March 2024

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VOLUME 35, #2 APRIL 2018 Bab Having a Family RESOURCE Guide Pull Out and Save! INSIDE: 20+ Summer Camps VOLUME 40, #3 MAY 2023 FREE! FREE! VOLUME 38, #4 INSIDE: SummerGo! Guide Pull Out & Save! 15+Summer Camps Family FitnessFriendlyApps Gift Ideas Celebrating FREE! Elder Care Guide: Caring for Our Aging Parents VOLUME 41, #1 MARCH 2024

Maple Weekend

MARCH 16 & 17

Take an inside look at Maple Production in WNY! Ride the train on our only trip of the year to North Java, NY. Receive a catered pancake brunch.

MARCH 23, 24, 30

Hop on board for this ride filled with Easter fun. Includes a visit with everyone’s favorite bunny, an egg hunt, and more! Once in a Lifetime Eclipse Express

APRIL 8, 2024 2pm

Experience the eclipse on a unique rail riding experience with A&A Railroad. Seats are limited and include a pair of eclipse viewing glasses. The train departs Arcade Depot at 2pm and will stop at Curriers Station for the totality viewing. (Be sure to bring a lawn blanket or collapsible lawn chair!)

• Recreational Gymnastics: Beginner to Advanced • Competition Teams: USAG
• Gym-Tots (3-4 years)
Ave. Kenmore,
Celebrating 171 YEARS!
• Gym-Kids (5 years)
3200 Elmwood
NY 716-877-2700 CALL
278 Main St. | Arcade, NY 14009
Tickets Easter Bunny Express
Arcade & Attica Railroad





21 n ELDERCARE GUIDE A Special Pull-Out Section

• Benefits of a Sandwich Family: 11 Lessons My Kids Learned by Having Papa Live with Us

• Expert Tips on How to Care for An Aging Parent

• 10 Steps to Understanding Medicare

• Adaptive Clothing That Allows Greater Independence or Helps Caregivers Dress A Loved One

• Send in the Reinforcements: How to Care for the Caregiver

• Important Documents Everyone Should Organize, Regardless of Age

• Selecting an ElderCare Facility

• Report Finds 72% of Gen Zers Plan To Care For Aging Parents, Only 16% Aware of Senior Care Costs

• The Difference Between Power of Attorney and Executor


12 n Summer Camps

60 n Wellness Choices

Fun: Family Fitness Apps by Mike Daugherty

54 n Tweens and Teens

20 Things That Surprised Me About Having a Teenage Boy by Katy M. Clark

56 n Special Needs Special Needs and Siblings by Julia Garstecki

58 n Single Parenting How to Move Forward as a Single Mom by Meagan Ruffing

62 n Family Flavors

Easy Easter Eats: One-pan dishes to make hosting simple

63 n The Kiddie Gourmet G.D.I. Countryside Inn by Barbara Blackburn

March 2024 WNY Family 3 March 2024 • Volume 41 • Issue 1 To Reach Us: Advertising Department Calendar Submissions Subscriptions Editorial Submissions
ADDRESS: P.O. Box 1573 Buffalo, NY 14225
(716) 836-3486
BY: Commercial Printing Division The Post-Journal, Jamestown CIRCULATION (copies printed): 20,000 © 2024 Western New York Family, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form without permission is strictly prohibited. Inclusion of an advertisement does not constitute an endorsement by the publisher. PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS: MAILED FIRST CLASS, IN AN ENVELOPE SAME DAY ISSUE IS DELIVERED FROM THE PRINTER: $28 one year, $52 two years, $75 three years. Phone & online orders accepted with credit cards. Gift subscriptions available. Single copies & back issues by mail, $2.50. IF YOU MOVE: Missed issues will not be replaced if we do not receive an address change before issue mailing date. WE ARE AN AUDITED PUBLICATION Visit Our Web Site /WNYFamily /WNYFamily /WNYFamily
M. Kline
Miller CONTRIBUTORS Barbara Blackburn • Donna Phillips
Carpenter • Deborah Williams Mike Daugherty • Meagan Ruffing UME 2018 Bab Having a SPECIAL NEEDS Family RESOURCE Guide Pull Out and Save! INSIDE: 20+ Summer Camps VOLUME 2023 FREE! FREE! VOLUME INSIDE: SummerGo! Guide 15+ Summer Camps Family Friendly Fitness Apps Gift Ideas Celebrating Where It’s At! Find this entire issue online at You’ll find FREE courtesy copies of WNY Family at all Buffalo area Wegmans and 300 locations including Public Libraries, Doctors’ Offices, Child Care Centers and many of our advertisers. (Look for us INSIDE Wegmans on the racks where newspapers are sold, even though we are still FREE, or in some stores, on the FREE rack in the store foyer.) Celebrating 40 Years! Features: 7 n Four Decades of Family: Western New York Family Magazine Celebrates 40 Years!!! by Michele Miller 8 n Meaningful Easter Activities for Kids by Rebecca Hastings
n Challenge Your Gifted Learner by Rebecca Hastings
n 10 Steps to Spring Clean Your Kids Room by Rebecca Hastings Regulars: 5 n Web Finds / What’s New In The Kid Biz 16 n Dear Teacher by Peggy Gisler & Marge Eberts 20 n Pick of the Literature by Dr. Donna Phillips 46 n Family Travel Sweet Destinations for Maple Season! by Deborah Williams 50 n The Daddy Track I Won Laundry Once. It Was Glorious. by Shannon Carpenter 51 n Parent Previews by Kirsten Hawkes 52 n Raising Digital Kids No Excuses, Just
4 WNY Family March 2024


The Easter Bunny will be hopping its way to many homes at the end of this month. We know kids love candy, but if you would like our floppy-eared friend to mix things up a bit and reduce the amount of sweet stuff in your child’s basket, here are some fun alternatives!

Easter Bath Bombs

This colorful 16-pack set of bath bombs made with essential oils and organic shea butter will make bath time fun and relaxing for your kids. Each kit contains a variety of scents including lavender, raspberry, blueberries, rainbow candy, and more. Making things even more fun, each bath bomb contains a toy inside that your child will enjoy when the bath bomb dissolves. (Amazon, $25.99)

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza – Easter Edition

Paul — the Editor and Publisher of Western New York Family Magazine — learned about this game when he was introduced to it during a visit with his nieces from out of state. He had a blast playing this fast-paced, family-friendly card game with them— and now it comes in an Easter edition! Players take turns calling out the words and flipping their stack of cards. When the card and word match, players race to slap the pile. But watch out — your mind will play tricks on you! Adults and kids alike will love this game!

(Amazon, $9.99)

Hide & Squeak Eggs

For the toddlers, we found this adorable set of Hide & Squeak Eggs from TOMY. The shells of these eggs crack open to reveal adorable, colorful chicks. They’re not only fun, they’re educational too! Little ones will learn their colors and shapes as they sort each egg into its own special base in the box, creating the ultimate sensory toy play. (Amazon, $15.99)

LEGO Creator Easter Bunny

For the little builder in your home, this LEGO set featuring a cute Easter Bunny with Egg will be a big hit! Appropriate for ages 6 and up, this 75-piece set will make a fun decoration that your kids can assemble and put out at Easter for years to come. (Amazon, $16.99)

What’s New... IN THE KIDBIZ


The Jewish Repertory Theatre of Western New York, a program of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Buffalo, is proud to announce the receipt of $68,000 in grant funding from the Erie County Cultural Capital Grant Program. This program is intended to aid cultural and arts organizations throughout the county in tackling capital projects they would not be able to conduct otherwise.

This grant will primarily be used to upgrade and enhance the Maxine and Robert Seller Theatre at the JCC in Getzville. Upgrades will include brand new seats for the entire theater, new risers, new acoustic theater curtains, and upgrades to the lighting grid, sound system, and stage.

“We are incredibly grateful to Erie County for this grant,” said Adam Yellen, Director of Performing Arts at the JCC. “We are planning to refresh the entire theater space and we can’t wait to show off the final product to our subscribers and friends in the community. The JRT will continue to be a premier place to see locally produced professional theater, thanks to this funding.”

Founded in 2002, the JRT is a professional theatre whose mission is to present high-quality plays grounded in Jewish life, themes, and values. Through JRT productions, audiences of diverse beliefs and backgrounds explore both the uniqueness of Jewish heritage and cultural experiences, as well as those that are shared with others. Drama illuminates the human condition, and the JRT strives to bring this into focus through the lens of Jewish theatre. The JRT is theatre for everyone.

“I am so pleased that the JRT has been a cornerstone of our organization for the last 20 years,” said Patricia Simonson, CEO of the JCC. “On the heels of the momentum of a great anniversary season last year, the news of this grant will help propel the JRT forward and continue to secure its future as one of the premier local theater companies in Western New York.”

The JRT’s 21st season continues with Crossing Delancey, on stage May 9 – June 1. In addition, a special engagement of Survivors, recounting the true stories of Holocaust survivors from Western New York, will be presented March 9 and 10. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

March 2024 WNY Family 5
VOLUME 35, #2 APRIL 2018 Bab Having a Family RESOURCE Guide Pull Out and Save! INSIDE: 20+ Summer Camps VOLUME 40, #3 MAY 2023 FREE! FREE! VOLUME 38, #4 INSIDE: SummerGo! Guide Pull Out & Save! 15+Summer Camps Family FitnessFriendlyApps Gift Ideas Celebrating

HFour Decades of Family: F o u r D e c a d e s o f F a m i l y :

Western New York Family Magazine Celebrates 40 Years!!!

ow do I summarize WNY Family’s 40 years in just a few pages, especially when it’s been so intertwined with my personal life? If you’re a grandmother, you probably have some idea of WNY Family’s unique history because you enjoyed reading it every month while you raised your children — at least that’s what many women I meet at the Amherst Senior Center, where I’m now a member, tell me. Yes, I’m a senior citizen now, having started WNY Family on my din ing room table when my daughter was 4 and my son was 18 months old — today they’re 44 and 41.

Those grandmothers, and many others, have told me they’ve made sure their daughters and daughters-in-law know about WNY Family, so I’m fond of saying that this magazine has “raised two generations” of WNY’s children!

I never planned to publish a magazine and had no education in journalism, other than working on my high school newspaper and yearbook, and being an A student in English. Graduating from UB with a degree in mathematics in 1973, I taught 7th and 8th grade math for six years in the Buffalo Public Schools before taking maternity leave upon the birth of my first child. Originally from Long Island, I had come to Buffalo for college, married my college sweetheart right after graduation, and settled down to a happy life in a city we had both come to love.

grandmother, aunt, or cousin to lean on for the kind of support a new mom needs. Back then, there was no Internet to Google for resources, nor were there as many activities available for children, especially the youngest ones. Even nursery schools and child care centers were few and far between.

and after the 6-week session of my mother-infant exercise class, all of my classmates decided we would continue to get together as a playgroup — one which lasted for years, and which saved my sanity as a new mom with no family around.

The organization behind Lamaze childbirth was, at the time, called ASPO/ Lamaze — ASPO standing for “American Society for Psychoprophylaxis in Obstetrics,” which was quite a mouthful! Today it is simply Lamaze International and can be found at

But once I left my job to stay at home with my newborn daughter — as the majority of mothers still did back in 1979 — I was restless. I needed something to occupy my mind. I also had no family within 500 miles. No mother,

I was thrilled to learn from my Lamaze childbirth educator that they offered a local support group and motherinfant exercise classes for new moms — I needed that connection. (Keep in mind, that in 1979, “natural” or Lamaze childbirth classes were not taught in hospitals; it was strictly a “grassroots” effort, with classes taught in the instructor’s basement or perhaps a church’s community room.)

Once my daughter was born, I eagerly signed up for the support group

Eventually, I became involved in the local “parent’s division” of ASPO, helping with fundraising and the events they held for their membership of almost 500 families. I was amazed when 250 families with children ranging in age from newborn to preschool showed up for family field trips and holiday parties publicized in the group’s monthly newsletter. Also popular were the mother’s coffees and playgroups listed in those newsletters.

At some point, as a relatively new member, I was shocked to be approached and asked if I would like to serve as Co-President of the parent’s division. If I hadn’t accepted that position, WNY Family probably wouldn’t exist!

During my two-year stint as copresident, I learned a great deal about the needs of families with very young children in our area — and what was lacking. When my term ended, I asked myself, “Well, what do I do now to keep myself busy?”

By that time, my second child had arrived and I’d completed 6 consecutive continued on page 18

March 2024 WNY Family 7
Michele Miller Paul Kline

Meaningful Easter Activities for Kids

Easter is always full of fun treats and exciting baskets. But there is more to Easter than candy and plastic eggs. You can help your kids experience Easter in a new way by incorporating meaningful activities that help them understand the holiday.

What Is Easter?

While many people of various faith backgrounds celebrate Easter, the holiday is rooted in Christianity. Easter Sunday is the day believers remember and celebrate Jesus rising from the dead after being crucified on the cross. This is significant because it represents the forgiveness of sin so people can live in grace and go to heaven.

These concepts can be hard for people to understand, especially kids. Doing activities that help them understand what Easter represents will help them grasp the meaning of the holiday.

Try these Easter activities with your family this holiday:

Use Resurrection Eggs

Create or purchase resurrection eggs. These plastic eggs contain symbols representing different parts of the Easter story. Open each egg and discuss

its significance as you go through the story together. Instructions are included in most sets or you can make your own and share the information with your family. Try opening one egg per day for the 12 days leading up to Easter or do them all at once.

Create a Mini Easter Garden

Teach kids about how Jesus died on the cross, was buried in a tomb, and rose again, leaving the tomb empty with this craft.


• Terra cotta mini pot (tomb)

• Terra cotta small tray

• Small pebbles from the Floral department or your yard

• Grass seed (you only need a handful)*

• One small bag of potting soil

• Small twigs and a Large rock (smaller than a child’s fist) from the yard

• Glue gun

• Spray water bottle


1. Lay the small pot on its side in the tray.

2. Fill a little more than half the tray with soil, packing it around and over the top of the sideways pot.

3. Add pebbles or small stones in front of the opening of the pot (tomb.)

4. Place large rock in front of the opening of the pot (tomb.)

5. Sprinkle grass seed on the soil.

6. Make sticks into three crosses, using hot glue to secure. Place them in the dirt hill.

7. Spray lightly with water daily and wait for the grass to grow.

*If you don’t want to use grass seed, you can use moss to cover the hill.

Find step-by-step instructions with pictures at We Are That Family (

Make Empty Tomb Rolls

Kids will love making these sweet treats that make a powerful illustration. You only need five ingredients to make these rolls that demonstrate the empty tomb.

8 WNY Family March 2024


• 1 can of refrigerated biscuits or crescent rolls

• 8-10 large marshmallows

• Melted butter

• 1 tablespoon cinnamon

• 3 tablespoons sugar


1. Preheat the oven according to instructions on rolls.

2. Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.

3. Melt butter in a separate bowl.

4. Divide and flatten biscuits to make circles.

5. Dip a marshmallow in melted butter and coat with sugar mixture.

6. Place in the center of the biscuit and fold the dough around the marshmallow. Be sure to pinch the seams closed so the marshmallow is sealed in the dough.

7. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake according to package directions.

8. Allow to cool and then kids can break open the biscuit. Explain to kids that the dough is the tomb and the marshmallow represents Jesus. The butter and sugar mixture symbolizes how they prepared Jesus’ body for burial. You seal the biscuits just like they sealed the tomb shut. Then they waited and when the tomb opened Jesus’ body was gone. This helps kids grasp the story of Jesus’ resurrection as we celebrate Easter.

Find step-by-step instructions with pictures at Thrifty NW Mom (

More Simple Ideas for Easter

There are many ways to highlight the spiritual significance of Easter for kids. And they don’t need to be complicated. A few more ideas to try:

• Foot Washing: Model how Jesus washed his disciples’ feet by having a family foot washing and reading the story from the Bible.

• Easter Nature Walk and Reflection: Take a nature walk and use the beauty of the natural world to discuss God’s creation and the renewal associated with Easter.

• Easter Storybook Reading: Read a children’s Easter storybook that explains the religious significance of Easter. Choose a book that is age-appropriate and captures their attention.

You can show your kids what Easter is really about, even as you enjoy Easter egg hunts and treat-filled baskets.

Rebecca Hastings is a former elementary teacher who traded the classroom for writing when she stayed home with her three children. Passionate about authenticity, faith, and family, you can find her at and on Amazon. In real life, she can often be found typing words, driving her kids places, or wherever there is chocolate.

Saint Benedict School

March 2024 WNY Family 9
Accepting Applications for PK3 - 8th grade
for your private tour
3980 Main Street, Amherst, NY 14226 @stbenedictamherst

Challenge Your Gifted Learner

With fewer and fewer schools offering gifted education programs, it is difficult to make sure these children are appropriately challenged. For this reason, parents play a crucial role in nurturing and challenging gifted learners. Whether they are things you incorporate on your own or support you seek out, you can give your gifted learner a developmentally appropriate education.

Here are 18 ways parents can support and stimulate their gifted child:

1. Identify and Acknowledge their Giftedness:

Recognize and accept that your child is gifted. Understand their unique needs and abilities. Pursue assessment through your child’s school or a psychologist.

2. Provide a Stimulating Environment:

Create a rich learning environment at home with books, educational games, puzzles, and art supplies.

3. Encourage Curiosity and Exploration:

Foster a love for learning by allowing them to explore their interests, even if they’re unconventional.

4. Offer a Variety of Learning Materials:

Provide a range of age-appropriate materials that challenge their intellect and creativity.

5. Advocate for Differentiated Education:

Communicate with teachers and school administrators to ensure your child’s educational needs are being met through differentiated instruction.

6. Support Independent Learning:

Teach them how to research, find resources, and learn independently. Encourage self-driven projects so they can pursue deeper learning.

7. Expose them to Diverse Experiences:

Attend cultural events, museums, science centers, and other educational outings to broaden their horizons. Many museums even have online tours and programming available for free.

8. Encourage Critical Thinking:

Engage in discussions that encourage questioning, analysis, and problemsolving. Be open to thinking without always finding the right answer. This encourages deeper thought and creativity.

9. Facilitate Social Interaction:

Organize playdates, clubs, or activities with peers who share similar interests or abilities. This may require you to look beyond typical age-based programs. Similarly, offer some things that are unrelated to your child’s intellect and are simply times to have fun with agelevel peers.

10. Emphasize Effort and Persistence:

Encourage a growth mindset by praising their efforts and resilience rather than just their innate intelligence. These skills will help them as they pursue more challenging topics.

11. Provide Access to Advanced Resources:

Use technology to access online courses, educational apps, and virtual learning platforms. Libraries are great resources for these items.

12. Support Extracurricular Activities:

Your child is more than just their giftedness. Encourage participation in clubs, sports, or activities related to their interests and talents.

10 WNY Family March 2024

13. Offer Choices and Autonomy:

Allow them to make decisions about their learning path, within reasonable limits. Give them a voice in their learning.

14. Foster a Love for Reading and Writing:

Encourage them to read widely and express themselves through writing, journaling, or creative projects. This fosters learning regardless of ability level.

15. Monitor Well-Being and Balance:

Ensure they have a healthy balance of academic, social, and recreational activities. Gifted learners can sometimes push themselves very hard. Watch for signs of stress or burnout, and normalize talking about these topics.

16. Be a Role Model for Lifelong Learning:

Show enthusiasm for learning new things yourself, and share your interests and hobbies. Sometimes gifted learners don’t have anyone to talk with about their thinking. Be a person that listens in their life.

17. Celebrate Achievements and Milestones:

Acknowledge their accomplishments, both big and small, to boost their confidence and motivation.

18. Seek Professional Guidance if Needed:

Consult with educators, psychologists, or specialists in gifted education for additional support and resources.

Remember that every child is unique, so it’s important to tailor your approach to suit your child’s specific interests, abilities, and personality. One of the most important things you can do is to provide emotional support and ensure they have time for relaxation and play. This helps them develop their intellect as well as their emotional and mental health.

March 2024 WNY Family 11
12 WNY Family March 2024 CAMPsSummer Special Advertising Section Find the Right Camp for Your Child 1/2 Day Summer Literacy Camp & Individualized Literacy Tutoring 2 Summer Literacy Programs Offered! 716-645-2470
CAMPsSummer Special Advertising Section Find the Right Camp for Your Child Skibbereen Farm 5142 Bussendorfer Road • Orchard Park, NY 14127 • 716-648-1908 HORSE CAMP at Skibbereen Farm • Learn basic riding skills • Safety rules around horses • Horse care • Saddlery • Basic first aid June through August • 9am-1pm Registration Form Online Cost: $425/Session four seasons Camp @ 9 mile island 1 Orbit Drive Nine Mile Island • Amherst FOUR SE ASONS CHILDCARE CENTER & PRESCHOOL 1639N.FrenchRd.,Getzville,NY14068 EARLY ENROLLMENT SPECIALS Call 568-1140 • Water Activities • Hiking • Arts & Crafts • In-house visitors • Great Outdoor Fun and much more!
14 WNY Family March 2024 CAMPs Summer Special Advertising Section Find the Right Camp for Your Child Learning Competitions Crafts Re a d y, Set C A M P ! Boost your enrollment in 2024 through WNY Family’s Advertising Space Reservation Deadlines: For more info call 716-836-3486 April ......................... Friday, March 8 May Wednesday, April 10 June Friday, May 10 July ......................... Monday, June 10 CENTER STAGE DANCE STUDIO - Certified member of Dance Educators of America★ 716-634-3395 ★ www.csds .dance 4837 Union Rd., Cheektowaga (Near Cleveland Dr.) Summer Dance CLASSES OFFERED IN Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Hip Hop and Acro 5 StudiosAmple Parking Coming this July and August! Details will be announced soon. Summer and School Break camps are available! Camp ages: 4 – 13 yrs. 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca, NY 14224 • 716-875-7360 For more information, visit To register for Break Camp To register for Summer Camp Register online at or call 716-881-9797 Summer Crew Camp for youth ages 11-16 Full Day and Half Day Sessions Available for June, July and August! Financial Assistance Available
Helping all parents make their children’s educational experience as successful as possible

How to Turn Your Child into a Math Whiz

Parents: If you want your child to be a math whiz, the number one thing to do is to NEVER say: “I was never any good at math.” And the number two thing not to say is: “I hated math when I was in school.” Say either of these things, and there is a strong likelihood that your child will also be saying these things or use them as a justification for not being a math whiz. Whether you were good at math in school or not, you can definitely

help your child like math and have the skills to succeed in this subject.

Start Early to Help Your Child Become a Mathematician

Young children are so fascinated with math that they begin to explore mathematical concepts long before they enter school. They explore such things

as the sizes of objects, the similarities and differences of objects and people, and the sequence of events. By age three, they start to use words like “more,” “bigger,” and “in the car,” showing they are beginning to learn about math concepts such as volume, size, and the location of objects. They learn these concepts by handling objects and using all of their senses. Support this early interest by providing them with objects to explore. Ordinary objects like plastic measuring cups, pots, pans, empty cardboard food cartons, and nesting mixing bowls are all you need.

Be sure to help your children learn how to sort objects as it is the most basic of all mathematical skills. They can help you sort the laundry by putting all the socks or shirts together. You can dump a variety of pastas on a table and have them put the like ones in a container. Since numbers can be placed in order from smallest to largest, your children can learn about this mathematical concept of ordering by having them physically place objects in size order like shoes, cups, spoons, various sized pieces of spaghetti, and other household items. Do give them this opportunity.

The Time to Introduce Numbers

Before they go to kindergarten, your children should be introduced to numbers. Of course, this may be started at school if they attend nursery school or pre-kindergarten. The first step is rote counting of numbers 10 or less to help them learn the names of the numbers. No matter what they may have learned away from home, have them do some rote counting at home. There are number games that you can play with them like one, two, three, buzz, four, five, six and on up to ten both forwards and backwards saying “buzz” instead of a specific number and then going on to another player.

Once your children are able to count rotely you want to have them apply this continued on page 49

16 WNY Family March 2024 DEAR TEACHER
Registration Now Underway for 2024 - 2025 2-Year-Old Preschool Classes T/TH 3-Year-Old Preschool Classes T/TH or M/W/F 4 & 5-Year-Old K-Ready M-F Parent’s Day Out 22 Months and Up T/TH M/W/F 5-Year-Old Out

10 Steps to Spring Clean Your Kids Room

It is no surprise that kids’ rooms can get pretty messy, even if your child is great about putting things away. Between toys, outgrown clothes, craft supplies, books, and dust bunnies, there’s plenty to do. But for most parents, the idea of spring cleaning their kids’ rooms can feel daunting.

Why Cleaning Your Kids Room Feels Hard

Kids’ rooms are unique. They aren’t like the rest of the house. Think about your child and how much they change in six months. Those changes can often be seen in their room. That’s the primary reason it feels difficult when it comes to keeping their rooms truly clean.

Kids are evolving and so are their space, belongings, and needs. Just take a look at how fast they outgrow clothes or how they lose interest in a toy they were obsessed with only a month ago. This creates a space that is constantly growing and changing just like they are. Staying on top of it can feel impossible. But it doesn’t have to.

Spring Cleaning Kids Rooms Helps

Most of the time parents focus on keeping things tidy. This makes sense on a daily or weekly basis. Put the books on the bookshelf, get the toys in the bin, and hopefully get the laundry put away. These are great goals. But sometimes the

room needs more.

Spring cleaning is a great way to get a deep clean, go through their belongings, and reset the space to match their current needs. It is a lot of work, but breaking it down can help. Spring cleaning your kids’ room can feel refreshing for spring. Here are some steps to get the job done:

1. Declutter:

This is the biggest job, but it makes the most difference. Start by getting rid of items your child no longer needs or uses. The more thorough you can be the better. Consider what toys they truly play with, make sure their clothes fit, and toss things that are broken or stained. Donate or discard things that are taking up space unnecessarily.

2. Organize:

You may be tired from all the decluttering, but don’t give up. It’s time to arrange things systematically. It is tempting to go online and find the best organizing solutions, but start with what you have. You can always fill in the gaps later. Consider using storage solutions around the house such as bins, baskets, or shelves to keep things tidy. Then make a list of what you still need. Always organize before you buy new storage solutions.

3. Dust and Wipe:

The hardest part is over! Now it’s time to deep clean the space. Start by dusting all surfaces, including shelves, furniture, and electronic devices. Wipe down surfaces with a damp cloth or foam sponge like a Magic Eraser to remove accumulated dirt or grime.

4. Vacuum or Sweep:

Next, clean the floors thoroughly. Vacuum carpets and rugs, and sweep or mop hard floors. Be sure to get corners, around heat sources, and under furniture. Deep-cleaning carpets or area rugs with a service or a carpet cleaner is also helpful.

5. Wash Bedding:

Launder all bedding, including sheets, pillowcases, and blankets. This can contribute to a fresh and clean atmosphere in your room. If you use seasonal bedding, swap out the winter bedding and store it in a tote or vacuum-sealed bag for colder weather. Spring is also a good time to replace worn pillows or sheets. If pillows are yellowed wash them as directed or replace them.

6. Clean Windows:

Clean all windows inside and out. This will allow more natural light to enter and brighten up the space. Don’t just clean the glass. Be sure to clean the sills, tracks, trim, and screens so things are fresh and clean. Also, wipe down blinds or shades to remove any dust or dirt and make sure they are in working order. Remove curtains and wash as directed.

continued on page 61

March 2024 WNY Family 17

years of maternity leave, which was the limit. I decided to formally resign. Although I had loved teaching, I felt that if I spent my days teaching rambunctious 7th and 8th graders, by the time I got home to my own children at the end of the day, I’d be drained of energy for them; again, keeping in mind we had no family in Buffalo and childcare centers were still scarce at the time. By now, my husband and I had lived on one salary — his — while I was on leave, so we figured it was doable. I have never regretted that decision.

No longer in charge of an organization, my ever-active mind began to ask, “Where do all the new parents who DON’T belong to the local parents’ division of ASPO/Lamaze get their information about places to go and fun things to do with their kids?”

The answer: There was no other single source in Buffalo for the average, frazzled mom to get support and LOCAL information to enrich her family’s life.

This is where my volunteer skills and my teaching experience combined gave me the idea for a newsletter called “Mother’s Lifeline.” Born as an 8-page newsletter, created on my little Smith-Corona portable electric typewriter from college, and printed on blue paper with rub-on transfer letters for headlines, the first edition of 1,500 copies was mailed in March of 1984 to a list of parents I’d graciously been given from ASPO and a friend who sold Discovery Toys.

“AM Buffalo,” saying he had an opening spot for me in just a few days! As we say via text now, my reaction was, “OMG!!”

From then on, regular appearances on “AM Buffalo” demonstrating kids’ crafts, clever costumes to make for Halloween, or how to make your own playdough, brought “Mother’s Lifeline” the best free publicity we could have ever asked for. After each appearance, we’d get as many as 300 letters asking for the instructions or recipes, and our subscription base grew.

Knowing how rough the winter months were on families with young kids, “Mother’s Lifeline” created “Cabin Fever Workshops at the Buffalo Zoo.” Promoted with weekly appearances on “AM Buffalo,” we broke an attendance record, with families coming indoors to make a wide variety of takehome crafts at tables staffed by all the non-profit organizations we publicized regularly in the newsletter. Working with a shoestring budget, for months in advance we had everyone we knew collecting egg cartons so kids could make “caterpillars” and helping us dye pounds and pounds of ziti for macaroni necklaces! As a sponsor, Wegmans graciously donated paper plates, straws, cups, and anything else we requested that could be turned into craft projects.

“Mother’s Lifeline” was originally meant to be a monthly subscription newsletter with a price tag of $12 for one year. Within a week of the initial issue’s mailing, I received my first subscription check accompanied by a full-page, typewritten letter (which I still have!) telling me why Mother’s Lifeline was needed and all the ways it could serve the community. I had definitely struck a nerve — and step #1 for any business’ success was finding a need and filling it!

From there, the years flew by. One day, Donna Phillips, who became our longtime “Pick of The Literature” columnist, called and told me she had picked up a copy of the newsletter and loved what I was doing. She said that she knew someone at WKBW’s “AM Buffalo” and she was going to tell them about me. I had already sent a press kit to them and received no response, so I thanked her, but honestly didn’t believe anything would happen. I was so-o-ooo wrong.

I came home a few days later to find a message on my answering machine (you might be too young to remember this precursor to voicemail!) from John Di Sciullo, then producer of

By 1987, WNY Family’s office had moved from the dining room table to what used to be the baby’s room in my house. Around that time, I received a call from George Zenger, who owned Parkside Press, now known as the Zenger Group. The father of seven children, George had picked up a copy of the newsletter and was impressed. He told me that his wife was a nurse and that when she worked nights, he took care of the kids. He was the first businessman, and I stress MAN, in Buffalo who could relate to what “Mother’s Lifeline” was all about. George became an important mentor to me and helped me take “Mother’s Lifeline” to the next level.

George helped me buy a used typesetting terminal that I could use at home — again, personal computers were not widely in use yet — and allowed me to use Parkside Press’ office at night to do issue layout and pasteup with the help of one of his employees. Eventually, he vouched for my credit and introduced me to ColorGraphic, a web press company that would print “Mother’s Lifeline” on newsprint in a larger quantity for less money than on the blue paper.

I could tell you countless stories of how people seemed to show up at just the right time to help “Mother’s Lifeline” grow. Nancy Garbacz worked for Dy-Dee Wash Diaper Service and asked if they could put the newsletter in their diaper service deliveries because it was getting too expensive to produce their own and their customers missed it. She also took it to the classes she taught for expectant parents at local hospitals and talked

18 WNY Family March 2024
OF FAMILY: continued...
The Fit Family • Choosing Childcare • Wellness Choices
Our Annual
40, #11 JANUARY 2024

it up to parents who visited the Dy-Dee Wash diaper changing/ nursing space at many events like the Erie County Fair, or those held at the Buffalo Convention Center. Today, her son still does some of our distribution.

With the growth of “Mother’s Lifeline,” it was becoming clear that there was more work than my “one-woman show” could handle and that paid subscriptions would not be enough to continue growth. Including advertising in the newsletter became a must — and that pretty much began by accident.

One night (my home phone number was listed as the contact on the back of the newsletter), I answered the phone to find Oscar Vizcarra of Becker Farms on the line. He had been seeing many families show up at his farm with “this blue paper” on their dashboard. He finally asked them what that “blue paper” was. Unbeknownst to him, I had visited Becker Farms with my kids after seeing it advertised in the classifieds of The Buffalo News as a pick-your-own farm, and subsequently written about it. Families showed up in droves…. and Becker Farms became an advertiser, and remains one today.

Dentist Joel Levin of Levin & Houghtaling was another forward-thinking businessman who took the initiative to call and become one of our very first advertisers and longtime supporters.

If we were going to recruit more advertisers, I couldn’t continue to be a one-woman operation. George Zenger’s employee Lisa (Saia) August became my first official hire and at that point, my husband, who was an attorney, insisted that the business become a corporation for all the benefits and protections it offered to both me, as the owner, and to any employees. In May of 1987, we incorporated as Western New York Family, Inc. The choice of name came as a result of a letter I received from a subscriber. A divorced dad wrote that he loved the newsletter because of all the activities in the event calendar, but he was embarrassed to get “Mother’s Lifeline” in his mailbox…. couldn’t we change the name? And change the name we did. That smart reader gave us the inspiration we needed to address the entire family, not just moms, which further helped broaden our reach.

Marybelle Heimerle called one day to say she worked for Northstar Delivery & Distribution and would be able to get WNY Family into the places young families frequented most in WNY — pediatrician’s offices, libraries, and so much more. You can print plenty of magazines but if they don’t get into the hands of readers, advertisers aren’t going to get results, so distribution is key!

I can’t name everyone who has been part of our evolution in this limited space, but you all know who you are, and I treasure the memories I have of all of you. You have my sincerest gratitude, especially those who have written articles and columns to share their ideas and wisdom over the years. Quality content is one more way WNY Family differentiated itself from other publications that came along but had no staying power.

The only event that might have caused the demise of the

magazine was the death of my husband John at the young age of 41 in 1993. He was diagnosed with acute myelocytic leukemia one week before Christmas at the age of 39. The 5-year survival rate for that type of leukemia at the time was only 20% and it is still the deadliest form today. Even with a bone marrow transplant (still experimental at the time) from his sister, who was a perfect match, complications resulted in his death.

Back then, I was still writing a column called “Family Matters” in the magazine each month and I chronicled our journey through his illness there. The column I had to write telling readers he had died was one of the most emotional things I’ve ever had to do, but the resulting outpouring of love and sympathy gave me the strength to go on for the sake of my children, who were then 10 and 13. Readers sent cards and perfect strangers dropped off meals for my family at the office, which at that point was a space across from the Buffalo Zoo, rented to us by George Zenger, whom I refer to as the “Patron Saint of WNY Family” for all the help and support he gave the magazine and me, personally. He was the first commercial printer to use Apple computers for typesetting and design — and when I saw what they could do, I knew I had to go that route — another step forward for WNY Family.

Shortly after my husband’s death, I had to make a decision whether to continue growing the magazine or returning to teaching. By chance, I noticed a small mention in The Buffalo News about a program at UB’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership for business owners who were experiencing challenges. I applied and was accepted, but little did I know that most of those in my class owned multimillion dollar companies! WNY Family was a “micro” business by comparison! I learned a great deal from my classmates and the mentors in that program; another opportunity that just seemed to drop in my lap and which inspired and re-energized me to continue to grow the magazine instead of making a return to teaching.

The magazine you hold in your hand today is the result of the combined efforts of so many people through the last 40 years — and a loyal readership, many of whom have told me that when they sold their house to a young couple with children, they’d leave their stack of back issues of WNY Family behind for them to read!

At the end of 2022, I transferred my ownership of WNY Family to Paul Kline, my longtime employee and trusted General Manager, staying on in 2023 as editor to aid in the transition. By the time you read this, I will be 99% retired, remaining only as WNY Family’s online event calendar editor. I trust Paul to carry on my legacy and continuing WNY Family’s mission of enriching family life in our region, hopefully for yet another generation. I hope you will support his efforts.

Although I won’t miss a life governed by magazine deadlines, it looks like once again, I will have to ask, “Well, what do I do now to keep myself busy?”

March 2024 WNY Family 19



March is a busy month! It is a month of transition and awakening. We start off in the unwinding of winter, transition to Spring with St. Patrick’s Day, then the Spring Equinox, and end with Easter Sunday. In the middle is Ramadan and Holi with even more national and international recognition days! Don’t forget International Day of Forests and National Read to Me Day! There are so many reasons to celebrate and there is most likely a book for each celebration. Here are just some of the ones that have burst forth for this season.

shared with the reader in a background of forest green. This is a busy book with a deep sense of quiet and calm. Just the things the forest has to offer to help us obtain a sense of awareness, awe, and appreciation.

Forest (Princeton Architectural Press, New York, $18.99, 2024) written and illustrated by Christie Matheson, is a simple and lovely way to introduce young children to the magic of nature. With limited words and endearing illustrations, we are introduced to the trees, flora, and fauna of the woods. We learn of underground places to live, homes in trees, and places for nesting and resting. We learn of things to eat, places to play and hide, and sounds to listen for, things to look for, all beautifully and simply

Animals all have their own special way of staying close and caring for each other. Animal Snuggles: Affection in the Animal Kingdom (Sourcebooks Kids, Naperville, $14.99, 2024) written by Aimee Reid and illustrated by Sebastien Braun is a charming book that shows the many ways animals stay connected with each other. This colorful book is perfect for an Easter basket as we learn how adults and their offspring show how they care by saying hello or simply saying “I love you” by connecting belly to belly, nose to nose, beak to beak or toe to toe, flipper to flipper, knee to knee, and even trunk to tail. Colorful illustrations show animal families together in the many varied habitats in our amazing world. The end of the book shares more details on how these animals communicate and cuddle.

Jim Panzee is at it again! This time he just can’t calm down. What is his problem? He has Spring Fever! What can he do about it? In the riotous book Grumpy Monkey Spring Fever (Random House, New York, $11.99, 2024) written by Suzanne Lang and hilariously illustrated by Max Lang, we get energized along with the rest of his friends as he celebrates spring. It appears the Spring Fever is contagious or is it just Jim’s antics? As he bounces and bounds his way through the forest, he gets his friends to

join him as they help him put his energy to good use. Before we know it, he has everyone decorating eggs, hiding them, and finding them. He has them making bonnets, planting, climbing, picking, painting, petting, searching, seeking, peeking, and playing. They all had Spring Fever and they were celebrating together!

Eyes That Weave the World’s Wonders (Harper Collins Publishers, New York, $19.99, 2024) written by Joanna Ho and Liz Kleinrock and illustrated by Dung Ho, is the beautiful addition to a series of books about an Asian child who is adopted by an American family. While she is much like all of her family, it is her eyes that she thinks sets her apart. Through this loving story of connection and appreciation, we learn how she has come to know her family and what they see in her and around her.

In the process, she also learns that she is creating her own story as she explores the world around her, her history, and the experiences of those that have come before her. This eye opening and heart opening book is perfect for the season and things to come.

The wonders of the month of March are many and varied. As March “comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb,” we can really become aware of all it has to offer our senses — the changing things to see and do, the smells in the air indoors and outdoors as we celebrate and explore. The tastes of holiday treats and celebrations, the feel of brisk cold air that changes to spring breezes and the growing chatter of birds

continued on page 45

20 WNY Family March 2024
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Benefits of a Sandwich Family:

11 Lessons My Kids Learned by Having Papa Live with Us


2 is too young to find out you have Alzheimer’s. But my dad did. When he moved in with us, he was 55 and our kids were 1, 3, 5 and 7. The journey over the next twelve years was wonderful and harsh, rewarding and overwhelmingly stressful, happy and SO sad. But now I am able to identify the benefits of raising our kids in a Sandwich Family—a family where three generations live and thrive together. The kids were growing up as Papa was “growing down.”

Patience: When Papa first moved in, his signature “symptom” was asking the same questions over and over again. He could ask the same question thirty times a day. It was frustrating to have to repeatedly explain things. The older kids understood and would politely answer his repeated questions. Ben, the baby, had just recently learned to talk himself. He would say, “PAPA! I TOLD you that ALREADY!” So, each time, I would take him aside and explain that Papa couldn’t remember things the way that he could. It only took Ben a little while before he

started to say things like, “Oh, you must have forgotten. I’ll tell you again. . .”

We help our family: By being immersed in the reality of Papa’s disability and needs, the kids were able to see firsthand that helping one another is a top priority for us. One Saturday morning, we were all bustling around getting ready for a busy day. Papa called me downstairs to help him “fix” his T.V. There was nothing wrong with it. He had just forgotten which button to press in order to get it to turn on. The same thing happened fifteen minutes later as we were trying to get ourselves out to the car. 9-year-old Jon piped up, “Yeah, I helped him three times with that already this morning.” I was awestruck. Here, this little guy was helping Papa without me even being aware of it. He just naturally did it without complaining and without taking issue.

Honor your (Grand) father: It was always my determination that we were going to help Papa, but that we were also going to do every “normal” thing that families with young children do. We

were going to go to soccer games and have birthday parties and go on vacations. We were just going to have to be creative. 14-year-old Sarah had a sleepover birthday party, where a bunch of girls were watching a movie late at night. I knew that Papa wasn’t “settled” yet, so I was lurking around the house keeping tabs on things. That night, Papa interrupted the girls multiple times asking who they were and why they were at his house. Sarah very kindly responded each time, “Papa, you’re my Grandpa, and I’m just having a birthday party. We’re watching a movie.” And he was satisfied with that answer and went back to his room for a few minutes. At one point I heard Sarah explaining the situation to her friends, very matter-of-factly. “He has memory loss and we just have to keep reminding him. But, he’s okay.”

Perseverance: As time went on, we needed to have our cupboards and refrigerator locked. There wasn’t any real danger, it was just that Papa would forget that he had just eaten, and then proceed to devour an entire loaf of bread or pan of brownies or gallon of milk. We knew we wouldn’t have to live “locked up” forever, but for about a year, we were all struggling a bit with our own kitchen. At one point, 13-year-old Daniel went into the kitchen, and I heard him sigh and then leave the kitchen. I followed him and asked what the problem was. He said, “Oh, I was going to get a snack, but it’s just so much work, I’ll just wait until I’m hungrier.” But they all understood why. When Papa would question why everything was locked up, they would tell him, “It’s so we don’t eat too many snacks.”

Speak clearly and explain things carefully: Ben learned that Papa would understand him better if he spoke slowly and clearly with each word enunciated distinctly. Papa and Ben would have long conversations about cars and monkeys and vastly interesting boy-stuff. But Ben learned early on that he needed to speak very clearly in order for Papa to understand. Because of this understanding, Ben was able to read to and with Papa and play games like Hide

continued on page 40

March 2024 WNY Family 23

Expert Tips on How to Care for An Aging Parent

Courtney, age 34 was awoken by a loud thud on Christmas morning. She sprinted to the source of the sound only to find her mother, age 55, lying on the living room floor next to the couch. She began to panic when she saw the pool of blood beneath her.

Courtney’s mother had an 8-inch laceration in her shin from hitting it on the wheel of her walker due to swelling from lymphedema. Since she’s diabetic, wound care was critical. Courtney had to manage it daily. She also was anxious about the possibility of her falling again, especially since she has Spinal Stenosis and requires care. These are some of the challenges she experiences being a caregiver to her mother.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 40 million people in the United States that provide unpaid eldercare. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that most adult caregivers provide help with errands, housework, or home repairs and over half also offer emotional support.

Caring for an adult parent can be challenging but others have also found this job to be rewarding. Experts and adult caregivers offer the following ad-

vice to people who are struggling with their role caring for their adult parents.

Start Discussions

About Care Early

No one wants to think about needing care when they are older, but the best time to discuss this issue is when you don’t need it.

“It is important to develop a future care plan with family and/or friends so that you can express your future wishes in care,” says Dr. Lisa Hollis-Sawyer, Gerontology Program Coordinator and professor at Northeastern Illinois University.

You can also prevent conflict among family members by creating a care plan that everyone agrees with before the stress of needing one is added to the situation.

“By having difficult conversations with your parents before there is a crisis you can avoid most issues that cause problems,” says Dr. Gayle Byck, founder and principal advocate of In Tune Health Advocates.

Create Advance Directives

Once you start discussing care options with your parents, you should

also make sure that all legal paperwork is completed such as health care power of attorney (HCPOA), a living will, and financial power of attorney.

“It is a gift to yourself and to those you love to make your wishes known and designate someone to carry them out for you,” says Dr. Byck. Her website has links to end-of-life planning information.

Another reason to create these documents is to save money if care becomes necessary.

“If you don’t have the proper documents in place like a health care proxy or power of attorney, instead of caring for an aging parent, you will be in court paying costly fees to get permission to make decisions, probably fighting with your family and wasting valuable time,” says Renee Fry, CEO of Gentreo Family Vault.

Delegate Responsibilities Among Family Members

If you have siblings or another family member that can assist with caregiving, then assigning specific tasks will help ease the process for everyone involved.

“Consider holding a family meeting to discuss and identify the needs of the parent and how family members or close friends might be able to contribute their time and resources,” says Dr. Rebecca Cowan, counselor and professor at Walden University.

Dr. Hollis-Sawyer explains that when you create clear expectations of care duties to other people involved with caring it will help you to feel less overwhelmed and burnout. The “rules of care” will also prevent caregivers from feeling burdened.

“Set weekly appointments to discuss what you are experiencing as a caregiver and your associated caregiver needs. The opportunity to share your feelings with others can help alleviate feelings of anxiety and potentially boost physical and mental health,” says Dr. Hollis-Sawyer.

Learn About Benefits

Your parents may be entitled to

24 WNY Family March 2024

benefits that would help cover the cost of care. If your parent was in the military, then they may qualify for VA Aid.

“Be sure your parent is receiving the benefits they are entitled to. One example is the VA Aid and Assistance program that is not widely known about. These programs provide financial support for seniors to enable them to pay for assistance with the care that their children are currently providing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, there are tons of resources available to seniors but you have to ask,” says Angie Szumlinski, Director of Risk Management for Health Cap Risk Management and Insurance.

Corporations sometimes offer benefits for eldercare. You can ask about benefits at your place of work or research information on the website Families and Work Institute ( which is a nonprofit organization. AARP has a Medicare Resource Center that explains eligibility and provides a question-and-answer tool.

Be Organized

Providing care for your parent usually involves keeping track of doctor’s appointments, medications, and maintaining hygiene. Being organized will help everyone involved in caretaking be less stressed and accomplish their given job.

Suzanne Asaff Blankenship, author of the book, How to Take Care of Old People Without Losing Your Marbles explains that organization is the best defense for the stress and frustration of eldercare. She says, “When the inevitable emergency occurs, being organized helps to keep you out of panic mode.”

Dr. Hollis-Sawyer discusses types of technology that help with organization. She says, “You can use phone apps, home voice technology (like Amazon Alexa), and other computer programs (an Excel spreadsheet) to help streamline care activities with others. You can also use self-care reminders like the Calm phone app.”

Be Patient

If your parent has memory issues or you need to repeat the same activities numerous times, then your patience will be tested.

“It is important to have patience. If you feel yourself losing your patience, such as constantly repeating yourself or having to do a task over and over, you need to step back and regroup. Go outside, take a deep breath, and get some fresh air or take a little walk so you can settle down. Never push it to the limit where you lose your patience and start to yell. That can turn into a bad situation,” says James Colozzo, author of the book You Got to Do What You Got to Do: My Experience As A Caregiver Taking

Care Of My Parents For Over Twenty


Asaff Blankenship says, “You should realize that eldercare is a marathon, not a sprint. You will need various tools in your tool bag throughout the journey.”

Focus on the Rewards

Caring for your parent gives you the chance to develop a stronger relationship with them. Dr. Hollis-Sawyer explains that when you provide care for your parent, it is an opportunity to show younger generations in the family how to engage in caregiving activities.

“Try to focus on the positive aspects of your daily care activities. Changing the schema of caregiving tasks from a negative to positive perspective can help reduce your feelings of anxiety, guilt, and stress that can overshadow the great accomplishments you are achieving in others’ lives through your care efforts,” says Dr. Hollis-Sawyer.

Cheryl Maguire holds a Master of Counseling Psychology degree. She is married and is the mother of twins and a daughter. Her writing has been published in The New York Times, Parents Magazine, AARP, Healthline, Grown and Flown, Your Teen Magazine, and many other publications.

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10 Steps to Understanding Medicare

BEWARE of giving your information to any telemarketers or clicking on Facebook ads. They are lead companies trying to get your information to sell it to hundreds of licensed agents who are just trying to sell you a Medicare plan. These 10 steps ensure you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled to, while avoiding lifelong penalties you could potentially receive.

1. Take a deep breath!

You’re doing great! The fact you’re reading this says you care about educating yourself, and that’s the most important thing! And SMILE! Did you know even a synthetic smile creates real happiness, according to a Harvard University Study? It’s much easier to digest information in a happy state of mind!

2. How are Social Security & Medicare Related?

If you haven’t already, as early as age 64 & 9 months, you can call Social Security at (800) 772-1213 to sign up for Medicare Parts A & B. I know calling Social Security for Medicare seems strange, but that’s because there is a cost to have Part B, and they deduct that cost from your social security check. If you decide not to take your benefits until you get maximum benefits from Social Security, they will arrange for you to pay for your Medicare premium another way. Currently, the premium for Medicare Part B for most people is $174.70/month.

3. Good News/Bad News

The good news is Medicare Part A is free for most, and anyone who is on SSD for 2 years or is over 65, has worked 40 quarters and has legally lived in the US for 10 years can have it. That covers 80% of all hospitalization costs. Part B covers 80% of your doctors, testing and any other service you may need outside of the hospital. Part D covers your prescription drugs. The bad news is if you don’t sign up for part B & D, the government may penalize you for the rest of your life if you pick them up late. It is VERY important to take parts B & D, but the good news is that there may be ways to save on premiums.

4. Yes, there might be money owed to you!

Medicare Part B premium changes annually. Did you know you can get some or all of it credited back to you through the Medicare Savings Program? The names of these programs and how they work vary by state. In most cases to qualify for these programs you must have income and resources below a certain limit. If your income is above that limit, don’t worry, we may still be able to find you some money!

5. What is Medicare Advantage (Part C) and should I have it?

Medicare Advantage is Part C, which is parts A, B & D all rolled into one. The federal government started this because all the baby boomers start-

ed turning 65 and many of their parents were also still alive and well, straining the Medicare system. Our government then asked private companies to step in and help. The advantage of taking part C is that it is guaranteed to offer equivalent or better benefits than Original Medicare. Original Medicare only covers 80% of your medical expenses, and does not provide dental, vision or any other ancillary benefits. By having a private company manage your Medicare via Part C they use their efficiency and provider networks to provide more to you as a member. What you give up is the ability to see any doctor that accepts Medicare in the country. Many Medicare Advantage plans are PPOs, which do have extremely generous networks with few limitations. MA plans may have higher or lower out of pocket costs than Original Medicare. Also, Original Medicare does not have a cap, so you pay 20% of your expenses, whatever that may be.

6. How is Medicare Advantage different from a Medicare Supplement?

If we were in any other state than NY, this would be a very different answer. However, since you can get a Medicare Supplement in NY even if you have a serious medical condition, it may make sense to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, because you may get extra benefits in the plan not covered by Original Medicare. However, if you believe you will spend more than $3,000 out of pocket on medical expenses, a supplement is a great way to go. Plan G is the best deal right now when it comes

26 WNY Family March 2024

to a supplement, and it covers the 20% Medicare does not cover, after you pay your premium, starting at $283/month, with a $240 deductible. You also need to pay for a Part D plan when you choose a Medicare supplement.

7. How is Medicare different from Medicaid? Can I have both?

Yes, you can have both, and you should take both if you can! If you are single and your income is $1,677/ month or less (married $2,268/month), you likely qualify to have both Medicare & Medicaid. Even if your income is above those limits, you can still qualify for both if you have a chronic health condition and can no longer work. You can own a home and a car while having Medicaid. Not only does Medicaid pay for your Part B Medicare premium, but it also covers all your medical copays, provides free medical transportation, home health care & more. By having both, you can also get additional monthly food benefits, and even extra money to cover utility bills! Medicare is paid for by the federal government, which covers 80% of your medical needs. Medicaid is the county, and they cover the other 20%. They work together to give you even more benefits, which during times like this, can make a huge quality of life improvement, especially if you need home care.

8. Is home care, assisted living or a nursing home covered by Medicare?

Home care can be covered by Medicare, but only for a few hours/month. If you are hospitalized overnight, the first 21 days of a nursing home are typically covered by Medicare at no extra cost. Anything over 3 weeks, you will have a copay in most cases, whether you have traditional Medicare, an advantage plan or a supplement. Long-term living in a nursing home is not covered by Medicare, and has gone up in cost to an average of $18,500/month in WNY! Medicaid does help cover the costs of a nursing home and/or assistance living (which is not covered by Medicare in any circumstance). If you are caring for a loved one, or know someone who continued on page 39

March 2024 WNY Family 27

That Allows Greater Independence or Helps Caregivers Dress A Loved One

When a loved one struggles with fine motor control or other physical and cognitive challenges, it can make getting dressed in ordinary clothes difficult. As a caregiver, if you’re assisting your fam-

ily member with dressing, you may be in search of clothing options that make the process easier or allow your loved one more independence. In the past, adaptive clothes were hard to find, offered limited choices, were basic, and focused on

function without consideration to style. Now many more options are available to fit specific needs or fashion preferences.

The following are some common features and adaptations for clothing that may ease dressing and undressing for those needing assistance.

Alternative Fasteners

Traditional clothes fasteners like buttons and even zippers can be difficult for the elderly and even for a caretaker trying to help them quickly and easily secure clothing. It takes a lot of fine motor control and hand and finger strength to grab and manipulate small parts to fasten clothing together. Common alternatives to simplify this both for caregivers in assisting and for individuals to dress themselves include velcro and magnet fasteners along the seam. These types of fasteners can also be opened more quickly in case of an emergency.

• Tommy Hilfiger has an adaptive line with many features, including a whole section for easy closures like magnets, velcro, and onehanded zippers.

• Buck & Buck is an adaptive clothing line that includes shirts for men that look like button-ups but use velcro in the front and even have velcro cuffs.

• Target has adaptive clothing, such as the Velcro Side Fastener Bra with front closure for ease.

Openings on the back and side

As a caregiver, it can be easier to dress someone when the fasteners are on the back or sides, providing the wearer more privacy. In addition, clothes that open on the sides or back are much easier to put on and take off, even when the wearer is seated or lying down. Some pants also have back panels covered by continued on page 43

28 WNY Family March 2024

Send in the Reinforcements: How to Care for the Caregiver

In 2015, President Barack Obama proclaimed that November is National Caregivers Month. It is a month dedicated to the selfless, tireless people who spend their day caring for their elderly or sick family members. Their job requires a 24-hour physical, emotional and, oftentimes, financial commitment. Many caregivers must juggle their new responsibilities with raising a family, holding down a job and maintaining a household.

You don’t have to wait until November, however, to honor the caregivers you know, whether they are a family member, friend, neighbor or co-worker. By showing them your support, you are taking away a bit of their burden, sadness, guilt or pain, if only for a moment. Not sure how you can help? Check out these 12 suggestions below.

1. Give them much needed time off. Offer to sit in their place while they attend their son’s game or husband’s work dinner. You can drive to routine doctor appointments, take their patient on a small outing or simply be on call for the day in the caregiver’s place.

2. Make them a home-cooked meal. The caregiver often lets their own health go while taking care of their loved one. As you plan your own dinner, make a double batch to take over to the caregiver’s house. Use disposable containers and deliver the meal ready to eat. If you are not a cook yourself, offer the family a restaurant gift certificate so they can enjoy family time alone.

3. Offer to do a task. Caregivers have their hands full with their patient and the immediate needs of their family. Everything else takes a back seat. Don’t offer a general “let me know what I can do to help.” Instead, if you specifically offer to shop, mow the lawn, walk the dogs or handle a carpool, they will most likely take you up on it.

4. Write a handwritten note of encouragement. During this stressful and often sad time in the caregiver’s life, they need to be reminded that they are doing their best. Your letter will most likely be read and reread when the caregiver has a quiet

moment and needs an extra pick me up. They might also enjoy you sharing a memory of their loved one during better times.

5. Bring awareness. While the caregiver is busy taking care of their sick patient, their friends and supporters might like to donate time and money to their cause. Gather people for a Relay for Life, play Bunco for Breast Cancer Awareness or sponsor a golf outing with the proceeds going to their cause. Check with the caregivers for local needs like chemo packages at the hospital.

6. Make a de-stress basket. Include favorites for the caregiver like wine, homemade baked goods, magazines, a Red Box gift certificate or spa items. Either present as one large gift or spread it out for a week by sending a little gift each day.

continued on page 31

March 2024 WNY Family 29

Everyone Should Organize Regardless

When your elderly family member unexpectedly winds up in the hospital for a month and there’s no way to pay her bills or even know what bills are due, or you suddenly find that you need several years of bank statements and records of other assets to apply for Medicaid, the task will be much easier if someone has taken the time to find and organize the following important documents or duplicate copies.

Purchase a plastic file box with hanging file folder dividers and use this as your “command center.” Even if your elderly family member is perfectly healthy, this is a good project to work

of Age

on together. From a purely practical standpoint, these papers will be needed eventually, and getting them in order is a smart thing to do. (While you’re at it, think about how your own important papers are organized? What would happen if you were in an accident and incapacitated for any length of time? Perhaps it’s time for you to do a bit of organizing as well!)

If your parent is willing and able, just buy them the supplies to get them started and give them control over getting the job done. Just ask them to let you know where they keep the box so that, in case of emergency, you will know where to find it.

Personal Records

• Full legal name

• Social Security number

• Legal residence address

• Driver’s license

• Passport

• Date and place of birth

• Full legal names and addresses of spouse and children

• Location of birth and death certificates and certificates of marriage, divorce, citizenship, and adoption

• Employers and dates of employment

• Education and military records

• Names and phone numbers of religious contacts

• Memberships in groups and awards received

• Names and phone numbers of close friends, relatives, doctors, lawyers, and financial advisors

• Health insurance card(s) and benefits documentation

• Medications taken regularly (be sure to update this regularly)

• Location of living will/advance directive

• Health care proxy

• Health care power of attorney

• Last will & testament

• Pre-arranged funeral information, if any

• Deed to a pre-purchased cemetery gravesite

• In this digital age, User IDs and Passwords to important online accounts; security password for their computer or cell phone.

Financial Records

• Sources of


(pension from your employer, IRAs, 401(k)s, interest, etc.) • Social Security and Medicare/ Medicaid statements/information

30 WNY Family March 2024
• Each apartment is equipped with medical emergency pull cords • Advanced electronic entry security system and state-of-the-art fire safety and alarm system • Amherst Senior Transportation Services available 1 AND 2 BEDROOM STYLES HEAT AND HOT WATER INCLUDED 55 & OVER Shaarey Zedek Apartments Living at it ' s F inest CALL TODAY 716-834-3711 Comfortable, Convenient and Secure... 55 AND OVER LIVING THE COMFORT OF KNOWING YOU ARE HOME • Smoke free complex • Spacious first floor lobby and newly updated lounge areas complete with fireplace, community kitchen and computer with Internet access. Additional lounges on second and third floors • Located near two major bus lines 410 Hartford Road • Amherst, NY (Millersport and Sheridan area)

• Insurance information (life, health, long-term care, home, car) with policy numbers and agents’ names and phone numbers

• Names of your banks and account numbers (checking, savings, credit union)

• Investment income (stocks, bonds, property) and stockbrokers’ names and phone numbers

• Copy of most recent income tax return

• Liabilities, including property tax — what is owed, to whom, and when payments are due

• Mortgages and debts — how and when they are paid

• Deeds for any properties owned

• Vehicle titles and registrations

• Credit and debit card names and account numbers

• Location of safe deposit box and key


7. Bring the party to them. If the caregiver has to routinely cancel plans to stay home with their loved one, have the event at their house. The caregiver’s friends will clean before and after, bring food and drink and provide entertainment. Even an hour-long party will brighten the caregiver’s day.

8. Offer your expertise. Most of the caregiver’s responsibilities will be new to her. If you are a nurse, offer to help administer medication. Estate planners or lawyers may also want to answer questions that come up. Friends who have served as caregivers in the past can be the best guides during this process.

9. Be the shoulder to cry on. Sometimes the caregiver just needs to vent about their patient, the doctors, insurance or the unfairness of it all. Often the caregiver wants someone to just listen and sympathize, but not necessarily propose a solution. In other words, she needs a girlfriend.

10. Keep inviting. Long term caregivers feel like their friends have forgotten

them after the initial first few months in their new position. The cards, care packages and invitations quit coming. Extend the invites to parties as well as for a walk in the neighborhood. If she says no, don’t badger. Instead, offer a rain check and ask again next time. Eventually, she will take you up on it.

11. Keep the caregiver smiling. Send a funny card in the mail. It will be a nice break from medical bills and insurance letters. Email a daily joke. Text a silly picture or meme. Try to break the cycle of seriousness if only for a moment. It shows the caregiver that you are still thinking about her.

12. Help to fill the gap. A longtime caregiver’s job often ends due to the death of their patient. When that happens, there will be a large hole in their life. Not only did their loved one pass away, but their identity as a caregiver and daily routine has come to an abrupt end. Offer your support to help them get back on their feet and find a new normal.

Pam Molnar is a freelance writer and the daughter of a caregiver. She knows how much stress it puts on a family and hopes that caregivers get the recognition they deserve.

Family Choice plan enhances quality of care and life for nursing home and adult care facility residents

If you have a loved one who resides in a participating nursing home or adult care facility in Western New York, Independent Health’s Medicare

Family Choice® HMO I-SNP plan can provide them with an extra level of care and support to meet their special needs.

Members enrolled in the Family Choice plan receive regular visits from a nurse practitioner (NP)/physician assistant (PA) who is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Family

Choice NP/PA works with the member’s physician and facility staff to help identify potential problems before they become serious and minimize unnecessary emergency room visits and hospital stays whenever it’s safe and appropriate. In addition, they keep the member, their family and all other team members informed through ongoing communication.

Family Choice members enjoy no or low out-of-pocket costs. Plus, enrollment for the plan is year-round. To learn more, visit or call Independent Health at (716) 6354900 or 1-800-958-4405 (TTY users call 711), October 1 – March 31: Monday – Sunday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.; April 1 – September 30: Monday –Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Independent Health is a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract offering HMO, HMO-SNP, HMO-POS and PPO plans. Enrollment in Independent Health depends on contract renewal. This plan is available to all Medicare eligibles that are entitled to Medicare Part A and enrolled in Part B. Members must reside in a participating facility in Western New York. Members must receive all routine care from participating providers. Independent Health has been approved by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) to operate as a Special Needs Plan (SNP) until December 31, 2026 based on a review of Independent Health’s Model of Care. Y0042_C9673_C 02082024

March 2024 WNY Family 31
Paid Advertisement ElderFocus

Selecting an ElderCare Facility

— Source: John Hopkins Medicine

It’s hard to know when the time is right for an older adult to move from home to a residential care setting. This can be one of the most difficult decisions a family must make. Many people keep caring for the person at home, even though it becomes physically and emotionally exhausting for them to do so. Sometimes, moving to a residential care setting may become the most realistic decision to make sure that the person will get the best care.

Moving from home into a residential care facility should be considered when 1 or more of the following things is true:

• The older adult needs round-theclock care.

• The older adult can’t manage eating, toileting, and bathing (activities of daily living) without help.

• The older adult is prone to violent outbursts (physical or verbal), or is a danger to himself or herself or to others.

• The older adult has wandered away from the safe surroundings of home or neighborhood.

• The caregiver’s health and wellbeing is negatively affected.

Types of Out-of-Home Options

Many types of out-of-home care options are available for older adults, depending on the level of care needed. These may include:

• Assisted living facility (ALF). ALFs provide maximum independence for older adults who

remain relatively active and healthy. Typically, a healthy spouse and an impaired spouse can live together in an ALF. Most ALFs feature apartment-style living with individual kitchens, and many services for older adults. These include 24-hour security, transportation, and recreational and social programs.

• Residential care facility (RCF). RCFs are for those who can no longer live alone and independently, but who don’t require skilled nursing care. At an RCF, the older person can receive help with personal hygiene, grooming, or other activities of daily living. They can also have bedside care for minor and short-term (temporary) illnesses. Typically, RCFs offer rooms, not apartments. They provide some recreational and social services for older adults.

• Skilled nursing facility (SNF). SNFs are also known as nursing homes, convalescent centers, and rest homes. At SNFs, older adults receive continuous nursing services under the care of a registered nurse or licensed vocational nurse. SNFs can provide more extensive care services than assisted living or residential care facilities. Such services include IV (intravenous fluids), blood pressure monitoring, medicine injections, and care for patients on ventilators. SNFs often provide recreational, rehabilitative, and social programs for residents.

• Others. Special care centers are available for people with particu-

lar medical conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Special psychiatric facilities may be an option for people with violent or disruptive behaviors, or people who present a danger to themselves or others.

What to Consider When Selecting a Facility

In general:

• Is the facility staff willing to have you take a tour and stop in at mealtime to visit with residents?

• What care services are provided and do these services match your own individual needs?

• How much input do residents and their families have in daily life and care?

• What choices of accommodations are available?

• Are there graduated levels of care available? For example, can residents move from an assisted living environment to a higher level of care as needed?

• What personal items can be brought from home? What items are not allowed?

• Can residents have their own car on the premises?

• What is the visitation policy?

• Does the facility have a certain religious affiliation? If so, is your loved one happy with this affiliation?

• How would an emergency situ-

32 WNY Family March 2024

ation be handled by the facility? This includes a fire or severe winter storm. Does the facility have an emergency or crisis management plan in place?

The facility:

• Is the facility clean and tidy throughout? Are sanitary standards strictly enforced?

• Are appropriate safety measures taken? These include clearly marked fire exits, well-lighted hallways, bathroom grip bars, and an in-room emergency call system.

• Is the facility located in a safe and convenient location?

• Is 24-hour security provided?


• Are individual rooms bright, cheery, and roomy?

• Do room arrangements allow for privacy?

• Do individual rooms have windows, allowing for natural light and a pleasant view?

• Are the common areas (activity

rooms, lobby, and gathering rooms) large, bright, and well kept?

• Is the dining room welcoming, spacious and not too crowded? Is it easy to move around in?

• Is the kitchen area clean and organized?

Respect for the older individual:

• Does the facility have a written policy about residents’ rights and responsibilities? Is it made readily available?

• Is the staff trained to treat residents with dignity and respect?

• Are residents and their families involved in developing the individual care plans?


• What is the number of staff members available per shift?

• Is the staff friendly and respectful of residents?

• Are continuing education and training a priority?

• Specifically, what staff medical services are provided? Does the facility offer healthcare provid-

ers, nursing, physical therapy, respiratory care, and occupational therapy?

Nursing care:

• What is the resident-to-nurse ratio?

• Is nursing care provided 24 hours a day?

• What are the credential requirements for the nursing staff?

Licensure and certification:

• Is the facility licensed by the state?

• Is it licensed to provide Medicare and Medicaid coverage?


• Which services are included in the standard rate? Are other services provided for additional fees?

• What are the facility’s Medicare and Medicaid policies?

Medical considerations:

• Is a healthcare provider available for emergencies?

continued on page 41

Pathways for Caregivers

A collaboration between Cradle Beach, Harmonia Collaborative Care, Lisa Rood Consultant and Exhale, The Family Caregiver Initiative

In 2020, the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP reported nearly one in five Americans identify as an unpaid caregiver to a loved one. 21% reported their own health as fair or poor, a decrease from merely five years earlier.

In response to a growing need for caregiver support, Pathways for Caregivers was founded. It is the first resource of its kind in Western New York to focus on caregiver needs and

respite, while simultaneously creating a safe space for aging loved ones to receive programming. Cradle Beach, Inc., Harmonia Collaborative Care and Lisa Rood, a Senior Program Consultant, have collaborated to offer monthly, four-hour, respite sessions that will allow family caregivers to remain at Cradle Beach’s relaxing campus situated on 66-acres of lakefront property or to leave campus for time to themselves.

Pathways for Caregivers offers family caregivers a break from the daily tasks of caring for their aging loved ones. During each respite, a one-hour support group facilitated by Harmonia Collaborative Care, a licensed mental health provider, will be offered to family caregivers as an opportunity to connect with others. The program aims to give caregivers peace of mind and rejuvenation.

Pathways for Caregivers is offered at no cost. Families interested in partici-

pating may call 716-549-6307 ext. 218 or visit

Pathways for Caregivers is an Exhale Family Caregiver Initiative. Exhale is funded by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, Health Foundation for Western & Central New York, Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, and managed by The Philanthropic Initiative.


716-549-6307 Extension 218

March 2024 WNY Family 33
Lisa Rood Consultant
Old Lakeshore Road
Paid Advertisement ElderFocus Report Finds

72% of Gen Zers Plan To Care For Aging Parents, Only 16% Aware of Senior Care Costs

— Source:, a leading senior living referral service and the nation’s top site for senior care reviews, has published a recent report that examines how Gen Zers plan to care for their parents as they age. The report also shares insight into Gen Xers’ and Baby Boomers’ expectations of their children’s involvement in their future senior care. Overall, experts surveyed 1,500 American adults from Gen Zers to Baby Boomers.

According to the 2023 survey, 72% of Gen Z adult respondents plan to be involved in their parents’ future care. However, only 61% of adults in Gen X and the Baby Boomer generation believe their children will be involved in their future senior care. Gen Zers who plan to be involved anticipate that either their parents will move in, or they may take on a primary or supportive caregiver role.

Furthermore, 60% of Gen Z respondents plan to provide ‘full’ or ‘partial financial support’ for future care costs. On the contrary, only 45% of Gen X and Baby Boomer respondents anticipate their children will fully and partially

cover future care costs. Despite Gen Z’s willingness to care for their aging parents, only 16% are aware of the average annual cost of full-time senior care: $50,000 to $70,000. Furthermore, less than 4 in 10 Gen X and Baby Boomers have talked to their children about their future care plans.

“Our survey clearly outlines discrepancies between Gen Z’s plans and Gen X and Baby Boomer’s expectations regarding future senior care needs and associated costs,” says Susann Crawford, VP of Sales at “While aging may be a sensitive and scary topic to bring up, these family discussions help ensure that everyone is on the same page and initiate the future planning process.”

Survey results also highlight why 10% of Gen Z respondents do not plan to be involved in their parents’ care. Among this group:

• 33% say they ‘don’t think they will have enough money’

• 31% say they ‘don’t think they will live close enough’

• 29% say ‘someone else will do it’

Additionally, among Gen X and Baby Boomer respondents who do not believe their children will provide care:

• 40% say their children ‘won’t be willing to spend the time or money it would take’

• 38% say their children ‘don’t think they will live close enough’

• 32% say their children ‘won’t have enough time to provide care’

In partnership with PollFish, surveyed 1,500 American adults over the age of 18 – 500 Generation Zers, 500 Generation Xers, and 500 Baby Boomers – to determine if parents and children have the same expectations for parents’ future care needs. The survey was conducted online on October 3, 2023. To access full survey results or get more information about the survey, please

34 WNY Family March 2024

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March 2024 WNY Family 35
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at 716-836-3486
Coming up in our May issue:
Paul Kline

The Difference Between Power of Attorney and Executor

One of the most important aspects of estate planning is deciding who will be in charge of your affairs when you are unable to. “You can secure your assets through trust agreements and a well written will, but the management of your estate during and after your death will require the calm and experienced hand of a trusted friend or professional,” according to Troy Werner of Werner Law Firm. Many people choose a power of attorney or an executor. One person can do both of these duties, but understanding the difference between the two roles is important for assuring your estate is managed according to your wishes and will help you choose the right person or people for the jobs.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is defined by Miriam-Webster as a legal document authorizing someone to act as an attorney or agent on behalf of you, the grantor. Someone with power of attorney is often referred to as an agent.

• A limited power of attorney only allows the agent to act on the grantor’s behalf within very specific perimeters. This person may only be allowed to sign on your behalf, or do so during a specific and limited timeframe.

• A durable power of attorney gives the agent the ability to act on your behalf even if you’ve been incapacitated. “This can be limited, for example, someone with a limited durable power of attorney may be given the ability to make certain healthcare decisions for you, but cannot act on your behalf in order to make financial decisions or pay the bills,” says Werner.

• A springing power of attorney goes into effect when the grantor

is incapacitated and unable to make decisions on their own. It is important to define what defines a person as incapacitated in specific terms so it is clear to all parties.

What is an Executor?

“The most salient difference between the executor and the agent is when the two roles take effect. Power of attorney is relevant to situations in which you are alive but unable to make your own decisions. Your executor’s duties begin only after you have died,” states Hunter Kuffel of SmartAsset. The executor is in charge of executing the will, taking care of the estate during the probate process, notifying creditors, consolidating assets, and managing finances. The executor can be a family member or an attorney and the role and duties of an executor can vary depending upon how the estate plan is set up.

The main difference between a power of attorney and an executor is whether the grantor is alive or not. The power of attorney represents you while you are still living but need assistance and the executor manages the estate after your death. The two are never actively representing you at the same time, although

both of these jobs can be performed by the same person if you choose.

It is also important to understand that when making plans for your estate, the designated beneficiary on the account at your bank or life insurance policy will take precedence over what is stated in your will.

Many people make the mistake of not planning ahead or putting off completing their estate planning. It is always best, no matter your age or circumstances, to have your affairs in order, current, and updated. Consider who you would like to represent you as a power of attorney and executor and educate yourself on the differences between the two. You have the opportunity to make sure your affairs are handled the way you desire, don’t procrastinate when it comes to something that is so important.

This is not meant to replace legal advice, please consult a lawyer for more in depth clarification.

Sarah Lyons is a writer and mom of six children including triplets. She enjoys reading, writing, cooking and spending time outdoors with her family.

36 WNY Family March 2024

needs home care, Medicaid is essential! Even if their income and assets are over the limit, they may still qualify because of the need for home care. Contact a credible local Income Pooled Trust for more information on how that works.

9. What is the best Medicare plan out there right now?

Each Medicare Advantage company has strengths and weaknesses, just like we do as people. It’s best to allow a broker to get to know your needs and match you up with the plan that’s suitable for you. There are hundreds of examples I can give, but a broker will give you honest feedback on the plans available in your area.

10. Is there more to learn?

The truth is, Medicare changes every year, so connecting with a local agent experienced in Medicare is highly recommended, although medicare. gov is an excellent resource if you’re good on the computer! Elections, budget changes, expenses and more all impact Medicare, so plans change every single year. Keep smiling & put any questions you have to your local agent. Never give your information out to anyone who calls you. You can call 1800 MEDICARE directly for questions (8006334227) or see a local licensed broker. The Office of the Aging is another excellent resource. Your local office can be found by calling (800) 342-9871.

Not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program.

Laura Shriver-Brown is a former school teacher who has always strived to make a positive impact in her community. Since teaching, she received state licensing and national certification to start multiple businesses in Buffalo, NY, including the non-profit Wellness for All Services which helps people with disabilities, seniors, and their adult children in taking the stress and confusion out of all that comes with the various stages of aging.

March 2024 WNY Family 39
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and Seek successfully as the years progressed.

Live in the present: Papa loved a good story. He would pay attention and laugh and even if he didn’t fully understand it, he would get the tone of the story and laugh along with us. But the story was now. There was no recalling a story from earlier today. There was also no feeling bad about something that happened yesterday. It was all about living in the now. Now is all that matters.

Don’t hold grudges: There were times when Papa would get frustrated or angry. Once he was mad at a family friend who was visiting, and he locked her out of the back door of the house. She walked around front and rang the doorbell. He welcomed her in graciously on the other side of the house. There isn’t a lot of positive to find in this horrible disease, but if we could all learn to forget negative emotions as fast as Papa could, we would all be better off.

It’s not his fault: Papa ended up not being able to do a lot of things. We cut his food up for him, and helped him with personal grooming. The kids would help him zip his coat and put his hat on. In the car, they helped him buckle and unbuckle his seatbelt. They all understood that it’s not his fault. He would much rather live on his own and take care of things himself, but he couldn’t help it. A real Golden Rule lesson: Do unto others.

They’re just regular people: Often a child (or even an adult) will feel awkward around a person who is disabled either physically or mentally. They just don’t know what to say or how to act. Our kids know that they are just regular people. Ben and his middle school class went to the local nursing home to visit with the residents. Ben and his classmate were assigned to be friends with a man who had memory loss. When the man started “talking” to the boys in a garbled language, Ben’s friend was wide-eyed and didn’t know what to do. Ben jumped right in and “conversed” with the man,

saying, “Really? Oh, tell me more.” The other boy watched and took Ben’s lead. The three of them weren’t speaking the same language, but they were communicating in a language of friendship and love.

Be thankful: As his vocabulary diminished, and even disappeared, Papa always remembered to say “thank you.” Every meal, every hug, every time we helped him with anything, he was thankful. He was a great example for the kids to witness. Even when we said, “I Love You, Papa,” he responded with, “You too. Thank you.”

Above all, show kindness: Papa demonstrated this to us WELL into his battle with Alzheimer’s. One summer day, we were outside working on organizing the garage. Papa was “helping,” but he didn’t really understand what we were trying to accomplish. He wandered into the house for a while, and I took the opportunity of his absence to race around the garage and “fix” some of the things that he had organized. He was gone for a long time. When he came back out, he was walking very carefully holding a glass of water. He said, “You’ve been working a long time out here. You need a cool drink. I would have come back sooner, but I had to figure out the ice machine on the fridge.” Indeed. Here he was, struggling day to day just to live normally, and still showing such kindness and love to me and to us.

Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease, but the benefits of our family going through it together has made us stronger as a family, and the children have become better people because of it. When I asked 15-year-old Daniel what he learned from having Papa live with us, he said, “Never get tired of doing little things for others. Sometimes those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts.”

Jesse Neve is a wife and mother of four. Jesse enjoys learning from and traveling with her big crew because there is never ever a dull moment.

40 WNY Family March 2024
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• Are personal healthcare providers allowed to follow residents at the facility? Or does a facility-appointed healthcare provider treat residents?

• Does the facility have arrangements with a nearby hospital in case of an emergency?

• Is emergency transportation available?


• Is a well-rounded program of social and recreational activities available for groups and individuals? For example, does the facility offer outdoor outings, arts and crafts classes, movie outings, exercise classes, and reading clubs?

• Does the facility stay active and connected with the surrounding community?

• Are outside trips and activities planned regularly?

Nutritional needs:

• Are meals provided at the facility, and what are the meal plan options?

• Does a licensed dietitian approve all menus?

• Can the facility accommodate people with special dietary restrictions?

• For people who want to take some meals in privacy, is there a small kitchen or kitchenette available in the individual room or apartment?

Additional services:

• Does the facility provide chaplain services?

• Is a rehabilitative specialist or physical therapist available for rehabilitation?

• Is massage therapy offered?

• Are housekeeping and laundry needs available? If so, are they included as part of overall fees or provided at an extra cost?

• Is transportation available for trips to the local shopping center, grocery store, library, and bank?

March 2024 WNY Family 41


a flap, making it easier to change adult diapers or use the restroom without undressing. Additionally, open-back clothing makes it more difficult for older people with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other cognitive challenges to remove their clothing in inappropriate situations.

• Silverts has Alzheimer’s Kits for women and men that include antistrip jumpsuits with closures on the back.

• Ovidis has adaptive pants with back panel access, like the Sophie pants for women.

• Buck & Buck has a large selection of all types of clothing with closures on the back.

• Joe and Bella has an adaptive line with rear closure clothes, like the Open-back Adaptive Fleece Sweatshirt, eliminating the need to pull it over the head.

Workaround medical devices

Elderly adults may require spe-

cific medical devices like braces, catheters, monitors, or even wheelchairs, which interfere with traditional clothing. Therefore, some clothes are explicitly designed to work around wearable devices. Such clothing makes dressing and undressing easier and more comfortable while not interfering with medical function or needing to check devices.

• Silverts has wheelchair-specific clothing, like the Wheelchair Gabardine Pants for Men. These allow you to dress from a seated position and are designed to be comfortable and keep everything covered while sitting.

• Elder Wear and Aids also has a wheelchair-friendly adaptive clothing section with pants, dresses, shirts, and more.

• Buck & Buck offers urinary catheter clothing, which allows for easier access when emptying or checking the collection bag, along with other helpful adaptations.

Adaptive Footwear

Whether you need outdoor shoes for leaving the house or slippers to pre-

vent falls indoors, proper footwear that’s easy to get on and off and is also comfortable is essential. Having the right pair of shoes can make the difference in older adults’ comfort and ability to stay mobile and active. Shoes should have a wide opening to be easy to get on and off and have a simple fastener. They should also have enough room for potential swelling, be stable and non-slip, padded to reduce foot stress, easy to walk in, and fit around braces or any other devices around the foot.

• Nike has an adaptive sneaker line called Flyease that is easy to get on and off one-handed.

• Zappos is a large shoe retailer which has a section where you can filter for all the adaptive shoe brands they offer in one place.

• Those with diabetes may benefit from Silverts diabetic footwear.

Kimberly Blaker is a freelance writer. She also owns an online bookshop, Sage Rare & Collectible Books, specializing in out-of-print, scarce, signed, and first editions; fine bindings; ephemera and more.

Niagara Hospice

Comfort Care & Support for Niagara County Families

Niagara Hospice, a 501 (c) (3) organization, has been providing expert care and caregiver support to Niagara County individuals and families since 1988. The organization has cared for over 30,000 individuals and their families in its 35 years.

Niagara Hospice is dedicated to providing the right care, in the right place, at the right time. Patients, families & caregivers are provided with the physical, emotional, psychosocial, spiritual and bereavement care they need. Hospice care is available wherever the patient is most comfortable, including the patient’s home, hospitals, skilled nursing facili-

ties, Hospice House in Lockport, David’s Path in Niagara Falls, and Jeanne’s House in Wheatfield. Niagara Hospice maximizes moments by treating the patient, not the disease. An interdisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, social workers, spiritual counselors, aides and volunteers work collaboratively, providing expert symptom management, caregiver relief and comprehensive end-oflife guidance to the entire family to help everyone cherish precious time together. Niagara Hospice’s dedication to providing the highest level of care is recognized by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) for demonstrating a commitment to

providing quality care and services to consumers through compliance with ACHC’s nationally recognized standards for accreditation. Niagara Hospice is the only hospice in WNY with the ACHC accreditation.

Medicare covers expenses for most patients, and many health insurance plans, including Managed Long-Term Care and the Veterans Administration, provide coverage. No patient is ever denied services due to inability to pay. Anyone can make a referral at or call 716-HOSPICE for a free consultation.

4675 Sunset Drive Lockport, NY 14094


March 2024 WNY Family 43
Paid Advertisement ElderFocus

and leaves that begin to emerge and rustle, all tell us that spring is on the way!

Dr. Donna Phillips is an associate professor in the College of Education at Niagara University where her specialty is literacy and children’s literature. She lives on Grand Island, NY and is the mother of two adult children and the grandmother of one.

March 2024 WNY Family 45
PICK OF THE LITERATURE continued... 2024 Coming Up In Our June Issue This special pull-out section will showcase museums, attractions, festivals, getaways and much more to tens of thousands of parents searching for the perfect Summer activities and destinations for their families! Contact Paul Kline at 716-836-3486 for more information. Space Reservation Deadline: Friday, May 10, 2024 SummerGo! Guide In Print and Online! Receive a FREE PROFILE & FREE COLOR when you reserve your ad. 70 Weiss Avenue • West Seneca, NY 14224 (716) 677-0338 H Open Workout Ages 6+ • Fri 7:15-9pm Toddler Time 5 Years & Under Wed/Thurs 12:15-1pm Open Tumbling Class Jr. High - 22 Years Mon/Wed 8:50-9:45pm Get your kids moving this winter with... Registering Now! Look for registrationsummer at the end of March!

March heralds the beginning of spring and it also is the time for celebrating one of New York’s most special agricultural products. Native Americans were harvesting this sweet and delicious product long before Europeans set foot in North America.

If you guessed that the product is maple syrup, you have won the Jeopardy round.

Maple syrup is special in many ways. Did you know that it is produced primarily in the northeast region of North America? It requires ample forests of sugar maple trees, but the harvest also requires specific climate and temperature conditions. The sap begins to run when the days are above freezing and the nights are below freezing.

The art of making maple syrup is steeped in rich cultural traditions. It was customary to celebrate the arrival of the maple flow with a Maple Festival.

To make the maple syrup, holes are

Sweet Destinations for Maple Season!

drilled into the maple trees to collect sap, usually into plastic tubing and then a storage container. The sap is about 2% sugar content and the process of making maple syrup is simply reducing the water content, usually with heat. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup.

Who would think of sticking something in a maple tree and boiling the sap to make syrup?

The Iroquois have an answer with this old legend. The story begins on a day in early March. Chief Woksis had thrown his tomahawk into a nearby maple tree.

The next day, he needed the weapon for hunting and yanked it from the tree. The weather turned warm and the gash in the maple tree dripped sap into a container that was near the trunk. That evening, the chief’s wife was heading to the stream for water and found the container with sap in it and thought it was just like water. She tasted the liquid, found it to be sweet and used it for cooking water.

When Woksis came home from hunting, he smelled a wonderful scent— a maple aroma. The water had boiled down to syrup and had sweetened their meal with maple. So, the legend says, the practice of maple syrup production began.

Today, Quebec is the world leader in maple production. In the United States, Vermont is the leader and New York is second. Last year, Vermont produced more than two million gallons of maple syrup and New York produced about 750,000 gallons.

President Thomas Jefferson was a strong supporter of maple sugar, arguing for its moral superiority. He pointed out that cane sugar was grown by slaves, maple sugar by free Americans.

To celebrate New York’s role in the maple syrup world, there are two Maple Weekends when the public is invited to visit and learn about production, taste, and everything maple. The event began in 1995 with a single day known as Maple Sunday. This year is the 28th cele -

46 WNY Family March 2024 FAMILY TRAVEL

bration of the happening that now spans four days over two weekends: March 1617 and March 23-24.

Tours and free samples are offered at most all sites. Brady’s Maple Syrup in East Concord is one of many participating farms. The owners offer tours of its traditional wood-fired maple production with sap gathered from sugar maples that have been used for syrup since the mid 1800s. There are free samples and such treats as maple slushy, maple cotton candy, maple dogs, maple donuts and even maple polish sausage for sale.

Genesee Country Village & Museum in nearby Mumford invites visitors to start their maple themed visits at the Sugarhouse during the Maple Weekends. Then journey to the 19th century to see the techniques and tools that early settlers used to collect sap and make maple sugar. Stop at the Meeting Center to enjoy a maple themed meal.

Cartwright’s Maple Tree Inn in Angelica in Allegany County is pancake and maple syrup central for the region.

The family began offering its famous buckwheat pancake and maple syrup on Feb. 6 and their two-month season continues until April 7. They are closed Mondays and Easter Sunday.

This year marks the 62nd year that the family of dairy farmers are serving their super popular homegrown maple syrup with buckwheat pancakes. There are eggs and other items on the menu, but it is pancakes and syrup for most everyone and the lines include people from New York and many other states and a smattering of foreign countries including Germany and Japan. Not to worry about the lines, they can make 100 pancakes every three minutes and the lines move fast.

The family has been producing maple syrup on their land since the 1850s. The early syrup was delivered throughout the region on horse drawn wagons. Today there are 10,000 taps and visitors can watch the making of the syrup—a tradition much older than our country itself. Most of the sap is piped by tubing to holding tanks. The large evaporator is

still fired by wood.

In 2006, the farm became the first syrup producer in the country to own and operate a state-of-the-art evaporator. This stainless-steel evaporator is lead free, has a pre-heater to warm the sap prior to boiling, uses less wood, and operates more efficiently. Their 2015 Reverse Osmosis machine can produce 3600 gallons of raw sap per hour.

Our neighbors to the north in Toronto are once again inviting area residents to visit during March spring break periods when cultural attractions such as museums, art galleries, and historic villages are all featuring special activities for children and families. At press time, one U.S. dollar equals $1.33 in Canadian dollars, so Canada continues to be a bargain for Americans.

In keeping with the maple syrup theme, there is even a Maple Syrup Museum of Ontario an hour from Toronto at Elliott Tree Farm. Beyond all you can

continued on page 48

March 2024 WNY Family 47

FAMILY TRAVEL continued...

eat pancakes and maple syrup, there is a one-of-a-kind collection of indigenous, pioneer, and early modern maple syrup artifacts designed to preserve the rich history of Ontario maple syrup production.

Ever imagine combining time on a beach with the celebration of all things maple? Toronto’s Redpath Sugar is presenting Sugar Shack TO March 9 & 10. Two sugar shacks will be serving fresh maple taffy rolled on snow. There will be a maple sugaring demonstration, a warming station and live entertainment. Sugar Beach is at lower Jarvis and Queens Quay.

Though not quite maple, there will be giant marshmallows for s’mores at Après Ski Weekends at Toronto’s Distillery District. No need for skiing before coming. Just come on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through March and enjoy the firepits, food trucks and hot chocolate, mulled wine, or other drinks. There is live music on Saturdays. On Sundays, there are games and activities for the whole family and dogs are welcome too.

Toronto’s Black Creek Pioneer Village will celebrate Maple Syrup at the Village from March 11 to 15. Costumed educators will teach visitors the backwoods skills necessary for adventures in the sugarbush. Learn the secrets of collecting sugar maple sap. Enjoy the story of Canada’s favorite sweetener at the Marvelous Maple Show and sample maple syrup.

Travel Tip of the Month: For more information on Maple Weekends visit For information on Cartwright’s Maple Tree Inn call 585-567-8181 or visit For the Genesee Country Village & Museum, visit or call 585-538-6822.

For the Maple Syrup Museum of Ontario visit For information on Toronto attractions visit For information on Sugar Shack TO visit For Black Creek information visit

The Chelsea Hotel in Toronto continues to be a top family friendly hotel and offers special March Spring Break rates, as well as special rates for Western New Yorkers. Use the promo code NYFRIENDS or call 1-800-CHELSEA and ask for the NYFRIENDS rate.

Deborah Williams lives in Holland, NY and is a veteran travel writer whose work has appeared in national and international publications. She is the recipient of the Society of American Travel Writers’ Lowell Thomas Gold Travel Writing Award.

48 WNY Family March 2024
Genesee Maple Festival Genesee Maple Festival Black Creek Pioneer Village

skill to counting sets. This is the meaningful counting of a collection of things that belong together like pennies, raisins, pencils, or books. You can enhance this skill by asking them to count the forks on a table, the ducks in a picture, or windows in a room. Keep the number of objects small at first – typically under ten. Expand this skill by playing board games with them where they have to advance a number of spaces by either the roll of dice or the spin of a spinner.

The next step in learning about numbers is to have your children learn to identify a number by its written form, a numeral. This is a skill they will need by the time they are in first grade. Begin by teaching them the numerals 1 to 5. You can do this by showing them the numerals on playing cards and tracing them in sand. Once they can identify the numbers to 10, you can introduce them to dot-to-dot activity books so they can trace them in numerical order to make pictures.

Enhancing the Math Skills Your Children Are Learning

in School

All the ways you have given your children a good introduction to math before kindergarten will prepare them well for the early skills of addition and subtraction and beyond that they will be taught in school. To continue helping them like or better yet love math, there are a number of things that you can do. Introduce older children to mental math tricks at the dinner table. Play games with them like 21 or Yahtzee that require some math skills. Take them to the grocery store and have them read the price labels to determine which brand of soup is the best bargain. Have them read speed limit signs as you travel. In other words, bring math into their daily lives in as many ways as you can. And be willing to strengthen early skills by drilling addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts and finding games that require these skills.

Helpful Math Websites

Many websites have helpful drills and math games to enhance your children’s math skills. Just search for “best math websites,” and choose those that appeal to you. And when you are lost and can’t help your child with a math topic, you will find explanations of every possible topic online. On our own website, you can find lots of interesting math things for your children to do from math riddles to math books to mental math tricks. In addition, our two math books on the website, Helping Your Child with Mathematics and Helping Children with Mathematics, each have fun activities and games for turning young children into math whizzes.

Parents should send questions and comments to dearteacher@dearteacher. com, and visit the website to learn more about helping their children succeed in school.

An advertiser can expect a 43% higher readership from larger, full color ads.*
But ALL well designed ads should follow these principles to be as effective as possible:

ATTENTION Are you talking to me? Good ads should grab the attention of your target customers.

INTEREST Why are you talking to me? Effective advertising helps to generate interest in your product or service among the right people.

DESIRE Nice idea, but do I really need it? Your advertising should create a desire to learn more about the product or service you are promoting.

ACTION What will I have to do? The advertisement should also provide a call to action and tell your customers exactly how and where they can buy your promoted product or service.

*Source: Cahners Research

March 2024 WNY Family 49
DEAR TEACHER continued...

Family Movie Options: In Theaters and Streaming Online

Madame Web


Rating Overall Violence Sex Profanity Alcohol/Drugs

P G - 13 C - C A C B

Following a near - death experience, Cassie starts having premonitions of future events. When she fore sees a man try ing to murder three teens on a train, Cassie grabs t he girls and runs. Now she must master her new skill in order to save them. This could have been a moderately interesting film, but it is plagued by flat acting and one of the most boring villains ever f eatured in a superhero flick. Negative content is comparable t o other Marvel movies with plenty of highly choreographed violence Photo ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Lisa Frankenstein Theaters

Rating Overall Violence Sex Profanity Alcohol/Drugs

PG - 13 C - D D B - D

After the murder of her mother , Lisa leans into her goth phase, spending her time in the cemetery daydreaming about a handsome man ’ s gravestone. When a freak event reanimates him, Lisa is determined to give him a happy second life –at any cost . This retro - 80s horror comedy retains a campy vibe despite some gruesome violence, including gory dismemberments. The casual murder , sexual innuendo, and teen alcohol consumption make this movie unsuitable for teens despite its PG - 13 rating. Photo ©Focus Features

Bob Marley: One Love Theaters

Rating Overall Violence Sex Profanity Alcohol/Drugs

PG-13 B - B - A - C - D

Determined to provide a unifying event for his stri fe - torn country, musician Bob Marley decides to offer a free con cert. But when he and his f riends and family are shot at the Marley home, he flees Jamaica for Europe to find safety Booken ded by two concerts, this film is geared to reggae fans who will enjoy the music. Other viewers will struggle with the strong Jamaican accents and parents will be un happy with the non - stop marijuana use on screen . Photo ©Paramount Pictures

Argylle Theaters

Rating Overall Violence Sex Profanity Alcohol/Drugs

PG - 13 D D B C - C -

Elly Conway is the author of a fictional spy series that is inadvertently revealing the details of a real -li fe covert organization When a spy comes to her rescue and scores more try to kill her, she devotes her skills to saving herself and the rest of the world This should be a fun, zany film ; instead it ’ s a jumbled , bloated mess with an incoherent plot that ’ s burdened by ludicrous plot twists. More seriously , the film glamorizes and celebrates violence, treating killing as comic material. It isn ’ t funny. Photo ©Universal Pictures

Orion and the Dark Netflix

Rating Overall Violence Sex Profanity Alcohol/Drugs

TV - Y7 B B A B A

Orion has a long list of fears, but none are as bad as his terror of the dark. One night, the Dark , who is tired of being a figure of dread, pa ys Orion a visit. This film provides g reat messages to anxious chil dren and can give them insight into their fears. The movie is beautifully animated , but it comes with a sprinkling of minor profanities and some incoherent plot elements in the second half of the film. Kids will enjoy it more than their fussier parents . Photo ©Netflix

Detailed reviews available at

March 2024 WNY Family 51


No Excuses, Just Fun: Family Fitness Apps

One of my most cherished childhood memories is playing frisbee with my father in our front yard after dinner. When I turned thirty and welcomed my first child, I promised to create similar bonding moments. My wife and I, already an active duo, seamlessly transitioned into this new chapter. We played sand volleyball in summer, flag football in fall, and enjoyed indoor volleyball during the chilly winter months. However, parenthood reshaped our priorities, often pushing exercise lower down the list amidst the demands of a working family.

Summer’s practically knocking on the door! Time to swap those winter excuses for sunshine-powered motivation. But with over 250,000 health and fitness apps out there (whoa!), figuring out where to even begin can feel like a workout in itself. That’s where trusty technology comes in! Here are a few top-rated apps and ideas that can kickstart your fitness journey and get you ready to keep up with your little ones in no time!

Couch to 5k

This beginner-friendly program transitions you from couch comfort to running a 5k in just eight weeks. The app’s 30-40 minute workouts, inclusive of warm-ups, are perfect for busy parents. My preferred choice is the “C25k 5K Trainer” from “Couch Potato to Running 5k”. It’s user-friendly, free, and an excellent way to incorporate exercise into your weekly routine with your kids. As a runner myself, I would also recommend apps like Strava or Nike Run Club to track your runs and connect with other runners.


For a comprehensive workout, FitPlan offers personalized home or gym routines. Select your goal, trainer, and workout frequency to receive detailed video-guided exercises. Although there’s a monthly fee of $15.99, it’s a cost-effective alternative to gym memberships and personal trainers. I also like Workout Planner & Gym Tracker

for personal training options both in conventional gyms or at home.

Nike Training Club

Get your sweat on with Nike’s free library of workouts, crafted by expert trainers. Choose from high-intensity interval training (HIIT), yoga, strength training, and more, all tailored to your fitness level and goals. Plus, score exclusive workouts led by celebrity athletes with virtual high fives along the way!

Virtual Reality


A thrilling addition to the fitness landscape is virtual reality (VR) fitness. These immersive experiences transform workouts into interactive gaming sessions, making exercise incredibly engaging and fun for the whole family. VR fitness apps like “Supernatural” or “Beat Saber” offer cardio workouts in virtual worlds, making you sweat while battling

52 WNY Family March 2024

aliens or slicing through rhythm-based challenges. My kids love “Gorilla Tag” on the Meta Oculus. It’s a crazy game of tag that unintentionally provides a solid cardio workout. The kids end up sweaty, gross, and tired…as if they had just played a real game of tag outside. It’s a novel way to keep the family active and excited about fitness, blending technology with physical activity.

Other Options

Not everyone is willing to pay a monthly fee for an app. However, you’ll struggle to find a full featured free option. Most of the health & fitness apps start with a free 7-day trial before asking for a weekly or monthly subscription. The limited trial is a perfect way for you to explore what these apps have to offer and find one that fits your needs. Here are some additional fitness apps to consider:

● PEAR/All Out Studio — Similar to FitPlan, these apps help create a customized workout routine with the help of videos and fitness experts.

● WakeOut/Seven — Designed for busy people who cannot make it to the gym and need to workout at home. These are a bit less intense than some of the other options.

● Apple Fitness Plus — A relative newcomer to the fitness scene, Apple Fitness Plus has received rave reviews from customers due to its ease of use and variety of options. The service costs $9.99 a month (or $79.99 annually), but Apple offers bundles which include AppleTV, ESPN+, and Hulu along with iCloud storage. The bundles may actually save you money, especially since you can share it with up to five family members. The downside is that you need an Apple Watch Series 3 or newer in order to complete the workouts.


The apps we’ve looked at so far are focused on your body’s health. Taking care of mental health has been a focus for many people in recent years. Calm is an investment in your mental health. The whole app is dedicated to sleep, meditation, and relaxation. Experts lead you through daily mindfulness exercises

designed to help you with focus, stress, anxiety or relationships. Sleep stories help you fall asleep by taking your mind off the stress of the day. Calm even has meditation, sleep stories, and soothing music for kids as young as three years old. Calm has a 7-day trial followed by a $14.99 per month price tag, making it a commitment.

Preparation Tips

Proper preparation can significantly enhance your fitness experience. A great pair of wireless headphones is essential for a distraction-free workout, whether you choose premium options like Apple AirPods or more affordable alternatives available on Amazon. For those who enjoy music, a subscription to Spotify or Apple Music can provide an endless playlist to keep you motivated. If you prefer something more engaging, consider listening to podcasts or audiobooks, which can be excellent companions for long walks or runs, making exercise feel less monotonous. Additionally, investing in comfortable workout attire and a durable water bottle ensures you remain comfortable and hydrated throughout your fitness routine.


This journey is not just about personal fitness; it’s about creating lasting memories and healthy habits with your children. It’s about transforming fitness into a fun, family-oriented activity. With these tools and a bit of determination, we can all pave the way to a healthier, happier family life.

Mike Daugherty is a husband, father of three young children, author, speaker, Google Innovator, and possible Starbucks addict. He is a certified educational technology leader who has served in a variety of roles through his twenty-year career in public education. Currently, Mike is the Director of Technology for the Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School district in Northeast Ohio. As an IT director he has developed creative, well thought out solutions that positively impact teaching and learning.

Celebrate these FUN DAYS during the month of

March 12th Girl Scout Day March 14th Pi Day

March 19th Let’s Laugh Day

March 2nd Read Across America Day March 25th Waffle Day

March 2024 WNY Family 53


20 Things That Surprised Me About Having a Teenage Boy

Igrew up the middle of three girls, sandwiched between two sisters. Yup, I’m just like Jan Brady, minus the bonus brothers.

My sisters and I filled our teenage years with activities like sports, theater, and student council. We also filled them with Aqua Net, jelly shoes, stirrup pants, and princess phones. Living with sisters meant I was never exposed to the reality of life with a typical teenage boy.

I think that’s why my teenage son constantly surprises me. There are so many things about having a teenage boy in the house that I didn’t expect or were just plain different from how I grew up as a teenage girl. Here are 20 things, both funny and serious, that surprised me about having a teenage boy.

1. How much he enjoys playing video games

This is his favorite activity to do once he’s done with school, work or extracurriculars. I guess I thought he’d read a book or watch movies like me.

2. How much time he spends playing video games

Not only does he like video games, but he is content playing them for hours. And don’t get me started about waiting for him to wrap up a game to come to dinner!

3. How many rolls he can eat at a restaurant

He can eat a dozen rolls slathered in butter and then chase them down with a huge steak. It’s amazing.

4. How many rolls he can eat and NOT gain weight

This one’s not fair! All I have to do is look at a roll and my waist expands an inch. Yet my teenage son devours a dozen without a smidgen of fat appearing anywhere.

5. That he would find potty humor so funny for so long

I thought he’d outgrow finding bodily functions so funny. I thought wrong.

6. That he never, ever wants to talk to me about girls

Not even a little bit. I’m ready with excellent advice should he ever bring it up.

7. That I’m the embarrassing one, not his father

How is it that when my husband and I rock out to Bon Jovi it’s only me who mortifies our son? According to my husband, it’s a fact that all teenage boys find their mothers embarrassing.

8. How bad he smells after working out or playing sports

The scent is strong, odiferous, and lingers on everything from sports equipment to the upholstery in the car. Yikes!

9. That he would know the name, number, college, and position of virtually every professional athlete

My son forgets to take out the trash, yet he remembers every statistic about the Detroit Lions’ 4th round draft pick in 2019.

54 WNY Family March 2024

10. That I’d be jealous of the way my teenage son talks about sports with his father

Maybe it’s because my husband, not me, also knows every statistic about the Detroit Lions’ 4th round draft pick in 2019.

11. He rarely comments about my appearance, but when he does, I take notice

Recently he told me he liked my shirt, which was an old one from the back of my closet. It’s now my favorite shirt. Because my teenage son said he liked it.

12. That I have to look up to his face

At least once a week I do a double take as I gaze up at his face, towering above mine. Wasn’t he just a baby?

13. How deep his voice sounds

Just like his height, I’m astonished that that deep voice is coming from my little boy.

14. How big his shoes are

His shoes are like aircraft carriers next to my rowboats in the mudroom. You could land an airplane squadron on those things.

15. How much he cares about his friends

He adores his friends and loves spending time with them. This one surprised me because I feel society doesn’t portray strong friendships between teenage boys.

16. That he cares about his hair

He might not use a plethora of products like I did back in the day, but he still wants his hair to look just right.

17. That he answers text messages with one word

I get Yes, No, or Ok. I’m not looking for a novel, but a few more words would be appreciated.

18. That I’m so impressed by the man he is becoming

Seriously, I’m so proud of him, whether he’s holding the door open for someone, rocking a test, or just smiling at me from across the room.

19. While I’m also still surprised by the child he still is

He leaves his dishes on the counter, doesn’t pick up his clothes off the floor, and I still take him to the pediatrician.

20. That I would love him so, so much, with everything that I am.

I’m not surprised that I love him, but I am astonished by how much I could love my teenage son. It’s with everything I am — and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Looking to strike up a conversation with your child?

Here are some FUN QUESTIONS to get things going!

What is something you are really good at?

What makes you nervous?

What does it mean to be a good friend?

What is something you want to learn how to do?

Katy M. Clark is a writer and mom of two who embraces her imperfections on her blog Experienced Bad Mom.


Do you think it’s more important to be rich or kind?

*Source –

March 2024 WNY Family 55

Special Needs and Siblings

Every parent knows raising a child comes with many surprises, both positive and negative. Parenting a child with special needs increases these surprises exponentially. Fortunately, information, education, and laws have greatly improved. Support services, both online and faceto-face, provides encouragement, information, and a place to share strategies for assistance.

Dr. Avidan Milevsky, psychotherapist and author of Sibling Issues in Therapy, identified one group has been left out of the support group club: The siblings. This is a critical issue, as siblings may become the long-term care provider for their sibling with special needs. And, siblings often have needs of their own that may get overlooked.

The Challenge of Balancing Time and Money

Children with disabilities or illnesses require more physical and emotional energy for parents. Therapy sessions, doctor visits, and school meetings are more common, and then there is the additional time helping our children with daily routines like showering, homework, and chores. These extra hours of assistance required each week takes time

away from the sibling that also needs us. Stressful classes, lack of friends or rides to friends, dating issues, or college searches require a present parent as well.

Finally, having a child with special needs comes with additional finances. Co-pays, medications, tutors, therapists, accessories to accommodate wheelchairs, all take funding away from vacations, trendy clothes, and dance lessons.

Heather, mother of six, has two children with multiple disabilities. She recognizes the sacrifices her children without special needs must make as they sometimes have to supervise their siblings and care for them as parents would. She offers, “The guilt as our energy is drained focusing on our children with needs is awful. Melt downs and defiant behavior can be stressful for the whole family.”

Perspectives from the Neurotypical Child

Of course, no teenager in the world believes life is fair, but for neurotypical siblings, it’s easy to see how they would feel that way. Besides these more obvious inequities, there are other, less obvious issues a sibling might have. Dr. Milevsky states if ‘normal’ siblings are left

in the dark about the condition of their sibling, their imaginations can run wild and think things could be much worse than the reality.

Dr. Milevsky states, “It is very important to sit with the child and explain to them in an age-appropriate way what is happening with their sibling.” Explaining what the specific challenges and needs are can help the neurotypical sibling understand what parents and caregivers may have to prioritize.

Additionally, “It is important that the well siblings don’t feel that their sibling with a disability is a burden. Every once in a while, the family should choose a trip that will accommodate the well sibling.” This will help decrease resentment between the siblings and lead to a fuller life.

Dr. Milevsky goes on to explain that neurotypical siblings may also feel guilty about the disability. He or she may feel bad that they do not have the same struggles, may feel guilty about being upset, and even feel jealous of the attention the sibling with special needs often requires. Feeling embarrassed if the sibling behaves poorly in public might result in a guilty feeling as well.

It’s important that caregivers check in with their neurotypical kiddos to learn

56 WNY Family March 2024


How to Move Forward as a Single Mom

The month of March can feel like the perfect time to get rid of the old and welcome the new. You’re three months into the new year and possibly feeling like you’re ready to move on. So, what does moving on look like as a single mom? Moving on can look like trying a dating app and potentially getting back out into the dating world. Or, moving on could look like selling your house and buying a new one. Whatever your moving on is, let it be well thought out and intentional. Doing things as a single mom can be both exciting and scary. My advice is to think about the kind of life you want and then work towards making that happen.

mas lights. It didn’t start out that way, though. It took years of self-doubt and worry that I wouldn’t do it right or that I needed a man to do it for me. I don’t feel that way anymore because of the amazing women I’ve had in my life who have shown me that I can do all those things and so much more.

So, what does moving on look like as a single mom?

where to begin? Here are some simple ways to figure that out.

Make a bucket list.

I want you to write down all the things you’ve always wanted to do before you were married, when you were married, and now that you’re divorced. Put them all down in one place and start checking things off. You will be amazed how refreshing and empowering it feels to start living your life and checking things off your bucket list.

I am way more confident in my single mom abilities in 2024 than I was in 2019. I don’t freak out about household things like a clogged toilet or mowing the lawn. And I’m fully capable of putting air in my tires or hanging Christ-

Whether you’re newly single or several years out from your divorce, moving on is necessary. Figuring out what you need and where you’re at in your healing process will determine what your next move is. Don’t know

What are you talk- ing about the most?

Think about the thing or things you seem to be talking to your friends and even family about all the time. What’s the thing that’s stuck in your head that bothers you so much you keep looking for validation from everyone else? Figure out what that thing is and go to therapy. That thing is probably part of what’s holding

58 WNY Family March 2024

you back and keeping you from moving on. For me, it was the feeling of things being unfair. Everything felt unfair and so it was hard for me to be happy for anyone who was starting a new relationship or getting remarried. I had to figure out where my anger was coming from and deal with it so I could let that go and move forward with my own happiness.

Forgive yourself.

Single moms are usually the hardest on themselves. We have to keep it all together. We have to be the mom and the dad. We have to earn the money and run the home. We have to be fun and be the disciplinarian. We have to balance self-care and raising kids. When we get it wrong, we beat ourselves about it. Simply put — blaming ourselves every time something goes wrong is much easier than crying ourselves to sleep for the one millionth time over a former life we no longer have. Let that stuff go. Forgive yourself for whatever it is that you’re holding on to. It may have served a purpose for you at one time, but it no longer is.

Laugh again.

Find things to do that make you

laugh. See a comedy show. Have a girls’ night. Ride a rollercoaster. Do something ridiculously silly. Laughing is good for your soul and it’s also good for your kids to see their mom be happy again. I bet you’ve been holding it all in and I bet you haven’t had much to laugh about, lately. Laughing after a divorce has a whole different feel. It becomes child-like again, and you may start to rediscover the parts of you that were lost during your marriage. Laughing also emits and attracts a whole new energy. People will feel your joy and that, my friend, is part of how you move on.

Moving on doesn’t mean that you’ve forgotten the bad things that have happened to you or that you are necessarily okay with becoming a single mom but what it does mean, is that you are freeing up prime real estate in your mind to create space for growth and growth is vital when moving on.

Meagan Ruffing is a marriage and family therapist and parenting journalist. Each year that goes by is another year she moves forward. Meagan enjoys counseling other single moms in their journey to find inner peace.

March 2024 WNY Family 59
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Sweet Dreams: Getting Teens The Sleep They Need

Only about 8% of teens get the recommended 8-10 hours of sleep a night, and that’s no small matter. Research shows that consistent sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, increased risk of catching the flu and the common cold, and makes it difficult to focus and do well in school. It doesn’t have to be this way. There’s a lot that parents can do to help their teens get the sleep they need. Here’s what the experts suggest:

Keep A Consistent Sleep Schedule

Help your teens keep a consistent sleep schedule. Child psychologist Dr. Alison Baker says that “consistency is really, really crucial in terms of building healthy sleep habits.” In other words, encourage your teens to go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day - and that includes weekends. “If a kid’s sleep schedule shifts dramatically on the weekends - staying up most of the night and sleeping until midafternoon Saturday and Sunday - the chances of getting back to normal Sunday night are slim,” says Professor Juliann Garey of NYU.

chologist Dr. Daniel Lewin, “can throw off their nighttime sleep schedule.”

Turn Of Electronics

Before Bedtime

Cellphones and laptops also make it hard for teens to fall asleep at night. The problem isn’t just that they’re texting with friends, posting on social media, and playing videogames instead of sleeping: the so-called blue light that electronic devices emit sends a signal to their brains that suppresses the production of melatonin and prevents them from feeling tired. Experts agree that teens can avoid this problem by putting away these electronic devices well before bedtime. As Dr. Lewin says, “leave a buffer zone of at least an hour before going to bed.”

Limit Afternoon Naps

Limit afternoon naps, no matter how tired they may be, when they get back from school. Naps make it hard to fall asleep at night, let alone at their regular time. If they really can’t stay wake in the afternoon, encourage them to take a short nap. “Sleeping for more than 20 minutes,” says child psy-

Parents may think that teens will rebel against this rule, but that’s not the case. According to Beata Mostafavi of C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, many teens “describe a sense of relief when their parents limit phone use because it takes away some of that pressure to keep up with social news and what their peers are up to.” In fact, says clinical psychologist Dr. Jeff Nalin, “not having access to electronics and social media just might cause your teen to become bored and decide to go to sleep on his or her own.”

… And Charge Them Outside Their Bedroom

Don’t tempt your teens to turn on their phones or computers once they’re

60 WNY Family March 2024

in bed. The best way to avoid that is to insist that they charge their devices anywhere in the house except their bedroom. “Consider having your teen leave their device in an area of the house that’s not their bedroom,” says registered nurse Mary Sweeney. “That’ll discourage them from reaching for it after they’ve shut off the lights.”

Reorganize Their Homework

You can help your teens stay away from electronics before they go to bed by having them do the homework that requires online access in the afternoon, and leaving offline homework for the evening. Have them do most of their homework right after they get home from school so that they can relax and unwind in the evening. “Anything to prevent teens from completing important deadlines at the end of the day,” says Ms. Mostafavi, “will make it easier to wind down for bed.”

Create An Unwinding Routine

When it’s time to wind down for the night, have your teen follow a set pattern. A nighttime routine, says Ms. Mostafavi, will “get their body into sleep mode and send the right signals to the brain that it’s time to snooze.” This could be anything from taking a hot bath or shower before they go to bed, to doing breathing exercises or writing in a journal.

Avoid Caffeinated Drinks

Finally, encourage your teens to limit their caffeine intake, especially in the afternoon and evening. They should avoid energy drinks, which often have more caffeine than coffee and tea. “If they’re craving something hot to drink,” says Kevin Asp, the founder of SomnoSure, a sleep medicine company, “then recommend a warm cup of herbal tea. One or two strong cups of tea can help them mellow out.”


7. Check and Rotate Mattress:

If possible, rotate or flip your mattress. This helps to maintain its shape and comfort over time and improves longevity. Be sure to follow directions for your specific mattress as some types do not get flipped. Also, check to see if the mattress needs replacement. A quality mattress is important for sleep and overall wellness, even for kids.

8. Inspect and Clean Furniture:

Take a close look at your furniture. Clean any stains or spills, and consider using furniture polish to keep surfaces looking new. Make any necessary repairs or note what you need to make them. Consider if your child has outgrown any furniture or if anything needs replacing.

9. Freshen Up the Air:

The best part of spring cleaning is fresh air. Open windows to let in fresh air. Consider using child-safe air fresheners or natural options like oil diffusers to add a pleasant scent to your room. You can also consider whether your child would benefit from an air filter to improve air quality in their room. If you use an air filter, be sure to clean the device and replace the filters.

10. Evaluate and Rearrange:

Are you anxious about your upcoming trip to disney?


@momisananxioustraveler on instagram



Bonus tip: This is also a great time to ensure the safety of the space. Here are some important things to check:

• Check all smoke detectors, putting in fresh batteries and testing them to verify they are in working order.

• Make sure you have appropriate childproofing for your child’s age for things like plug outlets, lights, heating elements, and doors.

• Verify that furniture is anchored appropriately.

• Check to see if your child’s crib is at the right height and away from any dangers.

• Ensure windows are appropriately secured.

Spring Cleaning Is a Process

Remember, you don’t have to do everything in one day. Break down the tasks over a few days or weekends to make them more manageable. Create a timetable or plan for getting things done and stick to it.

Tanni Haas, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Communication Arts, Sciences and Disorders at the City University of New York – Brooklyn College.

Now that you’re done, take a moment to evaluate the layout of the room. Is everything working well? Do you notice any gaps or things that are not functional? Does the space feel restful? Consider rearranging furniture or creating zones for a new look and improved functionality.

Spring cleaning is not only about creating a clean environment but also about creating a space that feels comfortable and organized. If you do these tasks once or twice a year, you will create a space that is healthier and more comfortable for your child and your home.

March 2024 WNY Family 61
Or ~

Easy Easter Eats

One-pan dishes to make hosting simple

(Family Features)

Even if Easter hosting duties fell on your plate this year and added one more thing to your holiday to-do list, that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult. After all, Easter is a time meant for fun and fellowship with the food just one part of the celebration.

Building the menu around simple, one-pan dishes can keep the focus where it needs to be: spending time and creating memories with family and friends. These dishes call for short lists of ingredients, many of which you may already have in your pantry, and simple preparation to create a full spread perfect for sharing with loved ones. Plus, using only one pan makes cleanup a breeze, so you can get back to the festivities quickly.

A dish like this Easter Roast lets you check both the main course and side dishes off your list, relying on the oven to do most of the work for you after some quick prep work. Similarly easy to prepare, these Refrigerator Rolls can also be made up to six days in advance and stored in the fridge until ready to bake — a perfect complement to the savory roast and veggies.

Finish off your feast with an adaptable dessert like this Blueberry Crumble. Made using just five ingredients and ready in about an hour, you can swap

the blueberry pie filling and yellow cake mix for any combination that suits your guests’ tastes like apple pie filling with spice cake or cherry pie filling with chocolate cake; the sky’s the limit when it comes to satisfying that sweet tooth.

For more Easter recipe inspiration, visit

Easter Roast

Yield: 1 roast Salt pepper

garlic powder

1 roast (3 pounds)

1 bag (1 pound) baby carrots

1 bag (1 1/2 pounds) trio potatoes or potato of choice

3 cups beef broth

1 can (10 ounces) cream of mushroom soup

1 tablespoon garlic pepper

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 onion, roughly chopped 1 bundle asparagus

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic powder over roast and rub into front, back and sides. Place seasoned roast in middle of large roasting pan.

Place carrots on one side of roasting pan and potatoes on other side.

In large bowl, mix beef broth and cream of mushroom soup with garlic pepper. Pour mixture over roast, potatoes and carrots. Sprinkle brown sugar over carrots and add chopped onion. Cover and cook 2 1/2 hours then remove from oven, add asparagus and cook uncovered 30 minutes.

Serve from pan or place on platter for more formal presentation.

Refrigerator Rolls

Yield: 18 rolls

2 packages yeast

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups lukewarm water

6-7 cups all-purpose flour, divided

2 teaspoons salt

2 eggs

1 stick softened butter

oil, divided

In large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in lukewarm water. When yeast is foamy, add 3 cups flour. Mix in salt, eggs and butter.

Once mixed well, add remaining flour 1 cup at a time and knead dough into ball in bowl. Remove dough from bowl and place on clean surface.

Wash and dry bowl then grease with drizzle of oil. Place dough in bowl and let rise 1 hour or store in refrigerator if making in advance.

When ready to use, grease muffin pan with oil. Roll dough into hand-size balls and place in each muffin hole; cover 1 hour.

Heat oven to 350° F. Bake rolls 30 minutes.

Note: Dough can be made in advance and stored in refrigerator up to six days. If making ahead, punch down dough, cover and place in refrigerator. Punch down daily until ready to use.

Blueberry Crumble

Yield: 1 cake

1 can blueberry pie filling

1 box yellow cake mix

1 bag (4 ounces) chopped pecans

1 stick butter, melted

1/4 cup oil

whipped cream, for serving (optional) vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Spread pie filling on bottom of 9-by-11-inch pan. Sprinkle cake mix and pecans on top. Do not mix.

Drizzle melted butter and oil on top of cake mix and pecans. Do not mix. Lift pan and tilt from side to side until cake mix is completely covered in butter.

Bake 1 hour until golden brown and bubbly.

Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired.

62 WNY Family March 2024
Easter Roast, Refrigerator Rolls and Blueberry Crumble.


An old-fashioned gastronomic gem in rural Alden, that’s my take on the G.D.I. Countryside Inn. Our Alden friends suggested this one, which luckily has a kids’ menu. The 12 and under menu includes a drink and ice cream for dessert. Because of many choices, the kids’ menu may sound complicated. For each entree there is a plate or a dinner. The dinner usually includes soup, veggie, and a choice of potato, for one to two dollars more. The high chair and booster crowd, as well as those in regular seats, can choose from the following: Hot Dog, Char or Boiled ($6.99/$9.99), Five Chicken Wings with fries ($9.99/$1.99), Macaroni and Cheese ($7.99/$9.99), Roast Beef or Turkey ($10.99/$12.99), Five Breaded Butterfly Shrimp ($10.00/ $12.99), Grilled Cheese ($7.99/$9.99), Hamburger or Cheeseburger ($7.99/$9.99), Mini Pizza with Cheese ($8.99) or with Pepperoni ($9.99), Haddock Mini-Fish Fry ($12.99 /$13.99), Filet Mignon ($14.99/$16.99), Three Chicken Fingers ($9.99/$11.99), Half Rack BBQ Ribs ($16.99/$17.99), and Two Pierogi ($9.99/$10.99). That’s the most extensive kids’ menu I’ve ever deciphered.


Countryside Inn

2049 Sandridge Road Alden, NY 14004 716-937-7778

were harmoniously delicious. The other diners at our table declared the soup to be the best of the rest (of the other dishes).

Dad, a.k.a. Grandpa, chose the Frog Legs... sorry, Kermit. Eight legs were prepared beer battered, and are also available hand breaded or broiled. The full dinner ($22.99) came with more choices; as an appetizer, you can go with four legs for $11.00. I shared a leg, with its garlic and part chicken and part fish taste. We gave this entree two thumbs up for eight legs down.

Our friend started with his favorite New England Clam Chowder, a specialty (cup $5.99, crock $6.99, or quart to go $12.99). He followed it with the Huge Polish Platter Combo ($28.99). That included Golumbki (Pig in a blanket), Three Pierogi, Smoked and Fresh Polish Sausage on a bed of Krazy Kraut. Hooray for the cabbage!

cream blended cocktails are listed above The Sweet Side of the menu, but there are more to consider from the dessert list on the table. How about the Huge Special Fried Dough with Strawberries or Apple Topping and Ice Cream, shareable for $10.99?

We four walked in hungry and walked out fully fed and contented. This is my idea of the restaurant with which I grew up, when I was a budding kiddie gourmet. Yet it still keeps up with the times, with its bill of fare, which is more than just fair.

Barb has been happily doing the Kiddie Gourmet for over 35 years. She has two aging children and four grandchildren, all living in Florida. She is a home instructor and community education cooking instructor for Williamsville Central Schools. She is the 2023 recipient of Buffalo State Alumni Association Senior Service Award.

I took advantage of the before 6:00 specials, with my Home-made Tex-Mex Meatloaf ($21.99). I chose the Czarnina, a.k.a. Duck Soup, as part of my special, along with the German Potato Salad. The Polish touch along with the German one

His partner preferred the Filet Mignon Steak Sliders. This item was well described as two mini-filets charred to perfection, topped with fried onion and cheese served on mini-Costanzo rolls ($17.99). Those rolls collected much of the flavor.

This restaurant has as many coffees, sodas, juices, and cocktails as it has food. Check the Take Out and Call-In menu, just for a heads up beforehand. The creamy frozen ice

March 2024 WNY Family 63
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