I'm so excited to introduce you to our 413Mom of the Week: Natasha Lowe of Deerfield. Natasha is a local author and her latest book just hit the shelves: Lucy Castor Finds Her Sparkle.
Lucy Castor is a perfect read for middle grade girls -- it has a wonderful message about being true to yourself. I think this book would be a great comfort to any girl struggling with the race to grow up (or without giving up too much of the plot...maybe any girl about to become a big sister). My favorite line from the book, "The nice thing is once you figure out all you've got to be is yourself, life is going to get a whole lot easier..."
I love, love, love to read local stories, and Lucy Castor does not disappoint. There are lots of local delights to recognize in Lucy's town of "Hawthorne" Massachusetts. Some other favorites: a strong magical theme, a realistic teenage heroine, a strong message to just be yourself, and a blue vomit bucket named "Mildred" (full disclaimer: I'm a little biased here. My family also has a blue vomit bucket that makes an appearance anytime someone has a stomach bug.)
Read on to discover all of Lowe's suggestions for her favorite spots in #the413 and to find out how to win a copy of the book!
Name: Natasha Lowe
Occupation: Author of middle grade novels
Spouse: Jon Lowe
Kids’ Stats: Sebastian, 25, Oliver, 23, Ben, 19, and Juliette, 14.
Pets: A not very well behaved but totally adorable yellow lab called Penny!
Do you belong to any civic groups: I volunteer weekly at our local food pantry and help out with community meals.
Hobbies: I love to bake. This is my number one way of de-stressing, and it usually involves making teatime treats from my childhood. Lemon cake, shortbread cookies, coffee and walnut layer cake are a few family favorites. I also love to hike, read and knit, although I have to admit it has been a while since I actually completed a knitting project!
How long have you lived in the 413: A long time – about 27 years and I absolutely love it!! Couldn’t go back to city living after being in the Pioneer Valley.
Favorite Park: Look Park (Northampton)
Favorite Hiking Spot: That would have to be hiking up to “the Rock” in Deerfield. It’s a spectacular viewing point on the Pocumtuck Ridge trail and I love being able to see our little village and the whole valley spread out below us.
Favorite Museum: The Eric Carle Museum (Amherst). As well as the fabulous exhibits, they often have great speakers and book events.
Favorite Library: Tilton Library (South Deerfield) – because it’s my local!
Favorite Swimming Hole: Definitely the Deerfield River. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a summer afternoon, jumping in up river and floating down.
Favorite date night locale: Bistro Les Gras (Northampton). My husband and I adore this place. It has delicious food, a cozy atmosphere, and the best skinny frites outside of Paris!
Favorite family restaurant: Oriental Flavor (Amherst). There is something for everyone here, and the scallion pancakes are insanely delicious.
Favorite family volunteer opportunity: The community meal which Green Fields Market sponsors on the fourth Wednesday of every month. This is something all my children have participated in and it’s a great way to volunteer and give back to the community.
Favorite 413 town or city to visit: Northampton is our favorite town to wander around. There are lots of fun shops and it’s where we always go to satisfy our ice-cream cravings. Nothing beats a Herrell’s hot fudge sundae!
Favorite New England beach: Crescent beach in Owls Head, Maine.
Best place to save on groceries: Become a working member of Green Fields Market. If you volunteer eight hours a month you save 15 percent on groceries.
Best place to save on kids’ clothes: If you have teenagers The Cancer Connection Thrift Shop in Northampton has fabulous clothes at amazingly low prices. One of my daughter’s favorite sweaters came from here – and it was a bargain at 5 dollars!
One tip to save on pet care: Don’t leave socks lying around the house if you have a yellow lab. They are liable to eat them and will need expensive surgery like ours did!
One simple Green tip: Reuse plastic containers with lids (yogurt, ricotta cheese, sour cream etc) to freeze extra portions of soups and stews in.
Your favorite Mom treat: Taking a long hot bubble bath with a good book.
Favorite thing about being a Mom: Watching my kids find and follow their own passions.
What is your go-to weeknight family meal that everyone will actually eat: Definitely lasagna! It has always been a family favorite. Everyone loves it. I use my mum’s recipe and there is never any left.
What else would you like to share with readers of The413Mom: Reading with your kids is a great way to spend time with them, and help them nurture a love of good books. I will be having a book launch celebration at The World Eye Bookshop, 134 Main Street, Greenfield on Saturday February 24th from 1 - 3 pm with readings at 1 and 2 pm. There will be sparkle cakes in honor of Lucy and other home baked goodies
You can purchase Lowe's books at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target or independent bookstores anywhere. And...you can win a copy of Lucy Castor Finds her Sparkle right here! Just use the comments field below to share what your child is reading over this February vacation. One winner will be chosen at random from all entries received. Contest ends Sunday, February 25, 2018 at 6 p.m.