Back to the Lunchroom: Nine Steps to Healthy, Happy Kids

It’s that time of the year again. Time to choose new lunch boxes and get ready for the big day. While your kids may be more interested in what’s on the outside of their lunch boxes, what’s more important is what they’ll find when they open them at lunchtime.

The best time to implement any new ideas and guidelines on what goes in your kids’ lunch boxes is now—at the beginning of the school year. While some of these ideas may seem to create more work for you, in the long run, a few extra minutes of work will create a lifetime of healthy eating habits for your family. 


Here are some tips on how and what to pack inside lunch boxes to make both you and your kids happy!

ASAP After School Arts Program Litchfield County, CT: September Schedule

The After School Arts Program (ASAP), in its thirteenth year, is offering September workshops throughout Northwest Connecticut for residents and non-residents of Region 12 (Washington, Roxbury, and Bridgewater). I like the interesting and different after school activities that they offer at a reasonable price. Even better, all classes are taught by professional artists. Besides classes, ASAP offers many workshops. In October you and your child can join them on a field trip to Soho for the day. Listed below are the September workshops for all ages. You do not need to be a resident of Region 12 to attend.

Preschool (Ages 3-5)
Singing, Rhythm & Movement with Tom Hanford

Wersebe Hall, Washington

Wednesdays, 1:00-1:45pm

September 21, 28, October 5, 12

4 Sessions: $45

Vocal exercises, animal sound choral singing, simple traditional singing games, large movement with scarves, and rhythmic play with drums, bells, and shakers are just some of the fun elements of this musical movement experience.

Primary: Grades K-2
Storytelling with Lisa Worth Huber

Booth Free School Library, Roxbury

Tuesdays, 3:40-4:40pm

September 20, 27, October 4, 11, 18

5 Sessions: $55 for Residents; $75 for Nonresidents

Come celebrate the magic of stories.  We will create a storytelling circle where Lisa will share some traditional folk and fairy tales sure to spark the imagination. Together we will use the story threads from these ancient tales to weave our own stories, creating characters and situations that will delight, while laying the foundation for more advanced story construction.

Fun Day Trips In and Around CT: Mark Twain House

By Shiela Hageman

Mark Twain House and Museum
351 Farmington Avenue
Hartford, Connecticut 06105
(860) 247-0998

I still remember my first visit to the Mark Twain House as a child: the creaky floors, the shine of the old chars, the thrill of walking through the rooms where the writer of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer lived. The specialness of visiting a famous writer’s home has not worn off for this generation either.

Today, visitors enjoy daily tours of the striking home (visitation is by guided tours only), which is an example of Picturesque Gothic architecture with a dramatic grand hall, a lush glass conservatory, a grand library and the handsome billiard room where Twain wrote his famous books.

Fun & Free Things To Do With Kids This Weekend In CT: How about some Hurricane Irene fun at home!

Editor's Update * It's looking like Hurricane Irene is going to take over the weekend so check out this post on our NYC site about what to do with the kids during the hurricane. The following post was published before we knew how much the hurricane would impact our area. Stay safe and be prepared for power outages. Have lots of water and snacks on hand. Let's prepare for the worst and hope for the best! Lots of the activities below are most likely going to be canceled.

While we've been shopping and preparing for back to school we've also been fitting in that last bit of summer fun before Labor Day.   Even if it rains this weekend there's still fun to be had for you and your family. If your child loves history you won't want to miss this battle encampment re-enactment or the tin can lantern making workshop. For reptile lovers check out the rare albino alligator that will be visiting Beardsley Zoo over the weekend. We've also listed museum and festival fun including a Greek Festival and Terryville's 63rd Country Fair. Our best bets for the weekend are below. You can find additional seasonal fun in our Event Calendar.

Be sure to sign up for our weekly newsletter for the inside scoop on fun family activities all over CT. You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook too!

PS Don't miss out on our Silhouette GiveAway from Cut Arts that is taking place right now!

Silhouette Give-Away for Mommy Poppins CT readers!

We have another great giveaway for Mommy Poppins CT subscribers! Renowned Silhouette Artist Karl Johnson of Cut Arts is coming to CT from the West Coast! Karl will be creating hand cut silhouettes in person at two locations. Enter now to win a $25 hand cut Silhouette Portrait.  Winner can make an appointment at the location of their choice to redeem.  Click on this video to see Karl in action.

Karl is a 3rd generation silhouette artist.  His work has appeared in over 30 national publications including “The O List” in O Magazine, People, In Style, Martha Stewart Wedding, Parents, Elegant Bride, Nickelodeon, People, Country Home, Country Living and many others. 

Fun Day Trips In and Around CT: Gillette Castle and Caumsett State Historic Park

Do you know that Connecticut has its very own fortress? Gillette Castle in East Haddam looks like a decoration from a fairy tale book, a real medieval castle. Its robust, dark gray stone walls, bastions and towers hide an eccentric and surprising fantasy world of hidden doorways, tricky pieces of furniture and quirky installation. Once a property of Sherlock Holmes actor, William Gillette, the fortress is now open to the public. Its generous park mirrors the castle: its winding trails lead through arched bridges and little tunnels along the path of the castle's private 3-mile long railroad with its own Grand Central Station. So if you are ready to share something extravagantly out-of-the-ordinary with your family, plan a trip to East Haddam's Seven Sisters Hills.

Eco-Friendly Back to School Supplies

[UPDATED: August 10, 2012]

Did you know that the typical American family generates 4,320 pieces of trash annually during lunchtime? Yikes! If we all do our part we can change that number significantly. Besides helping the environment, you can keep your children safe by choosing products that reduce their exposure to harmful chemicals such as BPA, phthalates and lead in lunch bags. Using plastic wrap and baggies, individually packaged food items and plastic water bottles are all no-no's. With a simple change you can eliminate these Earth killers and pass on an awareness for the environment to your kids. I love all of the cool choices out on the market now. You can even get pencils made from recycled blue jeans!

Since it's the beginning of the school year it's the perfect opportunity to start back-to-school off on the right foot. Here's a few resources to help you out when purchasing eco-friendly back to school supplies. There are tons out there and I'm not going to pretend to know them all but these few should help a bit.

Fun & Free Things To Do With Kids This Weekend In CT: Milford Oyster Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Teddy Bear Fest 8/20-21

Here we are, the second to last weekend in August. School days are right around the corner so savor these last days of summer while you can. There's plenty of fun to be had this weekend including one of the largest annual festivals in CT: Annual Milford Oyster Festival. In Hartford the Riverfront Dragon Boat and Asian Festival looks like a great cultural event and the Peach Festival at Lyman Orchards gets me craving warm peach pie just thinking about it.

PS Don't miss out on our $50 Give Away at Three Monkeys & Me Children's Boutique and Toy Store. Drawing ends Thursday night.

Here's our list of best bets for the weekend. You can always check for more on our calendar.

$50 Give-Away at Three Monkeys & Me for Mommy Poppins CT Readers

It's time to start the annual back to school supplies and clothing shopping ritual. To help you out with that, one lucky reader will win a $50 Give-Away from Three Monkeys and Me for anything in the store. Three Monkeys and Me, a boutique in Kent, Litchfield County, specializes in fun contemporary clothing, gifts and cool toys for children (newborn to size 12/14 kids).  Wati, Pink Chicken and Patagonia are just some of the great brands they carry. Owner Liz Devos has impeccable taste and you'll love the store space she has created as well as everything in it. They've just added an entire toy section with unique high quality selections. Three Monkeys & Me's latest news can be found on their Facebook page.

Tween Concerts: Summer Jam Live at Stepping Stones Museum

Last week my boys and I had the pleasure of attending our first tween concert at Stepping Stones Museum's Summer Jam Live Lil P-Nut is an 8 year old rapper who has been featured on the “The Ellen Degeneres Show” and currently has a deal with Cartoon Network. The boys and their friends were mesmerized as he rapped about elementary school and puppy love. When asked to have their photo taken in front of the sponsor wall the boys said they felt like they were "on the red carpet". The next day, when I saw the photo on Stepping Stone's Facebook page I couldn't help but giggle at the excitement and awkwardness in their smiles.


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