Spring Break 2014

By: Alison Puzia, Guest Contributor

sandSpring break is almost here! If you want to stay in the area, but still do something fun with the kids, check out these awesome mini-trip and staycation ideas!

1. Visit Mystic, CT

Take a day trip or spend a long weekend in Mystic, CT. It may be too cold to enjoy the ocean, but it is always fun to take a walk down the beach, no matter the weather. If you prefer to stay indoors, there are lots of fun family friendly activities in the area, like the Mystic Aquarium.


2. Explore Boston

The Boston CityPASS includes admission to 5 Boston hot spots- the New England Aquarium, Museum of Science, Skywalk Observatory, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and your choice of either the Harvard Museum of Natural History or the Old State House. The pass is valid for 9 days, so you and your family will have the luxury of being able to take your time and really get to know the city.


3. Discover the witches of Salem

In Salem, you will have your pick of museums dedicated to the Salem witch trials. Explore Massachusetts’ spooky side with your family, while learning a little more about our state’s history.


4. Take a long weekend on Cape Cod

The Bayside Resort Hotel offers tons of Spring Break fun! The kids will never be bored as there are tons of family-friendly activities hosted by the resort. Karaoke parties, ice cream socials, Wii video game tournaments, and scavenger hunts are just a few ways for your kids to spend their time on Cape Cod.


5. Take a tour of the Newport mansions

Guided tours of several of the mansions of Bellevue Avenue are the perfect way to explore the social, landscape and architectural history of the area. Your kids will be amazed with these properties. Plan your visit today.


6. Spend the weekend at Smugglers’ Notch Inn

Explore scenic Vermont at this beautiful inn. Enjoy horseback riding and llama treks, hiking, rock climbing and other outdoor activities the whole family will enjoy!


7. Visit our nation’s first town

Plymouth, MA is full of historical, kid-friendly attractions your whole family will love. Visit the beautiful Plymouth Plantation or spend time touring the Mayflower II. This trip will get your kids excited about their nation’s history.


Does your family already have Spring Break plans? Tell us about them!

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By: Rachel Ventura

I like to sleep. It’s always been one of my favorite things to do. I honestly believe I require more sleep than the average adult. Becoming a mother changed all of that. Especially since I became the mother of a child who requires less sleep than the average child. My 4-year-old daughter has always been pretty horrible at sleeping. We have “ferberized” her quite a few times and still, she ends up in our bed most nights. What’s worse, she’s a night owl. She just can’t shut off her brain. We stopped her naps when she was 2 ½ because bed time was so tough. But even without a nap, the earliest she will fall asleep is 9, and that is EARLY for her. Most nights, it’s more like 10, and sometimes even later. I hear parents talking about how their kids are in bed and sleeping by 7pm, and I just don’t know how they do it! I am envious of all that Mom and Dad Time they get! I’m lucky if I can keep my eyes open for 30 minutes after the kids are in bed. My poor hubby.

We asked the pediatrician for advice at my daughter’s 3 year checkup, and he recommended melatonin. He said to get it at the drug store, split it in half, crush it up, and give it to her. It’s natural and non-habit forming, and we decided to give it a try. It worked! Wonders, actually! Within 30 minutes of giving her the medicine, she would be peacefully, sound asleep. It was magic! We were finally able to have the Mom and Dad Time we had heard all about, and much more importantly, our daughter was falling asleep at a decent hour and getting the amount of sleep she really needed.

So yes it worked, but we started to see a very unwelcomed side effect. She started having accidents, the kind you don’t want to have to deal with. After countless pairs of ruined princess undies, my husband realized that it seemed to be linked to the melatonin. On the days she was having accidents, we had given her the pill the night before. We ran a sort of experiment, to see if it was related, and sure enough, the nights we did not give her a pill, there were no accidents the next day. So of course, we stopped the melatonin and went back to late nights. Ugh.

Then about a year later, while at Target, I happened to see melatonin for children. This was 1mg chewable tablets, where the other pills were 5mg, cut in half. We decided to give it a try. I am happy to say, it works, and no side effects at all!!  She is falling asleep much earlier and easier, and bed time is so much more peaceful now. Although, most nights she does still come to our bed. But it’s not till 4 a.m. or so, and I know she won’t be doing it forever. To me, it’s not a huge deal. You need to pick and choose your battles. And honestly, I kind of enjoy the snuggles. Like I said, I know she won’t do it forever, and soon, she won’t even want a hug from me. So I cherish those couple hours of cuddling.

A cuddly morning in Mom and Dad’s bed

A cuddly morning in Mom and Dad’s bed.

Last night, though, was a doozy. This Mama, who I will remind you requires more sleep than most, is one tired lady. I think I got a total of maybe 2 hours of sleep. Here’s how last night went down:

10:30 p.m. – Mama goes to bed.

11 p.m. – Little Lady climbs into said bed. (This was very early for her to do so, so I knew something was up)

1 a.m. – Mama wakes up to Little Lady tossing and turning, which continues for the next 2 ½ hours.

3:30 a.m. – Mama realizes Little Lady is burning up, get up and give Motrin.

4 a.m. – Little Lady finally still and sleeping, Mama is just about to doze off, Little Man wakes up crying.

4:05 a.m. – Mama gets up, locates binky that has fallen on floor, tucks Little Man in, goes back to bed.

4:30 a.m. – Mama is once again just about to fall asleep, Little Man wakes up crying again.

4:35 a.m. – Mama tucks Little Man back in, goes back to bed.

5 a.m. – Little Lady wakes up and has to use potty.

5:30 a.m. – Everyone is tucked in and falling asleep.

6:30 a.m. – Alarm clock goes off. Everyone is up.

It’s now 9 a.m. and needless to say, I am on my fourth cup of coffee. Last night was a bit off, since my Little Lady wasn’t feeling well, but it isn’t too far from our normal nightly routine. I miss sleep. I really do. I remember soon after giving birth the first time around, how quickly I realized that maybe I don’t actually need as much sleep as I once thought I did. I mean, I was functioning, sort of anyways, on about half of the amount of sleep I was getting before children. I know one day I’ll be able to sleep again. And I do long for those nights. But I also know, when that time comes, I will miss these sleepless nights and tired mornings. Obviously not the sickness, but the cuddling, the tucking in, the goodnight hugs and kisses, the kids being little and needing me, will be missed greatly.

Time flies way too fast. Kids grow and don’t stop or slow down, no matter how much we will it to happen. This I know. So I will hold on to every little moment and tuck it away in a safe place and dream about it one day when I am able to sleep long enough to actually have a dream. I never thought I would say this, but sleep is overrated anyways.

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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?

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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.


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.


The Hubby

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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.

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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!


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?


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!


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.


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!


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!


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.


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!


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.


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.



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

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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?

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