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Massachusetts’ Premier Magazine For Families Since 1996



Announcing our new location We are pleased to formally announce that Associates in Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery will be moving our medical office to a bigger, and brighter office as of October 23, 2017 at the following location: 100 Martin Luther King Junior Blvd. Worcester, MA 01608 Our telephone number and fax numbers will stay the same: Phone: 508-757-0330 • Fax: 508-752-9850

At Associates in Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, every doctor, physician assistant, audiologist and staff member are here to ensure you receive the best possible quality care. We take pride in caring for your health and feel it is privilege to serve our community in this way.

We look forward to seeing you at our new office location in October!



At Saint Vincent Hospital, our experienced team in The Center for Women and Infants is committed to providing individual and specialized care for you and your family. We offer expert pregnancy and childbirth care in Worcester that rivals any birthing experience in Boston, providing the safety, comfort, and convenience of delivering your baby close to home. Visit to learn more about the services and classes we offer.


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Helping your child achieve their personal best in life and scholastics The CDN network of doctors provides expert clinical care for... Diagnostic Evaluations & Education Consultation/ Advocacy: • Autism Spectrum Disorders • Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity • Dyslexia/Learning Disorders • Executive Function Skills

Treatment and Therapy: • Executive Function Skills Training • Coping Skill Development • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Meet a member of our caring, professional team... Alison Burns, Ph.D.

Pediatric Neuropsychologist Licensed Psychologist Dr. Burns received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a Licensed Psychologist and Certified Health Services Provider. Specialties. Dr. Burns specializes in the assessment of children with varied developmental concerns, such as ADHD, learning disorders, medical illnesses, and mild traumatic brain injury/concussion. Services. Dr. Burns provides neuropsychological assessments for children, adolescents, and young adults, as well as consultation with families, schools, and other treating professionals.


Child Development Network, Inc. Lexington, MA • 781-861-6655

table of contents NOVEMBER 2017 VOLUME 22


TAKE 8: A Christmas Story, The Musical Actor Chris Carsten



Everyday Errand Leads Newton Mom to New Career, Cause


12-Year-Old Wins Honors for Cancer Fundraising Work

10 11 11 19

FINALLY FOREVER: New Book Celebrates Adopted and Foster Children


7 Ways to Raise a Giver in a Gimme World

CIRCLE OF FRIENDS: November Area Adoption Events


New Holiday Tradition Brings Thankfulness to the Table



Everyday Errand Leads Newton Mom to New Career, Cause


Massachusetts Girl’s Legacy and Love Live On to Help Others


OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO: November Calendar Of Family Events


REEL LIFE WITH JANE: November Movie Releases


TAKE 8: A Christmas Story, The Musical Actor Chris Carsten

meet team president and publisher KIRK DAVIS

associate publisher KATHY REAL 508-749-3166 ext. 331


Photography by Paula Swift

ASK THE EXPERT: At What Age Should I Move My Child to Adult Medication?

DIVORCE & CO-PARENTING: Communication, Information Key to Children’s Healthcare

Mihika, 2

giving back

in every issue 8

Guide 16 AtoParent’s Screen-Free Play

features 14 16 47

2017 Holiday Gift Guide A Parent’s Guide to Screen-Free Play Quick Ways to Declutter 5 Home Hot Spots

ripe 12

4 Ways Parents Can Inspire Healthy Eaters Over the Holidays

Follow us to page 51! creative


editor in chief MELISSA SHAW 508-865-7070 ext. 201

director of sales REGINA STILLINGS 508-865-7070 ext. 210

creative director and events coordinator PAULA MONETTE ETHIER 508-865-7070 ext. 221

account executive KATHY PUFFER 508-865-7070 ext. 211

senior graphic designer STEPHANIE MALLARD 508-865-7070

account executive MICHELLE SHINDLE 508-865-7070 ext. 212

account executive CHEYRL ROBINSON 508-865-7070 ext. 336

baystateparent is published monthly 22 West Street, Millbury, MA 01527 508-865-7070 It is distributed free of charge throughout Massachusetts.



At What Age Should I Move My Child to Adult Medication? By Emily L. Rowe, PharmD, MS-PREP, BCPPS, BCPSE

My child is 12, and I’ve noticed on over-the-counter meds most “children’s” doses are recommended up to age 12. Would he move to the adult version at age 13?


or children, we determine medication dosage based on the child’s weight. As this is not the case for adult doses, it can be confusing for parents when children reach the ages of 11 to 13 and often begin falling into both categories: children’s dosage as well as adult. There can be some overlap depending on the size and weight of your child. Before making the decision to give your child an adult dosage, it is always best to speak with your child’s pediatrician or your pharmacist. It is important to understand that every medication is different, which is why dosages are different for each in children. As a result, deter-

mining whether your child is ready for “adult” medicine may vary based on the medication. Some may be surprised to learn that a children’s medicine vs. the adult version of that same medicine is no different in terms of what is actually in the medicine. If your child has reached the weight that qualifies him/her to take regular Tylenol rather than Children’s Tylenol, and your pediatrician or pharmacist agrees, it then becomes a question as to whether your child is ready to swallow pills vs. drinking the liquid (which usually tastes much better). When thinking about managing children’s medicine, it is very

important to be cognizant of combining medicines in a way that may not be good for your child. For example, too much Tylenol is bad for the liver. This means that if your child begins taking cough or cold medicine, you don’t want to give them Tylenol on top of that, because chances are the cough or cold medicine contains similar ingredients. It is best to provide “single agent” products rather than combination products. These medications are usually a combination of various medications and may not be best for your child. When in doubt, read the bottle and look for comparisons when making decisions about what medi-

cations to provide to your child. You also want to be aware of how medications may interact with others your child is taking, such as prescription medications or even herbal medications. Some medications may have a harmful effect when combined with others. This is something that can be easily avoided by consulting your child’s pediatrician or your local pharmacist, which you should never hesitate to do if you have questions. Emily L. Rowe, PharmD, MS-PREP, BCPPS, BCPSE, is a Senior Clinical Pharmacy Specialist — Pediatrics at The Floating Hospital for Children.

Congratulations to Stephanie (bsp’s senior designer),

husband Nick and big brother Kellen on the birth of your son

Braden Joseph.

photography by 8 NOVEMBER2017


million orphans in the world, we need to perceive every adoption as one less orphan, so it doesn’t matter the type of adoption. As for foster care, I think that many people believe foster children are bad and dirty. I have actually had people remove their kids from being around my foster children for fear of lice (even though my foster children didn’t have lice). Each foster child has a different story; some of the stories are extremely horrifying, but some of them are simply because the parents need some education on how to properly care for their children. Not every case is a “They shouldn’t be allowed to have children” kind of story. Regardless of the reason, the children didn’t do anything wrong, and they are innocent. They just need to know they are loved. There is such a desperate need for more foster families — there are 500,000 children in our country’s foster care system — and I hope that I am able to encourage people to consider opening their homes to these sweet children.


New Book Celebrates Adopted and Foster Children BY MELISSA SHAW


uthor Katie Cruice Smith is releasing a new picture book this month — National Adoption Month — in hopes it reminds adopted and foster children about the special qualities they bring to their families. A mother of three adopted children, Smith wrote Why Did You Choose Me? to make up for the lack of adoption-focused picture books geared for 3- to 8-yearolds. She and her husband also provide respite and emergency care for children in the foster care system. How old are your children, and how did you decide to grow your family via adoption? My children are 9, 7, and 3 (about to be 4). My now-husband and I started talking about adoption when we were starting to get serious about marriage. We worked in a ministry at our church that brought children to church from the poorer sections of town. When church was over, those children wanted to go home with us. We knew then that we wanted to provide a safe and loving home to children in need. Once we were married, we waited a couple of years before trying to conceive, but after a year and a half of not getting pregnant, we sought help from a fertility doctor. I took fertility hormones for six months with no results, so we were faced with paying out thousands of dollars for IVF treatments or pursuing adoption for the same amount. The doctor was fairly certain that I would not be able to carry a baby to term, so we decided that God was closing that door and making adoption the clear path for 10 NOVEMBER2017

What is the biggest misconception of adoption and fostering, and how can families encourage knowledge and awareness? us. After a lot of research and closed doors, we finally found an attorney who handled infant adoptions. We were matched with a birth mother within three months, and our beautiful daughter was born just six months later. We immediately developed a great relationship with the birth mother, sending her letters and pictures of our growing daughter. A couple of years later, the same birth mother found herself pregnant again and reached out to us asking if we would consider keeping the siblings together. Of course we said yes! When our son was born, we were ecstatic, to say the least. Everyone thought we should be done, but we still felt like there was room at our dining room table for more. We waited a couple of years before considering some options, but God closed those doors again. When the same birth mother called us a third time with our third child, we knew that we were meant to adopt her as our own. Where did the idea for Why Did You Choose Me? come from? During our third adoption, I told my husband that I needed to be absolutely certain that this adoption was from God because we had a lot of people questioning our sanity. The only way I could be sure was if we could do it debt-free. So I set about applying for every grant I could find — even ones I found on Pinterest! One of the grants I applied for was an essay contest; the question to be answered was, “If your adopted child came to you one day and asked you why you chose them, what would you say?”

I won the grant, and an idea began to form into a poem that eventually turned into a book!. How long did it take you to write and find a publisher? It took me only a day to write the story, but it took three years to find a publisher. Since then, the story has been changed a little here and there to flow more easily. What is your goal for Why Did You Choose Me? I want to give parents an opportunity to start the conversation with their children about their adoption. I believe that most young children who have been adopted experience the same feelings of insecurity that older children and young adults do, but they don’t quite know how to express those fears. I hope this book will start that conversation and help children to identify with the feelings of the child in the book. What is your assessment of the perception of adopting and fostering in 2017? I think that a lot of people perceive adoption as Plan B. I had a number of people tell me that once I started adopting, I would get pregnant. But that wasn’t why we chose to adopt — adoption was always in our plans, whether we were able to conceive or not. Many people believe there is only one way to adopt (international children, foster children, or children with disabilities), but with more than 130

With adoption, I think that most people believe they could never adopt because it is too expensive. But there are so many different avenues to choose when adopting, and there are many ways to make adoption affordable. There is no “one way” to adopt, and I think we could solve the orphan crisis if more people would be willing to take that first step of deciding to pursue adoption and seek out these different avenues. Adoptive families need to be willing to share their stories when people ask, and more churches need to get involved in promoting and supporting adoptive families. November is National Adoption Month, and Nov. 12 is Orphan Sunday. Every church should take part in promoting adoption during this month. For foster care, the number one excuse I hear from others when they see me out with our foster children is that they could never do it because they would get too attached. In reality, if you aren’t willing to get attached to these kids, then you really shouldn’t foster, because getting attached means giving love, which is what these children need. I also think a lot of people are nervous about allowing social services into their home. But really, the people on the front lines are just trying to find a safe place for these children, and they are not seeking to harm you. I won’t lie — foster care is hard. But as adults, we can handle it. These are children who never asked to be there in the first place. Foster children see things that haunt them

in their dreams, and a safe and loving foster home is a dream come true for them. A lot of times we only see the bad side of a story on the news and assume the worst when it comes to fostering. But there are so many wonderful aspects to fostering as well, such as giving a child a safe and loving home, knowing the joy of raising a child, having them love and trust you, and seeing children who came from hurtful places grow into

November’s Child Jaeden Jaeden is an imaginative 10-yearold girl of Caucasian descent. Those who are close to her describe her as feisty, sweet, outgoing, and sometimes silly. Some of her favorite activities include making up stories and songs, playing with her Barbies,

successful adults because of the wonderful foster home they had (thereby ending the cycle — for their family, at least — of another generation in foster care). The community should be involved in helping foster children, even if each home can’t take a child in. Some tangible ways to do this are by offering free babysitting, taking them meals, praying for them, giving them gift cards for family outings, mentoring, and donating needed items

and playing dress up with jewelry and makeup. She also enjoys riding her bike and playing outside, whether it’s swimming, going to the beach, or playing with friends. Jaeden likes to be in charge and independent, but is also described as a loyal friend. She enjoys the structure of school, and in general thrives in an attentive environment with lots of positive reinforcements. Legally free for adoption, Jaeden will do best in a family with a mother and a father or two mothers. If there are other children in the home, there will need to be an older female. Most importantly, Jaeden needs a family who will stick by her side through ups and downs. A family must also

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(clothing, diapers, wipes, formula, car seats, etc.). The more involved we become with foster kids, the more aware we will be of who they are and what they need. Illustrated by Sarah Strickling Jones, Why Did You Choose Me?, can be found on

Circle of Friends Tuesday, Nov. 1: Western Region Adoption Info Meeting — Department of Children and Families, 140 High St., 5th Floor, Springfield. 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. (413) 452-3369. No registration required. Wednesday, Nov. 8: Central Region Adoption Info Meeting — ADLU Worcester. 13 Sudbury St., Worcester. 6 p.m.-7 p.m. (508) 929-2413. No registration required.

be open to helping Jaeden visit with her birth parents three times a year and maintain contact with her two sisters, with whom she is close. For more information about Jaeden, please contact Department of Children and Families (DCF) Adoption Supervisor Karen Greaney at (508) 929-1000. The Worcester DCF Office hosts monthly informational meetings on the second Wednesday of each month for those wishing to learn more about the adoption process in general. The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 8 from 6 – 7 p.m. Call (508) 929-2143 to register and for specifics about parking.

Tuesday, Nov. 12: Foster Care and Adoption Open House, The Fellowship Church, 604 Foundry St., Easton. 6 p.m. An informational event open to the community. For more information contact Dianna Servello at 508-801-4777. Monday, Nov. 13: Northern Region Adoption Info Meeting, Jordan’s Furniture, 50 Walkers Brook Dr., IMAX Conference Room, Reading. 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. No RSVP required. Email for more information. Monday, Nov. 13: Southern Region Adoption Info Meeting, Canton Police Department Conference Room, 1492 Washington St., Canton. 6 p.m.-8 p.m. RSVP: (508) 894-3830. Wednesday, Nov. 15: Boston Region Adoption Info Meeting, DCF Boston, 451 Blue Hill Avenue, Dorchester. 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. 617-989-9209. No registration required.


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4 Ways Parents Can Inspire Healthy Eaters Over the Holidays BY LAUREN SHARIFI, RD LDN

Holidays go hand in hand with food for good reason. Food is a great way to gather family and friends together, and lots of great memories and traditions can be made around food. This may include eating Thanksgiving dinner around the table with close family, making cookies with your kids, or sipping hot cocoa or eggnog while decorating the house for the season. Needless to say, there are many opportunities this time of year to create healthy eating habits and experiences for your kids, many of which can continue throughout childhood. This can be a great time to expose your children to new foods and flavors, and get them involved in planning and cooking. It’s also a great time to model healthy eating behaviors and show that all foods can fit! What can parents do to inspire a healthy eater this holiday season? Get kids involved in planning the holiday meal, shopping for food, and cooking. Give your children a few options for the main dish, sides, and dessert, and let them choose what they would like to eat. Bring them to the grocery store to pick out the food you need to make the meal. When it’s time to prepare the meal, involve your kids in the preparation and cooking of a few dishes. The more you involve your kids, the more likely they will eat what you make and even try foods they have not had before! Serve food family style. In this scenario, you are providing your children the what, with maybe a little input from them if they helped plan the meal. This puts your children in control of how much they eat and whether they will eat something. Believe it or not, this tactic gives 12 NOVEMBER2017

them the ability to eat as much as they need to grow, without pressure. At first they may take just a couple of bites, but eventually they will start trying new foods and taking a little bit of everything. Lead by example. Modeling is an important way to show your kids how to eat and the importance of eating a variety of different foods. If they see you choosing and eating brussel sprouts, they may, too! Have an all-foods-fit model. Avoiding or restricting any specific food will just lead to kids wanting it even more. I see this a lot with kids when sweets and treats are restricted. Instead, allow these foods on occasion so they know they can have them. This decreases the desire and allows kids to eat as much as they would like. This could be a whole portion or just a few bites. These are great tips you can start with your family today! If these are all new to you, consider incorporating one at a time, starting with the one you feel most comfortable implementing. Lauren Sharifi is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and food blogger at biteofhealthnutrition. com. Lauren works in private practice in Brighton at ASFPeak Health ( She specializes in wellness and family/pediatric nutrition and works with individuals and families to make healthy eating easy, enjoyable and sustainable!



gift gui



5. 2.

3. 1. Little Tikes Pogo-IT $39.99 Kids ages 4+ can get moving and have fun with this electronic bounce game, which combines interactive play with music and sensor technology to get kids balancing, jumping, and moving to score points.


6. 2. NOYO Crayons $8.99 These Not Your Ordinary Crayons are a 3-in-1 wonder. They color like a crayon, yet easily blend like a pastel. Add water and artwork transforms into a watercolor. Non-toxic and washable, they dry quickly and will be a hit with artists of all ages.

3. Mermaid Bracelet $14.88 Fashionable and functional, this velvet-lined bracelet features reversible sequins, allowing the wearer to stroke, reverse, and repeat, producing a calming, fun, and focused effect. It provides sensory stimulation for kids who need it — a less-distracting, more colorful fidget spinner alternative — and trendsetting fun for all.

7. 4. My Audio Pets $29.99 This mini wireless Bluetooth speaker will be a slam-dunk gift for any tech-connected kid. Tiny (the size of a golf ball) but sporting big sound, this speaker comes in a variety of cute animal shapes, is super-portable, and very affordable.



12. 11.




9. 6. L.O.L. Surprise! Big Surprise $69.99 5. WindPouch $39.99 & up Create a unique relaxation or reading spot with this 7.3-foot-long hammock that inflates by simply waving it through the air — no trees or pump needed. Weighing just 2.6 pounds, WindPouch has its own built-in headrest and comes in a storage bag if you’re heading outdoors.

The hot toy of the season, L.O.L. Surprise! Big Surprise takes unboxing to a new level. The sparkly gold dome (which doubles as a carrying case) hides 50 surprises, and kids have to unwrap each one to see what they get. From a limited edition doll and its accessories, to a little sister doll and her accessories, fizz balls, and more, Big Surprise is the musthave gift for many kids.

7. The Eco Travel Donut $100 A safe, convenient, comfortable, and portable travel bed, this is great for sleepovers, lounging or reading, Grandma’s house, and more. Foam- and glue-free, the Eco’Donut folds in half, zips up, and sports handles for easy transport. Machine washable, it’s designed for children ages 1 to 8. 8. Flip Flop Balance Bike $120 Not only does this bike efficiently teach kids to ride without training wheels, but its frame also flips, allowing the bike to grow with a child, extending its use for up to one year. The Flip Flop is also the world’s first cargo and balance bike, supporting saddlebags or a cargo basket. The bike is designed for ages 1.5 to 6, with a maximum rider weight of 60 pounds.

9. Try Angles $29.99 Why buy traditional blocks when kids can branch out into these, which can be stacked, balanced, and interlocked into cool new shapes and creations? Geared for ages 2+, Try Angles are designed for small hands to develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, and experience cause and effect. 10. Smart Girl Bath Bomb Kit $28 Support science at home with this very fun kit that allows kids to create and customize 10 mini bath bombs and learn all about the chemistry behind them (pH scale, acids, bases, and more). 11. And Then... $24.95 This set of 20 beautifully designed “story starters” features a tantalizing start to a story that you and your child will want to finish. After the “And then…” it’s up to you to decide what happens next. A fun, creativitybuilding gift, And Then… will bring a unique twist to nightly storytime with kids of all ages.

12. Noshins $6 and up The cutest play food you’ve ever seen, this handmade, eco-friendly, felt food is designed by an artist who wanted an alternative to plastic or wooden offerings for her grandchildren. From sushi and sandwiches to desserts and pizza, Noshkins are made from a felt manufactured from recycled plastic bottles, making them colorfast, non-allergenic, and washable. And they don’t hurt if stepped on or thrown! 13. Little Tikes 2-in-1 Food Truck $159.99 The standard play kitchen has received a trendy upgrade with this new release. Equipped with its own cash register, steering wheel with working horn, flip-out serving counter, and pretend soda fountain, the food truck also comes with 40 food and utensil accessory pieces.


A Parent’s Guide

to Screen-Free Play

Key toys and toy types that create fun and learning BY JODI HEALY


ith increasing stimulus and access to technology, it can seem difficult to keep a young mind curious and kindled with items as basic as caps and water. However, children learn through play, and one of the greatest opportunities we have to keep children busy is through the right types of play. Play is essential to early learning; it is the main way children learn and develop ideas about the world. It 16 NOVEMBER2017

helps them build the skills necessary for critical thinking and leadership. It’s how they learn to solve problems, gain confidence in themselves and their abilities, and feel good about their competence and ability to learn.

Types of Play Free play is a term used by early childhood providers. It means a child is able to play at their leisure

and explore in an unstructured way the toys and resources available to them. Structured play is a predetermined or prescribed activity, such as giving a child a puzzle or craft with a set outcome, for example, making a paper snowman. This art activity would require a child to cut out the body of a snowman and other accessories to complete the look. A sample snowman would be provided to guide the

activity. The child is encouraged to do it alone, but there is an expected outcome and use of the materials provided. Unstructured play occurs when a child is allowed to explore resources and materials, and use or do whatever they feel (in a safe way). For example, giving a child building blocks or a blank piece of paper and finger paint. The attention span of a young child

(through age 5) and the time a child plays or stays focused on an activity can be very short, anywhere between 5 and 20 minutes. There is a major misconception that if a child only plays with something for 5 minutes, he or she is bored, it isn’t challenging enough, or the child isn’t interested in the activity. This is actually very normal, especially in an open environment and learning-based activities. Children will cycle through play areas often. This is the same in a preschool; time will vary based on a child’s interest and developmental level, but children often play with something for 5 minutes, drop it, go to something else for 10 minutes, then come back to the prior activity again (and so on). This is the nature of free play. However, always use your judgement. If your child seems bored or has mastered an activity (especially a structured toy/activity), it may be time to upgrade the level of the toy. Young children also parallel play. They will stand next to another child, but not play with them, instead playing side by side. Young children learn by exploration, discovery, and observing. Only when children are older, between the ages of 6-7, do they start to play together. Older children will play at one thing longer, and play is engaged and more complex. Two boys who are 4 will stand next to each other in a block area with cars on a mat. Sometimes they will want the other’s car, but they are observing and play independently. Two boys who are 6 will play monster trucks in a monster truck show and crash their cars into each other’s, or work together to build a tower to knock down.

Types of Toys and Equipment There are many different types of toys, and not all toys are created equal.

Open-ended toys The greatest toys have open-ended possibilities and provide years of learning. A child can use his or her imagination, create something, experiment, and every time they use it, they can create something different, or the toy can be used in a variety of ways. Examples include play dough, dress-up clothes, blocks, and musical instruments. Little hands are attracted to something that can be touched and used, or taken apart and put back together over and over again. This also saves a lot of money. You will be amazed at how much time children spend with open-ended toys. A manipulative is an object that is designed for a child to learn by “manipulation.” These are some

of my favorite toys, and many can extend into school age. (You can use this term to search for toys on teaching websites like,, and The use of manipulatives provides children the opportunity to learn concepts like counting, stacking, sorting and unsorting, matching, construction, patterning, classifying, and comparing. They can also learn about quantitative concepts such as shapes, numbers, and number symbols in a hands-on, fun, and experimental way. Manipulatives,

ferent fruits to put in a shopping cart to putting price tags on items, and calculating and exchanging money. One Christmas, they each got a package of labels in their stockings.

Sample openended Toys Infants & Toddlers • Play kitchen with pretend food • Stacking cubes • Baby dolls • Wooden blocks

or type of piece plays a clear role in the completion of the activity. The materials themselves often indicate the method of play. Say a child solves a puzzle or matching game, maybe with a little help at first, but then independently. Not only has the child solved a problem toward master and independence, but he or she is also beginning to memorize concepts, like the letters of “cat” and what a cat looks like, to knowing how to spell the word. These types of toys graduate as a child develops. For example, more difficult puzzles will be needed as a child masters easier ones.

Sample structured toys Infants & Toddlers • Ring stacker • Stacking cups • Shape sorter • Graduated cups • Inset puzzles • Puzzles (1-5 large pieces) Preschoolers • Basic board games (Candyland, Chutes & Ladders) • Floor puzzles • Building blocks • Lacing cards • Peg boards with a set number of pegs • Puzzles (10-30+ pieces)

such as texture links, sorting shapes, rings, balls, puzzles, or stacking toys, also develop and enhance fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. (Toy developer Melissa and Doug offer a good selection of manipulatives.) Other key open-ended toys encourage pretend role-play: action figures, dolls, farm animals and trucks, kitchens, dinosaurs, and dollhouses. Even books stimulate creative thinking because they provide “food for thought” and enliven imaginations. Other toys that are great to rotate into a child’s play are a workbench with simulated drills and saws, and wood and screws for construction, a peg or light board, or a dual magnet and felt board (one side for magnets, the other for felt board stories). I always tried to buy open-ended toys that could be used in multiple ways, and over and over again, and more importantly would add to current toys. For example, play money, a cash register, and real calculators were added to the kitchen setup when the children started understanding money was used to pay for goods. They added an entirely new element to playing “store.” The children evolved from simple to complex play, from touching and selecting dif-

• Mr. Potato Head Preschoolers • Dress-up (superheroes, princesses, pirates) • Toy trains, cars, and trucks • Puppets and other story-telling materials • Role-playing kits (doctor, veterinarian) • Blocks • Magnetic letters and numbers • Interlocking links and cubes • Felt boards • Pegs and peg boards • Matching games Elementary-aged • Fashion dolls • Action figures • Make-believe school or house • Battle/war games • Lego • Dominoes • Card games, board games

Structured toys Structured toys have a clear beginning, middle, and end. The term refers to toys that can only be put together one way, such as puzzles or nesting blocks. There is generally a rule, or set of rules, and each piece

Elementary-age • Pre-designed Lego sets (like Star Wars, Harry Potter) • Jigsaw puzzles • Board games for older children • Model vehicle sets (cars, airplanes) • Puzzles (30+ pieces)

Toy collections Establishing collections of the right toys will lead to years of play and learning. People often buy one toy, when a child wants it, instead of creating an “open-ended” collection. For example, a child expresses interest in “army guys,” so one or a few are purchased. All new toys are played with temporarily because they are new and interesting to explore (the uniforms, the color, the texture, the size, even the packaging). However, if there is only one or two, there is little else to do with them. Yet, if the “army guy” is added to a collection of superheroes, now the child can create their own world (battles and challenges, rescues, or other). If the army guy is added to a collection of army guys, with different colors of guys and trucks with equipment and tools, play becomes much more open-ended and involved. Creating collections significantly adds to the play experience. Over time we had many different collec BAYSTATEPARENT 17


time. My daughter fell in love with Shopkins, but she would often take out the various playhouses I had and used them to create new scenarios (so they became open-ended). The brand or type isn’t as relevant as the way it is used and rotated into a day. You may already have some of these toys. Children get overwhelmed when there is too much stimulus or too many options. A clean space is a blank canvas for a child to create and become the master of his or her environment (even if it looks like they just made a huge mess). New parents figure this out when all the toys end up in a pile on the floor in about 5 minutes. Often, you will see a toddler dump everything out on the floor rather than take one and play with it. Dumping toys out is more fun than playing with them (and this is actually a normal part of development, experimenting with cause and effect). Putting a few different activities out each day helps a child focus and learn how to play. All toys seem new every time they are rotated in and out! When a child starts to seem bored with an activity, put it away for a few days or weeks. When you take it out again, it will be like new. Storing toys in an easily accessible way makes this process smooth and manageable. Coming downstairs in the morning and seeing all your toys set up waiting for you is like Christmas morning! I still often surprise my 7and 9-year-old daughters by staging their dollhouse or my son’s cars in a monster truck show with one of the garages. Hours of play await!

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Early Childhood Montessori Education Montessori All Day tions, from various sets of houses and people to different types of animals and props (lake animals, bugs, sharks, dinosaurs, sea creatures, other).

Toy collection suggestions

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• Fisher-Price people, houses, accessories • Action figures, superheroes • Service heroes • Melissa and Doug food sets • Army guys, Navy guys, Army trucks and accessories, barracks, hills, fences, etc. • Barbie dolls, doll house, clothes and accessories, house accessories • Shopkins, Shopkins houses, accessories • Full-size babies or life-size dolls, clothes and accessories • Wooden puzzles, floor puzzles, jigsaw puzzles • Dinosaurs, environmental accessories • Farm animals, farm equipment, barn, farm house, accessories • Matchbox cars, garages, monster trucks, monster trucks exhibition set up, accessories • Sea creatures, types of whales, fish, sharks, other • Bugs

Published Author Jodi D. Healy is a mother of three with more than 20 years’ experience in the field, with a B.A in Psychology and M.Ed. Her recent books, Create a Home of Learning, the Jesse True series, and The Dirt Girl, are available on Amazon or

There are so many options and toy variations. Many are passing mainstream toys that match the most recent character fad, such as Shopkins collections; these change over



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Communication, Information Among Co-Parents Key to Children’s Healthcare



If you’re separated or divorced, it’s important to ensure that your child’s medical and dental insurance and healthcare arrangements are clearly spelled out in temporary orders and your divorce agreement. When it comes to insurance, one parent is usually required to provide health and/or dental insurance for the child and/or children of a divorce. (Sometimes one spouse will be required to provide it for the other spouse, as well.) If allowed, it may be financially beneficial to both parents to have the child covered on each of your health and dental plans. Double coverage can mean lower co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses for each of you. Regardless, make sure your separation and/or divorce agreement spells out who will provide the insurance, as well as who’s responsible for co-pays and other out-of-pocket expenses for medical and dental expenses for the children. Many couples agree to share these costs. However, one parent usually has to pay these upfront, so spell out the terms for reimbursement from the other parent. It’s also important to make sure that each parent has a copy of the child’s medical and dental insurance cards to ensure coverage, regardless of which parent the child is with at the time. Equally important is ensuring that both parents have the contact information necessary for all healthcare providers, especially in the event of an emergency. Once the insurance issue is decided, it’s also important to spell out who’s responsible for selecting and obtaining medical and dental healthcare for your child. Regardless of whether you have sole or joint physical custody, many parents share legal custody of their children. What this means, among other things, is that parents jointly share in major decisions concerning their children — including providing for their physical, dental, and mental healthcare. What exactly does this mean? Ideally, it means you agree to the healthcare

providers and are able to communicate your child’s medical and dental health care needs. But even if that’s the case, you may want to have your attorney include specific language in your separation and/or divorce agreement that requires both of you to discuss and approve in advance decisions as to the choice of healthcare providers, treatment plans, and elective procedures and expenses, such as braces. Your agreement also should address how medical and dental treatment will be handled in the event of an emergency, if the other parent cannot be contacted prior to services being provided. Whether you have joint or sole legal custody, it just makes sense to discuss with the other parent all aspects of your child’s medical, dental, and mental healthcare needs. Ideally, both parents should have access to all medical records and be able to attend appointments, if desired. This is especially important for parents of children with special physical, mental, and emotional needs. The bottom line is it’s important that both parents be kept informed as to your child/children’s healthcare issues at all times. Have a plan in place to communicate with your child’s other parent about routine and emergency healthcare issues and communicate about handling the big healthcare choices in your child’s life. Attorney Andy P. Miller is the founder and managing attorney of Miller Law Group, P.C. (apmillerlawgroup. com). A father himself, Miller focuses on children and their best interests by helping guide parents through the divorce process. Having practiced in nearly every county in Massachusetts, he has a wide understanding of the various courts in Massachusetts and experience before many judges.




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12-Year-Old Wins National Honors for Fundraising Work

Hailey, she wanted to continue to do it.” Ella’s Lemonade Shop, which is open year-round, sells much more than lemonade, offering snow cones, popcorn, apple cider in the fall, and hot chocolate during the winter. “It’s definitely a lot of work,” says Gina Morrison. “But it’s meaningful to all of us.” “I’m her biggest fan,” adds Hilary Olson, Hailey’s mother. “Anytime they do fundraisers, I’m there.” Olson, who still lives down the street from the Morrisons, says Hailey and Ella met at daycare when they were 9 months old. From there, they attended preschool and elementary school together, and continued to be best friends. Around the same time Hailey was diagnosed with cancer, two other children at their elementary school were also diagnosed, Olson notes. “It’s crazy,” Olson says about the amount of money raised to date through Ella’s Lemonade Shop. “I love this town, the people in this community are just amazing.” In addition to donating proceeds to childhood cancer research, Morrison and her family have also purchased restaurant and gasoline gift cards for the parents of pediatric cancer patients. They have also arranged collection drives at her school. Working


research that will someday find a cure for all cancers, especially pediatric, which impacted her at a young age. In 2012, when Morrison was 6, her best friend, Hailey Olson, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. To support her friend, Morrison decided to open a lemonade stand in her front yard. She earned $88 her first summer, which she used to buy Hailey a doll and treat her to lunch. The following year, Hailey passed away. Fast-forward five years: Morrison has raised $50,000. Instead of a small table in her front yard, Ella’s Lemonade Shop is now housed in her father’s mobile work trailer so it can regularly travel to the local farmer’s market and other community events, says Gina Morrison, Ella’s mother. “I think it’s crazy how it started out and where it is today,” she says. “Once she realized what good this could do for other kids, not just

Michelle PerrasCharron is a freelance writer and mother to four boys in Western Massachusetts. A Navy brat and also the wife of a retired Air Force captain, she loves writing about people and all topics related to parenting.

Shrewsbury Montessori School Growing Bright Minds from Age Three from Grade Six

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lla Morrison of Middleborough has taken the age-old saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” and flipped it on its head. Using her lemonade stand, Ella’s Lemonade Shop, the 12-year-old has raised $50,000 over the past five years to support childhood cancer research. For her efforts, she was recently named a national winner of the 2017 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes. Each year, the Barron Prize celebrates 25 inspiring, public-spirited young people from across North America who have made a positive difference to people and the environment. Morrison is one of the Top 20 winners, who will each receive a $5,000 cash award to support their service work or higher education. “I’m just helping kids,” she notes modestly. It is her hope that money raised from her lemonade stand will fund

together, she and her school donated 700 pairs of pajamas and 300 Lego sets to Boston Children’s Hospital in recent years. Morrison hopes to use part of her prize money to help set up and organize future events to support pediatric cancer patients. She says she most enjoys meeting new people and learning about other kids when she’s out in the community working at the stand. “I see really, really big things for her in the future,” Olson adds. “And I’m just so excited to be a part of it.” Gina Morrison knows that her daughter’s ongoing quest to help children with cancer is no easy feat, but says her family will continue to support Ella’s mission as long as wants to do it: “It’s not about the lemonade. It’s about the cause.”

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7 Ways to Raise a Giver in a Gimme World BY JANEEN LEWIS

Like most parents, I often wonder what kind of adults my children will be when they grow up. I hope they will become altruistic individuals, giving more to the world than they take. But my children are constantly bombarded by messages from billboards, celebrity figures, and TV commercials that scream the opposite: Pursuing one’s own luxury and comfort leads to happiness. How do parents tune out the mantra of “gimme” and replace it with a spirit of generosity? This may not be as daunting as it seems. Try these simple steps to put your child on the path to philanthropy.

Model a life of giving “Children are watching all the time and you need to walk the walk,” says Ellen Sabin, author of The Giving Book: Open the Door to a Lifetime of Giving. “There are dozens of things that you can do every day to demonstrate giving. When kids see parents doing those things, they want to do them, too.” Sabin wrote the book about giving as a gift for her 6-year-old niece. “It was a recipe for a happy life,” she notes. “I was hoping to show her she was powerful and could change the world around her, and that it feels good to do that.”

Adopt a charity annually Sabin suggests family members choose a charity to support each year. “Join an annual walk for autism, cancer,


or any other charitable cause,” she says. “When you are at the dinner table talking, decide how you want to spend your philanthropic dollars together.” Since children often connect with helping animals, consider a charity walk that benefits pet rescue or animal adoption. Another idea would be participating in Heifer International’s “Read to Feed,” a program in which an individual child or group of children find financial sponsors and then read a designated amount. The money they earn goes to Heifer International to provide education, tools, and livestock to feed millions of families around the globe (

work in a community garden. Donate some of the produce you harvest to a local soup kitchen. You will help others in need and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time. Recently my children and I volunteered during an annual waterway cleanup near our community. When we cleared a creek of litter with other helpers, it made an impression on my son, who felt a sense of accomplishment when he realized he was helping keep a habitat clean for creek life. Now he wants to adopt a stream to help monitor the quality of waterways in our community.

Donate your time While it is great to donate money whenever we can, it is also important to take time out of our busy schedules to help others. Take your children with you when you volunteer at a local homeless shelter, food drive, animal shelter, or school fundraiser. Occasionally deviate from your own schedule to do something special with your child. Children pick up on our subtle clues as to what is important, and that is how they will invest their time as they grow into adults.

I often feel overwhelmed when I consider all of the people and organizations that need help. But teaching children to help others includes more than donating time and money. Let someone check out in front of you at the grocery register or let other drivers go first in a crowded parking lot. Smile and say please and thank you to restaurant servers, store clerks, mail carriers, and trash collectors. Remind your children how much those employees improve our lives. Always look for opportunities to model kindness and compassion, and children will do the same.

Take care of the environment

Make giving part of everyday life

One simple way to teach children to give is to teach them to be kind to the earth. Start a recycling program at your child’s school or pick up trash together. Grow a garden in your backyard or volunteer to

Keep it simple

The Wright family makes it a point to practice random acts of kindness throughout the year. One day Brandi Wright and her daughter Vivian, who was nine at the time, placed quarters in the rental slots of Aldi’s carts for other shoppers. Vivian and her father Anthony gave out helium balloons to strangers in front of Walmart just to brighten their day. “One woman gave Vivian a donation to help pay for the cost of the balloons,”

Wright said. “Vivian and her dad bought more balloons and gave more away.” Sarah Crupi, a mother of six, teaches her children to be considerate when they visit others by including younger children when playing, helping the hostess, and picking up after themselves. “I’ve heard several moms specifically request my children attend an event because they know that they can count on them to contribute and be helpful,” she says. “That is super rewarding to me as a mother!”

Give all year During one holiday season I did my annual sweep, looking for cans of food that had sat in the pantry all year and clothes that were ready to go to Goodwill. As I did this, it occurred to me that more than consciously meeting someone’s need, I was treating giving like an end-of-theyear afterthought. I realized that if I really wanted my children to have

giving spirits, I needed to give yearround and enlist their help. Now my children and I routinely buy non-perishable food at the grocery and take it to a church with a food pantry. Every season we go through outgrown clothes and toys, and they help choose what to give away. We talk about who might be a good recipient for the items and where we should take them. I want my children to understand that giving to others is a way of life, not just something we do once a year. Every day there are opportunities to give. Choose one and start down the road of lifelong giving with your child today. Janeen Lewis is a freelance journalist and mom of two who has a heart for feeding the hungry and helping clean up litter in her community. She has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Multitasking Mom’s Survival Guide, and GreenPrints: The Weeder’s Digest.

10 Easy Ways to Teach Kids Compassion 1. Rake leaves, mow grass, or shovel snow for a neighbor in need. 2. Send care packages to a relative or friend who is away at college or in the military. 3. Visit your local nursing home and read to a resident. 4. Take a meal to a new mom. 5. Contact your local parks and recreation department to find out about volunteer events that keep your community’s parks and waterways clean. Participate as a family. 6. Start a lemonade stand or have a yard sale and donate your earnings to charity.

7. Volunteer at an animal shelter or pet store that sponsors pet adoption. Help clean up after, care for, and feed the pets. 8. Let your child choose a charity. They can earn money for household chores and donate the money to the cause. 9. Fill clear storage bags with items such as socks, hand warmers, change, a bottle of water, lip balm, and contact information for food banks and shelters. Pass the bags out your vehicle window to the homeless at intersections. 10. During the holidays, invite a friend who is alone or lives far from relatives to a family gathering.

10 Picture Books That Teach Kids to Care 1. The Giving Book: Open the Door to a Lifetime of Giving by Ellen Sabin 2. 14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy 3. When Stories Fell Like Shooting Stars by Valiska Gregory 4. Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox 5. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

6. Beatrice’s Goat by Page McBrier 7. The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough by Katie Smith Milway 8. Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts 9. Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn 10. Kids’ Random Acts of Kindness by Conari Press BAYSTATEPARENT 23


New Holiday Tradition Brings Thankfulness to the Table BY MARSHAL D. HANEISEN


or many families, the holiday season is about traditions, special activities repeated year after year to create memories and add depth and meaning to the season. Two California moms looking to bring more meaning to November have created a new tradition — Turkey on the Table. This cute, creative book and turkey kit encourage families to recognize the gifts in their lives and express gratitude throughout the month. Nearly five years ago, April George, her husband, and two daughters relocated from Tennessee to California. Within weeks of moving, she met mother of three Kerry Maunus, and the two became fast friends. One day, the women were talking about today’s materialistic culture and its effect on children. “Everything is so in-your-face


about what kids have to have and at younger ages than ever. We want our kids to appreciate the simple things in life, like a house, clothes, a cozy bed,” George said. “We wanted to promote some sort of awareness and gratitude.” As they entered the 2013 holiday season, the women talked about how Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday, a time when the focus is not on gifts, but about being surrounded by loved ones. “We thought, how can we get this idea across to our kids before the holiday wish lists come out in December?” George said. The project began with Maunus writing a children’s book, Turkey on the Table, but the biggest challenge was to come. “The hardest part was making the turkey sample. We wanted it to be nice enough to work as home décor

through the month of November. We didn’t want it to be cheesy or too big, but we also wanted it to be cute enough that kids identified with it,” Maunus said. Over the next two years, they worked on the turkey design, even hiring a professional prototype designer. “We had a lot of bad samples...we had a turkey graveyard,” she said. One day, George’s husband sat down with a Styrofoam ball and started carving. Ten hours later, the prototype was complete. “Once the prototype was done, we wanted to be fast and made it for the 2015 Thanksgiving season,” George noted.

How it works The idea of Turkey on the Table is simple. Place the turkey in a visible

location in early November. Each day, family members write something for which they are thankful on a paper feather, and insert it into the turkey to create a tail full of Thankful Feathers by the holiday. The feathers are made of cardstock and come in several designs. Replacement feathers can be purchased online, so the turkey can be reused each year. Many have asked the creators why they didn’t make the feathers dry erase, so they could be written on, wiped off, and reused year after year. The choice of using paper was intentional, as Maunus and George view the feathers as keepsakes. Parents can look back and see how a child’s handwriting — and the things for which they are thankful — change over time. “They are a keepsake. You can stick them in an envelope and save them. It is a sort of lazy mom scrapbook-

ing,” Maunus laughed. The women are also designing an assortment of turkey accessories. In fact, a Santa hat is already available on their website (, which might serve as a visual for transferring the gratitude of November into the generosity of December. While Turkey on the Table was designed for families, it could also be used in classrooms, church groups, or by therapists.

Giving back, fighting hunger Early into the project, the women knew they wanted to partner with Chicago-based Feeding America, a hunger relief organization (, and arranged a call before their first retail season. “The representative from Feeding America sent us the list of what it takes to be a corporate partner. The expectations were lofty because they were intended more for larger corporations. But they said they love everything about our product and wanted to be a partner right from the start,” George said. “They took us on when we hadn’t even sold a turkey.” The duo are proud of their partnership with the non-profit, which provides 10 meals to people in need with each Turkey on the Table that

is sold. According to the website, to date more than 435,000 meals have been donated by Turkey on the Table through their partnership with the organization. The Turkey on the Table kit, including the book, turkey, and a supply of feathers, can be purchased online at for $39.99. It can also be found in 1,800 stores nationwide, including several in Massachusetts. To find a retailer near you, visit pages/find-a-retailer. Marshal D. Haneisen is a freelance journalist, writer, and creative writing instructor. She lives in Fitchburg with her husband, son, and a variety of pets. Her son has a dual-diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism, and her experience as a parent of a child with special needs inspires some of her writing for various publications, as well as for her blog, Information about Marshal’s writing and workshops can be found


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Coming Into Focus Everyday errand leads Newton mom to a new career and cause BY MELISSA SHAW


was a snowy day when Jennifer Hyde took her two children to get new eyeglasses. She sat, passing the time with the optician, rather than venture back outside into the harsh weather. “What do you do with the old lenses?” she asked. (“I’m an environmentalist,” she explains. “I’m always curious about that sort of thing.”) “We throw them out.” Hyde gasped. A former 1980s Peace Corps volunteer in the Congo, she knew how precious such resources could be in a developing country. “So many didn’t have access to eyeglasses,” she says. “The idea that these very expensive medical devices were being thrown out was very disturbing to me.” That everyday motherly errand and off-the-cuff inquiry just a few years ago has led the Ivy Leagueeducated wife and mom from the suburbs of Newton, to the muddy, rut-filled, dirt roads of Haiti, to the halls of a technical college in Boston, to a cap, a gown, and a new, unexpected profession. The information Hyde learned that afternoon nagged at her and sent her to the kitchen table, where she researched eyeglass recycling programs, the need for correcting vision in developing nations, and the severity of the issue. “If you don’t have access to eyeglasses, it really can impair your quality of life,” she says. “If you can’t thread a needle and you’ve been doing seamstress work your whole life, it could have a severe impact. If you have vision loss as a kid and can’t see the blackboard, this is going to have a real impact for your potential for livelihood.

What I’ve learned since is that good vision is a really important part of our coping with the world, day to day.”

worst-case-scenario blindness in places such as Haiti. “In the U.S., we don’t see as much blindness as other disabilities

She discovered that due to lack of access to healthcare in poor countries, potentially serious eye problems and conditions, such as glaucoma and cataracts, are undiagnosed and, therefore, unchecked. What is caught and easily treated in the western world transforms into

because it’s caught and treated,” Hyde says. “Rates of blindness in developing countries are much higher.” She remained intrigued by the issue, which led to volunteering with the Newton Lions Club, collecting used eyeglasses around

the community. (For 100 years, Lions Clubs worldwide have raised money to prevent blindness, restore sight, and improve eyecare and eye health across the globe.) Part of her volunteer work consisted of bringing collected eyeglasses to the New England College of Optometry in Boston, where students clean, repair, and prepare them for mission trips, where they are distributed. Hyde shared her interest with a professor and was encouraged to go on a mission trip with Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity International ( The nonprofit runs mission trips to developing countries, offering eye clinics staffed by volunteer optometrists (who perform eye exams), optometry students, opticians (who take a prescription and design a pair of eyeglasses), and lay volunteers. The opportunity came unexpectedly and during a time in which Hyde was trying to decide what to do with her life professionally, an experience to which many mothers can relate. Her children were 13 and 11, and she wanted to re-enter the workforce. She had options — and Ivy League undergrad and graduate degrees in environmental studies and urban planning — but nothing piqued her interest. Until then. “I hemmed and hawed,” she admits. “I started thinking about going back to work. I was dying to get involved in something again, and every time I tried to think of something else, like jobs to apply for, nothing felt right.” Then she had an epiphany: “This is what I felt passionate about. I was going to have to do something. This felt like the something.” As a lay volunteer who “had absolutely no knowledge of things related BAYSTATEPARENT 27

to eye glasses” and a vocabulary of “rudimentary French,” she paid her own way and signed on for a weeklong November 2015 VOSH trip to Haiti. “I always had an interest in Haiti after reading Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World,” Hyde notes. The team’s base was in Cap-Haitien, a port city on the country’s north coast. Every day, the group would pile in their van and travel to villages, setting up clinics in schools, churches, or health clinics, where the goal was to see as many people as possible. The group saw hundreds of patients each day. Optometrists conducted eye exams and wrote prescriptions for glasses or referrals for those who needed further treatment or surgery. Hyde’s job was to as closely as possible match a patient’s prescription to the donated glasses available and fit them to the new owner. Sometimes the team would return to its hotel at the end of the day to find a group of prospective patients waiting in the lobby. “The word had gotten out that there were eye doctors there,” she says. “We’d open all our boxes and examine people right in the lobby.” Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, with 59% of the population living on less than $2 a day. The country of 10 million offers only a handful of optometrists and opticians. Most are located in cities, which leaves 70% of the population without easy access to eye care. By the time Haitians seek help, they’re almost blind. “I was in shock, Haiti is such a poor country,” she continues, the upset still evident in her voice years later. “You cannot believe how impoverished people are.” Yet, “I loved it. I was incredibly moved. It was really a powerful experience.” Impacted by the need, the poverty, and the people she met, Hyde returned from Haiti with a new goal: She wanted to work for a nonprofit that helps people in developing nations get eyeglasses, but wondered, “How am I going to get from here to there?’” Enter Professor Blair Wong.

A fit at BFIT A passion for the cause and an inherent desire to learn and prepare for the trip led Hyde, like many, to Google, which is where she found the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology. Known as “BFIT,” the school is a 109-year-old technical college in Boston’s South End that offers twoyear associate’s degree programs in 12 fields, ranging from automotive technology and biomedical engineering technology to construction management and electrical engineering. 28 NOVEMBER2017

“In preparation for the trip, I didn’t want to just stick eyeglasses on people. I really wanted to understand what I’m doing,” Hyde says. She found Opticianry Department Chair Wong, told him about her upcoming trip, and asked if she could sit in on a class to try and learn a little about optics before she went. “It was an unusual request for sure,” Wong remembers. “I thought it was so nice of someone to have the vision

“I’ve loved making my world bigger. I’ve been lucky to go to very elite academic institutions, and this has been my most rewarding academic experience. By far, this is the most satisfying and meaningful to me.” — JENNIFER HYDE

of doing that kind of work, volunteering to go out of the country to do something good for the world.” The department happened to have a course covering community service, which includes preparing donated glasses for mission trips exactly like Hyde’s. “It was perfect timing,” he recalls. “It’s amazing how these things come together.” Which led to his offer: “If you have Wednesday mornings free, why don’t you come in to class, meet my students, and we’ll put you in the assembly line.” The class was split into stations: one to wash the glasses, another to repair and refurbish, replacing screws and nose pads. From there the eyeglasses are aligned and an instrument is used to determine and record the prescription. From there, they are labeled, bagged, and boxed. “The students were so excited to have a person who was going to be personally delivering the glasses

that they were refurbishing,” Wong says. Hyde spent a month of Wednesdays at different stations, “And at the end of the four weeks, she was well versed in everything she needed to know to go on the mission,” he notes. A serendipitous bonus, one of the optinciary students was Haitian and taught Hyde several Creole phrases that would be helpful in the clinic. “She really enjoyed getting to know the students, not just learning about the optics of dispensing glasses,” Wong says. “She connected with each of the students and listened to their stories. They really embraced her.” Hyde hit it off so well with Wong and his students, he asked if she would return after her trip to tell them about it. Hyde did them one better: She returned will a full-fledged PowerPoint presentation, complete with the pictures she took and facts about her trip, and at the end announced she was enrolling in the opticianry program immediately. She would join the students she had bonded with, less than two months after returning from Haiti. “I never do things the way everybody else does it,” she laughs.

Back to school In the course of visiting Wong’s class before her trip, Hyde says he suggested she consider studying for a degree in opticianry. “It made so much sense. How was I going to get off the ground in this brand-new career without having any credentials, academic or professional?” she remembers. “It didn’t occur to me to get a degree.” But after returning from her VOSH trip, “I decided I was going to kick myself in the butt to try and find a career in this field.” Because Hyde held a bachelor’s degree, she was able to join the class of opticianry students who started in September 2015 and graduate with them in May 2017. “It has been amazing,” she says of her time at BFIT. “It’s an amazing place.” Wong says 80% of BFIT students are the first in their family to attend college, and 33% are adult learners. The school also boasts a highly diverse student body and a 13:1 student/ faculty ratio, and 83% get jobs or continue their study. On paper, it looked like a mismatch. A 54-year-old mom from the suburbs returning to school, one filled with college-aged kids and returning adults for whom this may be their only shot at a college degree. “I found it to be absolutely wonderful,” she says. “I’ve loved making my world bigger. I’ve been lucky to go to very elite academic institutions, and this has been my most rewarding academic experience. By far, this is the

most satisfying and meaningful to me. This is a place that really cares about students.” Hyde reports her classmates were enriching and supportive, and the group bonded in everyday ways, from texting to sharing food: “We’re all supporting each other. “People bring food to class because we’re there for so many hours,” she offers as an example. “Nobody brings food for themselves, they bring it for everybody! It’s a community. It feels like a family. It’s a totally different experience [from her undergrad and graduate years].” Wong adds that Hyde became a pseudo den mother for her classmates: “She really has made a difference with the group. They had a lot of fun, a lot of camaraderie. I think it’s a very caring class. I’m very proud of what they’ve accomplished individually and as a class, and I really look forward to seeing how they interpret the rest of their lives.” Hyde took night and summer classes, a mixture of traditional lectures and labs on optics, anatomy, eyeglass design, and more, to keep pace and graduate with her classmates on time, all while balancing home life. “I’m extremely lucky, and my husband is super supportive of me,” she says. “The hardest part for me is I’ve not always been as present as I’d like to be for my kids.” In September 2016, Hyde once again returned to Haiti with VOSH, sadly to find the country in even worse shape after being ravaged by Hurricane Matthew. “Houses were filling up with water, street became like rivers,” she says. “People are literally walking through floods to get to where they want to go.” The group of 10 set up shop in a hot, dirt-floored school, surrounded by mud and flood water, and saw 1,000 people during their weeklong stay. With nine months of opticianry education under her belt, Hyde reports the state of eye health “seemed that much sadder, that people were dealing with these eye problems that I knew were so easily correctable.” Since returning from that trip, finishing her final months of schooling, and graduating with her classmates in May, Hyde has taken and passed the two written and one practical exam required to receive her Massachusetts optician license. Now she’s able to look for work as a licensed optician and pursue a germ of an idea: to start a program to train and employ Haitians to give eye exams, determine prescriptions, and make and sell eyeglasses, providing jobs and greater access to eye health care. “For years I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do,” she says. “I feel so lucky I stumbled into this.” Adds Wong: “I never imagined she’d do what she ended up doing.”

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Massachusetts Girl’s Legacy and Love Live On to Help Others BY MARSHAL D. HANEISEN


ix weeks before her death, Lucy Grogan had a dream: to offer comfort and quality of life to children facing critical illnesses. From her hospital bed, the 11-year-old outlined a mission that her mother continues today, one that has raised thousands of dollars and aided more than 750 children with cancer. Based in Amesbury, Lucy’s Love Bus funds several programs for critically ill pediatric patients throughout New England and funds integrative therapies, such as horseback riding, massage, acupuncture, and art.

The organization launched in January 2006 from Lucy’s hospital bed. Diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at age 8, she benefited from a range of integrative therapies like her namesake organization funds today. She couldn’t understand why her fellow patients weren’t asking for therapies like those she enjoyed, said Beecher Grogan, Lucy’s mom and co-founder and executive director of Lucy’s Love Bus. Grogan told her daughter that their community, friends, and family had donated money to pay for the therapies, which surprised the girl, who assumed they were covered under insurance.

During her cancer fight, Lucy experienced not only the pain of treatment, but also the loss of 22 friends to the disease by the time she was 11. It was a hurt that focused her goal. “We kept in touch with all these families, many of whom were raising money for a cure for cancer. But one day Lucy said to me, ‘What about us? A cure is not going to help us,’” Grogan recalled. She voiced a reality that for many, cures will come too late, and switched her goal to her peers’ immediate quality of life and comfort. “What was important for Lucy is

for the kids to be able to not throw up, to run around, and to be reminded of what it is like to be a happy, healthy kid, even for a short period of time,” Grogan said. This began Lucy’s Love Bus, a name Lucy chose “because she wanted her program to deliver love, comfort, and quality of life to children with cancer,” Grogan said. (The organization received a donated 1970 VW bus. Volunteers raised money to renovate and decorate it to create the official Lucy’s Love Bus, which appears in parades, expos, and fundraising events to promote the organization and its mission.) BAYSTATEPARENT 31

A mother’s mourning After Lucy passed in July 2006, Grogan did not begin work on making her daughter’s dream a reality, instead focusing on processing her loss and grieving. She put the remaining $2,000 family and friends raised for Lucy’s therapies, along with donations made after her death, into a CD for three years and waited. “I always caution people against doing something immediately after the child dies. It is a bad time to start a business, you need to go through the grief process,” she said. For three years, Grogan struggled with her grief and saw that Lucy’s friends were struggling, too. “I went to a New Year’s Eve party at her best friend’s house. I was downstairs with the parents and very uncomfortable; people didn’t know how to behave around me. So, I went up to where the kids were and squeezed between two of her friends. We talked about Lucy’s Love Bus, and I asked the kids what should we do? Do they want to help? They all said yes — they were the original Love Squad,” Grogan said. In 2010, with the help of three moms, 15 kids between the ages of 12 and 15, and Amesbury Skate and Sport, Lucy’s Love Bus organized its first event, a grassroots music festival, where they released thousands of Monarch butterflies. “We held a T-shirt design competition for kids, and printed up hundreds of white T-shirts with the two winning designs,” Grogan added. The festival raised $57,000. Lucy’s Love Bus began paying for integrative therapies such as massage, acupuncture, yoga, horse-riding, swimming, and music for pediatric oncology patients in hospitals. For example, this past summer, Lucy’s Love Bus helped cover some

of the costs of a summer program for Spencer, a 5-year-old Colchester, VT, boy who is in treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. “We wanted to give him a sense of normalcy, he missed out on so much. For the weeks of summer camp, he got to be a 5-year-old,” said Nicole LaBonte, Spencer’s mom. “To this day, he still talks about camp. It was scary at first, it kicked his butt, but he was happy. Him going to that program was more than I could give him at home.” Spencer hopes to return to summer camp again, and he now attends an afterschool program with some of the camp counselors. Lucy’s Love Bus helped to build his network, LaBonte said.

The Healing Room One day, Grogan learned through social workers that some people hold a level of resentment that “The cancer kids get everything.” The social worker explained that for families of children living with other diagnoses and rare conditions, there are fewer supports and programs to help. “With every decision, I think, ‘What would Lucy, at age 12, want?” Grogan explained. “Lucy was clear in her mission: She wanted to help all the kids.” In response, Lucy’s Love Bus developed a program for hospitals called The Healing Room, which allows more patients access to

some of the therapies that were so important to its namesake. The Healing Room is not an actual room, but rather an intention to create room for healing. Through the organization’s funding, practitioners visit hospitals and provide therapies such as bedside massage, meditation, and music therapy. Therapists can help several children in one visit, and if it is a quiet day and there are few children, they can offer therapies to a patient’s parents or siblings. Lucy’s Love Bus hosts The Healing Room at three New England hospitals: Tufts Medical Center Floating Hospital for Children in Boston, UVMMC Children’s Hospital in Burlington, VT, and Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland, Maine.

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Art by Dominic Killiany, an artist living with autism 32 NOVEMBER2017

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The Love Bus enters the classroom The youngest members of the original Love Squad are now in college, and Lucy’s peers have graduated. But Grogan is committed to the longevity of the program and began partnering with schools to grow Lucy’s LoveSquad School Program. In 2014, Johnny Appleseed School in Leominster partnered with the organization for the first Lucy’s LoveSquad School Program. Grogan visits participating schools and facilitates a group discussion on nonprofits and philanthropy with an entire grade, with the intention of returning to the same children annually as they graduate from grade to grade. They talk about different ways nonprofits receive money, such as through fundraising and donations. Grogan shares Lucy’s story and talks with the students about the children Lucy’s Love Bus helps. She then asks if they want to raise funds for a child. Inevitably, they all want to help. They brainstorm ways they can raise money for their buddy, with a goal of $1,000 over a four- to sixweek period for elementary-aged groups; high school groups aim to raise more over an entire year.

To date, Lucy’s LoveSquad School Program has partnered with 37 schools in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. This year, school partnerships have

ing his or her therapies, yet this doesn’t always happen because some of the Buddies are too ill. Now 6, Thiago Molinari of Fitchburg was diagnosed with

raised $27,000. The LoveSquad School Program is a huge empathy builder, Grogan notes. When possible, Lucy’s Love Bus brings a school’s Butterfly Buddy to meet the class that is sponsor-

childhood leukemia when he was 3. Thiago’s mom, Gabriela, closed her daycare when her son was diagnosed, which caused him to grow lonely as he had no one to play with. A partnership with Johnny

Simply Well

Appleseed School in Leominster and the Lucy’s LoveSquad School Program changed that. “We learned about the program through UMass Medical Center, where Thiago receives medical care. The social worker told us about Lucy’s Love Bus and encouraged us to apply. Thiago was having a hard time with treatment and he was really sad,” she said. Gabriela and her husband wanted Thiago to do something fun. They knew he liked water, so much in fact, they were often worried because he wasn’t afraid of water, yet could not swim. When they learned that Lucy’s Love Bus would help fund swimming lessons, they applied and were approved right away. Thiago was assigned to Johnny Appleseed School as its LoveSquad Butterfly Buddy. Grogan contacted Molinari and said the kids at Johnny Appleseed School wanted to meet their hero. Molinari was so impressed with the empathy and care she saw in the school, she exercised her right to school choice Thiago and have him attend Johnny Appleseed School. “If Beecher had not told me to go meet the kids, we would not have found that school. It was meant to be,” Molinari said. “Lucy’s Love Bus is everything to us. They helped us in the hardest part of our life. They


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helped Thiago through the hardest part of his treatment. They helped him to not be afraid. The helped him to be a child, and he learned how to swim.” This summer, Thiago ran a lemonade stand to raise funds for Lucy’s Love Bus, and raised more than $800.

Continuing its mission The most critical need for Lucy’s Love Bus is funding. The program recently hired a third staff member and is in the process of moving the operation from Grogan’s home into an office. She hopes the office will also include space to provide group therapy for children and adults. In

two to three years, Grogan intends for the organization to have a house and 5 acres of land to support onsite outdoor therapies. Donations to Lucy’s Love Bus can be made through the website at lucyslovebus. com. Volunteer support is always welcome, whether manning a table at an event or writing the many thank you cards the organizations sends to express appreciation for donations. Grogan is looking to partner with more schools via Lucy’s LoveSquad School Program, as well as corporations, where a $7,000 contribution can fund one full year of therapy in a hospital, she said. Marshal D. Haneisen is a freelance journalist, writer, and creative writing instructor. She lives in Fitchburg with her husband, son, and a variety of pets. Her son has a dual-diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism, and her experience as a parent of a child with special needs inspires some of her writing for various publications, as well as for her blog, Information about Marshal’s writing and workshops can be found


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Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away! - Dr. Seuss

Courtesy of Brookwood Community Farm.

Photo by Steven Houle, courtesy of the Natural Living Expo

THE NUTCRACKER. Hanover Theatre, Worcester. Nov. 24-26.

Family Volunteer Day with Friends of the Blue Hills. Brookwood Community Farm, Canton. Nov. 11. 36 NOVEMBER2017

Natural Living Expo. Marlborough. Nov. 11.

Friday After Thanksgiving (F.A.T.) Chain Reaction. MIT, Cambridge. Nov. 24.


1 Wednesday ARTfull Play. deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, 51 Sandy Pond Rd., Lincoln. 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Engage with art, stories, materials, nature, and new friends during multi-sensory activities. For ages 2 to 5. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $14, children 12 and under free.

2 Thursday Make a Mess: Fragrant Fall Finger Paint. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Drop in as we put on a seasonal twist to a favorite messy experience by adding warm and cozy scents to our finger paints. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free.

3 Friday Music and Movement with Miss Bernadette. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 9:30 a.m.-10 a.m. Explore sounds through singing and playing, as we move, make music, listen, learn, and get a multi-sensory workout with our favorite professional musician. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Take Aparts. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Drop in and grab a screwdriver. Discover resistors, capacitors, and circuit boards as you uncover the inner workings of everyday electronics. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Little Red Hen. Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, 208 South Great Rd., Lincoln. 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m. Help us make bread as we grind grain, mix, knead, and shape dough, watch it rise, and reenact the story of the Little Red Hen on the farm. For families with children up to age 8. Register ahead. Members $13.50, nonmembers $16.50. A Harvest Style Starry Night. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 4 p.m.-5 p.m. Join Kidcasso founder Laura-Marie Small as she hosts a special afternoon, inspired by beloved artist Vincent Van Gogh, through pastel, ink, and liquid water colors. For ages 4 to 9. Free. Free First Nights. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 4:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Join us as we open our museums and accept nonperishable food donations for the Acton Food Pantry and Open Table of Concord and Maynard. Free. Money Matters Family Festival. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston. 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Enjoy a festival of playful learning experiences that promote financial lit-

Annie. The Community Players, Pawtucket. Nov. 10-12 & 17-19.

eracy and intergenerational conversations about earning, spending, saving, and sharing money. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $1, children under 1 free. #popscope. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston. 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Come outside and look up, as we join the folks from #popscope and use a telescope to look for stars, planets, and other features of the night sky. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $1, children under 1 free. Stars Over Springfield. Springfield Museums, 21 Edwards St., Springfield. 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Join members of the Springfield Stars Club for skygazing in the Science Museum’s observatory, or a planetarium show. $3.

4 Saturday Snow Leopard Day. Stone Zoo, 149 Pond St., Stoneham. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Celebrate the Ghosts of the Mountains, as we learn more about the striking felines at our education station, hear from zookeepers about the snow leopards, and enjoy themed crafts and activities. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $16.95, children ages 2 to 12 $11.95, children under 2 free. Fall Community Day: Diwali. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Celebrate this traditional fall Hindu festival with a full day of cultural programs. Free with admission. Adults $16, ages 4 and up $6, children under 4 free. Mike the Bubble Man. Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline. 10:30 a.m. Watch music, choreography, comedy, and

bubbles come alive, as Mike the Bubble Man inspires imagination and wonder. Recommended for ages 2 and up. Adults $13, children $10. Family Yoga Class. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Learn cooperative games, age-appropriate poses, breathing exercises, and simple mindfulness activities. For ages 3 to 12 with caregiver. Free. Backyard and Beyond: Beaver Moon. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Celebrate November’s full moon, the Beaver Moon, as we learn about the moon and stars, grab a full moon calendar and start a new tradition of taking a walk every month when the moon is full. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Princess and Pirate Day. John W. Higgins Armory, 100 Barber Ave., Worcester. 11 a.m.5 p.m. Enjoy castle fun, princess tea, pirate training, and more, as our halls ring out with laughter and song, during this day filled with beloved storybook princesses and swashbuckling pirates. Register ahead. $5-$25. Day of the Dead Family Celebration. Peabody Museum of Archeology & Ethnology, 11 Divinity Ave., Cambridge. 12 p.m.-4 p.m. Enjoy live music, dancers, and beautiful decorations during this joyful event designed to remember and welcome back the spirits of loved ones. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $12, ages 3 and up $8, ages under 3 free. Autumn Colors. Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill St., Mattapan. 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Take

Photo by Robert Emerson, courtesy of The Community Players

MELTDOWN WARNING: Before you pack up the minivan, please confirm your destination. Although we’ve done our best to ensure accuracy at press time, things can and do change.

a short hike to observe the fascinating fall foliage, learn how and why leaves change color, and make beautiful autumn leaf suncatchers to take home. For children ages 4 to 12. Register ahead. Member children $5, nonmember children $7, adults free. Special Storytime: Chanavia Haddock. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 2 p.m. Chanavia Haddock brings the story of a curious young girl and her day in the snow, as she reads and signs copies of her book Miracle. Free with admission. Adults $9, children 1 and up $6, children under 1 free. Toy Story. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 2 p.m. Join Woody, Buzz, and all of their friends during this family-favorite and modern-classic animated film from the minds at Pixar. Free. Capturing Birds of Prey with Paper and Pencil. Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford St., Cambridge. 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Look closely at hawk, eagle, and owl specimens to discover what makes these birds such excellent hunters, as we explore how to capture their form through drawing techniques. For ages 9 to 13. Register ahead. Members $25, nonmembers $35. A Night at the Museum. South Shore Natural Science Center, 48 Jacobs Ln., Norwell. 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Discover the museum at night through hands-on activities, guided night walks at the Science Center, and special exhibits. Members $5, nonmembers $8. Full Moon Owl Prowl. Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary, 280 Eliot St., Natick. 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Come with the whole family to learn about owl calls, behavior, and habitats, as we explore Broadmoor under moonlit skies listening for our resident screech, barred, and great horned owls. For ages 6 and up. Register ahead. Member adults $13, children $7; nonmember adults $15, children $9.

5 Sunday MathMovesU. Massachusetts Maritime Academy, 101 Academy Dr., Buzzards Bay. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts invites girls for a day of hands-on learning with female engineers from Raytheon to unravel math mysteries and solve exciting math challenges. For scouts in grades 4 to 8. $30. Nature and Art Discovery. Museum of American Bird Art, 963 Washington St., Canton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Enjoy a different theme with a story, playing and hiking in nature, and creating art. For ages 2 to 6 with an adult. Register ahead. Sundays. Member children $8, nonmember children $9, adults free. BAYSTATEPARENT 37


8 Wednesday

Courtesy The Discovery Museums.

Nature and Nurture with Miss Bernadette. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10:30 a.m.-11:15 a.m. Come and explore the great outdoors, as we sing songs, take a nature walk, read a story, or make a craft. Designed for ages 2 to 4. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Cookies and Tea with Clara. The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, 2 Southbridge St., Worcester. 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. & 3 p.m. Join Clara from The Nutcracker during this special tea party featuring her magical world. Children $15, parents free. Idea Hub: 3D Printing and Design. MIT Museum, 265 Massachusetts Ave, Building N51, Cambridge. 12 p.m.-2 p.m. Learn how to design in three dimensions using Tinkercad and explore how 3D printers can turn digital models into reality. Recommended for ages 12 and up. Free with admission. Adults $10, youths $5, children under 5 free. Fall Feathered Friends. Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill St., Mattapan. 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Take a journey to some of the most magical places at the BNC, and discover the way our residents and migratory feather friends can be identified. For families with children ages 5 to 12. Register ahead. Member children $5, nonmember children $7, adults free. Autumn Art Explorations: Nature Mobile. Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, 87 Perkins Row, Topsfield. 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Look for natural items to use with our mobile and explore the effects of the wind on trees, shrubs, grasses, birds, and more. For families with children ages 6 to 10. Register ahead. Members $16, nonmembers $19.

6 Monday MFA Bilingual Spanish Playdate. Museum of Fine Arts: Boston, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston. 10:15 a.m.-11a.m. We welcome the educators of Pine Village Preschool for an immersive experience exploring the museum and art-making in a Spanish-English bilingual

Everyday Engineering: SailMobiles. The Discovery Museums, Acton. Nov. 11.

context. Recommended for ages 4 and under. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $25, youths $10, children 6 and under free. Puppet Pals. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 2 p.m.-2:45 p.m. Join the library staff for songs, stories, crafts, and lots of puppet friends. For ages 3 to 5. Free.

7 Tuesday Make a Mess: Paint with What? The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Drop in and take part as we use unconventional painting tools found in the back rooms of the Museum. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Henry Bear Playdate. Concord Museum, 200 Lexington Rd., Concord. 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Hear the story of how Henry Bear built a cabin, climbed a mountain, and hiked to Fitchburg, and make a craft to take home. Members free; nonmember children $5, children 4 and under free.

UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center Down Syndrome Program One visit for comprehensive care. Audiology • Cardiology • Child Life • Dermatology Development/Behavioral Pediatrics Endocrinology • ENT • Gastroenterology • Genetics Hematology/Oncology • Nutrition • Orthopedics Psychiatry • Pulmonology • Social Work • Urology

Appointments: 774-443-UMDS (8637) To find a physician, call 855-UMASS-MD.

Especially for Me: Sensory-Friendly Afternoon. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Explore the entire Museums’ campus at your own pace, during a time with quiet spaces for use and limited crowding. Register ahead. Free. Make a Mess: Squash Science. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Drop in as we take a look into pumpkins, gourds, squashes, and more special winter fruits at our squish, squashy station. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Trucks, Tractors, and Tools. Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, 208 South Great Rd., Lincoln. 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m. Search for essential farm equipment and learn the important jobs they do, as we meet our farmers and board the hay wagon for a behind-the-scenes look. For families with children up to age 8. Register ahead. Members $13.50, nonmembers $16.50.

Backyard and Beyond: What’s the Weather Wednesday? The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Drop in to Discovery Woods to celebrate whatever weather Mother Nature decides to give us today, with activities planned for windy, rainy, sunny, or cloudy days. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free.

9 Thursday Gourds Galore. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Drop in and peer deep inside the fall harvest with magnifying lenses, as we look at the plethora of colored, shaped, and textured gourds, pumpkins, and squashes. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Natural Nature. The Children’s Museum in Easton, 9 Sullivan Ave., North Easton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Bring the outdoors indoors and learn about nature in creative new ways. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $9. Tea for Teddy. Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, 293 Moose Hill Parkway, Sharon. 10 a.m.11:30 a.m. & 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Bring a stuffed bear or any favorite animals for a special tea party, as we listen to nature-oriented storybooks and enjoy hot cocoa and cookies. For ages 4 to 6. Register ahead. Members $9, nonmembers $12. Upbeat Music. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 3:15 p.m.-4:15 p.m. Practice rhythm by learning multicultural drumming patterns, playing a variety of instruments, and exploring movements and dance while singing songs. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Spanish Bilingual Storytime. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 4 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Join us for a special story-time filled with

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OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! stories, songs, and movement in English and Spanish. For ages 3 to 5. Free. Block Party. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston. 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Enjoy an awesome block party at Boston Children’s Museum, featuring music, arts and crafts, dance, storytelling, and hanging around with staff and friends. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $1, children under 1 free. A Christmas Story: The Musical. The Hanover Theater for Performing Arts, 2 Southbridge St., Worcester. 7:30 p.m. Enjoy as the classic Christmas movie following young Ralphie and his family is infused with delightful songs and splashy production numbers. $40-$75. Through Sunday.

10 Friday Backyard and Beyond: Forest Fridays. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-10:45 a.m. Enjoy a nature-based activity based on the weather and season, and enjoy a trip outside as we explore nature in our neighboring conservation land. Designed for ages 2 to 6. Fridays. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free.

Veteran’s Day: Old Glory. The Children’s Museum in Easton, 9 Sullivan Ave., North Easton. 10 a.m.-4p.m. Salute our veterans by helping loop together stars and stripes for a flag to be hung in the museum, and a patriotic hat that would make Uncle Sam proud. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $9. Preschool Story & Nature Hour: Pumpkins. Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary, 113 Goodnow Rd., Princeton. 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Enjoy an hour of nature-themed fun with your youngster, as we read an engaging storybook, make a craft to take home, and go for a walk on our beautiful trails. For families with children ages 2 to 5. Register ahead. Member children $2.50, nonmember children $3.50, adults free. Backyard and Beyond: Great Hill Exploration. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 2 p.m. Come explore some of the trails that wind through the 1840 acres beside the Museums with a staff member. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Rhode Island Comic Con. Rhode Island Convention Center and Dunkin Donuts Center, Providence. Get up close and personal with

Holiday Open House

celebrities, artists, cosplayers, vendors, and more in one of New England’s largest comics and pop culture events. A special Kids Con track will be feature entertainment, face painting, activities, and more. 3 p.m.-9 p.m. Through Sunday. Adults $30 and up, children $10 and up. Annie. Jenks Auditorium, 350 Division St., Pawtucket, RI. 7:30 p.m. The Community Players presents the Tony-award-winning musical of an optimistic orphan who believes the sun will come out tomorrow. Through Sunday. Adults $23, students $18.

11 Saturday Natural Living Expo. Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel & Trade Center, 181 Boston Post Rd., Marlborough. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Join more than 9,000 attendants at New England’s largest holistic health and wellness event, featuring 90 workshops, more than 275 exhibitors, a healthy food tent, and more. Through Sunday. $15. Veterans Day. Old Sturbridge Village, 1 Old Sturbridge Village Rd., Sturbridge. 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Celebrate the nation’s military history as we see how lead musket balls were cast, get your initials stamped on your own musket ball, and learn under the command of the captain of the village militia. Free with admission. Adults $28, youth ages 4 and up $14, children under 4 free.

Family Volunteer Day with Friends of the Blue Hills. Brookwood Community Farm, 11 Blue Hill River Rd., Canton. 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Join in as we work with our hands outdoors, and find out where our food comes from. Register in advance. Free. Crazy About Cranberries. South Shore Natural Science Center, 48 Jacobs Ln., Norwell. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Drop in for a day of exploration and learning about our favorite regional fruit, as you get to taste various foods that use cranberries, find out why some bounce, and where the name “cranberry” comes from. Members $5, nonmembers $8. Honor, Courage, Commitment. USS Constitution Museum, Charlestown Navy Yard, Building 22, Charlestown. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Experience the everyday struggles of those who served aboard in 1812, during this partnership with Operation Gratitude. Suggested donation $5-$10. Magic by Bonaparte. Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline. 10:30 a.m. This award-winning family magic concert delights with astounding magic, hilarious comedy, audience participation, and more. Recommended for ages 3 and up. Adults $13, children $10.



Heifer Farm

rutland, massachusetts

December 2nd, 3rd & December 9th, 10th Celebrate the Holidays at Heifer Farm with animals that are changing lives around the world

Santa will be here too! Visit Santa and chat about the importance of giving

Join in the Fun and Celebrate the Season!

• Scenic hayrides • Warm up with hot cocoa, cider and more • Visit with the cows, sheep, llamas, and other barnyard animals • International craft making • Decorate gingerbread cookies • Shop for holiday gifts in our Fair Trade gift shop


FIRST and THIRD TUESDAY of each month 10:30-11:15 AM

“…Mary was a bookworm. Sometimes when her siblings went out to play, she’d stay at home reading. Other times when she joined them, as often as not she’d eventually slip away to a secluded spot where they’d find her later, engrossed in a book.” — From A World More Bright: The Life of Mary Baker Eddy by Isabel Ferguson and Heather Vogel Frederick

In this children’s program, young visitors will not only listen to stories but also engage in playful activities. Recommended for bookworms 5 years old and younger with adults. No registration required. 200 Massachusetts Ave., Boston MA 02115 For more information, please contact our Educational Programs Coordinator 617-450-7203 |

216 Wachusett Street • Rutland, MA • • BAYSTATEPARENT 39

OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! Golden Bird Concert. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 11 a.m. The Northampton Community Music Center presents a delightful family concert. $5. Everyday Engineering: SailMobiles. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Drop in and design a way to harness the power of wind as you build a simple vehicle that’s part-car, part-sailboat, and engage in some everyday engineering. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Zumba Kids. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston. 11 a.m. & 11:30 a.m. Get active and participate in a family friendly Zumba class for kids, featuring a blend of cumbia, salsa, merengue, reggaetón, and tango. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $17, children under 1 free. Russian Fairy Tale Animated Shorts. Museum of Russian Icons, 203 Union St., Clinton. 11:30 a.m. & 2 p.m. Enjoy a selection of short animated films based on classic Russian fairy tales. Free with admission. Adults $10, children ages 3 and up $5, ages 3 and under free. The Pineapple Project Live Performance. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston. 11:30 a.m. Queer Soup Theater presents their production of “The Pineapple Project,” which encourages kids to be who they are through play. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $17, children under 1 free. Wachusett Ski Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival. Wachusett Mountain, 499 Mountain Rd., Princeton. 12 p.m.-5 p.m. Enjoy more than 25 local and delicious food trucks and fun during this day of great bites in the crisp autumn air. Adults $5, ages 12 and under free.






GROUPS OF 10+ CALL 617.532.1116 Boch Center is a trademark of The Wang Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.

Special Storytime: Renee Kurilla. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 2 p.m. Enjoy The Pickwick’s Picnic: A Counting Adventure as engaging rhythms and detail-filled art bring forth a story of community cooperation, with signing to follow. Free with admission. Adults $9, children 1 and up $6, children under 1 free. Morningstar Access. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston. 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Enjoy this time when families can explore the museum with less concern regarding crowds and noise, as we limit the number of visitors during this time of exploration. Register ahead. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $17, children under 1 free.

12 Sunday Attack of the Space Invaders. Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill St., Mattapan.

10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Join us for a scavenger hunt as we discover urban “space invaders,” like the Japanese knotweed and bittersweet, and unravel clues as to how invasive plant species are impacting our sanctuary. For families with children ages 4 to 12. Register ahead. Member children $5, nonmember children $7, adults free. ARTfull Explorations. deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, 51 Sandy Pond Rd., Lincoln. 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Drop in and investigate ideas and materials inspired by themes and artists on view in the Sculpture Park or Museum. Recommended for ages 5 to 12. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $14, children 12 and under free. Jane Yolen & Heidi Stemple Celebration. Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester, 65 James St., Worcester. 1 p.m. Join the “Hans Christian Andersen of America” during this day of fantasy, poetry, and children’s stories. Jane Yolen and frequent collaborator Heidi Stemple join us for a day of signing and reading. Registration recommended. Free. Microbes Mini-Festival. Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford St., Cambridge. 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Join educators, researchers, and Art + Bio Collaborative to investigate the world of microbes through observation, stories, art explorations, hands-on activities, and more. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $12, ages 3 and up $8, ages under 3 free. Hands-on History. Concord Museum, 200 Lexington Rd., Concord. 1 p.m.-4 p.m. An afternoon for kids and families to learn together through hands-on demonstrations. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $10, children $5, ages 5 and under free. Meet the Instruments with the New England Philharmonic. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston. 2 p.m. Meet different parts of the orchestra in this three-part series, as New England Philharmonic players demonstrate their instruments in fun, interactive performances. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $17, children under 1 free. Create at The Carle! Art Reception. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 2 p.m. Celebrate the culmination of eight weeks of programming and see how participants explored a range of bookmaking techniques and inspiration from The Carle. Free with admission. Adults $9, children 1 and up $6, children under 1 free. Family Day. The Addison Gallery of American Art, 180 Main St., Andover. 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Bring the family and drop by to explore Addison’s fall exhibitions through hands-on activities related to the theme of “invisibility.” Free.


13 Monday Sophisticated Stories. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 7:30 p.m.-8:15 p.m. Explore cool, strange, weird, and wacky picture books, with a side of brownies. For grades 3 and up. Free.

14 Tuesday Tinker Tuesday: Open Studio. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Drop in and explore the possibilities of reusing what we usually through away into creative treasures. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Toddler Tuesday: Colors Theme. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston, 598 Assembly Row, Somerville. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Join us in the DUPLO Farm area as we explore parts of LEGOLAND together, and enjoy the autumnal season’s many colors from foliage to harvest vegetables. $16, children under 2 free. boston.

15 Wednesday Celebrate America Recycles Day. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Drop in and explore the variety of repurposed materials that emerge from recycling, and create a one-of-a-kind recycled and upcycled masterpiece. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Pokémon Go(es) to Habitat. Habitat Education and Wildlife Sanctuary, 10 Juniper Rd., Belmont. 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m. Look at Pokémon monsters that have been inspired by our local wildlife, before heading outside for a little Pokémon catching. For ages 5 to 9. Register ahead. Members $15, nonmembers $18.

16 Thursday Doggy Days: Thankful for Abby. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Drop in as we help prepare a surprise for therapy dog Abby to offer thanks for her visit her to the museum by creating a community collage. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Nature Time. Blue Hills Trailside Museum, 1904 Canton Ave., Milton. 10:30 a.m.-11:15 a.m. Introduce your preschooler to nature with this program offering games, crafts, short walks, or meeting an animal resident, depending on the day. For ages 3 to 6. Register ahead. Thursdays except Thanksgiving. Member adults $3, children $6; nonmember adults $6, children $9.

17 Friday Celebrate National Take A Hike Day: Orienteering. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Grab a map at the admission desk and go on an orienteering adventure on the conservation land, during this day with three different courses and plenty of fun. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Preschool Story & Nature House: Make a Dried Flower Centerpiece. Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary, 113 Goodnow Rd., Princeton. 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Learn how to take the gorgeous nature around us home and straight to the kitchen table, with this morning of reading and crafting. For families with children ages 2 to 5. Register ahead. Member children $2.50, nonmember children $3.50, adults free. Family Game Day. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 3 p.m.-5 p.m. Drop in for family games and activities. Free.

Your family can share in the holiday magic of


presented by The Sterling Youth Ballet in association with Paula Meola Dance

Saturday, December 2nd • 2:00 p.m. Sunday, December 3rd • 2:00 p.m. Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School, Fitchburg, MA

Crow Brings the Corn. Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, 208 South Great Rd., Lincoln. 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m. Explore Native American legends and lore, food, and games, as we listen to stories, make corn husk dolls, and caw, caw, caw, with the crow. For families with children ages up to 8. Register ahead. Members $12.50, nonmembers $15.50. Festive Preview Party. Berkshire Museum, 39 South St., Pittsfield. 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Join us for an evening of surrealistic dreams, and be among the first to preview our enchanted indoor forest of spectacular trees. Member adults $30, children $15; nonmember adults $50, children $25, children under 4 free. Annie. Jenks Auditorium, 350 Division St., Pawtucket, RI. 7:30 p.m. The Community Players presents the Tony-award-winning musical of an optimistic orphan who believes the sun will come out tomorrow. Through Sunday. Adults $23, students $18.

18 Saturday Science Fair Gone Wild. Springfield Museums, 21 Edwards St., Springfield. 10 a.m.12:30 p.m. Get ready to experiment and dress for a mess, as we try to make plastic out of milk, a lava lamp out of Alka-Seltzer, a battery out of a lemon, and more. Designed for ages 7 to 10. Members $24, nonmembers $28. MFA Playdates: Shaping the World. Museum of Fine Arts: Boston, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston. 10:15 a.m.-11 a.m. Join us as we look at the dynamics that fill the world of art. Dip into the galleries and participate in artmaking activities during a thematic day of explora-

Children & Seniors $16 • Adults $18 Ticket sales from these performances help to fund our free public performances for 2,000 local school children each year.

For Ticket Information Call


Last Year’s Performances “Sold Out” Parents – bring a camera and take a photo of your Sugar Plums with our Sugar Plum Fairy, 1/2 hour prior to each performance. 50 Leominster Road, Sterling, MA 01564


OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! St., Arlington. 10:30 a.m. Karen K and her Jitterbugs create a crowd-engaging, theatrical show featuring catchy tunes and a buzzy band. Members $7; nonmember adults $10, children $8. Exploring Science Together: The Ice Age. Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford St., Cambridge. 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Investigate the Ice Age, and learn together with hands-on glacier demonstrations and activities, fossils, and more. Suitable for ages 5 and up. Register ahead. Members $10, nonmembers $20. hmnh. Make a Mess: Spin Art. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Drop in as we put a fresh spin on art, as we twist our tools, twirl our papers, and give our watercolors a whirl. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Rhode Island Comic Con. Providence. Nov. 10-12.

tion. Recommended for ages 4 and under. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $25, youths $10, children 6 and under free.

Nuts About Squirrels. Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill St., Mattapan. 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Enjoy the crisp air, as we scamper around looking for squirrel food, building nests, and other squirrely activity. For families with children ages 5 to 12. Register ahead. Member children $5, nonmember children $7, adults free.

Karen K & The Jitterbugs: Annual Thanks and Giving Show. Regent Theatre, 7 Medford

STEMsational Superstars. South Shore Natural Science Center, 48 Jacobs Ln., Norwell.


1 p.m.-4 p.m. Join us for an exciting day of science explorations while meeting local women scientists and engineers through hands-on activities. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $5, children under age 2 free. Special Storytime: Angela DiTerlizzi. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 2 p.m. Enjoy as author Angela DiTerlizzi reads her book I Wanna Be a Cowgirl, following the delightful adventures of a young girl as she pulls on her boots, saddles up her horse, and gallops off through the hills with her imagination and zeal. Free with admission. Adults $9, children 1 and up $6, children under 1 free. Despicable Me 3. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 2 p.m. Gru and his minions are back during this third installment in the fantastically funny family-series finding an evil genius balance family life and world domination. Free. Happier Family Comedy Show. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 3 p.m.-4 p.m. The Happier Valley Comedy group brings their creative flourishes during this hour-long improvisational show. Recommended for ages 5 to 12. Member adults $9, children $4.50; nonmember adults $10, children $5.

Busy Beavers. Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary, 280 Eliot St., Natick. 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m. Visit different beaver sites, discover what life is like as a beaver, and watch for our resident beavers on their evening exploration during this look at the busy time for beavers preparing for winter. For families with children ages 7 and up. Register ahead. Member adults $12, children $6; nonmember adults $14, children $8.

19 Sunday Vanessa Trien & The Jumping Monkeys. Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline. 10:30 a.m. This award-winning band performs original infectious songs with warmth, humor, and audience-participation. Recommended for ages 2 and up. Adults $13, children $10. Turkey Trot. Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, 293 Moose Hill Parkway, Sharon. 1 p.m.-2 p.m. We search for turkey habitats, make a special turkey project, and take home some turkey trivia to amaze and astound your dinner guests. For ages 4 and up. Register ahead. Members $6, nonmembers $9. Meet the Instruments with the New England Philharmonic. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston. 2 p.m. Meet different parts of the orchestra in this three-part series, as New England Philharmonic players

OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! free; nonmember adults $10, children $5, ages 5 and under free.

Photo by Joan Marcus.

Surprising Saints. Museum of Russian Icons, 203 Union St., Clinton. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Drop in and make your own binoculars before grabbing an expedition guide to look for heroic figures, and learn why they are famous. Through Sunday. Free with admission. Adults $10, children ages 3 and up $5, ages under 3 free.

Elf The Musical. Wang Theatre, Boston. Nov. 28-Dec. 10.

demonstrate their instruments in fun, interactive performances. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $17, children under 1 free. All Newton Music School Faculty Concert. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 2 p.m. Join us for a concert with faculty members of All Newton Music School. Free. newtonfreelibrary. net. Boston Area Chantey & Maritime Sing. USS Constitution Museum, Charlestown Navy Yard, Building 22, Charlestown. 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Listen, learn, and lift your voices as you participate in your maritime heritage by joining a rousing chorus of sea chanteys. Suggest donation $5-$10.

21 Tuesday Dance and Movement Class. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 10 a.m.-10:45 a.m. Join the Joanne Langione Dance Center during this music and movement class for toddlers and preschoolers. Free. Take Aparts, Jr. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Drop in as we grab some tools and discover the inner works of household gizmos and gadgets. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free.

22 Wednesday Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature. Concord Museum, 200 Lexington Rd., Concord. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Join us during this special opening of our annual Family Trees exhibit, filling the museum’s galleries with 30 fanciful trees of all shapes and sizes. Members free; nonmember adults $15, children $6, ages

under 4 free.

23 Thursday Thanksgiving Buffet in the 19th Century. Old Sturbridge Village, 1 Old Sturbridge Village Rd., Sturbridge. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Enjoy thanksgiving in the surroundings of a 19th century village, as we join in a feast at the Oliver Wight Tavern to fill ourselves with food and family. Reserve ahead. Member adults $52, children $26; nonmember adults $55, children $29, children under 4 free.

24 Friday Santa’s Arrival. CambridgeSide, 100 Cambridgeside Pl., Cambridge. 10 a.m. Welcome in the holiday season as jolly-old Saint Nicholas arrives at the newly renovated CambridgeSide. Free. Giving Thanks for Nature. Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, 208 South Great Rd., Lincoln. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Spend your Black Friday outside in nature, as we walk through the sanctuary as local artists give trailside performances, with crafts and activities giving thanks for nature. Free. Game On. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Visit our outdoor lawn area to challenge a friend to a game of Giant Chess, Colossal Connect Four, or Yard Yahtzee, with more games available for your imagination. Through Sunday. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Thanksgiving Weekend Crafts. Concord Museum, 200 Lexington Rd., Concord. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Get crafty with special projects related to the children’s books featured in the museum galleries. Through Saturday. Free with admission. Members

Picture Book Theatre Presents: Nocturn & Mouse’s Birthday. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 1 p.m. & 2:30 p.m. Jane Yolen’s stories come to life with large string puppets and scenery, as mother and son explore a summer’s night with a flashlight, and a mouse celebrates his birthday on the farm. Through Saturday. Members $4.50, nonmembers $5. Friday After Thanksgiving (F.A.T.) Chain Reaction. MIT’s Rockwell Cage Gymnasium, 120 Vassar St., Cambridge. 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Celebrate the 20th annual Friday After Thanksgiving Rube-Goldberginspired event, as families, friends, and kids enjoy hands-on activities, choreographed machines, and lots of fun. Adults $12.50, youths 5 and up $5, children under 5 free. ZooLights. Stone Zoo, 149 Pond Street, Stoneham. Nov. 24-Dec. 31, 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Get into the holiday spirit by strolling along tree-lined paths lit by thousands of twinkling lights. Meet the reindeer up close during nightly photo opportunities. Tickets start at $7, in addition to regular Zoo admission price. KidsJam. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., Boston. 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Enjoy this all-ages dance party, featuring a live DJ, dance lessons, games, and of course, plenty of dancing. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $1, children under 1 free. The Nutcracker. The Hanover Theatre for Performing Arts, 2 Southbridge St., Worcester. 7 p.m. Welcome in the holiday season as Clara and her courageous nutcracker take center stage during this ballet with a full-sized, live orchestra. Through Sunday. $28-$40.

25 Saturday Play Date: Collecting Nature. The Institute of Contemporary Art: Boston, 25 Harbor Shore Dr., Boston. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Explore the natural world in new ways as we step inside the experience of artists Mark Dion through gallery activities and art-making investigations. Free. Where the Wild Things Are. Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline. 10:30 a.m. Watch as director Spike Jonze adapts Maurice Sendak’s beloved children’s book, as a sensitive and rambunctious boy meets mysterious and strange creatures with wild emotions. Recommended for ages 7 and up. Adults $9, children $7.

Book Tickets Online to guarantee entry! LEGO, the LEGO logo, the Brick and Knob configurations, the Minifigure and LEGOLAND are trademarks of the LEGO Group. ©2017 The LEGO Group. © & ™ Lucasfilm Ltd.

BAYSTATEPARENT 43 LDC Boston Parent Publication Ads_starwars_2.065 x 10_75_4.indd 10/5/17 4:11 1 PM

OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! Nature Journaling. Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill St., Mattapan. 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Explore the sanctuary and write about and draw Brunch with Santa. Old Sturbridge Village, 1 plants, rocks, birds, and other interesting animals, Old Sturbridge Village Rd., Sturbridge. 10 a.m.-2 as you bring your own special journal or create p.m. Enjoy a wide selection of brunch items, and one at the BNC. For ages 7 and up. Register kick-off the holiday season as you meet the jolliest ahead. Members $5, nonmembers $7. massauduman around. Reserve ahead. Adults $27, children ages 4 to 12 $14, children under 4 free.

26 Sunday

Kitchen Ka-Boom. Berkshire Museum, 39 South St., Pittsfield. 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Join us for some science fun and experiments, as we test concepts through ingredients that can be found in any kitchen. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $13, children ages 4 to 17 $6, children under 4 free. Special Storytime: Astrid Sheckels. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 2 p.m. Astrid Sheckels reads her book Hector Fox and the Raven’s Revenge, the second in her series following the adventure of Hector and his charming band of forest creatures. Free with admission. Adults $9, children 1 and up $6, children under 1 free. The Lion King. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 2 p.m. Join us as we present this Disney film following a lion as he learns to love and forgive himself alongside a cast of characters and songs that have made this animated film a new classic. Free.

Support and Strategies for Parents of Infants Through Teens

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December 14-17 Shubert Theatre

Visit our website for more information


6 Colonial Drive Suite 2, Westboro, MA 508-366-7557

Sylvia Sirignano, Ph.D. Developmental Psychologist, Director



GROUPS OF 10+ CALL 617.532.1116 Boch Center is a trademark of The Wang Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.

Individual Parent Consultations Marital Mediation • Divorce Mediation Post-divorce Mediation and Consultation

Why Did the Turkey Cross the Road? Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill St., Mattapan. 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Create turkey track posters, examine feathers under a microscope, and create a special craft to take home, as we search the sanctuary for turkey signs, and hope to catch a glimpse of a flock. For families with children ages 5 and up. Register ahead. Member children $5, nonmember children $7, adults free.

28 Tuesday Toddler Tuesday: Thanksgiving. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston, 598 Assembly Row, Somerville. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Join us in the DUPLO Farm area as we explore parts of LEGOLAND together, and enjoy the autumnal season with a special Thanksgiving-theme day proving it’s never too late to enjoy leftovers. $16, children under 2 free. Backyard and Beyond: Lantern Light-Up. The Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Use materials to make a one-ofa-kind lantern for an early evening procession through Fairyborough at 4:15 p.m. Free with admission. Members free, nonmembers $12.50, children under 1 free. Elf The Musical. Wang Theatre, 270 Tremont St., Boston. 7 p.m. The musical adaptation of the holiday classic that follows Buddy the Elf, who embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity, and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. Through Dec. 10. Tickets $37.50+.

29 Wednesday Animals & Art: Building a Home. Habitat Education and Wildlife Sanctuary, 10 Juniper Rd., Belmont. 3:30 p.m.- 5 p.m. Create a home for a painted turtle, a green frog, snails, or another inspiration using natural materials, watercolors, oil pastels, pens, beads, features, and more. For ages 6 to 10. Register ahead. Members $15, nonmembers $18.

30 Thursday Amazing Me. The Children’s Museum in Easton, 9 Sullivan Ave., North Easton. 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Explore your senses and learn about other cool jobs your body does. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $9.

Our pediatrics department

TEAMKIDS makes every kid feel like a star player.

Our pediatrics department is currently accepting new patients. Find a pediatrician and learn more about our child- and family-centered services at

Reliant-33403 Summer 2017 Pediatric Print_925x11.indd 1

BAYSTATEPARENT 45 8/21/17 10:57 AM


Quick Ways to Declutter Your 5 Home Hot Spots BY TRACY MCCUBBIN Why declutter? The answer is easy: Decluttering saves you time and money. It also improves your health and happiness. Being cluttered eats up a lot of time: time looking for your keys, looking for the mail to pay the bills, or trying to find an outfit to wear to work that day. And think about the real cost of clutter. How about all the clothes in your closet with the tags still on them? Or the pantry items you buy again and again because you can’t find the mustard you bought the last time you went to the store? And let’s talk what you are paying for off-site storage spaces: $100 a month? $150 a month? It’s no wonder everyone is talking about decluttering. Here are some of my favorite tips to tackle the clutter room by room, and in turn, live a happier and healthier life:

Kitchen • Tackle Tupperware (or all food storage). Pull it all out and make sure every top has a bottom and every bottom has top. If not — out! • Spices. Contrary to what my grandmother believed, spices do not last forever; they eventually lose their flavor. Ground spices last 3 to 4 years and leafy spices 1 to 2 years. Here’s a quick tip: Write the year the spice was purchased on the lid.

Living Room • Take a look around the room and see what items have homes/places to which they can return. Sometimes a quick returning of things to proper homes will declutter a room in a very short time. • Magazines. These are the first item to make a room feel cluttered, and they are the last thing to be reread. Be honest about the time and interest you have, and recycle them.

Bathroom • Start under the bathroom sink. That’s the first place to become a clutter catch-all. Cleaning products you no longer use. Out. Bath toys the kids have outgrown? Out.

• How about sunscreen? It’s designed to last for 3 years, but if it’s older than that, it loses its effectiveness.

Bedroom • Declutter those nightstands. Nothing gets the day off to a bad start than waking up to a pile of clutter. How many of the books stacked there are you actually going to read? • We wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. Let’s get real about all the clothes spilling out of our closet. Doesn’t fit? Out. Regret buying it and will never wear it? Out!

Garage • Only 25% of Americans can park their cars in their garages. Garages are the biggest offenders of clutter. Start with sports equipment. Broken, worn out, no one plays that sport anymore? Out. • Boxes of old paperwork? Check with your tax advisor about what you need to keep and shred the rest! If it’s a lot more than your little home shredder can hold, consider calling a mobile shred company. It is best to divide these projects into manageable time chunks. Remember, Rome didn’t get cluttered in a day, so it’s not going to get uncluttered in one. Tracy McCubbin is a professional organizer and founder of dClutterfly. Her goal: “Making order out of chaos, one pile of clutter at a time.” You can learn more at, @tracy_mccubbin on Twitter, or

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Based on R.J. Palacio’s New York Times bestseller, Wonder tells the story of August Pullman. Born with facial differences that until now have prevented him from going to a mainstream school, Auggie becomes the most unlikely of heroes when he enters the local fifth grade. As his family, his new classmates, and the larger community all struggle to discover their compassion and acceptance, Auggie’s extraordinary journey will unite them all and prove you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out. Directed by Stephen Chbosky, this movie stars Jacob Tremblay, Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson.

New movies coming to theaters this month By Jane Louise Boursaw

The Man Who Invented Christmas • Rated PG for thematic elements and some mild language • In theaters: Nov. 22 • OK for kids 9+ • Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels


This family movie tells of the magical journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer), Tiny Tim, and other classic characters from A Christmas Carol. The film shows how Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) mixed real-life inspirations with his vivid imagination to conjure up unforgettable characters and a timeless tale, forever changing the holiday season into the celebration we know today.


• Rated PG for thematic elements, including bullying and some mild language. • In theaters: Nov. 17 • OK for kids 9+ • Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

Justice League • • • •

Not yet rated; likely PG-13 In theaters: Nov. 17 OK for kids 13+ Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes — Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, and The Flash — it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions. Directed by Zack Snyder with a screenplay by Joss Whedon and Chris Terrio, this movie also stars Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Willem Dafoe, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, and J.K. Simmons.


1 Reel - Even the force can’t save it. 2 Reels - Coulda been a contender. 3 Reels - Something to talk about. 4 Reels - You want the truth? Great flick! 5 Reels - Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.

Jane Louise Boursaw is the editor of reellifewithjane. com and

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Big Joe

the Storyteller

Storytelling fun for Birthday Parties, Schools, Daycare Centers, Library Programs, Special Events and TV Featuring: • Original & Classic Stories • Puppets, Props and Surprises For Bookings and Info Call: 617-713-4349 E-mail: Visit me on the web at:

All Ages. Birthday Parties, Schools, Fairs, Day Care Centers, Etc.

Hostess Wanted! Host an online party and build a home library for FREE! 617-633-2832

November INDEX

Associates in Otolaryngology............................... 2 Bay State Skating School................................... 18 Big Joe Productions........................................... 49 Big Y Foods, Inc................................................. 13 Boch Performing Arts Center............................. 18 Boch Performing Arts Center............................. 40 Boch Performing Arts Center............................. 44 Boston Paintball................................................ 49 Children's Development Network, Inc.................. 6 Children's Orchard-Westboro............................. 11 Commonwealth Ballet....................................... 19 Community VNA................................................ 38 Ecotarium......................................................... 23 Fletcher Tilton PC............................................... 32 FMC Ice Sports..................................................... 4 Hanover Theatre............................................... 20 Hanover Theatre............................................... 30 Harrington Oil..................................................... 5 Heifer Project Internt'l...................................... 39 Heywood Hospital............................................. 29 Kids Zone Dental............................................... 35 Legoland Discovery Center Boston..................... 43 Mall At Whitney Field........................................ 12 Mary Baker Eddy Library (The)......................... 39 Millbury Federal Credit Union............................ 50 Needham Montessori School.............................. 18 New England Cord Blood Bank Inc..................... 25 Parenting Solutions........................................... 44 Paula Meola Dance........................................... 41 Reliant Medical Group....................................... 45 Rosalita's Puppets............................................. 49 Seven Hills Charter School................................. 33 Shrewsbury Children's Center............................ 11 Shrewsbury Montessori School........................... 21 St. Vincent Hospital............................................. 3 Ultimate Obstacles............................................. 42 UMass Memorial Medical Center........................ 33 UMass Memorial Medical Center........................ 38 UMass Memorial Medical Center........................ 52 Unplug & Be Mindful Yoga................................ 48 Wachusett Mountain.......................................... 25 Worcester Railers Hockey.................................. 46 WXLO................................................................. 9 WXLO............................................................... 46


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Over the past 20 years, A Christmas Story has become an American holiday classic, alongside staples like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, and the granddaddy of them all, A Christmas Carol. A musical version of the 1983 movie, which was based on a semi-fictional short story by writer Jean Shepherd, kicks off its national tour at The Hanover Theatre in Worcester, Nov. 9-12. Actor Chris Carsten (above left), who plays Jean Shepherd in A Christmas Story, The Musical, got us in the holiday spirit, talking about the film, the musical, and parenting on the road.

you a fan of the movie before being You play Jean Shepherd, who narrated the You’ve played some great male leads — Henry 1film! IWere 4 6 hired for the musical? Yes, I was a fan of the movie and was unseen except for a blinkHiggins, John Adams. What is your dream still am, of course. Interestingly enough, I was and-you’ll-miss-it cameo. Yet in the musical, musical theatre role? I have had the great good formost taken with the voiceover during the film. I found the energy of the person doing it to be fascinating and hilarious! Turns out it was none other than Jean Shepherd himself, and here I am playing that role!

do you think A Christmas Story 2think Why resonates so strongly with viewers? I it resonates so well because it has such universal

appeal. The story is so well told and unique from other Christmas fare, yet people identify with its message. Toss in the quirks and charm and people, and it is a real winning formula.

a husband and father who’s on the 3How You’re road, and for this tour, during the holidays. do you make tour life work with your

family, especially over the holidays? Thank goodness for apps like FaceTime and Skype! Of course, it isn’t ideal, but we make do the best we can. In years past, we have made road trips to different venues over Christmas so we could be together. We researched the cities we were in to find fun things to do as a family and spent Christmas Day together, and they would of course come to the show. 50 NOVEMBER2017

you’re onstage throughout the show. How does having two Ralphies onstage together affect the story? When I approach playing Jean, I like to portray a sense that not only am I telling the story, but in some ways reliving it. It gives the audience a chance to see how the events affected the character. The narrator doesn’t get much opportunity to interact with other characters during the show, but on occasion he will share some moments with young Ralphie that give an extra bounce of remembrance and recognition. Having a person on stage kind of gives the audience something to look at when young Ralphie is feeling the things I am saying.

you have a favorite song or scene in the 5to pickDoshow, and does that favorite change? It is tough favorite moments in the show because I have so many,

and the cast is always so wonderful to work with, as are the crew and artistic staff. I have always given a nod to the Mother character in our productions because she feels so grounded when everything seems to be spinning out of control. Her songs are beautiful, and she makes you feel like everything is going to be fine. That’s just me, but there are so many wonderful ingredients in the story you really can’t miss when you choose to come and spend time with our show.

tune to be a part of a lot of great productions over the years, and I am very thankful for those terrific opportunities. Maybe one role I would like to tackle in the time I have left is Sweeney Todd. I am sure there are others, but that one comes to mind.

is your advice for children who are inter7best What ested in musical theatre? And how can parents support that? Start as young as you can to train

your body and mind to compete. There is a lot of talent out there, and you have to be as good as you can be to put yourself in a position to succeed. Learning to play an instrument and taking dance classes are something to consider as well, and talking to people you know who can help you be in the right place at the right time. Parental support is also a major factor. I have always heard that persistence is necessary to overcome the many challenges and hurdles in this business.

When TBS runs its annual A Christmas 8Christmas Story marathon between Christmas Eve and Day, do you tune in? I am sure I will be,

either by watching on TV or popping in a DVD! It is going to be a great show and a great holiday season!

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