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Drop-in gaming, Watertown, Nov. 12

Posted by Jen Clark Estes October 31, 2012 08:40 AM

After a morning of parades and patriotic activities, you might find yourself with an empty afternoon and a house full of energetic kids. Need something to do with them? Head over to the Watertown Free Public Library for drop-in gaming! They'll be setting up their Wii for the afternoon and are challenging you to some light competition. They have a variety of games to pick from, so there will be something for everyone. (Bonus -- after gaming, you can go home with a load of books, too!) Mon., Nov. 12, 3 p.m. Grades 3 - 5. No registration necessary. Free. Watertown Free Library, 123 Main St., Watertown. www.watertownlib.org

Veterans' Day art project, Easton, Nov. 12

Posted by Jen Clark Estes October 31, 2012 08:24 AM

Help celebrate Veterans' Day in a special way this year! Visit the Children’s Museum in Easton to honor the men and women who have served our country and protected our freedom. Take part in making a community art project by making part of a flag that will be preserved and displayed at the museum. Then make a patriotic noise maker for your local parade. The Museum is closed during the school year on Mondays but is open for this special day. Mon., Nov. 12, 10 a.m. Free with Museum admission ($7.50 per person). The Children's Museum in Easton, 9 Sullivan Ave., Easton. www.childrensmuseumineaston.org

Cities and towns moving ahead with Halloween plans after Hurricane Sandy, plus safety tips

Posted by Kristi Palma October 30, 2012 01:13 PM

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Photo submitted by Jeffrey of Natick

TJ, 4, of Natick, is dressing up this year as the Incredible Hulk.

The Frankenstorm will not keep young Frankensteins from trick-or-treating in Greater Boston and beyond.

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino's office has announced trick-or-treat in Boston will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday night. And public safety agencies will ensure increased visibility in Boston neighborhoods.

Many towns across New England, from Andover to Belmont to Fall River to Nantucket, told us Halloween will go on as usual.

But some areas of our state are postponing Halloween because of Sandy. In Norwell, for example, trick-or-treat has been postponed until Saturday, Nov. 3, according to the town hall. Other towns that have postponed trick-or-treat include Sudbury, Fitchburg, Methuen, North Andover, Leominster, Ashby, and Holyoke.

FULL ENTRY

'Yo-Yo People at Firehouse Center,' Newburyport, Nov. 11

Posted by Jen Clark Estes October 29, 2012 10:04 AM

Yo-Yo People.jpg An entire show based on...yo-yos? You bet! This husband and wife team take the art of yo-yoing to new levels during their hour-long performance at the Firehouse Center in Newburyport on Nov.11. Sure, you've tried to Walk the Dog, and maybe even managed to send your yo-yo Around the World, but what about the Boingy-Boingy? Or the Iron Whip? The Yo-Yo People, John Higby and and Rebecca Loomis Higby, serve up yo-yos attached to bouncy balls, yo-yos with 10-foot strings, and multiple yo-yos looping while hula-hooping and unicycling in some of their finely tuned feats. High skill and deft timing to swingin' music coupled with high energy and sarcastic humor make the Yo-Yo People a favorite for every age. Want to give it a try? You can! No show is complete without some eager kids in the show, set up to succeed at some tricks of their own. Look for two- and four-handed tricks, and a grand finale featuring hula hoops, a unicycle, and yo-yos all at the same time while the couple tries to hold everything together. The pair has performed on David Letterman, hold a Guinness World Record, a 2008 Yo-Yo World Champion title, and have performed in over 20 countries. Sun., Nov. 11, 3 p.m. All ages. Adults; members/seniors/students, $9. Firehouse Center for the Arts, Market Square, Newburyport. www.firehouse.org

Photo by Lisa Polucci

'Boom Boom's Bow,' Cambridge, Nov. 4

Posted by Jen Clark Estes October 26, 2012 08:44 AM

"Boom Boom's Bow" is a totally interactive jazz musical romp for the whole family, created and performed by acclaimed singer and comedian Lea DeLaria, and co-written with Janette Mason. Where did Boom Boom leave his bow? You and your little ones will help him find it. On the way you will make up a blues song, shake your groove thing and discover that anything can swing. Mostly, though, you and your little ones will scream with laughter at the antics of the characters they will meet along the way: Jazz, Boom Boom, Crash, and Mrs. Tinkle (DeLaria’s fantastic trio of musicians). Hailed by the NY Times as a "swinging time for kids," this show will let you leave your November blues at the door, put on your sunglasses, and get warmed up in an afternoon of cool. Sun., Nov. 4. Two shows, 1 & 4 p.m. $15. All ages. OBERON, American Repertory Theater, 2 Arrow St., Cambridge. www.americanrepertorytheater.org

A parent says Charlie Brown is inappropriate for kids. Do you agree?

Posted by Kristi Palma October 25, 2012 09:44 AM

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AP

Good grief!

Charlie Brown, the iconic children's character created by the late Charles Schulz, and his friends call each other "stupid" and "blockhead."

So one dad blogger is calling for the classic character to hang up his zig zag shirt.

In a blog post called "It's time to retire, Charlie Brown" on Babble.com, a dad called dadcamp, who is the father of two children, ages two and five, discusses how Peanuts is flat out inappropriate television viewing for 21st century kids.

The Peanuts characters debuted in 1950 in a comic strip. But, as dadcamp puts it, "Times have changed since our parents were kids. Our parents flew on planes with smoking sections, car seats didn’t exist."

In Charlie Brown, the characters often use words like "stupid," "dumb," and "blockhead." And the story lines are full of bullying, dadcamp points out.

So as children across the nation gear up for the annual viewing of the classic animated Halloween show "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," dadcamp is calling the Halloween special "terrible" for kids.

What do you think about this father's take on Charlie Brown? Do you think the character is appropriate for children? Why or why not?

Book launch with author Mark Peter Hughes, Framingham, Nov. 16

Posted by Jen Clark Estes October 25, 2012 08:02 AM

Lemonade Mouth Puckers Up cover.pngIf you have a pre-teen in your house, chances are you've heard of the book "Lemonade Mouth" by Mark Peter Hughes, and you've probably watched (multiple times) the Disney Channel movie adaptation of the novel. Finally, fans can get their copies of the eagerly-anticipated sequel, "Lemonade Mouth Puckers Up," at the author's launch party at Barnes & Noble in Framingham on Nov. 16. The new novel continues the story of the band of high school outsiders/musicians and is presented in their own words, telling the story of the momentous summer when an overworked music promoter, an unwanted visitor from India, and an unexpected reappearance by a figure from Olivia’s past shook their world and launched them on their roller-coaster ride to destiny. There are plenty of false rumors out there, but this is the real story, the continuation of the official history of Rhode Island’s most influential band. Lemonade Mouth is going worldwide and taking no prisoners. The outcome will be nothing short of revolutionary. At the event, the author will read from his book, answer question and sign copies. To add to the excitement, there will also be short performances by local high school musicians. Get ready to rock! Fri., Nov. 16, 7 p.m. Ages 10 and up. Free. Barnes & Noble, One Worcester Rd., Framingham. www.barnesandnoble.com

Free museum admission for deaf or hard of hearing children, Acton, Nov. 3

Posted by Jen Clark Estes October 23, 2012 10:53 AM

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ASL interpreters will be on hand to help deaf and hard of hearing children enjoy the Discovery Museums on Nov. 3

Photo courtesy of Discovery Museums


Sometimes it's difficult for children who are deaf or hard of hearing to fully enjoy the wonders of museums, especially on very busy days, so the Discovery Museums is offering a free evening for families with deaf or hard of hearing infants and toddlers on Saturday, Nov. 3. Both the Children’s Discovery and Science Discovery buildings will be open for families to explore and learn together through hands-on science and playful exhibits that inspire curiosity, exploration and imagination. Exhibits include exploring a ship wreck, surrounding yourself with bubble walls, engineering your own train track, controlling an 8-foot water vortex, bending light rays, and much, much more. The evening is offered in partnership with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program at Children’s Hospital Boston, which will provide language facilitators and American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters for the event. This event is a feature of the museum's "Especially for Me" program, which is part of the Museums’ Open Door Connections program to provide opportunities for those who face a variety of barriers---financial, geographic, developmental, or cultural---to experience the Museums. Sat., Nov. 3, 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. All ages. Free, but pre-registration is required and can be done online at http://tinyurl.com/EspeciallyforMe2012-7. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. www.discoverymuseums.org

Pumpkin-carving tips and combating pumpkin mold: Do you have a tip to share?

Posted by Kristi Palma October 23, 2012 08:28 AM

Want to learn how to keep your jack-o'-lantern from growing mold before its debut on Halloween?

All you need is some hairspray and bleach, according to The DIY Network.

Soak your pumpkin in bleach before or after carving and then spray the carved openings with aerosol hairspray to ward off mold. Worried your pumpkin will smell yucky after all that? To keep your pumpkin smelling great, just dust some cinnamon or nutmeg on the underside of your pumpkin's lid.

Of course, another way to keep your pumpkins from getting moldy is by using foam pumpkins instead.

Get tips in the above video for carving faces into foam or using cut-outs to make lively pumpkin people. And you can still get that jack-o'-lantern glow in a safe way by using battery-operated candles.

Do you have a pumpkin-carving tip? How do you combat pumpkin mold? Do you use foam pumpkins?

Share a photo of your jack-o'-lantern with us!

And check out these jack-o'-lanterns submitted by readers (left to right) iPumpkin by Mary Ellen of Norwood, Muppets by Sharon of West Yarmouth, and Bruins by Parker of Newton Center.

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Day of the Dead family program, Cambridge, Nov. 3

Posted by Jen Clark Estes October 22, 2012 10:20 AM

DayOfTheDeadphoto_by_mark_craig.jpgDia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, is celebrated on November 1 in Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember loved ones who have died. You can participate locally at Harvard's Peabody Museum on November 3, with a family program for adults and children ages 5 and up. Make a calaca (skull) mask, paper marigolds, and other Dia de los Muertos items. Pose for a photo with a friendly skeleton. View the special altars and decorations, leave messages for your departed loved ones, and create percussion shakers to join in festive music by Latin American singer Maura Mendoza and her ensemble. Decorate and take home a sugar skull and have some light snacks. Sat., Nov. 3, noon - 4 p.m. Ages 5 and up. Free with museum admission (adults, $12; seniors, $10; students with ID, $10; ages 3-18 years, $8; under 3, free); sugar skull workshop $5 per person. The Peabody Museum at Harvard University, 11 Divinity Ave., Cambridge. Limited parking available at 52 Oxford Street Garage from noon to 4 pm. www.peabody.harvard.edu

Photo by Mark Craig

People and social media are going purple for Spirit Day: Are you talking with your kids about Spirit Day?

Posted by Kristi Palma October 19, 2012 01:28 PM

Today is Spirit Day, a day when people are encouraged to wear purple to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.

But it's not just people wearing purple.

Technology such as Facebook, Tumblr, Yahoo, StumbleUpon, and Hulu are all going purple, too.

And purple-clad folks are flooding Twitter, posting photos of themselves using the hashtag #SpiritDay.

Are you talking with your children about the meaning of Spirit Day?


Boston Vegetarian Food Festival, Boston, Oct. 27 & 28

Posted by Jen Clark Estes October 19, 2012 08:54 AM

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Photo by Randall Collura


Whether you're a longtime vegetarian or vegan, or you just want to find new ways to get more fresh and delicious food into your usual daily menu, you'll find what you're looking for at the 17th Annual Boston Vegetarian Food Festival. This event brings together an amazing array of vegetarian natural food providers, top national speakers and chefs, and educational exhibitors in a fun and welcoming environment. It is a chance to talk directly to food producers, learn the newest items in the marketplace, taste free food samples, shop at show special discounts, or simply learn what vegetarian foods are available and where you can find them. Visitors can learn from speakers who are top national experts on health and nutrition, and presenters who inspire compassion for animals and respect for the environment. Award winning chefs and cookbook authors teach their recipes and offer free samples of the dishes they demonstrate. Educational exhibits on protecting animals and the environment, and a children's activity center round out the day. The festival is organized and presented by the nonprofit Boston Vegetarian Society. All festival organizers and event staff donate their time, labor, and talents. Past festivals have each attracted thousands of attendees who come from all over the Northeast and beyond. It's a great opportunity to learn of different ways to benefit the environment, help animals, and enhance your health and well being. Sat., Oct. 27, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 28, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Free. All ages. Reggie Lewis Athletic Center,1350 Tremont Street, Boston. www.bostonveg.org/foodfest

Autumn activities at Gore Place, Waltham, through Oct. 31

Posted by Jen Clark Estes October 18, 2012 09:02 AM

binoculars Gore Place.jpgThere is hardly a better time of the year than right now to get outside for a walk in the woods, and Gore Place in Waltham has two unique ways to enjoy all the splendors of fall. First is their "Autumn Talk A Walk Backpack" activity. Kids ages 3-8 can explore the grounds, visit the farm to say hello to chickens, goats, sheep, pigs and llama, and identify autumn leaves with binoculars, magnifying glass and seasonal activities that come in the rented backpack. For kids who want to shake it up a little bit during National Archaeology Month, children ages 6 and up with an accompanying adult may rent a backpack with archaeology tools and activities designed to help them understand how archaeological research of an historic site is done while they explore the 45-acre estate. Through Oct. 31. Mon. - Fri., 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.; Sat., 12 - 3 p.m. $5 per backpack rental. No reservations necessary. Gore Place Mansion, 52 Gore St., Waltham. www.goreplace.org

Photo courtesy of Gore Place

Uma Thurman finally reveals baby's name: What do you think of the name?

Posted by Kristi Palma October 18, 2012 08:29 AM

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Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Actress Uma Thurman and boyfriend Arpad Busson at the Annual Brazil Foundation Gala Party in New York City last month.

Uma Thurman and boyfriend Arpad Busson became parents back in July when Thurman gave birth to a baby girl. But their daughter's name had remained a secret until now.

Today, everyone is talking about this celebrity baby's lengthy name: Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busson. But her parents call her Luna, reports E! News.

Why so many names?

"Each name has a special reason and meaning to her mother and father," Thurman's rep told E! News.

Thurman isn't the only celebrity who has kept her baby's name a secret. It's a new celebrity trend, reports Parents.com.

Sarah Michelle Gellar and hubby Freddie Prinze Jr. are another celebrity couple who chose to keep the name of their newest child under wraps after his birth late last month.

"How refreshing!" wrote mom blogger Nicole Fabian-Weber on cafemom.com's blog The Stir. "A famous couple not revealing all the intimate details about their child to the world the minute he's born." (Ahem, Snooki, Nick Lachey and company...)

The blogger couldn't resist offering 10 suggestions for what to name the baby Prinze.

And Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer, who had twins last month, not only refused to release the names of their children, but they declined to release even the twins' genders and date of birth as well.

Here are five more celebrities who bit their tongues when it came to baby's name after giving birth, courtesy of namecandy.com.

What do you think of baby Luna's official name? And do you think keeping a name secret helps to maintain the privacy of a celebrity child?

Report: Parents need to worry about traffic, not tainted candy, on Halloween. What worries you?

Posted by Kristi Palma October 17, 2012 09:43 AM

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AP Photo/David Duprey, file

Parents worry about things like tainted candy and child abductions on Halloween. But, according to this AP report, the likelihood of those things happening is slim (A child has never been killed or injured from tainted Halloween candy, says one expert).

Instead parents need to worry about traffic. That's because children have been hit by cars while trick-or-treating.

But here's something the AP is reporting that may surprise you: Kids actually land in the ER around Halloween most often for sports injuries.

A 2010 study in the "Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics" found that injuries related to sports were the reason for most emergency room visits involving children around Halloween.

The study says 18 percent of injuries on Halloween were to the finger and hand (pumpkin carving mishaps?) and "a much higher proportion of injuries that occurred on Halloween were associated with sports, including football and basketball, than with knives."

Check out these statistics about all things scary for parents on Halloween.

What worries you most when it comes to your child's safety on Halloween?


'Canning with Rosa," Easton, Oct. 23

Posted by Jen Clark Estes October 17, 2012 09:42 AM

So, you spent the summer teaching the kids how to grow and tend a garden full of healthy vegetables. But now that it's fall, what's next? Teach them how to preserve their bounty for winter eating! The Children's Museum of Easton has a one-day program that will show kids the art of canning with Chef Rosa Galeno. After a tasting of samples, Chef Rosa will teach some kid-friendly techniques for pesto and basil that you can take home, along with new skills to do some canning right in your own kitchen. Tues., Oct. 23, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. $5 with museum admission ($7.50 per person, under one free). The Children's Museum in Easton, 9 Sullivan Ave., North Easton. www.childrensmuseumineaston.org

Boston Teen Author Festival, Boston, Oct. 28

Posted by Jen Clark Estes October 16, 2012 09:23 AM

Daniel Waters cover.jpgYoung adult books have never been hotter than they are right now (come on, you know you read YA, admit it), and this festival gives YA a chance to shine. In a first-of-its-kind event in our literary city, the Boston Teen Author Festival is a unique celebration of young adult literature. The festival boasts an impressive list of fifteen wonderful YA writers, including A.C. Gaughen, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, Caitlin Kittredge, Daniel Waters, Diana Renn, Erin Dionne, Huntley Fitzpatrick, Jack Ferraiolo, Karsten Knight, Kate Burak, Laurie Stolarz, Leigh Fallon, Marissa Doyle, Steven Goldman, Susan Carlton, and Wendy Wunder. The festival will have three parts: time for book sales and mingling with attendees and authors; four 45-minute panel sessions to choose from; and a signing session at the end. Feel free to bring your own copies, or support host site Emerson College's bookstore by purchasing at the event. It's a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with some fantastic writers! Pre-registration is required for security reasons. Street parking is limited. Sun., Oct. 28, 1-6 p.m. Teens and adults. Emerson College's Bordy Theater, 216 Tremont St., Boston. www.bostonteenauthorfestival2012.blogspot.com

Halloween happenings, various locations, through Oct. 31

Posted by Jen Clark Estes October 14, 2012 05:40 PM

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(c)iStockphoto.com/AlexanderNovikov


Can't get enough of the spooky season (or maybe just want to get your money's worth for your little ghoul's getup)? Here's a map of haunted houses across New England for kids of all ages. And here's a round-up of several fun-filled Halloween events for the family taking place this month:

Week of Oct. 15 - 21


Haunting in the Woods, Winslow Farm Animal Sanctuary, Norton. Through Oct. 28. Two spooky trails are offered – one for kids, and an ultra-scary one for older travelers. www.winslowfarm.com

Kimball Farm Haunted Halloween Maze, Haverhill. Fri., Sat., Sun., through November. This Haunted Halloween Maze takes place in a seperate cornfield and is among the scariest in the area. Dress warmly for the haunted hayride and bring a flashlight to guide you through the maze. www.kimbalfarmcornmaze.com

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Jack O' Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence. Through Nov. 3. Thousands of illuminated pumpkins on display in a woodland setting, hundreds of which are carved with amazing artistry. www.rwpzoo.org (Photo: AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

FULL ENTRY

National Archaeology Day celebration, Boston, Oct. 19-20

Posted by Jen Clark Estes October 12, 2012 08:33 AM

Embrace your inner Indiana Jones at the Museum of Science and help celebrate National Archaeology Day! The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) will be hosting its sixth annual Archaeology Fair in collaboration with the Museum of Science, and gives visitors to the museum a chance to uncover the past. The event features presentations from more than 25 experts in the field of archaeology, as well as numerous hands-on activities, special programs and more that explore history, rocks and underground exploration. Grab your hat, and get ready to dig in! Oct. 19, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.; Oct. 20, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Free with Museum of Science admission: Adults, $22; 60+, $20; ages 3-11, $19. Museum of Science, 1 Science Park, Boston. www.mos.org

Boston Babies' Annual Halloween Brunch, Boston, Oct. 14

Posted by Jen Clark Estes October 11, 2012 10:20 AM

Boston Babies bumblebee.jpgDress up your little ones (and yourself too, if you like) in your favorite costumes and head over to the Ritz-Carlton on Boston Common for the 2nd annual Halloween Brunch, sponsored by Boston Babies. Whether you're a dinosaur or a buzzing bee, you're sure to enjoy the breakfast buffet featuring not only favorites such as eggs and pancakes, but New England fall must haves, from cider donuts to pecan pie. While your little one runs around the ballroom with like-minded trick-or-treaters, you'll have time to socialize with other parents and check out "the Gallery," showcasing a select few of Boston's best family friendly vendors, newest novelties and hidden jewels. Music will be provided by Boston-based Kelly Rice, who will perform folky favorites, as well as singing kids' classics during a mini music class for all the little monsters. With all its events, Boston Babies sponsors a philanthropic organization to raise both awareness and funds; this event's partner is Mass. General Hospital for Children. All guests are asked to bring a new or gently used toy to the event, which will be donated to the child life center and its pediatric patients. (All stuffed animals must be new in order to provide gifts that are safest for the children.) Monetary donations, gift cards as well as items taken from the kids' wish list are best and greatly appreciated. Sun., Oct. 14, 10 a.m. - noon. Adults, $70; children, $10; under 12 months, free. The Ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Boston Common, 10 Avery St., Boston. www.bostonbabies.wordpress.com

Taming Suri's clothes: Do you think it's a good idea?

Posted by Kristi Palma October 11, 2012 08:57 AM

Suri Cruise, 6, has traded her glamorous dresses for a sensible uniform.

The daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes has often been seen wearing dresses, make-up, and tiny heels but her wardrobe recently took a high style downgrade.

The Huffington Post has reported that Holmes wants to do away with the glam outfits and lipstick that Suri has sported in the past. Suri gets a lot of free swag for being a celebrity kid.

Check Suri out here in a fur coat and gold heels.

Do you think her parents should, indeed, tame Suri's look? Or is it all in good fun?

'Good Grief: How to Talk to Your Child About Death,' Worcester, Oct. 17

Posted by Jen Clark Estes October 10, 2012 09:33 AM

Zayde-front.jpgThere are many tough topics that we must discuss with our children, but few are more challenging than talking about loss, grief and death. What do you say? When do you say it? How much do you discuss? Join author Sheri Sinykin at the Jewish Healthcare Center in Worcester on Oct. 17 for her presentation, "Good Grief: How to Talk to Your Child About Death." Using her own clinical, research and personal experience with the topic, Sinykin will share with attendees her inspiration for her newest children's book, "Zayde Comes to Live," as well as suggestions for conversations with children about the end of life. She will end with a reading of the picture book, which has been highly praised as a sensitive portrait of a young girl trying to make peace with the impending death of her grandfather. Though the book presents a uniquely Jewish perspective, it has been lauded for showing respect for all religions and the different beliefs regarding the afterlife. This is the author's first picture book, but her 19th book for children, and copies will be available for purchase and signing. The event is for adults only. Wed., Oct.17, 7-8:30 p.m. Free. Adults only. Jewish Healthcare Center, 629 Salisbury Street, Worcester. www.jewishhealthcarecenter.com.

'Halloween Family Fun Free-For-All! at Joppa Flats,' Newburyport, Oct. 14

Posted by Jen Clark Estes October 9, 2012 09:24 AM

Get into the Halloween spirit at Joppa Flats during this free event perfect for kids of all ages. Examine live creepy crawlies, enjoy semi-spooky attractions, go on a nature treasure hunt, and take home creative crafts. For ages 2 to 6, storytelling, songs, and guided games that are silly, kooky, and only a little bit spooky will take place indoors. For ages 7 and up, learn about the deep sea, try one of our "ick"-speriments, handle live, slimy, gooey marine life, and enjoy scheduled Halloween nature stories. Fly in on your broom for an hour or stay all day for some fun pre-Halloween family time! Pre-registration is not required, but children must be accompanied by adults. Costumes are welcome for both kids and their caregivers! Sun., Oct. 14, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Free. All ages. Meet at the Joppa Flats Educational Center, 1 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport. www.massaudubon.org/Nature_Connection/Sanctuaries/Joppa_Flats

'Spooky Hayrides,' Lexington, ongoing through Oct. 31

Posted by Jen Clark Estes October 9, 2012 09:00 AM

Halloween is happening everywhere in the Bay State, but here's a fun, free activity for the whole family to help you get into the spooky spirit of the season. Wilson Farm in Lexington is hosting its annual Spooky Hayrides most days through the end of the month. Hop aboard a tractor manned by the farm's brave workers, and take a trip around the fields. The harvest is almost done, but that doesn't mean there's no activity out there. Is that a giant doing his own bit of farming? Is that the wreckage of a UFO crash? And, what about that monster that's been rumored to have been eating whole tractors in one bite? You've got to see it to believe it. Spooky Hayrides happen during daylight hours, making it perfect for even the littlest trick-or-treater. Ongoing, through Oct. 31. Free. Sat. & Sun., 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.; Mon. & Fri., 3 -4:45 p.m.; Thurs., 12:30 - 4:45 p.m. Hayrides run weather permitting. If the weather seems questionable, please call the farm for up-to-date info at 781-862-3900. Wilson Farm, 10 Pleasant Street, Lexington. www.wilsonfarm.com

Anti-gay group One Million Moms opposes JLo's new show: What do you think?

Posted by Kristi Palma October 9, 2012 08:39 AM

An anti-gay group called One Million Moms is protesting Jennifer Lopez's upcoming TV show, "The Fosters," reports Entertainment Weekly. Jennifer Lopez is an executive producer for the show.

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The hour-long ABC show will focus on a multi-ethnic family, including foster and biological children, headed by a lesbian couple. The show is in the very early stages of creation. (Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

One Million Moms is calling the show anti-family and is hoping to stop the show's production by encouraging people to email ABC in protest.

Here is an excerpt from the group's website:

"Obviously, ABC has lost their minds...While foster care and adoption is a wonderful thing and the Bible does teach us to help orphans, this program is attempting to redefine marriage and family by having two moms raise these children together...None of this material is acceptable content for a family show."

Read the entire statement here.

What do you think of the One Million Moms reaction to JLo's show?

'Trick or Treat for UNICEF' box design contest, through Oct. 26

Posted by Jen Clark Estes October 5, 2012 06:47 AM

vertical_UNICEF_249.jpgCollecting money for UNICEF on Halloween is as much of a tradition as saying "trick or treat!" But this year, those familiar collection boxes are getting a new look -- the look that you want. For the first time in the campaign’s 62-year history, kids will have a chance to design their own collection boxes. Original designs for the “Create-a-Character” contest may be submitted online. Winning designs in three age categories (4-8, 9-12, and 13 years and older) will become part of a limited edition collection for next year’s campaign, and the winners will also receive up to 1,000 boxes with their featured design to distribute in their community. Don't feel like making your own design, but you'd still like a new look for your UNICEF box? No problem! There are six spooky new character boxes from which to choose: a monster, black cat, princess, pumpkin, vampire, and a witch. No matter what you decide, don't forget to collect -- so far, UNICEF has raised more than $167 million for children in need around the world. The box design contest will run through Oct. 26, and can be submitted online at trickortreatforunicef.org. Fundraising kits containing the character boxes, the blank collection box for design and new educational resources may be ordered online with free shipping at trickortreatforunicef.org or by calling 1-800-FOR-KIDS, while supplies last.

Big Bird, moms, react to Mitt Romney's comment about cutting funding to PBS

Posted by Kristi Palma October 4, 2012 10:31 AM

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AP Photo/Matt Sayles, file

Big Bird was thrust into the spotlight last night during the presidential debate.

When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said, "I love Big Bird," but followed the statement with a plan to cut funding to PBS, Twitter was flooded with talk of the famous bird.

Immediately, Twitter accounts appeared with the handles @BigBirdRomney, @BigBird, @FiredBigBird, and more.

There were 17,000 tweets per minute about Big Bird after Romney mentioned the "Sesame Street" mainstay's name, reports Entertainment Weekly.

What does Big Bird have to say about all this? Apparently, he slept through it.

A tweet from @SesameStreet this morning:

Big Bird: My bed time is usually 7:45, but I was really tired yesterday and fell asleep at 7! Did I miss anything last night?
FULL ENTRY

RI Festival of Children's Books & Authors, Providence, Oct. 13

Posted by Jen Clark Estes October 4, 2012 08:45 AM

Here's a unique opportunity to meet a dozen nationally acclaimed authors and illustrators, including Tom Angleberger ("The Strange Case of Origami Yoda" series), Pam Munoz Ryan ("Esperanza Rising," "The Dreamer," and others), Gary Schmidt ("The Wednesday Wars," "Okay For Now," and others) and many more. At the RI Festival of Children's Books & Authors, each author will participate in a 30-minute presentation discussing his or her work, life and philosophy. Between talks, you can participate in bookmaking crafts -- perfect for the young and upcoming artist. Enjoy an exhibit provided by the Providence Athenaeum of antique children’s books and books that inspired the authors and illustrators. In addition, Justin Roberts, an "all-star" of the family music scene, will be on hand to rock the festival. Of course, books will be available to purchase, and you may also bring up to three to be signed (only books by this year’s authors and illustrators may be brought into the festival.) Read on! Sat. Oct. 13, 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. $5 per person (available at the door). RI Festival of Children's Book Authors, Lincoln School, 301 Butler Ave., Providence, RI. www.lincolnschool.org

Boston Local Food Festival, Boston, Oct. 7

Posted by Jen Clark Estes October 3, 2012 09:10 AM

BLFF carrot.jpg

Photo by Thomas F. Morris

Rejuvenate your menu this fall at this zero-waste, free festival taking place on Sunday at the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The Local Food Festival celebrates the benefits of eating food produced locally in the Boston area, as well as from sources from other areas of Massachusetts and around New England. You can explore featuring fresh produce from local farmers and sample the creations of talented chefs offering $5-or-less dishes with locally-grown ingredients. In the Fish Stock area of the event, which is dedicated to local fisher folk their New England catches, you'll find a "Seafood Showdown" in which two chefs will vie for the title with dishes created from a secret ingredient. Throughout the festival chefs and other food experts will also be offering DIY demonstrations in their various areas of expertise. Stop by the Family Fun Zone to engage with organizations offering interactive exhibits that demonstrate the benefits of growing and eating fresh local foods from land and sea. Other festival features include local beer, mead, cider and wine samplings, as well as art and festive music by local talent. You might want to skip breakfast before heading to this event! Sun., Oct. 7, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. All ages. Free, but food and other products are available for purchase. The Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston. Festival-goers are strongly urged to use public transportation as street parking is extremely limited. www.bostonlocalfoodfestival.com

Anchorwoman slams viewer for letter: Do you think she was bullied?

Posted by Kristi Palma October 3, 2012 07:19 AM

Jennifer Livingston, a Wisconsin anchor, fought back against an email from a viewer calling her a bad role model because of her weight.

"Surely you don't consider yourself a suitable example for this community's young people" the viewer said in the letter.

Livingston addressed the letter on the air and used the opportunity to send a message about bullying.

"To all of the children out there who feel lost, who are struggling with your weight....do not let your self worth be defined by bullying," she said into the camera.

The man who wrote the email to Livingston, Kenneth Krause, is saying his letter has nothing to do with bullying, reports the Associated Press. He said it's about presenting and promoting a healthy lifestyle to kids.

Livingston said people are using the Internet as a weapon. And, while she may have a thick skin because her job is so public, many children bullied in this way do not.

"October is national anti-bullying month and this is a problem that is growing every day in our schools and on the Internet," Livingston said. "It is a major issue in the lives of young people today and as the mother of three young girls, it scares me to death."

Read more about the story in this Associated Press report.

What do you think of the letter? Do you think Livingston was bullied? Are you afraid your child will be bullied online?

If you are worried about your kids and cyberbullying, find out how the state is addressing it in our chat with Melissa K. Holt, an assistant professor in counseling psychology at Boston University.

Book launch with author Carol Antoinette Peacock, Newton Centre, Oct. 14

Posted by Jen Clark Estes October 2, 2012 11:07 AM

Red Thread cover.jpgJoin author Carol Antoinette Peacock as she celebrates the launch of her new middle grade novel, "The Red Thread Sisters" (Penguin/Viking 2012), at Newtonville Books in Newton Centre. The book, for ages 8 and up, is a story of friendship, family, and love. In the story, the main character, Wen, has spent the first eleven years of her life at an orphanage in rural China, and the only person she would call family is her best friend, Shu Ling. When Wen is adopted by an American couple, she struggles to adjust to every part of her new life: having access to all the food and clothes she could want, going to school, being someone's daughter. But the hardest part of all is knowing that Shu Ling remains back at the orphanage, alone. Wen knows that her best friend deserves a family and a future, too. But finding a home for Shu Ling isn't easy, and time is running out. During the event, the author, who is the adoptive mother of two Chinese daughters and a psychologist, will read from her novel and answer questions. There will also be a raffle for prizes. Sun., Oct 14, 2 p.m. Ages 8 and up. Free. Newtonville Books, 10 Langley Rd., Newton Centre. www.newtonvillebooks.com

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer using crowdsourcing to name her baby: What do you think?

Posted by Kristi Palma October 2, 2012 08:24 AM

marissamayer.jpg

AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Marissa Mayer and husband Zachery Bogue at the Glamour Magazine 2009 Women of the Year Awards at Carnegie Hall in New York.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer gave birth to a baby boy on Sept. 30. The businesswoman set off a swirl of commentary about whether women can juggle high-profile careers and motherhood when she announced her pregnancy over the summer.

Read what our parenting blogger Kara Baskin had to say about it in The 24-Hour Workday.

But setting all that aside, the talk about Mayer today is about her unorthodox way of naming her son. She has decided to name him via crowdsourcing, reports People.com. Crowdsourcing means using information from the general public via the Internet. In this case, she sent out a "large-group email" asking for help, according to the report.

What do you think about crowdsourcing a name for a child? What do you think she should name her son?

Hot holiday toys: Will you buy any of these toys for your children?

Posted by Kristi Palma October 1, 2012 10:43 AM

Have you made out your holiday shopping list yet? Perhaps these ideas will help.

Check out some of the hot toys this season in the above video, which includes the newest dolls from Monster High, all designed with a "freaky flaw;" an updated Furby with even more personality; remote-control helicopters; a device that makes pictures magically appear on a child's bike, and more.

Also, check out this story from The Associated Press about the Toys R Us "hot toy" list this season for even more ideas, like the One Direction collector dolls, Wii U by Nintendo, and more.

Will you buy any of these toys for your children this holiday season?

'American Girl 1812 Afternoon Tea Party and Meet the Author,' Charlestown, Oct. 7

Posted by Jen Clark Estes October 1, 2012 08:16 AM

USS Constitution at sail.jpg

Photo courtesy of USS Constitution Museum

Here's an American Girl tea party with a twist! Dress up, bring your dolls and enjoy an 1812 afternoon tea at the USS Constitution Museum on Sunday, October 7. You'll get to meet author Kathleen Ernst, who has created the newest American Girl series about Caroline Abbott, an independent and adventurous nine-year-old girl whose story is set during the War of 1812. In the story, Caroline learns to face her most challenging moments using her heart as her compass. Going above and beyond to help those around her, Caroline gives of herself without expecting anything in return—becoming the kind of real everyday hero that any girl can be. This event is author Kathleen Ernst's first Boston-area appearance, and the illustrated program will give attendees a special behind-the-scenes glimpse of Caroline's world and how she developed the character. The presentation will be followed by a question and answer session and the opportunity to meet the author, get your books personalized, and take photos. And, of course, there will be a proper tea -- featuring lemonade, tea, and a choice of desserts. There will also be craft activities and a door prize, and, after the event, you can visit the USS Constitution Museum and take a tour of USS Constitution, a ship that fought in the War of 1812. Sun., Oct. 7, 2 p.m. $25 per person. Pre-registraton is required; space is limited. USS Constitution Museum , Building 22, Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston. store.ussconstitutionmuseum.org/collections/tea-party

About Parent Buzz

Welcome to Parent Buzz, where you can read about and discuss the hot parenting issues of the day, find family-friendly events in Boston and beyond, and get parenting tidbits and tips.

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Kristi Palma, Boston.com Moms producer, is the mom of a first grader and a preschooler. She is a writer who enjoys cooking her grandmother's Italian recipes (when her son isn't launching paper airplanes into them). Follow her on Twitter @kristipalma.
Jennifer Clark Estes is a teacher, writer, blogger, and the mother of four young children. In her free time, she blogs at A Mom's World, plays with the kids (or chauffeurs them around), and is desperately seeking a quiet spot so she can read a book. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferCEstes.
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