Kids’ Almanac: Pie on Pi Day, walk with your girls on International Women’s Day

“If somebody offers me cake or pie, I say, ‘I want both!’ It’s a feeling of no limits.”

– Lisa Loeb


Pi Day is March 14, 3.14 being the numerical approximation of pi: the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, or as I define it, “the ideal number of pies to eat per day.” On Pi Day, our family bases each meal around some form of pie. Our favorites include chicken pot pie, quiche, sweet potato pie and chocolate cream pie.

Being severely crust-challenged, I sidestepped my piemaking destiny for years, until I finally discovered this eye-opening no-roll crust recipe. This crust honestly changed my life, ushering me into the world of the homemade pie. Good for both sweet and savory pies, you simply mix the following ingredients right in a pie plate: ½ cup butter or oil; ¼ cup milk; ½ teaspoon salt; 1 ½ cups flour. Then press the dough out so it covers the entire inside of the dish. Happy Pi Day!



“Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures”


Whether you already honor International Women’s Day, or you have yet to celebrate this 100-year-old tradition, head to the Walkway over the Hudson on Thursday, March 8. Invite the important girls in your life to join you at this event, because this year’s theme is “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures.” The Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, which is organizing these festivities, states, “If every International Women’s Day event held in 2012 includes girls in some way, then thousands of minds will be inspired globally.”

Activities include speakers, entertainment and of course the Walkway itself. Registration begins at 2:30 p.m. at 58 Parker Avenue in Poughkeepsie. For more information, call (845) 454-1700, extension 1000, or visit



“When I got my library card, that’s when my life began.”

– Rita Mae Brown


When our son was younger, combined playdate/book discussions were a highlight of my month. I enjoyed connecting with other parents, our son delighted in playing with other babies and toddlers (if he wasn’t napping through the gathering), and it was personally gratifying to discuss books that I had somehow managed to read in between feedings and diaper changes.

The Gardiner Library has created a “Mommy/Daddy & Me” book group whose first meeting is Thursday, March 8 from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Community Room. The Gardiner Library is located at 133 Farmers’ Turnpike in Gardiner and online at To learn more, contact Kendra Aber-Ferri at (845) 255-1255 or [email protected].


For those of you living with book-loving tweens, the Red Hook Public Library announces “Book Jam,” a new monthly middle-school book club for fourth-to-eighth-graders. Book Jam’s first meeting takes place at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 8 to discuss Bystander by James Preller.

For more information, call the Red Hook Public Library at (845) 758-3241. The library is located at 7444 South Broadway in Red Hook and on the Web at


If you are a homeschooler between the ages of 10 and 18 and you love fun, hands-on science, then check out the Tivoli Library’s “Going Wild Fridays.” This fun and educational three-part series includes “Eels Arrive” on March 9, “Amphibian Migration” on April 13 and “Striped Bass Return” on May 11. Student Conservation Association/AmeriCorps member Tom Byrnes is leading these free programs from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Tivoli Bays Visitor Center (across the hall from the Library). Although this program is for homeschooled families, local teens can drop in between 5 and 5:30 p.m. for a brief and less-formal teen version.

The Tivoli Free Library is located in the historic Watts dePeyster Hall at 86 Broadway in the Village of Tivoli. For more information, call the Norrie Point Environmental Center at (845) 889-4745, extension 109, or visit



Q: How many jugglers does it take to change a light bulb?

A: One, but you need three light bulbs.


I wouldn’t say that I’m a juggler exactly, but I do have some pretty deft hands when trying to catch apples rolling out of the fridge before they hit the floor. Let Chris Chiappini show you how it’s really done with his amazing juggling and magic show over at the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck. Chris appears as part of the Center’s awesome Family Series on Saturday, March 10 at 11 a.m. His incredible skill and sense of humor appeal to all ages.

Tickets go for $9 for adults and seniors and $7 for children. For more information or for reservations, contact the Center at (845) 876-3080. The Center is located at 661 Route 308 in Rhinebeck and online at



“Bubble bubble bubble bubble bubble goes the pan/Furnish better music for the season if you can…”

– “Maple Sweet Song”


March means that it’s Ashokan Center annual MapleFest time. The celebration takes place on Saturday, March 10 beginning at 11 a.m. Daytime activities include an all-day pancake breakfast, hands-on tree-tapping and syrup-making and try-it-yourself Colonial crafts: blacksmithing, tinsmithing and broommaking. At 1 p.m., Story Laurie and Ira McIntosh share musical folktales, and at 2 p.m. Jay Ungar and Molly Mason play their wonderful music. Hikes and visits around the property are available throughout the day. The evening segment runs between 4 and 11 p.m. and features a French Canadian fiddle jam session at 4 p.m. and a maple-themed potluck dinner at 6 p.m. followed by dancing.

Daytime tickets cost $5 for adults and youth, $3 for kids under age 10 and are free for children under age 5. Evening tickets are $10 for adults and youth, $5 for kids under 10 and free for children under 5. The Ashokan Center is located at 477 Beaverkill Road in Olivebridge. For additional information, call the Center at (845) 657-8333 or visit



“The heart of the melody can never be put down on paper.”

– Pablo Casals


The 40th annual Hudson Valley Philharmonic String Competition is like Classical Music Survivor. Nearly 30 young musicians between 18 and 25 years old vie for one winning spot: a $3,000 cash prize and a solo performance with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Orchestra. This is a great way to connect your family with some amazing international talent and try to predict this year’s winner. And it’s free!

The Bach Partita in D Minor is required for the violinists, as is the Bach Suite No. 3 in C Major for violists and cellists. Exploring these pieces with your family beforehand might help them recognize the music during the competition and help them better access each musician’s own “heart of the melody.”

The first round takes place on Saturday, March 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. From there, six semifinalists will play on Sunday, March 11 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. Then, at 3 p.m., three finalists will perform a full recital and a winner will be chosen. A reception for all of the performers will immediately follow the finals. The competition takes place at Skinner Hall at Vassar College, located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie. For more information, call the Bardavon box office at (845) 473-2072 or log onto



“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all artforms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”

– Oscar Wilde


If you agree with Oscar Wilde’s opinion about the theatre, you will want to check out “Serious Drama,” Railroad Playhouse’s new series of professional acting workshops for young people. “Young people can get so much out of this experience, whether they are serious about becoming a professional actor on stage or screen, or are just building their creative muscles for the joy of it. This class gets to the heart of the actor’s craft, and what it takes to make it as a performing artist today,” says Seth Soloway, artistic director at the Playhouse.

This nine-week intensive program begins March 13 and culminates in public performances on May 4 of a final production, I Never Saw Another Butterfly, based on the poems and drawings made by child concentration-camp victims at Terezin during World War II. Ages 9 through 12 meet on Tuesdays from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Ages 13 through 17 meet on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Topics covered include the actor’s instrument, connecting onstage, building a character, the “Method,” taking direction, improvisation and audition techniques. Workshops are team-taught by Soloway and SUNY Theatre professor and professional director Cabot Parsons.

The price for the workshop is $450, with discounts available for siblings. If you do not have a child or grandchild to enroll in the program but would like to donate toward scholarships for deserving young actors in need, please contact the Playhouse. “Serious Drama” will be held at the Railroad Playhouse, located at 27 Water Street in Newburgh. For more information or to register, call (845) 565-3791 or go online at




My friend Nora Snyder asked me if I had a parenting book that I’d been meaning to get to – something that I felt would positively impact my parenting, but life kept getting in the way. (Why, yes! Several!) Then we teamed up with our friend Jess Iaia at Halfmoon Books in Kingston, and it all came together. We now invite you to a “Spring Trio of Book Discussions”: a three-book series related to parenting. Please join us in conversation about our first selection, Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane) by Gavin de Becker, on Tuesday, March 13 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Halfmoon Books.

Hands-down, Protecting the Gift is the one book that I would recommend to every parent, grandparent and caregiver. Just the section on caregivers alone, with its vital interview questions for babysitters, made it worth reading for me; but there’s so much more. I find the writing accessible and compelling, the subject matter intense and the information crucial. Now that I’ve read it, I cannot imagine my parenting without these tools of informed intuition. While I don’t agree with every viewpoint that de Becker presents, I gained so many valuable insights about how to navigate the world in a more aware, intentional way, and I am grateful that he wrote this book.

For more information about our free “Spring Trio of Book Discussions” or to pick up a copy of the book, contact Halfmoon Books at (845) 331-5439, find it on Facebook or stop by at 35 North Front Street in Kingston. To learn more about Protecting the Gift, visit



“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

– Maria Robinson


Sometimes a child requires “more” and needs support through special therapies, services or agencies. It can be overwhelming to find the right words to communicate our needs or even to know what kind of help is available. When an employee affiliated with a school, service provider or agency works with one of these children, it can be challenging to know how best to help a particular family, how to make sure that they have all of the information that they need and how to stay current with identifying their priorities, preferences and choices.

The “Parents as Partners: Taking the Lead” system-of-care conference is for all Ulster County parents and professionals who are interested in honing their skills in order to cultivate this important dialogue. The keynote speaker is Carol Hardesty from Westchester County Family Ties. She will speak about parent empowerment, with a focus on leadership and communication skills, and a variety of additional agencies will be represented.

“Parents as Partners” takes place on Wednesday, March 14 from 4 to 7:30 p.m. at George Washington Elementary School, located at 67 Wall Street in Kingston. The conference is free, transportation is available and pizza and childcare are provided at no cost. Spanish translation is available, and there is a free raffle for a Nook. For more information or to register, contact Sunny Corey at (845) 340-4174 or [email protected].



“Hip-hop is supposed to uplift and create, to educate people on a larger level and to make a change.”

– Doug E. Fresh


Hip Hop’s Playback Theater NYC has spent the past two weeks working with 75 of the Poughkeepsie Middle School’s sixth-graders. With the guidance and support of these professionals working alongside them, these students have explored new modes of self-expression, been encouraged to describe their stories and dreams for the future and are ready to take it to the stage. Come to their performance at the Bardavon on Thursday, March 15 at 7 p.m. and experience what these students want to share.

Tickets go for $5 each and are available in person at the Bardavon or Ulster Performing Arts Center box offices, by phone at (845) 473-2072 or 339-6088 or at The Bardavon is located at 35 Market Street in Poughkeepsie. For more information, call the numbers listed above or visit



Erica Chase-Salerno lives, loves and laughs in New Paltz with her husband Mike and their two children: the inspirations behind She can be reached at [email protected].




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  1. Happy Pi Day, everyone! Enjoy a pie-filled week!

  2. LOL! Thanks for the inspiration! I was going to buy a desert pie for Pi Day, but now I think I will also serve beef pot pie

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