Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Two Family-Friendly Restaurants near the Houston Heights

Last weekend, we checked out two really good restaurants that I'm excited to blog about. First, we visited Cedar Creek Cafe on w. 20th St. in the Heights. It's a brother restaurant to Dry Creek and Onion Creek but we felt really t home at Cedar Creek and so did my daughter. My burger was delicious and I loved the laid back, comfortable feeling at 11:30 am on a Saturday. A few families had their kiddos in this cafe that turns into a bar at night. I was not worried. Little K gobbled up the fruit dish and then played inside. The crowd didn't seem to mind her giggles as her father tickled her.
We sat inside since it was cool outside. Despite the comfy, at-home chairs, we look forward to returning when spring is in the warm air. My husband said the place reminded him of a grown-up version of our favorite college bar. It's as if we got older and opened this place. Well, someone else did.
There are loads of seats outside and a couple of guys were putting together a deck. Several flat screen TVs deck the environment so it's great for catching a game. How about a lil' Astros? Plus, the water fountain outside drew my daughter's attention. And the service was impeccable and friendly. A big thumbs up for Cedar Creek. So glad this is less than 5 minutes from my house. I'm likely to become a regular.
Sunday night, we were starving after running errands at Target off I-10 and Taylor. We stopped by Panda Express and fell in love. Good call on eating there. Little K's noodles were everywhere, but she ate most of them. Plus, the convenient kids meal was a welcome treat with a choice of one entree, one side, a cookie (ah! it had peanuts so we donated it back!) and a drink.
Trent & I loved the quick Chinese food with fresh vegetables and of course the fortune cookies that tapped off the night. Want to know my fortune? "You will spend many eyars in comfort and material wealth." My husand's response: "I'm sticking with you." Ha! Fortune or no fortune, we'll be sure to return to this tasty, fast-food eatery.

Until the next nap time...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Funny Things Kids Say

Little K says the funniest things. From "blue bottoms" (bluebonnets) to "bench toast" (French toast), I get a good laugh in here & there. Like the time she told my dad that it's bad to smoke cigarettes (of course it is). My father was not amused. Fast-forward a few weeks later when Little K sees a stranger smoking while we're on the way home from nursery school.

"It's bad to smoke," Little K said pointing at the man. "People shouldn't do that."
"No, they shouldn't. You're right," I reply, pausing to see what else she'd say.
"Except PaPa," my daughter said. "He can do whatever he wants."

Or how about this one?

My husband Trent just entered his restroom and shut the door behind him. Little K followed and tried entering the door. She just HAD to tell her daddy something RIGHT THEN. Luckily for all involved, the door was locked.

"Let me in!" Little K shouted, teasing her father as she banged on the door.

"No, I'm going to the bathroom," her daddy responds.

"Then, I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your door in!" Little K replied, mimicing the tale of "The 3 Little Pigs."

While she huffed and puffed, I howled. I just hope I'll remember this stuff when she's older. That Little K is quick on her feet. How about your kids?

Until the next nap time...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bluebonnet Time in Texas

Last week, while I was at a business meeting, my colleagues guided a newcomer to Texas on the way things are done around here. This woman didn't know what a bluebonnet was so everyone described them carefully.

Once the transplant finally realized she'd seen bluebonnets along the roadside, the team explained that she needed to schedule a photo shoot (formal or informal) of her daughter in the bluebonnets. The Yankee just didn't understand why these southern kicks would take photos in these blue flowers, although she questioned the practice politely.

"They're the state flower of Texas," one woman said. "You have to take photos of your kid in the bluebonnets."

Who knows if the transplant did or will, but we did. My parents took Little K to Navasota last weekend to the family ranch. The bluebonnets -- or bluebottoms as Little K calls them -- were in full bloom, reaching for the sky before the weather gets too hot and withers them away. Dressed in white, my daughter picked me a handful. (She can pick the state flower on private property.) Now we have a beautiful bouquet of bluebonnets on our kitchen table, welcoming spring.

The only thing better would be these photos framed. How picturesque!

If you're looking for bluebonnets that are a bit closer to Houston, head to Loop 610 North and TC Jester east. Park at the Boys Scouts of America building and walk across TC Jester to the bayou. Enjoy the walking trail and snap plenty of photos of your family in the bluebonnets, right in the middle of Houston. Much easier.

Until the next nap time...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Gone to the Dog

Sorry I've been a bit absent on the blog. I refuse to put it on my To Do list in hopes of keeping the blog fun and something I look forward to.

This month has been a busy one with rodeo in full season. Luckily, it seems Little K will remember it this year. The purchase of her pink cowGIRL hat is a good reminder.

We also purchased our first dog, as earlier reported so life at house is slowly adjusting to the animal house.
I'm the one who refused to get a dog because I didn't want yet another responsibility. In case you can't see it in the photo below, the writing on my forehead says "SUCKER". That dog is darling. Our inside cat TJ clearly reminds us that this has been a cat house for 10 years and some hyper critter has invaded. When the Ridgeback named Dutch gets a little too close to TJ, the claws come up. Puppy yelps ensue for much longer than they should but he gets the attention he wants. Little K is loving the dog and her constant companion. They play hide and seek, chase, run -- any activity that involves the puppy chasing my almost 4-year-old and nipping at her heels. It usually results in giggles so no complaints there.

Our friend Emma is no longer at our nursery school and several of us are worried that her brain tumor has returned. I've checked her mother's blog but no recent updates. How do you ask a parent how her child is doing when you know there's a long, hard road before them? I'm figuring a kind word here & there is better than nothing. I don't want to be nosey but would offer to help their family if only I knew how. Little K just tells me that today is not the day that Emma goes to school there. I don't want to alarm Little K with misinformation so I'll keep quiet on that front. I pray for Emma and her family, and hope you all will do the same. It's a quick reminder of how precious our children are.

Until the next nap time...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

One Thing You Shouldn't Do in a Recession by Trent Salch

Guest blogger: Trent Salch
So I have been told by a lot of different people that the one thing you don't want to do during a recession is add another mouth to feed. Well too late. That's right Little K is going to get a little bro. We of course are ecstatic. The adoption has gone through and we only have one more week to wait. But come Sunday we will have a little bundle of joy. He was born in Willis, Tx to a fine gal who had 8 other kids. The father really doesn't have a job other than makin' babies, so we really feel like our home will be a step up. We know that it will be hard to get him into school with such short notice but we will cross that bridge when we get there.

So take a look at the photo for your first look at 7 week old Dutch. He is a Rhodesian Ridgeback otherwise known as an African Lion Hunter. What did you think we were dumb enough to have a human baby? If he grows to his potential, he will weigh about 100 lbs. and will be the best watch dog that we could ever ask for. Papa Don, now that we have a red head, do we "get it all"?

So how did we decide on a dog? Well I have always said that I wanted one, but the time was never right and I couldn't ever find "the one." Last weekend, we went to deliver the check for Little K's swim lessons. When Megan and K opened the gate to the teacher's house, they were greeted by a very large, very interesting and friendly dog. Megan fell in love. On Monday, I did some research and found a Kennal in Willis, TX who just bread ridgebacks. We went today and picked out the last male in his current litter. We will keep posting photos of the new addition to our family.

Until the next nap time...

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Trip to the Houston Livestock Show

This afternoon, we made the trip to the Livestock Show and really had a good time. Little K loved the petting zoo, where she fed a deer, lambs, goats, and more. Her Daddy bought her a pink cowgirl hat that she happily sported. He couldn't convince her to try on boots though. Little K has decided she wants a goat for a pet. I told her to talk to PaPa. (We have 4 cats, no dog. I think the dog will be next.... definitely before a goat. Gosh, what would my neighbors think?)

We waited in line for one hour so Little K could ride the pony for $6. The company must make a killing every hour because the ride was not even 5 minutes long. But my little cowgirl loved it. In all honesty, it didn't feel like an hour because I was so busy people watching. Since we went to the Livestock Show while most people were at the Rodeo performance, the crowd was not too bad (okay, despite the long wait for the ponies!). I was really glad to do it as family. I have such fond memories of my parents and my Grandparents taking me to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo over the years. Now, it's my turn.
Next Friday night, we're returning for the rodeo and Clint Black's performance. We debated taking Little K and decided we would. While it will be a super late night for my almost 4-year-old, I figure it's a once a year occurence and she can sleep in on Saturday. I can't wait.
Little K refers to herself now as "Cowgirl K."
Until the next nap time...

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Heights Crawfish Boil for Family Fun

Looking for something fun to do today? Head to 19th Street and Ashland in the Historic Houston Heights for the annual Crawfish Boil, sponsored by the Heights Chamber of Commerce. Strategically planned in conjunction with the Heights First Saturday's shopping, the Crawfish Boil is loads of fun for families with face painting, moonwalk and crawfish races for kids. A DJ playing favorite tunes will get you moving, too. The conversation and food are memorable. Plus, you don't have to cook or clean up.

$15 gets you a heaping plate of crawfish, potatoes, and corn, and two drinks
$5 gets sausage-on-a-stick OR a hotdog, chips, and one drink

Hope to see you there Saturday noon - 4 pm! Until the next nap time...

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Winner Is... Results of the Houston Family Fun Survey

Thanks to all of you who completed the Houston Family Fun survey regarding my newsletter. A total of 94 people responded with 76 people completing all 6 questions. As promised, I drew one name from those 76 respondents to win a $25 American Express gift certificate as a token of my appreciation. The winner is...

Brigitte Hokaj!

Brigitte, I will email you to confirm your mailing address and send you the $25 gift certificate. Congratulations!

Here's a recap of the feedback you shared, that I'll be incorporating into future newsletters. If you're NOT a subscriber to this FREE email newsletter, sign up today.

Question #1: How much is the economic recession affecting your family buying decisions?
A lot: 18
Somewhat: 49
Not at all: 9

Question #2: In terms of newsletter content, do you prefer:
Suggested family activities and reviews? 67
Insightful articles on family topics quoting child experts? 3
Other: 6

Question #3: What do you like best about the Houston Family Fun newsletter?
Here's a collection of some responses:
- I get a lot of information for activities in town. it saves me time.
- Personal stories, photos, reflections about being a mother. Heart warming!
- Format, tone, down to earth quality, variety of activities and $$$$ suggested
- Variety of suggestions from free to paid and not just in one area of the city
- Easy to follow at a glance and links to where you need to go for more information
- So informative... especially since alot of times it lists specifics to the time period or holiday
- It has lots of meaningful information. It's worth my time to read.
- I like that' its emailed and gives all kinds of ideas. Advice is good also.

Question #4: What do you wish I'd change about the Houston Family Fun newseltter?
- Just an idea - timeframe suggestions - i.e. Great to do before 11 a.m., Best before 4 p.m....
- I think it is great! I loved the issue with the birthday party ideas.maybe you could add a seasonal section on where they offer different kinds of lessons for children around houston, dance, spanish,art, summer camps. ect...
- I'd love to see more ideas! Ideas on child-friendly places to eat and "kids eat free" or similar discount info
- maybe some topics about activities w/grandparents
- more activities - maybe even smaller, regional ones. Or maybe you could somehow categorize the activies into regions?
- nothing it is so wonderful and I really appreciate all your hard work!

Question #5: Do you have a copy of the book "100+ Activities for Houston Kids"?
Yes: 43
No: 32

Question #6: What else would you buy from me if only I was smart enough to offer it to you?
- Fun, simple crafts to do at home with your kids - if not in a book, you could start by doing one craft per newsletter and have it be adjustable to work with a toddler through preschool age child.
- Activity kits for rainy days
- I think your suggestions on family friendly restaurants has been fantastic, maybe something along those lines? You have been a blessing to our family. We have had so much fun as a family each month. We had a bunny buddies party at the Nature Discovery Center after visiting as a result of one of your newsletters, it was a BIG hit! Our 4 year old daughter and friends had a ball! Oh, how about including some places in the community that you and your child could help out by volunteering in some way.
- discounted memberships or tickets to museums and other area places and events * social networking for families in the various areas or neighborhoods of Houston looking for children of similar ages for play time * ways to connect with babysitters in a neighborhood or area of town (I just read of a group in Tampa, Florida - http://www.sittersoirees.com/)
maybe a zip-specific thing so that even small, random events could be included and would be convenient?

With so much wonderful feedback, I need to get busy researching & writing. Thanks to each of you for taking time to give me feedback. Please post comments to this blog or email me any time.

Until the next nap time...