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If you love books you would have loved the 2009 National Book Festival held in Washington, DC on September 26th. There were more authors and their books in one spot than you could possibly visit in a day. It is true that we have many book fairs in the mid-Hudson region, like the Millbrook Book Festival in late spring, but there is an excitement in the Mall in DC that can’t be beat.

Although I am the publisher of Hudson Valley Parent and Hudson Valley Life magazine, I really went as someone who loves reading books. And I also had the privilege of having a media badge which allowed me to meet and greet nationally recognized authors from John Grisham to Judy Blume and 75 authors in between.

Kids…kids…and more kids. They were the best!!!

But the most exciting experience was meeting the kids and their parents. I know that many say that reading and books is a lost art. But you had to be the Book Festival to see the 1000s of parents and their kids anxiously waiting to speak to a specific author whom they love. With books clutched in their hands, kids were excited at the thought that they would personally meet the author who wrote their favorite book. Here are some pictures of the event, but check out more photos on our Hudson Valley Life Blog! We also have videos on our Facebook page!

Group of Authors get ready to speak!

Group of Authors get ready to speak!

Some children with their favorite PBS Characters!

Some children with their favorite PBS Characters!

Unfortunately, the question “how long should a mother nurse her baby?” does not have an easy answer. Advice given by people, whether its doctors, a breastfeeding counselor or your mother, it is confusing and contradictory. Everyone you talk to has different advice for you. Combine this with the fact that every mom & baby are different, and you have good reason to be wondering what is the best thing to do. Breastfeeding is by far the best way to feed your baby.

Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby’s development for the first year or more Breast milk changes as your baby grows and is the only food needed for the first 4 to 6 months.  So does that mean you should only breastfeed for the first 4 to 6 months and then stop? Wean your baby at one year? Yes? No? Maybe?

I encourage all moms to at least start breastfeeding as it is best for your baby! No formula can duplicate what “mother nature” has given you. How long? Each mother and baby are unique so only you know the answer to that question. For me, I breastfed my first child only for the first four months and then weaned her on to a bottle. I only did so because of the stress I was going through at the time and didn’t feel she would benefit from the amount of stress and worries I was dealing with at the time. We still bonded over a bottle and had our “alone” time but now that I’m pregnant with my second, I plan on breastfeeding for at least a year or until the baby gets teeth. After a year though and when the baby has teeth, I think is a bit too long although in places outside of the U.S., some mom’s breastfeed until the child is 4-5 yrs.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends at least one year or for as long as mutually desired by mom and baby.

If you’d like to read more about this topic and hear what other moms are saying, read the article published in this month’s Hudson Valley Parent, “To breastfeed or not to…” By Claudia Caruna.

Getting new products in the office is always fun but when you have the opportunity to getDSC01163 something really great and try it out, it’s even better. I had the pleasure of receiving this amazing stroller and infant carrier from Britax. I wasn’t familiar with the brand so I did a little research to find out more about the product I was “testing” and couldn’t resist writing about how amazing this stroller is! My daughter Ella loved going for walks in this stroller, the ride is so smooth and comfortable that she even fell asleep!!

The Britax Chaperone Stroller combines the ultimate in convenience, comfort and style and it is the perfect match to the safest infant carrier to date according to Babies r us. The britax-chaperone-21-060-lstroller comes unassembled but it was very easy to put together, I did it in about 25 mins in the office. It can accommodate infants 6mths to 55lbs or from birth if used with the infant carrier. Some of the features I love are the easy one-hand fold with automatic chassis lock, all wheel suspension for a smooth ride, five-point harness and the 3-position recline. It’s a bit pricey by retailing at $299.99 but I think its well worth the price. I’m confident you will fall in love with this stroller the minute it arrives!! You can find both products by visiting

britax-chaperone-infant carrierThe infant carrier that I also had the pleasure of reviewing comes attached to the base and is very easy to install. I am having my second child in January so I will be updating this post with pictures but so far I was very pleased with the installation part of the infant carrier. The Britax Chaperone Infant Carrier/Car Seat is touted as the “industry leading front, rear and side impact protection” car seat and is considered to be the “safest infant carrier to date” by Babies r us. It comes equipped with True Side Impact Protection and a patented anti-rebound bar for added safety in the event of an accident. It can accommodate an infant rear facing from four to 30 lbs and up to 32 inches tall and is compatible with the Britax Chaperone Stroller and other major brands. The fabric is high quality and easy-to-clean. Retails for $229.99 and can be found at Babies r us online only or by visiting: for more locations.


This month we have an article on crafting with your kids. That is something near and dear to my heart. When my two older kids were little we did tons of crafts. I had an entire 3 drawer dresser full of crafting items: paper, glitter, glue, pipe cleaners, pom poms, you name it, we had it. The kids had free rein and came up with lots of great things. My son especially had a talent for dioramas. He had never even seen one the first time he made one. He took some of his miniature dinosaur toys and made a whole scene inside a shoe box. For a kid who was only about 4, it was very detailed and well made. He painted, made trees, positioned the dinosaurs, you get the idea. We had lots of good times over the dining room table and I have done the same thing with my youngest. All you need are the basics. Some paper, crayons and glue are a great way to start. I recommend it to all moms who are looking to spend some time with their kids ands stimulate their creativity too.


I was talking to a mom the other day who had an athletic 11-year-old daughter. The daughter, we’ll call her Jill, loved sports and wanted to play on the boys baseball team, but the rules in her league prevented her from doing so. At Jill’s age there was a boys and a girls baseball team, no co-ed teams. When I asked the mother what she thought about Jill wanting to play, she admitted that she was happy the rules of the league prevented her from playing. I asked her, ‘Why?’ and she told me that she didn’t want her girl getting hurt by the boys.

I played sports when I was younger and never would discourage my daughter from playing on the boys’ team if it’s a possibility that she can. If she tried out and was fast enough and strong enough to play with the boys, she should be allowed that chance. It was disappointing to hear this mother’s take on the situation.

What if your son came back and wanted to play on the only lacrosse team in the school and it’s a girls’ team? Would you let him? Would he be made fun of? How would he handle that? What would YOU do? Let me know.

Read our article, written by Angela Batchelor, on what the local rules when a boy wants to play on the girls team or vice versa.

We didn’t see this movie, but 12-year-old Sami wanted to play the video game and was actually impressed that it was harder than she thought!Here’s her review!

Aliens In The Attic DS Game – Review

Sami here. I was assigned to review the new DS video game for the new movie, Aliens In The Attic. Overall it was a good, fun game. But it is also hard. (I died on the first level, and I am good at video games!)


In the game you get to play as 3 different characters, each whenever you want. There is Tom, Jake, and Hannah, each with their own special abilities. For example: Jake can push large blocks out of the way and Hannah can double jump.


You get to use all sorts of gismos and gadgets, like laser guns and stun rays. Some weapons you get from boss battles at the end of each level. Some Tom will build, he being the brains of the operation, or battle, so to say. You can collect upgrades along the path of the levels to make your guns, stun rays, etc, better.


When you are going through the levels you have to fight the alien robots and, occasionally, heal a citizen/friend/neighbor/enemy from a weapon the robot aliens have unleashed on them.


Even though I have NOT beat this game yet, there are still many hard bosses you have to face at the end of each level. You could face the aliens (turned giant) or maybe a robot ship. Either way, they are hard and take clever skill to figure out how to beat them. (Psst: The characters talk about how to in the beginning. Tee hee.)


I give it a 7/10. Even though it is hard, it is still fun to play. 🙂


Looking for more games to play or things to do with the kids? Check out the Hudson Valley event calendar!

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