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Posted November 22, 2010 | comments Leave a comment

A new 'Kid' is in town

Winchester stay-at-home mom Ashley Woods says there's only so much you can do to entertain a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old within the confines of home.

"There's only so many times you can watch 'The Little Mermaid' on DVD on a rainy day," she says.

Any time you can get out with the whole family and spend time around other families and feel comfortable, it's a good thing, according to Ashley, who, like many other parents, wants her kids to experience all the world has to offer.

So, she has always scoured the area for ways to get them out of the house.

And now, her work stands to benefit others in her shoes.

Ashley is compiling a calendar of kid- and family-friendly activities in the Winchester area and sending it out to subscribers in an e-mail every Monday and posting it to her website.

What she is doing is actually part of a national movement I hadn't heard of called "Macaroni Kid."

The business was started by other moms similar to Ashley, according to its main website, national.macaronikid.com.

Macaroni Kid apparently allows one "publisher mom" in any given town to create her own version of Macaroni Kid specialized to her area.

When I talked to Ashley last week, she'd been running Macaroni Kid Winchester (online at winchester.macaronikid.com) for only 20 days and had already gotten 200 e-mail subscribers, four advertisers and 5,000 Web hits -- "and that number's just going to grow," she says.

These guys must be on to something.
Of course, Ashley says you only get out of it what you put into it, and she's putting a lot into it.
She says so far she's visited online and in person many different places that offer activities for kids and families, and I've gotten her newsletter -- it's lengthy and includes upcoming events at the Youth Development Center, Handley Library, Winchester Parks and Recreation Department, Lowe's, local day care centers, churches and fire departments.
She likes to include a recipe and craft in the newsletter too, and other useful information for parents like links to websites.

Macaroni Kid Winchester is also offering a giveaway every week for things like purses and theater tickets, but the core to Macaroni Kid is letting parents know about events -- before they happen.

Already, Ashley has learned about a lot of places she wasn't familiar with.

"I knew there would be a lot to do but seeing it all in one place, it's like 'Wow, that's a lot,'" she says. "It's great that we have all those opportunities here for family activities."

So far the community has been very accepting, she says, and people are sending in events to her even as she is out looking for them. If it's family-friendly and open to the public, she includes it.

"It's definitely keeping me busy," she says.

Events can be submitted by e-mailing them to ashleyw@macaronikid.com and people can subscribe to the weekly newsletter by going to winchester.macaronikid.com and clicking on "subscribe me."

Of course, I'd be remiss not to add that we have similar goals here at the Daily and always welcome those who want to let us know about upcoming events.
• Contact Jessica Wiant at jwiant@nvdaily.com. 

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