Monday, March 31, 2014

Bump on a Blog: Overprotected

Posted By on Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 5:22 PM

It's becoming increasingly apparent that I will soon have an actual human child as a result of this pregnancy. So, when I'm not thinking about my belly's new girth, or lamenting my still-growing to-do list, I'm beginning to think about how I might want to raise that child. 

The Atlantic's latest cover story, "The Overprotected Kid," by Hanna Rosin, fascinated me as a mom-to-be. The article begins in an "adventure playground" in North Wales called The Land. (Incidentally, Erin Davis, the filmmaker mentioned in the story who has made a documentary about the place, teaches at Middlebury College.)

The playground is basically a glorified junkyard. Instead of soft-edged plastic slides and foam ground coverings, the Land has piles of tires, old tools, wooden pallets, a fire pit and a frayed rope swing that deposits kids over (or into) a creek. Parents don't usually accompany their kids to this playground; the kids go alone. 

It sounds awesome, if somewhat contrived. This isn't an unsupervised junkyard, after all; professionally trained "play workers" keep an eye on the kids at all times, though they try not to intervene. 

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sleep Outs and Storybooks: A Weekend Preview

Posted By on Thu, Mar 27, 2014 at 1:48 PM

This weekend is the last in March, so surely we'll be getting some nicer weather soon. Right? Distract yourself from the lingering cold by diving into a fun-filled weekend of events. And here's to sunnier months ahead! 

Civic-minded kids unroll their sleeping bags on football fields, backyards and church lawns during Spectrum's Student Sleep Out to raise money and awareness for youth homelessness in Vermont. 

Exercisers enjoy chair massages, nutritious snacks and plenty of movement during the Zumbathon and Wellness Festival at Essex Middle School on Saturday morning. 

Graphic novel enthusiasts rock out to music by celebrated local cartoonist James Kochalka as he unveils his newest work, The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza at Phoenix Books' Burlington store on Saturday afternoon.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Home Cookin': Overnight Oats

Posted By on Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Mornings in our house tend to be a whirlwind of lunch and snack making, dishwasher emptying, hair brushing and racing the clock to get to school on time.

My breakfast often consists of the scavenged remains of my kids’ bagels and apple slices. Alternatively, I wait until mid-morning to nosh, which often leads to unhealthy food choices.

So when I read about overnight oats on Food52, I was excited to give the quick and healthy breakfast option a try.

The directions sounded foolproof: Combine one part rolled oats with one part liquid in a jar, mix in a bunch of yummy extras, then put it in the fridge overnight. The next morning, just zap it in the microwave and breakfast is served.

I tried it out this week using flax seeds, shredded, unsweetened coconut, slivered almonds and a little glug of maple syrup. It was delicious. The cute mason jar made it fun to eat, and it left me satiated until lunch time.

I doubted my kids would like the oats, but I was wrong. My 4-year-old son, Theo, insisted on sharing and then asked if  we could whip up a jar for the next day.

Knowing it would mean one less thing on the morning to-do list, I happily said yes. Overnight Oats Adapted from Food52
Serves one but can easily be doubled or tripled to feed more.

½ cup rolled oats (not quick cooking)
½ cup liquid (I used regular milk but you could use almond milk, coconut milk or soy milk)
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
1 tablespoon flax seeds
Maple syrup to taste

Combine ingredients in a mason jar and stir to combine. Cover and let sit in the fridge overnight.

When ready to eat, remove lid and microwave for 1-2 minutes.

Top with fresh fruit (banana or mango slices would be delicious) if desired. 


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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Five Questions for Spelling Bee Champ Liam Lustberg

Posted By on Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 5:35 PM

The South Burlington eighth grader was crowned Vermont Spelling Bee champion on March 19, clinching the title by correctly spelling the word "pogrom" — which means an organized massacre — in the 26th round. In May, he'll travel to Maryland to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, where he'll be the only competitor from Vermont.  Kids VT asked Lustberg about his experience.

Kids VT: Have you always been a good speller?

Lustberg: I’m not really sure. I didn't really get into spelling until last year when I joined the spelling team at my school. I just heard about it on the school announcements and thought, “Hey, that might be fun. I think I’ll try it.” I've always really enjoyed vocabulary and writing and reading. Lately I've been really into dystopian fiction, like 1984, Animal Farm, Divergent and The Hunger Games.

Kids VT:
How did you prepare for the state bee?

Lustberg: A month before the competition, I started practicing from a list of about 1000 words from the Scripps website. My parents quizzed me on the words by reading them out loud to me and then we would go over the ones I made mistakes on. I practiced 15 minutes during dinner. Eventually we got every single word done. 

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Monday, March 24, 2014

'Tap Tap Boom Boom' Launch Party

Posted By on Mon, Mar 24, 2014 at 2:55 PM

On the cusp of April showers, local author and bookseller Elizabeth Bluemle releases her newest picture book for the preschool and early-elementary set, Tap Tap Boom Boom.

The rhythmic, rhyming tale illustrates how an unexpected New York City rainstorm can bring people together. With toe-tapping text and cheerful imagery by G. Brian Karas — he combines photographs, gouache and pencil drawings — this is a read-aloud sure to please the little ones.

Celebrate the book’s launch with an all-ages party tomorrow at Arts Riot in Burlington from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., featuring live music, New York-style finger food, face painting and a cash bar for the grown-ups.

Bluemle’s book will be available for purchase and signing. To attend, RSVP with the number of people attending to or 985-3999.

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Kitchen Competition: Jr Iron Chef Vermont 2014

Posted By on Mon, Mar 24, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Mount Abraham Union Middle-High School students Emily Aldrich, Ashley Aldrich and Peter Koenig work on their recipe. - ANA RUESINK
  • Ana Ruesink
  • Mount Abraham Union Middle-High School students Emily Aldrich, Ashley Aldrich and Peter Koenig work on their recipe.

Remember those budding young chefs from Mount Abraham Union Middle-High School we featured in the March "Mealtime" column? This past weekend, they traveled to Essex Junction's Champlain Valley Expo for the big event: the 2014 Jr Iron Chef Vermont competition.

After months of after-school culinary practice in the Mt. Abe kitchen, the kids finally put their knife skills, recipe development, teamwork and problem-solving abilities to the test, going head to head — and skillet to skillet — with 63 middle and high school teams from every corner of the state.

I've never thought of cooking as a spectator sport — until I stepped into the Expo event hall. What a feast for the senses! Parents, friends and foodies milled around a central corral where teams of 4 or 5 students sliced, diced, mixed and sauteed at plastic-covered tables. Energetic house music, spun by a local DJ, pulsed from the speakers. Overhead, colorful banners promoted the stars of this show — Apple! Beet! Turnip! Egg! — while food aromas wafted through the air.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Book Review: Paul Meets Bernadette

Posted By on Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 4:02 PM

For kids of a certain age, nothing is funnier than calling something by an incorrect name. Tell a 3-year-old that your knee hurts while pointing to your elbow and you're guaranteed giggles. Announce that worms are for dinner while presenting a pile of spaghetti to your kindergartener and he’ll squeal with delight.

Paul Meets Bernadette, a picture book that recently landed on our bedtime reading pile, capitalizes on this concept with delightful results.

In this debut from Paris-based painter and sculptor Rosy Lamb, goldfish Paul swims around in circles until Bernadette drops into his bowl and shakes things up.

“Haven’t you ever noticed that there’s a whole world out there?” Bernadette implores.

She proceeds to show Paul the commonplace domestic items on the other side of the glass, making them seem exciting by calling them something other than what they really are. In Bernadette’s mind, a banana is a boat, a clock is a cactus and two fried eggs are the sun and moon.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

What's Cooking?: A Weekend Preview

Posted By on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 10:10 AM

  • Audubon Vermont
This weekend serves up events that will tantalize your tastebuds and get you grooving in your seat.

For the fancy little ladies in your life, Kids City in South Burlington hosts a Girls Night Out on Friday with hair, makeup and manicure stations, sparkling cider, a dance party and a photo shoot. Ooh la la! 

Older kids with a penchant for building and creating will enjoy Friday Night for Teen Tinkerers at the Montshire Museum in Norwich. In this month's session, participants make fantastical sculptures with masking tape.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Home Cookin': Maple-Roasted Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

Posted By on Wed, Mar 19, 2014 at 9:00 AM


It's sugaring season in Vermont, and we all know what that means: maple-syrup recipes galore! I found this one at Real Simple. As I read through the steps, I could practically hear my fresh bottle of maple syrup calling out, "Cook with me!" And when maple syrup calls...


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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spring Enrichment for Kids

Posted By on Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 5:51 PM

If you're looking to put a little spring in your kiddo's step, there are plenty of opportunities to do just that in the coming months.

How about a stop-motion animation camp during April break? A Hula-Hooping class that will provide fun and fitness? A triathlon for beginner and experienced athletes? A yoga class for the smallest of movers?

Click here to learn about these and other fun classes, camps and events.

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Theater in the Woods Camp

Theater in the Woods Camp

Middletown Springs, VT

Theater in the Woods Vermont: Quality Time Our two-week day camp ignites and unites kids through their creativity and discovery of their talents. During two 2-week sessions of day camp in the hills of Middletown Springs in Rutland County, kids 7 through 16 create magical theater and kind community. Theater…(more)

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