Tonawanda News

Features

September 17, 2012

Falling into a new season with kids -- from movies to spooks

Tonawanda News — Well, summer is over. Despite a number of educational changes for my children this year, they have successfully, and very happily, started school. My husband and I joined parents everywhere in breathing an immense sigh of relief.

Now what?

After the non-stop bustle that was our summer ... and then preparing for the school year ... what’s next? Even if we were so inclined to sit still for a while, there’s no way that would work well with two extremely active little boys. But still, there’s this sort of hiatus, a sense of taking a deep breath between the start of school and the next phase in our year.

Once we exhale, I’ve already started considering ways to fill in those days and occupy the kids. And I’m starting to remember why autumn is really one of my favorite times of the year.

Everyday fun

All those everyday sorts of activities that were eclipsed by the summer hubbub and near-constant outdoor play? We’re bringing them back. The weather tends to be fairly beautiful during Western New York fall, but soon enough those nights will start getting chilly and sunset times will start getting even earlier. (My 4-year-old is already a little confused by this, leading to an impromptu lesson in basic astronomy one evening.)

We’re creating a family movie night once a week. I want my kids to see some of those Disney classics that I grew up with, and when we finally do make it to Disney World (a family goal), they’ll have a good background for all those beloved characters and their stories. Add popcorn and pull out the couch and voila ... a true home theater.

Our family reading times will return as well. Books are a major part of our lives anyway, but a chosen story before bedtime and frequent games with flashcards to help back up school lessons are always a good idea. The chapter-a-night book of the moment is “The Wind in the Willows,” one of my favorites.

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Features
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    More than 90 private gardens throughout Western New York, and a number of public ones, are open to the public for select hours Thursdays and/or Fridays during July as part of the National Garden Festival’s Open Gardens program, now in its fifth year. The program is separate and distinct from local garden walks, and the gardens range from Gasport to Holland. They’re organized into districts of about five to eight gardens each, including Northtowns West (which includes gardens in Kenmore and the Town of Tonawanda) and Niagara Trail (which includes gardens in Lockport, Gasport and Lewiston).

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  • SUN LIFE terrariums 1 072014.jpg For the love of nature

    Sara Johnson lives surrounded by green and growing things. Showing a visitor around her apartment in North Buffalo, she pointed out the plants in every room, the balcony and even in two small greenhouses — houseplants, flowers, vegetables, even carnivorous plants.

    "I try to keep as much growing in the house as I can," she said.

    Another goal of hers is to show others how to do the same — and to that end, Johnson is offering a series of workshops this summer in connection with her business, Sylvatica Terrariums, and Project 308 Gallery in North Tonawanda, teaching people how to bring a piece of the outdoors into their homes in the form of a terrarium or other greenery.

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    “They will be running outside and playing in the grass and going swimming,” said Cheryl Flick, a fund representative of the Northern Erie and Niagara Counties chapter of the Fresh Air Fund at a picnic for the host families and kids. “They won’t be cooped up inside, they’ll be outside, getting fresh air and being active.”

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    Did you know that the suffix “vore” comes from the Latin word “voro,” which means to devour? I probably knew that once, but I should have paid better attention in my Latin class. “Vore” is used to form nouns indicating what kind of a diet an animal has, such as omnivore, carnivore and herbivore.

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    When Explore Buffalo Tours got started about eight months ago, the business concentrated on specialized tours designed to showcase specific aspects of the City of Buffalo’s history, architecture and culture.

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     Following a trend of public, outdoor exercise programs, a number of local venues are offering their own free events aiming to get residents outside and active during the summer.

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    For years, Muscoreil’s Fine Desserts & Gourmet Cakes has been a go-to location for desserts and wedding and occasion cakes in Western New York.

    This summer, even as the bakery deals with the rush of wedding season, changes at its associated bistro aim to create a revitalized focus on that side of the business, as well.

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