Feel Like a Family of VIPs on the Madison Square Garden All Access Tour

BY  |  Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

Madison Square Garden All Access Tour

Nothing makes you feel more like a VIP than a back stage all access tour. And when that tour is at Madison Square Garden in New York City, aka “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” you feel, in the words of my 10 year old, “pretty Swag.”

Yesterday my family was invited to take the Madison Square Garden All Access Tour and we had a blast. After the recent completion of an unprecedented three-year, top-to-bottom $1 billion transformation, The Garden is looking pretty cool these days.

In October 2013, the completion of Madison Square Garden’s transformation marked one of the most important moments in The Garden’s history. All shiny and new, Madison Square Garden has re-opened the All Access Tour, which allows families to experience the newly transformed Arena offering a behind-the-scenes look at the significant enhancements. This includes several new exhibits throughout that commemorate some of the most enduring and unforgettable moments in The Garden’s history.

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Local Little Fiddlers Place at the NJ State Fair Sussex County Fiddle Contest

BY  |  Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

NJ State Fair Sussex County Fiddle Contest

Congratulations to Montclair violin teacher Amy Beshara and her young fiddle students! Four of the fiddlers placed at the NJ State Fair Sussex County Fiddle Contest this month!

The winners were:

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A Local Family With Games on the Brain

BY  |  Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)


There are Marbles: The Brain Store locations all over the country, and there’s one family in Newark that is always up for the gaming challenges to be found there. So when Marbles announced its “Who’s Got Game?” contest this summer, David Dodson, Maria Luna and their 3 kids (a boy, age 7, and two girls, ages 2 and 10) went all in to design their own game. Their entry was a code-breaking game called Ciphexr, and it ended up being selected as one of four finalists in the nationwide competition.

They didn’t end up winning (Marbles announced on August 26 that PEAK was the winning entry), but as David tells it, the story of their game and how their family came together to create it is blue-ribbon stuff.

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Pediatricians Urge Schools to Have Later Start Times For Tweens and Teens

BY  |  Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 12:30pm  |  COMMENTS (2)

teen stressIn a new policy statement published in Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics says delaying the start of middle and high school and classes to 8:30 am or later is “an effective countermeasure to chronic sleep loss” and the “epidemic” of delayed, insufficient, and erratic sleep patterns among the nation’s teens. Hear that Montclair School district?

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Montclair Board Meeting: Better Communication and Parent Engagement to Come

BY  |  Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 8:01am  |  COMMENTS (11)

superintendent MacCormackThe summer doldrums were evident at Monday night’s Montclair Board of Education meeting, which was attended by less than two dozen residents and four out of seven board members and lasted just an hour. The majority of that hour consisted of Montclair Public Schools Superintendent Penny MacCormack’s first progress report on the district’s two-year Strategic Plan. Board members David Cummings, Leslie Larson and Anne Mernin were absent.

Communications and Parent Engagement

Superintendent MacCormack’s first progress report focused on the fourth goal of the Strategic Plan: effective internal and external communications and parent engagement.

The presentation focused on what was achieved in this area during the 2013-14 school year, and what to expect for the upcoming school year.

The district conducted surveys and held focus groups to discover what parents wanted communicated and set out to develop and implement the best ways to share information, as well as a system to evaluate the communication plan, MacCormack explained. As a result, a Montclair High School specific website will be launched at the start of the school year and interviews will soon begin for the position of Communication Lead. Live board meetings will also be available online for streaming beginning with the September 22 meeting, MacCormack said.

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Giveaway: Tickets to Disney’s Choo Choo Soul at NJPAC

BY  |  Monday, Aug 25, 2014 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (4)

Choo Choo Soul

No lie. At the dinner table just this past weekend, we were reminiscing about Disney’s Choo Choo Soul with Genevieve and the Choo Choo Dance Crew. My 10 year old and I loved when the music video spots would play between shows on Playhouse Disney Junior. So I was really excited when I learned that Choo Choo Soul would be coming to NJPAC. If only I could convince my tween to go… We probably won’t go, but I do have a family 4-pack of tickets to give away to one lucky reader.

Disney’s Choo Choo Soul with Genevieve and the Choo Choo Dance Crew will perform at NJPAC on Sunday, October 5 at 2 pm and 5 pm

Imagine an incredibly hip duo who teach children A-B-Cs and 1-2-3s through music on an animated train … and Choo-Choo Soul is born! Disney’s Choo Choo Soul with Genevieve and the Choo Choo Dance Crew, the stage show adaptation of Disney Junior’s short-form music video series, follows the adventures of singer/train station manager Genevieve Goings and dancing/beatboxing engineer DC as they take kids to the jungle, the sea and magical locales while performing songs from classic Disney films: Continue Reading

Montclair Public Schools Board Meetings to be Televised Live and Streamed Online

BY  |  Monday, Aug 25, 2014 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (1)

Montclair Public Schools Board Meetings

Montclair parents who have difficulty making the Montclair Public Schools Board meetings, or staying for the entire meetings which often go on for hours, will be happy to learn that beginning on Monday, September 22, you will be able to watch the meetings live on FIOS Channel 33 and Comcast Channel 34.  In addition, live streaming will also be available at http://montclair.peg.tv.

It will happen due to a partnership between the  Montclair BOE, the District and the Montclair Municipal Access Channel.

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Get Ready to Get Wet: The Inside Scoop on Great Wolf Lodge

BY  |  Monday, Aug 25, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (2)

Great Wolf Lodge

A 60,000 sq foot indoor waterpark. Wolf ears. Pizza `round the clock. Two floors of buzzing, zapping, magic wand casting interactive games. An animatronic northern woods. Not to mention a kids salon, indoor mini golf and 10 pin bowling, and an arcade worthy of a pinball wizard.

This, my friends, is Great Wolf Lodge.

If you haven’t heard of it yet, your kids surely have – only 1 hour and 15 minutes away just across the Pennsylvania border in the Poconos, Great Wolf Lodge has been drawing families across Baristaville to it’s watery fun factory like wolves to pizza.

Both Georgette and I gave in to the wolf pack and brought our kids in the last few months. (I went with two boys, 10 and 11, and another mom; Georgette (the Editor in Chief of Barista Kids) went with her two girls, 7 and 10, and her husband.)

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Our Favorite Parenting Tweets This Week

BY  |  Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Parenting TweetsOur favorite parenting tweets from this past week, many from local moms and dads:





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New Law Requires NJ High School Students to Learn CPR Before Graduating

BY  |  Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 9:30am  |  COMMENTS (0)


Beginning with this school year, all graduating high school seniors will be required to pass a CPR course as part of their high school curriculum. New Jersey is one of three states in the country to implement such a law. The others are Illinois and Oklahoma.

On August 20, Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno signed the bill, also known as Janet’s Law, which was sponsored by Senators Diane Allen and Joseph Vitale and Assemblymen Angel Fuentes and Patrick Diegnan Jr., and  passed with broad bipartisan support. The law was enacted to commemorate Janet Zilinski, an 11-year-old cheerleader from Warren, N.J. who died in 2006 after suffering sudden cardiac arrest at her school.

Janet’s Law seeks to better prepare schools in case of a sudden cardiac emergency and requires all school districts (public and private) have:

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