Winter Activities & Classes
Anastasia Ganias-Gellin of Fancy Peasant on the importance of family, building a business and why moms need to be kind to themselves
Kids on Instagram
The parental controls being launched this year
The Safety of Our Patients Is More Important Than Ever
Penny Resnick Graulich, DMD Emelie Preis, DDS Dayna Mermelstein DMD Fatina Shtivelman DDS Voted one of Westchester’s Top Pediatric Dentists by Westchester Magazine 10 years in a row
MAIN STREET PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY 115 Main Street, Suite 302, Tuckahoe, NY 10707 (914) 633-4440 MainStreetPediatricDentistry.com
We continue to be committed to your child’s health and safety. Here’s an example of some of the changes we’ve made to protect our patients and staff in this time of Covid 19: • Air puriﬁers placed throughout the ofﬁce • Commercial grade fogger, affective in killing bacteria and viruses, including Covid 19 • UVC lights and sonic systems used to increase sterilization procedures • HEPA air ﬁltration system connected to the HVAC system • Personal protective equipment (PPE) including gloves, masks, disposable gowns and face shields • As always, we use CDC and OSHA disinfection protocols
Great Dreamers Wanted
The three R’s everyday since 1901
co-ed • Grades K-12 12 years of home schooling away from home
100 Overlook Circle, New Rochelle, NY | 914.632.8836 I www.td.edu January 2022 | Westchester Family
pg. 30 pg. 26
FEATURES 14 | Education Online or in-person winter activities 26 | Kids & Sleep How to help your kids get a good night sleep 28 | Cover- Greek Goddess Anastasia Ganias-Gellin shares on her delicious olive oil, family and building a business
Stories & columns 6 | Editor’s Note
Directories 18 | Catholic School Listings
8 | Mom Hacks Winter Skin: 5 of the best products for combatting seasonal dryness 12 | Camps Camp directors on meeting the challenge for today’s kids 20 | Tech Instagram’s new parental controls for 2022 22 | Travel Vacationing at the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort and Spa 24 | Family Fun Check out Sky High SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, NYC’s new immersive observatory 30 | Craft How to save your kid’s artwork
WestchesterFamily.com | January 2022
on the Cover Photo: Ana Gambuto | anagambuto.com Hair & Makeup: Stefano Antonaizzi | stefanobeauty.com Cover Produced and Written by: Cris Pearlstein | crispearlstein.com
Thinking of Changing Schools? Experience the Catholic School Difference.
Seven Reasons Why More Families Across New York Are Enrolling Their Children in Catholic Schools 1
Safe, nurturing environment — proven health and safety measures
Focus on the whole child — academics, faith, and community service
Learning momentum maintained — through smaller in-person class sizes, tailored instruction, regular assessments
Preparation for high school and beyond — self-discipline, advanced prep programs
Parent-friendly — extended days, welcoming school community
Parent support — free counseling services, financial aid at participating schools
Academic achievement — reading and math proficiency continues to outpace national performance in NWEA/MAP Assessments
We invite you to see the Catholic School Difference! Admissions for 2022-23 are open now. Apply online or call our helpline to arrange a phone or in-person visit at participating schools.
APPLY NOW! CatholicSchoolsNY.org/apply or call our bilingual helpline: (646) 794-2885 January 2022 | Westchester Family
President Victoria Schneps-Yunis CEO Joshua Schneps
Westchester Family WestchesterFamily.com Publisher Clifford Luster firstname.lastname@example.org Executive Editor Donna Duarte-Ladd email@example.com Digital Editor Courtney Ingalls Contributing Editor Serena Norr ADVERTISING SALES Partnership Managers LynnMarie Hanley firstname.lastname@example.org Nina Gallo Photography
Nina Spiegelman email@example.com PRODUctION Art Director Leah Mitch firstname.lastname@example.org
It is a New Year, and parents know all too well that 2021 had its (Pandemic $#@&%!) challenges. Yet- we always have our stories. Our article like Sky High! SUMMIT One Vanderbilt (page 24) is rich with information to get us out of the house and out exploring the city. Features such as Kids & Sleep (page 8) and Instagram’s New Parental Controls (page 20) provide insight and tips on significant parenting issues.
We are in this together, and reading about other parents’ journeys connects us. Cover mom of 3 actress-turned-Greek-olive-oil goddess, Anastasia Ganias-Gellin (page 28), chatted with NYF contributor Cris Pearlstein about getting messy in the kitchen and why she thinks moms should stop feeling ashamed about it getting all the help they need. Heck yes! So hello 2022 — we’re ready for you.
Production Staff Arthur Arutyunov, Connie Sulsenti DISTRIBUTION & CIRCULATION Roberto Palacios 718-260-4531
Please recycle this magazine.
Donna and New York Family Media
Westchester Family (ISSN 1043-6774) is published monthly by Queens Family Media LLC. Please note that the advertisements in this magazine are paid for by the advertisers, which allows this magazine to be free to the consumer. Limit of one free copy per reader. Unless specifically noted, no advertisers, products or services are endorsed by the Publisher. All real estate advertised herein is subject to the Federal Fair Housing Act, which makes it illegal to advertise any preference, limitation, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin or intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination. We will not knowingly accept any advertising for real estate which is in violation of the law. All persons are hereby informed that all dwellings advertising are available on an equal opportunity basis. Editorial submissions are welcome.
Westchester Family 1 Metrotech Center Brooklyn NY 11201
© 2022 Queens Family Media LLC All rights reserved.
Share your feedback and ideas! Email us at edit@WestchesterFamily.com.
WestchesterFamily.com | January 2022
Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited.
NEW LOCATION IN SCARSDALE!
Providing World-Class Music Education Since 1987 Hybrid, Online and In-person Classes Available!
FOR ALL AGES Online Lessons Available • Piano • Voice • Strings • Woodwinds • Brass • Guitar • Percussion/Drums
FREE TRIAL LESSON! A Premier Music School with over 600 Students
• One-on-One Private Lessons • Musik Garten (toddler) & Suzuki Programs • Instrumental Ensembles; Chamber Music, Rock/Jazz Group Programs • Music Production
NEW YEAR SPECIAL Enroll before 01/31 and get a 2nd Lesson FREE!
870 Scarsdale Ave, Scarsdale • 914-961-3497 • email@example.com crestwoodmusic.com January 2022 | Westchester Family
Help for Winter Skin 5 of the best products for combatting seasonal dryness By Donna Duarte-LaDD
inter is here, and while often picturesque with snow days and ice skating what it can do to the skin, not so good. During this time of the season, many of us may find our skin dry and flaky. For moms, this can be compounded with already tired-looking skin- yup, not cool. And as many moms know, sometimes it is an internal factor. Meaning we need more sleep maybe should tweak our diet, and yes, we may need to add a product or two to make its way into our regular beauty routine. So we, the editors, test. We test what is out there and find what works for us and may also work for you. And here are the top 5 best products that we recommend to combat winter skin:
WestchesterFamily.com | January 2022
For Super Dry Skin: Cetaphil’s Moisturizing Cream
For the dryest skin, you will want to try a cream that will work on many levels. This cream provides up to 48 hours of hydration. It is rich but doesn’t feel greasy. And while I especially love to use it at the dryest of skin areas like my elbows, I also use it on my fiveyear-old, whose eczema flares up during these winter months. Dr. Lian Mack MD, a boardcertified dermatologist, says, “For my eczema patients, I always recommend using a product that you scoop out, not pump out. The moisturizing cream is a relief in a jar. Similar to the Moisturizing lotion, the cream has also been reformulated to include Niacinamide, Vitamin B5, and Glycerin. This heavier formulation works also helps to pull water to the skin, minimize trans epidermal water loss leaving the skin feeling smoother and more hydrated.”
CARDINAL SPELLMAN HIGH SCHOOL
Where Boys and Girls With Dreams Become Men and Women of Vision
ACCEPTING NEW STUDENTS FOR THE CLASS OF 2026 AND TRANSFER APPLICATIONS! *FINANCIAL AID AVAILABLE. DEADLINE APPROACHING.
20+ AP & College Level Courses! 14:1 Student Teacher Ratio
50 Clubs & Activities! 1001 Seat Auditorium, 2 Theaters, 2 Art Studios!
30 Sports Teams! Multi-Championship Winning Teams.
$48+ million earned in college scholarships by Class of 2021! Cardinal Spellman High School
100% Graduation & College Acceptance! On Harvard's Preferred List
One Cardinal Spellman Place Bronx, NY, 10466 718-881-8000 x 206 I Fax: 718-515-6615 cardinalspellman.org @SpellmanBX
January 2022 | Westchester Family
Vitamins that Promote Skin Hydration: HUM Glow Sweet Glow – Skin Hydration Gummy Hearts Supplement
Body Oil that does Extra for Skin: BioOil Skincare Oil (Natural)
If you love body oil but are wary of products not having natural ingredients, you’ll want to give the popular Bio-Oil’s Natural line a whirl. It felt luxe while testing this oil, and my skin felt softer within a week. Bio-oil has a cult following as it also improves the scars’, and it is clinically proven to help repair skin damage and stretch marks, a big plus for us moms. Sunflower Seed Oil is beneficial during the winter months as it improves texture, smoothness, and hydration, while the rosehip helps with moisture and protects against inflammation.
Lip Balm that Locks in Moisture: Amala Beauty Moisture Melt Lip Salve
Keep your lips from cracking in the harsh winter weather- with this superfood salve of Acai Berry and Papaya Enzymes that help replenish and seal in precious moisture. Use this daily to lock in moisture to keep your lips moisturized.
WestchesterFamily.com | January 2022
It is said beauty comes from within, and these Glow Sweet Glow gummies do just that. Working with the key ingredients of Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C. Each gummy is tart and delicious, but the best part is within weeks of testing- my skin was, yes, glowing. And while a skin boost is something this tired mom loves, what is happening is that the vitamins work to lock in moisture into the skin, which promotes hydration, which stimulates collagen production, so your skin looks refreshed.
Face Mask for Deep Hydration: Ceramidin Facial Barrier Mask
When the air is dry and the heat is on, it can damage our faces. This mask is perfect when your skin deeps a deep reset. The mask works in three ways-rebuilds skins moisture barrier, replenishes moisture helping to soften skin, and prevents future water loss. It is also dermatologist-tested for sensitive skin!
Dr. Hope Mitchell, MD, FAAD an Ohio and Michigan boardcertified medical and cosmetic dermatologist and the founder & CEO of Mitchell Dermatology. Dr. Mitchell has extensive experience in general dermatologic education and treatment, acne/complexion treatment, skin cancer diagnosis, treatment and surgery, as well as cosmetic injectables. Dr. Mitchell shares her tips for the winter skincare with New York Family: Change your skincare regimen with the change of season. My common advice is to get rid of the cleanser that stripped the skin of natural oils and the summer shine or may even have “exfoliating” on the label and choose a creamy, “hydrating” cleanser that can gently exfoliate while starting the moisturization process and not leave the skin dry or tight after cleansing. The summer lightweight moisturizers may not cut it in the winter. Trade them in for creams that provide longer-lasting hydration and physical protection from harsh outdoor elements and dry environments. I recommend searching for hydrating creams like Neostrata’s Ultra Moisturizing Face Cream with its PHA technology that restores the skin moisture barrier and hydrates the skin. This moisturizer is fragrancefree, non-comedogenic and ideal for all skin types. Water loss is greatest at night so don’t skimp on your night routine. A nightly skincare routine should impart plenty of moisture to compensate for water loss while addressing your skin’s additional needs. I highly recommend applying creams at night with hyaluronic acid which lock-in and hold moisture in the skin.
Belle School of Music
“Where Learning is Fun!”
SPECIALIZING IN PIANO, KEYBOARDS KEYBOARDS AND ANDVOICE VOICE
Now Offering Individual On-line Lessons
“ IT WILL BLOW YO-OPURRAHMWININFERD!Y ”
MUSIC LAND Ages 4-5 with parent participation. A delightful experience for Mozarts of the future MUSIC FOR LITTLE PEOPLE Ages 5-7 with parent participation. Unique Russian-Japanese method. c. Experience the Magic of Music. ADVENTURES IN KEYBOARD Ages 8-12. Tradition on a new note. Piano instruction for the child of the new millennium. TEEN AND ADULT CRASH COURSE Classical • Popular • Modern • Jazz
Bring out the musical talent in your child! fam il y favorites TO P 5 20 19
TOP 5 2018
Telecharge.com or 212.239.6200
New World Stages 340 W. 50th St.
Scarsdale: 1088 Central Park Ave White Plains: 283 Tarrytown Rd Yonkers: 1537 Central Park Ave
shamesjcc.org/camps eady R t Ge have to fun! some
317 S. Broadway Tarrytown, NY
Photo credit: ©Geoffrey Goodridge
Grades K – 10
The Shames JCC on the Hudson welcomes people of all backgrounds, faiths, genders, and abilities.
Ages 2 – 6 January 2022 | Westchester Family
Mental Health at Summer Camp Camp directors on meeting the challenge for today’s kids BY JESS MICHAELS
ith more children and young adults experiencing mental health challenges, summer camps have needed to adjust over the years, especially during COVID, to help meet the needs of their campers and staff. Jamie Sirkin, Owner and Director of Summer Trails Day Camp in Westchester and President of the New York State Camp Directors Association, has advocated for almost a decade along with other camp directors to get a law passed that would allow camps in the state to hire licensed professionals such as social workers to work at camp. This past July, the law passed,
giving camps the option to hire licensed professionals for their campers and staff. “Camp directors have seen more children arriving at camp with eating disorders, anxiety and depression. Then there are just the things that happen during a typical summer such as a child being upset about their favorite counselor leaving,” explains Sirkin. “This law will give camps the option to have a professional on hand to help children, along with young adult staff, deal with the baggage they come to camp with and to process the things that happen during the camp season.” When children are prepared before heading off to camp, they feel less anxious about the new experience and ease into camp life easier. “Children who go to camp with
WestchesterFamily.com | January 2022
positive expectations go into camp excited. We have ramped up a lot of what we do prior to camp to help kids have a smoother adjustment,” explains Matt Krouner, Owner and Director of Camp Schodack, a coed overnight camp in NY. “There are new camper days, home visits, and each camper has a big brother or a big sister. We are having more contact with parents and zoom calls for new parents leading up to camp which is above and beyond what we have done in the past. Our goal is to set positive expectations so campers feel a sense of place before getting to camp.” Camp Schodack also tells campers before the summer that within the first week of camp, they can choose a staff member to be their check-in person. “Campers can identify a person on the leadership team or a counselor that they can go to if they need support. When a child picks the person, it
also makes a staff member feel amazing and connected to the person that chose them,” says Krouner. As camps opened up last summer after a year of COVID, they were prepared for children to come to camp with limited social interactions from a lack of get-together with friends, few extracurricular activities and remote learning. “We knew kids were desperate for social interactions that they couldn’t have for the 18 months prior to camp,” says Krouner. “We went into the summer with a plan to have increased check-ins with campers but most of those weren’t necessary. Children found their stride quickly and felt protected and safe at camp. Staff on the other hand felt more limited at camp without their normal days off out of camp due to COVID and it effected their experience. We’ve made some changes to make sure our staff feel supported. I’ve hired a staff liaison, which is like a staff cruise ship director, to focus on the needs of our staff and to adjust things as the summer goes on.” Sirkin explains that as kids were back at camp after many months in isolation, simple
“Children who go to camp with positive expectations go into camp excited. We have ramped up a lot of what we do prior to camp to help kids have a smoother adjustment.” things like dealing with disappointment, learning to share or taking turns was a struggle for them. “These were things we always taught at camp and now half of the group was having difficulty and the
Family Owned & Operated since 1973 Experienced Counselors
Licensed by the Health Department
Serving children 2 months–14 years of age Age appropriate activities including: tween trips, bowling, swimming, golf, drama, sports, water slide, zip-line, climbing wall, arts & crafts, computers, air castle and more!
“This “This “This summer “This summer summer summer
counselors had to manage things on a different level then previous summers. These are not necessarily part of a counselor’s skillset. For next summer, we will enhance this part of our staff training to include mindfulness, taking a break, behavioral management and communication skills.” The camp director and leadership teams at both day and overnight camps are there to help both campers and staff, however, it’s important for parents to be honest with the camp about any challenges a child may be having. “When you send your child to camp, you are forming a partnership with the camp director. You want to let the director know if your child has had any recent changes in their life or is experiencing any issues that would be helpful for the camp leadership team to know ahead of time. Being upfront with what is going on will help the camp set your child up for a successful summer. If you leave them in the dark, they won’t necessarily be able to support them in the best possible way,” says Davina Angus, Executive Director of the American Camp Association, NY and NJ.
I’m going going to to I’m I’m going to I’m going to learn to be learn to learn tobe be learn to be strong!” strong!” strong!” strong!”
Call for a Tour and Appointment! 914-592-3027 2170 Saw Mill River Road, Elmsford, NY www.AcresOfAdventureSummerCamp.com All protocols and guidelines from the DOH & CDC are being followed.
BOWLING BIRTHDAY PARTY
Following all CDC guidelines
• Bumper • Juniors • Disco iNClUdeS:
• 1 hour & 30 minutes of bowling • Each gets a choice of hot dog, pizza or chicken nuggets with french fries & soda • QUIBICA Automatic Scoring
ToTAl PARTY Time: • 2 Hours
914.969.5592 · www.homefieldbowl.com Book a party and receive a 938 Saw Mill River Road, Yonkers
free game with this ad
Build Strength Strength and and Lasting Lasting Friendships Friendships Build at World Cup Gymnastics’ Build Strength Strength andLasting Lasting Friendships Build Friendships at and World Cup Gymnastics’ at atWorld WorldCup CupGymnastics’ Gymnastics’
Superior Gymnastics Training by USAG Certified Instructors Superior Gymnastics Training by USAG Certified Instructors Skills Training on All Olympic Events Skills Training on All Olympic Events Superior Gymnastics Training by Certified Superior Gymnastics Training byUSAG USAG Certified Instructors Traditional Camp Activities Including Weekly FieldInstructors Trips, Arts & Traditional Camp Activities Including Skills Training on All Olympic Events Crafts & Summer Games Skills Training on All Olympic EventsWeekly Field Trips, Arts & Crafts & Summer Games Traditional Camp Activities Including Weekly Field Trips, Arts & State-Of-The-Art, Fully Air-Conditioned, 19,000 Square Foot Traditional Camp Fully Activities Including Weekly Trips, State-Of-The-Art, Air-Conditioned, 19,000 Field Square FootArts & Crafts & Crafts & Summer SummerGames Games State-Of-The-Art, Fully Foot State-Of-The-Art, FullyAir-Conditioned, Air-Conditioned,19,000 19,000Square Square Foot
Call 914--238 238--4967 4967 Call 914 or register online at Call 914 --238 or register online at --4967 Call 914 238 4967 worldcupgymnastics.com worldcupgymnastics.com or register online or register onlineat at
170 Joan Corwin Way Way ·· Chappaqua Chappaqua ·· NY NY worldcupgymnastics.com 170 Joan Corwin
170 Joan Corwin Way · Chappaqua · NY 170 Joan Corwin Way · Chappaqua · NY January 2022 | Westchester Family
Winter Activities Online or in-person, here is how classes are stepping up!
he cold weather is here, and do you know what changes for parents regarding scheduling the kids’ classes and activities? Nothing. We are still busy, for if there is ever a time that kids need to be active, it is the winter months. Regardless of the season, activities are suitable for our kids’ growth and mental health. The CDC has stated that activities “may reduce anxiety and depression and promote positive mental health.” And after a rough year plus -everyone is excited to get back to some normalcy, whether safely in-person or online. Dr. Gines Cano, Owner and Director of Crestwood Music Education Center, known for the highest quality of private instrumental lessons and world-class faculty, shares, “How wonderful it is to be able to continue to bring the gift of Music during such challenging times-I am excited that in-person classes are back too!” And as many parents know, activities and classes help kids learn and keep them active. Jason Hebert of World Cup Gymnastics in Westchester shares, “Sports are great for kids, because they help them remain active and social which is especially important at this unusual time. Gymnastics is a particularly great sport that promotes strength development, coordination and flexibility and, because of the way that gymnastics is practiced, it is uniquely able to adapt to Covid-19 protocol.”
There are so many activities! If your children are like mine, one loves sports, but the other is more into music and theatre, don’t fret as there are a range of activities available that will be the right fit for your kid. Sam Bercovich - Owner/Founder of Garage Pod, states, “At GaragePod, our top priority is helping children reestablish the norms of healthy socialization. Our child-led, teacherguided approach gives space for children to make self-driven choices so they can feel proud. When children are empowered, they inspire their peers and the group becomes stronger. Our after-school program, theatre
WestchesterFamily.com | January 2022
“The beauty of being together as a human family can no longer be overstated. Our aim is to once again be together making music with the children among us. Safely, sweetly, surely this will be in our lives again. Come join us!”
Eileen Oddo, owner/director Musical Munchkins of Westchester
workshop, music ensemble, and morning pod are quality programs that will no doubt leave your child feeling fulfilled and inspired!” Also, as most parents know, the best part of doing something outside of school is when kids participate in something they love; it is a winwin as they nurture their passion and grow as individuals. Nancy Rothenberg, Owner and
Director of Studio B in Eastchester, always says, “We don’t teach kids to make great dancers; we teach dance to make great kids.” Social connection is important We all know more than ever social connection is hugely important for kids who have spent the last two years in a pandemic. This means when choosing an in-person or remote class; parents want to assure our kids will be interacting with their peers. As Jill Abusch, Artistic Director at The Play Group Theatre, reaffirms, “Activities like theatre classes and rehearsals provide essential peer interaction that children have largely been missing for the last year and a half. Kids of all ages have had critical gaps in their skill skillbuilding social/emotional development. They are all in need of a place where they can come together to participate in creative activities, led by educators who are prepared to guide them through this unique and challenging time.” Rhonda Kiest, President and CEO
kackisco.com Our new pottery annex is now open oﬀering additional space for on-site creativity. We oﬀer art classes for all ages and levels including pottery, painting, digital art and more... 40 Radio Circle Drive • Mount Kisco, NY 10549 • 914.232.4843
Spring Classes & Shows Summer Theatre Camps Enrolling Now! playgroup.org (914) 946-4433 January 2022 | Westchester Family
“Gymnastics is a great foundation for all sports, it develops strength, flexibility, balance, coordination and confidence. Since gymnastics classes are fun, physical and social, they have provided a great way for children to get back to being children. Also, the high ceilings and large spaces required for gymnastics make it very adaptive for COVID protocols.”
of Stepping Stones Museum, concurs, “we believe that the power of play is essential to a child’s pursuit of lifelong learning. Every day, we’re providing inspirational learning opportunities that motivate children to lead healthy, active, and transformative lifestyles.” Online classes are top-notch What about online classes? Organizations haven’t skipped a beat in their programs, whether in person or online. Many like the Belle School of Music seamlessly moved their popular classes online while maintaining the same excitement in their programs. Owner Bella Bragin shares, “The lessons are dynamic, stimulating and FUN. After decades of experience, we know how to keep our students engaged and motivated. When they enjoy something, they succeed at it!” Safety On Safety is important at home, school, and activities, and after-school programs are serious about our kids being safe in the time of COVID. For camp activity programs, Amadeus
Alyssa Fay/Director, GymCats Gymnastics
Conservatory of Music knows that camp is crucial for kids to experience and assure parents that there is no compromising on safety at their camp. Deb Molodofsky -Owner/Founder shares, “We have strict Covid protocols in place to keep our campers and staff safe. Masks are required. We practice enhanced cleaning of the school, frequent hand washing and social distancing. Parents sign statements that attest that their children do not have any symptoms, which
www.musicalmunchkins.com • (914) 771-7000
Toddler and school Classes e r P
Loren Anderson Owner/Director, Katonah Art Center
may indicate COVID have not traveled anywhere with Covid hot spots in the last two weeks, and that they will not send their children to camp if they have a temperature or symptoms.” So time to bundle up or pick a roomy spot in the home for activities and classes are in session!
I’m learning to be strong!”
35+ Years of Music & Fun!
E Tr i al C lass
MUSIC CLASSES tio
E a s y o n li n
g e re
fun songspuppets movement learning
WestchesterFamily.com | January 2022
Discover Your Inner Champion
at WORLD CUP GYMNASTICS
“I believe that art is an integral part of a child’s development. Research supports the idea that making art helps children to become creative thinkers and problem solvers, skills that will prove invaluable no matter what they go on to do later in life. At KAC we aim to build children’s confidence and self-esteem by providing a warm and accepting environment where they can create art among like-minded peers and instructors.”
Former Home of ‘12 & ‘16 Olympian JOHN OROZCO!
Whether you are a beginner or experienced gymnast, an infant or a teenager, there is a class for you at World Cup Gymnastics. preschool gymnastics, recreational gymnastics and competitive teams
or register online at worldcupgymnastics.com
170 Joan Corwin Way · Chappaqua · NY 10514
Amadeus Musical Theater and Art Camp
Acting, Singing, Private Music Instruction, Ensembles Choreography, Art 3 - 6 week sessions
June 27 – August 5 Full or Half Day 914.238.0388 Chappaqua, NY amadeusconservatory.com firstname.lastname@example.org
WE ARE FOLLOWING CDC GUIDELINES
Gymnastics Classes Develop Strength, Flexibility, Balance, Coordination, and Confidence Ages 20 Months & Up Boys & Girls • Beginner–Advanced
SPACE IS LIMITED Private Birthday Parties • Air Castle Giant Air Slide • Obstacle Course Trampolines & More
Our Program Emphasizes Skill Progression and Safety Through Basic Skills, Drills, Apparatus Training, Floor, Uneven Bars, Balance Beams, Vault, and Tampoline
Sign up now for our upcoming semester! At Equalize Fitness GymCats Gymnastics & Birthday Party Center One Odell Plaza, Yonkers (Exit 9 off Saw Mill River Pkwy)
914-965-7676 • email@example.com www.Gymcats.net January 2022 | Westchester Family
Catholic Schools Directory | Special Advertising Supplement
Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of New York
The mission of Holy Name of Mary Montessori School is to assist your child in developing spiritually, socially, academically and physically; while strengthening the existing union and love of God through the teachings of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS). To learn more about our curriculum and CGS, join us for our
Open House on January 29th, 2022 9:00am - 12:00pm.
Please call 914-271-5182 to schedule an appointment.
Westchester Family The Digital Edition OCTOBER 2019
Hap�y Hal��we�n EVENTS FOR EVERY AGE!
New York, NY CatholicSchoolsNY.org Elementary Catholic schools across Westchester offer a unique combination of academic and spiritual development that helps children get the best start in life. Our students consistently meet or exceed proficiency standards in Math and English state exams. Beyond an excellent education, Catholic Schools instill faith, self-discipline and a sense of community. Tuition assistance is available at most schools for grades K-8. Visit Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of New York for more information and to apply.
Cardinal Spellman High School 1 Cardinal Spellman Place, Bronx NY 718-881-8000x206 admissions@cardinalspellman. org Cardinalspellman.org A co-educational college preparatory school. Cardinal Spellman offers College Credit, Advanced Placement, Regents, Honors, and Elective Courses. Located on a 13-acre campus equipped with two all-weather athletic fields and track, a fitness room, a weight room, and an auditorium that has stage facilities and seating capacity comparable to professional theaters in NYC! If you missed the TACHs Exam, register for Spellman’s Admissions Exam! More information is available at cardinalspellman.org.
Straight Talk About Straight Teeth
Cell Phone Addiction YOUR CHILD IS AT RISK
OUTSTANDING OCTOBER EVENTS
SUPPORTING BREAST CANCER AWARENESS
Sign up for a free digital subscription at WestchesterFamily.com and we’ll send you an email when the new issue comes out!
WestchesterFamily.com | January 2022
Saints John and Paul School 280 Weaver Street | Larchmont, NY 10538 914-834-6332 sjpschool.org Saints John and Paul School is a co-educational, Roman Catholic school for grades Pre-Kindergarten to 8 that is committed to providing quality, affordable education. Our administration, faculty, parish and parents are dedicated to building a school family for our children that encourages academic
excellence, emphasizes respect for human values, elevates concern for community needs and incorporates our Catholic faith into our everyday lives. Through a rigorous academic program, we educate tomorrow’s leaders with values that matter. At Saints John and Paul School, we endeavor to open students’ hearts as well as their minds
Holy Name Of Mary Montessori 110 Grand St, Croton-OnHudson, NY 10520 914-271-5182 hnmmontessori.org Holy Name of Mary Montessori school provides a traditional Montessori education for children ages 2 years 9 months through 6 years old. Their classrooms contain rich materials that expose children to practical life, sensorial, mathematics, language arts, science and culture activities. In addition to a Montessori education, every child is invited to learn about God through the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Open House: 114 Grand Street, Croton NY 10520. 1/29/22 from 9:00am - 12:00pm. Please call 914-271-5182 to schedule an appointment.
John Cardinal O’Connor School 16 North Broadway | Irvington, NY 10533 914-591-9330 johncardinaloconnorschool. org The John Cardinal O’Connor school empowers children to thrive academically, spiritually, emotionally, and socially in a supportive school community. Children of all faiths are welcome. JCOS is dedicated to providing an affordable learning experience backed by a skilled teaching staff. John Cardinal O’Connor Catholic school is one of the foremost in Westchester County. The staff looks forward to the opportunity to help your child acquire important life skills during these critical years. Please feel free to contact them directly.
January 2022 | Westchester Family
Instagram New Parental Controls for 2022! What parents need to know about the app’s new features By Donna Duarte-LaDD
ocial media might be a thorny topic in your household. This may be because many of our kids communicate with their peers via the latest social appsand getting kids off these said apps isn’t always easy as well as a handful of other significant concerns like mental health and cyberbullying. Last month Instagram introduced new features and parental controls that focus on teenagers and their safety as Instagram users. As Adam Mosseri, father of 3 boys, New Yorker, and Head of Instagram, shared on Twitter, “it’s not only important to me that people feel safe on our platform — that they feel good about the time they spend on Instagram.” This is what parents like to hear, especially from someone who makes the big decisions on this popular app. And we hope more safety changes such as these are not only made in the near future but become part of the norm for the social safety of our kids. Here are some takeaways about these new features including the new Parental Controls coming in March. Take a Break The Instagram version of a time-out? Kinda. While this is not limited to teens, it is a feature perfect for them. The “Take a Break” encourages users to pull back or, as the kids say, “chill.” It will be built into Instagram’s already existing Daily Limit. By selecting Take a Break, the user will be reminded that they have reached the time they set for the day. They can also mute notifications to not be bothered for the day
and set notifications with time limits. This is great for teens, for as much as they complain about what they cannot do, structure and rules are built into kids’ lives at home and school, right? So why shouldn’t it be part of their daily social media usage? No More Tagging Instagram will not be allowing tags on teens if that person is not following them. So this helps teens in multiple ways. It gives them control over who shares on their social imprint. No more embarrassing pics that great Aunt Mary took of them mid-bite at the holiday table; yup, many kids don’t always follow back all family members, but that is another post for another time. Your Activity Much like a digital dashboard on a blog, Instagram will move likes, comments, photos, and videos into one spot so you, the user, can be in control of your digital footprint. The Big One: Parental Controls Instagram is working with the first version
WestchesterFamily.com | January 2022
of parental controls with a goal of March 2022 in mind. These parental controls will allow parents to see how much time their child is spending on Instagram and set time limits. It will also allow teens to share any handles they report on Instagram with their parents. Education Hub for Parents To help parents, caregivers, and guardians navigate their kid’s usage in this social media world- Instagram will be sharing educational resources, expert tips, and tutorials on kids and their social media experience in what they’re calling their Education Hub. As a parent who has yet to allow access to their oldest child on Instagram, I will be keeping a close eye on the new tools being implemented by this top social media app (#5 in the world) — which will help me make my decision when the time comes. For more on Instagram’s Raising the Standard for Protecting Teens and Supporting Parents Online go to Instagram. com.
talks 9 Must-watch for parents We’ve got a list of top-notch experts to speak on timely parenting topics and dish out essential advice. Break the cycle of parental burnout, transform your relationship, learn the latest science on child development and more with our free New York Family Speaker Series.
D�n’t mis� �u�! One quick registration gets you access to the entire lineup. Register now:
For additional questions or sponsorship opportunities, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org January 2022 | Westchester Family
Family Relaxation Along Banderas Bay in Mexico Vacationing at the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort and Spa By Bethany Kandel
hen I mentioned I was going to Mexico recently, a Rochester friend asked if I was going upstate. Who even knew there was a tiny town named Mexico, NY? But not a strange question to be asked during these pandemic times when staycations have been the travel of choice as many have opted to vacation close to home. But thanks to vaccines, the world is opening up and very carefully travel is happening. Lucky me, I was actually headed South to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, for sun, surf, pina coladas by the pool and lazy days in the sun. Sounds like just the warm weather R&R I’ve been missing the last two years. Doing some research, I discovered that Travel + Leisure Magazine ranked Puerto Vallarta among the top 30 “friendliest cities in the world.” Not only does it have welcoming locals, but gorgeous beaches and sunsets, wonderful food, and picturesque authentic Mexican culture alive on its streets, in its art, architecture and markets. It all adds up to a great vacation spot. I found all that and more at the beautiful Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort and Spa; which finished a $20 million renovation just months before Covid-19 shut down the world. It’s sparkling new, clean and offers lots of family-friendly luxury. Only minutes from the Jalisco airport, you can be in your swimsuit and at the pool shortly after landing. There’s lots to do; or you can also do nothing at all. On the Pacific side of Mexico, the hotel is embraced by the stunning Sierra Madre Mountains and nestled on the Banderas Bay “curve,” where the warm waves are never too rough. You could usually find me stretched out in one of the comfy oceanside hammocks, perfect for some quiet reading time on the private beach. This is not a wild, crazy spring break kind of hotel. It’s laid-back and perfect for families. No need to be up at dawn to grab a poolside lounge. There are plenty to go around. Or reserve one of the cocoon daybeds for one of the best al fresco naps you’ll ever have.
Stroll down the miles of empty beach, or hang around the property’s spectacular infinity pool – the largest in Puerto Vallarta. Social distancing is easy; it’s HUGE! Lie on the in-water lounges or swim-up to the bar for a cold, frozen mojito or daiquiri (kids will love the virgin ones). The hotel – with its now spacious openair lobby -- has 433 modern, comfortable guest rooms with ocean-facing balconies, large marble bathrooms, a desk with ergonomic chair and locally inspired décor. Book the Ambassador Suite with its own terrace whirlpool. You’re sure to sleep well. Marriott bedding is like sleeping on a cloud. Every bed here comes with several various weight pillows, so find your favorite. The property At the Marriott Puerto Vallarta, you can choose from an all-inclusive package, bed and breakfast or European plan to do meals on your own. But there’s no need to leave the property: there are six main restaurants to choose from, including Mikado (Japanese teppanyaki hibachi), Champions (sports bar) and Nosh (a new second-level casual beachside spot perfect for catching the sunset). Enjoy the breakfast buffet at La Estancia, complete with delicious Mexican pastries made by the on-site pastry chef, an omelet and taco station and lots of tropical fruit, in addition to the usual bagels and lox, eggs and bacon. Be sure to try a local specialty, chilaquiles with green or red sauce at the oceanside Las Casitas. There’s also a new ceviche and tequila bar with 180 kinds of tequila and dozens of different ceviches. Have a group? Arrange for your own ceviche or guacamole cooking class. (We had corn, diced apple, mustard and banana chips in our shrimp ceviche. Yum!) Every guest is entitled to a mini tequila tasting of two local varieties. Be sure to try the resort’s in-house brand, CasaMagna, from its own agave plants. If you want more adult-time, schedule a longer tasting in La Cava wine cellar or outdoors in the garden with Audrey Formisano, the resident tequila sommelier.
WestchesterFamily.com | January 2022
She is a fount of information about this local spirit. (Did you know all tequila must come from Mexico?) Guests are entitled to two free tastings with the resort fee. Be sure to try the in-house brand made from their agave plants. Kids might be happier at the lobby’s ice cream bar where they can get a cone, cup, ice pop or milkshake from 2 pm on. Or head to the poolside coco bar for a coconut filled with a variety of refreshing fruity drinks (spiked for their parents). Once done with your drink, they’ll chop up the coconut so you can enjoy the fresh fruit (much more delicious than what you’ll find packaged in the supermarket). Marriott Kids Club Parents and kids alike will enjoy the Marriott Kids Club which has a private outdoor area with picnic tables, swings, sandy beach and a shallow pool with water slides and fountains. Or leave the kids for a couple of hours at the activity center (ages 4-12) while you hit the spa. They’ll get immersive Spanish lessons, pottery painting, cooking classes and video games in a centrally-located, air-conditioned room. Ohtli Spa Speaking of the spa, the Ohtli Spa is perfect
if you forgot your own beach read (a smart idea). The hotel has two tennis courts and there’s the nearby Marina Vallarta Club de Golf if you want to tee off. Local things to do Off-site, you can go on a fishing boat, birding tour or zip-lining and ATV jungle trek in the nearby mountains. Swim with wild dolphins in their natural habitat or ride the waves on a jet ski It’s easy to immerse yourself in the local culture by spending time exploring downtown Puerto Vallarta, a $5-7 Uber ride away. The charming old town is filled with a vibrant arts and culinary scene, both day and night. Stroll the cobblestone streets, admire local artist’s sculptures along the Malecon (boardwalk), shop for souvenirs, buy a cold paleta (fruit ice pop) or take a street eats walking tour to experience authentic local cuisine and the city’s secret spots. Saturday mornings at the Olas Altas Farmers Market you’ll find fresh produce, live music and one-of-a-kind jewelry, handbags, ceramics and paintings by local artisans. Come for one of the local festivals. Restaurant Week is actually a three-week food festival from late September to October. Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) on November 2, is celebrated with face painting, parades, fireworks and decorative Catrina figurines and skulls all around town. The hotel and the nearby Botanical Garden usually have special activities for Earth Day in April. And on Thursday nights from October to May, head across the street from the hotel to the Marina Vallarta for the night market, where you’ll find stands of local crafts, food, music and a fun evening activity.
to refresh and rejuvenate mom and dad. At 22,000 square feet, it’s the largest in Puerto Vallarta. Try a Thai Massage, Fire Opal Balancing Stone Therapy to stimulate circulation and relieve stress, or the intense water-based Jantzu Rebirth Therapy focused on meditation and relaxation. Stay a while to enjoy the Roman tub, cold plunge pool, sauna and steam rooms. There’s even an indoor-lap pool, but I found plenty of room to do laps in
the sun outside. Activities Go for a bike ride through the property (adult bikes only) and the nearby marina. Rent a float or take out a paddle board or kayak in the gentle seas. Check the board for the day’s activities, which can include beach volleyball, water aerobics, bingo or bracelet making. There’s even a shelf with books to borrow
Nature If you’re in PV up until April, there’s a chance you’ll spot a humpback whale from your balcony. Between June and November, you can take part in the hotel’s sea turtle rescue and release program. A local marine biologist combs the beach to collect the turtle eggs that have been laid there. Then they protect them from predators in the hotel’s on-site nursery. The kid’s club has related educational programs sure to fascinate young visitors. It’s an experience your kids are not likely to forget. And you can always come back in ten years, when the surviving turtles return to the beach where they were born to lay their own eggs. How’s that for a return to the nest! January 2022 | Westchester Family
Sky Hi gh!
Checking out SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, NYC’s new immersive observatory By Jana Beauchamp
repare to see NYC in a way you have never seen it before at SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, a new observatory suspended nearly 1,300 feet above the hustle and bustle of NYC. SUMMIT is an immersive, multisensory experience with its mirrored walls and floors and light elements, interactive art installations, levitation sky boxes, outdoor observation deck, and even a great glass elevator. It will stun you with breathtakingly beautiful views of NYC and mind bending, interactive installations. SUMMIT One Vanderbilt will mesmerize and delight kids of all ages and is a must-do this holiday season and all year long. Guests enter SUMMIT through Grand Central Station. After checking in, prepare to zoom up 91 floors in 42 seconds in the mirrored, glass elevators (it is advised to
avoid wearing skirts or dresses and stilettoes) and arrive at the newest and most unique observation deck in NYC. A story-driven, immersive experience designed by Kenzo Digital, titled Air, is the first part of the Summit journey. Air is a walk-through art experience in a seemingly never-ending room outfitted with mirrored floors and ceilings, portals, and panoramic windows. You will not know where to look first: one can look, up, down and all around as if you’re looking through a kaleidoscope with a unique view of the
WestchesterFamily.com | January 2022
greatest city in the world. The Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Bryant Park, and multiple magical wonders of Midtown are all visible in new and exciting ways. This observatory, mixing transparency and reflectivity, lets visitors reimagine NYC. Whether visitors lie down, sit back, or walk around aimlessly, they will experience SUMMIT’s ever-changing vantage points of NYC and the illusion of boundless space. Kids will ooh and aah at the spectacular sights of the city in this new and exciting presentation and enjoy the magnificence of the great city and people tinier than peas below them. As guests continue their journey, they next enter the smaller Reflect room with a floor art installation by renowned artist Yayoi Kusama Levitation is the next destination and this is a fan favorite. Levitation sky boxes allow guests to step out from the envelope of the building and stand on transparent glass 1,063 feet above Madison Avenue, with the buzz and excitement of NYC city streets directly beneath them. It is mesmerizing. There are endless sights to see and photos to snap while the city that never sleeps is in action right beneath your feet. These sky boxes offer a bird’s eye view and will make visitors dizzy with joy. For real thrill seekers, don’t miss SUMMIT One Vanderbilt’s Ascent. This allglass elevator with a transparent glass floor transports guests from the terrace level up the
side of the building, to over 1,200 feet, nesting at the highest viewing point in midtown Manhattan. This one-of-a-kind experience is worth every second. The elevator slowly cranks up higher and higher boasting jaw dropping city views and an incredible experience. The final stops on the SUMMIT One Vanderbilt journey are Unity, where your head is literally and figuratively in the clouds; Après, SUMMIT One Vanderbilt’s sky-high lounge and café featuring light fare and cocktails curated by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Events, and the Summit Terrace, the perfect open air viewing spot to take in the incredible views for up to 80 miles. “The excitement surrounding SUMMIT One Vanderbilt has been overwhelming. Now that we are finally able to offer a glimpse into the awe-inspiring, multi-level and multiroom immersive art experience that is Air, people will begin to understand how different this destination is from any other in the world,” said Marc Holliday, Chairman and CEO of SL Green. “We can’t wait to welcome New Yorkers and visitors to New York to
experience this truly unique destination right in the heart of Manhattan connected to Grand Central Terminal. People are going to want to come back to SUMMIT One Vanderbilt again and again.” SUMMIT One Vanderbilt ticket prices start at $39 for adults; $33 for kids age 6 to 12; and children under five are free. Special pricing for
New York City residents is also available online only. The attraction was designed with safety and wellness being a top priority during the time of COVID-19 and will operate in accordance with all current State of New York, New York City and CDC guidelines and mandates. For more information and to purchase tickets to experience SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, visit www.summitov.com.
Your online resource for all things parenting WestchesterFamily.com provides a rich array of local resources, useful content, directories and interactive tools to help families meet and celebrate the challenges of parenting.
Visit us online today!
January 2022 | Westchester Family
Kids & Sleep and how to help them get a good night’s rest
By Donna Duarte-LaDD
Mediation for Kids: Insight Timer
hen it comes to our kids and sleep, parents know a good night’s slumber is golden. And while it’s essential for us, it is vital for our children as it helps them be present. How important? According to the CDC, The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that children ages 6 to 12 years get at least 9–12 hours (per 24 hours); much younger kids’ sleep needs range from 12 -16 hours. Ummm, my kids never slept that long! But I am an optimist, and I am always searching and learning how to help my children sleep better. Here are a few things I tested that help with sleep as well as helpful tips from a sleep expert.
Many parents know that kids have worries just like us, and these days with COVID, school, and social expectations, their sleep may be carrying more angst than usual. Meditation can help all of us, and with kids, sleep meditation can teach kids to relax, learn to let go of the day, find comfort despite worries, and(hopefully) relax them enough to have a good night’s sleep. There are many great free mediation apps available. I love the Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame Sesame Street for my youngest. I use Insight Timer (it’s free!). He loves the music mediations and less than five minutes mediations because, well, tweens. #IYKYK
Mattress: Helix Kids Mattress
If your child is complaining about their mattress, it may be time to consider investing in a well-made bed. The Helix Kids Mattress is backed by child and sleep experts, which us parents want when purchasing an essential item for our kids. This flippable hybrid mattress is designed specifically for growing kids. The mattress is designed with innerspring and custom foam layers so it feels sturdy and not all over the place as some beds can be. What is remarkable about the mattress is that the firmer side is excellent for younger kids who need more spine support. As kids get older (around ages 8-12), while the opposite side of the bed is still firm, this side has more cushion. My oldest is growing fast and complained of back pain; the Helix Kid Mattress has him sleeping better. I also like that all fabrics and foams that are CertiPUR-US certified. Helixsleep.com., $550-560.
A Clock That Promotes Snooze: Hatch Restore Smart Sleep Assistant With Sound Machine and Sunrise Alarm Clock
If your child hates getting up in the morning- the Hatch Restore Smart Sleep Assistant With Sound Machine and Sunrise Alarm Clock creates the perfect relaxing setting with ambient sounds and dim lighting until they fall asleep. The Hatch Restore will also gently wake you up with its sunrise light effect and soft noises such as birds chirping. Buybuybaby.com, $129.99 Melatonin: Mommy’s Bliss Kids Sleep Chewable Tablets
When babies are in the infant stage, we might sleep train them or set their nighttime routine with a
WestchesterFamily.com | January 2022
bath and pajamas, signaling that sleep is near. When my younger son’s doctor suggested melatonin, I was pretty nervous, but I soon learned that melatonin isn’t a sleeping pill. I tested many melatonin products, and my favorite is the Mommy’s Bliss Kids Sleep Chewable Tablets; I also use the liquid formula. I love that this melatonin blend of magnesium, organic chamomile, lemon balm, and passionflower works within the hour. My kids are not groggy in the morning, and my oldest only gets it occasionally. Of course, speak to your pediatrician if you need more guidance or advice when using melatonin. As mentioned, my youngest now takes melatonin. He is five years old, is on the ASD spectrum, and is given it at least four nights a week on his doctor’s recommendation. Mommysbliss. com, $7. Weighted Blanket: California Design Den Chunky Weighted Blanket
I learned the benefits of weighted blankets with my youngest son, who loves a nice midweight blanket. When kids are feeling anxious, a weighted blanket is a bit like a hug and the weight offers a pressure that can be quite calming. Think of it a bit as pressure therapy. This is especially true with my youngest, who is Autistic. This %100 cotton by California Design Den Chunky Weighted Blanket is soft, and while chunky, it isn’t bulky. The measurements are 40” X 60” and weighs 8 pounds. The brand suggests the weight of this blanket is most suitable for kids who weigh 80 lb to 100 lb. Since my kids are like little heaters when they sleep, I place it on my child so it’s nice and snug, and once asleep, I move the blanket about halfway down. Tip: weighted blankets are not only for kids with sensory issues; they actually can help all of us sleep well. Californiadesignden.co, $132.
Helpful Expert Sleep Tips! The Sleepy Mama-Nicole Cannon is a Certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant and a mom of four based in NJ tips on helping your kids have a better night’s sleep! 1. Start shifting your schedule
If your child is staying up too late, then, just like with Daylight’s Savings, you can try to shift your child’s schedule back day-by-day. Start waking your child about 15 minutes earlier every day or two. Also, put your child to bed 15 minutes earlier. By the end of the week, your child should be back to waking at their normal time, and bedtime should be back to where it was. (PS-shift meal times and nap time back too if they’ve crept later). 2. Remove electronics before bed
We hate to admit it, but electronics have been
the key to successful parenting over the past couple of years. But, blue light from electronics can delay the production of melatonin. So, if your child is struggling to fall asleep at night, consider removing screens about an hour before bedtime. Studies have found that melatonin production starts to increase fairly quickly once the blue light is removed.
4. Set realistic basics
Start talking to your child about what’s expected of them in terms of sleep. For your preschooler, this may mean reading them a book about staying in bed or purchasing an Ok to Wake clock. For an older child, this may mean telling them to get in bed at a given time but allowing them to read a few books on their own before calling “lights out.”
3. Get back to basics
Remember when your child was a baby and everything you read told you to establish a nightly “routine.” Well, the same holds true for older children. Create a bedtime routine that is predictable and consistent. A nightly routine helps a child wind down before bedtime, and also removes some of the parent’s stress. Start with a bath or shower, followed by the brushing teeth and pajamas, then onto books and cuddles, and lastly, getting into bed.
5. Get outside help
Sometimes, even with the best planning and routine, children still have trouble. If you’ve tried all the tricks above and your child is still struggling to fall asleep at night, talk to your doctor about supplementing with melatonin for a few days. Although it is not a long-term solution, melatonin supplements may help reset your child’s internal clock when they first start back at daycare, camp, or school. January 2022 | Westchester Family
Keeping It Simple
Anastasia Ganias-Gellin (aka @Fancy_Peasant) opens up about building a business and why she thinks moms should stop feeling ashamed about getting all the help they need By Cris Pearlstein
first met Anastasia Ganias-Gellin in a writing class at the start of 2019, long before anyone knew anything about COVID or what would soon happen to the world. She wrote about food and family and the crushing sense of grief she felt after losing her father to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Her stories were beautiful yet painful, and I remember relating deeply to how tightly she wound food into her family narrative, together with the love they share for each other (in my Italian culture, food is our love language, too). I remember thinking, this woman is going to do something with this. And not to toot my own horn, but I was right. A year later, after a self-proclaimed Eat, Pray, Love trip to Greece she started Fancy Peasant in the midst of a pandemic, all while pregnant with her third child. Read on to hear about her wild ride into entrepreneurship, and her experience with motherhood, which she describes as the hardest thing she’s ever done (“by a fu*kin landslide”). CP: First, can you tell me a little bit about your beautiful family? AGG: My dad used to describe them as his, “wild and beautiful brood” and I really feel like that’s what it is. I have three boys: Greyson is 6, Roman just turned 4, and London is 3 months old. Right now I’m really trying to spend some special time with each of them—if I can spend 15 minutes with each kid, focused without any interruptions, without any screen time, that means I’ve had a good day. That’s a mini victory for me. CP: I love that you said 15 minutes because that sounds doable, especially for a busy mom. Kids don’t need elaborate dates, they really just want your attention and your time. AGG: 100 percent. People ask me a lot about the transition to three, but for me the transition from one to two was a lot
harder. This time I set myself up with a lot of support. I went back to work right after having Roman, which was intense, but it wasn’t like having a growing business. It wasn’t the same pressure as having to get through 500 customer service emails in a day. CP: Can you tell me a little bit about that support system you set up? AGG: I didn’t have a baby nurse with my other two children. Greeks just don’t do baby nurses, [laughing] that’s what grandparents are for! My parents helped so much with Greyson, but this time around, with my dad gone and my mom living farther away and six years older, I needed the kind of support where I didn’t feel guilty about saying “take the baby, I have 5 hours of work to do, just bring him to me to eat.” I let go of all the stigmas. The first time around when it came to receiving help I was so ashamed, but this time I told my husband that getting support is something we need to do for our marriage and for the other two children. And it’s helped a lot. CP: If there’s a mom out there who is feeling that same guilt and pressure, what would you say to her? AGG: I get hundreds of messages on Instagram asking me how I do it all, and I always respond that I don’t do anything by myself. I would say to take as much help as you can possibly get—don’t feel guilty about it, feel supported by it instead. Oh, and be kind to yourself. I’m struggling a lot right now with my weight, holding on to an extra 25 pounds, but my mantra every day is be kind to yourself. Being a mom is really hard. If I die tomorrow it’s the best thing I ever did but it’s also, by a fu*kin landslide, the hardest thing. CP: By a fu*kin landslide is right! And I’m sure running your olive oil business, Fancy Peasant, makes everything different this
WestchesterFamily.com | January 2022
time around, too. AGG: It makes everything different, in a good way. With my first two, Spielberg could have called me on the phone to star in his movie and I would have said no, I’m with my new baby. This time around, I’m so happy to have an identity outside of just being a mom. After six years I’ve learned that I need a bit of separation to be a better mother, and I’m finally accepting that. CP: Let’s talk about this separate identity then. How did the business come to be? AGG: A few years ago I took a writing class where I wrote a lot about my dad and food and sickness and mourning, and how coming together as a family and remembering these meals was a very big deal. I was very connected to our Greek cuisine, but I could never find any Greek cookbooks that broke down recipes for a visual learner like myself. When my dad was very sick I told him I wanted to come out with a cookbook that makes it easy for people to cook Greek food. He was born into poverty, living in a peasant village until he came to the United States at 16 years old. He was able to give me every opportunity in the world, and so I said, “It’s called The Fancy Peasant, I’m like the fancy version of you”. After my father died I started cooking and talking about grief on Instagram. People wrote to me saying they haven’t been able to get back into the kitchen after a loved one died, and that eating is the most lonely and painful part of their day—I didn’t know how much the worlds of food and grief combine. I found myself teaching people how to cook, talking to strangers, and healing my own pain. I went to Greece to find olive oil for the few people who were asking me to sell it. I sat with that idea, kept cooking, and then the pandemic hit. My mom, sister, her week-old baby, and her husband moved in for the next 10 months. My sister had run operations for a start-up before and she helped me launch
in November 2020. The response to the oil was crazy, we sold out immediately. But I had never started a business, I had no idea what we were in for. We got it off the ground with Stephanie’s background in operations, but we still don’t have any PR, we don’t have marketing. The oil is organic and the growth of the company is organic. My dad has a lot to do with this. I feel his energy all around me. Yes we sell oil, but Fancy Peasant is also a place where we teach people how to cook healthy Greek cuisine. CP: So do you feel like the strategy for getting them to love the food you do is to get them involved in the kitchen? AGG: Yes, I think moms need to move past the the-kitchen-is-going-to-get-dirty mentality. I say this because once you let yourself have fun with food your children will, too. Moms get really flustered because there’s a lot going on, but you have to go into it accepting the worst case scenario, that the whole counter might get covered in flour, or there’ll be egg shells on the floor. I also don’t believe in a kids menu, I don’t believe they should eat a totally different meal. Sure I veer from that, like when I incorporate kale chips with dinner instead of broccoli, or give them a green juice in the morning when they refuse to eat vegetables, but I really think it’s important to get them involved in the kitchen and also to make dinnertime a sacred ritual. No phones on the table. We’re connecting, we’re talking about our day, and we’re going to eat. CP: On Instagram you have this large and incredible community. What does that mean to you? AGG: The community is unbelievable. I screenshot messages every day of people telling me things like I’m able to cook a very simple dinner for my entire family because of you, or thank you for making everything so simple. People tell me they’re feeling a lot better, they have more energy. I’m very honest on my platform and I talk about whatever is on my mind, but I try to keep it specific to food and sprinkle in my family. I really struggle with the social media thing, but I know people like to see the three boys and my husband. I try to give them what they want while maintaining privacy. If I’m having a hard week I let myself take a break, because I know my followers will be there. They’re incredible. Photo by Ana Gambuto
Follow @Fancy_Peasant Visit the Website! Fancypeasant.com January 2022 | Westchester Family
How to Save Your Kid’s Artwork! By Donna Duarte-LaDD
e love our kids’ artwork, but let’s be honest, the school folders start to get out of hand by this time of the year. What should we keep, toss, and for those treasured pieces we want to showcase, what are the best ways to showcase our little ones’ talents. Bt what to do with it? We touched base with Disney+ star and YayDay Paper Co. founder Amber Kemp-Gerstel. Amber loves DIY; just check out her IG; it is full of crafty creative projects, from sewing up a designerinspired bag to partnering with family-favorite juice brand Juicy Juice to share some easy and fun crafts to get kids excited for the season. Kids have been back at school for four months now, and so are the work pages and artwork. Most parents, including myself, hate to throw out kids some of their schoolwork and artwork. How do you decide what to keep? What are some crafty tips on saving the work that makes the parent edit? When your kiddos come home from school with handmade projects, it can be tough to toss them into the trash. Afterall, they made it with their own little hands! Eventually, you end up with a drawer filled with projects and there just isn’t enough room to keep everything. Thankfully, there are some creative ways to preserve those creative memories and conquer the pressure to save every single thing. Ask for your child’s input! You’ll be surprised how many projects they’re happy to discard. They don’t always have a strong emotional attachment to those projects and they can easily let you know which ones they can say goodbye to. Additionally, you’ll learn a lot through this process about which projects do have a special place in your child’s heart, and those creations will, in turn, become even
Disney+ star and YayDay Paper Co. founder, amber Kemp-Gerstel
more special to you! Make a memory book! Once you’ve decided which projects are special and worth keeping, use a large 3-ring binder to save them. In our home, we like to use a binder for each school year. Inside the binder, I insert a bunch of page protector pockets, then slide each project into the pocket. When you’re done, you have a fun way to flip through all those projects. Outsource it! Life gets busy and it’s okay to enlist a little help sometimes. There are several apps and websites that offer services to memorialize your child’s artwork into a professional book. Services like Artkive or Plum Print are awesome resources for saving those special handmade creations. Can you share creative tips on how to showcase kids’ artwork? I think the easiest way to do that is to provide seasonal or themed craft ideas that can
WestchesterFamily.com | January 2022
be repurposed as holiday décor. For example, decorated pinecones could be strung into a festive holiday garland that becomes a staple in your holiday decoration collection. For example, this Lucky Leprechaun Trap or this Valentine’s Day Kaleidoscope could become staples for the upcoming winter/spring holidays. Some of my favorite holiday decorations that we use year after year were handmade by my son. It’s also a fun way to get into the holiday spirit, whichever holiday that may be, and spend some quality time with your little one. Is it okay to recycle your kid’s artwork? Are there ways to creatively do this? Artwork itself may be difficult to recycle, but you can certainly create more sustainable artwork by using upcycled items from around your house. My son loves Juicy Juice, so we always have extra bottles and juice boxes around the house, so we use those, along with other items we already have around home, for crafts! It’s as simple as putting some paint, construction paper and/or googly eyes on an item to give it new life. Some of our favorites are these Tissue Box Dinosaur Feet, this Bottle Bird Feeder and Bottle Planter.
Looking forward to next summer?
Meet with day & sleepaway camps in a safe environment to find a great camp for your child • New York Family and the ACA-NY and NJ will be hosting our Annual Camp Fair Series from January through April of 2022 • We will be hosting 10 camp fairs around NYC and in Westchester • This is an opportunity for you to meet one on one with Day & Sleepaway Camp Directors in a safe environment to learn about different opportunities next summer for your child • All events are indoors, to attend the camp fair you must be fully vaccinated and wear a mask while inside at all times
Sunday, January 30th at YWCA White Plains
Find out more at newyorkfamily.com/camp-fairs email@example.com
Oasis Oasis Summer Summer Camp Camp at Dobbs at LIUFerry POST
CAMP BEGINS: JUNE 27, 2022
NOW MORE THAN EVER�
YOUR CHILDREN NEED A SUMMER OASIS�
A Premier Camp, Uniquely Affordable Daily Hot Lunch Included Age-appropriate Programs for Ages 3-15 Transportation Options Specialized Athletics Program Weekly Theme Days and Expanded Visual Special Events and Performing Arts Program Daily Instructional Swim Inand An Indoor Nature Hands-on Olympic Size Saltwater Science Program
Daily Travel Program For Fun and Engaging Teens Ages 11-14 Weekly Themed Special
Athletics, Visual/Performing Instructional and Arts, Horseback Riding, Recreational Swim Enrichment, Coding and On-site At Our beautiful Radio Broadcasting Outdoor Pool
and Lush GreenIndoor Athletic Air Conditioned and Outdoor Facilities Lush Green/Division 1 Athletic Outdoor Facilities Daily Travel Program for
Flexible Enrollment From Daily Hot Lunch Included 2-8 Weeks
Events Day Options Extended (8AM-6PM) Air Conditioned Indoor
Teen Ages 11-14 Specialized Programs That Are Age Appropriate (Ages Transportation Available 3-15)
Athletics, Visual/ Performing Arts,and A Five Free T-shirts Enrichment, and Robotics Backpack Included
Discover The Difference at Oasis�
Mercy - 555 Broadway Ferry, NY 10522 LIU PostCollege Campus - 720 NorthernDobbs Blvd, Greenvale, NY 11548
Scan to view our website