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Rochester Family Newsletter July 24, 2014

Upcoming FREE events: 830 of them!

Summer Camp Calendar 2014
Cherries, raspberries, & blueberries are ripe! Where and when to pick
Beaches and other water fun
Spraygrounds and splash pads

Save the date for:

July 26: Ask the Pediatrician session from Irondequoit Pediatrics
July 26-27: Ganondagan's annual Native American Dance & Music Festival

August 2-3: Laura Ingalls Wilder Days at Genesee Country Village
August 2-3: Park Ave Summer Art Fest
August 9: One Republic at Darien Lake
August 20-22: Almost-free 3-day camp for 3rd and 4th graders at Clarkson Historical Society
August 27: The Fresh Beat Band at Darien Lake

Dear KidsOutAndAbout readers:

Ever wonder what's really important in life? My motto: When in doubt, strip.

I realized how much I live by this principle this past weekend. My dearest friend from junior high school has decided to homeschool her kids, so I went to her house to help her gear up for the big launch. I think she was expecting me to give her my veteran homeschooler pep talk about philosophy and curriculum. Instead, what I gave her was something more valuable: space. We completely redid her kitchen nook to make a great homeschooling work area, and we did it the same way anyone redecorates a room: We stripped it completely bare, and cautiously added back in only the essentials that would serve the room's new purpose. After we junked the clutter and packed some donation boxes, the simplicity of the surroundings gave Anne a new sense of energy and purpose for the year ahead.

If you think about it, you'll realize so much of life is the same way: When you strip back to basics, what's important becomes suddenly clear: When you go camping, you leave behind everything except for what you'll need out in nature: Food, water, shelter, bedding, and bug repellent. My friend Susan, who runs The Organic Teaching Kitchen in Peekskill, NY, helps her clients with "cleanses"--eliminating everything unnecessary in one's diet and adding elements back in gradually to determine what is needed for optimum health. The same concept is behind Screen-Free Week, wherein families eliminate digital entertainment with the goal of reconnecting with each other. 

What is it about stripping that's so satisfying? I think stripping forces us to make what has become passive in our lives deliberate again. We humans are designed to feel good when we think, when we act on purpose, with intention. What we find always feels like a treasure, even if all it is is space.

So strip today! You'll thank me tomorrow.

--Debra Ross, Publisher

2) This coming weekend, July 26 & 27, you TOTALLY want to consider heading out to the Ganondagan State Historic Site in Victor for their 23rd Annual Native American Dance & Music Festival. is the 2014 media sponsor, and my family attends every year. You'll experience great performances, exhibits, arts & crafts, and food. 2014's festival features singer-songwriter Joanne Shenandoah, The Dineh Tah’ Navajo Dancers from Albuquerque, New Mexico and the Iroquois Singers & Dancers. This is an amazing festival full of history, art, and celebration, and although it happens once a year, it ONLY happens once a year, if you know what I mean. Make sure you check out, download, and print this year's schedule so you can make sure your kids see the performances you want them to see.

3) This past weekend, my family took a short trip to the lower Adirondacks, to a small family-friendly resort called Lapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center. Billed as a set of cabins around a pristine spring-fed private lake, it's really a set of gorgeous little houses that can hold between 2 and 10 guests each. It is super-clean, the owners are friendly and efficient without being in your face, and even a couple of days there feels like a real getaway. As the name suggests, Lapland Lake has a combination Scandinavian and American feel. One of the things we liked best is that they don't nickel-and-dime you: You can use equipment like canoes, kayaks, rowboat, games, and the beach free of charge. In the winter, they primarily cater to cross-country skiing families; in summer, you can hop out of your tupa (what they call the cabins) and hike right from your doorstep, without missing any of the conveniences of home, like a hot shower or a home-cooked meal. You can get WiFi at the main office, but almost no one does. (Even *I* didn't.) I'll have a more complete review shortly, but I thought I'd tell all of my Northeast readers about this place right away. What's best is that they still have open slots for a quick getaway this summer, so visit their web site at or call 518-863-4974 to inquire about availability.

4) SAVE US! 
Did you know we post lots of interesting events, articles, and ideas to Facebook that might not make it to this newsletter? 95% of our readers are on Facebook, but only about 10% actually see our posts in their feed. Here’s a way to get you that info beyond just “Liking” our Facebook page: Now you can SAVE it! If you head to our Facebook page and hit the 3 little dots next to “Message,” it now gives you the option to SAVE us. This will put a link to KidsOutAndAbout on the left-hand side of your Facebook feed so you can look at it at any time. SO useful!

5) I have been having a great time reading a new-to-me series of cookbooks by Victoria ShearerQuick Cheap Comfort FoodSlow Cooker Classics from Around the World, and The Florida Keys Cookbook.

My favorite, though, is definitely Quick Cheap Comfort Food. To a parent, quick is good. Cheap is good. And comfort is good. What I love about Victoria Shearer's books is not just the fun (and easy) recipes that I never would have thought of myself, but the short engaging paragraphs at the top of each recipe that let you know neat little tidbits about what you're cooking--feed your mind as well as your family! I would definitely buy the hold-in-your-hand version rather than the Kindle version. Who wants to get a Kindle sticky, after all?

6) Do you love your local library? Want to help them get the word out about events and activities? KOAA loves a good library, too. Encourage your local librarian to sign on to our site and start posting their events to our calendar for free! Totally free! 100% free.  Really! (Instructions are here.)

And now here is a way to pay BACK those great librariansNominate your favorite librarian for the 2014 I Love My Librarian award, sponsored by the American Library Association, the New York Times, and @yourlibrary. It's an easy form, although to do it right you'll want to allocate about 10 minutes to describing why your librarian is so awesome (he or she deserves your time and energy on this, don't you think?). Nominations are being accepted through September 12. Wouldn't it be great if one of our librarians won this year? The nomination form is here.

7) Answers to last week's Questions of the week:

Last week, I related a couple of questions that readers had submitted:

Is there a nearby place to dig for fossils?

The answer, overwhelmingly, was Penn Dixie Paleontology Site in Hamburg, nearish to Buffalo. Wow, people love this place, including our Buffalo editor, Helena Robin, who admonished me for not asking her first. :-) Thanks so much to all who responded! And then reader Colleen Charvella chimed in with a bunch of other places in New York State; I found a neat web page that lists all of them and then some. She also let me know that the Rochester Academy of Science has great digs: (her family went on a quarry dig). There's Ridgemount Quarry in Ft. Erie, Ontario, Canada, and the New Guinea Rd. Gravel Pit in Orleans County. She also reports that the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca has digs for preschoolers.

What are the best places in our area to take a toddler or preschooler fishing?

Here are the suggestions that were sent: North Ponds Park (a reader reports that her 4-year-old catches a lot there), Tinker Park, Genesee River - Rochester Naval Militia (concrete access - East bank, near the northern end of Saint Paul near the mouth of the Genesee River); Seneca Park; Brighton Park on Westfall Rd; Turning Point Park; Cobbs Hill Park. 

Thanks so much to everyone who responded!

8) Is your child normal? What IS normal, anyway?

What parent--especially what NEW parent--hasn't wondered whether their child is on track for their developmental milestones? I sure did. I'm still doing so, even though my kids are teens. Our St. Louis editor, Chelle Dohrman, just reviewed Milestones and More: A Quick Reference & Charting Guide for Your Child's First Six Years. It's in a spiral-bound format with beautiful illustrations and easily-accessible language. Plus it has space for you to record your own child's developmental milestones, which lets you handily bring it to doctor's appointments and then keep for posterity... because who can recall that stuff years later, right? Click here for Chelle's review.


GIVEAWAY! You can win a free copy of Milestones and More! To enter, send an email to [email protected] with the subject "Book Giveaway." Please include the best phone number to reach you if your name is drawn. Drawing will be held July 31st!

9) Bounce-It-Out Super Summer Savings on Ultimate Birthday Parties!

Bounce-It-Out is bringing you Super Summer Savings on Ultimate Birthday Parties! Through August 31st only, you can book an ALL-INCLUSIVE Ultimate Birthday Party for JUST $165! That's just $165 for invitations, playtime, dessert, goodie cups, thank you cards, and more - for up to FIFTEEN little joeys! With 17,000+ sq. ft for your child and friends to slide, jump, and bounce, it's THE place for your next party! Let Bounce-It-Out help YOU plan the party of the year for your little one. Call now for details or learn more at

10) The YMCA KIDS MARATHON is a marathon modified just for kids! Young runners and walkers will walk/jog/run 25.2 miles--on their own and with the support of organized clinics. Participants will run their final mile on September 6 at the Victor 5K Race/1 Mile Fun Run in Victor. Adult companion runners welcome. Participants will receive mile charms, t-shirt, and a medal at the finish line. Open to children ages 5-12 years. The KICKOFF PARTY is on Tuesday, July 29 at YMCA Camp Arrowhead, 6:00-8:30pm, with food, games, and fun. Proceeds from this event will help the Y provide financial assistance to area youth and families who need the Y’s life-changing services. For complete details and to register, visit

11) Thinking of taking young kids to Seabreeze?

One of our editors, Kathleen McCormack, visited Seabreeze for the day with her 3-year-old and 8-week-old. Was she crazy to take them both?Check out Kathleen's new Seabreeze review that tells how to enjoy your day at Seabreeze with the littlest of kids. So many folks have been clicking on this review as I'm posting it that I'm continuing to do so. 

12) Kathleen also recently visited Hidden Valley Animal Adventure, which is in Varysburg (near Buffalo). Should you go if your kids are very young? From the review:

...The red cups of food bring the animals running: camels, zebras, water buffalo, bison, llamas, elk, emus, yak, kangaroos. Hidden Valley maintains 40 different species of animals with over 300 animals on the premises. And these animals know the drill; they come right up to the trolley, stick out their tongues, and wait to be fed from the guests. I must emphasize the proximity of this encounter. My three-year-old held her food cup right up to the mouth of that elk...

Kathleen has lots more to say about their experience at Hidden Valley Animal Adventure. Click here for her review.


13) Giveaways: We've got a bunch this week!  Win tickets to Genesee Country Village's Laura Ingalls Wilder Days (with special guest Melissa Sue Anderson, who played Mary on Little House on the Prairie when you and I were young), and their Old-Time Fiddlers' Fair, as well as to two fun events at Sonnenberg Gardens, plus tickets to The Strong National Museum of Play. Head over to our giveaway page to enter.

14)  There are still some summer camps available! Parents tend to search for camps in two ways: By date, or by subject. Either way, we've got you covered! Check out our Week by Week Guide to Summer Camps for our area. You'll see the information presented both by week AND by subject. Subjects include sports, music, dance, drama, history, science, technology, preschool, special needs, religious, and more. Hundreds of camps are posted!

15) THURSDAY HIGHLIGHTS (Lots more here):

Thursday, July 24: A Chorus Line at Rochester Association of Performing Arts (RAPA). A CHORUS LINE is a celebration of those unsung heroes of the American Musical Theatre-the chorus dancers.

Thursday, July 24: Summer Cyber Cafe at ArtsROC School of Art, Music & Language. Join us for pizza, drinks, and lots of gaming all summer!

Thursday, July 24: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Geva Theatre Center. The hilarious musical hit follows 6 awkward kids on their journey to the spelling championship of a lifetime!

Thursday, July 24: Irondequoit Farmer's Market 2014 Concert Series at Irondequoit, Town Of. Enjoy music every Thursday evening by the Gazebo at the Farmer's Market.

Thursday, July 24: 2014 Gazebo Concert Series: Traveling Cabaret at Perinton Recreation & Parks Department. Bring your lawn chair and head over to the canal side gazebo at Kennelly Park next to Fairport Village Landing to enjoy an evening of FREE entertainment. All performances are on Thursday from 7:00-8:00 PM.

16) FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS (Lots more here)

Friday, July 25: Red Wings Evening Home Game: 7:05pm game at Rochester Red Wings. Come cheer on the Rochester Red Wings in an evening game at Frontier Field! Family-friendly baseball at its finest!

Friday, July 25: Cool Kids! Green Kids! presents: BUBBLE MAN!!! Plus a Bubble Party after! at Cool Kids!. FINAL show of the SUMMER!! SO! Do NOT miss the sudsy, silly, eye-popping Bubbling and Juggling show with Bubble Man! Big Bubbles! Little Bubbles! MILLIONS of bubbles! KIDS in bubbles! All set to surf music!

Friday, July 25: Eastman Music Horizons Vocal Ensemble Concert at Eastman Community Music School. Listen to the participants in Eastman's Music Horizons, an internationally acclaimed summer program for high school students seriously considering a career in music.

Friday, July 25: American Red Cross Babysitter's Training  at Fairport Public Library. Provided by the American Red Cross, this course is designed to provide 11-15-year-olds the knowledge and skills necessary to safely and responsibly give care for children and infants.

Friday, July 25: Moonlight Stroll Concert Series at Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park. An audio & visual treat! Come see the gardens aglow with lights & stroll the grounds on a balmy summer's eve while listening to talented musicians. This is the ONLY time all year that the beauty of Sonnenberg is showcased at night!

17) SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS (Lots more here)

Saturday, July 26: DC Comics Spectacular Day at Barnes & Noble Booksellers/Pittsford. Special Superman events today!

Saturday, July 26: Flour City Drive In: "Finding Nemo" at Bill Gray's Regional Iceplex. FINDING NEMO AT FLOUR CITY DRIVE IN

Saturday, July 26: 23rd Annual Native American Dance & Music Festival at Ganondagan at Ganondagan State Historic Site. The only festival of its kind in WNY! Performances, exhibits, great arts & crafts and food. 2014's festival features singer-songwriter Joanne Shenandoah, The Dineh Tah’ Navajo Dancers from Albuquerque, New Mexico and the Iroquois Singers & Dancers.

Saturday, July 26: Practice SAT w/ Chariot Learning at Fairport Public Library. Practice test offered by Chariot Learning.Open to students in grades 10-12. Registration required and starts June 28th. A minimum of 10 students are required to hold the exam. If we fall below that registration requirement, we will need to cancel.

Saturday, July 26: FROZEN in July Party! at The Sandbox Indoor Playground & Consignment. The Sandbox is having a FROZEN Party featuring Elsa! Come meet Elsa, enjoy a sing-a-long to "Let it Go", play games or do a craft, enjoy refreshments and bring your cameras for a picture! Raffle prizes too! Tickets on sale June 1st!


18) SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS (Lots more here)

Sunday, July 27: Come Play with ELSA in the Freezing Jungle! at Jungle Jolt. Sunday, July 27th from 11:30am - 12:30pm Get your pictures taken with ELSA! Story time at 12:15pm General admission applies

Sunday, July 27: Rochester Baseball Classic at Monroe County Sports Commission. Don't strike out! Come to this year's Rochester Baseball Classic and watch seven different age groups,16U to 8U, compete at the best baseball fields Rochester has to offer. Including the 15U and 16U Championship games held at Frontier Field!

Sunday, July 27: Red Wings Afternoon Home Game: 1:05pm game at Rochester Red Wings. Come cheer on the Rochester Red Wings in an afternoon game at Frontier Field! Family-friendly baseball at its finest!

Sunday, July 27: You Pick Raspberries at G and S Orchards at G and S Orchards. Come out and Pick Raspberries at G and S Orchards just 15 minutes from downtown Rochester!

Sunday, July 27: Center Stage at Center Park: Orient Express at Perinton Recreation & Parks Department. The Orient Express will provide you with a century of big band and pop hits! Come on down to Center Park for a good time and great music!

19) The Bravo Family, the Wall Family, the Woods Family, the Smart Family, and the Walker Family are our fictional families that take their kids to activities based on their particular interests. Here is what they are up to this weekend.

The Walker family focuses on health and physical fitness.
Friday: Open Gym Time at TSE 10am-1pm at Unity Health System Total Sports Experience
Saturday: Edgerton Model Railroad Club Open House at Edgerton Model Railroad Club
Sunday: Red Wings Afternoon Home Game: 1:05pm game at Rochester Red Wings



The Bravo Family loves the arts.
Friday: Eastman Music Horizons Solo Recital II at Eastman Community Music School
Saturday: Rhythm Connect--Drum with Me! Parent Child Class at Rhythm Connect
Sunday: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Geva Theatre Center



This is the Woods Family. They love nature and the great outdoors.
Friday: Cool Kids! Green Kids! presents: BUBBLE MAN!!! Plus a Bubble Party after! at Cool Kids!
Saturday: Corn Hill Arts Festival Fairy Houses Display at The Strong National Museum of Play
Sunday: GGH Kids in the Garden at Grossmans Garden & Home



The Smart family focuses on educational and cultural activities.
Friday: Flour City Drive In - "Man of Steel" at Bill Gray's Regional Iceplex
Saturday: Irondequoit Pediatrics Community "Ask the Pediatrician" Sessions at Irondequoit Pediatrics
Sunday: 23rd Annual Native American Dance & Music Festival at Ganondagan at Ganondagan State Historic Site



The Wall Family prefers indoor activities.
Friday: Friday Make and Take Craft at Rochester Public Library - Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County
Saturday: WHERE'S WALDO? at Bindings Bookstore
Sunday: Public Skating at Bill Gray's Regional Iceplex


20) And here's your weekend , presented day-by-day for your convenience...

Friday, July 25 
Saturday, July 26
Sunday, July 27

Debra Ross

Congratulations to all Rochester-area organizations who made the list of 2014's Top 20 Places to Take Rochester Kids

2014's Top 20:
1. Strong National Museum of Play
2. Seneca Park Zoo
3. TYKEs Theatre
4. Rochester Museum & Science Center
5. Seabreeze
6. My local library
7. Lollypop Farm
8. Stokoe Farms
9. Genesee Country Village & Museum
10. Bounce-It-Out
11. Jungle Jolt
12. Rochester Children's Theatre
13. Jump Club
14. YMCA
15. Darien Lake Amusement Park
16. Wild Wings Nature Center at Mendon Ponds
17. Jewish Community Center
18. Brown's Berry Patch
19. Wickham Farms
20. Clubhouse Fun Center

Click here to find out who won in each category!

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