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Volume 5 |February 2011 | KidsFunPlaza

Classroom Valentines for the First Time

New School Dreams

in Clifton Park and Bamako, Mali

A Great Time for a

New Valentine’s Tradition

Who Is Your Teen Going To Call if something sad happens?

Avon Scherff:

Inspiring and Empowering Young Women

School Guide

in North Eastern NY Makeover Love:

The Responsible Way

An Easier Way to DIY with

Cute, Customizable Stationery

February 2011 | NENY, Northeastern, NY | KidsFunPlaza 1



his February, Kids Fun Plaza is celebrating love. I’ve always been a bit of a hopeless romantic, so this is right up my alley.

New School Dreams in Clifton Park and Bamako, Mali Educator Of The Month From Saratoga County ............................... 4 Avon Scherff: Inspiring and Empowering Young Women Parent of the Month.......................................................................... 6 Expressing Love in Different Ways..................................................... 8 A Great Time for a New Valentine’s Tradition ................................... 9 School Guide for North Eastern NY................................................. 11 The Many Benefits of Toddler Playgroups....................................... 16 KidsFunKitchen................................................................................ 17 Classroom Valentines for the First Time ........................................ 20 An Easier Way to DIY with Cute, Customizable Stationery....................................................... 21 Combat BULLYING with Lessons of Love......................................... 23 Makeover Love: The Responsible Way............................................ 24 Who Is Your Teen Going To Call if something sad happens?.............................................................. 26 Household Tips & Tricks with a Little Romance to Boot!................. 28 La Placita......................................................................................... 29 Here Is What ’S Happening ............................................................. 31

When I was growing up, I remember getting a special Valentine from my dad every year. I’m sure it involved some sort of toy when I was little, but it evolved into the same pound of chocolates in a big, red heartshaped box once I was a teenager. I continued to get Valentines from my dad all through college; I can still point to the assortment on the shelves of the store today. The Valentine chocolates didn’t stop coming until I was married. (Then I started getting them from my husband!) Of course, the chocolates were never actually purchased by my dad. My mom always did all the shopping. But my Valentines were always from him, and the Valentines for my brothers were always from her. I wasn’t the stereotypical Daddy’s Little Girl, but we always had that. Now I give a Valentine to my son TJ each year. Tom and I agreed that they can always be from Mommy, not Daddy. (At least I think we agreed. Unless I just “agreed” for him!) Let’s take this month to reflect on love in all of its forms – not just romantic love and familial love, but the love we have for friends, too. Sandra discusses the importance of friendship for teens, while Beth tackles the subject of modern bullying. Kelly has some ideas for starting Valentine’s Day traditions with your baby and I have some suggestions for handling preschool Valentines. Linda shares some tips – both around the house and for your relationship – while Ali talks about loving your body and treating it right with healthy products. Spread the love today. Tell your kids you love them. Tell your friends you love them. It’ll brighten their day!

Chistina Gleason

Kids Fun Plaza Facebook Contest You can win a $100 Visa gift card from Kids Fun Plaza! Here’s how: Like Kids Fun Plaza on Facebook Write on our wall and tell us about your favorite part of Kids Fun Plaza or if there’s anything we’re missing that you would like us to add.

EDITOR’S LETTER Meet Our Team Publisher Ana Roca Castro Editor in Chief Christina Gleason Art Director Catalina Arango Marketing Director Coleen Valenti Advertising Coordinator Erin Tiernan Diversity Manager Roxanna Homic Columnists Educator of the Month, Parent of the Month, Toddler, Kiddo

Beth Levine Green & Healthy, Health Provider of the Month, Arts & Crafts

Alina M. Hensley Preschooler, Special Needs Christina Gleason KidsFunKitchen Ana Roca Castro La Placita Roxanna Homic Community Events Roxanca Chirac Teens Sandra Foyt Grandma’s Wisdom Linda Carmical

One lucky winner will be chosen at random for the $100 Visa gift card and announced in our next issue. So stop by our Facebook page today and enter to win! Check out our Facebook Page for more contests. • Follow us on Twitter @KidsFunPlaza 2 KidsFunPlaza | NENY, Northeastern, NY ||February Dec-Jan 2010/2011 2011

February 2011 | NENY, Northeastern, NY | KidsFunPlaza 3

Educator of the Month from Saratoga County


New School Dreams

in Clifton Park and Bamako, Mali By Beth Levine,

Educator of the Month

and music. We will be sending them the video of our Christmas concert and hope to get a return video. We also e-mail photos of the student art work. Q: What are some future projects that the two groups of children will be working on?

In September 2010, St. George’s Elementary School officially opened the doors for the first time. The parish already had an established preschool program, but planned to gradually expand to older students. To begin, they would offer a full day kindergarten and first grade for the inaugural group of children.

A: One hope is that the St. George’s students can design and make their own alphabet books using illustrations from their own life and send them to the students in Mali. This would be a thank you for the wooden hand carved chair that they sent.

Q&A with Phyllis Aldrich:


s St. George’s was preparing to open their new school, a unique experience presented itself. A new school in West Africa would be opening their doors. The connection was a home town teacher. Melanie Gulyas Sanogo was going to be the lead teacher at the Bamako International Academy. Melanie was raised in Clifton Park and attended St. George’s Episcopal Church. She and her husband live in Mali, and both teach at the school. Melanie teaches kindergarten at the school in Bamako, along with after school art and dance classes for the children. Many of the children that she teaches speak several languages, but Melanie is teaching them English, since that is the language they will be instructed in. This year, the class has seven children, most of whom are not from Mali but from other countries while their parents work here.

Beth is a happily married teacher, now SAHM to her two young sons. She has a passion for all things Disney, reading, crafting , and traveling. A camera is always close to catch memories for her blog,

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Back here in Clifton Park, Sheray Tario is the head teacher at St. George’s. A graduate of Skidmore College, she is teaching the children in her class using an inquiry-based academic curriculum. Along with the Board of St. George’s, they have been busy making sure that the school meets and exceeds the New York State Standards in all academic areas. The two schools had big dreams and wanted to give their students opportunities that were not available in many other locations. They planned to coordinate activities, send each other items that represent their areas, possibly try to Skype with one another, and more. Unfortunately, things do not always work out the way you expect them. Recently, I was able to hear more about the program from Phyllis Aldrich. Aldrich is a trustee for St. George’s. She sat down and answered some questions about the initial program between the schools. She was very honest about the challenges and the hope for the future given recent obstacles. St. George’s has not given up. They are learning from this experience and are hoping to build an even better program thanks to the initial growing pains. It is because of this dedication to the children of St. George’s that they were selected as the February Educators of the Month.

Q: On the school website, it states that: “An emphasis on History and Geography will lead to an exploration of major world cultures and historical events as we seek to develop each child’s cultural literacy.” Explain how your partnership with the school in Mali helps you to accomplish this goal. A: The classroom has a large rug depicting the whole world that the children sit on for daily morning meetings. They take turns sitting on the African continent and listen to stories. During December, they explored holiday celebrations from around the world and completed art projects featuring Kwanza, the Hindu Dwali festival of light, Swedish St. Lucia Christmas tradition, the festival of Chanukah, and the Muslim feast of Ramadan that most people in Mali celebrate. Q: Do the children in both of the schools have an opportunity to interact in real time like with Skype, or is there another way that you are working together? A: No, Skype communication turned out to be impractical due to the eight hour time difference. The St. George’s students have written some letters and illustrated some stories to send to Melanie’s students in Bamako. Both classes engage in daily art

Q: To date what has been the biggest obstacle in the program? A: The obstacles – both teachers were new to teaching kindergarten and had to design and set up their classrooms in a site that had not been a school before. Therefore, they were so busy that it was hard to fit in time to share their lessons and plans with each other. Unfortunately, due to medical issues, Melanie will have to leave Mali in early January to return to Clifton Park, so the partnership will have to go on hold. Q: Given the challenges coordinating the activities and planning between the two schools, will you be trying to connect St. George’s and the school in Mali again next year? A: Since a global awareness is an important part of the mission of our school, we will continue to build a partnership if Melanie Gulyas can advise us while she is at home for the semester. If she cannot, then we will look for another partner school. An alternate option is to partner with a school in Southern China, an area where one of our current kindergarten parents used to teach. She is native Chinese and has taught a popular after school class on Mandarin Chinese for five-year-old students two days a week this fall. Many students have learned to count to 20 in Chinese and can greet and sing Chinese children’s songs.

Q: Assuming the 2011-2012 program continues, what new ideas will be used to bridge the gap between the kids in the two countries? A: The teacher would like to incorporate regular letter writing exchanges, and to invite some children to prepare simple Power Point slide shows to show other children what life is like in Clifton Park.

A big thank you to Phyllis Aldrich, trustee from St. George’s, for taking time to do this interview. I wish this unique international program much success as they set goals for the 20112012 academic year.

For more information about St. George’s Elementary School, go to

February 2011 | NENY, Northeastern, NY | KidsFunPlaza 5

Avon Scherff

Parent of the Month Q – If money was no issue, what additional items would you love to have for I Am I Can?

Inspiring and Empowering Young Women

A: The fundraising that we do will provide financial resources to the girls during high school, but if money was no issue, we could provide funding to support post-graduate goals: college, military programs, cosmetology school, technical school, etc. We encourage the girls to have a professional goal after high school, but clearly recognize that college may not be for everyone.

“Encourage young women to discover their dreams, to believe their future holds endless possibilities and empower them to make it happen.”


hose are the words that make up the mission statement of the non-profit I Am I Can. This new organization starting in the Capital District is the brain child of Avon Scherff, the owner of Scherff Insurance Agency, Inc. The mother of a teenage son, Avon wants to join with other professional women in the community to mentor girls in grades 9-12. The organization will provide encouragement, guidance, and advocacy to young women as they focus on a goal after high school graduation. Avon Scherff talks about her organization with passion and vigor. She is excited to share her dream to help high school girls to set, work toward, and reach goals. Scherff wants to help teen girls to think ahead about life after high school. She wants them to graduate and then have something they want to do after. That may be the military, college, vocational school, starting their own business, or something else. Avon has spent the last few months working with people in the community to set up a board for I Am I Can. They have bylaws established, along with some community directors and advocates. Now Avon hopes that, with additional people taking on responsibility within the organization, they can all work toward the three core values of I Am I Can:

u v w

• The future belongs to those who dare to dream

• Self-empowerment can bring monumental change

Every young woman has endless potential

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Q – What are some opportunities for people in the community to get involved with I Am I Can?

It is because of this dedication to Saratoga and the greater Capital District community that Avon Scherff was selected as the February Parent of the Month.

Q&A with Avon Scherff Q: – Please explain what I Am I Can is and why you decided to create this non-profit organization in June. A: As a young girl from a struggling family, I have a passion to work with girls to instill in them that all things are possible – if they believe! My son is a junior in high school, so I see and hear about the struggles of teenage girls in our own community. I want to be able to provide a resource for girls who lack self-confidence and self-esteem, girls who feel like they are invisible and have no options. Q – Dream it. Believe it. Do it. Those are the powerful words that support the mission statement behind I Am I Can. How do you help to encourage young women to follow this using your mission statement? A: I think any relationship takes time to build – our advocates/mentors will work with these young women on a one-on-one basis to develop trust – they will spend time together in the hopes of “building them up” and instilling in them that there is a wonderful life ahead of them filled with opportunity. We want all young women to embrace a dream, believe in themselves, and become empowered to make it happen.

Q – What is the most rewarding part of your non-profit work? A: I think what has amazed me thus far in building this organization are the stories that other professional women have shared with me about their lives. I don’t think my story or experiences are unique. There are many women that I know who have overcome huge adversity to achieve their dreams. Many of them have shared their struggles, their tragedies, their hardships – which only reinforces my belief that life is not a sequence of events, but how the events in our lives shape who we become. Q – How has being a parent helped you with your role in the community? A: Because I have a son who is a junior in high school, I have had the opportunity to meet with the guidance counselors, school psychologist, school nurse, etc. to talk about the organization and the resources we can bring to the girls we serve. I also think being a parent allows me some insight into the challenges they face as students. Previous to launching my own non-profit, I served on several other boards and committees, which provided me the experience relevant to starting I Am I Can.

By Beth Levine,

Mission Statement “Encourage young women to discover their dreams, to believe their future holds endless possibilities and empower them to make it happen.”

A: We are in need of women who would like to get involved and have a passion to work with young women. We have board positions available, as well as Community Directors and Advocates. We will be holding informational meetings in January for those who would like to learn more. A big thank you to Avon Scherff, the founder of I Am I Can, for taking the time to do this interview. It was a pleasure talking with her and learning about her new organization to help high school girls within the region to reach their goals. I wish Avon and I Am I Can much success. By early 2011, I Am I Can hopes to have secured an official non-profit title. Soon, girls and mentors will be paired. Remember, as more volunteers within the area step forward, additional I Am I Can locations in other counties are possible for girls in other counties.


Core Values belongs to The future to dream. re da those who Self-empowerment can bring monumental change.

Online at:

To learn more about I Am I Can, please go to the website – Here you will find additional information about the program, including how to contact Avon about Student Participation, Board positions, Community Directors,Mentors/Advocates,Volunteering Opportunities, and donations of time, talent, or treasure.

Every young woman has endless potential.

Beth is a happily married teacher, now SAHM to her two young sons. She has a passion for all things Disney, reading, crafting , and traveling. A camera is always close to catch memories for her blog,

February 2011 | NENY, Northeastern, NY | KidsFunPlaza 7

Special Needs


Expressing Love

A Great Time

New Valentine’s Tradition

in Different Ways

I have a cousin with severe autism; he’s completely nonverbal. He’s used various forms of touch talkers throughout the years, and he’s grown up now, but we all know when he’s really happy or he loves someone even when he doesn’t say a word. I love watching him walk up to our grandma – who is about a foot shorter than him – and look into her eyes while clapping his hands on his cheeks and smiling. We all know that means, “I love you, Grandma.”

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F By Christina Gleason,

Maybe your child has severe mobility issues that prevent him or her from being able to hug or kiss you. Part of you probably aches to feel their arms around you, but you know how much they love you when they smile and giggle when you hug and kiss them. Find joy in “Eskimo kisses” where you just rub noses with each other.

amilies have traditions for birthdays and other holidays. Why not Valentine’s Day? It’s not as hectic as other holidays, making it much easier to do things!

In my family, Valentine’s Day was a day to show our love and appreciation for each other, not just our “valentines.”

Taking your baby’s handprints every year and making a picture with them for parents or grandparents.

Every year when we woke up on Valentine’s Day when I was a kid, we would run to the breakfast table to see what special present was waiting there for us. Every year, my dad gave us a Valentine. We always got a special card, different for each child; and when we were old enough, we got chocolate, too.

Then there are some kids who are physically capable of hugging and kissing but just can’t tolerate being touched for one reason or another. If your child is like this, you’ve probably devised a system of blowing kisses and “air hugs.” In case you’re looking for more, I got a great idea from this book called The Paper Chain, which I’ve been reading with TJ since my dad was diagnosed with cancer. The mom in the book does yarn hugs with her kids when she’s recovering from surgery, where they wrap a piece of yarn around each other instead of their arms. You could use yarn or ribbon with your child if he or she does not like to be touched. Don’t forget that love does not have to be expressed directly. Just as you can show your child how much you love him or her with the little things you do, you can find love in the way your child looks at you, the way he or she smiles when you’re together, and even when they’re misbehaving in order to get the attention from you that they crave.

Here are some ideas:

Making a special craft together and keeping them in a special box every year.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Christina Gleason is a happily married mom of one very active little boy and Founder of Phenomenal Content LLC, which provides online copywriting for businesses. Read her blog at www.!

Why don’t you start a Valentine’s Day family tradition while your baby is still young? They will remember. They will feel special. It doesn’t have to be something that is a lot of work, just the same idea every year.

Having a picnic meal.

Making everything in the shape of hearts for the day. Pancakes, sandwiches, cookies. Leave a special note by your child’s toothbrush or on the bathroom mirror.

Leaving a special present for them on Valentine’s Day, before breakfast or after school.

It didn’t matter what Daddy left for us, it was that he always showed us he loved us on Valentine’s Day, always made us feel special. I remember every year thinking, “Is he still going to do it this year?” After all, my dad started this when we were really, really little. He never forgot a single year. Every year, my dad made us feel extra special on Valentine’s Day.

Photo by


ove can be pretty hard to put into words for anyone, but we all know how wonderful it is to hear those words, “I love you,” from our significant others. Many of us are lucky enough to hear it from our kids, too, but sometimes our kids have a hard time expressing what they feel. There can be a variety of challenges that makes it difficult, if not impossible, for our special needs kids to say those three magic words.

for a

Whatever you decide, just keep doing it. 40some years later, I still remember what my dad did for me as a baby because he did it every year as far back as I can remember!

Kelly Razzano Part time pediatric nurse and part time stay at home {meaning constantly on the go} Mom of 2. I have been blogging at, show up on the news frequently, and I love to help small local businesses. In my “spare time” I do web design and search engine optimization and have tons of fun doing it!

February 2011 | NENY, Northeastern, NY | KidsFunPlaza 9


North Eastern NY

Community Guide

By Linda Carmical

A to inspire a sense of wonder about extraordinary scientific and technological developments: past, present, and future

child receiving a good education is always at the top of a parent’s list of important responsibilities. Academics aren’t your only concern when choosing a school for your child; you’re also going to be looking out for their safety. We often see schools in the headlines as the “top story” on the 6:00 news for poor education rankings, overcrowding, safety issues, and poor teacher ratings – so it’s nice to know you have alternatives to make sure your child’s safety and education are in good hands. You could have a variety of reasons for sending your child to a private school, whether it’s a long-standing family tradition or something completely different. Whatever the case, we have compiled a list of private schools in the area for your convenience. This is not a complete list, but it’s a good place to start.

ALBANY COUNTY Academy of the Holy Name PK-12 1075 New Scotland Road Albany, NY, 12208 (518)438-7895 aspx?t=139257 The Albany Academy (All Boys) PK-12 135 Academy Road, Albany, NY, 12208 (518)465-1461 Albany Academy for Girls (All Girls) PK-12 140 Academy Road Albany, NY, 12208 (518)463-2201

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Bet Shraga Hebre Academy K-8 54 Sand Creek Road Albany, NY, 12205 (518)482-0464

Bishop Maginn High School 9-12 99 Slingerland Street Albany, NY, 12202 (518)463-2247

Blessed Sacrament School PK-8 605 Central Avenue Albany, NY, 12206 (518)438-5854

Kevin G Langan School (Special Education) 5-8 314 So Manning Blvd Albany, NY, 12208 (518)437-5689

Christ the King Elementary School PK-8 20 Sumpter Avenue Albany, NY, 12203 (518)456-5400 www.rcdaschools. orgchristthekingschool/

Maimonides Hebrew Day School PK-11 PO Box 8806 Albany, NY, 12208 (518)453-9363

Christian Brothers Academy (All Boys) 6-12 12 Airline Drive Albany, NY, 12205 (518)452-9809 Colonie Christian Academy K-8 1312 Central Avenue Albany, NY, 12205 (518)435-9086 The Free School (Alternative School) PK-8 8 Elm Street Albany, NY, 12202 (518)434-3072

Helderberg Christian School K-6 PO Box 164 Westerlo, NY, 12193 (518)797-3977

Mater Christi School PK-8 35 Hurst Avenue Albany, NY, 12208 (518)489-3111 Our Savior’s Lutheran School PK-6 63 Mountain View Avenue Albany, NY, 12205 (518)459-2273 Parsons Child and Family Center (Special Education) 5-8 60 Academy Road Albany, NY, 12208 (518)426-2785

Holy Cross Elementary School PK-8 10 Rosemont Street Albany, NY, 12203 (518)438-0066

St. Anne Institute (Special Education School - All-girls) 7-12 160 North Main Avenue Albany, NY, 12206 (518)437-6501

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School-Guide St. Catherine’s Center for Children (School with Special Program Emphasis)

NS-6 30 North Main Avenue Albany, NY, 12203 (518)453-6737

Bella’s Delicatessen (518) 668-3354 Lake George 42 Amherst St Lake George, NY 12845

St. James Institute School PK-8 50 Summit Avenue, Albany, NY, 12209 (518)465-1973 Cobb Memorial School 1-7 100-300 Mt. Presentation Way PO Box 503 Altamont, NY, 12009 (518)861-6446 St. Thomas the Apostle School PK-8 42 Adams Place Delmar, NY, 12054 (518)439-5573

Visit to see what local moms have to say about their services

North Eastern NY

St. Ambrose School NS-8 347 Old Loudon Road Latham, NY, 12110 (518)785-6453

Emma Willard School 9-12 285 Pawling Avenue Troy, NY, 12180 (518)833-1302

Loudonville Christian School PK-12 374 Loudon Road Loudonville, NY, 12211 (518)434-6051

La Salle Institute 6-12 174 Williams Road Troy, NY, 12180 (518)283-2500

St. Gregory’s School All Boys PK-8 121 Old Niskayuna Road Loudonville, NY, 12211 Tel: (518)785-6621

Oakwood Christian School PK-12 260 Oakwood Avenue Troy, NY, 12182 (518)271-0526

St. Pius X School PK-8 75 Upper Loudon Road Loudonville, NY, 12211 (518)465-4539 RENSSELAER COUNTY

Mt. Moriah Academy PK-12 PO Box 160 Glenmont, NY, 12077 (518)426-4510

Stars of Dance

“Where everyone is a STAR!”

Not only do we provide classes for all ages and levels, but we also offer many school events throughout the dance season such as: Apple Picking, Halloween Parties, Holiday Parties, and various Fundraisers. We also participate in local community parades, perform at local fundraising events and charities, and we proudly support Hannah's Hope Fund Foundation.

509 Moe Road Clifton Park, NY 12065 (518) 280-3467

Instruction begins Tuesday September 14th 12 KidsFunPlaza | NENY, Northeastern, NY |February 2011

Lasalle School (Alternative School) All-boys 7-12 391 Western Avenue Albany, NY, 12203 (518)242-4731 Latham Christian Academy PK-12 495 Watervliet Shaker Rd Latham, NY, 12110 (518)785-5916

Hoosac School 8 -12 PO Box 9 Pine Valley Road Hoosick, NY 12089 (518)686-7331 Doane Stuart School PK-12 199 Washington Avenue Rensselaer, NY, 12144 (518)465-5222 Catholic Central High School 7-12 625 7th Avenue Troy, NY, 12182 (518)235-7100

Vanderheyden Hall (Alternative School) 7-12 PO Box 219 Wynantskill, NY, 12198 (518)283-6500 Holy Spirit Elementary School PK-8 54 Highland Drive East Greenbush, NY, 12061 (518)477-5739 St. Mary S Academy PK-8 4 Parsons Avenue Hoosick Falls, NY, 12090 (518)686-4314 Woodland Hill Montessori School PK-8 100 Montessori Place North Greenbush, NY, 12144 (518)283-5400 February 2011 | NENY, Northeastern, NY | KidsFunPlaza 13

School-Guide St. Mary’s School PK-8 163 Columbia Turnpike Rensselaer, NY, 12144 (518)449-2498 Ss Joseph And John School PK-8 1641 Third Street Rensselaer, NY, 12144 (518)465-1151 Sacred Heart PK-6 308 Spring Avenue Troy, NY, 12180 (518)274-3655 St. Augustine’s School NS-6 525 4th Avenue Troy, NY, 12182 (518)235-7287 St. Patrick’s School KG-6 762 River Street Troy, NY, 12180 (518)274-6502 Susan Odell Taylor School For Children PK-5 116 Pinewoods Avenue Troy, NY, 12180 (518)274-4994 Robert C Parker School PK-8 4254 Ny Highway 43 Wynantskill, NY, 12198 (518)286-3449

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North Eastern NY St. Jude the Apostle School PK-6 Po Box 347 Brookside Avenue Wynantskill, NY, 12198 (518)283-0333


Visit to see what local moms have to say about their services

North Eastern NY

St. Helens School PK-5 1801 Union Street Schenectady, NY, 12309 (518)382-8225

SCHENECTADY COUNTY Northeast Parent & Child Society (Special Education School) 6-12 1 Genium Plaza Schenectady, NY, 12304 (518)346-1273 Notre Dame-bishop Gibbons School 6-12 2600 Albany Street Schenectady, NY, 12304 (518)393-3131 Schenectady Christian School K-12 36 Sacandaga Road Scotia, NY, 12302 (518)370-4272 Brown School NS-8 150 Corlaer Avenue Schenectady, NY, 12304 (518)370-0366 Marian Academy PK-6 520 Bradt Street Schenectady, NY, 12306 (518)377-7470 St. Anthony’s Elementary School PK-5 1840 Van Vranken Avenue Schenectady, NY, 12308 (518)372-5961

St. John The Evangelist NS-6 806 Union Street Schenectady, NY, 12308 (518)393-5331 St. Luke’s School PK-6 1252 Albany Street Schenectady, NY, 12304 (518)377-7330 St. Paul the Apostle School PK-6 16 Van Zandt Street Schenectady, NY, 12304 (518)377-0506 Tree Of Life Christian Academy PK-6 1840 Albany Street Schenectady, NY, 12304 (518)370-1010 Oak Hill School (Special Education School) 3-8 39 Charlton Road Scotia, NY, 12302 (518)399-5048 SARATOGA COUNTY Ketchum-grande School (Special Education School) All-girls 8-11 322 Lake Hill Road Burnt Hills, NY, 12027 (518)399-8182

The Kings School PK-12 6087 State Route 9n Hadley, NY, 12835 (518)654-6230

St. Mary S School PK-6 40 Thompson Street Ballston Spa, NY, 12020 (518)885-7300

Saratoga Independent School PK-5 459 Lake Avenue Saratoga Springs, NY, 12866 (518)583-0841

Community Christian Academy 5-10 90 River Road Mechanicville, NY, 12118 (518)664-4442

Spa Christian School NS-6 206 Greenfield Avenue Ballston Spa, NY, 12020 (518)885-0508

St. Mary’s School PK-8 12 6th Street Waterford, NY, 12188 (518)237-0652

Saratoga Central Catholic High School 7-12 247 Broadway Saratoga Springs, NY, 12866 (518)587-7070

WASHINGTON COUNTY Crossroads Center For Children (Special Education School) PK-6 105 Lakehill Road, Suite 4 Burnt Hills, NY, 12027 (518)384-3833

Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs PK-12 122 Regent Street Saratoga Springs, NY, 12866 (518)587-0549

The King’s School PK-12 6087 State Route 9n Hadley, NY, 12835 (518)654-6230

Fellowship Christian Academy PK-2 184 Eastline Road Ballston Lake, NY, 12019 (518)-899-6404

St. Clement’s Regional Catholic NS-5 231 Lake Avenue Saratoga Springs, NY, 12866 (518)584-7350

The Adirondack School Of Northeastern New York 7-12 5158 County Rte 113 Greenwich, NY, 12834 (518)695-5294 Truthville Christian Academy K-12 Po Box 157, North Granville, NY, 12854 (518)642-2517 Kingsbury SDA School 2-8 3991 State Route 4 Hudson Falls, NY, 12839 (518)747-4424

February 2011 | NENY, Northeastern, NY | KidsFunPlaza 15



The Many Benefits of

Toddler Playgroups


hen I was little, my mother and her friends formed a playgroup – a small mix of mothers and children who got together often. We switched houses for our gatherings and went out on adventures together. To this day, I am still good friends with one of the other kids. She has watched me become the mother of two boys. Now I get to see the joy in her eyes as she becomes a first-time mother. Playgroups truly can become the starting point for learning to love, care, and share with others.

Socializing for Adults and Children Life before children was very different for most of us. We were able to go out with friends and family with little or no notice. We did not have to think about heading to a restaurant that has diaper changing stations. Basically, the social life as we knew it came to a screeching halt, but for a beautiful reason. As the parent of a toddler, this is often the time that we think about getting together with other parents in a playgroup. By the time they are toddlers, kids become sponges for learning about everything around them. They watch as we interact with our friends. If we hug someone when we greet them, they will want to do the same. Taking your child to a playgroup allows them to see how loving and caring relationships form. Within a short time, children begin to expect to see their new friends and look forward to playing, dancing, singing, and laughing with them.

Some ways to find a playgroup for your toddler

On the flip side, the time is great for the adults to chat. We can get adult conversation and discuss happenings in our lives. Learning to Share and Care The first few playgroups can be a time of learning. Toddlers are very egocentric. If they have older siblings or go to daycare, they may have been exposed to the concept of sharing. If this is their first social situation, welcome to a great learning experience. When people are coming to your house, let your child put a few favorite items away that they don’t have to share. This shows your child that you care about their feelings for their prized items. Remind them that everything else can be used and played with by the other kids that are coming over. Be prepared in case you need to intervene. Kids will be kids and do not always want to share; model sharing with the other parents in your group. Offer them a book you have, share some snacks, or anything else that the

Head over to to look for a Mom/Dad/Parent group under the Community tab. Ask friends for suggestions. If they don’t have children the same age, they may know of other people that do.

16 KidsFunPlaza | NENY, Northeastern, NY |February 2011

children can see. Sometimes, the best bet is to get down on the ground and play with some toys to show these behaviors to the kids. If your friend is having a bad day, make them laugh by being silly or giving them a hug. Toddlers are starting to understand emotions of others and need to see how people care for one another. Remember that playgroups are what you make them. The experiences that you and your child can have are up to you and the group you are with. Make plans, have fun, and be ready to watch your child explore the world of sharing and caring.

Beth is a happily married teacher, now SAHM to her two young sons. She has a passion for all things Disney, reading, crafting , and traveling. A camera is always close to catch memories for her blog,

Daycare providers are a great resource. If your child is in daycare, ask around. Other parents may be interested in setting up a playgroup for weekend fun. Look online. Google may be a nice stop to see if there are any online local groups. There are many in the area that you can find using “Capital District” or other key terms. February 2011 | NENY, Northeastern, NY | KidsFunPlaza 17

18 KidsFunPlaza | NENY, Northeastern, NY |February 2011

Pasta al Sugo Tuna Casserole Chicken and Bean Chili Raspberry Pie

Burritos Matcha Shortbread Scallops in Garlic Cream Sauce Ginger Yogurt with Fruit

February 2011 | NENY, Northeastern, NY | KidsFunPlaza 19

Number Of Servings

Chicken Chili Tacos Trail Mix Chicken Cacciatore Spiced Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream

Scallops Pasta Corn Fritters with Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Parmesan Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Sandwiches

Pork Chops al Pesto Raspberry Pie

Baked Spare Ribs with Yuca Snickerdoodles and Fruit

Cuban Sandwich

Ribs Fajita



16 11,630 Cal



Tres Leches

Flan de Coco


Bacalao a la Criolla (Caribbean Codfish)

Moros y Cristianos (Black beans and Rice)


French Dip with Celery

Whole Grain Toast with Apple Butter


Pasta Pescatora

Green Salad with Jam

19 12,117 Cal

Whole Grain Toast with Nutella

Apple Maple Pecan Bread


Yogurt with Fruit


Fruit with Sorbet

Baked Trout with Potatoes

Apple Slices with Yougurt Dip



Camarones al Ajillo

Trail Mix

Caramel Corn

Matcha Shortbread

Apple Maple Pecan Bread

Apricot-Wheat Germ Muffins

Cheese and Prosciutto Focaccia


Whole Grain Toast with Nutella

Whole Grain Toast with Apple Butter


Chicken Salad

Trail Mix

Granola and Yogurt

Chicken Salad

Apple Maple Pecan Bread

Oatmeal with 10 Tasty Toppings


Caramel Corn

Apple Spice Cookie Bar


Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins

Apricot - Wheat Germ


Scallion Pancakes

Whole Grain Toast with Apple Butter


Cocoa-Nut Bananas


Spiced Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream

Osso Buco with Cicoria

Scallion Pancakes

Mexican Tortilla

Trail Mix

Blueberry Cheesecake


Brazo de Gitano

Gnocchi ai Tre Formaggi

Trail Mix

Go out for Lunch!

Whole Grain Toast with Nutella

Orange Cream Cheese



Baked Apple - Cinnamon


No-Bake Apple Walnut Tart

Stuffed Peppers

Apple Spice Cookie Bar

Pear and Walnut Sandwiches

Matcha Shortbread

Hand Held Quiche


Dessert Pizzas

Pasta alla Matriciana

Whole Grain Toast with Apple Butter

Go out for Lunch!

Apple Spice Cookie Bar

Tostada Waffles



Green Beans with Bacon

Marinated Bean Salad

Mincemeat Pie

Fruit with Sorbet



16 10,983 Cal

Dulce de Leche


Pollo Guisado (Chicken Stew)




10 12,751 Cal

Brazo Gitano

Fried Spaghetti Pizza



Fish with Vegetables Sea Soup

Salad Nicoise

Salted Dark Chocolate Almonds Fruit and String Cheese


Quick Cherry Crumb Cake


Mincemeat Pie

Pescado con Coco

Pumpkin Pie

Pork Tortilla

Salad Nicoise

Quick Cardamom Rolls

Herb & Onion Frittata


Cheesecake with Lime-Poached Pears

Spagetty allo Scoglio

Caramelized Onion and Apple Mini-Tarts

Pork Salad

Fruit and Graham Crackers

Healthy Oat Peaches and Cream Muffins


Locrio de Cerdo with Guandules

Pork Tenderloin alle Herbs


Salted Dark Chocolate Almonds

Go out for Lunch!

Kid-Friendly Sushi

Quick Taco Breakfast


Pumpkin Pie

Turkey Fillet

Yogurt and Graham Crackers

Caprese Salad

Fruit with Chocolate and Pistachio Sticks

Cranberry Orange Pancakes


Vermont Spice Cake

Baked Drumsticks with Oregano

Sweet Potato Potstickers

Apple Cake Yogurt with Fruit

Fruit and String Cheese

Potato Pancakes


Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Tilapia under Salt

Crispy Fried Tofu

Meatloaf Burrito

Kid-Friendly Sushi

Maple-Cinnamon Applesauce



Meatloaf with mashed potatoes

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Prosciuto and Melon Salad

Salted Dark Chocolate Almonds

Honey Apricot Cornbread


Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Pizza Putanesca

Loaded Sweet Potato Skins

Go out for Lunch!

Kid-Friendly Sushi

Chocolate Banana Crepes



Mini Chile Relleno


Pear Mousse

Grilled Catfish with Garlic Spinach

Yogurt Covered Pretzels

Pasta alla Bolognese

Fruit and String Cheese

Toast with Jam




Carrot French Fries

Turkey Salad

Fruit with Chocolate and Pistachio Sticks

Mixed Berry Almond


Vermont Spice Cake

Linguine alle Vongole

Fruit and String Cheese

Go out for Lunch!

Yogurt Covered Pretzels

Granola with Milk



Find all the recipes and shopping lists on






Just enter your age, height, weight & gender at: planner


45 ½ Cups

21 Oz

14 Cups

21 Cups

56 Oz



35 Cups

12 Oz

10 ½ Cups

17 ½ Cups

42 Oz



35 Cups

10 Oz

10 ½ Cups

14 Cups

35 Oz

KIDS (2-8)








Monthly Menu


An Easier Way to DIY with

Cute, Customizable Stationery

By Christina Gleason,

Classroom Valentines


for the First Time

rom birth to the first year, your baby hits a lot of milestones. The first birthday is one of the biggest. Wouldn’t you love adorable, custom birthday invitations for your little one?


hen your child enters preschool, it opens up a whole new world. Part of that world includes exchanging Valentines with their classmates. Thankfully, most preschools have rules about making sure every child in the class gives a Valentine to every other child in the class. There are none of the hurt feelings that can be associated with the Valentine exchanges that may happen when they’re older, when kids get left out because teachers no longer oversee the activity. In preschool, that sort of heartache is something we parents don’t have to worry about for a while.

Buying Valentines for the Class There’s nothing wrong with hitting up the store for some premade Valentines for your child’s classmates. If your kids are anything like my son, they have a favorite TV or movie character, and that character is probably on a Valentine somewhere. Try to make sure the Valentines are age-appropriate. There are some cards that may be too scary or too rude for preschool; let your child pick out his or her Valentines, but let them know that you can say no. Making Valentines for the Class If you have the time and inclination, you can help your child make Valentines for the class. It could be as simple as cutting out construction paper hearts and having your child sign his name in crayon or as complex as a project that includes lace, glitter, and glue. The important thing to remember, though, is that your child should be helping make the Valentines. This is about them, not you, so try not to flinch when things don’t look perfect.

20 KidsFunPlaza | NENY, Northeastern, NY |February 2011

Do it yourself invitations are wonderful. You can view them on your computer, customize them they way you want, and print the invitations immediately. DIY invites are perfect for someone who doesn’t have a lot of time. (Or someone whose free time is at 3:00 am!)

Christina Gleason is a happily married mom of one very active little boy and Founder of Phenomenal Content LLC, which provides online copywriting for businesses. Read her blog at www.!

Preparing the Valentines Your child’s teacher should send home a list with the names of each member of the class. If not, they should at least send home a note containing the number of children in the class so you’ll have the right number of Valentines. If you have any doubts, send an extra card or two to school so no one gets left out. If you are provided with a class list, let your child help pick out which card to give to each classmate. If you have premade Valentines, you can help steer him or her toward designs in the assortment that may be more appreciated by either the boys or girls. Have your child sign her own name on each of the cards. This is good practice for those writing skills. If your child’s signature is still rather illegible at this stage, you can always write her name in pen underneath.

I found a local mom, Joy, who sells printable invitations and other items online at her Etsy shop, The Art of Joy. Pick one of her creative designs and she’ll email you a PDF along with directions to customize your purchase. Share with your child that Valentine’s Day is about showing people that we love them, and that includes friends. If you have any leftover Valentines, your child may decide he wants to give cards to the family members he loves, too!

One of the best things about The Art of Joy’s DIY stationery items is that you can print as many as you want for the same price! You use your own paper and printer and print as many or as few as you’d like. The cost of the invitations is $7. Other types of DIY stationery downloads, such as banners, stickers, thank you notes, and calendars are available in the under $15 price range. Such a bargain! And with today’s economy, who can pass up a good deal?

Buy Local By: Kelly Razzano,

If your baby has a winter birthday, it’s worth the price just to avoid trekking out in this northeastern snow. Check out Joy’s store at www.etsy. com/shop/TheArtOfJoy. Her custom illustrated items are absolutely incredible and so different than anything I’ve seen in stores. You only get to celebrate the first birthday once, so buy the cutest invites you can! When you do, you’ll be supporting a local mom and helping the local economy.

The Art of Joy also has a birthday package for $15 that includes a birthday banner, invites, thank you notes, party favors, birthday poster, and birthday stickers. Everything is delivered directly to your email, so you don’t have to worry about waiting for delivery, and there’s no going out to the store with the baby in tow.

Tips for Making Homemade Valentines

a DO let your child express his or her creativity. a DON’T glue things like macaroni or buttons to Valentines, as they will inevitably fall off and make a mess of the classroom. a DO use things like stickers, crayons or markers, and other non-messy decorations. aDON’T freak out if your child has some “unique” ideas about how the cards should look.

Kelly Razzano Part time pediatric nurse and part time stay at home {meaning constantly on the go} Mom of 2. I have been blogging at, show up on the news frequently, and I love to help small local businesses. In my “spare time” I do web design and search engine optimization and have tons of fun doing it!

February 2011 | NENY, Northeastern, NY | KidsFunPlaza 21


Combat with Lessons of



By Beth Levine,


ife seemed so much easier when I was a child. I went to school, did my homework, and played outside with my friends without a worry. Yes, there were times when kids were mean to one another, but it was straightforward. We never had to worry about our friends posting nonsense on Facebook or sending out a mass e-mail containing embarrassing information.

Madison Handbags

Design your own handbag Debi Condon Sales Consultant

5 Suncrest Drive Waterford, NY 12188

22 KidsFunPlaza | NENY, Northeastern, NY |February 2011

Phone (518) 235-3896

Welcome to 2011, when bullying has become the hot topic. Traditional media, blogs, and schools are all discussing the battle against bullies. I recently wrote on the KidsFunPlaza blog about my son’s experience with being bullied. Since that time, many of my family and friends have had children who have become the victim of bullies at school. As adults, we need to stand up and teach our children how to fight back against this abuse and to care for their friends.

Stand up for Your Peers Kids are often naïve and not aware that they are being bullied. Some children are so interested in attention from their peers that they are willing to tolerate negative behavior from them. School districts are starting programs to teach children about bullies within their state mandated character education studies. Only so much can be done within the school day. We need to make sure our children understand what a bully is. Bullying is intentional tormenting in physical, verbal, or psychological ways. Having open communication with your child is key. Your son or daughter needs to be able to come to you at any time to let you know what is happening to

them. They need to know it is safe to tell you anything. Help your child recognize different types of situations where they or a classmate may be bullied. Tell them that if they witness another child being harassed or bothered that they should say something. If they fear their safety for talking, they should find an adult at the time to assist them. Let them know that simply watching another person be bullied is the last thing they should do. This is not tattle-telling – something that many kids get stuck on. They are helping by sharing this information with someone that can assist. Practice What You Preach Remember that your children are watching you as their role model. If you are out in a store

want to discuss what’s happening at school. Spending a lot of time alone when at home. Mood change that is not typical for your child. Your child says they are sick, trying to avoid school. Additional lunch money is requested with no rationale behind it.

a a a a

We need to be proactive when it comes to putting an end to bullying. We must take this problem seriously and not simply say kids have to “tough it out” – that is not the answer. Showing our children how to care for others when bullied and to recognize it will help them to build their sense of self-worth and confidence for the future.

For additional resources about bullying, including Webisodes and games for children, head to http://

Signs that your child may be bullied:

aChild no longer socializes with peer group. aRegressing from typical behavior. Less social, does not

and see someone pestering another individual and you know it is wrong – help them! Perhaps it is not best to say something there, but get someone who can help. Find a store manager, security, or if need be, call the authorities if you feel there is a greater danger. Whatever you do, let your child know that you are trying to assist the other person so they are not a victim of a bully.

Beth is a happily married teacher, now SAHM to her two young sons. She has a passion for all things Disney, reading, crafting , and traveling. A camera is always close to catch memories for her blog,

February 2011 | NENY, Northeastern, NY | KidsFunPlaza 23

Green & Healthy

By Alina M. Hensley,

Makeover Love: The Responsible W ay


t’s February, and everywhere you go you’re inundated by love – or at least the idea of love. This commercially-driven assault on your subconscious is usually enough to make you overwhelmed, if not a little resentful. Let’s face it – not all of us have significant others who get the gist of Valentine’s Day. This year, I propose taking a little time to love yourself. Is that so bad? Every time I see a beauty magazine exploding with the word “Makeover!” I’m forced to shake my head. Not only is it often financially irresponsible to go out and buy all those new cosmetics and a whole new wardrobe, it’s kind of bad for our bodies and the Earth, too. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a new lip gloss or rad t-shirt or a pair of sexy heels when the mood strikes, but I invite you to think before running headlong into that makeover. Here are my favorite ways to love myself and love the Earth at the same time:

Luscious Lotions and Soaps Say the word, and I’m there. Lotion is a great way to pamper yourself or to get a little closer to your partner. (Come on – you can’t reach your own back!) I love Jason’s line of body products, especially the Rosewater scent. Taking a long bath with a great scrub is another way to take care of yourself. Try Alba Organics Sugar Cane Body Polish – I have a friend who swears by the stuff.

Manicure, Anyone? Take your own nail polish with you when you go. Buy a brand that’s “Three-Free” meaning it is free of dibutyl phthalate (DHB), toluene, and formaldehyde. Three ingredients that are known carcinogens. Try Priti NYC’s line; they have all sorts of fabulous colors, from subtle pinks to sensational neons!

All-Natural Cosmetics I am a major devotee of Burt’s Bees. They use recycled packaging, and about 85% or more of their ingredients are naturally sourced. Their Pomegranate Lip Balm is a serious addiction of mine; it’s exactly the right shade of pink for any skin tone. Their line of tinted peppermintflavored balms is fantastic to stash in your purse, and it doubles as cheek tint and lipstick for emergency touch ups! Also look for Kiss My Face, which makes a great “3-way-color” – one tube for lips, cheeks, and eyes!

Naked Lady Parties

Thrift Stores

This is the mother lode, ladies! I adore looting through second-hand shops, picking up vintage silk scarves, great velvet jackets, and good-as-new shoes. This is definitely one of the best ways to take advantage of reusing, and there’s more; most thrift stores benefit a charity of some kind – so through shopping, you’re being a humanitarian, too – twice the love!

This isn’t quite what it sounds like. This is thrift shopping’s wild, college-age sister. Get together with a bunch of your lady friends; bring on the wine, the chocolates, and the Chinese takeout. Everyone spends the week prior cleaning out their jewelry boxes and culling closets and dresser drawers. Instead of taking all the goods to the thrift shop, bring them to someone’s living room and have a huge, fabulous swap meet. Put on an appropriately fabulous movie, like Pretty Woman, and get “shopping!” Alina Hensley is happily raising her daughter in her native New York, and passionately passing on her love for writing, culture, and the arts.

24 KidsFunPlaza | NENY, Northeastern, NY |February 2011

February 2011 | NENY, Northeastern, NY | KidsFunPlaza 25



Who Is Your Teen Going To Call?

anyVanessa Van Petten, teen author and youthologist, posed this question on the Radical Parenting blog a while back. At the time, I didn’t think much of it because, of course, my children could always count on me. And then something curious happened this summer, just before my teen entered high school. Suddenly, friends and family kept offering my child a ready ear if ever she needed to talk about things she couldn’t discuss with her mother.

I was a little unnerved by these offers. I even wondered if I was doing something wrong as a parent that all these people were offering to help. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered that it didn’t matter how many well-meaning adult friends offered to listen, just as it was irrelevant that I was available. When something sad did happen, my daughter wanted neither. Only same-age peers were deemed worthy of sharing her heartache. That’s as it should be. If all goes well, a teen will favor a friend’s advice over that of their parent, and the opinion of same-age peers will hold more weight than that of experienced adults. This is a natural part of an adolescent’s development of self-identity.

Does your teen have someone to call if something sad happens? By Sandra Foyt,

Sandra Foyt is the mother of two: a teen girl and a tween boy. She has been eagerly exploring Northeastern New York since both gave up naps on their first birthdays, and she writes about fun and learning in the Capital Region on

Few of these friends will know a teen well enough to provide good counsel, even if they were disposed to do so. We must have done something right, in any case, because our teen did have one or two friends that she could call. Friends who listened, understood, and helped cheer her up. These are friends who continually help her to make good decisions, and who motivate her to do her best.

HOW CAN PARENTS ENCOURAGE HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS? Although it might seem as if they aren’t listening, teens are paying attention to what you say and what you do, and they look to your relationships to help shape their own. To encourage your child to form healthy relationships, begin by providing:

Time with friends. Children need time for unstructured play dates to learn how to play with others, and to build relationships. Even when they are older, they need time together that is free of the stress of school or other responsibilities.

Time with parents. Even though they’re asserting their independence, teens also need time with their parents to reconnect and enjoy each other company. A strong parent/ child relationship is the foundation of a child’s selfesteem, and the precursor to all other relationships.

Involvement. Get to know your teen’s friends and take an interest in your child’s activities. Set firm boundaries and high expectations and be prepared to discuss failures and successes. These tips will help guide your teen toward healthy relationships, but what else can they do to find and keep good friends? Visit the Kids Fun Home blog for more ideas in the January Teen post.

It can also be a recipe for trouble if a teen chooses to listen to the wrong friends. Nowadays, a typical teen may have hundreds of friends – online. Van Petten refers to these as “cotton candy friends.” The teen (and 20 something) social interaction right now is like cotton candy, it’s fun and tasty for a little while, but after two hours you are hungry for real food, real connection.

We offer a wide variety of activies to get you in shape- including racquetball, handball and squash, group fitness classes such as Body Pump, Spinning, Pilates, and Yoga. We also have a complete weight room with state of the art Nautilus circuit as well as free weights, and a cardio room. In addition, we are the only health club in the capital region with an indoor rock climbing.

“Look no further, The Court Club has it all.” 26 KidsFunPlaza | NENY, Northeastern, NY |February 2011

The Court Club accepts Aqua Blue. Save up to $250 on all memberships!! February 2011 | NENY, Northeastern, NY | KidsFunPlaza 27

Household Tips & Tricks with a Little Romance to Boot!

Grandma’s Wisdom

By Linda Carmical,

La Placita By Roxana Homic This grandma is a southern girl at heart who came to realize one day staying home, being my own boss, blogging, and dabbling in web content was where it’s at. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell me I’d be working harder and longer hours than ever before! It’s a good thing I love this!

Bathroom Clogged drain? Put 3 to 4 Alka-Seltzer tablets into the drain followed by an entire bottle of white vinegar. Wait 5 minutes. Run hot water down it.

• Inexpensive hair conditioner and shaving your legs. • Money saving dryer and family protection. • Cheese and an iron skillet. You can find great information on these things in my blog post ( ). Don’t be shy; have a look. You’ll be glad you did.

Something I promised to give you was more tips and tricks in this article, so let’s get to it.

Kitchen Add a capful of vinegar to your dishwasher. It removes grease and puts shine on your dishes.

Car Fresh and clean scents: Put a dryer sheet under the seat. Put one of your favorite scented candles in a slightly opened zip style plastic baggie under your seat. (A folded paper towel underneath keeps it from sliding around.)

• •

All Purpose Vinegar is one of the handiest things you can have in your house. It useful in many rooms of the home. In the kitchen, run 1 cup of white vinegar through the coffee pot to clean it. For laundry, it’s a magical stain remover that even keeps colors bright.

• •

Here is my pre-treating concoction: ½ cup each of vinegar, ammonia, baking soda 2 squirts of liquid soap (I use Dawn) 2 quarts of water Keep colors bright by soaking then rinsing with water: 1 cup vinegar 1 gallon warm water Get the yellow out by hand washing then rinsing with: ½ cup vinegar in the rinse water

28 KidsFunPlaza | NENY, Northeastern, NY |February 2011

It isn’t always easy being in a relationship; it can be downright difficult. Often times, it seems hopeless and impossible to find your way back to that place and time when goose bumps were the normal at the simple thought of your dreamy guy or gal. I’ve lived my share of ups and downs in love, and I’ve learned some of the most valuable lessons on what it takes to keep love strong and happy. Communication and respect are a must. To communicate, you must listen and share. Listen to your partner and share honestly and openly. Don’t just talk at each other; truly talk to each other. It goes a long, long way in sparking that alone time communication in the love arena. Respect your partner by always thinking about how what you do and say will affect them. This will keep the heart warm and build a trusting bond that will always make your love special.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Photo by Will Ockenden


n my post on the Kids Fun Home blog, I asked if you wanted to save some money and said I don’t know anyone that would say no to that. Everyone loves to save their hard earned money and I gave tips on:

Now for something I didn’t mention in my last blog post. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, how about some tips from grandma on how to bring a little love back into a relationship?

Roxanna was born and raised, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Wife and mother of three kids, expecting her fourth. Member of the moms group of Saint Edward the Confessor Parish in Clifton Park and the Spanish community of Saint Anthony Church in Schenectady. Spanish Writer on the Parish Mom of Saint Edward Blog. February 2011 | NENY, Northeastern, NY | KidsFunPlaza 29 Dec-Jan 2010/2011 | NENY, Northeastern, NY | KidsFunPlaza 29

Winning Letters to Your Best Friend


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Daily Activities Schenectady

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f FETCH! Lab: Sky Diver . Design a parachute


Write a letter to your best friend a win a Gift Card! 1st Prize: $100 Visa Card 2nd Prize: $50 Visa Card 3rd Prize: $25 Visa Card

Albany County


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that floats safely to the ground - no crash landings allowed. Feb 3 - Feb 6. 5:30 PM

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Science Discovery Demos - Enjoy educator-led science demos 12 - 12:30PM every Saturday and Sunday. Feb 5 - Feb 6, Feb 12 - Feb 13, Feb 19 - Feb 20, Feb 26 - Feb 27.

f FETCH! Lab: Kaleid-o-mania. Reflections, light, and your artistic talents create a dazzling kaleidoscope. Feb 10 - Feb 13 . 3:00 PM

f February Break Planetarium Shows 1PM: The Sky Above Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood; 2PM: Light Years from Andromeda; 3PM: Seasonal Sky Tour. Feb 24 - Feb 28.

f Brownie Math Fun Try-It Workshop Explore different ways to tell time, write messages in secret code, and discover how you are “made” of numbers! Feb 25 - Feb 26. Fri, 8:00; Sat, 9:30. 15 Nott Terrace Heights, Schenectady Phone: (518) 382-7890       Email: •


f Literature to Life: Incidents in the Life of a Slave f FETCH! Lab: Potion Commotion. Water and oil don’t mix, but watch what happens when you add the fizz factor. Feb 17 - Feb 20. 3:00 PM

f February Break Kids’ Activities Enjoy special handson activities during February Break at the Schenectady Museum! Feb 24 - Feb 27. 12:30 PM

f FETCH! Lab: Rescue Mission - Design a hook and retrieve a capsule submerged in water. Feb 24 - Feb 27. 3:00 PM

Girl. School Days. Feb 2 - Feb 3. 10:00 AM Proctors Theatre, 432 State Street, Schenectady. •• Dinosaurs Alive is a global adventure of science and discovery – featuring the earliest dinosaurs of the Triassic Period to the monsters of the Cretaceous “reincarnated” lifesized for the giant screen. Feb 19 - Feb 27. Various hours Disney’s The Lion King - Experience the phenomenon. Schenectady’s most eagerly awaited stage production ever. Feb 22 - Feb 27. Various hours

Saratoga County Child’s First Name:______________________ Age:________Grade:______



f Toddler Story Time - For children ages 24-42

Parent Full Name:_______________________

months with a parent or caregiver. Feb 1 - Feb 3, Feb 7 Feb 10, Feb 14 - Feb 17 . 9:30 AM

Email:__________________________________ Address:______________________________ City_____________ State,_________ Zipcode_________ Yes, I authorize KidsFunPlaza to publish the letter/drawing and to send my child a prize if he/she wins. Parent Signature:______________________ 30 KidsFunPlaza | NENY, Northeastern, NY |February 2011

Send your Thank You letter/drawing to KidsFunPlaza at 90 State Street – Suite 700 Albany, NY 12207

f Preschool Story Time - For children ages 42 months to 5 years. Feb 1 - Feb 3, Feb 7 - Feb 10, Feb 14 Feb 18. 10:15 AM


f Children’s Vacation Art Studio Classes Drop-in activity program for kids 6-12 with adult chaperone. 161 Warren St Glens Falls. Phone: (518) 792-1761. Feb 22 - Feb 25 Email: • hydecollection. org

49 Henry Street, Saratoga Springs Phone:(518) 584-7860 . Email:  • February 2011 | NENY, Northeastern, NY | KidsFunPlaza 31

here is

WHERE TO GO Weekly Activities

Weekly Activities Saratoga County THE CHILDREN’S MUSEUM AT SARATOGA

f Tuesday for Tots

This is a special time for our littlest visitors! Drop in anytime between 10:00 am and 12:00 pm for crafts, play dough, games and friends!. Feb 1 - Feb 22.

f Alphabet Soup This whole language experience is a great


f Bouncing Babies - Share fun interactive rhymes, songs and simple board books with the baby in your life. An optional brief playtime follows. Feb 1 - Feb 15. 9:30 AM

f Story Time for 2 & 3 year olds - A lively mix of stories,

way to reinforce early literacy in preschool-ers! 10:30 AM. Feb 2 - Feb 23

songs and rhymes makes this a special time for you and your child. Read & Feed For teens in Grade 6 & up. 12:00 PM . Dec 27.

f Story Art Reading together is always better, so please join

f Parent/Child Library Time - For the first 30-35 minutes,

us Thursdays for an exciting new story each week. We’ll use our imaginations and the story to inspire art projects that explore different media and styles. 10:30 AM. Feb 3 - Feb 24.

children and parents play and interact with others while using age appropriate toys, puzzles, books, and craft materials. The second part of the program includes stories and songs. Feb 7 Feb 28 (No session on Feb 21). Various hours.

f Wiggle & Giggle This is a special time for younger children to learn what they can do with their bodies through structured group activities and guided free play. Ages 5 and younger. 10:00 AM. Feb 11 & Feb 25.

f Stretching with Stuffee . 10:00 AM . Feb 4 & Feb 18 69 Caroline St., Saratoga Springs • Phone: (518) 584-5540. Dec 21 -Jan 18.


f Strengthening Families - For parents and their children ages 8-12 years. This nationally recognized program is designed to help parents show love and set limits and to help youth develop skills in handling peer pressure. Families will learn how to communicate and have fun together. Feb 2 - Feb 16. 5:30 PM.

f Hola La: Bilingual Stories, Puppets and Songs - For grades K-2. This winter, children will learn Spanish as they join Hola La’s mascot, Pepa (as well as receive a special visit from her brother) at school for circle time, music class, gym class, lunchtime and of course recess! Feb 3, Feb 10 and Feb 17. 4:30 PM.

f Saturday Family Story Time - For children ages 2-5, with a parent or caregiver. Siblings welcome, too! Feb 5 - Feb 19. 11:30 AM

f Library Babies - An informal playgroup for babies under 24 months with a parent or caregiver. Feb 5 - Feb 19. 10:00 AM 49 Henry Street, Saratoga Springs. Phone: (518) 584-7860. Email: • 32 KidsFunPlaza | NENY, Northeastern, NY |February 2011

475 Moe Road, Clifton Park, NY. • Phone: (518) 371-8622 Email: •


f Tours for Tots - Program designed for 3 to 6 year olds and



Tiny tots - Storytimes for children up to 35 months accompanied by a parent or caregiver. Feb 1 -Feb 8 . 9:30 AM

f Passport to fun Grade K-5. Stories and activities for kids on their own. Your “”passport”” will be stamped every week. Collect stamps and win chances in a raffle!”. Feb 12. 4:00 PM.

Albany County

with adult chaperone. Feb 2 - Feb 23. 2:00 PM

f TWEEN SCREEN - Pick up a copy Harriet the Spy, read it at

161 Warren St Glens Falls. Phone: (518) 792-1761. Dec 21 - Jan 2. Email: •

home, then come in to watch the movie together. Snacks, activities, and more! For kids in 4th grade and up. 4:00 PM. Feb 3

f Preschool Family Story Time. Family Storytime will be offered for children up to the age of 5, accompanied by parents and caregivers. We will share stories, rhymes, songs and simple crafts. Mondays at 10:30 am – Sycaway Branch Wednesdays at 10:30 am – Main Library Fridays at 10:30 am – Lansingburgh Branch Sycaway Branch : School 18, Hoosick Street , Troy NY Phone: (518) 274-1822 Lansingburgh Branch: 114th Street and 4th Avenue, Troy NY Phone: (518) 235-5310 Main Library: 100 Second Street, Troy NY Phone: (518) 274-7071. Email: •

f “Valentine’s Day bingo - Families. Playing pieces are hearts, of course--don’t eat them till later! Feb 12. 11:00 AM.

f From A to Wii - Learn one-on-one with teen experts how

f Artful Afternoons - Drop-in activity program for kids 6-12

games, and much more! Refreshments will be served. 3:00 PM 114th Street and 4th Avenue • Phone: (518) 235-5310. Every wednesday from Feb 2- Feb 23. 4:00 – 6:00 pm


Individual Activities

first grade with a parent. 6:30 PM. Feb 1.

f Teen Time at Lansingburgh. Come play the Wii, board

629 Albany Shaker Road • Phone: (518) 458-9274 Email: •

f Passport to fun Grade K-5. Stories and activities for kids



MOTHER & DAUGHTER BOOK TALK - We’re very excited about the number of girls in grades 5-8 and their moms who love to read! We added a second group to accommodate as many as we could. Feb 27. 1:00 & 2:00 PM.

451 Delaware Ave • Phone: (518) 439-9314 . •

their adult chaperones. Feb 1 - Feb 22. 3:00 PM

Rensselaer County

Individual Activities

f SUPEREADERS BOOK CLUB - For kids in kindergarten &

f CHESS CLUB - children in grades 2 & up challenge each other while improving their skills in friendly games. Feb 1 & Feb 15. 6:30 PM

on their own. Your “”passport”” will be stamped every week. Collect stamps and win chances in a raffle!”. Feb 12. 11:00 AM.

to navigate Twitter, Facebook, the Wii and more. Feb 12. 2:30 PM

f Saturday stories - Up to age 6 and families. Stories, songs and activities. Feb 19. 11:00 AM

f Dino-palooza! - Families. Dinosaur movie, crafts and stories. Feb 22. 2:30 PM. Rainbow Fairies Ball - Age 5-10 with family. Sign up is required. Dancing and crafts- dress as your favorite fairy!. Feb 23. 2:30 PM 451 Delaware Ave • Phone: (518) 439-9314 . •

NEW YORK STATE MUSEUM FAMILY YOGA - Classes are designed with activities for 2-7 year olds, but siblings of all ages are welcome to join in the fun. It’s a healthy way to play! Feb 22. 10:00 AM STUFFED ANIMAL SLEEPOVER - Put on your PJs and grab your favorite stuffed animal for bedtime stories! Together we’ll make a bed and blanket for your toy, and then tuck him in for the night. Feb 22 & Feb 24. Tue, 18:30; Thu, 10:30. SANFORD CINEMA - Featuring the newly released Legends of the Guardians, a thrilling adventure based on the beloved books by Kathryn Lasky. Feb 23. 6:30 PM UNCLE BROTHERS FAMILY SHOW - Spend a special evening enjoying this lively musical performance. Feb 24. 6:30 PM BABY & ME - Children up to age 36 months and their caregivers are invited to stay and play. Feb 25. 9:30 AM

f Story Art - Enjoy the Museum by listening to a story, exploring objects from the teaching collection, and creating a fun art project. Feb 4. 11:00 AM.

f “Furry Tales And Touchables - Meet at Discovery Place Recommended for children 4 to 6 years of age.” Feb 5, Feb 19 & Feb 22. 12:00 PM

f Rain Or Shine ... It’s Reading Time . Read a story with Museum staff and visit a special exhibit to learn more about New York State. Feb 9 and 23. 10:30 to 11:30 AM. Cultural Education Center of the Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY. Phone: (518) 474-5877.  •

February 2011 | NENY, Northeastern, NY | KidsFunPlaza 33



Schenectady County PROCTORS THEATRE

f If You Give a Cat a Cupcake - Based on the newest installment in the zany “If You Give A . . .” book series, Omaha Theater brings this madcap world premiere production with music to the stage. Feb 8. 10:00 & 12:15 PM. 432 State Street, Schenectady • Phone: (518) 382-3884       Email: •

f National Museum of Racing Brownie Program - Vacation Program: Drawing & Painting. Feb 17. 10:00 AM

f National Museum of Racing Girl Scout Badge Program Visual Arts Feb 19. 10:00 AM 191 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs • Phone: (518) 584-0400 ext. 118. Email: •


f Boy Scout Astronomy Workshop. Explore the Moon, planets, and stars with a live Planetarium show and hands-on astronomy activities. Feb 10 . 6:00 PM

f Be My Valentine Create something special to give to your favorite Valentine! Feb 13. 1:30 PM.

f ART Night! FREE Admission. Feb 15 to Feb 18. 8:00 PM f Little Wonders of Science: Snowflake Bentley - Introduce children ages 3 to 5 to the wonders of science with Snowflake Bentley and a fun craft. Advance registrants receive a FREE book and materials to continue the study of science at home. Feb 17 & Feb 19. 11:00 AM 15 Nott Terrace Heights, Schenectady • Phone: (518) 382-7890       Email: •

Saratoga County


Editorial Calendar for KidsFunPlaza! Month



January 11

New Beginnings

Health Care Providers

February 11



March 11



April 11



Dance to the music of the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s as we relive the Flapper, Hot Jazz & Big Band Era and make sure to check your Tommy Gun at the door. Come dressed in the period clothes of spats and beaded dresses and win a prize for best costume. Feb 12. 8:00 PM

May 11



f Family Sunday: Valentine Crafts - we’ll craft our own

June 11



July 11

Arts & Crafts

Museums/Local Arts

August 11


After Schools

September 11



October 11


Party Resources

November 11



December 11


Kid Friendly Restaurants

f St. Valentine’s Day Speakeasy and Swing Dance Party -

sweetheart-art, pop-up cards, hand-made envelopes and more! You’ll come home with plenty of goodies to give to your valentines! Feb 15. 1:00 PM 265 River Street, Troy, NY. Phone: (518) 273-0552 Email: •


f Teen Yoga! Relax and get in shape with instructor Joely Johnson Mork, of Troy Yoga. Lansingburgh Branch. Feb 5. 1:00 PM


f National Museum of Racing Girl Scout Badge Program Local Lore Feb 5. 10:00 AM

f National Museum of Racing Brownie Program - Listening to the past . Feb 12. 10:00 AM

Sycaway Branch : School 18, Hoosick Street , Troy NY Phone: (518) 274-1822 Lansingburgh Branch: 114th Street and 4th Avenue, Troy NY • Phone: (518) 235-5310 Main Library: 100 Second Street, Troy NY Phone: (518) 274-7071. Email: •

“Rain or shine, at Saratoga Strike Zone we have fun for everyone!” Bowling at the new Saratoga Strike Zone couldn't be more fun. Our state of the art light and sound show make your bowling experience one you won't soon forget! Our Ballocity ball pit is a ton of fun for the kids. The bumper cars are fun for all ages. Games, games, and more games. Our redemption arcade is one of a kind.

34 KidsFunPlaza | NENY, Northeastern, NY |February 2011

To be on the guides contact or call 888-512-1444 February 2011 | NENY, Northeastern, NY | KidsFunPlaza 35

36 KidsFunPlaza | NENY, Northeastern, NY |February 2011

February Edition  

Valentines Edition

February Edition  

Valentines Edition