Monday, November 30, 2015



I love to check around and come up with interesting gift giving for the holidays.  My neighbor Juan always talks about doing things with the family.  I also think about my neighbor Chris and his wife, Jessica.  They have two young children.  Gifts don’t necessarily have to be tangible.   Spending a day with the family on an outing could raise a smile with all of the members.

I explored a few places on Long Island that I had never been.  The Long Island Children’s Museum, for instance, is one of three more interactive and educational sites.  An adult is not allowed to walk around it without an accompanying child.  
There are two floors each having several specific areas.  Pretend that you are about to ride on the Long Island Railroad or buy ice cream from a truck at the TotSpot. Explore the larger-than-life pages of seven favorite fairy tales from around the world.   Listen to sounds at the “Sound Showers”, build a house at the Building Room with Keva planks, Create a toy at Bricks and Sticks, and discover the ways that animals find and eat their food.  Make a commercial, play some instruments and be a part of a show when interactive performers, including musicians, storytellers and more come to the 150-seat theater.  Climbing area too.  The museum is located at 11 Davis Avenue in Garden City.


Over at One Davis Avenue is the Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center. Their mission is to provide public education, training, and awareness in fire safety.  Trace the evolution of firefighting with antique artifacts and their contemporary counterparts.  Interactive exhibits include: Call 911; Crawl Low in Smoke, Stop-Drop-Roll and Home Escape Planning.  You can see, feel and experience ladders, hoses and fire trucks.

There are two areas to this museum, one of which houses the exhibits, the other is the theater. Group programs are age appropriate: Pre-K and Kindergarten; Elementary, Middle and High School; and Senior Citizens – focusing on the safety “challenges” confronting older adults.

Right now they are having a contest to name the new 20-foot-tall Dalmatian Puppy Mascot.  It’s for youngsters under the age of 12.  Winning name youngster will be given a party for up to 30 children and four adult chaperones.  Contest started November 9, 2015 with the last entry accepted on January 15, 2016.

 Incidentally, the museum is located inside the Cradle of Aviation Museum.  If you love IMAX movies, this is beyond that as they have Dome Theater.  The actual center of the screen is as if you focused on the corner of your room where the ceiling meets the wall.   Your entire peripheral vision experiences the movie.  More about that this museum at another time.

Another gift…more tangible and fun, too.  Workman Publishing Company has a whole bunch of calendars and books, especially by Boynton.  My favorite is the Mom’s Family Calendar where you can list the names of other and pen in the activity along with stickers.  Animal characters.  I found a few other interesting wall calendars as well.  Unlikely Friends has photos of unlikely animals snuggling against another one.  Then there is the Matisse calendar.  When you are finished, you can take each monthly page of art and frame it.  Two books: one is about cat’s behavior and the other has to do with chickens.  Stay tuned to my blogs as my cats and rubber chickens read the books.  You can find these in stores or buy them online.

I have been getting my laundry done by a laundromat located at 97-03 Jamaica Avenue, in Woodhaven.  Free pick-up and drop off.  It comes back to me folded and smelling fresh.  If you are living in Woodhaven, the phone number is 718-849-8630.   It’s a gift to me.   How about doing the laundry as a gift to someone else….in the family.  Check around for prices.  It’s worth not having to do it yourself as well as not adding to the utility and water bill. 

Now that the winter is about to give us some of those cold temperatures, splurge a bit for the Dyson Bladeless Heater Fan.  I first tried the fan and found that it really cooled off an area of a room.  Not as much as an air conditioner, though.  It is like this personal fresh coolness without the noise.   The Heater Fan is even better.  You can control the temperature to have it either emit heat or coolness as well as the speed of the fan.  They come with a remote control and cleaning is a cinch…just a wipe.  I just went to the website and saw that they also have a humidifier.   OMG.  I get forced heat coming from vents.  I feel as if I can’t breathe by the morning.  I did try having a humidifier attached to the furnace but couldn’t deal with cleaning it, changing the water, etc.   This one says that it projects and ultra-fine mist and maintains it throughout a 172 square ft. room.  Oh wait.  The temperature control gives you high velocity cool air in the summer.   I’m not sure how the water goes in there and whether cleaning is required.  I’ll get one and pass on the info.  Check out the products on

Here’s another great idea. League of Kitchens cooking workshops, a culinary adventure.  You go to the home of an older female immigrant and help prepare a meal.  They are not chefs that work in restaurants.  They are the same women that people say, “I learned to cook from my mother/grandmother”.   Isn’t it amazing how the cooking contest shows throw in a token female and ever barely win.?  You hang at the dining room table prepping the food, go into the kitchen to listen and watch the meal being cooked and then get to eat the meal. There are a maximum of 6 people as you first enjoy lunch, schmooze and talk about the cuisine.  She will tell you where she buys her food, her background, etc. 

There is enough food prepared to that you can take home the leftovers.  Greek, Lebanese, Indian, Argentinian, Korean, Trinidadian, Bengali, and Afghan.  Most locations are in Queens.  You go home with pages of information that include all of the recipes, the particular types of seasonings and more.  You won’t have to take notes while you’re chopping and slicing.  An immersion workshop costs $149 for the Five and have hours session. 

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