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Let’s Rodeo, Houston!

The best time of year has officially arrived…the 2018 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLSR)! Texas is sure proud of our state and our western heritage.  This time of year, you will find Houstonians dawning their finest western wear to be a part of the festivities. HLSR is a three-week-long event and it takes a village working together to pull it off. In this case, it takes 33,000 volunteers, giving their time and talents to help make the rodeo the huge success that it is each year.

The HLSR is a non-profit 401(c)3 whose mission statement: “promotes agriculture by hosting an annual, family-friendly experience that educates and entertains the public, supports Texas youth, showcases Western heritage and provides year-round educational support within the community.” Since its founding in 1932, the rodeo has given more than $450 million in scholarships to Texas youth.

There is something for everyone to do at the rodeo; it is truly entertainment for the entire family! If your child is an animal lover, attending the event is a must.  They will be able to enjoy pony and camel rides, a petting zoo, and a tent called “We’re Small Y’all” where kiddos have the opportunity to see baby animals.

Maybe your child enjoys riding rides more than seeing the animals – no problem there.  The carnival is open every day to the public and offers all types of rides that accommodate the entire family. Whether you go for the shopping, concerts, fried foods, entertainers or rodeo action, there is so much to do! If you’re looking to save a little money, go to the rodeo on Value Wednesday, when tickets, food and activities are discounted.

The concert lineup this year is off the charts! You won’t want to miss your favorite stars on the big stage! The weekday performances begin at 6:45 p.m., and the weekend performances begin at 3:45 p.m.

Click here for a full concert lineup for the HLSR!

 

It is February and that means love is in the air. Valentine’s Day means candy and flowers for adults, but you don’t want to forget the kids! For children going through and caught in the middle of their parents’ divorce, it is an extra important to remind them they are loved and cherished. Try sending a sweet note in their lunch box, use a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut their sandwich, make a special dinner for you and the kids, or stay in and have a carpet picnic or movie night. You can even take them out on a one-on-one date. It doesn’t have to be a five-star restaurant; just being together will make it more special. You could potentially help them create cards for their siblings. Think about being crafty with their valentine cards, decorative cute little card boxes and fun treats for school!

Valentine’s Day is filled with so much excitement and celebration for the kids at school. It is excitement for them and perhaps a little pressure for the parent to try to come up with cute ideas. Be creative! If you search the internet, you can find printable valentines and tons more. If you want to go the extra mile, spend time with your child creating homemade treats for their classmates. This bonding can be fun, and it doesn’t have to be expensive or even intimidating. Kids still get excited at elementary school parties dumping out their Valentine’s Day box to see their cards and enjoying all the treats. It is certainly an excuse to let you kids eat as much candy and junk food as they want – just make sure they brush their teeth extra well that night! Below are some great ideas to make with your children. You not only get to spend quality time by creating something together, you also get to help ensure their class party is a little extra special this year. The only thing that truly matters is that they know they are loved this Valentine’s Day and every day.

  1. Chocolate Covered Strawberry Hearts

http://onelittleproject.com/chocolate-covered-strawberry-hearts/

  1. Valentine’s Marshmallow Pops

http://www.glorioustreats.com/2011/02/valentines-marshmallow-pops.html

  1. Strawberry Roses

https://www.spendwithpennies.com/how-to-make-strawberry-roses/

  1. Apple Sandwich hearts

http://www.happytogetherbyjess.com/hearts-in-apple-sandwich/

  1. Heart rice krispie pops

https://www.skiptomylou.org/heart-rice-krispie-pops/

  1. Fruit kabobs

https://shmallergy.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/cupids-arrows-valentines-day-fruit-kabobs/

  1. Red velvet sandwich cookies

http://www.bakerella.com/easy-and-easier-valentine-treats/

  1. Chocolate sticks

http://www.superziper.com/2011/01/palitinhos-de-chocolate.html

  1. Valentine’s bark

https://lilluna.com/valentines-bark/

  1. Dipped and decorated pretzels

http://www.5minutesformom.com/49632/kid-friendly-dipped-and-decorated-pretzels-for-valentines-day/

  1. Pink Fuzzy Monster Cupcakes

http://thecakeblog.com/2014/01/diy-love-bug-cupcakes.html

  1. Chocolate Sprinkle Donuts

https://www.lovefromtheoven.com/valentines-day-donuts/

  1. Valentine’s Brownies

https://www.itsalwaysautumn.com/shot-house-valentines-brownies.html

  1. Home made Pop Tarts

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/213567/home-made-top-tarts/?internalSource=streams&referringId=1417&referringContentType=recipe%20hub&clickId=st_trending_b

  1. Chocolate Chip Cookie Heats

https://princesspinkygirl.com/chocolate-chip-cookie-hearts/

  1. Marbled Valentine Sugar Cookies

https://www.bakedbyrachel.com/marbled-valentine-sugar-cookies/

  1. Valentine’s Day Ladybug Oreo Treats

http://formodernkids.com/valentines-day-ladybug-oreo-treats/

  1. Valentine’s Day Chocolate Teddy Bear Bites

https://productivepete.com/2018/01/17/make-chocolate-teddy-bear-bites/

  1. Valentine’s Candy Dog

http://kidfriendlythingstodo.com/2018/01/valentines-candy-dog-fun-kids-craft-treat/

  1. Valentine’s Day Popcorn

http://www.twosisterscrafting.com/valentines-day-popcorn/

These are not only adorable but also look delicious and something your kids class with certainly love to eat on to help celebrate the day! I can promise you that they will certainly remember the time spent together to make their Valentine’s Day all the more special for a while to come.

Holiday Activities For Kids in TexasAs the song says ” It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”. Lights are glistening all over the city and you can feel the excitement in the air. There is so much to do with the kids. It doesn’t matter what you are doing, it can be something as simple as taking in the lights of the city while enjoying some hot chocolate. I encourage you to take advantage of the many activities throughout the city. You will be making memories for your children that will last a lifetime. Below are just a few of the opportunities going on throughout the city:

1. Zoo Lights

Zoo Lights is held beginning mid November continues on through the month of December. During Zoo lights, the Houston Zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland for all ages.

2. Santa’s Wonderland

Santa’s Wonderland, just an hour north of Houston in College Station, is a great time for the whole family. You can buy various tickets for to either drive through the Wonderland, walk or ride on a horse and carriage. After you are through with the lights, you can head in over to the village where you can eat, visit with Santa and warm up with some hot coco.

3. Festival of Lights

Festive of Lights is Galveston’s very own kickoff for the holidays with its annual full of fun, festival. The Festive of Lights is held at Moody Gardens in Galveston. Kids can take pictures with Santa, see the class holiday movies you grew up on a take a walk under the Christmas light displays. The Festival of Lights is held all the way until the New Year and January 7th.

4. Magical Winter Lights

The Magical Winter Lights is happening until January 2nd at Gulf Greyhound Park in La Marque where they light up various themed light displays. There is also a kid’s area, arts and crafts, holiday market and more.

5. Lights in the Heights

Lights in the Heights is held in the Heights neighborhood where the whole neighborhood gets in the spirit of the holidays and the event. During the event, people are able to walk throughout the neighborhood while enjoying the live music, food, hot chocolate and lights. Lights in the Heights is held the second Saturday in December (December 9th), however they are often left up throughout the whole season for people to enjoy.

6. Ice Skating at Discovery Green

Especially if the weather has not gotten into winter temperatures, Ice-skating at Discovery Green is the perfect way to cool down, while also getting in the spirit. Additionally, living in Houston, we do not get to experience real ice-skating on frozen ponds in the winter so this is certainly the next best thing. Discovery Green sets up their outdoor rink no matter the temperatures. There is not cost to get into the park but ice-skating will cost you rentals for the skates and entrance to the ice rink itself.

7. Breakfast with Santa

I certainly remember attending this event as a kid and would highly recommend it to anyone with little kids. The Downtown Aquarium restaurant will host its traditional Breakfast with Santa event. Santa may even make an appearance in the 500,000 gallon fish tank!

Divorce For Dads™ - Activities for KidsDivorce for dads™ can be a scary situation given the potential unknown and inexperience with the care of children. Life will change for the parents, as well as for the children. Some divorced fathers are overwhelmed just trying to schedule activities and keeping the kids entertained. Divorce for dads™ can create a tight budget as they have to manage with less income due to the additional expense of spousal maintenance and child support.

If the budget is tight, then the mere idea can be an extra stressor for divorcing or divorced dads. Have no fear, single fathers; you are in luck because Houston has a plethora of activities and things to do with the kids for free or a low cost. Below are just a few examples of things to do with the kids that they will enjoy and you will too, without breaking the bank. Remember, it is not about the amount of money you spend on your children to show them love, but rather the quality time you spend with them.

    1. One of the many bike trails and various activities offered around Houston’s bayous, waterways, and parks (a few listed below)
      • Buffalo Bayou
      • Herman Park
      • Discovery Green
      • Memorial Park, Houston
      • Eleanor Tensely park
      • Market Square
    2. Museums
      • Free admission to the following museums on certain days
        • Buffalo Soldiers National Museum – Thursday 1 pm – 5 pm
        • Houston Museum of Natural Science – Thursday 2 pm – 5 pm
        • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston — Thursday 10 am – 9 pm — (Kids 12 & under free every day)
        • Children’s Museum of Houston — Thursday 5 pm – 8 pm; Power Hour: Get $2.00 off on admission every day after 5 p.m. (except on Thursdays)
        • The Health Museum — Thursday 2 pm – 7 pm
        • Holocaust Museum Houston – Thursday 2 pm – 5 pm
        • Houston Museum of African-American Culture — Thursday 6 pm – 8 pm
        • Czech Center Museum Houston – Last Monday each month, noon -4 pm
    3. The YMCA
      • One adult membership (with kids) is $72.00 per month
      • If you are interested in participating in the programs or activities but do not need the full use of the facility, program memberships are available where there is a Join Fee and discounted fee per month (Fees may vary on locations around Houston)
      • Membership for All available if you meet the financial requirements
      • https://search.ymcahouston.org/search/programs/
    4. Movies
    5. Libraries
      • Many of the city libraries offer free summer reading programs
      • This is a great way to keep up their reading skills over the summer months
    6. Water Activities
    7. For little builders
    8. Baseball
      • Sugar Land Skeeters Tickets
      • Discounted Field Box seats at select Skeeters’ games – $8.50 per ticket
      • Value ticket nights include $1 hot dog Wednesdays, family night and Friday night fireworks at the ballpark
      • Houston Astros tickets – http://m.mlb.com/astros/tickets/fan-value/
    9. Houston Zoo
    10. For the Animal Lover
      • Spotting Dolphins from the Galveston Island Ferry
      • It may be a little ways from the city but what a great opportunity to venture out of the City of Houston for the day to watch Dolphins while taking a ride on the Galveston Island Ferry on its way to Port Bolivar Peninsula
      • http://www.galveston.com/galvestonferry/

There will without a doubt that divorce for dads™ will require an adjustment period as you transition to the life of a single parent, however, that does not mean you need to miss out on spending quality time with your children. With these activities and the many other options in and around the City of Houston, a fun time will be had by all!

Houston, TexasIt’s been almost one month to the day that Hurricane Harvey wrecked havoc on the city of Houston and surrounding towns. At the time, no one quite knew what to expect and what the days and months to come would hold. From the first moments, after the storm hit to the moment the rain stopped, the true spirit of Texans did not. Whether it is as a single mom or dad with kids, or as an individual, help of all children is needed and welcomed all across the city. If you, as a parent with kids, are wondering just how you and your kids can help, volunteering with your children is certainly an excellent way to do so. It is not only something that is rewarding but also a great way, as a single mom or dad, to teach responsibility.

A few ways and opportunities to help are below:

1.  Houston Food Bank

Registered volunteers will be needed on an on-going basis. Children as young as age six are welcome for kid-friendly projects. Volunteers ages 16 years and younger must be accompanied by an adult parent/guardian. Closed-toe shoes and sleeved shirts are required.

Donations are also being accepted, and curbside drop-off is now in effect.

Items needed:

  • Canned ready-to-eat items with pull tops: vegetables, fruit
  • Protein in pouches or pull-top cans: tuna, beef stew, chili, canned chicken
  • Peanut butter
  • Snacks: granola bars, breakfast bars, etc.
  • Toiletries
  • Paper goods
  • Diapers
  • Cleaning supplies: mops, mop buckets, brooms, bleach wipes, bleach, garbage bags, bug spray

http://www.houstonfoodbank.org/volunteer/volunteer

2.  Lakewood Church

After the storm, Lakewood Church open its doors to those needing shelter and are still seeking volunteers and collecting diapers, baby formula and baby food and other shelter supplies as well as taking volunteers for clean up’s around the city.

https://www.lakewoodchurch.com/Pages/Hurricane-Relief.aspx?sourcecode=17DRLW

3.  Volunteers with Pets at NRG

As you may or may not know, NRG Center has turned from a shelter for people whose homes flooded to a shelter for abandoned pets from all around the city. Barrio Dogs is looking to recruit volunteers to handle pets that people will be bringing in. They are in need of volunteers and pet items.

The shelter is in need of pet items including:

    • Crates
    • Pet carriers
    • Leashes
    • Dog/cat food
    • Cat litter
    • Towels
    • Poopy pads
    • Water bowls

If you are interested in volunteering at NRG, volunteers can start arriving at NRG Center (not the stadium); please enter via Kirby. Gate 10, Red Lot 2 or 4. At the gate, make sure to state “I am volunteering with Baker Ripley/Neighborhood Centers.”

Text Bo Fraga at 713.446.9365.

4.  Relief List

If you do not have the time to be able to go out and volunteer, but you and your family are still looking for a way to be able to help give back to those who lost everything, Relief List is an excellent way to do so. They have a running list of people all over the city, in various zip codes, in need of specific supplies and items. Relief List also has a link on their website with credible organizations seeking volunteers.

https://www.relieflist.com

Rest assured, as we have seen already, this city will rebuild and with your help would only be that much better.

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