CFC Livingroom

The Cummington Family Center

Sewing Series #3 – VOILA! fini! pants yipeeeee January 26, 2007

Filed under: sewing series — zannestar @ 2:29 am

Sewing Series – VOILA! fini!

Originally uploaded by zannestar.

Sewing Series #3 happened Saturday, Jan 20 and well, it was an adventure! Our irons got so hot the fire department came! It’s true! But the fire department came because another group burned something in the oven. Our irons were still pretty hot anyway. We were all able to make a pattern, cut and sew the pants by the end of the day. And…I’m happy to report that the pants all fit!

Read more about the Sewing Series here! 


Free Postpartum Stress Support Group January 24, 2007

Filed under: parenting — Hilltown Families @ 10:39 pm

Postpartum Stress Support Group

Originally uploaded by Sienna Wildfield.

MotherWoman! will be sponsoring a free Postpartum Stress Support Group every Tuesday from 10:15am-12:15am at the Community Action Building in Northampton.

Join mothers in the area for a free, safe, confidential drop-in support group for mothers of infants and toddlers – siblings welcome – up to age 4 years.  Free snacks and childcare are provided.
Contact information:

The CFC is one of several program collaborators for this support group.


Things to do in February January 19, 2007

Filed under: links,places to visit,stuff to make — zannestar @ 3:22 pm

Maybe it will snow and someone can host a sledding party? Anybody have some great hills? (this is the Hilltowns …)
Valentine’s Day is February 14. Make some handmade Valentine’s.


Chinese New Year is February 18.

Learn more:

Around Town:

Share an event or idea, post it here in the comments or email me.


Potty Training 101 January 16, 2007

Filed under: links,parenting,potty training — zannestar @ 2:00 pm

I know there are tons of ways to go about potty training. I remember a NY Times article about potty training: starting at 6 months, parents would hold the babies over the toilets and make a “shhhhhhhh”ing sound to associate potty and bodily function. But 6 months? Oh boy. I couldn’t imagine starting it then. I was more worried about eating, crawling, sleeping (hers and mine!). Going to the potty? I wasn’t ready then.

Our version of potty training: She comes into the bathroom with us. Teaching by example. We are going with the thought that when she is ready, it will happen, no more diapers. We started by getting a potty from a friend and put it in the bathroom. It was just there and she could explore and play with it. And she did. For a long time it held snacks (eewwww gross, but true), then it held toys, then crumpled up (but not used) toilet paper. Then she started sitting on it (oh boy! another step closer!). The whole time, we would talk about potty time and when do you know to go potty? Then one day while prancing naked in the bathroom, she went to the potty (just not in the potty). She didn’t notice. I pointed it out to her, and she was, I think, shocked, and not quite sure what it was and what had just happened. I explained that it was ok, no big deal, but that is something that should happen on the potty. If it doesn’t always happen, it’s ok, but next time try to use the potty when you feel like you have to go.

For the whole next week, anytime she would fill her diaper, she would look behind her and walk in circles trying to see what had just happened, and want her diaper changed immediately (no fun in the middle of Trader Joe’s), and everything would be dropped and we’d change her diaper. She started shortly after, to tell us that she had to go to the potty and would sit and sometimes there would be something to see in the potty and other times not.

Then we took a trip, and I thought well, this will change everything – and it did! We stayed with a family that has a child who is 18 months older than ours and she could sit on the big potty and use it! Izzy was amazed and in awe. They had a seat that fit onto the toilet, and Izzy was able to sit there too! While she was wearing diapers the whole visit, she didn’t use them and sat on the potty every time she needed to use it. WOOOHOOOO! Were we there, was she ready, is this it? She’s almost 2 and while I was excited, I thought we still might have a long road ahead.

Well, the plane landed and we were back to only using diapers. That’s ok. For us, it’s really about what she is comfortable with. It’s a month later, and she is just starting to sit on her potty again and occasionally wants to sit on the big potty. Sometimes she tells us she wants to use the potty, other times she asks for a diaper change. We did acquire a toilet seat adapter so she has the option of her little potty or the big potty.

The only thing I struggle with now is, what to do at night. Many nights she wakes and says she needs to use the potty and we go downstairs and most times it’s an excuse to get out of bed and play. What to do?

Here are a bunch of online resources/articles I’ve found while researching the life around the potty: – I frequent this one when researching – has a broad range of topics and I have enjoyed their books

A list from – favorite potty training books for kids.

Google Search for Potty Training – There is so much information out there.

*Tip – Not everything works for everybody. What works for us, might not work for you. There are different schools of thought on every subject. Research what seems like the right direction for you. Learn about different experiences and see what would be a good fit for you and your family. Then give it a try.

Have a potty experience, advice or question? post it here.


Recipe – Chocolate Butter Roll January 12, 2007

Filed under: potluck,recipe — zannestar @ 6:30 pm

I made this for a potluck and thought I would post the recipe here. It’s yummy, it isn’t sugar free, but it is gluten free. I myself can’t seem to make enough of them.  Have a recipe you want to share?  Let me know and I can help you post it!

Click here for the link to the recipe page.

Here are a few of my notes:

1. I doubled the whipped cream filling. We like whipped cream. I also don’t add any liquor or extracts or flavoring, just the confectioner’s sugar.

2. Follow the directions exactly. The eggs must be done just so, or your cake will taste like eggs.

3. I’ve covered it with chocolate ganache, which adds a whole new yummy taste, and I highly recommend it!

4. Double the recipe and make 2! These are light and delicious and go fast!


Inspired by Dionne Lucas’s recipe for roulade léontine, this easy flourless chocolate cake will delight your guests with its airy texture and intense chocolate flavor. Here we filled it with Grand Marnier whipped cream (see Cooks’ notes, below, for other flavor ideas). We tried several brands of chocolate and found that Lindt and Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolates produced the best flavor and texture for this particular cake.

This cake depends on separated eggs for its lightness and airy texture.

Active time: 40 min Start to finish: 1 1/4 hr

For cake layer
6 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
3 tablespoons water
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder

For filling
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons confectioners sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest

Garnish: unsweetened cocoa powder and confectioners sugar

Make cake layer: Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil a 15- by 10- by 1-inch shallow baking pan and line bottom lengthwise | with a large piece of wax or parchment paper, letting paper hang over ends by 2 inches.

Melt chocolate with water in a small heavy saucepan over very low heat, stirring. Cool to lukewarm.

Beat yolks, 1/3 cup sugar, and salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer until thick and pale, about 5 minutes in a standing mixer or about 8 minutes with a hand-held mixer. Fold in melted chocolate until blended. Beat whites with cleaned beaters until they just hold soft peaks. Gradually add remaining 1/3 cup sugar and beat until whites just hold stiff peaks. Fold one third of whites into melted-chocolate mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.

Spread batter evenly in baking pan and bake in middle of oven until puffed and top is dry to the touch, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer pan to a rack. Cover top with 2 layers of damp paper towels and let stand 5 minutes, then remove towels and cool completely. Loosen edges with a sharp knife.

Sift cocoa powder over top of cake layer and overlap 2 layers of wax paper lengthwise over cake. Place a baking sheet over paper and invert cake onto it, gently peeling off wax paper lining. (Don’t worry if cake layer breaks; it will hold together when rolled.)

Make filling: Beat cream with confectioners sugar and Grand Marnier with cleaned beaters until it just holds stiff peaks. Fold in zest.

Fill and roll cake: Spread filling evenly over cake. Put a long platter next to a long side of cake. Using wax paper as an aid, roll up cake jelly roll–style, beginning with a long side. Carefully transfer, seam side down, to platter, using wax paper to help slide cake. (Cake will crack but will still hold together.)

Dust cake generously with cocoa powder and confectioners sugar.

Cooks’ notes:

• Cake may be rolled 1 day ahead and chilled in a cake keeper or loosely covered with plastic wrap.

• You can substitute the following for Grand Marnier and orange zest: 2 tablespoons Cognac and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; 2 tablespoons cocoa and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; or 2 teaspoons instant-espresso powder or instant-coffee granules dissolved in 2 teaspoons water plus 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

• This batter can also be baked in an unoiled 91/2-inch springform pan. Bake until cake is set but still moist in center, 35 to 40 minutes (cake will rise and then sink as it cools). Top with Grand Marnier whipped cream.

Makes 12 servings.
January 2001