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Finding a Kennel

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Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

Our dog is truly a member of our family and we take his care very seriously, as most families do. This is why it was difficult when we had to find a kennel for him when our entire family would be away attending a function together. Our elderly pet is somewhat hard of hearing and slow moving, with arthritis in his hind legs, so walking on steps is difficult. A few friends offered to watch him, but the thought of them trying to carry a 30-pound dog down steps made me go against this decision for both their and our pet’s safety. The only solution was to investigate a kennel for him. We had never used a kennel in all his 14 years.
We asked around, and it was our veterinarian who recommended the kennel. I checked out their website and was very pleased with what I read for starters. The well-done, informative website had one sentence that especially appealed to me. It read “Come visit during business hours. No appointment necessary.” This was perfect, and we decided to do just that about a month before we needed their service. We appeared unannounced about 11:30 am and were greeted warmly by the friendly young man whose family has owned the kennel for more than 40 years. The office was clean, modern and welcoming with a glass door that looked onto one of the kennel complexes. After chatting for 20 minutes, where we asked every question we could think of, we were given a tour of the kennels. They were clean, well maintained, and each dog had its own roomy pen with outside access on nice days. A clean blanket was given daily, too. The outdoor pens kept each pet separate, but they could see each other. In the immaculate kitchen, pots of chicken were being cooked. The kennel supplied the food and had every brand imaginable on hand. Any medications would be given to the pet without an extra charge.
This tour and information was positive for us, so we made a reservation. It pays to do your research and visit before you need the service. This kennel was all we had hoped for, and our time away was more enjoyable because we knew our pet was safe and well cared for during our absence.

 

 

 

 

 

August 5, 2015 |

Live Theatre in Yorktown Heights

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Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

Right in the middle of Yorktown Heights there is a gem of an entertainment center, and it’s called Yorktown Stage, located in the Yorktown Community and Cultural Center (YCCC) building at 1974 Commerce Street. Throughout the year the theatre presents outstanding productions of well known musicals and other shows that are equally as appealing.  During the summer they offer Summer Theatre Workshops for children, “where every child has a chance to shine!”   Children ages 6-14 (1st through 9th grade are eligible.) This type of camp program helps children become comfortable in front of groups and gives those with a yearning to perform a chance to be part of a wonderful learning experience.  During each two-week session the students learn and practice dance and musical routines, and at the end of the session a production is held to show off their talent and hard work.  Free and open to the public, the shows take place on Friday mornings. Annie and Peter Pan, the last two productions for the summer, are scheduled for Friday August 7th and Friday August 21st respectively.  Each production is only an hour long and the perfect length for young theatregoers to get used to attending a live show. Note: Summer session camp openings are still available for the month of August.  For more information, call 914 962-0606.
Upcoming Shows
Don’t miss any of these full-length shows planned for the fall.  A new musical “13” is a “hilarious, coming of age musical about discovering that cool is sometimes where we least expect it.” The show runs October 9th and 10th.  In November, plan to take the children to a full length production of Peter Pan, Broadway’s timeless classic musical that will whisk you away to a place where dreams are born and no one ever grows up! Peter Pan has been performed for over 60 years around the world and enchanting children of all ages! That show takes place November 21st -29th — perfect timing for a family Thanksgiving outing!
For more information about either the summer workshops or upcoming productions, visit www.yorktownstage.org or call 914 962-0606. This summer you can start to take pleasure in theatre productions with friends, family or go by yourself and see what wonderful things are in store! Visit this gem of a theatre and be impressed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 29, 2015 |

Vacation Travel Tips

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Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

Getting the most out of your dollar is something savvy travelers like to do when they go on vacation.  Whether you drive or fly, there are ways to cut your travel expenses drastically.

Hotels

Most hotels provide access to their information by website and a toll free telephone number.  However, it may not be the way to find the best rate for your accommodations.  Check both sources, then call the hotel directly to find out their best rates or room availability.  If you call the toll free number and find the rate higher than you would like to pay or that there are no rooms available, ask for the direct number to the hotel.  Sometimes only a small block of rooms are made available through the toll free number, yet the hotel may still have empty rooms.   When you talk to the representative ask if you are eligible for any discounts, whether it is through automobile clubs, senior citizen discounts, corporate or military rates. Inform the telephone representative about your membership AFTER you have received a price quote. Most hotels will come up with a ten percent or better discount for any of these organizations.

When you arrive at your hotel and the room is stocked with “mini bar” items, make sure you know the cost of these expensive treats. If you feel you will be tempted, or are traveling with young children that might insist on these treats, make the decision easy to handle. Request that the mini bar be cleared out before you check in to alleviate this problem. Once it is empty, you can refill it with your own snacks, if you want.  When traveling with young children, parents know that packing extra snacks is a must and it is best they are brought from home or by stopping at a local supermarket in the resort area.  Avoid the hotel gift shop or vending machines if you want to keep spending down.

Telephone 

When guests use the hotel phone, charges can be imposed for each outside call, even if it is a local call.  Read the bedside literature to understand phone rate charges. To keep down these costs, use your cell phone if it is a domestic call.

Happy travels!

July 22, 2015 |

Entertaining Children on a Budget

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The Front Porch

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

How do you keep your little ones occupied and happy, while watching your budget this summer? Using a little bit of imagination, creativity and reading your local newspaper can help you come up with new ideas.  Remember, for little children EVERYTHING is new to them.  During the summer more options are available and the backyard can be used for these “pretend” getaways.  Sleeping outside overnight in a tent is one option for children that have never gone camping.  If you do not have a tent, borrow one from a friend that goes camping.  Besides camping, there are picnics at home or in the park. Eating outdoors makes everything taste better, too.  Instead of having lunch at the kitchen table, take a blanket and eat outside in the backyard.  Do not use a picnic table, just an old beach blanket to get a real picnic feel.  Here is a cute idea for breakfast outside that little ones might enjoy.  The idea came from one of my daughter’s Brownie leaders during a backyard sleepover with the troop.  When the Brownies woke up in the morning they were told they were going to have a “jungle breakfast.”  What was this?  Before the girls woke up, the Brownie leader and a volunteer mom, which was me, had a head start preparing this breakfast.  In essence, the task was simple.  We took several dozen bananas and those small, individual cereal boxes and attached strings to them.  Then each item was tied to low branches on trees and bushes in the yard.  When the girls woke up, they had to search the yard and pluck the cereal box they wanted and then “pick” one banana off a branch.   They had a ball doing this and they ate the cereal out of the box, cutting along the perforated lines on the back designed for campers.
Local events
Watch local newspapers for nearby events geared to young children.  Maybe there is a special attraction coming to a nearby mall.  The marketing and public relations department of these malls know parents will come to the mall for these attractions and then shop.  It is in their best interest to plan events to attract these customers.  You might find a petting zoo, famous cartoon or children’s television show character making an appearance, or a circus in the mall parking lot.  Ideas are endless if you do your research and are creative!

 

 

 

July 15, 2015 |

Cooking Lessons with Children

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The Front Porch

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

Summer is here and it is time to think of activities to engage our children. This can be the perfect time to teach a child basic lessons about cooking or to discover new recipes that each family member might like. Although a young child may not be able to read, following recipes alongside of the parent can produce a world of experiences. Start with simple recipes like making muffins or cookies, and you will see how much can be taught.  Math is introduced when measuring cups of flour, teaspoons of baking powder or adding two eggs.   Fractions come into play when baking, and the child will see quarter of a cup of sugar, one third of a stick of butter and even learn what a “pinch” of salt is if required. Terminology like mix, stir, pour or blend, are new vocabulary words that children will learn when the parent lets them take turns with the batter mixture.  When it is time to pour into the muffin tins, hand-eye coordination takes over as the child tries to delicately pour or spoon the batter into the muffin tin.  Science lessons take over as the semi-liquid batter turns “solid” after being baked.  The best part about this cooking lesson is that the child and family get to enjoy their efforts.
Older children will discover new lessons in the kitchen when the parent stresses the importance of sanitary conditions, reading directions closely and making sure all the ingredients are in the pantry before getting started. How often have we started a complicated baking project only to find out we did not have baking powder or enough eggs on hand?  Either the recipe had to be abandoned or we stopped midway and ran out for the missing item.  For the reading child, it is also important to show them how to read the expiration dates on products and where to find this information, to make sure the ingredients are the freshest available for consumption.
Making some family favorites “from scratch” is a nice idea when time allows.  Instead of jar pasta sauce or packaged meatballs, old time family recipes are a great way to keep these treasured favorites alive in the household.  Simple, yet delicious recipes can be doubled and half-used that day and the other half-frozen for future dinners showing children how the most can be made with simple, yet enduring recipes.  Best of all, these recipes are less expensive and healthier than the ready-made, prepared products busy families depend upon when time is tight.

 

 

 

 

 

July 8, 2015 |

Ordering Floral Arrangements

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The Front Porch

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

Summer welcomes the wedding season and floral shops will be blooming with orders. There are also the unexpected events that come into our lives where a sympathy arrangement needs to be sent in memory of a loved one or close friend. There are several pointers to be kept in mind to assure your order is exactly what you requested.
Communicating with the salesperson is mostly done when a huge binder is produced displaying photos of arrangements. I’d suggest that you research online the options of arrangements and prices before heading into the florist shop. Then you have a choice to order over the phone or go into the shop prepared with your decision. Orders placed out of your area will be filled by another florist in that locale and both the phone call and delivery charge will be added to your bill. When your order is placed, be sure the florist on the other end has the same number next to the photograph in their binder as the florist shop you are ordering from.
Years ago we ran into this problem when we paid for a more expensive arrangement to be sent and the florist in the state we were sending the flowers to had a different number in their binder. A smaller, less impressive arrangement showed up to the recipient. Our order was a huge, standing wreath that was supposed to be made of giant flowers, consisting of spider mums and other large mum varieties. The wreath in the photograph was extremely large and impressive, which was what we expected. What was delivered to the funeral home was a wreath on a stand, comprised of small yellow and white flowers that looked “skimpy” in comparison to what we ordered. Still a respectable-looking arrangement, but not the dollar value for which we had paid.
Two other notes I would like to add is to make sure you slowly spell the name of the recipient and make sure that it is repeated back to you. This information is related to the other florist and that is what is written on the card. Also, try to buy flowers that are in season for the best value for your dollar. Your florist will be able to advise you which flowers are more plentiful, seasonal, and will make the most beautiful arrangement for your money.

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 1, 2015 |

Music Under the Stars

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The Front Porch

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

Living in the Hudson Valley area, one would think most families are familiar with and have visited the West Point Military Academy in West Point, New York. I am completely amazed when I tell people we’ve attended a concert or event on the grounds and learn that people are unaware of these events open to the public. The summer is the perfect time to acquaint yourself with the fabulous concerts offered at West Point and throughout the area, when the band travels. The West Point band is comprised of graduates of the finest music schools and the professional soldier-musicians of the West Point band are honored to provide world-class music to educate, train and inspire the Corps of Cadets and to serve as ambassadors of the United States Military Academy and the army to local, national and international communities.
The Concert Band performs concerts, military ceremonies, and at athletic events for the United States Corps of Cadets. The ensemble can be heard around the Greater Hudson Valley, New York City, and throughout the United States. The band’s storied history features performances for U.S. Presidents, heads of state, foreign dignitaries, and continues to be invited to participate in high-profile events in the New York metropolitan area, at locations such as Yankee Stadium, MetLife Stadium, and the Statue of Liberty. They have performed at major venues, including Avery Fisher Hall, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Tanglewood, and the Meyerson Symphony Center. They also maintain a close association with the New York Yankees, utilizing the full performing ensemble and chamber groups for high-profile games. Recently, the Concert Band began an annual collaboration with the New Jersey Ballet. Members of the Concert Band have also been featured on the History Channel, Fox News, CNN, and ESPN. As performers and educators, the musicians of the West Point Band continue to present provocative performances while providing the Corps of Cadets with a piece of living history.
Upcoming concerts at Trophy Point: June 27 at 7:30 pm “Heroes and Villains,” July 4th Independence Day Concert 8 pm,
July 18th Dancing Under the Stars at 7:30 pm and July 25th Songs of the Long Grey Line at 7:30 pm. Invite your friends, pack a blanket or lawn chairs and enjoy these free concerts! Visit www.usma.edu/band/SitePages/Home.aspx for additional concert dates and locations. For concert information, cancellations and updates call the West Point Band’s hot line at (845) 938-2617.

June 24, 2015 |
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