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Grandparents Day Evoked Sweet Memories

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By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

 

 

Grandparents Day fell on September 9th with some schools holding special activities or assemblies to which grandparents may have been invited to honor the occasion. As a grandmother myself, these activities are enjoyable; however, just spending time with my grandchildren is more rewarding than any organized celebration. For me, the years I spent with my own grandmother are still etched in my heart and evoke both a joyful feeling and a tinge of sadness knowing they are long gone. No matter how many decades have passed since my grandmother left me, the wonderful things we did together are still dear memories.

Sleepovers

It was such a treat to spend an overnight visit at my grandmother’s house while she babysat. She was the one who introduced me to the wonders of listening to radio programs that required one’s imagination as the storyteller wove the next chapter of the daily serial. Then there was the Jack Benny show and other musical favorites of hers that would be broadcast and that she never missed. With the radio on, grandma and I would play cards or she would teach me how to embroider a simple pattern on a piece of white fabric for practice. The décor in her living and dining room are still vivid, and I can see the framed picture of General MacArthur, cut from a magazine cover and nicely framed, hung on a corner wall of the dining room. Below it was an old steamer trunk, with a small lace tablecloth draped over it for decoration. This ornate trunk always looked like a pirate’s chest to me and I wondered what treasures might be inside of it. When I stayed at grandma’s she would ask me to do her a favor and dust under the bottom of her ornate dining room table to reach the swirls and squiggles of the wood carvings below. Grandma would hand me a dust cloth and for my five minutes or so of “work” she’d give me a dime, which to a seven-year old at that time was a lot of money. (Enough for two candy bars back then.) When explaining to my mother why she gave me the extra money for what I thought was just helping out, grandma said with a smile “because she earned it.”

The best part of these overnight visits was the breakfast grandma made the next morning. She had a glass frying pan that made the most delicious scrambled eggs ever! Perhaps it was the large pat of butter that was melted in the pan before she poured in the scrambled eggs, but they were out of this world. To this day I remember grandma saying as she scrambled my eggs, “be sure that the eggs are nice and frothy before pouring them into the heated pan.” Now, whenever I scramble eggs — still following grandma’s reminder — I look down at the bowl to make sure they are perfectly frothy, and I smile.

 

September 12, 2018 |

Lunch Box Choices and Ideas

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By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

 

 

School is now in session and along with it comes the daily chore of packing lunches for the children. Some parents might be running out of ideas as to what to pack in their child’s lunch box each day and may want to hear a few new suggestions. Perhaps it is time to reevaluate what is made for lunch. It is the wise parent who packs only “healthy” lunches in an effort to steer their child toward a lifetime of sensible eating choices. It isn’t easy fighting peer pressure when your child sees others in the lunchroom with sweet treats and processed, packaged foods in their lunches.

Suggestions

If your child likes to eat sandwiches, experiment with different breads and pitas. Try whole grain, fruity breads or those containing nuts and raisins. Cream cheese on raisin walnut bread is absolutely delicious! Pita pockets and tortillas come in several sizes and can be used to wrap or fill with a host of tasty foods.

If you are trying to steer clear of too many cold cuts and avoid the nitrates and preservatives found in these luncheon meats, use leftovers from your previous evening’s dinner. Dice up small pieces of leftover chicken cutlet, turkey or roast beef and use these pieces to fill a pita. If you find it easier to buy cold cuts, stick to those with low sodium, such as turkey breast or specially marked ham or cheeses.   Buy cold cut meats with no nitrates or added colors and avoid artificially colored yellow cheeses.

When filling a pita pocket, add thin slices of cucumber, shredded carrot pieces or diced lettuce or spinach leaves to create a medley of color and texture. Finger foods are fun for young children to eat and are easier to manage than trying to hold a huge sandwich in their tiny hands. Try cutting pieces of leftover meatloaf, chicken or cheese and dicing up fresh vegetables for them to munch on. Cherry tomatoes are easy to handle and can be added to the lunch box by placing a small portion of these in a plastic bag. There are plastic containers that contain several compartments, and each day they can be filled with an assortment of veggies. Green peppers, green or yellow zucchini slices, celery sticks, mushroom caps and carrot sticks make a crunchy, healthy group to choose from. If your child likes salad dressing, add a little creamy ranch dressing to one section for dipping. For the older child, add walnut, almond or cashew pieces in another compartment.

Parents have the choice of what to buy and how to train their children about what to eat. Starting a lifetime of healthy choices begins right now, when parents still have control over what their children will be eating. With a little imagination parents can pack an exciting lunch that their children look forward to eating with eager anticipation! And if it is a really tantalizing selection, you can bet none of it will be traded away to a classmate.

September 5, 2018 |

Being Prepared for an Emergency

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By Evelyn J. Mochbeichel

 

 

Are you prepared for an emergency? How would you know if there is an emergency? Where would you get assistance? If you do not have the answers to these questions, then you need to find them out.

For residents of Westchester County, this can be made easier by simply reading the detailed publication that is mailed to every home. “Planning for Emergencies” was originally implemented to provide important information to area residents concerning the Indian Point Power Plant facility; however, the tips it contains can also be applied to emergencies that are weather related and for accidents such as spills of contaminated materials. Published in conjunction with Westchester County, the New York State Disaster Preparedness Commission, Entergy Nuclear Northeast and Con Edison, the detailed publication includes a map of Westchester County and listings of evacuation locations for each school in their districts as well as the routes of all Westchester County bus lines.

Westchester residents can call the County’s Department of Emergency Services at 914 231-1850 to request a copy or visit: www.Westchestergov.com

Residents of other counties should contact their Executive’s Office to find out if a similar booklet is offered.

Pre-Planning

Town municipalities often hold meetings to inform residents or town and business members of the best way to respond to emergencies. These meetings share ideas about building safety and inform tenants of what plans are in effect should they need to be evacuated for any reason. Working parents should know where their children that attend school or a daycare center will be sent should the school need to be evacuated. Parents’ personal contact phone numbers should be given to the school and promptly updated if any numbers or work locations have changed. When your child’s school sends home a form that requests your contact numbers as well as those of others in charge of picking up your child, BE PROMPT ABOUT RETURNING THIS INFORMATION.

Do you know what your child’s school would do in an emergency? How would you hear about the emergency if you work in another area? Is there is a “phone chain” that has been set up to let parents know of an early dismissal or some other safety issue? Volunteer to be part of this chain so you are aware of the latest information when it is released from the school. Know the radio stations that would broadcast the information. Have at least one station on your car radio programmed to the station you would need for emergency updates. If you are at home, place a label on your radio identifying the station you need to tune to for emergency broadcasts. In case of a power failure, make sure you have a battery operated radio and fresh batteries in supply.

Emergency planning is also important at work and in any public building. Regularly scheduled “drills” should be held so everyone is aware of the quickest and safest way to leave the building. Maintenance staff should check that no emergency exits are locked, bolted or difficult to open and that exit signs are well-lit and easy to see. Windows should be tested regularly to insure they are not stuck shut with layers of paint. Fire extinguishers should be conveniently placed and inspected regularly to make sure they are in proper working order.

 

August 29, 2018 |

Metropolitan Museum’s Exciting Exhibits

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By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

 

 

 

As the last few weeks of summer fade away, there is still time for a New York City adventure with the family. If you have not been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in a while, or not at all, there are fabulous exhibits featured that you won’t want to miss!

I’ve always been fascinated by anything Egyptian — even as a child watching old black and white Boris Karloff mummy movies with my dad. Trips to museums on school or family excursions often included the Met’s Egyptian section. Their current exhibit Ancient Egyptian Gilded Coffin is on view until April 2019. This highly ornamented Nedjemankh and His Gilded Coffin from the first century B.C. is on display along with 70 other works. The exhibition will be arranged thematically to illuminate the role of Nedjemankh as a priest in ancient Egypt, his burial, and the decoration on the coffin. Distinctive installations in the exhibition include an imitation leopard skin once worn by a priest and a display of funerary objects depicted in a scene on the coffin. Scenes and texts in thick gesso relief were intended to protect and guide Nedjemankh on his journey from death to eternal life as a transfigured spirit. According to ancient texts, the use of gold in the coffin assisted the deceased in being reborn in the next life.

Future Exhibits

In the fall, Art of Native America: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection will feature 116 masterworks representing the achievements of artists from more than 50 distinct indigenous traditions across North America. These range in date from the 2nd to early 20th century. The collection has particular strengths in sculpture from British Columbia and Alaska, California baskets, pottery from southwestern pueblos, Plains drawings and regalia, and rare accessories from the eastern Woodlands. Art of Native America will be the first exhibition of Native American art to be presented in the American Wing since it was established in 1924. Originally focused on American Colonial and early Federal decorative arts and architecture, the Wing’s collecting areas and focus have continued to evolve. This exhibit runs from October 4, 2018 through October 6, 2019.

Jewelry: The Body Transformed opens November 12 through February 24, 2019. A dazzling array of headdresses and ear ornaments, brooches and belts, necklaces and rings created between 2600 B.C.E. and the present day will be shown along with sculptures, paintings, prints, and photographs that will enrich and amplify the many stories of transformation that jewelry tells.

If the body is a stage, jewelry is one of its most dazzling performers. Great jewelry from around the world will be presented in a radiant display that groups these ornaments according to the part of the body they adorn: head and hair; nose, lips, and ears; neck and chest; arms and hands; waist, ankles, and feet.

 

The Museum is located at 1000 Fifth Avenue, N.Y., N.Y 10028

Phone: (212) 535-7710

Visit: www.metmuseum.org

August 22, 2018 |

Packing for College — Additional Lists of Items Needed

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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

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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

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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.

Quiz

  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.

Answers:

  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 |
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