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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After Harsh Winter, SOMA Schools Cancel Summer

BY  |  Tuesday, Apr 01, 2014 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (2)

Columbia High School The South Orange-Maplewood school district (SOMA) racked up so many snow days over the course of the 2013-214 winter season that the Board of Ed has been forced not only to put summer recess on hold—they’re taking the whole season off the calendar.

BoE President Elizabeth Daughtry was still shaking her head in disbelief when talking to Barista Kids about this unusual move. “I mean, the first 10 snow days were a lot, but still reasonable,” she said. “After that, we even stopped having Board meetings. With all that snow and ice surrounding us and keeping everyone in their houses, there seemed no point in going on.”

Daughtry worries about students falling behind from so many missed days.

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Spring Break Vacation Activity Books: Dino Supersaurus

BY  |  Friday, Mar 28, 2014 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

uk-2000stickers-1 In just a short while, families around Baristaville will be getting ready to take some holiday time both afar or as stay-cations for spring break. And with the changeable weather we’ve had, chances are at least a day or two will need some assistance to keep fun and peace in the family. Stomping onto the amusement scene is a set of activity books from Parragon Books called New Dino City called Dino Supersaurus.

Three books, each with elements of graphic stories, sticker games, and activity workbooks, are sure to keep the kids happy during a trip or on a rainy day. Officially recommended for ages 6 – 12, Barista Kids believes that children on the higher end of the age scale will find it a bit simple, but still enjoyable. Parents should know that as fun and silly as the stories and drawings are, they are not babyish. The drawings have a sense of cartoonish dino-violence and even some potty humor, all greatly appreciated by children of a certain age.

The best part of these books is the combination of activities in each.

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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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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. 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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Get Through The Early Days of Parenthood By *sparking* Conversation

BY  |  Tuesday, Sep 10, 2013 10:15am  |  COMMENTS (0)

 The Longest Shortest Time

New parents can often feel isolated in the challenges that surround new parenthood. And sometimes, both the physical and emotional strains can be exhausting. These days, there are many resources at the fingertips of eager but tired parents thanks to the magic of the Internet. Local author and parent, Hillary Frank, has been sharing harrowing and heartwarming stories through her podcast series The Longest Shortest Time, a series of podcasts revealing truths about early parenthood.

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Play with LEGOs at Snapology and Raise Money for the American Cancer Society This Saturday

BY  |  Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 1:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

NOLA HalfHere’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.


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The Modern Village Presents a FREE class: Divorced, Separated or Remarried – Now What?

BY  |  Tuesday, Dec 04, 2012 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Divorce is never easy. Even amicable separations come with complications and emotional baggage. With children in the picture, all is magnified. No couple, no individual going through divorce, needs to navigate the stormy seas of separation alone. Today, more and more couples are finding creative solutions for living together in peace, apart—but it’s a long journey to “happily divorced.” And finding an objective support network takes the pressure off those already dealing with new and uncomfortable situations. To help make the search for that support network easier, The Modern Village presents: Separated, Divorced or Remarried, Now What?

The Modern Village will gather together experts to the offices of umojawa in Maplewood, NJ to help families going through transition. Our goal is to help everyone involved – parents, children, extended family – come through the life changes to the most emotionally healthy – then hopefully happy – life possible.

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Black Friday Drop Off at Uptowne Girl Salon

BY  |  Friday, Nov 16, 2012 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (3)

How is it that Black Friday is almost already here? I haven’t had time to save money! Oh but I’m sure I’ll still find the resources to spend dough this holiday season.

I might just start at Uptowne Girl Salon. My 7-year-old twins love the manicures and pedicures, facials and up-dos there. See one of them during her Uptowne Girl birthday party last month at left. (I swear these children are not spoiled.)

If your girl would like some pampering, Uptowne Girl is offering a Drop and Shop day for Black Friday. All ages are welcome from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, Nov. 23. The idea is that the kids will be supervised and have fun while their moms get two free hours to go shopping (or get their nails done). The cost is $30 per girl.

The children will get up-dos, make up applications, manicures, nail art, snacks and craft time. Space is limited, and Uptowne Girl asks that you RSVP by Tuesday, Nov. 20 at the latest:
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Northeast School’s Anti-Bullying Program is Going Strong: RESPECT

BY  |  Friday, Oct 26, 2012 7:30am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Last year, Northeast principal Dr. Joe Putrino started a really cool program at our school called RESPECT. I love how it encourages all the students—including my kids—to choose kind words and actions and to speak up when someone else doesn’t. Children sing songs about respect, complete art projects, attend school assemblies and talk about it in their classrooms. This is such a kind and effective anti-bullying initiative—and Dr. Putrino offers it to the entire community, not just Northeast.

Alongside the principal, graduate students from Montclair State’s psychology department go into the school on Tuesdays and Thursdays to ‘hang out’ during lunch and recess. Kevin DeJong is one of those folks and this year’s RESPECT team leader. “If I see a kid sitting on the field alone, I go up to him,” DeJong says. Usually, he manages to connect with the kid and make him feel better. DeJong adds that Northeast students are really aware of the program during its second year, and they’ve been more comfortable telling adults about problems that arise.

Wednesday was a big RESPECT day at Northeast.

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