Friday, July 11, 2014

Mia's Defines Family-Friendly Restaurant in Houston

Lots of restaurants say they're family-friendly. Some really deliver. One of our faves is Mia's (a Mandola restaurant) near West Alabama and Kirby. This is not a fast food joint but rather a casual place to gather and get a good meal.

Order your food upon entering and your food will be brought to your table. My kids loved the options and so did my husband: grilled cheese & a bowl of fruit, chicken fried steak, fish tacos, pulled pork sandwiches and plenty of salads, too. The biggest hit is the FREE, soft serve ice cream.

As a mom of a one-year-old, I appreciate that Mia's has plenty of high chairs. You don't have to worry about your child being too loud either. There are plenty of folks in and outside on the patio chatting away.

This is great for a Sunday lunch or even a weekday dinner. You won't leave hungry or stressed with the kids.

Until the next nap time...

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Easter Celebrations & an Easter Basket Makeover

I love Easter. In case it's not yet on your radar, Easter this year will be Sunday, April 20. It's almost here. I honestly think people should take off extra time from work and school to celebrate Easter just like they do Christmas. It's an important Christian holiday and spending quality time with our families is so important for all ages. Just my two cents.

I know the kids love Easter baskets filled for candy but after reading Dr. McManus and Nancy Mehlert's article on "Easter Basket Ideas: A Makeover" in the April newsletter, I really started thinking that maybe the Easter bunny wants some new healthy ideas. I like their suggestions of some candy like dark chocolate with nuts (healthier than light chocolate and the nuts are good for you too) but also other non-edible treats. I still remember once as a child I was thrilled to get a Garfield sleeping bag that was carefully placed next to my Easter basket. Healthy mental food for thought. I hope you will check out the article "Easter Basket Ideas: A Makeover" and subscribe to their monthly eNewsletter for more healthy suggestions.

Until the next nap time...

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Discovering the George Bush Monument in Downtown Houston with Kids

While the George Bush Monument has been in Houston apparently for some time, we only discovered it last weekend. It's in downtown just north of Preston and the Preston Pedestrian Bridge. (If you read the Burp the Bayou post, this is a good activity to follow on that one since they're so close to each other.)

The monument itself is a bronze statue of President George Bush (#41) that's about 9 feet tall. He has a commanding presence, which is good because I think parents should encourage children to respect our U.S. presidents no matter what political affiliation they have... but I digress. There is a small water fountain behind the statue, which is what Kyster is looking at in the photo. There are also four plaques representing four different periods in President Bush's life, which gives parents and grandparents an opportunity to talk with their kids about history and government. As I've said before, I love to weave in educational moments when I can.

The view from the George Bush Monument is really pretty, too. This photo shows that even amongst downtown Houston, there is some green areas. And people say Houston isn't pretty. Well, I hope they add this monument to their things to see. :-)

This monument visit is easily done in 10-15 minutes but you can also enjoy the walk & bike ride trails along Buffalo Bayou, which is part of the view from the monument. I suggest heading south on the trail from the George Bush Monument though because going north on the trail gets a bit sketchy when you go under the overpasses & bridges. Sadly, we saw a few homeless people there and it scared Kyster. That's definitely another teaching moment but not one you have to tackle on a visit. The trail south is better groomed and green. I do recommend that. Maps are available online and all around the trail, too.

Until the next nap time...

Picnic in the Park: Saturday, April 26 11 am - 2pm

Saturday, April 26

11 am – 2 pm
Police Memorial (north of Memorial Drive)

Buffalo Bayou Partnership and Houston Parks & Recreation Department invite Houstonians to celebrate the north bank completion of the Sabine to Montrose stretch of Buffalo Bayou Park - including a first-time connection from the Carruth Bridge to the Police Memorial site.

Join us for a day of free family fun!  We'll have outdoor lawn games including badminton, horseshoes and bocce ball.   Pack a picnic and bring a blanket.  There will also be food and drinks available for purchase and live entertainment throughout the afternoon.

Guests are encouraged to walk or bike the trails to the Police Memorial area.  Those driving are able to utilize the free parking at Lot H (Sabine Street exit off of Memorial Drive, before Houston Avenue). Click here for amap.

Until the next nap time...

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Burp the Bayou

Many thanks to the friends and neighbors who came to tonight's Garden Oaks Civic Club meeting. As promised, I'll share photos of the activities that I discussed on our blog over the next few days.

Last weekend, we visited this activity because although it's been around for awhile, we'd never heard of it. Pique your kids interest by telling them you're going to "burp the bayou". First head downtown and park near Preston. Last Sunday, there was no street parking when we arrived so we paid $7 to park at the Downtown Aquarium (even though we didn't attend that). Then we walked east toward the Preston Street Pedestrian Bridge that goes over the bayou. I think it's neat to see the bayou from this angle. Ahead of you, you'll see very tall silver (probably steel) sculptures that are interesting in their own right. At the base of those sculptures are red brick bases as shown in the photo to the left. It's very non-descript... on purpose. There's no signage so of course your curiosity is piqued.

"Can I push it?" Kyster asked with a big smirk. You almost feel like you're getting away with something.

Go ahead. It's funny. You push the button and then look to your right/west toward the bayou. Large bubbles arise from the bayou! You can imagine the "BURP!" sound. Of course, kids think it's hilarious and despite my pushing for good manners, even I think it's funny. If you want to see this small yet humorous part of Houston, check out It's a great YouTube video. I still think you can have fun as a parent or grandparent by building this up. You can ask your kids, "Do you know how to burp a baby? Well, do you know how to burp a bayou? Do you know what a bayou is? Would you like to burp our bayou?"

It's free, silly and something you can do when you have just 15 minutes of free time. If you have more time, you can enjoy the walk & bike trail along the bayou just off Preston, but I recommend journeying south of Preston. The trail north of Preston seems to get a bit sketchy with, sadly, homeless people that scared my daughter. It's a good teaching moment but I'm not sure it's one that you need to incorporate on this trip.

Until the next nap time...

Sunday, March 30, 2014

What It's Like to Be a Big Sister

Ok so this is going to be about if you have a younger brother or sister. This will probably help  you through the days of  where there will be crying almost wherever you go, how I know all of this stuff and how you can trust me because I am only 9 years old. I don't like to lie to the world or just the people who are listening to me do this blog. I have a little brother who is only 1 year old so I can tell you all the things that you can do with a little brother. I'd guess that this would also be like having a little sister. I have two little girl cousins that feel like sisters to me. Their names are Claire and Camille. This is how you know you can trust me.

#1. I am going to tell you the things that are great about little brothers. When I come home from school and I get frustrated because I have so much homework (5-6 pages!), I put my head down and feel like I can't do it. But then, when I see my brother or I think about him happy and smiling, I feel like I can do it and that I can change my brother's life into a happy fairy tale. When he has homework in the future, I can help him on it or at least tutor him because I'm 8 years older than him. How that's easier for my parents is that I can check his work and for the tutoring part, I can tutor him on any day they'd like and it can be for free. When he is in PreK or the last grade of baby school, I'm going to teach him his colors, numbers, letters and what facial parts he has and all those things. I know I can do this right because I've done it on my cousin Claire before. She was almost in PreK and she came to me and said, "Kylie, I'm scared and I don't know anything about what I'm supposed to do at the big school. Can you help me?" I taught her addition and subtraction (I taught her what 4+4 is) and those kinds of addition problems. The best part about that was that when her face lit up with joy because I gave her her own learning book that I had when I was little but didn't use it.

These days I help Grady with reading even though he closes the book and gets out of my lap. But I still keep trying. After that, he usually wants to do music so I turn on his radio and we start getting his baby instruments, shaking them, laughing and making music. Then usually after that he wants to work on his muscles like he starts throwing balls. Then he usually goes in my room. I think "Oh no! I hope he doesn't go in my closet because he could get lost in it because it's so crowded."

Having a brother feels like nothing bad is in the world. It's not always good. Sometimes when I'm supposed to be watching him, I'm actually playing with him but couldn't get to him in time when he fell and blood was coming out of his mouth. He started crying with tears all down his face. So I picked him up and ran to the kitchen. Luckily, he didn't need stitches. It was just a little blood. It made me feel like he would never forgive me. Now that's why I always try to make the best of myself when my brother is around me so he doesn't make the same mistakes as I do. He's supposed to make his own mistakes. Don't start getting worried or crying with tears. Having a little brother when you first think about it is actually not going to be the best thing, you think. But then after awhile, when you guys start being closer and closer together, you feel like nothing will take you guys apart and that nothing can make one of you mad at each. You guys will always forgive and you guys can always remember that God is with you.

Please add your comments so I know what you think and what you'd like to know more about from a 9 year old Houston girl. Thanks.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What Happened to Your New Year's Resolution?

Busy. It's how every parent would explain their life. I know. Somehow my newborn turned one and my "Little K" is about to become my "Miss K" when she turns 9 in just a few weeks. In all of this, I haven't blogged. At all. However, I've realized how much I've missed the cathartic process of writing for me and the community aspect of sharing with other parents and grandparents. So, here goes another (albeit late) New Year's resolution.

We're going to change things up a bit on the Kids Activity Queen blog. Starting later this week, my (almost) 9-year-old will start blogging here in addition to me. My hope is that the blog will offer candid insight from a kids' perspective, not just a grown ups'. I hope you'll excuse the typos yet embrace the youngster who will be sharing her experiences growing up... as a big sister who is 8 years older than her only sibling, as an almost (cringe) preteen with the excitement & then pain of braces & of course all the outings/adventures/activities that we'll be exploring.

I welcome feedback & suggestions. I hope Miss K will too, although as I write this I realize she may decide to rename her pseudonym/blogger name. We'll see. I'll choose my battles as wisely as any type A, working mother can and hope that the rest will fall into place with a lot of time on my knees praying. I still think that's the best any of us can do. Do you agree?

Until the next time (not too long),
The Kids Activity Queen