Parents of Tots

Building a Supportive Social Network


  • Sunday, March 23, 2014 3:11 PM | Deleted user
    by Sheri Saperstein Richberg, Certified Personal Trainer, Body by Baby Fitness

    Chances are, you’ve heard of the kids feature “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.” In the film’s sequel, the main character has to battle with delicious but deadly “food-animal” hybrids, such as the ferocious “taco-diles,” slithering “apple pie-thons,” and vine-swinging “shrimp-anzees.”

    With a little creativity and a pound of lean ground protein, you and your own little animals can create fun and tasty meatball “monster-pieces” that are not only healthy and delicious, but can also be a marvelous (not to mention mushy & messy) way to create a conversation-worthy family meal!

    Meatballs are a great source of protein for kids to build muscular strength, and this recipe is chock full of veggies too so you can feel good about preparing it for your family. You can roll the meatballs into bite-sized pieces, strike each with a Ninjago spear (aka toothpick), or make gigantic meatball boulders from outer space to heap on top of a steaming volcano (aka spaghetti topped with marinara sauce.)

    Here are a few of the ferocious forest creatures that we came up with using steamed baby carrots, celery sticks, grape tomatoes, red peppers, steamed broccoli for trees, mushrooms for rocks and baby spinach for leaves. We even made a meatball slider and squashed it between two monster-sized mushroom caps!

    Simple Meatball Recipe You can use lean ground beef, turkey or chicken or you can use store bought, ready-made meatballs, which come in a variety of flavors to please kids’ palates!

    This recipe is GLUTEN FREE, but you can add ½ cup of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs to the mixture for extra texture.

    1 lb ground meat
    1 small zucchini - grated
    1 carrot - grated
    1 Tb Olive Oil
    2 Tb parsley
    ½ tsp garlic salt or sea salt
    ½ tsp pepper (optional)

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients together. Form into 12 meatballs or as many as you choose given your sizes, flattening on bottom a bit. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until brown and cooked throughout (you may need to cook larger meatballs longer.) Once cool enough to touch, create your monster-pieces!

    Use your imagination for healthy monster and animal add-ons like: crispy chow mein noodle arms and legs, sliced olives eyes, chopped peppers for freckles, shredded cheese for hair, guacamole, wrap it up in a “baby diaper” tortilla or place 2-3 meatballs a lollipop stick for monster meatball pops!

    Have Fun and Enjoy!
  • Sunday, March 23, 2014 3:05 PM | Deleted user

    I am Kristen Herlihy, and I live in Woburn.  I am a clinical social worker providing therapy to children & families, plus the owner & instructor for Baby Boot Camp ® Woburn/Winchester and mom to my 2 year old toddler, Connor.  I look forward to sharing my ideas with you about how to balance the many demands that we as parents have in our lives.  Whether we are stay-at-home parents or full time employees outside of home, we want to do the best by our children, and that means taking care of ourselves as well.

    If you are feeling the way that I do, you are so ready for winter to take a one way ticket out of town.  From snowstorms to shoveling to yet another school cancellation, we are all about to break.  Since we all know that Mother Nature is in control of the weather zone without any input from parents of small children, what can we do to make it through until spring?  The nice weather is coming, but how can we survive until then?

    Motivation is such a challenge at this time of year.  From one snowstorm to the next, we can all feel our energy being sapped away.  But with little children at home, we have to stay creative in order to make it into the warmer days of spring.  Do you have a few friends who are in the same boat as you?  Then create a short term play group, where each hosting parent can create an idea for each meeting.  Maybe one of your friends is the arts & crafts mom, so she’ll plan a way to recycle toilet paper rolls into the next great art project.  Perhaps one of your mommy friends has an appreciation for music, and can teach the children a new song.  Whatever the activity may be, go ahead and reach out to your friends for a creative outlet in these next few weeks.

    If the weather outside is frightful, then dress those kiddos up and head outdoors!  If you’re like me, you want to get every dollar’s worth out of those snow boots, snow pants and thick winter coats.  Make that final snowman of the year or get ready for another snow angel, but enjoy the outdoors as much as possible.  Get active and pull those kiddos along in their sleds.  It’s a great way to get in some cardio while giving the little ones their fun too.  Remind yourself that during those dog days of summer, you will long for cooler temps.  (Yes, you will, it’s true!)

    Lastly, ask around to find those little gems of indoor play spaces that we’ve all been hiding out at over the past few months.  Whether your child wants to run, jump or just play, network with your mom friends or join a POT play time.  There are plenty of moms out there who are looking for that connection in the dull weather, so now is the time to make early spring/summer friends.

    Stay positive, keep motivated and remember that the weather will change…eventually!

  • Wednesday, January 22, 2014 2:00 PM | Deleted user

                     The 2014 Winter Olympics are on their way!

    The Winter Olympics are being held in Sochi, Russia from February 7th until February 23rd. Enjoy the winer games with your family as you watch the exciting events on tv and read about them with some of these fun books. Choose from this list of books or find others related to the Olympic Winter Events
    (click on the titles to find out more...check your library to borrow these books)

                            Books about the Olympics   
    Tacky and the Winter Games by Helen Lester
    G is For Gold Medal by Brad Herzog
    The Winter Olympics by Andy Seed
    The Winter Olympics by Nick Hunter
    Olympics by B.G. Hennessy
    Olympig! by Victoria Jamieson
    Winter Olympic Sports Series (various winter sports )

                                    Learn about Russia
    Russia ABCs: A Book About the People and Places of Russia
                                                                             by Ann Berge

                          Books about Winter Sports
    Camels Don’t Ski by Fransesca Simon
    Rhinos Who Snowboard by Julie Mammano
    Learning to Ski with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen
    Angelina Ice Skates by Katharine Holabird
    H is for Hockey by Kevin Shea
    A is for Axel by Kurt Browning
    Emily’s Ice Dancing Show by Rosalinda Kightley
    Dino Hockey by Lisa Wheeler
    Snow by Cynthia Rylant
    Snowy Sports: Ready, Set, Play! By Per-Henrik Gurth

  • Saturday, January 18, 2014 8:43 PM | Deleted user

    By Sheri Saperstein Richberg, Certified Personal Trainer, Body by Baby Fitness

    Getting your kids to eat enough fruits and veggies in the winter can be a daily challenge.  Having them create and design their own “Snowman Snack” will make them more apt to eat delicious and wholesome foods while they have fun preparing them!

    Here are a few seasonally inspired snowman snacks which also make a nutritious breakfast or lunch, not to mention a fun, family conversation piece!

    Snowman Pancakes: There are so many healthy fruit options for kids to help make and decorate their own pancake snowman – you won’t even need the sugary syrup!

    Using your favorite multi-grain pancake recipe (or any pancake mix that you like – frozen pancakes will work too - we used a Stonewall Kitchen mix),  have your kids help mix up and make an ascending sized stack of two or three round pancakes on top of one another so that it resembles a snowman. Then cut up an assortment of fresh or frozen fruits for your kids to become artists ~ (or let your kids use plastic knives to cut up their own) then Create, Design & Enjoy!

    We used raisin eyes, melon slices for the nose and arms, grape ear muffs, a strawberry mouth and hat, green apple belt & buttons, clementine feet and some dollops of snowy whipped cream! You could also add shredded coconut “snow”, a pineapple ring sun, and a blueberry sky to create an entire winter scene. Encourage your children to be creative and add as many colors as you can > The more colorful your snowman, the more health benefits you add to your plate!

    Snowman Bagel: Spread your favorite type of Bagel or English Muffin (whole wheat and multi-grain are a plus!) with softened cream cheese veggie cream cheese is an added bonus!) Then stick in some black or green olive eyes (sliced baby gherkins work great too), a baby carrot nose, red pepper mouth, cucumber strip hair and broccoli earmuffs (raw or steamed!) You could also use a sliced cherry tomato tongue, baby spinach or shredded red cabbage hair, and how about a steamed string bean bow tie and celery stick arms! What’s in your fridge? Cut it up, stick it on and eat it all up > super simple, nutritious and delicious!

    Snowman Banana Pops: Slice banana wheels for the head & body then push onto a lollipop stick (or bamboo skewer). Stick in a tiny carrot or orange slice nose, raisin eyes & buttons, pretzel arms, clementine hat & grape pom pom! Make a snowman family of pops, put some in the freezer and enjoy later on frozen with hot cocoa!

  • Monday, January 06, 2014 8:55 AM | Deleted user

    I am Kristen Herlihy, and I live in Woburn. I am a clinical social worker providing therapy to children & families, plus the owner & instructor for Baby Boot Camp ® Woburn/Winchester and mom to my 2 year old toddler, Connor. I look forward to sharing my ideas with you about how to balance the many demands that we as parents have in our lives. Whether we are stay-at-home parents or full time employees outside of home, we want to do the best by our children, and that means taking care of ourselves as well.

    Happy New Year!  Now that the party dust has settled, those gifts have been opened and the relatives have all gone home, it’s time to get organized and ready for a new and busy year.  But where should you begin?  You’ve made those New Year’s resolutions time and time again, but the changes never seem to stick.  Let’s resolve to make this year different, and keep those changes going all year long.

    One of the first recommendations for any type of change in your life, whether it is based on fitness, nutrition, lifestyle or anywhere in between, is this:  plan big, but think small.  Go ahead and think long term – want to lose those last 20 pounds?  Been trying to work meditation into your day, but cannot seem to find the time?  Whatever your motivation may be, it is great to think down the road as to what you’ll need to accomplish in order to feel accomplished.  Mark that finish line clearly in your head, and you’ll know your goal once you have reached it.  So now think about all of the steps that you will need to get there.   

    Runners know where the finish line is, but they also know that there are many, many steps before they reach that finish line.  So be that runner.  Make a list of the small accomplishments that you think you’ll need to get to in order to reach your long term goal.  For example, if you want to lose 20 pounds in 2014, that’s 52 weeks.  With less than one pound per week, what little change do you want to make to reduce calorie intake while increasing output?  See how it works?  By thinking in smaller quantities, you can work towards that goal in small increments over time, rather than looking at the long term as far off and unattainable. 

    Finally, remember to make it fun and allow yourself those times of rest.  Studies have shown that in order to integrate any lasting change into your routine, you’ll need at least three weeks of consistent & daily effort towards that goal.  That can be difficult when we are balancing the office, our homes and our families, so keep that in mind when setting your schedule.  It is ok to take a day off here and there, and give yourself little “victory laps” along the way.  As you reach your short term goals, you’ll be that much closer to your finish line and a healthy new you.

  • Monday, September 23, 2013 10:39 AM | Deleted user

    I am Kristen Herlihy, and I live in Woburn.  I am a clinical social worker providing therapy to children & families, plus the owner & instructor for Baby Boot Camp ® Woburn/Winchester and mom to my 2 year old toddler, Connor.  I look forward to sharing my ideas with you about how to balance the many demands that we as parents have in our lives.  Whether we are stay-at-home parents or full time employees outside of home, we want to do the best by our children, and that means taking care of ourselves as well.

    Now that the cooler weather is sneaking into our lives, we may find that our days seem not only shorter, but busier as well.  The carefree summer days & evenings spent lazily enjoying the laid back activities of warm weather fun are now replaced with scheduled, structured programs that help secure our hectic lives.  But with the holiday season officially begun, how can we keep the sanity while still reveling in the festivities?

    To start, make sure that you are crystal clear about your priorities.  Is this the fall that you will finally train for that 5K road race that you have been wanting to accomplish?  Are you hoping to take a more active role in your child’s sports team/dance class/drama club so that you can be more involved?  Whatever your goal may be, make sure that you spend some time being honest with yourself about what it is that you want and how you plan on making it happen.  We could all use an 8th day of the week or a clone of ourselves in order to get “more” done.  Instead of getting “more” into your day, get “more quality” into your routine.  You will feel more accomplished and satisfied when your to-do list turns into a done list.  So be specific about your goal and what you need to do to get there.

    Now that you have chosen your goals, go ahead and allow yourself to do something that we as parents rarely do – say “no.”  There is always going to be that bake sale that needs another tasty treat, or the mommy & me class that you just “have to join.”  However, if it does not fit into your crystal clear priorities, then walk away.  Yes, you can do it.  Just remind yourself of this little mantra – invitations can be accepted or declined.  That’s right, I said it…declined.  It is perfectly acceptable for you to set limits on your time in order that you may actually have some of that – time for yourself!  So go ahead and reclaim it by communicating those boundaries to others by way of the declined invitation.

    So the moments that you have been savoring have finally arrived.  You are attending that art class that you have been putting off for years.  Maybe you finally joined that book club that has been on your calendar, but never attended.  You made the effort to get to your destination, so just sit back and take it all in.  Be aware and observant of this moment that you have created for yourself.  Nope, the dirty dishes can wait.  The grocery list will just have to be completed later.  As busy parents, there is always something else that you can be doing in any particular moment.  However, this moment is different because you worked especially hard to create it.  Be present, be alert and let everything else just fall away, like the leaves on the trees.  The seasons will bring those around again too, just like your chore list, so enjoy the moment for all that it is worth.

  • Friday, August 30, 2013 10:29 AM | Deleted user

    Welcome Back!

    I say that with lots of excitement but a slight bit of hesitation.  This time of year always brings mixed feelings to me.  I long for the Fall and the more regular routine but will miss the many fun days of summer.  It was a beautiful August--well not for my lawn, but we had a lot of outside time: at the beach, in the pool, and at the park.   

    Parents of Tots is celebrating a BIG Anniversary this year…30 years!!!  We will be hosting our Annual Kickoff/Birthday Bash at Gooch Park in Melrose on Saturday, September 14, from 3-5pm.  It will be lots of fun for the whole family!  Melrose Recreation will be providing activities and staff including a bouncy house!  Bring your friends or catch up with other PoTers.  Don't worry about dinner for the kids (or adults) because we will have pizza and other refreshments!!  And of course cake.

    Along with celebration, this September brings a big change to Parents of Tots…we are piloting our weekly web-based newsletter.  We are looking for your feedback and contributions as we continue tweaking it over the next several weeks to meet your needs.  Thank you again to Mari McQuaid for her dedication to this project!

    Good luck with "Back to School."

    See you on the 14th!

    --Emily Amico, PoT President
  • Friday, June 07, 2013 9:24 PM | Deleted user

    Parents of Tots "Summer Fun Guide 2013" listing recommendations for outdoor parks, playgrounds, zoos, indoor children’s museums, and play spaces will be coming to your mailbox soon.


    Devereux Beach – Marblehead, MA
    Small beach with parking close by. Lifeguards and beach staff are typically on duty when parking fees are being charged. Large Snack Bar "Lime Rickeys," a public restroom, and a great play structure with swings and slides are available.

    Lynch Park – Beverly, MA
    This 16-acre park looks right out to the ocean and features a playground, beach, bathrooms, rose gardens and snack bar. This park has so many amazing things going on in the summer time--too many to mention. Check web site for their exciting events!! Such as Movie Nights, Concerts, Summer programs for kids and adults. Restroom available. Fee for parking.

    Davis Farmland - Sterling, MA
    Features: Farm animals, petting zoo, playground, go karts, water spray park during summer, snack bar and ice cream. Only open weather permitting, See website for more information on hours and fees.

    Bradley Palmer State Park – Ipswich, MA
    Great wading/spray pool and playground area that is fully fenced in. Plenty of shade and restrooms available. No snack bar is available, but the ice cream truck comes by often. There are also bike and hiking trails at the park. There is fee for parking closer to the spray pool with free parking about a mile walk. On really hot days this pool fills up fast so plan to go early.

  • Thursday, May 02, 2013 9:11 PM | Deleted user
    We have several members whose children are aging out this September and other members with new babies arriving.  This leaves us with a number of open positions that we would love to fill.  Experience is NOT necessary.  People are available to help teach you the ropes! Please email potfieldtrips@yahoo.com in you are interested in helping out or sign up on Survey Monkey


    Parents of Tots needs get our name out there!  Whether it’s online (The Patch), in print (local newspapers) or flyers posted around the towns (libraries, preschool, playgrounds), getting new members is critical to the group’s continued success!  The position requires less than 1 hr/month but is such an important component of the future of Parents of Tots…the more members we have, the more volunteers, and ultimately the more fun!  Tasks include emailing pictures from our past events to local media outlets announcing events that are offered to non-members and also to recap events--and the bonus that kids LOVE seeing themselves in the paper!  Occasional attendance at monthly member meeting is appreciated (primarily to keep you in the loop of upcoming events that can be publicized).

    Newsletter Team

    Are you looking for a creative and engaging position within PoT? As the Newsletter Editor you will compile content and organize the layout of the monthly newsletter.  No experience necessary, just some familiarity with Microsoft Word. As a Newsletter Page Designer you would gather information submitted by others and format it for the newsletter.  The task takes an hour a month but needs to be completed shortly after the 20th.


    If you’re a numbers person, this is your perfect excuse to crunch numbers without having to account for billable hours!  This position fluctuates between 1-4 hrs per month.  Monthly tasks include checking PoT Post Office Box (in Wakefield) and reconciling the checking account.  Other aspects include occasional membership deposits and reimbursements of member expenses via online banking.  Annual review of budget with President are then followed by monthly reporting of budget versus actual reports for member meeting.  Attendance at monthly member is preferred but not required. 

    Tot Time Coordinator

    Plan a themed one hour tot time with craft(s), stories and snack.  Choose a day and time that works for your schedule. There is funding available for each monthly event.  This is a creative, fun and easy way to be involved.  Coordinate with other members who want to plan a tot time. 

    Town Crier

    Each month you would compile a list of the events and activities in your town that are tot and family friendly to be included in out monthly newsletter. This is an easy task and can be done anytime before the 20th of the month.  Reading and Stoneham Criers Needed. 

    Playgroup Coordinator

    As the playgroup coordinator you can help make the connection between families.  Match people via email from the comfort of your own home on your own time (about 20 minutes per week).  And submit any community relevant information to monthly newsletter.

    Festival by the Lake Coordinator

    Join this fun new committee and be part of the planning and organization of the Children’s Area at Wakefield’s Annual Festival by the Lake in June 2014.  Each of the responsibilities leading up to the big event are already outlined for those who join the committee. Meetings begin in January.

    Sunshine Committee Coordinator

    Do you like helping families who may need a little support after an exciting event like the arrival of a new baby or maybe a difficult time like a serious illness in the family? As the Sunshine Committee Coordinator you will coordinate the delivery of meals, by the members of the Sunshine Committee, to these families, on an as-needed basis.


    The Secretary is responsible for many of the administrative aspects of the Parents of Tots organization.  You will maintain the monthly member meeting agenda and minutes.  This is a great way to see what it’s like to be a more active participant in Parents of Tots for a short window of time!

    Field Trip Coordinator

    Enjoy taking your children places?  Become a field trip coordinator.  We are looking for individuals to help plan monthly field trips for our members.  Responsibilities include finding a place to go, picking a date and writing up a short entry for the website/newsletter with details, and of course going on the field trip.  It is as easy as that.

    We hope one of these positions interests you!  Please email potfieldtrips@yahoo.com in you are interested in helping out or sign up on Survey Monkey

  • Thursday, March 28, 2013 9:18 PM | Deleted user
    We have had some requests for morning and weekend fieldtrips and are in need of people to plan these trips. Our current set of fieldtrip coordinators are planning as many outings as they can during times that work for them. We also have two who are out on “maternity leave.” If there are no trips on the days and times you are looking for, it just means there is no one currently available to plan these trips. If you are interested, please contact us. Planning a trip is easy to do:

    • Pick a place you would like to bring your child/children
    • Select a date and time
    • Do a quick write up for the calendar to invite others along
    • Respond to those who want to attend

    If you don't want to do it alone, grab a friend and plan some fieldtrips together. We can help you with a list of ideas of fieldtrips that have been successful in the past.

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