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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

First-Day Flashbacks

Back-to-school photos and memories from Kids VT staff and contributors

Posted By on Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 9:00 AM

All the classroom stories in September’s Back-to-School Issue — now on newsstands and kidsvt.com — inspired us to reminisce about our own school days. Here, Kids VT staff and this month's contributors share photos and memories of their first-ever day of school. Read on for the good, the bad and the oh-so-cute.

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Managing editor Carolyn Fox, 1991: “I was terrified of school buses! Luckily, I lived down the street from my elementary school and was able to walk there. I got over my fear by the time I had to take the bus in middle school.”

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Copy editor Paula Routly, 1965: “I’m wondering why my sister got a real lunch box while I got a measly paper bag? You can tell from the way I'm holding it how much I love lunch. Still do.”

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Contributor Sarah Tuff, 1977: “Having just moved from England to Ohio with my family, I was very excited for my first day of kindergarten at an American school! Unfortunately, my British accent was not a hit among my classmates and was gone by Christmas.”

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Account executive Kaitlin Montgomery, 1987: “I loved school but dreaded having my mom braid my hair every morning. This photo shows the aftermath of trying to give myself a haircut; it was the only time I had bangs in my life.”

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Lead designer Brooke Bousquet, 1982: “My two best friends and I walked to Poultney Elementary School past the office of our local newspaper, the Area News. The editor took this photo and we were in the next issue. The news clipping may still be on the fridge of at least one of our mothers.”

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Copublisher Colby Roberts, 1980: “I really enjoyed my elementary school experience — the walk to the bus, recess on the playground, even classes. My teachers all seemed to use storytelling, humor and kindness to deliver their message.”

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Contributor Megan James, 1988: “If I could bottle one magical feeling from childhood, it would be the feeling of the first day of school. I picked out my outfit weeks in advance and couldn’t wait to find out who my teacher would be, where I would sit and who would become my new friends.”

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Contributor Alice Levitt, 1986: “I would go to kindergarten every day in a different costume. Whether it was as Orko from ‘He-Man’, a ballerina (pictured) or in a gold-and-pink princess dress lovingly crafted by mom, I had it going on. Everyone else, in their Laura Ashley dresses and jumpsuits, was just boring.”

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Home Cookin’: Delicious Dumplings

Posted By on Wed, Aug 21, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Mira Novak makes dumplings

Last month, my family hosted two 15-year-old Chinese exchange students. The girls, Queena and Viola, arrived with an enthusiasm for PacSun, Kentucky Fried Chicken and — to our delight — cooking their local cuisine.

They made Chinese food for my family several times during their two-week home stay, broadening our culinary horizons in the process.

My 6-year-old daughter, Mira, and I accompanied the girls to 99 Asian Market Eatery in Burlington to get the ingredients they needed. Both of us were amazed by the wide assortment of interesting products we’d never seen before — exotic fruits, snacks and sauces, and dozens of noodle varieties.

Queena and Viola introduced us to their home city’s signature dish, “Hot Pot,” a spicy stew used to cook thinly sliced meat and vegetables. They gave us four jars of “Old Mother,” a super-spicy condiment for rice and noodles with a photograph of a no-frills Chinese grandmother on the label.

But my favorite Chinese culinary treat was the dumplings they made for us. The little pillows were stuffed with ground pork and finely chopped cabbage and mushrooms, then boiled or pan-fried.

Weeks after the girls left, I still had dumplings on the brain. In a fit of late-night Googling, I realized dumpling wrappers can be stuffed with just about anything. After a lot of online food ogling, I decided to invite some friends over for dinner that weekend. We’d make dumplings with three fillings: chicken and veggies to appeal to the kids; red-curry shrimp geared toward the adults; and a decidedly non-Asian pea and ricotta, just for fun.

Food prep that evening was a family affair.

The Cuisinart food processor my husband and I got as a wedding present almost 10 years ago might as well have been a Tonka truck — my 3-year-old son, Theo, loved pushing the buttons and watching the food get sliced and diced at warp speed.

And I hadn’t realized how closely Mira had observed our Chinese visitors. She filled and sealed the dumplings with aplomb, artfully pleating the wrappers as Queena and Viola had done.

We steamed some of the dumplings in our rice cooker and pan-fried the rest. All were gobbled up by adults and kids alike.

When it comes to family meals, it seems that going outside our comfort zone often has a delicious pay-off.

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Families Out and About: Communing With Nature

A morning on the Allen Brook Nature Trail

Posted By on Thu, Aug 8, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Theo Novak wading in Allen Brook

My 3-year-old, Theo, is on a running kick. Whether it’s doing laps around our house after dinner or trying to beat the tractor back to the visitor’s center at Shelburne Farms, the kid has the need for speed.

Consequently, I’m always on the lookout for fun, outdoorsy places where my boy can roam free. On a recent weekday, we tried out the Allen Brook Nature Trail, located behind Williston Central School.

Continue reading »

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Family-Friendly Winners of the Seven Daysies Awards

Posted By on Thu, Aug 1, 2013 at 10:56 AM

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On Wednesday, Seven Days, the Vermont independent newsweekly that owns Kids VT, announced the winners of this year's Seven Daysies awards. This annual competition invites readers to pick winners in a wide variety of categories, including a few that are family-friendly. We've rounded up the relevant winners below. You can see all of the Seven Daysies victors right here.

Best day trip with the kids
Winner: Jay Peak Resort
Runner-up: ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center

Best children's clothes
Winner: Zutano
Runner-up: Once Upon a Child

Best children's toy store
Winner: Buttered Noodles
Outside Chittenden County
Winner: Woodbury Mountain Toys

And here are a few other notable winners your family may like:

Best locally owned ice cream company
Winner: Island Homemade Ice Cream
Runner-up: Strafford Organic Creamery

Best creemee
Winner: Burlington Bay Market & Café
Runner-up: Al's French Frys
Outside Chittenden County
Winner: Dairy Creme
Runner-up: Vermont Cookie Love

Best movie theater
Winner: Majestic 10
Runner-up: Merrill's Roxy Cinemas
Outside Chittenden County
Winner: The Savoy Theater

Best in-state weekend getaway
Winner: Stowe
Runner-up: Jay Peak Resort

Best bookstore
Winner: Phoenix Books
Runner-up: Crow Bookshop
Outside Chittenden County
Winner: Bear Pond Books


Carolyn Fox
  • Carolyn Fox

This post was written by Kids VT managing editor Carolyn Fox.

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The Willowell Foundation offers a wide array of outdoor education opportunities for youth and adults in Addison County. Children in our programs have opportunities to connect deeply to the natural world, explore creatively, and learn from positive adult mentors. We foster environmental stewardship and engage community members through place-based learning.…(more)

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