Friday, May 30, 2008

WEEKEND PICKS: Ideas for Family Fun on Sunday, June 1

Okay, the weather forecast is for rain on the final day of May,
but Sunday, June 1 looks to be a nice day outside.
Below are 7 ideas for family fun on Sunday.
(Please call ahead, as some require advanced reservations.)

*Aids Walk Boston. Begins and ends at the DCR Hatch Memorial Shell on the Charles River Esplanade, Boston. 11 a.m. Family-friendly event filled with education and entertainment.

*Family Music Festival. New School of Music, 25 Lowell St., Cambridge. 12 – 3 p.m. Outdoor games, crafts, face painting, and a musical instrument "petting zoo." Indoor performances include African dance and drumming at noon by Jerry and Lisa Leake, the nationally-celebrated Latin music ensemble Sol y Canto at 1 p.m. (Tickets required, advanced purchase recommended (C$5 /A$10 ), and popular children's performer Vanessa Trien at 2 p.m. Free. 617-492-8105 or e-mail

* Garden Tea-Sunday. Visual Arts Center, 963 Washington St., Canton. 2 –3 p.m. Tea is held on the estate house terrace. Also, view Ocean Wild: Underwater Photography by Brian Skerry in the gallery. $16NM. 781-281-8853. E-mail

*Framazing Festival. Downtown Framingham Festival. Local drama groups and dance performances. Free. For information visit

*Leukemia Ride/Family Walk & BBQ. Eagles Club and Field, Litchfield St., Leominster. Walk starts at 10 a.m. All you can eat BBQ, Noon. An 85 mile motorcycle ride, a 5K walk (3.6 miles) on the soccer field at the Eagles, bone marrow drive, exotic animal show, live bands, moonwalk, kids games, raffles, magic show, face painting, snow cones, cotton candy, and more. Rain or shine. Indoors/outdoors. $20 prepaid; $25 at the door. 508-380-1791.

* Hiking for the Kids. Moore State Park, Sawmill Rd., Paxton. 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. Hike or walk on easy to moderate trails in this beautiful park. Meet Worcester Shark and Mascot, Finz, and Twister of the Worcester Tornadoes. All proceeds raised will benefit the Why Me organization serving local families of children with cancer. Minimum pledge: $25 (beverage and snack provided). Raffle prizes. 508-757-7734

* 11th Annual Audubon Nature Festival. Mass Audubon’s Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, Perkins Row, Topsfield. 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Live owl presentations, nature walks and exhibit, birdfeeder building, “beaver lodge” exploring, insect zoo, butterfly tent, children’s crafts, face painting, henna, and demonstrations by craftspeople,. food, baked goods, plant sale, Irish Celtic music; exhibits and activities on solar power, sustainability, and going green. $12 per car. Rain or shine. 978-887-9264.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cornerstone Academy's Summer Math Program for Grades 1-4

Would you like your child to advance their math skills beyond their grade level and chronological age? Does your child need some individual attention on specific concepts? Would you like to give your child a head start on learning accelerated math concepts? Spark you child's curiosity for math!
Cornerstone Academy of Northborough is offering an accelerated math program for students in Grades 1 through 4 with an emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving skills this summer. The cost is $300. Click here for a Registration Form

About Cornerstone Academy: The goal of the Cornerstone Academy is to present an academically challenging learning environment to our students and to prepare them to meet the needs of a changing world. At the Academy, we recognize that each child is an individual. We structure our academic program to meet the needs of each child. Your child will benefit from the individualized instruction and attention that is an integral part of our school. Building on a solid academic foundation, a Cornerstone, our academic approach is to integrate traditional educational methodology with a practical hands-on learning experience including field trips, experiments and the use of computers. To round out your child's education, dramatic arts and Spanish are included as part of our overall curriculum.

For more information on the summer math program or other summer programs contact Director Karen McQuade at 508-351-9976 or

RECALL:Quin Crafts Children's Jewelry Due to Risk of Lead Exposure

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with QuinCrafts of Michigan, today announced a voluntary recall of 70,000 Makit &Bakit Jewelry Sets and Suncatcher Sets. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. The clasps on some of the jewelry contains high levels of lead. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects. Incidents/Injuries: None reported. The recall includes QuinCrafts products containing children’s jewelry. Only items with the following item numbers printed on the back of the packaging are included in the recall:
Item -- Item Number
Makit & Bakit 5-Piece Jewelry Set -- 55256
Makit & Bakit Charm Bracelet Sets -- 41671
Makit & Bakit Bracelet & Necklace Set --55106
Makit & Bakit Charm Bracelet Set -- 55100
Makit & Bakit Garden Delux Suncatcher Set --43131
Disney Makit & Bakit Fairies Charm Bracelet -- 50083
Disney Makit & Bakit Princess Charm Bracelet -- 50694
The children’s jewelry was sold in a variety of sets that contained necklace, bracelet and earring or ring combinations. They were sold at AC Moore, CVS, LTD Commodities, Marshall’s/TJ Maxx, Michaels Corp. and other toy and independent craft supply stores nationwide from August 2007 through March 2008 and manufactured in China.
Consumers should immediately take the recalled jewelry away from young children and contact 800-366-4660 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or visit

RECALL: Walgreens' Remote-Controlled Helicopter Toy Due to Fire and Burn Hazads

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with TWIE - Tradewinds Interntional Enterprises Inc. of Californa, today announced a voluntary recall of about 152,000 Sky Champion Wireless Indoor Helicopters. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. The rechargeable battery contained inside the helicopter can catch fire, igniting the helicopter and nearby combustible materials. This poses a burn or fire hazard to consumers. TWIE has received two reports of helicopters catching fire. No injuries or property damage have been reported. This recall involves the “Sky Champion” wireless indoor helicopter. The helicopter comes with a transmitter that controls and recharges the helicopter. The helicopter is made of foam and plastic and measures about 7 inches by 3 inches. The transmitter measures about 6 inches by 4 inches. “BH26047” is printed on the tail of the helicopter. “WIC 551777” and the UPC code is 630990006005 are printed on the packaging.
They were sold at Walgreens stores nationwide from June 2007 through November 2007 for about $20 ad manufactured in China.
Consumers should immediately stop playing with the recalled helicopters and contact TWIE for a full refund. Returns will be accepted by TWIE. Walgreens will not accept returns or provide a refund. For additional information, contact TWIE toll free at 888-583-4908 anytime or send an email to

Friday, May 30: Ladies Night Out in Wellesley

Join Us for a Fun Ladies Night Out Benefiting the Art beCAUSE Foundation*
Everyone is welcome to come unwind after a busy week and see the summer must-have looks on local women receiving complete make-overs! What could be more fun than watching our own local gals walk a runway, while enjoying wine, appetizers and fun with your friends. Plus, chances to win $100s worth of product/services from the featured businesses. Becoming one of our signatures, is our very cool, valuable gift bags for everyone who attends. Don't miss it! We ask that you please RSVP to to reserve your spot (space is limited).

Friday May 30 from 7-9 p.m. at the Color Studio, 555 Washington St., in Wellesley
$25 per person (benefits the Art beCAUSE Foundation*
OR Bring a friend to get 2 for $20 each

A portion of the evenings ales will go to the Art beCAUSE Foundation.

* The Art beCAUSE Foundation is committed to funding research dedicated to eradicating environmental causes of breast cancer. The Art beCAUSE Foundation actively seeks out and funds "Seed the Scientist"research projects that deal with the links between breast cancer and the environment. Help support this urgent research! Corporate sponsors and private individuals like you make it possible.

Don't Miss the Hottest Summer Skin Care, Fashion & Hair Trends featuring:
Wendy Chandor: Independent Consultant, Arbonne International
Wendy will share the benefits of using the finest botanical skin care and sun care to nourish and protect the skin, while also addressing the "after" effects of sun and aging on the face/body.

Laurie Mandato : Wardrobe and Style Consultant, Imaging Joy
Laurie will share top summer trends and explore ways to further discover your own personal style. Our models will showcase the latest fashions from Potpourri Designs.

Paula D'Alessandro & Barbara Canty: Owners and Award Winning Stylists, The Color Studio
Paula and Barbara will share the hottest, new summer cuts, coloring, and styles to keep you looking great in the summer weather.

This evening promises to be Great Fun and it is all for a Great Cause -- the Art beCAUSE Foundation. Don't forget to RSVP and we'll see you there.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

RECALL: Children's Hooden Sweatshirts by Adio Footwear due to Strangulation Hazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Adio Footwear of California, today announced a voluntary recall of about 300 Boy's Hooden Zip Fleece Sweatshirts. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. The garments have a drawstring through the hood, which can pose a strangulation hazard to children. In February 1996, CPSC issued guidelines (pdf) to help prevent children from strangling or getting entangled on the neck and waist by drawstrings in upper garments, such as jackets and sweatshirts. The boy’s “Champ Custom” hooded zip fleece sweatshirt (style # 40305.HZB) is white with blue pin-stripes on the front and red panels on the sides. ADIO is spelled out across the front. The sweatshirt was sold in boys’ sizes: small, medium, large and x-large. They were sold at Tilly’s and Bob’s stores nationwide from October 2007 through December 2007 for about $40 and manufactured in China.
Consumers should immediately remove the drawstrings from the sweatshirts to eliminate the hazard, and return the item to the place of purchase or to Adio Footwear for a full refund.
Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Adio Footwear at 800-995-6069 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s Web site at

WEEKEND PICK: Why Me's Hiking for Kids Day

You can feel good about a day filled with fresh air, exercise, and quality family time at the unique and beautiful Moore State Park in Paxton on June 1.
At Why Me's Hiking for Kids Day, your family will also help local families of children with cancer. The day features an easy to moderate hike from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m with Worcester Shark and Mascot, Fitz, and Twister of the Worcester Tornadoes.
Registration is $25 per hiker (includes beverages and snack). Great raffle prizes available.
For more information, call 508- 757-7734 or visit

WINNERS: Counting in the Garden Book

Thanks to everyone who entered Bay State Parent magazine's & Scholastic's Counting in the Garden book giveaway contest!
The winners are:
* Kristen Loizeaux of Northborough, who says she loves our publication. Her favorite features are Calendar, Day Trip Destination, & Adoption Insights.
* Leslie Sullivan of Dudley, who says "I think your magazine is filled with useful & valuable information that apply to all different needs!" Her favorite features are "Calendar, Family Health, Day Trip Destination, & Working Moms."
* MJ Morese of Milford, who picks up the magazine at Jazzercise and her favorite feature is the calendar.

To enter any contests or giveaways for Bay State Parent, visit

To see previous contests and a list of previous winners, visit:


Thanks to all the readers who have been entering Bay State Parent magazine's Cheer on the Sox! contests. Our next giveaway features two books written by Red Sox great Jerry Remy and featuring Wally The Green Monster. In Hello Wally, your child can follow Wally around Fenway Park during game day. Read along as Wally enjoys pre-game festivities on Yawkey Way, visits the Ted Williams Statue, participates in batting practice, entertains Red Sox fans, and cheers the home team to victory. Boston Red Sox Children's Book The 24-page hardcover book published by Mascot Books ( retails for $14.95.
The sequel book by Remy is Wally The Green Monster And His Journey Through Red Sox Nation. In it, Wally the Green Monster, takes a tour of Red Sox Nation. Read along as Wally's journey takes him from Boston, out to Cape Cod, south to Connecitcut and Rhode Island, then north to Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. The hardcover book is $14.95.
One Bay State Parent reader will receive both books.
Make sure to pull down the bar for the Wally Book.
The deadline to enter is June 30 at 11:59 EST.
The winner will be posted on this blog. Prize will be mailed upon verification and receipt of mailing address from winner.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

STUDY: Parental Involvement Strongly Impacts Student Achievement

New research from the University of New Hampshire shows that students do much better in school when their parents are actively involved in their education.
Researchers Karen Smith Conway, professor of economics at the University of New Hampshire, and her colleague Andrew Houtenville, senior research associate at New Editions Consulting, found that parental involvement has a strong, positive effect on student achievement.
The research is reported in "Parental Effort, School Resources, and Student Achievement," which appears in the spring 2008 issue of the Journal of Human Resources.
"Parental effort is consistently associated with higher levels of achievement, and the magnitude of the effect of parental effort is substantial. We found that schools would need to increase per-pupil spending by more than $1,000 in order to achieve the same results that are gained with parental involvement," Conway said.
Parents seemed particularly interested in the academic achievements of their daughters. The researchers found parents spent more time talking to their daughters about their school work during dinnertime discussions.
"There are a number of theories about why girls seem to garner more attention from their parents than boys. One possibility is that girls are more communicative with their parents so these conversations about academics are easier for parents to have with their daughters," Conway said.
The researchers also found that parents may reduce their efforts when school resources increase, thus diminishing the effects of improved school resources.
"As an economist, I look for reactions to a specific action so it is not surprising to me that parents may scale back their involvement with their child's education when a school adds resources. As a result, increasing school resources may not be as effective as we expect since they may diminish parental involvement," Conway said.
The researchers used national data from more than 10,000 eighth-grade students in public and private schools, their parents, teachers, and school administrators. The researchers were particularly interested in how frequently parents discussed activities or events of particular interest to the child, discussed things the child studied in class, discussed selecting courses or programs at school, attended a school meeting, and volunteered at the child's school.
To evaluate school resources, the researchers looked at per-pupil expenditures on instructional salaries and a set of five school characteristics: student-teacher ratio, lowest salary received by a teacher, percentage of teachers with a master's or a doctoral degree, percentage of the student body not in the school's subsidized lunch program,and percentage of nonminority students in the student body.
The full study is available at

Teaching Your Child Self-Reliance

This month (May issue) Parenting 1-2-3 columnist Dr. Robyn Silverman launches the first in an ongoing series of articles in Bay State Parent magazine on teaching your child self-reliance. (Coming in July: Teaching Your Child How to Pack His Own Bag/Suitcase for a Summer Vacation.)

By Dr. Robyn Silverman
"I hate to see her struggle like that."
"I'll just do it for him this one time."
"We're in a rush so…"

It's just one of those things, isn't it?
We all do it every once in a while. Maybe it's because it's easier, faster, or better if we do it for them. A little more time. A little less frustration. Maybe it's just because we love them so much. So sometimes, we make their beds, tie their shoes, pack their bags, prepare their lunches, wipe their faces, and do their chores for them, even when we know that they can do it by themselves.
But our choices can backfire. They can make children overly dependant on others and rob them of the opportunities to challenge themselves and build self confidence in their own abilities.
With the term "helicopter parents" (used to describe overprotective parents who hover too closely and help too readily whether their children need their assistance or not) infused into everyday vernacular, Moms and Dads are trying to stay clear of the label.
It can be challenging for parents to know when to let their child fly solo and when (and if) they should assist or take over.
In our hearts, we know that it's developmentally fitting for children to become more self reliant as they age.
The most powerful parents aim to strike a balance between allowing their children to do tasks on their own and helping them when they really need it. This balance allows their children to thrive because they feel more confident in themselves while still feeling supported and properly mentored.
When it comes time to teach self reliance to children, Dr. Robyn has 10 tips. To read them, pick up a copy of the May issue or read her column at Bay State Parent magazine's Web site at

New Government Report Shows Increase in Pool & Spa Drowinings

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A new report (pdf) issued by the staff of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission indicates that the average number of drowning deaths involving children younger than 5 in pools and spas has increased from a yearly average of 267 (for 2002-2004) to 283 (for 2003-2005).
The average number of emergency room treated pool and spa submersion injuries decreased from an annual average of 2,800 (for 2004-2006) to 2,700 (for 2005-2007).
The report also shows that the majority of deaths and injuries occur in residential settings and involve children ages 1-2. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death to children ages 1-4.
At a press conference, Commission Acting Chairman Nancy Nord, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Safe Kids USA parent advocate Nancy Baker, and American Red Cross Chief Public Affairs Officer Suzy DeFrancis came together in an effort to reduce the number of drownings and injuries this summer. Parents, caregivers, and pool owners were encouraged to make safety a top priority at the pool and spa.
A new federal pool and spa safety law was signed by the President on December 19, 2007. entrapments.
The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act requires that by December 19, 2008, all public pools and spas have safety drain covers, and in certain circumstances, an anti-entrapment system. The goal of the law is to improve the safety of all pools and spas by increasing the use of layers of protection and promoting uninterrupted supervision to prevent child drownings.
“The tragedy of hundreds of children dying each year from accidental drowning and four times as many who are near-drowning victims with devastating injuries, is made even more painful by the knowledge that these types of accidents are preventable," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. “Parents should know that simple safety measures for their pool or spa could very well prevent their own child from being lost through such nightmare scenarios as accidental drowning or entrapment.”
"This legislation helps give meaning to the tragic circumstances that took Graeme’s life and the lives of many other children,” said Nancy Baker whose 7-year-old daughter died in 2002 when she was entrapped underwater by the suction of a spa’s drain. “It is a tribute to these children and their grieving families that this law will prevent injuries and deaths as a result of drowning. Graeme would be honored that it is in her name."
New CPSC data (pdf) also shows that between 1999 and 2007 there were 74 reported incidents involving entrapment, resulting in 9 deaths and 63 injuries. Six of the deaths occurred in pools and three occurred in spas and all of the deaths except for one involved children 14 or younger. These entrapment incidents involve being trapped by the force of suction at the drain and can occur because of a broken or missing outlet cover.
Drowning occurs more commonly when children get access to the pool during a short lapse in adult supervision. To reduce the risk of drowning, pool owners should adopt several layers of protection, including physical barriers, such as a fence completely surrounding the pool with self-closing, self-latching gates to prevent unsupervised access by young children. If the house forms a side of the barrier, use alarms on doors leading to the pool area and/or a power safety cover over the pool.
“I encourage all parents to contact their local American Red Cross chapter and ask about the many services offered,” said Suzy DeFrancis, Chief Public Affairs Officer for the American Red Cross. “From CPR and First Aid training to the Learn to Swim program, the Red Cross can be your greatest resource to preventing any pool and spa accidents this summer.”
In addition, parents should use these tips to help prevent drowning deaths:
Since every second counts, always look for a missing child in the pool first. Precious time is often wasted looking for missing children anywhere but in the pool.
Don't leave toys and floats in the pool that can attract young children and cause them to fall in the water when they reach for the items.
Inspect pools and spas for missing or broken drain covers.
Do not allow children in a pool or spa with missing/broken covers. Inserting an arm or leg into the opening can result in powerful suction and total body submersion/drowning.
For above-ground and inflatable pools with ladders, remove or secure the ladder when the pool is not in use.
It is important to always be prepared for an emergency by having rescue equipment and a phone near the pool. Parents should learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Friday, May 23, 2008

STUDY: Gymnasts are Tumbling & Vaulting into ERs

By Jennifer Lucarelli
Contrary to what some parents may think, gymnastics is considered by some as the football of girls sports when it comes to injuries.
Though it's a graceful and exciting sport to watch and participate, a new national study, the first-of-its kind, shows gymnastics has one of the highest injury rates of all girls' sports, ranking it among contact sports like hockey and soccer.
The study, conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio, compiled gymnastic related injuries from emergency rooms nationwide from 1990 to 2005.
The data revealed that children age 6 to 17 averaged 27,000 injuries per year. That totals nearly 426,000 injuries during the 16-year study.
"Many parents do not typically think of gymnastics as a dangerous sport," said study senior author Lara McKenzie, PhD, MA, principal investigator for the Ohio hospital in a release. "In fact, many parents consider it an activity. Yet gymnastics have the same clinical incidence of catastrophic injuries as hockey."
Dr. Lyle Micheli, Director of the Division of Sports Medicine, Children's Hospital, and a clinical professor of orthopedic surgery, Harvard Medical School, agreed with the findings of the study.

To read more of Jennifer's article pick up a copy of the May issue and or visit Bay State Parent magazine's Web site at

Thursday, May 22, 2008

8th Annual Give Children A Chance Gala toBenefit Pioneering Autism Program

With Autism Spectrum Disorder rising in prevalence and receiving significant national attention, parents thankfully have more options than ever before to enhance the social and emotional development of affected children. MGH YouthCare has long been a leader in this field, pioneering skill-based programs for toddlers through teens and offering children with Autism Spectrum Disorder the chance to develop social and friendship skills in a safe and supportive environment. Through their summer camp, career skill development program, social skills groups, parent groups and school consultations, YouthCare has empowered hundreds of kids and their parents to make healthy decisions and lead fuller lives.
Each year, YouthCare hosts a gala fundraiser, “Give Children a Chance.” Its eighth annual installment, which will take place May 29 at 6 p.m. at the Moakley Courthouse in Boston, will be hosted by KISS 108’s Billy Costa and will feature Jimmy Buffet cover band The Baja Brothers. Event co-chairs David Long, Stephanie Long, Tim Sweeney, Tom Hamilton and Terry Hamilton are expecting more than 300 guests for this year’s event. Says Terry Hamilton and her husband Tom, best known as bassist for Aerosmith, “Ever since attending our first YouthCare event more than five years ago, we knew this was a cause that needed our support. MGH YouthCare gives kids a place where they can enjoy activities with their peers and be themselves without being bullied or teased, and that is so important for a young kid.”
Says D. Scott McLeod, Ph.D., executive director of MGH YouthCare, “Allowing children on the Autism Spectrum to build skills in a supportive and engaging environment is the surest way to prepare them for a productive, fulfilling life. It is thanks to our generous donors that we continue to be able to deliver high-quality care to hundreds of children in need.”
For more information about attending the gala or about sponsorship opportunities, contact Deb Shapiro at 617-724-2818. To find out more about MGH YouthCare, access

About the Massachusetts General Hospital: Massachusetts General Hospital, established in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with an annual research budget of nearly $500 million and major research centers in AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, computational and integrative biology, cutaneous biology, human genetics, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, regenerative medicine, transplantation biology and photomedicine. MGH and Brigham and Women's Hospital are founding members of Partners HealthCare HealthCare System, a Boston-based integrated health care delivery system.

New England Revolution's Youth Development Program Holding Tryouts in June

The New England Revolution this week unveiled complete details about its new, fully-funded youth development program, including tryout information for its boys Under-16 and Under-18 teams that will begin play this summer and which will compete in the prestigious U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
In an effort to afford the region's players the opportunity to train and compete at an elite level, the Revolution's youth development program will be fully-funded by the club. Qualified and talented players will be accepted into the program without regard to their financial situation. All players' needs and expenses related to soccer activities - training, facilities, equipment, uniforms, travel associated with competitions - will be provided by the Revolution at no cost to the players or their families.
The Revolution conducted an information session in the Atrium of the East Fidelity Investments Clubhouse (Gillette Stadium, One Patriot Place, Foxborough, MA 02035) on Tuesday, May 20. The Revolution's Director of Soccer, Michael Burns, and Director of Youth Development, Mario Prata, will make a presentation about the team's new youth system and will be available to answer questions about the program.
Tryouts for the Under-16 and Under-18 teams will be held in June on the grounds at Gillette Stadium. First-round tryouts for both the U16s and U18s will be conducted on the indoor turf field at the Dana-Farber Field House at Gillette Stadium. Players will only be permitted to attend one open tryout held to their appropriate age group.
Called-back and invited players will participate in the second round of tryouts, which will be conducted later in the week on the stadium turf field at Gillette Stadium. A full schedule of tryouts with dates and times is listed below.

Boys Under 16s Tryouts (born on/after 1/1/92)

Monday, June 9: Open tryouts (Dana-Farber Field House at Gillette Stadium), 6 p.m.

Tuesday, June 10: Open tryouts (Dana-Farber Field House at Gillette Stadium), 6 p.m.

Wednesday, June 11: Open tryouts (Dana-Farber Field House at Gillette Stadium), 6 p.m.

Friday, June 13: Call-backs and invitation-only tryouts (Gillette Stadium main field), 6 p.m.

Boys Under 18s Tryouts (born on/after 1/1/90)

Monday, June 16: Open tryouts (Dana-Farber Field House at Gillette Stadium), 6 p.m.

Tuesday, June 17: Open tryouts (Dana-Farber Field House at Gillette Stadium), 6 p.m.

Thursday, June 19: Call-backs and invitation-only tryouts (Gillette Stadium main field), 6 p.m.

All tryouts will begin at 6 p.m., but players should arrive by 5:30 p.m.

All players who plan to attend a tryout session are required to have consent and liability release forms with them, signed by a parent or legal guardian. Blank forms will be available on the nights of the tryouts. Players without the necessary signed forms will not be allowed to try out that evening. The necessary forms will be emailed to all families who register their contact information at prior to the event, and will also be available for download at as the tryout dates approach.

WEEKEND PICK: Stone Zoo's New Black Bear Exhibit Opens Saturday

Stone Zoo’s brand new black bear exhibit will be unveiled to the public this Memorial Day weekend! The new exhibit will be located on the same site that was previously home to Stone Zoo’s beloved polar bear, Major, who passed away in 2000.
Zoo New England has built a naturalistic habitat for the black bears – using the foundation of Major’s former home, filling in the moats and creating an engaging and stimulating space for the bears. The exhibit is located within the zoo’s Yukon Creek section, an area of the zoo highlighting North American animals including bald eagles, Canada lynx, gray fox, and porcupine.
The bears, Smoky and Bubba, are two-year-old brothers that join Stone Zoo from the Appalachian Bear Rescue in Tennessee.
WHEN: Saturday, May 24
WHERE: Stone Zoo in Stoneham
TICKETS: Adults $9, Children (2-12) $60, Senior Citizens (62+) $8, Children under 2 free.
SUMMER HOURS: April 1 – Sept. 30 Weekdays, 10 AM – 5 PM; Weekends & Major Holidays, 10 AM – 6 PM

RECALL: Tinker Bell Wands Due to Lead Paint

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with The Disney Store, today announced a voluntary recall about 8,000 Tinker Bell Wands. The paint on the pearl beads in the flowers of the wands contains excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard. Incidents/Injuries: None reported. The recalled Tinker Bell wands are green and light up and sound when a button in the handle is pressed. The top of the wand has white plastic flowers, a green bow, and a pin with Tinker Bell’s face on it. Sold at the Disney stores nationwide from April 2007 through October 2007 for about $13 and manufactured in China.
Consumers should immediately take the recalled toy away from children and return it to a Disney Store for a full refund. For additional information, contact Disney Store toll-free at 866- 902-2798 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Pacific time Monday through Friday or visit


RECALL: Pirates of the Caribbean Sleeping Bad Due to Lead Paint

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the Disney Store, today announced a voluntary recall of about 4,100 Pirates of the Caribbean Sleeping Bags. The surface paint on the sleeping bag’s zipper pull contains excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard. Incidents/Injuries: None reported. The recalled Pirates of the Caribbean sleeping bags have a cartoon pirate design of Davey Jones and Jack Sparrow on the front. Style number F1652B0003 is printed on the logo label inside the sleeping bags. The sleeping bag with the skull art design is not included in this recall. They were sold exclusively at the Disney stores nationwide from April 2007 through October 2007 for about $25 and manufactured in China.
Consumers should immediately take the recalled sleeping bags away from children and return them to any Disney Store for a full refund. For additional information, contact Disney Store toll-free at 866-902-2798 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Pacific, or visit

RECALL: Shaker Guiro Instruments Due to Lead Paint

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation Antigua Winds Inc. of Texas, today announced a voluntary recall about 6,500 Basic Beat Shaker Guiro Instruments. Surface paint on the recalled shaker guiro instrument contains excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard. Incidents/Injuries: None reported. The recalled shaker guiro is a ridged, cylinder-shaped percussion instrument that contains beads and is played by scraping a stick along the surface. The shaker guiro measures about 2” wide x 5” long. One end of the instrument is painted red and the other end is painted blue. The center section and stick are natural wood. “Basic Beat 5” Guiro/Shaker,” “SHBB5,” and “Recommended for Ages 6+” are printed on the packaging. Sold by West Music retail stores in Iowa and Illinois, the West Music catalog, online at, and West Music booths at conventions and workshops nationwide, the Music Together Catalog, and from November 2001 through March 2008 for between $9 and $11 and manufactured in Taiwan.
Consumers should immediately take the recalled shaker guiro instrument away from children and contact West Music to arrange to receive a replacement instrument. For additional information, contact West Music at 800-397-9378 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central, or e-mail the firm at


May 31: Touch-A-Truck Fundraiser

On Saturday, May 31 the Community Covenant Church at 33 Lake St., in Peabody from 4 to 5 p.m. will hold a Touch-a-Truck Fundraiser.
Kids climb for a cause! Touch and learn about fire, police, and construction vehicles.
All proceeds go to help kids in India. The cost is $1 per person.
For additional information e-mail or visit

June 7: Fundraising Yard Sale

The LLL of Marlborough/Sudbury is holding its annual fundraising Yard Sale on June 7 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 837 Edgell Rd., Framingham.
Donations of children’s and household items would be greatly appreciated.
We are also in need of tables and garment racks.
We can pick up large items at your home.
Please call Mary Ellen 508-524-0833 for more information.

Celebrate Arthur's 8th Birthday This Weekend at Boston Children's Museum

On May 24 & 25 Celebrate America' favorite aardvark's 8th birthday -- Arthur Read -- at the Boston Children's Museum from 1 - 4 p.m.
Meet the famous aardvark as he celebrates his 8th birthday yet again).
At 1:30 & 2:30 p.m., make your own Arthur ears crown, and decorate the pretend cake. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for children ages 2-15.
For additional information, visit

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

RECALL: Children's Animal-Themed Blankets Due to Stangulation Hazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Douglas Company of Keene, N.H., today announced a voluntary recall of 74,000 Lil’ Snugglers™ Children’s Blankets.
The blanket’s satin edge can come loose, posing a strangulation hazard. The firm has 18 reports of the satin separating from the blanket. No injuries have been reported. The recalled children’s blankets are 14 inches square with an animal head sewn in the middle. The satin border around the outside edge is about one inch wide. The blankets were sold in the following styles:
Only blankets with a P.O. number of 1330 or below are included in this recall. The style number, followed by the P.O. number, is identified on a white tab sewn into the blankets behind the Douglas red label.
Style # 1327 - Cream Lamb
Style # 1328 - Cream/Tan Horse
Style # 1329 - Green Frog
Style # 1330 - Pink Horse
Style #1331 - Blue Bear
Style # 1332 - Yellow Giraffe
Style # 1333 - Tan Pup
Style # 1339 - Yellow Duck
Style # 1341 - Brown Monkey
Style # 1351 - Pink Bear
The style number, followed by the P.O. number, is identified on a white tab sewn into the blankets behind the Douglas red label.
Sold by specialty stores nationwide and on the Web from April 2005 through December 2007 for about $12; they were manufactured in China.
Consumers should take the blankets away from children immediately and return it to Douglas for a free replacement blanket or credit toward another item of equal value. For additional information, contact Douglas Co. at 800-992-9002 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. onday through Friday, or visit, or e-mail the firm at

Wide Horizons For Children Creates Emergency Fund for Earthquake Relief in China

Wide Horizons For Children, a leading non-profit adoption and child welfare agency, announced it is creating an emergency relief fund for earthquake victims in China.
The Waltham-based agency is seeking donations to the fund, which will be used to help children affected by the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that struck western China last Monday.
Reports show 50,000 people are dead, buried, or missing.
The impact on orphanages is not yet completely known as many of the most affected facilities are in hard-to-access areas. Wide Horizons is working with its partner in China to find more information on the status of children and to identify the most pressing emergency needs arising from the earthquake and aftershocks in western China.
The fund will provide both emergency and long-term relief to children in orphanages and children who have been separated from their families, orphaned, physically hurt and emotionally traumatized. Depending on the specific needs, funds could be used for food, trauma counseling, medical care and emergency shelter as well as to repair or rebuild institutions that may have suffered structural damage.

How to donate to the fund:
Online: - write Earthquake Relief in comment box
Phone: Ali Crandall at 800-729-5330 x1340
Mail: Wide Horizons For Children, Attn: Earthquake Relief, 38 Edge Hill Rd, Waltham, 02451

About Wide Horizons For Children: It is one of the largest private, non-profit adoption and child welfare agencies in the United States. The agency has placed over 10,000 children from 53 countries with American citizens since its founding in 1974. WHFC's humanitarian aid programs have donated more than $10 million to build and support projects for children all over the world. For more information, visit

May 30th is Deadline to Apply to Governor's Youth Council

The deadline for young people to apply to join the Statewide Youth Council is Friday, May 30. Governor Deval Patrick established the council last month as part of his administration’s effort to engage and involve citizens of all ages and create opportunities for residents across the Commonwealth.
The goal of the Council is to encourage the Commonwealth’s young people to become involved in their communities and to participate in planning and problem solving by taking on leadership roles.
The Youth Council will focus on issues important to youth as well as the Governor’s priorities of education, economic development, and civic engagement. The Youth Council will act as an advisory body to the Governor and his Administration.
The Statewide Youth Council will be comprised of 28 young people ages 14 to 20 representing the 14 counties in the Commonwealth, with two representatives per county. Participants will come from various walks of life and will represent the diversity of the Commonwealth.
Each youth member, together with his or her adult sponsor, will also be responsible for organizing meetings in their local communities to assess which issues should be brought to the statewide council.
These “local councils” will provide more access opportunities for youth to become involved beyond the 28 official representatives, and in this manner will better serve all of the youth of Massachusetts.
Selection of the council will be by application, which is available at Applications are due by May 30.
A selection committee will review the applications and select the 28 members, who will then be notified via mail.

Little Rider Toys Recalled Due to Lead Paint Violations

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Master Toys & Novelties Inc of California, today announced a voluntary recall about 6,000 Cowboy on a Horse Little Rider Toys. Surface paint on the shoe and pants of the rider toy contains excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard.
This recall includes a battery operated cowboy riding a horse toy. The model number 8610B is located on the product packaging. The horse and rider together measure about 8.5 inches in height by 7.5 inches in length. The rider is wearing blue pants and a red shirt and the horse is brown. Only Little Rider Toys with UPC code 603678086101 printed on the product packaging are included in the recall. They were sold at dollar and discount stores nationwide from April 2007 through January 2008 for between $5 and $7 and manufacturered in China.
Consumers should immediately take these recalled toys away from children and return it to the store where purchased for a full refund.
For additional information, contact Master Toys & Novelties Inc. at 800-237-5020 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday or visit


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Arthur Live! is A Wonderful Show!

Yesterday, I attended Arthur Live! at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester.
It was the first children's show at the newly renovated theatre.
Below I comment on the show I wanted to say a view things about the venue.
I found the drive into Worcester easier than one into Boston -no construction detours. I also found the parking more convenient (directly across the street) and cheaper ($5 for the Sunday afternoon show.)
The theatre is beautiful and comfortable. The floor seats have plenty of leg room.
The theatre has a look and feel similar to the Colonial Theatre in Boston.

Now on to the show --- Arthur Live! Based on Marc Brown's books and Emmy-Award winning PBS series, this live stage show is worth the money. (There were very few empty seats on the floor on Sunday. There is also balcony seating)
The show (90 minutes including a 20-minute intermission) features everyone’s favorite aardvark and his friends in a musical tooth fairy adventure. The show adds music and dance to the familiar television episode - if your child is a fan of the PBS series. (If you haven't seen the episode -- here is a quick synopsis -- D.W. is jealous when her big brother Arthur loses a tooth and gets a visit, and a dollar, from the Tooth Fairy. Arthur explains that the Tooth Fairy comes only when you lose a tooth and put it under your pillow at night, so D.W. dreams up some hilarious (but unsuccessful) plans to trick the Tooth Fairy into coming. Finally, Arthur decides to reward D.W.'s efforts by playing Tooth Fairy, himself!)
All your child's favorite Arthur Read characters are in Arthur Live!-- Buster, Brain, Francine, Muffy Crosswire, -- even an appearance by Pal and Baby Kate.
I enjoyed the creative, innovative, page-turning pop-up storybook set of Elwood City.
The costumes were similar to what you would see at a theme park.
I found the Tooth Fairy character a bit over the top (although my daughter didn't share my opinion and I'm sure the rest of the children in the audience did not either.)
The songs were cute -- even the one about Mr. Ratburn's pop quiz - sung to the tune of Pop Goes the Weasel. I thoroughly enjoyed the lunch room scenes and the glow-in-the-dark dinosaurs at the museum were a surprise for the children in the audience.
Many of the children in attendance sand and dance along with the characters.
If your child is an Arthur fan, this show is not to be missed.
Below is a few photos from yesterday's performance. (Bring your camera if you attend a future performance of Arthur Live!, as photography (but not video) is allowed at this show!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Elements Therapeutic Massage Studio Opens in Andovers Area

Yesterday, Cheryl Arbia and Mark Vieira, two Bay State entrepreneurs, opened Massachusetts 10th elements therapeutic massage studio at 579 Chickering Road in North Andover, where every single customer will receive professional massage services from a certified massage therapist in a luxury setting.
"I am excited to bring this business to the neighborhood," said Cheryl. "the community will truly enjoy elements' professional massage services for years to come!"elements therapeutic massage's certified massage therapists provide customized massage services at a retail price.
Franchising since 2006, elements therapeutic massage is growing rapidly with 46 open studios, opening several new locations each month.
"With each new location, we are in a better position to help people live a better quality of life through the healing benefits that therapeutic massage offers," said Michele Merhib, Founder of the elements therapeutic massage business model in 2000.
"It is important in today's fast-paced society that people take a regular mini-vacation, with a massage that can rejuvenate the mind and body."

About elements therapeutic massage: elements therapeutic massage is headquartered in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and is part of Fitness Together Franchise Corporation. In 1996, Fitness Together Franchise Corporation began franchising to bring professional and affordable personal training services to every major city. Today there are over 400 Fitness Together personal training franchise locations throughout the world and over 98 scheduled to open this year. elements therapeutic massage is following the same model, and was created in 2000 by founder, Michele Merhib. The company started franchising in 2006 under the Fitness Together Franchise Corporation.
For more information visit or

Boston Children's Museum Receives LEED Gold Certification

Boston Children’s Museum is excited to announce that it recently achieved LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
It is the first “green” museum in Boston.
Today, Friday, May 16, at 4 p.m. the Museum will unveil its LEED plaque at a ceremony attended by City of Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.
According to the U.S. Green Building Council, “The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.” To be named LEED Gold certified, a building must meet stringent standards for sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, indoor environmental quality and innovative design
During its renovation and expansion, Boston Children’s Museum used recycled and rapidly renewable materials and added a green roof, storm water reclamation system and real-time heating and cooling controls. The Museum also replaced its ambient light fixtures with highly efficient fixtures and trained housekeeping staff on the proper way to store, use, and dispose of chemicals, paper products and other materials
“Boston Children's Museum has long been a leader in setting the gold standard for hands-on exhibits and early childhood education programs,” Janet Rice Elman, Executive Director of the Association of Children’s Museums, says. “Achieving LEED Gold certification is the mark of high performance and advances the strong green trend in the children's museum field.”
Since reopening its newly renovated and expanded “green” building last year, the new Boston Children’s Museum has become a Green Town Square showcasing citywide environmental initiatives for young children and their families. Two of these initiatives are Green at Home and the Green Trail.
Green at Home, sponsored by National Grid through a $100,000 grant, is a series of “green fairs” that educate visitors about the ways they can decrease their impact on the environment.
Green Trail, sponsored by Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation through a $250,000 grant, will provide an interpretative experience onsite to tell the story of the museum’s green building.
Boston Children’s Museum believes that these initiatives will create a green-from-the-start mentality in its young visitors.

About Boston Children’s Museum: The Museum exists to help children understand and enjoy the world in which they live. It is a private, non-profit, educational institution that is recognized internationally as a research and development center and pacesetter for children's exhibitions, educational programs and curriculum. Boston Children’s Museum incorporates two strategies - engaging families and building communities - to impact five outcome areas for children: Creative Kids, Curious Kids, Global Kids, Green Kids and Healthy Kids. More information about Boston Children’s Museum can be found at

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Heart Gallery Looking to Match Children with Families

By Leslie Castillo
Like a magnet, the photos capturing the wide grins, smiling faces, and warm embraces of the children will draw you in.
This year's 2008 Heart Gallery features 34 children, ages 4 to 16, who are currently in the state's foster care system and have been waiting to find their forever families for at least a year.
Lisa Funaro, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange, Inc. (MARE), hopes a visit to this display will serve as one of the inspirational first steps in the journey for many families planning to adopt.
"People can stop by, take a card with the child's photo and information, place it on their refrigerators, and call us when they are ready," said Funaro.
Thanks to the Heart Gallery, in conjunction with other MARE resources, two children found permanent placement in 2005; last year the number grew to 10, and this year an additional 30 children will be featured as the display travels to various locations throughout Massachusetts, with the hope of matching as many children as possible with loving, permanent families.

If you are interesting in one of the children highlighted in the Heart gallery or to read more of Leslie's article in the May issue visit Bay State Parent magazine's web site at:

CONTEST: Win A Jeff Corwin Experience DVD

Bay State Parent magazine has teemed up with Genius Products to giveaway copies of the soon-to-be released DVD The Jeff Corwin Experience Season 2, which is available to the public on May 20.
In the DVD families, can join wildlife biologist and Jeff Corwin on a globe-spanning quest and ‘experience’ the world’s most interesting and diverse animals and locations. In a vivid adventure beginning in Florida and California and branching out to Guyana, Australia and Tanzania, The Jeff Corwin Experience Season 2 from Animal Planet is both hilarious and educational as its charismatic host ventures up cliffs and through caves to find nature’s most treasured and even most dangerous wildlife from Bighorn Sheep and Giant Anteaters, to Flying Foxes and the Tasmanian Devil.
To enter, visit and fill out the survey form. Please pull down OTHER In the pull down bar and in additional comments write JEFF CORWIN.
The contest is open Massachusetts residents only. DVDs will be mailed to winner, upon verification. Winners' names will also be posted on this blog.
The deadline to enter is July 25.

Blackstone Valley Families Wanted

Blackstone Valley Area families can enjoy a picture-perfect summer this year by inviting a Fresh Air child into your home! Close to 5,000 New York City children visit volunteer host families every summer through The Fund’s Friendly Town program in communities from Virginia to Maine and into Massachusetts. Hosting a child does not take much – just a little room in your heart and your home – but the experience creates friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.
“It’s always a special moment when we see our Fresh Air child’s face light up when he experiences something for the first time,” says one host parent.
Residents in and around the Blackstone Valley area can help light up the face of a Fresh Air child this summer by hosting through The Fresh Air Fund.
Bay State Parent magazine did a feature article on the program in its June 2006 issue. To read the article visit:
Since 1877, New York City children growing up in low-income neighborhoods have been able to experience simple summer pleasures in rural and suburban communities. By welcoming visitors into their homes during the summer, host families give Fresh Air children an opportunity to escape the sometimes dangerous, hot and crowded city streets. Fresh Air host families can choose the gender and approximate age of their visitor, but first-time Fresh Air children are between the ages of six and 12. Many families find their hosting experiences so rewarding that more than 65 percent of all children are reinvited to stay with host families, year after year.

For more information on hosting a Fresh Air child, please contact Elaine Melinski at 508-278-3652 or The Fresh Air Fund at 800-367-0003. Also visit The Fund’s Web site at

Talking Information Center Celebrates 30th Year Serving the Blind

The Talking Information Center (TIC), an award-winning, statewide radio reading service for people who are visually impaired or print-handicapped, announces its 30th anniversary of service to Massachusetts residents and beyond. Staff, Board of Directors, and volunteers across the Commonwealth will begin festivities featuring the June 4th Radio Reading Day 2008. Hosted by Mary Richardson, co-anchor of WCVB-TV Channel 5's Chronicle, the special event will be broadcast live from the State House in Boston.
The non-profit TIC utilizes the talents of over 600 volunteers in studios throughout Massachusetts, providing free access to the printed word and audience-specific information through timely broadcast programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"We have come a very long way since 1978, when we launched our commitment to 'turning print into sound'," stated Ron Bersani, Executive Director and co-founder, Talking Information Center. "This service is so important in helping people lead independent, informed, productive lives that we know it will continue to play a vital role in the future. Our anniversary is a great achievement, and we wish to thank all of our friends and supporters who give so much, so that others may stay informed."
On June 19, TIC officially celebrates 30 years of existence.
In recognition of this achievement, TIC is sponsoring Radio Reading Day 2008, slated for Wednesday, June 4. In the Great Hall at the Statehouse in Boston from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., this live radio broadcast will feature elected officials, members of the media, and other notable volunteers giving short readings of informational and cultural material to TIC's audience. Representatives from TIC affiliates in Mashpee, Framingham, Lowell, Worcester, Springfield, and Dalton will also be present.
TIC seeks to enable its listening audience to lead inclusive independent and productive lives. It does this via volunteer reading services broadcast over low-power radio frequencies, cable audio channels, and the Internet to over 20,000 people from Cape Cod to the Berkshires, Lowell to Springfield, including southern New Hampshire and areas of Connecticut. Local and national daily newspapers, 20 weekly papers, current magazines, consumer information, and serialized books are typical of the offerings found on the schedule. But, its programs are not just for those who are blind, legally blind or visually impaired. Anyone who cannot hold a publication or turn pages qualifies for the service as well, and it is provided free of charge."We tell people we're just like NBC, CBS, or FOX," explained Virginia Sung, TIC Program Director. "Just a little smaller."

About Talking Information Center – located at 130 Enterprise Drive in Marshfield - is the only source of much of the information needed by residents of Massachusetts and beyond who are unable to see or hold print materials, and includes talk shows produced by people with disabilities on relevant topics that deal with reading challenges. Founded by Ed Perry of Duxbury and Ron Bersani of Marshfield, TIC's humble beginnings were launched in 1978 and included borrowed equipment, ten listeners, six volunteer readers and no paid staff. They operated the service from a tiny studio on the third floor of radio station WATD-FM in Marshfield. Today, TIC has grown to include affiliates in Mashpee, Framingham, Lowell, Worcester, Springfield, and Dalton. Over 23,000 people throughout Massachusetts and surrounding areas depend on TIC to provide them with the same information available to those with sight.For more information on Talking Information Center, call 800-696-9505 or visit; the mailing address is Box 519 Marshfield, 02050.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Beantown at Natick Play Area Opens at Natick Collection

Yesterday at 10 a.m., the Natick Collection unveiled its new interactive play area for kids, “Beantown at Natick” sponsored by MetroWest Medical Center.
This interactive play area, designed by Architecture Kids, Inc., with input from MetroWest Medical Center pediatricians, reflects some of Boston’s most famed attractions including the historical Fenway Park, Boston Public Garden, and the Freedom Trail.
With convenient stroller parking, chaperone seating areas, and even hand sanitizing stations “Beantown at Natick” meets the needs of parents and provides a safe place for kids to explore and have fun!

Monday, May 12, 2008

New England's first American Girl Store to Open at Natick Collection in November

American Girl, a division of Mattel, Inc., today announced plans to open its newest experiential retail store at Natick Collection, the largest mall in New England. The 20,000-square-foot American Girl store is slated to open in the shopping center’s new streetscape in November 2008.

"Given our unparalleled success in experiential retailing over the past decade, we are eager to bring our next American Girl store to such a premier retail destination like Boston’s Natick Collection," said Wade Opland, American Girl’s vice president of retail. "The premium location, coupled with the mall’s world-class mix of retailers, provides us with even greater opportunities to celebrate girls in an unforgettable environment."

Visitors to Natick Collection’s new American Girl store will find the complete assortment of the company’s popular historical and contemporary dolls, along with a rotating selection of doll outfits, accessories, girl-sized clothing, and a variety of best-selling American Girl books. In addition, American Girl fans can treat their dolls to a new ’do in the Doll Hair Salon and enjoy brunch, lunch, dinner, or an unforgettable dessert in the store’s fun and casual Bistro. Designed as the ultimate place to celebrate girls’ birthdays and other special occasions, the American Girl store will also feature unique party rooms where girls and their friends can enjoy American Girl-themed parties, such as the Doll Spa or Craft Party, complete with organized games and activities, special food and cake, and party favors. A variety of girl-and-mom-friendly events will also be offered throughout the year.

"Natick Collection is thrilled to debut New England’s first American Girl store," said Michael McNaughton, Vice President of Asset Management of General Growth Properties. "The American Girl brand is an experiential destination for families and will be a welcome addition to our mix of upscale retailers and restaurants. Natick Collection offers families an unparalleled shopping, dining and entertainment experience unequaled in New England and in line with the finest retail destinations across the country and around the world."

American Girl has been recognized as an industry leader in experiential retail since opening its first flagship store, American Girl Place, in Chicago in 1998. Two more flagship stores, American Girl Place New York on Fifth Avenue and American Girl Place Los Angeles at The Grove, opened in 2003 and 2006 respectively. Two additional retail stores opened in Atlanta and Dallas in 2007. Together, the popular retail and entertainment sites have welcomed over 23 million visitors to date.

Saturday, May 17 is Park Serve Day -- Consider Volunteering as a Family

This year's event features more than 50 parks, from the Berkshires to Cape Cod, giving you a wide range of volunteer opportunities to choose from.
Last year, more than 1,300 volunteers participated in Park Serve Day by planting a total of 580 trees and flowers, removing 48.6 tons of trash, and providing invaluable assistance on building maintenance and trail projects.
This year, the state is hoping to break that record with the help of families, like you.
During this statewide day of volunteer service, families will work together to get parks and beaches across Massachusetts ready for summer by cleaning coastlines, clearing trails, planting flowers, painting picnic tables, and more.
Check your calendar and sign up to volunteer. Parks looking for families and children volunteers of all ages include: Ashulwillticook Rail Trail, Georgetown Rowley State Forest, Great Brook Farm State Park, Halibut Point State Park, Hammond Pond, Harold Parker State Forest, Houghton's Pond/Blue Hills Reservation, Massasoit State Park, Maudslay State Park, Nashua River Rail Trail, Otter River State Forest, Robinson State Park, Stony Brook Reservation, Wachusett Reservoir, & Wompatuck State Park.
To find more information on participating state parks, visit
To pre-register for an event, visit
For groups of 6 or more, please call 617-626-4980 or e-mail to make specific arrangements

Thursday, May 8, 2008

FREE Admission to Moms at Canobie Lake Park on Sunday

Canobie Lake Park ( is offering moms FREE admission and FREE Lunch on Sunday, May 11.
Moms receive FREE admission and FREE lunch when accompanied by a paid child admission. Lunch is served from noon to 3 p.m. only. Paid admission must be purchased at the park on Mother's Day. This offer can not be combined with any other discount offer, pass or promotion. All mothers also will be entered into a raffle to win great prizes, including Simon Mall gift cards, hotel stays, massage, golf, and more.

Canobie Lake Park is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mother's Day.
Admission on Mother's Day is:
Adults - $22
Children under 48 inches - $19
Seniors 60+ - $19
Parking is FREE.

For directions and more information, visit

IHOP Serves up 50 Years of Memories

Pancake Mecca Kicks Off Year-long 50th Birthday Celebration with National Contest (Rules are below.)

From job interviews and first dates to marriage proposals and wedding receptions, IHOP has served up more than pancakes over the last 50 years. As part of a yearlong 50th birthday celebration, the restaurant chain will gather stories of the heartwarming, unexpected and even wacky events that have happened at IHOP as part of a national contest. The winner of the "It Happens at IHOP" contest will make a lifetime of memories with a grand prize of free pancakes for life.
Since the first restaurant opened in Toluca Lake, California in 1958, IHOP has been the home of some unlikely events. Perhaps most famous in recent
years: newlyweds Eva Longoria and Tony Parker enjoyed their first date over pancakes at IHOP and Arizona Diamondback and Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb claims to have eaten at IHOP before every home game of his winning season. But these aren’t the only stories that make IHOP part of people’s everyday lives.
"Over the last 50 years, IHOP has been known for great food and friendly service, but there is much more to the IHOP story," said Carolyn O’Keefe, IHOP’s senior vice president, marketing. "To be successful in the restaurant business for 50 years you have to have a relationship with your guests, and this is why our guests celebrate special occasions and everyday victories at IHOP."

CONTEST: Complete "It Happens at IHOP" contest rules can be found at
Entries can be submitted online --- the contest ends at 11:59 p.m. PT on May 31.

One (1) grand prize winner will receive free pancakes for life (defined as a one free short stack of buttermilk pancakes per week for 20 years) at IHOP and a trip to New York with one guest for the celebration of IHOP’s 50th birthday on July 7, 2008. (Trip to New York includes roundtrip coach airfare for two from winner’s nearest gateway airport to New York, New York, plus two nights of hotel accommodation and two tickets to attend IHOP’s July 7 birthday event. All other expenses are responsibility of winner. Winner must travel on dates specified by Sponsor and winner and guest must travel on same itinerary.) Five (5) runners-up will each receive $100 IHOP gift cards.

ABOUT IHOP: For 50 years, the IHOP family restaurant chain has served its world famous pancakes and a wide variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner items that are loved by people of all ages. IHOP offers its guests an affordable, everyday dining experience with warm and friendly service. The first IHOP opened in Toluca Lake, Calif. in 1958, and as of December 31, 2007, there were 1,344 IHOPs in 49 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada and Mexico.
IHOP restaurants are franchised and operated by Glendale, Calif.-based IHOP, a subsidiary of IHOP Corp.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Friday, May 9 is National Provider Appreciation Day

Child care organizations and parents across the globe are joining together the Friday before Mother's Day, Friday, May 9, to celebrate Provider Appreciation Day. Provider Appreciation Day is a special day to recognize child care providers, teachers, school-age program staff, child care center directors and staff, and all those who work with children in a variety of ways and are responsible for their education and care. It is estimated that there are nearly 2.8 million child care providers in the United States and that nearly 12 million children under age 5 are in their care.
"By applauding the dedication of child care providers on May 9, we remind our communities of the importance of high-quality child care, and let providers everywhere know that we recognize and value their important work," said Linda K. Smith, Executive Director of the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, the lead sponsor of Provider Appreciation Day. "It is important that the care a child receives during the first five years of life be of high-quality because 90 percent of brain development occurs during those years."
In recent years, local governments across the United States have joined many Governors in proclaiming this day of recognition.
The celebrations this year promise to carry on and strengthen Provider Appreciation Day. Events such as luncheons, parades, dedications, and other recognition celebrations are planned throughout the United Staes in an effort to honor child care providers for their hard work and commitment to children.
Provider Appreciation Day is a special day to recognize child care providers, teachers, and other educators of young children everywhere.
Started in 1996 by a group of volunteers in New Jersey, Provider Appreciation Day is appropriately celebrated each year on the Friday before Mother's Day.
The founding organizers saw the need to recognize the tireless efforts of providers who care for children of working parents. Momentum and support for this event has grown each year and recognition presently includes individuals and government organizations throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.
To learn more about Provider Appreciation Day or for ideas on how you can thank your child care provider, visit
NACCRRA, the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, is our nation's leading voice for child care. We work with more than 800 state and local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies to ensure that families in every local community have access to high-quality, affordable child care. To achieve our mission, we lead projects that increase the quality and availability of child care professionals, undertake research, and advocate child care policies that positively impact the lives of children and families. To learn more about the organization and how you can join us in ensuring access to high-quality child care for all families, visit us at

4th Annual Janis Bresnahan 5K Run For Education is Saturday

The Bresnahan Family & Friends and the Ayer Education Foundation encourage families to participate and attend the Fourth Annual Janis Bresnahan 5K Run for Education The family-fun event will be held this Saturday, May 10th, at Ayer Middle/High School. All proceeds from this landmark community event will go to the Ayer Education Foundation, the local non-profit that raises money to support educational excellence at Ayer Public Schools.
“The AEF and the Janis Bresnahan run have become an incredibly important part of the fabric of the Ayer school community,” said George Frost, Superintendent, Ayer Public Schools. “The race is truly an event of community significance, and the funds raised allow AEF to offer teacher grants which enhance the educational experiences of our children.”
“We are very excited about the 4th annual run. The event has been a great success both in bringing the community and Janis's friends and family together, and it has managed to raise an amazing $100,000 for the Ayer Education Foundation in its first three years,” said Ben Bresnahan.” This year we made some changes to the format, taking the run from a 5-mile to a 5K and the walk from 3 miles to 2 miles, based on feedback and in the hopes of increasing participation. Thank you to everyone for making this such a great success in memory of our sister Janis.”
The annual run for education is in memory of Janis Bresnahan. Janis was born on May 15, 1971, and spent most of her life growing up in the town of Ayer and graduated from Ayer High School in 1989. Janis was an avid outdoor enthusiast who enjoyed running, cycling and boating. She was co-captain of the Ayer High School women's track team in her senior year, and then went on to dedicate her life and work to the education of children.
“We are honored to be part of the Fourth Annual Janis Bresnahan 5K Run for Education. The Bresnahan Family & Friends are truly an inspiration for us, and AEF is so grateful to be the recipients of funds raised from the run,” noted Sheila Kelly, Co-President, Ayer Education Foundation. “This event has become an important town-wide event that not only remembers Janis Bresnahan and all that she contributed to education and children, but it serves as a reminder of how people can pull together for the greater good of our school district and all the children in our town.”
The Fourth Annual Janis Bresnahan 5K Run for Education will feature a competitive 5K run throughout the picturesque town of Ayer, as well as a 2-mile, non-competitive walk and a fun-filled Tot Trot for children up to age 6.

Janis Bresnahan May 10, 2008 Race Day Events at A Glance
· Registration 8:30 a.m. Ayer Middle/High School Cafeteria
· Tot Trot 9:15 a.m. Ayer Middle/High School Track Infield
· 5K Run 10:00 a.m. Starts/ends at Ayer Middle/High School
· 2 Mile Walk 10:05 a.m. Starts/ends at Ayer Middle/High School

Calling All Tots Ages 1 to 6 Years
Children will enjoy a fun morning of Tot Trot running and free activities including an obstacle course, Lego table, balloons, face painting, craft creations and games. All registered children will receive a road race ribbon and T-shirt for their participation and they may also participate in the 2-mile walk, at no additional fee. Winners of the Tot Trot race will receive a special “necklace medal.” Volunteer opportunities are available and appreciated for the Tot Trot. Contact Betsy at 978-448-3448 or

How to Register for Events
Race day registration is $10 for the Tot Trot and $20 for the Run/Walk.
Online registration is available at

Amenities and Prizes
The race will include course mile markers, water stations and medical personnel. The course is certified and the 5K run will be professionally timed. Refreshments and restrooms will be available at Ayer Middle/High School. Prizes of $100 each will go to the first place male and female overall finishers for the 5K run. Prizes will also be given out to the top finishers in all age categories.

Official Sponsors of Fourth Annual Janis Bresnahan 5K Run for Education
Premier Sponsor: North Middlesex Savings Bank (
Platinum Sponsors: Anderson Family Funeral Homes; The Berry Family; Drake Management LLC; Gervais Ford; KBACE Technologies; Lexington Insurance Company; Tony and Joyce McGuane – Tim and Mary Vallely; Nashoba Paving Company; Nashoba Valley Medical Center; John & Katie Ragan, Tim & Deana & Marypaula; Dick Rakip.
Gold Sponsors: Ayer Oil Company; Barnraisers, Inc. Design Services; Bull Run Restaurant; G.V. Moore Lumber Company; Headquarters Hair Salon; J.C. Madigan, Inc.; JP Routhier & Sons, Inc.; Nashoba Club Pizza Restaurant Club; Piccolino’s Food & Spirits; Sheldon & Sullivan, Attorneys at Law; Sports & Physical Therapy Associates.

How to Make a Donation to Support Local Public Education
Individuals or businesses interested in making a tax-deductible donation to the Fourth Annual Janis Bresnahan 5K Run for Education may do so online via a secure credit card transaction at Make checks payable to “Ayer Education Foundation” and mail to: Sally Sloan, 4 Standish Ave., Ayer, MA 01432. Individuals are encouraged to check with their employers regarding matching gift programs as many companies will match, dollar for dollar, a charitable contribution made by an employee and thereby double the amount of the donation.

The Ayer Education Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization supported by donations from individuals, businesses and organizations committed to improving the quality of education in Ayer Public Schools. Through a granting process, the Foundation disperses tax-deductible donations to create specific new programs and professional training aimed at enriching the education of the 1,300 students attending Page Hilltop School and Ayer Middle/High School.

Fitchburg Boy Scout Troop to Hold Plant and Yard Sale Saturday

Boy Scout Troop 41 Fitchburg will be holding a Plant and Yard Sale this Saturday May 10 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot between the Lipton Center and Rollstone Congregational Church at 199 Main St., in Fitchburg.
There will be toys, household goods and much more for sale including perennial plants ready to be planted or that would make great gifts for Mom this Mother's Day.
Please come and help support the Troop. Please no early birds.

High School Musical in Bolyston

First airing on the Disney Network, High School Musical is the brainchild of the Disney team, aimed at anyone (male or female) from ages 6 and up. With its rising popularity and catchy songs, it is no wonder that so many schools have begun to form, their own productions.
Why not, then, come see a performance by the students of the Berlin-Boylston school district!
Sing along to your favorite songs and see the small-town take on this well-known show!
Ticket price is $7 students/seniors and $12 general admission.
For information please contact Maureen Spaulding at (978)-838-2707 or The show is to be held May 9 at 7 p.m., May 10 at 7 p.m., & May 11 at 2 p.m. at Tahanto Regional Middle/High School in Boylston at 1001 Main St.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

CONTEST: Win a Copy of Counting in The Garden

This month, Bay State Parent magazine introduced a new department focusing on reading -- Mother N. Goose. Check it out at:

Inside the May Mother N. Goose article is a recommendation for the Scholastic book Counting in the Garden by author Kim Parker.
Scholastic Inc. has generously offered 3 copies of the book for Bay State Parent readers.
To enter to win a copy of the book visit and fill out the survey form. Make sure to select Counting in the Garden.

The deadline to enter is Memorial Day, Monday, May 26 at 11:59 p.m.
Winners will be notified and posted online at the magazine's blog at

Monday, May 5, 2008

Children's Hospital Boston Receives $10,000 for Pawprints Dog Visitation Program

The Planet Dog Foundation, Planet Dog's non-profit arm, is proud to announce the recipients of the spring grant cycle. Children's Hospital Boston Pawprints Dog Visitation Program, Hearing and Service Dogs of Minnesota and Working Dogs for Conservation Foundation have each been awarded $10,000 by the Foundation to support their canine service programs.
The Foundation has also awarded $3,000 each in re-funding to current grantees: Service Dog Project (of Ipswich); People. Animals. Love.; Gabriel's Angels; and International Hearing Dog.
The mission of the Planet Dog Foundation is to promote and celebrate programs in which dogs serve and support their best friends. "We received nearly 100 high caliber proposals for amazing work happening all over the country with service dogs," says Kristen Smith, Foundation's Executive Director. "It was challenging to select just 3 new grantees, but we are extremely excited about the organizations that we have chosen," adds Smith.
Pawprints is Children's Hospital Boston’s successful dog visitation program, which provides hospitalized children and their families a healthy diversion from the usual hospital routine and an opportunity for social interaction. Eligible patients and their families may request a visit from one of the hospital's visiting dogs.
In addition to their children's visitation program, Pawprints is preparing a research study which aims to describe dog visitation in acute care pediatric hospital settings from parent and child perspectives. The study, which will be published and disseminated nationwide and beyond, will be funded in part by the Foundation grant.
"Children's Hospital Boston is grateful for Planet Dog's generous gift to our Pawprints Program. This gift will enable us to complete our research study about the benefits of dog visits to hospitalized children and their families," says Kathryn Atkinson of the Pawprints Program. "We hope this research will benefit children and their families across the United States by demonstrating the value of dog visitation programs," adds Atkinson.
The study will examine the impact of dog visitation on children's affective state, mood and anxiety. Specific goals include defining the best practices of dog visitation, and creating a case for increased funding for programs. For more information, visit
Over the past decade, Portland,Maine-based Planet Dog has evolved into an award-winning, values-led designer and developer of innovative dog products and the socially responsible leader in the pet industry. The company is proud to donate a percentage of every purchase to the Planet Dog Foundation to support non-profit canine service programs nationwide.
“We’re doing what no other pet product company is doing," says Catherine Frost, Planet Dog's Director of Marketing and New Product Development. “We offer unique, top-quality products that dogs love, while creating awareness of how much service dogs give back to people in our society. Our goal is for our actions to speak louder than woofs,” adds Frost.

In 2007, the Foundation doubled its cash and in-kind donations from the previous year, giving more than $200,000 to several worthy organizations.
For more information and a full list of programs and grantees, visit

5 Readers Win Go Diego Go DVDs!

Congrats to the following Bay State Parent magazine readers for winning a copy of Go Diego Go: Moonlight Rescue:
* Michelle Maley of Grafton
* Magdalena Rodriguez of Worcester
* Stephanie Eco of Shrewsbury
* Krista Lajoie of Gardner
* MaryAnn Simpson of Burlington

In Go Diego Go: Moonlight Rescue DVD, 8-year-old Diego, the cousin of Dore the Explorer tells the story of the day he and Tuga were at the beach waiting for the baby sea turtle eggs to hatch. In this 45-minute never-before-seen episode on DVD, suddenly, a big lightening storm comes and breaks Luna (the moon) into four pieces and they drop from the sky. Now, Diego must work to help get Luna back together because once the baby turtles hatch, they’ll need moonlight to find their way into the ocean – their new home. Preschoolers and toddlers will want to stay up past bedtime to watch this night time Diego adventure.
Thanks to everyone who entered the contest (