Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Who am I, if not your mother?

We've all been there...

Everything is going fine. You've managed to bundle your toddler into his fifteen layers of winter clothing, strapped him into the car seat without pinching his fingers, made it through half of your shopping list by bribing him with goldfish crackers, and managed to keep both shoes on his feet.

But somewhere around the middle of the store, the goldfish crackers run out, the shoe falls off, and your overheated toddler begins to beg for freedom. As the pitch of his scream escalates, you realize people are staring -- whispering. Rather than risk being reported for child abuse or having to explain how your son managed to shatter all the glass display cabinets with only his voice, you release him from the carriage and let him walk beside you. Then you see the shoes...

Ah, yes. Those beautiful shoes. They're on sale. They have your size. What harm could it do to try them on? You slip the strappy sandals over your grey tube socks with holes in the toes, and take a few tentative steps. You turn to show your child, and.... he's gone.

For the next several moments, before you find him lurking in the racks merrily trying bras and panties on his head, you experience an out-of-body moment in which all time stands still, terror becomes you, and the world fades to grey.

This was the moment that gave birth to my debut novel, Strawberries in Winter. My child was lost, and in that brief eternity, a voice inside my head wondered, "If I lost you, who would I be?"

Strawberries in Winter explores the complexity of motherhood in modern times. It raises questions about the power of forgiveness, the depth of maternal love, and the need for identity.

Kyra Adams is fading into the footnotes of other people's lives, and only one man can set her free. But his secrets may ultimately destroy all that she loves. Will she have the courage to face the truth? Or are some secrets better left untold?

Uncover the mysteries of Strawberries in Winter...

See the video. Read the book. And let me know what you think!
(Paperback available in November 2008)
p.s. Visit my website for an opportunity to win a free Mobi E-reader! (Contest starts 2/1/08)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Can you tell me how to get to Censor-Me Street?

Sometime last Spring I heard tell that Sesame Street was changing the name of Cookie Monster to "Veggie Monster" in response to criticism that the hairy blue guy was chowing down on too many unhealthy choices. A little research revealed, much to my relief, that this was merely a rumor born in the media when Sesame Street Workshop declared their intention to diversify Cookie's diet to include more dairy, fruits, and vegetables (along with the occasional piano, block of wood, etc.)

So you can imagine my skepticism when I recently heard that classic Sesame Street videos were being released with a disclaimer stating that they were "for adults only." Apparently, Oscar is too grouchy, play spaces are unsafe, and Cookie's sweet tooth is too sweet.

Another example of media mix-ups? I'm afraid not...

As a society, we have truly gone over the deep end. (I blame the dingbat who sued because she wasn't warned that her hot coffee HOT!) We are a litigation-crazed society running scared.

Personally, I think this particular disclaimer is insulting to both children and parents. We shouldn't need to be warned...

But watch this video and let me know what YOU think.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bay State Parent magazine Named Best Parenting Publication, again!

Bay State Parent magazine was named best parenting publication in North America by Suburban Newspaper of America (
This is the third time the magazine has earned this honor -- 2007, 2006, & 2004.
Submitted into the editorial contest was the March 2007 issue, which featured a special report on childhood obesity, a report on the state of breastfeeding in Massachusetts, and the magazine's 7th Annual Baby Guide.
The judges wrote: "Good job in covering parenting issues that are current."
Writers who contributed to the issue included: Kerri Augusto, Amy Benoit, Robin Burke, Rosemary Cafasso, Lindsay Crone, Marta Kowalczyk, Jennifer Lefferts, Sue Lovejoy, Jane Mackay, Maria Marien, Marguerite Paolino, Susan Scully Petroni, Dr. Robyn Silverman, & calendar editor Carrie Wattu.

The magazine also earned second place nationally for best special section for the 4th Annual Adoption Guide (November 2006).
In this category, the magazine competed with weekly and daily newspapers with a circulation of more than 35,000.
Writers for the guide included: Marguerite Paolino, Sarah MacDonald, Amy Rodgers-Dryfoos, Peter Gibbs, and Barbara Ford.
Some of the judges comments included: "Excellent variety of issues and features, including a rare look in sections like this of a controversial issue Page 52. Well done and valuable section."
(By the way, I NEED to thank the Adoption Community of New England for its help in identifying some of the topics for this adoption guide. )

The American Press Institute judged the entries for the SNA editorial contest.
SNA is a newspaper organization representing more than 2,000 publication in North America.
Publisher Gareth Charter will accept the awards at the SNA Spring Publisher's Conference in February.

(Added API judges comments on 2/6/08)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Montessori Open House - Saturday, Jan. 12

There will be an open house at the Shrewsbury Montessori School, Shrewsbury on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. See first-hand how Montessori education provides a child with limitless motivation to achieve competence and to perfect his or her skills through self-directed learning and gentle guidance. Learn about our Children’s House and Elementary Program. Children’s House is available for age 3 through 5 in our log cabin Auburn campus and both Children’s House and Elementary programs are available in Shrewsbury campus for children age 3 through grade 6. For more information, call 508-842-2116.
Snow date: Jan. 13th

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Fundraiser on January 5th

Cyndi Zarriello, a Grafton resident, is hosting a fundraiser to benefit Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy - a disease that causes deterioration in muscles so that a child may die or an adult slowly loses their able to walk. The wonderful evening of dining and dancing will be held on Saturday, January 5 at White Cliffs in Northborough.
Tickets are $100 and the dinner/silent auction runs from 6 p.m. until midnight.
There will be many donated items up for the silent auction including original art work, airline tickets, and services.
Zarriello created the project while participating in a Landmark Education leadership program. Part of the course work was to create a project that benefits the community. Landmark Education is an international training and development company, who is known for offering their flagship course The Landmark Forum (
“Spinal Muscular Atrophy is a disease that has slowly taken away my husband’s mobility,” Zarriello said. “When I had the opportunity to create a project that would make a difference in the community, this seemed like a natural.”
The event is being supported by Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
For tickets call 508-839-0557 or e-mail:

Goddard School Having a First Birthday Party/Open House on- Jan. 19

The Goddard School in Bellingham is hosting a first birthday party Open House on Saturday, Jan 19th from 10 a.m. tonoon. The School is a preschool for children from six weeks to six years old located at located at 6 South Maple Street. Children will enjoy refreshments and fun activities at this special event. Children can build their very own stuffed animals with Goddard School t-shirts and birth certificates. There will be classroom activities with the teachers which will provide the parents with a chance to see the fun and experienced teachers in action. This event is for new families to see our school as well as a celebration for our current families who make everyday so special.
Families will also receive 50% off their first full month's tuition when they enroll January 19.
On-site owner Amy along with her Director, Donna, and faculty that includes teachers trained and experienced in early childhood development, are eager to welcome children into this nurturing environment where the curriculum encourages learning through play. The program offers parents the convenience of extended hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., , the flexibility of either half- or full-day schedules, and Quality Assurance standards that are monitored corporately.
The Goddard School® ( is a nationwide franchise of Goddard Systems, Inc. headquartered in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
Parents are encouraged drop in for a tour or call Amy directly to arrange a personal appointment: 508-966-4844.