Friday, May 29, 2009

Ice Cream, Restaurant and Jump Opportunities

WHO CAN PASS UP an opportunity for free ice cream? Not me! Head to your local Wal-Mart for free ice cream this Saturday, May 30, from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Free goodies include Dibs Snack Bag, Blue Bunny Aspen Frozen Yogurt Granola Bar, and Ben & Jerry’s Flipped Out Cup. Customers will receive one free sample per customer while supplies last.

The chance that I REALLY love is Baskin-Robbins, which is offering a free soft-serve ice cream cone with its “I Serve, You Serve” promotion. If you become a member of, they’ll e-mail you a coupon for the free Baskin-Robbins cone. is a great resource for finding worthy causes that you care about and then getting involved. Especially cool is the fact that the site shares easy to understand facts about the cause of choice and little things you can do to contribute with local action. Fill out an online form at to get in on the deal. The coupon will be delivered to your inbox as part of their July 13 e-blast.

Looking for cheap things to do in Houston with or without kids? Check out, another blog focused on the inexpensive. I will guest blog there soon.

Also, Sonia wrote in with this tip that I'll have to check out. It's been years since I've gone to this restaurant but the addition of the kid area sounds great:
"Great restaurant: La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant. This restaurant sits across from Telge park. It has a lot of character (vintage cars parked out front, lots of pottery, heavy metal chairs, etc. It has the largest covered patio you have ever seen with a tunnel system for the children to play in while you enjoy your margarita. Just avoid it in mid-summer because the tunnels get hot and your children will look like they came out of a sauna. Every mom in northwest Houston loves this place after a morning playdate at Telge park."

Shannon wrote in: "I saw your post on Monkey Joe’s and wondered if you have visited: . I went for a playdate for Little F a few months ago and it was not bad. You can eat there, which is nice and it wasn’t crowded (of course it probably will be now that it is summer). Too bad it is in Sugarland." Agreed, Shannon. We live in central Houston so we're constantly looking for places that are close. I'd rather spend the money on a fun activity than gas.

Until the next nap time...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Another Inflatable Bounce Houses Coming to Houston

Just read in the Houston Business Journal that Monkey Joe's will be opening locations in west Houston, the Willowbrook area and in Humble. "Monkey Joe's caters to children ages two to 12 with giant air-filled structures, obstacle courses and developmental games. The locations also feature private party rooms with on-site party planning and concession items, as well as a parent's lounge." You got me at the parent's lounge.

I'm not sure if this place will truly be any different from those options already in Houston but when it first opens, it'll at least be clean. See you at the parents' lounge. The first location will open by the end of the year.

Until the next nap time...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Motherhood Lessons on Mother's Day

This morning at church, Fr. Clint said 90 percent of life is just showing up... even when as a mother you may need a break and want to make a run for it. How pertinent.

Every mom runs into times when it seems she could pull her hair out but instead she pulls her hair back and continues to rear her children. The job doesn't get much thanks yet we continue. Why? Here are a few of my favorite reasons to continue being a Mom and the best Mom that I can be:
  • her big brown eyes continue to look up to me. I don't want to set anything but a good example.
  • when I make her blueberry muffins on a week crazed with meetings and the swine flu, she smiles and appreciates it.
  • I can do small things and she notices.
  • My mom would have done it. I had a great example to follow.
  • It can actually relieve my stress to cook with Little K and watch her stir the pot or finish a puzzle or go for a walk. Taking time out to focus just on her reminds me of the simple things in life that bring joy.
While my list could go on and on, I'm sure each of you also have your own list swimming in your heads. Good. I also know there are days when I need to look back at this list. At least now I knwo where to find it.
Fr. Clint also retold a story about when he was in seminary and attended a Q&A with the bishop. When Fr. Clint asked what the bishop thought about priest burnout, the bishop responded that he didn't believe it was possible. "To burn out, you must first be on fire," he said. Our congregation laughed and I did, too, but I thought of the fire differently.
Is your parenting spirit on fire? Alive and visible for all to see, including those little feet behind you? I want to be someone who is obviously so happy to be a parent, that others don't have to ask. They will know I am thrilled by the way I look and act. Don't get me wrong, I know there are those challenging days. When I need a boost of fresh air, I'll remind myself of the reasons I continue to nurture my child and why motherhood really matters. I have an impact.
The sermon this morning also reminded me how important it is to stay connected to others as a way to avoid burnout and stay charged. From parenting groups to volunteering through Church and talking to a friend or family member, when we feel connected to another group, we feel supported. I have found that the connections that I have made in my community and in Little K's school have been so positive. We share our child-rearing experiences and work challenges but walk away knowing that most other parents are facing similar obstacles. Together, we can try again tomorrow and know that a spare spit rag or party costume is just a call away.
Even if I am a bit lost from time to time, or frustrated by the sassy young girl that I call daughter, I will show up and I will be on fire. See you there.
Until the next nap time...

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Bring Mom to the Art Car Parade this Saturday

Looking for something fun this weekend in Houston? No matter what your age, you can celebrate warmer months at the annual Art Car Parade this Saturday, May 9.
The parade differentiates itself by combining participants with classic cars as well as funky art mobiles. I love the clever ideas that drive down the street. I've included here some photos from last year's event to give you a good idea of what to expect.
The parade starts at 1 pm on Allen Parkway. I suggest parking near Taft and walking over to Allen Parkway. Pack your patience because this parade gets a good turnout so parking can be a struggle. The parade starts at Allen Parkway and Taft, heads east into downtown and then turns around to come back down the other side of Allen Parkway. You can sit in the median to catch both sides of the parade, which lasts 1-1.5 hours.

Bring chairs unless you don't mind sitting on a curb for an hour. If you're bringing the kids, I recommend a wagon so you can pull the kids and they have a comfortable seat. You can bring your own refreshments but also buy them there. Dress in cool clothing because it is usually really hot. Sporting a hat and sunscreen is advisable.

The post-parade party is also a lot of fun. Many of the participating vehicles remain in the area so you can get a close-up peek at the artful creations and talk to the artists behind the wheels.
Last night, my husband reminded me that one year we were pleasantly surprised to see a friend in the parade, dressed up in a Wonder Woman costume & pulling it off. It was hillarious.

Don't forget that the bayou borders Allen Parkway, offering a nice green hill for families to picnic on or ride boxes down. Mosquito repellant may be needed but the day offers a ton of fun.
Until the next nap time...

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

From the Kentucky Derby to College Scholarships

We had a FABULOUS time at the Kentucky Derby party last Saturday in Dallas. Thank you, Karin! I was amazed at how kid-friendly it was. While the rain pushed the ponies home early, inside Little K was thrilled with the photo booth. I'm not kidding. She loved crawling in there by herself or with anyone who'd join her to take a series of photos. She took about 20 pages of photos. No joke! Our hostess also had toy ponies galore for the youngsters while the adults waged their bets and cheered for the thoroughbreds. It was too fun.

Not to change the subject but... where do you get your inspiration? Yesterday, I interviewed four high school students from Booker T. Washington and Lutheran High North, who were competing for college scholarships granted by the Heights Chamber of Commerce. I was so moved by what adversities these children have faced and yet continue to set their sights quite high. It was also evident to me how important family support and encouragement were to these students. All but one student had encouragement from home to pursue a college education. And the one who seemed to lack that support ... found in amongst her friends, so I'd say she was the most ambitious of them all. You go, girl!

It's graduation time for many students. What inspiration can you gleen from them?

Until the next nap time...

Friday, May 01, 2009

Darling, Which Hat Should I Wear to the Kentucky Derby?

Did you know that the Kentucky Derby is this Saturday? We can't wait!
Wednesday night, we officially began getting ready for the Kentucky Derby. I've always had a passion for horses. While I no longer own a horse, I love a good race.
We went to the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Houston to visit my in-laws, Cici and Popi, who were technically visiting MD Anderson for a CTScan for Popi. You wouldn't have known it that night.
Cici offered to lend us hats for the Kentucky Derby party we're attending Saturday. In preparation, Little K and Cici put on a fabulous hat modeling show. It was a huge hit.

Little K looks so cute in each hat that I don't know that Aunt Susu or I will be able to wear one for long.
And yes, she is modeling the hats in her PJs. It was getting late but who could resist the "Hat Show with Cici" and the fabulous Salch audience? Not me.
Until the next nap time...