will be served. December 8, 7-9pm, in Northampton at the Center for Midwifery Care, CDH. RSVP: carolmcmurrich@comcast.net.

    James Lombino writes: To all Berkshire Trails Bill Koch Youth Ski League members and prospective members: Due to extraordinary interest in our program this year, we are nearly at our membership capacity and must bring our registration to a close earlier than originally planned. If you have not already turned in or mailed your registration form, please do so as soon as possible. If you still need a form, email me at berkshiretrails@gmail.com and I will get one right out to you. Also, If you have friends who were planning to register but have not yet done so, please let them know about this upcoming deadline. All registration forms must be received by Friday, December 10! Looking forward to a great season of skiing ahead!

    MA TEEN CHOICE BOOK AWARD: Teens across Massachusetts are invited to nominate their favorite book published in 2010 for the first Massachusetts Teen Choice Book Award. Deadline is December 31st, 2010 to nominate as many of your favorite books as you want, any genre. In January 2011, the top 5 books with the most nominations will be announced. The program is open to anyone who lives in Massachusetts and is between 12-18 years old. www.readsinma.org

    HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: A YEAR IN REVIEW

    Hilltown Family Variety ShowTune in every Saturday from 9-10am. Encore episodes are aired every Sunday from 7-8am.

    This week on the HFVS we feature some of our favorite albums from 2010, including music by the Okee Dokee Brothers, Keller Williams, Dream Jam Band, Randy Kaplan, Sugar Free Allstars, Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke, Rani ARbo & daisy mayhem, The Not-Its!, Justin Roberts, The Verve Pipe, Charity and the JAMband, Caspar Babypants, The Sweet Colleens, Elizabeth Mitchell, and several others.

    Families have several ways to tune in to the Hilltown Family Variety Show:

  • Streaming Audio: Surf on over to ValleyFreeRadio.org on Saturday & Sunday mornings and listen to us live via streaming audio.
  • On Your FM Dial: Tune in to WXOJ 103.3FM if you live near Northampton, MA.
  • HFVS Podcast

    PODCAST: Listen to the most recent episodes of the Hilltown Family Variety Show anytime you wish! Click here to see our current select of episodes, and be sure to subscribe to our podcast too!


    WEEKLY LIST OF SUGGESTED EVENTS

    Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

    Suggest an Event | Local Forecast | Free Museum Passes | Playgroups & Family Centers | Movies in the Valley | Movies in the Berkshires | Listen Here

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns | ♦ On-going Events

    Saturday, December 4th, 2010

    Hilltown Family Variety Show6-10am – FAMILY RADIO Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) offers 4-hours of commercial-free family programing every Saturday, including the Hilltown Family Variety Show and Spare the Rock. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org.

    7am-3pm – CHRISTMAS EVENT: 2nd Annual Dickens Day stroll in Downtown. Old English breakfast, Fezziwig’s Holiday Faire, Dickens Days Open House, Fireside with Santa at the Amelia Park Ice Arena, screening of “A Christmas Carol” in the Lang Auditorium, concert, theater and more. www.westfieldonweeknds.org 562-2277 Westfield, MA (FREE)

    9-10:30am – ARTS & CRAFTS: Handmade Holiday class at MASS MoCA: Make cards & envelopes. 664-4481 x8131 http://www.massmoca.org North Adams, MA (>$)

    9am, 10:15am & 11:30am – SANTA: Breakfast with Santa Claus at Look Park. RSVP www.lookpark.org Florence, MA (>$)

    9:30-11am – ARTS & CRAFTS: Holiday Card-Making Party at the Eric Carle Museum. Space is limited. RSVP 658-1126 wwwcarlemuseum.org Amherst, MA (>$)

    10am-2pm – FARMERS’ MARKET: Winter Farmers’ Market at Amherst Middle School (170 Chestnut St.). Amherst, MA (MARKET)

    10am-2pm – FARMERS’ MARKET: North Amherst Farmers’ Market happens a the Big Bule Barn at SwartzFamiy Farm (11 Meadow St.). www.northamherstmarket.com Amherst, MA (MARKET)

    10am-1pm – ARTS & CRAFTS: The Youth Center will host their annual Make-It-Take-It Children’s Craft Fair with at least 12 different craft making opportunities. Santa and Rudolph arrive at 11am. 743-3550 Adams, MA (>$)

    10am-1pm – CHRISTMAS EVENT: Horse drawn wagon rides with Santa through Atkins Orchards. Amherst, MA (FREE)

    10am-4pm – WINTER FAIRGreen Craftmaking and Book Fair at the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School in the Brassworks building (132 Main St.) off of Route 9. Kids make holiday gifts out of recycled and natural materials. Chorus performance, baked goods. 268-3421 Haydenville, MA (FREE ENTRANCE)

    10am-4pm – CRAFTY RUMPUS: Greenfield Center School (71 Montague City Rd.) will again host a Crafty Rumpus with a craft fair featuring artisans from across the region offering fresh, lovely wares. There will also be free art and crafting workshops for kids, ages 3-12, savory and sweet foods, a used children’s clothing sale and free music for children. www.centerschool.net 773-1700 Greenfield, MA (FREE ENTRANCE)

    10am-4pm – CRAFT SHOW: Ashfield’s 6th Annual Crafted in the Village at The Curtis House (14 South St.) Ashfield, MA (SALE)

    10am-4pm – HOLIDAY BAZAAR: The 5th Annual Bizarrest Little Snowflake Bazaar at the Unitarian Meetinghouse (121 N Pleasant St.). Crafts and live music. 835-5163 snowflakebazaar.googlepages.com Amherst, MA (FREE ENTRANCE)

    11am-12Noon – STORY TIME: Stories from Natures Garden at the Lee Library (100 Main St.). Join Anne Gannon, horticulturist with The Trustees of Reservations, for a program of stories and activities sharing the wonders of nature in all seasons. Open to ages 2-7 with caregivers (older siblings welcome!). To sign-up or for more information email rborsody@cwmars.org or call the Lee Library at 243-0385 Lee, MA (FREE)

    11am-4pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Music and more at Yuletide at Storrowton Village Museum. In addition to music, there will be sheep dog demos, ice sculpting, historic trade demos, hands-on kids crafts, animals, a Victorian Santa, caroling, and more. 205-5051 West Springfield, MA (FREE)

    11am – 8:30pm – CHRISTMAS EVENT: 21st Annual Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas. Sponsored by the Stockbridge Chamber of Commerce, the holiday celebration offers a full range of activities, with highlights including a holiday house tours, caroling, and a holiday concert. www.stockbridgechamber.org 298-5200 Stockbridge, MA ($$)

    1pm – ARTS & CRAFTS: The Whately Library (202 Chestnut Plain Rd.) is offering the following workshop: Pop-Up Cards for the Holidays. For kids 8yo & older, local artist Jeannie Hunt will instruct families. Materials provided. Call to reg. 665-2170. Supported by the Whately Local Cultural Council. Whately, MA (FREE)

    1pm – MOVIE: Screening of Elf, starring Will Ferrell, at Images Cinema (50 Spring St.). Free screening; Part of Williamstown Holiday Walk festivities. www.imagescinema.org Williamstown, MA (FREE)

    1pm – NATURE STUDIES: Winter nature observation with Clare Walker Leslie at the Berkshire Museum. This hands-on observation and drawing workshop for families. RSVP 443-7171 www.berkshiremuseum.org Pittsfield, MA (MUSEUM ADMISSION)

    1-4pm – FOOD HISTORY: Older students can learn the history of cookies and bake some old classics at Historic Deerfield. Registration is required. 775-7217 www.historic-deerfield.org Deerfield, MA ($$)

    1-9pm – HOLIDAY WALK WEEKEND: Williamstown will be filled with holiday spirit, including holiday film, gift fair, tree showcse, new toy collection, story hour, handbell choir, reindog parade (2pm), penny social, music, Santa’s workshop, tree lighting and much more. 458-9077 www.williamstownchamber.com Williamstown, MA (FREE)

    1:30pm – KNITTING GROUP: Get-Together Knitting Bees at Norton Inn (across street from Elmer’s). Get cozy with other knitters next to a warm fire and enjoy the company and help of other knitters (all skill levels). Ashfield, MA (FREE)

    2-6pm – COOKING: The Little Cooking School will have a Bring a Parent to Cooking Class to make a holiday cookie fest. 625 2800 http://www.thelittlecookingschool.com Shelburne Falls, MA ($$)

    3pm – BALLET: East Street Dance Center students will be performing Renaissance and Baroque era dances and extracts from classical ballets at the Mead Museum. RSVP 542-2335 Amherst, MA (FREE)

    3:30-5pm – CHESS CLUB: For kids ages 7 & older is Chess Club at the Jones Library with Andy Morris-Friedman. www.joneslibrary.org Amherst, MA (FREE)

    4pm – CHANUKKAH EVENT: Puppeteer Anna Sobel presents “The Mystery of Hanukkah Harry” at Hevreh of Southern Berkshire (270 State Rd.). Join Joshua Finkelstein and his best friend Danny as they go on a quest for the identity of the mysterious Hanukkah Harry. Great Barrington, MA (FREE)

    4-9pm – CHRISTMAS EVENT: Old Sturbridge Village hosts Christmas by Candlelight, a nostalgic look at holiday traditions, music & food. www.osv.org Sturbridge, MA ($)

    4:30-6pm – SANTA: Join Mrs. Claus at Pulaski Park for the Northampton Holiday Tree Lighting. Santa will arrive by firetruck around 5pm. Songs, cookies and hot cocoa will be shared. Hamp High Chorus will sing. Northampton, MA (FREE)

    5-8pm – HAYRIDE: Hayrides through Look Park Winter Wonderland light display. www.lookpark.org Florence, MA (>$)

    5:30pm – CHRISTMAS EVENT: Caroling on the Green next to the Historical Society building. Horse-drawn hay rides. Williamsburg, MA (FREE)

    6-10pm – ZYDECO DANCE PARTY: Seeds of Solidarity Youth Programs will be hosting a fundraiser to benefit Seeds of Solidarity’s youth garden programs In the Town Hall. with an evening Zydeco Dance Party. Cajun food. Zydeco dance lessons. And much more. 978-544-9023 http://www.seedsofsolidarity.org Orange, MA (FUNDRAISER)

    7pm – KIDS’ DANCE: Kids’ Dance Party at the Cummington Community House. Live music with Radio Free Earth. Dance Scores led by Maureen Shea. Snacks. radiofreeearth.com Cummington, MA (>$)

    7pm – CHILDREN’S THEATER: Starlight’s Youth Theatre presents one acts of “Anne Frank,” and “The Rememberer” at the Maple Ridge Community Center ( 659 Amherst Rd.). starlightyouththeatre.com 533-7896 Sunderland, MA (FREE)

    7pm – CHRISTMAS EVENT: Christmas Sing-Along with Mary Verdi & Friends at the Colonial Theater. Bring the whole family and ring in the Yuletide season with this old-fashioned Christmas sing-along celebration. This joyous performance features local favorite, Mary Verdi, along with some of the best musicians in the Berkshires and the most beloved songs of the season. www.thecolonialtheater.org Pittsfield, MA ($)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    GIVEAWAY: Herbal Medicine for Children and Babies

    Herbal Medicine for Children and Babies
    Four Fall Classes at Blazing Star Herbal School

    Herbal Medicine for Children and Babies is a series of four classes that will be offered on Fridays this fall in Ashfield, MA at Blazing Star Herbal School by herbalist, Tony(a) Lemos. Deadline to enter for a chance to win is Oct. 13th, 2010.

    Hilltown Families and Blazing Star Herbal School (BSHS) in Ashfield, MA have partnered up to offer one lucky participant free registration for Herbal Medicine for Children and Babies, a series of four classes being offered this fall.  Participants will learn how to raise healthy children, how to prevent compromised immune systems, and discuss both common and and some less common childhood diseases. Find out how to win a free registration to this series of four classes below. Deadline to enter to win is Wednesday, 10/13/10 @ 7pm (EST)

    ABOUT THE CLASS

    Herbal Medicine for Children and Babies will run for four Fridays, October 16th & 23rd and November 5th & 19th, from 9:30am-1 pm in Ashfield, MA.  The class will begin with pre-conceptive health care and continue throughout childhood, covering pathologies and common and uncommon states. The class will discuss methods to help prevent compromised immune systems and ways to strengthen the terrain. Cultures around the world will be compared and contrasted. Clarity will be given on appropriate dosage for children and methods of administration. Participants in the class will explore creative medicine making and making nourishing condiments. Students will leave with a complete Materia Medica for Children’s Health.  For more information contact Tony(a) Lemos at blazingstarclinic@gmail.com, or call (413) 625-2030.

    ABOUT BLAZING STAR HERBAL SCHOOL

    Dedicated to teaching traditional herbal medicine in a way that supports a more sustainable future and shows respect for the integrity of nature, BSHS offers a unique perspective on herbalism, weaving social and political aspects of health and healing through the study of medicinal herbs and food practices. Serving as a local and national resource for education and networking, BSHS has been in Ashfield for over 25 years on 26 wooded acres of pine trees, rushing brooks, wildflower meadows and gardens. Right here in the Hilltowns of Western Massachusetts, the school offers unique and exciting programs in herbal studies to give both the student and professional an opportunity to delve deeper into the art and science of herbalism. Their courses have been highly acclaimed for inspiring students to find their unique healing path through personal relationship with the plant world. For more information about BSHS visit them on line at blazingstarherbalschool.typepad.com.

    HOW TO WIN

    Your chance to win a free registration for Herbal Medicine for Children and Babies, a series of four classes this fall at Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

    1. POST WHY YOU WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THIS CLASS BELOW (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
    2. FULL NAME and where you
    3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) You must include your town and state to be eligible.
    4. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
    5. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

    IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, 10/13/10 @ 7pm (EST)

    STREET TEAM: HELP US SPREAD THE WORD AND EARN AN EXTRA ENTRY  Read the rest of this entry »

    100 Links (February 2010/March 2010)

    100 Links (February 2010/March 2010)

    Nearly every day I add recommended links to the Hilltown Families bank of on-line resources.  Some of you might find these links well suited for your family, others, maybe not so much.  But it’s a fun and useful list worth perusing!  If you have a link you’d like to share, post it in our comment box.

    Where are these links? You won’t find them on your blog reader nor via email if you subscribe to our newsfeed.  Sometime I share these links on the Hilltown Families Facebook page, with members of our listserv, or even Tweet about a few – but if you visit Hilltown Families on-line and scroll half way down, on the left you will find the column, “Links We Recommend.” There you’ll find our bank of the most recent 25 recommended links.

    Archived Lists of 100 Links: If you’d like to peruse our List of 100 Links from months past, click HERE and then scroll up or down.

    100 Links (February 2010/March 2010): If you haven’t been visiting the site regularly to peruse these great resources, not to worry – below is the last 100 links we’ve posted in the past two months: (you will need to use the “back” button to return to this page):

    Read the rest of this entry »

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