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inside

12/13

austinfamily • smart parenting • healthy homes

columns 10 Test Drive Game reviews by ESRB, www.esrb.org Toy reviews by local testers

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12 Lifelines by Sara Rider Bridging generations Helping those with Alzheimer’s disease

Q&A with Kendra Scott Melanie Dunham

14 The Learning Curve by Jennifer VanBuren Beyond the bachelor’s degree Alternate paths to success 22 Family Connections by Richard Singleton Bigger, better, faster, MORE! Coming up next in the tech world 29 Family Matters by Dr. Betty Richardson Fake it till you make it 51 Films by Jack Kyser Captain Phillips

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52 Humor by Shannon Cook What’s in a name?

All around the world Christmas edition Jan Pierce, M.Ed.

extras 25 26 41 41

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Holiday Camp Guide Holiday Gift Guide Smart Screen Time Focus on Doctors

calendar Winners

42 Family Events 46 Storytimes 47 Parenting Events

in every issue

38 Germ warfare at the grocery store Alma Moussa

7 Play It Safe Product recalls 8 Around Austin 49 Kidzone Make your own snowflake The Thinkery 50 Book Recommendations Pam Heller

tune in cover shot Waylon, 21⁄2, loves animals, spending time with his family and playing outdoors.

Cover photographed by Todd White Photography

Pick us up at HEB, Whole Foods and Central Market

51 Go to www. austinfamily.com. You must answer phone to win! Open QR Code reader app and snap a picture of the black and white box to be connected to Free Stuff online registration.

Catch Austin Family live on “Good Day Austin” every Friday morning.

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austinfamily

editor’s note BY MELANIE DUNHAM

The end of the year always brings with it several key ingredients: reflection, jubilation and, of course, lots of stress. Put those together and you’ve got a jumbled concoction that can make or break the holiday season. Choosing optimism can bring things back into focus and allow families to enjoy the blessings of the season, and it is for that reason that I put forth great effort to stay positive and soak in as much of the good as I can. I’d much rather savor the wonder of Christmas and New Year’s than simply survive. With that in mind, our editorial this month will help you and your family find the best ways to stay happy and healthy and avoid the toxins that undermine what should be a merry season. First up, we have our Q&A featuring Austin-based jewelry mogul Kendra Scott, who famously took her last dime and turned it into a multi-million dollar corporation. Her brand now spans across the country and probably into many of your homes. You can also read up on how Christmas is celebrated around the globe, from Wales way down to New Zealand. This might reinforce the “When I was your age…” argument our parents liked to trot out when expectations ran a little too high, but will help keep things in perspective while opening eyes to other cultures. And what could be worse than getting sick when you’re the busiest you’ve been all year and most looking forward to fun and festivities? Entrepreneur Alma Moussa offers her tips for staying bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the face of grocery store germ attacks. It’s easy to lose sight of what makes December great, both spiritually and communally, but you can stay on track with a little purposeful planning. Enjoy the hustle and bustle you’re sure to encounter and relish the quiet moments. No matter which days you’re celebrating this month, we wish you a wonderful holiday season and a prosperous new year!

December 2013

®

Volume 21, No. 9

PUBLISHER Kaye K. Lowak

EDITOR Melanie Dunham editor2003@austinfamily.com COPY EDITORS Paula Halloum, Sherida Mock ADVISING EDITOR Dr. Betty Kehl Richardson CALENDAR EDITOR Betty Kemper calendar2003@austinfamily.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jack Kyser, Sara Rider, Jennifer VanBuren, Betty Richardson, Melanie Dunham, Jan Pierce, Alma Moussa, Shannon Cook, Pam Heller, Richard Singleton ART DIRECTOR John Franzetti

nr2003@austinfamily.com

ADVERTISING SALES Kaye K. Lowak kaye2003@austinfamily.com Greg Lowak greg@austinfamily.com BUSINESS MANAGER Greg Lowak

greg@austinfamily.com

We are dedicated to serving the Greater Austin area by providing up-to-date information and ideas that promote smart parenting and healthy homes. We promote our clients’ businesses by increasing their customer bases and enhancing their public images.

Austin Family is published monthly by KKKemper Inc. Mail Address: Phone Number:

P.O. Box 7559 Round Rock, Texas 78683-7559 Tel: (512) 733-0038

On the web at:

www.austinfamily.com

Advertising rates are available upon request. While we use great care in creating our display ads, mistakes can happen. Austin Family and the publisher are not liable for any damages arising from any typographical or mechanical errors beyond the cost of the ad. Austin Family does not necessarily endorse any of the advertisers, products or services listed in this publication. We do not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributers. Subscriptions are available for $25 per year. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. No portion of Austin Family may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

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play it safe: product recalls

Government recalls snow cone machines, sleep sacks, stools and building sets LaRose Industries LLC is recalling 102,000 Snoopy Sno-Cone Machines because a brass rivet can fall out of the sno-cone machine’s ice-shaving cylinder and into a snocone, posing a risk of injury to the mouth or the teeth. Affected units were sold at Barnes & Noble, Target and Toys R Us stores nationwide and online at www.amazon.com from September 2012 through July 2013 for about $15. Consumers should contact LaRose Industries for a free repair kit, which includes a new ice shaving cylinder. Do not return the recalled sno-cone machines to the store where purchased. BreathableBaby LLC is recalling 15,000 BreathableSack wearable blanket for infants because the zipper pull tabs and sliders can detach, posing a choking hazard to infants. Affected units were sold at various stores, online retailers and at www.breathablebaby.com from June 2012 to August 2013 for about $20. Consumers should contact BreathableBaby to request a replacement garment. Target Corporation is recalling 69,000 Circo-brand Chloe and Conner sitting stools because the stabilizing bar can crack and cause the stool to collapse, posing a fall hazard to the user. Affected units were sold at Target stores nationwide from April 2012 through June 2013 for about $15. Consumers should return the stool to a Target store for a full refund.  Infinitoy Inc. is recalling 7,134 Softimals building playsets because the plastic hats found on playset figures pose a choking/ aspiration hazard for children. Affected units were sold at specialty toy stores nationwide and online at www.amazon.com and www.mindware.com from September 2012 to September 2013 for about $25 and $40. Consumers should contact Infinitoy Inc. to exchange the hat for a free replacement figure. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission works to protect the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products. Pick us up at HEB, Whole Foods and Central Market

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around austin

BY THE NUMBERS

25 It’s the day of the month that Hanukkah officially starts. But that’s the month of Kislev, which is the ninth month of the Jewish calendar. Source: history.com

CHECKLIST

Must-Do this month Spend some time volunteering or giving back - kids need opportunities to stay grounded during this month of much-receiving. Schedule family time, couple time and personal time into your very busy calendar! Look up an old family recipe or consult an antique cookbook for something “new” to make for your holiday dinner!

Must-Go this month Sunday, December 1: Everyone’s favorite A Christmas Story brings new life to sweet Ralphie at Zach Theatre! Saturday, December 14: Enjoy a P.J. day and head up to Georgetown for Pajamas and Pancakes with Santa at Burger University, benefitting the Georgetown Heritage Society. Friday, December 27: Take in the beauty at the Blanton with Blanton Holiday Family Day. For more ideas, go to Calendar on page 42. 8

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CONFERENCE FOR CHILDRENS WRITER’S AND ILLUSTRATORS PLANNED FOR 2014 February 8-9, 2014, Austin writers and illustrators will have the opportunity to learn from and be inspired by talented professionals in the children’s book industry at the 2014 Children’s Writers and Illustrators Working Conference. The event is presented by the Austin Chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Lectures, manuscript critiques, a portfolio showcase and contest, the presentation of the inaugural Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award and writer and illustrator intensives will give attendees a multitude of options in furthering their passion. Speakers at the conference include author Matt de la Peña and illustrator Kelly Murphy. Writers Liz Garton Scanlon, Bethany Hegedus and P.J. Hoover are but a few of the authors in attendance, and many editors and literary agents will be featured as well. The conference will be held at the Marriott Austin South, with early bird rates and student discounts available. The Austin chapter of the Society is a vibrant, dedicated and welcoming community of children’s book writers and illustrators ranging from people thinking about writing their first book to seasoned professionals with several books in print. To find out more about the Society of Children’s Book Writers or to register for the conference, please visit austin.scbwi.org. CHALLENGER SCHOOL TRIPLES THE SIZE OF AVERY RANCH CAMPUS Challenger School, a private school focused on helping students develop thinking skills and a love of learning, announced the addition of a new elementary building at its Avery Ranch campus. The project will be completed for the 2014-2015 school year, allowing Challenger to meet surging demand and serve many more area families. The eight-classroom Avery Ranch campus will gain an additional 17 classrooms, a computer lab, a new, large multipurpose room, approximately one acre of playground area and room to continue expanding the programs it offers through eighth grade. Challenger emphasizes starting early and starting right. Preschoolers learn phonics during the prime time for learning to read and set a foundation that allows students to successfully pursue any course of study in the sciences or arts. The independent, private school was founded in 1963, has 23 campuses in California, Idaho, Nevada, Texas and Utah, and teaches over 10,000 students annually. Challenger offers preschool through eighth grade programs and, in addition to its academic foundation, emphasizes individual liberty as described in America’s founding documents. ROUND ROCK STUDENT TO PLAY IN ALL-AMERICAN FOOTBALL GAME Deerpark Middle School eighth grade student Logan Clifton was selected to play in the 2014 Football University (FBU) Eastbay Youth All-American Bowl game January 5, 2014 at San Antonio’s Alamodome. This game is the middle school version of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Clifton is now considered ranked in the top 45 of eighth grade football players in the nation and in the top eight middle school defensive linemen in the country. He is the only Round Rock ISD student selected to play in the game. Clifton was nominated to play in the youth All-American game after he participated in the 2012 and 2013 FBU Austin camps. He was selected for the 2012 FBU Team Austin seventh grade team and the 2013 FBU Team Austin eighth grade team. He also plays for the youth select football Wilco Tigers. View the magazine online at austinfamily.com

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EXTREME MAMMALS EXHIBIT WOWS AT BOB BULLOCK MUSUEM The amazing 300-million-year history of fossil and living mammals was unveiled at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum this fall; Extreme Mammals: The Biggest, Smallest and Most Amazing Mammals of All Time opened in the museum’s Herzstein Hall November 23, 2013. Visitors experience the most astonishing mammals to roam the Earth – some with tongues weighing four tons and others as small as a bumblebee. Visitors can meet creatures with gigantic claws, massive fangs and strange snouts. See the largest land mammal that has ever lived, the oldest fossilized bat ever discovered and the smallest mammal known in the fossil record. Extreme Mammals is organized by the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in collaboration with the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco; Cleveland Museum of Natural History; and the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Canada. For information about this exhibition, visit www.thestoryoftexas.com/extrememammals or call 512-936-4649. JARDIN DE NINOS INTERLINGUA PARTNERS WITH SOUTH AMERICAN SCHOOL Austin bilingual school Jardín de Niños Interlingua and Austin Eco Bilingual School in Campana, Buenos Aires, Argentina have expanded by joining forces with the goal of generating a common mission: a global vision that sets the foundation for the advancement of an international conscience. The vision will help the schools mold compassionate leaders who are globally-aware and will contribute to the building of a better world. Both institutions offer education based on deep and relevant understanding, following international standards. Their philosophy emphasizes emotional, social and environmental education, education through inquiry, thinking visibility, application of the theory of multiple intelligences (Reggio Emilia Approach), teaching for understanding framework and thinking routines, generating, in this manner, a significant learning process. Additionally, these institutions offer an immersion in Spanish and English, respectively, enriching their pluri-lingual programs with the teaching of French and Mandarin, and Portuguese and Mandarin, respectively. This union will strengthen the immersion to their main languages (English and Spanish) by promoting students, parents and faculty interchanges by means of international visits, meetings, workshops and online training. CHILD AUTHOR INSPIRES OTHER KIDS Samantha Vaca has turned her love of writing into a business opportunity at the young age of eight years old. When she was six, Samantha penned a few silly and fun stories and read them to family and friends. The feedback was incredibly positive, and Samantha was encouraged to keep writing. Eventually she and her family decided it was time to go the extra step and publish Samantha’s book. “Silly Pumpkin Stories” is now available in both print and electronic editions through Amazon and at select Whole Foods locations. The book is a collection of 23 short, whimsical stories featuring pumpkins as the main characters. Some of the stories are just plain goofy, and most have a positive message that speaks to kids. Family and friends expressed the inspiration Samantha and her book were for other kids, with several wanting to write their own books, focus on their own projects and most of all, believe in themselves. Samantha is so motivated she is now writing what she hopes will become her second book. You can read more about the book and about Samantha at www.sillypumpkins.com. Pick us up at HEB, Whole Foods and Central Market

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test drive games ESRB ENTERTAINMENT SOFTWARE RATING BOARD

Ben 10 Omniverse 2 Platform: Nintendo 3DS Rating category: Everyone +10 Content descriptors: Cartoon violence Rating summary: This is an actionadventure game in which players assume the role of Ben Tennyson, a teenager who transforms into various alien entities to defeat villains. Players run and jump through side-scrolling levels and engage in frequent hand-to-hand combat with robots, alien creatures and boss characters. Players punch, kick and use special attacks (e.g., fireballs, blasts of energy, laser swords, shockwaves); impact sounds and occasional explosions occur during battle.

Mario and Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games Platform: Wii U Rating category: Everyone Content descriptors: Mild cartoon violence Other: Includes online features that may expose players to unrated user-generated content (Wii U) Rating summary: This is a collection of sports-themed games in which players compete with Mario, Sonic and their friends at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Players can engage in several conventional sporting events (e.g., skiing, snowboarding, speed skating) as well as more whimsical events or mini-games. One mini-game allows players to use a vacuum-like device to shoot snowballs at opponents. Characters exclaim “ow” when hit by snowballs and faint when energy is depleted.

Moshi Monsters: Katsuma Unleashed Platform: Nintendo 3DS Rating category: Everyone Content descriptors: Mild cartoon violence Rating summary: This is a sidescrolling platformer in which players control creatures called “Moshlings” through colorful environments. Players run and jump around platforms while avoiding obstacles and defeating “cartoony” enemies (e.g., blobs, walking bombs). Enemies are defeated by a spin attack or when hit by projectiles such as fireballs.

The rating information, including rating summary, is provided by ESRB Entertainment Software Rating Board (www.esrb.org). These games and other rating summaries can be found at ESRB.org. For the app http://www.esrb.org/mobile .

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test drive toys BY AUSTIN-AREA KIDS

MG Portable Game System Billed as the first portable gaming system designed for Android-based games, the MG features a 4-inch touch screen, parental monitoring tools and access to more than 60,000 apps and games via Google Play. It’s designed specifically for young people to not only provide entertainment, but to teach responsibility. Geared for kids ages 3 and up. Tester Dad says: It looks really cool and I love the Family Collaboration features. No more surprise purchases! Tester Max says: There are so many cool games to play and I like having my own games so I don’t have to play on my dad’s phone anymore.

Cloud B Twilight Carz This night light from Cloud B looks like every kid’s favorite red racecar and promises to erase fear of the dark. Parents can control the head and tail lights as well as the color projected in the room. Geared for kids of all ages. Tester Mom says: This night light is really cute and looks perfect in Ben’s room. He feels cozy and safe at bedtime. Tester Ben says: I like dinosaurs and bugs a lot, but the racecar is cool. It’s fun changing the lights before bedtime.

iLearn ‘N’ Play Adventure Explorer This steering wheel and dashboard-themed toy works with Apple products as a console for preschool apps. The working buttons and wheel combined with lights and sounds make this an engaging early system for children. Geared for kids ages 3 and up. Tester Mom says: This toy is pretty basic but Lily loves pushing the buttons and “playing” her games. It’s definitely entertaining and she doesn’t mind that the apps are lite versions. We bought a few new apps for her, too. Tester Lily says: The color games are fun but Letter Explorer is my favorite! Meet the testers: Max, 9; Ben, 4; Lily, 3 Pick us up at HEB, Whole Foods and Central Market

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lifelines BY SARA RIDER

Bridging generations Helping those with Alzheimer’s disease

science finds a way to treat, prevent or cure this devastating condition, the Alzheimer’s Association predicts that by 2050, the number may have nearly tripled to 13.8 million people.

A slow downward spiral In the past, forgetfulness and loss of mental acuity were considered an inevitable part of aging. Now there is a growing realization that dementia – whether caused by Alzheimer’s or another condition – is not just a part of growing older. According to the Mayo Clinic, dementia is not a specific disease, but a group of symptoms that interfere with daily living by affecting thinking and social skills. While there are many causes for dementia, Alzheimer’s is the most common. Memory loss is usually part of dementia, but memory loss by itself doesn’t mean a patient has dementia. For someone to be diagnosed with dementia, there have to be multiple problems, such as memory loss, impaired language or judgement or impaired ability to do routine tasks. This can mean an inability to pay bills or drive in familiar neighborhoods without getting lost.

H

eart disease. Cancer. Stroke. Alzheimer’s disease.

Question: What is one thing all four of these have in common? Answer: They are all among the top 10 leading causes of death in America. Question: How is Alzheimer’s different from the other three? Answer: It is the only one of the top 10 causes of death in America that cannot be prevented or cured and for which there is no reliable way to slow its progression. That sobering information comes from the Alzheimer’s Association. And although I lost a parent to Alzheimer’s and have another family member who now struggles with the disease, it is something I had never thought about – a cause of death that we seem powerless to prevent.

To watch a friend or family member struggle with Alzheimer’s is to watch a slow decline. The Mayo Clinic says this decline usually takes seven to 10 years. The disease affects different parts of the brain with growing severity – causing problems with memory, language, reasoning and often leading to agitation and fearfulness. It’s the reverse of watching a child develop new skills, as you watch one simple skill after another slip away. But what are the warning signs for which you should be aware? The Mayo Clinic has quite a long list of changes that could indicate dementia. These range from things like failure to keep up with daily routines of bathing and grooming to deterioration in housekeeping or unexplained weight loss. Forgetting common words can be another clue. And getting lost while trying to drive to the neighborhood grocery store can be another red flag. If you are worried about behaviors like these in a family member or a friend, it’s a good idea to schedule a doctor visit and go along to have an honest conversation about the changes you are seeing.

Where do we go from here? Once you get the results of the physician’s tests you may have more questions than answers.

Nationally, the Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, including 200,000 with an early-onset form of the disease. The Association also estimates that by 2024, an estimated 7.1 million people over the age of 65 will have the disease – that’s a 40 percent increase. And unless

“The American Journal of Psychiatry” has published a Global Deterioration Scale, or GDS. According to the GDS, people with mild memory loss or people who are functioning normally, although others around them may be aware of their decline, can

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usually continue to live independently. People with early dementia may be able to live independently with the assistance of family or caregivers. By the time someone has progressed to moderate dementia, independent living is not an option. In this phase, people cannot recall things that they have known for years – like their phone number or address – and may be disoriented as to date or time of year.

there. People with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia will still feel happy, sad and anxious. You can help them by not dismissing their feelings. They may still remember the past clearly, and you should take the time to talk with them about their memories. During the holidays you can have some very special

memories to reflect on, and hopefully together you can focus on what is still shared instead of what is lost. Sara Rider is a native Austinite who has worked with physicians and hospitals throughout Texas. She frequently writes freelance articles on health topics for newspapers and magazines.

By the time someone progresses to moderately severe dementia, he or she will have little ability to recall recent events in his or her life and will require help with what are known as “activities of daily living,” which including bathing, dressing and eating. In severe dementia, someone may no longer be able to recall and use language, be incontinent and lose the ability to walk.

Helping while you can At this time of the year, we want to be around the people we love. And this can be a hard time both for those who care for loved ones with dementia and for those who suffer from it. You may find the holidays more rewarding if you follow these suggestions from the Mayo Clinic: • If you are the caregiver, adjust your expectations for the holiday • If your family member is still living at home, make holiday preparations together when you can. This can mean opening greeting cards together or helping with simple steps such as measuring flour when baking • Keep decorations simple – avoid lighted candles or flashing lights as these can be a distraction to someone with dementia. Also avoid decorations that look like edible treats – such as garlands made to look like candy or fruit • If your family member or friend lives in an assisted living facility, it may be best to celebrate the holiday at the facility. Familiar surroundings are best for someone with dementia, and a visit home – although it can sound like a good idea – may be upsetting • Limit guests to small groups, two or three people at a time. Larger groups can be confusing • Schedule visits at the time of day when he or she is at his or her best, usually the morning or noontime Remember that although dementia affects memory and behavior, all of the emotions that make us human are still Pick us up at HEB, Whole Foods and Central Market

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the learning curve BY JENNIFER VANBUREN

Beyond the bachelor’s degree Alternate paths to success

W

hat do George Lucas, Walt Disney, Ross Perot and Tom Hanks have in common with Eileen Collins, the first female commander of a space shuttle mission and Dr. Craig Ventner, the scientist who sequenced the human genome? They all got their start at a two-year community college. It’s well known that a college degree can lead to higher-salaried positions. While bachelor’s degree programs stand out over associate degrees in most industries, new data suggests there are times when an associate degree comes out on top. Mark Schneider, president of CollegeMeasures.org and a vice president at the American Institutes for Research reports, “Associate degrees are worth a lot more than I expected and that I think other people expected.” He continues, “In the U.S., we’ve tended to think that the bachelor’s degree is the only thing that matters and this data tells us that technical degrees from community colleges are hidden gems.”

Why an associate degree?

ucation, computer programming, applied science, electronics, welding and nursing. Instead of taking a broad range of classes like in a four-year college or university, students usually enter with a specific career in mind. While this does not allow for the exploration of life-paths or the breadth of educational experience, it does help students secure a position without racking up huge college debt. Another option: associate programs start out with general coursework, allowing students to earn credits while deciding on a four-year program.

Finding the best fit The quality of associate and vocational programs varies greatly. Check the school’s accreditation and then verify that the U.S. Department of Education has actually approved that accreditation. There are many programs out there, online and in brickand-mortar schools, that make big promises, but their credentials could be fictional or without merit. You can check the Council for Higher Education Accreditation for a list of national and regional accreditation agencies, or search their institutional database to get information about the program in which you are interested. When selecting a program, be sure to consider if the credits earned with the associate degree can be transferred to a bachelor’s degree program. Even if you think you only want to complete a two-year program, you may very well want to advance in your career and could regret your choice if you have to start all over again. There are four-year colleges and universities that have programs specifically designed to pick up where an associate degree left off, making the transition as smooth as possible.

Jobs that make the grade The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that while some positions in promising fields are available with a high school diploma and on-the-job training, in order to advance to supervisory positions, employees with post-high school training will have an advantage. In a highly competitive market, having taken some college classes generally increases your chances at getting the job. While nursing is a popular course of study in two-year programs, the healthcare field is ripe with other high-paying and rewarding career opportunities that do not require a four-year degree. While a home health aide may find work with one month or less on-the-job training, many aides will have completed college courses in order to earn certifications that qualify them for a greater variety of positions. One common strategy is to gain enough education to get a job in the health care field and while working, take more courses to move on to higher-level positions.

Associate degree programs focus on preparing graduates for entry-level positions in a number of specialties including accounting, building construction technology, early childhood ed-

Many health care professions require certification, and an associate degree is recommended as the minimum level of education. Emergency medical technicians and paramedics need

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certification, the highest level of which requires an associate degree. Dental assistants can train on the job, but those who have an associate degree can make 20 percent higher earnings. Other health professionals with a good career forecast include: clinical laboratory technologists and technicians, dental hygienists, medical records and health information technicians and nursing and respiratory therapists. Many high-paying jobs, such as phlebotomy technicians, radiology technologists, medical sonographers and physical therapy assistants all require the successful completion of a two-year degree through an accredited program.

The way of the future? Some students may have their heart set on a private four-year academic environment and are willing and able to spend $100,000 and four years on a bachelor’s degree. Students and their parents may fear that a stigma of starting out at a junior or community college may decrease the future value of a college transcript. But think twice before discounting a highquality two-year program. The Harvard

Graduate School of Education concluded, “In the U.S. we place far too much emphasis on a single pathway to success: attending and graduating from a fouryear college.” According to the report, 30 percent of the 47 million new jobs anticipated by 2018 will only require an associate degree or a certificate. Jennifer VanBuren is an educator and Georgetown mother of three boys.

Welders and machinists often train in apprenticeship programs for a year or more while earning wages, as do automotive service technicians and mechanics. More often, they earn certificates and degrees at two-year vocational schools. In order to move into supervisory roles in construction management, a minimum of a two-year degree is necessary. Another field that is expected to grow is police and protective services. While some security guards and fire fighters can get jobs right out of high school with on-the-job training, guards who carry weapons or work in specialized fields, such as power plants, need more formal education and licensure. While many police and fire fighters attend academies, many also have degrees and certifications that require coursework at the college level. An associate degree and related certifications are recommended for those who want to work in the computer fields, such as network analysis, computer support specialist, computer repair, webmasters, Local Area Network support staff, programmers, systems administrators and help desk workers. Without an associate degree, it is likely you will start out in computer support while training for a higher-level position. In order to obtain the position of educational support personnel, including paraprofessionals such as teaching assistants, a high school diploma used to be enough, but that’s not always the case today. The same is true with daycare providers and preschool teachers. The job description may say “minimum of high school diploma,” but if you really want the job, get the degree. Pick us up at HEB, Whole Foods and Central Market

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Q&A with

KENDRA SCOTT By Melanie Dunham

Y

ou’ve seen her jewelry on celebrities and in magazines; you’ve heard her name mentioned in business circles and non-profit giving; and her rags-to-riches story has been reported time and time again. An Austinite for nearly 20 years, Kendra Scott is a prime example of what makes this town great. From her business savvy to her extensive philanthropic resumé, she’s blazing a trail for young women a mile wide. >>

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AF: Tell us about your family. KS: I am the lucky mother of three beautiful boys: Cade is 12, Beck is nine and my newest, Grey, is just two months. My family means the absolute world to me and no matter how busy I may be with my business, I always put them first. AF: What are your favorite things to do in Austin with your kids? KS: Austin is like a giant playground for my boys, so any kind of outdoor activities are our favorites. Whether going out on Lake Austin and wake boarding, going for a hike at Sculpture Falls, riding around Town Lake or watching their many different sports games, I love enjoying the Austin outdoors with my children. AF: Which do you think is the most kid-friendly restaurant in town? KS: Salt Lick is without a doubt our family favorite. Not only is their barbeque absolutely mouth-watering, but the atmosphere of the restaurant is also spectacular and perfect for my energetic boys! Located just outside of Austin in Driftwood, the restaurant is surrounded by acres of beautiful land, so there is plenty of room for my boys to run around and play. While there may be a wait on busy nights, there is always live music playing and delicious popcorn to snack on while you wait. AF: In what ways do you encourage your kids to engage in philanthropy as you do? KS: Being caring and thoughtful to others is a value I instilled in my children at a very young age, and continue to weave into their lives, regularly taking them with me on volunteer trips and teaching them the importance of giving back to those in need. Earlier this summer, Cade and Beck hosted a lemonade stand in front of my Austin store on South Congress and were able to raise $2,600 for HeartGift Foundation, a philanthropy that brings free surgery to correct life-threatening heart defects to children around the world. I think it’s immensely important for children to experience the joy of giving back to those in need, and I’m committed to ensuring that all three of my boys learn this from firsthand experience. AF: What spurred your passion for helping women enduring health or financial turmoil? KS: I started my business when my own family was going through a difficult financial situation, so I have been there. With a baby on the way, it would have been easy to panic about our situation and sink, but it was this determination to provide for our family that led to the start of my business. As a mother and an entrepreneur, I know firsthand that everyone can use a helping hand at some point, and so giving back to causes that empower women, such as Dress For Success, is extremely important to me. Philanthropy has always been one of the core values driving my company, and it brings me joy to see young girls and ladies provided with opportunities they never imagined would exist! continued on page 18

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Another experience that has shaped my life is my stepfather’s battle with cancer. In fact, this is what inspired me to open my first business, The Hat Box, a hat boutique whose proceeds benefitted cancer research. Now, many of my own friends have battled breast cancer, and so giving back to causes that help cancer awareness and research, such as the Komen Foundation, is equally important to me. To me, giving back to my community in a meaningful way is true success and to do so is a priceless experience. AF: What do you feel is the biggest challenge in having a successful career and a young family? KS: Achieving balance with your professional and family life is a constant challenge, but what has helped me is establishing a company culture that thrives on a family-first mantra. I founded my company when my first son was born, and I did that for many reasons, but mainly because I’ve always wanted to have a career that allowed me to put being a mom first. While I faced challenges along the way, having my own business allows me to be the best mom I can be, while doing what I love – designing jewelry. I have always put being a mom first and I’ve structured my business around that mantra. The way I work allows me to always be present in my children’s lives, even if that means staying up until 1:00 am working after they’ve gone to sleep. I’ve always done whatever is necessary to make sure that when I’m with them, the focus is on them and them alone. While having my children as my number one priority can be exhausting at times as a business owner, I wouldn’t have it any other way. continued on page 20

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continued from page 18

AF: How has Austin changed since you moved here at 19? KS: Austin has changed in so many ways since I moved here at 19. The biggest change is the influx of people we’ve had move into the city, but one of the things I love most about Austin is that no matter how big we may get, there always remains a true sense of pride and community, and that’s rare to find in a large city. AF: Despite having boutiques in eight other cities, what keeps you calling Austin home? KS: Austin is my home base and will remain so because of many reasons, the first being that it is such an incredible city to raise a family in. The sense of community and family here is just unbelievable. Austinites embrace and support each other in everything, and that’s a perfect environment to raise children in. There are also just so many wonderful activities for families to do together, especially outdoors, and my boys and I love that. The other is because Austin is a perfect place to start a business, and I truly believe that this city gave us our wings to fly. I feel so lucky for my business to have its roots here in Austin, Texas. While Austin is a growing city, it still has this laid back, homegrown quality that cannot be found anywhere else. I believe I have been able to grow my brand globally because I started in a place that is so supportive of local businesses.

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AF: Describe your perfect day. KS: I would start the day right, enjoying breakfast and good conversation with my family. Then, I would take some time to draw inspiration and do some sketches for one of my upcoming collections. Depending on the time of year, I would enjoy the afternoon riding bikes around Town Lake or kayaking, then enjoy the sunset from one of the park benches. Last, we would finish the day with a delicious, homemade Italian meal and share the best part of our day with each other, my personal favorite family tradition. AF: Is there anything you would like to share with Austin Family readers? KS: I feel so blessed to call myself an Austinite and to have the opportunity to raise both my family and business in this incredible city. I look at Austin as a beautiful little oasis in the center of Texas that allows creativity, live music, art and countless other amazing elements to thrive. The people, culture and geography make the city a dream for creatives like myself! I can’t thank the people of Austin enough for their role in igniting my small business to the global brand it is today.

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family connections BY RICHARD SINGLETON

Bigger, better, faster, MORE! Coming up next in the tech world

Faster Internet is coming Local Internet service providers are ramping up to a 2014 where your once blazing fast 10-20 Mbps Internet connection is going to seem slower than digesting grandma’s Thanksgiving feast. In Austin, Google has spurred a race to 1000 Mbps. The days of erratic, irritating buffering might soon be as much a part of history as tinfoil-wrapped rabbit ears. Make sure to upgrade that old router of yours to take advantage of all that speed. If so, you’ll be streaming “The Wire” without interruption as your daughter is FaceTiming all her Snapchat minions, your son is commanding an online gaming legion and your husband is pumping his fist to three online ESPN football games while simultaneously streaming his ear-piercing and strangely ironic Rage Against the Machine attack on your ears. Be careful what you wish for from the bandwidth gods, however, you might just get it. With faster Internet also comes a towering wave of devices to drink from the bandwidth fire hy drant.

Tablets, tablets, tablets Like tribbles, they just keep multiplying. Tablets are relatively cheap. They’re stunningly light. They’re capable of enormous battery life and they’re increasingly peppy enough for whatever you want to shove through that massively expanding pipeline of bandwidth. Don’t settle for a lackluster, outdated version that some stores may try to slip by you. Insist on high definition screens, fast processors and plenty of storage for all those movies you’ll need to download to keep the kids from a nuclear assault on each other during next summer’s road trip. You’ll thank me later – for the shiny new tablet, and especially for the been-there-got-the-t-shirt vacation advice.

Gadgets, gear and goodies

I

n my family, the holidays have always been a time of expectancy, excitement and a modicum of begging, cajoling and haranguing. And, that’s just since I’ve been a married adult. Mrs. Claus is so good to me! Imagine the youthful glint in my eyes as a kid when the shiny BMX arrived, when Santa arranged for a weapon of mass destruction or two, when I first opened that can of forest-fresh Lincoln Logs, or when I flew into the wrapper of that first Atari system. Man, am I old!

The world of gadgets gets more interesting every day. Did you know that the curved displays are emerging? I’m not sold on them yet, but they’re interesting. Immaculate resolution already abounds. And, to this already diverse cavalcade of gadgetry, the tech titans are adding things like smart watches and eyewear like Google Glass. Is one’s nerd empire or gift list complete without them? You’ll have to decide that one.

Things have gotten a lot more confusing since the days of the Atari 2600, Commodore 64 and the Apple IIe. And, I’m so glad they have. I love my electronics and 2013 has been a huge year for gadget updates and glorious new goodies. As you plan your budget for your tech bits and bytes, there are a few things you might consider.

I’m assuming some of these will trickle into the holiday buy-orama this year. Even so, these more gimmicky items might still need the inventiveness and marketing of an Apple to pull off the truly culture-shifting feat of widespread adoption. Huge phones prove it can be done, though. Once lampooned, the gargantuan “phablets” that emerged a couple of years ago are becoming standard pocket-stretching protocol for ladies and gents alike. And the once seemingly untouchable Retina display has been conquered by the mesmerizing qHD+ displays

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currently hitting the markets. Last but not least, a wave of refreshed Intel processors means your new laptop should come with Haswell baked in or it should stay on the store shelf. Haswellbased laptops are getting eight to 14 hours of battery life! That’s great news for the road warrior worker, the dude-where’d-Ileave-my-charger college student and, especially, for all the inveterate coffee shop cave dwellers among us.

So, if you plan on buying some of these hot, shiny new baubles this year, please find ways to help your family create positive memories with them. Technology often takes the blame for overstimulated tikes, zoned-out teens and isolated, unproductive adults. Really, it’s not all the cool devices that do that to us. It’s how we choose to use them that makes the difference.

The next big thing: pixel-packed screens

It’s never too late in one year or too early in another to start being intentional about using the wonders of technology to bring family together, to spread cheer, to lavish one another with love and to build lasting memories that will yield a lifetime of blessings. Merry Christmas and happy holidays! Richard Singleton, MACE, MAMFC, LPC, is the executive director at STARRY in Round Rock.

You may have heard your gadget guru friend or partner gushing about 4K resolutions. The marketplace is still elbowing around in the naming queue trying to figure out what appellation will stick, but this is certain: no matter how it hits your ears, it will hit your eyes with stunning clarity and brilliantly crisp vistas of realism. From desktop displays to laptops and certainly to the arena of TV, resolution is expanding exponentially. And, trust this: all those pixels come at a price. Early adopters will find that their eyeteasing displays will cost hundreds and sometimes thousands more. If you can afford it, go for it. You won’t be disappointed. If you’re like me and can’t afford a TV that costs as much as a year’s worth of college tuition, not to worry. The prices are falling and because we’ve already come so far, the current mid-tier display technology is already great. Just don’t settle for anything less than Full HD on just about any gadget you buy and you’ll be all set for a brilliantly crisp and clear rendition of “Elf,” “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” “A Christmas Story” or whatever else you like to nuzzle up to as you stir your nostalgia this time of year. Okay, enough about gadgets; let me bend your ear for a moment about how to keep all this stuff from becoming the focus of your family. During the holidays, it’s not the next cool thing that we will remember years from now. Rather, it’s the time that we are blessed to spend with each other that will outlive the recycled wasteland of gifts. Sure, I remember the BMX and the Lincoln Logs, but what I remember more is riding bikes with my cousin and building He-Man vs. Skeletor battle landscapes with my brother and those aging Lincoln Logs. Pick us up at HEB, Whole Foods and Central Market

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austinfamily magazine’s 16th Annual

Summer Camp Fair EE ION R F SS I M AD

Sunday, January 26 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. PALMER EVENTS CENTER Spring and summer day and night camps including: • music • equestrian • tennis • dance • computers • environmental • science • magic

• basketball • football • ice skating • acting • frontier • pottery • gymnastics • soccer

Come and register to win a FREE camp!

and lots more

Meet with staff from over 100 local, state and national camps and find the perfect camp for your child age 3 – 18 The camp fair will educate families on a variety of camps to help make those important decisions. All who attend will benefit from this one-stop campers' event.

Call 512.733.0038 or visit

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Camp Doublecreek Winter Camp 512-255-3661 campdoublecreek.com Dec. 26-Jan. 3 Who says you can only have fun at camp in the summer time? Come enjoy. Camp Quarries Winter Camp 1140 N. MoPac 512-241-0233 hpbc.org/rec Dec. 23, 27, 30, Jan. 2, 3, 6 They want to have some FUN at Quarries Camp! Rock wall, game room, go carts, cookie decorating and more. Capital Gymnastics: Winter Break Fun 2013 Pflugerville 512-251-2439 N. Austin 512-219-9930 Cedar Park 512-259-9995 capgym.com Ages 3 & up. Gymnastics, inflatables, crafts, snacks, field trips, games, movies, obstacle course. Cheer Station Holiday Technique Camp 2013 12112 Boardwalk Dr., Suite C cheerstation.com 512-45-CHEER Jan. 2 & 3 Tumbling for cheerleaders and stunt clinic.

HOLIDAY

Camp Guide3 201

Dance Discovery Nutcracker Camp 512-419-7611 dancediscovery.com Ages 3 - 8 Half-day camps, nutcracker craft. Kids Acting Winter Break Camps 512-836-5437 kidsactingstudio.com Ages 5 - 11 Annie, Dec. 23-27 (not Dec. 25) Lion King, Jan. 3 (not Jan. 1) Stepping Stone School All locations steppingstoneschool.com 512-459-0258 Dec. 23-Jan. 3 School-age kids can enjoy European Adventure, field journeys, math and literacy club.

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Sugar & Spice Ranch Mother/Daughter Christmas Retreat and December Family Packages Bandera 803-460-8487 texashorsecamps.com Retreat Dec. 28-Jan. 3. December vacation packages available. Bonding families through horses. Thinkery Gingerbread Workshops 1830 Simond Ave. 512-469-6201 thinkeryaustin.org Dec 14-15, 21-24 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Dec. 24 10 a.m. to noon) $20 per house, $8 per person, $4 for members Gingerbread workshops celebrate creative families in a fun and festive atmosphere. YMCA Austin Winter Holiday Camps 2013 512-322-9622 austinymca.org Calling all astronauts! Get ready to rocket into the solar system with the YMCA! Various programs available. Visit our website for more information. Zach Winter Break Camps 512-476-0594 zachtheatre.org Dec. 30-Jan. 3 (Not Jan. 1) Cat in the Hat for K through 3rd grade. Musical theatre: Seussical for grades 4 to 6.

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Holiday Gift Guide

Y A D I L O H

Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Gift Guide

e d i u G Gift 13

Holiday Gift Guide

Rainbow Play Systems The Springfree™ Trampoline removes many of the risks associated with traditional trampolines and is the world’s safest! Available at Rainbow Play Systems. Call 1-800-RAINBOW.

Holiday Extravaganza Dec. 7–8 TexARTS Broadway Company Location: Kam and James Morris Theatre at TexARTS 2300 Lohmans Spur, Suite 160 The Nutcracker Dec. 14 15 TexARTS Youth Ballet Theatre Location: St. Michael's Academy - Gloria Delgado Theatre 3000 Barton Creek Boulevard tex-arts.org • 512-852-9079 x101

Holiday Gift Guide Holiday Gift Guide

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Pioneer Farms Living History Park Step back in time at this old fashioned general store to discover items like this replica bow and arrow, canteen and more. 10621 Pioneer Farms Drive • 512-837-1215 pioneerfarms.org

Kid O Shoe These boots are by Campe. 2438 W. Anderson Lane (by Terra Toys) 512-467-7463 • kidoshoe.com

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Callahan’s General Store Layaway your Pony Cycle for Christmas. 501 Bastrop Highway • 512-385-3452

The Thinkery Memberships make great gifts! 201 Colorado Street • 512-472-2499 x234 thethinkeryaustin.org

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Holiday Gift Guide Holiday Gift Guide

Zach Theatre This Wonderful Life Nov. 20-Dec. 29 Zach’s Whisenhunt Stage 512-476-0541x1 • zachtheatre.org A Christmas Story Nov. 26-Dec. 29 Zach’s Topfer Theatre 512-476-0541x1 • zachtheatre.org

Holiday Gift Guide

Heart & Soul Scripts Inspirational apparel and accessories, baby onesies, hats and more. 512-218-8522 • heartandsolescripts.com

Smart Toys Sturdy wooden blocks allow children to develop spatial perception, logic and problem-solving skills as they “pull a rabbit out of the box” with this 3D puzzle from SmartGames. SmartToysAndGames.com

Holiday Gift Guide

Heartsong Music Give the gift of music to the young children in your life with a gift certificate for Music Together® classes, or purchase beautiful rhythm instruments! 2700 West Anderson Lane, Ste. 320 • 512-371-9506 heartsongmusictogether.com

Terra Toys This handmade Hansa Dragon is bendable, poseable and comes in four different sizes including a rideable life-size version. 2438 W. Anderson Lane • 512-445-4489 terratoys.com

Holiday Gift Guide

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Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum Store The 2013 Texas Capitol ornament features skylights in the Texas Senate and House of Representatives and is finished in 24k gold; includes velour-lined gift box. texasstatehistorymuseumstore.com

Holiday Gift Guide

Ceramics Bayou Everyone cherishes a gift handmade with love. Whether it is pottery, mosaics or fused glass, now is the time to come into Ceramics Bayou and get started on your holiday creations. 3620 Bee Caves Road • 512-328-1168 ceramicsbayou.com

Craftscape Designed to meet your needs and budget with nothing being too small or too large for us to handle. Please visit us at our website or give us a call to discuss playscape design and options. craftscapeinc.com • 512-222-8597

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family matters BY DR. BETTY RICHARDSON

Q

Fake it till you make it My good friend Beth has a 10-year-old son Jason, and we spend a good bit of time together. Recently my son Zach, who is also 10, told me he no longer wants to hang out with Jason, and when asked why, responded, “Because I don’t like the way he acts.” While I want to allow Zach to choose his own friends, I don’t want this to impact my relationship with Beth. How I can best handle this situation?

First, find out what behavior your son finds so unappealing in Jason. It could be anything from not taking turns with computer games to something much more objectionable, like using bad language or improper touching. If he is doing something that is clearly offensive and needs correcting, you have choices, such as cutting all ties with Beth, scheduling your time together during school hours or seeing her and her son without Zach present. Another option I like better is to schedule a relaxed time alone with Beth so you can chat with her in a nonjudgmental, friendto-friend manner. Explain to her that it’s normal for children to want to choose their friends and that right now Zach wants a break from hanging out with Jason. If Jason’s behavior really needs some correction before it gets him in trouble, you could gently ask Beth if she has ever noticed these behaviors, and if so, offer to help her plan how to deal with them. If she denies ever noticing them, you can back off, as you have planted the seed and she‘ll think about it. You need to be cautious and very tactful, as mothers usually don’t like to hear their child has problems.

allow closer supervision and may make the visits seem more acceptable to Zach. With the holidays coming up, we will all deal with people who are challenging for us. We can be tactful and strategize how to survive and even enjoy time with them, or we can create chaos and ill will. I suspect most of us will have lots of opportunities to model for our children how to get along with all kinds of people. Betty Richardson, PhD, RNC, LPC, LMFT, is an Austin-based psychotherapist who specializes in dealing with the problems of children, adolescents and parents.

That being said, if the issues are things like trying to control game rules, having to win every time or not being considerate, this provides an opportunity for teaching Zach how to deal with people who behave like this. Explain that throughout life, everyone encounters people who don’t play fair, who are inconsiderate, say things we don’t like to hear, insist on winning or who we just simply don’t like. Let him know he can choose his friends and spend time with them often, but that you expect him to play with Jason as a social visitor to your home. Work together to plan the best ways to deal with Jason. You could also make the home visits less frequent for a while and/or focus more on the relationship between the boys. A project that you and Beth do with your sons will

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All a

rld wo

t d h n e u o r

n

Chr o i istm t i d as e By Jan Pierce, M.Ed.

C

hristmas is a holiday celebrated from sea to shining sea, and while there are commonalities surrounding the festivities no matter where you go, the unique customs of each locale make Christmas different from place to place. In every culture, the religious significance of the holiday involves celebrating the birth of Jesus, while the secular festivities include a gift-giving character who brings presents and treats to good children. From there, the decorations, music and specialty foods are as varied as you can imagine! Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting ways Christmas is celebrated all around the world. >>

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India Christmas is celebrated on December 25 with church services for believers; a midnight service is very popular. People of all faiths decorate their homes and gardens with star-shaped paper lanterns, and some set up nativity scenes. Father Christmas is the one who brings presents on a horse and cart. Special Christmas cakes and sweets such as newries and kulkuls are baked, and open houses abound. Sweden St. Lucia’s day is celebrated on December 13. St. Lucia was a Christian martyr from 304 AD, known for sneaking food to persecuted Christians in the catacombs of Rome. Today, young girls don white dresses with a red sash and wear a crown of lights to help Lucia find her way. Special St. Lucia Day buns, called lussekatts, are served. Then on Christmas Eve, a huge buffet, or julbord, is eaten in courses. It begins with cold fish dishes and moves to cold meats, warm meat dishes and desserts. Glogg, a sweet mulled wine, and coffee are favorite drinks. Homes are decorated with straw to remind everyone that Jesus was born in a manger, and gifts are brought by small gnomes called jultomten. Madagascar This island off the east coast of Africa is very warm at Christmastime. Still, decorations include holly and “snow,” though neither exist there. Santa is known as Dadabe Noely and only small gifts are exchanged. On Christmas Day, people everywhere, even strangers, greet one another with “Arahaba tratry ny Noely,” which means Merry Christmas. Then, they gather with their families to eat dinners of chicken or pork with rice, a special cake and lychee, a local fruit. Hong Kong Christians in Hong Kong celebrate Christmas with homemade cards bearing original artwork of the Holy Family in Chinese settings. Poinsettias and nativity scenes are used for decoration, the Chinese alphabet adorns streamers and paper chains hang everywhere. Santa Claus is known as Lan Khong or Dun Che Lao Ren. continued on page 32

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continued from page 31

Zimbabwe Christmas Day, known as Kisimusi, begins with a church service, then people visit friends and family, eat and exchange gifts all day long. A favorite meal is chicken with rice, which is a special treat. Often, large speakers are put into the streets and music is played loudly. People wear their best clothes and homes are decorated with ivy draped around the rooms. Christmas cards may have wild animals on them and small gifts are given to children on Christmas morning. New Zealand Christmas also falls in the hot summer months in New Zealand. Families often celebrate their summer holidays by camping or staying at the beach. There are parades and Christmas trees, and the popular Christmas meal includes barbecued meats or seafood with hot fruit pudding, meringues or pavlova for dessert. Presents are opened on Christmas Day before the special lunch. Ethiopia Christmas, called Ganna, is celebrated by the Orthodox Church in Ethiopia and is held on January 7. People fast on January 6, then on the morning of the seventh, they don a white toga-like garment called a shamma. The shamma is worn to a special service held in the circle-shaped church where candles are held in a procession and communion is taken. At the time of Ganna, men and boys play a game similar to hockey, also known as ganna. Special foods eaten at this time of year include a stew of meat and vegetables, called wat, and flatbread known as injera. Children usually receive gifts of clothing. continued on page 34

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continued from page 32

Wales In this part of the world, singing carols is the highlight of the festivities. Carolers sing at dawn Christmas morning and are invited in for snacks. There is a prize for the best new Christmas carol written that year and it is added to the list of carols sung in future Christmas celebrations. Taffy-making is also a favorite family activity. Russia Christmas is celebrated by the Orthodox Church in Russia. Once banned by the Communist regime, Christmas is again celebrated with special church services, wonderful meat and cabbage pies called pirogi and meat dumplings known as pelmeni. Kutya, a local porridge, is served along with honey and poppy seeds to bring happiness, success and peace. Children carry a star and go house-to-house in the cold winter snow singing carols and receiving sweets. Kids love to hear about the ways children in other lands live and celebrate holidays. They might even like trying out some of the customs or foods other cultures enjoy during Christmas. Sharing the customs of people around the world helps kids feel connected despite language barriers and oceans of distance, and there’s no better time to feel unified than during the holiday season. Jan Pierce, M.Ed. is a retired teacher and freelance writer living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She travels to India, working with orphanages and schools.

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Winners

On Thursday, November 14, the winners and first runner-up students were announced at their schools. First place winners received a Kindle and an engraved plaque, and runners-up also received an engraved plaque. All entrants received a wristband declaring "I am a writer." Thank you to all our young scribes who entered this year's contest. (These essays have not been edited.)

Andrew T. Fourth Grade Winner

Nicholas W. Fifth Grade Winner

Peace Begins with Me Peace is a simple thing. Mostly, it is about caring for each other and working together no matter who we are. There are reasons for peace and people might think that they don't need peace in there life but we do. We need peace for everything and it begins with me. The way I show that peace begins with me is that I believe that everybody is equal. I believe everybody is equal because I am part Hispanic and part Caucasian. My mom's part of the family is Hispanic and my dad's part of the family is Caucasian. Also, I was born with a cleft lip and palate. I am the only one in my school with a cleft lip and palate and their are 1050 kids in my school. Even though I look different from everyone, I treat others the way I want to be treated. Peace is about who you are and how you act. Treating others with respect shows that I am looking for peace in me. If I have peace in me I can give peace to everyone. Peace can spread from me to my school, to Round Rock, to Austin, to Texas, to the United States, to our continent and to the rest of the world. The peace can spread from one fourth grader to another.

PEACE BEGINS WITH ME… Peace begins with me… • when I help somebody who is having trouble on a math problem. • when I complement a classmate’s drawing in art class. • when I share the football at recess. Peace begins with me… • when I play games with a new classmate during P.E. • when I help someone who tripped and cut themselves. • when I pick up someone’s books who dropped them in the library. Peace begins with me… • when I cheer up someone who is sad by asking if I can do something to help. • when I tell two friends to stop fighting. • when I stick up for someone who’s being bullied. Peace begins with me… • when I smile at others.

Soraya S. Fifth Grade Runner Up Abhinu M. Fourth Grade Runner Up "Peace Begins with me" Peace is not something that we could achieve by wishing, it is something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away. Peace is not war, it is quiet and is mostly the best thing in the world. Peace is when you are being nice to people and they are being nice to you. When you give peace to people, it comes around and you get the peace back. Peace is a state of harmony between groups of people, it can only be achieved through understanding not through violence. Peace is also used or known as amity, treaty or truce. Use peace as a weapon itself, says Gandhi To begin peace with me, I would • Bring peace to school by stop bullying because bullying is very horrible • Be tolerant as much as possible • Seek forgiveness, not revenge • Reflect my thought at other people • Be peaceful myself • Listen to other people thoughts and respect them, try to correct them by convincing if they are not peaceful • Promise to make my school a peaceful place by sharing and caring • Make the school more peaceful by being kind and giving • Make sure that everybody is treated fairly • Making sure nobody is fighting and if they are I will get an adult • Be the change that I wish to see in the school • Not encourage violence, because it cannot be achieved through violence • Resolve conflicts in peaceful manner, If I can Pick us up at HEB, Whole Foods and Central Market

Peace Begins With Me Peace is having the feeling of being calm, free and happy. Peace is when we all come together to make a difference in our learning environment. Peace begins with me.

“Peace begins with a smile”- Mother Teresa. Smile is the first thing I would suggest doing to promote peace at my school. I would encourage everyone to smile, and be kind to one another. Treat others the way you would want to be treated, which is with respect, love and loyalty. Try to think positive thoughts and have happy feelings about others and yourself. Stay calm when feeling nervous, apologize when it is your mistake, and stay humble. “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” Jimmy Hendrix Love, compassion and care are very important to have a peaceful environment. I would help make my school a violence free and bullying free place. Everyone should be treated equally, never judge kids by the color of their skin, the clothes they wear or the size they are, accept one another. There are better ways to solve problems other than using violence and hatred towards each other. Talk and communication are the best options to take care of a misunderstanding. Care about each other and about our school by helping keeping it clean and safe. Peace should always be there, in our hearts, at school, at work, everywhere. We should all work together to keep world peace.

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Germ warfare

at the grocery store

G

By Alma Moussa

rocery shopping is a basic part of life for moms and dads; going to the store for nutritious foods to keep the family healthy is a simple fact. But what many parents don’t realize is that supermarkets are not the cleanest places, and shopping carts in particular can harbor hidden germs and bacteria that can make them, and their children, sick. These germs may be less harmful to healthy people, but those with weakened immune systems may be more susceptible to illnesses caused by contaminants found at the store. To keep your family healthy and protected from germs, try these 10 ways to make grocery shopping more sanitary. >>

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1

Wash those hands! Little ones tend to touch everything in sight at the grocery store and any other place they go. Make it a habit to have them wash their hands as soon as they get home and before they eat. Parents should get into the habit, too, and especially make sure to wash thoroughly before and after handling food.

2

Clean your shopping cart. Many grocery stores don’t routinely (or ever) clean their shopping carts, but you can bring sanitary wipes to clean them off before shopping. Some stores have wipes located near the carts or at the front door for customer use. You can also purchase a shopping cart cover, which creates a barrier to protect you and your children from the multitude of germs that are often found on the seat and handle.

3

Wrap your food. When picking out meat, fresh fruits and veggies, make sure to use the plastic bags provided to wrap them up and keep them protected from each other as well as to protect your other food from their bacteria. Never place unwrapped food items directly on the checkout counter or conveyer belt, which can be teeming with bacteria.

4

Always check expiration dates. Expiration or “sell by” dates let you know when a product is safe, or no longer safe, to consume. If you can’t find an expiration date but a product does not look fresh or has a strange smell, don’t buy it. Food is typically good for seven to 10 days from the time of packaging, but meat is usually fresh for three days.

5

Check for spills. Be on the lookout for any spilled milk or juice on shelves. If you see food on the floor, this should be a red flag. In the event that you do notice unsanitary conditions at your grocery store or supermarket, ask to speak to the manager so you can inform him or her. Find a new store if it remains unclean on your next shopping trip.

6

Clean your reusable bags. Many people forget that although their eco-friendly bags are reusable, they still need to be washed! These bags have been found to contain high levels of bacteria and even E. coli. The bags can easily be tossed in the wash between shopping trips to get rid of any bacteria.

7

Pass on the free samples. Trying out the free food samples in grocery stores is tempting but there are situations where it’s better to just keep walking. If you don’t know how long the food has been sitting out there and there’s no one around to ask, skip the sample. Also, pay attention to how the food is being prepared and how it’s being served. Individual toothpicks and forks are fine but avoid any shared bowls.

8

Check how food is stored. Any cold foods should be kept in cold refrigerators or freezers and hot foods should be kept hot all day. Look for a package at the bottom of a pile to try and find the hottest one. The same goes for cold packages – the coldest will be at the bottom. If a food item looks like it was prepared in the morning and has been sitting around in a lukewarm package all day, you probably shouldn’t buy it.

9

Inspect food cases. For deli, fish, dairy and meat items, do an inspection of their cases for cleanliness. Warning signs include loose food, crumbs and dirt, which should not be on shelves or splattered on cases. When shopping for fish, make sure the cooked and uncooked fish are not touching each other, which can lead to contamination.

10

Look at cans, jars and bottles. Before buying any cans or jars, check that the safety buttons haven’t popped up. If the button is popped up, this can indicate a spoiled product, so check the safety buttons of the other products on the shelf. If one item is spoiled, chances are that other products from the batch are also contaminated. Alma Moussa is a mom and the inventor of the 6-in-1 convertible Babee Covee.

Pick us up at HEB, Whole Foods and Central Market

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| December 2013 | austinfamily.com

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Focus On Doctors

Advertisement

Dr. Will Garner Little Spurs Pediatric Urgent Care Dr. Garner earned his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. In 2008, he completed his pediatric residency at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio. He couldn't wait to return to Austin where he earned his bachelor's degree at UT. He is excited to join the Little Spurs team bringing pediatricfocused urgent care to the Austin area. See ad on page 19

Dr. Isabel Mendoza Kids First Pediatric Dentistry Dr. Mendoza earned her doctorate of dental surgery from the Catholic University of Santa Maria in Peru. She earned a master of science degree specializing in pediatric dentistry at Peruvian University of Cayetano Heredia. She completed her residency in pediatric dentistry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2005. See ad on page 15

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Smart

Screen Time This is the fourth in a five-part series discussing KLRU’s Smart Screen TimeTM initiative, an outreach effort encouraging healthy practices in a world full of digital media.

If you spend any amount of time watching PBS Kids shows, and have gotten to know a few of our characters, you will see that they have many attributes in common. The first, with the exception of Curious George, is that they talk – a lot. But it’s not just any kind of talk. These characters are eager to show what they know, the questions they have about the worlds around them, and the strategies they have for problem-solving. Granted, a show would be pretty boring if the characters never spoke. However, another way of looking at this is that our PBS Kids characters are modeling a particular way for children to be in this world and to learn more about it. Dialogue is absolutely critical in the learning process, and our characters are showing the child audience the many possibilities of engaging others dialogically, including adults, in their ongoing learning. Similarly, the shows are demonstrating to adults that our learning culture encourages children to be “smart chatterboxes” and to command the attention of others in their quest to learn the world. What does this mean for adults? It means that at times, kids will wear you out with their observations, questions and insistence on engaging in conversation. When you absolutely cannot take another word, we encourage you to first congratulate yourself for raising a bright, observant, inquisitive child. Then, congratulate the child for those very same attributes. Then, and only then, can you ask for 60 seconds of peace.

Part 4 of 5 from KLRU-TV, AUSTIN PBS To read all five tips, visit klrukids.org and click on the Smart Screen Time button. Benjamin Kramer, Ph.D., is the Director of Education for KLRUTV, Austin PBS. He has been a professional educator for over 20 years and had a black and white TV in his room when he was a kid (not a “smart” move, Mom and Dad). Pick us up at HEB, Whole Foods and Central Market

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calendar

12/13

family events Sunday 1

Sunday 1 This Wonderful Life at Zach Theatre

Friday 6 Ebenezer’s Journey: A Dickens’ Christmas Story at Pioneer Farms

The Belle of Amherst 3 p.m. All ages. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Dr. $19. thelongcenter.org or 512-457-5115. th 47 Annual Zilker Holiday Tree 6 p.m. Tree on display nightly 6 p.m. to midnight. There will be NO PARKING at the park. austintexas.gov/zilkerholidaytree. Steel Magnolias 8 p.m. Thursday to Saturday; 5:30 p.m. Sunday. The City Theatre, 3823 Airport Blvd. Students $12; general $15; Thursday all seats $10. citytheatreaustin.org or 512-524-2870. th 16 Annual Trail of Lights 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Emily Ann Theatre and Gardens, 1101 FM 2325, Wimberley. FREE, donations accepted. emilyann.org or 512-847-6969. nd 22 Annual Wild Ideas Holiday Event Noon to 5 p.m. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. FREE. wildflower.org or 512-232-0100. Improv for Kids: Clockwork Stories 2 p.m. The Flying Theater Machine, 617 Congress Ave. $7. hideouttheatre.com or 512-HIDEOUT. This Wonderful Life 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Whisenhunt Stage, Zach Theatre, 1510 Toomey Rd. zachtheatre.org or 512-476-0541. A Christmas Story 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Zach’s Topfer Theatre, 1510 Toomey Rd. zachtheatre.org or 512-476-0541. Free First Sundays Noon to 6 p.m. Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 N. Congress. thestoryftexas.com or 512-936-8746.

Monday 2 Saturday 14 Festival of Carols at the French Legation Museum

Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Old Settlers Park, Old Settlers Blvd. and Harrell Pkwy., Round Rock. Family vehicles $15. roundrocktexas.gov. CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1.

Tuesday 3 Handel’s “Messiah” 8 p.m. Riverbend Centre, 4214 Capital of Texas Hwy. $15 and up. austinsymphony.org or 512-327-3540. Remake Home 7 to 8 p.m. Boyd Vance Theatre at the Washington Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St. $10. bluelapislight.org or 512-280-6688. CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; A Christmas Story see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2.

Saturday 21 Full Moon Swim at Barton Springs Pool

family events: page 42 storytimes: page 46 parenting events: page 47 exhibits: visit: www.austinfamily.com 42

| December 2013 | austinfamily.com

Wednesday 4 Wednesday Night Contra Dancing 7:30 to 9:45 p.m. Everyone welcome. Hancock Recreation Center, 811 E. 41st St. FREE. austinbarndancers.org or 512-453-4225. CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; This Wonderful Life see Sunday 1; A Christmas Story see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2; Remake Home see Tuesday 3.

Thursday 5 Gingerbread House Party 5 to 7 p.m. Elgin Public Library. elgintx.com or 512-285-4515.

COMPILED BY BETTY KEMPER

Thursday Noon Concerts 12 p.m. concert; 12:30 p.m. lunch. Central Presbyterian Church, 200 E. Eighth St. Concert FREE. Lunch suggested donation: children 3 and younger $3; adults $5. cpcaustin.org or 512-472-2445. First Thursday All day to 10 p.m. South Congress Ave. from Barton Springs Rd. to Elizabeth St. firstthursday.info. CONTINUING: Steel Magnolias see Sunday 1; This Wonderful Life see Sunday 1; A Christmas Story see Sunday 1; 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2.

Friday 6 Main Street Bethlehem 6 to 9 p.m. First Baptist Church, 108 S. Vanderveer, two blocks east of town square, Burnet. FREE, donations accepted; free refreshments served at exit. fbcburnet.org or 512-756-4481. Christmas Family Night 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. 221 East Main St. Round Rock. FREE. roundrocktexas.gov or 512-341-3361. Ebenezer’s Journey: A Dickens’ Christmas Story 7 to 10 p.m. Rain or shine. Reservations recommended. Pioneer Farms, 10621 Pioneer Farms Dr. $12 per person. pioneerfarms.org or 512-837-1215. Night in Old Bethlehem 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. First Baptist Oakhill, 6907 Convict Hill Rd. FREE. fbcoakhill.org or 512-288-7570. Dickens on the Strand All day, rain or shine. Galveston. Students $4 and $6 in advance; $6 and $8 at gate; adults $10 and $12 in advance; $12 and $14 at gate. dickensonthestrand.org. First Friday on the Square 5 to 10 p.m. Downtown Georgetown. thegeorgetownsquare.com. Christmas Stroll 5 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. Downtown Georgetown. FREE. thegeorgetownsquare.com. Santa’s Workshop and Tree Lighting 6:30 to 9 p.m. Heritage Oak Park, 875 Quest Pkwy., Cedar Park. FREE. cedarparktexas.gov. CONTINUING: Steel Magnolias see Sunday 1; This Wonderful Life see Sunday 1; A Christmas Story see Sunday 1; 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2.

Saturday 7 National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Grand Opening Weekend of the Thinkery, formerly Austin Children’s Museum 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 1830 Simond Ave. FREE. thinkeryaustin.org. th 34 Annual Budafest 10 a.m. to dusk. City Park, Main St., Buda. Free entry. budafest.org. Walk Through Bethlehem 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. First United Methodist Church, 1004 North Mays, Round Rock. FREE. fumc-rr.org or 512-255-3336. Cocoa and Cookies with Santa and Mrs. Claus 8:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. Twin Lakes Family YMCA, 204 E. Little Elm Train, Cedar Park. $10 per child for members; $15 per child for non-members. ymcagwc.org or 512-250-9622. Holiday by the Tracks 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Veterans’ Park, Elgin. elgintx.com or 512-285-4515. Lighted Christmas Parade Dusk. Elgin Memorial Park to Historic Downtown Elgin. elgintx.com or 512-285-4515. Visit with Santa at Bluebonnet School 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bluebonnet School of Canyon Creek, 10321 Boulder Ln. FREE. bluebonnetschool@austin.rr.com or 512-219-5100.

Austin Family is now making it easier for you to submit your calendar event. Go to www.austinfamily.com, click on “Submit your event” and send in your entry. The deadline is the 10th of each month preceding the month of the event. Events less than $15 usually are listed. For events more than $15, send details to kaye2003@austinfamily.com.

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The Nutcracker: Austin’s 51st Annual Production Daytime and evening shows – check web for dates. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Dr. $12 and up. balletaustin.org or 512-501-8703. Third Annual Holiday Extravaganza 2 and 6 p.m. TexArts, Kam and James Morris Theatre, 2300 Lohman’s Spur, Ste. 160. tex-arts.org or 512-852-9079 ext. 101. A Prairie Christmas 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pioneer Farms, 10621 Pioneer Farms Dr. $6 children; $8 adults. pioneerfarms.org or 512-837-1215. Trout Fishing Derby 7 to 10:30 a.m. San Gabriel Park, 445 E. Morrow St., Georgetown. $3. https://events.georgetown.org/fishing-derby/. Timeless Christmas in Johnson City 6 to 9 p.m. LBJ Boyhood home, Elm St. LBJ National Park, Johnson City. Johnsoncity-texas.com or 830-868-7684. 2013 Cherrywood Art Fair 5 p.m. Maplewood Elementary, E. 38 ½ St. and Maplewood Ave. cherrywoodartfair.org. Merlin Works Improv Mixer 2 to 4 p.m. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside. FREE. thelongcenter.org. Winter Wonderland Celebration 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Leander Public Library, 1011 S. Bagdad Rd. leander.lib.tx.us. rd 23 Annual Fossil Fest 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Old Settler’s Heritage Association next to Dell Diamond, Round Rock. Under 6 years FREE; 6 to 12 years $2; adults $3. austinpaleo.org. Mario Kart Family Gaming Tournament 2 p.m. Cepeda Branch, 651 N. Pleasant Valley Rd. library.austintexas.gov or 512-974-7372. Kids and Teens Night Out 6 to 11 p.m. Chasco Family YMCA, 1812 N. Mays St., Round Rock. ymcagwc.org or 512-246-9622. Chess Club 1 p.m. Play chess and practice new tips. Wells Branch Community Library, 15001 Wells Port Dr. wblibrary.org or 512-989-3188. Giant Chess 12:30 to 3 p.m. Brush Square, 409 E. Fifth St. FREE. giantchess.org or 512-658-2350.

CONTINUING: Steel Magnolias see Sunday 1; This Wonderful Life see Sunday 1; A Christmas Story see Sunday 1; 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2; Main Street Bethlehem see Friday 6; Dickens on the Strand see Friday 6; Ebenezer’s Journey: A Dickens’ Christmas Story see Friday 6; Christmas Stroll see Friday 6.

Sunday 8 Austin Trail of Lights 6:15 p.m. Disability and special needs access; 7 to 10 p.m. general admission. Zilker Park. FREE. austintrailoflights.org. Frankenstein Visit web or call for times. Center Stage Texas, 2826 Real St. Students $12; adults $15. kidsactingstudio.com or 512-836-KIDS. Sembrando Herencia – Boricua Spirit 3 p.m. Carver Museum Boyd Vance Theatre, 1165 Angelina St. Ages 2 and under FREE; 3 to 12 years, $5; adults advance $12, at door $15. prfdance.org or 512-251-8122. Mario Kart Family Gaming Tournament 2 p.m. Little Walnut Creek Branch, 835 W. Rundberg Ln. library.austintexas.gov or 512-974-9860. Bright Leaf Guided Hikes 9 to 11:30 a.m. Ages 8 and up. Bright Leaf Preserve, Creek Mountain Rd. FREE. brightleaf.org or 512-459-7269. CONTINUING: Steel Magnolias see Sunday 1; This Wonderful Life see Sunday 1; A Christmas Story see Sunday 1; 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; Improv for Kids: Clockwork Stories see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2; Main Street Bethlehem see Friday 6; Dickens on the Strand see Friday 6; The Nutcracker: Austin’s 51st Annual Production see Saturday 7; Grand Opening Weekend of the Thinkery see Saturday 7; Third Annual Holiday Extravaganza see Saturday 7; 34th Annual Budafest see Saturday 7; A Prairie Christmas see Saturday 7; 2013 Cherrywood Art Fair see Sunday 7; Fossil Fest see Saturday 7.

Pick us up at HEB, Whole Foods and Central Market

continued on page 44

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family events continued from page 43

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Monday 9 CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2; Austin Trail of Lights see Sunday 8; Frankenstein see Sunday 8.

Tuesday 10 Christmas Sing-Along 8 p.m. Riverbend Centre, 4214 Capital of Texas Hwy. FREE but tickets requred. Tickets available at the Symphony Box Office. austinsympyhony.org or 512-476-6064. CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; A Christmas Story see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2; Austin Trail of Lights see Sunday 8; Frankenstein see Sunday 8.

Wednesday 11 CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; This Wonderful Life see Sunday 1; A Christmas Story see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2; Wednesday Night Contra Dancing see Wednesday 4; Austin Trail of Lights see Sunday 8; Frankenstein see Sunday 8.

Thursday 12 CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; This Wonderful Life see Sunday 1; A Christmas Story see Sunday 1; Steel Magnolias see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2; Thursday Noon Concerts see Thursday 5; Austin Trail of Lights see Sunday 8; Frankenstein see Sunday 8.

Friday 13 CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; This Wonderful Life see Sunday 1; A Christmas Story see Sunday 1; Steel Magnolias see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2; Main Street Bethlehem see Friday 6; Ebenezer’s Journey: A Dickens’ Christmas Story see Friday 6; The Nutcracker: Austin’s 51st Annual Production see Saturday 7; Austin Trail of Lights see Sunday 8; Frankenstein see Sunday 8.

Saturday 14 The Nutcracker 2 and 6 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Gloria Delgado Theatre at St. Michael’s Academy. $15. tex-arts.org or 512-852-9079 ext. 101. Second Annual Pajamas and Pancakes 8:30 to 10 a.m. Burger University, 119 West 7th St., Georgetown. Advance tickets $5 children; $7.50 for adults. georgetownheritagesociety.com or 512-869-8597. Visit with Santa 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bluebonnet School of Cedar Park, 3420 El Salido Parkway, Cedar Park. FREE. bluebonnetschool@austin.rr.com or 512-331-9009. Old Town Christmas Fair 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Downtown Hutto, East St. and Farley St. huttotx.gov or 512-759-4029. Letters to Santa: A Holiday Musical 3:30 and 6 p.m. Bring canned goods to join us onstage and be part of the show. Kids $12, adults $15. Life Austin, 8901 W. Hwy 71. paiyhdancestudios.com or 512-291-2179. Christmas at Ole’ Fort Croghan 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Fort Croghan, Burnet. FREE admission and parking, donations accepted. fortcroghan.org or 512-756-8281. Luminations 6 to 9 p.m. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. FREE with two canned food items. wildflower.org or 512-232-0100. Festival of Carols 1 to 5 p.m. French Legation Museum, 802 San Marcos St. FREE. Frenchlegationmuseum.org. Mario Kart Family Gaming Tournament 2 p.m. Southeast Branch, 5803 Nuckols Crossing Rd. library.austintexas.gov or 512-974-8840. CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; Steel Magnolias see Sunday 1; This Wonderful Life see Sunday 1; A Christmas Story see Sunday 1; Rock’N

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| December 2013 | austinfamily.com

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Sunday 15 th

44 Annual Christmas Tree Lighting 5 to 9 p.m. LBJ State Park, Stonewall. Johnsoncity-texas.com or 830-868-7684. Symbols of Christmas Fair 2013 4 to 6 p.m. First Baptist Church, 901 Trinity, Downtown Austin. fbcaustin.org. CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; Steel Magnolias see Sunday 1; This Wonderful Life see Sunday 1; A Christmas Story see Sunday 1; Improv for Kids: Clockwork Stories see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2; Main Street Bethlehem see Friday 6; The Nutcracker: Austin’s 51st Annual Production see Saturday 7; A Prairie Christmas see Saturday 7; Austin Trail of Lights see Sunday 8; Frankenstein see Sunday 8; Luminations see Saturday 14; The Nutcracker see Saturday 14.

Monday 16 CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2; Austin Trail of Lights see Sunday 8.

Tuesday 17 38th Annual Armadillo Christmas Bazaar 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Rd. 12 years and under FREE; adults $7. armadillobazaar.com. CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; A Christmas Story see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2; Austin Trail of Lights see Sunday 8.

Wednesday 18

Sunday 1; A Christmas Story see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2; The Nutcracker: Austin’s 51st Annual Production see Saturday 7; Kids and Teens Night Out see Saturday 7; Giant Chess see Saturday 7; Austin Trail of Lights see Sunday 8; 38th Annual Armadillo Christmas Bazaar see Tuesday 17.

Sunday 22 CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; Steel Magnolias see Sunday 1; This Wonderful Life see Sunday 1; A Christmas Story see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2; Improv for Kids: Clockwork Stories see Sunday 1; The Nutcracker: Austin’s 51st Annual Production see Saturday 7; Austin Trail of Lights see Sunday 8; 38th Annual Armadillo Christmas Bazaar see Tuesday 17.

Monday 23 CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2; The Nutcracker: Austin’s 51st Annual Production see Saturday 7; 38th Annual Armadillo Christmas Bazaar see Tuesday 17.

Tuesday 24 CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2; 38th Annual Armadillo Christmas Bazaar see Tuesday 17.

Wednesday 25 Christmas Day CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; This Wonderful Life see Sunday 1; A Christmas Story see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2.

Thursday 26 Boxing Day CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; This Wonderful Life see Sunday 1; A Christmas Story see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and

CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; This Wonderful Life see Sunday 1; A Christmas Story see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2; Wednesday Night Contra Dancing see Wednesday 4; Austin Trail of Lights see Sunday 8; 38th Annual Armadillo Christmas Bazaar see Tuesday 17.

Thursday 19 Third Thursday 5 to 9 p.m. Downtown Taylor. FREE. 512-352-7446. CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; Steel Magnolias see Sunday 1; This Wonderful Life see Sunday 1; A Christmas Story see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2; Thursday Noon Concerts see Thursday 5; The Nutcracker: Austin’s 51st Annual Production see Saturday 7; Austin Trail of Lights see Sunday 8; 38th Annual Armadillo Christmas Bazaar see Tuesday 17.

Friday 20 Light up the Season 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Austin Public Library, North Village Branch, 2505 Steck Ave. FREE. library.austintexas.gov. CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; Steel Magnolias see Sunday 1; This Wonderful Life see Sunday 1; A Christmas Story see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2; The Nutcracker: Austin’s 51st Annual Production see Saturday 7; Austin Trail of Lights see Sunday 8; 38th Annual Armadillo Christmas Bazaar see Tuesday 17.

Saturday 21 First Day of Winter Mario Kart Family Gaming Tournament 2 p.m. Faulk Central Library, 800 Guadalupe St. library.austintexas.gov or 512-974-7400. Full Moon Swim 9 p.m. Barton Springs Pool, 2101 Barton Springs Rd. FREE. 512-476-9044. CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; Steel Magnolias see Sunday 1; This Wonderful Life see

Pick us up at HEB, Whole Foods and Central Market

Christmas Towne see Monday 2; Thursday Noon Concerts see Thursday 5.

Friday 27 Blanton Holiday Family Days 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Blanton Museum of Art, 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. blantonmuseum.org or 512-471-7324. CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; This Wonderful Life see Sunday 1; A Christmas Story see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2.

Saturday 28 Mario Kart Family Gaming Tournament 2 p.m. Twin Oaks Branch, 1800 S. Fifth St. library.austintexas.gov or 512-974-9980. CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; This Wonderful Life see Sunday 1; A Christmas Story see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2; Giant Chess see Saturday 7; Blanton Holiday Family Days see Friday 27.

Sunday 29 CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; This Wonderful Life see Sunday 1; A Christmas Story see Sunday 1; Improv for Kids: Clockwork Stories see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2.

Monday 30 CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2.

Tuesday 31 New Year’s Eve ANY 2014 5 to 10:30 p.m. Auditorium Shores. Family-friendly, downtown, non-alcohol New Year’s Eve event. Fireworks after 10 p.m. austintexas.gov. CONTINUING: 16th Annual Trail of Lights see Sunday 1; Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

Lights Holiday Light Tour and Christmas Towne see Monday 2; Main Street Bethlehem see Friday 6; Ebenezer’s Journey: A Dickens’ Christmas Story see Friday 6; The Nutcracker: Austin’s 51st Annual Production see Saturday 7; A Prairie Christmas see Saturday 7; Giant Chess see Saturday 7; Austin Trail of Lights see Sunday 8; Bright Leaf Guided Hikes see Sunday 8; Frankenstein see Sunday 8.

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storytimes

Storytime with Ms. Raquel 10:30 a.m. Barnes and Noble, 12701 Hill Country Blvd. Ste. O-140. barnesandnoble.com or 512-263-7402.

Public library storytime events listed here are free unless noted. Programs are subject to change so please contact before attending.

Wednesdays

Sundays Storytime Go to website for various events, locations, age groups, dates and times. Austin Public Library. library.austintexas.gov or 512-974-7400.

Mondays Pre-K Storytime 9:30 a.m. Leander Public Library, 1011 S. Bagdad Rd. leander.lib.tx.us or 512-259-5259. Bookaneers 10:30 a.m. Ages 4 to 6 years. Lake Travis Community Library, 2300 Lohman’s Spur, Suite 100. laketravislibrary.org or 512-263-2885. Bookworms 10:30 a.m. Ages 0 to 18 months; 11:15 a.m. 12 to 24 months. Wells Branch Community Library, 15001 Wells Port Dr. wblibrary.org or 512-989-3188. Preschool Storytime 7 p.m. Ages 3 to 6. Round Rock Public Library, 216 Main St. roundrocktexas.gov/library or 512-218-7011.

Tuesdays Baby and Me 9:30 a.m. Ages 24 months and under with parent. Leander Public Library, 1011 S. Bagdad Rd. leander.lib.tx.us or 512-259-5259. Spanish Bilingual Storytime 10:30 a.m. 3 to 6 years. Library closed Tuesday 24. Round Rock Public Library, 216 Main St. roundrocktexas.gov/library or 512-218-7011. Toddler Storytime Go to website for various events, locations, age groups, dates and times. Austin Public Library. library.austintexas.gov or 512-974-7400. Preschool Storytime Go to website for various events, locations, age groups, dates and times. Austin Public Library. library.austintexas.gov or 512-974-7400. Tales for Tots 10:30 a.m. Toddlers ages 2 and 3 years. Lake Travis Community Library. 2300 Lohman’s Spur, Suite 100. laketravislibrary.org or 512-263-2885. Storytime and Craft 6 and 7 p.m. Families with kids of all ages. Library closed Tuesday 24. Tickets required. Limit of 24 kids per class. Wells Branch Community Library, 15001 Wells Port Dr. wblibrary.org or 512-989-3188. Little Texas Homeschoolers 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Library closed Tuesday 24. Wells Branch Community Library, 15001 Wells Port Dr. wblibrary.org or 512-989-3188. Baby and Me Storytime 9:30 a.m. Ages 0 to 12 months. Georgetown Public Library, 420 W. 8th St. library.georgetown.org or 512-930-3623.

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Toddlertime 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. 18 to 36 months. Library closed Wednesday 25. Round Rock Public Library, 216 Main St. roundrocktexas.gov/library or 512-218-7011. Pre-K Storytime 10 to 10:30 a.m. Leander Public Library, 1011 S. Bagdad Rd. leander.lib.tx.us or 512-259-5259. Babytime 9:30 to 10 a.m. 12 to 18 months. Library closed Wednesday 25. Round Rock Public Library, 216 Main St. roundrocktexas.gov/library or 512-218-7011. Preschool Storytime 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. 3 years and older. Library closed Wednesday 25. Round Rock Public Library, 216 Main St. roundrocktexas.gov/library or 512-218-7011. Toddler Storytime Go to website for various events, locations, age groups, dates and times. Austin Public Library. library.austintexas.gov or 512-974-7400. Book Babies 10:30 a.m. 3 to 24 months. Lake Travis Community Library, 2300 Lohman’s Spur, Suite 100. laketravislibrary.org or 512-263-2885. Storytime with Mr. George 11 a.m. Barnes & Noble, 14010 US Hwy 183. barnesandnoble.com or 512-249-5644. Arts and Crafts 6 p.m. Library closed Wednesday 25. Wells Branch Community Library, 15001 Wells Port Dr. wblibrary.org or 512-989-3188. Wobbles Storytime 9:30 a.m. Ages 1 to 2 years. Georgetown Public Library, 420 W. 8th St. library.georgetown.org or 512-930-3623. Story Pals Storytime 10:30 a.m. Ages 3 years and older. Georgetown Public Library, 420 W. 8th St. library.georgetown.org or 512-930-3623. Storytime 10 a.m. Barnes & Noble, 2701 Parker Rd. Bldg. A, Ste. 700. barnesandnoble.com or 512-600-0088. Storytime with Ms. Raquel Barnes & Noble, 12701 Hill Country Blvd., Ste. O-140. barnesandnoble.com or 512-263-7402. Storytime 11 a.m. Barnes & Noble, 10000 Research Blvd. #158. barnesandnoble.com or 512-418-8985. Storytime 11 a.m. Barnes & Noble, 5601 Brodie Ln., Ste. 300. barnesandnoble.com or 512-892-3493.

Thursdays Preschool Storytime 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. 3 years and older. Round Rock Public Library, 216 E. Main St. roundrocktexas.gov/library or 512-218-7012. Toddlertime 10:30 a.m. 18 months to 3 years. Round Rock Public Library, 216 E. Main St. roundrocktexas.gov/library or 512-218-7011.

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Babytime 9:30 a.m. Newborn to 1 year. Round Rock Public Library, 216 E. Main St. roundrocktexas.gov/library or 512-218-3279. Spanish Storytime Go to website for various events, locations, age groups, dates and times. Austin Public Library. library.austintexas.gov or 512-974-7400. Wobbles Storytime 9:30 a.m. Ages 1 to 2 years. Georgetown Public Library, 420 W. 8th St. library.georgetown.org or 512-930-3623. Story Pals Storytime 10:30 a.m. Ages 3 years and older. Georgetown Public Library, 420 W. 8th St. library.georgetown.org or 512-930-3623.

Fridays Community Storytime 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Leander Public Library, 1011 S. Bagdad Rd. leander.lib.tx.us or 512-259-5259. Toddlertime 10:30 a.m. 18 months to 3 years. Round Rock Public Library, 216 E. Main St. roundrocktexas.gov/library or 512-218-7011. Babytime 9:30 a.m. 12 to 18 months. Round Rock Public Library, 216 E. Main St. roundrocktexas.gov/library or 512-218-3279. Toddler Storytime Go to website for various events, locations, age groups, dates and times. Austin Public Library. library.austintexas.gov or 512-974-7400. Preschool Storytime Go to website for various events, locations, age groups, dates and times. Austin Public Library. library.austintexas.gov or 512-974-7400. Briarcliff Storytime 10 a.m. All ages. Briarcliff Community Center, 22801 Briarcliff Dr. laketravislibrary.org or 512-263-2885. Preschool Storytime 11:15 a.m. Ages 3 to 5 years. Wells Branch Community Library, 15001 Wells Port Dr. wblibrary.org or 512-989-3188. Toddler Storytime 10:30 a.m. Ages 18 to 36 months. Wells Branch Community Library, 15001 Wells Port Dr. wblibrary.org or 512-989-3188. Storytime 10 a.m. All ages. Lake Travis Library, 2300 Lohman’s Spur, Suite 100. laketravislibrary.org or 512-263-2885.

Saturdays Saturday Storytime 11 a.m. Barnes & Noble, 14010 US Hwy 183. barnesandnoble.com or 512-249-5644. Storytime 11 a.m. Barnes & Noble, 10000 Research Blvd. #158. barnesandnoble.com or 512-418-8985. Storytime 11 a.m. Barnes & Noble, 5601 Brodie Ln., Ste. 300. barnesandnoble.com or 512-892-3493.

Sunday 1

Grinch Day 11 a.m., 2 or 3 p.m. All Barnes & Noble locations – check web for times at each branch. barnesandnoble.com.

parenting events School open house events in green.

Monday 2 Try It 3:30 p.m. First, second and third Monday. After school program for ages 5 to 12 years. Wells Branch Community Library, 15001 Wells Port Dr. wblibrary.org or 512-989-3188. Rockin’ Kids Club Lego Day 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. Grades K to 5. Round Rock Public Library, 216 E. Main St. roundrocktexas.gov or 512-218-3279.

Tuesday 3 Chinese Bilingual Storytime 10:30 to 11 a.m. Ages 3 years and older. Round Rock Public Library, 216 E. Main St. roundrocktexas.gov or 512-218-3279. Storytime at the French Legation Museum 10 a.m. All ages. French Legation Museum, 802 San Marcos St. frenchlegationmuseum.org or 512-472-1880.

Wednesday 4 Cookie Decorating Party 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Elementary students. FREE. Round Rock Public Library, 216 E. Main St. roundrocktexas.gov or 512-218-7011.

Friday 6 The Three Little Pigs First Christmas Puppet Show 7, 7:45 and 8:30 p.m. Ages 2 and older. Round Rock Public Library, 216 E. Main St. roundrocktexas.gov or 512-218-3279. Polar Express Storytime 7 p.m. All Barnes & Noble locations. barnesandnoble.com.

Saturday 7 Storytime 11 a.m. All Ages. Wells Branch Community Library, 15001 Wells Port Dr. wblibrary.org or 512-989-3188. Bow Wow Read to a Dog 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Children preschool to middle school. Sign up one week before each program. FREE. Round Rock Public Library, 216 E. Main St. roundrocktexas.gov or 512-218-3279.

Monday 9 Rockin’ Kids Craft Day 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. Grades K to 5. Round Rock Public Library, 216 E. Main St.. roundrocktexas.gov or 512-218-3279. The Three Little Pigs First Christmas Puppet Show 3:30 and 7 p.m. Ages 2 and older. Round Rock Public Library, 216 E. Main St., Round Rock. roundrocktexas.gov or 512-218-3279.

Tuesday 10 Taste Buds 4:30 p.m. Ages 10 and up. Hands-on cooking class. Lake Travis Library, 2300 Lohman’s Spur, Suite 100. laketravislibrary.org or 512-263-2885.

Texplorations Family Storytime 2 p.m. Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 N. Congress. thestoryftexas.com or 512-936-8746.

Pick us up at HEB, Whole Foods and Central Market

Sunday 1 Grief Care: Life After Loss 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Every Sunday. Bethany United Methodist Church, 10010 Anderson Mill Rd. $5. bethany-umc.org or 512-258-6017.

Tuesday 3 La Leche League Held at multiple locations in Austin, Round Rock, Georgetown, Kyle, San Marcos and Cedar Park. For locations and times visit texaslll.org or 512-272-8042. Extraordinary Relationships 7 to 9 p.m. Every Tuesday. Bethany United Methodist Church, 10010 Anderson Mill Rd. $15. bethany-umc.org or 512-258-6017.

Thursday 5 Autism is Treatable 12 to 1:30 p.m. Old Quarry Library, 7051 Village Center Dr. meetup.com/austin-autism-treatment-forum or 512-300-3820. Postpartum Support Group 10 to 11:30 a.m. Every Thursday. Any Baby Can, 1121 E. Seventh St. FREE. anybabycan.org or 512-454-3743. Monthly Moms Meeting 7 p.m. Email for more information: info@northaustinmothersclub.org. Various Parenting and Support Groups Call or check website for dates and times all month. Georgetown Project Bridges to Growth, 805 W. University Ave., Georgetown. georgetownproject.org or 512-864-3008.

Friday 6 Girls’ School of Austin Open House 8 a.m. First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, 4700 Grover. thegirlsschool.org or 512-478-7827. Various Classes and Programs Call or check website for dates and times all month. Heartsong Music, 27 W. Anderson Ln. heartsongmusic.net or 512-371-9506. Stepping Stone Schools Open House All locations. steppingstoneschool.com or 512-459-0258.

Tuesday 10 Texans in Motion Scott and White Healthcare Car Seat and Booster Inspection 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Buda Fire Station #2, 151 FM 2001, Buda. By appointment only. sw.org or 512-295-2232.

Tuesday 17 Texans in Motion Scott and White Healthcare Car Seat and Booster Inspection 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Scott and White Cedar Park West Clinic, 12129 FM 620 N. Austin. By appointment only. sw.org or 512-336-3423.

continued on page 48

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Monday 16

storytimes continued from page 47

Rockin’ Kids Science Day 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. Grades K to 5. Round Rock Public Library, 216 E. Main St. roundrocktexas.gov or 512-218-3279.

Wednesday 11

Tuesday 17

The Three Little Pigs First Christmas Puppet Show 9:30 a.m. baby friendly ages 2 and younger; 10:30 a.m. ages 2 and older. Round Rock Public Library, 216 E. Main St. roundrocktexas.gov or 512-218-3279.

Thursday 12 The Three Little Pigs First Christmas Puppet Show 10:30 a.m. Ages 2 and older. Round Rock Public Library, 216 E. Main St. roundrocktexas.gov or 512-218-3279. Little Yoga 10:30 a.m. 3 to 6 years old. Adult supervision. Lake Travis Library, 2300 Lohman’s Spur, Suite 100, Lake Travis. laketravislibrary.org or 512-263-2885.

Friday 13 The Three Little Pigs First Christmas Puppet Show 10:30 a.m. Ages 2 and older. Round Rock Public Library, 216 E. Main St. roundrocktexas.gov or 512-218-3279. Tween Gingerbread House Decorating 5 p.m. Georgetown Public Library, 420 W. 8th St. library.georgetown.org or 512-930-3623.

Saturday 14 Holiday Dance Show 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Wells Branch Community Library, 15001 Wells Port Dr. wblibrary.org or 512-989-3188. Storytime 11 a.m. Barnes & Noble, 5601 Brodie Ln., Ste. 300. barnesandnoble.com or 512-892-3493. Jolly Jubilee 6 p.m. Georgetown Public Library, 420 W. 8th St. library.georgetown.org or 512-930-3623.

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ABCs of Cooking 4 p.m. 5 to 10 year olds. Limited to 12 children. Lake Travis Library, 2300 Lohman’s Spur, Suite 100. laketravislibrary.org or 512-263-2885. Pajama Storytime 6:15 p.m. All ages. Lake Travis Library, 2300 Lohman’s Spur, Suite 100. laketravislibrary.org or 512-263-2885.

Saturday 21 Family Food Free Storytime 11 to 11:30 a.m. All ages. Round Rock Public Library, 216 E. Main St. roundrocktexas.gov or 512-218-3279. Bow Wow Reading 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 6 to 12-year-olds. Lake Travis Library, 2300 Lohman’s Spur, Suite 100. laketravislibrary.org or 512-263-2885.

Monday 23 Rockin’ Kids Craft Day 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. Grades K to 5. Round Rock Public Library, 216 E. Main St. roundrocktexas.gov or 512-218-3279.

Tuesday 24 Family Flicks 4 p.m. Fun family movies and popcorn. All are welcome. Lake Travis Library, 2300 Lohman’s Spur, Suite 100. laketravislibrary.org or 512-263-2885.

Monday 30 Rockin’ Kids Book Blast Day 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. Grades K to 5. Round Rock Public Library, 216 E. Main St. roundrocktexas.gov or 512-218-3279.

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K id

e n o Z

flake w o n s n w o Make your activle science

ct this simp this proje but with , in st u A ke! (Note: assistance.) in a s fl w w o o sn sn It rarely our own ve adult n create y re you ha ity, you ca water, so make su g uses boilin What you’ll need • A pipe cleaner • Scissors • String or yarn • A pencil ss jar • A wide-mouth gla nal) tio (op ing lor • Food co water g ilin bo ps cu 1/2 1 • • Metal spoon res in the laundry (sold at grocery sto rax bo s on po les tab 4 • section)

Directions • Cut the pipe cleaner into three equal sections. Twist the sections together into a six-pointed star shape. • Fold one end of the pipe cleaner star over the length of string, and tie the string to a pencil so that the star hangs suspended in the jar. • Fill the empty jar with 1 1/2 cups boiling water, stir in four tablespoons of borax, add a few drops of food coloring to the water if you’d like a colored snowflake. • Place your snowflake in the jar (hanging from the pencil) and wait overnight. By morning, the snowflake will be covered in crystals!

What’s happening? als than the cold The hot water holds more borax cryst r molecules move wate the ed, water. When water is heat As the solution als. cryst more hold can and t apar farther ther and cantoge r close e mov cools, the water molecules borax crystals so x, bora lved disso h muc as to on not hold form on the pipe cleaner. this at the You can find more science activities like opening eum Mus ren’s Child in Aust new the Thinkery, more for .org ustin erya December 7, 2013. Visit think on. informati

This activity is an example of some of the experiments we’ll be cooking up in our Kitchen Lab at the Thinkery, the new Austin Children’s Museum opening Dec. 7, 2013.

Pick us up at HEB, Whole Foods and Central Market

austinfamily.com | December 2013 |

49


book recommendations BY PAM HELLER

For Younger Readers Bits and Pieces by Judy Schachner This is the story of an old cat named Tink and his affectionately devoted family. Tink may be found digging in a plant, jumping into a board game, licking a stick of butter, eating rubber bands or other household items. You see, Tink is not terribly bright but he does feel his life is filled with everything a cat could possibly want. That is, until Tink is taken to the vet after an especially “goat-like” eating adventure, and he becomes fixated by the wonders of the great outdoors. So on his 20th birthday, he sneaks out for a day of frolicking that turns into a night of confused wandering. Ultimately, he is saved by two local girls who protect him from being taken to the shelter and is returned to the loving arms of his family. Cat lovers will enjoy this heartwarming story. For ages 3 to 6. Fall Ball by Peter McCarty Fall is a time of cool breezes, falling leaves, yellow school buses and…football! This is a delightful romp with eight primary school-aged children through an after-school pick-up game in the park complete with ball-chasing dogs and neatly raked piles of leaves. For adults, this story is a trip down a pleasant memory lane; and for children, this is an introduction to the simple pleasures to be enjoyed during the changing of seasons. The watercolor, pen-and-ink illustrations enhance the experience with crispness and whimsy. For ages 4 to 8.

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For Older Readers The Mouse With The Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck Follow the adventures of Mouse Minor, an orphaned mouse living during the Victorian era, as he sets out on a quest to discover the answers to the mystery of his origin. Raised next to Buckingham Palace, he attends a prestigious school, however, he runs away when he is bullied by his classmates for being different. He encounters many dangers and ultimately finds the answers for many of his questions in the Queen’s private quarters. This story makes an engaging read-aloud experience. Enhanced by factual events, this reading journey also offers additional opportunities for historical research. For ages 8 to 12. How to Catch a Bogle by Catherine Jinks This is the first volume in a proposed trilogy set in Victorian London. Ten-year-old Birdie McAdam loves her job… even though it is extremely dangerous. She is an apprentice to Alfred the Bogler; her job is to use her sweet singing voice to lure bogles out into the open where Alfred can kill them with his spear. Bogles are dangerous creatures that snatch up unsuspecting orphaned children. Ms. Eames, an expert in English folklore, offers Birdie the opportunity to live with her to study music, be educated in the social graces and escape this dangerous lifestyle that is growing more treacherous with each encounter. What will the courageous Birdie decide? Are the bogles really responsible for the disappearance of children? Who can she trust? For ages 10 to 14. Pamela Heller, an artist and education consultant, is an avid reader who endeavors to find books of all genres that are timeless, meaningful, interesting, fun and heartwarming.

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films BY JACK KYSER

Now Playing in Theaters Captain Phillips Rated PG-13 Starring Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Catherine Keener Austin Family critical rating: ★★★★★ of ★★★★★ Austin Family family-friendly rating: ★★★1⁄2 of ★★★★★ Of the films I’ve seen this fall, the one that took me by the biggest surprise was Paul Greengrass’ “Captain Phillips,” starring Tom Hanks as Captain Richard Phillips of the MV Maersk Alabama, which was attacked by armed Somali pirates in 2009. This intense and gripping true-life thriller is as emotionally and politically complex a piece of filmmaking as I’ve seen. As the pirates take Phillips hostage and force him into a small lifeboat with them, there is a sort of doomed inevitability that hangs over the characters in the second half of this movie. In the last five minutes of this film, Hanks does some of the finest acting of his career. The ending of “Captain Phillips” embraces all of the moral ambiguities inherent in such a story, and struck me similarly to the ending of Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty” – it’s a triumph for the United States, but at what cost for the film’s protagonist? “Captain Phillips” is one of the best films of the year. Jack Kyser is a graduate of Austin High School and a 2013 graduate of New York University.

Come to the movies at

MG Portable Game System Cloud B Twilight Carz iLearn ʻNʼ Play Adventure Explorer Tickets to Shen Yun

Robyn Doll and Camp set Go to www. austinfamily.com. You must answer phone to win! Pick us up at HEB, Whole Foods and Central Market

austinfamily.com | December 2013 |

51


humor BY SHANNON COOK

What’s in a name? “Daddy? Daddy?! DAAAADYYYY??!!” “Yes, son?” “HI, DADDY!!” “Hello to you!” And so goes the majority of my conversations with my nearlythree-year-old. Day-in and day-out, for the past few months now. Morning, noon and night, he calls for me. And he’ll keep right on saying my name until I respond. No matter what it takes, he wants my attention. I must hear, “Hi daddy” at least 100 times a day. While I’m on the phone? Check. Driving the car? Check. While I’m sitting here, silently on the toilet, pretending to have a reason to be here other than the need for peace and quiet? Definitely check. His shout-out is inescapable. It’s a little like being a rock star, or maybe like being a rock star’s manny. I should count my blessings. My son loves me and wants me to be a part of his life. I know all too well that when the teen years hit I’ll be yearning for any kind of attention – meanspirited and angst-ridden attention, perhaps, but attention nonetheless. 

Even though I know better, somewhere around the 40th “DADDY!” I catch myself feeling frustrated with his limited vocabulary and unlimited want of my attention. Where are all those imaginary friends when you need them? Isn’t Mom deserving of a nod here and there? No, it’s the All-daddy Show all the time. Twenty-fourseven. Three-sixty-five. Just. Dad. On the other hand, I admit I’m kind of nervous that I’m running out of reasons to be genuinely worthy of his time and (nearly oppressive) adoration. I need to learn some magic tricks, or how to juggle, or how to talk like a Minion. Something to wow him and blow his mind. Would it keep him quiet? Or impressed? What if we don’t even make it through the toddler years with our friendship intact? WHO WILL SCREAM MY NAME THEN??? And then, from the other side of the bathroom door, I hear it. “Daddy?” And I figure I’ll just do my best to enjoy it while I can. Even if it means enjoying it through clenched teeth and a fake smile while perpetuating the stereotype of dads spending too much time in the bathroom. Better find a good book.

Shannon Cook is a husband, a father of three and a filmmaker living in Austin.

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