Thursday, June 26, 2014

Farmers Market Round-Up

Posted By on Thu, Jun 26, 2014 at 11:51 AM

  • Burlington Farmers Market
Summer's in full swing! The farm-fresh produce is plentiful, and so are the farmers markets.

Not only can families choose from summertime staples such as salad greens, berries and meat for the grill, but many of these food-focused gatherings offer live music, face painting and an eclectic array of snack and lunch options.

It's a shopping experience that beats the overly air-conditioned grocery store aisles any day. So grab your tote bag and visit one of the many markets listed below! 


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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Home Cookin': Silken Tofu, Two Ways

Posted By on Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 4:17 PM

I love discovering new ingredients. When you can use them in different ways, all the better.

I had always passed by silken tofu in the aisles of the grocery store in favor of the extra firm stuff, which I toss in Asian marinade and sear in oil, then throw into salads. But while searching the web for a healthy Caesar dressing, I stumbled upon a yummy-sounding recipe that called for the silken stuff in place of mayo. 

I whipped up a batch up in my Nutribullet and drizzled it over a salad that night. It was creamy and garlicky, and struck the perfect balance with the crisp salad greens. I wish I could say my kids liked the dressing, but it was too tangy for their tastes. They're not big salad fans, either, to be honest.

After making the dressing, I had a little less than half a container of tofu left that I didn't want to go to waste. So I went back to Google to see what else I could do with the mushy stuff. A recipe for chocolate pudding caught my eye.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Morrisville Grandma Pens Pet-Themed Series For Kids

Posted By on Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 11:52 AM

Brenda “Grannie” Snow had only one book in her house when she was growing up in Morrisville — a story about a bunny. She can’t remember its title, but she does remember clinging fiercely to the book. “I was a late reader and once I started reading I was just struck by the eloquence of writing,” she says.

Snow, now the human resources director for headwear company Turtle Fur and still living in Morrisville, has always dreamed about being a writer but it wasn’t until she became a grandmother that she decided to go for it.

“I’m going to be 60 this year and I thought, 'If I don’t do it now I probably never will,'” she says.

Big Ole Striped Silas, which Snow self-published in January, tells the story of an older woman whose beloved cat, Ninnie, has died. She goes to the shelter in search of a new companion and comes home with Silas. The picture book tells the story in playful rhyme accompanied by colorful pictures by East Burke illustrator, Matthew Gauvin.

It's the first book in a five-part series, based on Snow’s own experiences, that chronicles the adventures of Silas and a Siamese cat named Miss Opal. The second installment, Silas Gets a Sister, is slated to go to press early next month.

Independent bookstores across the state carry the book. Snow has also visited elementary schools in Twinfield, Milton, Essex, South Burlington, and Swanton, among others, to read Big Ole Striped Silas to kindergarten through fourth grade audiences. That's been “the cherry on the sundae” of the whole experience, she says.

She recalls one experience reading at a school where she had pegged a boy as someone who might not be interested in the story, then watched him come alive as she read. “That’s a really, really, really good book!’” she recalls him saying at the end of the story.

“I shared something with this boy that really made an impact on him,” she says. “It just feels good.”

Snow is available to read her book at libraries, farmer’s markets, animal shelters and schools. You can contact her at Learn more about Big Ole Striped Silas and Snow's other upcoming books by visiting her website

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Blast from the Past: A Weekend Preview

Posted By on Thu, Jun 19, 2014 at 10:28 AM

Vermont History Expo
  • Vermont History Expo
You'll be able to revisit the past this weekend with a handful of events that take you back in time.

The Vermont History Expo at the Turnbridge Fairgrounds on Saturday and Sunday transports families to the days of small Vermont farms, rural country stores and homespun clothing. Children's activities, including a "musical petting zoo," a 19th century games area and a hands-on archaeology dig, make the past come alive.

On Sunday afternoon, attend the grand opening of  "Walk Through Time," an educational exhibit along a nature trail in Isle La Motte that illustrates 4.6 billion years of evolution.

Across the lake at Fort Ticonderoga, a Living History Weekend on Saturday and Sunday allows visitors to imagine what it was like to be a soldier onboard a boat in the summer of 1776.

Finally, go back to your own childhood on Saturday with a trip to Buttered Noodles to meet Brother and Sister from the beloved Berenstain Bears books — a series that got started way back in 1963 — and participate in crafts and story times throughout the day. 

Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Home Cookin': Quesadillas

Posted By on Wed, Jun 18, 2014 at 12:44 PM

  • Sam Simon Imaging
My family has our ten-year-old son, Eli, to thank for our obsession with quesadillas. He ate his first one at a restaurant when he was about six. We were traveling to visit my parents in New York and stopped at a sports bar type spot for lunch. Wary of the kid’s menu options and hoping to avoid anything fried, we ordered him a plain cheese quesadilla. He immediately fell in love.

Back at home he began asking for them regularly and they quickly became a staple in our house. They’re easy to make, versatile and — when made with whole wheat tortillas and colorful veggie fillings — quite healthy.

We pack them in school lunches, make them for snacks when friends come to play and even have a “special” meat-filled version we use as an alternative to pizza on Friday Movie Nights.

They’re also a lunchtime favorite at Burlington Children’s Space. I fill them with cheese, black beans and sometimes thin slices of red and green peppers for the preschoolers, who devour them by the plateful.

During the summer months, when fresh veggies are abundant, I love to serve them with corn on or off the cob, homemade salsa and avocado slices.

The prep is very kid friendly, so if you have a budding chef in your family, pull a stool up to the counter and have a little one help you grate some good cheddar or jack cheese. If you have kid-safe knives they can also help prep the salsa ingredients. The rest is up to you!

There are tons of delicious options for filling them, but one of my favorites comes from my go-to cookbook, Jamie’s Dinners by Jamie Oliver. A mild salsa I came up with at home makes a great accompaniment.
Quesadillas for Dinner! (Serves 5, usually with some leftovers)
Cal and Sadie Simon
  • Cal and Sadie Simon

Adapted from Jamie’s Dinners by Jamie Oliver

You’ll Need:
About three cups grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
A handful of thinly sliced scallions
2 handfuls fresh cilantro, stems removed and roughly chopped
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips and then chopped into small pieces
A pack of 10 8-inch whole wheat tortillas
Sour cream to serve on the side
A skillet or non-stick pan, larger in diameter than your tortillas.

Mix the cheese, scallions, cilantro and red pepper in a large bowl.

Preheat your skillet to medium heat – you want the quesadillas to cook quickly but not burn.

Place one tortilla on the dry skillet, sprinkle a handful of your filling on top and spread it evenly with a spoon or spatula, then lay another tortilla on top. (My kids love to hang out next to me at the counter and help with the sprinkling during this stage.)

Check the bottom tortilla after a minute by lifting one edge with a spatula. When it looks golden and crispy and the filling is melting nicely, flip it!

When the second side is golden brown and they start smelling delicious, they’re ready.

Slide the quesadilla onto a cutting board to cool. Then cut it into six wedges.

If you’re making a bunch at once, you can pop finished quesadillas onto a cookie sheet and into an oven set to warm or 200 degrees until they’re all ready to serve.

Erinn’s Salsa

You’ll Need:
2 cups of chopped tomatoes (about 4 medium tomatoes)
Half a small red onion, chopped
Half a small green pepper, chopped
Two tablespoons fresh cilantro, stems removed
A squeeze of lime juice
Salt to taste


Depending on your taste, you can put all of the prepped ingredients into a food processor and pulse until the mixture is fairly smooth or just mix them together in a bowl for a chunkier salsa. My kids prefer the smoother version, and since they happily scoop it up with their quesadillas they get a bigger dose of fresh veggies with dinner. Win!

Erinn Simon makes lunch everyday for the toddlers and preschoolers at Burlington Children's Space, where she's known as The Lunch Lady. You can find her blog about her work there right here. She lives in Burlington's Old North End with her husband, photographer Sam Simon, and kids Eli (10), Cal (6), and Sadie (3). 

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Father's Day Events and Vermont Days: A Weekend Preview

Posted By on Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 3:38 PM

VT Dads Canoeing Adventure
  • VT Dads Canoeing Adventure
Celebrate pop this weekend with a bunch of fun-filled events.

On Sunday, VT Dads hosts a canoeing adventure at the Waterbury Reservoir, followed by games and refreshments. Space is limited, so preregister!

For land lubbers, there's a Father's Day Hike with guidance from a Winooski Valley Park District educator at Macrae Farm Park in Colchester. Call ahead to sign up for this event as well.

If a delicious farm-fresh meal is more your speed, head to Cedar Circle Farm in East Thetford for their Father's Day Berry Brunch for pancakes, strawberries, eggs, smoothies and more. Live music and tractor-drawn wagon rides to the pick-your-own berry patch sweeten the deal. 
Children's Fishing Festival
  • Children's Fishing Festival

Or ride the rails from Burlington to Middlebury for a late lunch and some small town strolling on the Champlain Valley Flyer on this Father's Day Train Ride.

Finally, don't forget to take advantage of Vermont Days on Saturday and Sunday. Families get into state parks, historic sites and history museums for free. No permits are needed for fishing throughout the state either; If you need some rod-and-reel pointers, the Children's Fishing Festival at the Ed Weed FIsh Culture Station on Grand Isle on Saturday is a good bet.


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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Vermont Kids Learn to Dance With Longtime Instructor Karen Amirault

Posted By on Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Karen Amirault with a student
  • Karen Amirault with a student
If your kids like dance — in all its forms — you might want to consider signing them up for a camp taught by Karen Amirault. The Burlington-based dance teacher has led her own eponymous dance company for 30 years.

For the last 20 years, the group — which performs regularly at First Night Burlington, Kids Day and school assemblies — has included teenagers.

Amirault began teaching kids after a show at Georgia Elementary School in the early ’80’s, when the school principal encouraged her to apply to become am Artist-in-Residence through the Vermont Arts Council. Since then she’s been doing residencies in schools throughout the state. When she comes across talented teens she thinks will work well with her current company members, she invites them to try out for her group.

Through the years Amirault says she has seen a change in her students as young people have gotten more access to digital media. Being able to watch dance moves online  — especially breakin’ and hip hop styles — fuels kids' interest and makes them more open to trying it themselves, she says.

Amirault's week-long camps give young performers ages 6-18 the opportunity to learn a variety of dance styles. They take place on the Memorial Auditorium stage in Burlington, so participants can really imagine what it feels like to be in front of an audience, Amirault says.

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Thursday, June 5, 2014

National Trails Day & Kids Fest: A Weekend Preview

Posted By on Thu, Jun 5, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Waterbury Kids Fest
  • Waterbury Kids Fest
Good news — it's supposed to be sunny and in the low 80s for much of the weekend. That kind of weather calls for a family outing!

Head to downtown Waterbury on Saturday for the Kids Fest, a bustling celebration with music, dancing, crafts and activities.

Saturday is also National Trails Day. South Burlington Parks and Recreation marks the occasion by hosting a gathering where folks work together to ready the paths at Red Rocks Park for the upcoming season, then convene at noon for a barbecue.  At Vermont Institute of Natural Science in Quechee, nature lovers celebrate with an event that includes a hike to Quechee Gorge, a scavenger hunt and live raptor demos. 

Bargain hunters seeking strollers, carriers, baby furniture and more will have a field day at the Kids City Gear Swap, taking place on Saturday and Sunday in South Burlington. You can consign your gently-used items by appointment through Friday by calling the store. Or head to St. Albans for the MOPS Mega Mama Tag Sale on Friday and Saturday at Church of the Rock, where maternity and kids clothes, toys and games make for guilt-free shopping. 

Or maybe your family wants to take advantage of the last several days of Jazz Fest? The Block Party starts at 5 p.m. on Friday at the top of the Church Street Marketplace and there are free performances on the marketplace on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. 

Enjoy this warm summer weekend!

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Home Cookin': Kale Salad

Posted By on Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 3:23 PM

We're thrilled to have a new contributor to the Kids VT blog. Erinn Simon makes lunch everyday for the toddlers and preschoolers at Burlington Children's Space, where she's known as The Lunch Lady. You can find her blog about her work there right here. She lives in Burlington's Old North End with her husband, photographer Sam Simon, and kids Eli (10), Cal (6), and Sadie (3).  Erinn will write every other week about the food she prepares for the kids of BCS and her own family!

  • Sam Simon Imaging
Feeding kids healthy food for lunch is my job — and I love it. I can’t think of anything more rewarding than filling the bellies of little ones halfway through their busy days. I also take pride in nurturing kids’ interest in nutritious food, especially veggies. I love watching a kid progress from pouting while pushing plain noodles around a plate to happily munching mouthfuls of broccoli “trees” with sesame dressing. I love trying out different flavors in dishes like curry quinoa and delighting kids with tried-and-true favorites like blueberry pancakes.

One of my main goals for the food program at Burlington Children’s Space is to expose kids to wholesome homemade dishes while making sure they get a hefty dose of vegetables everyday. We are lucky to live in Vermont where there’s access to so many local farms and great summer produce; BCS even belongs to a farm share program through the Intervale Food Hub throughout the summer season. I’m also lucky to work alongside teachers and staff who are passionate about food and a constant source of healthy recipe inspiration.

But if I’m honest, there are still times when coming up with new, fun and delicious ways to get kids to eat vegetables feels like, well… a job.

That’s why I get so excited when I discover a recipe that’s nutrient-rich, yummy and simple enough that kids can have a hand in preparing it. In this case, it was a kale salad from Deb Perelman’s blog, Smitten Kitchen

A co-worker suggested I try out the dish on BCS staff during a meeting, and it was a smash. I made it for my family the next night, and we ate the whole thing with some crusty bread and a bowl of strawberries. I’m pretty sure it was the best summer dinner I’ve ever made.

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Summer Classes for Kids

Posted By on Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 3:17 PM

Vermont Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • Vermont Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Don't have your kids' summer schedules mapped out yet? Don't sweat it! There's still time to register for all kinds of interesting classes that will add some excitement to the sun-kissed days of school vacation. 

Want to strengthen your son or daughter's strokes? Swim lessons through Burlington Parks & Recreation at Leddy Beach run from July 7 to August 7. If your neighborhood or condo association has its own pool, an instructor from the Burlington YMCA will come to you!

From basketball or banjos, crafting to Jiu-Jitsu, there's something for every type of kid this summer. Click here for a list of summer camps and classes. 

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camps central

Davis Studio

Davis Studio

South Burlington, VT

Davis Studio = Happy Campers! Imagine your child excited and motived to go to a summer camp where they have fun and make friends while developing artistic expertise. Choose from dozens of engaging week-long day camp options for your artists in 1st through 9th grade. Davis Studio’s Artist’s Path Summer…(more)

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