Kids Almanac: Leprechaun traps, Simplicity Parenting and “Feed me, Seymour!”

A leprechaun is small and green

He hides where he cannot be seen.

But if you catch one on this day,

He must give his gold away.


Until a couple of years ago, my kids thought that St. Patrick’s Day just meant hanging shamrocks around the house and coloring their cereal milk green. Then we discovered leprechaun traps! Every year, my recycling bin is raided to provide the raw materials for a creative contraption intended to catch a leprechaun.

Our kids are highly motivated to catch a leprechaun, because if they do, they would get all of his gold! Unfortunately, all we ever manage to catch is a sprinkling of gold dust and a few chocolate coins that must have jostled out of the leprechaun’s pockets as he thwarted our gambit. Since leprechauns are attracted to treasure, we plant a coin as bait, which is attached to a trigger that is intended to close the box on the unsuspecting imp.

We never see the struggle take place, because it only happens during the wee hours. This is probably for the best, since the traps are all but destroyed when we discover them in the morning. Leprechauns can be fierce! They do not like being trapped and will do anything they can to free themselves.


Good luck trapping leprechauns at your house this year! Ours usually visit the night before St. Patrick’s Day, but some may visit on the holiday itself.


Ordinary days are the sustaining notes of daily life.

– Kim John Payne


Back by popular demand, Simplicity Parenting author Kim John Payne returns for a talk at the Mountain Laurel Waldorf School, this time focused on “Tweens and Teens.” He’ll be discussing some of his frank, accessible insights about parenting, and I always appreciate a reminder to slow down and simplify our lives: “Kim strives to deepen understanding and give practical tools for life that arise out of the burning social issues of our time.”

This event fills up quickly, so try to get there early. “Tweens and Teens” takes place on Friday, March 16 at 7 p.m. at the Mountain Laurel School, located at 16 South Chestnut Street in New Paltz. The cost is $10 per person. For more information, call Judy Jaeckel at (845) 255-0033 or go online at To learn more about Kim John Payne, visit


Feed me, Seymour!


If the phrase “Suddenly Seymour” suddenly triggers a familiar melodic refrain in your head, while your teen has no idea what it is that you’re humming, perhaps it’s time for a family viewing of the 1986 flick Little Shop of Horrors. This creepy movie about Seymour and his bloodthirsty plant is campy, with catchy music, but includes violence and dark themes, so it’s not recommended for kids under age 13.

Little Shop of Horrors is playing at the Bardavon this Friday, March 16 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $5. The Bardavon is located at 35 Market Street in Poughkeepsie. For more information, call the box office at (845) 473-2072 or visit


Another classic movie being screened this weekend is Rio Grande, part of the “Matinee at the Shadowland” series. John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara struggle through war with the Apache tribe, as well as the challenges of love and family. It’s recommended for ages 10 and up. See what your kids think about this classic film, and ask their opinions about the mysterious flying object that you see behind John Wayne’s head during the ironing scene: Could it really be a UFO?

Each matinée show also features a full program of selected shorts. This week’s lineup includes the Three Stooges, a Tex Avery ‘toon, Flash Gordon and more. The show begins at 2 p.m., and ticket prices are $8 for adults, $5 for children and seniors.

The Shadowland Theatre is located at 157 Canal Street in Ellenville. For more information or reservations (suggested), call the box office at (845) 647-5511 or visit


Carry laughter with you wherever you go.

– Hugh Sidey


Get your family ready for laughter and fun at the “Roger the Jester: A Fool for All Reasons” show at the Kingston Library, part of its Super Saturday Performance Series for children. Roger the Jester is a magician, physical clown, juggler, musician and more. This free, interactive show takes place on Saturday, March 17 at 10:30 a.m.

The Kingston Library is located at 55 Franklin Street and online at For more information, call (845) 331-0507, extension 7, or visit


Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.

– Maya Angelou


When the Barefoot Dance Company performs, I marvel at the energized, creative ways the dancers move around the stage. Come see them for yourself on Saturday, March 17 at 11 a.m. at the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck. Jessie Levey, founder, director and principal teacher, says, “Bring your kids and come see original choreography and heartfelt performances by young dancers from Barefoot Dance Center.”

Ticket prices are $7 for children, $9 for adults and seniors. The Center is located at 661 Route 308 in Rhinebeck and online at For reservations, call (845) 876-3080. For more information about the Hudson Valley modern dance school, visit


When the back of winter’s broken and it starts to lose its hold,

When the early songs of birds begin to lift,

When the days begin to lengthen and begin to lose their cold,

It’s then the maple trees give us their gift.

– “Maple Syrup Song,” Betty and the Baby Boomers


Have you made it to any maplefests yet this season? Here are two to consider this weekend: On Saturday, March 17, head over to the ninth annual Maple Celebration at the Fresh Air Fund’s Sharpe Reservation at 436 Van Wyck Lake Road in Fishkill. The family activities run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and include maple cooking demonstrations, arts, crafts, hikes, live animals and the annual Hudson Valley Maple Syrup Contest. Admission is free, but the planetarium show costs $2 per person. For more information, call (845) 896-5910 or visit

Frost Valley YMCA is hosting its free Maple Sugar Open House during the weekends of March 17 to 18 and March 24 to 25. Stop by to visit the maple sugarhouse and learn all about the process from “tap to table,” identify a sugar maple tree and sample fresh syrup. Tours run every half-hour between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Frost Valley YMCA is located at 2000 Frost Valley Road in Claryville. For more information, call (845) 985-2291 or visit


On Sunday, March 18 you have your pick of three family concerts. At 2 p.m. in the Gardiner Library community room, Leonid Polishchuk and Sofya Maryanova host a violin concert to help spark children’s interest in classical music. Kids will hear the different sounds that a violin makes, see how it works and learn about the history of the instrument. Children are encouraged to dance, ask questions and enjoy the music. This event is free. Gardiner Library is located at 133 Farmers’ Turnpike in Gardiner. For more information, call (845) 255-1255 or visit

At 2 p.m., the High Meadow School presents the “Music at the Meadow Family Concert.” Tap your toes and sing along with Elizabeth Mitchell, Dog on Fleas, Grenadilla, New Raspberry Bandits, Dos Banjos and Carrie Wykoff. Tickets for this fundraiser cost $8. High Meadow School is located at 3643 Main Street in Stone Ridge. For more information, call (845) 687-4855 or visit If you’re curious to learn more about the school, stop by its open house between 12 noon and 2 p.m. that day.


At 3 p.m., the Strawberry Hill Fiddlers take the stage at the Bardavon for their “Jamming for Scotland” concert. This event is a fundraiser to support the teens’ United Kingdom tour this summer. The concert will feature Scottish, Irish, Scandinavian, Southern American old-time, bluegrass, mariachi and French Canadian fiddle tunes and songs. Special guests Jay Ungar and Molly Mason will join the fiddlers and present their own set of timeless American roots music. Tickets cost $15 for students and seniors, $20 for adults. The Bardavon is located at 35 Market Street in Poughkeepsie. For tickets or more information, call (845) 473-2072 or visit Learn more about the group at

On March 20 and 21, at 10 and 11:45 a.m. each day, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic presents its interactive Young People’s Concert at the Bardavon. This year’s theme, “Fantasy & Fairy Tales: A Musical Exploration of Great Stories,” includes visual and spoken-word elements in the classical music presentation. I think that my daughter will be excited to hear the familiar tune of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake from her favorite Barbie DVD actually performed live.

This concert features solos by the two winners of the Virtuoso-in-Progress Competition: 17-year-old Jennifer Ku and 15-year-old Joanna Chung, both violinists from Arlington High School. The one-hour concert is suitable for children in first through fifth grade. The Bardavon is located at 35 Market Street in Poughkeepsie. Tickets cost $10 general admission, $6 for members, and are available at the door on the day of the performance. For further information, call (845) 473-5288, extension 106, or visit


Erica Chase-Salerno lives, loves and laughs in New Paltz with her husband Mike and their two children: the inspirations behind She can be reached at



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