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When my partner Stephanie and I had our baby last November, we took several classes in the months leading up to the due date. We found the information to be extremely helpful down the line. But perhaps even more important, we are still friendly with 3 couples we met at the classes.

Here  is the CRYSTAL RUN HEALTHCARE prenatal class schedule., with additional classes added for Middletown and Rock Hill.

 The classes, open to the public, first launched in April 2010. The program, designed by Crystal Run pediatricians, is intended to provide guidance and emotional support and help prepare expectant parents for the arrival of their new baby. ALL CLASSES HELD FROM 5pm to 6pm.

Mill Street Loft's red barn at Long Dock in Beacon, NY

An artist's rendering of Scenic Hudson's red barn at Long Dock in Beacon, NY, where Mill Street Loft will offer arts programming to the community.

Mill Street Loft needs your vote on their project to establish a multi-arts community education center to be housed in a red barn renovated by Scenic Hudson at its Long Dock Park in Beacon, NY.

Mill Street Loft has applied for a Pepsi grant and will be in the October voting cycle at By voting for this idea every day in October you will help Mill Street secure the $50,000 grant that will make it possible for them to reach thousands of children and adults through the arts. 

The voting period is October 1-31, and we need YOUR vote every day. The average winner of the Pepsi grant needs 3,000 votes per day! YOU can make the difference.

Spread the word. Encourage others to join the Mill Street Loft facebook page (Riverside Arts: Beacon) and to join the email list at for updates and news.

Please register to vote at


Economic Downturn Has Spurred Giving

Almost two-thirds of America’s grandparents have provided financial support to their grandchildren during the last five years, 40% for general purposes and 26% for education, according to the MetLife Mature Market Institute’s QuickPOLL, Grandparents: Generous with Money, Not with Advice. The average amount provided was $8,661, or about $370.7 billion total in the last five years. One-quarter (25%) say the economic downturn has caused them to increase the help they give to their grandchildren.

The 2009 Grandparents Poll revealed that grandparents prefer to help their children and grandchildren while they are alive, rather than leaving a lump sum in a will, an interesting phenomenon.
In addition, the data indicates that those with less income and net worth are giving a Read the rest of this entry »


 Children who walk or bike to school are healthier, more alert and are more adept at making friends, which all add up to being more successful in school. Studies have shown that youth who are active in the morning and afternoon perform better in school. So, get your kid off on the right foot and encourage walking and biking to school!

 The Safe Routes to Schools and Parks committee of the Healthy Kingston for Kids partnership is encouraging parents and school employees in Kingston to band together this fall to celebrate a International Walk and Bike to School Day event on October 6,  which aims to bolster youth fitness through active living. Activities such as walking and biking to school promote the notion that a “healthier kid is a smarter kid.” Schools worldwide will be participating.

 On September 21, 2010 there will be a workshop for parents, teachers and school officials interested in holding a walk and bike to school event at their school. Contact Kristen Wilson at (845) 340-3990 or for times and locations.

 From the perspective of a parent, the preference for walking is clear. “What motivates me most about having my community walk to school is Read the rest of this entry »


I have not so good eyesight. I got my first pair of glasses in third grade, and suffered the usual traumas. They were grey with a clear fade near the bottom. I finally got a cool pair in third grade, gold-rimmed aviators. I got contacts at thirteen and never looked back.

 Sometimes I wonder if my condition had been diagnosed earlier, would my eyes be not quite so bad? September is National Children’s Eye Care and Safety month. Find out what you need to know in our feature article, “Eye Care For Your Child.”

The most popular article on the New York Times website today is Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits. Obviously a timely read. The quick take: Vary your study locations, and mix up the topics a bit. Both ploys give the brain more chances to create nueral pathways, increasing the likelihood you’ll remember the information. 

Why should you do one session at your desk and another review session at the dining room table? Because the brain makes subtle associations with surroundings when  we learn, studying in two different locations offers the brain two different pathways to that information.

In terms of topic, if you are studying art history, it’s better to study, say, the works of six impressionists, rather than concentrating on Monet, then moving to the next artist. The brain remembers the contrasts between the artists as well as the similarities. The article says these studies about studying have been going on since the 1970s, but ongoing study folklore has prevented us from using the information. Check it out.

Hudson Valley Children’s book illustrator publishes first novel and it’s a Halloween Treat!  Local book signings in Poughkeepsie, Middletown & Wappingers Falls.

Bob Berry, illustrator of scores of children’s  book featuring such characters as Elmo,  Dora the Explorer and Disney Princess has written and published his first novel, ” A Haunting at Richelieu High:  A Penny Dreadful Investigation”.

 KC could never resist a good mystery—and new student Penelope Dredalus was exactly just that. Quiet and very serious, she had a secretive air about her. Luckily she was in most of KC’s classes, which made getting the dirt on her a whole lot easier. During lunch, KC and her friend Air observed Penelope while she was taking on the cell phone when suddenly, sparks appeared and it exploded. A day after that incident Read the rest of this entry »

Reports from Hudson Valley orchards indicate that some varieties of apples are ready for picking a little early this year due to summer weather conditions. Check out our Pick-Your-Own listings in our Travel Guide and grab some apples this weekend. And don’t forget to bring one in for the teacher…

photo credit: American Camp Association

Beating the “End of Camp” Blues

Camp is an action-packed adventure. Each day brings new and exciting opportunities for growth and accomplishment. At the same time, strong bonds of friendship and community are developing. It truly is a life-changing experience. And when the embers of the last campfire have cooled, and campers make their way home, often children experience a mild case of the “end of camp blues.”

The blues are not uncommon — causing some children to be tired, moody, quieter than usual, or even irritable or grumpy. The American Camp Association (ACA) recommends the following tips for families to help ease the transition from camp to home:

  • Help them relax and adjust to the slower pace of non-camp life. Suggest they take a warm shower and get plenty of rest. Plan to have an “old favorite” for dinner.
  • Encourage reconnecting with friends from home. Volunteer to set up play dates and get-togethers to help re-establish a sense of belonging with friends they haven’t seen in a long time.
  • Allow your child to write, email, or call camp friends. Many camps encourage campers to exchange e-mail and IM addresses with one another. Parents should make sure to oversee their child’s online activities, and make sure that all camp policies are being followed.
  • Be open and available to talk about camp. Allow your children to reflect on their friends, their favorite moment at camp, and what they miss most about camp. Sharing experiences and feelings will help them feel connected to you, and will make the transition easier.
  • Organize a small “reunion.” Getting together with local camp friends can help reassure your child that though his or her friends are out of sight, they are not out of mind!

If your child gets the blues, remember that they miss camp because they had fun — and they enjoyed taking healthy risks in a safe and nurturing environment. And, it is normal for them to miss their camp family the same way they missed their home family at camp. By being supportive and understanding, families can ease the sadness and help campers adjust to life at home. And, families can help campers remember that next summer is not that far away.

On Sunday, August 29, Ukulele player and songwriter Aaron Lee will roll into the MINT Lounge and Tapas in the Rondout at 1 West Strand, Kingston to perform a concert to benefit Healthy Kingston for Kids Project, which is a partnership led by Cornell Cooperative Extension Ulster County (CCEUC).

Lee is promoting community building with the Ukulele by Bicycle Tour. Lee is riding his bicycle across the Northeast and carrying everything that he needs. Lee will be performing a series of concerts in communities at various venues along the way to promote the causes of living simply and sustainably, acting locally, and the energy of bringing a group of people together to support a common cause.

 The concert is FREE, but donations will be accepted. Donations will directly support the GIS Community Mapping project of the Healthy Kingston for Kids initiative.  The GIS Community Mapping Team consists of volunteers with GPS units and “computer techies” who are mapping the walkability and bikeability of Kingston.  The maps will be used to identify priority transportation projects that will improve the environment for child pedestrians and bicyclists.  The Mapping Team is in need of laptops for a mobile GIS lab that will share the maps with the community!

  This family fun event is guaranteed to make you laugh and leave you with a song in your head and a smile on your face!

 For more information  contact Kristen Wilson, project director at Cornell Cooperative Extension Ulster County, at 845-340-3990 or

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