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Save Those Instruction Manuals and Warranties

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Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

 

 

Holiday decorations are ready to come down and the presents will soon be put away. Now, what to do with the volumes of manuals and instructions that came with gifts of electronics and small appliances? Most of us only skim through the paperwork that comes with these items and focus on the information that is important only for its immediate use. Months later, more information may be needed to clean the item, to use any attachments, or to repair it. Use a loose-leaf binder with tabs marked appliances, electronics, furniture, clothing, etc. for storing these papers. Plastic divider sheets can hold warranty papers, purchase receipts, assembly instructions or where to order replacement parts.

Clothing and Linens

Some garments can be cleaned in a washing machine and others must be dry-cleaned. Wash any garment before a first wearing. Often, dyes and chemicals used during the manufacturing process might still be present in the garment. Those with sensitive skin like infants, toddlers, young children or adults with allergies might react to these chemicals.

When you remove a new bedspread or draperies from the package, keep the washing instructions before you discard the wrapping. Bedspreads, curtains, and draperies are washed less frequently and it is easy to forget the proper cleaning methods for them. Make sure you know whether your item should be dry-cleaned before you attempt to machine wash to prevent “bleeding” or shrinkage.

While many items have cleaning instruction tags on them, it is not always easy to read the fine print or to remember the instructions after the tags fade or shred. Sometimes it is better to dry-clean the item even if the manufacturer states that either washing or dry-cleaning is appropriate. Dry-cleaning seems to keep the colors more vivid and help maintain a newer look. Knowing the best care for each item is one way of making sure you get the most value for the money you spent.

Electronics

When buying an electronic item for the home, read the directions carefully. Light fixtures and lamps often have warnings about the wattage of the bulbs to be used. Avoid exceeding the manufacturer’s instructions. Other items, like a powerful kitchen mixer we bought, come with a warning to “never leave it unattended when in use.” The reason for this warning is that, in this case, the mixer might shimmy off the countertop, despite its solid design and heavy weight. You can be sure I never left the kitchen when it was in use.

 

 

 

January 3, 2018 |

Happenings at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk

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Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

 

 

When our three children were on school holiday recess, it seemed like it was twice the time when I had to think of activities to keep them busy. We tried to plan things that were fun, accessible by car and educational at the same time. One of those places is the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk in Norwalk, CT. Its focus is on the Long Island Sound, and it presents sharks, seals, river otters, sea turtles, jellyfish and nearly 300 species from Long Island Sound and its watershed. Harbor seal training demonstrations occur three times daily and three staffed touch-tanks allow hands-on close encounters with intertidal animals, sharks and rays, and moon jellyfish. They also have an IMAX movie theatre.

Children will love the Shark-Diving Santa with his scuba gear strapped to his back and entering the Aquarium’s 110,000-gallon tank, home to 7-foot sharks. Then they can visit the Sea Turtle Nursery to watch the care of rescued, newly hatched turtles that didn’t make it out of their nests. Staff members care for the baby turtles until they can be safely released back into the ocean. Journey with Jellies is another awe inspiring exhibit as guests view the popular tall centerpiece display of moon jellies and non-native species of brown sea nettles, Australian spotted jellies and Japanese sea nettles and more. Harbor cruises and toy making workshops round off the list of wonderful events that take place all year long for families with children or adults on their own.

IMAX

No visit to the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk would be complete without seeing an IMAX movie. It’s Connecticut’s largest IMAX theatre, with a screen that’s six stories high and eight stories wide. Typical IMAX movies are about 40 minutes long and are generally suitable for even the youngest viewers. December’s lineup of films are: Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Amazon Adventure, Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Secret Ocean, Beavers, and the beloved classic The Polar Express starring Tom Hanks. Based on the Caldecott Award-winning book by Chris Van Allsburg, The Polar Express follows a young boy who doubts the existence of Santa Claus. On Christmas Eve, a magical locomotive arrives to take him and other doubting children on a magical Christmas Eve trip to the North Pole.

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is located at 10 North Water Street, Norwalk, CT.

For dates, times, and ticket prices for events, call (203) 852-0700 or visit: www.MaritimeAquarium.org

 

 

 

December 20, 2017 |

Magical Miniature World of Trains at the New York Botanical Garden

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Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

 

 

There’s a fascinating, whimsical world awaiting guests just a car or train ride away at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) in the Bronx! The Holiday Train Show has become “a must-see tradition where G-scale model trains hum alongside of more than 150 iconic replicas of New York landmarks.” The 26th annual show opened on November 22 and runs through January 15, 2018, which is perfect for visitors looking for places to go to celebrate the holidays or school recess.

Our family has made it an annual tradition to visit this amazing display of buildings all created from natural materials such as bark, twigs, seeds and pine cones, done by designer Paul Busse’s team at Applied Imagination. Starting with a huge replica of Macy’s 34th street at the fully decorated tented access, each building mesmerizes as viewers look closely at what materials are used in the duplication of such buildings as Grand Central Terminal, the Brooklyn Bridge, original Yankee stadium and the NYBG’s breathtaking crystal conservatory where the Train Show is held.

Included this year are new renditions of the Empire State Building, now with changing internal lighting schemes, the Chrysler Building, and the General Electric Building, in addition to a replica of St. Bartholomew’s Church. While walking through the exhibit and warm interior of the palm forest and exotic plants, visitors will see model trains zipping in and out of the displays on nearly a half-mile of track. While any time of day is lovely for a tour, after dusk is the most enchanting for viewing the twinkling lights and glow of this miniature world that beckons both adults and children to its charm.

Events

In addition to the Train Show, the NYBG has scores of events that coincide with the holiday theme. Programs such as All Aboard with Thomas & Friends, Evergreen Express, Nutcracker presentations, holiday film screenings, Holiday A Cappella, bar car nights (an adult only event), poetry readings and more, run through January. Food is available at The Gingerbread Café for a snack or meal.

For tickets or information visit www.nybg.org

The NYBG is an iconic living museum, a major educational institution, and a renowned plant research and conservation organization. Founded in 1891 and now a national historic landmark, it is one of the greatest botanical gardens in the world and the largest in any city in the United States, distinguished by the beauty of its diverse landscape and extensive collections and gardens, as well as by the scope and excellence of its multidisciplinary exhibitions and programs.

December 13, 2017 |

The Christmas Voyager — Westchester Broadway Theatre’s Holiday Musical

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Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

 

 

We all have certain people on our gift list that are difficult to shop for each year. What do you give someone who has everything and says, “There is nothing I need”? The solution is simple. Go out together for an evening of fantastic entertainment and a delicious lunch or dinner meal at the Westchester Broadway Theatre (WBT) in Elmsford. It’s featuring the perfect production this season with The Christmas Voyager, based on the book by Robert Fitzsimmons and Kathy Wheeler. The show opened November 22 and it will run through December 23.

It’s billed as a delightful holiday musical and a true celebration of the season. All the splendor of Christmas is brought to life in a magical journey through yuletides past. Holiday songs we all know and love are wrapped up in a heartwarming celebration of spirit that will delight audiences of all ages.

“The star shone down upon the earth a dazzling silver beam while in a far-off galaxy the star was also seen. And so our voyager began his quest to reach that source of light. Two thousand years to find his way and end his astral flight.” Lost in a future time and desperate to return to his home galaxy, our Starman Noel journeys back through time searching for that magical December 24th evening when three brilliant stars came together and changed the course of history.  Knowing that these same stars will set him on the right course toward home, Noel journeys around the world and touches down in a small town in America, the North Pole, Dickens’ England and many other places on his quest.

The show features dazzling effects and many favorite Christmas songs — We Need a Little Christmas, Holly Jolly Christmas, Silver Bells, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, Deck the Halls, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, Let There Be Peace on Earth, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Silent Night, and more. Cast members include Zach Trimmer as Noel/the Starman, Katie Brunson, Jayson Elliott, Bonnie Fraser, Lily Lewis, Tony Triano, Allyson Tucker, and Daniel Scott Walton.

The WBT continually offers gorgeous, creative set design that easily transports the audience to the period of the storyline. Enjoy this production as part of your holiday celebrations with family, friends or as a fun place to gather with co-workers for your business’ annual holiday party.

Visit www.BroadwayTheatre.com or call (914) 592-2222. (Discounts for groups of 20 or more.)

 

December 6, 2017 |

Local Events Welcome You!

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Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

 

 

Throughout the year, there are scores of lovely events going on around the Hudson Valley with many at no cost to attend. Depending on the time of year, these can be outdoor concerts, fairs, craft shows, lectures, workshops or a host of other activities that appeal to guests of all ages. Right now there are two such events coming up that readers might like to know about.

Artisan Faire

Starting on November 30th and running through December 3rd, Muscoot Farm in Katonah will host an Artisan Faire, a unique idea for a holiday shopping experience. It will feature and highlight handicrafts similar to old world creations. Muscoot Farm is an early 20th-century interpretative farm museum on Route 100. The farm is owned and operated by the Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation. It was opened as an open-air interpretive museum and park in 1974. It now features year-round events open to the public. The Faire will be located in the Main House and includes vendors selling hundreds of handmade items. Shoppers will find baskets, woven towels, pillowcases, ornaments, table runners and mats, baby items, wall hangings, soaps, pottery, wood boards and more.

Hours for the Artisan Faire are Thursday, November 30th 3 to 8 pm, December 1st noon to 5 pm, December 2nd noon to 4 pm and December 3rd noon to 4 pm. For more information visit http://muscootfarm.org or call (914) 864-7282.

Art Exhibit

In addition to being a place for reading and borrowing books or films, libraries are perfect places for a variety of activities happening there, including lectures, workshops, exhibits and cultural displays. In December, the John C. Hart Library in Shrub Oak will be hosting an art exhibit and welcomes guests to come see the display. The artwork on display will be paintings by students that joined the Yorktown Parks and Recreation class of Jeanne Demotses, an art teacher. She has taught there for many years as well as in other venues throughout Westchester. Ms. Demotses is also an artist and maintained a studio in Peekskill’s art district for more than 20 years and is now at The Hat Factory there. Jeanne’s own work has been exhibited in galleries and public space and is also in private and public collections both in the U.S. and Europe.

The opening reception is on December 9th from 2 to 4 pm. The paintings will be on display from December 9th through December 31st, 2017. Library address: 1130 East Main Street, Shrub Oak, NY.

November 29, 2017 |

High School Seniors Preparing for College

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Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

 

 

The year will go quickly for seniors heading off to college. There is ample time for parents to prepare a student who will be living away from home, perhaps for the first time. There is much to adapt to, such as getting along with a roommate, finding one’s way around campus, taking on a heavy academic workload and living without family close by. The last thing a student needs is to have to tackle unfamiliar daily tasks never handled before. Now is the time for these simple life skills to be introduced.

The Lessons

Laundry is one of those daunting tasks a teen will come across while at school. Perhaps the teen never tackled a pile of laundry and is clueless where to start. Does the student know not to wash black tee shirts with white clothing? This has to be taught as we discovered when our student came home with clothing that had not been color sorted. The size of the washing machine determines how large of a load can be washed at one time. Explain that there are cycles for delicate, regular or heavily soiled clothing. The same applies for putting items in a dryer. Towels and sheets may need longer times to dry while tee shirts and lightweight cloth or delicate fabrics have shorter time spans. Stress the importance of reading labels to see whether a garment can be washed or put in the dryer.

Handling money is another area that a teen may need beginner’s advice on now. Start a checking account for your student at least six months before leaving for school so statements will arrive at home and there is time to review them together. It is vital that each check be recorded in the checkbook register and the math completed to determine the balance. Many adults prefer online banking, but for a student I would suggest standard check writing to understand the process and be hands-on from the start. We also gave our student her own credit card with a five hundred dollar limit. It was to be used to purchase books and other necessities. Since all freshmen are enrolled in the food plan, there was no need to buy food, other than snacks or miscellaneous items. Credit card statements should also be reviewed to make sure the charges are correct and any returns are applied. All of these tips will help your student with a smoother adjustment to college and make life easier.

 

November 22, 2017 |

Wise Choices for a Healthier Thanksgiving

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Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

 

 

What’s not to like about a meal consisting of roasted turkey, delectable sides, and oh, those wonderful desserts? It’s easy to indulge during the holiday, but some pre-planning can make your choices a bit better.

The American Heart Association (AHA) notes that even small changes can be important while not sacrificing taste at all. What you eat and how you prepare it can help reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease. Risk factors include poor cholesterol, high blood pressure and excess weight. These risk factors can be addressed by preparing tasty dishes without overdoing the salt, sodium, cholesterol and saturated fat. Studies show that nearly 80% of cardiovascular events, including stroke, may be prevented if risk factors are controlled. One of their suggestions is skipping white mashed potatoes and going for sweet potatoes instead. They are a source of vitamin A, C, potassium, and fiber that can make a tasty side dish.

To replace mashed potatoes, cook cauliflower instead. Boil the cauliflower until soft, drain and then whip with an electric beater. Sprinkle in onion or garlic powder for taste. For your stuffing, use less bread and add more onions, celery, vegetables or fruits such as dried cranberries or apples to make it a lower calorie version. Use whole wheat bread to make it an even healthier option.

For gravy or sauces use low-fat buttermilk or low-sodium chicken stock in place of cream or whole milk. You’ll achieve a creamy consistency and loads of flavor, minus the unnecessary fat and calories. Avoid packaged, processed foods with a high salt content. Go with fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned and limit the amount of salt while you cook. If you are using packaged foods, look for the Heart-Check mark and you’ll instantly know if that food has been certified by the AHA to meet guidelines for heart-healthy foods.

When it’s time for dessert, think about fruit cobblers without a bottom crust or make a pie packed with more fruit, less sugar and only crumb topping. Homemade pumpkin pie filling can be cooked in small individual Pyrex dishes without a crust. Top with low fat whipped topping. Fresh fruit can also be served as an extra dessert.

Thanksgiving will be just as memorable, because it is the friends and family gathered around the table that is the reason to celebrate! Happy Thanksgiving to all our PennySaver readers and may your holiday be a happy, healthier one this year!

 

November 15, 2017 |
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