Sunday, December 31, 2006

Houston's New Year's Noon Party

Happy New Year, Houston Families! We joined the fun today at the Children's Museum of Houston for its New Year's Noon party. We had a blast. Little K was not sure what to think at first, but soon she was dancing and throwing confetti with a big smile. Kids decorated their own hats, noting fun expressions like "Wishing 4 Whirled Peas" and plenty of glitter. Others arrived early to design their own parade float. A band from New Orleans got us jazzed into the celebratory mood and led the children's parade to the center of the countdown. A critter from TV station PBS joined the stage and danced around. Then, the countdown to noon began with large glittering signs being held up by the museum staff to help families count down to the New Year. A mock ball was dropped with each count until we reached zero and the sky was filled with confetti. We danced to jazz music and sang quite a bit.

Even if you missed this celebration, our family wishes you a safe & happy New Year! Until the next nap time...

Friday, December 22, 2006

Huge Christmas Tree

3 days until Christmas!!!

Holiday Fun in Houston:

The Houston Galleria at Westheimer and 610 is not only a great place to shop but is a gem of glistening treasures. Your kids will love to see the 55 foot, decorated Christmas tree in the middle of the ice rink. Santa visits with kids daily from 10 am -9 pm. If your child is old enough, give the ice rink a try. The chilly air helps bring in the holidays, too. It's busy there so hold onto your children.

Until the next nap time...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Best Mall for Santa Visit

Holiday Fun in Houston:
In case you & the kids haven't had time to visit Santa this year, here's a great time-saver. The Santa at Northwest Mall (on 610 near 290) had no line Wednesday. Plus, he's quite a jolly man! Santa starts visits at 11 am. The mall itself is pretty empty, which for once is a blessing. If you enter near the food court, you can make a bee line toward the center of the mall for a direct route to Santa.

Until the next nap time...

Christmas in the Air at Houston Ballet

5 Days until Christmas...

Holiday Fun in Houston:
The Houston Ballet presents "The Nutcracker" each holiday season and it’s another wonderful way to kick off the holidays. Children love the flying bakers, dancing sweets and snow-filled scenes. Adults can explain the story before the performance begins so youngsters understand the unfolding tale. Arrive early to be seated.
Recommended for kids 5+
Tickets begin at $22
Time: 2 pm and 7:30 pm performances

If you've found the activities posted on this blog to be useful to your family, check out the book 100+ Activities for Houston Kids, now in its second edition. It's a super aide in kicking off the New Year focused on your family without wasting time researching things to do.
Available in local book stores, Houston Invitation Service and online for only $14.95

Until the next nap time...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Afternoon Trip to Santa's Wonderland

Holiday Fun in Houston:
Nightly through 12/31/07: If your family likes looking at Christmas lights, you’ll love Santa’s Wonderland. Located in College Station, TX., you’ll need to plan this as a late afternoon into evening trip. There are literally millions of lights and themed displays that are amazing. Hayride tours are available or you can just drive through the park in your own car, tuning in to the local radio station established by the park. Tip: Head out of Houston around 3:30 pm so that you arrive in the Hempstead and Navasota around 4:30-5 pm. Stop for dinner at the Black Canyon Express Restaurant in Navasota (on the west side of Hwy. 6). This is a tasty treat and not expensive. The owner Kevin welcomes kids, too. Then, head to Santa’s Wonderland for the opening gates at 6 pm.

Physical location: From Houston, take 290 to Hempstead, then take Hwy.
6 north to College Station. Exit at Texas World Speedway. Cross over the overpass and stay on the feeder road. Travel nearly one mile. 979-690-7212

Until the next nap time...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Make Your Own Ornament

Holiday Fun in Houston:
Decorate your own tree ornament or a cookie plate for Santa at the Mad Potter. Spend a few minutes choosing an item to decorate and then take an hour or more (if you're inclined) painting your masterpiece. The store will glaze and fire these creations for pick up later in the week. Our family's kids just loved this.

Cost: $8 per child painter + $8-$16 per pottery piece

Until the next nap time...

Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas Lights in Houston

Holiday Fun in Houston:
Pack the kids and holiday treats like cookies & cocoa into the car to enjoy the Christmas lights around Houston. Two of my favorite neighborhoods are Shepherd Park Plaza and Candlelight Plaza that have holiday-themed streets. Also, check out Main Street in downtown for the marching soldiers on the sides of the buildings. The Heights also has "Lights in the Heights" display, which is fun to drive or walk through with kids in a wagon. For more details on where these displays are and additional lights around Houston, visit for a great list.

Until the next nap time...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

SuperKid Contest + Alley Takes on Dickens

Hope you like the new layout of my blog. I thought I'd make a few changes to kick off the New Year right. Well, I'm ahead of the game for once!

I want to tell you briefly about the SuperKid Contest and being part of our mission to educate about the severity of food allergies. Here's a link containing a fun quiz about food allergies: The quiz takes less than one minute and is an easy way to learn about the potential hazards of food allergies. Did you know that people who were born without any allergies can later develop them? Wow. Good to know. I hope you'll take this quick quiz to learn more and share the information with your friends. The quiz and research is provided by the company AllergyKids, founded by former Houstonian Robyn O'Brien.

Holiday Fun in Houston:
Through Wednesday, 12/27, the Alley Theatre plays Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” but with a few twists. The Alley invites families to enjoy this holiday favorite by offering 2:30 pm and 7:30 pm performances. Tickets begin at $38 each.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Santa's Hot Line Free for Houston Kids

Holiday Fun in Houston:
This really does work. If you have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews or
you're a big kid yourself, try calling the 800 phone number below to listen to Santa Claus. He is very jolly and from Dec 13th - Dec 24th, there is a new message from Santa everyday. He reminds the children to be good and thoughtful to others and he sounds authentic. Best of all for parents, it is FREE! So encourage your youngsters to pick up the phone. 800-972-6242

Until the next nap time...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Don't Forget Your Camera, Houstonians

Don't forget to take your camera on all of those holiday activities. At yearend, you can burn them all to a CD with the year written on it for safe keeping.

Until the next nap time...

Holiday Flower Fun & Cautions for Houstonians

Holiday Fun in Houston:
Holiday fun on a budget is still do-able. Ask your kiddos to help you find Christmas flowers to decorate your home or porch. Poinsettias start around $4 (larger arrangements are about $10) and add great color for the season. This also provides an easy photo opp for Christmas cards and photo frames for family members. Remarkably, poinsettias are not as dangerous for kids as they once were thought, although most experts advice watching your kids around all plants and holiday decorations.

"Poinsettias are often thought of as one of the most dangerous holiday plants, but research has found that a 50-pound child would have to eat 500 to 600 leaves to be affected," said Ward Upham, instructor of horticulture, forestry and recreation at K-State.

Closer to home, experts at Texas Children's Hospital have published a helpful tip sheet for decorating your home with children under foot. Texas Children's Hospital suggests: "Mistletoe and holly can be poisonous and poinsettias can irritate a child’s mouth and throat." The point is: put your holiday plants out of kiddos' reach or on a porch, where you're able to watch them closely. The holidays present plenty of hazards (Uncle Larry and his overpowering cologne not withstanding!) without inviting dangers for our kids.

A special thanks to the MOPS in the Heights group, which welcomed me today as a speaker. I truly appreciate your support.

Until the next nap time...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Holiday Fun in West Houston

Holiday Fun in Houston:

Wonderland in Westchase
Thursday, Dec. 14, 2006 5:30 PM
Location: Quillian Memorial Center 3663 Westcenter Drive Houston, Tx 77042

The Houston West Chamber of Commerce (HWCOC) is expecting more than 7,000 people to join us in 60,000 lbs. of snow during the holidays at Wonderland in Westchase, hosted by Westchase District, HWCOC and Quillian Recreational Center. The event is sponsored by Amegy Bank of Texas, MemberSource Credit Union, Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers and First Methodist Church with corporate support from a number of Westchase area businesses. The event features child-centered activities, including face-painting, children’s crafts, hayrides, two moonwalks, climbing wall, hay rides, petting zoo, real snow, and – of course – Santa. Mrs. Claus reads children's stories, while choirs, handbells, harpists, and dancers provide entertainment on two stages. Bring a toy or non-parishable food item to support the West Houston Assistance Ministries!

Until the next nap time...

More Holiday Fun in Houston

For the first time, I watched the TV show "Brothers & Sisters" last night. I have to applaud it for showing ways to embrace both Christmas and Hanukah in one family -- no easy chore. Perhaps more important, I found its message to adults about valuing the true meaning of the holidays (however you celebrate it) wonderful. The show emphasized faith in God, in yourself and in your family members. Watching this show was a refreshing change.

Holiday Fun in Houston:
Friday, 12/15: Holiday Lights in Hermann Park is Houston’s version of “Central Park.” The event begins at 6 pm with the lighting at the Jones Reflection Pool. Children of all ages enjoy the holiday production presented by the Hermann Park Conservancy. Then, Houston families enjoy the lights on weekends throughout the month 6-9 pm. Pack up the kids with bikes, trikes or even roller blades and put that energy to good use. This makes a nice alternative to the usual after-dinner routine. Strollers are welcome.

Until the next nap time...

Friday, December 08, 2006

Houston Holiday Celebrations

If you're looking for a fun holiday activity this weekend with the kids, I've got a few suggestions.

This Saturday, 12/9, take a drive with the family. A Candlelight Christmas is available at Washington on the Brazos State Historical Site in Washington (about an hour drive northwest of Houston). Hear stories of Christmas customs and traditions celebrated in 19th century Texas. Enjoy music, carols, buggy rides, and arts and crafts to take home. You can even decorate the historic house for the holiday. Activities in the afternoon are more geared toward kids while the evening is slightly more appropriate for adults. Light refreshments are served. If you can’t make it this weekend, head out later in December for a classic view. Our family plans to head up to Washington next weekend since we'll be attending the Symphony's "A Very Merry Pops" this weekend. (For details, see yesterday's entry.)
Adults $6; kids $4

Another option this Saturday is the Houston Symphony’s annual Christmas Family Concert. It offers holiday music and fun for youngsters with "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." The symphony offers a charming way to spend a morning as a family during the holidays. Youngsters can participate in arts and crafts before and after the children’s show. Each performance usually includes singing, dancing, costumes and a visit from Santa.
Recommended age: 4+ years;
Adults $15; Children $9;
Time: 10 am and 11:30 am performances

Until the next nap time...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Very Merry Pops in Houston

This weekend, 12/8-12/10/06, the Houston Symphony celebrates with “A Very Merry Pops,” which is a sing-along for kids of all ages. Young family members can take advantage of the matinee performances while older families can enjoy the evening productions. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the season with tunes from the Grinch to more traditional songs. Tickets begin at $28 each. This is one of our family's favorites.

Until the next nap time...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Free Christmas Plays in Houston Heights

Holiday Fun in Houston:
Friday, 12/8 from 7-8:25 pm

Two FREE shows by the AD Players -- "Apostrophe" and "Wintery Kingdom" are appropriate for all ages. The Christmas plays will be held at the Baptist Temple in the Heights near the corner of 20th Street and Yale. A reception will follow, allowing kids to meet the performers and enjoy Christmas cookies and wassail. There will be a 15 minutes intermission with a Carol Sing between shows. The total time is approximately 85 minutes.

Until the next nap time...

Snow Hits Houston for Holidays

Holiday Fun in Houston:
Snow Flurries in Houston

Attention all kids ages 10 and under! The National Weather Prediction Center has forecast a major snowstorm at the Houston Museum of Natural Science on> > Saturday, December 9, 10 am - 4 pm. Don't miss out on this year's winter wonderland as we celebrate Snow Flurry III. This year, Santa and his reindeer will deliver 80,000 pounds of real snow along with holiday wishes. Learn more at

Until the next nap time...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Dickens on the Strand for Families

12/2 – 12/3/06: Dickens on the Strand is Galveston’s return to the era of Charles Dickens and is a neat holiday activity. Families can walk the 10-block area in Galveston to see how characters from Dickens’ stories lived. Costumed vendors and performers stroll about to entertain all. Children’s activities include visiting the Royal Menagerie Petting Zoo, taking a ride on a pony and an elephant, playing in the “Snow on Sunday,“ joining in the Scrooge’s Scavenger Hunt, hearing a storyteller, participating in a Backyard Circus and joining in the Puppet Parade as well as crafts and other projects. Adult tickets are $12 at the gate. Children 7-12 are $6 at the gate. Children under 6 are free. TIP: Dress in Victorian costume to be admitted FREE.

This is a great way to spend a few hours or the day with the family focused on the holidays. 409-765-7834

Friday, December 01, 2006

'Tis the season. Yes, the Christmas season is roaring into full gear & the cold weather in Houston is a great reminder. In the spirit of the season, I promise to post more than 20 fun holiday activities throughout the month of December. Check back frequently for regular updates. Drum roll please. Here's the first Christmas activity for your family.

Holiday Fun in Houston:
Bundle up for fun for the whole family. Head to the Heights for “Holiday on 19th” tonight, Friday, 12/1 from 6-10 pm. Taste wassail. Shop for those on your list. Ride the trolley while listening to music and caroling. Grab dinner at any of the cafes and restaurants. The action takes place on 19th Street in the Historic Heights between Shepherd and Yale. Hope to see your family there, bundled up in coats and gloves but with plenty of holiday spirt.

Thanks to all of you who came to the official book launch at Barnes & Noble in West U last night. If you didn't make it but are interested in buying the new edition of my book 100+ Activities for Houston Kids, buy it online and I'll ship it straight to you. Alternatively, you can buy the new book at any of the following stores:
  • Barnes & Noble stores citywide
  • Berings (both locations)
  • Blue Willow Bookshop at Memorial & Dairy Ashford
  • Borders stores throughout Houston
  • Brazos Bookstore at 2421 Bissonnet Street
  • Houston Invitation Service at 2503 River Oaks Boulevard (across from Lamar High School).
  • Midsummer Books in Galveston
  • River Oaks Bookstore across the street from Lamar High School

Happy Holidays! Until the next nap time...