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We were invited this weekend to ride the rails at the Chuggington Event at the Catskill Mountain Railroad in Kingston, NY. My boys are huge train aficionados and the look on their faces when the train pulled up and whistled it’s horn was truly priceless. On the train they loved hearing the familiar voices of Wilson, Brewester and KoKo and having them come to life at the after show was thrilling for even the adults! One of my favorite parts though was how the entire event was pulled together. They pulled story lines from the popular Disney channel show in order to create a space that was simply magical for the kids. My youngest is still talking about KoKo’s surprise party!

In Top 10 fashion, here are my 10 favorite parts of the event:




1. Activities for the kids- Around the field are fun challenges and activities for the kids. There are 3 challenges in particular the kids earn a colored Chuggington bracelet at each. The others include bubbles, face painting, food, tattoos and music. All are free with a “tips” jar ūüėČ


2. The train ride- We have been on others that were just back and forth in the train yard. We were on the train here for about 30 minutes. There was staff on the cars who encouraged participation with the on going theme and the voices and music from the show played through the speakers. Towards the end, the kids received hats and blowers for KoKo’s surprise party! I suggest getting tickets for the covered flat for the best seats.


3. Music- I might still be singing the words to the catchy theme song!

IMG_84654. My oldest’ favorite spot was the train table. There was plenty to play with and the friendly staff were wonderful playing with him. There is a ‘toy store’ on site filled with Chuggington train sets, books, movies and more if you want to bring the fun home.


5. The activities were all free! We skipped on the face painting but the boys are still proudly showing off their tattoos!


6. We spent quite a bit of time in the music tent. There were plenty of ways to make music and the woman singing was awesome and super friendly!


7. The firetruck was another big hit! My youngest was thrilled with the chance to climb aboard, ring the bell and pretend to put out fires. I love when communities get together and support each other to put on a great event.

8. We were there so long we needed lunch. We were able to choose from pizza or grilled burgers and hot dogs for an inexpensive, family friendly bite to eat.

9. You can easily spend an entire day in the area. We spent three hours at the Chugginton event, and skipped quite a few things. We also received a ticket with discounts for other local places around town and could have spent a few more hours in the area before heading home.

10. There is only 1 weekend left to ride the rails!

Trains run every hour from 10am until 4pm. Plan to spend 2-3 hours.

Tickets are $19 a person.

Advance tickets are required, as seating is limited. All trains depart from Westbook Station at Kingston Plaza.

Disclaimer ‚ÄstPamela Perry, author of Top 10 Tuesday¬†received tickets to Catskill Mountain Railroad to¬†help facilitate this review as a resource for Hudson Valley Parent readers in conjunction with places to go. Hudson Valley Parent Magazine did not¬†receive any other compensation for this post.

son campingJune is winding down and with it comes the final days of school, the crazy schedules and plenty of family time. My¬†list of family fun adventures is growing by the day! I showed my four year old the list I had started this week and asked him what he’d like to add. Not surprisingly he rattled off a few names of friend’s homes he’d like to visit, a few of his favorite local indoor play spots and then mentioned camping. My husband and I spent a lot of time camping before kids came along but I have shyed away from the idea in the last few years. We attempted it two years ago and although everyone did have a great time, the extra work for this mom just didn’t seem worth it. My son still brings it up now and then and I regret not making it there last year. So camping was scribbled onto the bottom of the list and I spent the next few hours hunting down some of the best family campgrounds nearby (that way we can make a mad dash home if things go terribly wrong).

Do you enjoy family camping? Do you have a favorite campsite we should try this year? Leave a comment or e-mail me at and let me know!

1. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park, Gardiner

Escape the busy everyday life with a trip to Jellystone Park. One of the most family friendly in our area, they just finished installing a brand new and exciting water park for kids of all ages! You can swim all day, relax or play at the many on- site amentities. Some of my favorite include mini- golf, playground, mini theater, jumping pillow and gem mining, plus they have a lot more. A true summer vacation in our own back yards!

2. Sylvan lake Beach, Hopewell Junction

A bit of a quieter option would be Sylvan Lake in Dutchess County. Campsites are along the sandy beach of the beautiful Sylvan Lake with many onsite activities to keep the entire family entertained during your stay. Choose from boating, fishing, horseshoes, volleyball, playground, basketball hoop and more.

wilcox lake

3. Wilcox Memorial Park, Milan

A little hidden gem that (well I guess until now) not many know about! You can visit for the day or spend some time tent or RV camping too. There is plenty to do to spend your days at the park. We enjoyed the paddle boats, the lake, you can fish and the large playground provided plenty of entertainment! Plus everything is relativly close together making it easy to keep an eye on kids running in different directions. Keep in mind the lake is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when you plan your trip!

4. Rip Van Winkle, Saugerties

When I asked around a few years ago for a great local campground many suggested Rip Van Winkle. A staple in the community, many have worked there as teens and are now raising their kids spending summers here. I trecked my two littles up, not sure what to expect and was pleasantly surprised. A nice and quiet little campground in the Catskills with plenty to do. There are 9 fun zones, fish in the pond to feed, a pool to swim in, a rc track for a race and more fun for the whole family.

5. Skyway Camping Resort, Greenfield Park

Another beautiful campground in the Catskills though the catch here is it is RV camping only. Though if you don’t have one of your own there are RVs on site availible to rent. At skyway camping there is no shortage of amentities. A toddler romping room, clubhouse, fitness center, dog run, game room, spa, pool, fishing and paddle boats amongst many others gives you the resort feeling with a camping experience.

6. Newburgh KOA, Plattekill

If you ejoy camping, chances are you have been to a KOA. Popular through the country, they provide a safe and fun camping experience for the whole family. I particularly like the Newburgh KOA, it’s nearby and full of family fun. Not much further, the Copake KOA is another great option!¬†

7. Rondout Valley Campground, Accord

Tents, RV, cabins, Rondout Valley is another one that has it all. From an adult lounge to 95ft. swimming pool with cabanas it feels like you are vacationing at a top resort! A few of the other amentities include mini golf, fitness center, sports courts and fishking pond.

8. Brookside Campground, Catskill, NY

Family owned and operated, Brookside is a relaxing, family- friendly campground set on the edge of the beautiful Catskill Mountains. They have a tiny tots playground filled with outdoor toys, a pirate ship to play on and explore, a swimming pool, fishing and more.

paddle boats

9. Lake Taghkanic State Park, Ancram

A Hudson Valley favorite, families love to spend their summer days sitting by the lake here. Camping here is an excitement in its self. Lake Taghkanic has two beaches, boating, picnic area, playing fields, swimming, fishing, hiking and even a snack shack!

10. Brook N Wood Family Campground, Elizaville

A true camping adventure! They offer an enourmous amount of fun for the whole family. Brook n wood offers a variety of camping sites, fun in nature such as forest and brook, swimming pool, sports courts and fields, gaming pavilion, and a full schedule of weekly themes activities!

boys on farm

We love the farm. We are so lucky here in the Hudson Valley to be smack in the middle of such diverse areas. Only a few minute drive and you can be in either a city or a farm. My boys and I spend many summer days visiting the cows, riding horses and petting the goats at some of the nearby farms. Our favorite, Sprout Creek Farm has a super friendly staff, lots of animals and absolutely delicious ice cream in the summer! Another favorite farm activity is berry picking. We are excited to jump into the fields and pick our own fruits to turn into delicious treats  So many of our local farms offer animals for petting, fresh foods, classes and even activities such as playgrounds and jump pillows.

Since I have 3 (yes, daddy counts!) healthy, growing boys who consume their fair share of foods I often thought about joining a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture share). Though I have to admit I only knew it meant you got your foods directly from the farm. I started talking to friends who participate and read articles around the web. (Hint: HVParent have a good one here) and was really interested! Then I had to build a case for my dear, penny- pinching husband. I first had to prove that we would be in-fact saving money despite the hefty upfront costs and I had to back up the money facts with all the ways I felt a CSA share would be a good fit for our family.

So I am sharing with you today, not only 23 Hudson Valley Farms that offer CSA shares but also my Top 10 reasons to join a farm CSA!

[Top List: 23 Hudson Valley Farms offering CSA shares]

1. I would say probably the #1 reason why CSA’s are wonderful¬†for families are because you are receiving great, local, farm fresh food at a great price. While paying upfront might seem a bit daunting to the budget, many have done the math and decided that savings of a CSA outweigh the costs of purchasing organic quality foods.

2. Many times you open your box to discover foods you haven’t tried before or maybe have never even heard of! As part of a farm CSA you may discover delicious new foods, try new recipes and get an opportunity¬†to introduce the kids to many different things.


3. You will most likely eat healthier. Often times that fresh bunch of arugula looks more appealing than a can of peas!

[See Also: Healthy Eating on a Budget]

4. Support local economy and farmers. Paying upfront for your share helps ensure the farmers will be getting a pay check regardless of weather conditions and other factors that often hurt the farmer and his family. According to¬†, “Three of the top 20 most threatened farming regions in the United States are in the New York State area:

#10: Syracuse ‚Äď Buffalo Region
#11: Hudson Valley
# 19: Eastern Long Island ‚Äď Suffolk County”

kids petting baby chick

5. Make it into a fun outing for the kids. Pick-ups are¬†a lot of fun, especially at a farm with different¬†animals to visit¬†and feed and kids get a first hand look at where our food really comes from… more than just a supermarket!

6. When you are able to see the work that goes into each plant, you watch it grow, you touch, smell and taste it straight from the farm you have a better appreciation for the foods and are more likely to eat them. Both solving picky eater dilemmas and creating healthy meals!

picking berries

7. Many farms that offer CSA shares have dedicated sections specially for U-Pick options. Some put no limits on the amount you pick! (Though a general rule of thumb is to not over pick, the point is still a share here). If you are a family like us who love to pick our own fruits throughout the season you know how much that adds up!

8. Becoming a part of a CSA is truly a sharing community. Members will often swap recipes at the pick- up line, kids play in the fields and you overall feel good about helping and being a part of the community.

farm view

9. Many farms offer education, workshops and special events. Have you ever wondered how to pickle those cucumbers? Check out your local farms and see if they offer any workshops near you!

10. When you join a CSA, you are protecting the environment, supporting farmers, small businesses and all around creating a better planet for our children’s children. What better reason then that?

[See also: Top list of Hudson Valley Farm Markets]

food truck zeppolesMay 1-17th: Hudson Valley Fair. One of the biggest and best family fairs in the Hudson Valley returns! Shows, music, petting zoo, rides, food, games and SO MUCH MORE! 5pm. Dutchess Stadium, 1500 Route 9D, Wappingers Falls. 845-838-0094.

May 16th: Gardiner Cupcake Festival. Live music, local food, shopping, art and craft vendors, raffles, kids’ activities, cupcake contests, and, of course, lots of yummy cupcakes. 12-6pm. Wrights Farm, 699 State Route 208, Gardiner. 845-255-5300.

May 16th: Pine Bush UFO Fair. Live music all day, fun games and attractions, a huge assortment of food, a kids section, craft vendors, UFO¬†novelties, live characters, street performances, and the Star Wars 501st Legion Storm Troopers will be in attendance. ‚ÄėAlien and UFO Themed Parade‚Äô. 10am- 4pm. Main Street, Pine Bush. 845-744-8230.

May 16th: Spring Fling and Plow Day. Learn how the fields are prepared for spring planting. Watch the antique plows disk the fields and otheractivities and equipment on display, demonstrations and tours through the barn collections. 10am- 2pm. Orange County Farmer’s Museum, 850 State Rt. 17K, Montgomery. 845-926-2727.

food truck festivalMay 21st: Hudson Valley Food Truck Festival.
Come on out to the Hudson Valley Food Truck Festival Spring Fling! Bands and performers, great food and lots of fun. Kiwani’s Ice arena, 6 Small World Ave., Saugerties.

Find a summer camp for your child. Click here to visit our extensive list of area summer camps.

May 22nd: Mysteryland Festival. Creative journey, combining music with theatre, movies, interactive installation art, street performers and shows. Times TBA. Bethel Woods Center for the arts, 200 Hurd Rd., Bethel. 866-781-2922.

May 23rd: Spring Festival. Annual Spring celebration featuring art, crafts, food, fun and music. Held rain or shine. 10am-6pm. Sugar Loaf Art and Craft Village, Sugar Loaf, Chester. 845-469-5931.

May 30th: Healthy Smiles Family Fun Day. Join us for a day of family fun! Games, raffles, fun activities, food, refreshments and a petting zoo!  12:00pm Р4:00pm. Valley Pediatric Dentistry, PC, 1557 Route 82, Hopewell Junction. 845-226-8577.

May 30th: Millbrook Literary Festival. Eighty timely, thought-provoking, and thoroughly entertaining authors and illustrators participating in panel discussions, readings, and signings throughout the day. 9:45am. Village of Millbrook, Franklin Ave., Millbrook.

fair face paintingMay 31st: Hudson Valley Family Festival. This fun family expo provides parents with up to date information and services available in a fun environment for the entire family. 11am-3pm. Dutchess Stadium, 1500 Route 9D, Wappingers Falls. 845-838-0094.

May 31st: Family Fun Day Fest. Enjoy Live Music, bounce house village, Art Bus, kids’ activities, raffles and food.  Fee. 12-6pm. Black Rock Fish and Game Club, 5 Pleasant Hill Rd., Mountainville.


Protect your family from tick bites

8 ideas for summer family fun

Earth Day PlanetHappy Earth Day! Not sure why Earth Day is so important? Let me give you a little history real quick. Back in 1970, we were in the height of the hippy movement and there were protests all over the country though not because of environmental issues. In fact most people drove gas guzzling sedans, and for most air pollution was a sign of prosperity. Environmental issues was the furthest from everyone’s minds, but what was at the forefront was the war in Vietnam and most students were opposing it. Gaylord Nelson, the U.S. Senetor from Wisconsin at the time thought if he re-channel¬†so much of the energy students were putting into the anti- war movement he could capitalize on the emerging public concern for water and air pollution. Building a large staff, he set out to promote events across the country for what would later be known as the first National Earth Day.

On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and more as part of a massive rally across the country. Colleges and universities, environmental groups, rich, poor, doesn’t matter all came together for a common cause. And even more rare was the political alignment that occurred that day!

Since then, Senator Nelson has spearheaded 2 more major rallies for environmental awareness. Today, the Earth Day fight continues and so does the awareness campaigns across the country. Americans will gather this week to ensure we are channeling our energies for a more clean, healthy and diverse earth for each new generation. Here in the Hudson Valley we are no exception, communities, parks and more will open their spaces for family- fun days, educational workshops and park clean- ups this week. What can you do to help?

1. Earth Day Clean ups- A great way to celebrate Earth Day with the whole family and help save our planet, parks and more is to participate in one of the many clean- ups throughout the Hudson Valley this week and weekend. We have two on our calendar for Wednesday. Mount Beacon Park, Beacon, and at the Town of Esopus Library, Port Ewen. April 22.

2.¬†Paper making workshop-¬†Learn how to turn scraps of used construction paper into beautiful new paper as you learn all about the importance of recycling at the Mid- Hudson Children’s Museum’s special earth day program. If the rain holds out, take a stroll over the Hudson River on the walkway or stay and play at Waterfront Park. $2 a child. Mid- Hudson Children’s Museum, Poughkeepsie. April 22.

bowdoin tree

3.¬†Eagles, streams and trees at¬†Bowdoin park- There are quite a few Hudson Valley parks perfect to play outside this earth day. In fact, in addition to Earth Day on Wednesday, Thursday is National Picnic Day and Friday is National Arbor Day! We can use many of our parks to talk to our kids about our earth, the importance of our trees and enjoy a family picnic this week/ weekend! I want to highlight¬†Bowdoin Park¬†though because it is pretty¬†exciting to see the bald eagles currently calling the park home. Look up just past the playground and you should be able to see a nest high in the trees and often the great bald eagles circling around. It’s a pretty cool sight! Then head to the fields just past the playground and let the kids splash in the little stream, I promise you, HOURS of fun. Just up the hill past the stream is the coolest old tree I have ever seen. My kids recently discovered the back is hollowed out¬†too making for some great imaginative play outside.

[The best Hudson Valley spots for family picnics]

4. Celebrate the animals at the Trailside zoo- All day family- fun with an earth day focus on nature and animal enrichment at the zoo. Spring and nature related displays and activities for the whole family including treat making for the bears, and free tree seedlings for each family. Parking fee and suggested donation at the Bear Mountain Trailside Zoo, Bear Mountain. April 25.

5. The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies- This environmental research center has a team of scientists that study topics of our earth including freshwater health, infectious disease, biochemistry, invasive species and climate change. The trails are open for exploring on over 2,000 acres of preserve land. On-going programs as well. Millbrook.

6.¬†Earth Day activities- Kids will receive a free Planet Protector Passport at the Outdoor Discover Center and can then receive stamps at each booth in the ‚ÄúGreen Zone‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúGoing Local‚ÄĚ activity areas. There will be live music, games and storytelling; food will be available for purchase. FREE admission and suggested parking donation.¬†Hudson Highlands Nature Museum, Cornwall. April 25.

7. Earth Day CelebrationРThe Village of Monroe celebration will feature a science show for children, as well as a bouncy house, Girl Scouts and Interact club activities and seed plantings with local farms. Vendors will have eco-friendly items for sale. FREE. Lake Street, Monroe. April 25.

kids at the stream

8. Hudson River Earth Day Celebration- This family Earth Day celebration centers around the Hudson River, with a river cleanup, kayaking, international picnic buffet, bake sale, rowing demonstrations and more. All paid attendees are entered into a raffle. Proceeds help support the rowing and swimming programs of America Rows and Swims Newburgh. Newburgh Beach. April 25.

[The Importance of Outdoor Play]

9. Earth Day Fair- The 13th annual Earth Day Fair features activities for kids, music, healthy food, displays and suggestions for saving both energy and money. The reformed Church of New Paltz, New Paltz. April 26.

10.¬†Hyde park walking trail-¬†The¬†Hyde Park trail is a 10- mile system of trails and walkways linking¬†Town parks, nature preserves and National Park sites with local neighborhoods and the Town’s central business corridor. The cool part is, you can look for signs throughout the trails and nature sites, call¬†845-475-3819 from your cell phone, enter your stop number and hear all about the area and Hyde Park’s rich legacy. Also, walk at least 5 of the listed trails in a year,¬†keep track on the free checklist and turn it in for a free reward! I hope more towns follow suite, how fun!

[Top Hudson Valley hiking trails even little legs can enjoy]

What are some of your favorite ways to spend time outside?

Earth Day history Source.

Passover is more commonly recognized as a Jewish holiday however, more and more modern day Christians are celebrating their roots with a communal meal, Seder as well and teaching their families about the fulfillment of the scripture.

A brief history lesson: Before the Jewish people were set free from the Pharaoh of Egypt, God sent 10 plagues upon the Egyptians, the 10th being the killing of each first born. The Jews were told to take the blood of a Lamb and cover their door post to signal to the death angel to pass over them. The lamb was then roasted and served as cries of grief rose over Egyptian homes, and the Jewish families enjoyed their first Passover meal before escaping Egyptian Slavery.

Since the Israelites left Egypt in such a haste¬†they¬†couldn’t wait for the¬†bread dough to rise so they ate what was the result of unleavened bread called Matzoh. The holiday begins with the Seder meal¬†where¬†the Passover story is read from a book called the Haggadah¬†and continues for 8 days.¬†¬†Today, thanks to the internet and Pinterest, Passover can take on a bit of a creative spin with delicious Matzoh recipes, crafts and activities for the kids. Here, I have rounded up 10 fun (and yummy) ways to make your Passover holiday a celebration!

From Matzoh Brei to slices

1. Meal prep. Since rising flour is out, and Matzoh is in this week take a few minutes to plan out your meals. The wonderful folks over at Real have a great checklist to prepare for the Seder Meal you can print and prepare.

2. Kid friendly snacking. There are so many delicious recipes floating around for Passover meals from Matzoh ball soup to pizza, try some of these great ideas for snacking with the kids: Passover Snacks

3. Matzo Brei is one of the many recipes that is often passed down from generation to generation. Since my father is yet to pass this one on I went to the internet in search of a recipe that comes close! (We like to sprinkle cinnamon over the top
and serve for breakfast but this dish can be served sweet, savory or for breakfast or lunch).

4. Breakfast and dessert, my 2 favorite meals of the day. Chocolate covered Matzo toffee is a staple in my house for sure! Takes only a few minutes to make and is always a crowd pleaser. Essentially all you do is lay the Matzoh flat on a cookie sheet, melt butter together with brown sugar and a bit of vanilla until hot a bubbly and pour over top. Bake for 25-30 minutes until hardened. Sprinkle a generous amount of chocolate chips over the top and spread until melted and evenly covered. I like to add a sprinkle of sea salt like in this recipe from¬†but you can also add nuts, dried fruit, sprinkles or any toppings you’d like.

Setting the sceneElijah cup

Turn your home and table into a celebration with a festive centerpiece, place setting and activities for the kids. Here are a few ideas for setting the scene.

5. Elevate the Seder plate on a cake stand for all to see in the center of the table.

6. Add a Seder place mat to the kids places. They can make their own before the big meal like this adorable one here on or create one for play like the felt plates found on

7. Add a cup for Elijah that the kids decorate before the meal. You can create one using recycled materials in your home or get creative with some yarn and stickers like this colorful one found here on

Fun and gamesMatzo house

8. Hide the Matzoh is traditionally enjoyed by children at Passover. Children are allowed 4 questions and search for the hidden Matzoh called afikomen. Help the kids make an Afikomen Bag for hiding the Matzoh before the meal. This easy to make felt bag is adorable from

9. Keeping kids entertained during any meal is difficult so start early and and use a children’s version of the¬†haggadah such as Sammy Spider‚Äôs First Haggadah¬†for a family friendly story the kids will understand and love.

10. Make a Matzoh house. As symbolic as the homes in the story of Passover, bring out the builder in you and help the kids¬†build a home of their own. Don’t be surprised if half the decorations are gone before you finish! This Matzo house from Martha Stewart¬†(with directions) has me drooling! Beautiful!

Personal note- My grandmother was amazing for sharing so many of her stories and our roots with me. We would spend hours talking about the special traditions and memories of her own childhood. While my Grandmother is no longer with us to critique this as I know she would have loved too, a special thanks goes out to my dad for clarifying many of the details and sharing so many special recipes of his father with me through the years. One of these days those will finally be in a recipe book for me! So whatever you celebrate whether it be Easter or Passover or both this weekend, I hope you have a happy holiday surrounded by those you love and cherish most.


-Happy Pesach!

May your blessings outnumberclover
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.
Irish blessing
Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day and I have rounded up 15 great places for families or date nights in the Hudson Valley. Wear your green and hit the town because there is lots of fun to be had this weekend and all the way through St. Patrick’s Day!

1. Parades. I’m sure by now you know which parades you are hitting this weekend, but it wouldn’t be a St. Patrick’s Day event list without mentioning some of the best parades in the Hudson Valley. You can find a great list here.

2.¬†St. Patrick’s Day Family Workshop. Children and their families are invited to the Harness Racing Museum in Goshen for the St. Patrick’s Day parade this weekend where kids can create a pot of gold noise maker to wave as the parade passes. Snacks and hot chocolate will also be available and the museum for everyone to enjoy and only $3 a child!shamrock run

3. Shamrock Run. Kingston holds one of the largest parades in Ulster County and is kicked-off with the great Shamrock Run, a 2 mile fun- run that supports the annual Kingston Parade. Wear your green and show your support!

4.¬†St. Patrick’s Shindig.¬†Get a baby sitter Saturday night for the Rhinecliff’s annual shindig with live music by Little Creek and an Irish themed 3- course dinner for only $23.95!

paddy on the river

5.¬†Paddy on the River.¬†WRRV is hosting a band new St. Paddy’s tradition this year down on the Beacon Waterfront! I’m not entirely sure it’s something you will want to bring the kids around since there will be plenty of beer. But with live music and traditional Irish food this event looks like lots of fun for mom & dad!

6.¬†St. Patrick’s Day Kids Yoga. Grab your love¬†for one of the great date nights from above and drop the kids off for a few hours of St. Patrick’s Day yoga fun! The kids will enjoy social time, yoga,¬†crafts & snack. Kids ages 3-12 are welcome but you need to reserve your spot in advance.

7. St. Baldrick’s Day.¬†Show your Irish spirit while supporting an amazing cause in Saugerties this Saturday. Are you brave enough to shave your head for childhood cancer? If not, you can still show your support at this family event with raffles, a bake sale, entertainment and face painting.

corned beef at woodstock firehouse7. Corned Beef Dinner Fundraiser. If you are craving an amazing corned beef and cabbage meal you can find one Saturday at the Zena Firehouse in Woodstock. Support your local firehouse while enjoying some delicious holiday food. You can eat in, take out and even request delivery!

8. St. Patrick’s Day will coincide with Hudson Valley Restaurant Week this year so you can enjoy a reduced price pre-fixed lunch or dinner at a participating restaurant on St. Patty’s Day! You can find a list here.

And here are a few favorite restaurants with special and/or entertainment for a good St. Patty’s Day meal:

9. Ramblers Rest (Poughquag or Monroe) elsies place corned beef

10 The Blarney Station (Warwick)

11. Bacchus Restaurant (New Paltz)

12.¬†Elsie’s Place¬†(Wallkill)

13. Dutch Ale House (Saugerties)

14. Hurley Mountain Inn (Hurley)

15. Hickory BBQ and Smokehouse (Kingston)

I have done my best to verify events, times and locations but please call ahead or check websites before making plans as things can change.


I have been counting down the weeks to write this blog post! 2 more weeks until “Spring”! While I really don’t mind the snow at the beginning of the season, by March I am daydreaming of flowers and green grass, heck, I would just be happy with the 10 minutes less time it will take to get out of the house when we can finally pack away these boots and coats! Winter with toddlers is exhausting. But I digress, dreaming of spring today and I am happy to share with you my Top 10 Picks for spring- like events coming up in the Hudson Valley. Think warm thoughts and enjoy ūüôā

1.¬†St. Patrick’s day parades– Okay, not spring per se but it is out doors, floats are involved and it means spring is near! We are really excited to dig through the snow to find a spot at the Dutchess County St. Patrick’s Day parade this Saturday but there are many others throughout the Hudson Valley and this month you might want to check out.

2.¬†Maple Syrup Weekend– Again maple weekendit’s at the top of my list because it doesn’t necessarily¬†have to do with spring exactly but I wanted to share anyway. Other than St. Patrick’s Day parades, another sure- fire way to know spring it coming is the start of Maple Sugar Season. I can smell the pancakes now! One of our favorite farms and a new Sugar Bush to our area is the one at Madava Farm. We are really looking forward to their Maple Weekend March 21-22 & 28-29. The grounds are just gorgeous. Other Maple events can be found on this nifty list:¬†

signs of spring walk3. Signs of spring walkР Welcome the start of spring with a stroll through the forest. This family friendly walk with nature expert is a fun way to get outside after a long winter. You are sure to see plenty of wildlife including birds returning home, toads, salamanders and maybe spot a spring bud or 2! The Walk takes place in Saugerties on March 21st.

4.¬†A visit with the Easter Bunny & Hunt-¬†There is no doubt that for many people the highlight event of the spring is Easter. From visits with the Easter bunny to Easter egg hunts throughout our area our calenders fill up fast this month. The Poughkeepsie Galleria is hosting once again the Hannoush Hunt. We did it last year and it was a lot of fun, though I think that parents were into it more than the kids ūüėČ It is essentially a scavenger hunt throughout the mall. There are also crafts and activities for the kids at center count, and the best part… I will be be there with Hudson Valley Parent so make sure you say hello!

5. Spring Extravaganza- Kids can participate in a egg hunt inside the mall, create an egg theme craft, color a page for the coloring contest and visit with the town of Poughkeepsie police for a Child ID card at the Poughkeepsie Plaza this March! The Easter bunny will be available for a visit and photo and new this year, two by two petting zoo will be there too!funny bunny

6. Funny Bunnies–¬†Families can learn all about the native eastern cottontail and go on a hunt in search of finding wild rabbits! You can meet live rabbits at the center followed by bunny crafts for the kids!

7. Spring Festival and egg hunt– The Beekman rec. holds a very night spring festival and egg hunt each year. They separate the kids by age in the tennis court and offer a large variety of free activities including photos with the Easter Bunny! Families can enjoy the bounce house, petting zoo, a game of Frisbee golf and many different craft projects.

8. Easter bonnet parade & Egg Hunt– Join in the Easter bonnet parade for kids of all ages. Raffles, guess the jelly bean jar contest, egg hunt and a special appearance from the Easter Bunny!

fishkill farms egg hunt9. Annual Spring Egg-StravaganzaРNot your average egg hunt, Kids can learn about dying eggs with fruits and plants, participate in a spring planting workshop with seeds they can take home and go on a hayride. Of course the star of the event is hunting for eggs. There are special surprises along the way including a visit from Mr. Easter Bunny himself for photos and fun.

10. Easter Egg hunts- Most towns have their own Easter Egg hunts. Hudson Valley Parent is working on a full list of the events as the towns are still releasing information. There are a number on the calender right now and I will add the list when it is available. Walden Egg Hunt, Easter Egg Hunt (Wappingers)

If you are up for a little trip, the Capital District Garden and Flower Show is worth checking out too.

Did I miss any of your favorite events? Let me know in the comments!

austin birthAs a new mom, one of the hardest things¬†was feeling connected again. Those first few months my job was on hold and my friends were scarce. While my husband was able to get out of the house alone¬†to go to work each day I was left to care for a new, very needy little person every hour of the day and night. Don’t get me wrong, I adored caring for him and¬†soaking up every moment. I knew these times were fleeting and I wanted to savor them but I wanted more, and still do. I wish back then I knew there were local resources for new moms, free playgroups, and support but I didn’t. So I am helping you out today.¬†Here is your list- If you are feeling trapped, alone or worse know you aren’t alone. There are a number of local groups ready to welcome you and your new baby with open arms and give you the support & information you need. Real stories from Hudson Valley Moms on postpartum depression

1. New Baby, New Paltz offers one on one support, workshops, playgroups, support groups, a great website, products new moms love and a welcoming space. New Paltz, 845-255-0624.

2. Health Quest at Vassar Brothers Medical Center holds weekly support groups, childbirth and parenting classes, breastfeeding support, infant/child CPR and even sibling prep classes. Check the site for a list of classes, costs and more. Poughkeepsie, 877-729-2444.

10 sanity saving tips for new moms

3.¬†The LaLeche League has chapters in Orange, Ulster, Sullivan,¬†and Dutchess counties, and beyond.¬†Their website offers¬†information, fact sheets and¬†the online¬†Breastfeeding Guide¬†including topics on “my baby won’t latch on,”¬†to “sore nipples.”¬† Proper nutrition, expressing milk, and returning to work are covered.¬† With a click of the¬†mouse, the information is truly at your fingertips.

4. Kingston Hospital/ Health Alliance¬†offers a variety of services for new and expecting moms including a mother’s club and a new mom support group. In addition to the support, the Health Alliance also offers childbirth education classes. Kingston,¬†845-334-2700 x2241

5. Planned Parenthood Mid-Hudson Valley is an expansive resource on a wide variety of issues including sexuality, birth control, STDs, relationships and parenting. They hold workshops, community outreach programs, counseling and a long list of free services. Kingston, 845-338-0840; Poughkeepsie, 845-471-1540

Finding ‚Äėme‚Äô time after baby

6. Hudson Valley Adoption Support provides free counseling to new and expecting parents considering adoption as well as support and classes to those prospective adoptive parents. Kingston, 845-514-6717 or 845-338-0700

7. Stroller Strides Classes are a fun, healthy way to connect with other new moms while getting your body back after child birth. Check to see if there is a local chapter near you or start your own!

8. Waddle-n-Swaddle, LLC¬†holds free playgroups, a nursing circle and pregnancy group that meet weekly as well as prenatal & birthing classes, parenting education classes and even children’s art, music, dance and yoga classes! Each location also offers a variety of popular baby/ new mom products. Poughkeepsie,¬†845-473-5952; Rhinebeck,¬†845-876-5952.ben birth

9.¬†Hudson Valley Parent¬†is honestly a great resources for new moms and moms are all levels. Since the magazine is in its 21st year there are hundreds of articles on the site from local and national sources providing help, resources and information on everything from pregnancy issues through tips for new moms, adoption, school and beyond. Pick a keyword and do a search, I’m sure you can find something to help. And then join us on Facebook¬†you can ask questions, get tips, advice and chat with other local parents.

10. Web resources:

snowman1. Get creative with your snowman! You don’t have to stick to a traditional snowman. Try connecting the balls horizontally to create a caterpillar, bring out the Mr. Potato Head pieces or make your snowman do tricks like this one!

2. My boys and I LOVE making snow ice cream snow ice cream(just mix sugar, milk and vanilla with your clean snow), but are really looking forward to trying these other sweet snow treats! Make Snow Candy, and snow cookies!

3.¬†I am not a fan of the snow so if hubby isn’t home the kids don’t get to go out. They love the snow so we compromise! Fill a bowl, tray or even Tupperware bin with snow and let the kids play inside. We usual add bowls, measuring cups, spoons and even trains or trucks.

frozen bubbles4.¬†Blow frozen bubbles. These look super cool! I haven’t tried them yet, let me know how they turn out if you do.

5. Going on a scavenger hunt in the winter is fun with a little pre- planning.Use a few drops of food coloring in ice cube trays to create some brightly colored ice. Hide them around outside for the kids to hunt in the snow.

ice sun catchers6. These below freezing temperatures this week are good for something! If possible, go on a nature hunt and collect things such as berries, pine needles and leaves, (if not possible, use slices of fruit, herbs or fake flowers). Turn your treasures into beautiful works of art with these amazing Ice sun catchers

7. Make a bird feeder. Don’t forget our feathered friends in the winter. Roll some bird seed in some peanut butter on a toilet paper roll or apple and hang from a tree branch.

8. A friend of mine ice forestposted a photo of her daughter playing in the snow the other day and I thought the idea was so great I asked her if it would be okay to share with you. So, with permission, here is the best Hudson Valley Ice Forest I have ever seen, dinosaurs and all!

9. We have a lot of wildlife in our back yards. Take the kids on a snowy walk (or hike) and see how many animal tracks you can spot! Can’t spot any tracks? Cut some animal feet shapes out of cardboard, tie up with some string and let the kids stomp around and create their own!

snow paint play10. Make snow art. You can simply bring your paints outside and paint the snow, use food coloring and water in spray bottles or eye droppers or bring a little snow inside, drop a few drops of food coloring in, mix and paint on paper: Snow Paint!

And top 5 favorite places to go in the snow in the Hudson Valley.

1. Thomas Bull Memorial Park. The Hudson Valley is filled with plenty of great sledding & tubing spots! At Thomas Bull Memorial Park you can go tubing, sledding, cross country skiing or ice skating! Other great spots listed here.

2. Holiday Mountain in Sullivan County has everything from beginner trails to advanced slopes. Many families enjoy a variety of ski slopes scattered through our area. A great list found here.

3. Trevor Zoo in Millbrook is open all year round. Visit the zoo in the snow this winter to see which animals are active. It is inexpensive to get in and as long as it isn’t bitterly cold out, a great afternoon outdoor outing.

4. Visit the baby goats, sample the delicious cheeses and see what the farm is all about at Edgwick Farm in Cornwall for the very popular winter farm tour! You must make reservations, dates sell out fast.

5. Mohonk Mountain House. As day guests you can enjoy a snowy hike, ice skating, snowshoeing or cross- country skiing. After a fresh snow, Mohonk Mountain is a great place to bring a sled, enjoy a warm meal or stop at the Mohonk Preserve (separate location) for  one of the great programs and events.

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