Changing Paradigms in Education

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Olympian’s Table Tennis Club a Real Smash for Kids on Upper West Side

Kids on the Upper West Side are getting some expert instruction in table tennis from an Olympian. Roger Clark paid a visit and filed the following report.

NY1 Table Tennis Video


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Teaching Chess to Children

We hope you are enjoying the winter and getting in some fun family snow time!


When you have had enough of the great outdoors, one indoor activity we love which stimulates young and old minds alike is the amazing game of chess. 


Recently, chess experts Laura Sherman and Bill Kilpatrick were kind enough to send us their  book, Chess is Child’s Play – a really thorough and fun guide designed for parents that want to introduce chess to their kids and teach themselves more about the game, which has been proven to help build some really important developmental skills in children and adults of all ages.


Laura is a freelance writer and chess coach and the co-founder, alongside her husband Dan of Your Chess Coach, based in Florida. Bill lives in California and is a serial entrepreneur and a lifelong chess player and coach (in fact, Laura and Bill met at a tournament in which they were both competing!). They also each have their own young children, who have all been learning chess from their parents from an early age.


One of the things we love about this book is that it’s made by parents, for parents, and that it encompasses all skill levels. So, it teaches parents very directly, in their language, exactly how to express the rules of the game to their kids. Whether you have never played chess before (like Harold and me!), haven’t played for years, or play every day, this book can help you incorporate it into your family’s life.


What’s really cool is that, as the book points out, studies have shown worldwide that chess and education go hand in hand, which is why some governments have made chess a required part of every child’s educational experience and why many homeschoolers use chess as a major teaching tool. Because, chess can actually make your kids smarter. (And the book offers up an excellent summary of some of these official studies in the introduction, so you can see the results for yourself!)


To summarize some of what chess brings to the table for your kids …


  1. Chess teaches problem-solving skills. The game provides the opportunity for kids to learn how to recognize patterns on their own and learn how not to make the same mistakes more than once.
  2. Chess helps kids learn how to react to “unwanted surprises.” They learn how to behave in situations where they can’t predict their opponents’ next move. When they are confronted by these types of surprises, they learn how to adapt to change.
  3. Chess teaches children how to think ahead and make decisions. Good chess players learn how to think ahead and can often predict their opponents’ moves before they are made. Kids who play chess come to understand the consequences of certain moves and make good decisions.
  4. Chess promotes self confidence. And who doesn’t want their kids to be confident and proud of the special people they are becoming? By playing chess, kids get put into the rare environment where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed. When kids develop the skills to start winning against their peers and even grown-ups, they feel they can accomplish anything.
  5. Chess teaches kids to be creative. Sometimes in school, kids are discouraged from expressing their creativity and learn that thinking “inside the box” is the key to success. While chess has fundamental rules, once you master them, you realize you can sometimes bend the rules a bit in order to outwit your opponent, which teaches innovation.
  6. Chess teaches good sportsmanship. As hard as it is for parents to watch, kids need to experience setbacks in order to learn how to adapt and develop the strength to overcome adversity when life throws them a curve ball. One of the rules of chess is to shake your opponent’s hand and say, “Good game,” no matter what the outcome. This turns winning and losing with equal grace into a habit.
  7. Chess allows kids to imagine their own possibilities. Studies have shown that chess sparks imagination. Players learn how to create their own positions on the board and put ideas into motion, and they get instant results.
  8. Chess can provide a cure for short attention spans. Kids (and all people in today’s world, for matter!) aren’t exactly known for being able to sit still and concentrate for long periods of time. Chess draws kids in and makes them focus and engage in the many intricacies of the game, which helps expand their ability to concentrate – a skill that will translate to improvement in many other areas of their lives.
  9. Chess builds teamwork. As they become more familiar with the game, kids learn that all the chess pieces have to work together in order for the game to come out well. They have to learn how to coordinate their “team” of pieces and let them support each other. If they rely on one piece to do all the work, they are not likely to do well.
  10. Chess inspires kids to challenge themselves. When kids first start playing chess and start to play you, a grown-up or other opponents they see as “superior” in their minds, they might be discouraged. But when they learn the rules and start winning, they start to feel like nothing is impossible, which will help make them see all the possibilities in their own lives outside of the game.


Aside from giving practical chess-teaching tools, Chess is Child’s Play also offers up exactly what you should expect from chess lessons by outlining specific results you should see and the experiences you and your kids will have as you move through the different stages of learning. We’re really excited to spend some time learning with our son this summer! We hope you’ll check out this great book too! You can get it for yourself on Amazon.


Please also enjoy a live performance of our song “This Is the Moment,” below, from this summer’s Mamapalooza festival on the Hudson!


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Six Heroes to be Thankful for on Thanksgiving Day

In this month of giving thanks we wanted to present you with a guest blog  from singer/songwriter Jonathan Sprout about six heroes to be thankful for.

In a world where holidays have become more about Hallmark & consumerism ….perhaps as parents who are helping bring up the next generation that will be left here on planet earth we can shed some light on protecting each other and our planet. Thanksgiving is a perfect moment to discuss taking a stand for human beings versus human consumption of glitter.

My personal favorite here from the list below is Susan B Anthony, since I live near the Stanton, the actual plot of land where Susan B Anthony and Cady Stanton discussed  the women’s suffrage movement.

Everything in our lives sometimes  may feel far and out of reach but great heroes stood on the same land just a few feet away from everyone of us. Perhaps you are Greatness standing on a plot of land historians will discuss 200 years from now. Remember your child could be the future of transformation. Lets encourage each other.

In the meantime we give thanks to you and yours and are grateful to be crossing your path today and present author Jonathan Sprout.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a good night.

xoxo Amelia

Six Heroes to be Thankful for on Thanksgiving Day

By Jonathan Sprout

It has been said that appreciating someone’s gifts is the best way to love them. As our national day of gratitude approaches, let’s be thankful for some of America’s special heroes whose lives have enriched us all.

Earlier this month, on November 4th, Americans 21 years and older voted. A hundred years ago, only men were allowed to exercise that right. Thank Susan B. Anthony for helping change that. For nearly 50 years in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Miss Anthony crisscrossed the nation at a breath taking pace, delivering 4,000 speeches, insisting woman have the constitutional right to vote. Thanks in part to her tireless efforts, women were given the right to vote in 1920.

Ever visited one of our amazing national parks? John Muir, the person on the California quarter and “father of our national parks,” devoted most of his adult life to protecting these places of natural beauty. The Grand Canyon, in the words of historian Ken Burns, would have been rimmed with mansions, were it not for Muir, also known as “the greatest Californian.”

Been to a doctor lately? Grateful for her help? Thank Elizabeth Blackwell for breaking through barriers to become the first woman doctor in America. She was rejected by 28 medical schools before her acceptance into Geneva (NY) Medical College. She graduated #1 in her class.

Grateful you live in a country with liberty and justice for all? Thank William Penn not only for first coining those words, but for creating his Holy Experiment here in America where people actually governed themselves. Penn was radical in asserting that everyone be treated with fairness, even Native Americans. It has been said the one treaty between European colonists and Native Americans still honored is the one he made with Chief Tamanend of the Leni Lenape tribe in the late 1600s.

Ever felt thankful that in our lifetimes, we haven’t fought a war on American soil? Thank our veterans. And, thank 10-year-old Samantha Smith, who, in 1982, helped bring an end to the Cold War when she visited the Soviet Union and warmed the hearts of millions of Soviets. Her subsequent return to the United States with appearances on national TV news shows won the hearts of millions of Americans and helped people on both sides of the Iron Curtain realize we have more in common and less reason to fight that we’d realized.

Lastly, it was Abraham Lincoln who first proclaimed the national day to celebrate our blessings known as Thanksgiving. Let’s give thanks for the hero who helped to free about 4 million slaves, kept the United States united, and helped us as a nation to formerly express our gratitude on this special day.

About The Author: Jonathan Sprout, Children’s Artist

Singer-songwriter and recording artist, Jonathan Sprout has dedicated the past 33 years to creating meaningful and captivating music for children.

He has written over 40 songs and has released four American Heroes albums about some of the most remarkable men and women in American history. He has performed more than 5,000 concerts and lead more than 750 songwriting workshops for children.  His 10th album, American Heroes #4, was released in early 2014 and has won 10 national awards including the 2014 Academics’ Choice Smart Media Award, the 2014 KIDS FIRST! All-star Award, and the 2014 Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice Award.

Find him online here:

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Light A Candle

We will never forget! Our thoughts and prayers to all those who lost loved ones on 9.11

We wrote this in Manhattan’s Upper West Side watching hundreds of people walking up Broadway with candles in memory the weekend after the attacks.

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Summer 2014 – Fun Free Stuff In The City!





Directions:  The Mainstage is in Central Park, located at Rumsey Playfield 5th Ave & 72nd (Enter 72nd & 5th and walk West)


Saturday, June 28, 2014 | 3 p.m. Club Classics Live! featuring  Sam Sparro, Ultra Naté, Kevin Aviance, Alfa Anderson, Luci Martin and Norma Jean Wright (Formerly of Chic), Company Freak Join a great dance party curated by Jason King, including a DJ Set by Andre Collins and live interpretations of disco, funk, soul and house classics.  Free!

Sunday, June 29, 2014 | 3 p.m. Jon Batiste and Stay Human / Hypnotic Brass Ensemble The Blue Note Jazz Festival brings a taste of New Orleans to SummerStage. Free!

Thursday, July 3, 2014 | 6-10 p.m. Herbert Holler / DJ Cosi / Marc Smooth The longest running weekly Friday-night party in NYC history visits SummerStage on a Thursday night.Free!

Saturday, July 5, 2014 | 3-7 p.m. Teddy Afro / Noura Mint Seymali / Hahu Dance Crew An afternoon of music and dance from Ethiopia and Mauritania. Free

Sunday, July 6, 2014 | 3-7 p.m. Global Family Day: Okee Dokee Brothers / Hybrid Movement Company / Shaun Parker & Company / Acrobuffos / National Dance Institute SummerStage Global Family Day is back for another raucous afternoon of whacky fun. Free!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 | 7-10 p.m. Andrew Bird & The Hands of Glory / Luke Temple A great evening of music at SummerStage. Free!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 | 6-9 p.m. Beatnuts / Ana Tijoux / Bodega Bamz / DJ Tony Touch

Presented in association with (LAMC) Latin Alternative Music Conference. Free!


Saturday, July 12, 2014 | 3-7 p.m. Babasónicos / Juana Molina / La Santa Cecilia Presented in association with (LAMC) Latin Alternative Music Conference. Free!

Sunday, July 13, 2014 | 6-10 p.m. Bonobo / Cibo Matto in association with Okayfuture — Celebrating 15 years of Okayplayer A great night of electronic music at SummerStage. Free!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 | 8-10 p.m. Ballet Hispanico / A Palo Seco Latino and Flamanco dance companies will take the stage. Free!

Saturday, July 19, 2014 | 7-10 p.m.Lenine & Martin Fondse Orchestra: The Bridge / Maíra Freitas / DJ Tutu Moraes in association with Brasil Summerfest An evening of music from Brazil.Free!

Sunday, July 20, 2013 | 3-7 p.m. Mishima / Txarango / DJ sets by Headbirds in association with the Institute e Ramon Llull Experience music from Barcelona and beyond during Catalan Sounds on Tour. Free!

*Monday, July 21, 2014 | 7-10 p.m.New Songs of Justice: An Evening Honoring Pete Seeger

An evening honoring Pete Seeger brings great music from Anti-Flag (acoustic), Toni Blackman, The Chapin Sisters, Rebel Diaz, Steve Earle, Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion, and James to SummerStage. Free!

Saturday, July 26, 2014 | 3-7 p.m. Chronixx & The Zincfence Redemption / Junior Reid / The Rice and Peas Crew in association with Large Up and Federation Sound Free

Sunday, July 27, 2014 | 3-7 p.m. Rock Steady Crew 37th Anniversary Concert Celebrate the 37th Anniversary of The Rock Steady Crew with their second performance at SummerStage. Free!

*Monday, July 28, 2014 | 8-10 p.m. John Leguizamo’s Ghetto Klown directed by Fisher Stevens in association with Westbeth Entertainment A one-man play by Emmy Award winner John Leguizamo. Free!

Sunday, August 3, 2014 | 7-10 p.m. Gregory Porter & Revive Big Band led by Igmar Thomas

Bluenote 75th Anniversary Celebration in association with Revive Music  Free

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 | 8-10 p.m. Spectrum Dance Theater / Sidra Bell Dance NY

An evening of contemporary dance at SummerStage  Free

Saturday, August 9, 2013 | 3-7 p.m. Tasha Cobbs / Smokie Norful / Pastor Charles Jenkins / VaShawn Mitchell / Kierra Sheard / Micah Stampley / Brian Courtney Wilso  Motown Gospel music.Free!

Sunday, August 10, 2014 | 3-7 p.m.Passenger / Liam Bailey / DJ Natasha Diggs Presented in Association with Giant Step Free!

Saturday, August 16, 2014 | 7-10 p.m. Blood Orange with guests Moses Sumney / Sean Nicholas Savage

Produced in association with Okayplayer Free

Sunday, August 17, 2014 | 7-10 p.m. Musiq Soulchild  6th Annual WBLS R&B Fest Free!

Saturday, August 23, 2014 | 3-7 p.m.Alex Sensation La Mega 7th Annual Tropical Fest. Free!



Shakespeare in the Park

Delacorte Theatre in Central Park Located at 80th Street & mid-Park For information on free ticket distribution visit:  All Shows Begin at 8:30 PM. The running time is approx. 90-minutes with no intermission

*Much Ado About Nothing By William Shakespeare  Directed by Jack O’Brien  Hamish Linklater and Lily Rabe will play Beatrice and Benedick  Featuring Matt Bittner, Alex Breaux, Steel Burkhardt, Austin Durant, John Glover, Hamish Linklater, Paco Lozano, David Manis, Kathryn Meisle, Ismenia Mendes, Brian Stokes Mitchell, John Pankow, Pedro Pascal, Lily Rabe, Matthew Russell, Eric Sheffer Stevens and Zoë Winters Dates: June 3 – July 6, 2014  No performances: June 9, 16, 17, 22, 23, 30, & July 4, 2014


*King Lear  By William Shakespeare Directed by Daniel Sullivan  John Lithgow will play King Lear Dates: July 22-August 17, 2014  No performances: July 28, August 4, 5 & 11, 2014

pastedGraphic.png New York City Summer On The Hudson or Summer on the Hudson is the Parks Department’s annual outdoor arts & culture festival that takes place in Riverside Park from 59th Street to 153rd Street. With a mix of music concerts, dance performances, movies under the stars, DJ dance parties, kids shows, special events, wellness activities, and more there is something for everyone! All programs and events are free to the public no registration required

Riverside Gallery – Art in the Park

Tour the Riverside Park open air gallery to see the 4th year presentations of the Art Students League Model to Monument public art project. Sculptures by seven accomplished artists throughout South Park. Join us for an opening ceremony and tour with the artists. June 12 at 2pm. June 2014 – May 2015, viewable during park hours – 59th to 70th Sts.

FlyNYC 2014

Come fly a kite at this festival for all ages! Kite-making for children and live music aids your celebration of simple fun throughout the day  Saturday, August 16, 11am-4pm – Pier I @ 70th St.


Rashaad Newsome’s King of Arms Art Ball II

This edition takes the culture back to the piers and collects a judges panel of legends from the art, music, fashion, literary,activism and vogue world to deliberate over who will be the next “Legends.” Registration required – taken onsite at 5pm. Saturday, August 23, 6-10:30pm – Pier I @ 70th St


West Side County Fair

Enjoy county fair magic in Manhattan with carnival rides and games, live bands, sideshow performers, aerialists, reptileshows, greenmarket and more! Sunday, September 7, 1-6pm – 66th to 72nd Sts.

Let’s Dance! Learn to dance like a pro at these Salsa, Cha-Cha and Bachata lessons and group social dances led by master teachers from the Piel Canela Dance and Music School and featuring DJ Ray Colon. Sundays, June 1-29, 6-9:30pm – Pier I @ 70th St.

GlobeSonic Sound System Dance Party

Join hundreds of all-ages revelers at the 10th year celebration of the GlobeSonic on the Hudson open-air summer dance party with the GlobeSonic Sound System DJs and drummers. Saturday, June 7, 2:30-10pm – Pier I @ 70th 

Amplified Sundays

Vibrantly danceable live music accompanied by spectacular sunsets over the Hudson River!

Sundays in July, 7pm – Pier I @ 70th St.     July 6 Mary C & the Stellars / unique mix of Soul and Rock

July 13 Orquesta SSC/ 11-piece Salsa band entices the dancer and the non-dancer July 20 Zing Experience / Haitian Roots, Rock and Reggae July 27 The Defibulators / foot-stomping Country with Rock & Roll attitude

Sweet Spot

Musical Directions brings you Sweet Spot, a family-friendly gathering of community, cultures & music lovers of all ages.This public cultural fete features Reggae, Soulful House, Disco and Afro-Beat spun by a rotating collection of North America’s most renowned sound architects. Saturday, August 30, 2-9pm – Pier I @ 70th St.


Pier I Picture ShowThis year’s theme: Getting to Know You! Riverside Park’s staff favorites.

Pack a picnic, bring a friend and settle in for a night of premier movies. Open Captioned.

Wednesdays, July 9 – August 13, dusk (~8:30 pm) – Pier I @ 70th St.

July 9 Clueless Margaret Bracken, Landscape Architect July 16 Back to the Future Ben Kramer, Park Manager

July 23 Harold & Maude Zhen Heinemann, Director of Programming July 30 The Princess Bride Lynda Tower, Director of Volunteers August 6 Anchors Aweigh Paul Evans, Park Manager August 13 The Outsiders Marissa Birmingham, Park Supervisor, Level II

Films on the Green The Cultural Services of the French Embassy and NYC Parks & Recreation present the 7th annual outdoor Films on the Green Festival featuring classic and contemporary French films. This year theme: “Masculin / Masculin”. Visit for more details.

Friday, July 11 & July 18, 8:30pm – Pier I @ 70th St. (* rain dates July 12 & 19)



 Restrooms are located @ 70th, 72nd, 79th, 83rd (Playground), 91st (Playground) 97th (Playground), 105th (Ballfields), 123rd & 148th (Playground).

Locomotive Lawn Live songs for seeds is a rockin’ music class that encourages kids to dance, play, and sing along with a live band. Thursdays, May 22 – June 26, 10:30-11am – Locomotive Lawn @ 61st St.

Children’s Performance Series Music, storytelling & theater for young audiences up to age 7. Wear sunscreen! Stroller parking in designated area is mandatory. Thursdays, July 10 – August 14, 10:30–11am – Pier I @ 70th St.

July 10 Zinghoppers July 17 *Shine & The Moonbeams July 24 Monkey Monkey Music July 31 Karen K

August 7 *The Pop Ups August 14 City Parks Found  presents Puppeteers from  Swedish Cottg Marionette Theatre

Tots Soccer & Pee Wee Basketball

All little ones (5 and under) welcome at this introduction to soccer and basketball. Tots Soccer 9:30– 10:30am / Pee Wee Basketball 10:30 – 11:30am Wednesdays, July 23 – Aug 27 – 71st St. Soccer Field & Basketball Courts

Kayaking on the Hudson Join The Downtown Boathouse for 20-minute instructional paddles. Please wear a bathing suit or shorts and a t-shirt, and know how to swim. Weather permitting. No registration required. Kayaks and life vests provided. All ages. Sundays, June 8 – September 28, 10am-5pm – 72nd St. & the Hudson River

Yoga – Evening Salute to the SunEnd your day with relaxing Hatha yoga in a beautiful sunset setting. Suitable for all fitness levels. Please wear loose, comfortable clothing and bring your own mat. Wednesdays, June 4 – September 24, 6:30pm – The Plaza @ 66th St. Pilates in the Park Join instructor Melissa Ricci, CPT, PMA from Base Fitness® for a flowing, multi-level Pilates mat class that will tone and balance your muscles, align your body, strengthen your core and give you renewed energy! Tuesdays, June 3 – August 19, 6:30pm – The Plaza @ 66th St.



Tai ChiJoin Silvana Pizzuti to learn and practice Tai Chi, a slow moving martial art with health benefits for all fitness levels.Sundays, Through  August 17, 8am – @ West 89th Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument Plaza

Teen Beach Volleyball Teens 13-17 hit the Beach Volleyball Courts in Riverside Park for instructional clinics and open play. For more information please call 212.408.0296 Wednesdays, Through  – July 30, 5-7pm – 105th St. 

Nature Walks  West 91st Street. June 7’s walk will start at Riverside Drive and 116th Street and will explore the bird sanctuary. Saturdays, May 24 & June 7, 9:30-11am – 79th & 116th Sts.

Human ChessPlay as your favorite game piece and navigate the chess board from inside at our Human Chess games, where chess becomes an embodied team sport. All levels welcome! Thursdays, September 4-25, 4-6pm – @ West 89th Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument Plaza

Riverside Park Skate ClinicJohn Fudala provides skateboarding instruction for beginners and intermediates ages 5-13 years of age focusing on creating a strong skateboarding skill foundation to build upon (safety, creative fun, teamwork) and taking them to the next level: contest preparation. All enrolled are welcome to compete at the Riverside Skate Jam September 14th Registration required – 212.408.0219 Thursday & Friday, September 11 & 12, 4-7pm and Saturday, September 13, 11am-3pm – Riverside Skate Park @ 118th St For information on weather cancellations please visit 2 hours before the event. 


125th Harlem Miers : Play Dates! Come have a family play date with your children and bring friends to this outdoor kiddie party featuring children’s entertainment, arts & crafts, and neighborhood fun!

Second Saturday of the month, 1-4pm – 125th & Marginal Sts.

June 14 Amelia Robinson of Mil’s Trills / interactive music for kids of all ages  July 12 AndyRoo / a musical journey to the AndyRooniverse

August 9 Music with Patrick / jam time! Harlem Dances

Dances for a Variable Population; multigenerational dance, our season’s spotlight company, presents workshops and Solstice Steps, a performance featuring special guests. Seniors especially welcome!

Workshops :May 16, July 18, August 15, 6-7pm – 125th & Marginal Sts.

Solstice Steps performance:

 June 20 @ 6pm & June 21 @ 5 & 7pm – 125th & Marginal Sts.

Lunchtime Listen Bring a bag of yummies and eat lunch while drinking in the reverberations.

Last Friday of the Month, 12-1pm – 130th & Marginal Sts.

June 27 Mr. Reed / a mix of Soul, R&B & Funk; as seen on TV!

July 25 Geo Wyeth / multi-instrumental singer/songwriter

August 29 Shivering Timbers / a whimsical, foot-stomping play land

Shape Up NYC Zumba in West Harlem Piers Park

Shape Up NYC (a NYC Parks program in partnership with Equinox, NYC Service, and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield) offers free fitness classes to help New Yorkers get and stay fit.

Saturdays, May 3 – September 27, 11am – 125th & Marginal Sts

West Coast Swing OutdoorsWest Coast Swing, a partner dance fusing elements of slow Lindy Hop, Salsa, and booty-shakin’, can be danced to R&B, Pop, Rock, Hip Hop, and Blues! Come dance from 6-9 pm and get a lesson at 7 pm! 

Saturdays,  June 14, July 26, August 30, September 20, 6-9pm – 125th & Marginal Sts

RiverFish Celebration Join SOH and NYC Urban Parks Rangers to connect to the life living within the Hudson River. Come for the fishing, stay for the band and the river-related arts & crafts. Fishing equipment provided.Sunday, June 29, 11am-3pm – 125th & Marginal Sts.

Ten Mile Classic in Riverside ParkCome cheer basketball teams (ages 11-13 and 14-16) and join us for the championship games on the last day of the tournament. Want to register a team? Call 212.408.0219 Tuesdays, Thursdays, & Saturdays July 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 26 – Ten Mile Playground @ 148th St

Game Days Calling all children 12 and under who want something fun to do on a sunny afternoon. Games such as giant tic tac toe, lawn bowling, hopscotch, jump rope and more will be waiting for your arrival.

Tuesdays & Wednesdays in August, 10am-2pm – 125th & Marginal Sts.



Hudson Warehouse

Presents the Classics

For specific show information and times see

June 5-29, July 3-27, July 31 – August 24 – @ West 89th Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument Plaza

Shakespeare Workout Covering the elements of Voice Production, Acting and Stage Combat. Open to all actors, ages 13 and up. All experience levels welcome. Online registration necessary.

Saturdays, June 21, July 19 & August 23, 3-5:30pm – @ West 89th Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument Plaza

RCTA Summer Sunset Concert Series For specific listings visit or call 212.978.0277. Music includes Classical, Jazz, Flamenco, Samba, Rock, Bluegrass and Middle Eastern.

Saturdays, June 7 – August 16, 7pm – Lawn north of 96th St. clay courts



212-344-7220Event website:

Events all over the city all summer check the website for list of events  some high lights include :

BANG ON A CAN MARATHON  June 22, 2–10pm

Brookfield Place, Winter Garden Co-presented by Arts BrookfieldBang on a Can returns with its annual super-mix of boundary-busting music from around the corner and around the world! This year features eight hours of rare performances by some of the most innovative musicians of our time side-by-side with some of today’s most pioneering young artists including Roomful of Teeth, So Percussion, Jherek Bischoff and many more.Music by:Louis Andriessen, Armando Bayolo, Jherek Bischoff, Carlos Carrillo, Bryce Dessner, JuliusEastman & Jace Clayton, Michael Gordon, Judd Greenstein, Brooks Hendrickson, Molly Joyce, David Lang, Paula Matthusen, Marc Mellits, Meredith Monk, Andrew Norman, Caroline Shaw, JG Thirlwell, and Julia Wolfe.Performances by:Adrianna Mateo, Anonymous 4, Bang on a Can All-Stars & friends, Bearthoven, Contemporaneous, Dawn of Midi, Great Noise Ensemble, Jace Clayton

BÉLO & CURUPIRA FRONTERAS: NEW & OLD SOUNDS FROM LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN June 28, 5:30–9pm  The Uplands, South Street Seaport Co-presented by Isabel Soffer / Live SoundsHaiti’s outspoken groove innovator BélO has been hailed as the island’s musical ambassador to the world. The globally informed singer, songwriter and guitarist interweaves Afro-Caribbean Haitian traditions with jazz, rock and reggae alongside a progressive voice for social and political transformation.


Big Hit Wednesdays on Pier 63 Lawn At Pier 63 Cross at W22nd St and W24th St  (GROWN UPS ) Heroes and hustlers come together on the waterfront this summer in Hudson River Park! See the Stars, under the stars – watch all of your favorite blockbusters from last year on the big screen, again! This time around, they’re all FREE. Hudson River Park’s RiverFlicks has all of last year’ big screen hits!

*July 9 Iron Man 3 PG-13   July 16 American Hustle R   July 23 this is The End R   July 30 The Lego Movie PG

August 6 Lone Survivor R         August 13 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire PG13  August 20 Captain Phillips PG13


Family Fridays (KIDS) on Pier 46   Pier 46 is located at Charles Street and West Street. 

There’s something for everyone in the family on Friday nights in Hudson River Park… and one special Wednesday night too!

July 11 Despicable Me 2 PG   *July 18 Ghostbusters PG

July 25 Ghostbusters II  PG         August 1 Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2  PG  *August 8 Groundhog Day PG

  August 15 Smurfs 2 PG        August 22 The Wizard of Oz PG



Summer on the Hudson: Pier I Picture Show @ 70th 

Clueless” Wed , July 9, 2014 8:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m.

Films on the Green presents The Moustache by Emmanuel Carrère Friday, July 11, 2014  8:00 p.m.–11:00 p.m.

Pier I Picture Show presents “Back to the Future” Wednesday, July 16, 2014 8:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m.

Grand Illusion” by Jean Renoir  Friday, July 18, 2014 8:00 p.m.–10:30 p.m. he Cultural Services of the French Embassy and NYC Parks & Recreation present the 7th annual outdoor Films on the Green Festival featuring classic and contemporary French films. Please note: Rain date is July 19.

Pier I Picture Show presents “Harold and MaudeWednesday, July 23, 2014 8:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m.

Pier I Picture Show presents * “The Princess Bride “Wednesday, July 30, 2014 8:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m. (love this movie)

Pier I Picture Show presents “Anchors Aweigh “Wednesday, August 6, 2014 8:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m.

Pier I Picture Show presents “The Outsiders “Wednesday, August 13, 2014 8:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m.




River Rocks  6PM Thursdays 7/10, 7/24 & 8/7     Pier 84 West 44th Street and 12th Avenue

Wild Beasts with Mutual Benefit and DJ Bill Pearis July 10 / 6:00PM at Pier 84 in Maritime Entertainment District

Teenage Fanclub with Honey Blood and Saint Rich July 24 / 6:00PM at Pier 84 In Maritime Entertainment District

Temples with Here We Go Magic and Spires August 7 / 6:00PM At Pier 84 In Maritime Entertainment District



HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival

Summer Film Festival Film Festival Hotline: 212-512-5700

Bryant Park is situated behind the New York Public Library in midtown Manhattan, between 40th and 42nd Streets & Fifth and Sixth Avenues.Take the B, D, F, or M train to 42nd Street/Bryant ParkTake the 7 to 5th Avenue

No chairs, tables, dogs, plastic sheets, tarps, bags, or pads are permitted on the lawn.Free bike parking available in the park at the Pétanque Courts (6th Avenue and 41st Street). The gravel area surrounding the Lawn opens at 4:00pm. The Lawn opens at 5:00pm.

Monday, June 23, 2014  The Mark of Zorro 5:00pm | Lawn/Monday, June 30, 2014 A Soldier’s Story 5:00pm | Lawn/

Monday, July 7, 2014 Blazing Saddles 5:00pm | Lawn/ Monday, July 14, 2014 Suddenly Last Summer 5:00pm | Lawn Monday, July 21, 2014 National Lampoon’s Vacation 5:00pm | Lawn Monday, July 28, Key Largo 5:00pm | Lawn Monday, August 4, 2014 The Karate Kid 5:00pm | Lawn Monday, August 11, 2014 Lover Come Back 5:00pm | Lawn Monday, August 18, 2014 The Shining 5:00pm | Lawn


Other Free Activities in BRYANT PARK

Please see the website for a full list of activities, times and locations.

Daily activities include:•Fly Fishing•Language Classes•Yoga•Meet the Birds•Jogging•Fitness•Shakespeare•Piano in the Park •Tai Chi•Fencing•Dance Performances •Book Club• Tournaments AND SO MUCH MORE!

Check the website for activities its ALL subject to change




***LINCOLN CENTER OUT DOORS** the websites for more information

Just a few interesting samples:

A Memorial Concert for Pete and Toshi Seeger Sunday, July 20, 2014 4:00 PM  Damrosch Park Bandshell

Family Day  A Batalha do Passinho Dance Class Saturday, July 26, 2014 1:00 PM Hearst Plaza

Roberta Flack Davell Crawford  Saturday, July 26, 2014 7:30 PM Damrosch Park Bandshell

Family Day Baby Loves Disco – A Family Dance Party Saturday, July 26, 2014 11:00 AM Saturday, July 26, 2014 2:00 PM 

Roslyn and Elliot Jaffe Drive

Family Day National Dance Day Saturday, July 26, 2014 4:00 PM Josie Robertson Plaza

Paul Taylor Dance CompanyPablo Ziegler’s New Tango EnsembleFriday, August 1, 2014 7:30 PM Damrosch Park Bandshell

NYC Emmylou Harris & Rodney CrowellRobert Ellis Wednesday, August 6, 2014 7:30 PM Damrosch Park Bandshell

Rosanne Cash The Lone Bellow Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale Saturday, August 9, 2014 6:00 PM Damrosch  Bandshell


This is just a sample Lincoln center has many more events check out the website

For complete listing of events.






June 6: Demi Lovato (#DemiOnGMA) June 13 Paramore (#ParamoreOnGMA)June 20: Jennifer Lopez (#JLOonGMA)

June 27: Afrojack (#AfrojackOnGMA)July 4: Jason Derulo (#JasonDeruloOnGMA) July 11: Keith Urban (#KeithUrbanOnGMA) July 18: Zedd (#ZeddOnGMA) July 25: Kings of Leon (#KOLonGMA)August 1: Enrique Iglesias (#EnriqueOnGMA) August 8: Luke Bryan (#LukeBryanOnGMA)August 15: Florida Georgia Line (#FGLonGMA)

August 22: Robin Thicke (#ThickeOnGMA)August 29: Brad Paisley (#BradPaisleyOnGMA)

Summer Concert Series at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park (East 69th)






 The TODAY plaza is located at Rockefeller Center on 48th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, right outside Studio 1A. Many subway lines have stops within several blocks of the plaza. We suggest trying to get a “fan Pass “ on line

JUNE 5 Pharrell Williams (#PharrellTODAY) *Thursday  6 Sara Bareilles (#SaraBareillesTODAY) 13 Train (#TrainTODAY)

17 Little Mix (#LittleMixTODAY) *Tuesday 20 Fall Out Boy (#FallOutBoyTODAY) 27 Phillip Phillips (#PhillipsTODAY)

JULY 4 Ed Sheeran (#EdSheeranTODAY) 11 Fifth Harmony (#5HTODAY) 18 Jason Mraz (#JasonMrazTODAY)

25 OneRepublic (#OneRepublicTODAY) 29 Jennifer Hudson (#JHudTODAY) *Tuesday AUGUST 1 Aloe Blacc (#AloeBlaccTODAY) 8 TBD 15 Neon Trees (#NeonTreesTODAY) 22 TBD 29 Ariana Grande (#ArianaTODAY)

SEPTEMBER 1 Maroon 5 (#Maroon5TODAY) 5 Usher (#UsherTODAY)



West 89th Street on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, musicians playing classical, jazz, Brazilian and Argentinian music. The series starts June 8th, and follows along every Sunday evening at 6 pm. . Bring your picnic and come join us! ANNUAL TULIP FESTIVAL – 10,000 TULIPS AND MORE!  June 8 Michael Walz Brazilian Quartet /June 15 Sincopatto South American Music/June 22 Peter Zak Jazz trio /June 29 Guibbory classical String /July 13 Starin & Reit Classical Flute & Harp 




Blues BBQ  2pm Saturday August 23rd  At Pier 84 (44th street )

AUG 23rd Hudson River Park’s Blues BBQ Festival pairs America’s best blues and roots musicians with three of New York City’s best BBQ restaurants, Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque, Delaney Barbecue and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que for an unforgettable summer day on the Hudson River

7pm Fridays 6/6 – 8/22 Sunset on the Hudson music in Greenwich Village. Sunset on the Hudson 7pm Fridays 6/6 – 8/22

 At Pier 45 In Greenwich Village


Moondance 6:30pm Sundays 7/13 – 8/10 At Pier 84

Whether you dance like a pro, or want to learn to move with the best of them, Hudson River Park’s MoonDance is the place to be on Sunday nights! Featured styles include swing and salsa. Free dance lessons begin at 6:30pm on Pier 84 courtesy of Dance Manhattan. Live bands go on at 7pm.

STARS OF TOMORROW Jazz & Classical At Pier 45 In Greenwich Village  Students from the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music perform on June 19 & July 17. Students from Mannes College The New School for Music play classical music on June 5, June 26 & July 31.

STORY PIRATES FOR KIDS Story Pirates 6:15PM Mondays 6/9, 7/14 & 8/11 At Pier 25

JULY /AUG Pop Up Maker Space

Presented by Google  Multiple Locations FREE! Thursdays, 5-7PM; 14th St. Park Sundays, 10AM-Noon; Pier 25 at N. Moore Sundays Thursdays 7/3 – 8/28 In Multiple Locations St. NEW! Guided maker workshops challenge participants to design and construct projects inspired by both innovative technologies and traditional crafts. Participants will learn from and collaborate with each other while working together to find solutions to real-world challenges. Projects will range in difficulty from low tech to high tech. Investigate WHY and HOW things work! Each workshop has two projects – an interactive guided lesson and a “larger than life” build which challenges participants to adapt newly learned skills to different resources and scale. Come build, tinker and create in an enriching environment filled with possibilities!

SALSA Tuesdays thru 8/19  At 14th Street Park In Meatpacking District Beginner Salsa dance lessons from 6:30-7:15, DJ’s start the party at 7:15pm


SCIENCE: Submerge NYC’s Marine Science Festival October 5 / 11:00AM at Pier 26 In Tribeca

“A splash of science in the city NYC’s Marine Science Festival, a day devoted to bringing awareness to NYC’s coastal waterways. This day-long festival is presented in partnership with the New York Hall of Science.


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Rhythm Child: “Kindie Reggae” and Teaching Kids through Music

Harold and I always love discovering new kids’ music that promotes learning and healthy development, delivers a positive message … but is also easy on parents’ ears! (Because when your kids love it, you know you’re going to be hearing it on repeat for a while.)   That’s why we were especially excited when we came across Rhythm Child’s new release Kindie Reggae, an album featuring nine songs for young kids that explore important ideas related to health and wellness, cooperation, friendship, family, language games, the importance of having good manners and habits and unconditional love. Each very danceable song tells a unique story that is educational and often inspirational. And there’s even a cover of The Beatles’ “All You Need is Love” in the mix, as well as some re-imaginings of famous nursery rhymes from Mother Goose!




The force behind the Rhythm Child brand is hard-working L.A.-based singer, songwriter, percussionist and music educator Norman Jones. His goal with his brand has always been to create an innovative platform that gives children and their parents meaningful music with an interactive component to support critical health and developmental skills. Rhythm Child received a National Parenting Publication Gold Award, and the company’s Instructional Drumming CD was spotlighted by the Academics’ Choice Awards, an organization known for its commitment to quality mind-building media. And Norman was recently acknowledged for his commitment to making good music for families when he performed at the White House.


Norman also has a pretty cool history as a musician, as he was one of the pioneering musicians during the ska revival of the 1980s, known for his work with the band General Public. The ska revival celebrated multiculturalism, socially-conscious lyrics and new “grooves,” and you can definitely hear these qualities in Kindie Reggae. We really like this quote from a reviewer, who described the music as “John Lennon, Bob Marley and Otis Redding playing a music festival on Sesame Street.”


Norman believes in relating to children as the smart, talented individuals they are, which we also admire:  “I play the same type of music I’ve played for 30 years. Music based on rhythmic improvisation, a high level of musicianship, raw energy, and deep lyrics … I want to give kids a sense that the music is not talking down to them, and that it’s filled with flavor and realness.”


Another special thing about Rhythm Child is that it is a family affair – something we can obviously relate to! Norman’s children Bailey and Andre play in the band, and his wife, Heather manages them. The idea for the band started after the couple had their first child. He was doing outdoor gigs and started to add nursery rhymes to the shows as interludes between sets and would bring instruments so kids could get involved in making music. Since then, Norman has become known as an authority on engaging children through music and teaches classes about using rhythm-based activities in the classroom to enhance the learning experience.


You can check out Rhythm Child and hear some selections from Kindie Reggae on the Rhythm Child website.


And in honor of education and teaching our kids through music, please enjoy our song “Teacher Teacher”! – xo Amelia


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“Believe in Yourself,” with Children’s Author Alan Salisbury

“If you believe in yourself, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish.” That is the message of children’s book author Alan Salisbury’s holiday book The Legend of Ranger: The Reindeer Who Couldn’t Fly. Beautifully illustrated by award-winning artist Roberta Baird, The Legend of Ranger tells the story of Ranger, the younger brother of the famous Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer who dreams of being one of the reindeer who pull Santa’s sleigh. The book chronicles his journey to find the “secret” within him to fly, and we think it’s a really cool book to enjoy with your kids this holiday season!




A father, grandfather and major proponent of providing an education rich in the Arts to children, Alan is proof that positive thinking brings big results. He wrote The Legend of Ranger after retiring from a 30-year military career, during which he pioneered the use of computers on the battlefield and earned the rank of Major General and a successful 12-year tenure in executive roles in the field of IT as well as a full schedule as an independent consultant.


To celebrate his own creative interests and love of giving back to the community, he established Opus One Studios as a way to benefit some of his favorite charities. Through Opus One Studios, he offers a variety of socially conscious creative products whose earnings will go to support select beneficiary causes. The Legend of Ranger, the Reindeer Who Couldn’t Fly and the book’s theme song, which Alan composed, “Dream and Believe (Ranger’s Song)” are the company’s first offerings. All profits from this project will go to support the Antonia J. Giallourakis Endowed Fund in Art Therapy for Children with Cancer at Massachusetts General Hospital. The story’s positive message aligns with the fund’s efforts to help children as they face life-threatening diseases.



Alan’s interest in education was sparked when he was teaching at West Point. Not long after receiving his Ph.D., he developed a pioneering computer board game called Computer Rage that was an entertaining tutorial for children aimed at understanding computer fundamentals and binary numbers. The game was published in a sold-out edition of 10,000 copies by Creative Computing Magazine.


We recently spoke to Alan about what inspired him to write a children’s book and why he feels music and the Arts are so important to a child’s development.


Parents with Angst:


How have the Arts played a role in your life?




The arts have played a role in my life since elementary school. We moved from one town to another in New Jersey when I finished kindergarten, and at my young age, they wouldn’t let me into the new school system. So, rather than make me complete kindergarten for a second time, my mother sent me to a little day school in Short Hills, NJ. The school was very Arts-oriented, and I got really into singing, theater and musical instruments. I really learned to appreciate all the different forms of art and music.


The only time I got really involved in music and the Arts, myself, as an adult was as a cadet at West Point, when I joined the Cadet Glee Club. I like to say I “majored” in that for four years, because I just really enjoyed it as an extracurricular activity. About five years ago, three other folks and I founded a West Point Alumni Glee Club. We’ve been giving 20-30 performances per year for the last few years. When we first put that group together, I thought, “If my mother could write music, I can write music.” I wrote about three songs for the glee club and had very talented people come up with arrangements, and they have become part of the repertoire.


Parents with Angst:


How did your interest in writing develop, and what inspired you to write The Legend of Ranger: The Reindeer Who Couldn’t Fly?




I have a lot of professional writing experience, but until writing The Legend of Ranger, I have never written anything for children. I wrote a computer architecture reference book back in the late ‘70s and a lot of professional articles and papers on business management. I retired from the Army after 30 years and went into the IT industry for another 12 years, then was doing consulting for a while after that.


My interest in writing initially came from my mother, who was an amateur poet and songwriter. She wrote several songs in the World War II era that were never published. They were on the road to being published, and I had sheet music for a couple of them. They’d always been in the scrap book, and one day, I decided to hand them off to my daughter so she could help me bring them to life. I reached out to some friends and found a vocalist, an instrumentalist and a recording studio. They put together some really nice cabaret-style recordings that I put out on a CD for friends and family.


Fiction was something I had not done. Five or six years ago, the idea for a Christmas story popped into my head. I thought it might be neat to write about a reindeer that was Rudolph’s brother. Each Christmas for two years, I kept returning to the idea of this story. Finally, in 2011, I just decided to take a shot at writing it down. In a few days, I had a first draft of the story. I was motivated by my grandkids as much as by the idea of the story. I have four grandchildren, ages two, four, eight and ten. We tried out the story on them that first year. I sat everyone down around New Year’s, and I read the first draft of the story to them. They sat with full attention for the entire half hour it took to read it.


I have improved the story quite a bit since that first draft. My youngest daughter was really the one that encouraged me to get it published, so I credit her with the fact that I actually went through the process of publishing a children’s book for two years after I first wrote it. I’ve been having a ball with it and learning a lot of new things as I go along.


Parents with Angst: 


Why do you feel that the Arts are so important to children and to their understanding of the world?




The counsel I gave both my daughters when they went off to college was, “Don’t worry about getting a job.” And I realize the fact that I was able to encourage that was a great luxury for them. However, I think getting a broad, liberal arts education is very important. A liberal arts education gives you education for life, not just for getting a job. I told my daughters that if they wanted to go beyond that and get a specialized Master’s degree, we would help them with that. I think the liberal arts experience turned out to be very valuable for them.


One of my daughters is very creative and is now a professional photographer and voiceover artist. She actually did the audio book version of The Legend of Ranger story and does wonderful character voices. My other daughter was an art minor.


My professional career, both in the Army and afterwards was rooted in information systems and technology. For many years I was a system developer and a project manager for software systems for the military both for battlefields and office use. I found the biggest problem we had in developing computer systems for people was truly understanding the user. You don’t learn how to understand people and how users react to things in an engineering school or computer science school. That idea reinforces the notion that understanding people equips you to deal with everything in life. And you learn that skill from the Arts and a liberal arts education, which I think everyone should have. That type of education makes us all better people.


The idea that everyone needs a liberal arts education is still one of my rock-solid principles in life, and you need to start it as early in life as possible. School can be drudgery for many children, and what makes it interesting is variety, which is what the Arts bring to the equation. The school that my eight- and ten-year old grandsons go to now is has a wonderful Arts program, and both of them are involved in chorus and other activities. I think these activities turn children into more well-rounded individuals and gives them something rewarding that they can continue to participate in as adults.


I think it’s interesting to note that George Patton – one of the toughest generals in history – also wrote poetry. I was not in the fighting Army, so I don’t consider myself to be a warrior like others I respect so highly, but I actually don’t know of any senior military people who like war and don’t have a softer side.


Parents with Angst:


What is the story behind the theme song for your book, “Dream and Believe (Ranger’s Song)”?




Music always comes to mind whenever I am creating anything. And of course, Rudolph has his own song, so I felt like Ranger deserved one, too.


I connected with one of my West Point friends’ sons, Paul Busdiecker, who is a classically-trained musician and hobbyist producer down in Nashville, teaches music lessons and has also written a series of books on string instruments. He helped me find vocalist Mary Allen – who is one of his vocal students and has a voice I really felt would connect with children. We then created the recording with Mary and a quartet from the Nashville Symphony in a Nashville studio.


Dream and Believe (Ranger’s Song)” is now available through iTunes as well as with the audio book as a second track. The song carries the same message as the book:  “If you believe in yourself, there is no limit to what you can accomplish.” I think that is an incredibly valuable lesson for young kids.


Parents with Angst:


And how did you get involved with the Antonia J. Giallourakis Endowed Fund in Art Therapy for Children with Cancer?




That is an extension of my interest in the Arts. One of my West Point classmates, who was also in the computer software development industry with me for a few years had a wife named Antonia Giallourakis who was an art teacher. Our families became very good friends. We spent summers together and shared a beach house for 15-20 years.


Antonia was an artist in her own right and was an iconographer. That shared interest brought her and my wife together as close friends. Our children grew up together and continue to be good friends to this day, and our grandchildren are also growing up together.


Antonia developed cancer and struggled for many years. While she was in and out of treatment, she developed an innovative art therapy program for kids with cancer to give them an outlet for some of their challenges. She lost her battle with cancer, and after she passed away, her family set up a small family foundation to provide funds to teachers who are interested in implementing her art therapy strategies into the classroom. The program also links up children in classrooms with children in cancer therapy.


About a year ago, the Giallourakis family decided to fold their family foundation into Massachusetts General Hospital, where their son is an M.D. and Ph.D. researcher. The hospital was starting its own art therapy program, and because they found art to be an effective tool to help kids cope with cancer. Their foundation became an endowed fund at Mass. General. It’s a labor of love for my family and I to devote the time and effort and donate 100% of the profits from The Legend of Ranger: The Reindeer Who Couldn’t Fly to that endowment.


You can check out the trailer for Alan Salisbury’s book and read more about the author and his projects on the Opus One Studios website. And on the same theme of supporting each other’s dreams, we invite you to listen to Parents with Angst’s “Encourage Each Other.”


As you continue to celebrate the winter season, please also enjoy our song “You Are Loved,” below. Happy Holidays!  xo – Amelia and Harold


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New Year, New Beginnings

Tips for Better Health in 2014:


  1. “Do U Have TXT Neck?” (I do!) All of us can be guilty of over-using technology like computers and smartphones. Early last year, I read something in Shop Smart magazine about the latest painful health problem that’s hitting people who spend a lot of time texting and sitting at the computer:  “text neck.” It is caused when you stoop over to tap messages on your phone (or slump down at your desk while using your computer), according to the American Chiropractic Association. And last year, the number of reported neck-strain issues was way up. Orly Avitzur, M.D. says, “Looking down puts excessive pressure on your neck, causing muscle strain, which can lead to neck and shoulder pain. Adopting some good habits can help prevent serious injury from our tech tools:  take frequent breaks from texting and typing on your computer; type longer e-mail messages on your computer instead of a handheld device; hold your gadget in front of your eyes so you don’t have to look down. You should also try to rest your forearms on a pillow or other surface for support while you’re typing. And even better, make room for quality time with your family, away from technology every once in a while!
  2. Get moving! It’s easy to want to stay inside in the winter … and even easier year round to skip the gym, especially if you’re a busy parent running juggling work and family time. A pedometer can be a great way to track how much physical activity you’re sneaking in every day. (You’re likely doing getting in more than you know already!) I read in Good Housekeeping last year that just 30 minutes of brisk walking per day – about 10,000 steps – can make you feel stronger and healthier.
  3. Don’t skip the SPF. If you have visible sun damage, you’ve probably been guilty of forgetting sunscreen. All doctors and beauty experts will say, applying sunscreen religiously is critical to healthy skin, even in the winter. I read about this additional all-natural trick from a Los Angeles-based facialist Kate Somerville:  Three times a week, rub a washed strawberry on discolored areas. Keep the juice on your skin for two minutes before rinsing. The fruit acids may help lighten splotches and make skin look refreshed. (Disclaimer:  Be wary if you have very sensitive skin.)


Out with the Negative and in with the Positive for Your Kids


Does your good kid have equally good friends? I read a piece by called “When Bad Friends Happen to Good Kids” in Good Housekeeping last January that talked about how parents can handle a situation where their kids find themselves buddying up with a “problem child.” As much as it’s against our protective nature as parents to not step in when we worry our kids might get hurt, the article points out that in some cases, intervening with our kids’ “bad friends” isn’t the answer. (Of course, in all cases, all of us want to find a way to steer our kids away from toxic friendships and towards a future of positive friendships!)


Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Temple University and a specialist in adolescent behavior says that parents should definitely look out for the troublemakers in their kids’ lives:  “Kids do take bigger risks when they’re together.” He warns that parents do need to look out for the “troublemakers” in their children’s circle as well as those that are “social climbers,” who can be some of the most aggressively negative influences. Robert Faris, Ph.D. adds that in studies, it has been found that these types of kids view “aggression and [bullying, either physical or verbal] as a way to maintain social status.”


So, how do you phase these kids out of your kids lives and help guide them towards new and healthier friendships in the future? According to psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, M.D., who is also a parent and the author of several parenting books, “Most kids under 12 can be brought into line … If a friend comes over and behaves badly, you have to intervene; them have a talk with your child about him. Parents often make the mistake of accommodating a friend’s bad conduct for fear of hurting their child socially. But that can be a tacit endorsement.” Hallowell also adds that kids, especially under 12, count on their parents to teach them how to have high standards for their friendships, so parents have to talk to their kids honestly about both the things they appreciate and the things they don’t appreciate about their friends. They also need to invite their kids to share their feelings about their own friends. Hallowell says to keep it simple:  “Say, ‘That kid is rude. He kicks the coffee table even after I tell him to stop. I don’t like that about him. Help me understand:  What do you like about him?” Once your child can see his friend through your eyes and also feels like his feelings have been heard, Hallowell says he will hopefully be less likely to spend as much time with the “unruly” friend and hopefully gravitate towards more positive kids in his circle. Steinberg also says it is important not to label the child as “bad” when talking to your kids (as much as you might sometimes be tempted to!); instead, label the behavior as inappropriate.


Hallowell also says that obviously, a simple talk will not always lead your kid to immediately get rid of a negative friend:  “Sometimes subterfuge can be a parent’s best friend … Plan weekend visits to your relatives to avoid sleepovers. Schedule doctor’s appointments during their usual playdate afternoons. Hover whenever the kid comes over.”


Steinberg also points out another point about early friendships:  “Most connections don’t last long … There’s a lot of instability in friendship during childhood. If you don’t like your kid’s friend, one wise strategy is to back off and let the friendship run its course.”


Hopefully over time, staying positive, communicating with and supporting your kids will help them learn how to seek out friends that will treat them well and will stand by them for the long haul!         


Tips for More Happiness in 2014:


  1. Cut out the Trans-fats for good. A couple years ago, I read in Good Housekeeping that an 11-year Spanish study of more than 12,000 people found that those who ate the most trans fats were 48% more likely to develop depression. While the participants’ intake was low – only about 1.6 grams of day – it’s easy to reach that amount even if you choose “trans fat free” products. Because of a “labeling loophole,” even those items might still have small amount of the dangerous fats. Look for the term “partially hydrogenated,” which is an indicator that trans fats lurk within.
  2. Get a ticket to health and happiness. Making time for the theater can actually improve your health, according to a Norwegian study. Statisticians and scientists in Norway looked at data from more than 50,000 people on activities like museum visits, singing, volunteering, painting and attending concerts or sporting events and discovered that engaging in arts and culture – watching as well as participating – was linked to higher self-scores of physical and emotional health. And it wasn’t just that people who had cash for evenings out could also afford better health care or that folks who enjoyed good health were more likely to go out. The connection held even when researchers controlled for wealth and a range of health factors. Lead author Koenraad Frans Cuypers also said not to worry – your taste is not an issue:  “The activities don’t have to be highbrow, just emotionally engaging or creative.”
  3. Get your beauty rest. If you try your best to get 8 hours of sleep a night (I know … it’s not easy for any of us with all we do!), you get a lot of great benefits. Getting enough sleep makes you feel better, decreases your risk of cardiovascular disease and boosts your memory.


Hopefully these resources above will help you and your family approach your New Year as a new beginning! Please enjoy our song “Encourage Each Other,” below, to help us all encourage each other to do things that make us happier and healthier in 2014!


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Body Snatched Farmers

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