We are in deep with this preschool shopping!  After attending the Preschool Fair at the Saratoga library on 1/22, I was thoroughly overwhelmed and confused.  This past weekend's open house at Malta Montessori was informative and I like the program but have some reservations.  I plan to tour and attend just about every open house I can find, both for my own research as well as for MaltaMama readers.  Here are a couple upcoming things of interest:

The Saratoga YMCAis having a Preschool Open House this Wednesday, Feb 2nd from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Saratoga Springs Branch.  This program is super popular and according to many of you, a top choice in the area.  Registration is in-person only and is on February 9th starting at 8:30am. 

The Church Mouse Nursery School inside First Baptist Church in Ballston Spa is having an open house this Saturday, Feb 5th from 10-noon.  I happen to know quite a lot about that program and have heard all wonderful things. 

Across the street at St Mary's church in Ballston Spa is another preschool program.  School tours are taking place next week, 1/31-2/4. In addition to the tours, there will be two evening programs this week from 7-7:30 in the school theater:
Is Your Child Ready for Preschool?  on  Wednesday, Feb. 2nd, 7pm
Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten? Thursday, Feb. 3rd, 7pm (presented by the kindergarten teachers)

TheSaratoga Independent Schoolis having their open house on Feb. 12th at 10am.  Learn about their Pre-K and K-6 programs, tour the school and meet with parents and teachers.  Supervised crafts and activities will be provided.  RSVP 518-583-0841. 

Your feedback on this is helpful to so many other readers and myself included!  Feel free to comment here or on Facebook

Still shopping for preschool?  The Malta Montessori School is having an open house on Saturday from 10-12.  We are going to check it out because I really haven't toured any area preschool.  We attended the fair at the library last week, but I think it's necessary to check it out in person. 

In addition, the Children's Museum at Saratoga has a cool program on Saturday from 2-3pm called Pet-Vet Visit with Dr. Patty.  It's free with your $6 each museum admission.  Dr. Patty will  be in the Pet-Vet for a session on the care and safety of our furry friends.

January Review & Giveaway from
Jennifer Pondillo Photography

I had the pleasure to work with Jennifer Pondillo Photography recently.  Jennifer allowed me to 'review' her services and had me and the kids come to her in-home studio for a session.  I was a little nervous because we hadn't really done professional pictures  before.  Jennifer and I spoke on the phone prior to the session and she completely put my mind at ease.  While we could have done our photos at any location, our home, park, etc, I chose her home studio and was glad that we did.  She has a beautiful finished basement/playroom/studio which is perfect. 

Here is what I really liked:
- Jennifer is super easy to work with, flexible, professional, patient, and great with kids
- It was a completely relaxed session (with the exception of my crazy toddler)
- Jennifer has ideas and suggested the 'ruffle' pictures of Angie which ended up being my favorites!  (not something I would have ever thought to do)
- The sitting was a full hour so you're guaranteed to get nice shots, and have time for wardrobe changes!
- In her studio, Jennifer has tons of props to keep the pictures interesting and unique
- She puts 'sneak peak' shots on Facebook and her blog; ideal for sharing with family! 
- Her pricing is very reasonable and can be found here on her site. 

I highly recommend Jennifer for photography services; in studio, on location, birthday parties and anything! Visit her website for more info and to see more samples!

Now for the Giveaway! 
Jennifer Pondillo Photography is graciously giving one lucky MaltaMama reader a Short & Sweet mini print package ($75 value)!
This package includes a 30-45min. session at location of your choice and ten edited images ready to be reviewed for selection of your print package (prints sold separately).  The winner can also choose to upgrade to another package.

Here's how to enter:
1.  Visit Jennifer Pondillo's blog and mention something about it here in the comments field - 1 Entry

(Ex: I like how she describes recent sessions on the blog)

2.  'Like' BOTH
MaltaMama and Jennifer Pondillo Photography on Facebook and comment here that you do - 1 Entry
Enter until 8pm EST on Wednesday, February2nd.   Winner will be chosen on Thursday, February 3rd. using Random.org.  Good luck!


1.  Two organic apples & two organic pears   2. Peel, core, chop.  Mix with splash of apple juice, water, and a teaspoon of cinnamon in a saucepan  3.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes   4.  Puree using what you have; food processor, blender, etc.  (I used my immersion blender which worked well but left it a little chunky.) 


The hungry baby awaits the homemade creation

Kid tested and approved!

Well, I did it! I made two batches of baby food this weekend.  The fruit puree explained here and another using organic peas and sweet potatoes.  They are frozen in ice cube trays in my freezer right now just waiting to be used.  Even if Angie doesn't eat it all, I can easily throw a couple 'cubes' of the veggie puree into tomato sauce, mac n cheese, use to thicken soups, etc.  I'm glad to have a healthy additive pureed and ready to use!  It was super easy and I'm looking forward to making more! 

Thanks again to Paula Tancredi Penman for the info.  

The Town of Malta just put out their spring activities brochure and here is a link.  (don't you love the swanky new look and those cool stock images on the cover??)  You may receive  it in the mail if you're a resident, or you can always pick one up at the center.  Most of the programs start in early March so you've got a little time.  There are the usual suspects for kids programs and not a whole lot has been added or has changed.

Looking for something to do this week?  Check out the recently updated Calendar for some ideas.  I just posted the library story times for Malta and Round Lake.  Also, don't forget about our special discount on Wednesdays at Tiny Tots Tearoom!
Come back tomorrow for my post on my homemade baby food!

What a week!  We arrived home safe late Tuesday night from a trip to Ohio to visit my husbands family.  11 hours each way with kids in the car was interesting, but we all survived and lived to tell about it!  Wednesday morning we were up and out early to attend Paula Tancredi Penman's Baby food making class at Virgil's House. 
I was thrilled to meet Paula, owner of Babysmartees and food guru!  The class was excellent.  I feel like I gained as much knowledge as if I read a book, but I got to spend an hour at Virgil's House with other mother's in a fun and social setting!  I also feel totally empowered and prepared to make baby food.  More on that as I get into it.  While there, I purchased from Paula her homemade baby food starter kit for $20.  This great deal included a steamer basket, ice cube trays, freezer bags, storage bowls and feeding spoon, and exclusive Babysmartees starter recipes booklet. Her next baby food making class is March 2nd at Virgil's House.  

Yesterday we had the pleasure to meet local photographer Jennifer Pondillo at her home studio for a photo session with the kids.  Jennifer is an amazingly talented maternity, newborn, child and family photographer who is patient, professional and fun.  I think the pictures will look gorgeous and I will do a full review (and possibly a giveaway!) very soon.  I can't wait to share some pictures with you! 

Third and final, I am the  newly appointed managing editor of Our Towne Ballston Spa and Our Towne Saratoga.  This week my first issues came out!  Pick one up at any of the following pickup locationsDid you have a hectic week too?  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I'll be back next week with more fun! 

Due to ridiculously cold temperatures on Saturday, the Frost Faire that I had posted about yesterday is not a good idea and the event itself is being partially modified with no outdoor activities occurring.  Indoor activities will continue as planned at the visitor center including the 12pm Scavenger Hunt.  Other activities taking place will include a small encampment, 18th century handwriting, tin-piecing and games for kids, contra-dancing and Stillwater Historian exhibit. 

Need a better idea for Saturday?  How about celebrating Chinese New Year indoors at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon library!  Festivities start at 1:30 and include children's songs and a real dragon parade followed by performances of Chinese musicians, drummers and dancers.  Bring the kids to this special event which will be followed by crafts and traditional food. PLUS Diane Payette, a local performer and educator, will be there hosting the program. Call (518) 371-8622 for more info. 
This Saturday from 10:30am-3pm at the Saratoga National Historic Park (Saratoga Battlefield) is the 16th annual Frost Faire.  We attended the Frost Faire last year, and had a nice time.  Two things made our experience last year less-than-perfect: One, parking was a major problem and the park rangers were being really annoying with the 'rules' and would have preferred us to turn around and go home rather than park in a non-designated spot.  Two, the group we went with, containing several children under the age of 4 were closed out of the last horse and wagon ride back to the parking area leaving us with a near mile walk in the cold after a long day.  Aside from these two snafus, the event itself was good and I would probably go again if the weather on Saturday is not too cold.  I wanted to alert you of these potential pitfalls though!  This event is free. 

Bring a sled or tube for rides on the "Big Hill." If there's no snow, you can still enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides, winter nature treks, contradancing, special exhibits, games, plus cocoa and cookies by the bonfire.
Scheduled cannon firing demonstrations at 10 AM, 11 AM, 12 noon, 1 PM, 2 PM, and 3 PM.   
Musket firing demonstrations at 10:30 AM, 11:30 AM, 12:30 AM, 1:30 PM, and 2:30 PM.

The decision about preschool is a toughy.  We are fortunate to live in an area with lots of options, but how to you determine what's right for you and your child?  Attending a preschool fair is a good place to explore options or narrow down your options.  This Saturday, January 22nd there will be a Preschool Fair at the Saratoga Library from 10am-12pm.  Last year over 17 area preschools were in attendance from the Saratoga/Ballston Spa area.  The Preschool Fair is free to attend and runs from 10:00am-12:00pm at the Saratoga Springs Public Library on 49 Henry Street. 
When you're done at the library, stop in at the Waldorf School in Saratoga for their open house.  Meet faculty, staff and parents and take a tour of the building.  Their open house starts at 10am and runs until 2pm.  Call 518-857-2224 for more info.

Photograph by Jennifer Sawicki
Monday's post was all about the New York State museum and I briefly mentioned that this Saturday the 15th is their Family Fun Day.  I've never been on Family Fun Day (which is the third Saturday of each month) but there is a theme each month and various activities and programs around that theme.  It's free and runs from 1-4pm. 

On Sunday from 2-3pm, the Children's Museum at Saratoga is having a Live Animal Demonstration.  They're not saying what animals will be on hand, but the website says "meet some scaly special guests".  While I prefer pets that are 'fuzzy' or 'soft', even 'cuddly', this event might definitely interest the kids.  It's free with the museum admission, $6 per person.