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How do you discipline your kids?

When I saw this headline to an upcoming conference it made me stop and think.

When my son sulked because he didn’t get the new fishing rod, how did it make me feel? Did I feel badly enough to negotiate with him?  “I understand that you really want that new rod. How about you clean up your room for the next week and we’ll go to Dicks?”

Probably not a good resolution. I just taught him that sulking brings positive results. But sometimes I just hate to see the sulking. And you can be sure that he makes certain that I see him.

So the real question is, ‘What’s the best way to deal with this?”

I called Suzanne Tremper, MS. Ed., the director of programs for Independent Living, Inc. to ask for her advice.  Here are her four tips

  1. Identify the difference between mistaken and misbehavior and teach your child the information he needs to know.
  2. Punishment has negative consequences and does not change the behavior.
  3. Positive guidance helps your child learn to make good choices.
  4. Many behavior problems can be stopped by altering the environment.

If you are dealing with similar issues you may be interested in attending one of the upcoming conferences sponsored The Early Childhood Direction Center. They are sponsoring two conferences called Who’s In Charge at Your House?  They are part of a free workshop series for parents and early childhood professionals who want to learn management techniques to address children’s behaviors.

Wednesday, Sept 5 from 10am til noon
Preschool Solutions
615 Rte 32, Highland Mills

Thursday, Sept 13 from 10am til noon
Orange County Dept of Mental Healt
30 Harriman Drive; Goshen

Interested in attending, call 845-565-1162 ext 240 or sign up at Independent Living. Tell them Terrie sent you!

I only wished they held them at night so I could attend. So if you go share what you learned with us.

What’s all this talk about kickboxing?

Fall is coming up fast. For many the change of seasons is a time for a change in our lives. For the past several weeks my husband and I have been walking right after work. (So if you call the office after 5pm and don’t get us, we are probably walking around the Downing Park with the geese.)

But how kickboxing to get in shape? Not something I even considered before speaking to Paul Melella of the United Martial Arts Fishkill. I called him for the center’s monthly ad and we began talking about the programs he offers.

“What do you know about kickboxing?” Paul asked.

“Kickboxing for women like me?” I asked, almost incredulously, because I always think that any form of boxing is for the young people with their quick feet and sure hands.

I gave him all the standard objections: I am not in great shape; I know nothing about kickboxing; I have no experience with kickboxing. I am sure you have some of your own objections.

Paul’s set me straight:

Paul sets me straight on kickboxing

  • This is good for those just starting out
  • You are only competing with yourself
  • It is an all-around body fitness program which includes fitness drills, calisthenics and stretches
  • Since the classes are predominately women I shouldn’t feel out of place.
  •  ‘Even his mom who is in her 60s participates’ was Paul’s final punch line.

But for me the kicker was: IT’S A GREAT WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT!

“Everyone is different,” says Paul when I asked how much weight I could expect to lose and how fast. (I admit, there is a part of me that is real lazy. I would like the best results in the shortest time. )  According to Paul I could see results within a month, whether it’s losing weight or gaining muscle.

So here I go…As a beginner Paul suggests 1 to 2 times a week and some practice at home.

Attention Moms: you can take your class after your kid’s karate. UMAC has a fun room in the back for the kids to wait for you while you’re getting in shape with kickboxing.

If you try it, let me know how it’s going. Ask for the Hudson Valley Parent special. Interested call 845-897-8622

I remember when the label maker came into being.  What a very cool thing to be able to manuever the wheel around, press down the thingy-majiggy, and out popped a small plastic label that you could stick on to toys, or your cassette player (now I’m really dating myself!), and for my father, every one of his tools under the sun.  We loved to label things.  It got nutty.  And we still love to label things: the thinker, the goth, the nerd, the jock.  And when my youngest daughter showed her talented and creative side very early on, we labelled her “the artist.”  For birthdays, she received art sets and paint by number kits, and as she got older, we kept nudging her about art classes in school, and maybe going on to even  art school.  In her spare time, she drew and painted; her art teachers raved about her skills. 

But when an art studio in town opened up, she took a series of classes and then didn’t want to return.  I thought it was the teacher, perhaps, or the group of kids.  But when I finally gave it some serious thought, I finally got it.  While art was something she loved to do in her spare time, it wasn’t something she wanted to take “lessons” on or be lectured to.  For her, it was a time in her day where her imagination could run wild, where she could decide what to do, and not be “assigned” a project, and then be “graded” on it.  This kind of regimen, I believe, was taking the joy out of it for her.

And what a valuable lesson that was for me, and I wish I’d learned it sooner.  I’d probably not have kept on being the “cheerleader” for her art skills as much.  But it’s what parents do, right?  See what your kid does well in and encourage that skill.  But it doesn’t always work that way from the kid’s perspective.  

(Big sigh here!) 

Parenting is such a “learn on your feet as you go,” and a “trial by error” practice.  And I can’t beat myself up too much since I think I discovered the error of my ways before I did any real damage to our relationship.  I now understand her so much more.  And how annoying it must’ve been for her to have mom keep pushing something onto her when it wasn’t her thing, without having the words to explain it.

We’re off on the college search, and besides her excellent art grades, she has also been getting good grades in science and biology.  On our recent college tour, before she even asked to see their art building, she asked to see the biology labs. 

But I wasn’t surprised a bit.  I really do get it now.


Don’t get me wrong, I am not the best shopper. I go on binges. Sometimes I think Macy’s has the greatest selection and I can’t get enough. Then it’s Marshalls with their unpredictable selection, but undeniable bargains.

Bargains! Who can resist the Salvation Army or the Good Will stores?  (Check out my $7.99 winter coat.)

I am a fickle shopper and that drives mall management crazy. So they are trying a different tactic.

Newburgh Library opens it’s Mall branch.

Look for a store that even a  fickle shopper like me can’t resist. Our local library. Technically, they don’t have competition, unless you consider Barnes and Noble. But even the last remaining national bookstore chain has difficulty in holding on to its customer base. And since there is only one library per region and they are all linked within the region they don’t have competition.

Also the local library has many fans.  (Okay so 716 is not a lot) But besides Facebook they are on Pinterest and Twitter. They have books, DVDs, magazines, online databases, online books for you and your kids…and that just scratches the surface.

Recently the Newburgh Mall made a smart decision when they asked the Newburgh Library to join them at their Route 300 location.

According to Newburgh Library Director Muriel Verdibello  with just a couple of months planning they were able to open their new mall branch with the support of their entire staff. “This is a pilot project,” says Verdibello. “It gives our voters a chance to see what is available before they have to vote on a new budget next year.”

Hanna Johnston with her 11 yr old daugher Ada

The two families I met while at the Mall Branch said they love the convenience of the new location. l Hanna Johnston of Newburgh held an armful of books. She came to get her kids glasses before school and dropped in to see what the library offered.

Inez Foreman of Newburgh said that her three year old Valeria loves getting books. In fact, this is the second time this week they came back to the mall.

For 3 yr old Valeria, the library is her favorite stop in the mall

Great traffic for the mall. Convenience for book readers. And there is plenty more to come.  Bring your own cup of coffee and enjoy free WiFi.

Every summer since we moved up to Monroe from Long Island we’ve taken time at the Jersey Shore.  (A name which has now taken on a whole new meaning for reasons I won’t get into.)  But for eleven years, we’ve taken the drive down the Garden State to one of the exits to the shore, whether Seaside, Point Pleasant, and now Long Beach Island.  LBI as it’s commonly called, is extremely quiet, just the sounds of the gulls in the distance and the conversations of bicycle riders along the narrow street is about all you hear.  It’s blissfully quiet. 

My daughter came for a few days, and left yesterday; my sister in law left about an hour ago, and I have the house to myself til Saturday.  But this time has been like my New Year’s Eve.  It’s my time to think about the year that’s passed, and the one to come.  And now that the house is even quiet, it’s giving me more time to think. 

One thought that has been running through my head of late is that my kids are actually making me into a better person.  Isn’t that a kick in the head?  Let me explain.

Now that my oldest has been driving, she has taken on the role of “backseat driver” with a vengeance.  “Mom, you’re tailgating.”  or “Mom, where is your turn signal?”  and my favorite, “Mom, you didn’t count to three at that STOP sign.”  All the rules she has learned in her driving class, she has taken to heart, and I’m in her sights, and the second she witnesses one of my driving  transgressions, she’s on me, like  a motorcycle cop in the rear view mirror.

But it doesn’t end there.  This same daughter works at one of the big fast food chains, I won’t say which one, but it starts with an “M.”  She is now on a kick to only eat their salads or wraps, and drink water.  So, God forbid she catches me with french fries, or EGADS!  a diet soda.  “Mom, do you know what’s in a soda?”  or “MOM, french fries?” in her most disappointed voice.  And, me, feeling like I’ve just stepped on a puppy, sheepishly shrugs my shoulders, as sad as can be.  I have to say, however, that it’s working.  If anyone else were to tear into me like she does about my shortcomings, I’d probably stand up, look them straight in the eye, and say, “So what.”  But it’s my child….I should be a better example; remember that saying, “it’s now what you say, but what you do that matters”?  

So, I am making sure I use my turn signal everytime (I dislike those who don’t anyway), I am keeping far from fast food these days, and I do count 1-2-3 at every STOP sign.  After all, I have my youngest learning to drive now, and I know I’m going to be in her sights very soon.

With my house joyously quiet, and my daughters miles away, I am going to enjoy the peace as I sip my (shh!) diet soda.  But hold the fries.



This is a craft recommended for parent and child ages 4 and up.

Sure it’s easy to make a sock puppet, but have you ever made one with a perfect hand insert?

I came up with this neat little trick when I was a young teen and have used it ever since when making a sock puppet.

Things you will need…

Socks – Buttons or Googly Eyes – Yarn – Hot Glue – Scissors – Cardboard – Any other face or hair makings of your choice

The first thing you will want to do is cut a piece of cardboard ( I used the wings off a box) into 6 by 3 inch rectangles. Bend in half creating a mouth shape.

Cut small strips of cardboard. Have your child hold the pre-cut rectangle in their hand as they would hold their puppet and bend strip over their finger as shown to make the needed size… do the same for thumb. Mark on either side of the finger so you can remember where the bend goes.

Inside out your sock – This is very important – You want it inside out. This is a parent step so feel free to have your child watch 🙂

Hot Glue Finger slots onto the top and bottom of your mouth piece close the the fold where your child’s fingers will sit. I recommend not only hot gluing it on, but also reinforcing around each side so it seals a nice strong bond as seen below.

Now, squeeze hot glue onto the inside of one side of the mouth and place sock inside making sure it’s smooth. Pull extra sockage out the sides. Repeat on top. What you should have is a mouth piece hot glued on the outside of your sock.

Inside out and pull at corners of mouth a little to form a smile 🙂

Decorate puppet as wanted and have fun doing it! be creative and silly!

To create a wig for your puppet wrap yarn around your fingers until nice and thick. Tie a small strand around the center and pull tight with a knot. Cut yarn off underside of your hand and then trim as wanted. Leave long, or cut short… your child is the beautician.

Mayor Bloomberg discusses his goal to eliminate formula samples in hospital gift bags

Mayor Bloomberg has been all over the news lately. First he wants to take away soda and now he’s decided to take away baby formula! Okay, so he’s still in the process of turning his plans into laws, but who knows… it could pass. If his new plans pass, new moms will no longer receive samples of baby formula in their “new mom gift baggies” the hospital hands out. Bloomberg’s goal in taking away formula is to reduce obesity. He says formula-fed babies are more likely to be obese than breast-fed babies.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) all recommend breastfeeding as the best option for babies. They believe breastfeeding helps defend against infections, prevent allergies and protect against a number of chronic conditions. The AAP suggests breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months. They suggest continuing breastfeeding until the mother and baby are both willing to give it up. (Cheap Plug: Visit our facebook page: to see our community chatter about the mom on Time magazine breastfeeding her 3 year old… now back to your regularly scheduled blog).

Formula can be a lifesaver for busy moms!

I have to be honest with you all. Breastfeeding is obviously a healthy choice, but I don’t think it’s suitable for everyone. In tough economic times like we face today, mothers simply can’t afford to be out of work for extended periods of time after giving birth. Formula offers these busy moms a means to feed their child and go back to work at the same time… HELLO, diapers don’t grow on trees!

I posted this topic on our facebook page ( not knowing if we’d get a huge response. Less than 20 minutes after posting, we had over 50 comments. The conversation was wonderful. We had moms and dads both sounding off on the topic! I wanted to share some of my favorite comments with you…

Kristyn Wesdorp Wosneski –  “Seriously??? I HATE it when men stick their noses into women’s business like this. When he has the ability to breastfeed, then he can have a say in the topic. Granted, breast is best, but if for some reason a new mom can’t do it, is an alcoholic, does drugs, what have you, having that formula in the new mom bag might actually help out in a bind.”

Courtney Durfee – ‎” If 90% practiced exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, US health care savings would be $13 billion/year and would save 911 lives. Saved health care costs is $532 per infant a year.

Michele Rothstein Dolbin – In my situation, it was my baby who refused to nurse. She even refused pumped milk in the bottle. I felt guilty for YEARS. But she’s 12 – thin as a rail and fit as a fiddle.

Several health agencies believe breastfeeding is the healthiest option for both mom and baby.

Mari Martinez – This should not be an issue of MONEY! It should be the mother’s decision, after all that is what AMERICA is suppose to provide us with… the ability to make our OWN DECISIONS. Enough of the government trying to control our every move. Obviously breast feeding is the best, but if the mother is unable to breast feed then what? Shame on those who feel otherwise!

Michelle Amodio- How about giving mothers the time off from their jobs to successfully breastfeed? Education, time and work is required [for breastfeeding]. Pumping in an office or bathroom doesn’t make it better or easier. And I’m a mom who formula fed her baby for reasons that, well, no one needs to know why, because it’s none of their business. But if you want women to succeed, give them the time they need with their babies, don’t hide formula.

Galia Kisiova – Of course breast feeding is best, but come on, one can breast feed for 3 years and then follow up with junk food, lack of exercise and lack of example…it’s a choice…I saw Bloomberg’s proposal a few days ago and coming from Europe, I have only one comment-“Give mothers a year PAID maternity leave like they do in Europe and the number of breast-fed babies will increase without any measures… And I agree, it’s a personal choice, like so many issues with having/raising children. One can have an opinion, but one should also learn to respect others’ choices. While we are on it, who will address the fact that food stamps are spent on chips/juices/other junk food..and maybe come up with a law that makes parents, who receive free state health insurance for their kids, sign them up and actually attend sports activities…there are so many other measures that could save money…taking a box of formula out of a bag and making a mother feel guilty, in my opinion, is a poor choice.

(Another shameless plug in 3…2…1…) See how awesome our facebook conversations are! If you haven’t liked us already, you’re missing out!

Although we all said it in different ways (some with shouty capitals, some with explicit language and others with less fervor), we all pretty much agreed that the option to breastfeed should be left up to the mother.  Now, don’t get me wrong… Bloomberg is not taking formula off the shelves; he just wants to make it illegal for hospitals to give new moms samples of formula in their “new mom gift bags.” The decision is still up to the mom, but why should women that decide to breastfeed get more help in the hospital (often nurses give crash courses on the breastfeeding process after the delivery) than moms that decide to use formula? I don’t think this is fair at all.

I’m curious as to what all you moms and dads out there think about this issue.  Don’t forget to leave your comments below!


We write a lot about toddlers and babies, and even the “school age” child, but this one is for the tweens.  Those 13-14 year olds that still like playing board games, but not the traditional ones that they’ve played for eons, but something trendy, but still really, really fun.   That game is FURT

Yes, I’ll admit, it’s not your typical name, and probably leans toward a sound that the body  makes after, maybe, beans.  But that’s not the point of the game at all.  It’s nothing gross, but in fact, it should actually be called, “silly fun.” 

My 19-year-old is a game player; she definitely has inherited the genes to carry on the family game night tradition.  When I saw the game FURT, and read that it was for the 13 and up range, I knew it would be something right up our alley.  She learned the game in seconds, and taught me how to play with one condition: that she be able to keep the game and bring it with her to college in September.  I said, “Sure.”  I’ll make any kind of deal whenever it means one of my kids will spend time with me.  (Remember “South Africa?”  Enough said.)

FURT is an easy set up, and there are tons of player cards which means the game can have endless plays without repeats.  First thing you do is pick a marker, or a little player that moves along the board.  My daughter choose the big “number 1” finger, and I choose the garden gnome.  I rolled the die, and Emily said, “You have to take one of those small cards.”  These cards had the phrase, “what the ?!” on the back.  But I wasn’t to read what it said out aloud.  That was because it had secret instructions for me. 

Instructions to do something annoying before my next turn.  I was to go get something to eat in the kitchen, bring it back and start chewing, and then when anyone asked what I was eating, I’d open my mouth and mumble, “want some?”  OK.  I admit.  Annoying.  But, remember the age.  It’s for tweens.  When we do something with our kids, sometimes we do so on their level…sometimes ensuring that they’ll actually enjoy it.  So what that mom or dad looks like a big nut.  Watching Emily, albeit almost an adult, laugh like a loon was worth the effort.  Her turn was to make me laugh, and all she had to do is wiggle her fingers by her ears and I lost it.  Who cared, really, who won the game. By this time we just want to get our next turn to be silly.

These days, and I don’t mean to get all serious and all, but we need every opportunity to just relax with our tween-age kids (and older).  And if it takes a game with a funny sounding name, so be it.

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