In the last 7 days…

School is almost out for the summer

School is almost out for the summer

School will be out next week.  In the last week this is what happened….

Husband home-yippee because kids and I had great fun

Rabbit in back yard.  Kids wanted to keep.  I worried about my carrots and green beans in the garden.  Does he not know about Bejamin Bunny.

Son caught fish that is now swimming in Tortuga sandbox in backyard.

White puppy got into backyard.  Sweet daughter cried when my hub told her doggy already had family.

Hub and I thought about buying an RV but we were just dreaming and woke up.

My daughter made the best strawberry rainbow frosting cake on the earth.

My son reached AR 10.

My husband edged the yard without me even asking.

Watched “Rise of the Lycanns” and liked the movie.

Reading “Bella Tuscany”.  Wish I was in Tuscany.

Made khaki shorts with dog print hem for son and he said “yuck”.

Had BBQ and cold Shiner Bock waiting for husband when he got home from the road.

My daughter wrote and song and made a CD at school (beautiful!)

Life is dolce……..

Houston teenagers looking for summer job check with City of Houston

Tons of summer job available for low-income youth in Houston this summer thanks to the American Reinvestment Act.  Here is the website for more information:  http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/2009/05/11/story6.html or http://www.houstontx.gov/education/youth2009.html.  Call 1-888-469-5627 (City of Houston)  for more information about the program for youths aged 16-24.

Also businesses looking for youth workers this summer may qualify to receive funding if looking to employ those youth workers.  Goodwill Industries, Terry Seufert is looking for businesses looking for youth employees at this website:  http://www.goodwillhouston.org/

A great website to find you pick farms in the Houston area

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http://www.pickyourown.org/TXhouston.htm

Mary Jo Peckham Park In Katy, TX Has Affordable Swim Lessons

I wanted to pass this along before it is too late.  Mary Jo Peckham Park in Katy, TX offers Red Cross swimming lessons for kids and everyone.  The slots fill up pretty quick.  Last year I had to physically drive over to the community center and sign up for the lessons.  Here

This is not the Peckham pool.  Just a generic pool.

This is not the Peckham pool. Just a generic pool.

is the website: http://www.pct3.hctx.net/cc_maryjopeckham/activities.aspx.

My kids had a great time since it is an indoor pool.  Pretty much all the Houston parks have Red Cross swimming lessons but I live in Katy and that is what I know about.  More about the facility later.

Hurry and call before all the slots are gone.

Make a cake in a mug

Here is my lazy post.  Try it out and let me know how it turns out.

Make a cake in a cup

Another great recipe and cooking website with great pictures.  I get hungry just staring at the pictures.

http://www.chow.com/recipes/54/category

Boy Scouts Graduate

My son’s boy scout pack graduated this past Saturday at Mary Jo Peckham Park in Katy, TX.  We got rained on just a tad but still had a great time! 

Sometimes it is nice to just be a part of something bigger. I am so proud of the pack and my son!

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Thanks to everyone involved with Boy Scout Pack 542 at Rylander Elementary School in Katy, TX.   Thank you for making my son and his family feel like a welcome part of your family.  He enjoyed every activity.

A big thanks to Patti Smith who called me back after I contacted her about joining the pack and welcomed my family with a wonderful smile.  Another thanks to the Ertons. Thanks for stepping up to the plate and leading our Tiger Den (plus serving the great city of Houston as officers).

Also another thanks to Mayas, Erton, Rajas, Oggeros, Kims, Sulemanji and Deese Tiger families. Thanks to all the other Den families.  My husband was so  disappointed he did not get to attend but I always made sure to text tons of pictures.  Even my daughter enjoyed the outings.

We got rained out at the park.

We got rained out at the park.

A great pack!

A great pack!

Searching For A Tooth Fairy Kit Online

Perfect for the tooth loosing kid!

Perfect for the tooth loosing kid!

My daughter lost two baby teeth in the last two weeks.  I totally messed everything up.  I went to bed and forgot to slip that lucky coin under her pillow.  Now, I have started lookin gonline for some type of mail order tooth fairy kit.  Here is what I found:  The Official Tooth Fairy Kit with chart, deposit envelope and a little certificate.  The total cost is $16 which is a little steep for me but if I could somehow find a service that will send the money and certificate in the mail that would be great.  That way I can explain to my daughter that the tooth fairy has gone high tech because of the tough work schedule she is under.  I mean kids are really sucking down tons of sweets these days.

I plan to keep looking for a delivery service.  I will keep you posted.  What do you think about this kit?

Great home decor, fashion and pretty doodad websites to browse on the webom

Here are a couple of blogs I like to visit every so often only because the bloggers seem to have such dreamy realities.  I love looking at pretty clothes, shoes and places too!.  I try not to look too much because too much sugar is not so good.

Enjoy!

Money Saving Blog By Houston Mom

Erins Great Money Saving Caper

Erin's Great Money Saving Caper

Check out the following  blog about saving money written by a mom here in the Houston area.

She has tons of wonderful tips and techniques for saving money.  How to buy, when to buy and what to buy.

Great Blog Erin!

Her website:  http://jane4girls800dollarannualbudget.blogspot.com/

Swine Flu case found in Katy ISD school

Beckendorff Jr. High School will be closed next week because a student was diagnosed with swine flu.  Check out the Katy ISD website for more information.

A Mom’s 2 Cents: Swine Flu, Houston Schools And My Kids

Bear Flu?

Bear Flu?

This is an ongoing post I plan to update as thoughts run through my brain.

Update:  More schools closed in the area but not in my area.  My daughter has started to cough and sneeze more. I know for sure it is her allergies.

The school had a movie in the gym tonight but I did not want my daughter to cough and everyone start staring.  I am still not worried and nor should you parents.

My son has had a cold for the past two weeks.  My daughter is sneezing and has a runny nose.  Two students in central Houston has been diagnosed with Swine Flu which have been closed.  One student in another area high school has been diagnosed with the flu and that school has been shut down.

A flyer came home in the Tuesday folder from school advising parents to keep the kids at home.  The flyer also advised parents to advise kids to wash hands continually which is weird because I have noticed that the school does not even have the schools wash hands before lunchtime.

I really am not worried about my family. I do wonder about my neighbors who are from and have family in Mexico.  I bet they are so worried about the situation down there in the south.

My husband (the big bad other trucker) called from Illinois and told me not to send the kids to school because he heard of a school district shut down in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.  Texas TAKs tests are this week and I think that the area school officials are reluctant to shut down Houston area schools because they place a high value on the state tests.

What are parents to tell their employers in a time of downsizing and layoffs?   I am not working now (involuntarily because I need a job dude) but when I was employed I was reluctant to call my boss about missing work even when I was 4 months pregnant and in the ER the night before.

I am still processing all of this as a parent.  I do think that the biggest fear lives in our minds and in the television set.  Sometimes the news tries to add fuel to our nightmares.  We should be an informed public but what is to believed because we don’t know what everyone is getting out a crisis until it is all over.

Katy ISD Closed Today, April 28th, Due To Overnight Flooding

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On the way to drop the kids off for school I noticed that the only place I saw flooding was Clay Road at Fry where a low place at the intersection was almost impassable.  Imagine my surprise when we pulled up to a deserted school with only a sign that said “School Closed”.  My kids and I did not notice this morning that the buses did not pass by the house.

We had a vicious thunderstorm last evening with high winds and pounding rains for a couple of hours.  I checked the weather because I worried that we were having a mini-hurricane.   The electricity flashed on and off about 12 times.  Each time I breathed a sigh of relief after the power was restored.  I don’t want to go without power for 17 days like we did during  Hurricane Ike last fall.

Today was an important day in Texas schools because this was supposed to be TAKs (state) testing day. Many schools in Houston are either closed or have delayed start times.  After watching several local news stations, looks to me that the delayed start time schools need to close completely due to the usual flooding areas of the city.  One bright side of the plentiful rain is that the drought is now over here.

My kids are in hog heaven because of their unexpected vacation day from school. It only took them 1 hour before they started their daily fighting.

We are very fortunate that I am able to be at home today with my kids. My husband is somewhere on the East coast. I am happy he is not stuck down here in his truck on some freeway. I am thankful that we are together and I am not stuck somewhere cross town in traffic.

We in Texas consider this one of our snow days since everything has come to a dead stop. The flooding is more due to the infrastructure of Houston than with the storm itself. After all Houston was built on a swamp so what can we expect to happen.

One thing that is really yucky is all of the big long cockroaches running around out on the sidewalk after being driven out of the storm drains. Yuck! The roaches were also crowded around our front door trying to piggy back on our backs into the warm house. We checked each others hair and backs after rushing through the front door.

My daughter took a picture of sky during rain storm last night.

My daughter took a picture of sky during rain storm last night.

Katy ISD Last Day of School For Students is June 4th

education Last day of classes for students who attend Katy ISD (according to the Katy ISD. Org website) will be June 4th with early dismissal on that day.

My kids are excited about the summer.  The kids do well in school but I know they also enjoy sleeping-in and staying up late during the summer months.  I am a little sad because this may be the last summer that I might share with kids before heading back into the trenches to work once again.  I am not looking forward to 2 1/2 commutes and hurried days.   We Americans really need to get the emphasis back on families not on jobs as a measure of ones worth to society.

“The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”

Visit Hermann Park Before It Gets Too Hot..Free Theatre Performances For Kids

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Hermann Park

Miller Outdoor Theatre

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See that whale on that building?

See that whale on that building?

 A stage..

A stage..

Big oak tree since I have none in my yard.

Big oak tree since I have none in my yard.

My daughter had an appointment in the Med Center.  Afterward, we hit the cafeteria in the basement of Texas Children’s Hospital for some lunch.  She picked a chef salad ($4.45) and some strawberry swirl cheesecake ($2$$).  I picked beef tips over rice with green beans and a big old piece of cornbread.  My dessert of choice:  pecan pie.  The restaurant has everything:  pizza, salad bar, one meat/two veg plates, hamburgers, pizza, sandwiches and tons of desserts.  It helps if you have already paid for parking and just happen to be in one of the medical facilities in TMC.  I learned about this place when in the hospital about 10 years ago.  My husband and I ate at the Bertner cafeteria moments before we went by NICU to take our daughter home.  It was our last meal as a couple (of complete innocent lambs being led to the parent slaughter).  To be honest we have never really had any kind of couple meal time in 10 years.

We headed to Herman Park with our grub on that humid day last week.  After enjoying our lunch in the park, we headed up that big hill and strolled around the  Miller Outdoor amphitheater.  What a great day for mommy and beautiful daughter time.  I wish that moment lasted longer.   Time with my kids rushes by me to darn fast.

Here is a link to the directions, times, free performances and happenings at the park:  http://www.hermannpark.org/index.html and http://www.milleroutdoortheatre.com/default.asp?id=177

There is also a new red train at the park.  The train looks a lot safer than that old one I used to climb on with my babies.  Hurry, before it gets to hot and humid.

Birthday Party Planning Step One: Cakes or Cupcakes and Moonwalks

SpongeBob Cupcake Cake

Sponge Bob Cupcake Cake

Step OneDetermine the number of kids at the party. Order the cake based on that number.  Remember to add a few extra numbers for little sisters and brothers. No kid likes to see other kids chowing down on something sweet without being included.  I would come up with a number.

Let’s say you expect 10 kids for the party add extras for the parents/siblings.  In this case I would order 24 cupcakes for the party.

I purchased this cupcake cake at Kroger’s for $19.99 (Wal-Mart had the same designs as Kroger’s).  I think cupcake cakes are the best darn invention since straws.  At my son’s party, all I had to do was hand each child a over frosted cupcake.  No knives or bowls of water needed.

I do think that I would have gotten a better deal at Sam’s Club for a cupcake cake (around 14 bucks) but Sam’s Club designs are limited.  Yes, I can make a mean cake but do I want to be stressed out?  Yep, I would have saved close to $16 but I think my time is more valuable than the bucks required  for that store bought cake.

What do you prefer cupcakes or cakes or one of those big ole cookies?

My son told me that the best things about his party were the moonwalk, his friends attending and that fabulous pinata I purchased from a  Latin mercado/meat market/taco stand store on North Fry Road (which I will tell the location as soon as I drive that way because they had unique pinatas plus they were cheaper than WallyMart).

Of course, let me mention the 4-in1 combo moonwalk again because it totally rocked.  The delivery people dropped it off at 10:30 a.m. and returned to pick it up around 7:00 p.m. which was the right amount of time because all the kids were too pooped to jump anymore.

Chance at Lonestar Moonwalks and Party Supply was really helpful on the phone.  Mention you saw their moonwalk on this blog and you get a discount.

Lonestar Moonwalks

Lonestar Moonwalks

Here are a couple of more pics of the party:

Inside Moonwalk-Obstacle Course

Inside Moonwalk-Obstacle Course

Hit that Spongy

Hit that Spongy

Check out my Twitter if you would like to add more ideas.

How To Plan A Kid Birthday Party In The Houston Area In 20 Easy Steps

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My son’s birthday party was today and I am too pooped to upload pictures.  Here is my homemade  milk chocolate cake from last Friday night. 

 It was a great party.  You know cake, moonwalk with a slide (Big Ups to Lonestar Moonwalks and Party Supply), sherbert party punch(did not go over well), pinatas (one of the best things about the party), pizza, goody bags, party website..the usual stuff.

This week I will give you the tips you need to save money and throw a party that looks like tons of trouble but is not really that darn much.  During this economic slowdown in the country parents are looking to save money on a birthday party but they are not willing to just not have a party.  People will always scrap together two cents to either pay for a kids birthday party or pay for a wedding (of course in Texas I will include the Quinceañera party for young ladies too) no matter how broke they are or what bill needs to be paid.

By the way,  Lonestar Moonwalks and Party Supply is offering a 10% discount to parents in the Houston area who mention they saw this post on the web.  More about my pleasant experience with this company later.

Coming on Monday, April 20th.

Katy ISD Summer Programs For Kids And Adults

p5090011 Katy ISD is offering a recreational sports summer program this year featuring the following:

Swim Lessons and Recreational Swim: Kindergarten—Adult

Registration begins May 13 Swim sessions begin June 8

$100/Cost

Location:  Taylor High School

Tennis Camps and Recreational Play: Kindergarten—Adult

Registration begins May 13 Camp sessions begin June 8

$100/Cost

Basketball Girls and Boys Leagues: Incoming 6th—Grade 12

Registration by mail before May 15 Leagues begin Week of June 8

Volleyball Girls Leagues: Incoming 6th—Grade 12

Registration by mail before May 15 Leagues begin Week of June 8

$100/Cost

Various Sport Camps

Wrestling, Softball, Basketball, Volleyball, —Incoming Kindergarten—6th grade

Registration by mail before May 22 Camps are June 9-11

Go to http://kisdwebs.katyisd.org/Communications/Pages/CommunityFlyers.aspx and click on the “community flyers” page for additional information.  Looks like space is limited.

Earth Day: Unplug And Save Money On Electricity

p4130004In honor of Earth Day, April 22nd, here is my post about saving.  For the last month and a half I have unplugged the washer/dryer, all televisions, lamps, microwave and computers when they are not in use.  Total savings to date $15.00!  I am not kidding.  My TXU electric bill was cheaper than my Centerpoint gas utility bill.  Wow!  I am shocked.  Here is the evidence:

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Happy Easter!

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Happy Easter from my family to yours.  Hope you get a chance to spend the day with the ones you love.  If not, I hope you still get to talk to the person you love.

April Easter Egg Hunt Events In The Houston Area

Easter Egg Hunts

Easter Egg Hunts

Updated April 9th, 2009

If you know about an upcoming event and would like it posted, please leave me a comment and I will reply.

Please call and confirm details before attending the following events:


Rabbits!

Rabbits!

My Son’s Art-Do You Know What It Is???

Son's Art

Son's Art

Bravo to my 6 year-old son.  He is a great artist!  I told him that I would put his art on my blog and he told me maybe people will buy it.  I remember how frustrating it was as a child wanting to contribute to the family budget but not being able to help.  He just wants to help mom and dad like every other kid.  I am very proud and lucky to have great kids.

Art By My Daughter

Family Art

Family Art-Our family according my 9 yar-old daughter. She loves to draw and I am always trying to be encouraging. I hang my kids' art up in the dining room of our house which I call "The Gallery".

Easter Bunny Photos And Spring Carnival At Katy Mills Mall

Chocolate Bunny

Chocolate Bunny

Katy Mills Mall, located a few miles west of Houston at 5000 Katy Mills Circle, Katy, TX 77494 will have the Easter bunny there to take those annual Easter photos with the kids.

Hours:  Monday-Saturday 11:00am-8:00pm/Sunday 12:00pm-6:00pm

The mall will also host a spring carnival in the parking lot next to Sun & Ski Sports  from April 4th through April 12th, 2009.

Easter Egg Hunt In Katy, TX April 3rd

City of Katy Egg Hunt

City of Katy Egg Hunt

City of Katy Easter Egg Hunt happens on Friday, April 3rd, 4:30pm-6:00pm.

You Have Not Really Gone Green Unless You’ve Seen Your Undies Blowing On A Clothesline

The Wind Beneath My Undies

The Wind Beneath My Undies

I don’t think my neighbors care about the clothes drying in the backyard.  I only have neighbors on one side of my house since our house backs up to a drainage ditch.  I hang undies on a low line out of the line of vision of passerbys.

I have been unplugging all of the outlets in my house when not in use.  I’ve even unplugged my microwave and washer/dryer.  The electric bills in Houston can get over $200 in the summer and about $100 in the winter even without the A/C.  Let me know if you have started unplugging and line drying at your house in order to save as much as you can on your next energy bill.

Houston Family Fun: Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo March 3rd-22nd

Reliant Stadium
Reliant Stadium

p3200009 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo March 3rd-22nd website

My six-year-old son won 4 tickets to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (March 3rd-22nd) when he colored a picture of some cowboys and entered it into the rodeoart contest.   We attended the huge county fair last night (Friday) and we had tons of fun despite me getting separated from the rest of the family for an hour and a half (no cell phone reception in the area).  Here are just a few photos from the Exhibit Hall where tons of merchant, animals and farm equipment was on display.  Enjoy!

 

 

Mesquite Leather Bedroom Headboard-Only in Texas.
Mesquite Leather Bedroom Headboard-Only in Texas.

 

Relaxing Music In The Carpool Lane: Corneille CD

Corneille CD

Corneille CD

There you are in the carpool lane waiting in line to pick up your kids at school or there you are in the bathtub relaxing after puttting  the kids to sleep for the evening.

What music do you listen to after a long day of parenting??  I suggest the  music CD by the singer Corneille to relax to when the days finally slows down.

Corneille’s vocal sound reminds me of Seal’s sound (“Kiss From a Rose”) and strangely the vocalist from  the band Maroon 5 (“This Love”).  I would put his music in the category of easy listening+romance ballads+light r&B= international soul.   The singer sells out arenas in other parts of the world and usually sings in French so he has the romance sound down pat.

The Canadian singer  and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador’s new album “The Birth of Cornelius” is his first English language CD.   Check out some of his French language music videos on Youtube.

All of Corneille’s music tracks are made for background music at a dinner party or times when you want relaxing sounds but not a ton of distracting beats or loud lyrics.   My favorite track is “Back To Life” (track 1) because of the laid back uptempo beat of the song and the plea in his voice to a woman to love him back to life.

Foolish Heart (track 6) reminds me big time of 80s song artist Lionel Richie’s “Hello”.  Corneill’s romantic vocals against the soft piano is a soothing combination.

I am a big music lover and it is nice to here not only new music as a parent but something other than the song “Who lives in a pineapple under the sea….”.

Check out Corneille’s website here or http://corneillemusic.com/.

School Spring Break Kid Stuff To Do This Week: Free Computer Game Sites

Giraffe Houston

Free Entertainment for Kids on Spring Break “Stay-cation” 
10 Web Sites to Keep Your Kids Entertained and Safe

In these tough times, a lot of families are opting for Spring Break “stay-cations” instead of big holiday trips. But if you’re staying home, it can be hard to keep the kids entertained and out of trouble. Many parents are naturally cautious about letting their kids loose on the Internet, but there is a lot of good, free, appropriate content available online – if you know where to look. Here’s a list of 10 web sites to bookmark that can help your kids beat Spring Break boredom if they’re staying home.

Best Set-and-Forget Web Environment for Kids

· KidZui – KidZui is actually not a Web site at all – it’s the Internet made just for kids. It gives kids access to millions of Web sites (including all of the below), YouTube videos, games and photos that have been vetted by a team of parents and teachers. Kids love the cute little avatars they can create and the safe social networking features, and parents love the fact that there’s no chance of enquiring minds stumbling across anything inappropriate.

Best Web Sites for Kids

· Club Penguin – A snow-covered virtual world where children play games and interact with friends in the guise of colorful penguin avatars.

· Lego.com – Ideal for the Lego fan, your child can watch Lego comics and movies, play games and construct their own Web page to show off their creativity.

· Nick.com – Your child can pledge to save the world, play games, check out the latest news on SpongeBob or create a virtual life on Nicktropolis.

· PBSKids.com – With games themed around Sesame Street, Clifford, Curious George, Arthur, Barney and other kid classics, your kids will have fun “interacting” with their favorite characters.

· Poptropica – This virtual online world lets kids create a character, play games, compete with other kids and travel between islands on a blimp to explore new areas.

Best Online Game Sites for Kids

· Cartoon Network Games – With more than 200 games featuring favorite cartoon characters, your kids can hunt monsters with Scooby-Doo, play Ninja Survival or follow the Path of a Jedi.

· Funbrain – Part of the Family Education Network, the site provides educational activities for parents and teachers, as well as interactive games to help your kids with math and reading.

· Funschool – This site, provided by Kaboose, is designed for elementary-age kids and offers free educational games as well as printable activities, coloring sheets and craft projects that will help your kids learn while having fun.

· Hot Wheels Games – For car fans, Hot Wheels has dozens of vehicle-related games that let kids drive through mazes, race friends and solve puzzles.

KidZui’s Cliff Boro believes that parents needn’t be afraid of letting their kids use the Internet. “The Internet is a wonderful tool that, when used appropriately, provides endless hours of free entertainment for the whole family,” he says. “And more than that, it’s a great way for kids to learn and discover new things without even realizing it!” And what parent wouldn’t approve of that?

Story Credit:

Free Entertainment for Kids on Spring Break “Stay-cation” 
10 Web Sites to Keep Your Kids Entertained and Safe

In these tough times, a lot of families are opting for Spring Break “stay-cations” instead of big holiday trips. But if you’re staying home, it can be hard to keep the kids entertained and out of trouble. Many parents are naturally cautious about letting their kids loose on the Internet, but there is a lot of good, free, appropriate content available online – if you know where to look. Here’s a list of 10 web sites to bookmark that can help your kids beat Spring Break boredom if they’re staying home.

Best Set-and-Forget Web Environment for Kids

· KidZui – KidZui is actually not a Web site at all – it’s the Internet made just for kids. It gives kids access to millions of Web sites (including all of the below), YouTube videos, games and photos that have been vetted by a team of parents and teachers. Kids love the cute little avatars they can create and the safe social networking features, and parents love the fact that there’s no chance of enquiring minds stumbling across anything inappropriate.

Best Web Sites for Kids

· Club Penguin – A snow-covered virtual world where children play games and interact with friends in the guise of colorful penguin avatars.

· Lego.com – Ideal for the Lego fan, your child can watch Lego comics and movies, play games and construct their own Web page to show off their creativity.

· Nick.com – Your child can pledge to save the world, play games, check out the latest news on SpongeBob or create a virtual life on Nicktropolis.

· PBSKids.com – With games themed around Sesame Street, Clifford, Curious George, Arthur, Barney and other kid classics, your kids will have fun “interacting” with their favorite characters.

· Poptropica – This virtual online world lets kids create a character, play games, compete with other kids and travel between islands on a blimp to explore new areas.

Best Online Game Sites for Kids

· Cartoon Network Games – With more than 200 games featuring favorite cartoon characters, your kids can hunt monsters with Scooby-Doo, play Ninja Survival or follow the Path of a Jedi.

· Funbrain – Part of the Family Education Network, the site provides educational activities for parents and teachers, as well as interactive games to help your kids with math and reading.

· Funschool – This site, provided by Kaboose, is designed for elementary-age kids and offers free educational games as well as printable activities, coloring sheets and craft projects that will help your kids learn while having fun.

· Hot Wheels Games – For car fans, Hot Wheels has dozens of vehicle-related games that let kids drive through mazes, race friends and solve puzzles.

KidZui’s Cliff Boro believes that parents needn’t be afraid of letting their kids use the Internet. “The Internet is a wonderful tool that, when used appropriately, provides endless hours of free entertainment for the whole family,” he says. “And more than that, it’s a great way for kids to learn and discover new things without even realizing it!” And what parent wouldn’t approve of that?

Story Credit: Elliote Gillmore, Atomic PR

Gardening: Spring Break Stuff To Keep Kids Busy In Houston March 16th-20th

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Plant A Garden

How to keep kids busy this week:

Step 1:  Purchase seed packets of your favorite veggies or flowers.   Wallmmart has cheap packets.

Step 2:  Purchase clay pot from $1 store or use a clean plastic container around the house.  Poke holes in bottom before planting.

Step 3:  Have kids decorate plant container with stickers, markers, foam letters or tape (whatever you have around the house).

Step 4:  Have kids go outside and fill plant container with dirt to about 95% from top.

Step 5:  Kids make a hole and plant seeds according to seed packet directions.

Step 6:  Cover seeds very lightly and sprinkle water on dirt with hand.

Step 7:  Put pot in sunny window or place outside in full sun during the day.

Step 8:  Kids sprinkle water pot everyday and wait…..and….wait

Step 9:  When kids say they are board this week tell them to go watch the garden grow.

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Save Money On Groceries Without Having To Cut Coupons And Run Around Town

Houston Grocery Ads

Houston Grocery Ads

Did you know that Wal-Mart has a competitor’s price match guarantee on all items in the store? Here is how to save money on items you shop for every week at Wally Mart.  I am not in any way endorsing Wally Mart but am only trying to pass this helpful money saving tip along to others.  I think a bunch of other stores need to pay more attention to Wal-Mart’s marketing strategy.  I have some opinions about WallyM but now is not the time to express these thoughts here.

1.  Save every advertisement paper that arrive free every week in the mail: grocery store (Food Town, HEB, Kroger, Brookshire’s, Fiesta, Randalls), drug store (CVS, Walgreen’s), hardware store (Home Depot, Sears, Lowe’s, Best Buy).   Remember to check out the Target ads in Sunday’s paper too.

2.  Go through every ad circling all the items with a big colorful marker that you buy every week like milk, deli meats, sugar, onions, strawberries, Capri Suns, grapes etc.  I buy at least three bottles of Zyrtec every month for my daughter’s allergies so I am always on the look out for sales on Zyrtec. If you need a coupon at the competitor’s store to purchase at a certain price you cannot get the same price at Wally Mart.

3.  Make a list with the name of the store, the brand name, the weight/packaging size and price.  If you do not have time to do this then just throw the ads in your car just in case you happen to stop by Wally-Mart.

4.  When you go to Wally World take your stack of ads for the current week inside along with your itemized list.  You must have the ads in your hot little hands.

5.  Make  very sure you select the matching brand, quantity, size of the product that matches the competitor’s ad.  Sometimes Target will have the same brand at a better price but the packaging quantity may be different.  What this means is that you cannot price match.

6.  Go to the full-service check-out with your full cart, circled ads and list.

7.  Separate the “matching price” items on the conveyor belt from the non-competitors’ ad products.

8.  Before your cashier begins ringing up your items tell her/him that you have the matching ads for some of the products you are purchasing. Make it easier on the cashier by grouping the products together.   Be courteous to your cashier. :)

9.  Be prepared to show the cashier  the competitors ad.  Tell the cashier the competitor’s price. (Some cashiers merely glance at the ad and keep ringing up your items while others stop and examine the ad plus the product to see if it is the right size and if your competitor’s ad is for the current week.)

You will save money.    Let me know how this works out for all of you.

Gardening Supplies and Plant Places Near Houston

Dilorio Farms Lawn Furniture

Peanut Patties

Peanut Patties

Dilorio Farms Lawn Furniture

Everyone is trying to save money these days on food .  This year how about growing  your own vegetables in your own backyard garden?  Today my husband and I took an unplanned trip to Dilorio Farms in Hempstead, TX to buy soil and seeds for our garden.Here is the weblink to Dilorio Farms located about 45 minutes west of Houston of 290.  Dilorio’s stocks all kinds of bagged soil along with seeds, seedlings and plants.  They have tons of locally grown garden produce along with jams, jellies and fresh peanuts.   I was very surprised to find locally grown rice and beans.

We purchased compost soil, top soil and my husband’s favorite cow manure from Hempstead market place.  We also purchased potato seedlings, onion seedlings, corn seeds and beet seeds (I love beets!)  The open air store  has  bunches of different yard ornaments like cute two-story bird houses, unpainted wood lawn furniture and  octagon picnic tables like the one pictured above.   The store also sells fresh roasted peanuts.  Check out the Dilorio Farms website for directions from 290 and check the store out in the summer when they start selling those red, ripe Hempstead watermelons.

We really need more dirt than the dirt we purchased at Dilorios for our garden.   So far the only thing we have been able to grow in our Katy clay soil is Rosemary.  A big giant rosemary bush.   Wish us luck this year with our veggie garden.

I will keep you posted on what actually grows in the Katy, Texas clay.

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Boy Scouts Will Be Selling Scout Fair Tickets At Wal-Mart On Fry Road

The Boy Scouts will be selling scout fair tickets today, Saturday, February 28, 2009 at the Wal-Mart on Fry Road/I-10 from  8am-2pm.  Scout Fair is a family event where boy scouts display hundreds of exhibits about camping,  woodworking, aviation and Indian lore.  The fair this year will be April 18th at Reliant Arena.

Buy a ticket from a boy scout so that they can raise money for fun acitivities and then become a leader.   The boy’s sell tickets so that they can attend summer camps and other boy themed events for the year.  This year’s theme is “Celebrate the Adventure”.

Here is information about the Sam Houston Area Council.

Cheap Life: Made My Son A Back Pack

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Made my son a backpack in three long hours.  Cost:  $8.  Took me three hours.  Surpringly, he loved it.  What do you think/

Pictures From Syracuse, NY

My husband sent pictures from New York.  They are having record snowfall in the Syracuse area.  Compare that to the balmy, breezy just right weather here in Houston, Texas.

February 24, 2008/Houston, TX

February 24, 2008/Houston, TX

Best Houston Family Magazines

Houston Family Magazine

Houston Family Magazine

Parents, if you are looking for daycare, after-school activities or family fun resources then run down to Kroger’s or Fiesta and pick up “Houston Family Magazine” and “Katy Parent”  Magazine.  The magazines are free and the content also can be accessed online at Houston Family Magazine and Katy Parent Magazine.

Every month in Houston Family Magazine there is a contest sponsered by the magazine to win the month’s in-demand children’s item.  This month the magazine features a contest where families can enter for a chance to win two DVD movies.  Go to http://www.houstonfamilymagazine.com for your chance to win “The Great Wall’ and “The Chinese Market” DVDs.   In addition, there is the opportunity to win a family four-pack of passes to a special screening of “Monsters Vs. Aliens”.     The February issue of HFM also includes a camp directory for those parents who are already thinking about activities for their kids during the summer months.  If you do not have time to run by a grocery story and pick up a free copy, you can purchase a subscription for 12 months or 24 months.

Katy Parent Magazine

Katy Parent Magazine is also a free magazine packed with tons of fun family stuff to do in Katy as well as the Houston area.  I found my children’s dentist Dr. Ingrid Duebbert of Kingsland dental group, P.A.  in the Katy Parent.  Every month the magazine lists a Fun-Time Calendar with events, prices, times and locations around town.  There are plenty of discounts for parents with the “Mention This Ad” tag for activities like “Times Square Entertainment” on the Grand Parkway.  The magazine does a great job of listing events and daycare centers that are located  in and near the Katy area.

Clover In My Lawn on The Gulf Coast (Houston)

Why is clover grass seen as an enemy to a front lawn?  The clover is really quite green and lovely as opposed to the grass next to it.

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Our grass never really grows.  It is either dead or dominated by ugy weeds here in Houston.  I think it is a complete waste of time to install a sprinkler system that waters grass.  Everyone should be watering only flowers and gardens with vegetables.  We spent over $500 on grass sod after moving in and now our yard is dead.  My neighbors spend at least $100 on fertilizer and weed killer every year not including what they end up paying on their water bill.  Besides, it is too hot in Houston in the summer time to even go out and sit on the grass.

I like the clover.  It is the only thing that is green and kind of flowery growing in our front yard.  We are following the rules set out by our homeowners association and pulling up the green clover so that our green lawn can sprout anew.   The grass never sprouts.  The weeds sprout and we spend the summer mowing weeds.

I like the green clover.  I wish my lawn was covered with the stuff.

Sewing A Winter Jacket For Your Kids….Or At Least Tries

Daughter's Jacket

Daughter's Jacket

Here is a picture of the jacket I am working on for my daughter.  She loves the color red.  The pattern is from Burda.  Trying to save as much money as possible in these lean times.  What do you think?  Drop me a comment and I will email you the pattern number and other helpful hints.

Katy Residents HEB At Fry Rd/Mason Ground Beef Recall

If you bought ground beef at the HEB grocery store at Fry Road and Mason, please return to the store asap.   According to the article in the Chron, there could possible be metal pieces in the meat.  Thanks to Alison who Twitters on Twitter for the FYI.

Check out his article in the Houston Chronicle http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/6263637.html.

Husband Travels and Sends Home Pictures to Kids

snowscen2snowscene3

My husband is a CDT and sends home pictures of his travels.  Right now, he is in upstate New York.  Lots of know on the ground.  This morning he tried to open his truck door and it was frozen.   The kids love getting emails from their dad.  We all feel closer to each other.

Decorate Your Home With Enlarged Photos of Your Kids

wallposterkids

Here is a picture of our romp room (game room) where I blew up a photo of my daughter at 3.  I mounted the picture on a piece of foam board.  You can also purchase mat boards and have it cut at Hobby Lobby.  I paid about $15 to have the picture blown-up.  You scapbooking moms out there could also decorate the border area with all kinds of snazzy stickers.

People always ask me about the pictures.

Here is a picture of the beach that I took when I first traveled to California.  This photo was enlarged and printed on a canvas type material at Kinkos.  This photo hangs above my bed.

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Tonight The Kids and I Stood Outside And Waved At The Space Shuttle

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Houston, we have made contact…..from my backyard.

Last night, Wednesday the pigs (my kids) and I ran out to the play fort in the backyard to watch the sky at around 6:55pm CST in Houston.   We got to see the space shuttle and the international space station fly over. Awesome.   There was this bright point of light with a little bit of an exhaust tale drifting across in a southern direction.   The moon winked and there were  a little more air traffic flying in the night sky than usual for the area.  The shuttle  looked like a star that had pulled itself free from the universe and decided to go for a stroll in the night cosmos.  The whole experience lasted for about 5 minutes.    We were making so much fuss that the neighbors (the people who do not talk) opened there doors and peeped out.

I hope the kids remember that moment and one day they take their kids out to see the night sky and to waive at the astronauts.

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And….it will happen again Thursday night! According to space shuttle fly over information there will be another flyover on Thursday night at 7:25 pm in Houston if the night sky is clear.

I am pretty sure we saw the shuttle and then the space station follow it across the evening sky.  Houston’s weather has been clear and  cool so the sky was crystal clear.  Perfect conditions for a little space viewing party.  I plan to see it again on Thursday.  Hope you do too.   Space and the universe are still free to be gazed upon.

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Back To Blogging About Kids and Stuff To Do

I am throwing my leg back onto the blogging horse.  I am ready to share with the world all the really nice resources around Katy, Houston and the world.  I don’t know how much longer I will be a able to stay at home and take care of my kids.  One good thing about the economic downturn,  it is forcing me to really see the value of money.  No standing around in WalMar or Targ.  Everything has to have a purpose.  America will be okay.  We just need to realize we were living in Want World not Only What is Necessary World.

I’ll start off mentioning Boy Scouts.  My son and his little wood car competed at Rylander Elementary in the Pine Derby Races for the boy scout.  Here is a picture of what a little wood car looks like:

Pinewood Derby Races

Pinewood Derby Races

The cars are so cool!

Parents, please step up and lead a pack/den especially men.

First LEGO League Robotics Competition, January 10th, Go Girls Go!

Go LEGO Girl Go

Go LEGO Girl Go

My fabulous team of  sweet, smart girls  will be competing in the First LEGO League Meet on Saturday, January 10th.  I am so excited and tired.  The girls are ages 9-14 and they are happy to get the chance to compete as scientists.  We had a ton of fun and I am glad that my daughter made new friends.  The girls were in the drivers seat.  I was just a spotter directing them where to park.  (I think it would have been cool to name our team the Sara Conners or the Camerons–only you Terminator fans will enjoy the joke)

As a coach,  I am completely hands-off on Saturday.  What a big relief because I can be a parent again.  I really don’t consider myself a “coach”.  Just a mom who tried to learn robotics and encourage the girls to try something new in the world.

I do wish that I would have planned a sleep-over on Friday night.  I think it would have contributed to team bonding but this is the big return-to-school week and parents are tired.

A big thank you to the climatologist at HARC who took the time to visit with us and discuss climate change here in the Houston area.  An even bigger thanks to Girl Scouts of the San Jacinto Council.

Hopefully, public schools and non-profits will encourage participation (plus fund)  from student groups in the LEGO competition.  I don’t think the event is open to the public but there are tons of competition videos on Youtube.com.

It really is not about winning but working together on a goal.  Go Girls Go!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all.  We made it to another year.

Recyclable Capri Sun Bag Make Great Gifts

Capri Sun Recycled Lunch Bag

Capri Sun Recycled Lunch Bag

I seem to get plenty of views on this bag in my Flickr account.  Why?  Are people looking for ideas on how to recycle or they simply love my daughter’s lunch bag.

If you are looking for a Christmas gift, I would be happy to sew one up for you.

I have even thought of using those coffee bags that coffee comes in.  Surprisingly, the bag has held up great.  I even sewed in a little pouch on the side for the ice pack.

Recycle.  Save the earth.

Great Healthy Snacks to Take to Meetings, Team and Scout Group Get -Togethers

Mandarin oranges. (cuties) They were a big hit at the LEGO GS team meeting.  They are on sale at Randall’s for about $5.00 and are a total of of about 20 or so.  My kids like sticking straws into them and being messy.

Just passing on information to the those parents who always have to take a snack to some type of kid meeting.

Mary Jo Peckham Park….Free Put-Put Golf West Houston Katy

I will post directions, maps later.

Great park to take a family especially on days like today. Mild and sunny.

My compute is being devoured by a big ugly virus and I am too busy to re-install everything.  I need my bookmarks.

Busy with my LEGO team.  We are having a air quality expert speak to us on Sunday.  I worry that some parents who want their kids to be on the team are really over-booking their kids.  They are still great parents but maybe the kids need to concentrate on just 3 things/groups at a time not 10 events a week.  But everyone is sweet and nice.  I love working with the robot and learning.   The kids are making me feel like I am 11 again and for once that is a positive feeling.

Free Portrait With Holiday Christmas Family Portraits Sessions in Katy, Texas Area

Love the swing.

Love the swing.

The best time to make  Christmas portrait reservations is now. Mention that you saw this advertisement on Katy Kids when you call to book your appointment.

Thanksgiving is in three weeks.  The week before Thanksgiving is the perfect time to book family portraits.  Cut the kids hair now so that it does not look so choppy.  Buy the little outfits now.

The studio is private and you will receive excellent customer service.  The photographer and owner are one and the same.  He is not just a worker but a worker with an investment in quality.

Call this number 281-574-4422/281-392-2202

Go here:  6711 South Fry Rd (Grand Parkway/99)

www.watchmegrowportraitstudio.com

  1. All photographs are the property of Martin Diaz.  Please contact him directly for information regarding copyrights.

Girl Scout Troop Being Formed At Rhoads Elementary in Katy Texas

A Girl Scout troop is being formed at Rhoads Elementary in Katy, Texas.  The school is located on Clay Road next to Fry road.  There is not a lot of parent involvement in the school because of the demographic and because it is new.  If a business or company can help the school form more of a community, please contact the PTA and help us out.  There are so many students who would benefit from an after-school program.  These are kids from under middle-class families who need an outlet.

Please Obama.  Please make every school have an after-school enrichment program.  These kids should learning how to dance, sew, make art, skate, fix computers, gardening, learn other languages etc.

Katy, Texas is just like any Title I area.  The parents need help and the school needs help.

I would love to start an after school robotics program but I need help from area businesses and other parents.

All schools need after-school enrichment.  The education system needs to be over-hauled with technology….just my little opinion.

I plan to apply for a job in Obama’s cabinet as some type of educational aide.  Good luck to me and to the world.

Wiis and Christmas Shopping

Best Buy on Fry in Houston just got a new load of Wiis.  I took the bait and bought one.  They look like tons of fun.

I am going to start posting about by Christmas shopping.

My list will include:

LEGO Mindstorm- make your child an engineer!  Better than some overpriced XBOX which requires no imagination whatsoever.  Take a look at the UK website for Mind-storms.  They have extra accessories than what is offered in the States.

Girls Gourmet Cupcake Maker- Sam’s Club and Learning Express carries these cute little appliances which will appeal to anyone who loves watching those cake decorating shows on HGTV (I will review with pictures.  A group of girls is visiting my home next week.  Let’s see if they love this creation.  It really reminds me of the Easy Bake Oven I had as a kid.)  I think the girl scout troop should think about selling customized cupcakes that they make with the Gourmet Maker instead of those cookies.  People would like up for miles for a customized cupcake for that special loved one.  Just a thought……

Retailers are starting to go back in time to really see what kids really enjoy.

Christmas is coming and this year it will be on the cheap.

Rachel Ray’s magazine rocks!  Take that magazine to the store when grocery shopping.

I wish it snowed here in Houston.  I would love to spend Christmas somewhere in a cabin blockin in by a blizzard.  I am so tired of 80 degree weather.  I want to be in the mood to make French Stew.  Please someone help make my dream come true.

Have a good week and buy toys that really matter to your kids.

The End of my blog.

I had to go back to work and my kids have gotten older.  Everything in Katy, Texas costs.  There is no community anything unless you attend a church.

Summer childcare in Katy, TX

A really great mom is taking care of kids in the Houston area this summer right here in Katy.  Leave a private comment here and I will pass it along.

Skate parks in Houston, Texas

Where to find city skate parks in Houston, TX:

http://www.houstontx.gov/parks/skateparks.html

Summer Free Family Movies In Houston At Edwards Marq*E 23

FreeFamilyFilmFestivalPhotos2009
*Update:  Here is the FAndago website where you can get more information by city:  http://www.fandango.com/
Free Summer Film Festival This Summer in Houston at the Edwards Houston Marq*E 23. 
The nine-week festival takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. 

Free films showing this summer include "Hotel For Dogs", "Kung-Fu Panda"  and "Shrek The Third".

The free films begin on June 2nd.  The movie theater will also offer a special price on the "Kids Reel Meal"  combo pack.

The Edwards Marq*E is 

that big movie theater located at I-10 and 610 next to IKEA at7620 Katy Freeway Houston, TX 77024

Here is the website: http://www.fandango.com/edwardshoustonmarqe2326imax_aaojh/theaterpage?wssac=58&wssaffid=11481_REGWebsite

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