Friday, May 29, 2009

Dog Training Course for Kids

My Dog and Me - is a 6 week dog training and behavior class for your children/teens (ages 8-17) who begged you for that puppy, but who have since left you to do the walking.

Dates: June 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 and July 6 (Mondays)
Delaware Branch Library

Kids will learn about:
  • clicker training to teach basic commands
  • animal behavior and building a healthy relationship with their dogs
  • about using the library to research their breed of dog.

Miss Rose, the trainer, owns and trains border collies and is a trainer at the Albany Obedience Club/4-H Youth Development.

(Applications and information are available at the Delaware branch. Dogs will need proof of up-to-date vaccinations and valid license to be considered for the program.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Friendly's is being friendly

I just found out the following bit of info, and while I'm not a huge fan of Friendly's (I much prefer some E & B's ), I never, I mean NEVER say no to ice cream, unless you are this guy.

click here for

Lupine Fairy?

The tooth fairy's older and more flowery cousin is coming to the Albany Pine Bush Preserve on Saturday, May 30th from 9-4pm.

Here's the schedule from their website:

Lupine Festival
Time: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Location: 195 New Karner Road, Albany, NY
FREE Outdoor fun for the whole family! No registration required.
7am - 9am Early morning bird hike
9am-10am Beginning birders: learn how to use binoculars
11am-12pm & 1pm-2pm Karner blue butterfly tours
11am - 12:30pm Learn how to use GPS program
11am-12pm & 3pm-4pm Discover the pine bush walks
11am - 2pm Live local wildlife programs
12pm - 3pm Live music with The Lupine Fairy
2pm-3pm CSI pine bush hike
3pm Join us for an evening concert with a local musician
Go to LLBean’s store and sign up for a kayaking adventure

Have fun with Radio Disney.

You can find out more info here.

What is a lupine? Find out here. (It has nothing to do with wolves (lupus). Which is what I thought initially, and didn't think children would appreciate an event with a wolf fairy. I stand corrected.

Monday, May 25, 2009

My Nerd Crush on They Might Be Giants

Here's another musical suggestion for all you parents out there on the lookout for some cool tunes for the family. They Might Be Giants have a bunch of albums specifically for kids, all of them educational, quirky, and oh so nerd chic. I love these's like Revenge of the Nerds: The Musical.

When you write a song about The Egg, you've gotta be good. No corners for you.

Here's an AOA interview about the song and their family concert at the Egg last year.

These guys have a gajillion albums, but here are the ones specifically for kids:

Here Come the ABC's - Alphabet themed CD/DVD. Catchy songs. When my daughter told me that 'C is for Conifers' I was won over.

Here Come the 123's - The won a Grammy for this one. Cool songs and videos making math cool again.

No! Yes! This album has songs about robot parades and talking brooms. Need I say more?

Bed, Bed, Bed A book and CD featuring the whimsical artwork of Marcel Dzama (he did the artwork for Beck's Guero, among others). Great songs for bedtime, what else?

... and word on the street says they are coming out with a 'Here Comes Science' album sometime in the not so distant future.

Check them out from the library, buy them, download them, whatever... just listen.

TMBG is sponsoring 10 Little League Teams. So if you know a team that could use some cool uniforms (No! T-shirts) you can find out more info here.

We went to see their family show last year and had so much fun. They even threw in some old stuff for the parents as well. (Istanbul (Not Constantinople), Birdhouse in Your Soul, etc...) They aim to please. Here are some upcoming shows. Unfortunately they are not coming around here any time soon, but if you are in the following areas, I really suggest you check them out.

June 2009

12 - Portland ME - Port City Music Hall (21+)

13 - Boston MA - Family Show - Berklee College of Music

13 - Boston MA - Flood Show! Berklee College of Music

14 - New Haven CT - FREE SHOW! International Festival of Arts and Ideas

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kill the Ice Cream Man

Seriously, what kind of ice cream man drives around at 9pm, blaring his tinny music and re-awakening my children with the promise of a treat they will most certainly not receive at this hour?

Aargh. This guy obviously does not have children.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Family Fun Day

The Junior League of Albany will host a family fun day on Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 23, at the Washington Park Lake House in Albany.

From the Parent to Parent blog:
The free event — open to the public — will include carnival games; “Story Time” readings; “Andy the Music Man Morse”; “Touch a Truck,” sponsored by the Albany Fire and Police Departments; free balloons; face painting, by Jackie’s Fantasy Faces, and much more. A FLY 92.3 radio personality will emcee the program.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Make Your Own Pinata -or- How to Save 24.99 at the Party Store

As I was brainstorming ideas on how to make a 4 year old birthday even more chaotic, I came up with the brilliant notion of a pinata. What else says party-palooza more than a room full of toddlers wielding a long stick? So, off I went in search of a pinata. At the party store, however, I was pleased to find that they had a child friendly pinatas where each child could pull on a string to open it, therefore bypassing the stick and 'you'll poke your eye out' scenarios that could ensue. Perfect...until I looked at the price tag. The cheapest one was 25 bucks. C'mon. I made one of these things in middle school, so there was no way my frugal heart was going to shell out that kind 0f cash for something that could break on the first pull. I left with a mission to make my own pinata. Here is what my husband came up with. Maybe you can use it for your next party.

1. Find a medium sized box. (We used a Zappos box... much to my husband's chagrin, we've got a bunch of those lying around)

2. Decorate it. We wrapped it up in some of our kids art work. You can use wrapping paper etc. Just make sure you can still open it.

3. Fill it up with something. We used these:

(You can find these for a deal at the Christmas Tree Shops and they look really cool falling out on the floor... but you can put anything in there.)

4. Use scotch tape to attach many strands of party ribbon to the opening of the box. The idea is that the kids will pull on the strings, one at a time, and when the last one it pulled, the fun stuff falls out. (Depending on how heavy the stuff is inside, it might fall sooner, thereby adding an element of surprise.)

5.. Poke a hole in the top (not the flap side) of the box. Tie a long rope/twine on a pencil, put the pencil through the hole, and now you should be able to hang the box securely from the rope that comes out of the box. We tied it on a long mop handle.

6. Enjoy! Here's the the finished product. How festive is that?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Artsy Fartsy

Taking a tip from All Over Albany, I checked out the website for The Arts Center of the Capital Region and found out about Family Sundays at the Arts Center.

The next one is May 31st. The cost is 5 bucks per person, or 20 per family.

From their website:

Sunday, May 31st

Mural Painting
For kids ages 8 and under
Create a large-scale scene to be temporarily displayed on the walls of the Arts Center!

Hudson River Drawing
For kids ages 8 and up
Make art while enjoying the nature beauty of the Hudson River, which runs right through our city! Join us along the banks of the Hudson River behind the Arts Center for a tutorial on drawing the natural landscape.

Call (518) 273-0552 x231 to find out what else The Arts Center has to offer.

You can also register for the Street Painting at Riverfest if you are feeling particularly artistic.

Again, from their website:

Saturday, June 20 | Monument Square

$10 Per Person

The Arts Center’s Street Painting Competition is an annual Riverfest tradition, sponsored by the The City of Troy, River Street Merchants, and the Troy Downtown Collaborative.

If you've never been street painting before, it's time to try this new kind of canvas! Transform Troy's sidewalks into works of art and compete for $1000 in cash prizes, half awarded by a committee of judges and half by "People's Choice" awards.

Registrations are now being accepted. Spaces are extremely limited and cost $10 per person.


Be a Niska-teer and celebrate Niskayuna's Bicentennial at their annual Niska-Day festival on Saturday, May 16th. There will be plenty of stuff for the kids including a parade, music, and a petting zoo. The day begins at 8am with a family run, followed by the parade at 10am and the rest of the activities (which are mostly free of charge).

Here is a link to their entertainment schedule. Fireworks start at 9:15.

From their website:
There will be craft vendors, an information tent featuring local not-for-profit organizations, games for children, bounces and rides, a day long food court and a gigantic fireworks display. Local businesses will again be present to promote their products and services. Other favorites returning will be pony rides, rock climbing wall, petting zoo, karaoke, clowns, photo magnets and caricatures. Musical entertainment for the day will appeal to “children” of all ages.

Thanks to Leanne G. for the tip!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


We found this little guy while wandering around Washington Park today. His name is Patches and is one stinking cute Iguana.

He is good with kids AND potty trained.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Baby Animal Days

City life getting you down? Can't take the pressure of your daily grind? Need a place to escape to? Then head out to Indian Ladder Farms, a place where the sky is blue, the air is clean, and the animals are .... baby.

Indian Ladder Farms is opened for business (they opened on the 9th) and they are kicking it off with Baby Animal Days now until May 25th. (After the 25th the animals will no longer be babies, and will therefore no longer be cute.)

Your child can pet chicks, ducklings, turkey poults (bet you didn't know that's what a baby turkey was called... see, it's educational already), bunnies, piglets, lambs, goat kids, and calves (but you will not, I repeat, WILL NOT see one being born.. you'll need to go to Altamont for that).

Kids are $5 and adults and under 12 month year olds are free..(maybe that is directly proportionate to how much fun you will have... kids will have 5 dollars worth of fun...adults and infants will have no fun at all).

Bring your kids, bring a lunch, and bring PLENTY of hand sanitizer.

The farm is open everyday from 9am-5pm.

If you haven't been here, it's a great place to spend the morning. They also have a playground and sand pit that can keep the kids occupied for hours. Their farmer's market, gift shop and Yellow Rock Cafe are also great places to visit. Keep checking back for their pick-your-own schedule and even call the hotline - (866) 640-PICK to see what's in season.

Squid Dogs?

Delicious or disturbing? You decide.

Thanks to Heitha B. for the tip!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Move Over Tulips...There is something else blooming in town

Blooming Onions! I love, love, love blooming onions and only ever have the opportunity to eat them when I go to Outback Steakhouse (and being a vegetarian you can guess how often I find a reason to go in there). So imagine my surprise, when driving back on what I call the 'secret way' behind BJ's (Railroad Ave. Extension), I saw a stand on the side of the road advertising Blooming Onions"... screeeeech..... I pulled over and started talking to Pete, the proud owner 'Billie Jo's Blooming Onion' stand. I later found out that his wife, who was helping out that day, was the stand's namesake, and that they had been taking their onions on the road for 22 years. (They will even be at Tulip Fest this weekend, so if you see them tell 'em Small-bany sent you)Blooming Onions and W.F. Ryan Produce... BFFs.
All the onions and other produce used here are from W.F. Ryan's.

But why, I asked him, were they there, on the secret road behind BJ's? That's when he told me he was working with W.F. Ryan Produce (conveniently located across the parking lot) and then took me in to meet Mike Ryan, the son of W.F. Ryan himself. It was a little strange to be going from drooling over an onion to meeting the owner of 'the largest year-round indoor farmer's market' in the area, but Pete and Mike were obviously so glad to be working together and talking about their respective businesses that I quickly felt at ease. They have known each other for a long time and are, according to them, always looking for ways to support each other and other local businesses. W.F. Ryan is also celebrating 99 years in business and is looking to bring other treats to the parking lot as well, such as fruit smoothies and a Chicken Barbeque (with the BBQ, they will be featuring a local hot sauce, Miss Sydney's).

Anyway, long story short, I was late to pick up my daughter from pre-school so I didn't even get to try a blooming onion, but plan to go back tomorrow for my fill. The prices at the stand are extremely reasonable, check out their menu.

They don't stop at onions either. As I was talking to Pete he was busy chopping up other fresh produce for the fryer (really, is there any better way?)

So what in the world does this have to do with your kids you ask? I am helping you to expand their delicate palettes. Whatever, this one was for me.

Buy onions, buy often.

Here's your chance to win some yummy stuff. Let me know what food you think tastes better fried and/or what is the strangest thing you have ever eaten fried, and you could win a bottle of Miss Sydney's 'Earthquake Eddie's Hot Stuff' hot sauce and a bottle of their Original Marinade, courtesy of W.F. Ryan. Or even better.. send me a pic of you or a loved one enjoying a Billy Jo Blooming Onion... and that sauce is as good as yours.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Paleolithic Par-tay!

The Children's Museum of Science and Technology (affectionately known as CMOST) is a mini museum tucked back in an unlikely corner of the Rensselaer Tech. Park. If you haven't been there with your little ones, it's a great place to take them on a rainy day (see some animals, visit the planetarium, make funny faces in those mirrors that make you look like an oompa loompa etc.) I've been there a couple of times with my kids, and they have had a great time. Also, if you time it just right you can have the museum to yourself after all the school groups leave.

It is also a place that does birthday parties. With birthdays on the brain (I will have a 4 year old in a few days), I've been looking out for places to celebrate. And while I have decided to go the more traditional (and thereby more work intensive) route of having it at our house, I saw this and it looked like fun. This is from the CMOST e-notice:
DINOSAURS! Be a paleontologist for your birthday and learn about the massive size of dinosaurs, meet their reptilian cousins from Operation W.I.L.D. and use simple tools to unearth "fossils" that you and your party guests can then take home!

Book to have your Dinosaurs Birthday Party at CMOST between now and June 18th and receive a: A Family Four-Pack to Walking With Dinosaurs on Thursday, June 18th, at the Times Union Center!

Limited package availability so call at 518-235-2120 book your party today! Party must be paid in full prior to receiving “Walking with Dinosaur” package.

Does anyone remember this guy from Pee-Wee's Big Adventure?
He's alive and well outside of Palm Springs, CA.

If you haven't heard about this Walking With Dinosaurs thing, it's definitely worth checking out, although I don't know how appropriate it is for pre-schoolers. According to their website it's for kids from 3-93. However, be warned. Apparently these aren't your Flintstones dinosaurs from days of yore...these are some fully realized raptors, so kids who are used to lighter fare, say Elmo and Caillou, might not appreciate it as fully as the older ones.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Live Cow Birth....

at the Altamont Fair. I know it's a bit early to be planning for the Fair (August 11-16th), but when I saw the flyer advertising this birth thing, it kind of made me wonder if they were trying to get me to come to the fair, or to stay away... far, far away.

Yes, birth is a miracle, I get it. (I've been through two of those miracles myself). But, I am not sure I want to see a bovine miracle on a hot summer day whilst eating some fried dough. Something doesn't sit right with me about this. Has anyone witnessed this remarkable event? Am I missing something amazing? How can they guarantee the cow will give birth during the fair? My doctor told me my daughter was due on the 3rd, and he was off by 5 days, so who is to say that Baby Clarabelle is ready to rear her head (bad image.. sorry) during the fair? What about the mother's rights? I didn't want interns in my delivery room, do you really think Mama Cow wants a audience, let alone one that views this most personal of moments as entertaining as the Demolition Derby or Racing Pigs (also at this year's fair)? So many questions.

Anyway, you can find out more info about the Altamont Fair here. You can also become their fan on Facebook, MySpace, and follow them on Twitter (man, this fair is more connected than I am!) They also have videos posted on YouTube, but I'll let you take a look at those. Based on what I have heard so far, I'm a little afraid of what I would see.

Hooray for summer!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Baby Revolution Sale

The Baby Revolution Sale will be at the Beltrone Living Center Event Space (off of Wolf Road) tomorrow, May 2 & Sunday, May 3. According to the Baby Rev. people:
This is our biggest sale EVER!!! (editorial excitement) with thousands of new and like new designer and brand name clothing, toys and equipment for babies and children.
Public shopping is May 2nd from 12-5 and May 3rd (1/2 off day) from 9-12.

For all the details visit their website here.

That is all.

Thanks to Abby T. for the tip!

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