Monday, January 30, 2012

New Amusement Park to Open in Galveston May 28, 2012

KHOU Channel 11 are reporting that Tilman Fertitta and Landry's have already broken ground on a new amusement park for families in Galveston and beyond. "Pleasure Pier" as it will be called will take the place of the old Flagship Hotel, which long-time Galvestonians, Houstonians and many more likely remember. The new project is set to open Memorial Day weekend, which is May 28, 2012. 

It brings back the lessons that many of us read about in history class years ago. Galveston once was an entertainment epicenter but all that changed with Hurricane Carla in 1961.

Ushering in a new era for the coastal island, the new park will include a 100-foot tall ferris wheel, a 36-foot double-decker carousel, a 200-foot tall swing (considered the highest ride in Texas), a Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant, a shopping center and much more. With Astroworld long gone, this looks like a fun place to spend the day or weekend. Come on summer!

Until the next nap time...

Ancient Treasures Family Day and Kids Flick A Night at the Museum

On Sunday, Feb. 5 from 1-4 pm, you can immerse your family in ancient treasures from Greece, Rome, and Egypt!

Create your own clay pot inspired by amazing works of art from ancient Greece, explore Egyptian art at a hands-on Gallery Cart, discover Greek myths at Storytime, and sketch works of art in the MFAH Antiquities collection. Plus, at 2:30 p.m., the Reel Kids Film Night at the Museum starring Ben Stiller will delight families as the past comes to life! Check out the video clip on the museum's web site to see if your child would enjoy this flick.

All activities are FREE with general museum admission. Click here for more information.

Until the next nap time...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

National Pancake Day: Feb. 28, 2012

IHOP is helping Houston families (& beyond) celebrate National Pancake Day.

On Tuesday, February 28, head to any local IHOP restaurant to enjoy a free stack of pancakes. In exchange, IHOP hopes you'll leave a donation to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. It's just one way that IHOP is supporting charities where it does business. Another upside is your family gets a belly full of yum.I'm hoping to take my daughter for breakfast out before school for an extra special treat. Pass the syrup please.

Find an IHOP near you by visiting 

Until the next nap time...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

5 Self-Esteem Boosters for Kids

I'd like to re-post these parenting tips from the Real Age newsletter. While these tips aren't groundbreaking, it's good for parents to have a gentle reminder that all kids struggle at some point and there are simple things we can do as parents to help them. Consistency is the key.

5 Self-Esteem Boosters for Kids

An occasional bout of self-doubt is to be expected, and even has an upside -- it keeps a child from thinking she's invincible. But too much doubt leads to low self-esteem.
To help your child strike the right balance, give her plenty of opportunities to shine. And instead of empty praise, which she'll be onto in a flash, help her master different challenges. Here are five good and useful challenges to offer up.

5 Opportunities to Shine

If patches of self-doubt are lingering in your child, here are a few ways to help her feel unafraid of what life has to offer.

1. Encourage your child to get physical. Exercise has a short-term positive effect on self-esteem. Find an activity that interests your child, and then make it happen by being ready with transportation, encouragement, and equipment.
(Watch this simple stretching workout video that the whole family will love.)

2. Get help at school. Check in with your child's teachers if academics seem to be part of the problem. Some schools have homework helpers; others offer tutoring recommendations to help children get back on track with their studies.
(Think your child may have ADHD? Check out the symptoms here.)

3. Nurture healthy habits. A healthy child is a stronger and more confident child. Nip bad habits in the bud. Enforce regular showers, shampoos, and bedtimes. And check that your child isn't slipping into poor eating habits. At home, insist on eating fresh, healthy meals together.
(Find tasty, healthy recipes that are perfect for busy families here.)
4. Reward accomplishments. Emphasize the positive. If your child is discouraged in one area, make a big deal of her accomplishments in another.

5. Do something just for fun. Surprise your child with an experience you know she'll enjoy, like a trip to an amusement park or an evening at the movies. If unpleasant experiences with friends are getting her down, give her something unexpected to tell the world about, making her feel special.

Developing a healthy sense of self begins when your child is a baby, and continues beyond her teenage years. So be consistent, nurturing, and responsive . . . even when she says she doesn't need you anymore.

For more tips like this for you and your family, check out 

Until the next nap time...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Houston Kids Clown Around

If you're looking for inexpensive fun for very young kids, here are a few fun activities with local clowns that are sure to cheer up your kids.

On Tuesdays from noon until 2 pm, enjoy a FREE storytime at the IKEA STORE on I-10. Children will also like the balloon animals that the clown will make for the kids to take home. Kids eat free all day and there's no purchase required.

Also at IKEA, on Saturdays from 1:30 - 4:30 pm, enjoy clown fun with magic, balloons, prizes and a lot more. Kids can enjoy the activities while the parents shop.

For those of you living near West, check at the Kroger at 5150 Buffalo Speedway near Westpark every Saturday from 10 am - 4 pm or Sunday noon - 6 pm. The clown entertains kids with stickers, prizes, magic painting and balloon fun.

I love being able to couple fun for my daughter with errands that I can check off. Hope this helps you, too.

Until the next nap time!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Recap of the Holidays & Looking Forward

So yes, our holiday schedule was crazy busy -- just like all of yours with children. Then, my Grandmother passed away late the night after Christmas Day. She was 98 years old so I have to admit that she had lived a full life and we knew it was coming but it doesn't make it any easier. My 6-year-old daughter didn't find it easy either.

The last Monday before the holiday break, I picked up Little K from her Girl Scout meeting that followed a day of school. She asked if the time had come & I carefully told her "not yet but any time." Grandmother's home is just 6 houses down the street from ours so we drive by literally every day & Little K's Great Grandmother has been an important part of her life. Little K said she cried to a teacher that day. Oh no!,  I thought. So, while driving home, I told Little K that when we got home, we could talk more about it.

When we arrived home, we both cautiously proceeded to the family room as if instructed to do so. I sat down on the sofa & Little K curled up in my lap. "Do you want to talk about Grandmother?" I asked her.

She nodded. "Mommy, it's just not fair," she started. "You see, Grandmother is very old and I am very young so I just didn't get enough time with her." At that, she burst into tears and clung to my neck. I was floored that this little one had so much emotion bottled up inside. I just sat there, fighting my own tears and rubbed her back. A solid 10 minutes later, she stopped, dried her eyes and told me that she just had to get it out. I reassured her that she could talk to me any time about anything. She drifted off to her own room.

Exactly one week later, Grandmother passed away and we buried her on 12/29/2011. I worried how Little K would respond during the funeral but she wanted to go &, unfortunately, it wasn't her first funeral. She had several cousins there to keep her preoccupied and she didn't really seem bothered by too much of it. My mother & I both gave eulogies and while that was really tough, I felt it was important to share with people what a remarkable woman she was. Fiesty & loving all at the same time. After a day full of funeral activities -- all escorted by my family & noteably my supportive mother-in-law (yes, she's a gem!), we returned to our home in central home. My husband & I changed out of our all black attire into something more comfortable when suddenly we looked at each other bewildered.

What was that? Little K was downstairs by herself crying. Trent ushered her upstairs, where she crawled in our big bed & I just held her.. & cried too. It's so hard to tell what goes on in those little heads but surrounding them hugs & kisses, plus letting them know that they can talk to you is all I know to do. I think it's the right thing to do. Finally, she dried her eyes again & found a toy play with.

While Grandmother had actually lived in a nearby assisted living facility for about three years, she still owned her home and said when she got stronger, she'd move back. It happened to be the house where my dad was born, where he & his older sister played for years, & where my sister, my two cousins & I also played for years. My parents moved a couple of times while I was growing up so I have absolutely no attachment to any home that I grew up in. But, I'm attached to that one house down the street from me. Time heals all wounds & I do believe that. But a special place in my heart holds onto the memories that I have of my Grandmother. The extra special memories often include my daughter & her Great Grandmother interacting. We'll all move on but I'll hold onto those precious memories.

And in the New Year, I'll again be committed to spending time with my family. I've been reminded how important those little moments are & how I want to make the most of them.

Until the next nap time...