Second Sundays: Special Afternoons for Special Kids

BY  |  Tuesday, Jan 31, 2012 1:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

WORDS bookstore in Maplewood, known for being a haven for families with children with special needs, offers Second Sundays: Special Afternoons for Special Kids, a free monthly event series for children with special needs and their families. Each second Sunday, they offer a fun program for children ages 3 – 10 and another session for kids ages 11 and older. This weekend kids can learn karate with Huang Karate. Huang Karate offers its own Special Needs Karate program in conjunction with Pediatrics Martial Arts. Read more about the program here. The next few months will offer a cooking class, acting workshop and yoga.

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Glen Ridge High School’s Iron Chef Pizza Night

BY  |  Tuesday, Jan 31, 2012 11:30am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Take the family out for pizza on Thursday night and help raise money for the GRHS Student Council.

At this fun annual event, several pies from local pizzerias are there for the tasting and voting. The catergories will be:

  • Best cheese pie
  • Best sausage pie
  • Best pepperoni pie
  • Best specialty pie
  • Best homemade pie
  • Best sauce

For just $10 per person, you can eat all the pizza you want and be a food critic. Bring your own beverage! Iron Chef Pizza Night is limited to the first 200 people.

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Happy Toy Machine Makes Kids Happy

BY  |  Tuesday, Jan 31, 2012 9:45am  |  COMMENTS (2)

Meet Aqua the blue dog and Sugar the pink and purple cat. They are my daughters’ newest stuffed animal friends. They are special because they were created by them.

Happy Toy Machine is a new company that allows kids, or their parents,  to create custom stuffed plush toys on an easy to use 3D creator. The stuffed toys can be created in almost anyway that you can imagine from having a blue nose with yellow feet to having wings and one eye. The choices and combinations are endless. Once the toy is created online, Happy Toy Machine takes over and makes it come to life in plush fabric.

My girls had so much fun creating their own custom stuffed animal friend. Once they were happy with their creation, they gave them names and we completed the order. In just a little less than a week we received the animals. Opening the box was very exciting, they squealed with delight when they saw how cute they were. We received the large regular-sized animals, which I’ll admit, is a bit too large for my liking, but they love them. I’m told the large size ones are huge, so keep that in mind if you want something big.

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Giveaway: Family 4-pack to Gustafer Yellowgold Show at Symphony Space

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2012 7:00am  |  COMMENTS (10)

WINNER: Congratulations to mtclibn42

Symphony Space’s Just Kidding performances in February feature some of the hottest acts in kindie music: Shine and the Moonbeams, a new family favorite, The Okee Dokee Brothers, Recess Monkey and a gala Thalia Kids’ Book Club event celebrating one of the all-time classics of children’s literature, A Wrinkle in Time.

It’s an exciting month and we have exciting news.

Gustafer Yellowgold will be performing next month as well! We first were introduced to the insanely creative combination of catchy original songs accompanying beautifully animated on-screen illustrations of a sun creature named Gustafer Yellowgold and his earthly friends when the band performed at the Montclair Public Library back in March 2009. We interviewed Morgan Taylor, the creator and singer/songwriter of Gustafer and learned all about the band. Not only did my girls love the show and Gustafer — they each have a stuffed GY doll, but my husband and I loved it as well. When you actually like the music your kids like, it’s awesome. We listen to our Gustafer Yellowgold CDs a lot.

Normally accompanied by a full band, singer-songwriter Morgan Taylor takes Gustafer to a new level with this year’s annual Symphony Space concert. Bigger and better than ever before, this year’s performance includes Taylor’s full band and The Chelsea Symphony in the Gustafer Yellowgold Golden Heart Symphony. There’s no better way to get swept up into Gustafer’s world.

Thanks to the generosity of Symphony Space, we have a Family 4-pack of tickets and an Infinity Sock DVD/CD to give away to one lucky Barista Kids reader!

Keep reading for details….

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Have a Favorite Montclair Teacher? Nominate Her/Him Now!

BY  |  Monday, Jan 30, 2012 1:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

It’s time to nominate your favorite Montclair teacher for the 2012 Judy and Josh Weston Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award is given annually to approximately 15 teachers in the Montclair public school system. The administration of the Weston Award is exclusively by parents. A selection committee of parent representatives from each of the Montclair public schools, along with Judy Weston, selects the award recipients based on the following criteria: creativity, high expectations, energy and concern for students. Winners receive a $2,000 cash award.

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Sex Secret Revealed

BY  |  Monday, Jan 30, 2012 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (2)

Did I get your attention? Good. But this isn’t that kind of story. It’s actually a story about a family, this time from the UK, who chose to keep their baby’s sex a secret for five years. Through the baby’s infancy, toddlerhood and all the way up until “it” was about to enter elementary school the parents, Beck Laxton and Kieran Cooper, referred to their child as “the infant” and only told a few close friends and family members the sex of the child.

But five years after birth the secret’s out, and it’s a boy!

The family managed to keep the secret all this time by giving the baby a gender-neutral name, Sasha, and allowing him to wear clothing of his choice be it meant for  boys or girls.

Keeping my baby’s sex private for just the nine months she was in the womb was hard enough for me. I’m not sure I could have kept going. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to share the information. It was that I didn’t want to know myself. My husband and I chose not to find out the baby’s sex before she was born because we felt like that was cheating. But guests at my baby shower did not care for our decision, and they let me know. They griped they didn’t know whether to buy the baby a pink blanket or blue one. I thought, what’s the difference? I don’t think the baby will care. “It” can’t even see color for the first few weeks.

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Has the Principal Ever Called You?

BY  |  Monday, Jan 30, 2012 9:45am  |  COMMENTS (2)

I tell my kids that if you get in trouble at school, you will get in trouble at home, too. It’ll be like double trouble. Go-to-your-room and be-lucky-you-get-fed-again trouble.

In some ways, life was easier in the ’80s because my parents would just whoop me when a teacher called saying I caused trouble. It was simple. But I don’t spank, so I have to sit my kids down and have long talks. Then they get time out that is longer than Avatar. I also confiscate favorite toys, especially Jessie from Toy Story. I don’t enjoy punishing my children, but it’s what I have to do sometimes. Actually, I kind of hate it.

I had to get tough with my 6-year-olds when the principal called me at home recently–one time for each girl. There was a lot of nonsense on the school bus, and my kindergarten girls were getting into it with a fifth grader. This kid was a tough cookie–he argued, spat, hit his little sister and told kids where they could and couldn’t sit. Once, one of my children, gave him a punch. (I did not teach her to punch; her little brother did.) On a separate occasion, my other kindergartener brushed him aggressively with her backpack when he told her to move to another seat.

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The New Gender Question: Are Boys or Girls More Expensive?

BY  |  Monday, Jan 30, 2012 7:30am  |  COMMENTS (5)

Over the last several weeks, my son has somehow managed to tear holes in the knees of every single pair of pants he has.

I’m not sure how this happened, only that’s he’s a rough-and-tumble 5-year-old boy who likes to dash across the playroom on his knees to get another truck to play with and engage in long goodbye hugs with his friends that often resemble a wrestling match.

I can’t sew, so repairing the pants is out of the question (they are beyond repair anyway). And iron-on patches, which were big when I was a kid in the 70s, are still around, but they seem to be more decorative (or, oddly, political) rather than practical. So I’m now faced with having to buy my son a whole new set of pants. And that of course costs money. (Holly Korus, any advice on how to get around this?)

That got me wondering: Will my son’s propensity for destroying his clothes make him more expensive to raise than his baby sister? Or will my daughter, for whatever reason, cost more?

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What’s For Dinner?: Cake Pops and Very Easy Chocolate Cake

BY  |  Sunday, Jan 29, 2012 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (4)

What’s for dinner? Well, it’s party time…

Cake pops are not something I would usually recommend for dinner, but our house is full of birthdays in late January, hence the need for this Marie-Antoinette moment on a stick.

In case you’re wondering, cake pops are little balls of mashed-up cake and frosting on sticks. They are bite-sized delights made solely of the best bits of cake, all in one delightful mouthful. You may have seen them as there’s been a bit of fuss about cake pops in the online cooking community. Personally, I’m not convinced that Cake pops will become “the next cupcake” as some commentators have predicted—they are a bit too time-consuming compared to their longstanding and much simpler counterpart—but they are fun to make and the kids will love how they look.

I will come clean: I was scared of making cake pops especially once Barista Kids wonderfully talented renaissance woman, Holly Korus, had warned me how messy they were. That said, I’m always up for a challenge so here goes. And here are a few hints if you’re also up for the challenge:

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McKeon & Jasey Pledge To Work in Bipartisan Manner to Reinstate “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights”

BY  |  Saturday, Jan 28, 2012 7:29pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

The following was just released from Assembly members John F. McKeon and Mila M. Jasey:

Assemblyman John F. McKeon and Assemblywoman Mila M. Jasey pledged to work collectively in a bipartisan manner with other lawmakers and the Christie Administration to reinstate the landmark ‘Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights.’

In a 7-2 ruling on Friday, the Council of Local Mandates struck down the law as an unfunded mandate. The council’s ruling will take affect in about 60 days, once its formal order is released.

Jasey and McKeon are prime sponsors of the measure (A-3466) which had the support of two-thirds of the New Jersey Legislature and was signed into law in September, 2011.

The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights strengthens an earlier law (A-1874) of which McKeon is the lead sponsor and requires schools to adopt polices prohibiting the harassment, intimidation, or bullying of students on school property, at a school function or on a school bus. In 2007, this legislation was updated by the New Jersey Legislature to include cyber-bullying and enacted into law (A-3803) on August 6th.

McKeon (D-Essex\Morris) & Jasey (D-Essex\Morris) issued the following statement:

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