February 2012

I am not complaining about the weather, really I’m not.  Because I know I really shouldn’t — we’ve had the easiest winter with barely a flake, so I can’t say anything….won’t say anything…but if you think I am winter walking in the icy rain or the snow, well, that’s the limit.  Walk is off tomorrow unless we awaken to a beautiful day, and I hear there’s a pretty fat chance that’s going to happen.  So, on to next week and we will try again next Thursday!


Welcome back to reality — hope it is more ahhh than ouch.  For me it is both, a touch of happy that kids are back to schedules — I’ll admit I gave a small sigh when they hopped onto the bus and the house was quiet…but at the same time I dread the return to homework and schedules.  The weeks off of school now that they are older are oh so delightful with the freedom from daily chores.

Anyway, as you begin to get your schedules set for the month ahead, I urge you to take a peek at the following fun to be had:

Prescriptions for Peaceful TransitionsNavigating Childhood to Adolescence.  Brunch & Learn presented by Northern Westchester Hospital.  Featuring Lauren Budow, MD, pediatric and adolescent medicine, Alexander Lerman, MD, child and adolescent psychiatry, MaryJean MacDonald, PsyD, middle school psychologist, Chloe LeCompte, high school senior and NWH Junior President’s Council Member.  Brynwood Golf & Country Club, 568 Bedford Rd, Armonk, NY.  Tuesday, March 6, 2012.  9-10am reception and buffet brunch, 10-11:30am panel discussion and Q&A.  Complimentary valet parking is provided.  Tickets are $50 per person.  To register visit www.nwhconnect.org/2012brunchlearn.



Winter Walks group resumes: I am going to recommit to my Winter Walks this week with a walk at Butler Sanctuary — if it is as gorgeous on Thursday as it is today, we will be in for a perfect morning!  Thursday, March 1st, 9:30am at Butler Sanctuary in Mt Kisco – Directions: From I-684 to exit 4 (Route 172) west towards Mt. Kisco.  After 0.3 miles, turn left onto Chestnut Ridge Road and go 1.2 miles.  Turn right over bridge into parking area.  Get up, get out, get moving!!!!



And while we’re talking about things to do over the school break —

Some words from Little Joe’s Books in Katonah…

Calling all Knitters & People who Love Hand-Knit Items.   Little Joe’s Books in Katonah is participating in a national contest that calls upon bookstores to decorate themselves in yarn and hand-knit items. The store is looking for donations of hand-knit items (which will be returned to owners the first week of March) and donations of yarn, which will be donated to the Bedford Correctional Facility for Women after the contest. Items can either be dropped at Little Joe’s, 25 Katonah Avenue, or at Katonah Yarn, 120 Bedford Road. Items can be dropped through February 25th. As a thank you to participants Little Joe’s will host a Knitting & Wine party on Wednesday, February 29th, from 6-8 p.m. People can contact the store at info@littllejoesbooks.com or 914-232-7278.

How to Make a Picture Book.   Saturday, March 24, 3:00 p.m. Calling all budding children’s book authors and illustrators. Dan Potash, vice president and creative director of the Children’s Publishing Division of Simon and Schuster, will be at Little Joe’s Books, 25 Katonah Avenue, Katonah, discussing the creation of a picture book — from initial concept all the way through the publishing process. Contact Little Joe’s at www.littlejoesbooks.com or 914-232-7278 for further information.

And an exciting event from the Music Conservatory of Westchester…

Music Conservatory of Westchester (MCW) has announced that local pop sensation Tiffany “Gia” Giardina will perform at its upcoming WinterBOWL on Thursday, February 23. The event celebrates the 25th anniversary of MCW’s Music Therapy Institute, which serves over 2,000 children and adults each year. Eighteen-year old Giardina, a supporter of music education, has opened for Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, and more. She is a Radio Disney chart topper and has been cast in the upcoming Barbie movie, The Princess and the Pop Star, for which Mattel will issue a doll in her likeness. Also performing is Adriana Pera, a renowned cellist and MCW faculty musician, and MCW’s popular Teen Rock & Jazz Ensemble. The event will take place at Grand Prix New York, 333 North Bedford Road, Mount Kisco. Admission includes state-of-the-art bowling, kart racing, arcade games, food, and beer/wine (21+!). Festivities begin at 6pm; Giardina will perform at 8pm. Adults $60; Kids $50; MTI students $30. TICKETS MUST BE PURCHASED IN ADVANCE. Visit www.winterbowl.eventbrite.com or call 914-761-3900.



As this week winds down and you stare down the barrel of a vacation week that you may or may not have planned ahead for…consider the wide range of vacation activities planned by all of your favorite local non-profits.  Not sure how we could possibly survive in this area without the amazing offerings of our not for profit organizations (that is tongue and cheek by the way — of course we’d survive, but it would certainly be a lot less FUN).  The museums, nature centers, farms, and more that dot the maps of our fabulous Westchester provide more than just obscure “culture” — they offer classes, walking trails, things to do, experiences, education, and most of all FUN TIME FILLERS for us moms.  Here are some favorites for the vacation week — some drop off camps, some drop in activities, and some that might just surprise you in that you might learn and enjoy something new your own self!

Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens Winter Vacation Camp.  The $65/Day* Cure for the “I’M BORED” Blues!  Monday, February 20th – Friday, February 24th, 2012 Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens Winter Vacation Camp is a full Day Camp program offered to inquisitive children between the ages of 5 and 11 years. Sign up for individual day sessions or the whole week to give your children a vacation with Nature and learning to last a lifetime.  Each day children will explore a different topic related to the botanical and natural world led by our trained Children’s Education staff. A healthy snack will be provided free by the Bartlett  Arboretum, however each child is responsible for their own peanut-free lunch. Children should dress appropriately for the weather as we will be spending time outside each day, too, discovering, experiencing, and appreciating the beauty and fun of Nature hands-on!  HOURS: 9:00 a.m. – 3 p.m., extended day 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Monday, February 20th: Rainforest Ecology, Tuesday, February 21st: Plants in Winter, Wednesday, February 22nd:  Habitats from Around the World, Thursday, February 23rd: Desert Ecology, Friday, February 24th: The Wonders of Snow.  Please contact Todd DuPont at  education@bartlettarboretum.org for more information.  Registration required and space is limited. Visit www.bartlettarboretum.org.

Winter Break Out Day: How Sweet It Is! Monday, February 20, 11:00 am-3:00 pm. Visit SM&NC on your vacation break and discover all of the sweet things we have to offer! Join us for a Maple Sugar Open House and see how the sugaring season is progressing. Learn about the ecology of chocolate and make a chocolate craft to take home. Take a winter farm tour to see how all of our sweet spring babies have grown up. Join us at 2:30 for s`mores over the campfire. Members: Free; Non-Members: Free with gate admission. Stamford Museum & Nature Center, 39 Scofieldtown Road, Stamford, CT 06903; 203-322-1646 www.stamfordmuseum.org

Pack Chat for Kids. February 18, 20 and 25. For families with children ages 4-8. This is the best introduction to wolves for families with young children. Kids will learn about the mythology surrounding wolves and the important role of wolves in the natural world. This is an exciting time for wolves, it’s their favorite season of the year! Guests will visit Ambassador wolves Atka, Alawa and Zephyr as well as the WCC’s critically endangered red wolves and Mexican gray wolves. Don’t forget a camera; soon to be 9-month–olds, Alawa and Zephyr, are frisky and fluffy as can be! Guests will enjoy hot beverages in our woodstove-heated classroom. Please dress for COLD weather. Pre-registration is required. Call for times. Fee: Adults – $15, Children (under 12) – $12. Wolf Conservation Center, PO. Box 421, South Salem, NY 10590; 914-763-2373 nywolf.org

CAMP SOSI: Schools Out Ships In. Camp SOSI is the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum’s full day, drop-off program welcoming children throughout the school year during holiday recesses.  Weekly themes and special guests drive our activities and tours.  Using group and individual projects, the program integrates the exhibits, history and science of the Intrepid into an exciting and unique way for campers to learn about sea, air, space and life at sea. Don’t be left out in the cold, check out our Early Bird Rates and Dates!!  Midwinter Recess, February 20-24, 2012.  Kids Week: Campers explore the themes of sea, air, space and life at sea through interactive hands on activities while incorporating the fantastic Kids Week programming. For more information and to register, visit our website at www.intrepidmuseum.org/Education/Camps.aspx

Winter Mini-Camp. Monday-Friday, February 20-24, 9:00 am-12:00 pm (ages 4 and 5), 9:00 am-3:00 pm (6-12 yrs old). Shake off the winter blues at Teatown’s Mini-Camp with a week full of games, crafts, and outdoor activities. The camp is divided into two different time slots, depending on the child’s age. Parents can choose to sign up their child for the full session or individual days (fee prorated). Snacks are provided but full-day campers should pack a lunch. Full Session Fees for 4 and 5 year olds: $160 members; $185 nonmembers. Full Session Fees for ages 6-12: $300 members; $335 nonmembers. For more information, or to register a child for camp, please call 914-762-2912 ext. 110. Teatown Lake Reservation, 1600 Spring Valley Road, Ossining, NY 10562; 914-762-2912 www.teatown.org

President`s Week Art Camp. February 20-24, 9:30 am-12:30 and 1:00-4:00 pm. Keep your child creative and happy during schools breaks at our art camps. Students will work with a variety of materials, trying their hand at clay, painting, drawing, computer art and crafts. All campers should dress appropriately for art and bring a snack. Full day option available; please bring lunch. Materials included. Visit website for fee information. Katonah Art Center, 131 Bedford Road, Katonah, NY; 914-232-4843 www.katonahartcenter.com

Random Farms February Vacation Workshop. February 18-23, 9:00 am-1:00 pm. The February Vacation Workshop will feature a studio presentation of the musical, You`re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. This will be a process-oriented program and each group will be kept small (6-15 performers) for maximum individual instruction. Role placement will be at the first rehearsal. There will be an informal performance for family and friends at our Elmsford rehearsal studio on the last day, accompanied by a live pianist. Please note that the two age groups within each session will sometimes rehearse together but each will have separate performances. Location: The Random Farms Performing Arts Studio, 77 Executive Blvd., Elmsford, NY 10523. Cost: $245 per group. For more information, please visit www.randomfarms.com

February Vacation Nature Camp. February 20-23, 9:30 am-1:00 pm. For grades K-3. Activities include nature exploration, nature crafts, animal study and nature games. Snacks included; lunch must be sent daily. Members: $160; non-members: $210. Registration required. Greenburgh Nature Center, 99 Dromore Road, Scarsdale, NY 10583; 914-723-3470 www.greenburghnaturecenter.org.

And not to forget the daily fun to be had if you aren’t looking for a full week camp — stop by some local gems for a visit.  Your local libraries, nature centers, the Quest walks of the Westchester Land Trust, Jacob Burns Film Center for a family movie, or maybe a trip to your favorite local book stores — try Little Joe’s Books of Katonah or The Voracious Reader in Larchmont.

Have a wonderful, full, exciting, adventurous week!



So this week is flying on by — and in the pre-vacation haste, I think this week’s walk will not be heavily attended.  If anyone was dying to attend and didn’t mention it, let me know and I will reconsider, otherwise, we will reconvene the week after the school break! March 1 — Butler Sanctuary?


Join us on Tuesday, March 6, 2012 for Prescriptions for Peaceful Transitions Navigating Childhood to Adolescence.   Featuring Lauren Budow, MD, pediatric and adolescent medicine, Alexander Lerman, MD, child and adolescent psychiatry, MaryJean MacDonald, PsyD, middle school psychologist, Chloé LeComte, high school senior and NWH Junior President’s Council Member.  Brynwood Golf & Country Club, 568 Bedford Road, Armonk, New York.  Tuesday, March 6, 2012, 9 to 10 am Reception and Buffet Brunch, 10 to 11:30 am Panel Discussion and Q&A.  Complimentary valet parking is provided. Tickets are $50 per person.  Click here to RSVP.

We at EssentialMom.com have always known that Mount Kisco Child Care Center (MKCCC) is an amazing, special, excellent source of early childhood care, but now it is official — MKCCC recently received National NAEYC Accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) – the nation’s leading organization of early childhood professionals.

Established in 1971, MKCCC provides high quality, affordable child care to more than 160 children daily. The Center promotes innovative learning with unique programs, such as the intergenerational program, JEWEL, and the farm-to-table comprehensive nutrition program, Feed Me Fresh. Through these programs, MKCCC fosters each child’s intellectual, physical, emotional and social development in a safe and healthy environment.

“The NAEYC Accreditation system raises the bar for child care centers and other early childhood programs,” said Jerlean E. Daniel, Ph.D, executive director of NAEYC. “Having earned NAEYC Accreditation is a sign that MKCCC is a leader in a national effort to invest in high-quality early childhood education.”

Mount Kisco Child Care Center is a licensed nonprofit, non-sectarian childcare facility that has served the working families of Northern Westchester since 1971. MKCCC provides exceptional and affordable, early-care and education to a diverse group of children three months to five years. The Center’s expanded school-age program serves children up to 12 years of age.  MKCCC is located at 95 Radio Circle, Mount Kisco, NY. For additional information, visit www.mkccc.org or call (914) 241-2135.   Spaces are currently available for all of their program areas — call now and get YOUR child a spot!

Congrats to the teachers, administrators, and students at Mount Kisco Child Care Center!


Loving this idea.  Great movies in great spaces — and you can feel good about learning something new to boot.  I know it’s not for a while, but figured I would throw the dates out so you can get your sitters lined up!  Oh, and there are some for kids too — so if the sitter doesn’t answer your call, you still have an option.

GREEN SCREEN — An Environmental Film Festival

March 3rd through 12th, the Village and Town of Mamaroneck and Village of Larchmont will host Green Screen, a free film festival of eight environment-themed movies, for grownups and kids. Each screening will be followed with a featured speaker and a Q & A session on the topic.

Film Festival Schedule:


Saturday March 3, 10 AM.  Tickets sold for a reduced rate of $5 per ticket, first-come, first-served.  Venue: Clearview Theater, Mamaroneck


Saturday, March 3, 2 PM.  Venue: Mamaroneck Library.  Speaker Sara Goddard, a local activist on the issue from Rye, which recently became the first municipality in Westchester to ban plastic bags.


Sunday, March 4, 2 PM.  Venue: Larchmont Village Center (next to the Larchmont Library)


Monday, March 5, 7:30 PM.  Venue: Mamaroneck Town Center (Conference Room C)


Saturday, March 10, 12 PM.  Venue: Mamaroneck Library


Saturday, March 10, 2 pm.  Venue: Mamaroneck Library


Sunday, March 11, 2pm.  Venue: Larchmont Village Center. Speaker Paul Gallay, president of Riverkeeper, and the Hudson Riverkeeper.


Monday, March 12, 7:30 pm.  Venue: Mamaroneck Town Center (Conference Room C)


Great walk through St. Matthews BRLA trails today — beautiful trails and a breath of fresh air for all — as well as “airing” all of our mommy grievances for the week.  Made me feel like I could face the rest of the day with some energy.  Thanks to a fun group of ladies for the company!  Next week: Butler Sanctuary in Mt Kisco.  I haven’t been in a while, but I remember getting some good exercise up a hill to a gorgeous look out point where there are bleechers to see hawks circling in the sky.  No guarantees if this is the right time of year for this walk, but fun to explore something new anyway.  You can check out the spot on the  Nature Conservancy site.  Generally we are meeting at 9:15, start walking at 9:20, and the walks have lasted about an hour.  Find us next Thursday, February 16th at Butler Sanctuary — Directions: From I-684 to exit 4 (Route 172) west towards Mt. Kisco.  After 0.3 miles, turn left onto Chestnut Ridge Road and go 1.2 miles.  Turn right over bridge into parking area.

Last chance! Pull on the long johns and warm gloves and get out in the fresh air. I am sure that once we get out there it will be worth it. I will be the one in the snowsuit bundled beyond recognition! St Matthews, Bedford, walk the trails this morning at 9:15am. Come on over!


A lovely walk with a lovely friend yesterday in a lovely place — glorious — and inspiring me to keep up the good attitude (my sister in law just called to say I sound depressed on this blog so this is the perky weekend version).  Seriously though, it was really nice, and next week we will tackle the trails at St. Matthews Church in Bedford — they have great walking trails that run through the woods and along a creek.  Thursday, February 9th at 9:15.  Everyone welcome.

Some shots from yesterday:

Ok, I’ll admit that I maybe I bumped the color up in my favorite iphone app, but it was a pretty walk.  The app you ask?  Diptic — have you tried it yet?  Totally obsessed — it is the fastest way to make a picture collage AND fast edit color, contrast, etc on the photo.  An excellent way to share a special event with the grandparents without sending a laborious amount of attachments to your email.

Now — on to what to do this weekend — 2 great options (and many more on our Events Calendar — don’t forget to check it often — there are always new goodies being added!)

1.  EagleFest.  Join Westchester Land Trust and Teatown this Saturday, February 4th for the Hudson River EagleFest, a celebration of the vibrant bald eagle population in the Hudson Valley. WLT is a proud sponsor of EagleFest, and we know your family will enjoy these entertaining and educational events: raptor shows, bus tours, storytelling, children’s activities, bird walks and more. More good news: Sunshine forecasted for Saturday – it’s going to be a great day to be outside.  EagleFest, 9 – 4 PM,   Click here for more information.

and if hanging outside isn’t really your thing, check out —

2. Family First Saturday.  Finding Patterns in Real Life: Focus on Stuart Davis.  Saturday, February 4, 1:00-4:00 pm.  Stuart Davis made art that distilled what he saw in the world into patterned shapes that lock together like a jigsaw puzzle. Create a vision of your personal reality using patterns, colors and shapes. The workshop focuses on the exhibition American Vanguards: Graham, Davis, Gorky, de Kooning, and Their Circle, 1927–1942. Workshops for ages tots to ten, accompanied by an adult. Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, NY 10577; 914-251-6100 www.neuberger.org.

Enjoy the weekend!!!!  And Happy Super Bowl to all!  Oh, one last shameless plug — if you are looking for delicious Super Bowl treats but have no interest in cooking them — give Table Local Market a call — click here for details on Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day menus.

So, I am going to follow up on Kristy’s comments to the Winter Doldrums bit and get out of the house — but I would like some company.  Frankly, I need the motivation and it just sounds more fun as a group.  SO, tomorrow, Thursday, February 2nd, start the new month with a winter blues buster walk at Westmoreland Sanctuary with me — meet at the easy loop trail head (up by the building) at 9:15am.  ALL are welcome.  We can start with the easy loop around the woods and anyone who wants more exercise can expand on the loop, those who need to get on with their day, we’ll plan to finish around 10am.  We’ll wing it and see what happens.  I need to get outside, I need to do something other than staring at the wall on an exercise bike, and although my first inclination in the winter is to hole up and hibernate, it is depressing, and even a half hour with other folks shaking the blues out would probably make a big difference.  When I was talking to a friend the other day I asked if I had RSVP’d to something and she said, yes, you gave me your usual response — NO.  Ouch.  I guess I need to get out more.  So, take a risk, make an effort and please join me so I don’t feel like a total loser waiting at the trail head and having no one join me tomorrow.  Westmoreland Sanctuary, 260 Chesnut Ridge Rd, Mt Kisco, www.westmorelandsanctuary.org.  Admission to the trails is free.   Hope to see you there!  (Feel free to like this on facebook or here so I know if anyone is joining me!)