For Mother’s Day, Help #BringBackOurGirls

BY  |  Tuesday, May 06, 2014 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Bring Back Our Girls

I like the commercialism of Mother’s Day about as much as I like seeing July 4th items on sale at my local Target last week. For me, the idea of buying some cheap token for Mother’s Day celebrates everything superficial about the holiday and very little about the real substance of the day, which to me, is taking a moment to think about mothers everywhere.

So against the sea of ads for jewelry and perfumes and, I wish this wasn’t true, weight-loss solutions, that are coming through my Facebook feed in “honor” of Mother’s Day, all I can think is how very little this matters to me, or I would guess any mom, when over 200 girls are missing in Nigeria.

More than two weeks ago, militants stormed a residential school in Nigeria and abducted school girls, still missing, and most recently, the leader of the group that kidnapped them at gunpoint are threatening to sell these girls. I cannot even contemplate the horror, and I am completely removed from this situation. And while I know I cannot even fathom how these families are feeling right now, at least as part of the global community, we can give our voices to the demand to #BringBackOurGirls.

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Celebrate Parenthood at North Jersey’s own Listen to Your Mother

BY  |  Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Listen to Your Mother 2014When was the last time you were told to “Listen to your mother”? In May, Baristaville will have a chance to listen to many stories of motherhood from all points of view. After several days of auditions that narrowed down almost 100 stories about mothers and motherhood, the selected authors for the inaugural year of the North Jersey Listen to Your Mother cast are getting ready to share their words with all of us at the South Orange Performing Arts Center on May 10th at 5 PM.

Organizers Sandy Rustin and Deborah Goldstein narrowed down the scores of auditions to fifteen authors and performers, many from the Maplewood/South Orange area. Each performer will share their personal stories, some humorous, some heartbreaking, as Listen to Your Mother (LTYM) continues its tradition of giving motherhood a microphone — this time in New Jersey!

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Montclair in Miniature at the Montclair Art Museum

BY  |  Monday, Mar 10, 2014 4:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

build montclair in LEGO

Families and friends from all over Baristaville came to the Montclair Art Museum on Sunday afternoon to create a miniature Montclair using just LEGO and their ingenuity. Given photographs of historical buildings around town, teams of up to four people built Montclair from the tabletop up.

Designed by Livingston architect Stephen W. Schwartz, and co-sponsored with the Montclair Historical Society and Building Blocks Workshops, the annual Build Montclair in LEGO event was sold out. The full house created a bustling room of participants digging through over 60,000 LEGO building blocks looking for just the right size and color pieces. Sometimes creative license was called in to assist, and the results were fantastic and fun.

Check out the creativity in our slideshow of the event!:

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Winter Storm Survival with Books for Young Children

BY  |  Saturday, Mar 01, 2014 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

NoTwoAlike Are you as excited as I am about another snow storm? Yeah, I thought so. At least it’s March already, right?

Parents with very young children especially need some additional distractions during winter weather, and happily, there is no shortage of beautiful books that allow children and parents to get through cold, snowy days and nights. Two new children’s books are perfect for helping us appreciate the joys of winter and snuggling with family.

No Two Alike, by Keith Baker, follows two happy red birds through a detailed winter landscape as they explore their wintry world. Small children love repetition, and the text provides many opportunities for them to anticipate words and surprises. In addition, as the title No Two Alike implies, the birds discover many items — nests, leaves, roads, trees — that are almost, almost alike, but not quite.

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Ready, Set, Parent: A Realistic, Friendly Parenting Guide

BY  |  Monday, Dec 30, 2013 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (3)

Ready, Set, Parent“Sometimes just knowing that parenting isn’t always easy or perfect helps.”

That line, taken from the conclusion of Ready, Set, Parent, a helpful guide written by parenting Ph.D.s Dr. Elizabeth M. Vantre and Dr. Samantha L. Dawson, underscores the healthy attitude this parenting book shares. With a caring but firm tone, this book helps parents find their own style and stick to it with realistic and recognizable examples throughout.

The parenting advice found in Ready, Set, Parent isn’t particularly new, but it’s refreshing in that it acknowledges differences in children’s temperaments, family priorities, and the inevitable disappointments – as well as joys – along the parenting path. There is a bit of snark, perhaps influenced by on-line furor, but overall the tone is one of an understanding, slightly more together friend.

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Tom Chapin’s The Incredible Flexible You: Emphasizing Social Cues with Music

BY  |  Wednesday, Nov 06, 2013 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

The Incredible Flexible YouTraveling in and around the world, we constantly interact with others with varying degrees of success. From a baby’s first grin at a great hovering face to being able to sense that someone wants to be left alone based on her facial cues, humans make decisions based on social cues we learn to both read and perform. However, some children and adults with various social learning challenges may find it difficult to exercise these types of signals.

The Incredible Flexible You by Tom Chapin is a quirky new CD, created as an accompaniment to a Social Thinking curriculum, which can serve as a fun and pressure-free tool for children frustrated by social expectations. Social Thinking is a curriculum developed by Michelle Garcia Winner which “targets improving individual social thinking abilities, regardless of diagnostic label.” The CD is a catchy and fun collection of melodies that kids will love to sing-a-long to.

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Encourage Your Family Members to Become Disaster Masters!

BY  |  Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Kids_Group.jpgAs we approach the one year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, it’s a good time to ask: are you and your family prepared for a natural disaster? Last year, after surviving Sandy, it seemed that everyone had resolved to create a family emergency plan, purchase a generator, and create a “better than average” emergency kit. Be honest! Have you completed at least two out of those three? To help nudge you in the preparedness direction, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has created a fun and informative tool for the whole family: READY.GOV for kids.

Parents know that when the power goes out, storms rage, and schedules are disrupted, a sense of adventure can quickly turn to helplessness, anxiety and fear in children. FEMA has launched a new website designed with kids in mind. Ready.gov for kids is an accessible and age-appropriate resource with the goal of encouraging families and their communities to prepare ahead of time for disasters and emergencies.

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Justin Canha Creates Whimsical Art for Children

BY  |  Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Justin Canha

Artists often face challenges and roadblocks when they want to make a living with their art. Justin Canha, a Montclair-based artist with autism is no different. And like any artist with a true passion, he is willing to pursue different avenues to expose his artwork to as many audiences as possible. Late last year, Barista Kids told you about his wall calendar that helped raise money for the wonderful Montclair Developmental Learning Center. Now, thanks to local business Pigtails & Crewcuts, we have a chance to admire and buy his art for children right in town!

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Master Classes for Serious Young Musicians

BY  |  Tuesday, Jun 04, 2013 1:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Modern Music AcademyIt’s not a parenting secret that getting kids involved in music is good for them. But what about when your kid is really interested in music and wants to know more about being a musician? The Modern Music Academy is giving local singers and players of all ages opportunities to engage with seasoned musical pros in a pair of master classes on June 8 and 17.

First up is Juan Mendoza, a Perth Amboy native and professional drummer who won the 2012 Guitar Center Drum-Off competition. He’ll be at Just Jake’s on Saturday, June 8, 11 am, for a Percussion Master Class. The event will begin with MMA students showing their drumming chops, and will be followed by Mendoza performing and teaching. “You can hear what Juan has to say and what Juan has to play,” says Jarrett Zellea, who started the Modern Music Academy with his wife Jenny. “He’ll share some of the awesome stuff he can play, and talk about how he got to where he is.”

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Building Mental Muscles With Music Builds Achievement

BY  |  Thursday, May 02, 2013 2:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Music Builds Achievement I’ve said it before and it bears repeating: music is super-duper important for kids. It’s good for their souls, and very good for their brains. Debbie Graham’s new Music Builds Achievement (MBA) program is focused on getting the developing brains of kids age 4-8 sharpened on the whetstone of music, using one-on-one, individualized at-home instruction.

Graham, who lives in Little Falls, is a longtime music educator who most recently worked with kids at the Montclair YMCA. She developed the MBA program in New Hampshire, working with an elementary school principal. “We realized there was a need for a skill-development program that reached all learning styles early in a child’s education,” she says. “Our mission was to help all students reach their goals both in and out of the classroom.”

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