There's always fun to be had in Congress Park and especially on days when there's a special event.  Thursday, September 2nd is a craft fair from 10am-4pm.  There will be lots of artisans around the park selling their wares (some priced way out of the ballpark!) but this fair always brings in some nice stuff. 

I've mentioned this place before on MaltaMama, but Virgil's House is seriously a great stop with the kids if you're in the neighborhood of downtown Saratoga and need some respite from the heat or a coffee.  There's not a minute of the day I DON'T need coffee now with a newborn!
 
 
Angeline Marie Pierre
Angeline Marie Pierre
I had an interesting birth experience with Angie and wanted to give credit where credit is absolutely due.  I had a natural birth with my son Robby two years ago and wanted the same.  We hired a doula by the name of Grace Hannon with Robby and since we had such a great experience we hired her again.  Grace was absolutely amazing before, during and still is amazing now after the birth of Angie.  I'm pro-breastfeeding and my nursing career with Angie would have ended early because she was born tongue tied (proper name Ankyloglossia).  I had no idea, but thanks to Grace who discovered this issue the day after Angie was born, we got it taken care of by an amazing pediatric dentist in Albany Dr. Kotlow.  More about him later.  Pregnant ladies, a doula may seem unnecessary, especially if this is your second or third baby, but I urge you to consider hiring someone.  There is no better advocate in your health care than someone YOU hire and bring into the labor/delivery process.  Grace knew what kind of birth we wanted, what kind of care we needed, post-partum support, breastfeeding support, etc.  No one at St Mary's hospital seemed to care at all about my birth, baby, or me as a patient so Grace was absolutely invaluable.  (My experience at St Mary's sucked by the way, and was drastically different than my experience with my son two years ago... email me if you want more info on that!)  Contact Grace at 518-265-3046 or gthannon@gmail.com.

On to Dr. Kotlow.  His practice is located on Fuller Road in Albany across from Stuyvesant Plaza.  He is the only game in town to do a laser tongue tie correction and he squeezed me in the day after discharge to do it.  He's a wonderful dentist who is super proactive when it comes to correcting issues that could impact breastfeeding, like a tied tongue.  I can't thank him enough for helping baby Angie.  Visit their website for more info. 
 
Thanks for supporting and listening to my tale!  I will write more posts this week and am very eager to get back in the full swing of things.  I also have a very exciting giveaway coming up that you won't want to miss.  
 

 
 
Welcome Guest Blogger: Rev. Alan Rudnick!

Rev. Alan Rudnick is the Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Ballston Spa and blogs @ http://onthebema.com and for the Times Union as their protestant religion blogger.  In addition to being a Pastor and a blogger, Rev. Rudnick is also a husband and a dad for two wonderful children. 

As a religious leader, I often ask people if they are interested in attending church.  Many young couples say that they will start attending church when they have children.  These young couples believe that their children will make them more involved in church.  These couples want their children to have a moral grounding and the church is often a place that offers such ethical guidance.  Many believe that empirical evidence backs their rationale.  However, statistics tell a different story.
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The following 2010 Barna Group study found that 50% of parents stated that having children made no difference in their involvement in church.  Based on this study, only "about one-sixth of parents (17%) said that having a child helped them reconnect with church after a long period of not attending." Only 20% of parents said that having children made them want to be more committed to their church.

Where does this myth of children inspired church attendance come from?  Certainly television, the media, and culture has influence our ideas about the nuclear family.  The nostalgic Norman Rockwell paintings of children in church have embedded into our conscience that a family goes to church.  They just do.  However, popular mainstream notions of what families do are changing.  No longer do ad companies portray the "average family" in their pitches because the make up of family has changed.  The truth is, family dynamics are changing and stereotypes are challenged every day.

People should connect in a faith community for the right reasons.  Churches are not just places of morality, but are places of spiritual depth, community, and love.  Let us not conform to the stereotype of a family that goes to church because it is "what you do."  Let us be people who find salvation, meaning, and direction in God for ourselves and our children.

 
 
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Wendy's husband enjoying ice cream!
Welcome Guest Blogger Wendy Irene!  Check out her site: Give Love Create Happiness 

Saratoga County IS the summer place to be!  The fairs, the racetrack, gorgeous local lakes, mountains and parks.  Then there is the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.  I could go on and on about SPAC and all my fond memories there.  Summer visits from the New York City Ballet, concerts, music festivals, evenings on lawn with the Philadelphia Orchestra.  Day trips to Lake George.  Weekend trips to NYC or Boston.   A huge number of great places to visit all within driving distance when you’re looking to get out of town.

Summer rolls around and I always yearn to return to this beautiful part of the world.  A piece of my heart remains there.  My childhood memories live there.  It has taken moving far away for me to come to fully understand and appreciate all there is to love about the amazing area many of you call home.

My life took an unexpected turn and whisked me away to a different country, to a different coast.  I fell in love with a Canadian boy, and with him ended up in Vancouver British Columbia.  Living in a different part of the world and experiencing new things to love, breathtaking mountains and oceans, ferry boat rides to Granville Island.  None of that could ever replace the special place in my heart that fully knows and misses all there is to love about your fantastic corner in upstate NY.  It is a place I wish all could visit in their lifetime!

Whether I am in Malta or Vancouver there are some things my family enjoys doing in any part of the world.  When the hot summer sun kisses your skin there is not much better I can think of than a family outing for ice cream.  I asked the best person and biggest ice cream fan I know for some great local suggestions.  Thanks Papa!

Papa’s Favorite Ice Cream Locations

  1. The Farmer's Daughter in Saratoga County - 882 Route 29 Saratoga Springs
    They have a big field with picnic tables next to the stand and a few small coin operated amusement rides for the kids.... hmmm that might get expensive, LOL!

  2. Ice Cream Man - 417 State Route 29  Greenwich
    If you are in the mood for a little drive, and sometimes strapping the kids safely in their car seats is exactly what you are in need of!  The Ice Cream Man is located just over the Washington County line (near Schuylerville, NY). They have homemade ice cream with a huge selection of flavors that constantly change.  If you like large portions, try one of their Waffle cones or regular size sundaes.
I hope you and your loved ones enjoy these 2 ice cream locations!  If you’re looking for something to do post ice cream with the family to burn off some of that extra energy, our family’s current favorite activity is tennis-baseball in the park.  Baseball with a tennis racket instead of a bat.  It is much easier for the little ones to hit the ball, and better for parents without top notch pitching skills! ;-)

Here’s to making great family memories!   - Wendy Irene

 
 
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Tomorrow, Tuesday the 24th in Congress Park is the Art in the Park festival.  The event runs from 10am-6pm and admission is of course free.  Local artists will be all around the park displaying original artwork for admirers and buyers.  There will also be live music by local bands, refreshments available and a kids' activity booth.  While this may not be an event to go out of your way to attend, it certainly would make a normal day in Congress Park a little more entertaining.  
 
Art in Congress Park, Tuesday, August 24, 2010  from 10 am - 6 pm 

 
 
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Calling All Green Thumbs!  FAN's next big project is a community garden and I think that is fantastic!  FAN's is Friends and Neighbors of Ballston Spa and is the organization that brough us the Kelley Park/Kids Creekside Village revamp so obviously they know how to mobilize.  This project has potential to be great!  From their site...
 
Growing good food and building community – that’s what this Community Garden project is all about.  If you like to grow things, dig in the dirt, build community, eat vegetables, meet fun new people in your community -- then this is for you.  Come find out what it’s all about at a public meeting on Tuesday, August 24th at 7:30pm at Happy Hands/Corina’s (Milton Ave. across and down from the Coffee Planet) or for more information email FANS (Friends and Neighbors of Ballston Spa) at fansofballstonspa@yahoo.com.   We look forward to meeting you!

 
 
Saratoga is so busy in August that it's nice to avoid sometimes.  It always makes me nervous driving kids around in the car when I know there are drivers all around that may have been drinking or indulging a little too much in racetrack festivities.  I totally sound like a mama huh?  That's definitely what motherhood does to you :-) 

For this weekend, head south and hit the Round Lake Arts & Crafts festival.  It's always a really nice festival in the park in downtown Round Lake with fantastic vendors and typically a good deal of kids items.  There are plenty of shady spots in the park too.  The hours are Saturday and Sunday from 10am-5pm.  I would suggest getting there early for the best chance at parking close.  There is parking near the fair, but plan to park in the Malta Mall shopping center and take the shuttle bus to the fair.  The other option, and this is an ambitious one is to take your bike from the path at Shenentaha Park in Malta.  I have no idea how long it is, but I don't think it's more than a couple miles.  Enjoy the weekend!     
 
 
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Welcome Guest Blogger and local mama of two Christine Rudnick! 

Sneaky food cookbooks have been around to assist us home cooks in the art of healthy family eating without your family knowing it.  I have one of those families.  But you don’t have to run out and purchase one of these bound how-to’s to kick up the health-o-meter in your cooking and baking, just have it on hand, mix it in, and don’t be afraid to try something new.

If you come to our house for chocolate muffins, there are flaxseeds inside.  The pancakes have a ground mixture of oatmeal and walnuts in the batter.  Don’t tell,, but there are kidney beans and zucchini in the tomato sauce.  

Have it on hand.  I have a go-to jar in the fridge and I encourage you to as well.  Grind oatmeal, walnuts (omit if there are food allergies in your family) bran flakes, wheat germ, and flaxseeds.  Stored in the fridge or freezer, this combo (with endless options) is an instant add in to any mix or meal and your recipe just went from “getting by” to meeting your daily nutrient intake!  

Mix it in. We teach our kids how to match colors and put “sames” together. Now let’s put that into practice in the kitchen with some healthy foods.  No one will notice the garbanzo beans pureed into macaroni and cheese.  Mashed kidney beans and beets disappear into Bolognese sauce.  Shredded carrots lay perfectly between the grilled cheese slices.  White protein powder mixes into almost anything without notice. And don’t forget; use applesauce as a one-for-one substitute for vegetable oil in baking.

Try something new.  For the advance section of this post I’ll say a note about quinoa, spirulina, and flaxseed.  Quinoa is a whole grain that acts and tastes like the rice and pasta you are already use to in your menu but is a healthier unprocessed option.  Spirulina comes in powder form rich in protein, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals and added to something like a blueberry smoothie its dark color slips up the straw with no one the wiser.  And flaxseed, wholesome in seed form it’s omega-3 fatty acids are decadent for your body.  Home ground using your coffee grinder from whole form they are healthiest and cheapest.  So travel down to our local town health food store like Wild Thyme in Ballston Spa and pick up one of these food diamonds in the rough.   

 
 
Baby's here!


Check out my recent personal post explaining my absence! 

 
 
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Tonight is the last FANS Summer Activity Series in Kelley Park and it's a great one!  Starting at 7:30pm, join your friends and neighbors for S'mores and star stories with Chris Grubb from Planetarium Adventures.  Sounds like a lot of fun to me!  I love S'mores and haven't had ANY yet this summer.  I think we may head down to Kelley Park and enjoy the evening event, that is if my baby has another evening event in mind, like being born...

Have a wonderful weekend everyone and check back next week for lots more fun.