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We received samples of Smucker’s Pumpkin Pie Spice and Apple Cinnamon ice cream toppings in our office last month. They were so good that I had to get some for home. I told the kids about our office taste test which got 10 thumbs up in a 5 person office. We immediately broke out the ice cream and loaded it up. My daughter, Dominique, loved the Apple Cinnamon topping. It has little chunks of apples with just the right amount of cinnamon and it gave our vanilla ice cream a great little kick. The Pumpkin Pie Spice was the overall winner in my house though. We have gone through 2 jars in just a few days. We had the whole family involved including my daughter’s boyfriend. Maybe Smucker’s could make a jumbo jar next year. The spices are subtle, but very tasty. It has a nice creamy texture and is really good when you warm it up. So, out of my family of 5, there was a 10 thumbs up! Go out and get some now, you won’t be sorry.

Smucker's Apple Cinnamon Topping

Is it really almost time for Thanksgiving already? Weren’t we just hunting for Halloween Costumes? Although this time of year always flies by and can be quite hectic, it is also a great time to sit back and reflect on the past year. My family has the tradition (as I’m sure many of you do) of reciting what we are thankful for at the Thanksgiving table. I usually always say I am thankful for my family, because without them I don’t know how I could make it through the hard times. We would love to hear from you and what makes you thankful. Leave us a comment and maybe we will print it in the magazine. Happy Thanksgiving.


Last Friday Terrie (the publisher of Hudson Valley Parent and Life magazines) and I (Bridget, the editorial assistant) traveled up to the charming city of Saratoga Springs, NY for the annual NYS PTA Convention. We had a booth at the convention and were showing off our published book The Undercover Kids: The Trunk in the Attic and our puppet Katie to parents, teachers and educators. Although that aspect of the convention was a lot of fun, I thought the best part was seeing what the other vendors were offering.

After talking a few walks around the convention site and stopping by a few booths, I managed to scrounge up a few interviews with some interesting vendors. One man worked for a business called the reflectory, which offers wide range of Reflectors for Photoelectric Controls, Industrial and Traffic Safety, Promotional Giveaways and Consumer Use for Visibility In The Dark!  In Addition, they provide reflectors to the Safe Kids Worldwide and Safe Routes to Schools.  His name was Ray and he gave us some great safety advice, that we will be posting on our Hudson Valley Parent site soon, so keep on the lookout for that. I was especially surprised that Ray was based out of Newburgh like us, what a small world! We also talked to a woman from AGATE. AGATE is a non-profit organization of concerned parents, educators and advocates designed to promote the education and welfare of gifted and talented learners in New York State. Then there was Amie Hamlin, Executive Director of the NY Coalition for Healthy School Food, who gave us some great advice on how parents and educators can encourage healthy eating in children. Lastly we were fortunate to interview Youth for Human Rights Long Island Director, Sharon Schare, who was nice enough to take a few minutes to speak with us about the programs they offer. All of our videos will be on our main website, but are currently posted on our YouTube page if you want to check them out. It was great to meet so many people dedicated to changing children’s lives for the better. Other than helping parents parent, we feel that our magazine also helps shape children’s lives for a better and brighter future. How about you? Other than being the amazing parent’s we know you are,  how do you try to enrich your children’s life everyday? Let us know, we would love to hear from you.

Youngsters who cannot check out books due to overdue fines are invited to take part in the Read Away Your Fines Program offered by the Newburgh Free Library during December and January. It’s an easy and simple program that helps children make a fresh start so they can once again check out books or use the Internet.

 Head of Youth Services & Children’s Librarian, Lisa Kochik, says that this sort of program has been offered at numerous libraries including the Queens Public Library in the past and Newburgh has always wanted to try it. According to Kochik, the library’s goal is to “offer kids an opportunity to regain their borrowing privileges, without dependency on parents providing money to them, and then encourage the kids to keep their cards “clean” afterward so that they can enjoy using the library again and feel proud and accomplished that they created that opportunity for themselves!”

For the program, children fill out a “read away your fines” contract and spend time at an Open Reading Session which allows them to read silently in the library for up to 45 minutes at a time. For every 15 minutes that they read, children will earn one Library Buck which equals $1 in fines. This program is for Newburgh Free Library Card Holders Only.

Library Bucks can be earned to pay down fines or to pay for one (1) lost item if it was owned by the Newburgh Free Library. Additional lost items or lost items that were lent from other Libraries will need to be paid for with actual money.

Open Reading Sessions are scheduled during Winter Break on Dec. 21, 22 & 23 from 10am-12pm and every Tues., Wed. & Fri. from 3:30pm-4:45pm during January. Children may bring in required reading for school, a book from home, a magazine or select something to read from the Library. Materials must be reading-level appropriate.

For more information, contact the Youth Services Department at the Newburgh Free Library, 845-563-3616 or call the main number, 845-563-3600.


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