Kids’ Almanac (Dec. 7-14)

Six-year-old: This waffle has a flavor I don’t like.
Dad: What’s the flavor?
Six-year-old: That “no butter” flavor
– Overheard in West Hurley


Nuts for The Nutcracker!

Poor Tchaikovsky, the composer of The Nutcracker. He died within a year of its first production, to poor reviews. Who would have thought that it would become a holiday tradition? Here are two Nutcracker experiences, by two different ballet companies, for you and your crew to enjoy this weekend.

Nutcracker at the Bardavon: The New Paltz Ballet Theatre performs at the Bardavon on Saturday, December 9 at 2 p.m. and again at 7:30; and on Sunday, December 10 at 3 p.m. Adult admission costs $32; seniors and youth tickets cost $29; members pay $27.


The Bardavon is located at 35 Market Street in Poughkeepsie. For tickets or more information, call (845) 473-2072 or visit To learn more about the dance company, see

Nutcracker at Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC): The Catskill Ballet Theatre takes the stage at UPAC on Friday and Saturday, December 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 10 at 2 p.m. Adult admission costs $30; seniors, students and children under 12 pay $25.

UPAC is located at 601 Broadway in Kingston. For tickets or more information, visit or e-mail or To learn more about the dance company, as well as teaching resources, visit

All Abilities Kids Storytime at Red Hook Library

The first All Abilities Kids Storytime included six children along with their caregivers, followed by a craft. They had so much fun that they’re having another one this week! On Friday, December 8 at 10:30 a.m. at the Red Hook Library, third floor, join this elevator-accessible, judgment-free zone for children with neurodevelopmental difficulties and/or cognitive challenges. All Abilities Kids Storytime is free and open to the public, but registration is required to keep the group limited in size. And, good news: Plans for All Abilities Kids Storytime include scheduling it twice per month in 2018!

The Red Hook Library is located at 7444 South Broadway in Red Hook. For more information or to register, call (845) 758-3241 or e-mail Amy Smith at


Open House at FDR and Eleanor sites in Hyde Park

Fan of Roosevelt-era history…or maybe FDR’s famous Scottish terrier, Fala? Enjoy holiday Open Houses? What if children’s books and authors were included among the festivities? And how about free? Could you use some free fun during this belt-cinching time of year?

Well, have I got an event for you! On Saturday, December 9, I present to you festive open houses at both Roosevelt properties: FDR’s (ahem, I mean, his mother’s) Springwood and Eleanor’s Val-Kill. Take a stroll through the FDR Presidential Library and home between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. And spend some time in the Henry A. Wallace Center between 1 and 4 p.m. for children’s author readings, beginning at 1:30 p.m. with Iza (eez-uh) Trapani (please say hello to her for me!). Santa will also be there making lists, checking them twice and greeting your crew. And please help support our troops by writing cards to our service-people on the USS Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

But that’s not all: From 1 to 7 p.m., it’s Eleanor time! And so easy: Before the lot closes at 4 p.m., you can drive directly; after 4 p.m., just hop in a shuttle from the FDR site, as there is no parking at her Val-Kill retreat that evening from 4 to 7 p.m. See the cottage as it was decorated during her lifetime, and enjoy music and refreshments. And congratulate yourself for finally getting there after meaning to for, like, ever!

The FDR National Historic Site is located at 4097 Albany Post Road (Route 9) in Hyde Park. For more information about the FDR Open House, call (845) 486-7745 or visit Val-Kill is located at 106 Valkill Park Road in Hyde Park. For more details about the Val-Kill Holiday Open House, call (845) 229-9422 or visit

Cardmaking and candlemaking workshops at Olana

Are you sending out holiday cards this year? How about family or friends spending time with you this holiday season? Or perhaps you’d just like your crew to experience some hands-on history? On Saturday, December 9 from 10 a.m. to noon, the Olana State Historic Site presents “19th-Century Holiday Cards,” where participants learn how to make their own vintage stationery! This event is free and open to the public for ages 8 and up, and it takes place on-site in the Olana Wagon House Education Center. Supplies and refreshments will be provided.

Then, from 2 to 4 p.m., sign up your family for “The Art of Wax: Beeswax Candlemaking,” where each person learns how to make rolled and drip beeswax candles. Open to children ages 5 and up, the cost is $20 per person, $15 for Olana members and $40 per family (up to 5).

Advance registration is required for all programs. The Olana State Historic Site is located at 5720 Route 9G in Hudson. For more information or to register, call (518) 828-0135 or visit


Gingerbread house competition at Mohonk Mountain House

Gingerbread and the December holiday season go together like Mohonk and its iconic “summerhouses” – those tiny shelters with that peaked wooden roof with a bench inside. But this is no gentle competition; we’re talking a real contest, with prizes like two overnights at Mohonk, a meal at Mohonk and more! The public is even invited to view the works, as well as express their opinions for the Viewers’ Choice award from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Awards are announced at 4 p.m. The judging panel includes Steve Noble, mayor of Kingston; Rose Levy Beranbaum, award-winning baker, cookbook author and blogger; Audrey Billups, pastry chef at the Mohonk Mountain House; and more.

Can’t make it to the December 10 viewing? No problem; don’t worry about running as fast as you can like the Gingerbread Man! The five winners and Viewers’ Choice Award will be on display until Monday, January 1.

Curious to learn more? Here are highlights from last year’s event: The Mohonk Mountain House is located at 1000 Mountain Rest Road in New Paltz. For more information, visit or e-mail

Make your own Chanukah gelt, wire your own menorah in Rhinebeck

I have four delicious words for you: Chanukah Chocolate Gelt Factory! Would your family thrill at the chance to make their own chocolate money, from grinding to melting to molding? How about a decorative electric menorah-wiring workshop, with copper tape, batteries and LED lights? You can do all this and more this Sunday, December 10 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with workshops beginning at 11:30 a.m., at the Rhinebeck Jewish Center. Crafts cost $3 to $5, and workshops are free.


The Rhinebeck Jewish Center is located at 102 Montgomery Street in Rhinebeck. For more information or to reserve your family’s spots, call (845) 876-7666, e-mail or visit

Two marionette shows at Beacon’s Howland Cultural Center

Is the Elf on your Shelf not cutting it lately? Need an infusion of magic in your life? I have just the event (or should I say events?) for you. This Sunday, December 10 at the Howland Cultural Center, the No Strings Marionette Company presents two shows for all tastes: At 1 p.m., see Nick of Time; at 4 p.m., see Scrooge: A Christmas Carol. With the puppeteers fully visible, kids get to witness the mechanics of marionettes; but that is all soon forgotten as the audience gets drawn into the story. Enjoy a singalong at the beginning, and even ask questions at the end.

Admission is free for children (who must be accompanied by an adult); adults pay $10 per show. Attend both! Explore Main Street and visit Glazed Over Donuts (315 Main Street) and Ella’s Bellas gluten-free bakery (418 Main Street) and more between shows. The Howland Cultural Center is located at 477 Main Street in Beacon. For more information, call Ginnie at the Howland Public Library at (845) 831-1134 or Florence at the Howland Cultural Center at (845) 831-4988. To learn more about the puppeteers, visit


Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum hosts Gingerbread Housemaking workshop

Got littles who want to make a gingerbread house? Got a kitchen you’d like to keep somewhat clean? Then register ASAP for Gingerbread Housemaking at the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum this Wednesday, December 13 at 10:30 a.m. or 2:30 p.m.; or Saturday, December 16 at 12:30 p.m. Locally baked houses and a complete supply kit are yours for the eating…err, I mean decorating. Remember: If disaster strikes, throw in a dinosaur toy (look in your couch) and pretend a T-rex did it! There’s no wrong way to do this!

The cost is $25 per kit, $20 for members. Reservations are highly recommended. The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum is located at 75 North Water Street in Poughkeepsie. For more information or to reserve your spots, call (845) 471-0589 or visit

Family of Woodstock adolescent mental health resources

Does your child or youth, ages 5 to 18 (up to age 21 next July!), experience social, emotional, developmental and/or behavioral challenges? Sometimes it can hard to know where to begin to reach out for help with mental health issues. It’s not about loving your kid; no matter how much you love this being, daily life can be so hard and isolating, let alone draining. Have you heard about Family of Woodstock’s Family Peer Support Services? Connecting family members to other families with children with serious emotional problems helps families to feel less isolated and identify their own strengths.

To learn more about what this incredible organization does – including support for people experiencing domestic violence, hotlines, shelters, childcare and programs for youth as well as adults – visit Or, if your situation is urgent, call (845) 679-2485, 24/7, or chat online via the website. To learn more about help for mental health issues for young people, check out Family’s Parents Supporting Parents Facebook page or the Family website.

To make a referral to the Family Peer Support Services program, call program director Tori Barnes at (845) 331-7080, extension 146, or e-mail Referrals may also be made by schools, therapists and service providers.

Also, as you’re looking to spend down at the end of this calendar year, I say throw more money Family’s way. They do so much good, right here in our area. Here’s an additional resource to take a look at regarding special needs:

Erica Chase-Salerno is so grateful to be able to celebrate another birthday this week. She can be reached at