Top 10 Hudson Valley Resources for new moms

austin birthAs a new mom, the hardest part was feeling connected again. Those first few months my job was on hold, my friends were scarce and while my husband was able to get out of the house on his own to go to work each day I was left to care for a new, very needy little person every hour of the day and night. Don’t get me wrong, I adored caring for him, of soaking up every moment and spending that precious time I knew would be gone all too soon but I also craved more, I still do. I wish then I knew there were local resources for new moms, free playgroups, support and more. So here is your list- If you are feeling trapped, alone or worse know you aren’t alone. There are a number of local groups ready to welcome you and your new baby with open arms and give you the support & information you need. Real stories from Hudson Valley Moms on postpartum depression

1. New Baby, New Paltz offers one on one support, workshops, playgroups, support groups, a great website, products new moms love and a welcoming space. New Paltz, 845-255-0624.

2. Health Quest at Vassar Brothers Medical Center holds weekly support groups, childbirth and parenting classes, breastfeeding support, infant/child CPR and even sibling prep classes. Check the site for a list of classes, costs and more. Poughkeepsie, 877-729-2444.

10 sanity saving tips for new moms

3. The LaLeche League has chapters in Orange, Ulster, Sullivan, and Dutchess counties, and beyond. Their website offers information, fact sheets and the online Breastfeeding Guide including topics on “my baby won’t latch on,” to “sore nipples.”  Proper nutrition, expressing milk, and returning to work are covered.  With a click of the mouse, the information is truly at your fingertips.

4. Kingston Hospital/ Health Alliance offers a variety of services for new and expecting moms including a mother’s club and a new mom support group. In addition to the support, the Health Alliance also offers childbirth education classes. Kingston, 845-334-2700 x2241

5. Planned Parenthood Mid-Hudson Valley is an expansive resource on a wide variety of issues including sexuality, birth control, STDs, relationships and parenting. They hold workshops, community outreach programs, counseling and a long list of free services. Kingston, 845-338-0840; Poughkeepsie, 845-471-1540

Finding ‘me’ time after baby

6. Hudson Valley Adoption Support provides free counseling to new and expecting parents considering adoption as well as support and classes to those prospective adoptive parents. Kingston, 845-514-6717 or 845-338-0700

7. Stroller Strides Classes are a fun, healthy way to connect with other new moms while getting your body back after child birth. Check to see if there is a local chapter near you or start your own!

8. Waddle-n-Swaddle, LLC holds free playgroups, a nursing circle and pregnancy group that meet weekly as well as prenatal & birthing classes, parenting education classes and even children’s art, music, dance and yoga classes! Each location also offers a variety of popular baby/ new mom products. Poughkeepsie, 845-473-5952; Rhinebeck, 845-876-5952.ben birth

9. Hudson Valley Parent is honestly a great resources for new moms and moms are all levels. Since the magazine is in its 21st year there are hundreds of articles on the site from local and national sources providing help, resources and information on everything from pregnancy issues through tips for new moms, adoption, school and beyond. Pick a keyword and do a search, I’m sure you can find something to help. And then join us on Facebook you can ask questions, get tips, advice and chat with other local parents.

10. Web resources:


Top 10 creative ways to play with snow & bonus 5 favorite places to go when it snows!

snowman1. Get creative with your snowman! You don’t have to stick to a traditional snowman. Try connecting the balls horizontally to create a caterpillar, bring out the Mr. Potato Head pieces or make your snowman do tricks like this one!

2. My boys and I LOVE making snow ice cream snow ice cream(just mix sugar, milk and vanilla with your clean snow), but are really looking forward to trying these other sweet snow treats! Make Snow Candy, and snow cookies!

3. I am not a fan of the snow so if hubby isn’t home the kids don’t get to go out. They love the snow so we compromise! Fill a bowl, tray or even Tupperware bin with snow and let the kids play inside. We usual add bowls, measuring cups, spoons and even trains or trucks.

frozen bubbles4. Blow frozen bubbles. These look super cool! I haven’t tried them yet, let me know how they turn out if you do.

5. Going on a scavenger hunt in the winter is fun with a little pre- planning.Use a few drops of food coloring in ice cube trays to create some brightly colored ice. Hide them around outside for the kids to hunt in the snow.

ice sun catchers6. These below freezing temperatures this week are good for something! If possible, go on a nature hunt and collect things such as berries, pine needles and leaves, (if not possible, use slices of fruit, herbs or fake flowers). Turn your treasures into beautiful works of art with these amazing Ice sun catchers

7. Make a bird feeder. Don’t forget our feathered friends in the winter. Roll some bird seed in some peanut butter on a toilet paper roll or apple and hang from a tree branch.

8. A friend of mine ice forestposted a photo of her daughter playing in the snow the other day and I thought the idea was so great I asked her if it would be okay to share with you. So, with permission, here is the best Hudson Valley Ice Forest I have ever seen, dinosaurs and all!

9. We have a lot of wildlife in our back yards. Take the kids on a snowy walk (or hike) and see how many animal tracks you can spot! Can’t spot any tracks? Cut some animal feet shapes out of cardboard, tie up with some string and let the kids stomp around and create their own!

snow paint play10. Make snow art. You can simply bring your paints outside and paint the snow, use food coloring and water in spray bottles or eye droppers or bring a little snow inside, drop a few drops of food coloring in, mix and paint on paper: Snow Paint!

And top 5 favorite places to go in the snow in the Hudson Valley.

1. Thomas Bull Memorial Park. The Hudson Valley is filled with plenty of great sledding & tubing spots! At Thomas Bull Memorial Park you can go tubing, sledding, cross country skiing or ice skating! Other great spots listed here.

2. Holiday Mountain in Sullivan County has everything from beginner trails to advanced slopes. Many families enjoy a variety of ski slopes scattered through our area. A great list found here.

3. Trevor Zoo in Millbrook is open all year round. Visit the zoo in the snow this winter to see which animals are active. It is inexpensive to get in and as long as it isn’t bitterly cold out, a great afternoon outdoor outing.

4. Visit the baby goats, sample the delicious cheeses and see what the farm is all about at Edgwick Farm in Cornwall for the very popular winter farm tour! You must make reservations, dates sell out fast.

5. Mohonk Mountain House. As day guests you can enjoy a snowy hike, ice skating, snowshoeing or cross- country skiing. After a fresh snow, Mohonk Mountain is a great place to bring a sled, enjoy a warm meal or stop at the Mohonk Preserve (separate location) for  one of the great programs and events.

10 Valentine’s Day Traditions for Hudson Valley families.

Flowers and chocolate were so last year! With the craze of Pinterest for endless inspiration at our fingertips it is easy to get lost in find many things you and the kids can do together. If you aren’t up for it, you don’t need to be the next Pinterest Queen or Betty Crocker. Valentine’s Day is all about love, family and showing each other how much you care. With the 10 ideas below, you can keep it as simple or get as elaborate as you want. And in the comments, tell us what special Valentine’s Day traditions you have with your family.

Getting out for some adult time this weekend? Check out my last list: 10 Date Night ideas in the Hudson Valley

1. Homemade gifts. Coupon books, love letters or heart shaped gifts loveare usually pretty popular with most parents I know. But great handmade gifts don’t have to be just for mom and dad. With a little creativity you can come up with some great gifts the kids will love. A “certificate” for a mommy and me date night, or a coupon book filled with “get out of chores for a night” or “ice cream for dinner”, etc. coupons or a thoughtful handwritten letter could go a long way too. And don’t forget about the adults. In most cases, a thoughtful handmade gift goes a lot way over a store bought one. HVParent’s Pinterest Page has lots of great ideas too!

2. Decorate. I have a box of saved holiday art work from the kids, mostly Christmas pictures and crafts that I like to hang back up around the holiday. My mom did the same with our art and I love to see how my kids’ art changes over the years. So dig out love notes, those handmade cards from past years and construction paper hearts from the pre-k days and use them to decorate your home for Valentine’s Day.Bacon-Hearts

3. Start the day off with love. Luckily, Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday this year- so no need to get up extra early for this one. We make birthday pancakes for birthdays, snowman pancakes for Christmas and our little Leprechaun friend turns our pancakes green on St. Patrick’s Day so it’s only natural our valentine’s day starts off with pink and red heart shaped pancakes and bacon. You can twist bacon into the shapes of hearts, use (metal) cookie cutters to make eggs or pancakes into fun shapes and even cut your fruit into little bite size hearts! (20 breakfast ideas found here on

4. Share the love. Chances are you are making or filling out your share of school Valentines anyway, so make a few extra to spread a little love this Valentine’s Day! Have the kids decorate paper hearts to make and take to the local nursing home, or fill out boxed cards to deliver to the local fire house or hospital. The kids will get a kick out of carrying a few for unsuspecting strangers during the day, like a waitress, cashier or neighbor. This sweet gesture will go a long way to spread a little love.

babw5. Family time. A mom- friend posted recently looking for suggestions on ways to spend V-Day with the family. I was surprised how many moms had the same plans this year. Seems like many are heading to Build-a-Bear Workshop to let the kids create their special Valentine’s Day gift. A great idea! If Build-a-Bear isn’t in the budget (they start with stuffed animals at $10) find something you can all enjoy doing together. A fun family outing is a great way to spend the “holiday” together.

Here are a few more ideas:

Family Date Night Spots

Ice Skating


Indoor Play Spots

And check for a calendar filled with local fun! 

6. Dinner with your loves. You can stay in and cook, but since we moms like to be spoiled too on Valentine’s Day it might be a good night to hit the town. Nights like these I like to choose an early dinner reservation, get the kids fed, bathed and in bed early enough for some adult alone time 😉

Find a family- friendly restaurant here or here.

7. Dance Party. Any excuse is a good one for a family dance party! After dinner clear the furniture, kick up the music and put on some of your favorite love jams. Don’t forget to save some slow dancing for your significant other!cookie

8. Baking cookies. My kids love to visit the Mid- Hudson Children’s Museum to get their energy out in the winter. They love the new fire truck, and pretending to bake the tallest cakes they can. For the last two years, they have loved to come to the museum near Valentine’s Day to decorate their own heart shaped sugar cookies (event info here). I love that the mess stays outside of my house and we can pack a lunch and make a day of it. But you don’t need to head out to make pink- frosting covered memories with the kids. Whip up a batch of your favorite cookie recipe (this is mine from and get to work.

notes9. Exchange valentines. I saw this adorable felt envelop last year and was dying to make them for my kids (…of course I never did) but I still love the idea. The blogger who created the one shown here filled out little notes to leave each night for her kids leading up to Valentine’s Day. If you are like me and pin a bunch of things you never do on Pinterest you can always use a decorated shoe box, manila envelope or store bought little mailbox (Michaels sells cute ones!) for each member of the family. Then every night before bed, everyone can write a sentence or 2 for each person to be opened at breakfast! (Image and idea from Blonde Designs Blog).

10. Surround yourself with love. Whether you choose to stay home, go out, craft or just relax, remember to surround yourself with love this Valentine’s Day. We tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get the best gifts, make the best crafts or turn our breakfast into the best heart shaped bacon our kids have ever seen. While it’s sometimes fun to go over the top, it isn’t necessary. A simple “I love you” from the heart can mean more than heart shaped pancakes and fancy gifts. Keep it in perspective, don’t stress over details and above all else surround yourself with love, after all that’s what it’s really about.

Does your family have any special Valentine’s Day traditions? Share in the comments!

Top Ten Date Nights in the Hudson Valley

The date night selfie

The date night selfie

It’s rare- you have a babysitter for the night, your husband is home from work on time and you get a much needed night out together. Sometimes it is hard for us to remember that before children it was just the two of us. Our little family of husband and wife. We had all the time in the world for each other to date each other to truly be with each other. Years later we add the demands of children, of money stretched thin and the every day stress we forget how to truly have fun and date still. These days our “date nights” tend to be filled with grocery shopping and other quick errands. Things that don’t matter. It’s time to get back together with your significant other and I have rounded up 10 awesome date night ideas for you to enjoy right here in the Hudson Valley!

Top 5 reasons to date your spouse

1. Delicious Food. Gotta start with the obvious one here. There is nothing quite like eating warm food off your own plate that makes eating out without kids simply delightful! Even if it’s a quick bite somewhere near home I relish the moment of quiet meals without kids in tow. I did a little research and asked around and found 5 favorite date night restaurants in the Hudson Valley:

brassarie 292

Brassarie 292 in Poughkeepsie

2. Sip and Paint. This new fad is popping up all over the Hudson Valley and a great way to spend some creative time with hubby! Many places offer diptych paintings (1 painting over 2 canvases) for special couples events. A few local sip and paint venues are Paintbrushes and Party in Poughkeepsie (Special Valentines Day couples painting), Wine and Design in Warwick (Offering a choice of 3 special Valentine’s Day paintings) and Vine Van Gogh a local sip and paint that partners with many Hudson Valley restaurants to offer a unique night out.

3. A trip back in time. Dating as parents doesn’t have to be 5pm dinner reservations and home before the sun sets. Remember as a teenager, dating involved a group of friends meeting at the bowling alley and catching a movie. Bowling isn’t just for your kids you know! Many bowling alleys offer cosmic bowling, music and more. One of our top picks is Lucky Strike in West Nyack where after 8pm you must be 21+ to enter. And it isn’t just for bowling enthusiasts, Lucky Strike has a catered lounge, plasma TVs, pool tables, air hockey and a few lanes of roller ball. Other favorite bowling alleys are Pat Tarsio Lanes, Newburgh, Colonial Lanes, Chester, and Hoe Bowl Family Fun with locations in Poughkeepsie, Wappingers & Catskill.

4. A Movie. Your ‘back to our teen years’ date doesn’t have to end at the bowling alley. If you find yourself at Lucky Strike in West Nyack, head over to the IMAX theater after a few games (They are showing 50 Shades of Gray on V-Day)! Not in the Palisades area? Head to any local theater and snuggle up with a bowl of popcorn and a dark theater 😉

5. Take a Walk. No matter the season, the Hudson Valley is filled with beautiful landscapes and romantic architecture. olanaTake a stroll through Olana State Historic Site a now historic landmark was once a home a studio to Hudson River School Painter Frederic Edwin Church. The Persian style mansion is filled with magnificent art from around the world and decedent views of the Hudson Valley. Another option, maybe on a less windy or warmer day would be to take in the breathtaking views of the Hudson river with a stroll over the largest pedestrian bridge in the world that spans the Hudson River. if you are looking for a bite to eat in the area, we love Riverstation in Poughkeepsie right on the waterfront.

6. For the more adventurous. Take a trip to Poets Walk in Red Hook where you and your sweetie can snowshoe, walk or hike the romantic meadows and paths. The park winds you through romantic woods filled with footbridges, benches and rustic pavilions- So romantic, It wasn’t dubbed Poet’s Walk for nothing. After your adventure at Poets Walk, I suggest you stop in for a bite to eat at the famous Beekman Arms in Rhinebeck. The stone fireplaces, dimmed lighting and cozy corners set the tone for a warm, romantic meal. I have been here; the food is delicious too!

7. Pamper yourselves. This is an easy one for me. Since I deal with poop and snot on emerson spaa daily basis it is a real treat to be pampered at one of the many glorious spas the Hudson Valley has to offer. A great date night (though more of a special occasion I suppose..) would be a trip to the Spa at the Emerson Resort & Spa in Mt. Tremper. A wonderful night or romantic weekend away, the Emerson has dining, gorgeous rooms, a spa to die for and America’s Largest Kaleidoscope! Another favorite weekend/ date night spot would be a couples spa package at the Buttermilk Spa then Dinner at Henry’s at the Farm. Buttermilk Falls.

8. Fire and Ice. Visiting Bear Mountain is a year round adventure. While in the summer you can hike, boat and picnic, The grounds don’t die away with the winter chill. Bear Mountain hosts hundreds of people each year to its beautiful outdoor ice rink. Set among the mountains and snow, spend a romantic night skating hand in hand under twinkling lights. Then head up to the rustic Bear Mountain in for some warmth by the fire and a delicious dinner. If you are further north in the Valley, I suggest spending an evening at the Mohonk Mountain House. Day guests can ice skate, ski, hike, or snowshoe the property. Enjoy time at the spa, and/ or get dressed up (that means no spit-up covered clothes or sweats!) and enjoy a romantic dinner alone together.

Schlesingers Steak House, New Windsor

Schlesingers Steak House, New Windsor

9. Dance the night away. You can learn to swing for free at the Newburgh Brewing Company once a month, line dance at the Castle Fun Center or get more serious with weekly classes in everything from salsa to the waltz at various locations throughout the region with justdance5678. Or you can always just show off your skills and have some fun at the Elephant Bar at Schlesingers Steak House in New Windsor

10. Music to my ears. You don’t have the kids, but quiet still isn’t really your thing, head to one of the Hudson Valley’s great spots to enjoy some live music. You can take in a show at the Bardavon in Poughkeepsie, or grab a drink and enjoy the music at favorite places like Shadows on the Hudson in Poughkeepsie, La Puerta Azul in Millbrook, Brothers BBQ in Cornwall, Aroma Thyme Bistro in Ellenville, Elsie’s Place in Wallkill or Pamela’s on the Hudson in Newburgh.

Did you favorite places make the list? Where are your favorite date night spots?