Wednesday, February 28, 2007

March Means Crawfish Boil

Are you looking for something fun to do this weekend with your family? Join the Kids Activity Queen at the 4th Annual Crawfish Boil, sponsored by the Heights Chamber of Commerce.

When: Noon – 4 pm on Saturday, March 3, 2007

Where: Under the huge tent at the corner of West 19th St. & Ashland in the Sterling Bank parking lot. This is a “Rain or Shine” event but the weather forecast looks promising. The Houston Weather Forecast on Yahoo predicts partly cloudy with a high of 68° and a low of 42°. Cross your fingers!

What's family-friendly about this event? There will be a Live Band, Moonwalk for the children, Face painting, Silent Auction, Great Food, Raffle for Door Prizes, and lots of Fun for the entire family! This is a great way to welcome spring. Hope to see you all there.

Until the next nap time...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Family Trip to Austin

Last weekend, we took a family trip to Austin and had a great time. Little K loved running outside at the Capitol. Once inside the building, Daddy explained a bit of history, which honestly went right over our "almost 2" year old's head but it was worth a shot. Our toddler did enjoy looking at the ceiling of the Capitol because of the star it holds. Spinning around with Daddy while looking at the star was also fun.

If you're looking for a quick trip this Spring Break, head to Austin. There are several inexpensive hotels that are kid-friendly. Just make sure you have room for the little ones to run. A meal at El Arroyo will really top off the trip.

Until the next nap time...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

All Aboard! New Hours for Houston Trains & Dr Pepper Plant

Here's an update to my book 100+ Activities for Houston Kids. The free train rides are a big hit for kids and parents. HALS train rides open in March and will have longer hours to fit your families' needs. YEAH! Since this event is only once a month, March - November, mark your calendars now for a great train expedition. Here's the HALS schedule.

Saturday, March 17, 9 am - 3 pm
Saturday, April 21, 9 am - 3 pm
Saturday, May 19, 9 am - 3 pm
Saturday, June 16, 9 am - 1 pm
Saturday, July 21, 9 am - 1 pm
Saturday, August 18, 9 am - 1 pm
Saturday, Sept 15, 9 am - 1 pm
Saturday, Oct. 20, 9 am - 3 pm
Saturday, Nov. 17, 9 am - 3 pm

Admission to the park and train rides are free. For more information, please visit Thanks to Diane S. for keeping us updated!

Another update: I'm sad to report that the Dr Pepper Plant in Houston is no longer giving tours. Ugh. (See page 57 in 100+ Activities for Houston Kids.) This was one of my favorites because I love this bubbly drink. If "You're a Pepper" like me, consider a visit to the Dr Pepper Museum in Waco, TX... maybe on the way to Austin. This would be a fun Spring Break or summer trip. Speaking of which, if you haven't purchased your copy of my book, order yours today and get the whole family excited about Spring Break and summer vacation time.

Until the next nap time...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Peanuts, It Is

We got the test results back on the peanut allergy testing today. On a scale of 0 being no allergy and a 6 being fatally allergic to peanuts, Little K is a high 3, almost a 4. (She has 15.2 units per litre of the histamine in her blood stream. Scale/rating 3 only goes up to 17 units.) Our allergy doctor recommends having Benadryl strips on hand in case of an episode. He actually does not recommend EpiPens on young children because it's extremely rare that a young child goes into shock and needs an EpiPen. That is more common in teens. Plus, according to our doctor, an EpiPen only stays in a person's system for 20 minutes -- enough time to get to a doctor. Benadryl stays in the system longer and, in my humble opinion, is easier to administer. The emergency room also administers Benadryl upon the first signs of an allergic reaction. We'll need to have Kylie tested each year at Texas Children's Hospital to monitor the severity of her allergy because that can increase or decrease year after year. In the mean time, I should probably invest in McNEIL-PPC, Inc. (the maker of Benadryl) stock.

So in short, the news could be better, but it definitely could be worse. I'll focus my attention on the good and do what I can to keep Little K away from peanuts. Is the glass half full or half empty? It's not full of peanuts, that's for sure! I'll say half full.

Until the next nap time...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Parents' Balancing Act

Being a mom is no easy chore. We all want our children to lead fulfilling lives. Finding ways to nurture their talents, help them become independent and find some sort of spirituality is tough. Don't forget feedings, bathings & good snuggling. When you throw into the mix the thought of working a full-time "out of the home" job, it just gets tougher.

I work three, very full days each week, plus some nights & weekends. I've just decided to extend Little K's nursery school day to later in the day so I can complete more work. Is this the best choice, I wonder. My friend Ashley has reminded me that this, too, can take an adjustment for all family members but in the end, I have to make the best decision for my daughter. Luckily, we've found a nursery school that Little K thrives in. Still, I love being with her, watching her learn from so many new experiences and I'd hate to miss those. For now, we'll focus on the time we have together and ensure it's quality time. I recognize that so many parents struggle with a similar dilemma and we all make the best decisions we can. When my daughter grows up, I want her to feel whole, to know she is loved and be confident in her talents and abilities. Even mommies & daddies need to feel good about these things. How do you manage it as a parent?

Until the next nap time...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Mardi Gras Parades for Kids

Pack up those Valentine decorations & roll out the purple, green & gold! It's time for Mardi Gras! YES, Galveston offers a family-friendly environment. My daughter loved it last year at almost a year old so we're heading back to the Island this weekend. So what are the best Mardi Gras activities?

High school kids and older will enjoy the festivities going on Saturday during the day. Catch beads, cups and more Mardi Gras treats. Live music fills the air & there's more fattening food than any carnival in the Galveston 2007 . Advance tickets are available at or $20 at the gate. Tickets required Noon-midnight.

Unless your kids are in college or older, I suggest they head home before the night parades -- only because there is a lot of drinking.

For your younger crowd:
Sun, 2/18/07 at 1 pm: The Krewe of Barkus and Meoux Mardi Gras Parade (Parade of the Animals) is purrrfect. Families can bring all types of pets from cats and dogs to ferrets and iguanas. The parade route runs along 25th Street from Avenue M to Santa Fe Place.

Sun, 2/18/07 at 2 pm: The Mardi Gras Children’s Parade follows the same route as the Parade of the Animals and is a great follow-up for kids. It includes familiar cartoon animals and giveaways ranging from beads to stuffed animals and kid-sized cups.

On Sunday, there's FREE Admission! Let the good times roll!

Until the next nap time...

Monday, February 12, 2007

Happy Valentine Week, Houston!

Well, the weather is soggy & cool, but it's bound to be a great week for Valentines. We've really been enjoying our Valentine activities throughout the month from making our own Valentine cards to baking cookies to eating heart-shaped sandwiches. (At left, Little K is dressed for Valentines as she hugs her Valentine pig. She loves the kissing Valentine pigs from Hallmark!)

In the busyness of a parent's day, I've actually been able to remember what February 14 is about. And after Wednesday, Little K & I will be putting away the Valentine decorations (to make room for Mardi Gras ones!) but plan to keep our focus on being extra nice to each other. Gosh, even Daddy is liking this new project. I hope your Valentine week is lovely... and less stressful than usual.

If you haven't picked up your copy of the book 100+ Activities for Houston Kids, I hope you'll join me at one of these upcoming events. And subscribe to my FREE eNewsletter for fun ideas and updates for your Houston family.

  • 6:30-8 pm on Friday, Feb. 16 Barnes & Noble Sugar Land
  • Monday, Feb. 19 at the Catholic Librarians' Meeting at John Paul II Catholic School
  • 10-11:30 am on Wednesday, Feb. 21 at the MOPS meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church
  • 9 am - 1 pm on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at the Baylor Family Fair on the McGovern Campus
  • 9-11 am on Friday, March 2 at Barnes & Noble Town & Country
  • 10 am - noon on Saturday, March 3 at Barnes & Noble Champions Village
Until the next nap time...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

How Does Your Child Receive Love?

Considering Valentine's Day is just around the corner, I've been thinking a lot about how to show my daughter that I love her. I heard a speaker say earlier this week that "kids receive love so readily when they're relaxing and playing." Hmm. Interesting.

The speaker explained that as parents we need to show our kids that we love them by playing with them in the ways they're most receptive. It all has to do with putting the kids first, rather than doing what might come easiest to us. For instance, this speaker told the tale of a young boy who was fascinated with baseball. Unfortunately, ol' mom didn't know squat about the sport and her son often went to bed before his favorite team, the Astros, finished their games. His mother used this an opportunity to show her love for her son, despite her lack of interest in the sport. The morning after each late Astros game, his mom got the paper and read him the article about the Astros game. Her little boy treasured his mom reading the article during breakfast before school and still felt he was caught up on his team. Reading the sports page (or part of it) gave mom and son quality time, sharing their love for each other. As the boy grew older, his interest in baseball grew and so did mom's. Today, vacations often take their family to cities with professional baseball games, which they enjoy together. Sounds fun to me.

How does your child receive love? As parents, we often try to accomplish everything on our lists from laundry to dinner to bath time. What if instead we put sharing one particular interest with each of our kids at the top of our priority list? You could check it off once a week. Thoughts? I hope to hear from you all. Your feedback is needed. Thanks!

Until the next nap time...

Monday, February 05, 2007

Is Houston's Spring Really on its Way?

So Punxsutawney Phil, the season-forecasting groundhog, did not see his shadow on Friday, indicating spring is on its way. Well, I wish it would hurry. After dropping Little K off at nursery school this morning, I had to catch up with my friend & fellow-Mom Amy. As we talked about local schools and pediatricians, I noticed our warm breath fogging in the air. IT'S JUST COLD OUTSIDE. Come on, spring! Am I the only mom who is ready for warm sunny weather, afternoon strolls through the neighborhood without coats & blankets, and gosh... how about a dip in the pool? I can't wait. I just hope Punxsutawney Phil is right.

We've got a fun but busy week planned. Between nursery school three days this week (Oh, and my job!), we have MOPS on Tuesday with a speaker on dating your husband while my daughter plays with her little friends, a trip to Texas Children's Hospital to run the food allergy test on Little K (right, that one is NOT fun), a taste test at a Heights restaurant on Wednesday with Great Grandmother, a twirl at the Vale-Asche Playground in Memorial Park with friend Milla, and a play date next Saturday with some of Mommy's friends from elementary and high school. I've got to remind myself that Sunday is for rest! But I'm looking forward to sharing tips and fun ideas with all of you. PLEASE let me know if you have any ideas, too. Thanks!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Peanuts in Regular M&Ms?

We went to the allergy specialist today to determine the course of action for my daughter's probably peanut allergy. After a brief discussion of what happened two weeks ago after touching peanut butter, Dr. Kurt Peeters agreed she probably is actually allergic. Apparently, many adults claim food allergies. "Surveys show that aboutone-third of all adults believe they have food allergies. Yet true food allergy is estimated to affect less than two percent of the population."*

Little K will have blood tests next week to confirm her probable allergy and then we'll return to Dr. Peeters office on 2/20 for the results. Yeah! In the mean time, we're avoiding peanuts and peanut products except heat extracted peanut oil, which is safe from the peanut allergen. I thought it was especially interesting to discover that regular chocolate M&Ms contain crushed peanuts in the shell. I've emailed the manufacturer to confirm but if the food allergy doctor tells me this, I'm betting he's right. Thank goodness we can still get our little (and big) hands on plenty of other chocolate! (What's life without chocolate, I say!)

Thanks for your kind thoughts & well wishes as the not-allergic-to-any-food Mom navigates the food allergy world. I'd love to hear your comments & thoughts on this topic, too, so email me or share your comments on this blog.

Until the next nap time...
* Source: "Understanding Food Allergy" by the American Academy of Allergy & Immunology