Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Easter Celebrations & an Easter Basket Makeover

I love Easter. In case it's not yet on your radar, Easter this year will be Sunday, April 20. It's almost here. I honestly think people should take off extra time from work and school to celebrate Easter just like they do Christmas. It's an important Christian holiday and spending quality time with our families is so important for all ages. Just my two cents.

I know the kids love Easter baskets filled for candy but after reading Dr. McManus and Nancy Mehlert's article on "Easter Basket Ideas: A Makeover" in the April newsletter, I really started thinking that maybe the Easter bunny wants some new healthy ideas. I like their suggestions of some candy like dark chocolate with nuts (healthier than light chocolate and the nuts are good for you too) but also other non-edible treats. I still remember once as a child I was thrilled to get a Garfield sleeping bag that was carefully placed next to my Easter basket. Healthy mental food for thought. I hope you will check out the article "Easter Basket Ideas: A Makeover" and subscribe to their monthly eNewsletter for more healthy suggestions.

Until the next nap time...

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Discovering the George Bush Monument in Downtown Houston with Kids

While the George Bush Monument has been in Houston apparently for some time, we only discovered it last weekend. It's in downtown just north of Preston and the Preston Pedestrian Bridge. (If you read the Burp the Bayou post, this is a good activity to follow on that one since they're so close to each other.)

The monument itself is a bronze statue of President George Bush (#41) that's about 9 feet tall. He has a commanding presence, which is good because I think parents should encourage children to respect our U.S. presidents no matter what political affiliation they have... but I digress. There is a small water fountain behind the statue, which is what Kyster is looking at in the photo. There are also four plaques representing four different periods in President Bush's life, which gives parents and grandparents an opportunity to talk with their kids about history and government. As I've said before, I love to weave in educational moments when I can.

The view from the George Bush Monument is really pretty, too. This photo shows that even amongst downtown Houston, there is some green areas. And people say Houston isn't pretty. Well, I hope they add this monument to their things to see. :-)

This monument visit is easily done in 10-15 minutes but you can also enjoy the walk & bike ride trails along Buffalo Bayou, which is part of the view from the monument. I suggest heading south on the trail from the George Bush Monument though because going north on the trail gets a bit sketchy when you go under the overpasses & bridges. Sadly, we saw a few homeless people there and it scared Kyster. That's definitely another teaching moment but not one you have to tackle on a visit. The trail south is better groomed and green. I do recommend that. Maps are available online and all around the trail, too.

Until the next nap time...

Picnic in the Park: Saturday, April 26 11 am - 2pm

Saturday, April 26

11 am – 2 pm
Police Memorial (north of Memorial Drive)

Buffalo Bayou Partnership and Houston Parks & Recreation Department invite Houstonians to celebrate the north bank completion of the Sabine to Montrose stretch of Buffalo Bayou Park - including a first-time connection from the Carruth Bridge to the Police Memorial site.

Join us for a day of free family fun!  We'll have outdoor lawn games including badminton, horseshoes and bocce ball.   Pack a picnic and bring a blanket.  There will also be food and drinks available for purchase and live entertainment throughout the afternoon.

Guests are encouraged to walk or bike the trails to the Police Memorial area.  Those driving are able to utilize the free parking at Lot H (Sabine Street exit off of Memorial Drive, before Houston Avenue). Click here for amap.

Until the next nap time...

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Burp the Bayou

Many thanks to the friends and neighbors who came to tonight's Garden Oaks Civic Club meeting. As promised, I'll share photos of the activities that I discussed on our blog over the next few days.

Last weekend, we visited this activity because although it's been around for awhile, we'd never heard of it. Pique your kids interest by telling them you're going to "burp the bayou". First head downtown and park near Preston. Last Sunday, there was no street parking when we arrived so we paid $7 to park at the Downtown Aquarium (even though we didn't attend that). Then we walked east toward the Preston Street Pedestrian Bridge that goes over the bayou. I think it's neat to see the bayou from this angle. Ahead of you, you'll see very tall silver (probably steel) sculptures that are interesting in their own right. At the base of those sculptures are red brick bases as shown in the photo to the left. It's very non-descript... on purpose. There's no signage so of course your curiosity is piqued.

"Can I push it?" Kyster asked with a big smirk. You almost feel like you're getting away with something.

Go ahead. It's funny. You push the button and then look to your right/west toward the bayou. Large bubbles arise from the bayou! You can imagine the "BURP!" sound. Of course, kids think it's hilarious and despite my pushing for good manners, even I think it's funny. If you want to see this small yet humorous part of Houston, check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYRzPx8J6n4. It's a great YouTube video. I still think you can have fun as a parent or grandparent by building this up. You can ask your kids, "Do you know how to burp a baby? Well, do you know how to burp a bayou? Do you know what a bayou is? Would you like to burp our bayou?"

It's free, silly and something you can do when you have just 15 minutes of free time. If you have more time, you can enjoy the walk & bike trail along the bayou just off Preston, but I recommend journeying south of Preston. The trail north of Preston seems to get a bit sketchy with, sadly, homeless people that scared my daughter. It's a good teaching moment but I'm not sure it's one that you need to incorporate on this trip.

Until the next nap time...