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Packing for College — Additional Lists of Items Needed

Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat








By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel



We have several friends who are in the midst of last minute shopping for their freshman year college student. Most schools send a list of needed items, but so much more can be brought along to avoid having to pay high prices for them once away at college.

Here is a list of the items your student may need:

  • Hangers, belts, tie rack
  • Back-up eyeglasses/prescriptions
  • Travel iron or small ironing board
  • Area rug, beach chair or folding chair
  • Desk lamp or clip-on lamp (extra light bulbs)
  • Radio, alarm clock, wristwatch, extra batteries
  • Small refrigerator (optional), television (optional)
  • Surge suppressors for all electronic equipment i.e. TV, DVD player, computer, etc.
  • Microwave (if allowed), hot air popcorn maker
  • Hot pot for coffee, soup, cocoa (packages of Cup-a-Soup, cocoa mix, tea, etc.)
  • Coffee mugs, plastic plates, package of disposable paper plates and bowls, cups
  • Can opener, knives, forks, spoons (two sets), paper towels, salt and pepper shakers
  • Milk crates for shelves, seats, or storage
  • Computer, printer, ink cartridges, extra UBS, paper
  • Dictionary/thesaurus
  • Waste basket (large — students only clean once a month), plastic bags for liners
  • Address book — filled in, stationery, and stamps
  • Calendar and appointment books, pens, pencils, highlighter, calculator
  • Paper clips, rubber bands, scotch tape, fasteners, thumb tacks
  • Stapler, staples, staple remover, masking tape, Silly Putty (to hang posters on wall)
  • Sheets (is mattress extra long?), bed pillow, mattress pad, blankets, throw pillows
  • Towels, face cloths, bathrobe, rubber shower thongs or flip-flops
  • Plastic pail or carrier to tote items to the shower, soap dish
  • Hair dryer, curling iron, shampoo, combs/brushes, soap, deodorant, razors
  • Nail clipper, tweezers, manicure set, Swiss Army knife, magnifying mirror
  • First aid kit, small scissors, extra Band-Aids, ace bandage, knee brace, lip balm, Blistex
  • Antiseptic, tissues, cough drops, allergy medicines, aspirin,
  • Toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, paper cups or plastic rinse cup, mouthwash
  • Sewing kit, small scissors, safety pins
  • Shoeshine kit, lint brush
  • Small tool kit, flashlight, extra batteries, measuring tape
  • LARGE laundry basket or bag, detergent and stain stick, quarters for machines
  • Sports or hobby equipment (tennis racket/balls, bat, etc.)
  • Curtains and drapes, if not provided by the school
  • String, rope, or wire (for packing or hanging pictures), duct tape (no nails in walls)
  • Backpack for books and extra duffle bag for overnight trips
  • Fan, memo board for your room
  • Cleaning products (handheld vacuum, dust cloth, sponge)
  • Umbrella
  • Bicycle, tire pump, helmet, water bottle
  • Board games, deck of cards

P.S. Don’t forget to give your student a lesson or two about how to separate clothing when doing laundry. This way the white garments will not be mixed with red or dark colored tee shirts or jeans.

Good luck and best wishes for your student’s first year away at school!







August 15, 2018 |

Making Beach Trips a Science Lesson for Kids



Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat







By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel



Nature is all around us and it is never as close as when you visit a beach or shore area. Walk along the beach and you will see signs of sea life beneath your feet, remnants washed ashore, each with a story to unfold.

Visiting the beach with young children is especially fruitful because you can see firsthand how children become excited about sights they may be noticing for the first time. I enjoy watching a young child pick up a beached, sun-dried crab and wonder if “it will still bite.” Have you ever watched a child gather seashells and exclaim that all of these treasures are coming home at the end of the day? Stroll along the beach and try to find beach glass with a child and see how intense the search becomes for these dazzling bits of smooth colored glass along the water’s edge. Spending time on a seashore vacation is one of the best ways to introduce a child to the world of science. It may very well be the start of a lifelong interest in this subject.

More Science

Science and math seem to be the two subjects that many children are apprehensive about learning or find the most difficulty in grasping their concepts. Finding ways to excite children in these areas has always been the ambition of teachers who major in either of these subjects. Young children can be easily stimulated and made enthusiastic about things that are new to them. With the right tool these subjects can also be fun.

For the adult shopping for a young child the choices are endless when it comes to creative ways to introduce science to a youngster. Being out of school, showing the child an alternative learning method that does not involve the classroom makes the subject seem like more fun. Think about the young child that may be on your gift-giving list. Why not give that child something educational this year? Not only are there wonderful kits for arts and crafts, there are also items that specialize in science related experiences for the young child.

Shoppers may be able to find these educational items in certain areas of a toy store that feature “learning” as the basis for the toy. A popular store in some malls features toys, games and kits that are exclusive to the world of science. These stores have areas devoted to sea life, the solar system, the animal kingdom, archeology, and a host of other fascinating topics for children that range from nursery school through high school levels.

Go to the library and take out science related books at the child’s level. Visit a pet shop and show the child the different species of fish in the tanks, birds in cages, or the little hamsters and gerbils turning their wheels crawling around their habitats. These are all science based activities children will love and remember as a fun learning experience.



August 8, 2018 |

Travelin’ Man and Other Destination Songs

Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat







By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel



I’m driving the car listening to Sirius radio and enjoying the decades of songs available at my fingertips. Depending on my mood, I might feel nostalgic and play music from the 1960s and 70s, or perhaps another decade. My next favorite decade is the 1980s, for a different reason. It was when two of our children were in their teens and the house was filled with this music and their friends were over and sometimes dancing in the family room.

Those were certainly fun days for all of us! Creeping into the early 90s music, our youngest had a different blend of her favorites — some were good and with others, I’d ask her to lower the music blaring from her room as I found it annoying. She was a dancer and lead choreographer in high school and college so her musical tastes were eclectic to say the least. She’d play Mozart when studying, but switched to totally different music when she was rehearsing a Janet Jackson or Madonna dance routine for a school dance show. As I listened recently to Ricky Nelson’s Travelin’ Man classic from 1961, I thought about how many songs had a destination in their title. See how many you remember.


  1. The classic soul Gladys Knight & the Pips 1973 hit: Midnight Train to?
  2. Yellow Rose of ?
  3. Tony Bennett’s signature song is I Left My Heart in?
  4. No one sings this song better than Patti Page about the sand dunes and salty air of Old (two words).
  5. Glen Campbell’s sad, but romantic By the Time I Get to? This was only one of his destination hits.
  6. The other was a Vietnam era song popular between 1965 and 1967. Listen closely to the sad lyrics of this song about a place that begins with the letter G.
  7. Of course I can’t leave out my all time favorite, Elvis Presley and his Blue?
  8. A 1943 Broadway collaboration, the first musical written by the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein was about what state? The title of this play is the same as one of the classic songs of the production.
  9. For readers who remember the TV program, Your Hit Parade, this song stayed on top of the pop chart for five weeks. The title was Deep in the Heart of ?
  10. Let’s not forget “Ol Blue Eyes,” Frank Sinatra’s signature tune.


  1. Georgia
  2. Texas
  3. San Francisco
  4. Cape Cod
  5. Phoenix
  6. Galveston
  7. Hawaii
  8. Oklahoma!
  9. Texas
  10. New York, New York
August 1, 2018 |

‘Anything Goes’ — Westchester Broadway Theatre’s Summer Sensation

Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat







By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel



Summer is the perfect time to be aboard a cruise ship, which just happens to be the location of the Westchester Broadway Theatre’s (WBT) 206th production, Anything Goes. Running now through September 9th, it is the perfect way to relax with friends, enjoy a lunch or dinner while being transported back in time via this classic 1940s Cole Porter musical.

Considered one of best tap dancing musicals, the score includes the most memorable standards including: I Get a Kick Out of You; You’re the Top; It’s De-Lovely; Blow, Gabriel, Blow; Friendship and many more. The story is simple — a brassy nightclub singer, a starry-eyed stowaway and Public Enemy Number 13 are booked on a transatlantic luxury liner bound for romance and laughter. Add a debutante whose family is bankrupt and wants her to marry an older, wealthy English lord, even though she is not in love with him.

The set design at the WBT continues to be outstanding. The set consists of an artful creation of a luxury liner where all the activity takes place up staircases and through doors depicting staterooms. Tap dancing numbers are spectacular, the choreography creative and the costumes glitzy, with a large cast filling the stage in every dance number! It is truly an extravaganza reminiscent of the best musicals of days gone by!

The Cast

WBT casts are consistently spot-on for the parts they play, and this show continues that tradition. Featured are: Stacia Fernandez (as Reno Sweeney), Tina Johnson (Mrs. Harcourt), Kevin Pariseau (Lord Evelyn), Jon Peterson (Moonface Martin), Mychal Phillips (Erma), Jackie Raye (Hope), Zach Trimmer (Billy) and Bob Walton (Elisha Whitney).

The cast is supported by a multi-talented ensemble: Leeds Hill, Kelly Black, Katie Brunson, Mike Baskowski, Caroline Chisholm, Joseph Cullinane, Will Geoghegan, Kelly Gleason, Thadd Krueger, Seth Lerner, Lily Lewis, Mallory Nolting, Jason Rath, Joey Simon.

The production is directed and choreographed by Richard Stafford with Musical Director Patrick Hoagland. Special mention has to be made of Stacia Fernandez as Reno Sweeny, whose singing, as she belted out each song, brought to mind Broadway’s Ethel Merman. Ms. Fernandez performed numerous songs — each one was fantastic, clearly making her a forefront talent in this show.

Another strong and beautiful voice was that of Zach Trimmer, playing the handsome lead, Billy Crocker, who was in love with the debutante seemingly destined to marry another. Casting for romantic duos at the WBT is so believable that audiences hope the two actually overcome the obstacles the storyline sets for them.

Don’t miss this summer stunner and the entertainment joy it brings!


The WBT continues to offer the best value around. Parking is free.

For reservations: Call (914) 592-2222 or visit:

Gift certificates, matinee performances and group discounts are available.


Future WBT Mainstage Shows: Phantom – September 13th – November 25th 2018; A Christmas Carol – November 29 – December 23rd, 2018; Phantom returns – December 27th – January 27th 2019.


July 25, 2018 |

Muscoot Farm Presents Shakespeare

Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat







By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel



For those of us who are familiar with Muscoot Farm in Katonah, we know it as a wonderful place to stroll, enjoy looking at the animals, and stepping back in time to when Westchester was an agricultural community, circa 1880 – 1930. However, throughout the year Muscoot also offers wonderful, varied and educational activities for guests to enjoy.

The Production

This summer the Friends of Muscoot Farm presents Shakespeare on the Farm: “Romeo and Juliet” directed by Mary Roberts.  Guests are invited to “experience Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet on the farm!”  The outdoor performance includes a hayride to the Pumpkin Field Theater. Bring your own picnic food, blankets, and/or chairs. This fresh take on the classic love story will be abridged to a 90-minute performance with no intermission. Tickets are $15 for members and $20 for the general public. This production is a recurring event with performances scheduled for July18, July 22, and July 25. All performances began at 6:00 pm, with gates opening at 5:00 pm.

These productions feature performers: Daniel Stompor, Jenna Isabella, Michele Dugan,
 Ruby Ellen Rocco, Ajinkya Subhash, Allie Samuel, Dakota Martin, Koby Weston, Isabelle Pierce, Anne Giroux, Eric Novak and Kevin Roberts. The performances are brought to the public by The Friends of Muscoot Farm, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Online sales end the morning of each performance; however, tickets will still be available for purchase at the door.

Attendees who require assistance are asked to call the office prior to the performance at (914) 864-7286 or email so they can be accommodated in the best way possible.

Muscoot Farm is located at 51 Route 100, Katonah, New York 10536.

Phone: 914 864-7782.

Visit for information about other scheduled events.


Square Dancing!

Looking ahead to Muscoot’s September calendar, get ready to polish up your boots, dust off your Sunday dress and start practicing your dosey-does! There is going to be a Hoe Down at the Farm! The date is September 22, from 6 pm to 9 pm and tickets are $50 per person. This includes a BBQ dinner, a square dance called by C.J. Lawler, auctions featuring Muscoot Farm experiences, local business donations, a photo shoot, country park experiences, horseback riding lessons, sports event tickets and much more!

Tickets must be ordered online — no tickets sold at the door. The money raised is for future installations at the farm.

Check out their website ( for dates featuring farmer’s markets, art shows and morning farm chore classes for children (to see what working on a farm is like by helping staff with chores.) Pre-registration is required for farm chore sessions.


July 18, 2018 |

Summer Means Travel in Any Vocabulary



Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat







By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel




Whether you waited until the children were finished with school or for your work schedule to be secured, you are now free to travel. We normally call it “time off,” “vacation,” or “going on a getaway,” but there are so many other expressions to describe this precious time we look forward to all year long.

Remembering an old expression my grandmother used to describe someone who was out and about here and there, she’d say they were out gallivanting. It can be described as wandering about or off seeking pleasure through travels. I think my grandmother used it to describe someone who was not in a place he or she was expected to be.

Another old expression my mom used is traipse. Most often it was used in the context of, “I just washed the kitchen floor, so don’t traipse through it.” Today’s interpretation of the word traipse is often a more relaxed manner of travel, to go here and there, perhaps with no exact destination in mind. This is a good word for recent college graduates spending the summer exploring Europe just traipsing from country to country without a schedule in mind.

Another word that evokes worldwide travel is globetrotter, which is someone who goes country to country, perhaps fairly frequently, be it for work or pleasure. In fact, there is a cable TV program with a similar name, Globe Trekker, which features the exploration of different countries each week for viewers to enjoy.

There is yet another term for someone who is a worldwide traveler and that is wayfarer. Perhaps not as common, or as popular, it came into the English language back in the 1400s. It describes someone who usually travels by foot in his/her explorations. The word wayfarer was such a great name to use, that Ray-Ban sunglasses adopted it as a name for a pair of their top-model sunglasses. These glasses were made even more popular back in the 1980s when the classic film Risky Business came out. It was Tom Cruise’s breakout role, and in the film he was sporting Wayfarer sunglasses. Naturally, most people who saw that film remember the other iconic scene where a young Cruise slides across the room in his briefs, socks and a button-down shirt and pretends he is a rock and roller! Can you believe that film was made 35 years ago?

So whichever mode you decide to use for your travels this summer or whichever word you use to describe them, have a safe and wonderful journey! Happy Vacation!

July 11, 2018 |

Vacation by Car — Getting it Ready

Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat







By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel



The family car is the most popular method of transportation, so finding ways to make your excursion more cost efficient should be a priority. Maintenance is a vital part of auto efficiency. Accordingly, you should make sure your car is in tip-top shape before making a lengthy trip. Have your car checked/tuned up by your mechanic to make sure it is ready for driving long distances away from home. The cost of this checkup will probably save you money on fuel consumption since your car will be running at its peak.

When is the last time you changed the oil, air filter, and any hoses? Make sure you have your cooling system checked to make sure your car does not overheat while driving. Tires that are in excellent condition are extremely important for both your personal safety and a comfortable ride. Read the manual that comes with your automobile so that you are aware of the proper inflation pressure for your vehicle. Check this pressure every few weeks during normal driving and several times during vacation driving. Generally the best time to check your tires is when they are cold. Tires that are underinflated may overheat and cause a blowout or loss of control. Recent government recommendations suggest replacing your tires more frequently than previously estimated. Whether or not you put high mileage on your car, experts say that tires eventually “dry out.” Ask the dealership or a tire salesperson for a recommendation that is appropriate for your car.

Fuel Costs

One of the best rules for saving on fuel is the easiest and that is to stay within the posted speed limit. It’s a fact that driving faster simply eats up more fuel. Enjoy the scenery, take in the sights, and arrive safely, which is the most important part of your trip. Avoid quick starts and stops while driving. Sudden surges and quick stops continue to gobble up fuel unnecessarily. Try to lighten your load and only pack what is necessary for the trip, emptying your trunk of items you don’t need.

Watch the gauges during your trip, making sure you never get down to a quarter of a tank before refueling. You’ll then have plenty of time to watch for good prices along the road and not have to settle for higher prices just because you are near “empty.” This is also important when you are driving in unfamiliar areas and not certain when the next service station will appear.

Wishing all travelers a happy and safe journey that lets you discover wonderful memories down the road!

July 3, 2018 |
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