Archive for the Free Category

This is too important to not be vocal about!

Did you have a baby in Maine in the last year? Make sure you sign up for your FREE Harold Alfond Challenge Grant. For just 15 minutes of your time, you can start an education fund for your baby with a grant (FREE MONEY) of $500. This education grant can be used for college, trade school, certificate programs — any type of post-secondary education. It can also be transferred (Say the first kid decides not go to to college, you can transfer that money to your second college-bound kid.)

What does $500 look like in 18 years?

Obviously, markets fluctuate, so it can’t be guaranteed, but here’s how the S&P 500 performed through various points of the last century:

Between 1911-2011 (so that includes a lil’ something known as the Great Depression, along with the recessions of the last few decades) the S&P500 still averaged a return of 9.6% — so if we plug in 500 dollars and let it sit and do NOTHING else, by the time your baby is college age, that number could be $2.603.51. (2603.51 times 4 means you earned 10414.04 an hour for filling out the form.)*

If you look at the last 18 years, if this grant was established for kids born in 1993, they would have $1,942.15 to use for college this fall. (and your hourly rate went down to $7,768.60, oh well.)

Are you convinced yet?

I did this for both my girls, but I will say that the hardest part was filling out the paperwork in between taking care of a new baby, keeping up at work, at home, etc. So, I was THRILLED to learn that you can now enroll online. (Before, you could request info online, but the form had to be filled out with ink. ) When you click that link, choose “Enroll Online now at Merrill Edge” (Or click this link: Enrollment ) and choose “Individual Account.” It takes about 15 minutes to complete, but if you get at least as far as the email address, and something comes up (doesn’t something ALWAYS come up?) they will email you to remind you to complete it. And the good folks at FAME will help you, too, OR you can get information in most Maine bank branches.

You have until your baby’s first birthday to complete the enrollment, and you will need their SSN to complete as well, so if you’re reading this on the way home from the hospital, wait for that Social Security card to arrive and THEN do it right away. (The earlier you do it, the more interest to be earned!)

It’s not a scam, it’s the vision of one of Maine’s most generous philanthropists, Harold Alfond — take the money. He wanted you to.

For these numbers, I used calculators found at

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This Saturday is the Kid Central Festival in downtown Bangor, from 11am-5pm. There are a ton of activities at various downtown businesses and organizations, and here’s a map to help you plan your route.

View Kid Central Festival in a larger map

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Happy New Year! Here’s what’s on deck for special events this month — please email or comment to have your event added!:


Weekly Breastfeeding Support, Central Street Farmhouse

Mondays, 10:30-11:30 am, or Tuesdays, 6-7pm (a great time for working and nursing mamas to get some support!)

Science Detectives, Maine Discovery Museum

Tuesdays, 11-1130, ages 3-5

Thursday Nature Time for Children, Fields Pond

10-11am, ages 2-4 $32 members, $38 nonmembers. Registration required.

Sunday Open Gym, Bangor Parks & Rec

Free open gym! 12-2 for grades K-5, and 2:30-4:30 for grades 6-8. Parents must accompany the younger group.

Skating lessons, Bangor Parks & Rec

Sundays, 1:50-2:50, Sawyer Arena. Registration required. $70, residents, $75 NR.


Bangor Public Library

Brewer Public Library

Orono Public Library

Wednesday, January 12

Lowe’s Build and Grow program, Bangor Parks & Rec 647 Main Street

6-8pm, for grades 2-5 Free, registration required.

Parenting Discussion, Central Street Farmhouse

6-7pm, topic: Simplicity parenting, finding our way out of a consumer culture.

Friday, January 14

Maine Discovery Museum Parents’ Night Out, 5:30-9pm

“Drop the kids off for pizza and supervised play. Members $24/child, Non-members $28/child. Ages 4+. Pre-registration required. Siblings half price.”

Babywearing 101, Central Street Farmhouse

6-7pm Touch and try on a variety of carriers for your baby!

Saturday, January 15

Yoga and a Nature Adventure for Families, Fields Pond

1-2pm, $10 per family, registration required.

Gentle Discipline Parenting Class, Central Street Farmhouse

11-1pm, $20

Monday, January 17

Maine Discovery Museum is open from 9:30-5:30!

Saturday, January 22

Creatures Underneath, Fields Pond

1-2:30 pm, fees vary, registration required.

Tuesday, January 25

Sesame Street Live: 1-2-3 Imagine!, Bangor Civic Center

7pm, ticket prices vary.

Wednesday, January 26

Sesame Street Live: 1-2-3 Imagine!, Bangor Civic Center

10:30 am, and 7pm, ticket prices vary.

Saturday, January 29

Discounted lift tickets & lessons at Sugarloaf, via Bangor Parks & Rec

Save $32 on an all day lift ticket, or get a full learn to ski (or snowboard) package for $65. Contact Parks & Rec for more info.

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The weekend is almost here, and there’s lots to do around Bangor for families!

1)  Flannery Brothers concert

When: Saturday, June 19th 2pm

Where: Bangor Grange Hall, 1192 Ohio Street

What’s Happening: The Flannery Brothers will perform their award winning childrens’ music. Ages 2& under are free, 4-6 are $2, 6-12 are $3, and everyone else is $5.

2)  Go Swimming!

When: Saturday June 19

Where: Bangor’s City Pools (Dakin on Pine Street, and Pancoe at Hayford Park, 13th Street)

What’s Happening: Bangor’s pools open for the season this Saturday![Correction! Pancoe opens Saturday, Dakin opens Monday.] Rates have gone up for season passes, which can only be purchased at the rec center office, on Main St. Day fees remain the same — $1 for resident kids, $2 for resident adults, and double that for non-residents. The Pancoe pool is especially great for families with little ones, with the zero entry area, and for big ones, with the waterslides.

3)  Maine Day

When: Sunday, June 20

Where: Maine’s State Parks

What’s Happening: Free admission for Maine residents to all Maine State Parks! Within 50 miles of Bangor, we have Moose Point (Searsport,) Peaks-Kenny (Dover-Focxcroft), Lamoine (Lamoine), and Swan Lake (Swanville.)

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Maine’s beloved childrens’ singer/songwriter, Rick Charette, will be performing on the lawn at Bangor Public Library on Monday, June 22, at 6 pm. This event is free! In case of rain, the show will be moved to the Penobscot Theater.

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The University of Maine Cooperative Extension has a child development newsletter that is sent directly to your home, called The Growing Years.

Whether you are expecting a baby or your child is a toddler, sign up now and you will receive The Growing Years until your child turns 5.

The Growing Years will help you learn how children grow and develop over time. It will take you through some of the ups and downs and ins and outs of being a parent or caregiver.

The Growing Years talks about you and your feelings as a new parent, and gives practical advice for you and your child.

You can sign up for The Growing Years by visiting the UMCE website.

The Growing Years

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$500 for your baby’s future!

The Harold Alfond College Challenge is a new program that will provide a $500 grant to every Maine baby to start saving for college. This $500 grant is for all Maine babies born on or after January 1, 2009. There is no income limit or additional contributions required.  For more information please visit

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Bangor’s annual Festival of Lights parade is this Saturday, December 6, at 4:30 pm. The parade begins on Railroad Street, turns right onto Main Street, crosses Union Street, proceeds along Main Street through downtown, crosses Hammond and State streets onto Central Street, turns right on Harlow, and crosses State Street to Exchange Street, ending by Bank of America. Exchange Street will be closed.

For more information, check out this article at the Bangor Daily News.


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The annual Hampden Children’s Day celebration is this Saturday, August 16.  There is a parade, a Touch-a-Vehicle area, and juggling, among other things. It is open to all area children, not just those from Hampden. A full schedule can be found at the BDN.

Hampden Children’s Day

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Bangor’s La Leche League is hosting a monthly event at Bagel Central, located on Central Street in downtown Bangor. The Breastfeeding cafe is meant to be an event where nursing moms can get together, discuss parenting and nursing, and socialize, as well. By holding the event in a public place, it allows the public to see that nursing is a natural way to feed your baby.

The cafe will be held on the third Monday of each month, from 10-11 am. It has been added to the calendar.

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