Thursday, May 31, 2007

Free Summer Movies in Houston

When school's out, kids around the country come to selected Regal Entertainment Group theatres for our Free Family Film Festival. It's a fun-filled nine weeks of movies for kids and their parents.

Selected G & PG movies start at 10 am each Tuesday and Wednesday during the festival. First-come, first-served seating is limited to theatre capacity. The Free Family Film Festival is safe, lots of fun and a great way for kids to spend a weekday morning in the summer.

WHERE: Marq*E Stadium 23 & IMAX is located at 7600 Katy FreewayHouston ,TX 77024
  • 06/05-06/06 Curious George (G) and Unaccompanied Minors (PG)
  • 06/12-06/13 Doogal (G) and Ant Bully (PG)
  • 06/19-06/20 Charlotte's Web (G) and Barnyard (PG)
  • 06/26-06/27 Everyone's Hero (G) and Arthur And The Invisibles (PG)
  • 07/03-07/04 Clifford's Really Big Movie (G) and Flushed Away (PG)
  • 07/10-07/11 Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit (G) and Happy Feet (PG)
  • 7/17-07/18 March Of The Penguins (G) and Open Season (PG)
  • 07/24-07/25 Rugrats: The Movie (G) and Over The Hedge (PG)
  • 07/31-08/01 Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (G) and RV (PG)
Until the next nap time...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Summer Celebration in the Heights

Summer Celebration for kids and families will take place this Saturday, 6/2/07 from 11 am -3 pm. The Houston Zoo Mobile will be there with bio facts such as furs and skulls, interactive activities and small live animals. The Northwest YMCA will have info on their summer programs & camps as well as demonstrations on Stroller Fit, Roaming Rompers and Kid Fit classes. Prudential Financial will be on hand offering a complimentary child ID cards that parents can use to record important information such as fingerprints, photos, and physical description. Maui Wowi will offer its delicious Hawaiian smoothies. And you guessed it: the Kids Activity Queen will speak at noon about her book 100+ Activities for Houston Kids and will be selling her latest book.

There will be loads of other fun activities (moonwalk & dancing), games and refreshments. Hope to see you there! The center of the action will be Grace United Methodist Church located at 1245 Heights Blvd. For more information, visit

Until the next nap time...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend: Boon or Bust

What exactly is it that causes you to eat way too many goldfish crackers just before you have to squeeze into a bathing suit for Memorial Day weekend? I haven't found the right excuse, although I nearly found the bottom of the cracker box. Ugh.

The weather is dreary and the traffic will be nasty since everyone wants to get out of town early... before everyone else. It took my dad an hour to get from Bunker Hill to I45 and Crosstimbers today. That's insane. My dad likened it to the madhouse on Hwy 290 during the Hurricane evacuation. Boy, I can't wait to get in the car, in the traffic, while Dora and Elmo play from the DVD player. It seems I'm on a bit of a negative roll.

I am looking forward to the long holiday weekend, although I might buy a MooMoo to wear. Maybe my dad still has his "sans a belt" pants that I could use. Ha! Honestly, I think holidays like Memorial Day and Veterans Day are really important to honor. Each day, I pray for our soldiers protecting us and I am regularly reminded of the sacrifices my maternal grandparents made in the Marines during WWII. In fact, I asked my PaPa to share his thoughts on Memorial Day and asked him for insight on what to post here. PaPa is a fiesty Marine. (Once a Marine, always a Marine!) but he shares his thoughts here:

"Memorial day used to be a day when people decorated the graves of their kin, military or not.
I assume that practice continues today but I have not been a party to it. Gram grew up in that environment as her parents were pillars of the American Legion. I really think Aunt Mitt, (my mother-in-law) was more interested in the partying after the parade and ALWAYS bringing home the left over baloney and cheese. I got burned out of their activities early into the marriage as I grew sick of hearing "war stories" from veterans who didn't know and/or didn't really engage in combat.

I fully appreciate that it takes one helluva back up for each front line fighter but combat bragging rites are not earned by the rear echelon forces.

If it's not too late for your blog, I'd suggest a word of praise for our domestic services like the nurse on duty in the ER to take care of that holiday accident; the trooper on the interstate tending a broken body when he too would rather be home with his kids; etc., etc."

I hope you use this holiday weekend to think about the freedoms we have because others sacrificed and continue to sacrifice their freedoms for us. Have a safe & happy Memorial Day weekend... wherever & however you honor it.

Until the next nap time...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Travel Tips for Youngsters

I love gum. I chew it all the time. I especially like the Eclipse Big E Packs made to slide right into your cup holder in the car. What's extra cool? Once you've finally chewed through all that gum, you actually have the perfect container for kids' snacks.

1) It fits into their cup holders, too.
2) There are two openings on these containers. One lets folks poor out the snacks into little hands. (Think Cheerios.) The other opening actually lifts up & open so that little hands can reach inside. (Think candy.)
3) The lids stay attached so you don't ever lose them.
4) The containers are plastic so your kids won't break them (well, unless he's a member of The Incredibles... Carson, that means you!)
5) The container came with a big pack of gum so who cares if you only use it on one car trip.

Hope this tip helps you. I love it. I now have Little K's container & another one full of gum for our Memorial Day drive. Ahhh..... Come on weekend!

Until the next nap time...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Parents' Sacrifices Offer Solid Ground for Kids, Adults

Mommy is heading to Dallas this weekend to catch up with my college girlfriends and help in one of the gal's wedding plans. Daddy is spending the weekend with Little K and some help from my in-laws. I wish I had extra hands during the week but don't get me started.

I've been reading this amazing book called Keeping the Faith: How Applying Spiritual Purpose to Your Work Can Lead to Extraordinary Success by Ana Mollinedo Mims. It's really good & not preachy. The author immigrated to the U.S. with her parents from Cuba when she was a young child. This and her family's experience of paving its way has opened my eyes to a lot. Take, for instance, some of the sacrifices her father made.

"I look back at my father.

I saw him put on a uniform every morning and drive a meat delivery truck: sides of beef, sometimes a whole cow. At night, he washed dishes at the pizza place down the street. He moved his way up the ranks at the meatpacking company and went from a blue-collar to a white-collar job as a salesperson in the same organization, with a company car and customers to visit. Now retired, he still works a part-time job in the meatpacking buisness, a business he's been in for almost forty years. Everybody is South Florida knows him -- restaurant owners, supermarket owners, and small bodega owners. Some of them have known him from when he was wearing a uniform with his first name on it, driving the truck and hauling beef, to when he would walk in wearing a suit and tie as a salesperson.

I remember the times that I was hitting a softball or kicking a soccer ball. My father would be in the stands, wearing a dress shirt and tie, somtimes the only father around at 5:30 pm on a work night. He rarely missed a game. It wasn't until I was in the workplace and watched so many of my male colleagues work late hours that I realized the price my father must have paid in terms of promotions and raises for leaving "on time" to watch us play sports. It wasn't until I became an adult with the similar choices that I realized the choice my father made every day and every week in favor of being there for us.

That was a large part of his legacy to me... More importantly, he showed me that once you become a parent, you must constantly make significant choices in favor of those who come behind you."

Makes me wonder why I'm still typing instead of picking up Little K early from school on a gorgeous Friday & doing something fun. Oh yeah. I'm heading to Dallas shortly so scratch that. Well, I'll make up for it. The longer I'm a parent, the more I realize my daughter will remember snuggling in her bed, building tents in the family room, and hearing me cheer for her. I don't want to give her the option of remembering Mommy working forever behind the computer. I remember my own Mom & Dad being there for me when it really mattered. And today, they are still there for me. What a profound effect that can have on a person... well into adulthood.

Until the next nap time...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Acting Out Character, Values

In addition to being a mom and promoting my book 100+ Activities for Houston Kids, I also run a marketing & writing firm in town. This morning, I met with a prospective client about an exciting new project. In short, my company would handle the marketing for a start-up company that will focus on developing character and values in middle school & high school students. Cool, huh? We'd launch a Web site targeting these kids and their schools to motivate them to give back to the community and do small "random acts of kindness" on a weekly basis like opening a door for someone. I'm excited about the project -- whether or not we win the project.

It reminded me how important it is show our children the importance of strong values. My priority values include:
- a strong relationship with God, including participating at church weekly but not just that
- honesty
- being supportive & reliable to family members.
Unfortunately, we all get caught up in the day to day routine that we often forget to find ways to show our kids our values and how they, too, can act with character. This week, I'm going to focus on this and see how we do and how we feel at the end of the week. YOU can keep me honest & diligent.

Until the next nap time...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day: Thanks for All You've Got

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! I've had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend & there's still more to come. Little K & I enjoyed a "party" yesterday just for us with a trip to the Galleria to buy her a pair of short, a ride up the escalator while singing aloud, dinner of pizza and fruit and lots of laughs. Saturday night, Trent & I stayed home to enjoy sushi, wine and lots of conversation. Ahh.... it was peaceful. Sunday morning found us at church and soon we'll be off to visit Grandmother and my mom (& crew) for a late lunch/early dinner at Perry's Restaurant. It's been a jam-packed weekend but really enjoyable. Thanks to my husband who made it so. As the musician Sheryl Crow says, "It's not having what you want. It's wanting what you've got!"

Before I was a Mom...
I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.
Before I was a Mom-I had never been: Puked on. Pooped on. Chewed on. Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts. I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put them down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom - I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom - I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache, the wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much, before I was a Mom.

Happy Mother's Day to you all! Until the next nap time...

Monday, May 07, 2007

Potty Training a Princess

Potty-training just stinks... literally & figuratively. I've tried not to pressure Little K since I know she'll get the hang of it before she goes to college but earlier efforts would really be appreciated. For now, she alerts me to the fact that she needs to go... right after she went. As we rush to change her diaper, Little K insists that she sit on her potty. Why? I'm not sure but at least she's working on it. Oh well. If you have tips on potty training, PLEASE POST THEM HERE.

In the mean time, I have photos of her like this one. One day, she'll be mortified but now she thinks this photo is stellar. Princess Potty, I call it. Ten years ago, who would have thought my interests would be focused on this cutie?

Until the next nap time...

Friday, May 04, 2007

Weekends with the Kids Bring Fun, Relaxation

With all the rain we've had this week, we're hoping the weekend brings sunshine. Get out & stretch your legs at the Heights First Saturday event. This is a relaxing way to spend your Saturday afternoon. Stroll through the Heights shops, stop for a bite to eat, visit an art gallery or two and take a ride on the trolley. I'll be working at the Olive Anne store on 19th Street (near Yale St.) on Saturday from 2-4 pm. This shop has wonderful gifts for young kids from puzzles to dinosaurs to dress-up kits and more. Stop by to stock up on some inexpensive childrens' gifts (I keep a few gifts on hand for those b-day parties that sneak up on me!) and pick up a copy of my book 100+ Activities for Houston Kids.

Mark your calendars for really cool events. On May 12 and May 26, Get ready for Movies in the Park. Grab a blanket, pack a picnic dinner (no alchohol) and head out for a night under the stars. Time Warner Cable and the Houston Downtown Alliance host the Movies in the Park. The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie plays on Saturday, May 12 and The Sandlot plays on Saturday, May 26. Concessions open at 6 pm. Pre-movie entertainment starts at 7 pm. And the movies roll at 8 pm. This is definitely something I want our family to check out but Little K may be too young. It's held at Sesquicentennial Park in downtown Houston (at the corner of Smith & Preston).

Thursday, May 31 6:30-9:30 pm head out to Nights on Blue Bayou, celebrating the Blue Moon. The FREE evening will include stargazing, boat rides, storytelling, astrology reading and more along the Sabine Promenade. The Houston Museum of Natural Science’s Discovery Dome will be on hand as well as bayou boat rides. Plus, at 7 pm, the students from the Academy at Theatre Under The Stars’ (TUTS) Humphreys School of Musical Theatre will perform a number from its upcoming production of Schoolhouse Rock LIVE! Jr. Based on the Emmy-winning television series, the Academy’s production of Schoolhouse Rock LIVE! Jr. features memorable rock tunes including “Conjunction Junction,” “A Noun is a Person, Place or Thing” and “Interplanet Janet.” Hey, parents, don't you remember singing to these tunes as a kid? Now, your kiddos can do it too. (Juli, I know you remember this!)

Mark those calendars! Until the next nap time...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Exciting Events in Houston

Finally, a ponytail! This mommy has waited 2 years to put her daughter's hair in a full-fledged pony tail & yesterday, we finally did it. Little K was convinced she looked like a movie star and showed her friends at nursery school her new hair-do. My husband & I marveled at how much Little K has grown -- not just her hair but her awareness, her charm and her temperment. It's just another reminder of how quickly they grow.

We're also excited about the new Winnie the Pooh show that will begin Saturday, May 12 on the Disney Channel. "My Friends Tigger & Pooh" is sure to bring back fond memories from my own childhood but Little K has been eagerly awaiting the show. Perhaps our family will have a small Winnie the Pooh party that morning to celebrate. I love how the old shows seemed to weave in a positive lesson. Hope the new edition does, too.

For our friends in the Cypress area, get ready for the grand opening of the Learning Express Store this weekend with plenty of fun activities. Learning Express will open its doors at the Cy-Fair Town Center on Friday, May 4, and continue its grand opening festivities on Saturday and Sunday, May 5-6. To kick off the Learning Express experience, the store is celebrating with various events including a 20 percent storewide discount. Activities include:

Friday, May 4
10:30 am – 12:30 pm: Balloons with Pady Cake the Clown
3–5 pm: Harmony the Clown with Abby the Monkey & Face Painting
All day: Popcorn, balloons, and slushies! Raffles every hour!

Saturday, May 5
10 am – Noon: Dora the Explorer
10:30 am – 12:30 pm: Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department presents “Stop, Drop & Roll”
11:30 am – 1:30 pm: Spiderman
2–4 pm: Face Painter
3–5 pm: Dora the Explorer
All day: Free popcorn, balloons, and slushies! Raffles every hour! Nemo moonbounce (weather permitting)!

Sunday, May 6
Noon – 3 pm: Balloons with Pady Cake the Clown
1–3 pm: Elmo
All day: Free popcorn, balloons, and slushies! Raffles every hour! Elmo moonbounce (weather permitting)!

Until the next nap time...