Tag Archives: upstate new york

The Picturesque Wilderstein Mansion overlooking the Hudson River

Wilderstein was home to three generations of the Suckley Family. The last family member to live at Wilderstein was Margaret (Daisy) Suckley whose extraordinarily close friendship with former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been well-chronicled and is the subject of much interest — Wilderstein Historic Society

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Last day of Summer – Let’s go apple picking

An Apple A Day Keeps the Doctor Away. Well that is what I was always told by my parents when I was a little girl. I did not really understand what it meant back then, but I still tried to eat an Apple A Day because I did not really like going to the Doctor so much. Funny right.

You cannot go wrong eating apples (so eat them as much as you can) – they are free of fat, sodium & cholesterol, low in calories and full of fiber. It is always preferable to eat apples untouched with the skin on as it is chock-a-block of disease-fighting antioxidants. Not to mention, apples are the perfect carry-anywhere snack food, perfect for little hands & big hands alike.

This weekend, with my mother-in-law and my 2-year-old Son we decided to spend the last day of Summer (sigh) at our local Upstate NY Cedar Heights Orchard picking apples. Cedar Heights Orchard has been family owned for 150 years and is the only pick-your-own in the Rhinebeck area. It is a beautiful spot, with the orchard being on top of a Hill giving a great view of the historic Hudson Valley. A perfect place to spend some quality time with friends and family.

I had never been apple picking before, which seems weird being that I am all about nature and eating healthy foods, but yes it is a true story. It was also Miles Storm’s first day picking apples and I have to say, he really enjoyed himself.  He had a marvelous time running among the trees helping us to pick apples, then putting them in the cart to take home. Who knew picking apples could be so much fun? We are definitely going to go back again this season, and I am adding it to the list of family seasonal activities.

TIPS FOR PICKING YOUR OWN APPLES

  • Place apples gently into your cart, do not throw them in as they can bruise
  • To prevent spoilage, wash apples right before you are about to use them
  • Keeping apples out of hot temperatures helps conserve longevity, store in dry cool basement or in the fridge
  • Try to pick apples with the stem still attached to also help with longevity
  • Apples fall naturally from trees & it is okay to take them as long as they are not bruised, half-eaten or have wasps lurking inside
  • The color of apples is the best way to tell if they are ripe, as well as feeling that they are firm and crisp looking
  • It helps to have a stick to knock the branches so the apples fall, or even better an apple-picking tool with a grabber basket on the end (the orchard we visited had these available for customers to use)

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Miles Storm’s First horse-riding lesson at 20 months of age

Today was a milestone for my 20 month old boy Miles Storm. Yes, he had his First of many horse-riding lessons. And, I am so excited for him. He really is a natural and so fearless (like most children)…. perfect perfect age to get him on a Pony! It is very important, to me, that My Son is around a variety of animals as much as possible. I mean, he has always had such a gift with animals that I really do not have to push him into it. When we both visited Australia (a few months back), at the local wildlife park he was able to walk free with kangaroos, emus and dingoes which he loved. I had to keep taking him back! However, unlike Australia, there really is not many ways to openly expose children to animals if you live in New York City… besides having the cliché pets like dogs or cats! Luckily for Miles Storm, where I horse-ride upstate NY at Welywyn Stable also offers classes for infants. The youngest student they ever had is a little girl who was 15 months when she started, and now, at 3 years she is already post-trotting (raising up and down while riding). Pretty amazing right? The benefits of riding horses are endless – less allergies (if any), keeping fit and active, learning about and how to respect other beings, learning how to follow directions, improving balance and coördination, developing confidence and exploring freedom! And, learning how to properly care and feed an animal prepares a child for caring for others. All around, it is just wonderful experience! Welywyn Stable is about 2 hours north of NYC straight down the Taconic State Parkway in Milan (close to Rhinebeck). Classes for infants are $35 for half an hour and are more experiential than instructional. My Son’s lesson involved him first learning how to sit properly on a horse.. to feel comfortable, and how to hold on to the reigns. He was then walked around the barn with his teacher for 15 minutes. The rest of the time involved him watching how to take a saddle off and brushing the horse down. Horses are such magnificent, beautiful creatures and I also see this as a pure positive way to explain to him why he does not eat animals, and why his Mummy does not eat animals either! I know that he would be horrified to know that most lollies (candy) in the United States have gelatin in them which includes horse bones (awful). Not many Children know that by the way! Anyway, I cannot wait to watch the way Miles Storm progresses with his riding. It gave me such joy to see him enjoying such a beautiful thing!

Miles Storm at his first horse-riding lesson at Welwyn Stables upstate NY

Did anyone, like me, consider a Water-Birth that never happened?

It seems to be common knowledge, if you are a holistic-minded mummy in New York City, that there is not one hospital on the Island of Manhattan that approves of water births. There is a birthing tub at St Luke’s Hospital but it is apparently there ONLY for relief before a mother gives birth, rather than for a mother to give birth in?

The Pro’s for having a baby in water seem endless – promotes relaxation, speeds up labor, reduces blood pressure, reduces the need for drugs and intervention, and is a gentler welcoming for a baby (among many other things).

I was 100% per cent dedicated to having a water-birth, amplified by the quite renowned Neugarten Family Birth Center  located in the country town of Rhinebeck where I spend weekends upstate New York. The clinic opened in 1985 as the first hospital-based birthing center in New York State, which is very impressive! The water tubs were not added until 2000, but now on average annually 800 mothers travel from near and far to give birth at the facility. And why not, Rhinebeck is such a beautiful little town.

My husband and I took our official tour at Neugarten Family Birth Center months before Miles Storm was even close to being born. It is a lovely facility. I especially loved that the babies stay in the rooms with the Mummies after birth.

As I live between the city and the country, I had great plans of seeing my pregnancy through with my city Ob/Gyn Dr Andrea Dobrenis who delivers at New York Presbyterian Hospital in NYC, and then moving to an upstate mid-wife when it was closer to my delivery date. But, a few things happened A) I fell in love with Dr Dobrenis’s attitude and approach, and B) Miles Storm was breech.

Approximately a month before my Son’s deliver date I went to the hospital for a routine check-up and was told I had hardly any amniotic fluid in my body, and as a protection mechanism his body had started shunting blood to his head resulting in his head getting bigger. If I hadn’t been lying down, I would have fallen down from shock….. and the nurse was so casual about it all!!! It was all so unexpected. Long story short; I was directed over to the Labor and Maternity ward to have an emergency c-section!

Miles Storm was born just over 5 pounds perfectly healthy, and I made it through the ordeal just fine too. I had a great experience at the hospital, and I love Dr Andrea Dobrenis – she is one in a million!

The question is – if I ever have another baby will I want to try the water-birth thing again? The answer is – of course absolutely.

Miles Storm 6 days of age.

Second Annual Great Cloth Diaper Change.

This year I was able to take part in the second annual “The Great Cloth Diaper Change” at the upstate NY Rhinebeck based “Waddle n Swaddle” maternity boutique where 81 Mummies and Babies got their cloth nappy on!

It happened like this – At 12.26PM all the babies were held in the air, at 12.28PM all the clean cloth nappies were held in the air, and at 12.30PM the nappies were all changed. It was very fast and all over red rover in about 8 minutes!

Besides raising awareness about reusable cloth nappies and raising money for charity, the event also aimed to break last year’s Guinness World Record of 5,026 babies simultaneously changed into cloth nappies. That is a lot of nappies right, it sure is, BUT still less than the total number of disposable nappies that the Real Diaper Association (RDA) estimates one child goes through before they turn 2 years of age!

Cloth nappies aren’t like they used to be when I was a baby being that they had to pre-folded and fastened with metal pins – Ouch! These days; cloth nappies are bright and colorful, better for the environment and a lot cheaper than the thousands of dollars you can spend on disposable nappies until your child is potty trained. They can also be reused with additional children.

The event this year was held in 16 countries compared to 5 countries last year so excitingly awareness is growing at speed!

There is still no official word as to how many nappies were changed on Saturday, although I am sure, with 11 more countries joining the movement it will be a lot higher than 5026!

The Great Cloth Diaper Change upstate NY at the Rhinebeck “Waddle n Swaddle” store

Mid Hudson Children’s Museum – Poughkeepsie

Upstate on Sunday it was a dreary grey day, not to mention in the 20′s and freezing cold. Miles Storm was pretty antsy and we wanted to do something fun with him that was going to excite him. I would feel bad if he had to be inside all day, so we decided to the Mid Hudson Children’s Museum located at 75 North Water Street on the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie (approximately 80 miles from NYC). The cost is $7.50 per person including adults.

It was a perfect call, there was so much to see and do. It was educational as well as being entertaining. My little munchkin spent the 2 hours we were there running around like a race horse from one exhibit to the next – there was a sand pit, a DJ booth, a train set, a water area, a mini aquarium, a sail boat, slides, and a rock climbing wall!  He was not a happy camper when it was time to leave and threw a small fit when we finally did head out to the car. He would have stayed until he dropped from exhaustion if he had it his way.

Two minutes into the car ride home to our upstate house he was sleeping. Mission accomplished. No need to say anymore!

*If you take a train from Grand Central to Poughkeepsie the station is literally a 5 minute walk from the Museum. There is also an outdoor area with beautiful river views, and a really cool little mini skateboard park. The train ride upstate is really beautiful, well I love it anyway.  The Museum and Skateboard park are located directly underneath the famed tourist attraction Walkway Over the Hudson. There is plenty to do if you make it a day trip.

Trying to hold on to Miles at the Mid Hudson Children’s Museum upstate. He loved it & definitely did not want to pose for a photo.

Sepascot Home Farm – Rhinebeck

My family is very fortunate in that we live upstate NY in Dutchess County every weekend, and in the bustling city of Williamsburg during the week. We have been doing this for close to 6 years now.

Upstate, we live very close to Sepascot Home Farm and buy as much food as possible from them. The animals are treated kindly and are very well looked after. They are also out on open pastures and are only fed organic feed, other than what they find in their environment. My husband makes raw milk yoghurt from the dairy cows milk and we buy all of our eggs there too. We never buy eggs from a supermarket!

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