March & April Community Events

By: Alison Puzia, Guest Contributor

The weeks before Spring Break are full of anticipation. If your kids are going a little pre-Spring Break crazy, try these fun family activities to get them out of the house! Or, if you need a little “me” time, participate in one of these great events for adults.

TulipsMom’s Night Out:

On Thursday, March 27 at 6:30 pm, come to Temple Israel in Sharon for Mom’s Night Out. 50 vendors will be on-sight selling unique merchandise. It’s a great opportunity to shop, mingle and relax. Admission is $5 and all proceeds go to Hertz Nursery School. 

Kripalu Yoga:

Join Lisa Cohen, yoga instructor, at Art in Motion Dance Academy in Norton on March 28 at 6pm. Learn more about kripalu yoga, the yoga of compassion from this expert. All experience levels welcome.

Stephen Puelo Author Talk:

Renowned author, Stephen Puelo, will be speaking at the Brockton Public Library to discuss his new book, The Boston Italians on Saturday, March 29 at 2:00 PM. Learn a little more about the history of Boston from this bestselling author.

School on Wheels 4-on-4 Basketball Tournament:

This 4th annual event will be held March 29th, at Oliver Ames High School in Easton. Teams of 4, high-school aged and older, are encouraged to sign up to play. All proceeds benefit the School on Wheels. Sign up today!

Surface Design Workshop with Deboarh Baronas:

Fuller Craft Museum is hosting a 2-day workshop on surface design, on March 29-30. Learn new techniques for creating patterns and textures on a variety of mediums. Space is limited so sign up today!

Babysitter Training:

Is your teen or tween ready to babysit? Take a training course on April 3 at noon at the Children’s Museum in Easton. Learn safety and basic first aid techniques, how to change a diaper, and other necessary skills needed to be an excellent babysitter. Grades 6 and up welcome.

What activities are you and your family participating in during the weeks leading up to Spring Break?

Posted in Brockton, Community Events, Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Hubby Dominates a Blog

By: Kevin O’Neill

So a while back the Wifey told me she was going to be a Mommy Blogger. She seemed excited and I thought it was a great idea. The other day as she was brainstorming topics, she asked me to write one, a sort of a husband/dad point of view of a wife/mom. I thought this was an even greater idea since I am a cunning linguist and the blogosphere is one of the few things I have yet to dominate.

Family

So here I am, all 6’5’’ 275 lbs of shaved-headed, goateed, rugged handsomeness, writing on the Signature Moms blog. This makes complete sense.

I have read all of the blogs that the Wifey has written. I have proofread them. I have shared them. I have gone as far as to “like” them on Facebook (that’s huge right there).  And now that I sit down to write one myself, I find it tough to top them. Like most all things involved with our family, the Wifey has done a great job. Whether serious or comical, she has done a great job depicting our boys.

For those of you that don’t know our family, there’s the Wifey and I, along with our two boys, Jameson and Jackson; aka Hawk and Animal. I know you’ll be shocked to hear that the Wifey doesn’t refer to the boys as the two professional wrestlers that made up the greatest tag team of all time: The Legion of Doom aka The Road Warriors: Hawk and Animal. She chooses to go by their birth names. Weird, I know. This is one of the infinite number of differences between the Wifey and I.

The boys fart. I laugh and the Wifey is disgusted.

Hawk headbutts Animal. I am pumped and the Wifey steps in to referee.

The boys like a girly Disney character. The Wifey thinks it’s cute and I bang my head against a wall. Hard.

The stories and differences are endless.

So although I told her I would try, I cannot write a mommy blog for the Wifey. While I do a great deal around the house, I certainly cannot be considered a Mr. Mom (maybe sometimes a Mrs. Dad at best). I assume that like many of the Signature Moms Bloggers’ husbands, I could never fulfill the many roles that the Wifey plays. I cannot comprehend how the Wifey manages to do all that she does. She is the glue that keeps us together. Without her, The Legion of Doom and I would be lost.

My point is not to rave about my wife. My wife is by no means perfect. But she is perfect for me and she is perfect for the boys. My point is to raise a glass and cheers all the mommy bloggers, the Wifey included, on their ability to be a full time employees, full time moms, full time partners, part time maids, part time taxi drivers, etc., etc., and part time bloggers as well. Here’s to you, all that you do, and all that you do so well.

Cheers,

The Hubby

Posted in Family, Heather Desmond O'Neill | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Maternity Experience at Signature Healthcare

At Signature Healthcare, we thought that our Signature Moms Blog would be the perfect place to share our new video about our maternity services! We know that the birth of your baby is a special time for your family, and our staff strives to create a warm environment where you’ll feel like family. Watch our video to take a tour of the Maternal Newborn Pavilion, meet our caring staff, and hear from new parents how Signature Healthcare created a wonderful birth experience for their family.

Posted in Babies, Brockton, Family, Female Physicians, Health, Infants, Mommy Advice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

National Nutrition Month

By: Alison Puzia, Guest Contributor

salsaMarch is National Nutrition Month, a great opportunity to introduce healthy new recipes into your family’s diet. This March, spice up snack-time with some of these healthy alternatives and teach your children to make healthy choices.

1. Homemade Salsa

Many store bought salsas are full of preservatives. Go natural- make your own from fresh vegetables. You’ll never taste the difference and your body will thank you!

http://www.rd.com/slideshows/stop-the-craving-24-healthy-snack-ideas/#slideshow=slide5

2. Nutella & Bananas on Crackers

Any choco-holic or Nutella-lover will go bananas for this snack! This simple recipe requires five minutes of prep time and three ingredients, yet covers multiple cravings and food groups. What could be better?

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/recipe-collections-favorites/quick-easy/healthy-snack-ideas-00100000085108/#4

3. Slow Cooker Tacos

Make Mexican healthier by skipping the cheese and sour cream. Your kids will love this meal, and the best part is you can cook the meat in the crock pot and let it cook while you work!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/slow-cooker-pork-tacos-recipe.html

4. Chicken Tagine with Olives

Give your boring chicken dinner a Mediterranean twist. This flavorful meal covers a variety of food groups and will be perfect for the whole family.

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipe/chicken/chicken-tagine-with-olives/

5. Smoked Salmon Potato Bites

This different snack is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, and is a great source of protein. Try it tonight!

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/smoked-salmon-potato-bites-00100000110559/index.html

6. Spicy Chicken Pizza

When your kids beg to order a pizza, pull out this recipe. This healthy take on pizza will leave them begging for seconds!

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipe/chicken/spicy-chicken-pizza/

7. Cheesy Kale Chips

Craving something salty? Don’t reach for the potato chips (even the baked ones). Instead, try this easy recipe, minimal prep required.

http://www.rd.com/slideshows/stop-the-craving-24-healthy-snack-ideas/#slideshow=slide2

8. Eggplant & Feta Dip

This yummy snack can also be served as an appetizer. This simple take on baba ghanoush will leave your family and friends begging for the recipe!

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/eggplant-feta-dip-00100000110555/index.html

9. Penne Pasta with Spinach & Bacon

Who doesn’t love bacon? Incorporating a little of it into your pasta will make the taste go a long way without overdoing it on the calories.

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Penne-Pasta-with-Spinach-and-Bacon/?prop24=hn_slide1_Penne-Pasta-with-Spinach-and-Bacon&evt19=1

10. Roman-Style Chicken

This delicious meal is only 266 calories. Prep time is only 20 minutes, so it’s perfect for a busy weeknight.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/roman-style-chicken-recipe.html

 

What’s your family’s favorite healthy meal or snack? We’d love to see your recipes!

Posted in Cooking, Food, Health, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Explore Hands-On Science, History, Art and More at Local Libraries

By: Martianne Stanger

Where you can explore magnetism…

magnet class

step back in time to boycott a bus like Rosa Parks,

play boycott

build a simple machine,

pulleys and gears

join in a drum circle,

drum circle

learn drawing from high school art club students,

drawing class

or get hands on with props and puppets from a production of Jack and the Beanstalk?

If you live in our area, you can do all this and more, usually for FREE, at local libraries!

Since 2014 began, my children and I have.

And, in coming weeks, we look forward to learning about seismography, building with Legos and creating inventions with Little Bits.

For years now, we have been enjoying everything from story hours, to performances, to game nights, to Lego nights, to special events at area libraries. And, this year, it seems my children are at a prime age for hands-on workshops.  It’s awesome!

We appreciate the many science, math, art, technology and literacy-based programs we’ve discovered at libraries all within about a half-hour radius of our home.  All of them offer worthwhile opportunities for my children to explore new areas of interest or dive deeper into tried-and-true ones. And, often, I find the free library programming equal – if not better – in quality to paid programs elsewhere.

lego motor

Take Lego Motors for example?  I have seen Lego Engineering classes for kids offered as a private paid program, often for over $100.  My children have thoroughly enjoyed designing Lego Motor creations for free, with the mentorship of an awesome and knowledgeable librarian, at no cost to me except gas.

play poster

And drama?  How about a 3-day, 6+ hour workshop where your kids can experience the basics of a putting on a live show from start to finish, including creating PR posters, with little stress and lots of fun – for free! Where else can you get that but at a local library?

Honestly, the diversity of experiences our family continues to enjoy thanks to public libraries is wonderful!

How Do You Find All These Fantastic FREE Programs?

Family and friends often ask me how do you find access to all this great stuff?  Well, at the libraries we frequent, I ask if there is a monthly mailing list or newsletter and sign up for it. Also, every month or two, I search the calendars on the websites of other libraries within a 30 minute radius from our home. Then, noting which programs, performances and workshops my family might enjoy, I cross-check our calendar to see if we will have time to get to them. If we will, I check to see whether the programs require pre-registration or if they are just show-and-go.  After that, it’s just a matter of getting in the car and going to enjoy!

How Do You Extend the Experiences?

Before, and sometimes after, library programs, I typically borrow a small collection of children’s books, videos and audios that connect to the topic of the program.  If we happen to own related play props or learning materials, I have those at the ready, too. Then, if a workshop, performance or program ignites my children’s enthusiasm, we simply dive into further explorations at home using these resources.

What performance, programs and workshops do you most enjoy through public libraries?  Are there other places you enjoy free learning and cultural experiences?

Posted in Activities, Brockton, Community Events, Events, Family, Martianne Stanger, Preschool | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hanging Out

By: Heather Desmond O’Neill

I love hanging out with my kids.

Just the other day I came home exhausted from work and my little guy (3-years-old) asked me if I wanted to have a tickle party.  How could I refuse?  We giggled and laughed for 45 minutes.  It was the best part of my day.

Holding handsLast weekend I had to run a few errands and my older son (5-years-old) wanted to tag along.  I had a blast conversing with him and appreciating the independence he was exhibiting.  He’s growing into such a little man with so much personality …. It was the most fun I’d had running errands in a long time.

Typically after dinner we snuggle up on the couch and alternate who gets to choose a TV show (usually on Disney Junior) to watch. The boys make a big production of setting the pillows on the couch and getting blankets for us to cuddle under.  I usually get to sit between the boys and steal kisses on top of their heads.  Sometimes I think they are so entranced by the TV that they don’t even notice.  But the 30 minutes or so that I get to relax and unwind with them is priceless.

Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I want to pull my hair out and put myself into timeout in a room …. alone …. all alone …. with no little hands pulling at me or asking me a million different questions.  But my boys make me laugh and force me to relax and take the time to cherish the little things.

I miss my girlfriends and wish I saw them more often.  I love adult time …. and having meaningful conversations with adults.  But I love hanging out with my kids and I wouldn’t change that for the world.

Posted in Family, Heather Desmond O'Neill | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How Safe Are Our Children?

By: Janice Johnson-Plumer

JaniceAbout a week ago I happened to stop at a carwash to clean out my car. It was a beautiful day and the sun was shining.  The sound of loud music filled the air, as I saw kids having fun, listening to music in their car. My mind flashed to a similar scene from a story on the news: The William Dunn case.

I was struck how easily we can find ourselves in danger. How have we come to this?

I think about the number of children who walk home from a friend’s house minding, their business, when they encounter a stranger who may think they are a “thug.” I flash back to my own son, who may be walking home one day only to be encountered by someone who may think he is up to no good. It’s more than a race issue; it’s a safety issue. I wonder all the time about how can I keep my son safe from those who have an hidden agenda, those who mistake my son for someone else, or those who may want something my son has.

As my son gets older, I now have to think about all the things I have to say when he leaves the house; things such as “Wear the ‘right’ clothing” or “ If you happened to be pulled over by the police put your hands on the steering wheel.”

I know my son doesn’t realize all these things, but they are things I have to think about and deal with on a day-to-day basis as a mother.

All I can do is instill in my son that I love him. I have confidence that positive and uplifting people will surround him. I know I have raised a confident young man who has a heart to share with anyone who may be without. He has a father that he can look up to as a role model and emulate.

I will not be a helicopter mom, but I will do whatever it takes to make sure my son is safe.

Posted in Family, Janice Johnson-Plumer, Mommy Advice, Parenting Advice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment