December 2012


Hey all you 1st through 4th graders!

Jump into action and explore science and how it affects the world around us.  Join this wild and wacky hands-on class where you will learn about scientific concepts and make and test hypotheses.  Some results will be gooey, some fizzy, and some will even be EDIBLE!  Example of topics we cover are: density (making “lava lamps”), chemical reactions (making balloons blow up just by using CO2), and physical science (learn about polymers by making bouncy balls!)  Each session consists of six 45 minute classes and is taught by Romy Shapiro, a NYS certified teacher with an MA from Columbia University Teachers College.  The club is conveniently taught out of Romy’s house in Mt Kisco, NY.

Call 917-697-6396 or email  Visit

Don’t Miss All Aboard with Thomas & Friends™ at The New York Botanical Garden, January 1–27, 2013.  Join Thomas and Driver Sam for All Aboard with Thomas & Friends™. Help Thomas find his way from Knapford Station to Brendam Docks using teamwork, friendship, and discovery in this fun-filled sing-along, mini-performance adventure. Bring your camera to have your photo taken with Thomas after the performance.
All Aboard with Thomas & Friends™ joins the Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show, which features large-scale model trains traversing more than 140 replicas of New York landmarks such as the Empire State Building, Yankee Stadium, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the original Pennsylvania Station—all created from plant parts such as gourds, berries, pine cones, leaves, and seeds. The Holiday Train Show runs through January 13.  The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx River Parkway (Exit 7W) and Fordham Road, Bronx, N.Y.  January 1–27, 2013.  There are between two and four performances a day; times vary between 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Visit for the full schedule.  All Aboard with Thomas & Friends™ is included in the All-Garden Pass, which also grants admission to the Holiday Train Show.  Pricing: Adults $20, Seniors/Students $18, Children ages 2–12 $10, Children under 2 free.  Pricing on January 1: Adults $25, Seniors/Students $22, Children ages 2–12 $15. Children under 2 free.  Visit for more information and to purchase tickets.

The Art of Origami – Sunday, January 13
Take a 20-minute, family-friendly tour of Bush-Holley House, learn about Japanese artist and illustrator Genjiro Yeto (who was often in residence at Bush-Holley House) and find out how Japanese art influenced Cos Cob art colony artists in many ways. To continue learning about Japanese art, families may drop in at the Vanderbilt Education Center any time before or after their tours and choose from three origami projects: a jumping frog, a colorful box or an origami tower.

Vintage Valentines.  Sunday, February 10, 2013
In honor of Valentine’s Day, take a special 20-minute, family-friendly tour of Bush-Holley House, work on a heart-shaped yarn-stitching project and see vintage cards from the collection of the MacRae family, residents of Bush-Holley House during the home’s art colony period. Then visit the Vanderbilt Education Center before or after the tour to create your very own Valentine’s Day cards based on vintage designs.

Drop into family programs any time from noon to 4:00 pm.  First tour begins at 12:30 pm, and last tour takes place at 3:30 pm.  Bush-Holley House and Vanderbilt Education Center, 39 Strickland Road, Cos Cob, CT 06807.  Members: $5.00; nonmembers: $10.00. All project supplies will be provided.  Visit or call 203-869-6899, Ext. 10, to purchase tickets in advance.

Join us on January 13, 2013 for a family volunteer event at Northern Westchester Hospital. Bring the kids, bring your friends, and come decorate goody bags for the kids in the hospital over Valentine’s Day. We will be stuffing Valentine’s Day goody bags for the pediatric patients at the hospital. The event will be held in a conference room and will entail adding small games, toys, etc to bags for the kids. Your family can also help decorate the bags or write get well messages to the patients.

Click here to rsvp

A word that can’t even begin to touch the way we are all feeling right now.  Loss, anger, fear, disgust, helplessness.  A combination of all of them.

I have been waiting to write something, trying to think of whether I needed to add my voice to the loud cacophony of voices talking about the horrific deaths that happened so very close to home.  Too close.  But for this to happen, as it has so many times, is too close to anyone’s home.  It’s wrong, it’s inexcusable, it’s frustrating in its frequency, and terrifying in its ability to leave us feeling utterly helpless at protecting our children from the world around them. And so I have written nothing.  I have circled the wagons, spent time with my kids, and hugged my husband.  And I have not stopped thinking about the families who can do none of that.

I spent yesterday morning on a field trip with my son’s class — we went to a senior home and the kids decorated cookies with the seniors and then sang carols to them.  Watching the children lined up and singing, green ribbons in their hair, around their wrists, tied to their belts, or dressed in green and white for the children of Newtown made my heart ache.  I felt lucky, and honored, and guilty, and so so sad for the parents who have lost this and so much more.  And so, I ask myself as I have daily — what do we do?  How can we send our children off into the world without worrying or over thinking or fretting?  We can’t.  Terrible things happen daily and without reason.  In my view the only thing we have left to do is to do our best.

We can care for our children.  We can care for our families.  Our friends.  Our communities.  We can teach our kids how to be kind, and gentle, and good citizens, we can seek help for them when they need it — whether they are being bullied or are bullies.  We can teach them the best way to protect themselves when protection is possible, we can listen to them when they speak and DO something when there is something to be done to make their lives easier, or safer.  We can take time away from the rush and craze of everyday life and we can just be with them.  It’s not hard.  Their lives won’t change if they don’t make it to that practice because they’re tired.  They won’t be less successful in life if they are artists rather than math geniuses.  If we accept that and allow that and let them be who they are, maybe we will be raising a better world of people.  I know it’s a tall ask, but an ask it is.  I hear so many people complaining about having to miss family time because their kids have this game or that lesson — but the thing is, you can stop.  You can CHOOSE.  You can value a hug and a snuggle.  I know we all want the best possible futures for our kids, but the prices we are paying as families is too high.  We are missing precious moments, letting time slip by misused.  We are hurrying, and stressing, and scheduling, and not FEELING.  We’re too caught up in the have-to-dos rather than the want-to-dos.

I know we have all been taking this time, loving our kids, and thinking about our families and counting our blessings.  While you are doing that, think about what you can really change, what you really value and take the very best of what you do and do it better, do it together, and enjoy it.

Life is too damn short and too damn hard.  Be aware of your needs and make them happen. Be kind, be loving, be giving.  Find your happy and commit to it.  Maybe we can’t save the world, but we can save our families, our friends or those less fortunate in our communities, and who knows, maybe it’ll add up.  Maybe it won’t, but I can guarantee that it will change your life.

Be well, be safe, and be together.  Sending love from my family to yours and to the families forever changed by this devastating loss of life.



TIMELINE UPDATE regarding the Bedford Central School District Community Investment Program/Capital Plan.  The BCSD Board of Education met on Wednesday, 12/12 and heard a presentations on the community feedback from the telephone & internet surveys, plus multiple Community Engagements, meetings, emails ~ representing over 1,000 communications.  The phone survey is statistically important as over half of the 500 respondents do not have children within the BCSD. It also had community representative numbers of men/women from various age brackets across our 59 sq. mile District.   Interestingly, over 70% of our citizens agree:  People move into this area because of the reputation of the Bedford Central School District, The quality of our public schools is the most important factor protecting property values, We get excellent value in education for the taxes we pay to the Bedford Central School District, We need to keep our school buildings up-to-date and in good condition to protect our community’s investment in those facilities, We need to take whatever steps are necessary to renovate our school buildings to accommodate up-to-date teaching, curriculum, and instructional technology, When it comes to building improvement plans, it is important to include green design features for energy efficiency and sustainability, School building design features should be taken advantage of as an opportunity for students to learn about energy efficiency and sustainability.  The BCSD Capital Planning Committee, Budget Advisory, Sustainability and other Citizens Advisory Committees are meeting frequently to ‘scrub’ the proposed capital plan to categorize items and prioritize their recommendations.  What’s next before the turn of the New Year?  The community is Invited to Attend or Watch the upcoming informative Board of Education Meeting on Wednesday, 12/19, 7pm Fox Lane Middle School Little Theater, BCSD Citizens Advisory Committees will present their line item details as well as Capital Plan Recommendations.   We encourage the community to attend the Board of Education meetings to be fully informed and part of the process.  Meetings can also be watched:  ONLINE @ BCSD-TV:  click here, Verizon Channel 1982, Cablevision Channel 18, Presentations will continue to be posted on

Because anxiety is a common challenge facing children and families today, Westchester Jewish Community Services’ (WJCS) Project SEED, The Jewish Education Project and UJA-Federation of New York’s WJCS Mental Health GPS are sponsoring Young Children Get Anxious Too, a conference for parents and professionals. This free event will be held Tuesday, January 8 from 7 – 9 PM at Temple Israel Center (280 Old Mamaroneck Road, White Plains, NY 10605).  Keynote Speaker will be Allison Werner-Lin, PhD and panelists include Marilyn L. Cooperman, PhD; Aleta Koman, MEd and Margarita Munoz-Dummit, MD. For more information or to register, contact Brenda Haas, LMSW, EdM, WJCS GPS Director, at

Saturday, December 15, 9:00 – 10:00 am.  Jeanne Markel, wife of Blue Sky director Chris Wedge, will read The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs. After the reading, children are invited to create their own “doodle bugs” in the Learning Center.   Free with Museum admission.  Katonah Museum of Art,

Katy Bray, Gretchen Menzies, and Kerry Tomson Invite you to Know Your “Girls”: Strategies for Breast Health.  Featuring Karen Arthur, MD, breast surgeon and Mary Greco, NP from Northern Westchester Hospital’s Breast Institute.  Wednesday,  January 23, 2012.  10:30AM panel followed by open Q&A session.  Northern Westchester Hospital, 400 East Main Street, Mount Kisco, NY 10549, North Building Conference Center.  Tickets are $10 per person.  Email or click here for ticket information.

Experts from the Hospital’s Breast Institute will speak about breast health topics ranging from puberty to prevention — from helping your daughters be “breast healthy”, to what we need to be aware of as we head into the “mammogram years.”

Did You Know?
Northern Westchester Hospital offers unique breast health services through The Breast Institute.  The Breast Institute has a dedicated staff, examination rooms, consultation rooms and treatment rooms, just steps away from the resources of the Hospital. Get to know us BEFORE you need us.  Risk assessments and yearly care available…come learn more about the services at your hospital.

What is the NWH Speaker Series?
Get to know Northern Westchester Hospital’s amazing medical staff as its experts speak on topics that they know best.  Learn what the Hospital can do to serve your needs and take control of your family’s health and wellness. Enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and come educate yourself on topics that interest you and directly relate to your life.

The Steffi Nossen School of Dance (SNSD) invites the Westchester community to participate in all dance classes free of charge during its Week of Dance series taking place from January 7 – January 12, 2013.  With two dance studio locations in central Westchester County; one in White Plains (at the Music Conservatory of Westchester across from County Center) and the other in Chappaqua, SNSD offers classes that appeal to the diverse interests of dance students of all levels.  The school’s Core Curriculum of modern dance classes are designed for children, preschool through third grade. Accompanied by live music, these classes are designed to encourage participation and enthusiasm among students.  These classes are followed by a fourth and fifth grade Modern/Jazz and sixth grade and up Jazz classes which introduce and explore the rhythm, styles and music of the Jazz idiom. SNSD technique programs include Modern, Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, and a Young Children’s Ballet program beginning with Classical Story Ballet at age 3.  The Steffi Nossen curriculum develops both technique and creativity while emphasizing movement and dance vocabulary.  All classes offered during the Week of Dance series are available on a trial-basis to the public at no charge. For more information please visit or call 914-328-1900.  Steffi Nossen School of Dance is located at Central Studios at the Music Conservatory of Westchester, 216 Central Avenue, White Plains, NY 10601. Chappaqua classes are held at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin on S. Greeley Avenue between Bell School and the Library. To learn more about Steffi Nossen School of Dance, please visit

Santa is returning to the historic 1787 Court House on Saturday, December 15th from 11am to 2pm. Children and their parents can meet with Santa and pose for pictures.  There will be winter-themed crafts for all ages along with refreshments including homemade cookies. The Bedford Historical Society is hosting this event for the community with the help of many of its members. The event is at the 1787 Court House, 615 Old Post Road, and the cost is $10 per child. RSVPs can be made through their website:  or by calling the Historical Society at 914-234-9751. You can also drop in the day of the event though RSVPs are preferred.  Santa Comes to Bedford was introduced by the Historical Society last year after several members volunteered to put a winter-themed, children’s event together to give families an opportunity to enjoy a more old-fashioned take on the holiday season.  Bubble & Tweet’s band of elves will again decorate the tree which was generously donated by Perennial Gardens. The Historical Society member who plays Santa, and prefers to remain anonymous, has been working on his “ho, ho, ho’s” and stockpiling candy canes since last December. Though Santa will be holding court and posing for pictures, there will be plenty of non-denominational crafts and goodies to please everyone.
“When we started this last year, we thought we’d end up with local families coming to the Court House to make crafts and eat cookies” said Nancie Tripodi, one of the original organizers of the event.  “We ended up having over 100 children from Bedford and surrounding towns and a line of families waiting to see Santa. After all the positive feedback, we realized we had to do it again this year.  We have new crafts and a range of activities so we hope we have even more families participating this year,” said Nancie.

With the Katonah Chamber of Commerce at the Gazebo (across the street from the Katonah Restauarant).  Saturday, December 15th at 3pm.  Join us for song and merriment. Laurie Lewis will lead us in traditional (and perhaps some not-so-traditional) holiday songs. Bring your enthusiasm and we’ll provide music and lyrics. You don’t need to be a great singer — you just have to want to sing!  We plan to meet and sing at the Gazebo, but we’d love to have a big enough crowd to force us to move to a bigger spot in downtown Katonah, so come one and come all!

‘Tis the Season for Giving Back!   Join us as we inspire, equip and mobilize volunteers to take actions that change the world. We now have over 800 service opportunities listed in our HandsOn Connect database.  Try them on for size through HandsOn Connect, located at, from the comfort of your living room or wherever you surf.  Enter your zip code and all of the entries will be listed for you.   Unlike many of the largest web retailers, we also have staff and volunteers anxious to help you give that perfect gift: yourself.  Call us at (914) 948-4452 to talk to Zachary, Katie, Brenda, Joan or Bernice on the phone or in person.

Hanukah Happening & Helping.  Sunday, Dec. 9, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  Eight activities to celebrate the eight joyous nights of Hanukah! Jam to Calypso Conroy’s groovin’ Hanukkah tunes, make gifts for family and friends in our Gift Factory, have fun in our Judah Macabee Relay Race, participate in a family chanukiah lighting, enjoy edible dreidels, enjoy a falafel for lunch, and more! Bring an unwrapped toy, donate to a hurricane relief fund, and help package holiday gift bags for hurricane victims.  Fee: $10/child.  Takes place at the Rosenthal JCC, 600 Bear Ridge Road, Pleasantville, NY  10570, (914) 741-0333 x25,

J-Baby: Great Gym Play Date.  Tuesday, Dec. 18, 8:30 – 11:00 a.m.  Brighten up the darkest days of winter by making a Havdalah candle and playing with Rosenthal JCC J-Baby friends at Gymboree. $10/family.  Takes place at the Gymboree, 3631 Hill Blvd., Jefferson Valley, NY,

School Break Mini Camps.  Little Chefs Holiday Mini-Camp for Young Children.  Wednesday – Friday, Dec. 26 – 28, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  Three and four year olds are invited to stir up something good to eat, jump in our air castle, and play fun games at the Rosenthal JCC. $65/child/day.  Takes place at the Rosenthal JCC, 600 Bear Ridge Road, Pleasantville, NY  10570, (914) 741-0333 x22,

Holiday Mini-Camp for School Aged Children.  Wednesday – Friday, Dec. 26 – 28, 8:15 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.  Being out of school doesn’t have to be boring! Children K- 7th grade come to the JCC for fun crafts, edible projects, sports clinics, parties and other games. Meet your friends or make new ones. $30 to $65/child/day.  Takes place at the Rosenthal JCC, 600 Bear Ridge Road, Pleasantville, NY  10570, (914) 741-0333 x15,

Trailblazers at the RJCC Holiday Mini-Camp.  Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 26 & Dec. 27, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  Children K – 5th with special needs will have fun in a small, supportive environment, while parents get a little time for themselves. Inclusion opportunities available. Intake interview required.  Takes place at the Rosenthal JCC, 600 Bear Ridge Road, Pleasantville, NY  10570, (914) 741-0333 x28,

The Mitzvah Project – Family Division.  Sunday, Dec. 16, 2:30 – 4:45 p.m.  Families with children in elementary school – come to the Rosenthal JCC to make gifts and then deliver them to children at The Edenwald Center at The Cottage Schools in Pleasantville. Do good with hands-on social action projects through The Mitzvah Project.  Leave from and return to the Rosenthal JCC, 600 Bear Ridge Road, Pleasantville, NY  10570, (914) 741-0333 x15,

Saturday Night Chillin’ for Tweens and Teens.  Saturday, Dec. 15 at 6:00 p.m.  Does your tween or teen need support negotiating the social scene? One Saturday night a month, come hang out with other tweens and teens, enjoy a pizza dinner and a fun recreational activity while gaining the skills needed to be part of a social peer group. Interview required.  Takes place at the Rosenthal JCC, 600 Bear Ridge Road, Pleasantville, NY  10570, (914) 741-0333 x28,

The homecoming of America’s favorite snowman, Frosty, will be celebrated again this year with “Frosty Day” by his hometown of Armonk, New York on Saturday, December 8.  Activities and fun-filled family events will start at 2:00 p.m. in town; they include a Main Street scavenger hunt, Frosty cartoons at the North Castle Public Library, and the Smith’s Tavern Open House.  The highlight of Frosty Day will be a parade starting at 4:30 p.m. that will begin at Armonk Town Center, go down Main Street, then onto Bedford Avenue and past the “Village Square” mentioned in the song.  More than 30 local groups and organizations will participate with floats, lights, dancing, costumes and music to welcome Frosty home.   Frosty then invites everyone to become part of the parade.

The parade will culminate at Wampus Brook Park for a gala holiday lighting ceremony.  Since December 8th is the first night of Hanukkah, this year’s ceremony will feature the lighting of the first candle on the menorah at sundown.  After the holiday lighting, activities will continue with the annual Winter Walk and Main Street Open House; restaurants, merchants and businesses will welcome in the holidays.

Friends of Frosty, Inc., a non-profit group formed to oversee the day’s activities and events, will this year initiate a Winter Warmth project, “Help Frosty Help Others.” It will collect clean and gently used winter clothing, such as hats, gloves, scarves, mittens, parkas and coats, for those in need, at several locations around town.  Donations are being sought for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

During this time of the December holidays, where several religions are symbolized in civic and educational settings, Frosty the Snowman remains a symbol of the fun and excitement of the winter holiday season.  Ed Woodyard, a long-time organizer of the town-wide holiday event, remarked,  “Frosty reminds people of the magic to be found during this time of year, for young and old alike.”  Located in the Town of North Castle, Armonk’s Historic District is the “Village Square” mentioned in the song’s lyrics where Frosty dared the children to “catch me if you can.”  The lyricist of the winter holiday classic, Steve Nelson, was a frequent visitor to Armonk after World War II from his home in nearby White Plains, NY.

Please visit the Friends of Frosty Web site at