BY Kristin Wald | Monday, Mar 10, 2014 4:30pm |
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!:
BY Kristin Wald | Saturday, Mar 01, 2014 12:00pm |
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.
BY Kristin Wald | Monday, Dec 30, 2013 10:00am |
“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.
BY Kristin Wald | Tuesday, Oct 08, 2013 12:00pm |
As 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.
BY Kristin Wald | Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 12:00pm |
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!
BY Brian Glaser | Tuesday, Jun 04, 2013 1:30pm |
It’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.”
BY Brian Glaser | Thursday, May 02, 2013 2:00pm |
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.”
BY Kristen Kemp | Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 1:00pm |
Here’s what the kids and I are doing Saturday: We’re going to the awesome new LEGO Discovery Center called Snapology to have fun and raise money for the American Cancer Society.
I’m going to write more about Snapology next week because it’s so cool it deserves a blog post of its own. But I wanted to get the word out about their fundraiser today.
Cedar Grove mom Melissa Skabich (see left) will be running the New York City Half Marathon for the ACS in a few weeks, and she and her husband are running the full in November. Her husband Paul (also left) lost his mother to cancer in December, and they’re passionate about the cause and determined to help any way they can. Her goal is in 2013 is to run 13 marathons, all to get donations for what she and Paul call ‘Team Determination.’
So they partnered with Snapology owners Donna and Steve Meccia who donated their space for the party. This Saturday, for $10 per person, families can head to Snapology to play, have LEGO building contests, do arts and crafts, eat snacks and win door prizes. Melissa’s three boys Paul, 9, Christopher, 7, and Evan, 3, will be helping with all of the activities. “They lost their grandmother so recently, so they’re eager to contribute to the cause,” Melissa says.
BY Kristin Wald | Thursday, Feb 07, 2013 7:00am |
By 9pm, the line still extended out the door to see Dame Julie Andrews.
We were told we’d be glowing after meeting Julie Andrews, who signed 200 books at Watchung Booksellers last night. And it was true. As fans of the multi-talented star, some of whom had traveled from different states—and even other countries to see the author—left through the backdoor of the bookstore with their signed books, they really did seem happier and lighter and more joyful.
Ms. Andrews was in Montclair to promote the new children’s book The Very Fairy Princess Follows Her Heart, which she wrote together with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton. Unfortunately, Ms. Hamilton was unable to attend the signing last night, so Julie Andrews had to go it alone. She did so with grace and kind words for everyone who passed by. The cap was set at 200 books, but many more people streamed through, hoping to have a brief moment with a woman clearly idolized by those who waited in the cold.