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Capital District Family Newsletter April 5, 2012

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Publisher's Note:

Dear KidsOutAndAbout readers:

When people ask me what KidsOutAndAbout.com does and what makes it different from other online community calendars, I sometimes hesitate before responding. Of COURSE we're a community calendar. And as you know if you're a long-time reader, we're a lot more than that: We've got reviews, articles, tons of lists of resources, summer camps, giveaways, and this scintillating weekly newsletter. What's more, we're real people--just a few of us--whose goal is to bring you information that hasn't been so sanitized by some corporation's legal department that it loses all value.

But what I really WANT to say when people ask what we do that's special is say this: "We're the karma."

What I mean is that I want to help generate positive consequences for those who create value for families. My goal in life is to create a lot more value for the world than I take from it, and even though I'm not the one creating all of these wonderful opportunities for your kids, I still get a glow when I connect you to them. This may sound hokey, but I love celebrating. I want the world to contain more of the kinds of opportunities that our local cultural, recreational, and educational institutions provide. I imagine a generation of kids growing up having had wonderfully enriching experiences that their parents find out about on KidsOutAndAbout. So when I find out about something awesome, I spread the word. I'm the karma.

Of course, one doesn't need an audience of 12,000 newsletter readers to Be the Karma. You can do it too! When you find out about great stuff happening in your community, tell people. (Tell me and Katie, at least!) Value what is valuable. Reward those who create. Imagine what happens if we're ALL the karma.

2) Are you going to visit the Orlando theme parks for Spring Break? Do we have an article for you! Well, in fact, we have a whole series of them: KidsOutAndAbout's Guide to Everything Orlando. These articles tell you just what to expect when visiting the parks, so they're equally good to use right before you go as well as when you're trying to plan a trip. The article that is the most passed-around these days is one I wrote last year after some misadventures in Florida: Great Mistakes: What NOT to do when bringing kids to an Orlando theme park. Katie's guides to the rides and restaurants at the various parks have been extremely popular, too.

3) I was in a coffee shop in Westport, CT earlier this week when serendipity handed me some next-door-table neighbors who are doulas and other childbirth/postpartum providers. I couldn't help overhearing their conversation about using social media to spread information that can help women make the best childbirth decisions for themselves. Of course, I got into conversation with them (after apologizing first for eavesdropping). Cynthia Overgard, who is an expert in hypnobirthing, was talking about an article she had just published, "Six Reasons to Break Up With Your Prenatal Caregiver." While not every aspect of the article resonates with me, I do appreciate Overgard's practical recommendations for adopting the attitude of an educated consumer, and I think her suggestions apply to interactions with all kinds of medical caregivers. So it's definitely worth a read.

4) Last week, we started a survey of the Best Playgrounds in the Capital District. One is far and away out in front, and as I reported when I was on the Noon News on Channel 13 on Tuesday, that playgrounds is The Crossings at Colonie. The voting closes tomorrow, though, so after that we'll rank all of the playgrounds by vote and report to you.  Please vote here. Thank you.

5) Most kids have off school Friday, April 6 through Sunday, April 15. What are you going to do with them? Here are a bunch of Spring Break day camps that are interesting, quirky, and fun.

We will be sending a special spring break newsletter on Monday so your week can be full of great ideas for local fun in the Capital Region, so look for it!

6) Need something quick and fun to do with your kids and their friends? How about an Easter Egg Hunt! Egg Hunts are the easiest, cheapest, most-fun-for-the-buck party you can attend or throw. Here is an article on how to host an Egg Hunt party, step by step.

7) Summer camp organizations have been posting and posting and POSTING their summer camps this week. It's so exciting to see them come in!  Our main camp page is our Week by Week Guide to Summer Camps in the Capital District. You can also see them subject-by-subject, so that page is a terrific place to start your summer camp hunting.

8) Every day, we've been celebrating a Summer Camp of the Day on our Facebook page. Here are the ones we have highlighted since last week:

4M's Farm Summer Riding Program
What's Growing in the Garden from The Wonder Room
Afrim's Summer Action Camp
Imagine That! at Proctors
Pirates of the Caribbean Camp at Camp Scully

Do you have a favorite summer camp that should be our Summer Camp of the Day? Please email me!

--Debra Ross, Publisher


From your editor, Katie Beltramo:Katie Beltramo, KidsOutAndAbout.com editor
   
9) I went to HVCC's Summer Camp fair over the weekend, and I heard about so many great programs. And I am super-excited that some of the folks I've met have already had a chance to update their organization listings and get to work on adding their summer camps, like Camp Little Notch, Susan Odell Taylor School Summer Camp, Saratoga ArtsSKYHIGH AdventuresSummer Beauty Camp at Austin's School of Spa Technology! Yay! As more people and organizations share their information, it makes the site better for all of us.
 
Meanwhile, I was so inspired by talking to folks from different camps that I did a special post on Girl Power Summer Camps over on Capital District Fun.
 
10) Saturday's a huge day for Easter Egg Hunts and other activities. A few of them include: indoor options at B95.5 Easter Egg Hunt at Crossgates Mall and  The Children's Guide 4th Annual Easter Egg Hunt (I've been to this one, and it's very busy). Outdoor options like the Great Schuylerville Egg Hunt, the Community Easter Egg Hunt and Family Fun Day at Tawasentha Park (which includes pony rides, a bouncey-bounce and more), and an Easter Egg Hunt for residents of East Greenbush. You can also Meet the Easter Bunny and Get Pictures with Rabbits and Lambs! at Kulak's in Rexford.
 
11) Speaking of which, if you're boiling eggs to decorate, go for a slow boil and add a little salt and vinegar to avoid cracks. I switched my method and improved from 8 nice eggs out of a dozen to a perfect 12-for-12!
 
12) So, what if you don't "do" Easter or if you're just looking for something fun to do outside the house on Easter Sunday? Well, the Baby Animals on the Shaker Farm at Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, MA will be out for you to revel in their adorableness, and that's a great celebration of spring for anyone!
 
13) Entertaining guests for spring break? One idea is to be a tourist in your hometown and try a tour with Albany Aqua Ducks & Trolleys. They've got one where you can sample area treats, another where you and your kids can meet area heroes, and more.

14) The Bravo Family, the Wall Family, the Woods Family, the Smart Family, and the Walker Family are our fictional families that take their kids to activities based on their particular interests. Here is what they are up to this weekend:

The Walker family focuses on health and physical fitness. Here are their plans.
Friday: Full Moon Walk: Sprouting Grass Moon at Max V. Shaul State Park
Saturday: Mom & Baby Exercise Class at Top Form of Clifton Park
April Break: Afrim's Spring Break Action Camp 2012, plus they're visiting plenty of playgrounds!

This is the Woods Family. They love nature and the great outdoors.
Friday: Eagle Watch at Moreau Lake State Park
Saturday: Signs of Spring at Thacher Nature Center
April Break: They're going to Build your own Bluebird Nest Box at Stephentown Memorial Library, then they'll check out the events at Up Yonda Farm Environmental Education Center- Bolton Landing.

The Smart family focuses on educational and cultural activities. They also shop smart!
Friday: Pre-School Story Hour with Pam at the Open Door Bookstore
Saturday: Homemade Soaps Workshop with Armlin's Army
April Break: April Break Activities @ Schenectady Museum and VACATION ART BREAK—Great, Strange, and Rarely Seen at the Albany Institute of History and Art.

The Bravo Family loves the arts.
Friday: 1st Friday Of Albany
Saturday: Young Frankenstein Live at Proctors
April Break: Vacation Daze at Steamer No. 10 Theatre and Sunset Boulevard at Cohoes Music Hall, maybe SpringStage: Camp Combat at the Theatre Institute at Sageor RPI Young Actors Guild Spring Break Acting Camp

The Wall Family prefers indoor activities. Here is their weekend itinerary:
Friday: Parent's Night Out! at My Place to Play
Saturday: B95.5 Easter Egg Hunt at Crossgates Mall
April Break: Prince/Princess Vacation Camp at Tiny Tots Tea Room and a trip to Zoo Can Do It: 2nd Annual Capital Region Canstruction at the New York State Museum and all the other great activities there!

15) Here is your day-by-day weekend guide to upcoming events:
Friday, April 6
Saturday, April 7
Sunday, April 8


16) RESOURCES

Everything that's free (upcoming events that are free...211 of them on the calendar right now!)
Top 20 Places to Take Kids in the Capital District
Indoor Play Centers
Places to ski within driving distance of Albany
Places to have birthday parties
Private Schools
Preschools
Extracurricular classes
Clubs/Scouts/Teams for Kids and Parents
Libraries
Parks / Outdoor recreation areas
Kid-friendly restaurants
Organizations & schools that provide resources for kids with special needs
Upcoming shows and performances
Museums

Top 20 Places to Take Kids in the Capital District!17) Have you checked out the results of our survey of Top Places to Take Kids in the Capital District? No? Well, check out the new page: Top 20 Places to Take Kids in the Capital District

Here are the Category Winners!
Favorite Indoor Play Center: Tiny Tots Tearoom
Favorite Outdoor Play Center: Hoffman’s Playland
Favorite kid-friendly museum: New York State Museum
Favorite nature center: Thacher Park/Nature Center
Favorite farm (agri-entertainment): Indian Ladder Farms
Favorite professional sports team: Tri-City Valleycats (baseball)
Favorite children's theatre: Proctors Theater
Congratulations to all of the winners, and thanks to all of you who voted!

18) Folks who "Like" the KidsOutAndAbout.com Albany listing on Facebook find out about stuff in advance and even can enter Facebook-only giveaways, so make sure to Like us! These Find us on Facebook!Facebook-Only Giveaways happen frequently, so don't miss a thing..."like" us today!

19) Have you wondered about creative places to host your child's birthday party in the Albany-Troy-Schenectady area? There are 105 Birthday Party Locations on our list; check them out!

20) I'm sure you can think of other folks who would enjoy finding out what's up for kids and families every week, so please, think of a few friends and forward it along! Here is the direct link they can use to sign up, themselves.

Happy Easter! Happy Passover! Happy Spring!

Debra Ross
Publisher, KidsOutAndAbout.com

Katie Beltramo
Editor, KidsOutAndAbout.com

© 2012, KidsOutAndAbout.com. This information may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of KidsOutAndAbout.com.