SaratogaMama Fall 2014

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find play

Back to School

2014! WA R D A

Winning M





Welcome to our

Fall Edition!

● Meet a Saratoga Count y teen who shares her own courageous stru ggle wi th Crohn’s disease star t ing on page 15.

The school supply list and teacher assignment is a sure sign that summer is winding down and the fall season will soon be in f ull swing. Many will mourn the loss of summer, but wi th the fall comes a f resh star t…a new backpack, the perfect f irst-day outf i t, unused notebooks, earlier bedt imes, pumpkin spice every thing! Despi te want ing to prolong the summer as long as possible, putt ing together this back to school magazine got me a li tt le exci ted for the season to change. Our wonderf ul contributors share their unique perspect ive and exper t ise on a wide variet y of topics. ● Our back to school sur vival guide star ts on page 23 and includes every thing f rom fashion and food to health and technology!

● Check out how we created beaut if ul ear rings f rom vintage lace. This easy DIY project is on page 45. ● Discover orchards, corn mazes, apple picking and pumpkin patches in our guide to fall on page 20. ● Car Seat Safet y Week is in Sep tember and page 57 has the t ip s and info you need to keep those kiddos safe. ● Grab a coffee and check out ‘confession of an overcaffeinated mama’ on page 52 and learn a li tt le more about java on page 62! To all of you preparing to star t or return to school, I wish you the best!

Happy fall everyone!


•Our Cover•

Nothing says back to school more than a brand new shiny School bus! Thanks to the Saratoga Springs City School District for lending us the bus to use for our shoot. Our ‘school kids’, Lili, Maddie, Sarah, Nadine, Bryce and Robby were fabulous and had a lot of fun pretending it was the first day of school. Their cool backpacks and lunch bags were provided by Pottery Barn Kids. 4 | SaratogaMama | Fall 2014





Owner/Publisher Chad Beatty Editor-in-Chief Colleen Pierre General Manager Robin Mitchell Managing Editor Jennifer Bloomingdale Editorial Assistant Jan Snedaker Creative Director Jessica Kane Advertising Chris Bushee, Jim Daley, Cindy Durfey, Dianna Firth Graphic Design Colleen Sweeney Jessica Kane Photography Keira Lemonis Published by Saratoga TODAY Newspaper Five Case Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 tel: (518) 581-2480 SaratogaMama 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 © 2014, Saratoga TODAY Newspaper

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10 23



Table of Contents

SaratogaMama Fall 2014

Seek 10 15 24

Our Wish List A Hope For Haley Healthy Tips for Back to School

Find 20 32 48

Family Fun in the Fall The Look for Less Fall Fashion

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Learn 42 45 57

Lunchtime Favorites Jewelry DIY Car Seat 101

Play 27 40 66

Digital Tools for Back to School Northshire's Fall Book Picks Fall Kids Games

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Jennifer Bloomingddaaleleis

Jennifer Blooming e is a former teacher, sh editor at currently managing d teaching SaratogaMama an ment professional develop Powerful eCourses through She lives Learning Practice. with her outside of Saratoga ns. husband and two so

Dr. Leslie J. Botta, D.C.

Dr. Botta is a proud mom who striv es to keep her family and anyone else that comes her way as healthy as she can. In her life journey she has owned multiple chiropractic practice s and was the Deputy Director of the office on Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the NYS Dep t of Health. Currently she is practicin g at The Joint a chiropractic practice in Clifton Park, NY.

Christina Brueggemann, MD Christina Brueggemann is a pediatrician at Burnt Hills Pediatrics & Internal Medicine in Ballston Lake, New York. She lives in Saratoga Springs with her husband and three young children.

Jan Snedaker

Jessica Kane

Jessica is a Graphic Designer and photographer from Saratoga Springs. She has a true passion for all things “creative”. Jessica enjoys nature walks with her dog Ari, crafting, wine tasting and spending time with friends and family. 8 | SaratogaMama | Fall 2014

Robin Morgan

An avid reader and technology enthusiast. Robin is an entrepreneur with nearly 20 years’ experience in communications and marketing. After being diagnosed with Celiac in 2003, she began her journey to became a certified Holistic Health Coach and now dedicates her life to helping others reach their potential through gluten free and all natural food choices.

Jan Snedaker received a communication degree from Ithaca College and after switching gears for a while to become a special education teacher, she is following her passion, returning to her roots as a freelance writer and the creative director at SaratogaMama. Jan resides in Clifton Park with her husband and two adorable children.

Jodie Fitz

Katie Collins Albany native Katie Collins teaches a strong dynamic vinyasa flow that will incorporate human body awareness with a sprinkle of strong core work, flexibility, the journey towards inversions, and of course, a large dose of fun! Check out her classes at All Good Things & Estudio Hot Yoga.

Jodie Fitz is the creator and personality of the Price Chopper Kids Cooking Club and currently travels in a six state region cooking with children to encourage taste testing fun through a hands-on cooking experience. She is a wife, mother of three and currently authors several monthly columns. You can always find what she’s up to in her kitchen at

Christine Sloat

Christine Sloat is a Registered Dietitian and owner of Nutritious Notions, LLC. She provides nutrition counseling at her office in Latham, as well as serves as the dietitian for the national Life of an Athlete program. Find her at or on Facebook and Twitter @ nutrinotions.

an Ilissa Gisoa m parenting

Ilissa Goman r of BINX, and stylist and owne lping families her passion is he ney through navigate their jour ing parents, becoming and be ssible for in the best way po d child sleep them. As a certifie T, and a mom consultant, CPS ady to help herself, she is re . you find your way

S.K. Parker Ward Sar

ah, the girl with four names, is owner of Kathleen Palmer Media. A vintagewearing, coffee-loving wordsmith, you’ll usually find her dual screening to catch up on the latest trends in art and technology, or on the go in Saratoga with her husband and two young daughters.

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wish list our

10Solutions to our 10 needs

By Jan Snedaker, J ennifer B loomingdale & Colleen P ierre


My wish is to find a functional and stylish water bottle I can use every day.


My wish is to come up with something different and unique to celebrate my best friends birthday this year!

We found it with bkr glass water bottles. These luxe glass water bottles are fashionable and functional! Lola Boutique in Saratoga carries these bottles in lots of pretty colors. They are leak-proof, durable, and dishwasher safe! 10 | SaratogaMama | Fall 2014

We found it with a Girls Night In with Berrylicious Bouquets! All you need is a house and some girlfriends and the party comes to you! Think chocolate bark, fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate, lollipops and more treats. Add some wine (optional!) for a perfect girls night ‘in’! More info at


My wish is to find a place my little fashionista can let her imagination run wild!

We found it at Sketch Design Lounge in Glens Falls. Sketch offers fashion design and art classes for kids of all ages plus super stylish birthday parties! Check out the class schedule online,


My wish is to remember my amazing Saratoga summer all year long!

We found it with the custom designed Saratoga Clutch from MareEle Boutique! These fun and fabulous limited edition Saratoga magazine clutches can be purchased online at or MarEle Boutique in Troy. Limited quantities are also available at a few locations downtown including Saratoga Trunk, Impressions of Saratoga, Silverwood Home and Gallery and Creative Image Hair Design.

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My wish is for someone to tell me about all the new local fitness options out there! Barre, pilates, spinning, crossfit…. what’s what?


We’re doing it on SaratogaMama! We’re visiting as many fitness facilities as possible so we can tell you about the options and what to know before you go! Visit to see our directory!

My wish is to find an easy, ecofriendly way to pack lunch snacks and sandwiches.

We found it with spbang’s reusable snack bags. These dishwasher-safe, BPA and Phthalate-free bags are big enough to hold a sandwich or sicks of veggies and fruit. They are made in the USA and come in five fun colors! Order online at

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My wish is to find a fun 5k race to run in this fall!

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My wish is to be able to take great pictures of my family without having to always lug my bulky expensive camera.

We found it with the Malta Business and Professional Association 5k. This annual run through the Saratoga Technology and Energy Park and Luther Forest Technology Campus has one of the most interesting courses in the area. Run with us on Saturday, September 6th! Register online at maltabpa. com/malta5k.

We found a way with Camera +, an app for your smart phone that allows you to take photos and edit them as if you were using a high quality SLR lens. Camera + gives you the ability to crop, layer filters, adjust lighting, sharpen or blur parts of your picture, adjust color and tone, add borders and captions, and numerous other editing tools. Turn your memories into professional quality photos (without the hassle of using a professional camera)!

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My wish is to celebrate fall with my family, Halloween costumes optional!

We’ll find it at the annual Fall Festival in Saratoga! On Saturday, October 25th, bring the family out for a day of fun in downtown Saratoga including face painting, a kids costume parade, pumpkin races, music performances, pony rides and more!


My wish is to keep my summer glow through the fall!

We found it with James Read Sleep Mask in Tan. This lightweight nighttime moisturizer nourishes skin overnight and leaves a golden glow by morning. With ingredients like hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, cucumber and algae, you’ll wake up with gorgeous and glowing skin!

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A Hope for Healing: How One Girl Battled Chron’s Disease and Won By Jan Snedaker, Photos provided

Haley Diane Curtiss is a beautiful, healthy teenage girl who runs track, hangs out with her friends on the weekends, and competes in (and wins!) beauty pageants. One would never know that just three years ago this spirited, confident girl was hospitalized due to paralysis caused by medication, with an uncertain future. At age 11 Haley was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. Haley’s symptoms began years earlier with complaints of frequent stomach aches, vision problems, and around third

Joe Elario Photography grade her hair and feet stopped growing. In addition to this she had noticeable dark circles under her eyes for seemingly no reason. The doctors shrugged it off believing Haley had allergies, while her parents believed she had a nervous stomach and at times was trying to avoid school; no one could have imagined these symptoms were the early signs of a chronic disease. It was not until Haley entered sixth grade and her condition worsened, that her family realized it was more than a nervous stomach. Often times people associate Crohn’s disease with an urgency and frequency of going to the bathroom, but constipation is a symptom as well. Haley experienced

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had been causing Haley’s health problems. While Haley says she feels lucky to have been diagnosed so quickly, Alayne regrets not picking up on the earlier warning signs. She wants parents to know children and teenagers are the fastest-growing population being diagnosed with this chronic disease. Alayne says, “Be aware of all the symptoms and ask your doctor about testing for Crohn’s if your child experiences any of these symptoms. Do not think it cannot happen to a young child because it can.”

extreme pain due to a growing sore at the end of her colon which resulted in her being constipated. She was put on medication to help relieve the condition but her problem continued to grow worse, resulting in her missing several weeks of school at a time and living in excruciating pain. Finally Haley’s mother, Alayne, insisted the doctors do more testing to get to the bottom of what was causing her daughter’s agony. Testing for Crohn’s is not difficult and the results are known quickly. The day Haley was tested for Crohn’s disease they had their answer before Haley had woken up from the anesthesia. The doctors knew with absolute certainty Crohn’s disease is what

Unfortunately, Haley’s diagnosis was not the end of her suffering. Alayne explains at the time of her daughter’s diagnosis the theory was to hit kids hard with medication in hopes of forcing the disease into remission. For Haley this theory ended up causing complete paralysis of her body and landed her in the hospital. Doctors struggled to figure out what had happened and to offer a solution. Leaving Haley and her family completely helpless, with no answers as to how long her paralysis would last or if she would ever regain mobility. Finally after five long days of uncertainty and fear, on her brother’s birthday, Haley stood up and said she wanted to go home. Haley’s family, obviously overjoyed with relief of their daughter’s recovery from her reaction to the medication, knew they would have to find an alternative to the traditional medicine used to treat Crohn’s disease. After doing extensive research Alayne discovered the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), originally developed by Sidney V. Haas in the 1920s. In the early 1990s, Elaine Gotschall, brought about the reemergence of this diet in her book, “Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet”. SCD is a very strict low carbohydrate, gluten-free diet believed to reduce and possibly eliminate symptoms associated with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. For the first time since Haley’s diagnosis, Alayne felt positive and hopeful about a treatment. When speaking with a doctor about the possibility of this diet being the right choice for her daughter she was met with negativity as he told her she would never cure her daughter, especially without the recommended medication.

At a moment when most parents would have felt defeated, Alayne felt more determined than ever to prove the doctors wrong. Seeing her daughter paralyzed in a hospital bed, watching her husband cry for the first time, and feeling so completely helpless, all kept Alayne from going back down the traditional medicinal path again. 16 | SaratogaMama | Fall 2014

For two years Haley stuck with the restrictions of her diet. It was not easy, and the results were not immediate. According to Gotscahll, one must stick strictly to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for two years before obtaining the desired results of being symptom free. In the beginning Aylane admits they made some mistakes. It is not an easy diet to follow and eventually she reached out to a woman who had been on the diet successfully for 11 years. This woman ended up living within two miles of the Curtiss' and has been a huge support to Haley and her family. During those two years Haley still suffered from extreme pain, was unable to attend regular school, and was often laid up on the couch, too sick to do anything else. When asked how she did not give up during those years Haley responded, “It was my family, I knew I did not have an option, we were going to fix this and I was going to get better.” Unable to tolerate the medicine used to reduce her pain, Haley found some relief by soaking in hot baths and surrounding herself with animals. Her cat would lie with her when she was not feeling well and her Chihuahua helped ease her discomfort. Against all odds and the belief of her doctors, Haley became symptom free after two and half years of being on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. It took a long time but

Haley and her family committed themselves to see her overcome this disease. She is now back in public school, growing again, and living the life of a perfectly normal teenager. After losing so much time she has taken back her life, living symptom free for a year now. She has even been able to expand her diet combining some of the Paleo foods with the SCD, including chocolate, something Haley is very happy about. And while Haley does take a very low dose chemo drug, it is the diet that played the largest role in sending her into remission. In fact, if she remains symptom free for another year her doctors have agreed to take her off all medication. Haley began participating in beauty pageants again as a way to share her story with the public. She wants people to know there is help for this debilitating disease and encourages people to try alternative methods. Haley and Alayne have met many people along their journey suffering from Crohn’s disease. Many of these people are on medication instead of a restrictive diet and they are not seeing results as positive as Haley. Doctors have seen people become symptom-free by using the SCD but they still push medication over this option. It does take at least two years to work but after seeing her daughter in a paralyzed state, Alayne was resolved to stick with the restrictive diet approach. Haley is extremely thankful

Special Events Remembered

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she did and encourages others to do the same. If you have a choice between a life on medication or a life of healthier eating that also allows you to live symptom free, it seems the latter would be the best choice, especially for children. Haley says, “It never hurts to try something, do not be scared because this diet does work”. Haley is living proof of this, happy, normal, healthy, teenage living proof! To read more about Haley’s journey through life with Crohn’s disease visit her blog at: https://morethanatummyache.

Symptoms of Crohn’s disease: Symptoms related to inflammation of the GI tract:

• Persistent diarrhea • Rectal bleeding • Urgent need to move bowels • Abdominal cramps and pain • Sensation of incomplete evacuation • Constipation (can lead to bowel obstruction)

General symptoms that may also be associated with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). • Fever • Loss of appetite • Weight loss • Fatigue • Night sweats • Loss of normal menstrual cycle Sources:

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W n in ers

He lp


ct This Yea e l r’s Se

! Last year we awarded some awesome local businesses with our Kid Picks stamp of approval! You gave us your opinion on the best options for families in Saratoga County including childcare, preschools, restaurants, shops, attractions and more! We’re getting ready to announce the voting for the 2015 Kid Picks and we’ll be asking for your help again.

The 2015 Kid Picks winners will be announced in the December SaratogaMama magazine. Stay tuned for voting information!

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Family Fun

in the fall

Pick-your-own pumpkins and apples, get lost in a corn maze, take a hay ride, and fill up on some delicious cider donuts. There’s plenty of fun to be had this fall!

Saratoga Springs

Schuyler Farms

Sunnyside Gardens

Corn maze, hay rides, pumpkin patch, train ride, cider donuts and more. 345A Church Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 518-584-1034

10-20 Minutes from Saratoga Double M’s Hayride & Corn Maze

Daytime hayride, corn maze, petting zoo and children’s activities. Haunted hayride at night! 678 Route 67, Ballston Spa, NY 12020 518-884-9122,

Saratoga Apple

Apples, cider, fresh baked goods, and produce. Also an assortment of local, natural, and healthy food and gifts. Apple cider donuts are made daily all year round. 1174 Route 29, Schuylerville, NY 12871, 518-695-3131

Lakeside Farms

Apples, Indian corn, gourds, pumpkins, apple cider, cider donuts, and a restaurant serving breakfast and lunch. 336 Schauber Rd. Ballston Lake NY, 12019, 518-399-8359. www. 20 | SaratogaMama | Fall 2014

Corn maze, hay rides, pumpkin patch, other fall fun! 1124 Route 29, Schuylerville, NY 12871 518-695-5308,

20-30 Minutes From Saratoga Ellms Family Farm

Pumpkin patch, hay rides, corn maze and more! 468 Charlton Road Ballston Spa, NY, 12020 518-884-8168

Bowman Orchards

Pick your own and picked apples, raspberries, blackberries, pumpkins (seasonally) cider, donuts and farm animals too! 141 Sugar Hill Road, Rexford NY, 12148 518-371-2042,

Lindsey’s Idyllwood Orchard

Apple picking, cider, cider donuts, baked goods. 267 Sugar Hill Rd Rexford, NY 12148 518-371-5785

Devoe’s Rainbow Orchards

Apple picking, baked goods, and Rainbow Delights, their ice cream shop is open April-October. 1569 Rt. 9, Clifton Park, NY 12065, 518-371-8397

30-40 Minutes from Saratoga

50-60 Minutes from Saratoga

Liberty Ridge Farm One of the area’s largest corn mazes, barnyard adventure, pumpkin picking, trolley ride, cow train and more family fun. 29 Bevis Road, Schaghticoke, NY 12154 518-664-1515 www.

Eagle Mills

Watch cider being pressed in an antique cider press, take a train ride, participate in a dino dig, and explore the family fun park. Visit the bakery for some pies, cider donuts and other treats. 383 County Hwy 138 (Off Rt. 29), Broadalbin, New York 12025 518-883-8700,

Hicks Orchard

Apple picking, wagon rides, hard cider tasting room, cider donuts, and apple wood fired pizza. Plus many family fun activities through the fall! 18 Hicks Road, Granville, NY, 518-642-1788

Indian Ladder Farms

Pick your own apples, berries and other produce. Visit the farm store and gift shop for a wide variety of decorative and unique items. 342 Altamont Road, Altamont NY, 12009, 518-765-2956

Riverview Orchard

Apples, bakery, donuts, hayrides are free on weekends. 660 Riverview Road, Rexford, NY 12148-1433, 518-371-2174

Engelke Farm

Engelke Farm

Pumpkin picking, corn maze, haunted hayride, zipline, and animals. Be sure to call ahead for zip line reservations, they fill up quickly! 463 Garfield Rd, Troy, NY 12180 518-478-4939

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Survival Guide Pages 24-44 36


27 42

32 What to Wear 32 36

The Look for Less Backpack Best Bet

What to Eat 38 42

Food for your Athlete Lunchtime Favorites

Tips & Tools 24 27 40

Healthy Tips for BTS! Digital Tools & Apps Northshire’s Fall Book Picks Fall 2014 | SaratogaMama | 23

Healthy Tips for Back to School By Christina Brueggemann, MD

As the summer days are starting to wind down, thoughts of heading back to school enter our minds. With a new year comes excitement about new teachers, new schools and a fresh start at tackling the dilemma of “How will we get everything done?”


aking sure we are providing the healthiest environment for our children to flourish is at the top of most parents’ lists. All of the things that make summer fun: family trips, late night campfires, frequent ice cream splurges, and lazy days by the pool, make long, lasting memories, but they also make it that much harder to get back to a routine for all the activities of the school year. I think fall is a good time to set some new goals for a new school year. Children do very well with structure. A consistent pattern should be encouraged by all parents and caretakers that are involved in their care. So going over what is important for your child’s optimal health, growth, and emotional well being is important. 24 | SaratogaMama | Fall 2014

Diet First and foremost is diet. I tell my patients, and my children, that your body is like a machine, what you put in is what you get out. If you feed it junk, you will feel tired and sluggish. If you feed it healthy fuel, then you will have the energy to tackle your day. Children learn about eating from their parents. They will develop the eating patterns (good and bad) that are present in their homes. These habits will follow them their entire lives. It is very important to teach kids about eating balanced, healthy, non-processed foods. In our “throw away, fast food culture” we can buy pre-prepared, preprocessed foods that can easily be heated up in a microwave, eaten on the go and then tossed away. This might make things easier in the short run, but most of

these foods have preservatives, and artificial ingredients that provide no nutritional value. Children do not realize this since these foods often have words like “healthy snack” “fat-free” “all natural” posted all over them. Needless to say, that doesn’t make them healthy or good for you. We have to teach them about the basic ingredients of healthy eating, which are simple, non-processed basic foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish, and low fat meats. Water is the most important thing for them to drink, not the sugary fruit juices, or sports drinks that commercial advertisements would have us believe are so essential.

Sleep The next big issue that contributes greatly to overall health is sleep. We all could use more sleep. Studies show that most adults do not get enough sleep on a regular basis, and our children don’t fare much better. It is so important to keep “screens” (television, computer, iPad, iPhones) out of the bedroom. The brain responds to this visual stimulation by releasing a neurotransmitter (dopamine), which can make it difficult to relax and fall asleep. Often, even young pre-school children are

For most of us, it is not easy to provide healthy food choices day in and day out. Especially in most families with working parents, it seems impossible to get the kids to and from school, plus shop for, and cook a healthy meal before they need to be out the door again and on to their next activity. It is hard, but NOT impossible. With some careful meal planning, food shopping, and a few extra hours at the beginning of the week devoted to cooking, it can be done. I am often surprised at how painless it can be to provide healthy meals and snacks for my family all week long if I take the time to do this.

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watching movies on their iPads in bed as they go to sleep. The constant need to stay connected by our teens with the Instagram/Twitter world is preventing them from having a sound sleep. But what is to be done? One thought is to put a basket on the kitchen counter and deposit all household electronics there before bed (kids’ devices as well as parents’! Remember the best way to encourage healthy behavior is to model it.). Turn off the television at least an hour before bedtime. It is a great time to read with or to your children, have a conversation about their day, and plan for their upcoming day. This rare moment of quiet, relaxation with your children could be your favorite time of the day!

have to promote this and find safe areas where they can do this in our yards and neighborhoods. None of this is easy, especially after a fun summer with very different patterns (or even no patterns at all). But surely it is worth the trouble. Let’s aim to send our children back to school with all the building blocks in place to have a great year.

Exercise Last, but certainly not least, is the importance of exercise. Physical activity that is not related to WiiFit or virtual exercise, but good old fashioned get outside and get a good sweat going, exercise. Kids need free, unstructured play, a lot of research indicates that fact. They need to use their imaginations and their bodies to run around playing tag, or capture the flag. They need to climb trees, build play forts, and interact with their peers. We, as parents,

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Digital Tools For Back to School Apps, Sites and Resources that support learning and encourage creativity By Jennifer Bloomingdale, Photos provided

Apps - Preschool Beck and Bo App Available for Apple and Amazon devices, $2.99 Beck and Bo is an easy app to navigate for young kids. They chose a scene and are given items to place throughout. As each item drops on the screen, they hear the name and sounds associated with that item. It encourages creativity, while supporting vocabulary development.

Preschool Monkey Apps by THUP Games Available for Apple, Amazon and Android devices, $1.99 There are several Preschool Monkey Apps available, my 2 ½ year old loves Preschool Monkey Lunchbox, it encourages color recognition, counting, puzzles, and matching. After going through a few times with an adult, he was able to do it independently and was fully engaged. Fall 2014 | SaratogaMama | 27

Websites and Apps - Elementary Reading Rainbow Reading Adventure App

Scratch Available for iPad and Kindlefire, subscription based, $9.99 a month, $29.99 for six months, $49.99 for a year Many of us remember Reading Rainbow from when we were young, now our kids have access to it as well! There is a library of over 500 books and a variety of video field trips. Kids can browse all of the titles and download five books at a time into their “back-pack”. Kids can read the books themselves or have the books read to them, and many of the books have animations throughout as well. The parent dashboard shows parents what their kids are reading, how long has been spent reading and recommendations for other books.

Ideal for upper elementary students, Scratch introduces kids to the basics of programing. They can create stories, animations and games, which can then be shared with other kids on the site. If they’re not sure where to start, they can view examples and play games created by other users.

Websites, Apps, Tools - Elementary, Middle & High School Khan Academy

BJ Pinchbeck’s Homework Helper

Boogie Board LCD Writing Tablet

Khan Academy has a free video library that covers a variety of topics, ranging from elementary school to college. Not sure about how to solve a math problem on a homework assignment? Find a video for your student(and you) to quickly review how to do it. High School students will find a SAT prep section, where they try practice questions and then watch a video showing the correct way to solve the problem. 28 | SaratogaMama | Fall 2014

BJ Pinchbeck started this site when he was nine years old as a collection of web resources to help kids do their homework. It has grown a lot since 1996, everything is organized by subject and includes many resources for research and homework support.

Save paper with the Boogie Board, according to their website one Boogie Board can save 50,000 sheets of paper! They can be used for lists, math problems, doodles, brainstorming, messages...anything you would use paper for. If you’re using the Sync model ($80.99 at, everything can be saved through a bluetooth connection. Other models range from $20.00- $40.00 and do not save the contents of the screen.

Middle School and High School Google Drive



Google Drive includes a variety of productivity tools, including Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms and Drawing. Similar to Microsoft tools, except that they are free and everything is stored on the web. By using these tools, kids can access their work from any computer, so no more “I left my homework at school”. Group projects are also simplified with Google Drive as partners can work together on a document, while each being at their own house.

Does your tween/teen like to write? Storybird provides artist images as inspiration that they can then use to write stories or poems. Once a story is done, they can digitally publish it and share their work with friends and family.

Teens can create digital posters that incorporate videos, images, text and links to other web pages. With a wide variety of options to encourage their creativity, this is a great alternative to the traditional PowerPoint presentation!

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Just for Parents Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media has a wealth of information for parents about websites, movies, apps, games, music and books. You will find age recommendations, reviews, and resources to help you discover age appropriate entertainment for your kids.

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Thoughts on the

“First Day”

By Jan Snedaker


What is it about first day outfits that trig ger such anxiety and uncertainty? It had to be just right because this is the outfit that would define my year. It was my fres h start, my way of erasing the past and starting a new future. But here is the funny thing about first day of school outfits; I do not remember a single one. I remember moments, not clothes. Moments like the first day I found out a boy liked me, the day the picture I took was chosen for an art show, and the day the mean girls made me cry. Of course I remember some clothes: the total disasters (what was I thinking?) and my favorite pieces. The ones I felt most comfortable in because they were the ones I wore once I became the person I wanted to be, not the other way around; the clothes did not define me I defi ned my clothes. I remember the opaque printed tights from Express, my grandfathers old hat, I remember my Fire nze sweatshirt and faded blue jeans, my Hunter green suede boots, the tie-dye T-shirts I made myself with cut off jeans; these are the outfits I remember because of who I was when I wore them and the memories I have while wearing them. While I may not remember the actual outf its I wore the first day of school, I do remember how importan t it was to make that first impression on my classmates and teachers. I realize now it was never really about the clothes. It was about making a choice to define my year. Who did I want to be, what did I want to achieve, and what did I want to do diff erently or better this year? Of course no matter how much I may try to tell my children this, they are not going to believe me and that is okay because I would not have believed it either. That is why when my kids start to stress and anticipate thei r first day of school outfit, I will be right there with them; I will sit on their beds for an hour while they try on their clothes, I will take them shopping at the last minute to make sure the outfit is just right and I will make sure they leave for their first day of school feeling happy and confident. I will do this because whe n my children grow up they probably will not remember their first day of school outfit but they will remember I was there for them, supp orting them, giving them confidence and helping them have a great start to their school year.

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: n io h s a F l o o h c S Back to Dress for Less! $65ts




Old Navy


Old Navy



TOTAL: $163

TOTAL: $44

Shopping for back to school clothes can be a pricey proposition. Thankfully there are lots of look-alikes that cost a fraction of the price of their designer counterparts. If your budget allows, splurging on a couple key pieces or specialty items that will be worn for two seasons or more is not a bad idea. For basics, skip the splurge and get the look for less! 32 | SaratogaMama | Fall 2014

$11 Target


Under Armour


Under Armour


Old Navy



Under Armour

TOTAL: $107



TOTAL: $46 Fall 2014 | SaratogaMama | 33



Vera Bradley


$30 Gap




Mini Bo

$30 Kohls




TOTAL: $249 34 | SaratogaMama | Fall 2014


TOTAL: $66


Mini Boden

$18 H&M

$99 Diesel

$35 Gap


Mini Boden

TOTAL: $207

$35 UGG

TOTAL: $88 Fall 2014 | SaratogaMama | 35

Backpack, Shmackpack,

What’s the Big Deal? By Dr. Leslie J. Botta

Back to school means the start of exciting new things, unfortunately often times it also means the start of back pain for many students. Heavy backpacks filled to the brim with books, laptops, and sports equipment means back pain, neck pain, headaches and various other symptoms pertaining to all parts of the body. Carrying backpacks may seem to be a harmless daily activity but can cause what is called repetitive motion injuries. These can be quite painful and a bit baffling for some because there is not a distinct moment when the injury occurred. Repetitive motion injuries occur when the body is doing the same motion over and over, day after day in a less than optimal position.

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Most children, no matter what age, are carrying book bags that are too big, too heavy or too awkward. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were more than 21,000 backpack related injuries treated at hospital emergency rooms, doctor’s offices and clinics in the year 2003. If children were carrying backpacks 2-3 days per week we wouldn’t see the amount of injuries we are seeing. They are carrying them day after day with the same load and with the same, usually faulty, body mechanics. Eventually they are noticing headaches, back pain, neck pain, tingling in their arms/hands/fingers and many more symptoms.

There are three main things to keep in mind when choosing a backpack.

First: Get the right type of bag I know messenger bags look “cool”, especially for the teen crowd, but they aren’t doing a body any favors. Stick to the two strap back pack. The straps should be thickly padded so they don’t cut into the shoulder area. The shoulder is a relatively unstable joint in the body and many bundles of nerves and blood vessels pass through the area. Unnecessary stress here can cause immediate and/or long term problems.

Third: Keep the load light and evenly distributed The American Occupational Therapy Association recommends limiting a child’s backpack weight to 10% of their body weight. For example: 50 pound child = five pound backpack. You should purchase the lightest backpack you can find. This way you don’t start with a five pound unloaded bag. Make sure to distribute the weight of the items in the backpack evenly side to side. If the items cause the backpack to weigh more than 10% of the body weight, try carrying an item or two in front of the body. Encourage your child to only carry the items they need! Don’t let their backpack become a catch all!

Second: Get the right size bag The lower portion of the backpack should rest in the small of the back. If it hangs lower than this it puts extra pressure on the hard and soft tissues in the back and causes awkward and abnormal motion during movement which can lead to structural imbalance and pain.

Keeping these thoughts in mind can help prevent the discomfort our bodies can feel from repetitive motion injuries. If you or your child is suffering please have them examined by a Chiropractor or other health care professional. The Joint…the chiropractic place, in Clifton Park, welcomes you to have your child’s backpack checked for proper fit. No appointment needed and there is no charge for this service. Enjoy your fall!

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Food to Fuel your

e t e l h t A

BY Christine Sloat, RDN

After a long summer of activity,

the school year hardly signals a slow down. Juggling school, practice and homework can make providing balanced meals even more difficult for families. Yet for kids who are involved in sports, positive nutrition can provide the key to athletic and academic success. For many young athletes, eating healthy foods often conflicts with what is available. Being the gatekeepers, parents play a large role in their child’s nutrition. When it comes to sport nutrition there are a few concepts I focus on with every athlete, or parent, that steps into my office.


Never run on an empty tank! Your body needs some kind of carbohydrate before exercise, or else you may end up breaking down muscle to find energy.


Always replenish with some form of protein and carbohydrate after a hard workout. Muscles can break down within 10 minutes of exercise; so pack snacks to refuel fast!


Stay hydrated. Avoid sugary sports drinks that contain too much sugar. On a really warm day, dilute half the bottle with equal parts water; this will provide the electrolytes the body needs, but without the calories and added sugars. 38 | SaratogaMama | Fall 2014

Before Practice Snacks: (Aim to eat these one hour before)

After Practice Snacks: (Eat these within 10 minutes!)

-2-3 Fig Newtons and a small handful of raisins

- ½ Peanut butter sandwich

-Banana with 1 tablespoon peanut butter

-1 cup greek yogurt with ½ cup dry cereal

-English muffin with honey

- Banana and ½ cup trail mix (nuts, seeds and dried fruit)

-Low acid fruit (peach, pear) and 1 cup of dry cereal

- ¼ cup almonds and an apple

Important electrolytes to consider: Sodium, Potassium, Iron, Zinc and Magnesium can all be lost in our sweat. Drink water and find foods with these nutrients to rehydrate after practice.

Sodium- crackers, breads, nuts, cheese, pretzels, sauces and salad dressings

Potassium- bananas, avocados, nuts, tomatoes,

potatoes, beans

Iron- meat, eggs, fortified cereals, raisins and other dried fruit, watermelon, spinach Zinc- seafood, nuts, pumpkin seeds, spinach, beans Magnesium- green vegetables, seafood, nuts, pumpkin seeds, bananas, low- fat dairy

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FALL INTO a good Book Book Recommendations from Northshire Bookstore

Young Adult

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart When shy-geek-turned-intrepid-bombshell Frankie enrolls in an elite private school and discovers an all-male secret society, she manipulates the system to expose its classist, sexist traditions with pranks both genius and hilarious. Intelligent and entertaining, this is a mustread for all high schoolers! ~Paige Mushaw, Northshire Bookstore Saratoga Springs


Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann It’s time for Napville School’s Safety Assembly and Officer Buckle is bringing his list of safety tips, and the police dog, Gloria. Officer Buckle says “Tip #1. Keep your shoe laces tied” and all the children cheer! But why? Is it because Officer Buckle has good tips? Or because Gloria the dog is doing somersaults behind him?! A classic story full of fun and advice. ~Leah, Northshire Bookstore Saratoga Springs

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Chu’s first Day at School by Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex The latest adventure of our favorite panda!

Pre school

Chu has never been to school before and he has questions: What will happen? Will they be nice? On the first day, teacher says it’s time to share about yourself. Robin likes to sing, Hippo loves to dance, but Chu can’t aa-aa-aa-chooose! It’s a charming story of first day jitters, and being yourself. ~Leah, Northshire Bookstore Saratoga Springs


The Meaning of Maggie by Meagan Jean Sovern The lovable protagonist, Maggie, is a naive, ambitious, and funny young girl who is entering middle school with ambitions to become the next president of the United States. At school, when she finds herself alone at the lunch table, instead of being anxious, she takes out her class syllabus and marks due dates on her calendar. Maggie’s father has a wheelchair, sharp wit, and knowledge of all things “cool,” including vinyl records. As Maggie learns that her father’s disability is more serious than she imagined, she feels the first pangs of understanding that her parents are fallible mortal beings. Instead of fearing the worst, Maggie is empowered with a fiercer, empathetic love. ~ Bonnie Winchester, Northshire Bookstore Saratoga Springs

424 Broadway Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 (518) 682-4200 •

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Kid-Friendly Cooking with Jodie Fitz

Lunchtime Favorites By Jodie Fitz, photos provided

Looking for a few ways to pack lunches this fall? Check out a few of our favorites…

Peanutty Apple Wraps our favorite peanut butter & jelly alternative…

2 tablespoons peanut butter 1 teaspoon honey 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 medium apple


Whole Grain wrap

1. Prepare the apple by washing, peeling and coring it. Either slice the apple into thin slices (my children’s favorite) or place the apple into a mini food processor to chop (my personal favorite). If you chop the apple in a mini food processor stir the cinnamon into the apple. If you slice the apple, simply add the cinnamon into the peanut butter spread. Create the peanut butter spread by stirring together the honey and peanut butter.

2. Spread the peanut butter mixture onto the wrap, add the apples and fold like a burrito. It’s a great lunch alternative or healthy breakfast option.

*Peanut allergies: Replace the peanut butter spread with the following spread; 1 tablespoon of whipped cream cheese, 1 tablespoon vanilla low fat yogurt, 1 teaspoon honey and 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract.

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s Berry Medley Parfait it’s how we keep our yogurt cold, because sometimes an ice pack just isn’t enough… 6 oz. low fat vanilla yogurt 1/2 cup frozen Berry Medley, frozen 1 tablespoon Grape Nut cereal

Directions: Simply place the yogurt in a travel container, top it with frozen berries and grape nut cereal. Keep the berries frozen when adding them to the yogurt;

1. They help to keep the yogurt cold. 2. They thaw by snack and/or lunchtime.

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Veggie Rockets

And, sometimes we just make veggies fun… 4 sunset mini peppers 1/2 cucumber 2 slices of cheese 2 slices of bread light ranch dressing or Greek yogurt ranch dip red and green grapes star shaped cookie cutters; mini and medium-sized

Directions: 1. Cut the top off of one red pepper and hollow out the middle. Slice the cucumber and two peppers into thin strips, take a butter knife and spread the ranch dressing in the hollowed out pepper. Place the cut veggies in the newly coated hollow pepper. 2. Take one slice of cheese and cut to create the flames that would come out of a rocket. Then place the cheese flames into the end of the pepper. 3. Use a small star shape cutter, create three star shaped holes in the pepper. Then cut three stars into an orange pepper, place the new stars in the holes. 4. Using a larger star shape cutter to cut two stars out of the bread, and one star out of the cheese. Make a sandwich out of the bread and cheese, you may wish to add meat and condiments for your child’s favorite sandwich. 5. Add red and green grapes into a small container to add a bit of “confetti” to the mix and surprise them when they open their lunchbox!

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Vintage Lace Earrings

A Jewelry DIY By Colleen Pierre; photos by Keira Lemonis

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Create your own

Vintage Lace Earrings

You only need a few scraps of lace to create these gorgeous and delicate earrings. I was lucky enough to inherit some pretty vintage lace trim from my great-grandmother which was used for this project.

Materials Needed: • Fabric stiffener • Lace trim • Small paint brushes •Fabric scissors • Small pliers • Jump rings • Earrings

Step 1:

Step 2:

Cut the lace trim in roughly the size you want your earrings. It’s easier to trim the lace to the exact size after you apply the fabric stiffener.

Apply fabric stiffener to both sides of the lace and allow to dry for about a half hour. Make any necessary cuts to ensure the pieces are uniform in size and pattern.

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Step 3: Apply the paint to the lace and allow to dry. Here’s where you can get really creative with different colors or techniques!

Step 4: Using your pliers, open the jump ring and find a spot to slip it through the lace piece. Apply the earring hardware and voila! Beautiful vintageinspired lace earrings!

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Fall Fashion: The Ultimate Autumn Style Guide By Jan Snedaker, photos provided

We may be heading into fall 2014 but do not be alarmed if you experience a bit of déjà vu as the fashion world continues to pull us back in time; crimped hair, leather pants, flannel shirts, and plaid prints galore! This fall pretty much anything goes. Whether you prefer your skirts to be mini or floor length, your pants to be skinny or extra wide, or your boots to be knee-high or ankle-length you will fit right in with the fashion scene. Designers have been digging into the past even further than the 80s to find looks to inspire modern style which pretty much makes your fashion options limitless. Of course designers always put a futuristic spin on their blasts from the past, often by using an array of unexpected, glorious colors. While the enchanted Radiant Orchid still reigns supreme, look for it to be complemented by deeper hues meant to wrap us in warmth as we prepare for the bone chilling months ahead. Colors with names like Royal Blue, Aluminum, Aurora Red, Misted Yellow, and Sangria will accent the ever present shades of brown, gray, and navy. And while 2013 may have been all about 50 shades of gray, there is a new color on the block. According to several fashion reports, fall 2014 may be all about 50 shades of green. So as we say goodbye (at least for a while) to our summer totes and sandals, and dust off our jeans and leather boots, why not incorporate these fabulous fall colors with a few new pieces that will leave you feeling nostalgic for a place and time from your past. Dig out your Stray Cats, Prince, or Def Leppard CDs, throw on a pair of Wayfarers, grab a Zima, and look through some of these great fashion finds that will make your future so bright you will have to wear shades! 48 | SaratogaMama | Fall 2014

High Waisted Sequined Mini Skirt Express

Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

Tweed Jacket

Kristina Collins Clothing

Mint & Champagne Statement Earring

Lola Accessory Boutique 454 Broadway Saratoga Springs

Berry Plaid Skinny Scarf LOFT 315 Broadway Saratoga Springs

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Leather Handbags Encounter 482 Broadway Saratoga Springs

Camo Print Skinny Pants

LOFT 315 Broadway Saratoga Springs

Lace Gold Ring Lucia Boutique 454 Broadway Saratoga Springs

Frye Boots

Violets of Saratoga 494 Broadway Saratoga Springs

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Retro Graphic Tees Lucia Boutique 454 Broadway Saratoga Springs

She Drives Me Crazy

glo-minerals Lipstick in Bordeaux Bella Rouge Clifton Park Center

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The oddly charming truth behind the pretty parenting curtain

Confessions of a Caffeinated Mama

By S.K. Parker Ward


y adoration - or *ahem* addiction - to all things java isn’t really much of a secret. You’ll find far too many mentions of coffee on my Twitter feed, and I spend more of my weekly budget on caffeinated drinks than I do on gas. I even prefer coffee in my cocktails (thanks, Barry!). One of the downsides of my little dependencies is that somewhere between cup six and nine in the day, I suffer from what can only be described as a bit too much liquid courage. And sadly for you, dear reader, I’ve just hit cup seven. The result? I’m going to share with you some of the nitty gritty details of the generally unseen parts of my 52 | SaratogaMama | Fall 2014

parenting. Forewarning: you will probably roll your eyes and nod your head more than once while reading.

We eat a lot of mac’n’cheese... not that I’d ever admit it to our pediatrician outright (sorry, Dr. C!). But let’s be honest, it only took about three times after I’d spent hours in the kitchen slaving over the most beautiful kale and whatever-else-sounds-uber-healthy meal only to have my darlings subsequently push it aside for me to give up. So these days, Aunt Annie’s is basically its own food group in our house. I am not a gourmet chef. I am also not a therapist. You want mac’n’cheese for three meals today? You got it, babe.

A fish is basically a dog, right? Two Easters ago, the hubs and I decided it was time to get a pet. But we both work and travel and kind of like not having to go for walks with miniature plastic bags specifically designed for the unthinkable. Enter: Mumford. Mumford is a Beta fish that we picked up at PetCo for $7.99 as a thoughtful (read: totally selfish) substitution for a four legged friend for the girls. The problem is that Mumford has more of a will to live than any creature I’ve

ever met. Despite adamant testimony from the sales lady that he would likely make a graceful exit from this world within a relatively short time, we’re now a full 18 months into weekly fishbowl cleanings...and still he swims on. I’m convinced he does it - and by “it,” I mean “lives” - just to spite me. In fact, I resolutely believe he once winked at me through the glass. Smart a**.

I’ll give you chocolate if... Since having my first darling, my negotiating skills have flourished to a point at which I’m consistently surprised

that the FBI isn’t phoning for international assistance on a regular basis. Like the experts in the movies, I believe that “yes” is a critical gateway word to overall amicableness. You want chocolate? Yes. You want to go to Disney? Sure. Basically, I’m happy to let you believe that you can have whatever you want. Just. Get. In. The. Car!

Let’s do makeup! I’m sure this one is going to just blow people’s minds given all the rhetoric out there about how detrimental it can be to little girls’ egos to grow up believing they need to wear makeup. But, guess what, I find the thought of them getting to their teenage years and not knowing how to put eyeliner on appropriately, only to try sneaking out of the house in drag queen-esque faces far more threatening. To be clear, I do not actually let them wear makeup, but when I’m getting ready in the morning, they’re both right there beside me at the mirror, adding powder to my nose or color to my lips.

Bedtime is more of a guideline than a rule. So many parents I know have actual bedtimes for their kids - routines that occur at specific times to get their littles peacefully drifting off to Neverland. In our house, the concept of bedtime looks something like a mashup between Armageddon and National Lampoon’s Vacation. First, it never happens at the same time. If their eyes close anytime between 5pm and 10pm, we view that as solid success. Also, our girls’ sense of plot will likely be forever distorted because (gasp!) we habitually skip pages of the Illiad- length texts they call children’s books these days. And, last but not least, we don’t care where it happens the couch, the car or their actual beds. As long as those little peepers are good and closed, I can carry a 30 pound sack o’ potatoes anywhere.

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“Yoga is a great way for moms to take some important time to focus on themselves...”

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G et Yo u r “ Om ” O n Coffee not for you? Try settling down with a little mindful meditation. Mama-to-be and resident yogi at Raw Fitness, Meg Casebolt suggests, “Yoga is a great way for moms to take some important time to focus on themselves and move in a way that leaves their bodies and minds feeling rejuvenated.” Free apps like Karmic or Headspace can also be great on-the-go stress solutions to the crazy realities of parenthood.

Parental Comic Relief on the Big Screen If you’re a parent who needs a good chuckle (and I think we all know the two are mutually inclusive), settle in on the couch some Friday night for one of these honest, but hilarious flicks. • Parenthood (1989) PG-13

Listen - the world’s a big, busy place, and kids alone are enough to lovingly drive you bonkers. So rather than lose my mind or my cool, I just ironically steal my zen from the magical tonic that is caffeine...and then write about the wildly charming, absurdly comic reality of it all in my spare time. I enlighten you with this delightful chaos not because I’m hoping to garner sympathy, but to help you understand why, if it were available, I’d gladly accept my cups of joe in IV form. Also, to let you know that if you happen to go to bed some nights wondering whether you’re the only parent ignoring broccoli and rigorously bribing your munchkins for better behavior, you can be assured that you’re not the only one. In fact, I’d like to officially say, “Welcome to the club”.

• Life as We Know It (2010) PG-13 • Knocked Up (2011) R • Away We Go (2009) R • Because I Said So (2007) PG-13

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Car Seat

by Ilissa Goman, Photos by Ivory Lane Photography

Child Passenger Safety Week is September 14th-20th! After learning that around 90% of car seats are installed improperly and that car crashes are the leading cause of death among children in the US, I decided to become certified as a Child Passenger Safety Tech in 2011. I have personally checked over 100 seats and out of those, only four seats were correctly installed. Here is a list of some of the most common mistakes being made that can have a huge impact on the safety of your child.

1. Moving your child to the wrong seat or direction before they are ready.

2. You didn’t read your car seat manual and your vehicle manual. It is so important to read your entire car seat manual. It will tell you everything you need to know about your car seat, vital information is in there! In your vehicle manual you should read the section on child seat safety. In a lot of vehicles you can not use LATCH in the middle of the back seat. Your manual will tell you which seats have LATCH locations and where to find tether locations. You also need to pick LATCH or seatbelt install for almost all seats, not both. Pick whichever is appropriate for your child, your car seat and your vehicle.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your child should be rear facing until the age of two or until they outgrow the maximum height and/or weight allowed by your seat for rear-facing. Rear facing has been shown to be much safer in accidents for children under two, due to the fact that the force of a crash is spread across the child’s body not just at their neck. It is common in some European countries to see kids rear facing until the age of four!

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3. Not having the harness in the right location, and/or not having the harness tight enough. If your child is rear facing, the harness height should be at or below their shoulders. If they are forward facing, the harness height should be at or slightly above their shoulders. To check if the harness is tight enough, do the pinch test. Pinch the harness vertically at their shoulders. If you can pinch it, then it is too loose. Tighten it until you can no longer pinch.

4. It’s called a chest clip for a reason! The clip that holds your child’s harness together should be at armpit or nipple level. I often see parents that have this clip placed near their child’s belly button. Doing this can actually cause internal injuries and could possibly lead to your child being ejected from their car seat.

5. Putting your infant’s seat on the top of a shopping cart. This is dangerous for so many reasons. When you “clip” it into a shopping cart you can actually damage the mechanism that locks it into your car seat base, which can cause it to malfunction in an accident. There have also been numerous reported deaths and injuries occurring from seats falling off of shopping carts. Please read your car seat manual, it will tell you not to use it on a shopping cart. A safe alternative is to wear your baby in a carrier or use your stroller to shop.

6. Using bulky clothing under the harness. I see so many parents put their child in a bulky winter coat in their seat. This is so dangerous. In an accident the fabric can compress and cause the harness to become too loose, in return causing the possibility of the child being ejected from their seat. In the demo pictured, you’ll 58 | SaratogaMama | Fall 2014

notice a toddler in a bulky red coat, and below that is the child with the coat removed but the harness has been left in the same position, see how much extra bulk there is? There are options you can use that work with car seats. Check out Cozywoggle coats, or use a poncho style, where the harness can go against your child with the coat not interfering.

7. Having projectiles in the car. Anything that is not properly restrained in your vehicle can become a projectile in an accident, meaning that it can fly around the vehicle and hit occupants with the force

of the crash. A good rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t throw it at your child it shouldn’t be loose in the car. This includes strollers, heavy work bags, groceries, and hard toys. Put everything in the trunk, or if your trunk is open, talk to your car dealer about getting a cargo cover. Most importantly this includes you! You and any other vehicle occupants need to be wearing your seatbelt, even if you’re in the back seat.

3 Quick Car seat Tips 1. The car seat should move less than an

inch side to side at the belt path. 2. Use the top tether for forward facing

seats. This significantly reduces injuries. 3. If your seat is expired or has been in

an accident you need to get a new seat. There can be damage that you can’t see. Also, buy your seats brand new for the same reasons. The expiration information can be found on a sticker on the car seat or in your manual. Please, please, please get your child seats inspected to insure they are installed properly. It is a FREE service offered by BINX and by car seat check stations that have certified techs ( More car seat safety tips can be found on Thank you to Fuccillo Nissan for allowing us to use their vehicles for the demonstrations.

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Craving Coffee? By Robin Morgan

Let’s face it, most moms are inevitably forced to juggle sleepless nights, busy schedules, sick children and family obligations. This leaves us tired, overwhelmed and mostly sleep deprived. It’s no wonder that most of the moms I know have some form of coffee or caffeine habit. Whether it’s straight up coffee, tea or a chai latte, the ritual of drinking a cup is almost as important as the effect it has on our ability to function.

Take a break. There are many studies on the effects of coffee and caffeine on our bodies. Depending on which one you look at, it’s either a healthy habit or firmly on the avoid list for particular health conditions. If you have determined that coffee seems to work with your particular body and you partake in moderation, I’m all for enjoying a cup of joe. It’s studies like the one published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in September, 2011 titled “Coffee, Caffeine, and Risk of Depression Among Women” that show a benefit of decreased incidences of depression in women who are regular coffee drinkers that may help you justify your Starbucks habit. In fact, I fully believe that the simple ritual of preparing (or seeking) a comforting beverage allows moms to take a “break” from their days at home or work and take that small moment to sit still and take a deep breath. This is why I don’t find anything wrong with regular coffee consumption, as long as you steer clear of what I call the Coffee Traps.

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Avoid the Traps. • Choose Wisely: Coffee quality varies greatly from brand to brand and even depends on how you prepare it. Here are a few basic rules to help you achieve the healthiest cup you can. • Choose Organic: This is the best way to ensure that your coffee is better for you and for the environment. Make sure your coffee has been grown without the use of pesticides. • Opt for the Dark Roast: Researchers have found that the darker roasted beans provide a higher level of antioxidants. • Seek out Fair Trade Coffee: When you buy fair trade products, your purchase benefits the farmer, the consumer (we vote with our wallets!) and the environment. Fair Trade coffee is produced by farmers who are paid a fair price for their product and allows them to maintain their land and make a sustainable livelihood for themselves while producing a quality product. • Don’t create a toxic soup by adding artificially flavored, corn syrup sweetened substances to your coffee: The health benefits are not worth it if you are adding several tablespoons of sugar to your drink. Try using organic cream, coconut milk and raw stevia, monk fruit or honey to sweeten your drink.

Try this alternative to your regular coffee creamer!

Pumpkin Spice Cleaner Creamer: • 1 3/4 cup milk (can use coconut milk, almond milk or organic cow’s milk) • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (look for organic) • 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon • 1/4 cup honey (or use sweetener of your choice to taste) • Dash of vanilla extract • Pinch of sea salt Combine ingredients in blender, store in a jar in your fridge for up to a week and keep your coffee clean and tasty!

Have you Tried Bullet Proof Coffee? After reading about Bulletproof Coffee online (popularized by Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Executive blog and podcast) I wanted to try it for its supposed energizing, filling, and brain performance enhancing qualities. It’s actually a yummy way to enjoy a latte-like coffee without cream and sugar.

What is it?

Bulletproof Coffee starts with high quality coffee which is blended with grass-fed (unsalted) butter, and coconut oil or MCT oil. My own version was a little shy of perfect, but it was delicious.

an oil slick on the surface – not pretty. Once blended, the color and the creaminess are very inviting and feels like a coffee house treat. I do suggest going lightly with the butter and oil for your first few cups so that your digestion isn’t shocked by this new concoction. I did notice a longer, more sustained energy than I do with “regular” coffee and it did keep this constantly hungry mama filled up for a while too. Give it a shot and let us know what you think!

Here’s how I did it — after brewing my coffee, I added a teaspoon of extra virgin coconut oil (extra virgin has very little coconut taste), a teaspoon of Kerrygold butter, and then blended until smooth in my Magic Bullet blender. (I could not find MCT oil, but coconut oil has similar health benefits). After blending, you get a surprisingly creamy, frothy beverage in your cup. I sprinkled the top with cinnamon and added a bit of raw organic honey to sweeten things up. The blending is important because without it, you will end up with a cup of black coffee with

Fall 2014 | SaratogaMama | 63

Back to School By The Numbers

1,500 15 70 miles

The amount of PB&Js the average kid will eat before he/she graduates high school.


Annual mileage last year for the buses in the Saratoga Springs City School District

Courtesy of:

64 | SaratogaMama | Fall 2014

number of Private Schools in Saratoga County



number of kids enrolled in Public Schools in Saratoga County


How long of a line ONE pencil can draw… so ONE pencil should get you through the school year, right?

How many hours of sleep per night your first grader needs


Amount of morning traffic generated by parents dropping their kids off at school.

10 % 97

Buses are used and maintained in the Saratoga Springs City School District

Amount of kids enrolled in private schools in Saratoga County

It is recommended that a loaded backpack weigh no more than this percentage to be safe enough to use every day

(meaning a 100 pound child only gets to carry 10 pounds in their backpack)

Family Friendly Fall Events Sunday, August 24

Saturday, September 20

Great food, music, entertainment, rides, animals and so much more. Other highlights include exhibits, demos, rodeos, tractor pulls, a farm museum and over 40 shows and judged happenings going on daily. Admission is $10. Age 13 and under free. Military with ID is free. Free parking. For more information visit

Saratoga City Center, 522 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. Fun for the whole family, for the entire day! Start at the Farmers’ Market and see a Kids Cook Off, climb the National Guard’s rock wall, bounce in a house, ride a pony, interact with a petting zoo, explore public service emergency vehicles and meet service personnel, listen to popular tunes, create artwork, eat ice cream, bring your blanket and lawn chair to watch Despicable Me 2 on the street at dusk under the open sky! Free and open to the public. Let’s “Bring People Together”!

The 2014 Washington County Fair Washington County Fairground, Greenwhich, Daily through Sunday August 24.

Saturday, August 30

Princess Party National Museum of Dance, 99 S. Broadway, Saratoga Springs, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

This event is open to children ages 4-6. The celebration will include a creative movement class, craft making, and exploring the Alfred Z. Soloman Children’s Wing. All children should wear their favorite princess outfit to the event. The cost is $12 per child or $20 for two children. To RSVP, please call (518) 584-2225 x3012.

Saturday, September 13 and Sunday, September 14

2014 Insane Inflatable 5K Run Ellms Family Farm, 468 Charlton Road Ballston Spa, 9 a.m. The Insane Inflatable 5K is coming to your neck of the woods! Get ready to experience the most fun, wild and insane obstacle run in the world. Get “pumped up” for a course filled with the world’s largest and most extreme inflatable obstacles ever produced. Here’s your chance to be a kid at heart, but insane by choice. For more information visit

Thursday, September 18 – Sunday, September 21 2014 Adirondack Balloon Festival

Crandall Park, Glens Falls and Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport, Queensbury The balloon festival features the launch of dozens of balloons, all brightly colored and many in fun and special shapes. Visitors can walk inside half-inflated balloons, watch riders prepare for the flight, and see the exceptional sight of air balloons taking off from the ground nearby, one after another, and floating into the sky. Admission is free. For more information visit

Family Fun Day Celebrating the City Center’s 30th Birthday

Saturday, September 27

7th annual PetFest-HomeShow 971 Route 146, Clifton Park, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

FREE Pony rides, Bouncy castle, clowns, alpacas and more. Blessing of the pets followed by the Grand March with valuable prizes. Dress up your fourlegged entry to win. Looking to adopt? This is the place. $5 entry fee - children free. Benefits church’s missionary program and other local non-profits. For more information call (518) 371-4547.

Sunday, October 12

“The Way We Were” Car Show Front St., Ballston Spa, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Saturday, October 18

The Great Pumpkin Challenge

Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs, 9 a.m. This event features 5K (walk or run) and 10K (run) through the beautiful and historic Saratoga Spa State Park. The day also includes a Fun Run for kids 12 and under. Pre-Registered participants (by 10/1) receive long-sleeved moisture wicking t-shirts. **PLEASE NOTE** Net Chip Timing (5K & 10K begin at the same time), disposable chips/bibs and NO DAY OF REGISTRATION, shirts are men’s sizes.

Sunday, October 26

Special Olympics rUNDEAD 5K Saratoga Springs State Park – 7:30 a.m. Don’t miss this year’s rUNDEAD! This 5k run in Saratoga Springs State Park will support Special Olympics New York. The obstacles on this run... zombies. For more information contact Michelle or (518)388-0790 x109.

Saturday, November 15

Holiday Craft Show American Legion, 34 West Ave., Saratoga Springs, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Leave the hustle and bustle of the malls behind. When Fall is in the air, the holiday season is right around the corner. A huge selection of booths with tempting treats, unique handcrafted treasures and holiday gifts.

Stroll the historic Village of Ballston Spa’s Front Street from one end to the other, while checking out a wide variety of cars and trucks and enjoying outdoor barbecues, vendors, and music. Free admission.

Sunday, November 16

Children’s Porch Chat: “Solomon Northrup” Grant Cottage Historical Site, Mt. McGregor Rd., Wilton, 1 p.m.

The Petite Retreat is an exclusive and educational fun-filled day. Attendees will have the chance to interact one-on-one with top baby experts.

Northup, a free black man living in Saratoga, was kidnapped, sold into slavery in 1841, and was not returned to his family until 1853. Northup wrote a book about his horrifying experiences and that book, fully as much as the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, turned thousands of previously indifferent Americans against the institution of slavery. But the movie tells only a part of Northup’s story. Scott Christianson will tell the rest of the tale. Mr. Christianson is the author of Freeing Charles, a book that documents the incredible street battle that rescued runaway slave Charles Nalle from slave catchers in Troy, New York in 1860. For more information call (518) 584-4353 or visit

The Petite Retreat Longfellows Inn and Conference Center, Saratoga Springs, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

This is just a sample of the many fun family friendly events in our region. For a comple te list of even ts and activities , visit SaratogaMa

Fall 2014 | SaratogaMama | 65


Answers: Gym, Book, Grade, Lunch, Ruler, Apple, Desk, Snack

66 | SaratogaMama | Fall 2014



3. You see your friends and teachers here in the fall. 7. Used to gather the leaves that fall on the ground. 8. Fall starts in this month.


1. A red fruit you might pick in the fall. 2. A sport that starts in the fall. 3. Scares crows from the fields. 4. You dress up on this day in October. 5. These change color in the fall and fall to the ground. 6. You make Jack-o-Lanterns out of these.