Category Archives: Family

This category features blogs about family relationships in every direction and the meaning of family. – Gamer Leaves the House

My great joy as a mother is expanding my kids’ worlds through experiences. Of course getting my son, a video game enthusiast, out of the house (or even out of his room) can be a challenge. So I created two itineraries — inspired by his interests — one for NYC and one for Westchester. They are listed in order to maximize time. This was published in Westchester County Moms Blog on 12.19.19


Modern Pinball NYC

What: A pinball arcade and museum.

Where: 362 3rd Avenue (Take the 4, 5, 6 train from Grand Central to 28th Street).

Helpful Info: Entry wristband with no time limit and free same day re-entry.

Parental POV: You’ll spend about an hour here and it’s great for all ages.

National Museum of Mathematics

What: An interactive museum with math as a fascinating backdrop.

Where: 11 East 26th Street (walk from Pinball Museum and across from Shake Shack).

Helpful Info: Open daily but closes early the first Wednesday each month.

Parental POV: I have a fear of math but loved this place as much as my kids, especially the Coaster Rollers where you “roll over unusual shapes but have a smooth ride due to their constant diameter.” The staff’s enthusiasm is contagious. Fine for any age but I think best for older kids.

Society Billiards + Bar

What: Families play billiards, ping pong, and darts while enjoying drinks, tater tots, pizza bagels and other snacks.

Where: 10 East 21st Street

Helpful Info: You pay per player and per hour. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. it’s about $9.50 per person, per hour (check in case your visit falls into their holiday hours which is a little more). We’ve always just walked in and never had a wait, maybe because we visit earlier in the day.

Parental POV: As long as your kid can see over the top of the table, they’ll have a great time.

The Paley Center for Media

Check out the “PaleyGX: Your Ultimate Gaming Xperience.” This is walking distance to Grand Central and a nice final spot to hit if you still have energy.

HOME GAME (Peekskill)

The Rift

What: Comic book, card, and collectible store but they also host game nights like Dungeons & Dragons, Smash Bros Ultimate, and a BYO board game where anyone can play.

Where: 913 South Street (a few blocks from public parking lot)

Helpful Info: They post their events and game schedules online and via Instagram. Good for elementary school age kids – adults (they mostly get a teen and young adult crowd). Next door is Gleason’s (flatbread pizza). Kids also like Peekskill Coffeehouse (waffles, crepes, and paninis) and RameNesque (ramen dumplings and more).

Parental POV: The Rift staff are so kind and happily offer to teach kids how to play any game in their stores.

Spins Hudson 

What: Arcade, laser tag, ropes course, bocci, and other games are under the same roof as an open space bar for the ultimate entertainment complex.

Where: 5 John Walsh Blvd

Helpful Info: They take credit cards but a few times their machines were down and we needed to use cash which I rarely carry.

Parental POV: It’s very lively and energetic so if you have a child (or self) who gets overstimulated in crowds and loud music, you might want to go when it’s warmer out and they open the garage door which makes it more tolerable. The younger kids seem to like this place a lot.

We also love 2nd Nature Skatepark

This indoor skate park is amazing. Skaters of all levels go and are so giving with their time to help a newer skater learn the ropes. They have lessons, schools-out camps, and nighttime parties.

What places does your gamer love?

Born and raised in Westchester, Gennifer Birnbach has spent over 25 years as a writer and marketing communications executive for brands including Nickelodeon and Bravo. Every career aptitude test she has taken since high school, however, suggests she should be a camp director. Makes sense since Gennifer’s favorite thing is bringing people together for unique and fun adventures. Gennifer resides in Yorktown Heights with her husband and two teens and stands by calling sandwiches “wedges” (not “hoagies” or “subs”). For more information visit and follow her on IG @genniferwithag

Gennifer with a G Blog – 5 Children’s books I keep on my nightstand

I’ve always loved reading and stories and colorful drawings especially when it is a book written for children. I earned a B.A. in Literature and, of course, there are many classics I studied through the years but it’s the children’s stories that I hold close to my heart and my pillows and blanket.

#1 Bear’s Magic by Carla Stevens

There are three short stories in this book, the first is called “Wish I May, Wish I Might.” In it, a rabbit wishes nightly on the evening star for a brand new lunchbox.

Many decades later and I still have to stop myself from wishing for a new lunchbox. And believe me, I am often wishing on the evening star (or an airplane, doesn’t matter, still good!).

#2 Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum and her parents think she has the perfect name. But when she goes to school the other kids make fun of her for her name. She comes home distraught but her parents help her through it.

Chrysanthemum felt much better after her favorite dinner (macaroni and cheese with ketchup) and an
evening filled with hugs and kisses and Parcheesi.

Here is a video version of the story narrated by Meryl Streep which I HIGHLY recommend enjoying. Please!

#3 Maisy Goes Camping by Lucy Cousins

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a sucker for the word “camp” and anything to do with going to a summer camp, camping and — unrelated to this book — camp-y things like Wes Anderson movies.

In this story, Maisy and her friends pitch a tent and then all try to get inside to go to sleep. I don’t want to spoil the ending but it’s impossible for them all to fit so they all sleep underneath the stars instead.


#4 Emily’s 100 Days of School by Rosemary Wells

Emily’s elementary school counts down to the 100th day of school. Each number is represented with a little blurb about what happened that day (as related to that day’s number).

Now, I’ve never been one for numbers (unless it’s birthdays or phones numbers) but I cannot get enough of each single and double digit entry. Here are some that I like (#92 is my favorite).

And mine is autographed to my daughter!!

#5 The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone

First of all, Grover is my spirit animal.

Secondly, as a child this book slightly scared the hell out of me. I mean, turning the page knowing something scary was at the end was really living on the edge of my comfort zone. But at the end we are reminded that Grover is considered a monster. And he’s adorable!

I think this book should be used in a college course or Omega Institute offering about reframing your thoughts so you see things differently.

Special Thanks

The most special thing about my selection is that each book is either mine from childhood or motherhood.

I remember the feelings I had reading my stories and I will also cherish the moments where I watched my little ones imagining as I read to them.

Special thanks to Carla Stevens, Kevin Henkes, Lucy Cousins, Rosemary Wells and Jon Stone.

Gennifer with a G Blog – Grandparents Managing Up Tips

Believe it or not, having a new baby and running your own business have many commonalities when it comes to managing various workstyles and personalities to keep things moving smoothly. Everyone involved has their own set of super skills and their own opinions about the right way to do things. 

In business, there are also investors who weigh in on how the business is run and you have a certain obligation to take in their suggestions. At home, the investors are the grandparents.  

It’s tricky to manage incoming feedback (solicited and unsolicited) from the older, wiser advisors. On one hand, they raised you and you have to assume they did some things right. On the other hand, there may be some things you know you’ll do differently. Everyone must acknowledge times have changed since the days when you were little and could cartwheel across the back of a station wagon at 60 MPH without causing concern from highway patrol. 

No matter what concerns you may begin to have about everyone’s involvement, I have some tried and true business tips that you can apply to managing your working relationship with “The Grandparents.”


This is a great way to onboard a new employee and, if you think about it, getting promoted to grandparent falls into that category.  However you want to share this (conversation followed by an emailed recap, a handbook of rules with a signed agreement), this is something you can even refer back to if everything goes off the rails.

You can even set up an “orientation” and invite them to attend courses with you like Infant CPR or How to Install a Car Seat. Some hospitals even do a Grandparent Boot Camp that teaches them current laws and rules around subjects like sleep safety. 


Most grandparents will appreciate a regular check in with status items like “her first check up went great” or “he is sleeping cozy in the new pajamas you bought him.” Photos and even videos are great support material for the grandparent status reports. “I ventured out of the house and neither of us cried, please see photo reference [insert image of you and your baby enjoying being out of the house].”  Grandparents are more savvy than ever and can easily learn how to FaceTime or Skype which you can schedule in advance or do on-the-go. This is a great way for them to see for themselves how things are going.

When you feed the updates to them, you will be less likely to receive a call when you’re in the middle of a chaotic diaper change or finally getting a 3 minute nap. It puts the control in your hands and is a great tool in “managing up” to your (original) leaders. 


A new baby creates new roles, responsibilities and promotions. You were your parents’ child and still are but now you’ve accepted the new role as a mother or father. Your parents are promoted to grandparents. During this time, it’s helpful to have thoughtful conversations and an ongoing grace period for growth, trial and error. You as a newly minted parent will have ideas of how you’d like to run things. The old regime will have their lists of what works and what doesn’t. 

Be patient, be open, be flexible, be able to pivot.


Once you’ve established your dream team of people who love and care for your little one and have plans in place so everyone can be happy and thrive, it’s time to acknowledge everyone’s hard work with perks and bonuses. Everyone loves to hear they are doing a great job and grandparents are no exception. Recognition and appreciation goes a long way. A bonus can be doing something their way (if it differs from yours) when you are visiting them at their home. Maybe a handwritten note of appreciation or a “World’s Greatest Grandmother” gift is the way to go. Celebrating what’s right and acknowledging what they bring to the table really goes a long way and serves as positive reinforcement for all of the big and little things they do for your family.

Just remember, grandparents want to be recognized for doing a great job.

More importantly, grandparents are coming from a place of love.  You just need you to make some executive decisions and then lead the charge in how you want things done.