Queens Family - January 2023

Page 1

Babba Rivera

Founder and CEO of clean hair brand Ceremonia, on reimagining self-care

Education Goals for the New Year + Catholic School Guide Forget
Don't miss our C a MP FaIR See page 39
the Resolutions! Our expert tips on how to get unstuck and move at your own pace — at any time of the year
Connect with us at: www.catholicschoolsbq.org Ignite the imagination in your child! Learn more about Financial Assistance & Scholarships Celebrate the ABC’s of a Catholic education!
Embracing academic rigor & student support. BELIEF Celebrating Catholic values & faith in God.
Putting what they know & what they believe into action for good! January 29 to February 4, 2023 Catholic Schools Week
January 2023 | Queens Family 3 www.ComprehendTheMind.com 718-441-0166 Dr.
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4 NewYorkFamily.com | January 2023 Janua Ry 2023 NewYorkFamily.com contents FE aTURE s 34 | cover: Babba c r ivera The founder of the clean hair brand Ceremonia, reimagining self-care, sustainability and what it means to be authentic 30 | e xtracurricular activities Balancing sports and activities 32 | c areer The mom’s guide to quitting your job sToRIEs & ColUM ns 6 | editor’s letter 8 | a sk the e xpert Forget the resolutions and try these expert steps 10 | c amps Is your child ready for sleepaway camp? 14 | education New Year’s Education Goals: How to set intentions for success for your child in 2023 24| Spotlight Reframing the family meal with Suzanne Lehrer of Stocked by Three Owls 26 | Travel Family-friendly ski resorts 28 | family n ight o ut Where to see stars 30 | Travel Find aloha spirit at Mauna Lani Fa MI ly FU n 36 | c alendar All the fun events and activities for January D IRECTo RIE s 18 | c atholic Schools listings on The cover Photo: Yumi Matsuo | yumimatsuostudio.com Hair & Makeup: Buffy Hernandez | buffysaintmarie.com Cover Story Written by: Mia Salas Produced by: Donna Duarte Ladd pg. 34 pg. 28 pg. 14 pg. 26 pg. 24
January 2023 | Queens Family 5
Founded in 1923, Buckley Country Day School is a co-educational independent day school serving 350 children in grades Pre-Nursery through Eight. Open House: Wednesday, January 18th at 9:00 A.M. Sign up today at www.buckleycountryday.com/admissions @BuckleyCountryDaySchool Follow us on

Moving Foward

The New Year is here (yay!), and many of you may be thinking about next steps for 2023. Some parents are waiting for school application results to be announced (fingers crossed.) We are also at the mid-school year, which means time to set education intentions for success for your child in 2023 (page tk.)

Every New Year, there is an emphasis on resolutions - which are not unhealthy to make; goals are good. Still, you may want to make them on a level that works for you rather than sweeping changes. We chatted with Lifecoach Leah Wiseman Fink (page tk), who shared year-round tips on making shifts

in our lives. However, if quitting your job is definitely on a list, our piece, The Mom’s Guide to Quitting Your Job (page tk) from our sister site, Mommybites (mommybites. com), is worth reading.

We are excited to have Cover mom Babba Rivera ushering in 2023 as our first cover. The Founder and CEO of Ceremonia shares on paying tribute to her Latin culture as the founder of a world-changing clean hair brand, reimagining self-care, sustainability and what it means to be authentic.

xo, Donna

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6 NewYorkFamily.com
editor’s note
| January 2023
get i
N touch
n ina g allo Photography
January 2023 | Queens Family 7

Forget the Resolutions!

Lifecoach Leah Wiseman Fink shares some year-round tips

How many times have you created a resolution and ooff you either forgot you made one or worse, you dont keep it, and you feel bad about it?

Leah Wiseman Fink, a Lifecoach who works with corporate leaders to new moms, believes that resolutions are overrated. Leah shares, “I understand why people get hung up on January 1st, but what does it mean anyway? Leah adds, “Whether it is January or June, why not think about where you want to be right now? You’ll get there anyway!”

We chatted with Leah about ways to change your life, regardless of the time of the year. This month, don’t worry if you do not have a laundry list of changes or goals you want to accomplish. Instead, focus on what is possible at any time of the year.

There is always this pressure to make sweeping changes in the New Year, what are small ways a person can start to feel good about where they are in life?

One thing I’d recommend is to think about what you can add instead of what you can subtract. For example - instead of thinking about subtracting pounds, can you think about adding some health goals? And to continue with the health metaphor, instead of trying to cut out all sugar, get to the gym every day, and stop drinking, can you do one out of the three?

Another thing I am a big fan of is the list of appreciation. I often have my clients write down a list of 10 things they are grateful for daily. It makes a big difference in the mindset of knowing what you already have, and being settled and appreciative of what you have will naturally catapult you to the next level.

When in a rut, the kind you don’t even know how to start to get out, what are the first steps someone can take to climb out?

Although being in that space is rough, a small change is all you need to get started. In terms of the specifics, here are some tips.

Identify where you want to be, phone a friend, and ask for help.

Pinpoint a goal, whether big or small and then take steps to get there. I always suggest tangible goals, like signing up for a race.

Feel free to plan backward; what are the short workouts you have to do to get the harder ones? And build up from there. This can be applied to anything: a career move, finding a relationship, or a big move.

Remember -the only thing that will keep you stuck is not doing anything at all, so take a deep breath; you got this, and whether it is enormous strides or small steps, you are moving forward.

What are examples of realistic goals a person can make to feel less frazzled mentally?

Carving out time for yourself is essential, even in small ways like not reaching for your phone first thing in the morning. Then, I urge people to block out time in their schedules for things that fill them up. Can you drink a glass of water and stretch instead of worrying even for five minutes? Is there a dance class you can take? Can you get your partner to watch the kids so you can get out and grab drinks with friends?

Try an afternoon nap or, even in a minor

way, a walk around the block. The chunks of time don’t have to be huge, but they do have to be consistent.

Many people, especially moms, have challenges with creating boundaries. What are some healthy ways to develop them?

I define boundaries by figuring out what you want and not letting anything get in the way. Boundaries can be tough because in keeping with what is best for yourself, you sometimes make another person uncomfortable. To reference the sometimes-overused analogy, you must put the oxygen mask on yourself before putting it on anyone else.

Leah Wiseman

Fink holds Master’s degrees in Education Leadership and English Education with 12 years of a combination of work experience in consultancy, the NYC public school system, and higher education. As a Business Lifecoach, Leah helps women to figure out their path, see their worth and get their mojo back. Learn more at leahwisemanfink.com.

8 NewYorkFamily.com | January 2023
ask the e xpert
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Is Your Child Ready for Sleepaway Camp?

Thinking about overnight camp for your child? Attending overnight camp is an important experience for a child, helping them to gain independence, self-confidence, and resilience, which are all skills that are needed to become successful adults. But how do parents know when the right time is to send their child to camp?

It’s more than age

Many parents focus on the age of their child to figure out when the right time is for overnight camp, however, age isn’t the only factor when considering readiness. While there is no specific sign that can tell you that now is the time, there are certain indicators that can signal that a child is ready for the experience.

“I don’t feel there is a specific age to begin

going to overnight camp. It’s more dependent on an individual child’s developmental levels and maturity,” says Marc Rauch, Ph.D., licensed psychologist and director of Camp Kinder Ring, a coed overnight camp in Hopewell Junction, NY. “It’s important to closely examine and explore a child’s overall functioning in differing environments, as well as their personality, social skills, temperament and how they handle change and different situations. Does the child have the ability to self-soothe, display effective coping mechanisms and effectively verbalize their needs and wants? Some other readiness indicators include a child’s ability to appropriately separate from parents, accept guidance and supervision from others, a desire to sleep at varying peers households, eagerness to have playdates and a child’s displaying of an ability to meet new successes when challenged.”

Bolstering your child’s confidence Often parents feel their child is ready to go away to camp, yet their child is hesitant.

Laurie Rinke, director of Camp Echo Lake, a coed overnight camp in the Adirondacks says, “The biggest factor that determines a camper’s readiness is their parents’ ability to let their child borrow their confidence that they are ready for camp. If a parent says to their child ‘we found the right camp for you, we trust the directors, we know you can do this, and we know you will love camp,’ children can use their parents confidence to bolster their own. When a parent gives a child the sense that camp is the right place for them, that helps a child feel confident.”

Renee Flax, camper placement specialist for the American Camp Association, NY & NJ feels there is a big difference between gentle persuasion and pushing a child to go to camp. “Taking your child to visit the camp so they can see for themselves what camp is all about and meeting with the camp director to have them talk to your child are both helpful tools. However, if your child is adamant about not wanting to go, you do need to listen to what their concerns are. Some of them are fixable

10 NewYorkFamily.com | January 2023
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issues that can be resolved such as they don’t want to go for too long a period of time or they want to know someone at the camp.”

Preparation is important

Once you make the decision to send your child to camp, preparing them for what camp will be like can help set your child up for a positive experience.

“Think about the things that your child will do at camp that they may or may not do at home like changing the sheets on their bed, combing their hair, applying sunscreen, and taking a shower independently,” commented Rinke. “Your child certainly doesn’t have to perfect these tasks and counselors will help them, but familiarizing your child with these tasks can allow them to feel more confident about doing them.”

Rauch says the manner in which a parent sets the stage for camp can ultimately seal the fate of whether or not the experience is successful. “Parents shouldn’t spend the entire academic year leading up to camp talking about it. The focus needs to be incrementally introduced to a child,

especially one who has some level of concern. When you talk about camp, always focus on the positives that lie ahead and don’t harp on how much a child will be missed, on how different home will be without them or on things that can go wrong. It’s also important for parents to work hard to not put their own anxieties about their children leaving home onto their children. The more comfortable a parent is with the overnight camp experience, the more comfortable the child will be.”

Other resources Camps also offer a lot of events and resources to help your child prepare for camp.

“There are new camper events, new parent events and Big Brother or Sister programs to give you and your child the confidence that they are going to love camp. I also encourage parents to read all emails, blogs, and parent information from your camp as there is valuable information that will help you and your child,” Rinke says.

Flax says: “The right time for a child to go to an overnight camp is when they are ready! Don’t worry what other people are doing – you need to assess how your child is doing emotionally and how mature they are before deciding to send them to an overnight program.”

12 NewYorkFamily.com | January 2023
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“It’s important for parents to work hard to not put their own anxieties about their children leaving home onto their children. The more comfortable a parent is with the overnight camp experience, the more comfortable the child will be.”
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education Education Goals for a New Year

How to set intentions for success for your child in 2023

Ahh, the new year is here—a time for making positive changes, and sticking with them! Now, as a parent, you know how important a good education is for your little student. So why not make some cool resolutions to help ensure a successful education for your child in 2023, and beyond?

Whether your child is struggling in school, has an A+ average or falls somewhere in between, there are so many ways to improve grades, test-taking skills and overall academic achievement at any age. You can set new goals, encourage reading, build a support system and so much more. We spoke with parents, education experts (and did some of our own online research!) to put together this New Year’s guide to help create and continue education success for your child throughout 2023. Save it, refer to it, and just keep it handy!

And don’t worry. Our resolutions aren’t all study, study, study. After all, we gotta have kids on board for their successful education, too. We’ve researched ways to make learning fun at any age, from toddler to teen.

(BONUS: Even as adults, you might learn a thing or two about how to increase your own wealth of knowledge!)

Ensure a Successful Education for Your Child in 2023

This is probably a no-brainer for most people, but education is important for a variety of reasons, including life success. And it doesn’t matter what kind of school your child goes to, whether it be public, private or any other type of institution. A lot of what can make a good education is what children, parents and teachers put into it.

Jennifer Cedro Puglia of Staten Island has two boys in Catholic school. To her, a good education leads to her kids being independent and focused on goals.

“A good education is a foundation for a better life and a better person,” she said.

Richie Blings, whose children attend NYC public school, agrees.

“I tell my kids that you’re an adult a lot longer than a child. So, go to school, learn and get yourself a great job,” Blings said.

A Resolution List for Preschoolers: Ages 3 to 5 Years

Pre-school age refers to kids ages 3 to 5 years.

These are important years for building a foundation for learning. And it doesn’t really matter whether you choose to keep your child home during these years, or enroll them in daycare or preschool.

But if your child does attend daycare or preschool, keep in mind they’re usually not given grades. They’ll also learn how to socialize, which can be tough to do at home. As Wendy Levey, an education consultant explains, preschoolers get assessments on

14 NewYorkFamily.com | January 2023
January 2023 | Queens Family 15 Advanced Placement (AP) Classes Co-Taught Classrooms Special Education Team English Language Learners (ELLs) program 20+ School Clubs Basketball Flag Football Volleyball Track & Field Social Work Team & Interns School Counselor Adolescent Health Center for Medical & Dental Care Summer Youth Employment (SYEP) Work, Learn & Grow (WLG) After School Arts College Advisement Internships SAT Prep Legal Services & more Why Broome Street Academy Charter High School? We are a diverse, equitable, inclusive community with a focus on student voice. Rigorous Academic Programs Athletics Programs with Championship Teams Social Emotional Support Holistic Programs via Partnership with The Door CONTACT: Ms. Ruth D. Caraballo (hablo español) admissions@broomestreetacademy.org or at 929.285.3176, M-F 9AM-4PM TRAINS: 1/6/A/J/N/Q/Z to Canal • C/E to Spring • B/D/F/M to Broadway-Lafayette • R/W to Prince BUSES: M20/M21/M55 555 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013 APPLY TODAY! 9th Grade Seats AVAILABLE FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.broomestreetacademy.org/admissions

their attention span, focus, ability to count sequentially and share toys, and other factors.

If your child will be in preschool this year, whether he’s a new student or currently enrolled, Levey recommends the following resolutions for 2023:

Be Happy! Don’t leave your child at the door of his classroom looking like you’re about to cry. Wear a smile and go cry at Starbuck’s.

Homework : Find out what is going on in school and reinforce it at home. For example, if teachers have the kids washing their hands and dumping their snacks after finishing, do that at home, too.

Get Involved: Help with the school’s bake sell. Or go on a school trip. Things like this are not only beneficial for you, your child and the school...it’s also fun! And of course, parents/caregivers should arrive at school on time to drop their children off or pick them up.

Choosing to keep your kiddo home at this age? You’re not alone! Many parents choose this route for a variety of reasons. Check out these positive parenting tips from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that you can use to create your preschool-age New Year’s resolution list and help ensure a successful education for your child.

A Resolution List for Elementary, Middle and High-School Students

In NYC, kids enter kindergarten in the fall of the calendar year they turn 5. Elementary and middle school is the crux of their academic career, and should give them a great foundation for high school, college, trade school and eventually their chosen profession.

“I tell my daughter that her education is important for her success. There’s so much to be learned from school,” said Madeline Elena Vidal, whose daughter is in fourth grade. “Her education is important now, especially if she plans on going to college to further pursue anything. She also knows that college isn’t mandatory. Going to a trade school is also an option.”

Just like in preschool, it’s important to be involved in your child’s school work at the elementary and high-school levels. Gabrielle Gambrell, professor at NYU and Columbia University, says it’s important to devote time to talking about school to become invested in your child’s education.

“As both an educator and a parent, I know firsthand how important it is to show interest in your child’s education,” Gambrell,

who’s also the founder of Gift of Gabrielle, says. “This can be done by devoting time to discussing school with your child, their day, curriculum, classwork, homework, what they are excited about and beyond.”

There should be no interruptions with phones, electronics, or any other distractions. All emphasis should be on having sincere discussions about school and its significance.

“This time will also help you to identify what your child enjoys about school, learn their academic strengths, as well as if your child is struggling with anything or falling behind on their coursework,” Gambrell says. “Use this time to reiterate the significance of education and how proud you are of your child. When parents participate in their children’s schooling it makes a world of difference. During this time, be sure to remind your children to communicate their needs. This is a practice that children can learn early. It’ll help them throughout their academic journey.”

Here are some resolutions that will help your elementary, middle and high-school students this year:

Read Together : If you have younger children, read with them. Read books about starting the school year off right. Books with characters that your children can relate to can help boost their confidence about the year ahead. This allows an opportunity to discuss how your child feels about returning to school in 2023.

“It’s always wonderful to assess how your children are feeling and what they’re thinking about,” Gambrell says. “Be sure to show them that their feelings and thoughts are also your concern. Children should often be reminded

of how much their parents care about them. Reading together is a great way to start important and relevant conversations.”

Create an Environment for Learning : A dedicated home learning environment is instrumental to a child’s success. Does your child have a desk at home? Do you have a dedicated place for homework? Have a dedicated place where your children can sit and learn at home away from distractions.

Stick to a Good Bedtime (and Other Routines) : Routines are paramount to academic success. Setting a time and place for homework surrounded by all necessary supplies is pivotal to success. Receiving proper sleep is instrumental to be fueled for academic success.

“As we all know, getting enough sleep supports your child in feeling their best as it prepares them for a full day of learning,” Gambrell says. “Also, getting to school on time makes a difference in student success. Stay on schedule. The earlier children learn the significance of time management the better.”

Set Goals : Talk to your kids about what they want out of the school year, and what you want. Be a positive force in your child’s life. Affirm their successes. You can also reward your kids for doing well, getting better grades or just improving overall.

Ushindi Lewis, program coordinator at the New Jersey Youth Corps of Middlesex County New Brunswick Public Schools, underscores the importance of the role parents play in their child’s education.

“A parent can help reshape a student’s thinking about learning by encouraging the student to think of learning as a passion,” Lewis says.

Check Your Child’s Assignments : No matter what grade your child is in, parents should resolve to be actively checking assignment books and online assignment/ grading sites, explains Ryan Michele Woods, a teacher at Staten Island Academy with 18 years experience in the NYC Department of Education.

“Kids will often tell you they are on top of things, but in reality are having trouble organizing themselves and are overwhelmed,” Woods says. “Even if they say they can do it on their own, they may not be able to, and often aren’t. To be successful, parents need to be partnering in their accountability. This also prevents surprises at grading time.”

Woods added that this is especially important for upper elementary and middle school students.

16 NewYorkFamily.com | January 2023
“Use this time to reiterate the significance of education and how proud you are of your child. When parents participate in their children’s schooling it makes a world of difference.”

Merry Christmas and a NewHappyYear

Our Mission:

Our mission is to cultivate a STEAM learning environment strengthened by social-emotional and academic supports that incorporate our core values of P.R.I.D.E: Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Discipline, & Excellence to promote lifelong learning.


Friday, January 13th at 6 p.m. (Virtual)

Saturday, January 21st at 10 a.m. (In-Person)

To RSVP to a virtual open house, email us at AMS4admissions@charter.newvisions.org or call (718) 525-2041.

Located in South Jamaica, Queens!

156-10 Baisley Boulevard Jamaica, NY 11434

Through an advisory structure, we ensure a strong connection between the school community and families.

We offer scholar supports that fosters life skills beyond graduation; by way of courses focused in College & Career Readiness, Entrepreneurship, Health & Wellness.

Our grade-level school counselors loop with scholars from 9TH grade through 12TH grade and a social worker designated to lower house (9TH & 10TH grade) and upper house (11TH - 12TH grade).

Along with sports we also have programs such as My Sisters Keeper, Masters of Excellence, Helping Hands, Gay Straight Alliance. These programs are designed to promote scholar voice and acknowledge diversity.

Find us online! www.newvisions.org/applyAMS4 newvisionsams4



89-15 Francis Lewis Blvd., Queens Village, NY 718- 465-5066 incarnationqv.org

Incarnation Catholic Academy is a familyoriented school grounded in the Catholic faith. The school strives to academically, spiritually and technologically prepare our students for higher education and to adapt to an ever-changing world. This is achieved by providing academic preparation through a challenging curriculum, a caring environment, and being sensitive to the needs of a diverse society. The academy is committed to inspiring the students to become moral decision-makers, effective communicators, critical thinkers, problem solvers, and lifelong learners.

o ur l ady of fatima School

25-38 80th St., Jackson Heights 718-429-7031 ourladyoffatimaschool.org

Offering a quality, innovative Catholic education for over 70 years, in grades nursery to 8. Offering Mommy and Me for 18 months to 2-yearolds with a getting ready for a Nursery school program. They seek to educate the whole person: mind, heart, soul, and body to develop strategic thinkers for the 21st century. Students are engaged in their learning with 1:1 technology in the classroom and outside of the classroom, students are engaged in performing arts programs, fine arts programs, intramurals, and many other activities led by the faculty. Please contact them for registration information or to request a tour and find them on Facebook at facebook.

o ur l ady of Perpetual h elp c atholic academy

111-10 115 St., South Ozone Park 718- 843-4184 olphca.org

With students from prekindergarten through eighth grade – the faculty and staff of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Academy are diligent in their commitment to the spiritual, academic, physical, social and emotional growth of each child. The multisensory, Next Generation Standards curriculum and cross-curricular instruction ensure that each student’s individual needs are met. Students consistently show outstanding performance in mathematics, language arts and science on statewide testing. For more information, please call or visit olphca.org.

Saint m argaret c atholic academy

66-10 80th Street

Middle Village, New York 11379 718-326-0922 smcamv.org stmargoffice@gmail.com Saint Margaret Catholic Academy exists to educate and form young people in light of the Gospel. Our students are nurtured in a loving academic environment by our dedicated faculty and staff, who recognize the unique talents of each student. We help all students attain their full potential through an integrated academic curriculum, rooted in Gospel values and Catholic teachings. Saint Margaret Catholic Academy encourages students to achieve their full potential spiritually, morally, and academically.

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January 2023 | Queens Family 19 • Air-Conditioned Classrooms • 1:1 Technology • Early Drop-Off • After School Programs • Certified Teachers • We accept I-20 students Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Academy For more information, scan the QR Code and follow us! @olfcaqueens @olfcaqueens FinancialAid Available! $25 Registration Discount whenyoumention QueensFamily Magazine Monthly Liturgies and seasonal prayer services. and daily religious instruction. , Spanish, Math 9, Paul Effman Band Academic Intervention Services, Speech, O.T. SETSS, and counseling Chromebooks or iPads in each classroom. FREE after-school for grades 6, 7, & 8 sponsored by Maspeth Town Hall. Fee based early drop-off grades 3K-8 Fee based grades 3K-5 air conditioned classrooms financial aid available - applications open in January Full time Dept. of Health nurse, Full time security guard, cameras inside and outside the building, alarmed doors and walkie-talkies in each classroom.

St francis of a ssisi c atholic academy a storia

21-18 46th St., Astoria, NY 718-726-9405 sfaacademy.org

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Academy is proud to open its doors to learn, serve, lead, and succeed in this academic year. Our goal of success for all inspires a curriculum that supports students’ strengths and helps them maximize their potential. This changing world requires students to be creative, artistic, techsavvy, and resourceful; therefore, the academy programs are designed to educate the whole child in academia, STEM, and the arts. The faculty knows that the spiritual, emotional, and social well-being of each child in our CARE (Cooperation, Acceptance, Respect, Empathy) is essential to their growth and is reflected in every aspect of a child’s educational journey at SFACA.

St. g regory the g reat c atholic academy

244-44 87th Ave, Bellerose, NY 718- 343-5053 office@sgtgca.org sgtgca.org

St. Gregory the Great Catholic Academy school is committed to educating the whole person (mind, body, and soul) through a vibrant, safe, faith-filled environment. Their student body consists of early childhood through 8th grade. They follow Next Generation Learning Standards and strive to meet or exceed all New York State Learning Standards. All students will benefit from the Art, STEAM, Music, and Foreign Language programs provided to all grades as well as many extra-curricular activities. Discover what makes St. Gregory’s so great!

St. Joseph c atholic academy

28-46 44 St., Long Island City, NY 718-728-0724 sjcalic.org St. Joseph Catholic Academy is committed to developing students of diverse backgrounds and faiths from nursery through 8th grade by providing a well-rounded foundation for future learning and life. In addition to religion class and religious activities, they offer a rigorous academic program, complemented by classes in music, art, library, physical education, Spanish, Mandarin, and yoga/ mindfulness. All instructional areas are equipped with modern technology. They also offer the 3-K for All and Pre-K for All programs of the NYC Board of Education for 3 & 4-year-olds.

St. leo c atholic academy 104-19 49th Ave Corona NY 11368 718-592-7050 ext. 202 office@stleocatholicacademy. org stleocatholicacademy.org St. Leo Catholic Academy is a Catholic elementary school located in Corona, Queens, founded by the Gray Nuns of the Sacred Heart in 1924. The school’s mission is to provide spiritual, academic and social awareness which reflects the beliefs of their Catholic faith. The school’s credo, “Seeing Christ in One Another”, comes to life on a daily basis. They are committed to excellence, and strive to provide educational experiences to guide each student to become an educated, morally responsible, caring and productive member of the community.

20 NewYorkFamily.com | January 2023 C aT hol IC s C hools D IRECT o R y | Special Advertising Supplement
Registration Has Begun and is Ongoing For New Students for the 2023-24 School Year Nursery / Pre-Kindergarten / Kindergarten through Grade Eight S ma ll Clas s S izes • Technology Clas ses Class set of Chromebooks Grades K-8 • U pdated Science La b Nurser y/ Pre-K • Early Morning Care Af terschool Prog ra m • Extracurricular Act ivit ies Art / Music/ Phys Ed / Librar y• Foreign Language Program Grades Pre-K-8 S por ts Prog ra ms • Reading Specialist on site S pecia l Ed ucat ion Ser vices • Full Time School Nurse • Financial aid is available In-person tours are available. Please contact jbrunswick@slswhitestone.org for more information. 16 - 01 15 0 th Place • Whi testone, NY 11357 718.74 6.3833 • ww w.s lswhi testone.org 1910 – 2023 • CELEBRATING 113 YEARS! Contact us for a Tour
January 2023 | Queens Family 21 BE NE FITS • FULL PRE-K 3 & 4 YEAR OLD AND K • GRADES PRE-K TO 8 • NYS NEXT GENERATION STANDARDS • REASONABLE TUITION* (DISCOUNT FOR STUDENTS FROM PUBLIC SCHOOLS) • TECH-DRIVEN CURRICULUM • DEDICATED STAFF WITH OUTSTANDING CREDENTIALS • SACRAMENTAL PREPARATION • COMPUTER, ART, LIBRARY • MUSIC - MARCHING BAND • SCHOOL DANCES & ARTS & CRAFTS • GOOGLE CHROMEBOOKS; SMARTBOARDS; LAPTOPS TI TL E I , TI TL E I I I A N D I N - H O U SE SPE C I A L E D • EX TE N SI V E S T E M L A B & G Y M EQ U I PM E N T • D I FF ER E N TI ATE D I N S TR U C TI O N • R E M E D I ATI O N PR O GR A M • C LU B S, YE A R BO O K, N E WSPA PE R , D R A M A • H OT LU N C H & BR E A KFA S T PR O GR A M S • B O YS & GI R LS S CO U T S • A F TE R S C H OO L PR O GR A M • S C H OO L B U SE S O R M E TR O CA R D (I F E L I GI BL E ) • S C H OO L N U RSE 2021-22 Registration for 2023-24 - Tues, Feb 7th & Thur, Feb 9th 9:30-10:30am & 1-2pm Catholic Schools Week - Sun, January 29th to Friday, February 3rd Open House - Sun, Jan 29th 12-1pm, Mon, Jan 30th 8:30-9am, Tue, Jan 31st 8:30-9am, & Thu, Feb 2nd 1:30-2pm Call 718-726-9405 or email info@sfaacademy.org for more information. SMALL CLASS SIZES PRE-K - 8TH GRADE 21ST CENTURY LEARNING

St Luke School

16-01 150th Pl., Whitestone, NY 718-746-3833 slswhitestone.org

St. Luke’s provides a Catholic atmosphere that nurtures the growth and development of the whole person: intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically. The faculty, in cooperation with the parents, endeavors to correlate moral and spiritual values with daily living of the faith life of the child. The school offers a well-ordered curriculum of studies that include religion, English Language Arts, mathematics, science, social studies, TAC (Technology Across the Curriculum), Spanish, physical education, music, library, and computer education.

St. Michael’s Catholic Academy

136-58 41st Ave., Flushing, NY 718-961-0246 (English & Spanish)

347-399-8500 (English & Chinese) stmichaelsca.org

St. Michael’s Catholic Academy is enriched by and reflects the cultural diversity of the parishes of St. John Vianney and St. Michael’s. The total program at St. Michael’s, from preschool through grade 8, is designed to promote each student’s intellectual and spiritual growth grounded in a deepening relationship with Jesus Christ. Programs offered include: STEM, Dual-Language Immersion with Mandarin, free 3K and Pre-K For All programs with additional programming available for before school and after school. The Dual-Language Program achieves bilingualism, biliteracy, and academic achievement. Kindergarten through grade 8 students are offered classes in English and Mandarin. Contact the school to learn more and to enroll your child.

St Nicholas of Tolentine Catholic Academy

80-22 Parsons Blvd. Jamaica, NY 718-380-1900 sntschoolny.org

At St. Nicholas of Tolentine Catholic Academy, the school values and challenges all of their students in grades Nursery to 8 to the best of their abilities. The Catholic values of faith, hope and charity are the cornerstones of this school’s existence. The school is equipped with modern technology and also offers instruction in Computer Graphics and Robotics. The school combines challenging academics with a variety of co-curricular activities. For more information please visit their website.

St. Sebastian Catholic Academy

39-76 58th St., Woodside, NY 718-429-1982 stsebastianacademy.org This academy serves the parishes of Queen of Angels, St. Teresa, BVM Help of Christians, and St. Sebastian. They offer FREE 3K and PreK for All programs with outdoor playspace, nutritious breakfast and lunch, and learn through play experiences. They provide a values-centered curriculum based on the Next Generation. Additional learning experiences include Physical Education, Art, Library-Media, STEM, Mindfulness, Music and Movement, Math 9, Paul Effman Band, and Spanish. Grades K-8 have iPads or Chromebooks in each classroom. St. Sebastian Catholic Academy also offers Title I Literacy and Math, Speech, O.T., AIS, SETSS, and counseling for students in need.

22 NewYorkFamily.com | January 2023
schools Directory | Special Advertising Supplement
We are inviting you to come and tour our Academy. St. Leo Catholic Academy is an outstanding Catholic elementary school in Corona, Queens Our mission at SLCA is to provide academic, social and spiritual knowledge which reflects the Catholic faith within a structured and disciplined school environment. We are committed to excellence and strive to provide programs to help each student become an educated, morally responsible, caring and productive member of society NURSERY, PRE-K & KINDERGARTEN NURSERY, PRE-K & KINDERGARTEN HAVE A SEAT FOR YOU IN 2023-2024! HAVE A SEAT FOR YOU IN 2023-2024! (718) 592-7050 Call and set up your free tour of our excellent Academy. Call and set up your free tour of our excellent Academy. Consider St. Leo Catholic Academy for Consider St. Leo Catholic Academy for your child this Fall! your child this Fall! St. Leo Catholic Academy is a dynamic community! St. Leo Catholic Academy is a dynamic community! For more information on free tours or registration, please For more on tours or registration, please For more on or contact: contact: Ms. Garnica at (718) 592-7050 ext. 202 Ms. Garnica at (718) 592-7050 ext. 202 at (718) 592-7050 www.stleocatholicacademy.org www.stleocatholicacademy.org
January 2023 | Queens Family 23 appointment. 718-326-0922 | stmargoffice@gmail.com. PRE-K FOR ALL Free rigorous instruction 3K & 4K and learning through play Free meals Small class sizes St. Margaret Catholic Academy 66-10 80th Street, Middle Village NY, 11379 (718) 326-0922 www.smcamv.org Academic Excellence NYS Next Gen Standards STEM Lab Computer Lab Technology Integration 1:1 devices Art, Music, Physical Education, Foreign Language, Creative Writing Financial Aid Available Free morning care 7:00 AM Afterschool program on premises Full-time Nurse Open House Sunday, January 30th, 11:00 AM-2:00 PM Tours will be conducted during the school day during January and February. Come see us in action! Please call or email to make an appointment. 718-326-0922 | stmargoffice@gmail.com. PRE-K FOR ALL Free rigorous instruction 3K & 4K and learning through play Free meals Small class sizes St. Margaret Catholic Academy 66-10 80th Street, Middle Village NY, 11379 (718) 326-0922 www.smcamv.org Academic Excellence NYS Next Gen Standards STEM Lab Computer Lab Technology Integration 1:1 devices Art, Music, Physical Education, Foreign Language, Creative Writing Financial Aid Available Free morning care 7:00 AM Afterschool program on premises Full-time Nurse Open House Sunday, January 30th, 11:00 AM-2:00 PM Tours will be conducted during the school day during January and February. Come see us in action! Please call or email to make an appointment. 718-326-0922 | stmargoffice@gmail.com. PRE-K FOR ALL Free rigorous instruction 3K & 4K and learning through play Free meals Small class sizes St. Margaret Catholic Academy 66-10 80th Street, Middle Village NY, 11379 (718) 326-0922 www.smcamv.org Academic Excellence NYS Next Gen Standards STEM Lab Computer Lab Technology Integration 1:1 devices Art, Music, Physical Education, Foreign Language, Creative Writing Financial Aid Available Free morning care 7:00 AM Afterschool program on premises Full-time Nurse Don’t Let Your Child Fall Behind You Have A Pal To Give Your Child A Headstart Preschool Program & Universal Pre-K Ages 2-5 • Full Day 8am-6pm • Certified Teachers • Healthy Meals & Snacks • Services For Special Needs • Educational Trips • Social Service Staff • Safe Indoor/ Outdoor Facilities • Parent Committees/ Workshops PAL World Of Creative Experience 280 Livonia Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11212 718-345-5219 PAL Woodside Early Learning Center 50-37 Broadway Woodside, NY 11377 718-278-3616 PAL A&M Schwartz 452 Pennsylvania Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11207 718-342-4141 PAL Carey Gardens 2964 W. 23rd Street Brooklyn, NY 11224 718-372-4044 PAL La Puerta Albierta 2864 W. 21st Street Brooklyn, NY 11224 718-373-1100 PAL Western Queens Nursery 10-26 41st Avenue L.I.C., NY 11101 718-784-2092 PAL Rockaway 216 Beach 87, Far Rockaway, NY 11693 www.palnyc.org FREE Parenting Webinars coming soon - Sign up now! Modeling a Loving, Equal Partnership for Your Kids With American sexologist Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D. Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, 5 p.m. ET Presents Register for FREE at NewYorkFamily.com/NYParentEd PRESENTING SPONSORS Past Forward: The Legacy of Racism in Modern-Day America With Jeffery Robinson and Khalil Gibran Muhammad Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, 4 p.m. ET

Reframing the Family Meal

Talking with Stocked by Three Owls founder Suzanne Lehrer

As we go into a new year , you may be thinking about how life can flow more easily. How can home life be a bit more efficient in 2023? One area for many of us –is the food department. I am a good cook, but I need a break. And I am not looking for five-course meals but food that inspires me yet at the same time is healthy, delicious and will get eaten by the entire family. Something many of us parents do mentally at the end of the year.

A few months back, I stumbled upon a delicious solution—Stocked by Three Owls, founded by chef and cookbook author Suzanne Lehrer Dumaine. I had been running around all day, and while visiting a friend, I was offered a tasty vegetable dish that, along with a delicious dressing, was enough to linger in my foodie brain for months afterward.

I recently touched base with the reason for my epicurean delight, Suzanne Lehrer, to learn more about how this pandemic-era mom reshaped her business into a full fledge served at your door service of healthy food — perfect if looking for some nights off from cooking this new year.

What was your defining moment in going from a storefront with your business to focusing on delivering food in the tri-state area?

Sitting at home during lockdown with both a new brick and mortar business in Covid freefall, and a new baby, something just clicked for me to connect the two. I was an exhausted new parent wishing for prepared foods to magically arrive at my doorstep (despite being a trained chef), and also the owner of a shop that made the exact type of food I was craving. I saw a distinct hole in the food delivery space to accomplish what I was looking for; something closer to a marketplace model instead of single-serving subscription or a meal kit, where you could stock up for days with healthful food to mix

and match. Maximum flexibility, and the happiness of a full fridge. At your door.

I decided to take a leap and threw together Stocked in three weeks as a last-ditch effort to save the business I had worked so hard on. We did almost zero marketing, put up a Shopify site, and sent it out into the world. When the (then-shuttered) dining area of our shop was completely covered in food packing operations a few weeks later for customers all over NYC, I knew I was onto something and told myself to just keep going.

You are a pandemic-era mom; how did you handle reshifting Three Owls into Stocked by Three Owls and managing a baby in a pandemic(!)?

Becoming a first-time mom during the height of the first Covid outbreak quickly eroded any fantasies I had about what that newborn and postpartum experience would be like (visitors, for example!). But in the process, I built a new level of resilience that permeated

everything else I took on. The business I had started only a year earlier had also felt like my baby, an intensely personal endeavor, and I watched it take a sharp downward turn I didn’t plan on and couldn’t control.

Being an overwhelmed new mom gives you no other choice but to keep going, even when it feels impossible, and I felt the same about Stocked. I was going to give it all I got, trust my instincts that this was a product people wanted as much as I did, and if it didn’t work out, I now had a real baby that needed me, and a whole new dimension of my life to engage with that I was equally excited about. Feeling like I was somehow supporting other families wishing for an easier solution to the eternal “what should we eat” dilemma kept me motivated.

Since you feed New Yorkers, what kind of work goes into planning the meals you serve them?

As a mom, busy New Yorker, and a giant

24 NewYorkFamily.com | January 2023

fan of prepared foods, I plan meals based on what I wish was in my own fridge at home to get into the mindset of our customers. When we plan meals, we keep in mind that New Yorkers are always on the go, and usually so are their kids! They usually have less time to cook than they would like (and tinier kitchens!), and despite a sea of restaurant delivery options, they want something that feels homemade.

I’m also keenly aware that New Yorkers are spoiled for choice, and that makes them the world’s toughest critics. Our food has to be great to stand out here. We spend hours developing and testing recipes (and making sure we love them throughout the week in our own fridges at home), combing customer feedback for insight, and obsessing over getting the product up to a New York standard.

Can you share with us the foods that enlighten you as a chef and a mom that help to inspire you in the meals you serve to your customers?

When I’m “off the clock” cooking for my family on a lazy Sunday morning, or for a dinner party on a Saturday night is typically

when I come up with the ideas that inspire our menus. At Stocked, we have a rotating “vegetable pancake” every week that’s a bestseller for both parents and kids alike, and it stemmed from a Sunday morning spinach pancake recipe I made with my son at home, just messing around in the kitchen together.

Vegetables are at the forefront of many of our dishes, so I’m always pushing myself to get as creative as possible to develop new iterations of them every single week – for both adults and kids. I think ultimately proteins are easy, it’s working with vegetables, through the lens of “what will our families truly want in their fridge” that really pushes me to be a better and more thoughtful chef.

January 2023 | Queens Family 25
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“Feeling like I was somehow supporting other families wishing for an easier solution to the eternal ‘what should we eat’ dilemma kept me motivated.”

Family-�riendl� Ski Res�r�s

Are you looking for a winter getaway?

Take a ski trip with your family at these family-friendly ski resorts. There are a ton of ski resorts and ski slopes to choose from, so we rounded up our top 5 picks. Many resorts have gentle slopes and “ski school” for kids and adults, so no prior ski experience is necessary to have winter fun. Pack your bags for your next weekend stay at a New York ski resort!

Smugglers Notch

4323 VT-108, Jeffersonville, VT 05464

For your next family ski trip, head to Smugglers’ Notch, Ski Magazine’s #1 resort for families for the last 20 years! The 78 trails, eight lifts, and the highest vertical drop in Northern Vermont at 2,610 feet is not only a winter wonderland – it’s designed to deliver the ultimate ski experience.

There are multiple terrain parks and 1,000 acres of skiing and riding. For fall, enjoy the beauty that is Vermont with outdoor activities and crisp air fun. Come winter, kids will love snowshoeing, tubing, cross country skiing, swimming, Fun Zone 2.0, ice skating.

The Smugglers’ Notch Resort’s mission is to give families an experience that they will cherish for life, and it’s no wonder many make visiting a yearly ritual. Smugglers’ condominiums are located in wooded spots with mountain views or make your home in one of the condos closer to the village. The convenient, cozy, family-style lodgings with fully equipped kitchens and more are perfect for the entire family. If you don’t ski (some of us prefer to lounge and drink hot chocolate, and there’s no guilt in that!), the “Winter Experience Package” offers you a Cat Trax ride to the top of the mountain for a view of the fireworks on Thursday nights.

We all know kids can go 24/7 – there are activities for everyone such as Bingo, Family Feud, nightly hot chocolate by the bonfire, the fireworks we mentioned on Thursday night, and more. For those tweens who need extra, there is a Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop, nighttime tubing; a new Teen Center called The Alley with Virtual Reality quests and Xbox Live, Night School for Boarding, and Jibbing.

Mount Peter

51 Old Mt Peter Road Warwick, NY 10990

Mount Peter may be the only ski and snowboarding destination initially started (in 1936) by Macy’s Department Stores as a “showroom” to sell their ski fashion. Very très chic and New York. As one of the oldest operating family-owned ski spots in the country, it is a special place for families to visit or discover each winter. Located in Warwick, NY, it is about one hour from NYC

26 NewYorkFamily.com | January 2023

— making for a convenient day trip and a great spot to learn to ski or get in a day of skiing, snowboarding or tubing.

Known for their free beginner ski and snowboard lessons on weekends and holidays, this is the perfect spot when the kids are ready to ski or for mom or dad to learn the art of skiing or snowboarding. Super family- friendly, this spot consists of a combination of locals, city peeps, and tourists worldwide. There is a reason Mount Peter is called New York’s family mountain!

Mount Peter features 14 trails for skiing or snowboarding and a 600-foot tubing run. Rates are affordable, which parents will appreciate if bringing a large group. If you don’t own skis, no problem, as there is a daily ski rental barn where you can rent skis, snowboards, poles, and helmets.

Tip: we suggest heading to the rental shop as soon as you arrive as the line can get long, and we all know that kids have little patience when the fun is around the corner. For tasty food, the lodge serves food and Pete’s Pub offers adult beverages as well as a gift shop!

Belleayre Mountain

181 Galli Curci Rd., Highmount, NY 12441

Belleayre Mountain’s excellent skiing, reasonable pricing, and year-round activities make it one of the best family-friendly ski resorts in Upstate New York.

We love their heated gondola that keeps us nice and warm on the slopes. With a variety of downhill courses, a snowsports school offering classes for kids, teens, and adults, and summer activities like biking, hiking, and Belleayre Beach, this resort has something for everyone at almost any time of year. Located just north of Big Indian Wilderness, it is just over a twohour drive from NYC.

Plattekill Mountain

469 Plattekill Rd., Roxbury, NY 12474

Located in the northwestern Catskills, Plattekill Mountain is a different breed of ski resort. This privately owned and operated resort, affectionately called “Platty” by the many ski enthusiasts who visit regularly each year, offers a unique family vibe that visitors love. Skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing fun can all be found on the mountain,

but visitors will also find a welcoming atmosphere, plenty of smiles, and unique experiences.

At just about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from the city, it’s a great option for getting in some great skiing and feeling like you found a second home.

Gore Mountain

793 Peaceful Valley Road, North Creek, NY 12853

Located on the eastern edge of the Siamese Ponds Wilderness, Gore Mountain has something for everyone all year round.In the winter months, visitors can take advantage of 110 trails and 14 lifts on New York’s biggest mountain. The resort also offers classes and private lessons for kids, teens, and adults.

With a variety of beautiful accommodation options and delicious dining choices, the mountain is an all-season resort destination that’s widely considered to be the best in all of New York and in the upper echelon of the northeastern US. It’s well worth the drive of just under four hours from NYC to get there.

January 2023 | Queens Family 27
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Where to See Stars

Helpful tips and cool places for stargazing in New York

New York City is full of bright lights, but nothing quite matches the glow of the night sky, and there’s no better way to appreciate it than stargazing. Stargazing is a great way to appreciate the night sky in a new way, especially if you have little aspiring astronomers in the family.

Getting started with stargazing might seem intimidating at first, especially if you don’t know much about stars, constellations or space. But you don’t need to be an expert to enjoy looking at the night sky! Stargazing can be a fun activity for the whole family, regardless of your level of expertise.

Here are some tips for stargazing for beginners, plus some spots in New York to stargaze as a family!


What’s In the Sky

Get an idea of what the sky’s going to look like before heading out for a stargazing session.

It’s best to stargaze before a full moon, so look at the moon phase when you’re picking a date. You’ll also see different constellations depending on what time of year and time of night you go out, so look at a star map to get an idea of what you’ll be seeing.

While you’re at it, be sure to check the weather before heading out. Nothing ruins a night of stargazing like a sky full of clouds.

Download an App

A stargazing app can be helpful as you and your family scan the sky. Many of them cost money, but there are plenty of free or cheap options if you’re more of a casual stargazer. Some good options for beginners include SkyView or Star Rover.

Expensive Equipment Not Required

Having an expensive telescope is not a requirement for stargazing, especially if you’re just starting out. An old pair of binoculars will do the trick. They’ll be more

than enough to magnify the night sky and allow you to see things you may not have been able to see before.

Get to know the night sky before taking the plunge and buying a telescope. If you decide later on that you want to take your stargazing to the next level, do some research when deciding what telescope is best for you and your family.

Dress and Pack Accordingly

You are going to need to dress for the weather when going out for a night of stargazing. New York nights are chilly until kate Spring, so be prepared to layer up with sweaters, cold gear, winter coats, scarves, hats, gloves and anything else you typically need to stay warm.

Bring a few blankets for extra warmth

and to give yourself some protection from the ground if you choose to lie down to look at the stars.

Find An Astronomy Club

There are a ton of clubs for amateur astronomers, which are a great resource if you’re looking to get into stargazing yourself. For example, the New York-based Amateur Astronomers Association (aaa.org0 offers classes, lectures and public observation sessions throughout the year. Joining a group like this is a great way to get more involved with stargazing alongside a new community.

You can also follow astronomers on social networking sites like Twitter. Often, they’ll tweet about cosmic events coming up or where and how you can see celestial points of interest.

28 NewYorkFamily.com | January 2023
Family night out

Stargazing Spots in New York

Believe it or not, there are some great stargazing spots in New York City. They’re not great for seeing the deepest objects in space, but they’re good for seeing a few bright spots in the sky. If you’re looking to see more in the sky, we’ve also included some spots outside of the city.

Pupin Physics Laboratories Columbia University, Manhattan Home of the physics and astronomy departments at Columbia University, Pupin Hall hosts public outreach astronomy events for the whole family. Drop in for rooftop stargazing every other Friday during the academic year. Check out their Family Astro events, hosted three times a year and targeted towards children with families ages 6 through 12. Be sure to check out their website (outreach.astro.columbia.edu) for the latest news and events.

Vanderbilt Museum & Planetarium 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport, New York 11721

The Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium at the Vanderbilt Museum on Long Island offers planetarium shows throughout the week and public stargazing hours in the Observatory on Friday evenings. Their website also offers a comprehensive list of astronomy resources for amateur astronomers of all levels.

Walkway Over the Hudson Walkway West (Highland) Parking lot address is 87 Haviland Rd., Highland, NY, 12528 Walkway East (Poughkeepsie)

Parking lot address is 61 Parker Ave., Poughkeepsie, NY, 12601

If coming on foot- the stairs entrance located at 131 Washington Street in Poughkeepsie This historic site is the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge and a great place to stargaze. Watch the stars shine against the Hudson River and take in the breathtaking views.

Montauk Point State Park 2000 Montauk Highway Montauk, NY 11954

This state park on Long Island is far enough

away from the bright lights of the city to give you a perfect sky for stargazing. If you go at the right time of year, you can even get a glimpse of the Milky Way’s core, which is visible from the Northern Hemisphere around February every year. Gaze up at the stars amid views of the Atlantic where it meets the Block Island Sound.

Harriman State Park

Seven Lakes Dr / Bear Mountain Circle

Ramapo, NY 10974

One of the closest state parks to New York City, Harriman State Park in Rockland and Orange counties is full of great locations for stargazing. It’s open year round, so you can always make a trip with your family for some stargazing.

Big Buck Mountain Multiple Use Area

Putnam County, NY

There’s no formal trails at Big Buck, but there are 146 acres of land open for primitive camping and exploring. It’s a good choice for stargazing if you and your family are experienced with camping and being outdoors.

January 2023 | Queens Family 29
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Find Aloha Spirit at Mauna Lani

A family getaway in Hawaii

Do you daydream of taking your family to a faraway, tropical paradise without needing a passport? Aloha! Hawaii, is the perfect spot for an epic family vacation and a resort to look into is Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, on the Island of Hawaii. At Mauna Lani, families come together in the most stunning place for rich culture and heritage, beautiful sand beaches, delicious dining, volcanic adventures, and magical memories to last a lifetime. When you arrive and get a lei greeting from the warm and welcoming staff, you will feel like a part of the whole, big ohana (Hawaiian for family). Prepare for endless adventures and to soak in the Aloha Spirit.

Find Your Piko

Mauna Lani is ideally located in the piko (center) of five mountains and the majestic property has it all. The resort welcomes generations of families, treating them like the Hawaiian royalty that frequented its lush lands. There are countless highlights like a sunrise canoe paddle; the timeless tradition of the luau; stand-up paddle boarding with Mika, the resort’s pup resident; sinking your toes into white, black, or green sand; and a dinner at the Canoe House.

The guestrooms are spacious and offer multiple options for all different types of families like traditional rooms, family suites, and private residences. Parents will appreciate the complimentary gear, including cribs, pack-and-plays, and rollaway beds, and kids will adore the amenities to welcome them and celebrate special occasions.

Family Friendly Fun in Paradise

There are endless activities in the most spectacular setting for big and little explorers that guarantee that even the smallest travelers feel like a really big deal. From the keiki (meaning children in Hawaiian) beach and infinity edge pool with ocean views and adjacent giant lawn

games to the Holoholo Kids Club with days full of fun, new friends, and traditional Hawaiian experiences, like hula dance and learning about the origins of green sand.

Grown-ups can find the perfect balance of family fun and adult-only amenities. Make a tee time at the Wikiwiki Course, a pristine nine-hole course that’s perfect for the whole family, or play world-class golf as a double on the North and South courses. And let’s not forget some self-care-indulgence at the Auberge Spa, where treatments feature the benefits of local oils, herbs, honey and flowers from the Island of Hawaii. There is also a serene adultsonly infinity pool.

Families can swim, snorkel, kayak, and play all day at the picturesque white sand beach. Then snuggle up together in the private, plush Halau just steps from the ocean. Listen to the waves crash as you savor every sip of your favorite Hawaiian beverage served in a carved pineapple because it makes every sip even sweeter.

Culture and Heritage

Start your day in the most invigorating way

with a sunrise canoe paddle in a traditional Hawaiian-style outrigger canoe. It’s a perennial fan favorite. Then explore historic sites like Puako Petroglyph Archaeological Preserve, one of the largest and last heiau built in Hawaii with more than 3,000 ancient petroglyphs. Visit Honu Pond to learn the historical, environmental, and cultural significance of honu, and paint in paradise with the artist in residence. Carve out time to talk story with Danny Akaka, the resort’s knowledge keeper, and enjoy his tales of Old Hawaii, including about Pele or Maui, all while he plays the ukulele and families make authentic leis.

The Hale Hoaloha Lu’au, a Hawaiian experience that that is steeped in history and culture, embodies the simple yet invaluable pleasures of togetherness and celebration. There’s storytelling, a traditional feast, hula dancing, and fire dancers. Dine on locallysourced classics like lomi lomi salmon, ahi poke, huli huli style chicken, and kiawe broiled steak while being mesmerized by the stories of Old Hawaii and the graceful hula dancers. The most jaw dropping and breath-

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taking performance is the fire dancer who steals the show and was literally on fire— touching and eating the fire as he performed his bold fire dance. This all happens while the sun sets making a picture perfect evening and creating memories to last a lifetime.

Lava Lakes

No trip to the Big Island is complete without a visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home to two of the world’s most active volcanoes. Kailani Tours express tour is the perfect family adventure to the Kilauea Volcano at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park with a few brief stops on the way like Rainbow Falls and Big Island Candies. They make it easy for families since they provide expert guides, park fees, catered meals, and private access to some of the island’s greatest treasures so families just show up ready for a volcanic adventure. Their National Parkcertified guides are highly knowledgeable on volcanic and Hawaiian, preparing families for everything on this epic excursion. Thanks to Kailani’s telescopes and other high tech

equipment exclusive for the tour, families get a real birds-eye view of the volcanoes in action. There are only six volcanoes in the world with known lava lakes and if Kilauea is erupting, those lucky enough will see one of these extraordinary, active lava lakes glow at night with lava jumping and flowing. There will be too many ooh and ahhhs to count.

Eat Your Heart Out

Savor every bite of Hawaiian specialties at the five-open air restaurants on property, highlighting local ingredients caught and cultivated by local fishermen and farmers. Try Hawaiian favorites like poke bowls, spam, shaved ice, banana bread, and pineapple. Start every day with Kona coffee, fresh pineapple juice, insanely delicious ube pancakes, and the most spectacular views at HaLani.

There are also carefully curated keiki menus with traditional and local kids’ favorites. The Surf Shack is ideal for lunch at the beach or pool, Ha Bar serves lighter lunch and dinner, and The Market has great grab and go options and an array of local specialties and bespoke gifts by local artisans (don’t miss the ube syrup and macadamia nut butter). Dine with your loved ones at The Canoe House, the legendary oceanfront, island dining spot that lives up to the hype of its months-long wait list. The Canoe House presents Japanese-inspired dishes showcasing ingredients sourced mere minutes from Mauna Lani in incredibly innovative ways.

Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection 68-1400 Mauna Lani Drive, Waikoloa, HI 96743 aubergeresorts.com/maunalani

January 2023 | Queens Family 31

The Mom’s Guide to Quitting your Job

If you’re going 100 miles per hour in a car and you try to smell the roses, you’re going to get whiplash. As a recovering workaholic, I should know. I spent fifteen years as an executive producer in national television news and the entertainment industry, creating content for Netflix, Fox, Us Weekly, Nordstrom, Target, AT&T, and more. For years, I was content being in the center of the rat race, until the day I was in the hospital delivery room, awaiting the imminent birth of my second child. Between the panting and the eagerness of this moment, I found myself on the phone frantically reviewing resumes after a messy corporate acquisition led to some of my 17-person staff fleeing the job. At that instant, as if a lightbulb suddenly turned on, I had my moment of truth: this was not the life I wanted anymore.

Working in media is a nonstop gig, and loyalties aren’t always reciprocated. I’d leveled up in the industry by saying “yes” to everything for more than a decade. Now, as a mother of two, I needed to start saying no and begin prioritizing myself, my family, and my life. And so, nearly cold turkey, I quit, finally removing myself from the neverending hamster wheel of the corporate world. While today I am happier than I’ve ever been both professionally and personally, the first year on my own was filled with doubt, confusion, and feelings of isolation. In the hopes that this advice will help you create a career path that leaves you fulfilled and happy, here are the things I wish I knew when making the decision to quit my corporate career.

1. Identify what you don’t like about your current work situation

Imagine it’s 90 degrees out, and your kids say they don’t like going to the beach or the pool. So then what? Sitting indoors all day will not actually bring them joy, despite

their insistence to the contrary. Likewise, slamming that metal door behind you and marching out of that gray office with no set plan will not bring you the life you want.

Ask yourself: is there something specific you dislike about your job? Or does it extend to your career as a whole? Do you want fewer hours, or would having a boss who doesn’t micromanage you solve your problem?

Answer those questions before handing in your resignation notice.

It was absolutely clear to me that I wanted to work for myself. I wanted control of my career and flexibility within my schedule. I didn’t want to sprint home from the office at 5:30 to steal an hour with my daughter before bed. I didn’t want to pretend to be at a doctor’s appointment to take my son to swim class. I was excited to leave office politics behind and focus on the work. I figured worse comes to worse, I could always find another job in my field if it didn’t work out. However, it still took me two full years to gather up my “3 C’s”: courage, confidence, and clarity, to really do it. It’s okay to take it slow, but not so slow that you’ll be ready to retire by the time you pull the ripcord!

2. Don’t use other people’s definition of success

Dr. Lisa Damour, PhD, host of the podcast Ask Lisa: The Psychology of Parenting says it’s important for you to define your own success:

“It is easy to look at the people around us and think ‘well if they can do that I should be able to do that. Or why am I not doing what they’re doing?’ The question is ‘Can you be your own yardstick’? Can you decide for yourself what would be gratifying?”

For me, in my grasping (and gripping tightly) for a more balanced life, I had some big realizations. I recognized that I had to give up a title and a job that perhaps seemed glamorous to the outside world. Once I removed my ego from the decision and focused on the fact that it was my choice, and that my overall hap-

piness and balance was more important than any title, I felt freer. Ironically, once I set those external measurements aside, that’s when I started earning industry awards!

3. Start networking! I don’t mean meetups in mahogany bars with sad peanuts in small bowls — actually any social interaction can be “networking.” Coffee, wine, volunteering, pickleball session, surfing… you get my point. Any time you’re connecting with others, you’re networking. In deciding how big or small you want to grow your business, and as you begin to price your services, utilize networking to get more insight into what your standards should be. Leadership coach Leah Wiseman Fink says, “Money’s not an ugly dirty topic. Ask your friends and industry peers what they charge, tell what you charge.”

Connect with your first, second and third degree contacts on social media and on email – they will be your biggest cheerleaders and referrers, at least at first. My first big client came from a referral from a professional contact. That led to a long term consulting project and gave me the confidence to tell myself, ‘I can actually do this.’

Networking (or socializing, as it should be reframed) may seem daunting when you’re in transition. Neha Ruch of Mother Untitled, a community for ambitious moms leaning in to family life, has advice on owning your story. When someone asks “What do you do?”, Neha recommends answering with “This is what I’m doing right now. I’m choosing to ___” (and fill in the blank with whatever path you’re on). This comes from a place of choice and a position of power, instead of a position where you’re not wriggling in your seat answering, “Um, I used to be… and now I am sort of …” Own your choice!

4. Get a mom posse Remember when you had your first baby and

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you felt totally lost, wondering “How do I do this? What did I get myself into?” So you desperately befriended every mom with a stroller?

Find other moms who are working outside the 9-to-5. Your close friends who are climbing the corporate ladder may or may not understand your new challenges.

In my experience, when you tell people you quit your job, some of them will look at you like you have three heads. This is why you must find the people who will celebrate your choice and cheer you on! Other self-employed moms, consultants, stay-at-home moms with side hustles, they will be the ones texting you with balloon emojis when you land a client and grumpy emojis when you’re chasing

down an invoice. (Sorry, yes, those things sometimes happen!)

5. Remember your priorities

Panicking that you made the wrong decision? About to start job-hunting again? Tune out the noise! Sometimes I can still feel the buzzing energy of the ‘rat race’, but I’m trying to stay true to the reasons I decided to work for myself: I wanted more time with my kids and more control over my schedule. If I’m spending 60 hours a week ‘networking’ and posting on social media, why did I make this career change? Surely there is a different and smoother path?

Believe in yourself. You can do it. I promise.

My journey from burnt out media exec to founder of an award-winning video strategy company led me to launch Mom’s Exit Interview, a resource for moms who want to thrive without the 9-to-5. These tips and advice come from the awesome guests on our show – and myself!

Kim Rittberg is the host of Mom’s Exit Interview – http://moms-exit-interview.com and is a Gold Telly Award winner, Webby Honoree, a Content Strategy Expert and Creative Executive Producer in TV, digital video, and audio. She has been a speaker and instructor at PENN, Syracuse, and General Assembly and is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School. Visit her website here: Kim Rittberg

January 2023 | Queens Family 33

Babba Rivera

On paying tribute to her Latin culture as the founder of the clean hair brand Ceremonia, reimagining self-care, sustainability and what it means to be authentic

Ever since I spoke with Babba Rivera (@Babba), Ceremonia founder and mother of two, I couldn’t stop thinking about something she said. When I asked Babba about self-care, she said: “It’s not a destination, it’s a way of living.” When I asked her about sustainability, once again, she said: “It’s not a destination, it’s a way of living.” In our modern day of TikTok wellness influencers who take us through their daily skin-care vlogs, to fashionforward Gen-Zers showing off their vintage wear on Instagram, we’re entering a new era. This era, one where self-care, sustainability, among other things, are seen as everyday practices to be the best version of ourselves, is one that Babba is already familiar with. In fact, she’s leading it in the beauty industry.

Babba is challenging the status quo in these spaces to encourage a new way of thinking– one that requires intentionality and flexibility to grow. Ultra-mini uggs are trending. So what? Glass bottles are a sustainability practice precedent. So what? I learned from Babba that just because something is popular now or was the standard before, doesn’t mean it’s the future, and it definitely doesn’t mean that it’s you. The new era that Babba invites us into is one where we can be our authentic selves, where we are encouraged to tap into our inner creativity and create our world accordingly. Read on to hear how Babba’s brand Ceremonia (@myceremonia) is innovating a lot more than hair care.

Let’s first discuss your Latinx heritage. How has your family and culture influenced your hair care brand?

I am from Sweden and grew up very closely connected to my culture thanks to my parents, both from Chile. I was raised in a Spanish speaking household where Tia’s and Tio’s would come and go as they pleased and salsa played on repeat. Rituals were deeply rooted in my upbringing.

I have many fond memories with my family pertaining to rituals - beauty in particular. My father was a hairdresser back in Chile and would spend hours braiding my long hair, and my mom and aunties would invite me to their beauty practices using natural ingredients they knew and loved from passed down customs. My mother also taught me self-worth by practicing it herself, carving out the space for two hour baths and showers unapologetically as a mom of two. She also led by example in how she treated her skin and hair with nourishing products focusing on moisture and care versus styling and masking. What I loved most was the strong sense of community I learned from home as well as the healthy relationship to beauty I learned from my family as a form of self-care. Through Ceremonia, I pay tribute to my Latin culture because there is so much to be celebrated. From the powerful ingredients that are native to the region, to the rich rituals around beauty as a form of selfcare and self-love, not to mention the attention to care that goes into beauty as a whole.

We also know that self-care is top of mind with your brand. Can you tell us a little more about how you envision wellness and self-care in Ceremonia?

Self-care and wellness, for me, it’s not an end destination. It’s almost a way of living. It’s easy to deprioritize when you’re busy, but that’s when you need it the most. So with Ceremonia, we try to create every day rituals that are attainable, that can be those little pockets of joy throughout your day. One of our best selling Duos, the Sunday Reset Duo, is a papaya scalp scrub and a hair mask with babassu. These two products have become my sacred Sunday reset. Every Sunday, I take a bath and I give myself this deep exfoliating cleanse with the scalp scrub, which is basically a shampoo but more of a treatment shampoo that I use once a week. Then I put on the hair mask, and I let it sit in my hair for 15 minutes. I need to wash my hair that day anyway, but through

this ritual, it’s become a more joyful experience. That’s really what we try to do with the brand: making it possible for people to find every day joy in things that they need to do anyway. Let’s upgrade that experience.

Sustainability is also top of mind for your brand. What does sustainability mean to you, and how do you see it shaping the beauty industry?

Sustainability is such a big topic. For me, it’s similar to self-care: it’s not a destination, it’s a way of living. It’s a way of constantly learning and iterating. There is so much innovation happening within sustainability, which obviously is super cool, but sometimes I feel like the solutions become very gimmick-y and actually not really impactful at scale. It’s more like a thing that consumers can feel good about, and the brands can get a lot of PR around, versus actually having a sustainable impact.

A great example is one of the most common questions we get is: “Why don’t you use glass bottles? That would be more sustainable.” The reality is, it actually is not. We use post-consumer-recycled (PCR) materials. The reason we do that is because when we look at the entire carbon footprint and the recyclability of PCR, it’s much more sustainable than glass. Glass is great if you refill. If you keep the glass bottle in its original shape and you use it over and over again, then it’s more sustainable. But if you’re recycling glass, it’s actually very energy intensive. Not to mention the shipping implications of glass versus something much lighter like PCR. There’s this idea that it’s better if it’s glass because that feels more sustainable, but actually when you look at the bigger picture, is it really? For Ceremonia, it’s a lot about having that balance between perception versus reality, and we try to stick to the reality part. Even though sometimes we spend 5 times more on a solution that is not perceived, necessarily, as super sustainable and we don’t get any “green points”, we know that

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we’re doing the right thing. We see sustainability more so as our responsibility towards the Earth, not a marketing tool.

How has motherhood influenced your dayto-day life?

It’s influenced me so much. It’s the greatest joy. I never thought those words would come out of my mouth, to be quite honest. I was so focused on my career and really terrified of motherhood. I was worried that becoming a mom would compromise my identity and career. What I found is that it’s only been additive. It’s been an addition to my life, versus a limitation. I feel more confident than ever in my own skin. There is this sense of confidence that settles when you have your own children, like nothing else matters. Worst case scenario, I still have my children. It doesn’t matter how this career goes, or I don’t even care if someone is mad at me. I have my children. It’s a very powerful and grounding experience. It’s also made me more productive than ever. I have many more boundaries, and I almost feel like nothing can get to me…except for something with my kids. If my kids are sick, then I’m so worried. So the downfall of motherhood is you’re always worried about your kids. But the plus side is you’re never worried about anything else.

What advice do you have for womxn, particularly those of underrepresented backgrounds, who are thinking of starting their own businesses too?

Do it. The reality is, just like with kids, there’s never such a thing as good timing. I don’t think it’s wise to wait for the perfect time to present itself, because usually you just have to decide for yourself that this is the perfect timing. That’s how it goes with any decision. There are no decisions that are right or wrong. It’s just how you decide to perceive them.

About starting a business though, I will say that it’s liberating, but also very intense. Ask yourself why you want to run your own business. What’s the mission behind it? What’s the purpose? Then make sure you’re setting yourself up for success to live up to that purpose. There are people that start businesses because they want to work less. That’s fine, then you’re setting up the business according to that. Then there are people that start businesses because they want to make a lot of money. Okay, how will you do that? Just be honest with yourself about why you’re doing it, and that will help guide all of the decisions.

This article has been edited for clarity and brevity. To read the piece in its entirety, please visit newyorkfamily.com.

January 2023 | Queens Family 35
Photo by Yumi Matsuo




WHEN: Dec. 10 -Feb. 26, Wednesdays-Sunday, 10am-5pm

WHERE: New York Hall of Science, 4701 111th St., Corona AGES: All WHAT: Experience the magic of winter indoors thanks to this eco-friendly, polymer-based rink.

WANT TO GO?: $10. 718-6990005, nysci.org


WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 7, 10-11:15am

WHERE: Alley Pond Environmental Center, 224-65 76th Avenue, Oakland Gardens AGES: 6-8

WHAT: Explore the lives and legacy of dinosaurs as never before with a real paleontologist!

WANT TO GO?: $24. 718-2294000, alleypond.org

Discovery Hike: Winter Wildlife

WHEN: Sunday, Jan. 15, 10-11am

WHERE: Rockaway Beach, Beach 86th Street & Boardwalk, Rockaway Beach AGES: All

WHAT: Go in search of animals that call Rockaway Beach their home, including waterfowl, shorebirds, mammals, invertebrates, and even the occasional seal.

WANT TO GO?: 718-846-2731, nycgovparks.org

‘Bright Blossoms’

WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 21, 11am-12:30pm

WHERE: Painting with a Twist, 97-14 Metropolitan Ave., Forest Hills

AGES: 8 and older

WHAT: Follow along to step-

Learn paiting at Painting with a Twist on Jan. 21.

by-step instructions and paint a beautiful scene that you’ll be proud to display.

WANT TO GO?: $35. 929-3540001, paintingwithatwist.com


WHEN: Sunday, Jan. 22, 1pm and 3pm

WHERE: Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Avenue South, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Corona

AGES: 5-11

WHAT This new take on Cinderella, told in Spanish and English, tackles cultural heritage, family, and the power of language.

WANT TO GO?: $18; 4 for $60 with code 4FOR60. 718-8600064, queenstheatre.org

Lunar New Year Celebration

WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 28, 12-4pm

WHERE: Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main St., Flushing


WHAT: Celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with lion dance performances, zodiac-themed crafts and storytime, and more!

WANT TO GO?: $5 suggested donation. $15 parking rate in effect. 718-886-3800, queensbotanical.org

Lunar New Year Celebration

WHEN: Sunday, Jan. 29, 1-4pm

WHERE: Queens Museum, 11101 Corona Ave., Flushing


WHAT: Celebrate the year of the rabbit with folk dances, Lion Dance, Kung fu demonstrations, traditional arts and crafts, and more.

WANT TO GO?: Pay-whatyou-wish. 718-592-9700, queensmuseum.org


The PBR Monster Energy Buck Off

WHEN: Jan. 6-8, Friday, 7:45pm; Saturday, 6:45pm; Sunday, 1:45pm

WHERE: Madison Square Garden, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, Midtown

AGES: All WHAT: See the Top 35 bull

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riders in the world compete against the fiercest bucking bulls on the planet, providing thrills, heart pounding adrenaline and edge-of-yourseat excitement.

WANT TO GO?: Tickets start at $20. 212-465-6000, msg.com

The Thunderbird American Indian Dancers in Concert

WHEN: Jan. 13-22, Fridays and Saturdays, 8pm. Children’s matinees Saturday and Sunday, 3pm

WHERE: Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue, between 9th and 10th Streets, East Village


WHAT: This event will feature dances, stories and traditional music celebrating our first Americans.

WANT TO GO?: $15; $1 ages 5-12 during children’s matinees performances when accompanied by a full price paying adult, theaterforthenewcity.net

Discover Boating New York Boat Show in Manhattan

WHEN: Jan. 25-29, Wednesday-Friday, 12-8pm; Saturday, 10am-8pm; Sunday, 10am-6pm

WHERE: Jacob Javits Center, 655 W. 34th St., Chelsea AGES: All

WHAT: Experience the best of the boating life with travel

talks, indoor water activities, and hundreds of boats on display and ready to be explored by kids of all ages.

WANT TO GO?: $20; Children 12 years and younger allowed in FREE with a paid adult admission, nyboatshow.com


All Aboard with Thomas & Friends

WHEN: Jan. 7-16, Saturdays, Sundays, and holiday Mondays, 10:30am, 12:30pm, 2:30pm; Fridays, 10:30am and 12:30pm WHERE: The New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx AGES: All WHAT: Everyone’s favorite train is returning to NYBG as the star of a mini performance that everyone will enjoy!

WANT TO GO?: Tickets start at $15 for adults; $7 for students with ID and seniors 65 and older; and $4 for children 2-12; free for children younger than 2, nybg.org/

Family Art Project: Freedom Quilters of Gee’s Bend

WHEN: Jan. 14-15, 10am–1pm WHERE: Wave Hill, 4900 Independence Ave, The Bronx AGES: All

WHAT: Create your own fabric collage out of bountiful squares of fabric scraps to honor Dr. King’s Birthday and the inspiring women quilters of Gee’s Bend.

WANT TO GO?: Included with admission: $10; $6 students and seniors 65 and older; $4 ages 6 and older. 718-5493200, wavehill.org

Pajama Storytime

WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 21, 10:30-11:30am

WHERE: Bronx Library Center, 310 East Kingsbridge Road, Bronx

AGES: All WHAT: Wear your favorite pajamas for a morning full of songs, rhymes, and stories. WANT TO GO?: nypl.org


Keeper for a Day: Sharks

WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 7, 2-4pm WHERE: New York Aquarium, 602 Surf Avenue, Coney Island AGES: 3 and older

WHAT: Explore what it’s like to be a shark keeper, go behind

the scenes, and meet a small ocean animal up close.

WANT TO GO?: $30; $24 members. 800-433-4149, nyaquarium.com

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.

WHEN: Jan. 14-16, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, 10am-5pm

WHERE: Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 145 Brooklyn Ave., Crown Heights AGES: All

WHAT: Celebrate the life and legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through interactive performances, protest marches, community art programs, and volunteer projects!

WANT TO GO?: $13; $12 grandparent; free for babies younger than 1 year, brooklynkids.org

Disney On Ice presents Into The Magic

WHEN: Jan. 18-22, Wednesday and Thursday, 7pm; Friday, 11am and 7pm; Saturday, 11am, 3pm, and 7pm; Sunday, 12pm and 4pm

WHERE: Barclays Center, 620 Atlantic Ave., Prospect Heights/Park Slope


WHAT: Go on an expedition across raging seas, snow covered mountains and more with the stars of Disney’s Moana, Frozen, Coco and Beauty and the Beast with other beloved Disney characters.

WANT TO GO?: Tickets start at $20, disneyonice.com

January 2023 | Queens Family 37 JAN uA rY calendar
Learn about sharks at the New York Aquarium on Jan. 7.
Check out the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers at the Theater for the New City in the East Village.

Balancing Sports and Activities

The right fit for your child

As we move into winter, I have been spending my free time researching sports classes and extracurricular activities my kids will be doing this season.

I hadn’t planned it this way. I am a former Sports Mom, think stage mom of all things sports and after school, and this would be me. My mother never pushed my sisters and me to do sports. But my father was outdoorsy, and we did everything from track and skateboarding to racquetball and volleyball. And when my oldest son was a toddler, I enrolled him in his first soccer class. Watching him and his teammates figure out where exactly the ball was to go and why they couldn’t tackle or eat the netting was adorable.

Then it got serious. As the kids became older, they became more passionate, which meant more practice time and all-around parent involvement wasn’t just for a Saturday morning -practice weekdays were required. After soccer, we did basketball, flag football and then gymnastics. My son excelled in gymnastics, and I started to think – Olympics. Gold! But he hated it. He felt he was being pushed too hard, and the truth is, he was.

My youngest, who is autistic, had significant needs post-pandemic, requiring a lot of educational catch-ups and one on one time. And privately, as this ‘super sports mom,’ I was becoming unhinged with all that was on my plate. So we took some time off. This move was the best thing we could have done as a family. We focused on the youngest, his therapies and getting him into a specialty school. My oldest still participated in his afterschool activities, but as far as anything extra, we ceased it all for a bit. Having this time off also helped me get some perspective and realize it should always be about the kids and doing things they love.

And now, post-pandemic, post-time off, we are back. And here is why...we missed it. The practices, the running out the door early on Saturday mornings, even the snow days where I used to curse the weather as we trudged through the snow. But the truth is these kids wake up at dawn. Why not get out the door and be productive? And participating in a sport or an extracurricular

activity has enormous benefits.

Participating in a sport or extracurricular activity helps our kids to learn to communicate better, something they lacked during the pandemic. I can’t think of a better way for them to work on their social skills and come together with a group of kids of the same age (some from different schools!) and be part of a team or fine-tune a craft. Also, activities are not just sports; this is New York, where art, dance, theater classes (and more!) are plentiful. I am excited and nervous about all the future running around and the evening practices. But we’re ready and prepared to go with the flow and enjoy the ride. See you there!

Here are a few tips I learned during our hiatus:

For kids old enough, keep them involved . I never asked my son what he wanted to do. When one activity wasn’t his thing, we just moved on to the next. I never considered that maybe he didn’t like sports. He was excelling in afterschool classes of theater and dance and yet I continued to put him in sports classes. During our year break, I stopped pushing, and now he lets me know what classes he would like to try.

Step back if you have overscheduled your kids . If the classes, activities or weekend sports leave you or your family feeling like you’re losing it, step back. This doesn’t mean quitting. Skip a game or two. Talk to the coach and tell them you’ll miss a few classes. Take some time to ask why this is not enjoyable. Finish the class if you can, set new limits and work within the limitations you set up for your family when choosing the next set of classes and activities.

Ease up during the classes and games

We need to lighten up as parents, and I am as guilty as the next. In the past, my husband was the assistant coach for my son’s soccer team, which put added pressure on my son. The games, especially if the team lost, could be intense. Have fun. It’s only worth the stress if you have a future NCAA player and your kid is determined to make this something more. Work on having a healthy sense of competitive balance, especially in sports, so your child sees you are happy, win or lose.

Know your bandwidth . Learning from past mistakes — I am scheduling classes and activities close to home and maybe mixing it up, some afterschool fun, a weekend here and there, or a one-off or two class.

38 NewYorkFamily.com | January 2023
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