I hope everyone has a fun and safe New Year! 

It's been on the calendar for a while now, but as a reminder, Thursday, 12/30 the Malta Community Center is hosting an evening family movie, Rudolph's Shiny New Year.  Registration is required by calling 518-899-4411 and they will be serving free popcorn and drinks.  Free for residents, non-residents are $5.

On Friday, December 31st, the Round Lake Library is having a 'Countdown to Noon' program for ages 2-8. It's a kid-friendly New Year's celebration for those that can't stay up until midnight.  It starts at 11:15.  Sounds like fun!  Call ahead, 518-899-2285.  Library is located: 31 Wesley Ave, Round Lake
I want to wish all of my readers and friends a very Merry Christmas!  I will be taking a few days off from MaltaMama because we are traveling somewhere for the holidays with no internet access.  It's not warm or exotic but we will be enjoying some quality time with family as I hope you will be doing too!  If I find myself in an internet cafe, I will try and post a quick something or other on the site!

Keep your eye on the calendar for some upcoming things like the afternoon movie at Malta Library on Monday the 27th, and the family movie night on the 30th.  See you soon!   ~Colleen

Despite the logo looking like someone's brain is exploding into outer space, Saratoga's First Night celebration is typically a huge hit and a lot of fun!  This year's theme is 'Live Creatively' which may explain the crazy Medusa on the flier.  Check out the schedule for all the events, but there's a lot happening all over the city of Saratoga in various venues including tons of musical entertainment.  It starts at 5:30 and ends with fireworks at midnight.  At  9:30 the Children's Museum in Saratoga has an event for kids too, free with your First  Night button. 
Buttons are $15 each and available on the website or at Stewarts, Price Chopper and the Saratoga YMCA. 

Personally, I prefer a low-key New Year's, especially with the kids.  We usually spend it with friends playing games and having some drinks.  This year will be no exception!  I would definitely consider First Night at some point though because it satisfies a need to go out without being too crazy. 

Congrats to Sandra Foyt who is the winner of the Barefoot Books giveaway!  Thanks to all who entered and as a special thank you for entering, Amy Mangiaracina our local Barefoot Books ambassador is offering 20% off any books she has in stock!  Local mama's, act fast and she can deliver them before Christmas!  All the 'favorites' you all mentioned in your comments she has in stock.  So definitely consider getting those titles now before Christmas!  Email: amymang@yahoo.com to place your order. 

Not a lot going on this week in terms of activities.  For me it's last-minute shopping, gift wrapping, house cleaning, laundry, cooking and just about every other domestic task that one could have to do!  To say I'm feeling a little behind is a major understatement.  I know it will all get done, but it's going to be messy and stressful!  Be back tomorrow with a few ideas for New Year's and the week after Christmas. 

I went to the Tiny Tots Tearoom last Friday and had a great time.  I really like it there, especially in the colder months when activities are few and far between.  We stayed for several hours which killed the morning and made for great afternoon naps for all.  I like being able to feed my son a healthy lunch too, and the menu at Tiny Tots is fantastic for that.  (their coffee drinks and food for mama's are yummy too!)  And now for a special offer for MaltaMama readers... 
Every Wednesday get either 1/2 price open play or FREE play with a $15 food purchase! 
It pays to be a MaltaMama reader!  Tiny Tots is open Wednesdays from 12-7pm so good for a working mama too.  Make sure you mention this special offer when you checkout.  

It's been on the calendar for a while now, but tonight, Monday, Dec. 20th the Malta Library is showing The Polar Express.  The event starts at 5:45pm and light refreshments will be served.  RSVP by calling 518-682-2495.

Also, if you're reading this before noon EST, you still have time to enter the Barefoot Books Giveaway!  I will be announcing the winner tomorrow right here as well as announcing a special offer from Barefoot Books for all who entered the giveaway. 

If you're a former band/chorus geek like me, you'll love this event!  I adore holiday music and I sing in my church choir so this event is right up my alley! 
The Church Choirs of Ballston Spa are presenting Hark the Herald--A Collection of Traditional Christmas Carols & Original Christmas Songs, Sunday, December 19 at 6 PM (Hor’doeurves at 5 PM) at The First Baptist Church, 202 Milton Ave.

This free concert offers original Christmas songs as well as traditional Christmas carols for Choir, soloist, and duets.  We will be attending this event, kids in tow.  I like bringing kids to events like this because it exposes them to music and culture.  We'll sit towards the back for an easy exit and bring some quiet toys.  Maybe we won't make it through the entire concert, but at least we can experience some of it.  I'm looking forward to a nice family evening on Sunday, pending any illness! 

The Saratoga Winery & Tasting Room, 462 Route 29 West in Saratoga is having a holiday event this Saturday for the family.  It's free to attend and parents can sip wine and enjoy live holiday music while the kids have Christmas cookies with The Saratoga Santa.  Sounds good to me!  While you're there, you can shop for locally made products like Saratoga peanut butter, Sundaes Best hot fudge, Saratoga garlic products, hand crafted cheese, homemade baked goods, wine accessories and more.  The event runs from 11am-4pm, but Saratoga Santa is only on site from 11-1pm.  Orapello's Wood Fired Pizza is available all day.

Feeling like you'd rather not pay and arm and a leg for priority shipping?  Finish your shopping locally at some of the following retailers.  There are lots of places to shop, but these are just a few of my personal faves. 
Pick #1: Make Me Fabulous in Ballston Spa for gifts for a little girl, or a mama friend! 
The products in the picture are Bare Escentuals Keychain Kisses which is a great trio gift set for $15.  They taste super sweet and contain a blend of pure bareMinerals and exotic oils, botanical extracts and antioxidants.  Also shown is cupcake bath bombs which range in price from $5-$16.  They are handmade and perfect for kids and adults!  They contain scented moisturizers of sweet almond and other oils.  Dead sea salts smooth and relax tired, tense muscles.  There are lots of wonderful things at Make Me Fabulous including gift certificates.  A perfect stop for a last-minute gift or some pampering for yourself!   

Pick #2: Zola Kids - Hevea Panda Teether, $15.95
This is one of the cutest (and safest) teethers on the market.  It's made from 100% natural rubber and is free of BPA, PVC and Phthalates.  The gentle surface makes it soothing for irritated gums and is also easy to grip.  Best part: Stop by Zola Kids and mention this blog and get 15% off this product!  (expires 12/24). 
Zola Kids has tons of unique gift ideas for any kids on your list!  Gift Certificates are also available. 

Pick #3: Village Sweet Shoppe
Candy makes a sweet gift for kids or adults and the Village Sweet Shoppe in Ballston Spa has tons of it!  Holiday chocolate dipped oreos, snowman peeps, chocolate santas, Christmas trees, angels and more.  They can make up fun bags of candy or mini lunch boxes of candy for anyone on your list!  While you're there, try some of their Ballston Bites which are brownie, caramel and chocolate.  They are delicious!

Pick #4: Mango Tree Imports - Guatemalan hand puppet: $14.50
Mango Tree Imports in Ballston Spa is a locally owned family business offering fairly traded arts, gifts and merchandise from over 70 countries.  They have tons of unique gift ideas and some very cool things for kids like this Guatemalan hand puppet.  It's sewn out of washable cotton and made by a group of mothers and homoemakers who live in marginalized communities.  Not something you can pick up at Toys r Us and the story behind it makes it a perfect present pick :-)


December Review & Giveaway from Barefoot Books!

We love pirates in our house, so I was really excited to receive and review some Barefoot Books pirates products from local mama and Barefoot Books Ambassador Amy Mangiaracina!  This is not my first experience with Barefoot Books'  wonderful products.  My son has a few books that he has had for a while and still loves.  The one thing you will notice about these products is that the illustrations are absolutely brilliant.  The company has such strong core values so in addition to being visually beautiful, Barefoot Books products celebrate culture, diversity, creativity, imagination, art and music. 
The Port Side Pirates book is hardcover and comes with a singalong CD and sells for $16.99.  The music is lively and fun and my son loved it!  The words are illustrated in the book, so you can either read it, or sing along!  The back of the book has some 'bonus features' like a detailed pirate ship diagram, other ship facts, pirates around the world, famous pirates, and the actual music with guitar chords if you happen to play an instrument!  To accompany the book, there's a Pirates Fun Activities book which is $5.99.  There are coloring pages, I Spy, word games, reusable stickers, puzzles and a maze.  The pages are nice and thick and perfect for coloring.  Barefoot Books has several 'themed' sets like this which are great for holiday gifts.  Overall, these products are great quality and definitely a worthwhile purchase.    
To purchase any Barefoot Books products, visit Amy's Barefoot website or contact her at: barefootupstate@gmail.com.  Also consider contacting Amy to have a home party!  Read on for your chance to WIN a Barefoot Books gift set!

Here's your chance to win this Barefoot Books Singalong Gift Set!  ($27 value)

You can have FOUR chances to enter.  For all, you must leave a comment on this blog post by scrolling to the top and clicking on the green #Comments link in the upper right corner.
Here's how to enter:

1.  Visit Amy's Barefoot Books site and leave a comment about one product you think is cool - 1 Entry

2.  'Like' BOTH MaltaMama and BarefootUpstate on Facebook and leave a comment here that you do - 1 Entry

3.  Join Amy's Barefoot  Books email list  barefootupstate@gmail.com, with "join mailing list" in the subject line - 2 Entries

Winner will be chosen on Monday, December 20th by using Random.org.  Good luck!