Thursday, April 23, 2009

Presentations about Book 100+ Activities for Houston Kids

So I just finished a book presentation with a moms group in Katy. What a lively bunch! I sold a good amount of copies of 100+ Activities for Houston Kids. YEAH! Many parents are getting ready for summer when kids are out of school and it's super hot so my book is a great answer/resource for Houston families with kids.

The Houston Press wrote up a promo of my book signing this Saturday, April 25 from 2-5 pm. Hope to see you there.

Until the next nap time...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Faith in Children

I thought the following information was interesting about faith and youth:

"Young people today are not angry with, or mistrustful of, organizations and institutions. They are, however, increasingly apathetic and disconnected from organizations. Spiritually, they are:
  • Believers in God, though not necessarily members of particular institutions and denominations
  • Involved in an individual spiritual journey, not the communal tradition
  • Spiritual, but not necessarily religious
The emphasis seems to be on a vertical spirituality, a 'me and God' spirituality. However, young people are open to and hungry for an experience of the holy. In an age that emphasizes 'virtual reality', young people do:
  • Desire a faith that makes a difference in their lives, provides meaning, purpose and challenge
  • Desire a genuine experience of the transcendence and power of God
  • Relate to a Jesus who understands suffering
  • Want to grow in faith together with their peers and with trusted adults
  • Believe that everything expresses the transcendent: nature, the arts, gatherings, traditional devotionals.
So, it is apparent that the question is no longer 'Will our children have faith?' They are spiritually hungry and lloking ofr a faith that makes sense, a faith that provides meaning and purpose, that works for them. Rather, the question is, 'Will our faith have children?".
While I think this info is applicable to adults, too, I wonder if a strong church and faith belief system would help kids with daily pressures as they grow up. What do you think?
Info from page 70 of Ministry through the Lens of Evangelization.
Until the next nap time...

Monday, April 20, 2009

When I Grow Up I Want to Be

Too funny. We took our puppy to the vet today for another shot. As we climbed back in the car, we somehow ended up talking about what a "woman" is. Little K announced that she did not want to be a "woman". She instead wants to "be a Mommy, with jewels and works on the computer." You go, girl. Don't forget the jewels. Where she comes up with this stuff, I don't know.

When we returned home, we took the dog for a walk. As new dog owners, we are discovering so many new things about our neighborhood. Miss Carol has four chickens in her backyard that lay eggs every morning. Little K pet one of them while Miss Carol held the chicken. Who knew? Loop 610 is a quarter mile for this house yet it's protected by a lovely garden and tree canopy. Little K is again interested in working on our garden. Perhaps she should have said she wanted to be a gardener when she grows up, rather than "work on the computer." Oh what nature can bring.

Until the next nap time...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Fun Things to Do with Kids When It Rains Outside

Many thanks to Shannon for writing in with some great low-cost ideas for kid-friendly activities around greater Houston. Below are Shannon's contributions. Hope to see you at some of these events.

Lowes Build and Grow series”. Shannon's child had a great time. It is FREE and last week, they built a birdhouse. On May 9, the project is building this cute planter for a flower pot. What a fun way to welcome spring! Lowes is promoting it as a nice gift for Mother's Day. I'd rather Little K keep it for herself and watch her plant grow.

The first 50 kids to register and be present at the store at 10 am will receive a kit, aprons and goggles. As Shannon says, "With tight wallets, this is a great way for kids to get out and do something with dad (or mom) and not spend any money."

Also, Shannon's family has loved doing the crafts on Saturdays at Lakeshore Learning. I have to agree. I love shopping for my daugther at Lakeshore Learning because its games are educationally focused, although Little K doesn't seem to notice that I'm sneaking that in. Lakeshore recommends the activties for kids age 3 and up but I think age 4 and up is better. (I know, not a big difference but a little.) This Saturday, kids will make this "Hug the Earth" globe in honor of Earth Day, which is technically Wednesday, April 22. I think this will be a creative project to get Little K thinking about recycling and caring for the planet. Plus, I need to pick up a birthday gift for a classmate so I'll likely find something at Lakeshore.

Shannon also reports that Barnes and Noble does story time during the week and on Saturdays and sometimes combines the book with a related craft as well. Check out the activities at your local Barnes & Noble for details. Shannon's family went for Valentine’s day and they had a story, craft, juice and a cupcake. Bring your family to the Barnes & Noble at Town & Country Village on Saturday, April 25 from 2-5 pm to learn more about my book and fun summer activities. I'd love to see you there!

Shannon pointed out that "Right now they even have an advertisement for “Turn off Week” April 20-26th with even more activities." I love the idea of encouraging kids (& adults) to turn off the TVs, computers and video games to do something together. Reading gets bonus points in my book. Check out Barnes & Noble's Turnoff Week page to discover which activities they'll offer in your neck of the woods.
Hope your families have a ball, despite the stormy weather in Houston. Until the next nap time...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Having a Thankful Heart

I've been so blessed lately. Isn't that nice to hear from anyone? I'm also lucky to be reminded regularly of how blessed I am. The reminders appear everywhere -- from the weekly email from Jon Gordon (author of The Energy Bus) to my women's networking group to a friend's words of wisdom. Since I've found that being thankful brings a more positive outlook to life, I'm going to try writing at least one thing I'm thankful for each day.

Today, I'm thankful for the perfect weather in Houston and for my daughter's giggles all afternoon.

What are you thankful for? How about your child? You'll be amazed and refreshed to hear what your child is thankful for. I have been.

Until the next nap time...

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Denny's Family-Friendly Promo Misses Opportunity

So I like the new Denny's promotion for today where you get a free GrandSlamwich with the purchase of a Grand Slam. Basically, it's a buy one, get one free promotion. The TV commercials are cute, ending with an encouragement to bring a cute kid into Denny's. Too bad Denny's forgot to tie this promo into the fact that this week is opening week for baseball -- America's favorite past time. Dope! Any ways, if you're interested in a late lunch today, head to Denny's. The promo is good for only today from 6 am - 2 pm. Hurry in.

Until the next nap time...

Friday, April 03, 2009

Dude, How About Going to a Dude Ranch near Houston?

Eileen wrote in yesterday asking for recommendations on family-friendly ranches or farm stays near Houston. I actually haven't been to any since my parents have their ranch but this got me thinking. What a great activity for young families!

When I was in fifth grade, I remember the middle schoolers went to MO Ranch and had a blast. I did a Google search on "dude ranch Houston" and found a few that look worthy of investigating. Get those city kids out to the country to pick fruits, vegetables and nut. See ranch animals. Experience nature. Let me know if you've experienced any of these:

1). Cielito Ranch Bed & Breakfast
  • Beautifully finished rustic style country cabins nestled between huge Texas pecan trees available for either bed and breakfast or self-catering vacation rental accommodation.
  • A swimming pool with waterfall and water sprays is available for Ranch guest use.
  • Miles of walking / riding trails through pastures and woods above the Brazos River.
  • Facilities for guests to board their horses.
  • Fishing, campfires, hayrides, long walks, barbeques and quiet relaxation.
  • Meeting / party facilities for special occasions, group meetings, birthday parties, church events or retreats
  • Pet Friendly Accommodations: Pets are welcome at our bed and breakfast and are included right into the Ranch animal family.
  • Enjoy a fall harvest of nuts in our 'pick-your-own-pecans' orchards
  • Located 40 miles west of downtown Houston near Katy and Brookshire.
  • Riding lessons by appointment.
2) Blisswood at Lehmann Legacy Ranch in Cat Spring, Texas
This working guest ranch of over 650 acres is only an hour west of Houston, Texas. Blisswood is a bed and breakfast and has a log cabin for is also an enchanting setting for outdoor weddings, private and corporate retreats and company picnics. Come and enjoy what this magical place called Blisswood has to offer!
3). Cedar Cabins in New Ulm, TX.
Enjoy a stay in any or all of our four cabins, tastefully decorated with authentic country furnishings, located on over 240 acres right in the heart of the rolling hills of Texas, 1/2 way between Houston and Austin. Come and bring your family and friends, and enjoy getting away to the country!
4). MO Ranch near Kerrville, TX.
This vacation ranch's housing ranges from modern hotel rooms, to spacious historic mansions, to rustic cabins. Located on 475 acres near Kerrville, Texas. Horseback riding, swimming, hiking and more. This is the place that Grace Presbyterian School took its middle schoolers.
5). Rivendell Ranch in West Fort Bend Area
Enjoy a country vacation less than an hour from Houston atop the highest natural spot in Fort Bend County, overlooking a pond and the San Bernard River. The ranch is a working cattle ranch, on 200 private acres, half-wooded, offering privacy, peace and tranquility.
Until the next nap time...

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Big Bite Nite is Coming to Houston Museum of Natural Science

I received the following information today and it looks pretty cool. It's the Big Bite Nite at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Unfortunately, each ticket costs $35 so it's a bit on the expensive side for most Houston families. The invitation is super cute but if you read the fine print it says "age 21 and up". Darn, no youngsters. Still, this looks like an appetizng date night for parents and other adults so you may want to treat yourself. Let me know if you go. I love a night out from my kitchen.

Big Bite Nite Is Coming!
The Houston Museum of Natural Science is starting something BIG—and you’re invited! Discover the culinary explorer inside as you taste the talents of some of Houston’s most prestigious restaurants. Delve into the cultural traditions of our diverse city with dancers and musical entertainment. Explore the intricacies of cuisine from our spotlight country: China. Experience an epic journey of world food as we highlight delicacies from across the globe in this lavish culinary affair. Sponsored by Polo’s Signature, TEXAS MONTHLY, DLG Ice Factory, Party Props, Inc. and Johnathan Andrew Sage, Inc.
Until the next nap time...

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Interviewed for Houston Chronicle Article

Good news. I was interviewed this afternoon by Amanda Orr, a freelance writer for the Houston Chronicle. She asked me about fun summer activities for kids, especially the Art Car Museum so I gave her tips like:
  • plan only 30 minutes for the Art Car Museum since it's relatively small
  • good place for families, especially working parents with young kids, since it's easy to explore in such a short time.good place for families, especially working parents with young kids, since it's easy to explore in such a short time.
  • explain to kids in advance that this is a no-touching museum. Many items that are used to decorate these silly cars are seen in every day life, we don't touch them at the museum in an effort to preserve the decorated cars.
The article should run in about 2 weeks in a Houston Chronicle supplement called "Summer Texas Family Fun" or something of that nature. Amanda said that she'll cite my book 100+ Activities for Houston Kids as well in the article. Yeah!
Until the next nap time...