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Raising Emotionally and Socially Healthy Kids

April 21, 2015
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Raising Emotionally and Socially Healthy Kids Eileen Kennedy-Moore, Ph.D.

Courtesy of Eileen Kennedy-Moore, Ph.D.

The demands of being a kid these days have changed a bit since adults were young. If you are a parent, caregiver, or interact with children on a regular basis, it is helpful to have some tools at your disposal to help them deal with the slings and arrows of life.

Local psychologist and mother of four Eileen Kennedy-Moore, Ph.D., has written and hosts a video available through The Great Courses titled Raising Emotionally and Socially Healthy Kids. Dr. Kennedy-Moore conveys powerful, effective strategies to guide children through many difficult issues in a warm, down to earth style. Topics discussed include, handling anxiety, popularity and rejection, bullying, self-esteem, plus many more.

She educates by skillfully intertwining common knowledge, complex psychological study results, and everyday situations. For example, we all know the meaning of the word gossip, but can we accurately define and apply it to psychological research, and is gossip always bad? Dr. Kennedy-Moore’s recommendations are easily followed. After viewing Raising Emotionally and Socially Healthy Kids, you will hopefully feel more enlighten and empowered to guide your child.

Dr. Eileen Kennedy-Moore has a private practice in Princeton, NJ, where she works with adults, children, and families. In addition to Raising Emotionally and Socially Healthy Kids, she is co-author of two books for parents: Smart Parenting for Smart Kids and The Unwritten Rules of Friendship, and is the author of an award-winning children’s book, What About Me? 12 Ways to Get Your Parents’ Attention Without Hitting Your Sister. You can find Dr. Kennedy-Moore’s blog Growing Friendships on PsychologyToday.com. In addition, she serves on the advisory board for Parents magazine, and has appeared on the Today Show, as well as other national television and top rated radio talk shows.

Netflix’s Expanding Original Programming

April 17, 2015
Grace and Frankie

Photo Credit: Netflix

Netflix’s latest refinement is its increased original programming the beginning of the year. It has been a harsh winter for some, and new series were just what the doctor ordered for homebound consumers. Netflix gained 4.9 million new subscribers from January – March 2015, almost a million more than anticipated.

They certainly got the jump on the recently released HBO Now, which seems to be competing with the Netfix formula. Netflix’s $7.99 monthly fee is cheaper than HBO Now’s monthly fee of $14.99, so it will be interesting to see if Netflix will continue at this price point. Regardless, Netflix is increasing the quantity of their library without sacrificing quality.

Powerful series like Emmy nominated Orange is the New Black, Emmy and Golden Globe nominated House of Cards (Robin Wright won a Golden Globe for Best Actress), and Marco Polo produced by the Weinstein Company, are being joined by the new series Marvel’s DaredevilUnbreakable Kimmy Schmidt created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock , and Bloodline created by Todd & Glen Kessler and Daniel Zelman to name a few enhance the lineup. Coming soon is Grace and Frankie starring Jane Fonda (Grace) and Lily Tomlin (Frankie). There are also kid-friendly original shows such as Dreamworks’ Turbo FAST and All Hail King Julien from the Madagascar franchise.

A big bonus is that all episodes from series are being released at once. This gives subscribers the option of binge watching (viewing 2-6 episodes in one sitting), which 61% do. So far, another 14 new original series are slotted for 2015, and 14 for 2016, with 2 still to be determined. Among the listed are three more Marvel titles and another Dreamworks production. Stay tuned.

Click here for a comprehensive list of Netflix original programming, including mini series, documentaries, stand-up comedy, children’s programming, and new series.

Recipe Corner: ANZAC Biscuits

April 14, 2015

Australian New Zealand

My nine-year-old daughter, gazing at her brother as he devoured a mound of juicy dill pickles, asked “Mom, who made the first pickle?” This is another question of no immediate importance to which I could not nor cared to answer at the time. But it did get me thinking about the history of many of the foods we eat.

I admit, I am a history nerd and casual baker with a passion for odd facts. I’ve spent many snowy afternoons engrossed in television documentaries detailing the history of the Twinkie, Coke, or any number of food items. (Now, I can relate to Colonel Sanders playing around with spices in his mother’s kitchen, aka secret recipe, but no ordinary human concocts the factory method to make chocolate like Milton Hershey by experimenting with a few cocoa beans.) In honor of all those long hours toiled in the kitchen by cooks of lore, I’ve decided to add a bit of history to this edition of Princeton Found recipe corner.

I lived as an ex-patriot in Australia for almost seven years. On April 25th they celebrate Australian New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) Day. It commemorates the soldiers who fought and died in World War I at Gallipoli, the European part of Turkey It also serves as a day of national remembrance and reflection of the repercussions of war, much like the American Memorial Day.

Out of concern for the nutritional well-being of the soldiers, their mothers, wife’s and sisters created the Anzac Biscuit (cookie). This recipe is packed with oats and flour which do not spoil easily, making the biscuits easy to ship overseas and store. This was an attractive feature back in 1917 considering the lack of proper refrigeration. Please note, Anzac biscuits are traditionally hard and crunchy.

Anzac Biscuits
Prep Time: 10 min.
Bake Time: 20 min.

Ingredients:
1 cup plain flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

1) Mix flour, oats, sugar and coconut in a bowl
2) In a saucepan, melt the butter then add the water and syrup
3) Add the baking soda to the liquid mixture
4) Combine the liquid mixture with the dry ingredients
5) Make small balls with the biscuit dough and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Biscuits will become hard when cool.

Don’t be a Scrooge – Go See A Christmas Carol at McCarter

December 18, 2014
Michele Tauber, Graeme Malcolm, and Ali Ewoldt. A Christmas Carol at McCarter Theatre with Ebeneezer Scrooge

Photo Credit: T. Charles Erickson

Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol at McCarter Theatre is a Princeton tradition. David Thompson’s adaptation directed by Michael Unger is full of emotions. Ebeneezer Scrooge’s life is shown from a young boy to an older man, but not in chronological order. The audience discovers how he developed into a bitter man, and after seeing his past, present, and future, sees how he changes back to a kind person.

A Christmas Carol at McCarter Theatre The Fezziwig Party

Photo Credit: T. Charles Erickson

The stage transforms into several sets right before your eyes, including the town square, Marly & Scrooge, Ebennezer’s home, Fezziwig’s, young Ebeneezer’s school, and the Cratchit’s home. It is definitely the most elaborate production at McCarter. The details  in the sets and costumes add to its authenticity.

There are also some magical elements. A character will disappear into a wall or through a floor, fly, or sprinkle “fairy dust”. Objects fall off a case and pop out of a trunk, plus there are a few other enchanting moments. Kids will be bewildered and adults will be fascinated by the special effects.

The ensemble is wonderful, and Graeme Malcolm is outstanding as the lead. The local children add innocence and are very professional. At least six of the adult cast members are returning to the production, with Malcolm in his role for over a decade.

This Broadway quality production entertains all and is appropriate for the entire family. I encourage you to see this production of A Christmas Carol, whether it be for the first time or the 10th. The runtime is about two hours with one intermission, and you can see it until December 28th. A must-see!

The Understudy at McCarter

October 24, 2014
Adam Green and JD Taylor in The Understudy at McCarter

Photo Credit: T. Charles Erickson

The Understudy directed by Adam Immerwehr at McCarter Theatre is a theater farce by Theresa Rebeck about what goes on behind the scenes. A newly found piece by Franz Kafka has been put to stage, and Hollywood actors have been cast in the starring roles, and then there is the understudy.

The real irony is, Hollywood actor JD Taylor (The Good Wife) plays Jake. His character was still riding high after his latest movie, which was a blockbuster hit. Jake certainly had the confidence of a star, and felt more than qualified for his first attempt at live theater.

Harry, played by Adam Green who graced McCarter’s stage with strong performances as the lead character in the Figaro plays last season, was somewhat insecure. None-the-less, he was determined to convince Jake that he was indeed capable of being his understudy even though it’s questionable how he got the part.

Adam Green,  Danielle Skraastad, and JD Taylor

Photo Credit: T. Charles Erickson

Highly strung Roxanne (Danielle Skraastad) was the stage manager, who was having a bad day, had a history with one actor, and got caught up in some sort of triangle with the two. The set technician was also having a rough day, which stressed her out further.

Green, Taylor, and Skraastad (and unseen technician) together executed comedic delivery to perfection. In fact, it was laugh-out-loud funny most of the time. There was vulgar language used, so I wouldn’t recommend it for young children, but adults and teens will enjoy The Understudy. The set was simple, and the stage manager was wisely placed for a realistic setting.

Things could easily go wrong with only three actors in a play, but The Understudy is definitely worth seeing. This play runs 1 hour and 40 minutes and there is NO intermission. You can see it now through November 2nd.

2014 Holiday Season Guide

October 18, 2014

Christmas in Princeton NJ

Princeton is prepared for the holiday season and has had tickets available to various events since the summer, including venues like McCarter, Richardson, Morven and Drumthwacket. Several productions and things to do are offered this season in all price ranges from free to $107. This guide illustrates the biggest performances, events, and activities in the Princeton area, and there’s something for everyone.

Here is just an example of what could be done the entire day of Black Friday in Princeton. Shop throughout town in the morning, grab an early lunch at one of the many restaurants in town, see The Nutcracker at McCarter, head over to Café Vienna for a slice of Sacher Torte or Linzer cookies and coffee or tea, go on Princeton Tour’s Holiday Trolley Tour, and witness the Christmas Tree Lighting. Top it all off by enjoying some hot cider or cocoa at Small World, and a stroll home or back to your car while taking in the holiday lighting throughout downtown.

HOLIDAY ENTERTAINMENT

A Christmas Carol –  A Princeton tradition at McCarter. The sets rival Broadway! Has an amazing cast and local kids performing.

A Seraphic Fire Christmas – Seraphic Fire will be at the State Theatre this holiday season with their Christmas concert, Carols by Candlelight!

American Repertory Ballet Presents The Nutcracker – Another Princeton tradition, which has local kids performing. Magical!

An Evening of Readings and Carols – Holiday music for choir, organ and brass performed in Princeton University Chapel, featuring Westminster’s choirs and Solid Brass, the renowned brass ensemble.

A Take 6 Holiday with NJSO – This sextet infuses R&B, pop, gospel and more, and present a program that includes their unique take on seasonal favorites at the State Theatre in New Brunswick. Come early for caroling in the lobby, and bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots.

Princeton, NJ Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree Lighting – Takes place at Palmer Square West. Princeton’s tree has more lights than the renown tree of Rockefeller Center!

Drumthwacket Holiday Open House – The governor’s residence is decorated for the holidays. Take an unguided tour, with available docents to answer questions.

Handel’s The Messiah – The first collaboration or McCarter Theatre with New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

Morven Festival of Trees – This annual Princeton holiday event has become a must. Enjoy the museum’s decorated galleries and beautifully decorated trees.

Holiday Music at Palmer Square

Music and Santa at Palmer Square – Stroll around Palmer Square for live entertainment and Santa sightings!

Princeton Tour Company Holiday Trolley Tours – One hour trolley tour of Princeton, which is only available during the holiday season.

Stroll Around Town – Start in the late afternoon and see all of the beautifully decorated buildings in Princeton. Stay until it becomes darker and the sparkling lights twinkle, especially those on the Christmas tree.

Westminster Community Chorus Holiday Concert – Featuring Vivaldi’s Gloria, as well as holiday favorites, including Infant Holy, O Holy Night, Awake, Arise, Still, Still, Still, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and Love Came Down at Christmas.

Westminster Concert Bell Choir – Gallery Concert at Grounds for Sculpture. The Westminster Concert Bell Choir play traditional holiday music from England. They perform on the largest range of handbells in the world. 

Salute to Vienna – An homage to Vienna’s New Year’s Concert at the State Theatre in New Brunswick. Takes place on New Year’s Eve.

Antony and Cleopatra at McCarter

September 23, 2014
Photo Credit T. Charles Erickson

Photo Credit:  T. Charles Erickson

The Theatre Series kicks off with William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra at McCarter Theatre Center. This production, directed by Emily Mann, exudes power and passion in the intimate Berlind Theatre. Nicole Ari Parker (Boogie Nights) and Essau Pritchett (Fences at McCarter) are cast in the title roles.

Antony and Cleopatra begin on stage both striking poses, Antony flexing his biceps and Cleopatra positioning into elegant stances, showing the extremes of femininity and masculinity. Parker’s stunning beauty and charm befits Cleopatra. Marc Antony has the physique of a gladiator, which Pritchett clearly presents with his intimidating build.

Parker and Pritchett gave adequate performances, though Pritchett could have been a little more articulate. However, the supporting cast was extraordinary. Michael Siberry (Enobarbus) who played Robert in Proof  last season, and was also in Uncle Vanya at McCarter; Warner Miller (Eros/Soldier) and Zainab Jah (Charmian) both performed in The Convert at McCarter; Everett Quiton (Mardian/Clown) who royally provided comic relief, and played Bennett in Travesties at McCarter, plus Tobias Segal (Octavius Caesar) and Keith Eric Chappelle (Soldier, amongst other roles) all gave compelling performances.

Percussionist Mark Katsaounis sat just off stage left and filled the air with unique sounds and rhythms, which were a fusion of many genres. He stepped on stage, joined by Pritchett, to play an odaiko drum. Both showed their athletic prowess and rhythmic drumming skills as the warrior readied for battle.

This production is definitely worth seeing. The set and costumes are well done, the direction of Emily Mann is superb, and the performances are powerful. Antony and Cleopatra is playing now through October 5th.

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