Massachusettsâ€™ Premier Magazine For Families Since 1996
The Food Issue
t a b le o f
febru ary 2020
vo lu me 2 4
n u mb e r 1 0
Mom fights to close food allergy safety loophole
on the cover: Little chef Raymond Portalatin, 18 months, of Worcester. Photo by Pebbles and Polka Dots Photography in Holden pebblesandpolkadotsphotography.com
5 Great Cookbooks for Kids & Families
features 16 Parents’ tips for taking kids out to eat
22 Local schools, state bill focus on ‘anti-vaxxers’
Date night? This local restaurant offers babysitting while you dine
24 Rethinking homework: how much is too much?
in every issue
6 Editor’s Note 7 Freebies 8 Good to Know 9 Finally Forever 10 Herding Goofballs 11 Fave Four 15 Very Special People 35 Take Eight
18 Food for Thought
26 The List: 10 Winter Festivals in the Bay State
19 Nutrition: Are They Hungry or Bored?
20 Goose’s Goodies: Cupid’s
28 Adventures: 75+ Things to Do This Month
baystateparent 8 president PAUL M. PROVOST
If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
associate publisher KATHY REAL BENOIT 508-767-9525 firstname.lastname@example.org
CREATIVE editor in chief AMANDA COLLINS BERNIER 508-767-9526 email@example.com creative director SHIELA NEALON 508-793-9121 firstname.lastname@example.org
Potatoes. Mashed, baked, fried, chips — I don’t discriminate when it comes to
Lobster! I am such a lobster fanatic I use my leftover butter on my toast the next morning.
sales manager JEREMY WARDWELL 508-767-9574 email@example.com account executive KATHY PUFFER 508-767-9544 firstname.lastname@example.org account executive REGINA STILLINGS 508-767-9546 email@example.com
Mexican food. Refried beans and rice — perfect comfort food.
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Does Lasagna count as one food? It’s technically several delicious items all layered into the perfect comfort food. Now my mouth is watering.
Believe it or not, it’s time to start thinking about summer camp! Our annual camp guide has everything you need to get your family ready to have a blast this summer. Plus, we’re celebrating Maple Month with a roundup of the best maple events the state has to offer, giving you tips to put together an epic egg hunt, and lots more!
My s g n i h T e Fa vo rit editor’s note Not only is February the month of love, it’s also National Avocado Month. This creamy fruit is a staple in my house. It was one of my son’s first foods and he loves it so much, he actually dressed up as an avocado for Halloween! Over 105 million pounds of avocados will be consumed this month on Super Bowl Sunday alone. The Pats might not be playing, but I’ll still be enjoying in a big bowl of guac.
I never thought I’d be that mom that put her kid on a leash, but here we are. This isn’t really a leash -- it’s an adorable, functional backpack with a harness. The Perry Mackin Toddler Harness Backpack isn’t the only harnessed bag my 2-year-old has, but it’s my favorite. I love that the rein is detachable (for when we don’t need the “leash”) and that it has an insulated interior (perfect for my little snack monster!).
February might be the month of love, but at baystateparent, it’s the month of food. This is our second annual Food Issue. I mean, who doesn’t love food? Makes sense, right? This month kicks off with Super Bowl Sunday, and even though we won’t be watching our beloved Pats take the field, chances are we’ll still be indulging in some game day grub. After all, the Super Bowl is the second largest “food holiday” in the United States, second only to Thanksgiving. On this one day alone, Americans will eat over 1.25 billion chicken wings. Billion! Then we move on to Valentine’s Day; a holiday synonymous with candy hearts and boxed chocolates. It’s also the second-busiest day of the year for restaurants, second to Mother’s Day. Take a moment to think of any holiday – or occasion or gathering for that matter – that doesn’t involve food in some fundamental way. Having trouble? I’m not surprised. We live in a food-centric society. Much of family life also centers around food. Chances are, as a parent, you think every day about what you’re feeding your children. A family’s “food life” is about more than nourishing bodies – it can be the source of lifelong habits and long-held traditions. In this issue, we’re looking at all sorts of issues centering around families and food. You’ll meet a Massachusetts mom who is on a crusade to close a loophole in the state’s current food allergy laws. You’ll find our favorite new cookbooks for kids and families. And, we’ll tell you about a local restaurant that will babysit your kids for you while you enjoy a date night (yes, dreams really do come true!). Plus you’ll find lots of family-friendly things to do this month, that don’t revolve around food. Our calendar of February Adventures has more than 75 ideas for family fun. And be sure to check out The List, where you’ll find some fabulous Winter Festivals to bundle up for. So go ahead... dig in!
New picture book “A Ride to Remember - A Civil Rights Story,” by Sharon Langley and Amy Nathan is a personal story about how something as simple as a carousel ride can make a powerful statement on equality. This moving tale of a Civil Rights landmark event is told for children through the eyes of a young girl, and shows that anyone can help change the world. I especially love that it includes a timeline of key Civil Rights events at the end of the book. A great read for kids ages 6-9.
I’m loving this idea I’ve seen shared on social media: Every day starting Feb. 1 and going through Valentine’s Day, write something you love about your child on a heartshaped piece of paper and tape it to their door or bathroom mirror. Just think of the excitement on their face every morning as they wake up looking for their new compliment.
Freebies! Check out some of the goodies we’re giving away in February! Make sure you follow us on Facebook for your chance to win and to be in-the-know for other surprise freebies throughout the month.
Wood Shop: Projects for Kids Do you have a budding builder in your house? Wood Shop, by Margaret Larson, provides a complete introduction to the age-old, hands-on tradition of building with wood. The book has 17 creative projects for children ages 8 to 12.
Buddha Board Mini Mess-free painting? Yes, please! The Buddha Board is a “canvas” that comes with a sturdy waterproof stand and premium bamboo paintbrush. Paint a design with water, then watch it disappear as the water evaporates. No ink, paint, or chemicals. We’re giving a mini version, perfect for keeping kids occupied on-the-go. Recommended for ages 5+.
Children’s Cookbooks Try some delicious new recipes and teach your children some useful, real-life skills. In honor of our second annual Food Issue, we’re giving away an array of the newest cookbooks for kids! BAYSTATEPARENT 7
good to know There’s a new Girl Scout cookie in town. Along with those bingeable Thin Mints and Samoas, this year, those adorable salespeople in green vests are peddling something a little more tart. Lemon-Ups have joined the lineup, a crispy lemon cookie baked with messages inspired by Girl Scout entrepreneurs like “I am a go-getter” or “I am an innovator.” Also new is the Girl Scout’s refreshed cookie packaging with updated images featuring the diverse range of experiences available to scouts. Cookie sales kicked off last month and will continue through the first week of March.
February 17 is National Random Acts of Kindness Day. Sometimes it’s the smallest act that makes the biggest impact, turn a day around, and make a life seem that much better. On this day, get out there and be the light you want to see in the world… and encourage your kids to do the same.
The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes is accepting applications for the 2020 awards. The organization annually honors 25 outstanding young leaders ages 8 to 18 who have made a significant positive difference to people and the environment. Fifteen top winners each receive $10,000 to support their service work or higher education. Know a deserving kiddo? Go to barronprize.org for all the details. Applications are due by April 15. 8 FEBRUARY2020
Nearsightedness on the rise in kids More kids are having trouble seeing things farther away and are needing glasses earlier in their lives, according to new research. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the incidence of nearsightedness in the U.S. has nearly doubled to 42% since 1971. Although doctors have reported seeing more kids with nearsightedness, dry eye and eye strain, screentime isn’t the only culprit. A 2019 AAO study found a part of the increase is due to “near-work activities.” Along with looking at screens, looking at anything close up for long periods of time can have an impact - including books. The study also found that spending time outdoors can slow the progression of nearsightedness. To help slow the progression of nearsightedness, here are a few tips for parents: • Remind kids to hold a device 18 inches away • Take breaks (every 20 minutes) • Adjust the brightness on screens • Get outside • Filter out blue light on screens
‘Supervised’ teen drinking isn’t safe, experts warn Parents make a difference in the long run when it comes to adolescents and alcohol, experts say. Permissiveness sends the wrong message. Permitting children under 21 to drink in an effort to “supervise” and expose them to alcohol safely has been linked to earlier and heavier drinking in adolescence, said Dr. George F. Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Following the ‘European model’ or attempting to train kids to drink responsibly doesn’t work. Countries like France and the United Kingdom have a big problem with binge drinking,” Koob said. The good news is that underage drinking is on the decline in the United States, and has been steadily for the past 15 years, Koob said. The bad news is that about one-quarter of high school seniors binge drink, as do about onethird of college seniors, he said. The main reason experts advise against allowing kids under 21 to drink is biological; it can
harm the brain’s frontal cortex, the area responsible for decision making, Koob said. “Even playing around with a few sips (of alcohol) is not proven to be beneficial,” he said. Common sense comes into play, though. If alcohol is part of a religious ceremony, that is OK, Koob said. “Permissiveness about alcohol sends the wrong message. Teens see a green light to drink. The most compelling data we have shows that excessive drinking under 21 is not good for brain development,” he said. A few sips of alcohol is not going to do lasting damage, but as a matter of practice it’s a better idea to wait. “Nothing bad is going to happen if you don’t allow your child to drink,” Koob said. For more information, go to the National Institutes of Health’s Rethinking Drinking website, rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov. -Melissa Erikson
February’s Child: Meet Dhamanjie Hi, my name is Dhamanjie and I love to build with Legos! Dhamanjie is an easygoing 14-yearold boy of African American descent. He has a good sense of humor and enjoys making others laugh. In his downtime, Dhamanjie enjoys watching cartoons with his favorite superheroes and playing with his Lego sets. Dhamanjie is a smart student who is thriving academically. Legally free for adoption, Dhamanjie is in need of permanent and loving home where he could gradually transition. He will do well in a single or two-parent family that can give him a lot of attention, structure and consistency. Dhamanjie visits with his siblings a few times per year, and this should continue once a placement is identified.
Can you provide the guidance, love and stability that a child needs? If you’re at least 18 years old, have a stable source of income, and room in your heart, you may be a perfect match to adopt a waiting child. Adoptive parents can be single, married, or partnered; experienced or not; renters or homeowners; LGBTQ singles and couples. The process to adopt a child from foster care requires training, interviews, and home visits to determine if adoption is right for you, and if so, to help connect you with a child or sibling group that your family will be a good match for. To learn more about adoption from foster care, call the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) at 617-964-6273 or visit www. mareinc.org.
ask an expert
: What is “open adoption?”
: Many of the children waiting for adoption are still at “legal risk” which means that their parent’s legal rights have not been terminated by the court. Others are legally freed for adoption. However, in many cases when a legally freed child is placed and adopted by a family, it is in the best interest of the child to keep a healthy connection to his or her biological family. This is known as “open adoption.” The open adoption agreement is a legally binding document determined by the judge which allows adoptive parents, and often the adopted child, to interact with the child’s birth parents. Openness can vary greatly from family to family and may change over time. Communication may happen through letters, emails, social media exchanges, telephone calls, or visits. Visitation might take place at visitation centers supervised by a third party social worker. While some families may exchange brief notes and photos, others may spend more time together and celebrate birthdays or holidays together. The frequency of contact will be decided by the judge and can range from one to six visit per year. — Ricardo L. Frano, a Family Support Services Coordinator at MARE Inc. BAYSTATEPARENT 9
BY JOSH FARNSWORTH ILLUSTRATION BY KIRA BEAUDOIN
The dinner table. For some, it’s a dying institution; a common indictment on the slipping values we have as fine, outstanding human beings. We romanticize the American dinner table. Maybe too much at times we are clinging to some piece of yesterday. For me, having dinner with my wife and two goofballs is less about some stuffy tradition and more about location. During the work week, I see the kids briefly in the morning as we all try to get ready for work/school/play and then for a couple hours before their collective wave of raw energy finally fizzles and they are forced to sleep. You know, so they can gather strength for another wave tomorrow. Dinner is common ground; a coming together. It’s the one time all day I can count on that we are all accounted for, doing the same thing and generally awake enough to appreciate each other’s company. Everyone needs to eat. But maybe, in part, I am doing dinner wrong. Maybe we need to be more forward-thinking when it comes to the dinner experience to make it enjoyable for all, while ensuring the kiddos still get their necessary infusion of food before bed. Because, if they skimp on the eating, my kids love to remind 10 FEBRUARY2020
me as they are being tucked in that they are starving, and I am a cruel, heartless dictator that wants famine upon this house. Roll the eyes and pass the tissues. Here are some tips I either use or intend to use in order to establish my dinner table. Change the venue Sitting at the same slab of wood day after day can get a bit redundant. If your living space allows for it, try to set up dinner in another room once a week to keep things fresh. When it is nice out (Writer’s note: Keep this column when it becomes warmer than, let’s say, the freezing mark), move dinner outside for some fresh perspective. Just be sure to make it lighter fare, as the bugs and ants will also approve of this venue and move in. Clock it When hungry enough, my kids do great impressions of wood chippers—buzzing through food with only the sawdust of a few crumbs left minutes later. Sometimes, my kids are in such a rush to return to what they were doing, they eat like they are defusing a bomb in the
other room. “No time, dad. I NEEEEEEED to get back in there. The world depends on me!” Yes, if any theatre groups need more young drama students, dinner is around 5:30 every night at the Farnsworth residence. Set a time for how long they need to stay at the table. This means even if they finish dinner, they still need to be there for eight full minutes. Use an egg timer or one of those clocks they use in chess that you can stop and restart just in case they need the restroom during dinner. Don’t snub the TV One of the biggest no-nos for many growing up was having the television spinning out light and sound and distracting families from eating. That small attention span and childish mind is easily distracted sometimes from the tastiest of foods. But enough about me. Once a week, find a program that everybody can like (or at least highly tolerate). Make it a bonding experience and serve popcorn and hot chocolate on the side like it’s dinner and a show.
Club members only My father-in-law is fond of reminding my kids and their little cousins that those who finish all their food become instantly a member of the coveted Empty Plate Club. It’s a blue collar club; not one of those pretentious organizations with blazers and fancy lapels. Mostly, it’s about high-fives. And while I understand young kids should not be forced to stay and shove every spoonful down their young throats, it does help motivate them when all they want to do is climb down from the chair and return to their mountain of toys. Consider some form of praise like this, but make it more about their focus and time spent with them than the actual empty plate. Posture is for suckers More accurately, I think it’s so much more important to put my time and energy into positive encouragement for being together in the same place. Reminding them a dozen times per meal to sit stiffer than a statue is like an English major constantly correcting your grammar while you watch
your favorite movie. Unless they are slouching so much that they have melted off the chair, just stop. Turn off that filter and eat. In fact, for more energetic kids, allow them to stand for at least half the meal, as long as they stay tableside during supper. A dinner table may not be the American tradition we remember as younger human beings. But for these currently young human beings, maybe some of these ideas will help. In the end, it’s not about a slab of wood you sit around, it’s about who you sit around the slab of wood with. Good luck. And from one cruel, heartless dictator to another, here’s to hoping your dinner table is common ground you can all appreciate. Josh Farnsworth is a husband, father of goofballs Cooper and Milo, goofball himself, and award-winning writer and columnist living in Worcester. He can be reached for column ideas at josh. email@example.com.
Play with your food? Why not? Check out these four finds that make mealtime more fun for kids… and a little easier on mom and dad.
With the bulldozer pusher, forklift, and front loader spoon, your little builder will always be excited to clean his or her plate with this Construction Plate & Utensil set. The pieces have textured, easy-to-grip handles for little hands. $14.95. uncommongoods.com.
2. Have a “selective” eater? Pick-Ease is a utensil specially designed for children who are picky eaters. Created by a mom who found that her toddler thought things tasted better when eaten from a toothpick, these picks are safe, fun, and work with all kinds of foods. $8.99. pick-ease.com.
From a plastic truck to a unicorn or “taco-saurus,” you can find dozens of fun taco stands online. We love the silly Liberty Taco Holder by Barbuzzo, with little green Army men to protect your little one’s dinner from sneaky siblings. The tray could also hold crackers, waffles, sandwiches, pizza and other snacks. $14.99. amazon.com.
4. No more hard, plastic booster seats. This Booster Seat Cushion by Zicac is made from a high-density soft sponge with a machine-washable cover. Adjustable belts fit many different size seats, and kids can even slip it on as a backpack to take on the go. $24.99. amazon.com. BAYSTATEPARENT 11
Mom fights to close food allergy safety loophole
BY DEBBIE LAPLACA
ripp Hollister wants to feel safe when he’s dining out with his family. So, when the 14-year-old with a peanut allergy asked his mom, Nicole Arpiarian, what she would do if their state senate bill died in committee this year, she assured him: “I will try again.” Arpiarian’s determination brought about the bill titled “An Act to Improve Food Allergy Awareness” filed by Sen. Cynthia Stone Creem early last year after Tripp suffered a near-death experience in a Cambridge restaurant. The bill, that has been with the Joint Committee
Sudbury’s Tripp Hollister testifies before the Joint Committee on Public Health while his sister, Penelope, and Sen. Cynthia Creem look on. 12 FEBRUARY2020
Nicole Arpiarian, second from left, is championing a bill that would tighten the state’s current food industry law regarding food allergies. She is pictured with her daughter Penelope Hollister, Sen. Cynthia Creem, son Tripp Hollister and husband Matt Hollister after a hearing before the Joint Committee on Public Health last year. on Public Health for nearly a year, Arpiarian said, is designed to close a “loophole” in the state’s current food industry law regarding food allergy protections. Creem became her senate ally in introducing the bill. “I have a long involvement in food allergy safety,” Creem said. “Some of my own family members have food allergies and I share the concerns that many individuals face around accidental exposure. This new bill would simply provide an extra layer of protection for consumers to decrease the risk of an allergic reaction.” The measure seeks to amend state law Chapter 140 section 6B “Food Allergy Awareness” by inserting language that would require restaurants to have on duty a person trained in food allergy issues. This person would then oversee the coordination of safe food preparation for customers who identify food allergies. Creem spearheaded the adoption of the food allergy awareness law many years ago. “I was the sponsor of first-in-the-nation legislation promoting food allergy safety in restaurants that was signed into law in 2009,” Creem said, adding, “I filed [the new bill] to build on the existing law after hearing from families who are still concerned about exposure to allergens when dining out.” The existing law requires persons licensed to serve
food to prominently display for staff allergy reaction awareness information developed by the state Department of Public Health in consultation with the Massachusetts Restaurant Association and the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network. The law also called upon the public health department to develop a voluntary program for restaurants to receive a “Food Allergy Friendly” designation and to maintain a listing of those restaurants on its website. The designation requires restaurants to, in part, maintain on the premises, and make available to the public, a master list of all the ingredients used in the preparation of each food item offered. Further, the law requires food menus to alert customers of their obligation to inform the server of food allergies and calls for a designated person to be trained and in charge. What the law doesn’t do, Arpiarian said, is require the person in charge to be in the restaurant when food is served. “The slight flaw was that when they wrote the initial language, it said one person on staff must be trained in allergy awareness, but it failed to say that that person has to be on duty,” Arpiarian said. Tripp, of Sudbury, was in the Cambridge restaurant on Super Bowl Sunday in 2018 when his parents watched him go into anaphylactic shock. Arpiarian
said she had informed their server of his peanut allergy, yet a strawberry pastry he ordered for dessert contained peanut butter. An epi-pen he carries saved his life, but the remainder of Super Bowl Sunday was spent in the hospital. Tripp’s experience led to the realization that the law required an amendment. At a Joint Committee on Public Health public hearing in September, Tripp relayed his experience to lawmakers considering Sen. Creem’s bill. Although the new language to ensure proper communication between servers and kitchen staff seems to stem from common sense, representatives of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association have reportedly pushed back calling the measure redundant to existing law. Yet, Arpiarian said, no one spoke against the bill during the hearing. “We have 15 co-sponsors which I guess is very impressive because I’m all so very new at this,” Arpiarian said. “We’re not asking them (restaurants) to change anything in their menu, we’re just asking for customers to be aware of what is used in the kitchen.” A spokesperson for Sen. Creem said the Joint Committee on Public Health has until February 5 to act on the bill. If the committee reports favorably on the bill, it’ll go to the next step, which would likely be another committee. If it goes to the Senate for a vote, and passes, the bill would then go to the House for a vote. If the bill doesn’t make it to the governor before the legislative session ends on July 31, it’s dead. “If it dies in committee, will work with the senator’s office to file again because it’s important; it affects all of our lives,” Arpiarian said. “The issue really needs the attention and it’s good for kids to see they have a voice and how our political system works.” If the bill passes the senate and house, it will take effect 90 days after the governor signs it. Debbie LaPlaca is a veteran journalist, photographer, and joyful mom of two living in Central Massachusetts.
Mass. Laws on Food Allergies & Restaurants • Restaurants in Massachusetts are required by law to display a food allergy awareness poster in the staff area and include a notice on menus and menu boards that reads “Before placing your order, please inform your server if a person in your party has a food allergy.” • The law also includes food allergy training for certified food protection managers via a video, along with an accompanying training manual. • Restaurants in Massachusetts are required to have on staff a certified food protection manager who has been issued a Massachusetts certificate of allergen awareness training through a training program recognized by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. BAYSTATEPARENT 13
5 Great Cookbooks for kids and families
Cakes For Kids: 40 Easy Recipes That Will Wow You know those Instagramable cakes you see at the center of kids’ birthday parties? You can make one. Yes, you. “Cakes For Kids: 40 Easy Recipes That Will Wow” includes cake recipes for holidays, birthdays, or any fun occasion that are perfect to make with or for the children in your life. Start with one of four foolproof basic cakes to serve as your foundation (yogurt cake, chocolate cake, lemon cake, or vanilla sponge cake), choose your recipe, and get started! The easy-to-follow cake decorating instructions makes creating a masterpiece a piece of cake. From a roaring lion to a psychedelic caterpillar -- and everything in between -- there is a treat to suit any kid. $16.99. amazon.com.
Whether you want to get the kids cooking or are looking to refresh your recipe repertoire, check out these five new cookbooks. From creating incredible cakes and mastering kitchen basics to cutting sugar intake or going gluten-free, there’s a book for every family’s needs.
The Ultimate Kids Baking Book
20 Recipes Kids Should Know
From homemade whipped cream and a medley of frostings to a sticky pudding trifle and an epic chocolate layer cake, “The Ultimate Kids Baking Book” features 60 deceptively easy (and seriously decadent) desserts and treats. The book starts out with a chapter on “Becoming Bakers,” that gives kitchen newbies a helpful lesson in things like separating eggs, creaming together butter and sugar, and even rolling out cookie dough. With beautiful photographs and easy-to-follow instructions, kids will learn the basics of baking and substituting ingredients to making their own cakes from scratch with kid-safe steps. $21.99. amazon.com.
For kids, by kids, this book was cooked up by 12-year-old Esme Washburn. Her 17-year-old sister, Calista, supplied the photography. In “20 Recipes Kids Should Know” budding chefs will learn some kitchen basics with this book; there’s a guide to measurements, cooking terms and safety tips. Still, the recipes are pretty impressive and anything but bland. From a black bean soup made with chipotle chile in adobo, to popovers, to even fresh, homemade pasta, there are recipes that should appeal to kids of different ages and with various palates. $16.95. amazon.com.
Half the Sugar All the Love Children today consume about three times the recommended daily amount of sugar -- yikes! We all know that candy, cookies and soda are filled with sugar, but added sugar is everywhere—in salad dressings, in jarred tomato sauce, boxed mac and cheese, and even pre-sliced bread. With all this sugar lurking, how can one not only avoid it but make quick, easy, flavorful, low-sugar meals for the whole family? “Half the Sugar, All the Love” tackles all these issues and more. An eye-opening, informative, and practical guide for the busy modern parent, it’s filled with actionable expert advice alongside delicious, kid-tested recipes. Debunk sugar myths, see where added sugar often hides, and learn how to sweeten foods in a healthier way with fruits and veggies. $22.95. amazon.com.
Cauliflower Power One whole book for one little veggie? Proclaiming cauliflower as “the world’s most versatile vegetable,” this book offers up 75 gluten-free recipes covering breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert. In recent years, cauliflower has been having a moment -- showing up in everything from pizza crusts to pasta. This book helps you harness its adaptability to make everything from mac and cheese to chocolate mousse. $19.95. amazon.com.
nutrition tips 4 for kids with special needs
BY SAAD AND RAY DINNO
etting your child to eat a balanced meal can be difficult. Many parents have picky eaters, but perhaps even more challenging is navigating serious food allergies, intolerances and chronic health conditions on top of this. To help, we’ve put together some tips to keep in mind when it comes to feeding a child with dietary restrictions and other medical conditions.
Understand allergies and intolerances According to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), the eight major food allergens are milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and crustacean shellfish. Allergies to any of these foods can escalate into anaphylaxis, a severe, life-threatening reaction. Yet, many children also develop food intolerances and mild allergies over time that can make meal time complicated. Addressing and identifying troublesome foods can require eliminating them from your child’s diet for a substantial period of time, to see how they do without them. Allergy testing can also be used to fully understand
and evaluate a child’s allergies. If it seems your child struggles with an intolerance or mild allergy to an unknown food, one possible solution is to eliminate a certain food for a few weeks. When we eat problem foods too frequently, our bodies develop a delayed immune response, making it more challenging to locate the source of the issue. Eliminating a food and then reintroducing it weeks later will make an intolerance or mild allergy more apparent. However, be sure to consult your health provider before making any drastic adjustments in your child’s diet. Other options to alleviate symptoms include enzymes and probiotics that can help aid proper digestion. These can be found at your local pharmacy or grocery store.
Rebalance digestion Children diagnosed with ADHD often have digestive imbalances and altered gut microbiomes, sometimes caused by gluten and dairy. The gut, or “the second brain,” sends excitatory and calming neurotransmitters to our actual brain, and when our
gut is imbalanced, so are the neurotransmitters. Children with ADHD therefore have too many excitatory neurotransmitters and not enough calming ones, which can lead to hyperactivity and an inability to concentrate. Because of this gut-brain connection, a healthy micronutrient diet, probiotics and Omega 3s can help with your child’s ADHD symptoms. Fish oil supplements, which may be unpleasant smelling and tasting, can also help. Try incorporating these into a meal or even blending them with food. And, don’t forget that a good night’s sleep is also key to restoring the body’s natural balance.
Go easy on gluten Gluten intolerances are common, but not the same as celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that requires eliminating gluten from your diet altogether. Gluten can be challenging to avoid, as it is found in wheat, barley and rye – all very commonly consumed grains. Some common symptoms of a gluten intolerance include bloating, abdominal pain and irregular bowel movements.
If your child has a non-celiac gluten sensitivity, try to follow similar precautions as you would for celiac disease. The good news is that as more people are eliminating gluten from their diet; more gluten-free products are becoming available. Be sure to always check that products are labeled certified gluten-free before purchasing. And, don’t forget that many healthy and fresh foods are already gluten-free, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, lean meat, fish and poultry.
Remember the rainbow Overall, it is important that children consume a balanced and colorful plate. This means including fruits and vegetables of all colors of the rainbow: red peppers, oranges, squash, spinach, blueberries and blackberries. Beyond just fruit and veggies, children should consume a balanced portion of fats, carbs and protein. Where
we get these, however, makes a difference. For instance, carbohydrates should come from foods like potatoes or other vegetables. Fats should be healthy fats from avocados, nuts and olive oil and proteins should be lean cuts of meat, beans and fish. Understanding and identifying intolerances, allergies, digestive imbalances and the role of a healthy diet is critical to helping your child achieve optimal health. We hope these tips help you build a balanced plate specific to your child’s needs.
Pharmacists Raied (Ray) Dinno and Saad Dinno are co-owners of Acton Pharmacy, West Concord Pharmacy, and Keyes Drug in Newton.
Parents share their best tips for
dining out with kids Go to a place that’s NOT super quiet, look at the menu ahead of time to know what Know your child you all want, order fast, color and have realiswith the kids and relax! tic expectations. -Charisse M. Bring activities that they are into, Choose a buffet. They are understand what louder and more forgiving. Kids level of stimulation can try different things without and sitting still worrying too much about wast- they can handle ing money and they can get for their age and food right away. We play table abilities, discuss games like 20 questions and I rules before you spy or have one person close go inside, don’t their eyes while someone else panic if something moves or removes something doesn’t go as on the table. It’s not realistic to planned. expect children to behave like -Sophia M. adults and why should they need to? If you want a super quiet, chill, relaxing or romanMy 3-year-old loves pickles, tic night out, you’re better off so I order a little cup of pickles investing in a babysitter. If you right away and she is happy want to eat out as a family, you to snack on them. I never get need developmentally appropri- charged for them. ate expectations. -Becky H. -Melisa K.
Put your phones down and interact with them. So many times I see the parents on their phones yelling at the bored littles to sit and don’t touch anything. -Chris D.
Do it often. Have rules at home. Eat dinner as a family every night if possible. Follow the same rules out to eat. Sit in your seat. We also have our kids order for themselves. -Christie P.
Bring a “fun” bag to keep them busy. I like to keep specific toys/games in the bag that they are ONLY allowed to play with when we are out at a restaurant. That way it’s more of a novelty. My daughter is obsessed with Water Wows so I have a few that I rotate into the bag. -Julie Y.
We go to kid-friendly places so we don’t stick out too much if they get a little bored. Mexican places or places that serve popcorn tend to be a hit because they can snack as they wait. -Marissa V. Tip your server! -Meghan M.
We have “restaurant rules.” Stay seated, use utensils, indoor voice, say please and thank you, no handing off things on their plate. They get two warnings, then they are removed from the restaurant quietly and are taken to the car. We just say the words “restaurant rules” as we pull in to an eating establishment. -Jessica R.
Dinner date? This local restaurant will watch your kids while you dine
Since Baba launched Parents Night Out in October 2018, attendance has varied, ebbing with the season, Gallant said. On any given Thursday, they watch anywhere from a couple to dozen kids. There’s also a handful of regulars. “We’re kid-friendly,” said Gallant. “We don’t have a kids menu, but there is a huge slew of items on the menu that kids like to eat. Chicken tempura is kind of like chicken fingers… and yes, we have ketchup! Kids also love chicken and beef skewers, which is just like chicken or beef teriyaki served with white rice.” At any point during dinner, parents are welcome to check in on the kids, but they will probably be too busy enjoying their own dinner. The menu features award-winning sushi, Asian hot-
pot, and entrees that range from stirfry to filet mignon. Baba Sushi also offers babysitting services for private functions. Reservations for Parents Night Out are recommended, but not required. For more information, go to babasushi.com/sturbridge.
BY AMANDA COLLINS BERNIER
hen Japanese restaurant Baba Sushi first announced that they would be hosting Parents Night Out evenings at their Sturbridge location -- offering on-site babysitting while mom and dad enjoy a date night dinner -- parents went bonkers. “Those first posts on social media reached like 100,000 people. It was crazy,” said general manager Sara Gallant. “People were just so excited about the idea, and we were really the only place in the area to do something like this.” More than a year after first launching the weekly program, Gallant wants parents to know the offer still stands.
“We’re not going anywhere,” she said. Every Thursday, the sushi and hotpot restaurant offers childcare from 5-9 p.m. while parents enjoy dinner. Kids hang out in Baba’s spacious upstairs karaoke room, which on these particular evenings, is akin to a mini daycare. There’s a private bathroom, cozy couches, puzzles, blocks, games, and a big-screen TV. From your table, you can order food for your kids which is brought upstairs so they can eat while you do. Children are supervised by CPR-certified babysitters, and Gallant, who happens to be a Registered Nurse. The cost is $6 an hour, and the total is added
right to your dinner bill. Gallant, a single mom, came up with the Parents Night Out idea after recognizing a need for mom and dads to have a little “me time,” while understanding how hard it can be to find childcare or trust just anyone to watch your child. “I thought, wouldn’t it be awesome for parents to come out and have a date night, but know their kids are right upstairs? It’s sort of like being at a family party, and your kids are playing with the older kids… you can take your eye off them for a minute, but you are still right there,” she said. Gallant spent about six months communicating with the restaurant’s insurance company and state’s Department of Early Education and Care to square things away before the program got off the ground. She filed documents through the EEC to become exempt from having to get a license as a child care facility, but worked with the department to develop a comprehensive list of rules and regulations that parents must sign off on. The service is offered for babies through age 12, though parents must do diapering. Gallant said older children with special needs are also welcome. BAYSTATEPARENT 17
Kids don’t like veggies? Experts say keep trying It’s a rivalry that is as old as time. Like the Hatfields and McCoys, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, kids and veggies don’t often mix. Although parents know the nutritional benefits of their kids eating more vegetables, getting them to eat those vegetables on a regular basis can be challenging. But a new study suggests offering a variety of veggies can lead to increased acceptance by kids. According to a recent study conducted by Elsevier, repeatedly offering a variety of vegeta-
bles increased acceptance and consumption by children. In the study, researchers offered 32 families tips on how to offer different vegetables and provided vouchers to purchase the vegetables. Children were then served a small piece of vegetable three times per week for five weeks. Researchers found that families that offered multiple vegetables recorded an increase in consumption from 0.6 to 1.2 servings, while no change in consumption was observed in families serving a single vegetable or families that did not change their eating habits.
Quick tips for making your own baby food Looking for an alternative to store-bought baby food? Here are some tips for DIY baby food purees, according to Momables.com Directions • In a pot, fill with water about 1/3 of the way up and place steamer basket inside. • Add your choice of fruit (or steamed vegetables) to pot and bring to a gentle boil. • Once the water starts to boil, turn down burner to low and let simmer until fork tender. • Remove pot from heat and place in a glass bowl. • Once cool, blend contents of pot with an immersion blender to desired consistency. (Add water as needed from smoothness.) • Spoon mixture into ice cube trays and place in freezer for 24 hours. • Remove trays and let defrost until cubes are easily removed. • Place cubes into labeled freezer bags and return to freezer until needed.
Does your family know the right way to snack?
ccording to eatright.org, it’s normal for children to graze throughout the day. Snacks can help kids stay focused at school or while doing homework as long as they are served at consistent times and in proper portion. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says that most kids need to eat every 3 to 4 hours. It recommends younger kids eat three meals and at least two snacks while older kids and teens eat three meals and at least one snack a day (and perhaps an extra snack if they are very active or in a growth spurt). Only give snacks a few hours after one meal ends and about one to two hours before the next meal begins. Postponing snacks until after a meal can stop kids from refusing food at mealtimes and later begging for more as a “snack” just after the meal ends. Help kids choose healthier snacks by making produce easy to reach and in plain sight such as a bowl of fresh fruit at the center of the kitchen table or pre-portioned containers of cut veggie sticks at eye level in the fridge.
Are your kids hungry or just bored?
ating in response to emotions and feelings is something we all do -- children included. If your child eats three well-balanced meals a day and a snack, but still seems hungry all the time, there may be other reasons he or she wants to eat. According to healthychildren.org, a website managed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, here are some questions to ask yourself:
• Does your child sometimes reach for food when experiencing boredom, depression, stress, frustration, insecurity, anger, happiness, fatigue, or frustration? • Does your child eat at times other than regular mealtimes and snacks? Is your child munching at every opportunity? • Do you reward your child with food? • When your child is doing things right, do you tell him or her? Words of approval can boost a child’s self-esteem. They can also help keep a child motivated to continue making the right decisions for health and weight. • How are you speaking to your child? Is it mostly negative? Is it often critical? It’s hard for anyone, including children, to make changes in that kind of environment. If you suspect your child is eating out of boredom, steer them to another activity. Suggest they walk the dog, paint a picture, or exercise. Offer healthy snacks like fruits and veggies or microwave popcorn. Make sure you, the parent, are choosing what your children are eating. According to healthychildren.org, “When children are allowed to pick their own snacks, they often make unhealthy choices. Talk to your child about why healthy snacks are important. Come up with a list of snacks that you can both agree on and have them on hand.” BAYSTATEPARENT 19
Cupid’s Crunch Valentine Popcorn This sweet and salty treat is easy to make in batches and package up for a Valentine’s Day goodie. Customize it with whatever sweet mix-ins you’d like! Ingredients 10 cups of popped popcorn 3 tablespoons salted butter 3 cups mini marshmallows Salt Valentine’s M&Ms Valentine-themed sprinkles or candy confetti Directions Place popped popcorn in a large bowl and salt liberally. Melt butter in a medium sized saucepan, then add the marshmallows. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until marshmallows are melted. Pour three-quarters of the melted marshmallow mixture over the popcorn and gently fold in until most of the kernels are coated. Pour the popcorn onto a greased cookie sheet and spread it into an even layer. Drizzle popcorn with the remaining melted marshmallow mixture. Sprinkle popcorn with M&Ms and sprinkles. Allow to cool, then break apart in pieces to serve. Goose’s tips • Make sure you use a large enough bowl to stir together the popcorn and marshmallow. You don’t want it to overflow. • You can use a spoon to fold the melted marshmallow in, but I find it easier to slip on gloves and just use my hands.
goodies 20 FEBRUARY2020
• Don’t make this treat too far ahead of time. The popcorn will get mushy after a couple days. Laurie Silva Collins, known affectionately as Goose by her grandkids, is a nurse, mother and grandmother who is happiest when she’s in the kitchen, cooking and baking for those she loves. She learned to cook from her parents, and has perfected her recipes over the years while raising three daughters… and spoiling seven grandchildren.
Local schools, state bill focus on
‘anti-vaxxers’ BY SCOTT O’CONNELL, TELEGRAM & GAZETTE
new measure before the Legislature could help eliminate a controversial exemption used by families to avoid getting their child inoculated. The bill, which has garnered support from health care officials in the state, specifically would prevent parents from claiming religious objections as a reason to skip vaccinations, which are otherwise a requirement for students to attend school. “I believe we have an objective in the state to keep our children in our schools as safe and healthy as possible,” said state Rep. Stephan Hay, a Democrat from Fitchburg who is the lone Worcester County lawmaker listed as a petitioner on the bill. “I’m not telling anybody what to do with their child ... all I’m saying, is if you choose not to vaccinate your child, they can’t go to our public schools.” In Massachusetts, students must have records they have received the DTaP/Tdap, polio, MMR, hepatitis B and varicella vaccines to attend school. According to the state’s data, very few students have claimed religious exemptions 22 FEBRUARY2020
from receiving those shots in Worcester County, although the number has slightly increased over the last few years. Last school year, 1.2% of kindergartners in the county sought an exemption, up from 0.9% five years prior. In total, 1.4% of Worcester Country students were exempt from the vaccine requirement in 2018-19, same as the state average for that year; the other 0.2% of that total comprised students who had a medical reason for not getting vaccinated. According to Dr. Richard Ellison, an epidemiologist at UMass Memorial Medical Center, a population typically needs to have “well above” 90% of its members vaccinated to prevent the spread of measles, a once virtually eradicated virus that has had a recent resurgence in communities with low vaccination rates. So far, Central Massachusetts has not seen one of those outbreaks, but as long as there are unvaccinated residents, there is a level of risk, he said. Pejman Talebian, director of the state Public Health Department’s Immunization Program, also said while overall the state has low exemption rates, it’s not the
case across the board. “There are pockets of the state (Berkshire, Franklin, Dukes counties) where the exemption rate does potentially lead to overall immunization rates that fall below herd immunity levels,” he said. In January, Boston health officials announced a Northeastern University student had been diagnosed with measles; the patient’s potential exposure to others was apparently limited to Boston. That case, along with another confirmed case in October, were the first incidents of measles in Massachusetts since 2013. A post on social media in late December showed a purported notice from the Worcester schools indicating a case of pertussis, otherwise known as whooping cough, had been confirmed at Worcester Technical High School. Debra McGovern, the district’s director of nursing and health services, said it was an isolated incident. “We’ve been very fortunate in Worcester County,” Ellison said, but he questioned the wisdom of allowing people to forego getting vaccinated because of a religious or philosophical objection. “I do think one has to question why there is a religious exemption to receiving a vaccine ... what’s the
logic behind it?” Other health care officials in the region also believe the religious exemption creates unnecessary risk, and is likely even being exploited by people who have no real religious reason to not get vaccinated. So-called “anti-vaxxers” make up a small percentage of the population, but they do exist, said Pamela Rivers, nursing/health services director for the Fitchburg schools. “Every now and then we do (deal with them),” she said. “We respect where they’re coming from, and we notify them of (disease) outbreaks.” But Rivers also said some of those families wouldn’t be allowed to have their children attend school without the religious exemption, which she believes they use to shield their mostly personal objections to vaccines. “I think that’s where the religious exemption becomes problematic,” she said. “There’s the law, and then there’s the spirit of the law,” said state Rep. Andres Vargas, a Democrat from Haverhill and lead sponsor of the bill that seeks to ban the religious exemption, which he also believes is “being used as a loophole” by some families.
“We’ve definitely heard from opposition” to the measure, he said, but he pointed out no major religions expressly oppose vaccinations; the religious groups who do are smaller offshoots. “I’ve gotten plenty of calls and emails,” Hay said, adding he gets opponents’ point of view, but hasn’t been swayed by their argument – “they try to fight the science (behind the need for vaccinations), but I don’t think that holds up with me.” In some cases locally, meanwhile, there isn’t so much dogmatic resistance to vaccines as there is unawareness or fear, according to officials. Particularly with the flu vaccine, which is not mandatory for school-attending children, it can be challenging to convince some families to get the shot, said Dr. Matilde Castiel, the city’s commissioner of health and human services. “There is an idea that (some people) are scared of the vaccines,” she said. “Things have happened in the past, especially to marginalized populations – people of color are often not comfortable getting the vaccination.” Increasing education about and access to vaccines, Castiel added, is one way to break
those misconceptions. Her office has led a campaign the last two years in collaboration with local organizations to run flu clinics in the schools, for example, that have found some success: The number of students inoculated through that program has climbed from 1,174 in 2017-18 to 2,784 so far this school year, according to Castiel. “I think certainly we’d like to be much higher than that,” she said, adding the Worcester schools have recently tried out an incentive program that provides Chromebooks to schools boasting the highest participation rates. “But the numbers are increasing, which is a good thing.” In the area of mandatory vaccinations, meanwhile, last year the Worcester schools began cracking down on families who hadn’t gotten their kids inoculated, threatening to bar those students from school until they could produce records they had received their shots. That approach has been successful, said Worcester Schools Superintendent Maureen Binienda, who described the district’s new stance as being “nicely aggressive.” “I’m happy with the numbers we have,” she said – the district reported 1.2% of students are not vaccinated – adding school officials have not yet had to resort to barring a student from school because they didn’t get their shots, instead preferring to grant extensions to families to vaccinate their kids. Eight school facilities in the district also have on-site health clinics that can inoculate students themselves with families’ permission, which Binienda said has come in handy.
For some school officials, meanwhile, vaccinations, while important, are not exactly a pressing issue compared to other challenges facing public education. “We don’t have a stance on it,” Thomas Scott, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, said about the religious exemption bill. “Nobody’s really raised the issue among superintendents.” Jeffrey Villar, receiver/superintendent of the Southbridge schools, also said vaccine exemptions have “not been an issue that has required a great deal of my attention.” But recent trends are still troubling, he said. “The resurgence of harmful and deadly diseases such as mumps, measles and pertussis is to me an alarming public health issue,” Villar said. “While I have always believed it is important that we respect and support the needs and beliefs of all members of our society, in this instance, I have come to believe that we need to place a heavier emphasis on the well-being of our entire society and require immunization.” Vargas said he believes his bill, which was discussed at a public hearing in Boston in December after being sent to the Joint Committee on Public Health, has a good chance of passing later this year. “We’re just making sure we’re educating all the members on the issue,” he said, adding part of that message has been raising awareness about the “growing anti-vaxxer movement here in Massachusetts.” Scott O’Connell can be reached at Scott.O’Connell@telegram. com. Follow him on Twitter @ ScottOConnellTG
Rethinking homework: how much is too much? Students are loaded down with homework in many districts. One educator and researcher says it’s doing them no good - and it’s time for a change. BY JOAN GOODCHILD
efore she was a homework reform advocate and public speaker, Dr. Cathy Vatterott was the frustrated mom of a fifth-grade student with learning disabilities. “I often say it was the word search that put me over the edge, but maybe it was the fractions,” said Vatterott, only half-joking at a recent presentation at Shrewsbury High School. With what she thought was an overwhelming amount of work for her child to do each night, and difficulties getting it done due to the learning disabilities, Vatterott thought there must be a better way. She embarked on a journey to find relevant research and data on just how much homework is effective and necessary for a child’s education. Based on those findings, Vatterott, a professor of education at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, authored “Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs.” She now speaks at venues around the country about her findings and urges school districts and educators to consider the data when crafting homework guidelines. 24 FEBRUARY2020
There are several compelling findings about homework that should be used to guide how much schools give students, and Vatterott laid many of them out in her session. Consider this: studies cannot show homework causes higher academic achievement. And there is no proof about the non-academic benefits of homework, like increased responsibility, she noted. But Vatterott wants to make clear she is not suggesting eliminating homework completely. She advocates for reasonable, age-appropriate amounts. “The research is about time not task,” she said. “If a kid does a certain amount of homework, it helps his achievement. But when we get to a certain point, achievement starts to go down when the kid is overloaded with homework.” Wait a minute. Doesn’t someone who reads become a better reader, you might be asking. Doesn’t someone who practices multiplication tables become better at math? Vatterott knows these are the concerns of worried parents who only want the best outcome for their kids. “It’s hard to make the statement that it (homework) is definitely good and definitely bad. I’m for reasonable amounts,”
said Vatterott. “I’m for work that helps learning. There are schools eliminating it at elementary level.” For schools that have a homework expectations in all grades, a good rule of thumb is 10 minutes per grade, she said. A first grader should only have ten minutes. A high school senior should have no more than two hours. “Parents differ in their opinion about the role of homework and that is OK,” said Vatterott. “But parents have the right to control their kids’ free time. And sleep and downtime are critical to your child’s health.” Vatterott said the issue of too much homework is wrapped into a much larger cultural issue around learning and achievement in childhood. Kids are stressed out with too much to do and tremendous anxiety over performance, she noted. Since she first began her research on homework levels, the issue around childhood stress and anxiety has cropped up and is a newer concern, driven by what she said were a pressure-cooker school culture and too much parental focus on achievement today. Think: expecting and pushing your children to get into an elite college.
“What psychologists are now telling us is when parents put too much focus on achievement and getting into the elite school, what happens is teenagers have a unique ability to misinterpret that message and it gets interpreted as conditional love,” she said. “(They think) if I come home with a B, I’ve really disappointed my parents.” Add to this the stress of social media and an alwayson digital society. Kids are looking to likes and shares as affirmation of their self-worth, said Vatterott. And they are spending too much time on screens in exchange for healthy amounts of sleep. “Lack of sleep exacerbates anxiety and depression, and it affects academic performance,” said Vatterott. “When our kids aren’t getting enough sleep, they aren’t performing well and they’re struggling.” In addition to the ten-minutes of homework per grade guideline, Vatterott advocates what she calls “common sense fixes” to the current climate of overworked, stressed students. They include: • Teachers should state the purpose of the assignments they give out • Set time limits for the work
assigned • Eliminate daily homework – move toward longer deadlines • Prohibit weekend and holiday homework • Encourage consistency among teachers • Encourage coordination among teachers. When one teacher is giving a major test, others should consider the workload they are giving at the same time so students are not overwhelmed. “We are confusing rigor with workload,” said Vatterott. “But how good is the task we are asking kids to do?” Vatterott also has advice for parents; stop packing your kids’ schedules in an attempt to build an overstuffed resume. Respect their need for downtime and reaffirm your unconditional love. “We have to be the stewards of what is good for our kids. If we see our kids are stressed out and not getting enough sleep, we need to reconsider those activities.” Joan Goodchild is a veteran writer and editor and mom of two living in Central Massachusetts.
Winter Festivals in the Bay State
Don’t let winter’s chill keep you indoors all season. Bundle up and beat cabin fever at these ten wintry celebrations happening across Massachusetts this month. 1. Greenfield Winter Carnival
Friday, Jan. 31 to Sunday, Feb. 2
Bolton from noon to 4 p.m. Put on by the Rotary Club of Nashoba Valley, the event will feature a snowman contest, sled parade, corn hole, and a chili cook-off. Kids can take a break from the wintry fun and climb on vehicles at the touch-a-truck portion. $15 per person, or $40 for a family of 5. rotarycabinfeverfest.com.
This frosty fete is a longstanding tradition in the Western Mass., where folks have been coming together for nearly a century to stave off the winter blues at a weekend-long festival. Just over an hour from Worcester, this seasonal celebration is worth the drive with live ice carvings, a parade of lights, and fireworks. Groove to live music, hop on a horse-drawn sleigh ride, check out art exhibits and more. Kids can enjoy breakfast with Olaf and seasonal favorites like sledding, ice skating, and ice bowling. Warm up with hot cocoa by a bonfire. If you go, be sure to drive down Main Street at dusk to see the intricate ice sculptures aglow with lights. greenfieldrecreation.com.
Saturday, Feb. 1
2. Cabin Fever Winter Festival
4. WinterFest Amherst
Saturday, Feb. 1
Sledding, s’mores, and treasure hunts through wooded trails await at the first-ever Cabin Fever Winter Festival, happening on the town common on
1. Greenfield Winter Carnival. 26 FEBRUARY2020
3. Winter Carnival at NARA Park Bring your own sleds and skates to the Nathaniel Allen Recreation Area in Acton for sledding and ice skating at this free, family-friendly event. No snow? It’s still a go. Toast marshmallows by the bonfire, boogie at a DJ dance party, enjoy children’s games, food vendors and more, from 4 to 7 p.m. actonma.gov/events.
Saturday, Feb. 1 to Saturday, Feb. 8 The Pioneer Valley’s largest Winter Carnival features over 35 events scattered across Amherst over eight days
and seven nights. The week-long festivities kick-off with the Luminaria on the Town Commons, a public display of over 1,500 flickering luminarias, and end the week with the signature Grand Finale events. Ice skating performances, hockey games, sledding, live music events, art classes, and much more is in store. Keep an eye on their online calendar or WinterFest Amherst on Facebook for details. lsse.org.
5. Easthampton WinterFest Saturday, Feb. 8
This day of family fun on Nashawannuck Pond in Easthampton has something for everyone -- from snow art to cupcake decorating. Take a horse-drawn wagon ride, watch ice be harvested, see a glassblowing demonstration, and browse the craft fair. A magic show, craft-making, guided hikes and hot chocolate (of course!) is all part of the free fun. nashawannuckpond.org.
6. Concord Winter Wonderland Saturday, Feb. 8
7. Northampton Ice Art Festival Friday, Feb. 14
This family-friendly winter tradition brings acclaimed ice artists to the streets of downtown Northampton, allowing the public to watch as they create temporal works of art. This year marks the tenth annual festival, and promises to be a record-breaking year with more artists carving stunning designs from chunks of ice than ever before. Carving begins in the early morning hours; bundle up and head out to watch as they work throughout the day. Completed works of art will be on illuminated display during Arts Night Out - and for as long as the weather permits! northamptondna.com.
Emerson Field in the historic town
9. Lowell WinterFest. Kevin Hawkins photo
of Concord transforms into a winter wonderland for this annual one-day event. Bring the family to enjoy horsedrawn sleigh rides, live music, delicious food and more. Warm up by a roaring bonfire. The fun gets started at 1 p.m. and lasts through the evening. The best part? It’s free! concordrec.com.
Lowell WinterFest. Kevin Hawkins photo
Northampton Ice Art Festival.
8. North Adams WinterFest. Explore North Adams photo.
8. North Adams WinterFest
Saturday, Feb. 15 & Sunday. Feb. 16 Take a trip to the Berkshires to shake off those winter blues. WinterFest in downtown North Adams features wintry fun like ice sculpting, horse-drawn wagon rides, and ice skating (skate rentals available). Wander through a large winter farmer’s market and find a treasure at the local artisan’s market. Get toasty with roasted marshmallows, decadent hot cocoa and creamy clam chowder. explorenorthadams.com.
9. Lowell WinterFest
Friday, Feb. 21 & Saturday, Feb. 22 Featuring everything from a carousel and free ice skating to an all-you-can-eat chocolate festival, the annual Lowell WinterFest offers something for everyone. You can count on lots of food, live music and
family fun at this two-day downtown event. See stilt-walkers and fire dancers, enjoy street performances, and peruse the Winter Market with crafts, fashion items and specialty foods. Come hungry -- aside from an array of food trucks, you can hit up the annual soup competition to taste a variety of soups from local restaurants and vote for your favorite. lowellwinterfest. com.
10. Fruitlands’ Winter Fest Saturday, Feb. 29
The Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, which features of 210 acres of woods and meadows, becomes a wintertime playscape at this annual family-friendly event. It kicks off with a 5K, then moves into seasonal fun like sledding, a human dog sled race, historic games and s’mores by the firepit. Take a nature walk through the trails, then mom and dad can warm up with beer or wine in the heated tent. fruitands.org.
4. WinterFest Amherst. BAYSTATEPARENT 27
ADVENTURES 5 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO THIS FEBRUARY
4. 4. 28 FEBRUARY2020
Winter Warmth and Cheer. Old Sturbridge Village, 1 Old Sturbridge Village Rd., Sturbridge. Weekends, Feb. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16 & 22-23, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Enjoy a festive story experience as a 19th century New England town prepares for a seasonal winter ball, featuring costumed historians, music, and cooking demonstrations. Free with admission. $28, youths 4-17 $14, ages under 4 free. osv.org. WAM Arms & Armor. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester. Weekends, Feb. 2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23 & 29, 11:30 a.m. & 2 p.m. Join us for this fun, interactive program, and learn all the different kinds of arms and armor including those used by Roman soldiers, Medieval knights, and beyond. Free with admission. Free. worcesterart.org. LEGO Maritime Festival. USS Constitution Museum, Building 22, Charlestown Navy Yard, Charlestown. Monday, Feb. 17-Friday, Feb 21, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Set sail with your family over February Vacation as you build your own ship with LEGO and DUPLO Blocks. Check out the Museum’s “Masters of Miniature” model ships exhibit for inspiration and enter your design into the daily competition. Suggested donation $5-15. ussconstitutionmuseum.org. Sugar Rush. Springfield Museums, 21 Edwards St., Springfield. Monday, Feb. 17-Friday, Feb. 21, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Family-friendly art and science activities inspired by the special exhibit ‘Sweet: A Tasty Journey.’ Learn about famous candy makers and chocolatiers, enjoy interactive displays, and candy-inspired art. The centerpiece of this exhibit is the Rock Candy Mountain, which offers visitors an exciting experience sprinkled with photo opportunities. Free with admission. Adults $25, youths $13, ages under 3 free. springfieldmuseums.org. February Vacation @ the MFA. Museum of Fine Arts: Boston, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston. Monday, Feb. 17-Friday, Feb. 21, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Explore portraits throughout our galleries, pick up an Art Connections Activity Card, make a portrait, and enjoy artful activities. Members free; nonmember adults $25, children free. mfa.org.
ADVENTURES 1 SATURDAY Valentine Card-Making Party. Eric Carle Museum, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 10-11:30 a.m. Make unlimited valentines for your family, friends, or classmates. Adults free; member children $8.50, nonmember children $10. carlemuseum.org. Danish Hygge Festival. South Shore Natural Science Center, 48 Jacobs Lane, Norwell. 10:00 a.m.-12 p.m. Come experience the Hygge (hooga) with traditional Danish costumes, foods, storytelling, and games that will bring warmth to all on this February morning. Free. southshorenaturalsciencecenter.org.
First Sunday. Museum of Russian Icons, 203 Union St., Clinton. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Explore the galleries during this special opening of the Museum. Free. museumofrussianicons.org.
Members free; nonmember adults $25, youths 7-17 $10, ages under 7 free. mfa.org.
Especially for Me: Free Sensory-Friendly Afternoon. Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., Acton. 1:30-4:30 p.m. Come explore the accessible Discovery Museum and Woods during this time of limited crowding and support access to exhibits. Register ahead. Free. discoveryacton.org. Shooting Stars Story and Craft. Leominster Public Library, 30 West St., Leominster.
MFA Playdates: Precious Pets. Museum of Fine Arts: Boston, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston. 10:15-11 a.m. Bring your toddler to enjoy story time and looking activities in the galleries followed by art making. Explore the pets featured in the collections. Recommended for ages 4 and under. Free with admission.
6-7 p.m. Enjoy a shooting star story and craft time. For ages 3-6. Register ahead. leominsterlibrary.org. Global Strings Ensemble. Berk Recital Hall, 1140 Boylston St., Boston. 7 p.m. Enjoy the Global Strings Ensemble as it presents a performance of traditional string music from various countries. Free. berklee.edu/events.
5 WEDNESDAY Backyard and Beyond: Winter Warmth. Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., Acton. 10-11
a.m. Drop-in to test the insulating properties of feathers, fur, fat, and fleece to learn how animals keep warm during winter months. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $15.50, under age 1 free. discoveryacton.org. WAM Artful Play. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester. 10:30-11:15 a.m. Enjoy a specially designed tour, story in the gallery, hands-on activity, and juice and snacks. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $18, youths 4-17 $8, ages under 4 free. worcesterart.org.
Dinosaur Train Opening Celebration. Springfield Museum, 21 Edwards St., Springfield. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tour the new Dinosaur Train interactive exhibit, meet Buddy the Dinosaur from 11-2, unearth natural history, and try out some paleontology. Free with admission. Adults $25, youths $13, ages under 3 free. springfieldmuseums.org. The Wacky Science Show. TCAN: Center for Arts, 14 Summer St., Natick. 11 a.m. Get ready for an award-winning show that teaches that science can be exciting and fun, during high energy, hands-on lessons filled with music, comedy, and surprises. Adults $12, children $10. natickarts.org. Cabin Fever Winter Festival. Bolton Town Common, 715 Main St., Bolton. 12-4 p.m. Enjoy snowman contests, winter corn hole, a sled parade, a treasure hunt through Bolton trails, and plenty of family events and activities. Individuals $15, family $40. rotarycabinfeverfest.com. Winter Carnival. NARA Park, 25 Ledge Rock Way, Acton. 4-7 p.m. Celebrate the season with winter fun, including a large campfire and marshmallow toasting, sledding fun, stories, food vendors, games, and more. Free. acton-ma.gov. Especially for Me: Families with Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or KODA Children. Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., Acton. 5-8 p.m. A special free evening especially for families with Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or KODA children, with ASL interpreters available, dinner provided, and a magic show at 5:30 and 6:30. Register ahead. Free. discoveryacton.org.
2 SUNDAY Backyard and Beyond: Knife Skills with PrimiTim. Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Join survival skills instructor Tim PrimiTim Swanson to learn how to safely and effectively use knives during adventuring outdoors. Register ahead. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $15.50, under age 1 free. discoveryacton.org. 2020 Lunar New Year Festival. North Quincy High School, 316 Hancock St., Quincy. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Celebrate the 32nd Annual Lunar New Year Festival featuring live music and dancing, cultural performances, storytelling, a â€˜Year of the Ratâ€™ photo booth, gaming areas, and more. Free. quincyasianresources.org. BAYSTATEPARENT 29
6 THURSDAY Explore Static Electricity. Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., Acton. 10-11 a.m. Spark your creativity and try out some shocking and mysterious experiments, exploring electric charges on various materials. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $15.50, under age 1 free. discoveryacton.org. FAM First Thursdays. Fitchburg Art Museum, 18 Elm St., Fitchburg. 3-7 p.m. Visit the museum at night and see the galleries in a different light, with special activities from hands-on art-making projects to gallery tours. Free. fitchburgartmuseum.org. Chinese New Year Concert. Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston. 8 p.m. Enjoy the 9th year of this concert celebrating Chinese culture and music through pop, rock, jazz, R&B, and traditional Chinese music. Advance $10, day-of $15. berklee.edu/events.
7 FRIDAY Music and Movement with Miss Bernadette. Discovery Museum, 177 Main St.,
Acton. 9:30-10 a.m. Move, make music, listen, learn, and get a multi-sensory workout as you explore singing and playing with one of our favorite music educators. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $15.50, under age 1 free. discoveryacton.org.
Stars Over Springfield. Springfield Museums, 21 Edwards St., Springfield. 7:30-9:30 p.m. Join members of the Springfield Stars Club for skygazing in the Science Museum’s Observatory, or, if overcast, a planetarium show. $3. springfieldmuseums.org.
Backyard and Beyond: Forest Friday. Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., Acton. 10-10:45 a.m. Enjoy a nature-based activity either in the Discovery Woods or out on the conservation land next door. Recommended for ages 2-6. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $15.50, under age 1 free. discoveryacton.org.
Book Corner with Mary Westgate. Eric Carle Museum, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 10:30-11 a.m. A fun, music-filled story time with Berkshire Hill Music Academy’s Mary Westgate and braille picture books. Free with admission. Adults $9, youths $6, ages under 1 free. carlemuseum.org. First Friday Nights Free. Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., Acton. 4:30-8 p.m. Explore the museum at night. Non-perishable food donations for local pantries will be accepted. Free. discoveryacton.org.
Sensory Friendly Saturday. Springfield Museums, 21 Edwards St., Springfield. 9-11 a.m. Enjoy the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss and Springfield Science Museum, as they open early, and exhibits will be modified to provide an opportunity for people with a range of differing abilities to experience. Free with admission. Adults $25, youths $13, ages under 3 free. springfieldmuseums.org. First Book Friendiversary. Eric Carle Museum, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Celebrate books with Elephant, Piggie, and a host of other Museum friends to celebrate friendship and reading. Free. carlemuseum.org. I HEART Science. Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford St., Cambridge. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Awaken your love of science with activities led by Harvard scientists, graduate students, and enthusiastic explorers. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $15, youths $10, ages under 3 free. hmnh.harvard.edu. 7th Annual Easthampton WinterFest. Easthampton Downtown, Easthampton. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Explore the town of Easthampton as you enjoy crafts and local small businesses, a winter wildlife workshop, winter cupcake decorating at the Emily Williston Library, magic performances, balloon fun, and wagon rides throughout the town. Free. nashawannuckpond.org. Beyond the Spectrum. Museum of Fine Arts:
Boston, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston. 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Enjoy these adventures in art for children on the Autism Spectrum featuring gallery exploration, artmaking, and our imagination. $9. mfa.org. Salem’s So Sweet Ice Sculpture Illumination. Downtown Salem, Main St., Salem. 6-8 p.m. Enjoy as ice sculptures are illuminated and transform downtown Salem into an after-hours winter wonderland. Free. salemmainstreets.org. VIVA MOMIX. The Hanover Theatre, 2 Southbridge St., Worcester. 7:30 p.m. Experience the exception and expect the unexpected during this performance transporting audiences from the ordinary to a fantasy world through light and imagery. $29-39. thehanovertheatre.org.
9 SUNDAY Sensory-Friendly Sundays. USS Constitution Museum, Building 22, Charlestown Navy Yard, Charlestown. 9-10 a.m. Learn about the incredible history of America’s Ship of State in a quieter setting, without loud sounds or flashing lights, and design a ship, furl a sail, and scrub the deck on our exhibits before we open to the public. Register ahead. Suggested donation $5-15. ussconstitutionmuseum.org. So Sweet Chocolate & Ice Sculpture Festival. Downtown Salem, Main St., Salem. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tour downtown Salem as ice sculptures populate its area, while local retailers, restaurants, and businesses open their doors for special chocolate tastings and Valentine’s day shopping, plus $2 trolley rides. Prices vary. salemmainstreets.org.
10 MONDAY Kid Flicks One. Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline. 10:30 a.m. The
New York International Children’s Film Festival brings fun and clever stories of growth and transformation to the screen for all to enjoy. Adults $10, children $8. coolidge.org.
11 TUESDAY Tinker Tuesday: Wearable Art. Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., Acton. 10-11 a.m. Explore the possibilities of reusing what we usually throw away to create a wearable masterpiece. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $15.50, under age 1 free. discoveryacton.org. Game Night. Worcester Public Library: Main Branch, 3 Salem Sq., Worcester. 6-8 p.m. A night of fun and friendly competition featuring games including Chess, Checkers, UNO, Trouble, Clue, Catchphrase, and more. Free. mywpl.org. Africa Night: Gone to the Village. Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston. 8 p.m. Contemporary and traditional West African music is celebrated and performed by students of the Berklee College of Music, Boston Conservatory, and special guest and royal drummer Attah Poku. Advance $10, day-of $15. berklee.edu/events.
12 WEDNESDAY ARTfull Play. deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, 51 Sandy Pond Rd., Lincoln. 10:3011:30 a.m. Fill your morning with art and play through current Museum exhibitions, stories, material play, nature, and new friends. Recommended for ages 2-5. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $14, ages 12 and under free. deCordova.org.
13 THURSDAY Plenty Good Room. David Friend Recital
Hall, 921 Boylston St., Boston. 7:30 p.m. Celebrate the music by trailblazing African American composers during this concert co-sponsored by Africana Studies and the Voice Department. Free. berklee.edu/events.
14 FRIDAY Northampton Ice Art Festival. Downtown Northampton, 99 Pleasant St., Northampton. 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Artists carve and craft new ice sculptures before each sculpture is illuminated during the night. Free. www.northamptondna.com. Backyard and Beyond: Forest Friday. Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., Acton. 10-10:45 a.m. Enjoy a nature-based activity either in the Discovery Woods or out on the conservation land next door. Recommended for ages 2-6. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $15.50, under age 1 free. discoveryacton.org.
Museum, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 3 p.m. Enjoy this hour-long, all new, created on-the-spot, audience inspired family-friendly improv show. Member adults $9, youths $4.50; nonmember adults $10, youths $5. carlemuseum.org. Build a Wooden Fire Engine. Leominster Public Library, 30 West St., Leominster. 3-4 p.m. Read a fire engine story before building a wooden fire engine with hammer, nails, and paint. For ages 3-7 with caregiver. Register ahead. Free. leominsterlibrary.org. ICCA Northeast Quarterfinal: Night One. Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston. 7 p.m. Top a cappella collegiate groups from the Northeast compete for the title of International Champions during this concert competition. $20-35. berklee.edu/events.
16 SUNDAY Everyday Engineering: Engineer a Bird Feeder. Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Design and build your own birdfeeder using simple recycled and repurposed materials for the Discovery Woods or your own backyard. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $15.50, under age 1 free. discoveryacton.org. Magic & Beyond. Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline. 10:30 a.m. Enjoy this one-person illusion show that features unique theatrical and visual magic combined with comedy, music, and audience participation. Adults $14, children $11. coolidge.org. Tet in Boston Festival: Vietnamese New Years 2020. Boston College High School, 150 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston. 10:30
a.m.-5 p.m. Celebrate the Lunar New Year with cultural dances, children’s games, and plenty of merriment featuring over 80 vendors and family fun. $5. tetboston.org. Boston Area Chantey & Maritime Sing. USS Constitution Museum, Building 22, Charlestown Navy Yard, 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. Suggested donation $5-15. ussconstitutionmuseum.org.
17 MONDAY Everyday Engineering: Float and Fly. Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Create some simple contraptions with repurposed and recycled materials that harness the power of air to float and glide. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers
$15.50, under age 1 free. discoveryacton.org. Presidents Day @ the ICA. Institute of Contemporary Art: Boston, 25 Harbor Shore Dr., Boston. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Come join the ICA on President’s Day and explore all of our exhibits including Beyond Infinity. Free. icaboston.org. The Rainbow Fish. Academy of Music, 274 Main St., Northampton. 1 p.m. Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia’s original stage adaptation of the wildly popular, enchanting story following a fish whose scales shimmer in all the colors of the rainbow. $12-15. aomtheatre.com. A Visit with President Lincoln. Concord Museum, 53 Cambridge Turnpike, Cambridge. 1 p.m. Enjoy stories of Lincoln’s early life, campaign debates, the Civil War, and a stirring rendition of the Gettysburg Address during
Open Book, Open Play. Eric Carle Museum, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 10:30-11:30 a.m. Enjoy an interactive story time followed by time to move, play, and explore art materials. Free with admission. Adults $9, youths $6, ages under 1 free. carlemuseum.org. Valentine’s Day Storytime and Craft. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 3-4 p.m. Enjoy stories and songs about friendship, love, and family, and join us for a valentine card crafting session. For ages 3-8 with caregivers. Free. newtonfreelibrary.net.
15 SATURDAY MFA Playdates: Precious Pets. Museum of Fine Arts: Boston, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston. 10:15-11 a.m. Bring your toddler to enjoy story time and looking activities in the galleries followed by art making exploring the pets featured in the collections. Recommended for ages 4 and under. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $25, youths 7-17 $10, ages under 7 free. mfa.org. Magic & Beyond. The Regent Theatre, 7 Medford St., Arlington. 10:30 a.m. Enjoy this all-ages illusion show featuring unique, theatrical, visual magic, audience participation, and comedy. Adults $12, youths 3-12 $10, ages under 3 free. regenttheatre.com. WAM Artful Play. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester. 10:30-11:15 a.m. Enjoy a specially designed tour, story in the gallery, hands-on activity, and juice and snacks. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $18, youths 4-17 $8, ages under 4 free. worcesterart.org. Tanglewood Marionettes Present Cinderella. TCAN: Center for Arts, 14 Summer St., Natick. 11 a.m. Tanglewood Marionettes brings the classic tale of Cinderella to life as the story emerges from a giant book revealing beautifully painted scenes. Adults $12, children $10. natickarts.org. Special Storytime: Gloria Repress-Churchwell. Eric Carle Museum, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 2 p.m. Join author Gloria Repress-Churchwell as she reads from her new picture book ‘Follow Chester!’ about Dr. Chester Pierce, the first black college football player to compete south of the Mason-Dixon line. Free with admission. Adults $9, youths $6, ages under 1 free. carlemuseum.org. Happier Family Comedy Show. Eric Carle BAYSTATEPARENT 31
this afternoon with Lincoln impersonator Steve Wood. Member adults $10, children $6; nonmember adults $16, children $8. concordmuseum.org.
18 TUESDAY Everyday Engineering: Float and Fly. Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Create some simple contraptions with repurposed and recycled materials that harness the power of air to float and glide. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $15.50, under age 1 free. discoveryacton.org. Mister G Concert and Book Release. Eric Carle Museum, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 10:30 a.m. & 12 p.m. Latin GRAMMY Award-winning artist, author, activist, and educator Mister G performs a dynamic interactive concert and debuts his newest picture book ‘Lilah Tov Good Night.’ Members $7.50, nonmembers $8. carlemuseum.org. Vacation Week Cartoons and Crafts. Museum of Russian Icons, 203 Union St., Clinton. 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Grab a snack, watch a Soviet-era cartoon, and then craft your own
Cheburashka or Gena the Crocodile to take home. Recommended for ages 6-10. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $10, youths $5, ages under 3 free. museumofrussianicons.org. Instrument Petting Zoo. Berkshire Museum, 39 South St., Pittsfield. 1 p.m. Join the Berkshire Music School to see, touch, play, and hear a variety of musical instruments. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $13, ages under 18 free. berkshiremuseum.org. Magnificent Monster Circus. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 3-4 p.m. CactusHead Puppets presents a circus like no other during this interactive show performed with several different styles of puppets and monster all under the big top. Free. newtonfreelibrary.net. Mediterranean Music Institute Spring Concert. David Friend Recital Hall, 921 Boylston St., Boston. 7:30 p.m. Enjoy a concert of Mediterranean music featuring artists, students, and faculty from the region. Free. berklee.edu/events.
19 WEDNESDAY Kidstock Interactive Theater. Leominster Public Library, 30 West St., Leominster. 1011 a.m. Join Kidstock Theater for a fun interactive performance of Fractured Fairtales-new spins on classic fairytales. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Free. leominsterlibrary.org.
Art for February Vacation: Sculpted Landscapes. deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, 51 Sandy Pond Rd., Lincoln. 1-3 p.m. Create a lush landscape of flat images, three-dimensional nature-inspired, and nature imitating objects. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $14, ages 12 and under free. deCordova.org.
Everyday Engineering: Indoor Fort Building. Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Use clothespins, sheets, and cardboard boxes to build an ever-changing, room-sized blanket fort. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $15.50, under age 1 free. discoveryacton.org.
Plush Pet Adoption. Leominster Public Library, 30 West St., Leominster. 2-4 p.m. Sign-up for an appointment and visit our Plush Animal Shelter, where you can fill out your adoption application, visit with the plushies, and choose your new friend to bring home. For ages 3-12. Register ahead. Free. leominsterlibrary.org.
WAM Artful Play. Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester. 10:30-11:15 a.m. Enjoy a specially designed tour, story in the gallery, hands-on activity, and juice and snacks. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $18, youths 4-17 $8, ages under 4 free. worcesterart.org.
Puppet Making. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 3-4 p.m. Create your own puppet during this paper bag challenge. For ages 3 and up. Free. newtonfreelibrary.net.
Valerie Tutson: Tales From African Traditions. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum, Columbia Point, Boston. 10:30-11:30 a.m. Drawing on her own travels, this internationally known storyteller brings to life myths, folktales, and historical accounts from the African continent and the African diaspora with beauty, humor, and wisdom. Register ahead. Free. jfklibrary.org. Vacation Week Cartoons and Crafts. Museum of Russian Icons, 203 Union St., Clinton. 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Grab a snack, watch a Soviet-era cartoon, and then craft your own Cheburashka or Gena the Crocodile to take home. Recommended for ages 6-10. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $10, youths $5, ages under 3 free. museumofrussianicons.org.
And the World Goes ‘Round. Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston. 8 p.m. From Cabaret to Chicago, this nonstop hit parade features unforgettable gems in this stunning revue of the songbook from the Tony Award-winning team of Kander and Ebb. Advance $10, day-of $15. berklee.edu/events.
colonial crafting of chocolate. Members free; nonmember adults $10, youths $6, ages under 5 free. concordmuseum.org. Vacation Week Cartoons and Crafts. Museum of Russian Icons, 203 Union St., Clinton. 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Grab a snack, watch a Soviet-era cartoon, and then craft your own Cheburashka or Gena the Crocodile to take home. Recommended for ages 6-10. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $10, youths $5, ages under 3 free. museumofrussianicons.org. Everyday Engineering: Indoor Fort Building. Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., Acton. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Use clothespins, sheets, and cardboard boxes to build an ever-changing, room-sized blanket fort. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $15.50, under age 1 free. discoveryacton.org. February Vacation @ the ICA. Institute of Contemporary Art: Boston, 25 Harbor Shore Dr., Boston. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Explore the galleries, create art, and enjoy time together. Free with admission. Adults $15, youths under 18 free. icaboston.org.
Drop-Off: Stuffed Animal Sleepover. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 9 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Drop-off your stuffed animals at the children’s desk during library hours for them to spend the night on an adventure. Free. newtonfreelibrary.net.
Berkshire Children’s Theater: Winnie the Pooh. Berkshire Museum, 39 South St., Pittsfield. 11 a.m. & 1 p.m. Talented young performers from the Berkshire Children’s Theater return to perform their original musical version of the classic story of Winnie the Pooh. Purchase in advance. Member adults $5, children $3; nonmember adults $15, children $6; ages under 3 free. berkshiremuseum.org.
Sweet History: Colonial Chocolate. Concord Museum, 53 Cambridge Turnpike, Concord. 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Grind cocoa beans, add spices, and concoct delicious treats by the roaring winter hearth as we learn the
Art for February Vacation: Text-ured Imaged. deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, 51 Sandy Pond Rd., Lincoln. 1-3 p.m. Assemble objects, take a picture, write a short story and see how images impact words
and vice-versa. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $14, ages 12 and under free. deCordova.org.
for the entire family, ice-skating, a carousel, soup competition, winter market, and more. Free. lowellwinterfest.com.
Bilingual Storytime: Mandarin. Eric Carle Museum, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 2-2:30 p.m. Story time in English and Mandarin in the Reading Room. Free with admission. Adults $9, youths $6, ages under 1 free. carlemuseum.org.
Art for February Vacation: Flower Collage. deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, 51 Sandy Pond Rd., Lincoln. 1-3 p.m. Using real flowers, create a college of petals, stems, and leaves, as we play with flower colors, textures, and shapes. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $14, ages 12 and under free. deCordova.org.
Animal World Experience. Leominster Public Library, 30 West St., Leominster. 2-3 p.m. A live animal program with a meet and touch following the presentation. Free. leominsterlibrary.org.
Learn About Japan. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 3-4 p.m. Come find out what kids do for fun in Japan with visiting student teachers from Showa University in Tokyo, featuring sing-alongs, folktales, and crafting. Free. newtonfreelibrary.net.
Everyday Engineering: Tinfoil Ferries. Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., Acton. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Investigate floating by building tinfoil boats and loading them with pennies until they sink. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $15.50, under age 1 free. discoveryacton.org.
Vacation Week Cartoons and Crafts. Museum of Russian Icons, 203 Union St., Clinton. 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Grab a snack, watch a Soviet-era cartoon, and then craft your own Cheburashka or Gena the Crocodile to take home. Recommended for ages 6-10. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $10, youths $5, ages under 3 free. museumofrussianicons.org. Go Home Tiny Monster. Eric Carle Museum, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 11 a.m. & 2 p.m. Puppetry, absurd silliness, physical theater, live music, and artful storytelling bring to life this story of creatures finding a new home, presented by The Gottabees. Free with admission. Adults $9, youths $6, ages under 1 free. carlemuseum.org.
The Airborne Comedians. Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline. 10:30 a.m. Featuring birdbaths, lawn-chairs, electric guitars, and baseball bats, this unorthodox, high energy juggling show is set to delight all ages. Adults $14, children $11. coolidge.org. Vacation Week Cartoons and Crafts. Museum of Russian Icons, 203 Union St., Clinton. 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Grab a snack, watch a Soviet-era cartoon, and then craft your own Cheburashka or Gena the Crocodile to take home. Recommended for ages 6-10. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $10, youths $5, ages under 3 free. museumofrussianicons.org. Special Sunday in the Studio. Eric Carle Museum, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 12-5 p.m. Join in the Art Studio to explore new
materials and try a different project. Free with admission. Adults $9, youths $6, ages under 1 free. carlemuseum.org. Live Piano Karaoke & Sing-Along. Eric Carle Museum, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 2 p.m. End Winter Break on a high note with this live piano karaoke and sing-along like no other featuring music, comedy, and plenty of smiles and fun. Members $5, general $6. Carlemuseum.org.
24 MONDAY Harp Extravaganza XVIII. Berk Recital Hall, 1140 Boylston St., Boston. 7 p.m. Join harpists in the String Department for their annual student recital featuring original compositions, classical, and contemporary favorites. Free. berklee.edu/events.
Lowell Winterfest 2020. JFK Plaza, 50 Arcand Dr., Lowell. 5 p.m. Kick-off Lowell’s 2020 WinterFest with food, music, and of course, fun winter activities, and come back Saturday for more. Free. lowellwinterfest.com. And the World Goes ‘Round. Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston. 8 p.m. From Cabaret to Chicago, this nonstop hit parade features unforgettable gems in this stunning review of the songbook from the Tony-winning team of Kander and Ebb. Advance $10, day-of $15. berklee.edu/ events.
21 FRIDAY Stuffed Animal Sleepover Breakfast. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 10-10:30 a.m. Pick up your animal friend, enjoy donuts, and watch a slideshow over what your stuffed friend did on their sleepover. Free. newtonfreelibrary.net. Special Storytime: Megan Dowd Lambert. Eric Carle Museum, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 10:30 a.m. Author Megan Dowd Lambert reads her fresh, funny sequel to ‘A Crow of His Own’ as rooster Clyde must adjust to new roommates on the farm. Free with admission. Adults $9, youths $6, ages under 1 free. carlemuseum.org. Materials Play. Eric Carle Museum, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 11-11:30 a.m. Experiment with materials selected especially for young explorers and their caregivers in the Art Studio. Recommended for ages 5 and under. Free with admission. Adults $9, youths $6, ages under 1 free. carlemuseum.org. Vacation Week Cartoons and Crafts. Museum of Russian Icons, 203 Union St., Clinton. 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Grab a snack, watch a Soviet-era cartoon, and then craft your own Cheburashka or Gena the Crocodile to take home. Recommended for ages 6-10. Free with admission. Members free; nonmember adults $10, youths $5, ages under 3 free. museumofrussianicons.org. February Vacation @ the ICA. Institute of Contemporary Art: Boston, 25 Harbor Shore Dr., Boston. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Explore the galleries, create art, and enjoy time together. Free with admission. Adults $15, youths under 18 free. icaboston.org. Lowell Winterfest 2020. JFK Plaza, 50 Arcand Dr., Lowell. 12 p.m. Spend all day amongst food vendors, entertainment, games BAYSTATEPARENT 33
25 TUESDAY Asobouyo! Explore the Songs and Toys of Japan. Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., Acton. 10-10:45 a.m. & 2-2:45 p.m. Join visiting student teachers from Showa University in Tokyo to explore classic Japanese children’s songs and toys, learn some simple words, and sing and play together. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $15.50, under age 1 free. discoveryacton.org. Ring Dem Bells. David Friend Recital Hall, 921 Boylston St., Boston. 7:30 p.m. Jubilee Spirit is back for another rich experience of African American pre-gospel choral singing, including everything from slave songs and chants to SATB arrangements from the best of African American composers. Free. berklee. edu/events.
26 WEDNESDAY Backyard and Beyond: Summit Great Hill. Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., Acton. 11 a.m. Summit Great Hill on a short and easy hike, with a pause at the top for a snack if you’d like to bring one along. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $15.50, under age 1 free. discoveryacton.org. Write of Spring 2020. David Friend Recital
Hall, 921 Boylston St., Boston. 7:20 p.m. The Jazz Composition Department presents the 26th year featuring new music encompassing all realms of jazz. Free. berklee.edu/events.
27 THURSDAY Doggy Days: Puppy Playthings. Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., Acton. 10-11 a.m. Join Therapy Dog Abby to learn how dog toys look similar or different from the things we like to play with. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $15.50, under age 1 free. discoveryacton.org. Little Lab Coats. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 6:30-7:30 p.m. Go on a scientific discovery as we perform exciting experiments exploring the basic properties of science in an easy and fun way. For ages 6-9. Free. newtonfreelibrary.net. The Coming: Black History Month Celebration. Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston. 7:30 p.m. Commemorate Black History Month during this musical narrative featuring performances and contemporary portrayals of the African diaspora, and the unrighteous capture and journey of the transatlantic slave trade. Advance $10-15, day-of $15-20. berklee.edu/events.
with caregivers. Free. newtonfreelibrary.net.
among the performers. Free. charltonarts.org.
Backyard and Beyond: Forest Friday. Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., Acton. 10-10:45 a.m. Enjoy a nature-based activity either in the Discovery Woods or out on the conservation land next door. Recommended for ages 2-6. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $15.50, under age 1 free. discoveryacton.org.
WinterFest. Fruitlands Museum, 102 Prospect Hill Rd., Harvard. 12 p.m. A day of family activities and seasonal celebrations including a 5K, human dog sled race, sledding, games, firepits, s’mores, nature walks, live music and beer and wine in a heated tent. Admission $5, Trustees members free. fruitlands.org.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show. The Hanover Theatre, 2 Southbridge St., Worcester. 10 a.m. & 6 p.m. Experience as Eric Carle’s famous picture book characters come to life in brilliant 3D during this live, onstage performance with 75 lovable puppets. $24-34. thehanovertheatre.org. Word Play with Center Dance Studio. Eric Carle Museum, 125 West Bay Rd., Amherst. 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Join The Center Dance Studio for creative movement and narrative dance inspired by picture books, your dancing feet, and your imagination. For ages 3 and up. Register ahead. Free with admission. Adults $9, youths $6, ages under 1 free. carlemuseum.org. Sensory Play Storytime. Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., Newton. 11:15 a.m.-12 p.m. Look, listen, touch, and play as we explore different sensory concepts. Aimed for ages 2-4
Play Date: Crafting Community. Institute of Contemporary Art: Boston, 25 Harbor Shore Dr., Boston. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Enjoy fun, creative, and even zany activities for kids and adults to do together with book readings, crafting, and afternoon family tours. Free with children. icaboston.org. Davey the Clown. Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline. 10:30 a.m. Juggling, unicycling, an accordion, and more come out to bring out laughter for families and friends of all ages during this comedy show. Adults $14, children $11. coolidge.org. Everyday Engineering: SailMobiles. Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., Acton. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Design a way to harness the power of wind as you construct a simple vehicle that’s part car, part sailboat. Free with admission. Members free; nonmembers $15.50, under age 1 free. discoveryacton.org. Anniversary Open House. Charlton Arts & Activities Center, 4 Dresser Hill Rd., Charlton. 12-3 p.m. The CAAC is celebrating 10 years with free performances, mini workshops, tours and refreshments. Irish dancing and Maggie the Clown
Air Exploration with Full STEAM Learning. Leominster Public Library, 30 West St., Leominster. 2:30-4 p.m. Build, levitate, and craft while learning about the properties of air. For ages 6-10. Register ahead. Free. leominsterlibrary.org. Especially for Me: Free Autism-Friendly Evening. Discovery Museum, 177 Main St., Acton. 5-8 p.m. Join in all the fun and explore the Discovery Museum and Woods during this evening event for families with members on the autism spectrum, with limited crowding, dinner provided, and a special session with the Open Door Theater at 5:30 & 7:30 p.m. Register ahead. Free. discoveryacton.org. ICCA Northeast Quarterfinal: Night Two. Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston. 7 p.m. Top a cappella collegiate groups from the Northeast compete for the title of International Champions during this concert competition. $20-35. berklee.edu/events.
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with Rob Paulsen
You probably grew up with Rob Paulsen. Your kids are growing up with him, too. Name not familiar? What about Pinky from “Pinky and the Brain?” Yakko from “Animaniacs?” A martial-arts expert turtle named Raphael? That’s Rob Paulsen, one of Hollywood’s busiest, most talented, voice actors, whose work has earned him a Daytime Emmy, three Annie Awards, and a Peabody. Two years ago, he was diagnosed with throat cancer, and after aggressive treatment, he is back doing what he loves. He published his memoir, “Voice Lessons,” last fall, is at work on the reboot of “Animaniacs,” and is currently on tour with “Animaniacs in Concert,” a celebration of animation, music, and comedy. We caught up with the voice legend before his stop in the Bay State this month, where he’ll be starring in “Animaniacs in Concert” at the Boston City Winery on Friday, Feb. 28.
What led you to pursue voice acting over on-screen roles? I moved to L.A. in June, 1978, ostensibly to pursue music, TV and film. I received a call to audition for two new animated shows, “G.I. Joe” and “Transformers.” Like any actor, I just wanted to work, so I went to the audition and luckily, booked the gigs. It took me about 43 seconds to determine that this was a FANTASTIC aspect of performing in which I was only limited by my skill and talent, not how I looked. I was hooked. You’ve brought so many iconic characters to life. Do you have a favorite? It’s pretty tough to beat “Yakko.” I got to sing in almost every episode, the humor was quite subversive, clever and did not condescend to the audience of “kids.” Plus, we’re back in production with “Animaniacs” and “Pinky and the Brain” for Hulu this fall with Mr. Spielberg again at the helm. Pretty tough to beat that, ya know? Your work is reaching multiple generations. Is there a difference in entertaining children today versus kids decades ago? Not to me. The most wonderful aspect of my work now is meeting grown “kids” at events all over the world who share their love of TMNT, Animaniacs, Pinky and The Brain, Jimmy Neutron, The Tick, Goof Troop, Darkwing Duck, Gummi Bears, Fairly Odd Parents, Danny Phantom, Tiny Toon Adventures, Tazmania, The Mask, etc., with their own kids. Additionally, with TMNT, Animaniacs and Pinky and The Brain as popular as ever but with a much larger audience than when they were first released? Wow. I am one very grateful actor.
You must have scored major points as the “cool dad” being a Ninja Turtle when your son was young? Ha! Yeah, it was pretty cool for my son, Ash and me. Especially at “Career Day.” I kinda felt bad for the other parents who had to follow my presentation. I don’t care how successful your hedge fund, law practice or eBusiness is, it’s tough to compete with “Raphael” for the attention of a bunch’a middle-schoolers. You beat throat cancer. How did you face something that could have so directly impacted your work? Well, I hope with calmness, courage and at least a little grace. Mind you, I was never alone. My family were and are super-supportive. I had fantastic, world class health care and even if my career ended, I’d had an amazing ride and incredible life. People deal with much worse every day. Not once did I panic and ask, “why me?” Honestly, why not me? It was my turn to take a hit, hopefully learn important things about myself and maybe even share them and inspire others in their struggles. I believe we really are all in this together. And if that’s true, it’s up to all of us to help, whatever that means. Money, time, empathy, compassion, inspiration...
You published your memoir last year. Why was this the right time for you to share your story? The cancer. Before I was diagnosed, I’d had many well-meaning fans suggest I write a memoir. I certainly was humbled at the suggestion but the last thing the world needs is another self-indulgent, Hollywood memoir from a non-celebrity, no less. However, throat cancer for a voice actor is a bit ironic and even a little interesting, perhaps. I recognized an opportunity to help others because of the “fame” of the characters. I figured that, if I got through it and was able to get back to work, that was a story worth telling. What’s different working with the original cast of Animaniacs on the reboot? What’s the same? I thought it couldn’t get any better than being at the beginning of Animaniacs with Steven Spielberg, Tom Ruegger, Tress, MacNeille, Jess Harnell, Maurice LaMarche, Frank Welker, a 40 piece orchestra, fantastic writers, etc. I was wrong. It’s better now because we have a HUUUUGE fan base. This is a pretty unique experience for actors. A 25-year gap, a reboot and the same voice talent. Crazy. Performing in “Animaniacs in Concert” must be a big change from what you’re used to. Do you like performing live? I started as a live performer. It’s a total gas. “Animaniacs in Concert” is an absolute labor of love and a fabulous chance to share the honest-toGod genius of Randy Rogel’s timeless music. Live shows are like a drug for me. I’m utterly hooked and I don’t plan on rehabbing. Ever.
Dig in! The Food Issue