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Thursday, May 26, 2011

And So It Begins: Sports.

"Emily, wanna sign up for soccer?"  "No!"

"Emily, wanna sign up for Tball?  Tommy's playing!"  "No!"

"I just want to do ballet."

That was how it went this past year.  But did you know that you have to sign up your little Kindergartener-to-be for Fall Soccer NOW?  I didn't know any of this until my sister clued me in the other day.  I guess us non-sporty types don't get how it works - yet.

I'm thinking she's going to be more into individual sports.  She loves swimming and is dying to get on stage.  But Mom took the bull by its horns on this one and thought ahead about all her little classmates who will be playing soccer.  So I signed her up for Girls K Soccer!

"Emily, I signed you up for fall soccer!"  "Nooooooooooo.  I don't want to do soccer!"

"But Jack from preschool loves soccer.  I wonder if you'll be on his team?"  "Ooooo.Kaaaay."

So if you're like me and don't know anything about signing your kids up for sports in this wonderful town of ours, here's how it works.  Go to and click on Fall Registration.  You'll be asked to set up a family profile and and charged $80.  But hurry, because if you don't sign up by May 30th, you'll be have to pay a $10 late fee  (and that goes for each kid!)

And so it begins.  Sports.   Practice, fields, cleats - hopefully we'll figure it all out.  And if she hates it, she never has to play again.  YAY TEAM!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mom's Surprise Party

We did it!  We managed to surprise one of the most suspicious people I know!  Good work everyone!  She had a blast and I think it's a party that she'll be talking about for a long time.  Thanks to everyone who helped us celebrate Mom's special day!

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Tiverton Always Leads to Gray's Ice Cream

After Bloggy Boot Camp Boston on Saturday, I drove the Traverse down to Tiverton, RI. through downpours, thunder, lightning, rainbows, hail and lots of traffic on 93 and 95.  I couldn't get down there fast enough to catch up with the rest of the Stow clan.  Although it was absolutely lovely to be away for the day, I really did miss my kiddies a whole bunch. I was looking forward to a big glass of red wine, my mother-in-law's cornish pasty calling my name and finding out whether my brother-in-law and his wife had any *exciting news* to announce...oh how I love Traversin' it to Tiverton.

Tiverton, RI really is a gem.  Close enough to Newport, but away from its traffic and hustle and bustle.  Tiverton is even closer to Bristol, another quaint New England waterfront town, just over the Sakonnet River Bridge, followed by the narrow Mount Hope Bridge.  That one still scares me and Grandma.

Mount Hope Bridge

We love exploring all the nearby towns, but on Sunday Chris and I took a drive through lovely Tiverton.  It really is a gorgeous town.  The sun was shining, it was Mother's Day, the kids stayed home with Grandma and Grandad and I made my husband take me out for the best ice cream around.  Where else, but Gray's?

Butter crunch, please!

Then we had a stroll around lovely Tiverton Four Corners.  I was sure to stop in at my favorite store in the neighborhood, The Cottage.

Distinguished and historic Tiverton Four Corners

Cookbooks, linens, candles, soaps.  The Cottage makes me want to entertain!

Then we hopped back in the Traverse for a scenic drive through the ins and outs of Tiverton.  Stay tuned...

My LTZ needs a serious wash!
**Oh and yes, little baby Stow is due on 11/11/11!  Congratulations Michael and Aimee!!!  

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

TumbleBooks: A Fabulous Reading Website for Young Readers

Looking for a great website to reinforce reading skills for your child?  I've got one for you. TumbleBooks is an amazing website and many of the residents of our town don't even realize we've got it up and running for FREE through our wonderful Boyden Library. You'll find it by clicking on Children's Services.

Tumblebooks is a place where kids can read their very own ebooks online.  The books are fun, engaging, leveled, animated and come with GAMES! Each book includes a brief summary, reviews and word count.  My kids love listening to the stories and watching the text light up as the narrator reads the text.  There are a ton of different books to choose from.  You can create playlists and favorites, search by author and you can choose fiction vs. non-fiction.

My five year old, as well as my two year old, really enjoy TumbleBooks.  It's a great website to turn to when you're preparing dinner or you have an important phone call to make.  TumbleBooks will be a new and exciting interactive experience for your child which doesn't involve the television!  I really love the variety of games included with each title. Each book comes with games such as vocabulary/word memory, fill in the blanks, word searches, match the sentences to pictures and crossword puzzles.  TumbleBooks even has LANGAUGE LEARNING story books, which come in various languages like Spanish and French!  Did I mention this is FREE?

If you're new to Tumblebooks, be sure to check it out through our town's library website here.  We are so lucky to have this wonderful resource available to our children!  If your community doesn't have TumbleBooks, be sure to spread the word.  Kids love it, teachers love it and you'll love it!

Remember, reading over the summer months is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT for your child. Did you know that the child who doesn't read over the summer falls further and further behind peers who DO read?  Makes sense, right?  Those readers keep making gains, making the gap between those who do read and those who don't grow wider and wider. Make it fun this summer and introduce your child to Tumblebooks.  It's a hidden treasure in town!  And be sure to set a good example in your household by letting your child see you caught up in a good book!

**If your child is a reluctant reader who would benefit from small group reading instruction over the summer months, don't forget to sign your child up for Mrs. Stow's Summer Reading Camp!!**

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

10 Tips to Promote Reading Readiness

Meet Mrs. Stow, by way of Chelsea, Sudbury, Medfield and Foxborough.  5th grade, 3rd grade, middle school reading specialist and finally an elementary school reading specialist. I'm doing what I love now, teaching little people how to read and how to become better readers.

I am one of the lucky ones who can truly say I love what I have chosen as a career. Watching it "click"  for kids who have been struggling is simply awesome.  Sometimes they just need a little extra time before it "clicks."  I'm currently witnessing the "click" with some of my first graders.  It doesn't get much better than that.  The working memory gets all linked up with their letters and sounds and the 3 million crazy rules of the English language. It's not an easy task!  Then I have to make sure they're understanding what they're reading...can't let it all "clunk!"  (COMPREHENSION!)

So many friends of mine who are moms to toddlers and preschoolers often ask, "What can I do to help my child learn to read?"  Here is a list of 10 great tips to promote early literacy development, by yours truly, Mrs. Stow.

  1. Read to your child.  Let your child see you reading all kinds of print. Share in the experience. Talk about reading. Read magazines, newspapers, cookbooks. Teach them the value of reading by modeling it for them.  
  2. Go to the library.  Make reading FUN.
  3. Talk.  It may sound silly, but it is so important. Talk while feeding, dressing, bathing.  Vary your tone.  TALK.
  4. Let your child write.  Write with crayons, pencils, pens, markers, paint, and chalk.
  5. Sing.  Sing songs and rhymes A LOT.  Sing in the car.  Sing in the kitchen.  Sing in the bath.  SING.  It will improve memory skills and help your child distinguish between different sounds.  
  6. Don't underestimate the power of Dunkin Donuts, Cheerios and McDonalds.  I don't know about your children, but Emily's first reading experience was "Dunkin Donuts."  We call this environmental print.  Powerful stuff.  It's the print in our everyday life.  It's reading.  
  7. Point out printed words to your child.  STOP, GO, EXIT.  Words are everywhere.  Read them and point them out. 
  8. Talk about the pictures in books.
  9. Teach your child how to write his/her name.  
  10. Write your family members' names on index cards with black marker and practice reading them together.  Once your child learns what everyone's name looks like, you can introduce fun words like I, go, we, he, cat.  Then the silly sentence making can begin!  Keep adding words to this pile of cards and watch them take off! 
With kindergarten screening coming up next week and thinking about what kids can do over the summer to be better prepared for school, I thought I'd share my thoughts.  Hope you found this post helpful.  And if you know a child who would benefit from some reading help over the summer months, be sure to check out this page.
    -Mrs. Stow


    Monday, May 16, 2011

    Bounced to Sleep in the Jumperoo

    Check this out.

    Owen got quiet - we all know how loud the bouncing in the Jumperoo can be!  If only I took out the camera a few minutes earlier.  Stupid Dora!  You get the idea...

    Let me go put the poor kid to bed.


    Win Tickets to Glee LIVE!

    Are you a Gleek?  Gleeking out every Tuesday night on Fox?  Get with it people!  You could totally win your very own set of 4 tickets to Glee LIVE!  Glee Live is coming to TD Garden on Monday night, June 6th, 2011!

    OK, here is what you have to do.  Go to your local Chevy Dealer and test drive a Chevy. Grand prize winners will receive an opportunity to meet a Glee cast member face to face! Did you know they sing about Chevy?  You've just gotta click and listen!  LOVE IT!

    The all-new Cruze, is certainly worth the drive.  Have you seen them on the road?  Sweet.  

    But you can even test drive the a Camaro or a Volt!  Oh, and how could I forget the family-friendly Traverse?  

    So get in the driver's seat of a Chevy today for your chance to get close with the cast of Glee!

    Here are the tour dates!

    May 21 — Las Vegas, NV — Mandalay Bay Event Center
    May 22 — Sacramento, CA — Arco Arena
    May 24 — San Jose, CA — HP Pavilion
    May 27 — Anaheim, CA — Honda Center
    May 28 — Los Angeles, CA — Staples Center
    May 29 — San Diego, CA — Valley View Casino Center
    June 1 — Minneapolis, MN — Target Center
    June 2 — Indianapolis, IN — Conseco Fieldhouse
    June 3 — Chicago, IL — Allstate Arena
    June 6 — Boston, MA — TD Garden
    June 8 — Philadelphia, PA — Wells Fargo Center
    June 11 — Toronto, Canada — Air Canada Centre
    June 13 — Detroit, MI — Palace of Auburn Hills
    June 14 — Cleveland, OH — Quicken Loans Arena
    June 16 — East Rutherford, NJ — Izod Center
    June 18 —  Uniondale, NY — Nassau Colliseum
    Disclosure:  I was given a 4 pack of tickets to see Glee Live to promote this event with my local New England Chevrolet Dealers.  

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    Sunday, May 15, 2011

    Sunday Drive: Tiverton

    Some more beautiful reasons why I love Tiverton, RI.  So much to do, so much to see.   I can't wait to get lunch at Evelyn's next time.  They have just recently opened for the season!  I'd kill for a clam strip plate and a blueberry beer right about now.   Tillerman, what'cha doin' on May 28th?

    Gorgeous, right?  So many untouched nooks and crannies!  I felt like I was in Ireland for a while!  The Coastal Wine Trail is pretty awesome too. Tillerman, what'cha doin' on the May 29th?

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    Friday, May 13, 2011

    Drool Baby Expo Giveaway!!!

    No, you're not dreaming.  I am giving away 2 tickets 5 pairs of tickets to Drool Baby Expo, hosted by the hippest baby gear retailer around, Magic Beans.  It is being held on the evening of Tuesday, May 31st, at the Seaport Hotel (yes, where I attended Bloggy Boot Camp!)  The winner will receive a pair of tickets to the most amazing baby Expo to ever hit Boston. Doors open at 6pm and you'll also receive an amazing gift bag to take home, chock full of some of the most coveted baby items on the market!  You'll be able to sample products, talk to gear experts and enter to win some ridiculously great giveaways!  If you are expecting or have little ones, this is the place to be on the evening of May 31st.  Please pass Drool Baby Expo on to anyone in your social circle who would be interested!!  Here is a list of just some of the brands who will be there:

    • Bugaboo
    • Stokke
    • UPPAbaby
    • Maclaren
    • Skip*Hop
    • Quinny
    • Boon
    • Phil & Teds
    • Baby Bjorn
    • Go Gaga
    • Baby Jogger
    • Swaddle Designs
    • bumbleride
    • iCandy

    Amazing, right?  If you need all the details, check out  They are on facebook too!  Oh and let's not forget the twitter @droolbaby!  You can purchase tickets here.  But one five lucky readers at Stowed Stuff are going to receive 2 tickets to the big event, valued at $55.00!

    Here's how you can win:

    1. You must like Drool Baby Expo on facebook.
    2. You must leave a comment below telling me what products you'll be DROOLING over at the expo.  You can also tell us who you'll bring with you if you win!  If you're pregnant, heck - tell us all about how you're feeling/when you're due/what you're having, etc!  (I love bellies!)
    3. You will receive one extra entry for liking my new facebook fan page for Stowed Stuff and writing about this contest on the wall!
    4. You will receive one extra entry for sharing the contest on your wall (little blue share button below my post on my wall does the trick.)
    5. You will receive one extra entry for liking the fan page for Queen of the Road on facebook.
    So there you have it.  You could have up to 4 chances to win!  Winner will be chosen using  Contest ends on Sunday, May 22nd at 11:59pm.  Good luck and see you at Drool!
    Disclosure:  I received two tickets to experience Drool Baby Expo for myself to promote this event.  Thank you to Magic Beans.  

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    Why Road Running Is Better Than the Treadmill

    What?  Annie is writing a post about running?  Hell ya.  The sun finally came out today, it's gorgeous outside, my wonderful baby-sitter said she wouldn't mind staying a bit longer; so Annie went for a run.

    It felt so good.  So much better than the treadmill at the Y.  Why did running outside feel so good today when I haven't done it in so long?  I don't know, but it did.  Maybe my dreams will come true after all?  Maybe I should get around to some other things that I haven't done in so long...

    Get your mind out of the gutter people!  I'm talking about cleaning the windows and my baseboards!  No, really!

    Back to running:  Here are my Top 5 Reasons Why Road Running is Better:

    1. Wind in my hair (God, that felt good!)
    2. I have the opportunity to pick my wedgie (just not in front of the hydroseeders.)
    3. Bunny rabbits, swans, chipmunks and the sound of rushing streams.
    4. I can control my own pace and the natural hills feel good.  I'm not staring at numbers and messing with buttons.  (And I'm sure to pick up the pace and have good form in front of the hydroseeders/mailman/pick up trucks - just keep away from #2 at these times!)
    5. It makes me want to eat salad.  


    Well, I only went 2.5 miles and it took me a half hour, but who the heck cares.  I gotta start somewhere.  If only I could keep this up.  Can I keep this up?  Encourage me to keep this up.  The beach is calling.


    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    Improving Your Blog with Bloggy Boot Camp

    Queen of the Road
    (I ♥ it when my Traverse talks to me)
    Stowed Stuff ready for cocktails!
    Well friends, Bloggy Boot Camp Boston with the SITS Girls was a huge success. Who the heck are the SITS Girls?  Read more here to find out what they are all about.

    Fran and Tiffany threw a great cocktail party on Friday night at the Seaport Hotel, hosted by Mirassou Winery.  I really enjoyed connecting with so many other young and talented women who know what the blogosphere is all about.  Everyone was so friendly and enthusiastic about being there.

    I'd like to give a big shout out to some of my new bloggy friends. Please take a look at their blogs of awesomeness!  These are just a handful of the amazing and talented women I got to connect with:,,,,,,, inspiring me, girls!

    What did we do besides drink wine and chat and tweet to each other all day?  We learned so many important tips and tricks about blogging and branding. We learned to reflect about who we are as bloggers.  What is our purpose on the web?  What is our promise? What is our story?  How can we take our blogs to the next level?  Here are some important tidbits that I took with me:

    1)  Buy the domain names for your name and your kids' names.  It's the best $10 you could ever spend!

    2)  Go list crazy and use SEO and Google trends (very important for blog post titles.)

    3)  Create a media kit!

    4)  Gather testimonials from all the brands you've worked with.

    5)  Set your worth and don't be afraid to say "no!"

    My head is still spinning from all the new information I've learned and I'm not kidding when I say it's hard to sleep.  I close my eyes and think about business cards, page tabs, headers, testimonials, media kits, brands, content, sidebars, plug-ins!  Whoa nelly!  You know you've got a lot going on in your head when you're dreaming about blogs.  Really? Yes, dreaming about blogs.

    Bloggy Swag
    So if you're thinking about starting a blog, go for it.  It's super easy. Just log in and chose a template at or  And if you're already blogging and want to learn more, attend a Bloggy Boot Camp next time the SITS Girls are in town. Inexpensive, fun, intimate and totally engaging.

    More pictures from Bloggy Boot Camp Boston available here at the flickr stream, thanks to

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    Wednesday, May 04, 2011

    Wedding Wednesday

    I don't know about you, but I was all over the Royal Wedding last week.  I DVR'd 2 different channels and told my kids they couldn't change the channel to Sprout or Nick while I was at work! We oooohed and ahhhhhed over the gown together.  We watched in the early morning hours together before I headed out to work.  The balcony kiss was so quick and uneventful that Emily missed it and began to cry. Thank GOD for the rewind button.  Kate is just beautiful.

    Well, then I had wedding on the brain and had to dig out my wedding photos from July 10, 2004.  Yes, I'm the girl who didn't order a photo album.  Instead, I just stuffed my 1,000 proofs into my own albums from Home Goods.  I never even ordered the beautiful prints for my walls.  So when I say, "dig out" my wedding photos, I really mean I justt had to find the CD.  (Hint, hint, if anyone is wondering what I might like for mother's day it would be some big beautiful prints from my very own wedding day.)  

    Looking back at those photos from 2004 will always make me smile.  Thank you Justin Ide, for capturing such beautiful journalistic images.  Always nice to see happy photos of Dad and how happy he was that day.  It was some wedding!  And I will never, ever forget the way that trumpet sounded in the church.  

    So it's wedding Wednesday here at Stowed Stuff.  If you'd like to play along, please leave a comment here with the link to the beautiful images from your big day.  Pick some photos that make you smile and we'll send our readers wedding blog-hopping!  

    Ok, how will I choose?  Here goes: