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Jessica Simpson shares baby news and bump on Twitter

Posted by Kristi Palma December 31, 2012 09:34 AM

Jessica Simpson is pregnant with her second child and has chosen to tell the world through Twitter.

She confirmed the rumors (Us Weekly published a report a month ago) on Christmas Day when she tweeted a photo of her daughter Maxwell sitting above the words "Big Sis" written in the sand. Maxwell was born in May.

And now here's her tweet from the weekend, sharing her baby bump:

What do you think about sharing baby news via Twitter? Have you done the same?

Are you pregnant too?
Share your baby bump with us!
Discuss when you started to show with other Boston-area moms.

'Talking to Kids about Intimacy, Desire, and Sex,' Lexington, Jan. 11

Posted by Jen Clark Estes December 24, 2012 12:10 PM

It might be one of the most difficult and scary things to do as a parent, but talking to our children about sex is also one of the most important of our jobs. But how to begin? What to say? Join The Waldorf School of Lexington as they host Sharon Maxwell, an award-winning educator, clinical psychologist, and author of "The Talk: A Breakthrough Guide to Raising Healthy Kids in an Over-sexualized, Online, In-Your-Face World." Dr. Maxwell will lead parents in an interactive discussion that addresses many questions, such as: How do we raise healthy kids in an over-sexualized culture of advertising, video games, fashion, and the Internet? How can we lay the foundations at a young age when stakes are small to help them be in charge of their desires and to make good decisions? What do we want to teach them about intimacy and love, and our own values about sex? Dr. Maxwell will help explore issues such as the effect of looking sexy, peer pressure, and how to work with the natural force of sexual feelings. And it's never too early to think about how the dynamic in our households around desire and instant gratification effects our children's future choices. Fri., Jan. 11, 7 p.m. $15. Registration online. Adults only. The Waldorf School of Lexington, 739 Mass. Ave., Lexington.

'Sea Squirts Preview' program, Boston, begins Jan. 28

Posted by Jen Clark Estes December 24, 2012 11:50 AM

This new, one-hour class at the New England Aquarium was created for young children ages 12 to 24 months based on feedback from the community. "Sea Squirts Preview" introduces you and your child to the wonders of the aquarium and the ocean world. Activities focus on developing motor skills, independence and socialization, as well as introduce your young one to new materials. Over the course of four weeks, your child will become more comfortable in the aquarium classroom setting and you will become more confident exploring the aquarium with your children outside of class time. Classes run for one hour and include free play, circle time with songs, stories, art projects and a visit to the aquarium exhibits. Classes will incorporate a live animal encounter when appropriate to the topic. Classes meet in the aquarium's Ocean Center, which is across the plaza from the main aquarium building, and a minimum of five child participants is required to run a session. Mondays, 9:30 a.m. & 11 a.m. Four-week session: Jan. 28, Feb. 4, 11 & 25. Members, $50.00; non-members $95.00. Adults are included in the cost of each child. Aquarium admission is included in the cost for non-members as classes end in the aquarium. A $2 service fee will be added to each ticket. New England Aquarium, Central Wharf, Boston.

Sensory-friendly films for families affected by autism, various locations, Jan. 5

Posted by Jen Clark Estes December 24, 2012 11:06 AM

For some children on the autism spectrum, going to a movie theater can be overwhelming. That's why AMC Theatres, in partnership with the Autism Society of America, created a program to bring sensory-friendly films to families affected by autism. The program originated in Maryland, when a parent of a child on the autism spectrum requested a special screening, and has grown to include locations nationwide, including here in Massachusetts. In participating auditoriums, the lights are turned up, the sound is turned down, and audience members are encouraged to get up and dance, walk, shout or sing! In January, you can find a sensory-friendly showing of "Monsters, Inc." at AMC Theatres in Braintree, Burlington, Framingham, Methuen and Tyngsboro. Please check with individual theaters to confirm title, time and prices, as these as subject to change. Sat., Jan. 5, 10 a.m. $4 - $6. All ages.

The National Rifle Association wants armed police in all schools: What do you think?

Posted by Kristi Palma December 21, 2012 07:33 PM

The National Rifle Association is calling for armed guards to be stationed at all schools across the nation.

It is the NRA's response to the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. where gunman Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School a week ago. Lanza also killed his mother and himself.

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," said Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the NRA.

The Massachusetts Teachers Association and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino rejected the plan. However, Mayor William A. Flanagan of Fall River has stationed armed police officers at his city’s schools to give parents "peace of mind."

What do you think? Do you want armed officers at your child's school?

In spirit of holiday season, Lowell students show military pride

Posted by Kristi Palma December 20, 2012 12:00 PM


Students at McAvinnue Elementary School showed their military pride this week in the spirit of the holidays.

First of all, the students made holiday cards for military veterans at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veteran's Hospital in Bedford.

The Lowell Spinners, the Class-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, then sent a "holiday caravan" to the school to talk to kids and pick up and deliver the cards.

The caravan consisted of military personnel, such as Sgt. Marissa Cross, the Spinners mascot, University of Massachusetts-Lowell hockey players, and Miss Massachusetts Taylor Kinzler.

The students showed even more military pride when, after Cross finished speaking, they swarmed her for autographs.

Is your family or your childrens' schools supporting the troops this season? If so, how?

(Photo: Lowell Spinners)

'Winter Wonder Days,' Providence, Jan. - Feb.

Posted by Jen Clark Estes December 20, 2012 07:32 AM

Baby, it's cold outside, but that shouldn't keep you indoors, especially when you can enjoy half-price admission to the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence. During January and February, you can enjoy a wild winter wonderland during the zoo's "Winter Wonder Days" for just a few dollars. What animals can you see on your trip? Well, that depends on the weather. The zoo's animal care team follows guidelines for each species pertaining to temperature, icing conditions and wind chill, and adjusts their environment accordingly. So, certain cold-hardy animals will almost always be on exhibit, such as seals, snow leopards, farm animals, camels, emus, penguins and more, while other animals will be allowed to choose whether they'd like to be outdoors or stay in their indoor space. There are a number of heated exhibit buildings throughout the zoo, including the Textron Elephant & Giraffe Pavilion, the Tropical America building, and the Australasia building. In these areas you can see various species of snakes, tamarins, two-toed sloths and more. Who says you can't go wild in the winter? Daily, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Adults, $7.50; ages 3 - 12, $4.95; 62 and over, $6.50; under 3 and members free. Roger Williams Park Zoo, 1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence, RI.

Meet author Kim Harrington, Framingham, Jan. 5

Posted by Jen Clark Estes December 18, 2012 08:46 AM

Dead&Buried cover.jpgJoin local author Kim Harrington as she signs copies of her newest book for teens at Barnes and Noble in Framingham. "Dead and Buried" is the author's sixth book for children, and her third for young adults. In this fast-paced, supernatural thriller, main character Jade loves the house she's just moved into with her family. She doesn't even mind being the new girl at the high school: It's a fresh start, and there's that one guy with the dreamy blue eyes. But then things begin happening. Strange, otherworldly things. Jade's little brother claims to see a glimmering girl in his room. Jade's jewelry gets moved around, as if by an invisible hand. Kids at school whisper behind her back like they know something she doesn't. Soon, Jade must face an impossible fact: that her perfect house is haunted. Haunted by a ghost who's seeking not just vengeance, but the truth. The ghost of a girl who ruled Jade's school -- until her untimely death last year. It's up to Jade to put the pieces together before her own life is at stake. As Jade investigates the mystery, she discovers that her new friends in town have more than a few deep, dark secrets. But is one of them a murderer? Sat., Jan. 5, 11 a.m. Ages 12 and up. Free. Barnes and Noble, One Worcester Rd., Framingham.

'I Am Adam Lanza's Mother' blog post goes viral. What's your take?

Posted by Kristi Palma December 17, 2012 02:18 PM

A Boise mother named Liza Long posted a story Friday on her blog, The Anarchist Soccer Mom, in response to the mass shooting in Connecticut, where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown after killing his mother earlier that morning. The gunman then took his own life inside the school.

The motive of the gunman, Adam Lanza, is not yet known, and there has been no official statement released about the state of Lanza's mental health. There has been speculation that the 20-year-old gunman had Asperger's syndrome, but that has not been confirmed. With the details of what led to Friday's tragic events still unfolding, the shooting caused Long to write and publish a blog post about life with her mentally ill 13-year-old son. The post went viral.

"I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me," wrote Long in the post that was shared on social media as 'I Am Adam Lanza's Mother.'"

Some on Facebook and Twitter are calling Long heroic for speaking so candidly about her fear of her son. Others, like anthropologist Sarah Kendzior, have accused her of violating her son's privacy (Long used a pseudonym in the post for her son, but not for herself).

Long and Kendzior have issued a joint statement, saying: "We are not interested in being part of a 'mommy war'. We are interested in opening a serious conversation on what can be done for families in need."

What do you think about Long's blog post? Is it helping to further a national conversation about treating mental illness? Or do you agree with Kendzior? Comment below.

'Dreamtime: Tales from Down Under,' Brookline, Dec. 29 - 31

Posted by Jen Clark Estes December 17, 2012 08:58 AM

dreamtime billy and mom.jpg

Photo by Warren Johnson

Looking for another fun activity to occupy some winter vacation time? Head over to the Puppet Showplace Theatre in Brookline for a performance by Barefoot Puppets with their show based on traditional Aboriginal folktales. Learn about some truly unusual animals as a mother platypus tries to get her young one to sleep by sharing three stories from the Australian Dreamtime. In these "how and why" tales you'll learn how the emu became a flightless bird and why the platypus looks so strange. In the final story, you'll meet a giant, bloated, ocean-swallowing frog -- and perhaps you'll even be invited onstage to help get the water back. Emus, crocodiles and frogs -- oh, my! Sat., Dec. 29, 1 & 3 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 30, 1 & 3 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 31, 10:30 a.m. & 1 p.m. Ages 3 and up. $15. The Puppet Showplace Theatre, 32 Station St., Brookline.

New Year's Eve events for families, various locations, Dec. 31

Posted by Jen Clark Estes December 17, 2012 07:41 AM



If your kids are too young to stay up to ring in the new year for real, here are a few events that will give you the opportunity to celebrate in the daylight hours:

Family New Year Party, The Children's Museum in Easton, 9 Sullivan Ave., North Easton. Mon., Dec. 31, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Celebrate all day long with nonstop crafts, games, face painting, activities, magic shows, and confetti-blast countdowns. Show times vary. No preregistration required. $10 per person.

Bessie's New Year's Eve PJ Dance Party, The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. Mon., Dec. 31, 10 a.m. Shake, rattle, and roll into the New Year with Bessie, dinosaur mascot of The Discovery Museums, as you create party hats and dance the morning away! You’ll count down to 12 (noon) and have a cup of sparkling juice. Free with Museum admission: $11; under one and members, free.

Ring in the New Year!, The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. Mon., Dec. 31, noon - 3 p.m. Make some noise this New Year’s Eve! Construct your own noise makers and create your own party hats to use as you celebrate the coming of a new year. Add your hopes for 2013 to the museum's “Wishing Tree.” Free with Museum admission: $11; under on and members, free.

New Year's Eve Kids-Countdown-to-Midnight, Wenham Museum, 132 Main St., Wenham. Mon., Dec. 31, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Ring in the New Year with a kids-countdown-to-midnight including noisemakers, party hats, balloon art and a ginger ale toast. Enjoy silly songs and mesmerizing magic tricks performed by Awesome Robb as Major Holiday and the comical antics of Lindsay and her Puppet Pals. First-come, first-served. Registration recommended. Members, $8; non-members, $12; family of 4, $40.

Happy Noon Year!, Boston's Children's Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston. Mon., Dec. 31, 10 a.m. - noon. Celebrate the "noon year"! From 10 - 11:30 a.m. you can make noisemakers and add some silvery bling to your New Year's outfit. At 11:45 a.m. the countdown to noon begins. At 12 noon, they'll lower their own famous recycled, glowing ball and finish with a toast! With Museum admission: $14, under one and members, free.

Q&A: How to talk to your children about a school shooting

Posted by Kristi Palma December 14, 2012 04:26 PM

A gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children, at a Connecticut elementary school today. Parents of school-aged children are probably especially on edge, wondering how to approach the subject with their little ones, what's appropriate to say, and how they can handle their own shock and grief with young eyes watching. Moms talked with Louis Kruger, associate professor in the department of counseling and applied educational psychology at Boston's Northeastern University, about how parents should talk with their children about a school shooting. (Photo: Louis Kruger)

krugerheadshot.jpg Moms: We are seeing parents comment on social media about how they are unsure of how to talk about this with their kids. What is your advice?

Kruger: If the kids are aware of it, you have to talk to them about it. What you don’t want to do is give the impression that it’s a taboo subject and they need to keep the feelings to themselves. Moms: How young is too young to talk about it?

Kruger: Even preschoolers, if they bring it up, you can mention, 'This is a very bad thing that happened.' But I think it would also be a mistake to go beyond the obvious facts. You don’t want to embellish on what might have happened.

I think for children that are aware of this and it does have an impact, the primary question in their minds is, 'Can something like that happen to me and where are the adults that are supposed to protect me?' Moms: And what is a parent to say?

Kruger: You remind them that they can trust the people at school and that they are safe at school ... You and I may be frightened by this but we understand this is a pretty unusual occurrence. It’s hard for them to get that concept. [They think] 'Well, why wouldn’t that happen here?' The best we can do is tell them we’re going to do our best to keep them safe. [Tell them] 'You’ve been safe so far and it’s my responsibility and your teachers' responsibility to keep you safe and they’re doing a very good job of that. And if there are times you don’t feel safe, I really want you to tell me about that, I really want to hear it, don’t keep it to yourself.'


'Sing-A-Long Sound of Music,' Arlington, Dec. 26 - 29

Posted by Jen Clark Estes December 13, 2012 10:38 AM

If you're a fan of the classic movie "The Sound of Music" and have been looking for a new way to share your passion with your kids, this is the production for you. "Sing-A-Long Sound of Music," at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, invites you to not only come in costume (imagine, a room filled with nuns!) but also sing out loud to your favorite songs. The evening begins with a live show in which your host will lead you through a vocal warm-up, judge the fancy dress competition and award the prizes. Costumes are not compulsory but they are highly recommended and you will be amazed at the inventiveness on display. The host will then show you how to use your free goody bag throughout the film and suggest some appropriate heckles and accompanying actions (such as hissing the countess, barking at Rolf and, of course, cheering for Julie). Then, you sit back and watch the original 1965 movie with the lyrics for all the songs on the screen, so you won’t miss a chance to sing your hearts out. The audience takes over as the star of the show from this point and almost anything can happen -- and usually does. After all, the first rule of sing-a-long is "there are no rules!" Wed., Dec. 26, 10:30 a.m. & 7 p.m.; Thurs. Dec. 27, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 28, 10:30 a.m., 3 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 29, 10:30 a.m. All ages. Adults, $15; children & seniors, $12. The Regent Theatre, 7 Medford St., Arlington.

'Wild at Art! Winter Break,' Canton, Dec. 27 & 28

Posted by Jen Clark Estes December 12, 2012 07:59 AM

With the kids' winter break just around the corner, it's time to start thinking about what you can do with all that free time. Try a little wildlife and art mashup at the Mass. Audubon Visual Arts Center in Canton. The two-day program is broken up into morning and afternoon sessions, so you can register for as many or few as fits your schedule. On Dec. 27, the morning session will focus on painting, using a variety of techniques, from splatter to rollers to squishy balls. The afternoon session will let kids try their hands (literally) at pottery! They can make a masterpiece on the pottery wheel and hand-build the tallest coil pot imaginable. On Dec. 28, it's all about Massachusetts mammals. Kids can learn some fun facts, play some predator/prey games, and make their favorite mammal out of recycled materials. In the afternoon session, kids can explore their talent at digital photography. Bring the camera to the center to capture wildlife up close. The pictures will be printed, and kids will use some to make art, and have some framed. That's some wild art! Dec. 27 & 28. Morning sessions are 9 a.m. - noon. Afternoon sessions are 12:30 - 3:30 p.m. Ages 8 - 12. $30 non-members, $25 members for each class session. Mass. Audubon Visual Arts Center, 963 Washington St., Canton.

'Hansel & Gretel,' Cambridge, through Jan. 6

Posted by Jen Clark Estes December 11, 2012 08:29 AM

The witch and her visitors.jpgTake a break from your holiday shopping and cookie baking for a high-energy re-telling of this well-known Brother Grimm's fairytale as presented by the A.R.T. Institute in Cambridge. "Hansel and Gretel" is the story of two brave and hungry siblings who set off on an adventure to the gingerbread house of their dreams. Along the way, they find a friendly duck, deceptive birds, and a funny but dangerous witch who lives with her candy kids. Hansel and Gretel must work together to make it through the woods, overcome the sweet traps of the witch, and discover what it takes to create a home. The production is brought to life with the aid of original masks, puppets and songs. At every turn the audience, deemed "Members of Handsel and Gretel's Ultra Adventure Club," must help Hansel and Gretel choose the right path back home. Graduate acting students from the A.R.T. Institute for Advanced Theater Training star in this energetic and interactive re-telling, directed by Allegra Libonati. Dec. 15 - 16, Dec. 20 - 23, Dec. 26 - 31, Jan. 3 - 6, 11 a.m. Dec. 26, 28, 31, 3 p.m. $15. Ages 3 and up. The Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge.

Photo by Kevin H. Lin

A fourth man accuses former Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash of sex abuse

Posted by Kristi Palma December 10, 2012 04:18 PM

A fourth man is accusing former Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash of sex abuse, reports the Associated Press.

Clash's first accuser said last month that he had an inappropriate relationship with Clash when he was 16 and Clash was 45. He then recanted the story, and after that said Clash paid him $125,000 to do so.

Clash resigned from Sesame Street, where he worked for 28 years, after a second man sued him. Then a third accuser came forth a few weeks ago and filed another lawsuit.

Read the full story from The Associated Press.

Q&A: How to choose a daycare provider

Posted by Kristi Palma December 10, 2012 10:50 AM

Choosing a daycare provider can be stressful. Just ask Nancy Holtzman, vice president of clinical content and e-learning at Isis Parenting, the nation’s largest provider of prenatal and early parenting education. Holtzman often coaches parents on maternity leave about transitioning back to work, and that includes choosing a daycare. Boston-area parents in the market for a daycare may be even more on edge after recent news about the Wakefield childcare provider accused of child sexual abuse. Moms talked to Holtzman about what parents should look for in a daycare provider, how parents can find out about licensing information, and what should be a red flag during a search. (Pictured below: Holtzman with a baby from Isis Parenting.)

holtzmanblog.jpg Moms: Do you come across parents nervous about choosing a daycare?

Holtzman: The entire childcare search process may be more emotionally overwhelming than anticipated. Anxiety over returning to work can be devastating. It can ruin a maternity leave if you let it be all-consuming. If you're returning to work, accept that reality, and find the best care situation for your baby for your peace of mind. Moms: How do you recommend parents tackle the task of finding a daycare? How do they begin?

Holtzman: Really the best way to do it is to begin with your state’s licensing board for child care. In Massachusetts, that’s the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC). That’s the very first place to begin your search. Because using their online tools, you can select by zip code and then by the type of child care you are seeking, whether it’s a family daycare or a larger group facility ... Do you want someone coming into your home to care for your baby? Do you want a family daycare or do you want a childcare center? That’s how you decide. There’s pros and cons to all of those arrangements.


'Snowshoeing for Kids,' Waltham, ongoing

Posted by Jen Clark Estes December 10, 2012 08:26 AM

snowshoers-2.jpgEven though the ground is not snow-covered yet, before you know it flakes will fly -- so now's the time to start planning your snowy adventures. A great activity to add to your calendar is snowshoeing at Gore Place in Waltham, where you can explore hidden places while tromping around the 48 acre grounds. Clad with activity packs and brightly colored snowshoes, children with an adult can search for animal tracks with a magnifying glass and periscope, make a pinecone bird feeder, and visit the sheep, goats, rabbits and chickens on the farm. Each borrowed backpack comes with a pair of children's snowshoes and activities. Adult snowshoes are also available. Although this might be stating the obvious, this activity is only scheduled when snow is on the ground. But when it is, just ring the bell at the Mansion to get your backpack and begin your adventure! Dec. 10 through March 13, 2013. Mon. - Fri., 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.; Sat., noon - 3 p.m. Ages 3 and up. One-hour backpack rental, $5. Snowshoe rentals $5 per pair. Gore Place Mansion, 52 Gore St., Waltham.

Photo courtesy of Gore Place

What if Kate Middleton has twins?

Posted by Kristi Palma December 7, 2012 12:49 PM


Submitted by reader Amy Redgate of Waltham

Twins Emily and Madeline, of Waltham, cuddled up together in their crib.

By now, the world knows that Kate Middleton is pregnant.


But what would happen if Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge have twins? There is no report that the duchess is having twins. But there has been some speculation about which child would be the heir if she does. (AP Photo/Tom Hevezi, file) breaks it down.

Basically, if the twins are the same gender, the first born child is the heir. But if the twins are two different genders, the current rule of succession would make the boy the heir. A year ago, the British government voted to update that rule, but it hasn't happened yet.

And if the royal couple does indeed wind up having twins and needs advice (only time will tell), Boston-area parents of twins have lots of it. Check out this discussion about caring for twins in the Moms forums. Parents are discussing everything from comparing their own babies when it comes to learning and development to naming them to whether they should wake both of them up at the same time to eat.

And check out these adorable photos of Boston-area twins, including the above photo of twins Emily and Madeline of Waltham.

Are you the parent of twins? Add your advice to new parents of twins or photos of your twins!

Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen welcome a baby girl

Posted by Kristi Palma December 7, 2012 10:33 AM


Reuters/Lucas Jackson

Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit in May.

Tom Brady is now a father of three.

The Patriots quarterback and his supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen welcomed baby girl Vivian Lake Wednesday night.

It's the second child for Brady and Bunchen. They are also the parents of 2-year-old Benjamin. And Brady is the father of 5-year-old son John, whose mother is actress Bridget Moynahan.

Bundchen posted a photo of baby Vivian on Facebook, along with a message to her fans that reads, in part, the couple is "forever grateful for the opportunity to be the parents of another little angel."

Bundchen also told fans in the message that Vivian was born at home.

Congrats to the Brady family!

'First Day Hikes,' Milton, Jan. 1

Posted by Jen Clark Estes December 6, 2012 08:55 AM

Celebrate the New Year in the Blue Hills at the 22nd annual "First Day Hikes." Enjoy the winter woods and get some exercise after an indulgent holiday season. Join DCR Park Rangers and staff from the Blue Hills Trailside Museum for free hikes through the Blue Hills Reservation. First, you can warm up with a free cup of hearty soup and participate in live wildlife programs and family activities. Then you can stretch your legs on a variety of guided hikes suitable for all ages and abilities. Dress warmly in layers, bring some water, and wear sturdy hiking boots, and you are good to go! This event is the perfect way to jump start the new year of healthy living. Tues., Jan 1. All ages. Free. Soup is served at noon; pre-hike activities run from noon - 1 p.m.; all hikes begin at 1 p.m. Please arrive by 12:30 to access event. Parking is limited. Program will be cancelled for rain only. Meet at the Houghton’s Pond main parking lot at 840 Hillside Street, Milton.

"Winter Birds Free-For-All!" Newburyport, Dec. 16

Posted by Jen Clark Estes December 6, 2012 08:38 AM

Many birds have migrated to warmer climates by now, but there are still plenty weathering the winter months here in Massachusetts. During this program at Joppa Flats in Newburyport you can observe a winter bird banding demonstration, make a birdseed bagel or a fruit wreath for your backyard birds, and string popcorn and cranberries to decorate the center's feeder tree. Those ages 7 and up can design the ultimate bird feeder, examine bird wings, and take an interactive quiz on winter bird calls. There will be storytelling, crafts and guided games about trees, birds and weather for kids ages 2 to 6. The program is a perfect way to enjoy the natural beauty of this festive season. Sun., Dec. 16, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. All ages. Free. Children must be accompanied by adults. This is a rain or shine event. Meet at the Joppa Flats Education Center. One Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport.

Author event with Anna Staniszewski, Canton, Dec. 8

Posted by Jen Clark Estes December 4, 2012 11:30 AM

UnFairy Tale Life.jpgJoin local author Anna Staniszewski at the Canton Public Library this weekend as she reads from her hilarious middle grade novel, "My Very UnFairy Tale Life." The book's main character, Jenny, is not your average 12 year old. Is your magical kingdom falling apart? Jenny is on the case, whether she likes it or not. Saving the world might sound exciting, but for Jenny it’s starting to get old — even staying in the real world long enough to take a math test would be a dream come true! And when you throw in bloodthirsty unicorns, psychotic clowns, and the most useless gnome sidekick ever, Jenny decides that enough is enough. She’s leaving the adventuring business and not looking back. Or…is she? Following the reading, the author will answer questions and sign copies of her book. You'll also be able to make unicorn masks and origami frogs, inspired by the characters in the book. Sat., Dec. 8, 2:30 p.m. Ages 8 and up. Free. Canton Public Library, 786 Washington St., Canton.

Kate Middleton is pregnant

Posted by Kristi Palma December 3, 2012 11:40 AM

Kate Middleton is pregnant!

The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting her first child, the palace has confirmed.

"Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby," the palace said in a statement this morning.

The palace statement said Middleton was admitted to the hospital today for hyperemesis gravidarum.

No word yet on the due date for the highly-anticipated royal birth.

Are you surprised by the news?

We want to know what you would name the royal baby! Tell us here.

Holiday happenings in Boston and beyond, through Dec. 31

Posted by Jen Clark Estes December 3, 2012 02:00 AM


Stone Zoo

A scene from Zoolights at the Stone Zoo in Stoneham.

December, the "most wonderful time of the year," is especially delightful in New England. Here's a round-up of some family-friendly activities and events happening in and around Boston this season:


"Winter Lights on the Greenway," Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston. Through March 29. Series of lighting displays and innovative art installations encourages interaction, shared experiences and unexpected encounters for visitors to the parks. Free.


"Blink! Light & Sound Extravaganza," Faneuil Hall, Boston. Daily, through Tues., Jan. 1. All ages. Free. Featuring the music of the Holiday Pops, this is a state-of-the-art light and sound extravaganza that will transfer every inch of Faneuil Hall. Free. (Photo: Kayana Szymczak for the Boston Globe)


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, 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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