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Letter from the Editor Owner/Publisher Chad Beatty Editorial/Co-Creator Jenny Witte General Manager Robin Mitchell Production Director Richard Hale Editor Andrew Marshall Advertising Chris Bushee Jim Daley Cindy Durfey Graphic Designer Eric Havens Jessica Kane Writers Julie Cox, Jerry Gretzinger, Theresa M. Kirchhoff, Kelli Lovdahl, Katie Nemer Proofreader Chelsea DiSchiano Photographer Published by Saratoga TODAY Newspaper Five Case Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 tel: (518) 581-2480 fax: (518) 581-2487 Mamatoga is brought to you by Saratoga TODAY Newspaper, Saratoga Publishing, LLC. Saratoga Publishing shall make every effort to avoid errors and omissions but disclaims any responsibility should they occur. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written consent of the publisher. Copyright. (c) 2012, Saratoga TODAY Newspaper.

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Hi Mamatogians!


s I write this letter to you, dangerously close to my deadline, I am also just home fresh from a long Thanksgiving weekend filled with turkey and road trips to spend the holidays with loved ones. The holiday season has begun, and that couldn’t be more evident here in Saratoga Springs, as it arrived with our first snowfall of the year. The holiday season in Saratoga means a lot of things to me. It means keeping my old family traditions and adding in new ones like breaking a peppermint pig with the modern tweak of breaking the pig simultaneously with my brothers in California via Skype. It’s about the Nutcracker Tea and the tree lighting in front of Putnam Market and hearing all the kids cheer at once. It’s about taking the stroll downtown Victorianstyle and ringing in the New Year at First Night. It’s also about watching how our amazing community gives back during the season. Whether it is sponsoring a family for the holidays at the Franklin Community Center or donating items for a Hurricane Sandy Relief Drive, you can count on this community to pitch in and help out. The family on the cover of this magazine can attest to that. Since first hearing about Hannah’s Hope Fund, I have been in awe of Lori Sames. Her strength and determination are nothing short of remarkable. This Thanksgiving, I was asked what I was grateful for, and I answered honestly that I was grateful for the community we have all created here together as parents. Watching how much everyone gives and helps out in Saratoga inspires me to give and help out, and being able to share the stories of parents like Lori is so incredibly special to me. I wish you all much health and happiness this holiday season, from my family to yours.

xoxo, Jenny

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CONTENTS: Contributors 6–7


Hannah’s Hope







Healthy Living Market


Postpartum Depression


Comfort Kitchen


Adventures in Co–Parenting


Halloween Photos


Q&A: “Olive” Winter Skin


Winter Events Calendar


Preschool Readiness


Preschool Spotlight


Preschool Open House


Nutcracker Tea at the Hall of Springs


My Mom Style


Wish List


Top Apps for Kids


The Baby Wait


Beating Holiday Stress


Papatoga 62

Cover photo courtesy of

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Getting to know…

Contributors Julie Cox

Katie Nemer

Theresa M. Kirchhoff

Jerry Gretzinger

My name is Julie Cox and I am a proud working mother to Jackson (10) and Declan (2) and our new baby, Beckett. I spend my days teaching high school English here in Saratoga Springs and my nights cooking dinner, battling toddler bedtime, helping with math homework, and even attempting to crack open a good book now and then.

My name is Katie Nemer. I am a toga mama to Jackson (10), Zoe (2) and Cocoa (the family labrador). My husband Josh and I are also very excited to be expecting a baby boy this December. I’m a huge fan of Saratoga, and therefore also of Mamatoga. Julie is Jackson’s stepmom and my coparent and co-author for our column, Adventures in Co-Parenting. Together we wanted to share our story about the many benefits and challenges that arise with sharing a child between two houses.

Theresa is a New York State Certified Counselor, but above all, a loving wife and mommy. She grew up in Rotterdam and now resides in Saratoga with her husband David and their daughter Giana. Theresa obtained her Master Degree in Counseling from The College of Saint Rose. She provided counseling in Corinth and Amsterdam School Districts to children and adolescents. She is now a proud stay-at-home mom and a part-time therapist to local adults.

Jerry Gretzinger anchors the news weeknights on CBS 6 alongside Liz Bishop. He’s been nominated for numerous journalism awards including two Emmy nods for his ‘good news’ reports. In addition to reporting the news, Jerry is very involved in the local theater and performing arts scene, where he occasionally gets to share the stage with his three children. He’s also a a coach for his son’s basketball team.

Rosemary Riedhammer

Robin Dalton

Amy Breese

Robin grew up in New York City and worked as a producer for 20th Century Fox before moving to Saratoga Springs and joining Roohan Realty. Mrs. Dalton lives in town with her husband Matt and their two young sons; John Matthew, 2, Charlie, 1 and is expecting a third baby in December.

Amy is the mother of two sons and has been serving families as a Postpartum Certified Doula through DONA International since 2004, and as a Certified Lactation Counselor since 2005. Amy specializes in providing postpartum doula care for women who have had previous birth trauma, a history of abuse, domestic violence, eating disorders, depression, anxiety or other emotional stress.

Bridgette Gallagher

Bridgette Gallagher is a high school English teacher at Saratoga Springs High School, Mommy to Parker, 3 and Celia, 1 and blogger at www.shortcutgirl. com.

My name is Rosemary Riedhammer. Proud wife to Joe and mom to Jack (2). By day I’m a marketer but the best “job” I’ve ever had is being Jack’s mom. Although I’m a recent Saratoga area transplant my roots have been planted here via horseracing my entire life.

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Kelli Lovdahl

Hello! My name is Kelli and I have always enjoyed working with children – they are always so happy and carefree. I decided that the perfect job for me would be a child photographer – combining my love for kids with my creative side. I am currently pursuing a BFA in Photography at the College of Saint Rose.

If you have a story idea you would like to see in MAMATOGA Magazine or would like to be a contributor, email Jenny at:

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Hannah’s Hope

By Jenny Witte Photography by

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e all know that being a parent can be a tough job. Remembering play dates and soccer practices, juggling and multitasking and making sure everyone is taken care of, lunches packed and presents for birthday parties bought. Sometimes even just the day to day stuff can be draining. Now, imagine that on top of all that a mom already has to juggle, you have a child that has been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, and there is no known cure. Lori Sames and her husband Matt both grew up in Plattsburgh and met in 1990. They married in 1997 and moved to Buffalo for 2 years before moving to Clifton Park in 2000 when Matt became general sales manager of CBS 6. The couple had three daughters: Reagan, Madison and Hannah. In March of 2008, the family received the news that Hannah was diagnosed with Giant Axonal Neuropathy (GAN), a rare disease which impacts less than 200,000 Americans worldwide. The rare genetic disorder slowly takes away one’s ability to walk, use one’s hands, speak, swallow and is eventually terminal. When Hannah’s parents learned the diagnosis, they wanted to know what any parent in their situation would want to know: Is there a cure? The answer was grim. There is no cure for GAN. There were no treatments. There were no clinical trials. There was no ongoing research. In the wake of receiving this devastating news, Lori and Matt sprang into action. “Hannah had just turned four and they told us she

could live to her mid 20’s. We were told she would lose the ability to move, speak and swallow,” explained Lori. “We decided to fight. Matt and I instinctively went to our strengths. He dove into the marketing/ PR side of creating our charity, Hannah’s Hope Fund, and worked with an attorney to get our 501c3 established. I dove into the science and combed the globe for anyone who knew anything about the disease.” They became determined to learn all they could about GAN and how to accelerate the nearly non-existent effort to find a cure. “We were about two years into our mission before we realized we never discussed how to divide and conquer. We just went to our strengths and made things happen.” At the time of Hannah’s diagnosis, Lori was only able to find one scientist in the world actively studying GAN, Dr. Pascale Bomont, in France. Now, the scientists working with Hannah’s Hope Fund have a GAN gene therapy Investigational New Drug (IND) and are working to push to Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials. “Receiving this diagnosis is analogous to being told you have cancer, except chemotherapy does not exist,” explained Lori. “I never dreamt I would essentially need to create a virtual biotech, find a team of scientists and need to raise nearly five million dollars grassroots, in order to try to save my daughter’s life. I did not know the structure of biomedical research is flawed and that breakthroughs in the labs at academic institutions are not being translated to

“It seems like every few months now a newly diagnosed family finds us. In their darkest moment, they are turning to us and we are giving them hope. It is always bittersweet when a new family finds us. The bitter is obvious, but the sweet is that knowledge is power and they now have the ability to help us fund this life-saving treatment.”

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humans. The system needs monumental overhaul. I try to carve out time to devote to policy changes. Thankfully, there are MD/PhD’s like Dr. Emil Kakkis who have put their careers aside to devote their lives to getting the system changed in the hope that someday there will be therapeutics for the more than 6,000 rare disorders, impacting nearly 30 million Americans, the vast majority being children. Shamefully, there are only 250 rare diseases that have effective therapies today.” Hannah’s Hope Fund, the first public charity for GAN, has put Lori and her husband in touch with other families struggling with the disease.

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“It seems like every few months now a newly diagnosed family finds us,” Lori said. “In their darkest moment, they are turning to us and we are giving them hope. It is always bittersweet when a new family finds us. The bitter is obvious, but the sweet is that knowledge is power and they now have the ability to help us fund this life-saving treatment.” I asked Lori how she finds the strength to work so tirelessly for a cure. “I describe most weeks like final exams week in college…intense and not enough hours in the day. In my spare time, I read scientific papers. Honestly, I love what I am doing. I only wish it weren’t to save my own

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daughter’s life. Because precious and innocent lives are depending on us, I thrive on burning the midnight oil. I think working the hardest I possibly can helps me cope with Hannah’s deteriorating status. I know in my heart we are doing everything possible to try to save her, and children like her around the world suffering from GAN.” Over the years, Hannah’s Hope Fund has raised $3.2 million, including a $500,000 challenge grant from Doris Buffett, founder of the Sunshine Lady Foundation and sister of billionaire investor Warren Buffett and two Pepsi Challenge grants of $250,000 each. Those funds have gone toward therapy development and research by an international scientific team as preparation for clinical trials. The team has developed a gene replacement therapy they believe will save the central nervous system for patients afflicted with GAN. This year, Hannah’s Hope Fund has received another $450,000 challenge grant from Buffet, but in order to receive the grant, the foundation must raise an equal amount of money. If they are successful in matching the grant offered by Buffett, the foundation will use the $900,000 toward human clinical trials scheduled for the spring of 2013. Phase one of the clinical trials will have eight or nine children, including Hannah, and the number of participants in the trials might go as high as 37. The trials are scheduled to take place at the Children’s Hospital at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. If Hannah’s Hope Fund is unable to match Buffett’s challenge, the foundation will get nothing from Buffett and the trials will be delayed until the $900,000 can be accumulated. To meet the challenge, the Sames have launched Heroes for Hope. They are asking people to donate $50, send out a solicitation to 100 others and get three people to commit to do the same. Lori has said the support from the community has already been extremely positive. “This community is absolutely amazing, like no other! We are receiving $1,000 checks from strangers who have learned of our mission and our matching challenge grant. The support is unbelievable!” I chatted with Lori about her girls and what they have planned for the winter and the holiday season. “All three of our girls ski, and Hannah skis at the Double H Ranch in Luzerne. Reagan (11) loves soccer and recently took up volleyball, and Madison

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is a dancer and was just chosen to be on the freshman Shen basketball cheerleading squad as an eighth grader. One of Hannah’s favorite things to do is to ride her adaptive tricycle she got from The Dake Foundation last spring.” “My favorite tradition is putting the photo ornaments on the Christmas tree, as a family. I have a photo ornament for each year since each of our daughters were born, and we just love seeing how much they’ve changed over the years.” With the incredible Lori and Matt Sames powerhouse behind it, Hannah’s Hope Fund has some unbelievable drive and support, but they still need our help to reach their goal. Go to www.hannahshopefund.

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org and donate. Then tell a friend, and have them tell a friend. Together we can all help them reach their goal, and Hannah, along with generations of families, can benefit from the therapeutic approach being financed by Hannah’s Hope Fund.

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Healthy Living Market


oming to Saratoga Springs in early 2013 is a new way to buy food for your family, and what’s one of the best parts of this new store? It’s also family-run! Healthy Living Market and Cafe is owned and operated by Katy Lesser, her son Eli Lesser-Goldsmith and daughter Nina LesserGoldsmith. Katy started the Healthy Living Market and Cafe in Burlington, Vermont 26 years ago and it is now Vermont’s largest and best independently-owned natural foods market. Described by Katy as “so much more than just another grocery store”, the Market has a strong community outreach department and is committed to local farmers and food producers. In addition, Natural Living Market and Cafe will also provide jobs to almost 150 people in our area. The nearly 35,000-square-foot space will have both an indoor and outdoor entrance, as well as indoor and outdoor seating areas. Mamatoga got a chance to chat with the family behind our new local market to see what keeps their business buzzing. Katy founded Healthy Living Market and Cafe 26 years ago and has been growing it ever since, but from

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the start there were challenges. Katy had no business experience and the natural foods industry was barely in its infancy. She learned day by day, mistake by mistake. Eli and Nina joined her after college. Eli is the general manager of their Vermont store, and Nina is head of the Learning Center, the education arm of the company. Together they make a powerful team; dedicated, energetic and devoted to their mission. Running a family business has been “an unexpected joy” for Katy. “Whoever thought I'd get to work with my kids? It's fun every day. It's challenging for me to let go of certain aspects of the business, but as time's gone on I've come to realize that my kids are completely equipped to bring new passion, skills, ideas and energy to Healthy Living.” For daughter Nina, being part of the family business is “fun, challenging and ultimately rewarding. Family businesses are few and far between and I'm proud that we work together so well and that we've made ours successful.” Eli shared that it is “an amazing thing to come to work every day and see your family. Most people would go crazy from this, but not us. We keep it fun, we eat

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g of people. I love to think we teach people how to serve great food, and we work tirelessly to keep innovating customers and each other. Finally, it's my way of taking the business for our staff and customers.” care of the community we all love.” According to Katy, the Market stands out from Katy and her kids looked at a lot of different comother supermarkets because it is more than just a gromunities deciding where to expand their market, so cery store. why did they choose Saratoga? “Our guests learn to love us for our dedi“Saratoga is a vibrant, strong commucation to service, our extraordinary nity of people who love food, their comselection of food, and our amazing munity and their local farmers and staff that we take extremely good “Saratoga is a producers, and we felt drawn to care of. We are known for being vibrant, strong that,” Katy said. more than a grocery store. We community of people At Healthy Living, they will also are a community meeting who love food, their space where people gather, have classes available through community and their their Learning Center. They will eat, learn, and feel taken care local farmers and offer hands-on and demonstraof by staff that really knows how producers, and we to serve customers. We've put tion-style cooking classes for nonprofessionals on a wide range of our heart and soul into creatfelt drawn to that” topics and will also teach cooking ing a different type of shopping -Katy Lesser classes for kids, private classes, offer 'experience.' There's more beauty, birthday parties, and provide free lecthere's more fun, there's more handtures on a wide variety of health and wellpicked and local products, and there ness subjects. are tons of amazing staff people on the “Families are our biggest market—we really are a floor to give the customer a very different type of family store. We do classes for kids, and my general phiexperience than they are used to.” losophy is that kids can do anything,” Nina said. “They “Healthy Living means a bunch of things to me,” come into these classes and they blow me away, explained Katy. “First, obviously it's a source of food they are so talented and interested and I really try to people can trust. It's a place where people can learn get them to participate in making their stuff because about food and wellness, which I believe are important then they are more willing to try it. The classes are totally things to know about. It's also really important to me to hands on and they do everything.” be able to provide good, interesting jobs to wide range

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From left to right: Nina Lesser-Goldsmith, Katy Lesser and Eli Lesser-Goldsmith

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I simply cannot wait for this more than welcome new addition to Saratoga, and before I was done chatting with the family, I begged them for a holiday recipe I could share with the readers as delicious anticipation for what is to come with Healthy Living Market. This is a recipe that Nina makes every year, and one I am going to add to my own holiday repertoire this year.

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Nina’s Favorite Holiday Recipe Vanilla Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Pecan Streusel Topping Ingredients • 5 large sweet potatoes • 2 cups heavy cream • 1 vanilla bean • Zest and juice of 1 orange • ¼ cup cold unsalted butter • ¼ cup brown sugar • ¼ cup sugar • ¼ cup flour • ½ cup chopped pecans • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper Directions Preheat oven to 400. Prick sweet potatoes with a fork and place them in oven for about 1-1 ½ hours or until tender when poked with a knife. Add cream to a small sauce pot. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape seeds out into the cream. Also add the pod to the cream and simmer until hot but not boiling. Turn off heat and let vanilla bean steep until ready to use. Peel sweet potatoes and lace in the bowl of a food processor (you may have to do this in 2 batches). Add orange zest and juice and about 1/3 of the vanilla cream. Pulse until smooth, if the mixture is not pureeing easily add more cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper and transfer to a baking dish. For the topping: in a food processor or stand mixer, combine the butter, flour, sugars and pinch of salt. Pulse until the ingredients are incorporated but still crumbly. Add the pecans and pulse a few more times. Sprinkle the crumble mixture onto the mashed sweet potatoes and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until topping is crisp and golden brown.

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Plans and Construction has begun for the Healthy Living Market in the Wilton Mall. The Market is expected to open in the Spring of 2013.

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Depression Sharing Experiences

By Amy Breese, Bridgette Gallagher and Rosemary Riedhammer


hances are if you are a mom or an expecting mom you have heard about the “baby blues”, the feelings that often come along with the joy and happiness a new baby can bring. Sometimes, however, those “baby blues” can be something much more serious. Bridgette had her first moment of realizing she may be experiencing post-partum depression in a gas station bathroom. “My husband and I had just packed up the kids for a trip to Vermont (I thought getting away would help me shake the funk I had been in) and we stopped to use the bathroom. Since I was essentially avoiding mirrors at this point, I was shocked to catch my own reflection. I had a white down jacket on- the only one that fit- and had been wearing it for days. It was filthy. The front had coffee drips, smudges of dirt and small grimy handprints. I was unkempt and ugly, disheveled and gross. And anyone who saw me must have seen the same thing. I erupted into sobs that would not stop. Tears came that I could not control. A wellspring opened and I was slowly sinking. Getting up every day felt something like being underwater. It took everything I could to do to just get myself to work and when I got there I felt kind of numb. Numb, a little lonely and of course tired. The tired part, everyone expects—you’re up with the baby, you never get to nap, you are a non-stop Mom. But, I was also starting to not sleep because I was anxious. I started to feel like I didn’t want to go to work, to day care, to the grocery store. I didn’t want to go anywhere. I went through the motions but I felt a little lost. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I was supposed to be happy. I had two small children who were sweet and wonderful. I had a good husband, good friends, great co-workers. I felt like something had changed and no one brought me up to speed. Like I was left out of my own life. You’re supposed to be happy, I kept telling myself.” When a woman gives birth she typically expects to feel excitement, joy and other blissful feelings, when this does not happen it can lead to feelings of shame and embarrassment. New mothers begin to question themselves and wonder if they are

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meant to be mothers. It is important to know that normal symptoms of postpartum emotional stress can include not only depression but anxiety, obsessive compulsive thoughts, PTSD and rarely psychosis.  According to the Postpartum International website up to 80% of new moms experience” baby blues” which can include feelings of sadness, crying and emotional ups and downs.  Rosemary experienced her first experience with PPD shortly after her son was born. “The very first experience I had with postpartum was a mere twelve hours after my son was born. After 48 sleepless hours I found myself over tired but at the same time overjoyed. Those opposite ends of the emotional spectrum would define my experience with PPD. I was in awe with the life I had just created. Overwhelmed at the responsibilities that came with not just physical but emotional, psychological and physiological aspects of parenting. At balancing my own well being, nurturing my marriage, maintaining friendships, and on and on. It was finding that balance that was troublesome. Ultimately sparking my depression. What little I knew about PPD turned out to be hugely misconceived. My depression stemmed from loss not gain. The loss of me, of my father who passed a month before my son was born, and of the dynamic of my marriage as I had known it. When my son arrived I was not prepared. Not at all. I was not prepared for the extreme highs and lows. Feelings of love, of despair, of yearning for my former responsibility-free life. With that came an extreme amount of guilt. Guilt that comes with also doing things for yourself to maintain a healthy equilibrium. A lot of parenting came as a shock. I continued counseling for about a month after giving birth. I fooled myself into thinking I was fine. My emotions ebbed and flowed. The times I needed someone most was not during my one hour allotted weekly time slot. They were during hour long nursing sessions at 3 am or other periods of prolonged exhaustion. I knew I needed support.” If symptoms get significantly worse or last longer than the first couple of weeks postpartum, they can lead to a condition that will need medical attention.

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This would be the time when it would be important to call your medical care provider and a therapist specializing in woman’s mental health. Postpartum International suggests bringing a caring friend or family member with you to the appointment. You can also write down some of your feelings and symptoms before going to the appointment so that they can be referred to when speaking with the healthcare provider or therapist.  It is important to get help as soon as you or someone close to you notices unusual symptoms. In the sidebar is a helpful guide for what to look for when you think you may be experiencing Post Partum Depression symptoms. The sooner you get help, the closer you will be to recovery.  The more quickly that you begin to feel better the less side effects there will be on your baby and any other children that you have.  Many women feel shame after realizing that they do not feel the same way that their friends or sisters did after giving birth, this is a normal part of the process of discovering that things are not as you had hoped they would be postpartum.  Postpartum depression and anxiety do not just go away without treatment.  Please reach out now, you are not alone, it is not your fault and you will get better with appropriate help. In this piece you read excerpts from stories of

local moms who are participating in a special series on Post Partum Depression on Head there to read their complete stories in this indepth series. For more information check out a local resource for the Capital Area offering pregnancy and postpartum support for mothers and their families afflicted with perinatal emotional stress. They offer free and confidential support groups around the Capital District area including Saratoga.

Here are some questions to ask yourself . . . • Am I acting like myself? • Am I too worried, too withdrawn, too talkative, too euphoric, too exhausted, hyper, too unhappy? • Do I seem confused? • Am I crying all the time? • Am I eating the way I usually do? • Am I taking care of myself the way I typically do? • Am I spending time with the baby? • Am I reacting appropriately to the baby? • Am I less interested in things that used to interest me? • Is my anxiety getting in the way of doing what I need to do? • Am I too attentive or concerned with the baby’s health? • Am I having trouble sleeping, even when the baby is sleeping? • Am I overly concerned with things being done perfectly with no room for mistakes? • Am I too angry, too irritable, too anxious, too short-tempered? • Am I having panic attacks, where I can’t breathe?

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Kitchen a picky eaters’ review

Chef and owner Rory Moran (right) with sous chef Dan Passamonte    Mamatoga Magazine | December 2012 22

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Chef and owner Rory Moran gets ingredients for his hearty and wholesome comfort food dishes from the local famers’ market, and when he can’t get local he gets organic. What I love about Comfort Kitchen as a parent: Chef and owner Rory Moran gets ingredients for his hearty and wholesome comfort food dishes from the local famers’ market, and when he can’t get local he gets organic. You can order kid-sized portions of kid favorites like homemade tater tots, macaroni and cheese and grilled cheese. It’s a nice casual space with great music and a laid back vibe where


omfort Kitchen has become firmly planted on my family’s favorite list, and their family-friendly food and environment keep us coming back regularly. We assembled a little crew of “picky eaters” to review Comfort Kitchen and rate how kid-friendly this new eatery is. Our reviewers were: Jack and Ella, 5; Finn, 6; Leven, 4; Rowan, 17 months.

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you can feel comfortable having little ones around. The menu is thoughtful yet simple, pared down to just the right amount of choices with something for everyone. Our favorites include the Comfort Burger, the veggie burger, and I love their take-out dinners, which are perfect for busy families. At our taste test, the kids ate up the creamy macaroni and cheese, tater tots, grilled cheese (Rory arrived with bread fresh from Mrs. London’s right as we got there) and some chocolate milk, with coconut lime cookies for dessert (baby Jack’s favorite). Although I tried to snag some for myself, most of the tater tots were scooped up right away. Jack (5 years old) proclaimed them to be his favorite, and Finn said he liked how they were “nice and crispy” on the outside. Levy, the grilled cheese connoisseur, had two helpings. Rowan was a big fan of the macaroni and cheese, and Ella simply said she loved everything!

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Comfort Kitchen got two thumbs up from our Picky Eaters and two thumbs up from the parents as well. Stop by and try them out for yourselves, and when you do, ask for the tater tots “Mamatoga style” with a side of their to-die-for chipotle mayo on the side.

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Adventures in Co-Parenting

Five Easy Steps for Holiday Sharing By Julie Cox and Katie Nemer Ah, the holidays. You’re probably busy doing one, if not all, of the following activities: stocking up on pine-scented candles, fielding the kids’ constant additions to their wishlists while the media blitzes them into “needing” every toy on the market, and pouring yourself a delicious glass of eggnog while simultaneously ignoring its number one spot on every health magazine’s “Don’t You Dare Touch It” list. If you’re a co-parent, there’s an additional component added to your holiday cheer since you have to figure out how to best share your children during the most family-centric time of year. Holidays are all about families, so what do you do when your children have more than one? You can start off by following these five easy steps to a drama free and memory rich holiday season. Step 1: It’s Gonna Stink If there was ever a time those of us who are coparenting wish we could legally clone our children, the holidays would be it. The first step of sharing the kids for the holidays is acceptance of the fact that now and then, it’s really going to stink. They’re not always going to be there to run down the stairs on Christmas morning and there will be some nights when you light another candle on the menorah without them. This is just one of the things on the “sad” side of co-parenting. Focus on the times you will be together and plan fun and special things to do during your precious time as a family. We’re going to be honest with you since we’ve never been ones for sugarcoating…it’s going to really, undeniably stink.    Mamatoga Magazine | December 2012 26

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Step 2: Plan Well in Advance We have found that it is imperative to have a clear plan in place well before the tinsel hits the shelves at Target. Generally, we start planning the holidays at the beginning of the school year. Now that we’ve been doing this for a while, a “holiday rotation” has emerged regarding our son, Jackson. No one gets him for both Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve. We also alternate Christmas morning from year-to-year. That’s what works for us, but you have to figure out what works for you. There was a time when we tried the whole "Okay, he can start here and then at this time we meet up midway and he can go to this party then and stay later and everyone can arrange the timing of meals and gift opening around it." Well that worked for maybe a year. We soon realized that experiencing bits and pieces of a bunch of parties was not only exhausting for the little guy, he felt like he was being tossed around like a ping pong ball. No one – adult or child – should have to celebrate their favorite holiday in the backseat of a minivan shuttling between festivities. Step 3: Prepare the Key Players For the four of us parents, we have accepted that the “holiday rotation” is just going to be a part of our lives forever. We really only want Jackson to be happy and to celebrate with the people he loves… on both sides of his huge family. However, sometimes it is difficult for other family members to understand this concept. Obviously, everyone just loves having Jackson so much that they can't stand the thought of him not being at their gathering or party. It's exactly how we feel on a regular day when we wake up in

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the morning and his bed is still made from the night before and when his seat is empty at dinner. So you can only imagine that it is especially difficult at holiday time when we take a family photo in front of the tree and he’s missing. Just when you yet again reassure yourself, "It's okay, he's having fun with his other family," someone comes up to you and throws out a well-meaning, "Oh, too bad Jackson isn't here." You can't blame people for being disappointed. But really likewise, people can't blame us for having to disappoint them. We all need to remember that he is everyone's favorite 10-year-old guy, and that means sharing him. It can help to be very clear with the family ahead of time exactly what the plan is. You may even have to directly or indirectly make it clear that they will have to appreciate and respect the situation. Offer them the bright side such as, “We know it stinks that we don’t have Jackson for Thanksgiving this year, but he’ll be with us for Christmas Eve!” Everybody loves a nice silver lining. Step 4: Don’t Stress the Kids In the midst of planning out their holiday season for them, sometimes the kids can get left feeling a little lost in a haze of hot cocoa and torn wrapping paper. Unwrapping gifts, traveling between parties, and playing with friends and family members is exhausting and it’s important to remember to give the kids a break if they need it. Recognize that they are dealing with a lot of emotions and may feel the need to please a lot of people. Give them the time to de-compress. This could help to diffuse a total meltdown when you ask them to smile for their millionth picture that week. Also, since the holidays are a high-stress time for most adults, especially those in co-parenting situations, it’s important to make sure the kids don’t notice any tension between the two of you. No one wants their holiday memories clouded by flashbacks of arguments or nasty comments. Get over your own hang-ups and wish each other a genuine Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah in front of the kids. After all, it’s the happiest time of the year, isn’t it? Step 5: Focus on the Family, not the Date So you celebrate Christmas on December 26th this year. Do twenty-four hours really make your time together any less special? Do the lights on the tree sparkle any less or are the stockings hung any less carefully? Of course not. It’s easy to get stuck on the date, but really, you can celebrate your holiday on any date, as long as you’re all together.

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Along those same lines, make sure you take time for your family – just your little nuclear family, whatever it may look like. Give the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins some time if you can, but the real focus should be on your family. It’s easy to get caught up in the big-family hype and the need to see anyone and everyone you’re even remotely related to. However, it’s totally okay to be selfish and take that quiet time for just you, because that’s what everyone is going to remember the most. Those are where the memories and the traditions live. Turn off the lights and sit in front of the tree/candles/fire all together and just be a family in that moment, no matter the date. Breathe in the pine-scented air and wrap your arms around your children as tightly as they’ll let you. You can clean up the waist-deep mess of hastily-torn paper, undo the impossible FBI-grade zip ties that secure your child’s new prized possession to the cardboard, and start the “I-had-entirely-too-much-eggnog” diet tomorrow. Tonight, sip that eggnog slowly and drink in the last fleeting moments of this year’s holiday. Don’t worry; it will roll around again soon enough. It always does.

Mamatoga Magazine | December 2012


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Photos provided

Photo by Kara Hilburger Photography

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Photo by Kara Hilburger Photography

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Photo by Kara Hilburger Photography

Mamatoga Magazine | December 2012


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“Olive” Winter Skin: 5 Great Tips for Winter Skin! Q&A with Local Business Owner, Kara Scieszka


: How did you get started making Natural Skincare Products? : It began almost nine years ago when I was pregnant with my first child. I was determined to create the best possible environment for my little one to grow and was following my Dr.’s advice to a “t”. I’d been given a lot of information about what foods to eat and which to avoid, which essentially covered what I was putting IN my body, but no one mentioned anything about what I was putting ON my body. I remember vividly cleaning my bathroom one day in my second trimester. I was scrubbing the floor and noticed the sheer number of personal care and cleaning products under my sink. I started reading the ingredients listed on them and I was unable to pronounce most of them, so off

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I ran to look them up on Google. What I discovered was shocking! Chemical after chemical used in our personal care and cleaning products were not only linked to serious health conditions, but most hadn’t even been tested for safety! Knowing that our skin is our largest organ and much of what we put on it gets absorbed into our bloodstream (and in my case, directly to my growing baby), I decided then and there, that I would find a better way. So I focused on one of my favorite things– nature! After years of research and formulating recipes, Olive Naturally™ was born!


: Winter is upon us, what does that mean for our skin? : The combination of cold outdoor temperatures and dry indoor heat during the winter months can wreak havoc on our skin.

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In the wintertime our skin tends to get so uncomfortably dry, itchy, and flaky, that many are relieved to cover it up under clothing. Most people don’t realize that it is equally, if not more important to care for our skin in the winter as it is during tank top season. Whether you suffer from dry skin only during the colder months, or all year-round, there are several things you can do to care for your skin naturally.


: What would be your first tip for taming winter skin? : My first tip is to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Dry bodies mean dry skin. Our skin relies on water to make it plump and smooth. Even though we’re not necessarily ‘breaking a sweat” as much in the wintertime it’s extremely important to still aim for 6-8 glasses a day. We can’t expect our largest organ to be able to maintain its moisture without providing it with a sufficient amount of water.


: What else can we do? : Eat healthy fats! Winter conditions strip our skin of its natural oils. You can help to replenish them with by eating foods rich in fatty acids, such as nuts, avocado, flax and fish oils. Try using oil based salad dressings made with almond, safflower or (my favorite!) olive oil. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it can make by incorporating these into your diet.


: What about lotions? Should we be using something different in the winter? : As weather conditions change, so should your skin care routine. During the colder months you want to exfoliate and then moisturize. Exfoliating old flaky skin cells helps to allow the moisture that your skin desperately needs to absorb much

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better. Look for a gentle, all natural, oil based scrub and aim to use it about once a week. The natural oils in the scrub will create a protective layer on the skin helping it to retain more moisture. After exfoliating, follow up by moisturizing your winter skin with a thicker natural cream, body butter or ointment as opposed to a thinner lotion. The best time to apply is right after your shower or bath. Don’t worry about your skin needing to be completely dry first; a little dampness is a good thing!


: Any last bit of winter advice? : Don’t forget the sunscreen! Many of us only think to use sunscreen in the summer months, but it is equally as important in the wintertime. During the winter the sun’s rays can be even stronger, especially when reflecting off of ice and snow, causing sunburns and skin damage to occur quickly. If you or your children are going to be spending any time outdoors this winter, be sure to use a natural zinc-based sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30.

Kara Scieszka is the founder and president of Olive Naturally, LLC. In addition to making natural skincare products, Kara is a mother of two, and an active member of the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families Coalition working to change federal chemical laws. She is passionate about nature, clean eating, healthy living and giving back to the community. For more natural skin care tips or information about Olive Naturally’s products check out or follow Kara on Facebook at www.facebook. com/olivenaturally. Olive for You. Olive for Me. Olive for Making a Difference. Olive Naturally.™

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end cal


- Sunday December 16

Saratoga Springs Youth Orchestra Winter Classical Concert

Arthur Zankel Music Center Skidmore College. Maestro Gioacchino Longobardi, Conductor and the The Saratoga Springs Youth Orchestra perform from 3 - 4:30 p.m. The cost is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for students and children.


Friday, December 21 A Children’s Holiday Concert with Seth and the Moody Melix

Homemade Theater at Spa Little Theater, 19 Roosevelt Dr. Saratoga Local children’s group Seth and the Moody Melix will be performing traditional Holiday music plus songs off of their new CD for children and their families. Get ready to dance, clap and sing along to catchy folk grooves, fun positive messages and lyrical themes. Tickets are $10. To purchase, please email or phone (518) 587-4427.


Friday, December 21 Wilton Wildlife Nature Film, Craft and Snack

Do you need more time to finish shopping or wrapping presents before the holidays arrive? Feel free to bring your school-aged kids to us at 6 p.m. for a film, craft, & snack. Minimum registration for this program is five children and the maximum is 20 children. Preregistration is required at least one business day in advance. Please contact us at or (518) 450-0321 for more information. If Saratoga Springs School District cancels classes due bad weather, our programs will also be cancelled.


All events are subject to change. Check for updates!

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Local Events Calendar


Friday, December 28 Family Game Day Saratoga Springs Public Library


Saturday, December 29 Old Friends at Cabin Creek Birthday Party for Retired Thoroughbreds

49 Henry St. Kids in grades K through 5, come from 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. for indoor games in the Susman Room. We will have board games and electronic games. Kids, bring your grownups and show them how it’s done! For more information, please call, (518) 584-7860, option 3.

483 Sand Hill, Greenfield Old Friends at Cabin Creek invites you to a Soup-er Birthday Party for our retired thoroughbred racehorses from noon to 3 p.m. There’ll be a raffle, tours, specialty soups from Longfellow’s, Triangle Diner, Cock N Bull, The Wishing Well, and of course birthday cake with our birthday boys. Donations welcome.


Saturday, January 26

Pre-School Fair

Saratoga Springs Public Library, 49 Henry St. This is a wonderful opportunity to explore our area preschools with over 18 preschools represented. A complete list or participating preschools will be available by December 30, 2012 at This event is co-sponsored by the SSPL and the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs. This program will take place in the Glasby, Susman and Storyhour Rooms.


  Saturday January 26 Frost Faire

Saratoga National Historical Park, 648 Rte. 32, Stillwater Saratoga Battlefield allows you to enjoy an important point in American History as you experience the great outdoors snowshoeing or skiing through the open

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battlefields and woods. When you finish your journey, walk through the museum and gift shop at the visitor center. Join them for their 17th Annual Frost Faire, January 28, 2013. Family fun, past and present, with snow tubing on the “Big Hill,” bonfire, hot refreshments, nature hikes, snowshoeing, horse-drawn carriage rides and more. For more information, call (518) 664-9821, ext 224.


  Saturday, January 29 and Sunday, January 30, Sesame Street Live: Elmo’s Super Heroes

Take the whole family to see Sesame Street Live: Elmo’s Super Heroes at the Glens Falls Civic Center on January 29 and 30. Head to for details on how to win a FREE Family Four Pack of tickets!


ebruary 1 - 3 Saratoga Winterfest Downtown Saratoga Springs

The Spa City transforms into a winter wonderland! Celebrate winter in Saratoga at the annual Saratoga Winterfest. The weekend includes a Wine Tasting, Chowderfest and much more.


identification cards and loaner snowshoes, courtesy of Wilton Wildlife. We will walk as a group to Congress Park, put on our snowshoes and hunt for animal tracks. Limited to 20 families or when the loaners run out so register early! Please bring your own snowshoes if you have them. Children must be accompanied by parent or caregiver. If there is no snow we will look for mud tracks in the Park and then head back indoors for footprint-related activities. Register in the Children’s Room or by calling (518) 584-7860, opt #3.

Santa’s Cottage Hours: Located on Broadway in front of Putnam Market Saturday, Dec. 15, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21, 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, 1 p.m. - 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 23, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

   Saturday, February 2 ChowderFest

From 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., enjoy a taste of Saratoga’s top chowders. Samples will be a dollar a cup (3 oz. serving). Chowderfest offers you the chance to choose the winners! Pick up a ballot form at any participating restaurant. Then taste as many different soups and chowders as you can & vote for your favorites!


   Monday, February 18 Animal Tracking Snowshoe Hike

Saratoga Springs Public Library and Congress Park From 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Anna Papperman, Environmental Education and Conservation Intern from Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park and Laura Clark, Children’s Librarian, will lead a family snowshoe hike in Congress Park for children ages 5 to 12 and their parents or caregivers. Participants will meet in the Crawshaw Story Room to receive footprint

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“Head to to vote for YOUR Family favorites in the Mamatoga Family Choice Awards 2013, winners will be announced in an upcoming issue of Mamatoga Magazine!”

Mamatoga Magazine | December 2012


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By Jenny Witte


efore picking out which school fits you and your child best, you need to first decide if your child is ready to start school. Even though schools will start taking children as young as two for programs, readiness for preschool has more to do with where your child is developmentally rather than age. Is he socially, emotionally, physically, and cognitively ready to participate in a program with a group of other children? Though it may seem reassuring to check off a list of skills to determine if your child is ready, that method isn’t foolproof. The best way to decide is to spend time thinking about your child and to talk to other people who know him well, such as your pediatrician and your child’s caregiver. Consider these questions when thinking about preschool readiness as well. Has he spent time away from you? If your child has been cared for by a babysitter or another family member, he might be better prepared to separate from you when he’s at preschool. Kids who are used to being apart from their parents often bounce right into preschool with hardly a second glance. If your child hasn’t had many opportunities to be away from you, you might want to schedule some: A weekend with Grandma or a playdate where you drop him off for just a little bit. But even if you can’t work out your

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separation issues in advance, don’t worry too much; many children leave Mom or Dad for the first time to go to preschool and they do just fine. The trick is to help your child adjust in short doses. Many preschools will allow you to drop off your child for just a short time during his first few days there or to stay for the first few days. As he gets more used to his environment, you gradually work up to dropping him off for the full time. One big question to consider for preschool readiness is whether or not your child can work on projects on his own. Preschool usually involves lots of arts and crafts projects that require concentration and the ability to focus on an individual task. If your child likes to draw at home or gets engrossed in simple puzzles and other activities by himself, he may be a good candidate for preschool. But even if he’s the kind of child who asks for help with everything, you can start getting him ready by setting up playtimes where he can entertain himself for a half hour or so. While you go about an activity of your own, encourage him to make something out of Playdoh, for example. Slowly build up to longer stretches of solo activity. The goal here is to keep yourself moderately occupied with an activity so that he’ll get on with his own without too much hand-holding on your part. Another aspect of building this skill is to give your child some simple

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instructions, something that he will encounter in preschool. Ask them to put their shoes away or hang their coat up or help to clean up after their snack. This will help them get ready for the simple instructions they’ll start getting in preschool. Another thing to think about when considering preschool readiness is whether or not your child can participate in group activities. For the younger kids going into two-year-old preschool, this might not be such a big concern at first, since most children that age aren’t quite ready to engage too much with their peers and are more into parallel play, but you can start them out with trying some group activities by taking them to playgroups at the library or Children’s Museum that can be similar to preschool activities. Simply getting them used to playing around other children in a group can help them get ready to participate in the types of games and circle time activities they’ll take part in when going to preschool. Your child’s schedule and energy level are further important indicators of preschool readiness. Most

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schools will offer a morning and an afternoon option, so figuring out which one works best for your child and their schedule rather than trying to work against it will make everyone happier with the preschool transition. Even though it can be a short time, keep in mind that preschool can be demanding for a toddler, there is usually some playground time and lots of physical activity packed into that mini school “day”. While children are at preschool, they are learning emotionally, cognitively, physically and socially. They spend a lot of time practicing gross and fine motor skills and developing their new skills in language and communication. Your little one may not have much to show for their day at preschool, but a lot happens at preschool that is not immediately apparent – the activity is seen, but not the learning. Lastly, one easy thing you can do with your child is visit the school they might be attending. Familiarity can go a long way for a stress-free preschool transition. Call up the prospective schools and check them out ahead of time—you can get all the details on when and where in the Mamatoga Preschool Section.

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The Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs “All three of my daughters go to the Waldorf School and we all benefit so much from the school community. The teachers put so much thought and care into everything they do with the children. In their preschool and Kindergarten years, this means they get a ton of outdoor and movement time, lots of love and compassion, and many lessons in what it means to be a mindful human being. Teachers spend a lot of time developing the children’s brains for later years but they do it in very playful manners: teaching cross body coordination, sensory development, comprehension, singing and performing, painting and problem solving. My oldest daughter is now in first grade and I can see how her five years in their Early Childhood Programs has prepared her emotionally, socially, physically and intellectually for her years ahead.” - Parent

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Malta Montessori School “We stumbled upon Malta Montessori School when we moved to the community six years ago. We were looking for an exceptional preschool for our nearly-three year old daughter and had only a general awareness of the Montessori philosophy. Six years at MMS and two (very different) daughters later, we are so very grateful for the passion for learning, the wonder of all of life, and the community of peace, mutual respect and friendship the teachers and staff modeled and nurtured in our children. For our family, partnering with MMS was an investment that will have lifelong benefits.” - Misha and Jake Marvel

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St. Clement’s Regional Catholic School “My twins have attended St. Clement’s for their three and four year old programs and currently for their junior Kindergarten program. St. Clement’s has preschool teachers who have invested their time in this school for many years. Mrs. Moreau offers a warm and nurturing introduction to school for preschoolers facilitating friendships and learning to play with others as well as school readiness skills. Mrs. O’Toole, Mrs. McDade, and Mrs. Dalto provide a solid foundation for kindergarten in the pre-kindergarten and Jr. Kindergarten programs. The children leave these programs not only with a solid foundation in pre-reading and writing skills but have learned self-confidence and excellent character building. As parents, we find that each day they come home from school talking about how to speak to others kindly and ‘share their friendship’ with the other children in their class.” - Diana Kakaty

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Saratoga Independent School “I love that Saratoga Independent School focuses on the whole child - not just academics (though that is certainly a strength of theirs, too!) It is just as important to help build their sense of self, confidence, involvement with each other and their community, and problem solving which results in very well-rounded, wonderful kids. The growth in all avenues I have seen in my girls since they’ve been at Saratoga Independent School has been unbelievable. I can’t say enough wonderful things about the school.” - Michelle Ducrot, parent of two SIS students

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Open House

LOCAL PRESCHOOL OPEN HOUSE SCHEDULES All preschools welcome and look forward to sharing with you all they have to offer. Call to schedule your visit today. Apple-A-Day Nursery School – appleadayns. com, (518) 583-9442, 45 Washington St., Saratoga Springs, NY

Malta Montessori School - maltamontessori. com, (518) 633-1971, 100 Saratoga Village Blvd, Malta, NY

Apple Blossom Bunch - appleblossombunch. com, (845) 521 5300 - Director: Heather Stewart, Pre k in the Park located in the Arts Center 320 Broadway in Saratoga Springs, 3 to 6 yrs Full day Pre k, ages 0 to 3 is Apple House 4 Peck Ave in Saratoga Springs

North Country Academy, (518) 584-9982, 7 Care Lane, Saratoga Springs, NY

The Beagle School -, (518) 587-7507, 115 Regent St, Saratoga Springs, NY OPEN HOUSE Scheduled for 3 & 4 year olds, 115 Regent Street, on January 28, 10:30 – 12:30 and 2 year olds, 107 Circular Street, on January 29, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m., We will also be attending the Saratoga Preschool Fair on Saturday, January 26th from 10-12 at the Saratoga Library and our schools will be open for visits from 10-1 that day. Registration for currently enrolled Beagle families will take place January 2-16. Registration for the lottery for new families occurs January 17-February 15.

Saratoga Independent School –, (518) 583-0841, 459 Lake Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY OPEN HOUSE Scheduled for January 15, 9:30 Saratoga Regional YMCA Childcare Programs - preschool.php, (518) 583-9622, 90 West Ave. Saratoga Springs, NY - OPEN HOUSE Scheduled for January 30, 2013 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.   We encourage parents to bring their children. For someone new to our program, registration is February 6, 2013 at 6:30 pm.  Sign-in for both nights begins at 6:00 pm. If the Saratoga Springs schools are closed either day, we will have the registration the following day.

Church Mouse Nursery School, (518) 885-8362, 202 Milton Ave, Ballston Spa, NY OPEN HOUSE Scheduled for February 2, 10:00 – noon Katrina Trask Nursery School - ktnurseryschool. org, (518) 584-8968, 24 Circular St, Saratoga Springs, NY OPEN HOUSE Scheduled for February 6, 9:00 – 11:00 Learning to Know -, (518) 226-0222, 3 Hampstead Place, Saratoga Springs, NY

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Saratoga Hansel & Gretel - (518) 584-0934, 66 Seward St, Saratoga Springs, NY

Skidmore Early Childhood Center – skidmore. edu/education_studies/ecc/index.cfm, (518) 580-5473, 815 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY Small Wonders Christian - (518) 584-3720, 175 5th Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY Spa Christian School –, (518) 885-0508, 206 Greenfield Ave, Ballston Spa, NY OPEN HOUSE Scheduled for February 9, 10:00 - noon, Discovery Day February 27, 9:00 – 11:00

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St. Clements Regional Catholic School –, (518) 584-7350, 231 Lake Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY St, Mary’s School -, (518) 885-7300, 40 Thompson St, Ballston Spa, NY St. Paul’s Lutheran Church - cccinfo.html, (518) 584-0904, 149 Lake Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY Storybook Academy Nursery School, (518) 587-0707, 421 Geyser Rd, Ballston Spa, NY Teddy Bear Day Care Center –, (518) 584-2273, 4 Mountain Ledge Drive, Wilton, NY Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs –, (518) 587-0549, 122 Regent St, Saratoga Springs, NY OPEN HOUSE SCHEDULE: All School Open House on January 26, 2013 - all locations will be open for touring from 10am2pm, Early Childhood Center 212 Lake Avenue, Forest Kindergarten 45 Kaydeross Avenue West, Lower School and Middle School (Grades 1-8) 62 York Avenue, High School 122 Regent Street. Additionally, we will have Early Childhood Open Houses on March 23rd and April 27th from 10am12pm at the Early Childhood Center 212 Lake Ave and the Forest Kindergarten. 5th Annual Preschool Fair January 26, 2013 10:00 am – noon This is a wonderful opportunity to explore our area preschools with over 18 preschools represented! A complete list or participating preschools will be available by December 30, 2012 at This event is co-sponsored by the Saratoga Springs Public Library and the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs. For more information please contact Anne Maguire at the Waldorf School at 584-7643 ext 16 or Jennifer Ogrodowski at the Saratoga Springs Public Library at 584-7860, press 3. This program will take place at the Saratoga Springs Public Library in the Glasby, Susman and Storyhour Room.

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Mamatoga Magazine | December 2012


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Nutcracker Tea at the Hall of Springs

Photos by Kelli Lovdahl

This year’s Nutcracker Tea presented by Emma Willard School was the largest and most successful to date, with a record 800 guests enjoying this magical holiday event,” said Marcia J. White, SPAC’s President and Executive Director.

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“Children were awed by Northeast Ballet’s wonderful performance of The Nutcracker and delighted in the sumptuous tea and attractions that surrounded it.

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Photos by Kelli Lovdahl


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Photos by Kelli Lovdahl

None of it would have been possible without SPAC’s dedicated Action Council members who meticulously plan, prepare and execute all the elements and details that make the Tea a once-in-a-lifetime experience for children and families from around the Capital Region. Enormous thanks also goes out to our sponsor Emma Willard School, whose support underscores the value of connecting kids to the performing arts.The partnerships at the heart of this event and so many others at SPAC are truly incredible.”    Mamatoga Magazine | December 2012 48

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Company Artistic Director Darlene Myers looks on during rehearsal

We just loved the performance, by the Northeast Ballet Company and the brand new holiday shop from Wit’s End Boutique was an incredible addition that we hope they continue in the years to come. The kids weren’t the only ones dreaming about Sugar Plum Fairies that night!

Photos by Kelli Lovdahl

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Mamatoga Magazine | December 2012


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Photos by Kelli Lovdahl

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Photos by Kelli Lovdahl. Nutcracker Tea was brought to you by:

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Mamatoga Magazine | December 2012


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My Mom Style Chelsea Silver from Silverwood Home and Gallery

furniture around), a tee or button down, and a vest or scarf for warmth (for me, layers are key). I love J Brand and Joe’s jeans, and I live in my Danskos, Toms, Frye’s, and Hunter Boots (I’m all for comfort and warmth now... let’s call it North Country chic!). I love pretty much anything J. Crew, H&M for basic jersey tees and trendy things I know I won’t wear in 2 years. My guilty pleasure is Target for little summer dresses (I think I got through most of my pregnancy without buying maternity via Target’s jersey dresses. That’s one thing I learned for the next time around- it’s not worth spending a ton of money on expensive maternity wear. It’s easy to get creative just by choosing the right cuts and clothes with give in the material—except for pants. Those you need elastic for). What is the most worn item in your closet? My Toms shoes or my J. Brand jeans, depending on the season.


n 2010, Chelsea and her mother Charlene opened Silverwood Home and Gallery in Bolton Landing and opened a second location in Saratoga in 2011. In addition to their retail stores, they also offer art consulting and interior design with their other entity, C Squared. Chelsea serves as a trustee on the board of the Charles R. Wood Foundation, and has been involved in fundraising for other local charities, such as the Double H Hole in the Woods camp, as well. Chelsea grew up in the Lake George/ Saratoga Springs area, where she now resides with husband Josh and 2-year-old son, Bixby. What is your go-to outfit for weekdays? What are some of your favorite brands for your clothes? Toothpick cords or jeans with boots or flats (heels are only for the days when I’m not lugging Bix or

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What are your favorite brands for kids’ clothes? Again, loving H&M! Super cute and super affordable. They also have those awesome tabs to cinch in the pants for my lil’ man’s small waist. On the other side of the cost spectrum, I am also a sucker for anything Patagonia makes for kids. What is your favorite outfit for holiday parties? Sparkles and plaid! I love mixing the two—I love that woodsy, American, luxe, Ralph Lauren look. For instance, I love to spice it up with some cool sparkly jewelry, a plaid flannel, blazer, and a pair of black skinny jeans with my black, wedge booties (I don’t do regular heels in winter- if you haven’t noticed, my feet have to be warm and wool socks are a must from December to March. Always.). What is your favorite restaurant for family dinners? Favorite spot for a date night dinner? Harvest and Hearth with my son Bix, and Mouzon House for date night. But that’s a tough questionSaratoga has really great food for such a small city.

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What are some of your favorite local shops? Violet’s, G. Wilikers, Torso (for the “ooh la la”), and Silverado. And Northshire, preemptively. What is your favorite local kids activity? Hanging by or on Lake George. Bix loves the water and the boats. It’s our home away from home. What is your favorite Saratoga event? I have to say the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation Candlelight Tour. Since I was little, I’ve always loved interior design and architecture, and I’ve been going since my parents would take me. However, for kids, nothing beats the Nutcracker Tea. It’s another Christmas event that even I remember as a kid. You don’t get something like that in every town.

What is your top must-have kid product? All necessities aside (like bottles and diapers), the Baby Bjorn, hands down. It gave me the freedom to move and get outside during the snowy, winter months, when Bix was smaller. What is your top must have mom product? A good pair of leggings. There are just those days when they’re the best thing I can put on, without resorting to sweat pants (and also a handy maternity staple!).

Chelsea’s go-to outfit

personalized name pendants from Silverwood

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t hlis

Local items at the top of my list... and made specifically for teething babies. They look so cute on mom as a necklace, and they are safe for baby to play with, no BPA, PVC or bad chemicals and they have a breakaway clasp for added safety! Both the amber necklaces and Chewbeads are available at the Binx Holiday Pop Up Shop at Tiny Tots Tea Room in Clifton Park. 1536 Crescent Road, Clifton Park.

Mr. Food Face Plates at Pangea 454 Broadway Saratoga Springs $12 each. These plates are just beyond adorable. Inspired by the classic children’s “Wooly Willy” children’s toy, this fun plate encourages kids to get creative at mealtime and play with their food. It also comes in a cute girl version, I’m going to get one of each!

Smather’s & Branson 12866 Coasters from Next Summer 516 Broadway The ultimate in preppy Saratoga chic, this set of four custom coasters from Smathers & Branson, exclusively at Next Summer, feature a horse shoe, a jockey silk, a racehorse and the zip code of our beloved city. Great as a hostess gift or a beautiful addition to any home for entertaining or just everyday! While you’re at Next Summer make sure to check out their custom Smather’s and Branson Saratoga Springs belt for the perfect gift for the men in your life.

I have a majorly teething baby on my hands, and I will try pretty much anything to ease his pain. We love the Inspired by Finn amber teething necklace, and this winter I want to add a stylish twist to teething (yes one does exist) with Chewbeads, soft and safe

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A custom portrait by Your Toy Portrait. We recently had one done for Finn and Lev of their beloved stuffed animals and it came out so beautifully I want to have another one done for the baby’s room. The process couldn’t be easier, you simply send Jennifer Maher a photo of the toy you want her to paint and she creates a one of a kind, custom canvas capturing the childhood moment beautifully. The canvas is so stunning, it was originally supposed to go in their room but I loved it so much it now proudly hangs in our family room. Can’t wait for a second one! Get

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details on how to order one or a gift certificate for a custom portrait at

I love keeping this Victorian tradition alive, the pigs are made locally by Saratoga Sweets.

Sean has it easy when picking out a gift for me this year. I have dropped a multitude of not so subtle hints that he can find pretty much anything at Silverwood and I will absolutely love it. Right now I’m coveting the Nashelle necklaces you can have personalized with a child’s name or initials for a stylish way to wear them close to your heart. Silverwood Home and Gallery 24 Caroline Street Saratoga Springs Every year we buy a whole bunch of Peppermint Pigs for Christmas. One we keep for our own family celebration here in Saratoga and the others we send out all over the country to family and friends (two pigs go all the way out to California to my brothers) who can’t be here to celebrate with us. It’s a fun way to keep a tradition together, and we always break our pigs at the same time on Christmas day.

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Mamatoga Magazine | December 2012


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Top Apps

for Kids

Top Ten Organizational Apps for Parents 1. Cozi, Free I’m a total Cozi convert! Named the #1 iPhone app for moms by Circle of Moms editors Cozi lets you effortlessly manage your family calendar, shopping lists, to do lists, and family journal while you’re on the go. Add family members to the account to manage your family calendar, set reminders, add an appointment and upload it to your Cozi account so everyone can see it. No more double-bookings! Get your grocery shopping lists when you’re at the store, even when you’re offline. I love the family journal section to be able to jot down a memory as it happens and you can even add a photo from your library to capture the moment!

2. CmomGo, Free is a free website service that allows moms to create “circles” of friends and acquaintances for better communication and organization. For example, you can have a circle of parents from your child’s soccer team or girlfriends that you go out with regularly. CmomGo allows you to send messages, create calendar events and upload photos to those within your circle. It’s a quick and efficient way of coordinating with several people at once. One of the best parts of the service is that it also has an iPhone app that allows you to stay connected on the go.

3. Baby Connect, $4.99 Baby Connect manages your child’s schedule and records information, like the last time the baby was fed or how long he slept. You can easily communicate with your babysitter, day-care center, caregiver or spouse about all your baby’s needs and activities.

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4. Marble Jar, $1.99 We love Marble Jar at my house. Designed for kids, it’s also a great motivator for moms (and everyone else in the family). Set up all sorts of virtual “jars” for different things, set a goal for each, and drop in a marble every time you get one step closer to reaching it. Pick a task for your child and add a marble each time they complete it. 25 “marbles,” and they can get a reward! Trying to fit in a workout? Drop a marble into the jar each time you leave the gym, and treat yourself once you reach your goal.

5. Shop Savvy, Free Everyone wants to get a great deal, and no one likes paying full price for something that is on sale somewhere else. There’s a way to avoid that with the price-comparing app Shop Savvy. Input the item you want and it compares prices online versus in stores, tells you the cheapest option and what store is closest to you to buy it so you can get the best deal!

6. Weave, Free One of my biggest problems is getting sidetracked when I’m trying to complete a task or project. With Weave, you enter a new project, break down the requisite steps, and then let Weave help you keep track of the details: deadlines, expenses, to-dos – even the breakdown of how you’re allocating your time. This app can’t keep the kids from interrupting when you’re in the middle of a task, but it can help you stay on track.

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7. Toodledoo, $2.99 This app offers the best to-do list out there – allowing you to schedule recurring tasks and categorize everything into the different areas of your life. There’s no denying that moms juggle a lot of different jobs. With Toodledo, you can filter tasks depending on whether you’re wearing your “work” hat, your “family” hat, or some other entirely different hat! You can also filter by due date, priority, or tags. Even better, the app even syncs with so you can access your to-do list from your desktop or phone.

8. HoneyDo, $4.99 HoneyDo was built to help with those joint domestic tasks that tend to create some ... friction. From grocery lists to planning trips to paying bills to scheduling kids appointments/ activities – Honeydo helps keeps your family in sync. It even offers virtual “gifts” to motivate your task collaborator and keep things fun. HoneyDo lets you create lists of tasks and sub-tasks that you can assign to one member of your group or leave them open for anyone in the group to do.

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9. Giiv, Free Using Giiv, you can send a gift via text message to a recipient, who will receive a gift code to redeem in-store or online at great stores like Macy’s and Sephora. No matter how busy you are, you’ll never have to miss your friend’s birthday or skip a holiday or thank-you gift for someone you care about.

10. Red Stamp, Free I can’t say enough about how much I love Red Stamp! I’m obsessed with it. This free app allows you to email, text, tweet, Facebook, Instagram and paper-mail personalized photo cards, notes, invitations and announcements right from your iPhone, iPad or iPod. The design is beautiful and chic and you’ll find yourself using this one way more than you would think.

Mamatoga Magazine | December 2012


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The Baby Wait Finding Out the Gender


id you find out the gender of your baby before they were born or did you wait? There’s always a debate between the Finders Out and the Waiters. Here we bring you two sides: Robin, mom of two with one on the way, has never found out the gender of her babies before they were born. Jenny, mom of three, found out as soon as humanly possible all three times.

Robin In three weeks, I will be having my third child and have chosen again not to find out what the sex of the baby is. I am absolutely dying to know who I will be meeting in a matter of days, and it’s exactly that anticipation that is carrying me through these last, exhausting final weeks of pregnancy. From my family to friends, and even strangers on the street, everyone loves playing the guessing game of whether or not I’m having a boy or a girl. My cravings have been analyzed, shape of my belly scrutinized and the guesses have flooded in. Of course I haven’t been able to buy tiny little blue or pink outfits, but my children spend their first weeks of life wrapped tightly in

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swaddles anyway, so ‘preparing’ with gender specific outfits was totally unnecessary. Our nursery is painted in beautiful greens and yellows and won’t need to be touched before it greets our new addition. But most importantly, I truly cannot wait to see my new love for the first time and in their first moments of life marvel over the son or daughter I have been given. It is the most exciting and satisfying end to a pregnancy and my family all waits with breathless anticipation to see my husband emerge and announce if it’s a boy or girl. In every possible sense, it is worth the wait!

Jenny I couldn’t possibly wait one second longer to find out what I was having all three times so far. The number one thing people who don’t find out always say is “I like being surprised!” The thing is, it’s a surprise either way—one surprise is just earlier than the other! I was happily surprised each time I found out what I was having, and there is enough going on the day you give birth that I wouldn’t want to add anything else to it. Finding out ahead of time gives you the opportunity to prepare yourself the way you want to, and

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to prepare all members of the family. This third time around, my daughter was really set on having a little sister. When she found out it was another boy, she was pretty disappointed. Having the extra time to get her used to the idea made a world of difference, and on the day he was born she was as overjoyed as we all were. I wouldn’t have wanted any disappointment on the day the baby was born. Plus, deciding on a name for us was hard enough without having to pick out two separate names to fall in love with. Finally, seeing the baby for the first time is no less special or important because you already know the gender— the magic of that moment will be there whether you know ahead of time or not. Whether you decide to find out ahead of time or not, check out Baby Bumps on Washington Avenue in Saratoga Springs, the area’s only elective 3D/4D ultrasound facility in our area. And if you do want to find out? Try one of the sweet “gender reveal” cakes from Bettie’s Cakes! Baby Bumps can contact Bettie’s for you who will bake up a specific boy or girl cake for the sweetest way to reveal your surprise!

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Holiday Stress

Making the Best of Your Holidays By Theresa Kirchhoff Mamatogians… Are you ready? Set? Holiday! Agendas are growing, malls are crowding, and traffic is congested. Whether your wallet is too empty or your calendar too full, the joys of the holiday season are among us… and getting there is the best part. For many, the holidays are a stressful time. Stressors vary within each family and each individual. Maybe you are affected by the pressure to meet expectations, find the perfect gifts, cook the greatest meals, attend all of the social events, and find the time to make it all happen. Possibly the financial aspect weighs heavily on you. Maybe it’s the emptiness that comes with a holiday after the loss of a loved one. Loneliness can peak around the holidays. Whatever it is, there are ways to make the holidays a truly joyful time of year. Pause and take a look around. The simplest things are often the most significant. For me, the look, the smell, and the sound of the holidays throughout the season bring me back to what it’s all about. Notice the excited children, the merry faces of our wonderful community, as well as the look of a beautiful holiday display in a downtown Saratoga store window. The sound of holiday songs—especially the old ones—warm my heart, taking me back to my childhood. I love seeing my daughter enjoy the classic holiday TV specials, the same ones I so fondly remember sharing alongside my brother in our PJs. Surely you can think of a moment, maybe when you were a child, where the thrill of the season affected you. If not, create your own. It can be as simple as sitting at home,

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cozied up with a holiday candle burning, sipping hot cocoa, while listening to holiday music, watching holiday classics, or flipping through a shopping catalog. Fill your senses with the joys of the season. Decorating together, making cookies, holiday arts & crafts… there are so many little ways to create cherished memories with your family. It doesn’t have to be the picture perfect Norman Rockwell holiday activity—just enjoy the simple things. Those little moments are what your children will remember, and ultimately cherish. Organize and plan. Start early. Once Halloween passes, I focus on the holidays. I like to have the bulk of my shopping done by Thanksgiving. It usually never works out that way, but the goal is set and it’s a lot better than panicking when December hits and holiday events leave less time for shopping. First, I make my lists. I work from the outside in, meaning I save the closest of family for last… so I can enjoy it and focus with less distraction. I take care of neighbors, teachers, charities, co-workers, Secret Santa obligations, etc. Then I move inward toward my best of friends and family saving the best for last: my child. I personally like to head out to the stores for much of my shopping, rather than do it all on the computer. Before I go out to shop, I’ll gather some ideas. Once I find my gift idea, I hop online and compare the price of the item between stores, you can even check to see if they have it in stock. Then, I’m off to enjoy the holiday shopping chaos with my plan. Entering the stores with my holiday flavored coffee, I tackle a few people per week. Organized? Yes. Always successful? Nope. The idea here is to plan out the who, the what, and the where, before you head out. This is to avoid that overwhelmed, lost, and totally blank expression while

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standing hopeless in the center of the mall! So, make your list, check it twice…and get going. It’s never too early. It’s a lot more fun when you can take your time and truly enjoy the space around you while you’re involved in the holiday shopping experience. A helpful tip for your children’s gifts is to try having them circle desired items as the catalog mailings arrive. Cut out the ideas, and place them in a folder. As the weeks pass, periodically show them the stack of clippings and tell them to choose their top five or so favorites and have them take out the ones which don’t interest them anymore. Whether you tell them it’s for Santa’s list or yours, this can help to ensure that you’ll be spending your money on something they truly love (we all know how fast kids can change their minds or lose interest in something!). You can also offer the clippings out to family members. This helps to make it easy for them if they don’t know what to get. With current financial issues among so many families, some holiday changes may be a good idea. My extended family decided that we only purchase gifts for the children. Parents also give small, often homemade gifts for the adults from the children, but adultto-adult gift giving has slowly come to a halt. It was not only getting expensive, but extremely difficult to find gifts for everyone. Another idea to cut down on costs and pressure is the Secret Santa, assigning each member a name for whom to purchase for. Price limits are also great to implement. Having everyone bring a dish to your gathering also cuts down on your holiday stress and helps your wallet. Plus, it’s fun to try all the different dishes and platters! Homemade gifts, baked goods, and photo gifts are great ways to show thoughtfulness. Offering thoughtful favors or assistance can also be a creative way to show your love on the holidays. Who says it needs to be store bought? Take it from “The Grinch That Stole Christmas”… it doesn’t come from packages, boxes or bags! Drop your high expectations. Striving for your glorious perfect perception is a one way track to disappointment. I have found that the greatest of holiday memories include many little imperfections. Things will go wrong, something will break, burn, or cause a fight between your children. You may not score the perfect photo, but it is much more valuable to live in your moments rather than struggle with a camera as it passes you by. (Tip: place a videoing device on a tripod or surface which allows for the capture of your holiday morning. let it record while you go about your holiday fun!). As your holiday unfolds, embrace the imperfections, laugh at them, because regardless of

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your efforts and planning…. They’ll be there in all their glory. Do what feels right for you and your family. Again, consider starting your own traditions. As families grow, it becomes harder to get together as often. Many families become overwhelmed by trying to visit with everyone on the holidays. Maybe consider visiting on the day before the holiday and/or the day after. Stealing the idea from my brother’s wife, my husband and I have decided to stay home on Christmas Day. She started this tradition in her home with my brother and their two daughters. This allows for the children to play with their new toys, the husbands can put the toys together and struggle with the relentless twisty ties of packaging, while we cook our holiday yum-yums and enjoy holiday cocktails, all in our pajamas. We cherish the magical morning as a family, then after 1 p.m. I open my home to friends and family that would like to stop in. Overall, it’s a fun and carefree way to enjoy the day. Christmas Eve is big in our family. My Grandma Theresa put on large Italian Christmas Eve feasts until her passing, and now my mother has taken over. She and my father do such an amazing job. The thought and loving detail always amazes me. My mom’s ability to cook a delicious multi-coursed meal for such a large amount of people while singing and remaining in great spirits is incredible to me. Someday I hope to take over for her, but for now, I’ll learn from the master. Loneliness affects a lot of us during the holidays. Missing those you’ve lost can be a significant stressor during this season. Gathering with loved ones and sharing your feelings will surely warm your heart. If you do not have family or friends to spend the holiday season with, join those who are in need. Volunteer your time, share your love. It can brighten your days, and your soul. Whether it’s two-legged less fortunate fellows, or orphaned four-legged furry friends, our community has many opportunities for volunteering. After all, this season is about giving. If you feel your emotional state is beyond a little seasonal affect, reach out to a professional. Our community is rich with resources. If you don’t know where to begin, you can ask your M.D. He or she can recommend a counselor fit for your personal needs. Saratoga Springs is a truly beautiful community. I’m grateful to take part in the magical holiday festivities. Be sure to keep up with, friend her on Facebook to be conveniently informed of all the upcoming community events, and of course continue to enjoy this wonderful magazine. From my family to yours, Happy Holidays!

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Santa leaves you presents at two houses, now By Jerry Gretzinger


remember telling my children that last year when they asked where they would celebrate Christmas, since their mom and dad were no longer together. I worried, as most parents in this position would, that my children wouldn’t adjust well to things being different. The youngest was already 5 years old, so there were traditions they’d already grown accustomed to. How would they adjust to change? Would Christmas still be as joyful for them? Would Christmas still be as joyful for me? I loved sitting with the kids on Christmas Eve, writing one last letter to Santa and leaving out cookies and milk (and carrots of course). In the morning, I’d run down the stairs with the video camera to capture the kids’ eyes growing wide as they first spied the presents beneath the tree. “Santa was here,” they’d exclaim. The next few hours would be spent taking pictures, figuring out how to take toys out of their impossible packages and hoping there were enough batteries to power everything. In the afternoon, Grandma and Grandpa and aunts and uncles would visit to exchange even more gifts and share a big holiday meal together.

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Of course, things changed. Last year, for the first time since my kids were born, I wasn’t able to see them wake up Christmas morning. They came over later in the day. But we had still written that last minute letter to Santa. We still made cookies for him, and I promised to leave those cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve (and also promised to leave the plate of crumbs left behind so the kids could see it). When the kids arrived, their eyes widened just like they always had in the past upon seeing the tree and the presents beneath it. I wore out the flash on my camera snapping pictures and experienced the same happy frustration with all the impossible packaging of Christmas toys. There were plenty of hugs and kisses for the relatives and, by the end of the day; another wonderful Christmas was in the books. As it turned out, different was OK. It was better than OK. Some old traditions had a new twist. And there were some brand new traditions to boot. One of my kids even told me it was the best Christmas ever. In the words of Dr. Seuss, Christmas came “just the same.” For all of us.

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Profile for Saratoga TODAY

Mamatoga December 2012  

Mamatoga Magazine for December 2012

Mamatoga December 2012  

Mamatoga Magazine for December 2012