Friday, May 30, 2014

Celebrating the Earth and Cycling Swaps: A Weekend Preview

Posted By on Fri, May 30, 2014 at 6:30 AM

  • Green Up Vermont
In 1970, Vermont became the first state to designate a day to clean up the entire state. This Saturday, do-gooders throughout the state can participate by picking up litter in their own neighborhoods. Visit to find out the day's game plan in your town. 

If you're looking for an organized Green Up even
  • Skirack
t, you can pitch in to clean up Salmon Hole Park with the Winooski Valley Park District. Helpers get Ben &  Jerry's ice cream as a reward. Or join Branch Out Burlington to plant trees at the UVM Horticultural Nursery in South Burlington. Musician Robert Resnik and local dance troupe On the Border Morris will provide the entertainment.

It's also the weekend of the bike swap, just in time for cycling season. Three local bike shops — Earl'sSkirack and Alpine Shop — host two-day events with a variety of road bikes, mountain bikes, kids' cycles and trailers. Get there early for the best selection!

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Celebrating Birds and Riding Bikes: A Weekend Preview

Posted By on Thu, May 29, 2014 at 8:50 AM

Lund Ride For Children
  • Lund Ride For Children
Helloooo, June. We've been waiting for warm weather for so long! With forecasted temps in the 70s this weekend, parents might be looking for some outdoors entertainment on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Never fear... Kids VT has you covered.

Shake up your Friday-night routine with an al fresco dinner at the Richmond Farmer's Market, which returns to the town green from 3 to 6:30 p.m. With tons of casual dinner options — from samosas to grilled sausages — and a huge play structure a stone's throw away, it's the perfect place for families to while away the evening.

For a variety of locavore culinary options in a more urban setting, check out the Truck Stop, behind ArtsRiot on Pine Street in Burlington. Mobile kitchens serve up everything from barbecue to frozen yogurt starting at 5 p.m.

Burger Night at the picturesque Bread and Butter farm in Shelburne — usually a Friday night happening — has been moved to Sunday this week because of the predicted rain. Enjoy meat or bean patties, locally-sourced salads, cookies and live music from the Meat Packers from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m..

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Five Questions for Vermont's Doodle 4 Google Winner Penny Ly

Posted By on Thu, May 29, 2014 at 8:40 AM

Penny Ly with a blown-up version of the Google logo she designed.
  • Penny Ly with a blown-up version of the Google logo she designed.
In April, Winooski fifth grader Penny Ly, received an exciting phone call. It was a representative from internet-search giant Google, informing her that she was the Vermont winner in the company's seventh annual Doodle 4 Google competition. "I didn't cry or jump or scream," Ly says, "but I was very excited in my head."

The contest asked students in grades K-12 to redesign the Google logo. This year's theme was, "If I could invent one thing to make the world a better place..."  For her doodle, Ly transformed the letters of the logo into bright green artificial plants that could convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. "I guess I was thinking really selfishly," Ly says, by way of explaining how she got her idea. "What do humans need? Oxygen!" 

Last week, Ly got to cash in on her prize. She and her dad were flown out to the Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California, to attend the Doodle 4 Google awards ceremony on May 21st, where a national winner was announced: 11-year old Long Islander Audrey Zhang. Her design will appear on the Google homepage on June 9. Ly also got to participate in a bunch of fun, technology-focused activities. The whirlwind trip — Ly was in California just over 24 hours — left quite an impression. Ly sat down with Kids VT to talk about the experience.

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Home Cookin': Quick Crêpes

Posted By on Thu, May 29, 2014 at 7:07 AM

Crepe man!
  • Crepe man!
It's probably sacrilegious to say this in Vermont, but pancakes aren't really my thing. They always seem like a good idea, but by the time I've finished making the batter, cooking them and eating them, I always feel a little unsatisfied.

At my house, we've been making crêpes, a lighter, pancake-like breakfast alternative. There aren't many ingredients in the recipe and you need just one bowl and a whisk to prepare the batter.

It's one of the few recipes I've memorized. In fact, last week, I dictated it to my 7-year-old daughter, Mira, and she whipped up the batter herself.  

Because crêpes are thinner than pancakes, the cooking time is a lot shorter. I have no problem preparing them for a weekday morning breakfast — even on days we wake up late. 

Instead of drowning the delicate crêpes in maple syrup, my kids prefer a squirt of lemon juice and a sprinkle of granulated sugar on top. It's a preparation I excavated from deep down in the recesses of my food memory. As a kid, that's the way my childhood friend's Australian mother would prepare them for us during post-sleepover breakfasts. I first tasted artichoke leaves dipped in butter (yum) and Vegemite (yuck) at her house as well, experiences which expanded my culinary horizons way past the borders of suburban New York.

Who knows? Maybe one day my kids' Vermonty friends will taste these crêpes at my house and learn that there's a world of breakfast beyond pancakes and maple syrup. 

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Keva Planks and Chowderpalooza: A Weekend Preview

Posted By on Wed, May 21, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Keva planks
  • Keva planks
The big event this Memorial Day weekend is the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon. If you're hoping to cheer on the throngs of runners, Battery Park, Church Street, Oakledge Park and Waterfront Park are excellent areas for spectators. Parking is tricky, so walk or bike if you can.

If the marathon isn't your thing, there are a host of other events to keep families busy this weekend. 

The ECHO Lake and Science Center's new exhibit, Keva Planks, opens on Saturday. Budding architects can build sky-high towers using some of the 15,000 small wooden slabs provided.

Foodie families can grab spoons and dig in during Chowderpalooza, where area chefs compete for the honor of best chowder in Stowe. There's an artist's market, face painting and live music, too.

Farm fans might want to check out the Cheese & Dairy Celebration on Saturday and Sunday at Billings Farm & Museum in Woodstock. Kids can make a "moo mask," participate in a "name that calf" competition and try churning ice cream. 
Cheese & Dairy Celebration - BILLINGS FARM & MUSEUM
  • Billings Farm & Museum
  • Cheese & Dairy Celebration

Shopaholics won't want to miss the Baked Beads Sale in Waitsfield on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Browse a wide array of deeply discounted scarves, hair accessories and jewelry. A portion of the proceeds go to charity. 

Northern Vermont Ballet takes on Lewis Carroll's dreamy tale, Alice in Wonderland, with a full-length, family-oriented performance at Dibden Center for the Arts in Johnson. Children are welcome to meet the main characters after Saturday's matinee.

Whatever your plans, we hope you enjoy the long weekend!

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Book Review: Henry and Mudge series

Posted By on Wed, May 21, 2014 at 2:50 PM

My husband and kids made me a pineapple couch for Mother's Day. It had kiwi pillows and four strawberry people with grape heads to represent each of us.

My family is a creative bunch, but they didn't think of this idea on their own. It was inspired by Henry and Mudge and the Funny Lunch, a book that's part of a favorite series in our household.
My Mother's Day treat
  • My Mother's Day treat

I discovered these appealing books five or six years ago when I was an elementary school teacher. They chronicle the sweet relationship between only child Henry and his drooly, 180-pound dog, Mudge. Their adventures aren't fancy  — building snowmen and indoor castles, training at obedience school, having sleepover parties and going camping — but they celebrate life's simple pleasures.  

Unlike many kids' books where the parents are absent, these stories feature Henry's fun and supportive mom and dad, conveying just how joyful family time can be. 

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Big Trucks and Fun Runs: A Weekend Preview

Posted By on Wed, May 14, 2014 at 3:00 PM

  • Williston Runs for Education
There's rain in the forecast this weekend, but the temps will be mild. In between showers, venture out to enjoy some family fun. Or put on your galoshes and slickers and celebrate in the rain. 

  • Hinesburg Nursery School
On Friday, foodie families can enjoy an eclectic array of local grub from over 20 vendors when the Truck Stop returns to ArtsRiot in Burlington. The event starts at 5 p.m. If you're bringing young kids, get there early to avoid the lines that tend to form later in the evening.  

On Saturday, truck enthusiasts have two opportunities to get up close and personal with voluminous vehicles. At Big Truck Day at St. Joseph's School in Burlington, kids can get in the drivers' seats of fire, dump and tow trucks. Live music, a bake sale and a raffle round out the event. In Hinesburg, Big Truck Day & Children's Festival includes crafts, face painting, a bouncy house and a barbecue, as well as tractors, school buses and more. 

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Home Cookin': Gorditas

Posted By on Tue, May 13, 2014 at 12:42 PM

A kids' dinner plate
  • A kids' dinner plate
Have you ever purchased an unusual ingredient at the grocery store with grand visions for how you will use it, then let it sit on your shelves for months? I have.

Last fall, my then-6-year-old daughter, Mira, and I took a kids' cooking class at Healthy Living where we learned how to make tamales. Buoyed by the excitement over this new recipe, I bought a 4.4 pound bag of masa harina, a finely ground corn flour used in Mexican cooking.

That bag has sat in my pantry for the last six months or so, mocking me every time I open the door. Last weekend I decided to do something about it. 

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Five Questions for Cake Baker Extraordinaire, Marriam Khan

Posted By on Thu, May 8, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Kids' birthday party themes vary widely, but almost all of them have one thing in common: a birthday cake. Colchester resident Marriam Khan, the woman behind The Little Purple Cake Shoppe, serves up some incredible ones. Her awe-inspiring creations range from dainty delicacies covered in buttercream ruffles and sugar paste peonies to bright, cheerful superhero- and My Little Pony-themed numbers. The floral designer and mom of two daughters, ages 6 and 7, started her home-based baking business as a way to keep busy during the lull between wedding gigs. Kids VT spoke with Khan about her adventures in cake making.

How long does it take you to create one of your cakes from start to finish?

My average cake, even if it’s single-tiered, takes from 10 to 20 hours. I don’t think anyone realizes how much time goes into it. With kids' cakes, you sometimes have to stop yourself and say, “That’s enough detail.”

What kind of cakes do you find most difficult to make?

My most challenging cakes are the cakes where I have to copy characters because it’s so easy to get them wrong. When you’re making a fantasy character, you can do whatever you like. When you make a mistake no one knows.

What kind of cakes have you made for your own daughters' birthdays?

Last year we did a henna party. A henna artist did henna on the kids’ hands and I made a plain iced cake and she did a henna pattern with buttercream on it in front of the girls. This year they want to do an English tea party with tiny stuff like mini tartlets, finger sandwiches, cake pops and petit fours. I’m not sure if they’re going to want an actual cake yet.

What famous bakers inspire you?

My absolute favorite is (London-based cake designer) Peggy Porschen. She’s very girly and all about pink and flowers and that’s my favorite, too. I have two girls so it makes good sense.

What do you like most about your job?

The reason I do cakes is the reaction I get from kids. The money isn't the greatest because it’s a lot of hours. But it’s the reaction. I mean, that just does it for me. It’s the happiness it brings. I hope I can make a difference in the world even if it’s just making people happy. 

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

In Honor of Kids and Moms: A Weekend Preview

Posted By on Wed, May 7, 2014 at 4:24 PM

Shelburne Museum
  • Shelburne Museum
Looking for something special to do for Mother's Day? There are plenty of opportunities to celebrate mom this weekend.

But first, let the kids in your life have some time in the spotlight at Kids Day on Saturday in Burlington. A parade through town originates at Edmunds Elementary School at 9:45 a.m. It's followed by performances, food, games and activities that kick off at Battery Park at 10 a.m.

Outdoors farmers market in Burlington and Montpelier open this weekend! Stroll the stands and buy some gorgeous fresh produce to make a delicious home-cooked meal for your mom, or perhaps pick up a bouquet of flowers.  

On Saturday and Sunday, ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center in Burlington hosts a Mother's Day Tea at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day where scones and finger sandwiches are among the offerings. Mad Hatter- and Alice in Wonderland-inspired clothing is encouraged and preregistration is recommended. 

On Sunday, Shelburne Museum opens its gorgeous, lilac-filled grounds for the season with garden tours, art activities and a Fancy-Nancy-style doll tea party. 
Evolution Yoga
  • Evolution Yoga

Also on Sunday, a Mother's Day Walk led by the Winooski Valley Park District at Old Mill Park in Jericho makes for a pleasant, outdoorsy celebration. Or join naturalists from North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier for a Wildflower Walk, where you'll learn the folklore behind the plants you see. Preregister for both these events.

Finally, YoGirls at Evolution Yoga hosts a special mother-daughter class. Young yogis and their mamas have fun stretching, breathing and posing together. Preregister for this class as well.

Whatever your plans are his weekend, Kids VT wishes all moms out there a wonderful Mother's Day!

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SOCAPA Mountain Camp

SOCAPA Mountain Camp

East Burke, VT

SOCAPA offers intensives in the arts for teens in Burlington or East Burke, VT. SOCAPA provides a place for young artists to explore their craft in a supportive, creative environment. SOCAPA students come from all over the world to attend intensives of their choosing. Programs include: filmmaking, acting, photography, dance,…(more)

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