Your guide to parenting in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts

The Hope Street Spring Block Party returns Saturday, May 21, bigger and better than ever! Check out local music, food trucks, a fashion show, kids’ activities, and beer garden, hosted by The Hope Street Merchants Association.

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Hope Street will be closed to car traffic from Rochambeau Avenue to Fifth Street, creating more than a quarter-mile of fun, food, music, art, activities, sidewalk sales, and performances. The “Beers for Ballet” beer garden features selections from local breweries and benefits Hope Street’s neighborhood performing arts institution, Festival Ballet. There will be two stages of live, local music featuring Boo City, Happiness, Last Good Tooth, Medusah Black, and the Extraordinary Rendition Band, among others. There will also be performances by community groups, including the Classical High School Jazz Band, Project 401 Dance Squad, and Chinese Lion Dance Club. The fashion show will showcase Hope Street Merchants and use local business owners, students, community members, and Festival Ballet dancers for models.

BlockParty2016posterMore than 20 food trucks and vendors will be on site, including Poco Loco Tacos, Noble Knots, Presto Strange O Coffee, Sarcastic Sweets, and Del’s Lemonade. Children’s activities include the YMCA Pop-up Playground, a rock climbing wall, and face painting. IndieCycle will also be collecting electronics for recycling.

The Details:
Saturday, May 21, 12:00PM - 6:00PM
Hope Street, Providence, between Rochambeau Ave. and 5th Street
Cost: Free!
For more information: hopestreetprov.com and facebook

 

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Join us today as we meet one of my favorite local Moms, Diane Jennings of Luca Boutique. Luca has quickly become my go to place for amazing children's clothes at great prices. Diane's super friendly approach and and thoughtfully laid out store (it even has a play space with a gate!), makes shopping with my own small kids, really enjoyable. Diane lives in Somerset, MA with her husband and 7 year old son, Luke.

Kidoinfo: Tell us about your business.

Diane Jennings: Luca is a fun and fresh consignment boutique for kids located in the heart of Water Street, an eclectic shopping and dining district in Warren.  We carry premium and better brand children's apparel, baby gear and trendy maternity clothing for the stylish Mom to be! You'll also find a wide array of new accessories and gifts.

Kidoinfo: What inspired you to start your business?

Diane: I was compelled to re-invent the typical consignment experience from top to bottom.  As a frequent consignment shopper, I was disheartened with the majority of stores I visited and knew there had to be better way to both shop and consign apparel.

Kidoinfo: How did you start your business?

Diane: A close friend owned a small store and was looking to sell her business.  She approached me in 2010 and within 30 days I had rented a storefront on Water Street.  With unparalleled support of family and friends we opened in January 2011 and never looked back.

Kidoinfo: How do you balance work and family?

Diane: My husband and I are a team and honestly I  couldn't make it work without him.  He keeps me focused and grounded.  Communication and time management are essential for me.

Kidoinfo: Please describe a typical day.

Diane: Begins at 5:45 with lots of coffee!  We are out the door by 7:40 am on our way to school drop off.  I allow a cushion from 8:15-9am to allow for scheduled and sometimes unscheduled errands and am at the store no later than 9:15 to get ready for 10am opening.  Most days I am there until closing at 5pm and arrive home for dinner, homework, and extra curricular activities depending on the day.  After picking up around the house and attacking the never-ending laundry, it's time for some reading or TV watching with my husband then lights out no later than 10pm.

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Kidoinfo: If you could give your past self (Pre-kids or Pre-business) any advice, what would it be?

Diane: Listen to your gut.  I read every parenting magazine, blog and website trying to be the best Mom I could be.  At one point we had a question about something (now deemed trivial but at the time seemed pressing) and my husband suggested calling the pediatrician.  I had an overwhelming urge to just stop searching outside myself to find answers and listen to my own thoughts and it worked.  We have an extraordinary 7 year old!

Kidoinfo: Where do you find inspiration?

Diane: Listening to those around me provides all the inspiration I need.  My family, friends, clients, and mentors, are part of my life for a reason.

Kidoinfo: What is the one kid or parent product that you could not live without?

Diane: My planner.  I am a visual person and I need to write everything down.  I've tried multiple electronic devices and they just don't work for me.  Seeing it in my own writing helps me to own my commitments and not over schedule.

Kidoinfo: What is your favorite children's book?

Diane: Being a native Bostonian- Make Way for Ducklings is an all time classic.

Kidoinfo: What do you do with your family on a rainy day?

Diane: Typically a rainy day equates to a pajama day with lots of cooking!

Kidoinfo: What is the last great non-kid book or film that you loved?

Diane: As an avid reader Cutting for Stone is one of my top 5 favorite books.  The story of twin brothers and how their lives twisted and turned was epic.  It stayed with me for a long time upon completion.  I cannot recommend it enough.

Kidoinfo: Do you have a guilty pleasure?

Diane: Red wine and a good book whether my feet are in the sand or in front of a warm fire always relaxes me.

Kidoinfo: If you had an extra hour each day, what would you do with it?

Diane: I would love to say taking that Pilates class I've been trying to get to for the last year, but most likely it would be catching up on my sleep!

Kidoinfo: Can you share a story that is symbolic of your dual life as a business owner and parent?

Diane: I meet so many amazing parents at Luca and have made lasting friendships as a result.  Meeting a fellow mother who delivered her daughter on the same day at the same hospital as my son stands out.  She has been a client for 3.5 years and now has 3 children!

Kidoinfo: How has the experience and on the job training of being a mom prepared or changed you in business?

Diane: I think we all need to be more kind and compassionate with one another. The so-called Mommy Wars can really take a toll.   I make it a point to let a Mom know that she's a doing a great job.  Whether it's a temper tantrum, potty training accident, or just an overall tough day, we all need to hear someone else has been there and knows "this too shall pass."

Kidoinfo: What is next for you and your business?

Diane: We are always researching new product lines to carry and ways to streamline our intake processes.  We plan to offer some innovative new products in late 2014 and perhaps another store...you never know!

Luca Boutique is located at 193 Water Street, Warren RI 02885.  For more information check out Luca's website and Facebook page.

KidoTEST-approve-100x100location: Pawtuxet Village is a section of the towns of Warwick and Cranston, Rhode Island. It is located at the point where the Pawtuxet River flows into the Providence River and Narragansett Bay.

The lovely little town of Pawtuxet Village is a wonderful place to explore. With its beautiful water views, small shops, restaurants and cafes, it has a lot to offer to both residents and visitors alike. For families with children, the village especially comes alive in the warm season. All in a day’s visit you could find yourself playing at the playground, gazing out at the cove, admiring the swans, or taking a walk through the woods. DSC03992 DSC03986A visit to Pawtuxet Village with kids is never complete without spending some time at the beautiful Village Playground on Commercial Street. Just a few short years ago this popular playground went through a full-scale renovation. Adults love it because it is fenced in, clean, and shady; children love it because it has plenty of play structures and space to run around. At the Village Playground there is something for everyone; no child or adult will be disappointed!ice cream-playground

Just one block from the playground is the main strip of town. Little Falls, a local café, is a great place to grab a coffee or baked good. Don’t hesitate to stop in with the kids; there is a shelf of donated children’s books specifically for their reading pleasure! If the kids are in the mood for an extra special treat, Dear Hearts ice cream shop is located just down the street overlooking the river.

Pawtuxet-Playground-540x240After enjoying a dessert, it’s nice to relax in the peaceful Pawtuxet Park located next to Pawtuxet Cove. This park provides a wonderful setting for a picnic. In the center of the park stands a lovely gazebo along with two stone chess tables, and a small, sandy play area equipped with a slide and swings. The kids will love admiring all the waterfowl that visit the cove; there are always ducks, geese, and swans galore! In the spring and summer, you may even catch an outdoor concert, theatre performance, or festival, such as the Gaspee Days Arts and Craft Festival held in May.DSC03994

Those who enjoy the outdoors may find themselves at the opposite end of town behind the famous banquet hall, Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, for a refreshing stroll through the woods. Here you can follow the Pawtuxet River Trail for an easy one-mile hike. Nature abounds with trees, wild berry bushes, small streams and wildlife. Two baseball fields at the edge of the woods provide a great spot for ball playing, watching a game, or just some good old fashion running around.IMG_0116

Every Saturday, from May to November, Pawtuxet village also boasts its own outdoor farmer’s market. It is located along the quiet road down to Rhodes on the Pawtuxet and a visit makes for a nice family outing. Friendly farmers and proprietors offer up their local produce, delicious baked goods, sweet honey, homemade breads, and more. Throughout the season, various family friendly events such as hayrides and costume swaps are hosted at the market by the wonderful Friends of Pawtuxet Village, a volunteer run organization. They have a great website where you can find all the information and dates about upcoming events. Check it out! (http://www.friendsofpawtuxetvillage.org/).

DSC04015The friendly residents, beautiful scenery, and exciting events make Pawtuxet Village the perfect place for a weekend day trip. Bring the whole family and you are sure to have a fun time!

 

Feeding Traditions is a series of interviews that explore the rich connections between food & family. We love the chance to peek into our neighbors’ kitchens and celebrate the work we do to gather our loved ones around the dinner table. And it highlights the memories we all have formed around spending time with friends, family, and food.

Today we meet Jan Faust Dane. Jan is the new owner of Stock Culinary Goods on Hope Street in Providence full of thoughtfully sourced, well-designed kitchen tools, cooking resources and gifts for food lovers. It's a place where people who love to cook and entertain can gather to find the materials to outfit their kitchens, decorate their tables, find inspiration or simply chat with other like-minded food enthusiasts. Jan is no stranger to the food and shop world. Feathers in her cap include food forager for the Ocean House in Watch Hill, contributing writer to Edible Rhody magazine, and the author of many eat.shop guides. She lives in Oak Hill with her husband and three children.

Skill It: How would you describe your food culture and traditions?

Jan: My family on my mom's side is German, so homemade sauerkraut in big crocks was something my mom would occasionally ferment in the well under our stairs.  I wouldn't touch it, and thought it stunk to high heaven.  Of course, like everybody, I'm sauerkraut crazy now and wish I'd appreciated that more back then.  My father's family was Norwegian and outdoorsy.  He fished a lot, so there were opportunities to eat trout, salmon, steelhead and perch.  I remember, and kind of can't believe looking back it at, that I would ask for the perch tails to be crisped and I would eat those like chips.

Skill It: What is your earliest memory of family dinners?

Jan:  Here's the confession.  I don't have family dining memories in my nuclear family of my mom and three siblings.  As a latchkey kid with a working mom, most of my afterschool snacks and most of my dinners were of the highly-processed, pre-packaged variety, often made by me. I made a ton of stovetop popcorn and drank a lot of Kool-Aid.  And I am no stranger to the Swanson's meal, Spaghetti-Os, and gallons of milk.   But then again, it was the 70s.  I think the elusive Rockwellian image of the family at dinner is what made me the food and cooking-obsessed person I am today.

Skill It: How old were you when you first made something on your own in the kitchen?  What was it?

Jan: I was making stove-top popcorn at a very young age, like 6, and have honed that talent over the last 40 years.  It is a source of pride that I can whip up a perfect pot every time, with nary a burnt piece or an un-popped kernel (what we used to call Old Maids.)  This is like my Malcolm Gladwell "Outliers" 10,000 hours talent.   I think if you did some kind of tissue analysis, you would see I am formed of popcorn and milk.  But in part, that's because I was a picky kid and ate very simply. I didn't develop a raging, roving, curious and insatiable appetite until after college.

Skill It: Who taught you how to cook?

Jan:  I don't recall being taught to cook, but I do know that I had to be fairly handy in the kitchen early and I was surely nurtured along.  I have memories of sauteeing mushrooms in butter and beer before my teens; I have no idea where that came from, but it was a favorite.  In high school, my best friend and I were obsessed with pasta salads and stir-fries and we made a ton of those, always varying the format and ingredients.  Her parents were pretty advanced and health-conscious cooks and I remember always being intrigued by "foreign" things like bulgur wheat and Israeli couscous.

Skill It: How do you balance work, food and family?

Jan:  I have been, at various times since starting our family, fully-employed, part-time employed, a freelancer and now, a business owner.  And so, at times my family has eaten very well and with sophistication, and at other times, we subsist on one-pot meals like pasta with add-ins.  One of my favorite things about my new role at Stock is that I will have an extremely reliable schedule, allowing me, I hope, to get into more consistent meal-time rituals.  I fantasize about being that person that processes all the Farmers' Market groceries on Saturday who then meters them out consistently throughout the week.

Skill It: What meal do you “pull out of thin air” when you come home late without a plan for dinner?

Jan:  Pasta carbonara is always at the ready.  I also make a kind of beef stroganoff that I love to rattle off, if we have (Pat's Pastured) hamburger in the house. Finally, a tuna casserole is pretty easy to pull together.  You can see, I have this mentality of "get it all in one pot" and then you don't have to be making all different kinds of side dishes.  I can tell you too that peas appear in every one of those aforementioned dishes.

Skill It: What is your favorite comfort food?  Is it a family recipe?

Jan:  Recipe, no.  Comfort, yes.  Growing up we ate a lot of noodles with butter, soy sauce, sesame seeds and poppy seeds.  At my grandmother's house, she would toast the sesame seeds in a pan and put in extra butter.  That was just heaven.  To this day, if I'm feeling blue, I'll make that, although the poppy seeds have been dropped over the years.  I've also always made some kind of egg drop soup with broth, eggs and herbs.  In the old days it was Swanson's chicken broth and dried parsley.  Now, we always have a home-made chicken stock around, and I mix in scallions and ginger.  Or I'll go with lemon and rice and make it more like an avgolemono.
Skill It: We had to look this up! It’s a Greek egg & lemon soup. You can read more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avgolemono or here: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/avgolemono_soup/

Skill It: Do you have a traditional recipe from your childhood that you still make for special occasions or holidays today?

Jan:  We very casually make Dutch Babies whenever we have guests who stay over.  They present so dramatically, but they're so simple and delicious.  It's basically, just flour, milk and eggs, but what alchemy when you put it all in a 450-degree oven in an enameled dish.

Skill It: As a parent, what one dish have you learned will bring the whole family running to the dinner table?

Jan:  They're carb hounds like me, so they always want something pasta-based.  They adore my homemade pesto, which uses the basil we grow every year.  If I don't have my pesto in stock, they will happily substitute it with Besto Pesto that we get at the Hope Street or Wintertime Farmer's Market.  To get three siblings to agree on anything is rare, but everybody loves pasta and pesto.

Skill It: Where do you find inspiration, culinary or otherwise?

Jan:  In Cook's Illustrated Magazine, restaurants, and mostly, from my food enthusiast friends.  I absolutely love the rigor of Cook's trial and error method.  I also love how declarative they are about what is best.  From them, I think I do a lot of things just exactly right, like Pasta aglio y olio and Fried Green Tomatoes.  In restaurants, there is always inspiration.  I am constantly blown away by the inventive offerings coming out of Farmstead and New Rivers.  I don't try to replicate what they make at home, but I do try to capture the spirit of experimentation.  Finally, without exception, all of our best friends love to cook, so when we get together or vacation together, the cooking is the real connective tissue of every gathering.

Skill It: Have your children expressed an interest in helping in the kitchen? What have you taught them to make?

Jan:  Oh my yes.  My son was a typical running, jumping, lunging, active boy, but at five he became very interested in cooking and we allowed him to start then.  It was easy stuff, like making pancakes or scrambling eggs.  Then, within a year or two, we let him work on his knife skills.  In any other context, he was a wild man, but you put a knife in his hand and he would slow down, get very reverent and make beautiful, careful cuts.  It was amazing.  All the children are great at putting together scrambled eggs and other straightforward dishes.

Skill It: What do you hope your children will learn about food from you?

Jan:  There is a constant cycling of new aversions and pickiness that seems to come and go among the three kids.  So I don't get to unleash my ultimate desire for heat and spices and unusual melanges that I might otherwise like to. But I have to understand that, having been there myself once. What I hope they develop is the same avid enthusiasm that I have for food now.  They often see my husband and I get nearly giddy with certain dishes and culinary successes.  I'm hoping that when the time is right and the palate is developed and the "dinner table oppression" is behind them, they will have the same unfettered joy about cooking and eating that we do.

Skill It: Are there ways that you and your family play with your food?

Response.  We like to taunt raw oysters before we eat them alive.  NO JUST KIDDING!!!!  We don't actually much play with our food.

Skill It: Is there a piece of kitchen or cooking advice you would like to share with other families?

Jan:  Well, I don't know if this is advice, but I think there is nothing more blissful than starting in on a clean kitchen, with a nice glass of wine, and some great music and just going for it.  If I'm using recipes, I like to read them a few times and then just put them away and try to feel through it without referring back to specifics.  This is why I'm not a very consistent baker.

Skill It: Is there a question you ask your kids at the dinner table most nights?

Jan:  When our youngest daughter Vera was still in diapers, she got in the habit of thanking us for changing them. "Dae dae," she would say, which believe me, was clearly her saying "Thank you."  We thought that was just a brilliant example of showing appreciation even for the most commonplace things.  So we will often do "Thankfuls" at the table, in which each person contributes something they are thankful for.  Many days, it might be pretty boilerplate stuff, like the dinner or the day or parents or friends.  But some days they will launch into something with such specificity and keen observation and genuine gratitude that it blows our minds.

Skill It: What one thing about food and eating do you most want to teach your children?

Jan:  Love good food.

 

I love "real" holiday cards–especially designing them–but even more in our social media frenzied world where we rarely send "physical" mail anymore, receiving a personal card or letter is a rare delight.

Although I think about creating our family holiday card well in advance, planning what it takes to make the card happen (design/photo/updated addresses/night to write and stamp them) slips behind once the December bustle takes over – making and shopping for gifts, baking cookies, attending special holiday events. All too often our holiday card becomes a Happy New Year greeting.

This year I am ready. I updated my address list last year and have a fun family photo (where we're all smiling) taken by a stranger while on vacation in NYC this fall. I prefer making our cards by hand, but this year I want a simpler option without losing my creative style.

After checking out the growing number of online pre-printed photo card options, I am trying minted.com this year. I love their modern style and the multitude of designs with a variety of options (flat/folded/fancy edges/pre-printed envelopes). The hardest part will be picking the layout, with so many to choose from. I am placing my order this weekend and should have them in time to hand address them (yes, I still do this) and mail them well before December 25th.

Depending on which cards you order, whether you customize cards and envelopes, or want a proof and shipping method, cards will arrive in 4 - 10 days. Check here for shipping details.

Roisin McGettiga is an Irish runner who specializes in the 3000 metres steeplechase. She graduated from Providence College in 2003 and competed in the her first Olympic Games in 2008 in Beijing. In addition to her ongoing training/professional running career, she also is a business owner and a new mom.

Jaci Arnone recently interviewed Roisin for our Home Work series. We love getting to know parents and learning how they manage to squeeze in work time at home (whether working for someone else or running their own business) along with juggling kids, home life, and childcare (or lack of it).

Roisin McGettigan, started the company Believe I Am in the Fall of 2011 along with USA Champion and Eugene, Oregon resident Lauren Fleshman. These two women create transformative tools to help women accomplish their goals in sport and in life. They print “visual cues” on apparel, a women’s training journal and other products. Their mission is to share the “secrets” they have learned from competing at World Championships and Olympic competitions that allowed them to perform their best. Their company is also socially responsible and environmentally friendly. They use certified “green” printers and recycled materials for the journal and apparel and 10% of their profits are donated to women’s non-profits.

Kidoinfo: What inspired you to start your business?

Roisin McGettigan: Lauren and I were professional track runners who saw each other now and again on the international racing circuit.  When Lauren came to my hometown in Wicklow, Ireland for my wedding in 2010 we got talking and we realized we both had been most successful when we figured out some tools to use to address the mental side of sport. I made it to the Olympic final in the steeplechase in 2008 and Lauren had won numerous national championships and been a finalist at the World Championships. We both had experience working with sports psychologists and we wanted to share the insights and lessons we learned on our journey as professional runners with the wider running community.

Kidoinfo: How did you start your business?

Roisin: My husband, Myles Dumas,  and I started RI Threads, a T-shirt company with designs inspired by Rhode Island, in 2010. My friend Lauren Fleshman from Oregon (US 5000m Champ) saw our shirts and she wanted help with an idea she had for her successful blog, asklaurenfleshman.com She approached us and straight away our ideas were flowing and together we created Believe I Am, a collection of designs that have “mantra” or “power words” hidden in the designs. We wanted to be cryptic because it’s a message for you, not the world. We created so many designs that we realized we had enough material to create a training journal. A training journal is one of a few essential items in an athlete’s life (I would say it’s as important as sneakers and a watch). Each month of the journal has a different mantra and reason to keep a journal and it also contains lots of goal setting pages and spaces to reflect on your progress. I became pregnant when we started working on Believe I Am, so I was able to focus my energy on the journal and launching the business while I wasn’t racing or training much. It was the right time to start something new.

Kidoinfo: How do you balance work and family?

Roisin: Luckily I love what I’m doing. I love being a mom, it's far more enjoyable than I ever imagined. Also my little lady has been really good, so when she’s sleeping I get to work from home. I train before my husband goes to work downtown at Nail Communications (he is the head graphic designer at that advertising agency). In the evening after the baby goes to bed, Myles and I make dinner and relax together. Then we get to work on Believe I Am! So in a way I get to mix work and family life together. Which obviously has its pros & cons!

Kidoinfo: Please describe a typical day.

Roisin:

7-7:30am Baby wakes up.
8:00am I go out running.
8:30am Husband puts baby back to bed.
9:15am I finish my run. My husband leaves right away.
9:30-10:30am Ship sales, answer emails etc.
10:30-12:30/1:00pm Babytime.
1-2:30pm Blog, work, calls etc.
2:30-4:30pm Babytime (park, walk, errands).
4:30-5ishpm Nap (follow-up calls etc.).
5-7:00pm Babytime: Play, dinner, bed.
7-8:30pm Run again, and make dinner with Myles.
8:30-9pm Maybe watch a show (not typical these days).
9-10:00pm (or later) Work on projects.

Kidoinfo: Do you have any time-saving tricks that you could share?

Roisin:
I recently read about the Pareto Principle in regards to time saving. Its based on the premise that the most important work (80%) really only takes 20% of your time. So you should rank your to-do list based on importance, and when you have time do devote to something important you can be efficient and productive in less time than you think you need.  During the rest of your time (80% ) you can take care of the less important stuff (20 %) – emails, calls, follow ups, Facebook etc. I’ve been intuitively doing this, but now I have a name for it, and see how it works for me. My business partner told me to read the book, the 4-Hour Work Week, but I haven’t had the time! I guess it talks all about that principle.

Kidoinfo: If you could give your past self (pre-kids or pre-business) any advice, what would it be?

Roisin: Don’t stop listening to your gut/intutition/ self. I did that once, and it was the worst decision I ever made. If something is a total drag or if you have lots motivation, don’t force things. Its just not the way or the right energy to be successful or productive. Find that reset button somehow!

Kidoinfo: Where do you find inspiration?

Roisin:
While out running, I have my Eureka moments. Otherwise I get inspired watching sports, music performances and other art productions. There is inspiration everywhere and in every person. I don’t find it difficult to get inspired. I’ve just have to be open to finding it. The natural world offers so much inspiration for design – I can be in total awe of a flower. Starting out with Believe I Am we went with the inspiration with found in flowers to create our first collection of designs. We also used the “Garden of the Mind” as our metaphor for positive thinking. Lauren even created a poem about it.

Kidoinfo: What is the one kid or parent product that you could not live without?

Roisin: My friend gave me the book, Baby Wise, and when I came home from the hospital with my little baby girl, I read that book to give me some pointers and guidelines on what our day could look like. It simplified the whole shebang and made life really easy for my baby and us. People keep telling me how lucky I am that I have an easy baby, but the book warned me that would happen, so I don’t know if it’s the book or the baby. Either way, we’ve had a lovely time so far.

Kidoinfo: What is your favorite children's book or music CD?

Roisin: We listen to the Sesame Street channel on Pandora ALL DAY LONG. It’s the best mix EVER! We also have a lovely book we read going to bed every night called, Good Night, Little Bear about lots of little animals giving hugs before going to bed. It's very cute.

Kidoinfo: What do you do with your kids on a rainy day?

Roisin:
Whatever needs to be done! My babe is only 8 months old, so she’s still easy to entertain.

Kidoinfo: What is the last great non-kid book or film that you loved? What made it so great?

Roisin:
Power of Now. I can open it anytime on any page and find something of value. Otherwise reading for leisure hasn’t really happened since having the baby and starting the business. Every now and again I just stop and say to my husband, lets find a movie to watch, this to-do list can wait.

Kidoinfo: Do you have a guilty pleasure?

Roisin:
I’m a night-owl, so when I first had  the baby and was forced to train earlier than normal (which is still late in most people's world) I used to lure myself out of bed with Nutella before my run! (I’m over it now though.)

Kidoinfo: If you had an extra hour each day, what would you do with it?

Roisin:
Easy: Get back to sewing and creating new designs. Read the pile of magazines in our living room. Catch up on Glee and Grey's Anatomy. Get really into Pinterest. Read a book. Oh wait, that’s easily 6 hours right there!

Kidoinfo: How has the experience and on the job training of being a mom/dad prepared or changed you in business?

Roisin:
I’m new to both the mothering role and the business-person role. I’m shooting from the hip most of the time, but its really about enjoying the little special moments with my daughter and the new world I’m opening up with Believe I Am. I've learned so much from friends around me when I loose my way. Community is SO important to me on both a personal and professional level.  My sisterhood is so valuable to me as an athlete and now as a mother and also as an entrepreneur. I learned a lot from life as a professional athlete about goal setting, being prepared and working hard, so I guess I’m applying the same principles to my new endeavors.

Kidoinfo: What is next for you and your business?

Roisin: Ive realized that business could be about meeting lovely people and fostering real relationships. I never saw myself as a businessperson in the past, but if it can be this fun and friendly I'll be keen to keep things rolling and manifest more of the ideas, designs, and products we would like to put out into the world. I have to keep focused in the present in order to not get overwhelmed. I’m more of a dreamer/intuitive personality so I don’t mind taking risks or going with the flow, and doing something for fun – which is the best reason to do anything if you are Irish. It’s a good that my husband is more of a realist and very practical. We balance each other out nicely.

By Laurie Flynn, The Wheeler School

SalekidwebLooking for a bargain on good quality, lightly worn (or new!) clothes for your family? Want to shop local and support educational initiatives?  Then mark your calendar and plan to shop at the upcoming Wheeler School Clothing & More Sale, April 19-21 in Providence, Rhode Island.

This popular “pop-up” department store-in-a-gym celebrates its 64th year supporting education and benefiting the community this Spring. The Sale offers clothing, sports equipment, books, toys and always a lot of bargains.  Donations come from individuals and businesses all over Rhode Island. From the almost never-used Fuji kids bikes that just arrived to glittery evening gowns and like-new children’s clothing, the Sale has something for everyone.  And, now you can follow the Sale on Facebook to keep up with the latest donations and all the fun of the bargain hunt.

The Sale lasts just three days, but hours have been expanded this year to give you more time to browse the racks of clothing. Over the years I’ve found Boutique clothing for myself, a suede jacket my husband still wears after 10 years, and party clothes for my then teen-aged daughter that she’d wear once or twice and we'd donate back to the next year’s Sale! You’ll love the selection and feel good about recycling clothing that sometimes still has the store tags attached!

Wheeler’s Parents Association works all year on this well-known community event. Proceeds go to support school projects and the 20-year-old Providence Summerbridge Program for Providence's public middle school students.  Any items leftover at the Sale’s end are donated to local nonprofit shelters and agencies, so nothing goes to waste!

The Details:
Location: Wheeler School Gym, 407 Brook Street, Providence, RI 02906
Sale Hours 2012:
Thursday April 19 & Friday April 20,  10am- 8pm
Saturday April 21,  9am- 4pm
Free Admission
Website: www.wheelerschool.org/clothingsale
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wheelerclothingsale

Photo Credit: The Wheeler School

We love getting to know parents in our community. In our Home Work series, we ask moms and dads how they juggle their work while raising kids, hoping to get some insight on how to better balance our own work/playtime while being introduced to our neighbors and their cool businesses.  Today Elyse Major interviewed Eric Bulmer. Meet the "Science Guy." He is the Owner and Program Director of Pow!Science! a leading provider of Elementary Science enrichment programs in Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts with two locations that are part toy-store and part-workshop/party space.

Kidoinfo: What inspired you to start your business?
Eric Bulmer (EB): A couple of things. Although I loved classroom teaching, I was not enjoying the administrative aspects of the job and felt I was being held back. Teaching to a test has never been my style. Also, during my last year as a classroom teacher, I began performing science birthday parties and workshops for another company and saw the potential to take science “performance” a lot further. When Keith Michael Johnson, one of RI’s top enrichment performers, told me I “had the stuff” to go it on my own, I believed him.

Kidoinfo: How did you start your business?
EB: Well, opportunities with the company I was doing enrichment for came to an abrupt end with the untimely death of its then-owner. It was time to decide–scurry back to my comfort zone (the classroom) or give it a shot as a full time freelance Science Guy! I talked it over with my wife and we decided to give it a go. Most people that come to the toy stores don’t realize that Pow!Science! started out strictly as a birthday party venue and school program provider–the toys came much later.

Kidoinfo: How do you balance work and family?
EB: Admittedly not very well–I work far too much, and only take a few days off per year. Luckily, my business partner is my wife, and so we spend a lot of our day together. Working for ourselves also allows us to leave work to pick up our daughter and spend time with her after school and essentially whenever we want to–and she also attends many of our workshops!

Kidoinfo: Do you have any time-saving tricks that you could share?
EB: Plan ahead, and make lists. And plan ahead.

Kidoinfo: If you could give your past self (pre-kids or pre-business) any advice, what would it be?
EB: Not really … sometimes I wish I’d started Pow!Science! earlier in life, but then would things have turned out as they have? Who knows. Second guessing the past is dicey. Of course, “Plan ahead” would be good advice from past Eric to current Eric.

Kidoinfo: Where do you find inspiration?
EB: For work, I find inspiration from the toys and the way kids play with them. When I see a toy, the science applications and potential for use in a school or program ideas pop into my head almost right away and then playing with the kids helps me modify my ideas to make them even better. And although I’m often called “Mr. Wizard," a more appropriate inspiration for me personally is Bill Nye.

Kidoinfo: What is the one kid or parent product that you could not live without?
EB: Eh, I don’t know. We do without a lot, so I’m pretty sure there’s nothing we couldn’t live without.

Kidoinfo: What is your favorite children's book or music CD?
EB: My favorite children’s book is called I, Doko: The Tale of a Basket. “Doko” means “basket” in Nepali. Ed Young adapted and illustrated it, and it brought tears to my eyes the first time I read it. It’s an incredibly powerful story.

Kidoinfo: What do you do with your kids on a rainy day?
EB: Well, we have the resources of a very cool toy store at our disposal, so the options are fairly diverse. We do go to matinees sometimes though!

Kidoinfo: What is the last great non-kid book or film that you loved? What made it so great?
EB: Well, I really enjoyed World War Z recently. Thinly veiled, fairly scathing social commentary and satire with lots of Zombies. What could be better?

Kidoinfo: Do you have a guilty pleasure?
EB: I walk ALL around through Toys R Us a couple of times a year. The displays that they’re able to get from the Toy Companies are just so cool. That and whoopie pies are pretty much it.

Kidoinfo: If you had an extra hour each day, what would you do with it?
EB: Work on getting my book of experiments for kids published.

Kidoinfo: Can you share a story or anecdote that is symbolic of your dual life as a business owner and parent?
EB: I over heard my daughter and some other kids talking about their parents once, in a restaurant. My daughter said “My dad is a scientist” and all the other kids said “Coooool!!” While not technically accurate (I’m not a “scientist” strictly speaking, but a “science guy”), it was still a pretty nifty moment.

Kidoinfo: How has the experience and on the job training of being a mom/dad prepared or changed you in business?
EB: I wasn’t a dad when I started Pow!Science! and parents would often ask me during parties and presentations if I had kids because I work well with them. I had a “canned” response that went something like, “I’ve got plenty to do working with other people’s kids for now!” Having a child of my own has put me even more in tune with my peeps, and I take a different tack with managing kids and groups of kids than I did in my early days as an Enrichment provider.

Kidoinfo: What is next for you and your business?
EB: We’re always coming up with new experiments and ideas for programs. This year was the first time we’ve been in a position to donate a program a month to Rhode Island schools and that’s something we’re hoping to expand and turn into a tradition. You can also look forward to a wider variety of physics and engineering based programs, hosted at Pow!Science rather than in the schools. The U.S. needs engineers and we’d like to keep helping kids build a solid foundation in math and the sciences. After all, they’ll be designing the cool stuff that will comfort us in our old age, right?

Girls Rock! Rhode Island is pleased to present the Women Who Rock Coloring Book! The book celebrates a variety of female musicians, from those who paved the way to the ladies who are influencing today’s vibrant music scene. An eclectic mix of performers are represented in its pages, including Cyndi Lauper, Patti Smith, Nina Simone, Yoko Ono, Joan Jett, Esperanza Spaulding and many more. This first edition features 22 original works of art by local artists, who donated their time and their art.

Proceeds from sales of the Women Who Rock Coloring Book benefit Girls Rock! Rhode Island, a non- profit organization dedicated to giving girls and women the chance to rock through innovative programs that build self-esteem and encourage participants to GET LOUD!

Girls Rock Camp, where girls aged 11 to 18 learn guitar, bass, vocals or drums, form a band and perform their original songs for a live audience; empowerment workshops foster self-confidence and encourage self-expression Ladies Rock Camp, a chance for women of all levels of musical ability learn guitar, bass, vocals or drums, form a band, compose a song and perform before a live audience Girls Get Loud, an innovative afterschool program where girls learn instruments, write songs, and play with a band Girls & Ladies Rock Lab, a big, fun jam session where women of all musical abilities come together to create music in a positive, supportive environment.

The Women Who Rock Coloring Book is available on line at Girls Rock! Rhode Island Etsy store for $15 and at local retailers including Craftland, Frog and Toad and Books on the Square for $18.

For more information on Girls Rock! Rhode Island, visit www.girlsrockri.com.
More info about the Women Who Rock coloring Book here. http://girlsrockri.org/blog/view/1/45

Buy With Heart is a grassroots campaign that aims to educate the community about the concept of “Social Enterprise,” introduce consumers to local businesses that utilize this model, and highlight a wide spectrum of Social Enterprise products and services. Unlike a traditional non-profit, a Social Enterprise produces competitive products and services to generate revenue (often in addition to typical fundraising such as grant-writing and capital campaigns). Just as products labeled “organic” or “eco-friendly” tell consumers how a product is sourced, the Buy With Heart symbol lets consumers know that the businesses behind their products are driven by a social purpose.

Buy With Heart Social Enterprises create change for a variety of underserved populations in Rhode Island, from recent refugees to underserved youth to persons with disabilities. Like the people these businesses serve, the products they offer are just as unique and diverse. Buywithheart.org highlights a wide range of products for every price range and interest. We did some of the research for you, and put together a list showcasing top 10 Unique Gift Ideas from Social Enterprises. When you buy from a Social Enterprise this holiday season, you not only send a thoughtful gift to a person you love, you and the recipient both create change in your local community. Talk about spreading the holiday spirit!

Harvest Kitchen: Making apple sauce

Top 10 Gift Ideas for Kids and Families:

1.  Family Photoshoot from RiverzEdge Arts Project: Give a fellow parent the gift of high quality family photos in a setting that is fun and interesting for the kids. RiverzEdge Arts Project provides underserved teens with training and employment in the arts at their energetic studio in Woonsocket. The Riverzedge photo team will bring youthful creativity and flair to your photoshoot, as well as professional, high-quality prints that a family will be able to enjoy all year round!
Price: $50-$150 depending on the package and the setting.
Where to Buy: Email bekah@riverzedgearts.com

2.  T-Shirt from Happy Shirts:  Happy Shirt’s founder Eric Anderson creates shirts “that represent the things that make you happy - from hobbies to animals, professions, activities, sports, and just plain old fun stuff."  Each shirt displays a colorful design and the tagline “my happy.”  Happy Shirts also adopts a “one-for-one model," and sends a t-shirt or onesie to a child or refugee around the world for each shirt purchased. This makes Happy Shirts both a fun gift and a valuable teaching tool for a child in your life.
Price: $20
Where to Buy: www.happyshirts.net or stop by Sparks Toys, 371 Putnam Pike Smithfield Commons Smithfield, RI.

3.  Courses at The Steel Yard: The Steel Yard is a refurbished Steel Mill-turned funky arts space in the Industrial District. Course offerings include ceramics, glass, blacksmithing, jewelry and welding and are open to youth over age 15. Fortunately, the Steel Yard offers gift cards so there is no need to pick out a class yourself. Perfect for that teenager on your list who is notoriously hard to shop for!
Price: $240 - $300
Where to Buy: Check out course listings and pick up a gift certificate.

4.  Apparel from Broken Pieces International: Broken Pieces offers a variety of fashionable clothing and accessories for youth and young adults. All sales support Broken Pieces’ programs to support recent youth immigrants from Africa. Favorites include the “Speak Peace” t-shirt, messenger bag with African prints, and women’s skirt made with African-print fabric.
Price: $20-$40 per piece
Where to Buy: http://brokenpiecesintl.com/

5.  Studio Session at PeaceLove Studios: PeaceLove Studios is a collective of artists advocating on behalf of individuals suffering from mental illness. Open studios offer the public a chance to explore their artistic abilities, and are a perfect way for parents to introduce art to their kids. A $25 gift card will get you access to five sessions. Ongoing Sessions: Tuesdays from 12:30-2pm, Wednesdays from 1-2:30pm, Thursdays from 10:30-12pm, and Friday from 10:30-12pm. Other times may be available. Please call ahead.
Price: $25
Where to Buy: Find a gift card for studio sessions and other unique gifts at shop.peacelovestudios.com/filter/category/gifts

6.  Sponsor a Child as part of Flying Kites International: Based in Newport, RI. Flying Kites uses an innovative residential model to care for orphaned children at their orphan care center in Kenya. Instead of giving a gift, Pledge to sponsor a child in the name of a child in your life.
Price: Sponsorship runs upwards of $144/ year. Or make a donation in any amount!
Where to Buy: www.flyingkitesglobal.org/sponsorships.shtml

7.  Full Share or Half-Share CSF from Ocean State Fresh: Ocean State Fresh is a Newport-based Social Enterprise that aims to ensure that “fresh, local seafood stays fresh and local”. A CFS or “Community-sponsored fisheries” share or half-share will give you a great deal and provide a family on your list with a great deal of fresh Seafood. A half-share will deliver 1-2 pounds of filleted fish or the equivalent value of lobsters, crabs, and seafood each week.
Price: $300 for half-share, $510 for full share
Where to Buy: www.oceanstatefresh.com/ShopFresh.html

8.  Two Commercial Cleaning Sessions with Keep It Clean:  Great for the busy parent on your list who also doubles as a small business owner! Keep it Clean provides job training and employment for persons with developmental disabilities. For a Holiday gift, they are offering two consecutive 2.5-hour commercial cleanings (not a residence or home) for $200.00. The fine print: the two cleanings have to be scheduled either once a week for 2 consecutive weeks or once every other week within the same month. The location of the cleaning service has to be within a 10-mile radius of Providence, Rhode Island. The cleaning service can only be provided between the hours of 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. No holidays, No exceptions.
Price: $200
Where to Buy: Email Cathy Salerno at csalerno@fogartycenter.org

9.  Artisanal Granola from Providence Granola Project: Give the gift of healthy, delicious, and locally-made granola! The Providence Granola Project employs recent refugees who would otherwise find it difficult to earn a living. The company also knows how to get creative, and offers a different flavor of granola each month. We suggest spoiling someone on your list with a Deluxe Holiday Gift Pack, or being extra generous and signing them up for the ‘Granola of the Month’ club.
Price: From $6.95 for a 12 oz. bag to $35.00 for a 5 lb. bag. Deluxe Holiday Gift Pack: $99. Granola of the Month Club: $65.70 - $262.80
Where to Buy: http://providencegranola.blogspot.com/

10.  Kid or Adult Bike from Recycle-A-Bike: Bikes are a great way to stay fit and have fun, and Rhode Island boosts several spectacular bike trails. Recycle-A-Bike rescues bikes from the landfill and refurbishes them, with the help of volunteer, expert mechanics. Proceeds directly support RAB educational programs.
Price: $50- $300
Where to Buy: Contact info@recycleabike.org to learn about bikes in stock.

Stocking Stuffers:

Cookie Place Cookies: Sales of these award-winning cookies also provide job training and professional development for people with disabilities.
Price: $11.99 for 1 ½ Dozen Cookies.
Where to Buy: 280 Washington St # 1  Providence, RI 02903
phone: (401) 351-8789

Glee Gum: This delicious gum supports sustainable harvesting of chicle, the all-natural ingredient found in Glee gum. Glee Gum also offers the “Make Your Own Candy” kit for creative kids and adults alike!
Price: $10 for one case (12 boxes of gum) Make Your Own Candy Kits” 3 for $30
Where to Buy: www.gleegum.com

Inspire Green Water Bottles: This Social Enterprise, started by students at Bryant University, produces eco-friendly water bottles with built-in filters.
Price: $14/ bottle
Where to Buy: www.inspiregreeninc.com/order-here

RiverzEdge Arts Project T-shirts and Stationary: Sales of these youth-designed products support art education and employment for underserved teens.
Price: $5- $20 per product
Where to Buy: riverzedgearts.org/shop.html

Gifts for Teachers:

Providence Granola Project Granola: The Providence Granola Project creates original, delicious granola recipes and employs recent refugees who would otherwise find it difficult to earn a living.
Price: From $6.95 for a 12 oz. bag to $35.00 for a 5 lb. bag
Where to Buy: http://shop.providencegranola.com/

Runa Tea: Sales of Runa Tea facilitates sustainable development for indigenous communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Price: $6.99/ box of 15 tea bags
Where to Buy: www.runa.org

PeaceLove Holiday Cards, T-shirts, and watches: PeaceLove merchandise supports expressive arts programs for persons with mental illness.
Price: $15-$20
Where to Buy: http://shop.peacelovestudios.com/

RI Harvest Kitchen Applesauce: The Rhode Island Harvest Kitchen Project is a social enterprise of Farm Fresh Rhode Island, and provides culinary job training to at-risk youth.
Where to Buy: Farm Fresh Wintertime Farmer’s Market at Hope Artiste Village, Saturday 10 am To 1 pm.

House of Hope Boutique Products: House of Hope Boutique employs women transitioning out of homelessness to create one-of-a-kind original purses, totes, and wine bags using repurposed materials. Stop by HOHB’s brand-new storefront to pick up a gift!
Where to Buy: House of Hope Boutique, 3190 Post Road Warwick

 

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