Family Life

Endangered Childhood: Growing Up Shouldn't be Dangerous!

by Cyndi Paxton Johnson

broken bike by ~droplet86I can't turn around without finding yet another example of endangered childhood - online or in my own community. It's reaching epidemic proportions - and I'm terrified of what will become of these once innocent children. I've been insulated by the homeschooling community and the parenting blogs that were my lifeline - though they made me feel like a bad mom for not buying natural peanut butter and not getting my brood to eat sprouts. But my gang's finishing their first year in public school (and loving it), and I've gotten to know a lot of kids who have more to deal with than JIF peanut butter. 

There's the teenage boy who was kept confined in his sparse bedroom and allowed to do nothing outside of watching his spoiled little sister. Or the sisters who are tossed between homes like a volleyball, occasionally landing back with their abusive mother. Or the girl who witnessed a fatal shooting in her home - by her father. 

Childhood shouldn't be this traumatic.

Juggle People and Events with Google Calendar

by Cyndi Paxton Johnson

It's spring - and my calendar - along with everyone else's - is exploding. Juggling work, meetings, errands and medical appointments is challenging enough, but when we add kids schedules, spouse schedules and horrific tasks like "Clean out gutters" - things really explode.  I've spent decades looking for the PERFECT calendar/day book - and spent years toting around a hefty (and expensive) Franklin Planner - and coordinating dates with my husband's planner. (then he left his on top of the truck one day and I discovered the drawback to having everything in one place)

These days my family lives by the Google Calendar. It's free, you can show more than one person's calendar (each kid gets their own color-coded entries) and there are apps to use it on i-phones, androids and the Kindle Fire. My calendar links to my husbands so we always know what's going on - and can both see the various impending kid commitments. You can get the month view - helpful when scheduling appointments, a week view (my favorite) and a daily agenda view. There are also various other calendars you can import (holidays, moon & tide, etc.) as well as task lists. I've put weekly tasks like "Take out trash" on the calendar so one of us might actually remember these important events.  

The Great Parental Dilemma - When to seek emergency medical care!

by Cyndi Paxton Johnson

Life was much simpler when my children were nursing infants. They screamed with fear, pain, anger, boredom, illness, etc. - and my response was the same. Let them nurse. Bingo. Problem solved. 

These days when they cry I stand there like an idiot, wondering what I'm supposed to do. Nursing no longer seems to be an option - and could possibly get me arrested. But I have this deep rooted aversion to hearing my offspring cry with pain  - and I want a magic wand to make all the bad stuff go away, instantly. 

It doesn't help that most of my children have a pain threshold of negative seven.  And dubious judgement. 

Case in point: my son is known for comedic exaggeration of injuries. A neighbor has forbidden him from using their trampoline because he's always (and immediately) getting hurt on it. No bruises ever form, mind you. The day he tore up his knee in three places he calmly informed me he'd fallen and hurt his knee. I said something brilliant like "Ok" and totally ignored it. He still has the scars - and they're wide, nasty ones.

Bad Mommy.

Queen Anne’s County Arts Council Calendar of Events - Oct - Nov 2012

OCTOBER 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30: Tuesdays from 11 am to 1:30 pm. Exploring Watercolors with Sally Clark.  Register by Sept 25 and bring a bag lunch. For more information, contact Centre for the Arts, 206 S. Commerce St., Centreville, MD. 410.758.2520. www.arts4u.info


A.R.T. East Exhibit and Reception 5 to 7 pm. at The Chesapeake Heritage and Visitors Center in Chester. Enjoy an eclectic show of works by regional artists in this unique venue. Most work available for purchase.Exhibit runs though December 29th.For more information, contact Centre for the Arts, 206 S. Commerce St., Centreville, MD. 410.758.2520. www.arts4u.info

OCTOBER 11 and OCTOBER 18: Thursdaysfrom 7 pm to 9 pm.Mosiac with Candace Liccione at Wye River Designs in Grasonville.  $48 members, $60 non-members.For more information, contact Centre for the Arts, 206 S. Commerce St., Centreville, MD. 410.758.2520. www.arts4u.info www.wyeriverdesigns.com

Walk, Run And Fun At Expanded Bark In The Park

Talbot Humane’s third annual Bark in the Park family festival will feature even more activities for people and pets as it continues to grow in popularity as a community event. The free festival takes place on Saturday, October 20th, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Idlewild Park in Easton.

New this year, Annapolis Volvo is sponsoring a 10K run and a 5K fun run/walk for human participants, starting at 9 and 9:15 a.m., respectively, from Easton Middle School, one block from Idlewild Park. Registration for the races opens there at 8 a.m.

The Dog Walk returns for the canines, along with the Fun Dog Show, which allows owners an opportunity to match their dogs against others in ten categories including talent, looks, size and costumes. L.P. Palmer and his Yorkshire Terrier, Jake, won both Best Look Alike and Best in Show at last year’s Bark in the Park Dog Show.

Registration fees apply for the runs, Dog Walk and Dog Show, with registration available in advance through the Talbot Humane website, www.talbothumane.org. Registration for the 10K and 5K also is available through Active.com.

Students inspired by Legos robotics program at Critchlow Adkins Children’s Centers

Twenty-seven area students had an interesting reply when asked, “what did you do during your summer vacation?” The students participated in a hands-on robotics and interactive program, which was designed to teach engineering skills through play. The program took place at Easton Elementary School as part of a summer program for Critchlow Adkins Children’s Center (CACC), Easton.

During the daylong program taught by 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator Thomas Hutson, the children planned, built and programmed their own robots with the use of Legos and a laptop computer. The robotics program is one of many interactive, educationally-based specialty programs offered by CACC.  

Critchlow Adkins Children’s Centers (CACC), Easton, is an accredited, educationally-based childcare program serving more than 450 children aged two through 15 in five locations throughout Talbot County. CACC is licensed by the Maryland State Department of Education's (MSDE) Office of Child Care and all four early learning sites are accredited by MSDE's Early Learning Division.

Easton Library to Offer Science Camps

This July the Easton branch of the Talbot County Free Library will offer science camps for several different age groups. 

On July 2, 3, and 5, from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m., children entering grades 1 and 2 can attend the Wonders of Science Camp.  Among their adventures, these campers will explore pond life using a computer microscope, learn about the life cycles of frogs, and create their own “Investigation Kit.” 

On July 2, 3, 5, and 6, from 11:00 – noon, children entering grades 3 and 4 can attend the Wonders of the Chesapeake Bay Science Camp.  Among their adventures, these campers will learn about the minute organisms living in the Bay, learn something of its geological history, and, in turn, the processes that shape our planet. 

On July 10 and 12, from 10:00 – noon, children entering grades 5 – 8 can attend their own Science Camp.  Among their adventures, these campers will learn about the differences between solids and liquids, what makes a polymer, and what makes an electrical circuit.

See What's Happening at Queen Anne's County Libraries this Summer!

Tuesdays, June 12 and July 17 at 10:30 a.m.

LEGO® Introduction to Engineering

Ages: K-5th grade

An introduction to the concept of engineering and to LEGO® materials paired with a specific design challenge: a chair for Mr. Bear. Please call 410-643-8161 to register. Registration opens June 1. Free. Kent Island Library, 200 Library Circle, Stevensville.


Wednesdays,  June 13, 27 and July 11, 18, and 25 at 10:30 a.m.              

Junie B. Jones Club

For ages 6-9

Talk about your favorite series and make Junie B. crafts! Please call 410-643-8161 to register. Registration opens June 1. Free. Kent Island Library, 200 Library Circle, Stevensville.


The Dorchester Center for the Arts is providing Mini Day Camps and Full Day Camps for children beginning in June. These week-long sessions provide creative fun under the supervision of experienced artists. Classes are designated by age, and enrollees must be the age stated in the description. Children are group according to attention span, hand size and manual dexterity, not creative maturity. Scholarships are available.

Bead it! Weave it! Wear it! Mini Camp for ages 6 – 9 - Taught by Anna Mulfinger

Children will create beaded jewelry, weaving friendship bracelets, and creating quilted bags perfect for cell phones and ipods. Projects are suitable for boys and girls. Fees are $85 for DCA members; $100 for non-members and supplies are included. The class will run June 25-29 from 9:00 to 11:45. a.m.

Bead it! Weave it! Wear it! Mini Camp for ages 9 and up -- Taught by Anna Mulfinger

Older students will create delicate beadwork for fine jewelry, weave friendship bracelets and

fashion an altered tee that can be worn. This class is appropriate for boys and girls. Fees are $85 for DCA members: $100 for non-members and most supplies are included. Participants must bring two t-shirts to cut and sew. The class will run June 25-29 from noon to 3:00 p.m.

Queen Anne’s County Free Library Launches Summer Reading Program

Readers of all ages will explore the night this summer as the Queen Anne’s County Free Library presents “Dream Big—READ!” during its annual summer reading program. The 2012 summer reading program is open to young people, from babies through teens, with programs, story hours, a reading club, and more.  Beginning on June 11 and continuing through July 28, readers can pick up their independent summer reading club materials.

Families with children from birth through age 5 are invited to join the Read-To-Me club. They will receive a game board with literacy activities for child and caregiver to complete together, along with a suggested reading list of bedtime stories, nursery rhymes, and concept books.

Children entering kindergarten through grade 5 will receive a summer reading bag that includes a reading log, game board, sticker, and bookmark.

Teens are invited to participate in “Own the Night,” a summer reading program for rising 6th-12th graders, which pairs a game board with peer book reviews. Special teen events include book discussions, a teen writers group, creation of a LEGO® skyline, and an opportunity to make no-sew fleece blankets for a local children’s hospital.

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