May 2012

If you and the kids are headed off in the family truckster for the long weekend and are looking to avoid
having your car smell like a fast food factory, consider a healthier option.

I just stopped at Table Local Market in Bedford Hills — disclaimer, my husband is the co-owner/manager — so glowing reviews of his cuteness aside, I wanted to see if I could stock up on snacks the kids would actually eat in the car and over the weekend that have no ingredients I can’t pronounce. The procuring of these items is easy, whether the kids eat them or not, another story — so I was picky and here’s what I came up with (with the full statement that just because we own a gourmet market, our kids still prefer a bag of Doritos any day, and to be honest, so do I, so the choices below are not for super-kids, they are for real kids).

These are the things I think I can sneak by them…

1.  “P-Nutty Chip” Baked Granola by Healthy Home Foods.  Ingredients: gluten free oats, freshly ground peanut butter, maple syrup, flax meal, coconut oil, maple powder, dairy free chocolate chips, vanilla, salt.  Now that sounds super boring, but I GUARANTEE the taste — I opened them in doubt and holy you know what they’re soooo delicious!  Oh, and they are made by a mom in Pound Ridge — double the treat!

2. North Fork Potato Chips.  Ingredients: potatoes, sunflower oil, salt, sugar, molasses powder, tomato powder, vinegar powder, spices, onion powder, natural flavor, extractives of paprika.  Crispy, crunchy, delicious.  We especially like the barbeque flavor at our house.

3. Belmont Peanuts.  Ingredients: peanuts, canola oil, salt.  These are the freshest tasting, crunchy peanuts I’ve ever had.  You may say, how can it really matter — peanuts are peanuts, but they’re just not.  These are huge and so full of taste.

4. Wild Rice Snack Sticks. Ingredients: unbleached white flour, wild rice, canola oil, salt, tumeric.  A great tasting snack to put out between meals or at cocktail hour for the mamas.  Mix with the peanuts and you’re on your way to fancy living.

5. Baked goods.  Check out the “sweet side” of Table with fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, brownies, lemon squares, pumpkin bread….and so much more.  They may not be a slimmer for your waist but they are a whole lot healthier for your body!

Happy traveling (or staycationing) to all!!!  Be safe, be happy, be together.

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The beaches at Glen Island Park in New Rochelle, Playland Park in Rye and Croton Point Park in Croton-
on-Hudson will be open Saturday, Sunday and Monday for Memorial Day Weekend, May 26, 27 and 28,
from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. each day.

The beaches will be open on Saturdays and Sundays only until June 22, when all pools and beaches will be open on their summer schedules for the season.

Pools are Saxon Woods in White Plains, Playland Park in Rye, Tibbetts Brook in Yonkers and Willson’s Woods
in Mount Vernon.

For more information on fees and directions, go to www.westchestergov.com/parks.

Historic Hudson Valley offers great opportunities for fun for all this spring!

Animals and Acrobats
Saturday, May 26, 2012 – Monday, May 28, 2012, Van Cortlandt Manor, 525 South Riverside Ave, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520.
Come one, come all! Experience a cavalcade of creativity. Animals & Acrobats is Westchester’s most exciting Memorial Day Weekend family event. Capturing the fun of an early American traveling circus, Ringmaster Jonathan Kruk leads a cast of clever characters on a stage in the round. The event includes continuous performances throughout the weekend.  Performers include: fire-juggling acrobats A Different Spin, the conservation group Two by Two Zoo, and birds of prey demonstrations from Flight of the Raptor Plus tumbling acrobats, tightrope walkers, mimes, and more! Animals & Acrobats is especially popular with children. Picnic fare, treats, and beverages will be available. Don’t miss this exhibition of curiosities, daredevils, and beautiful creatures.  When purchasing your tickets you can add-on a picnic feast for 4 to 6 people. Choose from the fried chicken basket or the gluten free/vegetarian basket. Both baskets include drinks, dessert, utensils, paper goods, and a picnic blanket.  FREE popcorn for children under 18 when you purchase advance tickets online.  Time: 10am to 5pm.  Admission: $16; $14 for seniors; $12 for children 3-17.  Free for members and children under 3.  Find out more and purchase tickets here.

A Night on Fire
Saturday, May 26, 2012, Van Cortlandt Manor, 525 South Riverside Ave., Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520.
Fire juggling and comedy troupe extraordinare A Different Spin will literally light up the night in a special one-evening-only performance. This fully choreographed, live display of fire arts features four flame-wielding, fire-eating performers twisting and turning, juggling and dancing, spinning and sword fighting, and much more. Perfect for audiences of all ages, the performance includes jaw-dropping stunts, knee-slapping humor, oodles of excitement, and just enough danger to create a spectacle guaranteed to have you talking about it long after the fire’s extinguished.  Brand new event! Very limited availability! Tickets must be purchased in advance.  PLEASE NOTE, LAWN SEATING: Bring a chair or a blanket!  Time: 8pm.  Admission: $20; $15 for children 17 and under.  Members receive a $5 per ticket discount.  More information and tickets here.

Pirates of the Hudson
Saturday, June 30, 2012 – Sunday, July 1, 2012, Philipsburg Manor, 381 North Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591. Also July 4-8.
Gangs of blackbeards and beauties will swashbuckle their way through Philipsburg Manor at this raucously fun festival. Ahoy maties! Grab your brood and bring ‘em to Philipsburg Manor for the most fun this side of the Caribbean. Join us as boisterous pirates lay anchor in the Hudson and storm Sleepy Hollow. Musical pirates, gypsy sword dancers, and scallywags of all sorts will roam the grounds, ready to make you smile while secretly stealin’ yer gold. Kids can take part in the Pieces of Eight treasure hunt, wiggle their way into a pirate shipwreck, trade barbs with a clever, talkative parrot, and learn to speak and act like a bloody pirate! These pillagers are able and exotic fishermen…Come gawk at their captivating catch of not just one mermaid, but a pair…behold this most amazing sight, times two! Enjoy a pint or two of beer from Pleasantville’s Captain Lawrence Brewery and munch your way through the pirate-palate-pleasing creations of Tastefully Yours.  Time: Timed Entry: 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm, 6pm.  Admission: $16; $12 for children 17 and under.  Members receive a $5 per ticket discount.  Find out more here.

Here’s something fun for the golf enthusiasts!  To celebrate Westchester Parks’ 50th anniversary, five Golf Westchester courses will offer 50% discounts and food specials season during one day each month.   Starting in May and through September, the 50th anniversary will be celebrated one day per month with 50% off greens fees, 50% off golf lessons and anniversary specials at the restaurants.   The schedule is as follows:  Dunwoodie:  Wednesday, May 23,  Sprain Lake: Monday, June 25, Maple Moor: Tuesday, July 17, Mohansic: Thursday, August 23, Saxon Woods: Monday, September 17.   Learn more at www.westchestergov.com/golf.

A gorgeous morning for the 2nd annual Bike Run of the Future Foxes on the Fox Lane school campus.  All of the elementary schools came together for a perfect morning for a bike course and a few laps around the track.  There were some big smiles and some very red cheeks.  Congrats to all of the participants for a job well done.  Enjoy a quiet afternoon and get a lot of water back in your systems — it was HOT out there!

For those of you who could not make it to the BikeRun Registration pick up & orientation this morning…..we appreciate that traffic was horrendous and made schedules additionally crazy. We will be holding all registration packets at Check In tomorrow morning. PLEASE plan on arriving at 7:30a so you can get your packet, have your child put on their BikeRun participant shirt, micro-chipped shirt number, helmet & bike numbers too. Thank you to those who picked up their packets and reviewed the course.

We look forward to seeing EVERYONE between 7:30-8a tomorrow at the check in above/behind the bleachers. (with bikes, helmets, kids, cameras etc…) Please remember our FUTURE FOX theme. Red, White & Black are the school colors. Can’t wait to see the kids Future Fox Spirit. See you in the morning…BikeRun Leadership Team

If you didn’t get a chance to register for the Bike Run this year, come by to watch the fun and cheer the kids on!!!

When it comes to your kids, nothing less than the highest standards will do. Our daycare located in Carmel, NY provides a safe environment for your child to explore his or her full potential. If you’re looking for a daycare that meets these stringent demands, look no further! We promote physical activities in large open areas and a variety of educational games, arts, music and a library for your child. Our goal is to promote every child’s development individually using an appropriate mix of academic and recreational activities.

Three Little Bears Daycare, 14 Mamanasco Rd., Carmel NY 10512.  Call us at 845-222-0266 or visit us on the web at www.threelittlebearsdaycare.com.

Join us in support of the Westchester Children’s Museum, June 3, 2012 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm at Playland Boardwalk and Rye Town Park.  Enjoy:  BALSA WOOD AIRPLANES, POP UP WATER PARK, WIND TUNNEL, STORYTELLING, BUBBLES, ART, MUSIC, AND A DAY OF EDUCATION AND FUN AT RYE PLAYLAND.  The annual Explore-a-thon is the Museum’s signature educational and recreational event for families, designed to provide a real children’s museum-type experience while raising funds to build the region’s first children’s museum to be located at Rye Playland.  The Explore-a-thon is an interactive and magical day of play, experimentation, and discovery for children and families. Following an interactive route that traverses Rye Town Park and the Playland boardwalk just steps from the site of the future museum, children and families will discover and enjoy hands-on “Exploration Stations” modeled after future museum exhibits.  Bring your family and enjoy the day together: $5 per person.  Sign up by clicking here.

On Sunday, May 20, 2012, Pediatric Cancer Foundation will host a Walkathon to benefit children with cancer. This special family fun event, entitled Walk This Way, will include food and drinks, raffles and silent auction items, entertainment, and of course, walking to support a wonderful cause. All registrants will receive a t-shirt.

Our Westchester Walkathon begins/finishes at Harbor Island’s Pavilion in Mamaroneck, NY. The scenic harbor Walkathon is from 10am until 12:30pm. Participants are encouraged to pre-register and get sponsors at www.pcfweb/walkthisway.org.

Pediatric Cancer Foundation’s mission is to cure childhood cancer. Since its establishment in 1970, members have worked diligently and raised significant funds to aid sick children and those doctors and researchers who treat them. Pediatric Cancer Foundation funds research, treatment, equipment and parent/patient care. Since their overhead is minimal, since 1970, nearly 90% of every dollar raised goes toward our cause. Pediatric Cancer Foundation receives no federal funding so they depend on the generosity of people like you.

Participants of all ages are welcome and Walk This Way begins anytime from 10am-12:30pm. The distance is 2 miles around the harbor. Registration is $25 per person. Walk-in registration is $30 per person. To make a pledge, go to www.pcfweb.org/walkthisway or contact Nancy Frankel Joselson at 914-777-3127 for more information.

Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park is a delight for outdoor enthusiasts. This 14,086 acre park, covering land in Putnam and Dutchess counties, boasts hiking trails, a beautiful beach, picnic areas, scenic campground, and abundant opportunities for boating, hunting, fishing, and birding. The park is also home to the Taconic Outdoor Education Center which provides high quality environmental programming and Fahnestock Winter Park which includes groomed trails for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.  The large beach at Canopus Lake is the jewel of Clarence Fahnestock Memorial Park. Its sandy shore and nearby picnic area are enjoyed by thousands of bathers. In addition to swimming, campers and day trippers can fish in or tour Canopus Lake by row boats which are available for rental. The scenic campground, formed along the park’s natural rock ridges, provides alcoves of privacy and tranquility for campers. Each of the 80 campsites has a picnic table and fire ring. The campground’s nature center houses environmental displays and a variety of touch boxes. On weekends, park staff organizes hikes and craft activities. Movies are shown on Saturday evenings for the enjoyment of all campers.  Find out more at nysparks.com/parks/133/details.aspx

The Taconic Outdoor Education Center (TOEC) invites families to Fahnestock State Park. Unplug the computer and participate in the National Get Outdoors Day and Kids to Parks Day. These special events are part of TOEC’s Mtn. Laurel Outdoor Recfest scheduled for Sunday, May 20, 2012 between 9 am and 2 pm.

The program starts off with Bird Bander, Eric Lind, from Audubon’s Constitution Marsh Sanctuary.  Observe migrating birds “up close and personal”.  The magic of touching and releasing a bird will last a lifetime.  Afterward, Naturalist, Pete Salmansohn will lead a bird walk.  Hudson Valley Orienteering will introduce folks to this unique sport.  Instruction and a practice course will be available to test new skills.  Have you ever paddled a kayak?  REI Outdoor School staff will be bringing their kayaks offering you an opportunity to paddle and learn more about this sport.  Enjoy a new/old craze! – “Hooping” with Hudson Valley Outfitters!  HVO staff will bring their professional weighted hoops for everyone to try. A great outdoor family activity that is packed full of twisting fun and healthy exercise!  Putnam Highland Audubon and Guiding Eyes for the Blind, along with their ambassador dogs will be attending too!  The High Ropes Adventure Course will also be open.  Raptors and Reptiles will take center stage at the end of the day.  At 2 pm Bill Robinson displays live wildlife and educates everyone about these critters and their importance in nature.  Food and beverages will be available.  For information, contact us at (845) 265-3773.

TOEC is part of the New York State Park’s Taconic Region and is situated in Fahnestock State Park between Rte. 9 and the Taconic State Parkway off Dennytown Rd. Watch for our signs!  Event Donation: Adults – $2 Kids – $1. Sorry, no pets.  If inclement weather is forecasted – please call before traveling (845) 265-3773

Bedford Village Parents,
FRANCE just got 80% voter turnout for their election! BVES PARENTS highest turnout EVER was 49%, 3 years ago. Last year, we were back down to 34%.
We can do better for our kids! PLEASE turn out to vote YES for the school budget on TUESDAY, MAY 15th at BVES. Polls are open 7 AM to 9 PM inside the canopied entrance at the gymnasium end of the school. Watch for TURNOUT UPDATES during the day!

For detailed 2012-2013 budget information:

*Bedford Dateline, a newsletter explaining the proposed 2012-2013 school budget arrived in everyone’s mailbox last Saturday.

*The district’s website, www.bcsdny.org has all the budget info from links on the right-side menu on the home page.

*Get Out The Vote is a parent group that will help you find answers to any
other questions you may have: in Bedford Village, call or email Heather
Feldman at 234-9365 or Rosalie Bastone at 234-6003 or rosalie.bastone@gmail.com.

Not from Bedford? All schools are voting on new budgets – send us your info to post and we’ll get the word out for your district!

Sitting in the driveway of my mother’s house after a weekend visit, on the way home to my own kids, on the day that my oldest niece is graduating from college. The life circle is feeling very close today and the relationships in my life are feeling very important. So, whether you celebrate mother’s day in a big way or if you just sit outside with your kids and get an extra kiss…enjoy the day and feel yourself in it wherever you are. The mother child relationship is strong and true and there is nothing in the world like it. Feel it today and let it make you happy or serene or whatever you feel. Hug the kids, your mother, your friends, or your family close, and thank yourself for giving in to being a mom and taking on the most amazing, scary, wonderful job there is.
All the best on this special day.
Gretchen

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I know it seems early, but Memorial Day weekend is coming up fast, and if your school district, like mine, has given you that extra snow day back, you are in for a four day weekend.  Why not plan for something fun and different?  If you have adventure on your mind, and if you have kids of that certain age — and are of the male gender, not to be sexist — but there really is a certain something for boys that dinosaurs just make them nuts! — check out this new dinosaur park opening in New Jersey!  Disclaimer that I haven’t been there, and have only heard/read about it — but if you have a Dino-obsessed little person, it certainly looks like the place to be.

From their web site, www.fieldstationdinosaurs.com:
Field Station: Dinosaurs is a world-class family attraction that combines cutting-edge science with the creative minds of great artists to create a one-of-kind experience that’s thrilling, educational and fun.
  Set against the breathtaking natural backdrop of the New Jersey Meadowlands and nestled at the base of a 150 million year old rock formation, the Field Station is an oasis of natural wonder just nine minutes from New York City. Over thirty life-sized, realistic dinosaurs (including the 90 foot long Argentinasaurus, the largest animatronic dinosaur ever made) come to life thanks to the brilliant engineering of the world’s leading roboticists and the imagination of our artists.  And at the center of it all is the fun, the joy and the wonder of dinosaurs. Our expedition takes every family on a shared adventure – full of mystery, surprise and a sense of awe.  Opening Day May 26, 2012.

Check it out at www.fieldstationdinosaurs.com.  And if you go, be sure to let us at EssentialMom know what you thought!  I would love to hear if it is as cool as it looks!

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Two great happenings coming up at Mount Kisco Elementary School — keep up the great work!  If you are planning a school garden and want to see something amazing in place — go look at Mt Kisco’s and talk to them about their work — they have really made something extraordinary.

The Mount Kisco Elementary School Community Garden has been recognized by Westchester County Environmental Facilities and Parks Departments and the Friends of Westchester County Parks and will be the recipient of a 2012 Earth Day Award!  Specifically, the garden is being recognized for exceptional leadership, initiative and voluntary work that promotes recycling and environmental conservation efforts within a school.

And,

Mount Kisco Elementary School will be celebrating its 100th birthday! The Cornerstone Celebration will be held on Saturday, May 12, from 10 am to 12 pm at the school. Festivities will include the local Fife and Drum Corps, a flag raising and tours of the school, which will include the ‘museum’ of photos, maps, and artifacts on display in the school library.  Artifacts have been lent by community members, including members of the Mt. Kisco Historical Society. Students have been interviewing alums, some of whom are senior citizens who graduated from the school when it was Mount Kisco Public School grades 1- 12. Yearbooks and photos will be displayed and videotapes of interviews will be played. All are welcome and a few surprises are in store! Please tell anyone with any connection to the Mt. Kisco school community.