Monday, December 16, 2013

Getting Through the Holidays: December's Parent Talk Featured Discounts!

Written by Caitlin Moran

Getting ready for the holidays? Use these discount get yourself through with less stress - pamper yourself (or your spouse), get your little ones ready for all those pictures, have your groceries delivered, and shed a few extra holiday pounds! TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE!!!!! You have paid your dues – now get the reward!

European Wax Center - FREE eyebrow, underarm, or bikini line WAX for new female customers! Or upgrade to a bikini full or Brazilian and get 50% off! FREE eyebrow, ear, or nose wax for men! You MUST mention that you are a Parent Talk member. Located at 244 Needham Street, Newton, or call 617.964.7400.

Dellaria Salon Needham - Receive 20% off children's cuts on Monday and Tuesdays with select stylists. Receive 15% off for all Parent Talk members!

Roche Bros. - One time free home delivery ($9.95 value) for new or existing customers of Roche Bros. Use code: Parent Talk

JFit 360  - 20% off a personal training package.

If you visit the Member Discounts page by clicking here, you can view all of the discounts, or search by category (fitness, activities/classes, home, clothing, food, retail, sitters/au pairs, spa/hair, photography, tutoring, pets, and other). This should make it easier to find what you are looking for! Happy searching!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Have you ever volunteered with Parent Talk?

Parent Talk would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our members and non-members who have volunteered this past year!  Without our volunteers, we would not be able to pull off the great events, lectures, sales, play groups, play space, etc. We would like to recognize the following volunteers for their recent work with Parent Talk:

  • Shalini Broderick who stepped in to take over registrations for lectures.

  • Joyce McCafferty, Kathy Fritz and Nikki Amara Myers for the record setting Fall Sale and for instituting a mentor/mentee dynamic to ensure succession planning.

  • Ed Kim for helping to keep the Parent Talk website updated for over a year.

As we are wrapping up another year and thinking about the upcoming year, please consider volunteering and getting your family involved with service.  Volunteering has many benefits.  You get to meet new people, help your community and further your skill sets.  Volunteering with children has additional benefits.  As parents and caretakers, we know that children are constantly watching everything we do.  By modeling the behavior you would like your children to repeat (for example, volunteering) you can show them firsthand that they can make a difference and have them feel good about helping their community become stronger.  Volunteering with children helps them learn the importance of giving back, while giving them an opportunity to remember what they have to be thankful for.

Parent Talk has several volunteer opportunities coming up soon, including Frosty’s Festival ( on December 15th, a New Years Countdown to Noon with Josh from Jammin’ With You, upcoming lectures and the Summer Camp Fair.  Some of these events, especially Frosty's, would be a great opportunity to volunteer with your kids.  If you are interested in volunteering with Parent Talk, please contact Maggie Shapiro at

Monday, December 2, 2013

Holiday Craft Ideas for Kids

With Thanksgiving now behind us and a hectic Christmas season in our midst, many of us will be busy making lists and checking them about a hundred times. There's a lot to do and never enough time to fit it all in. But here at Parent Talk we've thought of a way you can tackle a few of those endless list items at once - you can give your credit card a break, spend some quality time with the kids (the season IS about them after all, right?), and maybe even make a gift for Grandma! Here are 5 fun Christmas crafts from our Winter Holidays Pinterest board that you and your children can make together. 

1) Button Christmas Tree Ornament 

This cute and simple craft is also a great way to work on counting, color sorting and patterns with your little one(s)!

These glitzy ornaments can also be used as decorations or gift tags. Try experimenting with different colors of glitter.

Who needs a rainbow loom when you have pipe cleaners and beads? These candy canes not only encourage fine motor development, they also double as ornaments!

If you haven't taken a Christmas card picture yet, these adorable hats will add just the right amount of holiday fun. Trace your child's hands to make the antlers.

Give the kids a tree of their own to play with - it provides endless entertainment while helping to prevent (or at least limit) damage to your actual tree and ornaments.

For more holiday crafts - and no clean up for you - join Parent Talk on Sunday, December 15th for Frosty's Festival and Sing-a-long, from 10am - 12pm at the Dover PlaySpace, Caryl School, 4 Springdale Ave, Dover, MA. See you there!

Written by Kristen Capodilupo 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Stress Less This Holiday Season

tips to stay healthy during the holidays

Hi Moms! My name is Danielle Shea Tan, Certified Health Coach and Founder of Healthy Mamas for Happy Families.  Parent Talk was kind enough to invite me to write a guest blog post about how we as moms can reduce the stress that comes with the holiday season. I hope my tips help you – please enjoy!

For many of us busy moms, the holidays are bittersweet. The sparkling decorations, the joyful celebrations, the thoughtful gifts and delicious meals are all reason to feel smitten with the holidays. But, every mom can attest that sheer madness occurs to make these memories so beautiful. The shopping, cleaning, planning, prepping, schlepping, smiling, driving, dressing, and eating can be endless – and downright tiresome! I’m here to tell you - it is POSSIBLE to enjoy the holidays without the burnout.

To make your holidays more joyful, you need a plan for lowering your stress. It’s got to be a simple, practical plan that you can commit to.. Let me take you through three simple steps for creating your plan so by the end of this article you’ll be glowing with excitement for the holiday fun to arrive.

Step 1: Remind yourself how you reduce daily stress. What works for you personally?

Knowledge is power. If you already know your body and which activities successfully reduce your stress levels then you’re way ahead of the game If you aren’t sure of what works, here are a few activities that are proven to reduce stress:

Step 2: Ask yourself which holiday activities are the most stressful and the least joyful for you. What are 1-2 things you can do differently?

Some of these activities like spending time with your rude Uncle Charlie are unavoidable. But, are there any stress-inducing holiday responsibilities that you do have control over? For me, it was the shopping that caused me serious stress. I love to shop and I love the holiday spirit that envelopes you at the mall, but the crowds, the lines, the bright lights and loud music make it very stressful for me. I realized this a couple of years ago and have switched to shopping almost 100% online. Here are some ideas for how to make some stress-reducing holiday responsibilities a little less stressful:
  • Shopping – Skip the malls and buy online.
  • Wrapping – Pay to have your gifts wrapped online or at the mall (it’s usually a non-profit donation!
  • Cooking – Start making double and freezing any soups or sauces now. This way you’ll have pre-made dinners to rely during the week when you need to start prepping for a big holiday meal. 
  • Decorating – Divide your decorations into what’s required to make the house feel cozy and spirited and what’s a nice to have.  Start by only putting up the required decorations, then if you get around to it, you can add more later on. 

Step 3: Schedule your simple plan in your calendar now.

When we’re truly committed to something, we schedule it in our calendars - a work deadline, a family activity, a date night. Commit to 1-2 simple stress-reducing activities each week and mark it in your calendar today. Remember to make it simple and easy to commit to considering all the extra holiday responsibilities. For example, if exercise is your relief, commit to two workouts a week or 15 min/day instead of your typical workout routine.  Finally, pick the one activity that is the least joyful for you and commit to getting it off your plate or taking a different approach that makes it less stressful.

Now that you’ve committed, tell us in the comments your plan for reducing stress this holiday season.

For more information on my nutrition and lifestyle coaching services for busy parents and to receive a free gift to further enhance your healthy lifestyle, visit Use the savings code “healthymama15” to receive 15% off any of my programs through December 31, 2013. In the meantime, you can also follow me on my blogFacebook and Pinterest.

Join the Healthy Happy Holiday Challenge (we start later this week!).
It's only $37 because I want to motivate moms to participate and join in on the fun! 

About the Author

Danielle Shea Tan is a certified health coach who helps busy moms and their families nurture healthy habits and face nutritional and lifestyle challenges with an upbeat attitude and manageable solutions. Danielle's on a mission to change what parents believe about their families’ day-to-day ills—from stomachaches to fatigue, inability to concentrate to constipation. While most parents grasp for answers to these issues, like age or stage, Danielle believes that the majority of these issues can be solved FOREVER through small tweaks to diet and lifestyle. Her goal is to set families up for healthy futures where they feel great.

photo credit: orangebrompton via photopin cc

Monday, November 11, 2013

Here's why you need to go to the Kindergarten Expo in Needham.

Navigating Needham Kindergarten

When my family moved to Needham almost 5 years ago, we had an incoming kindergartener and 2 younger kids. I knew nothing about the school district, and I was surprised to learn that kindergarten was only a half day! I quickly starting stopping moms at the Y or Roche Brothers to ask for advice about what programs were available for the second half of the school day.  I managed to figure out a solution that would work for us and to pull it together in time for the school year. How I would have LOVED to have 5 experienced parents at my disposal in one place to hear about the different options and how they handled the second half of the kindergarten day! Well, if you are new to the Needham public school system or you have a child who will be starting kindergarten in the Needham public schools in September, 2014 or September, 2015, you are in luck! 

On Wednesday, November 20th from 7pm to 9pm at the Pollard Middle School lecture hall, the first Navigating Needham Kindergarten panel will take place. This brand-new event, co-sponsored by Parenting Expedited and Parent Talk, will feature 5 Needham parents who have all sent their children through the kindergarten program in Needham public schools or chose a private kindergarten or have used different programs to "cover" the second half of the school day (and after-school care). The panel members have sent their kids to the KASE program, NEDP, Tobin, and Chestnut, to name a few, and they will happily answer YOUR questions about logistics of the school day, why they chose one program over another, or any other questions you might have about kindergarten such as "Can kindergarteners buy lunch?", "How does bussing work for after-school programs?" or even "What does KASE or NEDP even mean?" One thing to keep in mind is that the panelists will NOT discuss the kindergarten curriculum or specific teachers or schools- the school district will hold an orientation meeting in January that introduces new families to the kindergarten curriculum. 

Following the panel discussion, programs that offer full day, half day and after school programs will have staff available at information tables to answer specific questions about THEIR programs so that you can get the official word on what each program has to offer. In order to keep yourself organized, Parenting Expedited will also be handing out information booklets about the kindergarten alternative/after school programs so you can review everything you learned.  This is a great way to jumpstart your planning for the 2014 school year. Kindergarten and KASE registration begins in March, 2014, and many of the after-school programs already have waitlists for next school year- find out which ones and how you can make that work in your situation!

Don't hesitate to sign up- it's $10 for Parenting Expedited/ParentTalk members and $15 for non-members. You can register at

About the Author
Shanna McClennen is a mother of 3 girls, ages 9, 7, and 5. She is looking forward to FINALLY having all 3 children in the same school next year when her youngest starts kindergarten.

photo credit: Robert S. Donovan via photopin cc

Friday, November 8, 2013

Babysitter Meet and Greet with UrbanSitter in Needham

UrbanSitter is hosting a Babysitter Meet & Greet with Chocolate Therapy
for a wine & chocolate pairing!
You'll have the chance to sample delicious wines and chocolates,
interview sitters and learn more about UrbanSitter.

What: Babysitter Meet & Greet with UrbanSitter
When: Tuesday, November 12 | 7-9PM
Where: Wingate | 589 Highland Ave, Needham
Click here

These sitters are scheduled to attend:
> Jamie M.
> Traci L.

> Audrey R.
Contact UrbanSitter Boston Manager
Hope to see you there!
The UrbanSitter Team

Monday, November 4, 2013

In Need of a Date Night?

One of our sponsors,, is co-hosting an awesome night out sweepstakes. Who couldn't use a night out on the town? This is your chance to win everything you need for a kid-free night out!

  • $100 Gift card to Tea Collection for PJ's for the kids
  • $100 Gift card to
  • Round trip transportation from Uber ($100 credit)
  • Dinner for Two at Cinquecento
  • One night stay at XV Beacon (up to a $500 value!!)
In order to enter, head over to Tea Collection to get in the running. There will also be some great runner-up prizes too. The contest ends Sunday November 10th. Winner will be notified via email.

We would love to see a Parent Talk member win this awesome prize. Good luck!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Exciting Weekend Events in Needham

After the candy buzz wears off, get ready for a fun filled weekend in Needham!

The Grand Opening of the new Greene's Field playground will be held on Sunday, November 3rd at 2:00pm. Join the fun at the ribbon cutting ceremonies and play on the fabulous new play structure. Have fun finding your board if you made a donation last year to support the rebuilding of the playground.

Needham's 2nd Annual Luminary Stroll returns on November 3rd -­ Residents all over Needham will place candle lit luminaries along their sidewalks and walkways connecting house-­ to-­ house and street-­ to-­ street in a non-­ denominational celebration of our community.

Visit to find a list of stores where you can still get your luminaries, illuminate your neighborhood on November 3rd, get your neighbors involved and take a magical stroll.   

Also on November 3rd, visit the town center from 4:00 to 6:30 PM for Fire Performers, a Juggler, Magician and much more!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! Parent Talk would like to share some tips with you on how to prevent Candy overload!
1. When passing out candy, decide how many pieces to give out to each trick-or-treater ahead of time. Help your fellow parents out and avoid letting kids take handfuls of candy home.
2. Map out your route ahead of time with your kids to reduce the number of houses you trick-or-treat at.
3. Establish how many pieces of candy your child is allowed each night ahead of time.
4. On Halloween, serve a healthy meal that your whole family can enjoy. This will prevent a dinner consisting only of snickers, skittles, and butterfingers!
5. Once home, sort through the candy to make sure that all wrappers are securely on and safe for kids to eat. Have your kids then sort their candy into piles of their favorites and least favorites. You can donate their least favorites to prevent overeating (see tip #10).
6. This next tip is for both parents and kids: Avoid eating candy in front of the television or computer as this can lead to mindless eating and consuming more calories than you intended. Be mindful of the candy you eat, enjoy it, and remember moderation is the key!
7. Try to limit the calories from the candy you eat to under 200 each day. If you go over this amount, aim to increase your physical activity that day.
8. Store Halloween Candy in a place that is out of sight and not convenient to access (think top shelf of pantry or closet). Studies show that if food is out of sight and not easy to access, that you won’t eat as much of it.
9. With tip #8 in mind, keep healthy snacks within reach, especially in the days following Halloween.
10. Finally, throw out or donate extra Halloween candy. Check out the following two websites for information.

Have a fun, safe, and healthy Halloween! These tips have been provided by Maggie Shapiro, MPH, RD, LDN.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Simplicity Parenting Lecture Nov 6th

Simplicity Parenting Lecture Nov 6th via Parent Talk Inc

With so many choices for activities, events, and devices for children, we parents can be faced with a lot of pressure to do or buy more, more, more.  Not unsurprisingly, our kids may also feel the effects of this pressure and of being bombarded with so much activity and distraction.  We all have times when we yearn for a quieter approach to living, so we can avoid the stress of a hyper-speed schedule and the conflicts that we have with our over-stimulated kids.
Join us on Wednesday, November 6th at the Newman Elementary School Auditorium to listen to Kim John Payne talk about how we can simplify our homes and our kids’ schedules, introduce more predictable rhythms to their lives and filter out stuff they might not be able to cope with. The results are calmer and happier kids who do better socially and emotionally, are more focused at school, find it easier to comply with family rules – and even become less picky eaters!  To register, please go here:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Joy at the End of the Sale

Written by Kathy Fritz
PT Sale clothing

The Parent Talk Used Clothing, Toy, and Equipment Sale was once again a huge success. We raised money for Parent Talk, shoppers were thrilled with the items they bought at bargain prices, and many new people volunteered. What many Parent Talk members don’t know, however, is that the sale serves another important function. When the bag sale ends at 1:00 p.m., charities enter the church and collect what is left. This is my favorite part of sale weekend, and I’d like to share what one charity (Arm2Arm) emailed to us about this opportunity.

We were overwhelmed by the generosity of Parent Talk. We got plenty of gently worn children's clothing and shoes for the kids in the DR [Dominican Republic]. The volunteers from the other charities were also fun to work with and generous. They put shorts aside for us and we tossed them warm clothes. The Parent Talk volunteers just swooped through filling our bags with t-shirts, dresses, and shoes. We are especially excited about all the sneakers and sandals we got. Honestly, [on our last visit to the DR] all of us volunteers left the DR with just one pair of shoes to wear home and left our others there, because kids and adults were walking around with bare feet. From a health and safety standpoint, the shoes were important. We bring down hundreds of flip-flops, but the boys especially get excited about the sneakers. I grabbed quite a few pairs of boys’ jeans, which I am so grateful for. I know I told you about the young boy wearing the little girl jeans inside out so the pink stitching would not show. That image just sticks with me. I think of all my son had at that age and all our kids have. This is a wonderful partnership because it allows the generous parents in your group to reach out to kids and other parents in need. It is such a good service. Thank you.

I was so touched by Arm2Arm’s email, but more so, I’d like to say to them and the other charities that were there, “Thank you. You do such good service.”

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The 5Rs: Encouraging Early Literacy Skills

The 5Rs: Encouraging Early Literacy Skills in Children

Written by Lori de Brun Nothwang

As the parent of an 8 month old, I struggle with reading to my Bean. Sitting down to read a book with an 8 month old is ….what's the word….challenging? She twists and turns and tries to eat the book as my head moves all over trying to read the words through her fingers and tongue. Before I can get through the first few pages she has spotted something across the floor that she now wants in her mouth. I follow her with the book, then think to myself, is this how it is supposed to go? 

I know she needs to listen to the language and have the exposure to books, and our nightly story is certainly important to our bedtime routine, but the parent part of me can't help but wonder if the time spent trying to read to her is worth it.  The teacher part of me knows that, yes it is. I know this because I know the stats and I have seen the struggles.

The U.S. Department of Education conducted a national survey in 1996 and found that less than half (48 percent) of parents said they read or shared a picture book daily with their children ages 1 to 3. This statistic on reading aloud is upsetting because it's known among the teaching world that one of the best predictors of how a child will do over the course of their schooling is how much s/he was read to prior to the first day of first grade.  Those who’ve been read to have working vocabularies of 40,000 words. They have heard over 3 million words. Children who haven't been read to have 10,000 word vocabularies. They’ve heard under 1 million words. Staggering difference. 

I know that reading to my daughter will get easier, and I am setting myself up for that time.  I mean, at least I hope she won't always want to eat the book.  What we parents do, or don't do, has a lasting impact on our child's reading skills and literacy. There is evidence of a relationship between reading regularly to a child and the reading achievement of that child later on.

The toddler and pre-K years are developmental stages in which literacy becomes so much more important because of its relationship to brain development.  "Children develop much of their capacity for learning in the first three years of life, when their brains grow to 90 percent of their eventual adult weight (Karoly et al., 1998) children grow and experience the world, new neural connections are made. This orderly and individualized process, varying from child to child, makes reading possible...As parents talk, sing, and read to children, the children’s brain cells are literally turned on (Shore, 1997). Existing links among brain cells are strengthened and new cells and links are formed. "

When reading to your child in the toddler and pre-K stage, there are 5 important Rs to remember. These Rs will remind us what to look for when reading, and they will also remind us of our purpose.

Rhyme Books that rhyme provide enjoyment in listening, fun in reading, and exposure to word families and patterns of language.  Rhyming helps children discover many common word patterns (such as those in cat / hat) and the more familiar these patterns are in oral language, the easier they are to recognize when learning to read. You may be able to pause and let your child finish a line in a rhyming book. Repetition (whoops, I gave away my next R) will also come in handy here, as your child may have read this story before and, through rhyming and memorization,  will know what word to fill in. 

Repetition Again. Again. Your toddler wants you to read the book again. We are once again humbled at the power and instinct behind nature. Toddlers need repetition to remember information and increase their memory. Reading their favorite book holds meaning to them, and it is this repetition that is critical to vocabulary development, motor development and learning the ways of the world. 

Rhythm The way we read and the intonation we use creates rhythm. Children love rhythm and given the opportunity to take over, will imitate your rhythm. I will never forget seeing a video of a friend's son reading Knuffle Bunny at age 2. Was he reading? No, of course not. But he had memorized the whole book because he had read it with his parents so many times. He even mimicked their voice patterns and expression.  Learning the rhythm of speech and language develops overall fluency. 

Routine Try to spend 15-20 minutes every day reading to your child. Don't look for perfect, uninterrupted time. We all know that finding uninterrupted time with a toddler, and possibly with other children in the house, is nearly impossible. If you read a few books interspersed throughout the day, your child will learn that reading doesn't have to be saved for one special time. Do try to make those few minutes here and there quiet time where the book is the focus.

Having a routine with books is important because children like and need to know what is coming. Maybe your routine has to do with reading the same time every day, like before or after nap time, or maybe your routine has to do with where you read books or how you read books. Regardless, make reading something special between you and your child, and have some semblance of routine so your child knows what to expect. When your child drops their nap, their routine could be adjusted to quiet time with books. 

Respect Respect of books and reading time has to be taught and modeled. When we show our children that books are something we treat with care and love, then they will treat them the same way. By modeling the sacred time of reading, our children will learn its true value just through taking part in that special ritual.  Make sure you show, through your own actions, that reading is important to you. 

Books are changing these days, and we aren't always opening a beautifully bound hardcover book. We see books online, on iPads and iPhones, and even in McDonald's Happy Meals. Literacy isn't just about being able to read, but being able to interact with all different types of media and text. Respect the art of reading and the methods behind the skill. 

Last bit of advice: make reading entertaining, fun and interactive. Ask questions, point to pictures, giggle together, and enjoy the time reading with your bean. 

For more information on reading, and lists of books appropriate for the toddler and pre-K stage visit

About the Author
Lori Nothwang is an elementary school teacher turned literacy blogger. While teaching she found that many parents had questions about their child's reading and how to help at home. With the arrival of her own daughter, she decided to stay at home and focus on literacy, her passion in the classroom. Lori aims to provide resources to better the at-home reading experience for both child and parent. When not blogging or taking care of Bean, Lori is Crossfitting, running, or eating chocolate in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

A new outlook on the Sale experience.

Written by Kara Veley

I am at a turning point in my Parent Talk Sale experience.  For previous sales, I was excited at the thought of what I would buy.  Cute rain boots!  An adorable Halloween costume!  A picnic table for kids!  Clothes to supplement my toddler’s wardrobe!

I’m still excited about the amazing bargains.  (Wouldn’t it be great to get some new kids’ books?  The old ones are getting- well- old!)  But what I am more excited about this time around is that, for the first time, I feel ready to get rid of the outgrown or generally unused stuff that is taking over my house.  The pink and blue plastic push bike?  My youngest, with her long legs, doesn’t use it anymore, but I know some other child would love it.   Same with the baby carriage that was built for babies to push around- my girls have to bend down to use it now- it seems crazy to me that they’ve already outgrown it.  But I know there’s a toddler out there who will love it and push a baby doll (or, if that child happens to be like mine, baby animals) down the street over and over again.  And I won’t have to trip on it every time I reach for the rake!  And then, of course, there are the clothes.  Piles and piles of clothes, some loved and worn, some never used because the size didn’t match the season or because my daughter went through an anti- button stage when she was that size.  Clothes are piling up in my attic, starting to get disorganized. (Really, who has time to constantly sort outgrown clothes?)  What’s a mom to do with all this STUFF?

The beauty of the Parent Talk Sale is not only that it has amazing bargains for us when we need them most.  (I can’t tell you how many things I’ve scored from the sale over the last four and a half years.) Its other function, almost as important, is giving parents a place to donate or consign all the outgrown kids’ stuff that is taking over their garages, their attics, their playrooms….  You know that train table that your son never uses anymore but it’s still sitting the middle of the family room?  You could consign it, free up the space in your room, and make some money in the process!  Or, if you don’t want to deal with consigning, you can just drop off that pile of clothes that has been sitting in a big box for the last six months, and we’ll sort it and sell it.  I always like the idea that another local family is benefitting from my donations.  And Parent Talk, this wonderful organization that really does bring young families together and build community (it’s not just a byline!), benefits too.

So what’s the moral of this story?  Now’s your chance!  Take a few extra minutes this week and clear out all the stuff that you don’t want to keep and that your child will never use again.  Take a step towards the Real Simple Magazine ideals- Uncluttered house, clean mind, less stress.  Make some money through consigning.  Or just donate and feel good that a local family will be able to truly use the item that was just taking up space in your house.  Consign!  Donate!  You’ll be glad you did.  

For more information about the Parent Talk Sale this Saturday October 19th, please visit us here.

What are you looking forward to at the sale this weekend?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Olympia Moving & Storage Discount for Parent Talk Members!

We are pleased to announce our partnership with Olympia Moving & Storage! Below you will find details and a link to access the discount. Take advantage of this if you are moving anytime soon! You have paid your dues – now get the reward!

Olympia Moving & Storage is offering customers $75 off their move! Please visit this website for details and for the printable voucher.

Olympia Moving & Storage has been in business for nearly two decades and we are proud of our affiliation with Parent Talk.  With locations in Watertown and Northern Virginia, we are one of the premier relocation companies in the Northeast. We are the preferred service provider for numerous universities, law firms and real estate organizations because, simply put, we deliver on our commitments.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Purely Pears Homemade Baby Food Delivered Right to Your Door

Purely Pears is a new delivery service offering homemade baby food using local and fresh ingredients whenever possible. Want to give your baby the freshest food, but don't have the extra time to make it yourself? Parent Talk member and volunteer, Cathy Memory, got the opportunity to test out the service and shares her review below.

We kicked off the experiment with Petit Peas (just peas) thinking that a green vegetable would be the toughest to impress, ie. it would HAVE to be good for my lil 9 month old to like it. AND she did. She definitely liked it more than my own homemade pureed peas - possibly because of the uniformly smoother texture? I use a Cuisinart, but it's still not as smooth as theirs or the jarred variety. The bright green color was much more appealing than the jarred, store-bought organic option.

My daughter loved Carrot and Apple, Squash and Carrot, and ALL the fruit and vegetable blends. Peas with Cinnamon is an interesting/different combo. When I make babyfood I never think to add a spice, although I know some of the Earth's Best offerings do.

I tasted the Squash and Carrot myself and thought it tasted very fresh and very good. I also tasted the Purely Pears myself (just pureed pears) and it was DELICIOUS - like a pear dessert. Tasting and serving the food for several days made me wonder how the heck they could make it so much better tasting than my homemade - smoother texture aside - considering our ingredients would be the same.

My 3 day supply cost $32 for 9 large jars. You are paying a little more for superior quality, freshness, and convenience than say buying the organic off the shelf baby food.

I thought the hotel package offered on the Website was a great idea. I might take advantage of it if I was traveling to Boston from somewhere else. {Get a package of baby food delivered right to your hotel, including bib, spoon and bowls! Great tip to share with friends who might be visiting Boston.}

The delivery service was friendly and on time - even kept me updated on anticipated arrival time due to traffic.

To learn more about Purely Pears and their homemade baby food delivery service, head over to their website and take a look at their seasonal menu. Cathy was lucky enough to test out the baby food and all opinions expressed here are her own. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Toy Storage Solutions that Work

Please welcome our guest blogger Dina, a fellow Parent Talk member, who shares some awesome tips on toy storage ideas and strategies.

Written by Dina Holland

One of the number one requests I get from parents I work with is around toy storage. Kids these days have SO MANY toys. Between holidays, birthdays, very generous grandparents and that darn dollar section at Target, every parents I work with is struggling with how to get toy collections under control. If this sounds familiar, read on!

STEP ONE: EDIT, EDIT, EDIT and then keep editing. If you have older kids (ages 6+), asking them to give up 2-3 larger toys and 5-7 smaller toys before their birthdays and the holiday season serves the dual purpose of making room for new additions and teaching a valuable lesson of charity. Many parents are apprehensive to even broach the subject but I find that once you get them going, they will surprise even you with what they're willing to part with! Children under 6 have a much harder time understanding the concept of “giving away their toys” so for them I recommend parents pull some lesser used toys out of the rotation. If they ask about a particular toy that you’ve pulled, that toy can magically reappear after a nap. But if after a week they don’t make any mention of a toy, I think it’s safe to donate. Start today! You'll still have time to donate to this fall's Parent Talk sale and make room before the holidays approach!

STEP TWO: SELECT A STORAGE SYSTEM THAT WORKS FOR YOUR SPACE AND WITH YOUR KID'S TOYS My 2 go-to toy storage solutions are the IKEA EXPEDIT and ITSO bins from Target. I love the flexibility of these units! Most kids have a mix of small and large toys and I find the EXPEDIT perfect for holding both. LEGOS, toy cars, Little People, etc can be corralled in bins and baskets. I like mixing ITSO bins from Target with Land of Nod's Top Box Storage Collection.The ITSO bins fit the EXPEDIT cubbies so snuggly, it makes me giddy - zero wasted space. And the Land of Nod Top Box bins are colorful and transparent, making it easy for kids to find what they're looking for. Larger toys can sit in the EXPEDIT's open cubbies. Honey-and-Fitz-Expedit-Storage
 Here's this concept at work in my own home. Honey-and-Fitz-Toy-Storage2
If you don’t have room for a stand-alone storage unit just for toys, provide your child with a few dedicated baskets that you can lineup along a wall in your family room. Some of my favorites can be found here. Whichever storage solution you go with, I think it’s important to store like toys together and label bins (use pictures for younger kids). This helps empower kids to find what they want and facilitates easy cleanup.

STEP THREE: CREATE A SYSTEM FOR DEALING WITH BIG FLOOR SPACE EATERS If your playroom is overflowing with super large toys that no storage solution can tackle, try removing all but 2 (say a train table and an art table). Move everything else into storage and create a library like system for your kids where they "check-out" toys. I print out photos of these larger toys and have them laminated onto flashcard sized cards. Once a week (and no more) they are allowed to use their cards to request a toy. Once a toy comes out of storage is has to stay there until the following week. You'll find that the same toys get requested over and over and others never do. Those never requested toys should be on your donation hit list! I hope you find these tips helpful!

Ultimately, you have to find the right balance for your family. I don’t think you should let your kid’s stuff take over the house but I also don’t think you should try to erase all signs that they live there either. After all, it’s their house too! A home with young children has an energy all its own and with thoughtful planning and careful editing I think you create a beautiful, functional and safe environment for all to enjoy.

Start clearing out some of the toy clutter and send your donations to the Parent Talk Used Clothing, Toy and Gear Sale! Head over here for the details on donating, consigning, volunteering and shopping for the sale

About the Author
Dina Holland, mom of two young boys ages 3 and 8 months, Needham resident, fellow Parent Talk member and blogger and designer at Honey & Fitz. She works primarily with young families on creating comfortable, kid friendly homes that are sophisticated enough for the adults in the house but tough enough to withstand active little ones.

Disclosure: There are no affiliate links in this post. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Need preschool? You need the Preschool Fair!

Parent Talk Convenes Leading Area Preschools for Preschool Information Fair. The 9th Annual event simplifies parents' search for the right preschool.

Parent Talk, a nonprofit volunteer organization in Boston's Metrowest area that supports families with your children, will host its 9th Annual Preschool Information Fair, representatives from over 30 leading preschools and enrichment programs - located in Needham and surrounding towns - will be available to meet and provide information about their programs.

Parents with your children often have questions about when and where to send their children to preschool. As each preschool offers unique programs, utilizes different approaches to learning, and adheres to its own rules regarding the application process, the search and application process can feel overwhelming. The Parent Talk Preschool Information Fair helps families simplify the search for the right preschool. Beyond gaining insight into individual preschool programs, parents can learn more about the application process, meet preschool directors, and get answers to their preschool-related questions.

Attendees will leave the fair with a comprehensive directory of the participating preschools that offers a detailed description of each program, including schedule, tuition, and minimum age requirements.

Parent Talk Preschool Information Fair
Thursday, October 3, 2013
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Newman Elementary School
1155 Central Avenue, Needham
Free for Parent Talk members; Non-members $10
Advance registration is not required.

For more information, visit:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

September's Parent Talk Featured Discounts!

By Caitlin Moran

Here are the latest featured Parent Talk Discounts! TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE!!!!! You have paid your dues – now get the reward!

The Kid's Place is a drop-in art studio, and premier party place all in one! At The Kid's Place, children can mine for gems, paint plaster or ceramics, do mosaic projects, or make a tie dye T-Shirt!! Staff members are always on hand to help with a project, plan a party or answer any other questions you may have. Receive 15% off for all Parent Talk members!

European Wax Center - FREE eyebrow, underarm, or bikini line WAX for new female customers! Or upgrade to a bikini full or Brazilian and get 50% off! FREE eyebrow, ear, or nose wax for men! You MUST mention that you are a Parent Talk member. Located at 244 Needham Street, Newton, or call617.964.7400.

Dellaria Salon Needham - Receive 20% off children's cuts on Monday and Tuesdays with select stylists

Jennifer Deveraux Photography - 15% off discount for first portrait session and 10% off all prints and products 

If you visit the Member Discounts page by clicking here, you can view all of the discounts, or search by category (fitness, activities/classes, home, clothing, food, retail, sitters/au pairs, spa/hair, photography, tutoring, pets, and other). This should make it easier to find what you are looking for! Happy searching!

Caitlin Moran
Membership Chair

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Apple Fest at Needham Farmers Market

Join Parent Talk as we partner with the Needham Farmers Market this Sunday for the 2nd Annual Apple Fest! There will be events for the kids and lots of fresh produce to choose from. Stop by for crafts and some prizes!
Apple Stamping Project

DATESunday September 22, 2013 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM (Market open from 1pm-5pm)
LOCATIONNeedham Farmer's Market
DESCRIPTIONVisit Parent Talk at the Needham Farmers Market Apple Fest.

Crafts and a children's game will be available at the Parent Talk table - come and join us for some apple-themed fun!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Welcome to the new Parent Talk Board!

Written by Wendy Todd

In June, Parent Talk welcomed seven new members to it's Board of Directors including:
Riley Hastings, Clerk
Deborah Dorman, Co-Chair of the Events Committee
Lauren Baum & Kristen Capodilupo, Co-Chairs of the Fundraising Committee
Caitlin Moran, Chair of the Membership Committee
Susan Koslow, Chair of the Playspace Committee
Maggie Shapiro, Chair of the Volunteer Committee
These new board members join seven returning board members:
Nar Lee, Treasurer
Katie Alwart, Chair of the Community Relations Committee
Nicola Dimauro, Co-Chair of Events
Julia Sappenfield, Chair of the Lecture Committee
Melissa Crowe, Chair of the Marketing Committee
Tricia Burch & Wendy Todd, Co-Presidents
Together these fourteen individuals make up the 2013-14 Board of Directors.  A group of volunteers who have committed to lead this volunteer-driven organization through another successful year building community in Needham and the surrounding cities and towns.
The current board thanks our outgoing board members for all the work they did for Parent Talk in these positions, wishes them well in their new endeavors, and looks forward to working with them in other capacities with Parent Talk.
Outgoing board members are:
Kate Owens & Mary Richman, Co-Presidents
Myrna Zakarian, Co-Chair of the Events Committee
Mary Beth Remerenko, Clerk
Betsy Miller, Co-Chair of the Community Relations Committee
Ann Lyons, Co-Chair of the Membership Committee
To learn more about Parent Talk's Board members, please visit the About Us section of our website at
About the Author
Wendy lives with her husband and three kids in Needham and is honored to be leading such a great group of women this year!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mama Beasts: Mom & Baby Fitness Class Discount!

Mama Beasts Fitness Class West Roxbury

Looking to get back into shape or rev up your regular fitness routine? Come join Mama Beasts – an outdoor boot camp class where babies & toddlers come along for the ride via stroller. Moms get a full-body work-out led by a nationally certified instructor and children are entertained with movement, music, and after-class play-dates.
Beginning Sept.9th, classes will be held at Hynes Field in West Roxbury on Mondays, Wednesdays, & Thursdays, 9:30-10:30am. Session runs until 10/31 and then we move indoors.
Parent Talk members are invited to try a free class during the fall session. If you decide to sign-up for future classes, receive $15 off the unlimited class option (regularly $110 for 24 classes). Note- that price is pro-rated, depending when you join.
Simply email and let us know when you would like to try a free class. See more at their Facebook page

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Congrats!! Parent Talk won!

Thanks for all your support! Parent Talk WON the Boston area's pick for best parenting support group for moms and dads! All of our great members make us the best. Thanks to everyone who voted!

See below for all the other winners. Full details here. 

Art Classes for Kids: Color*Full
Baby & Maternity Shops: Magic Beans
Camps for Kids: Camp Grossman
Childcare Agencies & Resources: Personally Paired
Cupcake, Bakery & Sweet Shops: Cupcake Mojo
Drop-Off Childcare Programs: Tiny World Childcare
Family & Pediatric Dentists: Chestnut Dental Associates
Family Camping Sites: Normandy Farms
Family Escapes & Getaways: The Wildflower Inn
Family Hiking Trails: Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary
Family Photographers: Willow Baby Studios
Family Restaurants & Cafes: La Famiglia Giorgio’s
Groups for Moms & Dads: Parent Talk
Ice-Cream & Froyo Shops: J.P. Licks
Indoor Playspaces: Jam Time
Kid-Friendly Coffee Shops: Espresso Love
Kids Birthday Party Spots: My Gym
Kids Clothing & Gear Stores: Tiny Hanger
Kids Consignment & Resale Shops: Itsy Bitsy Thrifty
Kids Dance & Theater Classes: Boston Percussive Dance
Kids Language Classes: Tiny Signs
Kids Music Classes: Children’s Music Center of Jamaica Plain
Kids Sports Classes: Petit Papillon Yoga
Midwives & Doulas: A Mom is Born
Mom Fitness Programs: B Yoga Center
Mom-Run Businesses: Hatched It
Museums: Waterworks Museum
Parent Education Programs: Boston Baby Beginnings
Parks & Playgrounds: Cambridge Common Playground
Schools & Preschool Programs: Frances Jacobson Early Childhood Center
Toy & Book Stores: Barefoot Books

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