Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fun Fridays in Boston

Last week, our friends Alicia and Kelly at shared Highland Street's Fun Fridays Program with their readers. They have been nice enough to let us repost the information on our blog. Hope everyone is able to enjoy these free activities throughout the summer at some of Boston's most popular kids destinations. See below for more details. 

Planning your summer lineup? Highland Street offers a Fun Fridays Program and invites you to visit a designated museum or attraction in the Boston area for FREE during the summer. It is open to both Massachusetts residents AND tourists! Whoohoo! No registration or tickets required.

View 2012 Free Fun Fridays destination schedule below:

June 29th
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Peabody Essex Museum
Heritage Museums & Gardens
Museum Of African American History

July 6th
Boston Children’s Museum
Stone Zoo
Cape Cod Museum Of Art
Wenham Museum
Sterling And Francine Clark Art Institute

July 13
Franklin Park Zoo
Children’s Museum At Holyoke
Danforth Museum Of Art
Decordova Sculpture Park And Museum
Reagle Music Theatre

July 20th
Buttonwood Park Zoo
Mass Audubon Visual Arts Center
Hancock Shaker Village
Pilgrim Monument And Provincetown Museum
Higgins Armory Museum

July 27th
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
Children’s Museum In Easton
Springfield Museums
N.E. Historic Genealogical Society
New Repertory Theatre

August 3
Museum Of Fine Arts Boston
Norman Rockwell Museum
Amelia Park Children’s Museum
Fuller Craft Museum
Arnold Arboretum

August 10th
Battleship Cove
Berkshire Museum
Cape Cod Children’s Museum
Fruitlands Museum
The Sports Museum

August 17th
Institute Of Contemporary Art
Edward Gorey House
New Bedford Whaling Museum
Garden In The Woods
Concord Museum

August 24th
Boston Harbor Island Alliance
Uss Constitution Museum
American Textile History Museum
Old Sturbridge Village
Basketball Hall Of Fame

August 31st
JFK Library & Museum
Plimoth Plantation
The Discovery Museums
Mass Moca

Parent Talk Year in Review

As we prepare to start our 21st Parent Talk year, we wanted to take a moment to recap what a wonderful year Parent Talk has had! 
  • We welcomed our new Executive Director, Mary Celeste Brown in January. MC has been a wonderful addition to our organization and we feel lucky to have her! 
  • We assembled over 200 night-night bags for local homeless children. 
  • We hosted our highly successful 7th annual Preschool Fair 
  • We had two record breaking sales and donated truckloads of clothing, toys and gear to local charities. 
  • We launched a brand new blog which allows us to provide real-time, relevant content to our members. We’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback on the blog so far and encourage you to let us know if you’d like to contribute! 
  • We had an overwhelmingly successful lecture series which included five talks on topics ranging from sibling rivalry to re-entering the workforce after a career break.   
  • We hosted a Halloween parade and cookie decorating party at Avery Crossing 
  • We welcomed thousands of visitors to the Playspace
  • We made many new friends along the way. 
Your Parent Talk membership offers so many valuable resources, but we couldn’t do it all without our dedicated volunteers. We especially want to thank our outgoing Board of Director chairs: Ginger Bunn, Sarah Dussault, Lauren Kowaleski, Nicole Maffeo, Cathy Memory, Ryan McDonnell, Sari Musmon, and Lollie Weeks. 
While we are sad to see our outgoing board members leave us, we are excited to welcome new faces and start a new year. Joining Katie Alwart, Ann Lyons, Betsy Jensen Miller, Mary Beth Remorenko, and Myrna Zakarian, are Tricia Burch, Melissa Crowe, Nicola DiMauro, Nar Dong, Julia Sappenfield, and Wendy Todd. We’ll both be staying on for another year as co-president.
If you are interested in getting involved and helping us to make our 21st year our strongest yet, please let us know. We have open positions, both big and small that will suit a variety of interests and skills. Email us at and we’ll find the right position for you. 
Happy Summer! 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Reading Spotlight

Written by Katie Edwards

by Matthew Amster-Burton
This was the perfect book for me, as someone who loves food and cooking, and is trying to raise her son to eat lots of different things [mostly unsuccessfully so far].  It even included recipes!  Lots of fun.  Here is how Amazon describes it:
“Hungry Monkey is the story of one man’s coming to realize that kids don’t need puree in a jar or special menus at restaurants and that raising an adventurous eater is about exposure, invention, and patience. A restaurant critic and food writer, now a stay-at-home dad, Amster-Burton writes of the highs and lows of teaching your child about food—the high of rediscovering how something tastes for the first time through a child’s unedited reaction, the low of thinking you have a precocious vegetable fiend on your hands only to discover that a child’s preferences change from day to day. Sharing in his culinary capers is little Iris, a budding gourmand and a zippy critic herself, who makes huge sandwiches, gobbles up hot chilis, and even helps around the kitchen sometimes.”

by Margaret Mahy and Polly Dunbar
This is one of my 3-year-old’s favorites, and mine too!  It’s a lot of fun to read, although it can take a few times through to get the rhythm right!  The story is about a little girl whose baby brother gets taken up in the air inside of a bubble she blew, and the attempts to get him back down safely.  Not too many picture books out there using words like “nefarious”, either!  I highly recommend it.

Katie Edwards lives in Needham with her wife and two children, ages 13 and 3.   She has a Master’s Degree in Library Science, but has been a stay at home mom for many years, so she is happy to have an outlet to share good books with others.  She loves to read [obviously], travel, try new restaurants, and gab with her friends.  Luckily she is in a book group where she can simultaneously eat and talk to friends about books!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Favorite Toddler Apps

We polled Parent Talk members, friends and family about their favorite toddler apps and have compiled a list of top recommendations below. If you are traveling this holiday weekend, get prepared with a few new apps to test out.  Feel free to add your own favorites in the comment section.  Thanks to everyone who submitted their favorites on Facebook and Yahoo Groups!

- Art of Glow
- Barefoot Books Atlas
- Bord
Build A Train
- CookieDoodle
- Cupcake Maker
- Dora ABCs
- Dr. Panda
- Dr. Suess
- George's Curious Climb
Giraffe's Matching Zoo Deluxe
- JellyDoodle
- Little Bella's I Close My Eyes
- Monkey MathSchool Sunshine (Monkey Math)
- Monkey Preschool Lunchbox
- Musical Me!
- Peekaboo
- Tappy Tunes
- TeachMe Kindergarten
- TeachMe First Grade
- TeachMe Toddler
- TocaDoctor
- Tozzle
- ScribblePress
- Shape Builder
Site Word Bingo

If your kids need smaller headphones, check out the Panda Bear headphones on Amazon.

*Disclosure: At Parent Talk, we trust each individual parent's judgement on what is best for their child. Research has shown "using apps with your kids is all about moderation. The time they spend in front of them is included in "screen time" for the day. Here is a quote from Raising Children network... Children aged 2-5 years should have no more than an hour a day. And children aged 5-18 years should have no more than two hours."

Monday, May 21, 2012

Recipe Spotlight: Veggie and Bean Soup

Written by Joy Errico Seusing
I make a version of this soup almost every week from fall through spring. It is great for dinner and even better as leftovers or a healthy, hearty lunch. As with many soups, the ingredients are pretty flexible (for instance, if you like a different kind of bean or vegetable, feel free to switch it out for the ones I have here). This feeds my family of four for dinner (though I admit, my four year old and two year old don’t eat a big portion!) with plenty of leftovers for at least two lunches or another dinner. It’s delicious on its own or with a loaf of crusty bread and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese on top. It also freezes very well.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced or crushed garlic
1 cup each finely diced carrot, onion and celery (please note Trader Joe’s sells something called Mirepoix in their vegetable section—it is in a clear plastic container. They do the work of dicing for you so I would suggest using this to save time!)
1 large zucchini or 2 small zucchinis, diced
1 can diced tomato
1 can cannellini beans (white kidney beans)
1 can chickpeas
2 containers of 32 ounce chicken broth (I use organic)
Salt, pepper and Italian seasoning to taste

Coat the bottom of a big soup pan with the olive oil. Heat on medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Add diced carrot, onion and celery mixture, diced zucchini and crushed garlic. Saute for seven minutes or so. Add the canned tomato, beans, chickpeas and broth. Turn the heat to medium and let cook for 25-30 minutes. Taste the soup and add the seasonings to taste. Depending on what chicken broth you use, you may need more or less seasoning (especially salt), so it is important that you taste it until you get the flavor you want. Enjoy!

Joy Errico Seusing lives in Needham with her husband and two young children. She is the Vice President for External Relations at Jumpstart, a national early education organization headquartered in Boston. In addition to being a happily busy working mom, Joy loves traveling to new places, reading on her Kindle, interior design, power yoga, and of course, cooking!  Joy is a monthly contributor for the Parent Talk blog so be sure to check back for new recipe ideas each month.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Magic Beans Drool Baby Expo

Written by Emily Roach

On Tuesday night I attended the Drool Baby Expo organized by Magic Beans.  All of the best in baby gear came together to show off the latest gear, clothes, toys and everything in between.  I went in to the experience to check out the latest eco-friendly gear to share with my readers at Random Recycling, and also to visit with some of the local business.

I loved the variety of vendors at the event.  Both big and small, local and California based companies all got together to share the latest and greatest in baby gear. Certainly kicked in a little baby fever since my 15 month old is much more toddler now than baby.  I will say it was great to attend the event as a parent of two because I know what features are really key, like a one-handed fold up option for strollers.  I have my eye on the new Britax B-Agile stroller.  I didn't even know Britax made strollers.    

It was a nice mix of people I met at the event.  Lots of expecting parents, new moms with their babies tucked inside a carrier, and also Mom-preneurs. Moms know when there is a need for a better product and I try to support them. 

I was really impressed by the non-toxic paint line from Quiet Nursery, baby food containers from Sage Spoonfuls and baby bath and beauty products from MD Moms.  The ritzy ritzy reusable snack bag was also adorable and I want to get one of their wet bags to stash in the beach bag for wet suits this summer.

I had a great chat with Lane, the owner of Tiny Signs.  She is teaches baby signing to Metrowest families.  If you are interested, you find more about her workshops here.

Lots of favorite items, hope they have the event again next year!

About the Author
Emily lives in Needham with her husband Jim and two children.  After working in retail for 10 years, she decided to stay home with the kids and bake.  Emily is also working with Parent Talk Marketing, Needham Farmers Market and writes the blog Random Recycling.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Estate Planning for Families: Why you need a Will and a Trust

By Rachel Schneller Ziegler
Clients frequently say “All I need is a simple will.”  But is that really true?  There is no doubt that your Will is an important part of your estate plan.  Your Will states what happens to your property after your death and appoints a guardian for your children.  But for many people, especially parents of young children, a Will alone is not enough.  You should also create a Revocable Living Trust.  This is true no matter how large your estate.
A Trust is a document in which you establish terms for holding, managing, and using your assets.  A Trustee manages the assets for the benefit of someone else (the beneficiary).   A Revocable Living Trust is a Trust you create while you are living that you can revoke or amend at any time before you die.  
Here are some key reasons to prepare a Revocable Living Trust:
  1. Hold and manage money for children and young adults – Assets left to a Trust can be held and managed for the benefit of your children after your death by a Trustee selected by you pursuant to terms set by you.  Without a trust, your property will be distributed to a guardian subject to costly court supervision and terms set by state law, and then distributed outright to children at age 18.  
  2. Avoid probate – Probate is a lengthy and costly court proceeding to distribute assets after your death.  Assets in a Trust avoid probate entirely.  
  3. Estate tax savings – A Trust can include provisions that can reduce or even eliminate estate taxes.  Without a trust, your family may pay as much as 50% of your total assets in estate taxes.  
  4. Protection from creditors – A Revocable Living Trust may protect assets from the reach of a beneficiary’s creditors after your death.  
  5. Hold and manage money if you become disabled – Assets held in a trust can be managed by a Trustee selected by you pursuant to terms set by you for your own benefit, in the event you become disabled and cannot manage your own assets.   
Rachel Schneller Ziegler is an attorney concentrating in estate planning and estate administration in Wellesley, Massachusetts.  She is happy to respond to concerns or questions about your estate plan at (617) 641-0000 or
Disclaimer:  This information is not a substitute for legal counsel.  Nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.  Please contact an attorney for advice specific to your needs.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Lecture Spotlight: Beyond Sibling Rivalry

The final lecture in the 2011 – 2012 Parent Talk Lecture series is scheduled for Tuesday, May 17th at Olin College.  Peter Goldenthal, PhD, author of Beyond Sibling Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Become Cooperative, Caring and Compassionate will be presenting.  Gather for dessert at 7 pm, the lecture will begin at 7:30. The lecture is free for Parent Talk members and $20 for non-members, $25 at the door. We cannot guarantee availability to walk-ins.  Here is an excerpt from the book on the subject he will be presenting.  Read on and then reserve your tickets today here.

Every parent of two or more children has the same dream. It’s the dream of happy children who love each other and who feel more cooperative than competitive, more empathy than enmity, and far more joy than jealousy. We hope that our children experience their family as consisting of people who help each other, and who feel good about helping each other.

What can parents do to help this dream become a reality? There’s actually quite a lot that you can do. In this essay, I’ll provide some pointers especially for parents of younger children, those who are eight and younger. In future essays, I’ll write about what you can do to help older children and teenagers get along and will also share some ideas that may help you in your relationships with your adult siblings.

Let’s start with some of the basic sources of sibling rivalry among young children and follow that with what you can do to address each of them. Here are the “problems”: attention-seeking; lacking problem-solving skills; physical issues such as tiredness and hunger; and believing that the other child is favored by parents.

Children who are hungry or tired are difficult in lots of ways, and one of them is their tendency to pick on each other. So before looking for a more complex explanation for a “fight” between your preschoolers, make sure they aren’t tired or hungry.
Similarly, negotiating with a brother or sister over a toy or favorite place to sit requires pretty high level problem-solving skills. Many sibling conflicts can readily be solved with parental diplomacy and simple instructions on how to “make a deal.”
The first and last items in the problem list are two sides of the same coin. Children who feel that their sibling (or siblings) are getting more attention believe that those children are mom and dad’s favorites and vice versa.
Avoid comparisons (even positive ones) at all costs. Don’t say, “You’re the artistic one, your sister is more a people-person.”  If you do, each child will think that the other child’s talent is the “better” one.
Make sure you have individual time with each of your children.
If attention is the big issue in your home, try feeding that hunger so well that they don’t need to compete for it. Look for every opportunity to notice what your child is doing: “Wow, you are really coloring that blue!,”or“I noticed that you didn’t trip your little brother when he walked by,”or“I noticed that you used soap when you washed your hands.” Aim for fifty times a day. They won’t fight for attention if you do.

Peter Goldenthal Ph.D., the author of Beyond Sibling Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Become Cooperative, Caring, and Compassionate and four other books, is a Board Certified Family and Clinical Psychologist with offices in Narberth.

Register to hear Peter Goldenthal talk more about sibling rivalry at our May Lecture, held May 17th at Olin College. Please RSVP thru Eventbrite.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

After the Final Tag: A Reflection of the 2012 Spring Sale

Written by Nikki Amara Myers

Various areas of the sale.
Three days.  Three incredible days.  Last weekend was pulled together by an absolutely amazing group of volunteers who spent a heck-of-a-lot of time setting-up and moving tables, and organizing clothes, and toys, and shoes, and baby equipment, and books, and bedding, and DVD/CD’s, and greeting volunteers, consignors, and shoppers, and tagging, and pricing, and hanging (and the detangling of wire hangers), and folding, and unfolding, and refolding, and finding little tiny pieces of toys and games that go together, and hauling trash (and there’s a lot of it) to the dumpsters.  The list of things that were successfully done is endless.

Clothes and puzzles.
An enormous amount of work goes into preparing, to organizing, to leading and to implementing the Parent Talk Sale.  This is the 6th sale I’ve attended; however, it was the 1st sale I’ve been at from start to finish.  What I witnessed was magic.  I saw the space empty and watched its glory unfold.  I have a new appreciation for how hard the Co-Chairs, the Sale Committee, and all the volunteers have to work to make the sale a success.  It takes many incredibly dedicated people to execute the sale in the manner it has been done for years and years.  This IS a well-oiled-machine, and it’s impressive how everyone knows exactly what to do, when, and where.  Volunteers come in.  Things get done.  It’s truly amazing.  A big, humongous, gigantic heartfelt thank you to Seema Meloni and Beth McCarthy, the Sale Co-Chairs, for their leadership, all their hard work and dedication, and their exceptional way of making everyone involved in or attending the sale feel so loved, so appreciated, and so taken care of.  Thank you, ladies!

As the hours passed, the space was transformed into what I always remembered.  The tables were in the correct spots.  The signs were starting to be hung.  The boxes were specifically located as they have always been in the past.  The once blank canvas is now transitioning into the beloved sale, which we all know and love.

Early shoppers waiting in a very long line.
Observing the happenings of Thursday, Friday and Saturday was fascinating.  Most everyone knew what to do.  People were willing to help each other, to train, to teach.  New volunteers were welcomed and given tasks.  People were genuinely asking: what can we do?  There were hugs.  There were cheers.  There was a collective love for the sale that was worn on everyone’s sleeves.  Being one that loves the sale, I enjoy being a part of and sharing these experiences.  The sale seems to tap into a part of all of us that wants to be appreciated, to be needed, to be part of a team, to know you’ve made a difference.  Volunteering at the sale, or some other Parent Talk event, allows you to connect with so many different people that perhaps you may not have met otherwise.  It grants you a wonderful opportunity to be a part of something big, of something meaningful, of something that benefits our community.  If you haven’t volunteered before think about trying one of the many volunteer opportunities Parent Talk has to offer throughout the year. 

This year’s sale brought in a lot of wonderful donations (thank you!) and incredibly nice items to be consigned (thank you!).  So many people volunteered and went above-and-beyond what was expected.  Kindness and generosity were every-present.  A special thank you to those shopping the sale that also provided many random-acts-of-kindnesses as you just jumped in to help with whatever was needed.  Thank you for hauling trash to the dumpster, or for bringing large trash bags of various items to Goodwill or to your homes for storage, or to those folks who helped other shoppers carry large/heavy items to their cars.  It is these acts of kindness that also need to be recognized and acknowledged.  We see you being nice, being kind, and being wonderful human beings.  Thank you-thank you.  What a wonderful way for all of us to celebrate that kindness lives and breathes all around us. 

Donations and Quality Control Center.
The Spring Sale yielded so many incredible treasures.  I hope you found what you were looking for or purchased lots and lots of stuff (because you couldn’t resist).  You contributed in so many ways to the success of the sale and this incredible fundraiser.  Thank you for your generosity.  Thank you for volunteering.  Thank you for shopping the sale, and for bringing your friends and family, and for waiting in such a long line (it was an impressive line this year).  The sale wouldn’t happen without you.  Please mark your calendars as the fall sale is scheduled for Saturday, October 20th, 2012 (same time, same place).  

All the toys and games.


About the Author
Nikki lives locally with her husband and two children. She is a self-proclaimed foodie, photographer, and new blogger.  Now a SAHM, she was a school counselor and cast member of Joey & Maria’s Comedy Wedding for many years.  Nikki currently consults as a private, independent college counselor. Follow her @DaysWithUs.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Local Mother's Day Events

Written by Emily Roach

Looking forward to breakfast in bed this weekend?  Maybe a weekend away or brunch plans?  There are lots of options and here are a few notable ones in our area.

~Blue on Highland: Dine on Sunday and receive a gift bag filled with spa goodies from jaie3 salon and spa.  The gift bag will include samples and spa specials for their location in Medfield. Enjoy brunch and lunch from 11-4, or dinner from 3-9pm.  Reservations are suggested, please call 781-444-7001.
~Arnold Arboretum: Lilac Sunday is here!  Enjoy the blooming lilacs, live music, food vendors or pack a picnic and head over to the Arnold Arboretum. Refreshments and activities will be available from 10-4.  This can get crowded so head over early. For more details, click here.

~Duckling Parade: Head into Boston and catch the Duckling Parade at Boston Common. Children and family members are encouraged to dress up as their favorite character from the book, Make Way for Ducklings. You can preregister and buy tickets ahead of time here. Registration opens at 10:30, parade starts at noon. 

What are your Mother's Day traditions? 

About the Author
Emily lives in Needham with her husband Jim and two children.  After working in retail for 10 years, she decided to stay home with the kids and bake.  Emily is also working with Parent Talk Marketing, Needham Farmers Market and writes a blog at Random Recycling: Modern Green Living for Busy Families.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Other Baby Book

The following post is an excerpt from The Other Baby Book: A Natural Approach to Baby’s First Year (Full Cup Press, April 2012). Meet the authors at a book signing at Isis Needham on June 2rd.

Expectations. We all have them. And, when we get real, we can see that they’re the source of our trouble. If we go into parenthood thinking our lives will stay the same, the new reality can be a shock to our systems.
Most Western cultures’ expectations of the baby experience go something like this: you have a pain-free birth thanks to an epidural or other intervention. You take your child home and put him in a crib soon after. He sleeps the whole night through, and begins taking regular, reliable naps. He cries a bit, but it’s always clear why, and you’re quickly able to learn why and to address his needs. You learn how to breastfeed easily, or if you don’t, it’s easy enough to switch to formula, no harm done. Your baby fits into your schedule with minimal disruption. If he doesn’t, you train him to. You continue your life as before, whether or not you go back to work, and your baby easily accommodates you. 
When we expect our baby to accommodate us, we’re in for a battle, because there’s nothing in a baby’s nature that has prepared him to ignore his needs. His survival instinct tells him to scream for all he’s worth, and scream he will, until you respond or disconnect your ears from your heart.
But hear us and breathe: there’s another way. If we shift our thinking from mourning and grasping for our old life to embracing our new one—focused on the needs of a dependent, helpless, pure little being—peace settles in. People often ask us, “Don’t you get burned out?” Yes and no. Sure, we get tired like anyone else, but when you view this as a season, one you can never get back, there’s a sweetness in it, a sacredness, a desire to cherish every moment. No one wants to look back on their child’s first years and say, we survived. Instead, we thrived, is something we can all say—if we embrace our new reality.
Letting the baby lead sounds nice. (Or maybe not, depending on your perspective.) But how does it work? First, throw out any and all expectations of yourself and your baby. Unsubscribe from those emails if they’re driving you crazy with unrealistic ideals. Here are some of the most common expectations that new moms tend to internalize: He should like the car. We should be able to get out of the house on time. He shouldn’t cry in public (or really, at all). I should be able to manage the housework and take care of my baby. See a common theme? Yup, the word should. These “should” statements will drain the life right out of you.
Instead of yearning for what isn’t, the best way to flow with motherhood is to recognize what is, and work within its parameters. More than that, find what you love about being a mama and focus on that. Your baby won’t nap on his own? Make snuggling part of your daily ritual. He hates the car? Bundle him into a carrier and share an adventure on public transportation. He cries when you leave the house? Host playgroups in your home. 
It’s all in how you look at things. If you think a baby “should” fill-in-the-blank, which clearly he’s not doing, you waste precious energy arguing with reality. And you can always find a friend or relative to back you up on that stance. The “shoulds” are where the disconnect happens and when we begin creating situations that don’t respect a baby’s unique needs. Crying-it-out, for example, was created as a “solution” to the statement “he should sleep through the night.”
As Naomi Aldort, author of Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves, likes to say, “the baby is always right.” He cries when left to fall asleep at night? Something’s not working for him—he’s expressing a valid need. Contrary to popular opinion, babies do not manipulate. They aren’t capable of it. So don’t worry about getting hoodwinked by your little one. Instead, nurture your own soul by nurturing him. The thriving relationship you’ll share, and the satisfaction of being in sync and being able to nurture your baby is unlike any job satisfaction we’ve known.
Megan Massaro and Miriam Katz co-authored The Other Baby Book: A Natural Approach to Baby’s First Year. Megan is a freelance writer and Miriam is a professional life coach. Both mamas live in Boston with their husband and daughters. You can learn more about the book or order a copy at
Parent Talk Members: Come to a local book signings (June 2nd from 3-5pm at Isis Parenting in Needham) and let us know you found us on Parent Talk. We’ll take $5 off the retail price!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mother's Day Craft Projects

Written by Amanda Liljedahl

With Mother's Day quickly approaching, my kiddos and I have been busy coming up with gift ideas for the grandmothers in our lives to let them know how much they are loved and appreciated.  What grandmother doesn't love homemade gifts that come from the heart? We first decided to decorate flower pots and fill them with each's favorite flowers. They will be able to think of their grandchildren as the plant blooms all season long. We started with terra cotta planters purchased at AC Moore (3 for $1). The kids then painted the pots and saucers white using acrylic paint. When the paint dried we then had some fun decorating with hand and thumb prints to capture the little hands at this particular stage. I painted my five children’s hands with their favorite color then helped them each gently apply a hand print onto the outside of the pot. We then decorated another pot with the kids' thumbprints which we arranged in a circle to look like flower petals (just be sure to initial whose fingerprint is whose in pen under each print).  Sticking with the floral theme, we also came up with 3D picture arrangements, blooming on paper.

I cut out photographs of the children’s faces to be the center of each flower, then the kids cut and glued on petals, twisted green paper into stems and glued on a little paper cup, cut in half, to serve as the pot.  For a finishing touch we glued a ribbon to the top of this flower pot and used a marker tip to add some polka dots.  On the back of the picture the kids came up with the caption, "Nanny, thanks for helping us bloom."

 My children have always enjoyed tea parties with my mom so I thought something to show how much they treasure those special moments with her would also be welcome. The kids water colored on plain white paper and once those dried, I cut them into the shape of a tea cup and attached a favorite tea bag. On the saucer we wrote, "For a grandmother who’s sweet as can be, we hope you enjoy a cup of tea." And for a final gift we thought, what girl doesn't love to receive jewelry?

The grandmothers in our family are no different so we decided to make some beautiful bracelets for them.

We bought some colorful glass beads, wire, and clasps at the craft store, then the kids sorted, arranged, and thread the beads onto the wire. I attached the clasps and viola- beautiful new bracelets to rival any Pandora collection! I think the mothers in our life will be touched with our creative homemade gifts and hope you are able to try these ideas for the important moms in your life this Mother's Day!

About Amanda:
Amanda Liljedahl lives in Needham with her husband and five children (two boys, a set of identical twin girls and their newest addition, another girl). She chronicles her days which include arts & crafts projects, great recipes for the family and driving her kids from hockey practice and ballet to what's happening in her life as a mom, wife and friend on her blog: Amanda will be sharing monthly arts & crafts ideas on Parent Talk Matters Blog so check back each month for new creative projects. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Parent Talk – We’re on Pinterest!

Written by Mary Richman & Emily Roach

Do you keep hearing friends talk about “pins” and “pinning” things and have no idea what they’re talking about?  Well, here’s the scoop. All these “pin…” mentions all point in one direction - to Pinterest, the newest social media craze.
Pinterest is essentially a digital corkboard that serves as a central collection for everything you see and like on the Internet. When you come across something fun, you can “pin it” to your account and create a collection of your favorite things. It is in essence a way to visually bookmark things on the web.
And of course, there’s also a social aspect to Pinterest. How could it be THE new online craze without it? You can follow your friends and also search your favorite topics to see what others are pinning.  Then when you see what you like, you can  “re-pin” it to your collection. 

We’ve been checking out this new phenomenon and have seen many of our members start collecting “pins.”  We think it is a great way for everyone to share their favorite new finds – handy home gadgets, activity for the kids, delicious recipes and great books.  So we’ve joined in the fun and set up a Parent Talk Pinterest account. We’ve set up collections or “boards” that we hope you’ll enjoy and also find helpful. If you’re on Pinterests, you can follow us here. If you’re new to the Pinterest scene and want to check out what it is all about, let us know and we’ll send you an invite so you can register and see why everyone’s head is “pinning!”
If you are not new to Pinterest and looking for more information, check out this Ultimate List of Pinterest Tips for a few that we are sure will surprise and delight you.
Here is the fun part...leave us a link to your Pinterest account so we can follow you back!  If you find a "pin" worthy idea, let us know on this blog post via comments or on Facebook.
Happy Pinning!
Mary and Emily are both avid "pinners."  You can frequently find both of them repinning each others recipes and craft ideas at 10 o'clock at night. Find them here and here.

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