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CAN’TMISS DATE NIGHTS T H E M A G A Z I N E PA R E N T S L I V E B Y I N TA R R A N T C O U N T Y

D E C E M B E R 2017

WHAT TO DO THIS

WINTER BREAK PUPPY LOVE: GETTING YOUR FIRST FAMILY DOG

MEET OUR MOM NEXT DOOR

FORT WORTH ARTIST KATIE MURRAY

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FAMILY OUTINGS IN DECEMBER

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family vacation planning

WITHOUT A HOME HOW TO HELP THE HOMELESS FAMILIES LIVING AMONG US


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pages / D E C E M B E R

2017

FEATURE 18 The Invisible Ones

Despite a thriving local economy, the number of homeless families and children in North Texas continues to rise. words Leslie J. Thompson

DEPARTMENTS NOTED 7 Homeward Hound

What to think about before getting a family dog

REAL MOMS 11 Mom Next Door / Katie Murray Where the painter and gallery curator finds her inspiration

14 Datebook

Happenings that are perfect for date night or GNO

16 Routines / Rebecca Rudkin

The mom of two starts every day with a run and squeezes in acts of service between preschool pickups How to protect the growing number of homeless kids in North Texas, p. 18

23 ways to spend winter break with the kids

ON THE COVER

THE HOLIDAY ISSUE

KID CULTURE 25 Beat Winter Break Blues 36 Celebrate / Pastry Party

Wrigley of Hurst Photography: Cindy James Hair/Makeup: Shane Monden, Wallflower Management Styling: Lauren Niebes

A bakery party for birthday No. 7

39 The Agenda

Our favorite family events this month

COLUMNS 42 Confessions / Mommy Fails

When bad things happen to good parents

PUBLISHER/ EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Joylyn Niebes CREATIVE DIRECTOR Lauren Niebes EDITORIAL Executive Editor Wendy Manwarren Generes

Managing Editor Carrie Steingruber Assistant Editor Jessica Myers Calendar Editor Elizabeth Smith ART Graphic Designer Susan Horn

Editorial Designer Katie Garza ADVERTISING Associate Publisher Diana Whitworth Nelson Account Executives Nikki Garrett, Nancy McDaniel, Kristen Niebes,

Sandi Tijerina, Kerensa Vest Advertising Coordinator Amy Klembara PR/MARKETING Audience Development Director Candace Emerson

Promotions Coordinator Beth McGee ADMINISTRATION Business Manager Leah Wagner Office Manager + Distribution Robbie Scott

FortWorthChild is published monthly by Lauren Publications, Inc. FortWorthChild is distributed free of charge, one copy per reader. Only FortWorthChild authorized distributors may deliver or pick up the magazines. Additional or back copies of FortWorthChild are available for $2 per copy at the offices of Lauren Publications, Inc. We reserve the right to edit, reject or comment editorially on all material contributed. We cannot be responsible for the return of any unsolicited material. FortWorthChild is Š2017 by Lauren Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without express written permission prohibited.

fortworthchild / december 2017

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MID-NOVEMBER – EARLY JANUARY Create Christmas memories with the entire family while experiencing the thrill and joy of the holiday season. ICE!® at Gaylord Texan Resort • “Finding Christmas” featuring internationally-renowned harmony sensation, GENTRI: The Gentlemen Trio • Forever Young presents “A Forever Young Christmas” • Christmas movies and concerts at the Palace Theatre • Holiday Bricktacular at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center • Snowland at Great Wolf Lodge • “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown” Exhibition at Tower Gallery • Enormous decorations and Christmas displays • Texas’ best Christmas lights – by the millions

AND A WHOLE LOT MORE! Visit us at www.GrapevineTexasUSA.com/Christmas or call 817-410-3185 • #GVChristmas


noted. HOMEWARD

HOUND the do’s and don’ts of getting a family dog WORDS SUNDEY MCCLENDON

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jar on the counter at Kerri Well’s home in Mansfield has been accumulating change for the last year. Her kids— Natalie, 14; Kaitlyn, 12; and Jackson, 9—are saving up, not for a new gaming console or a trip to Universal Studios. For a dog. As it turns out, finding the funds might be the easiest part of the whole pet process. Well wants a small dog. Her husband, John, wants a big dog. The kids will take anything. “We really aren’t sure how to even start to choose a dog or what we would do once we got one,” the mom confesses. Her family isn’t alone in their uncertainty. Before adding a furry member to the family, there are lots of variables to consider: Should you get a rescue with an unknown past? Buy a purebred from a pricey breeder? And how do you get the kids to help care for it?

fortworthchild / december 2017

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M.E.N.D.

Relax. Adding a dog to the family should be fun, so we begged—er, asked—Dr. John Harvey, a veterinarian at Cross Timber Animal Medical Clinic in Flower Mound, and renowned dog trainer Pam Martin (recently featured on America’s Got Talent), of Top Dog Obedience Training in Garland, to give us the do’s and don’ts of getting a family dog.

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Choosing the cutest pup at the pet store is a bad idea. Martin suggests that families look at their lifestyle first, then compare to different breeds’ temperaments, activity levels, trainability, shedding habits and other characteristics to find a good fit. “If you’re an active family, then a larger, sporty breed might be best,” she says. “But if you’re looking for a dog to cuddle with while you watch TV, you would want a smaller companion dog who doesn’t need a lot of room to run.” The American Kennel Club (akc.org) is a good place to start if you have a few breeds in mind. If you don’t have a breed preference yet, look at the Dog Breed Info Center (dogbreedinfo.com) to sort by breeds that tend to drool, make good guard dogs or will jog with you on a morning run. DON’T ASSUME YOU WANT A PUPPY

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HOUND

“The younger [the dog], the more dependent it will be on you,” Martin explains. A puppy needs to be house trained and requires constant supervision, so an older dog may be better for families without loads of free time. DO LET SOMEONE ELSE PLAY MATCHMAKER

you will get,” he explains. “But a foster owner can tell you exactly what you are getting.” DON’T CHOOSE A BREEDER LIGHTLY

FINDING FIDO

Dogged by indecision? Let this just-for-fun quiz help you narrow the decision. Our favorite family activity is: A. Going on a family hike B. Spending time outside C. Binging on Netflix When things break in our home we say: A. “Add it to the pile.” B. “Bummer, but oh well” C. “Noooo!” Our family schedule is: A. Laid back B. Some days are crazy; some days are calm. C. “Eat this sandwich in the car; we’re late for practice.” Our yard is: A. A big job to mow. B. Large enough for a game of catch C. No yard = no problems. MOSTLY As: Consider a dog from the working or herding category—a boxer, collie, German Shepherd, even a Great Dane. These dogs are smart, active and energetic. They need room to run and do well with families who can invest a lot of time in their training and activity. MOSTLY Bs: Think about a dog from the sporting or hound family—a retriever, Rhodesian ridgeback, spaniel or poodle mix. These dogs are easily trained, intelligent and, with the proper investment of time, can fit well into a somewhat busy lifestyle. MOSTLY Cs: Look to the smaller toy breeds for a companion dog for your family—a papillon, Chihuahua, toy poodle or Shih Tzu mix. They don’t need a lot of space and generally like to be held.

Some rescue groups, such as Paws in the City in Dallas (pawsinthecity.org) and Animal Hope in Fort Worth (animalhope. org), will swipe left or right for you, Harvey says. He advises families to work with rescue groups who foster dogs because foster owners get the inside scoop on potential pets. “Even within a breed, there is so much variation on personality that you really never know what

If you’ve settled on a purebred instead, Harvey and Martin agree that breeders should be researched thoroughly. Arrange a tour so your family can see the facilities and meet the breeder, the dog’s parents and the puppies. DO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH A VET—SOON

Collect all of the new dog’s medical data, Harvey says, including shot history, deworming history and heartworm prevention care. Then try to get her to a vet within the first week or so. DON’T NEGLECT THE BONDING PROCESS

“Creating a bond is crucial,” Martin stresses. “You must build a trusting relationship with your dog.” Plan to be home for the first few days after Lassie joins the family, and sign up for a local training program. “Basic training opens up the [obedience] world to the family and the dog,” Martin says. “And better behavior gives deepened trust and freedom for dog and owner.” DO MAKE CARING FOR THE PUP FUN

Little ones might not be able to walk or clean up after their new friend, but they can help you feed her. Make a game of it. Count the strokes while brushing her fur or see how many cups it takes to fill the water dish. DON’T LET THE DOG BABYSIT

For at least the first few months, you shouldn’t leave the kids alone with the dog—for the safety of both. “Neither of them really knows the rules yet,” Martin explains. “They are both still learning. Adults need to be present in that learning process until they both know what is acceptable and what is not.” Be prepared for school-age kids to grasp boundaries quickly; younger tykes will likely take longer.

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noted / H O M E W A R D


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The Arlington “Mom Approved” Ob-Gyn Specialists

Women’s Health Services is pleased to announce that Dr. Jessica Brown has joined the practice. Dr. Brown is from Houston, Texas and completed her residency at the University of Texas Southwestern. She is seeing patients at both the north and south office locations. The doctors of WHS provide full Ob-Gyn services including well woman exams, Nexplanon insertions, evaluation of abnormal pap smears, surgery for uterine bleeding, uterine prolapse, bladder suspensions (without mesh), vaginal hysterectomies, in-office ablation for heavy periods and Essure tubal ligations. All obstetrical deliveries are performed at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital. Visit our new website and make your appointments on-line at www.womenshealthservices.com. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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real moms.

mom next door /

KATIE MURRAY

co-founder of art room and chief creative officer at M2G ventures INTERVIEW NICOLE JORDAN PHOTOGRAPHY CARTER ROSE

A

s chief creative officer at M2G Ventures, a commercial real estate group responsible for the Dreamer mural series around Fort Worth, Katie Murray is making Cowtown more beautiful one Instagram-worthy wall at a time. (See for yourself at 200 Carroll St., 5702 Locke Ave. and 1305 W. Magnolia Ave.) After earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington, the North Texas native set to work as a graphic designer. But her true love, painting, beckoned.

fortworthchild / december 2017

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real moms / K A T I E

Murray went back to school for a master’s in painting from Texas Woman’s University and, during her last semester, got the surprise of her life when she learned that she and her husband, Jeff, vice president of sales for Sellmark Corporation, were expecting their first child. Now a mom of two boys—Charlie, 4, and Campbell, 1—the 32-year-old stays busy creating and curating art for M2G Ventures and Art Room, the contemporary gallery she co-owns. “Curating shows is one of my favorite things to do,” Murray says. “Getting to see other talented artists’ work brings life to my work and my life.”

days, I go to galleries and museums. I went to Denver in March, and there is a huge outdoor mural, and that brought a lot of inspiration to me. I’ll scour the internet. I’m addicted to Pinterest. You’ll find inspiration everywhere, as long as you’re open to it.

GETTING TO SEE OTHER TALENTED ARTISTS’ WORK BRINGS LIFE TO MY WORK AND MY LIFE.

graduation, when they ask you what you want to be when you grow up, I said an artist. I didn’t take an art class until ninth grade, but I really enjoyed it. I had really great teachers that fostered that creativity in me. And my parents were always taking us to art museums and doing activities that were culturally related.

HOW DO YOU FIND THE ARTISTS YOU FEATURE IN ART ROOM? We started with

artists that we knew. Eventually, we created a system in which people could submit their artwork. At the beginning, our shows weren’t really structured around a subject or a theme. As more shows went on, we became more specific. It’s been a learning curve. I’m not really business oriented and neither is my partner. All we want to do is show and see beautiful art.

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WHICH ARTISTS DO YOU ADMIRE MOST? Alice Neel is probably my favorite

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Watching them and seeing how they’re learning new things is encouraging. It forces me to relearn things—like with shapes and colors, the very elementary parts of design.

HOW DO YOU BALANCE YOUR WORK WITH HAVING TWO LITTLE BOYS? It’s hard. I find

myself struggling at work; I want to be with the kids. When I’m with the kids, I know there’s stuff I need to do at work. It’s hard to find the balance, but I just have to focus on what I’m doing while in the moment. There are times the children have to come with me to meet an artist or get a quote, but I’m hoping they’re learning from the experience. I hope having this career, while still being able to take care of them, gives them the best of both worlds. They get to see me as a professional and as a mom.

HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN PASSIONATE ABOUT ART? At kindergarten

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WHERE ELSE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION? When I travel, which is rare these

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MU R R AY

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF? I try to get together

with girlfriends at least once a week. I have amazing girlfriends who are great conversationalists and always have fun stories to tell. That’s kind of my relaxation period.

FAVORITE WAY TO SPEND TIME OUT AS A FAMILY? We like to try new restaurants. It’s

fun to see Fort Worth growing. I feel like we always have new restaurants to try. ANY FAVORITES? I’m so glad we got an HG Sply Co. Mi Cocina is always a great spot for the kids. HOW DO YOU AND JEFF STAY CONNECTED? We try to go on a date night at least

once a month. It’s nice to just talk to him and have adult conversations and dream and imagine what the future is going to hold for us. WHERE DO YOU TAKE THE KIDS FOR ART? When they were younger, I’d take

them to the Amon Carter. Now that they’re older, we like to go to the Kimbell. If I can get them in the right mood, I ask them questions about the artwork. Sometimes, I take them to the Modern because they have some large colorful pieces and some cool installations. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER MOMS HOPING TO CULTIVATE A LOVE OF THE ARTS IN THEIR CHILDREN?

Encourage them to draw. Bring them to art festivals. Bring them to museums. It’s hard sometimes, but kids absorb so much. It doesn’t matter if they aren’t interested in art—introducing them to art will help them grow.


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Museum open extended hours until 8 pm on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Fridays in December. For the first time in its history, the Modern grounds will be illuminated with a spectacular array of festive lights in celebration of the holiday season and in honor of the Museum’s 125th Anniversary. Visitors and families will be invited to enjoy nightly viewing opportunities with extended museum hours for a must-see holiday experience.

MODERN ART MUSEUM OF FORT WORTH 3200 Darnell Street • Fort Worth, Texas 76107 • 817.738.9215 • www.themodern.org Leading support for the Modern’s 125th Anniversary is provided by the William E. Scott Foundation and the Leo Potishman Foundation, with additional support provided by Southwest Bank, UBS, Southwestern Expo and Livestock Show, Pier 1 Imports, BNSF Railway Foundation, and TXU Energy. Special thanks to the Star-Telegram for their generous in-kind support.

fortworthchild / december 2017

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real moms / M O M

SOCIAL

WORDS NICOLE JORDAN

DATEBOOK

make your own merry this december with spirits, shopping sprees and can’t-miss holiday performances DECEMBER 01 THE MODERN LIGHTS

In honor of its 125th anniversary, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is featuring a stunning light display for the first time ever. See it for yourself during extended hours on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays through Jan. 6 or during First Friday on Dec. 1, featuring music from the Bobby Falk Group, spirits, snacks and a docent-led tour of the galleries. $10 admission. 3200 Darnell St., Fort Worth // 817/738-9215 // themodern.org

01 ENCHANT

You’ll forget you’re at Globe Life Park as you shop goods from more than 85 vendors surrounded by millions of twinkling lights. Open through Dec. 31, Enchant boasts a 3-acre light maze (the world’s largest)—and it’s a surefire way to win date night. Finish off your holiday shopping, take a spin on the ice skating pond and warm up with fare from local food trucks. Tickets start at $21. 1000 Ballpark Way, Arlington // 817/273-5222 // enchantchristmas.com

Enchant

01 SALVADOR DALÍ

Catch Salvador Dalí: Visions of Eternity at the Arlington Museum of Art through Jan. 21. Curated from the surrealist’s expansive archive, the exhibition features more than 100 works, including Dali’s full series of Dante’s The Divine Comedy. $8 admission.

02 URBAN TRADERS M ARKET

Shop locally made home decor, jewelry, ceramics, gourmet foods and more at the Urban Traders Market on Saturday, Dec. 2 and 16. Inspired by the Portland Saturday Market, which is open almost year-round to showcase local artisans, Fort Worth’s version features an eclectic mix of vendors, live music and bites from Cowtown craftspeople. Free. Multiple locations, Fort Worth // 682/235-5755 // urbantradersmarket.com

Salvador Dalí

14 PARLOR SOCIABLE

Grab your best girls and head to Nash Farm for a good oldfashioned social call. From 10am–2pm, the farm will host a social nodding to simpler times—complete with parlor games, coffee, tea and sweet treats. $15 per person. 626 Ball St., Grapevine // 800/457-6338 // grapevinetexasusa.com

15 THE NUTT Y NUTCRACKER

This racy rendition by Texas Ballet Theater is sure to sell out. Choreographed by Ben Stevenson, The Nutty Nutcracker is an irreverent satire of the beloved classic, replacing sugar plum fairies and mischievous mice with unexpected characters such as Edward Scissorhands and Dr. Frank N. Furter. At Bass Hall one night only; tickets start at $72.

The Nutty Nutcracker 14

december 2017 / fortworthchild

525 Commerce St., Fort Worth // 877/828-9200 // basshall.com

PHOTOS COURTESY OF DALE KLIPPENSTEIN; LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, PRINTS & PHOTOGRAPHS DIVISION, CARL VAN VECHTEN COLLECTION, [LC-USZ62-133965]; URBAN TRADERS MARKET; STEVEN VISNEAU; GRAPEVINE CONVENTION & VISITOR BUREAU

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fortworthchild / december 2017

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a thursday in the life of

REBECCA RUDKIN Originally from Wichita, Kansas, transplant mom Rebecca Rudkin lives in Fort Worth with her two daughters— Collins, 6, and Alivia, 4—and her husband of 12 years, Jason, who is the VP of finance at Haag Engineering. She teaches at her youngest daughter’s preschool and serves the elderly and children of her church.

4

:30AM The alarm goes off. I love mornings so I don’t mind getting up early to run, pray, clean and get my girls ready. 4:45AM I get my shoes on and head to the garage where my treadmill is. I spend my run praying and listening to a sermon. 6AM After running, I head to the kitchen to clean any mess left over from the night before. Anyone who knows me knows I am a little OCD about keeping my house clean. 6:25AM Collins comes downstairs. Normally, she doesn’t have to get up for another hour so I kindly tell her to go back to bed. She reluctantly agrees. I am never really sure that she actually goes back to bed or starts playing quietly. 6:40AM I shower and start to get ready. 7AM I draw a bath for my girls. I see that my oldest didn’t end up going back to bed but is awake, so I tell her to get in. 7:10AM While she bathes, I straighten my hair. I have that naturally curly hair that’s not enough curl to be cute and not straight enough to leave it alone; so if I don’t straighten it, it will be up in a bun for the day. 7:20AM I dry off Collins and she gets dressed. Today is crazy sock and hair day at school. She

is attempting to put on the crazy WuShock socks we picked up for her on our last trip to Wichita. However, it’s not going smoothly and she is getting frustrated. At the same time, I am trying my best attempt at crazy hair by braiding pipe cleaners in her hair. Needless to say, I hadn’t accounted for how crazy this was going to make our morning. 7:30AM My husband comes upstairs and helps get Alivia into the bath. This morning was not going as planned, and today I needed extra hands to get it done. 7:45AM Alivia, Collins and I give our last kisses and hugs to Daddy then leave to drop Collins off at school. 7:55AM We walk Collins to her classroom. I apologize to her for getting frustrated with the sock and hair debacle and tell her to have a great day. 8AM Alivia and I head to Sonic for a soda and then to preschool. 8:20AM I start to get the room ready. 8:45AM The teachers and I head downstairs for a prayer before the kids come. 9AM I greet all my happy kiddos who are dressed in their cutest western gear for Western Day. 10AM We start our language arts station. I love this time because I get to work in small groups with the kiddos. It helps me improve my teaching skills. 11:30AM Lunchtime. We sit with the kids at the table, but there isn’t much eating going on; it’s a game of I Spy. 12:30PM We head outside for recess. It is one of those gorgeous days that we Texans are lucky to get in wintertime. 2:15PM The school day is over and the kids have all been picked up, and it’s time for Alivia and I to head home real quick before we pick up Collins. 2:25PM We get home, I change clothes, start dinner for Jason and I then go outside with Alivia to play. 3:10PM We pick up Collins and head to a quick drive-through so I can pick up a salad for an elderly lady at our church for whom I am providing a meal tonight. 3:40PM We get home and the girls cannot wait to play outside with their friends. 3:50PM Time for yard work! I put out the fall weed and feed in hopes that our grass can gain the upper hand over the weeds next spring. 4:50PM We go to piano lessons to drop Alivia off first, then Collins and I head to Ms. Beverly’s from church to deliver the salad. 5:15PM We drop off the salad and visit for a few minutes. 5:30PM We get back to piano lessons to pick up Alivia and drop off Collins. 6PM We pick Collins up, and her teacher tells me she has her whole song memorized for recital. I am so proud of her!

Diaries are penned by moms (and dads) in the Fort Worth area. The authors volunteer to share a day of their choosing and are not paid or endorsed by FortWorthChild. Send your diary to editorial@dfwchild.com. All submissions are subject to editing and may be cut for space. 16

december 2017 / fortworthchild

PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL COMULADA

real moms / R O U T I N E S


the fine

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WHAT’S ON HER DVR Bull, Big Bang Theory, Dancing with the Stars RESTAURANT SHE FREQUENTS WITH THE FAMILY Costa Vida BEVERAGE OF CHOICE Sprite Zero and Diet Dr Pepper FAVORITE MOVIE The Blind Side GUARANTEED TO MAKE HER LAUGH The Sonic guys on Sonic commercials GUARANTEED TO MAKE HER CRY Any special program or clip that has to do with parents and their children or military families. FAVORITE SCENT Anything vanilla BEST PURCHASE EVER My treadmill WORDS SHE LIVES BY Love the Lord your God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. FAVORITE APP WAAP from channel 4 GO-TO UNIFORM Running shorts and tank top YEARLY DESTINATION Every year we go back to Wichita for Thanksgiving and spend the week with both my family and my husband’s family. BIGGEST PET PEEVE Clutter BY HER BED A box fan WHAT SHE DOES WHEN LIFE GETS STRESSFUL Run and pray DREAM VACATION Florida and the beach MOTHERHOOD IN FIVE WORDS Challenging, rewarding, fun, amazing and tiring SHE WISHES SHE HAD MORE TIME TO Volunteer at Collins’s school

6:15PM I take the girls to McAlister’s because they won’t like the spicy meal I prepared earlier. Plus, when a kid’s meal is a dollar you can’t go wrong. We visit and laugh while they eat. 7PM We get home and the girls watch a show upstairs. 7:05PM I hear the girls screaming about how there is a bug in the house. I figure it is nothing so I tell them I’ll be up in a bit. 7:10PM I go upstairs and realize it’s more than just a bug—there are two wasps! I grab the wasp spray and, finally, after several tries they are both dead, and the girls can go back to watching their show. 8PM Jason gets home, and we enjoy a little more time together as a family before the girls go to bed. 8:40PM We take the girls to bed and hug and kiss them goodnight. 8:45PM Jason and I relax on the couch and watch Bull. This has become one of our favorite shows. 9:30PM I doze off. 10PM Jason and I head downstairs. It’s been a good day, and tomorrow is a chance to work on doing things better than today. fortworthchild / december 2017

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THE

INVISIBLE

ONES

Despite a thriving local economy, the number of homeless families and children in North Texas continues to rise. And they’re not all panhandling—they’re at work, at school and on the playground, going unnoticed and, sometimes, unhelped. WORDS LESLIE J. THOMPSON

T

racy Cross, whose name has been changed at her request, and her husband worked hard to make ends meet and cover their monthly expenses. Although both were employed, the cost of food, clothing and school supplies for their three children, ages 15, 13 and 7, maxed out their income. “There were days where I had to choose, were we going to pay rent and not eat? Or, were we going to pay for gas so my husband could go to work?” Cross recalls. When the North Texas couple came up short on rent, they were evicted from their apartment. They ended up living with a nearby relative. “My kids were sleeping on the floor, and we were sleeping on a mattress,” Cross recalls. Unfortunately, the Cross family story is increasingly common in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. A SILENT EPIDEMIC

Nearly 150,000 people in Fort Worth live below the poverty level, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. That number

includes about a fourth of the city’s children. Families in poverty are much more likely to become homeless—in fact, families with children are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population. Although the tally of those without permanent housing in Tarrant, Denton, Dallas and Collin counties fell slightly from 2016 to 2017, according to data released from the annual Point-in-Time (PIT) homeless census, thousands more are likely unaccounted for, experts say. They’re not sleeping under bridges or panhandling. Instead, they’re in school and at work during the day and couch surfing or staying in budget hotels at night. “What is interesting about [homeless] families with children is that you almost never see them out in the public eye,” notes Ellen Magnis, CEO of Family Gateway, a shelter in Dallas that serves families with children. “And for good reason—they’re afraid. So, they’re super hard to count,” she says. The U.S. Department of Education’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act defines homeless children and youth as individuals who lack a “fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.” This includes being doubled-up (i.e., staying in the home of a friend or relative), living in a transitional or emergency shelter, living in an unsheltered situation (e.g., sleeping in a car, abandoned building or outdoor encampment) or staying at a hotel, motel or trailer park. Nearly 1,300 homeless children were enrolled in Fort Worth ISD in 2016 (up from the previous school year), while more than 3,700 attend school in Dallas ISD. Plano ISD reported 457 homeless students for the 2014–15 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, with Lewisville ISD and Frisco ISD counting 684 and 207 homeless students, respectively. “We track the number of homeless students that we serve, and we’ve seen that number double since 2014,” says Tasha Moore, a licensed master social worker and chief strategy officer for secondary campuses with Communities in Schools of North Texas (CISNT) in Lewisville.

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Saints Will calculate creative solutions.

feature / T H E

INVISIBLE ONES

Not only are these kids at high risk for health issues, developmental delays and problem behaviors, but Texas Education Agency (TEA) data indicates that homeless children are five times more likely to drop out of school. And over their lifetime, they will cost taxpayers $530 million due to costs associated with medical care, shelter and associated services, as well as law enforcement expenses and lost tax revenue, according to a report out of the University of Texas at Austin. CAUSES OF HOMELESSNESS

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With the economy in North Texas booming, how is it that so many parents and children find themselves without a stable roof over their heads? Unemployment is less than 4 percent in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Dallas Regional Chamber predicts wage and salary employment to grow by 2.3 percent for the Dallas-Plano-Irving area and nearly 2.1 percent for the Fort Worth-Arlington area over the next five years. But wages are not rising at the same rate as housing costs, experts say, and the lack of affordable housing throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area leaves those who previously were just getting by without options. In fact, by far the most common driver of families ending up on the street is the disparity between wages and housing prices. The rental vacancy rate in Dallas was only 8 percent in 2014, according to a report from the New York University Furman Center, meaning landlords have little incentive to keep rents low or to rent to individuals without a strong credit history. Families who experience homelessness typically have been on the edge of poverty, and a single turn of events can leave them unable to make rent or pay the mortgage, Magnis explains. “Somebody got the flu, and the parent who’s an hourly worker doesn’t have sick leave, or they had to stay home and take care of their kids,” she says. A week without pay for a family with no savings or safety net can mean having to choose between buying groceries and staying in their home. Other likely circumstances include an unexpected layoff or job loss, divorce, even an expensive car repair. “It’s estimated that if you’re working in a minimum wage job here in Collin County, you need to be working 20 hours a day to sustain a basic living,” says Rick Crocker, CEO of Samaritan Inn in McKinney, the county’s only residential homeless program. The shelter served 623 residents last year, 150 of whom were children. However, due to a lack of space, Samaritan Inn also turned away 2,400 individuals who qualified for the program. The need, notes Crocker, is overwhelming, and the number of families without a permanent place to stay is on the rise. PROTECTING OUR YOUTH

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The effects of homelessness can be devastating for children, especially younger ones who trust and rely on their parents to provide a sense of safety and security. “We see the same issues with children who are homeless as we see in children who are abused,” Magnis says. “They’re traumatized by the experience and they need time to recover.” Similar to victims of natural disaster, they often find themselves left with only the few belongings that they can carry with them as they move from one living situation to the next. The toxic stress of homelessness, combined with poor hygiene and malnutrition, puts children at increased risk of illness. The impact is especially dire for children younger than 6, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The group says homelessness during early childhood increases the odds that a child will develop stress-related chronic diseases later in life. Similarly, the experience


of being without a stable home can also cause delays in a child’s social and emotional development. Not surprisingly, these factors often affect a child’s performance at school. “It’s harder for those students to find a rhythm and to find consistency and reliability,” Moore says. Frequent moves to unfamiliar places can cause them to be extremely anxious or mistrustful, and those behaviors play out in the classroom. “They get in trouble a lot, or they might jump or shake at a noise,” she says. Due to limited access to computers, a lack of parental guidance and unstable living conditions, children experiencing homelessness routinely fail to turn in their homework or they frequently fall asleep in class. “Then there are just general things around social interactions, as far as being able to shower [and] having clean clothes, that affect students’ relationships with their peers,” Moore notes. When a child wears the same outfit every day, for example, he or she may be teased by other students and self-confidence starts to break down. “They won’t want to come to school, and their attendance will decrease, along with their academics,” she says.

We see the same issues with children who are homeless as we see in children who are abused. They’re traumatized by the experience and they need time to recover.

STOPPING THE CYCLE

As the numbers of homeless children and families have continued to rise in recent years, local elected officials have stepped up their efforts to address the problem. In Dallas, Mayor Mike Rawlings and other community leaders formed the Dallas Commission on Homelessness in May 2016, following the closure of “Tent City,” a sprawling encampment under Interstate 45 near downtown where disease and crime ran rampant. The commission engaged the local community to help develop viable solutions that would both address and prevent homelessness. Mirroring effective practices of other communities to reduce the homeless population, the efforts include financing strategies, strong leadership and accountability, and most important, a push to increase affordable and supportive housing. Central to the initiative is the use of technology to convert to a community-wide Homeless Management Information System and coordinated entry system to match clients with housing and related services. Likewise, federal funds and federal housing subsidies will be combined with local investments to add a minimum of 1,000 new permanent supportive housing units within the next four years. Similarly, the city of Denton created a task force to explore improving and expanding housing solutions for the homeless there. Working in conjunction with the Denton County Homeless Coalition, the task force outlined a three-step strategy to address the issue, including establishment of a new homeless shelter, allocation of federal funds to develop transitional housing and creation of a new coordinator position to implement the plan in conjunction with participating nonprofit organizations. “What we’ve been trying to figure out is, how do we make sure that people are getting the resources they need when they need them and that what we do helps them get out of the cycle?” says TJ Gilmore, a councilman in Lewisville who is one of two dozen

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appointees to the Denton County Homelessness Leadership Team. Other participants include elected officials and board members and staff from local nonprofit groups and health care facilities. “The challenge with homelessness, especially when you deal with it at the scale of a city, is you kind of play whack-a-mole,” he adds, noting that closing encampments like Tent City often results in homeless individuals simply movHELP HOMELESS ing to nearby towns. STUDENTS The county recently implementMcKinney-Vento ed a new coordinated entry system, Homeless Education which enables local social services Assistance Act requires agencies that deal with homelessthat every school ness to share information through district statewide idena single database. The approach tify homeless students lets the agencies refer those in within the district and need to the right resources without give them the opporduplicating efforts and track people tunity and resources to through the system more efficiently succeed academically. to ensure their long-term success. Every district must also And Tarrant County has have a Homeless Liaison whose job responsiadopted strategies to ensure that bilities include ensuring no resident goes without shelter. that homeless families Most recently, the Tarrant County and children receive Homeless Coalition (TCHC) made referrals to health care the decision to merge its board of and other services and directors with that of Continuum coordinating related of Care, reorganizing the two support services for entities into one high-functioning homeless youth. board that can more effectively “The liaisons all drive change. TCHC has begun know what kinds of implementation of a coordinated resources are available entry system that can rapidly in their local comidentify and assess individuals and munities,” says Jeanne families in need and deliver approStamp, project director priate housing solutions in Tarrant for the Texas Homeless and Parker counties. Education Office, PROVIDING A HAND UP

November 24 – December 24 Friday thru Sunday

Photos with Santa Legends of Texas Gunfights Story Time with Mrs. Claus Cowboy Poetry

12 – 5 pm 11:45 am and 4:15 pm 12:15 pm, 1:15 pm, 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm

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december 2017 / fortworthchild

which provides support services and training to school districts. In addition, the legislation mandates that districts provide transportation for homeless students, even if a student moves outside of the school’s attendance zone or school district boundaries. If you or a parent you know is without a permanent residence or at risk of becoming homeless, contact the liaison for your school district for assistance. A list of homeless liaisons organized by school district is available at theotx.org/liaison.

Meanwhile, local nonprofits and social service organizations continue to do what they can to provide help for families on the brink of homelessness and those without a stable roof over their heads. Interfaith Family Services, for example, not only offers free child care and career services but also financial coaching for participants in its Hope & Home program, which provides 25 fully furnished apartments as temporary housing for homeless families. Residents meet with on-site volunteers to learn about money management and career development and receive the accountability and support they need to begin a new chapter in life. “For every paycheck they receive, [program participants] put 30 percent toward their savings,” says Destiny DeJesus of Interfaith Family Services. The funds can help residents get into an apartment after leaving the program. “Once they graduate, our screening coordinator reaches out to see whether they are still saving,


what type of job they have and how much they’re making so we can make sure they’re still on the right track,” she says. At City House in Plano, homeless children are provided new clothing, personal toiletries, transportation to and from school, and most important, the stability of a nurturing environment. In addition to teaching children basic etiquette and personal grooming, the staff strives to instill in them a sense of value and self-respect. “We focus on dignity and teaching that they’re worth having a brand-new set of socks and underwear and T-shirts,” Executive Director Sheri Messer says. Through the combined efforts of state and local elected officials, social service organizations, nonprofit charities and hundreds of selfless donors and volunteers who are willing to give their time and means, homeless families—and especially homeless children—in the Dallas-Fort Worth area now have more opportunities to access the resources they need and break the cycle of poverty. Achieving a lasting solution will still take time as cities address additional obstacles that keep families stuck in the cycle of poverty, such as the lack of public transportation and limited options for affordable housing. Even so, community involvement and public-private initiatives are gaining momentum and making a difference. Cross says that families who find themselves in a situation similar to hers, without permanent housing, need to keep the faith and be willing to ask for help. The Cross family is currently in one of the 30 rooms at the Annette Strauss Family Gateway Center and will receive vouchers for permanent supportive housing once they leave the program. “They really did get us from being homeless to having a place to live,” Cross says.

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YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE Want to help homeless children and families in your community? Volunteer with one of these local organizations. C A T H O L I C C H A R I T I E S F O R T W O R T H Help stock donated items or organize a donation drive in your community. Fort Worth, 817/534-0814; catholiccharitiesfortworth.org C E N T E R F O R T R A N S F O R M I N G L I V E S Help in the child development center or work in the Resale Shop. Fort Worth, 817/332-6191; transforminglives.org COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS OF NORTH TEXAS Become a mentor or academic coach, deliver food to local schools, or lend a hand at one of CISNT’s events. Lewisville, 972/538-9930; cisnt.org F A M I L Y G A T E W A Y Organize a donation drive, prepare a meal at the shelter, help students with their homework, or teach an adult class in job readiness or financial literacy. Dallas, 214/8234500; familygateway.org H O P E S U P P L Y C O . Volunteer to help sort donations on the second and fourth Saturdays of every month, or make hygiene and birthday boxes on your own. Dallas, 214/630-5765; hopesupplyco.org I N T E R F A I T H F A M I L Y S E R V I C E S Help tutor kids from the elementary grades through high school or work with parents as a career or financial coach. Dallas, 214/827-7220; interfaithdallas.org K I D S H E L P I N G K I D S Volunteer to help on the second Saturday of each month at various events. Dallas; kidshelpingkidstx.com T H E B I R T H D A Y P A R T Y P R O J E C T Decorate, sing and hand out cupcakes at one of the monthly birthday parties for homeless kids. Dallas-Fort Worth area, 972/290-0908; thebirthdaypartyproject.org U N I O N G O S P E L M I S S I O N Tutor kids, help serve meals or sort donations. Fort Worth, 817/339-2553; ugm-tc.org

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kid culture.

BEAT WINTER BREAK BLUES make new holiday traditions with these wintertime activities

PHOTO COURTESY OF PANTHER ISLAND ICE

WORDS JESSICA MYERS

Y

ou’ve already Googled a million crafty ideas to help you survive the holiday break with the kiddos at home. For those days when you just need to get out of the house, we’ve

pulled together 23 ideas that’ll help you celebrate the season North Texas–style. Not only will the days fly by, but you just might create a few new family traditions along the way.

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kid culture / B E A T

WINTER BREAK BLUES

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PREVIOUS PAGE // Skate Panther Island Ice at Coyote Drive-In in Fort Worth, the area’s only outdoor skating rink. Lace up on Tuesdays for half-price admission. ABOVE // Gallop into the holiday spirit at Stockyards Station. Take a carriage ride around Cowtown Coliseum, then meet Santa and Mrs. Claus.

get your (indoor) play on W E S L E Y ’ S P L AYG R O U N D at White’s

Chapel United Methodist Church in Southlake staunches cabin fever (daily from 8am, 4pm on Saturdays) with tunnels, slides, a netted climbing area and padded toddler space. Parents can warm up with a coffee from Wesley’s cafe. whiteschapelumc.com Elementary-age children and preschoolers can spend their evenings and weekend afternoons at TH E H I L L S C H U R C H P L AY S C A P E in North Richland Hills. Parents can take a breather on one of the comfy, oversize chairs and survey the kiddos riding down the long tube slide, crawling through spinning tubes or monkeying around the three-story play structure. thehills.org/playscape Get to First Baptist Church Grapevine’s PA R A D I S E P O N D right at 9am (Thursdays and Fridays, $1 per kid) before it “overflows” with littles ages 2–12 scaling the small climbing wall, scrambling the two-story play structure or playing dress-up. fbcgrapevine.com/paradise-pond For $10 per child, kiddos can dress up as a construction worker, a pumpkin patch farmer and a veterinarian, or they can spend hours fidgeting with PVC pipes on the magnet wall, ageappropriate blocks, books, stuffed animals and more in the 1,400-square-foot Playspace at TH E H A P P Y L A R K in Fort Worth. thehappylark.com Take a break from holiday shopping at the Simon Kidgits play space inside N O R TH E A S T M A L L in Hurst. Behind Forever 21 and adjacent to restrooms with changing tables, the romping grounds include a clubhouse with a toddlersized slide, oversize caterpillar and piglet to climb on and even a sensory corner. Bring loose change so the kids can take a ride on one of the mechanical rides just outside the enclosed playground. simon.com/mall/north-east-mall Sometimes you have to bring your kids along for the holiday shopping, but R I D G M A R M A L L keeps them distracted at the soft child’s play place on the lower level. They play conductor on the

kid-size train and captain on the boat. Next door is the newly opened Seaquest interactive aquarium. For $9.95 per child ages 2–11 and $14.95 per adult, meet, feed and play with parakeets, stingrays, capybaras and more. There are also trains that take kids on rides around the mall on both levels, and join the Kids Club for free games and activities from 11–noon on Dec. 14. ridgmar.com

bowled over

Roll over to COW TOW N B OW L I N G PA L AC E Sunday before noon for the early bird special: play for $1.50; rent shoes for $2. Or head there during the week for lunch ’n bowl Monday–Friday: eat lunch, rent shoes and bowl two games for $10.79 per person. cowtownbowling.com Permit the kids to stay up late for $5 allyou-can-bowl (every night of the week) after 8pm at IT ’ Z FA M I LY FO O D & F U N in Euless. itzusa.com ’Tis the season to delay bedtime for an hour or two with an impromptu Tuesday night game at B OW L E R O in Euless. Every Tuesday, games and shoes (and beer for Mom and Dad) are just $2.22 after 8pm—spend your extra pennies on the five-pound cheeseburger or the XXL pretzel. bowlero.com

fun on the ice

Open from 11am–11pm (10pm on Sundays) throughout winter break, PA NTH E R I S L A N D I C E welcomes skaters rain or shine at its outdoor rink (the only one in Fort Worth). $12 admission includes skate rental for 90 minutes. pantherislandice.com Head to The Parks at Arlington for an afternoon on I C E AT TH E PA R K S weekdays at 11am (11:30am Fridays only). Kids 5 and younger get in free, $7 for kids up to age 13, $9 for adults and $3 skate rental for all. iceattheparks.net From the 18th through the rest of the month, skate N Y TE X S P O R T S C E NTR E ’s Winter Wonderland Extravaganza. Skaters of all ages glide under lights and tinsel from 10am–

PHOTO COURTESY OF BRIAN HUTSON

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WINTER BREAK BLUES

8pm (with Zamboni breaks every 90 minutes) for $15. The daily 75-minute lunchtime public skate (12:15–1:30pm) is $6 admission ($7 age 11 and older) and $3 rental. On weekends, the open skate schedule changes, but most Friday evenings offer free skate rentals for 90 minutes (6:45–8:15pm) for $10 per guest. nytexsports.com Bring your socks for an ice skating session at the D R P E P P E R S TA R C E NTE R

in Euless. Public skate costs $8 per child, free for kids 3 and younger and $9 for parents. Bring your beginner skater on Friday evenings or weekends to learn how to skate in the bucket zones with balance props. drpepperstarcenters.com

see a show

See classic holiday flicks every other Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30pm at M OV I E TAV E R N S across Fort Worth. Christmas Vacation plays Dec. 5 and 6; White Christmas, Dec. 12 and 13; and It’s A Wonderful Life, Dec. 19 and 20. $7.50 per child ages 12 and younger; $9.75 per adult. movietavern.com Sit back and enjoy the view from the comfort of your seat warmer at COYOTE D R I V E I N in Fort Worth. Catch a showing of Home Alone or The Polar Express for $8 per adult, $6 per child, and free for ages 4 and younger. coyotedrive-in.com Watch the season’s standards including a double feature of A Charlie Brown Christmas and How The Grinch Stole Christmas (Dec. 22–23) throughout the month at PA L AC E TH E ATR E in Grapevine. Pro tip: Bring a sameday receipt from any Grapevine restaurant to get a free small popcorn. grapevinetexasusa. com/palace-theatre

calling all cooks

Get in the holiday spirit at a Gingerbread workshop at TA S TE B U D S K ITC H E N in Southlake. Listen to holiday tunes and sip hot chocolate as you and your kiddo combine skills to build a gumdropbedazzled gingerbread house. Workshop days and times vary throughout the month. $45 per child, free for one parent. tastebudskitchen.com/southlake Bake and decorate cookies and gingerbread houses at the Fort Worth or Southlake C E NTR A L M A R K E T CO O K I N G S C H O O L . In the gingerbread class, you and your pastry chef decorate traditional Swiss Lebkuchen homes; in the cookie class, your little one will leave her mark (literally) on jam thumbprint, chocolate chip and molasses crinkle cookies. Finally, in cookie decorating,

you and yours will unleash the artist within using edible paint (read: icing). centralmarket.com

get cultured

It’s hard to find a rainbow on these wintry days so take the kids to Fort Worth’s A M O N C A R TE R M U S E U M where they can literally walk under one in the large-scale Plexus No. 34 exhibit by Gabriel Dawe. On display 1 through next year, the piece uses over 80 miles of thread to make the illusion of a rainbow. Make it an interactive experience by downloading and listening to the complimentary playlist featuring “colorful” songs like Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Yellow by Coldplay. cartermuseum.org Take a free family-friendly tour of the K I M B E L L A R T M U S E U M in Fort Worth. Ask for a picture card from the Piano Pavilion, then discuss the fun facts about selected masterpieces throughout the museum. Take an intermission between gallery strolls to read books and play with blocks in family area Studio A. On the first three Saturdays of this month, kids can explore the artistic element of zigzag lines in the Kids Drop-in Studio. kimbellart.org

play some games

Head to TO R N A D O TE R RY ’ S in Keller for the Free Zone where kids (best for ages 6 and up) can play over 70 arcade games, from billiards to Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution. Games in the Free Zone are—you guessed it—free with your $15 admission. tornadoterrys.com

get in the holiday spirit

Find Santa’s missing reindeer in the world’s largest outdoor light maze at E N C H A NT at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Under the big top, take a picture with Santa in his golden palace, glide on the ice pond, walk through the Christkindl Market Lane and sip on cider while kids brave the mini maze by themselves. Also, bring the selfie stick for a family photo with one of the giant 25-foot tall reindeer at the main entrance. $29.95 per adult, $21.95 per child, free for ages 4 and younger. enchantchristmas.com Take a carriage ride under the twinkling lights of Fort 2 Worth’s S TO C K YA R D S S TATI O N . For $15 per person or $5 per child ages 5–9 (free for 4 and under), a horse-drawn carriage takes you past the stables, arena, Cowtown Coliseum and giant Christmas tree and back to the visitors center. Take a photo with Santa and listen to Mrs. Claus’s story time at the end of Stockyards Station Friday–Sunday noon–5pm right from now till Christmas Eve when Santa leaves to make his way around the world. stockyardsstation.com

1 // Make like Hansel and Gretel and find refuge in a candy-coated gingerbread house at one of Central Market’s kid-friendly cooking classes. 2 // Light up your children’s faces at Enchant where they visit Santa inside his palace, explore a golden ornament, and navigate the world’s largest outdoor, lighted maze. 28

december 2017 / fortworthchild

PHOTOS COURTESY OF CENTRAL MARKET; DALE KLIPPENSTEIN

kid culture / B E A T


Photos With Santa

Located at Santa’s Depot inside Stockyards Station November 24 – December 24 Friday – Sunday 12 – 5 PM fortworthstockyards.com

fortworthchild / december 2017

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Holiday

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Gift GUIDE

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FIRST ORDER HEAVY SCOUT WALKER STAR WARS LEGO, $59.99 Fort Worth Museum of Science and History shop.fortworthmuseum.org HOLIDAY ADOPTION ANIMAL PACKAGE, $65 Fort Worth Zoo fortworthzoo.org

3. DECORATED CAKE, $39 Nothing Bundt Cakes nothingbundtcakes.com

5. THE GATHERER CARGO BIKE, $1,970 Urban Tribe Cargo Bicycles urbantribedfw.com

7. MACARON TOWERS ‘Lette Macarons lettemacarons.com/order/pickup/

4. PAINTED TRUNK, $150 That’s So Nif etsy.com/shop/thatssonif

6. SPIN AGAIN, $38 Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth themodern.org

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PLUS-PLUS BRICKS OPEN PLAY TUBES AND LEARN TO BUILD SETS, $45 Kimbell Art Museum kimbellart.org


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

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9. WESTERN SHOPPING DESTINATION Stockyards Station stockyardsstation.com 10. PEANUTS & THE GANG GINGERBREAD MAKING CLASSES, $49.95 JudyPie judypie.com 11. VILAC SKY BLUE KITCHEN, $199.99 Houston Street Toy Company

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12. DELUXE WOOD EASEL IN ESPRESSO BY KID KRAFT, $135 little orange fish littleorangefishkids.com 13. HANDBLOWN GLASS HOLIDAY ORNAMENTS, $30 Vetro Glassblowing Studio vetroartglass.com

14. SPARKLE BOOTS, $25 Playground Couture playground-couture.com 15. 2018 BLUE SEASON PASS, $79 Splash Kingdom Wild West Waterpark splashkingdomwaterpark.com

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FARM FRESH VINTAGE TEE AND INFANT BODYSUIT Mason Jar Label masonjarlabel.com

17. ASSORTED NUT GIFT BASKETS Vending Nut Company vendingnut.com


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Galveston Island TEXAS

A tropical destination with fun for all seasons, Galveston Island is home to 32 miles of beaches, 36 blocks of historic shops and countless opportunities for family fun. Plan a visit this holiday season to experience Galveston transformed into a “Winter Wonder Island.” Enter into the world of Victorian London at Dickens on the Strand, where costumed characters from the beloved tales of Charles Dickens bring holiday shopping, refreshments and carols to the street. Keep your hats and gloves handy for Downtown Lanterns and Lights, which features trees, lights and plenty of holiday photo ops throughout Saengerfest Park. If you’d rather keep warm, catch a holiday show at The Grand 1894 Opera House or snag tickets to the Cirque Joyeux Noel Dinner & Show at Moody Gardens, which promises a delicious buffet dinner, admission to the Festival of Lights and performances from cast members of “America’s Got Talent.”

PLANNING THE PERFECT FAMILY VACATION

galveston.com/holidaymagic

For more events, go to www.galveston.com/holidaymagic

50 DAYS OF HOLIDAY EVENTS NOVEMBER 11, 2017 - JANUARY 13, 2018 Galveston is the “Winter Wonder Island” of Texas, offering visitors a magical experience with more than 50 days of holiday events and activities! STAY MID-WEEK & SAVE! 888.GAL.ISLE (425.4753) 32

december 2017 / fortworthchild


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

The High Lonesome Dude Ranch COLORADO

PHOTO COURTSEY OF GALVESTON ISLAND CVB; THE HIGH LONESOME RANCH

PLANNING THE PERFECT FAMILY VACATION

thehighlonesomeranch.com

For an unforgettable week in the mountains filled with adventure, family and cowboy culture, count on The High Lonesome Dude Ranch. A working cattle ranch settled on scenic terrain in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, The High Lonesome Ranch offers laid-back luxury lodging, exhilarating excursions, award-winning meals and s’mores around the fire pit. Different activities each day keep it lively, and lots of variety keeps everyone happy. Reserve your spot for 2018 by January 1, and your first child will come for free. Or bring along the grandparents for an extra special experience—with five paying family members, grandparents enjoy the ranch for free. The beautiful weather, clean air, enormous open space and a plethora of animals (including kid-favorite Rio, the beloved yellow Labrador) allow families to bond in a different way—and promise an experience that has many not wanting to leave.

Discover your inner cowboy. Something magical happens when you spend a week with your family in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Plan the perfect mountain escape where adventure, family, and cowboy culture combine into one unforgettable week. A working cattle ranch sprawling on scenic terrain, The High Lonesome Ranch offers the full package—laid-back luxury lodging, exhilarating excursions, award-winning meals, s’mores around the fire pit, cattle drives, riding, fly-fishing and lots more. Grandparents come Free with family, or if you book your trip by January 1, your First Child Comes Free! Call for details 970.283.9420

High Lonesome Dude Ranch DeBeque, CO, TheHighLonesomeRanch.com

fortworthchild / december 2017

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Restore YourJoy City of Granbury TEXAS

PLANNING THE PERFECT FAMILY VACATION

Located just outside of DFW, the city of Granbury serves as a quick and easy getaway for families seeking holiday excitement. Give the kiddos a chance to get in a good word with Santa at his house on the Historic Square; remind your crew of the reason for the season at the “Away in a Manger” nativity display; or hum along to your favorite Christmas tunes at one of the many holiday concerts featuring the Granbury Civic Chorus, Southern Gospel Experience and Brazos Chamber Orchestra.

visitgranbury.com

Celebrate the season at our Night of Lights Parade,

Relax, refresh and realize why we’re Christmas shows and Santa’s house on the square. rated a USA Today Top 10 Best Getaway

Restore Yourself

VISITGRANBURY. COM

Dream Departures Travel Want to make this holiday seriously magical? This is a gift for the whole family and one they will never forget. Whether your dream destination is a cruise, an all-inclusive resort or a magical theme park, don’t attempt this itinerary alone. Lorrie Galliher with Dream Departures Travel gives moms insider advice on dining, attractions, hotels, packages, amenities and all the ingredients it takes to plan the perfect escape, including what you can and can’t miss on your magical vacation.

dreamdepartures.com

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december 2017 / fortworthchild


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

SEE HOW AN OLD-WORLD HOLIDAY CAN BRING

joy to your world

holiday lighting on Main | festivals & events | museums & historic sites over 30 wineries & tasting rooms | cycling | German heritage | golf live Texas music | Hill Country cuisine | abundant shopping | art galleries

Fredericksburg THE TEXAS HILL COUNTRY

visitfredericksburgtx.com

VisitFredericksburgTX.com | 866 997 3600

Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa

Holidays-2017-Master-1/4page.indd 1

PLANNING THE PERFECT FAMILY VACATION

Take your family back in time this holiday season. Enjoy the old-world charm of Fredericksburg including the popular Light the Night Christmas Parade! Experience authentic German traditions firsthand, take in a holiday concert and shop amidst a Main Street beautifully decked out for the holidays. There’s even an outdoor ice skating rink! And don’t forget the camera for plenty of family photo ops at Marktplatz with the 26-foot-tall German pyramid and Christmas tree. It’s a monthlong celebration!

9/11/17 10:32 AM

TEXAS Count on Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa to round out your 2017 and ring in the New Year. Located just 23 miles from downtown Austin, the resort offers the perfect two-night New Year’s getaway on December 30 and 31—book your family’s stay for access to a full spread of holiday activities, including live music at the amphitheater along the Colorado River, carnival rides and games sure to entertain the kiddos, and a magical midnight countdown complete with fireworks, champagne and sparkling cider for the kiddos.

PHOTO COURTSEY OF DREAMSTIME/INARA PRUSAKOVA;

hyatt.com

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kid culture /

CELEBRATE

WORDS JESSICA MYERS

PASTRY PARTY a bake shoppe party that takes the cake

1 For her daughter Teni’s seventh birthday, Mom and party planner Nike Olagbegi originally planned a Strawberry Shortcake shindig, but Teni, a Cake Boss fan, wanted something a little more … grown-up. Inspired by Teni’s kitchen prowess—measuring, mixing, baking and decorating—Olagbegi made Teni the head baker at her own bake shoppe–themed birthday complete with a Parisian storefront poster and menu chosen by the boss lady herself.

2 Olagbegi ordered personalized place mats with the names of her daughter’s seven guests, and under pâtissier Teni’s direction, she set out tools for the girls to decorate their own 6-inch marble cakes: sprinkles, fondant cutouts and tubes of peach, pink and mint green frosting—the shoppe’s color palette. The decorators took home their confectionary creations and souvenir aprons embroidered with “Teni’s Bake Shoppe.”

MINI CAKES AND DESSERTS YummyTecture Dallas-Fort Worth area, 469/759-3550 yummytecture.com

3 After cake decorating and a kitchen utensil scavenger hunt, the guests indulged in slices of Teni’s two-tiered red velvet and cookies and cream birthday cake. Before the bake shoppe closed for the day, the girls filled paper party favors shaped like Teni’s storefront with selections from the birthday girl’s menu: chocolate-covered Oreos topped with fondant flowers, pastel cake pops, white chocolate–dipped pretzels, apron-shaped cookies, and peach and mint macarons. 36

december 2017 / fortworthchild

TENI’S BIRTHDAY CAKE Kristy G’s Cupcakes Lewisville, 972/436-1234 kristigscupcakes.com PERSONALIZED APRONS GreatStitch Birthday Apparel etsy.com/shop/greatstitch

PHOTOS COURTESY OF TOSIN.A.O PHOTOGRAPHY

icing on the cake


Now – January 1, 2018 • NEW ICE! theme – 2 million pounds of colorful, hand-carved ice sculptures and slides featuring ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas • 2 million twinkling lights along with lavish holiday displays • Build-A-Bear Workshop® & Scavenger Hunt

• NEW-The Elf on the Shelf® Character Breakfast • Gingerbread Decorating Corner • Ice Skating and Snow Tubing • Santa’s Christmas Cottage Escape Room • Cookies with Mrs. Claus, Photos with Santa & much more!

GRAPEVINE, TX

Tickets and Packages on Sale Now!

ChristmasAtGaylordTexan.com

(817) 778-1000

PEPSI, PEPSI-COLA and the Pepsi Globe are registered trademarks of PepsiCo, Inc. FUJIFILM and INSTAX are trademarks of FUJIFILM Corporation and its affiliates. © 2017 FUJIFILM North America Corporation. All rights reserved. © Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The Elf on the Shelf and © CCA and B, LLC. All rights reserved.

®

PRESENTED BY

ICE! PRESENTED BY


kid culture

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WORDS ELIZABETH SMITH

2 6 F A M I LY- F R I E N D LY E V E N T S Y O U C A N ’ T M I S S I N

DECEMBER TWINKLE LIGHT BOAT PARADE

LAKE GRAPEVINE December 2 Head to your go-to spot around Lake Grapevine, such as Oak Grove Park, to see this floating parade of boats decorated in their holiday finest. This lighted boat parade starts at Twin Coves Marina and picks up entries at each marina while circling the lake. FREE Grapevine; 817/481-4549 grapevinetexasusa.com/ christmas

GINGERBREAD HOUSE FAMILY WORKSHOP

PHOTOS COURTESY OF STOCKYARDS STATION; STEVEN VISNEAU; ©ISTOCK.COM/RUTHBLACK

HOLLY DAYS

KELLER TOWN CENTER December 1 Sail down the two-lane tubing snow hill (must be 42 inches or taller) and over to the family activities inside the Jingle Bell Zone. The 10th annual Santa Scurry 5K through the Bear Creek trails begins right after the Very Merry Light Parade. $45 run for adults; $20 for children. Free admission to the fun zone with donation of one nonperishable food item, benefiting Community Storehouse. 1100 Bear Creek Parkway, Keller; 817/743-4050 cityofkeller.com/parksandrec

FIRST FRIDAYS AT THE FARM

N A S H FA R M December 1 The 1859 Nash Farm is an ideal locale for an old-fashioned Christmas party. Bring the kids for ornament making and tree decorating to help prepare the farm for the holiday, plus snack on cider and cookies. $3 per person. 626 Ball St., Grapevine; 817/410-3185 nashfarm.org

CHRISTMAS IN THE STOCKYARDS

S T O C K YA R D S S TAT I O N December 2 North Pole fun gets the western treatment at the historic district’s annual Christmas festival. Giddyap to the veranda of the historical Livestock Exchange Building for photos with Santa, carolers and children’s choirs, and face painting. Don’t miss the Fort Worth Herd Cow Camp at 1:30pm and the parade at 4pm after the cattle drive. FREE 130 E. Exchange Ave., Fort Worth; 817/625-9715 stockyardsstation.com

WINTER CHILL AT VIRIDIAN

V I R I DIA N L AKE CLUB December 2 Pack your parkas and gloves for snowball throwing and sledding down a mountain of fresh snow—160,000 pounds worth—that’s been trucked into the master-planned community for a snow day open to the public. FREE 1200 Viridian Park Lane, Arlington; 817/767-4218 viridiandfw.com

TA S T E B U D S KITCHEN December 2–23 Sip hot chocolate and work as a parent-child team to design and decorate a gingerbread house with a frosted candy roof, pretzel picket fence and more edible parts. Take it home as a decorative centerpiece—and demolish it later for an afternoon snack. $45 per child with one caregiver included. Call for sibling discounts: $40 per child for two or more siblings. 2140 E. Southlake Blvd., Suite V, Southlake; 817/488-0538 tastebudskitchen.com/ southlake

HOLIDAY AT THE PARK

A L L IA NC E TOWN CENTER December 3 Experience life on the North Pole with live reindeer, snow tube slides on Frosty’s snow hill and a story time with Mrs. Claus complete with milk and cookies. The evening includes an opportunity to snap free photos with Santa, watch a giant tree lighting and write

Christmas cards for our heroes in the military. FREE Heritage Trace Parkway and I-35W, Fort Worth; 817/224-6000 alliancetowncenter.com

TEXAS BALLET THEATER’S THE NUTCRACKER

Modern Lights, 30 trees lit up around the museum campus. Santa photos begin at 4:30pm. FREE 3200 Darnell St., Fort Worth; 817/738-9215 themodern.org

BREAKFAST WITH SANTA

BASS PERFORMANCE HA L L December 8–24 It’s not Christmas without The Nutcracker. Relive the eternal holiday favorite ballet, or experience it for the first time, with Clara, Uncle Drosselmeyer and the Sugar Plum Fairy, directed by legendary choreographer Ben Stevenson. Before matinees on Dec. 9, 16, 17 and 23, journey to the Kingdom of Sweets, i.e. the lobby, for story times, crafts and surprises, free with your seat reservations. Tickets from $20. 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth; 877/828-9200 texasballettheater.org

125TH ANNIVERSARY COMMUNITY DAY

THE MODERN ART MUSEUM OF F ORT WORT H December 9 Did you know The Modern, officially chartered in 1892, is the oldest art museum in Texas? In honor of its 125th birthday, The Modern offers a holiday party with performances, roaming stilt walkers, photo stations and children’s sketchbooks. Sip hot chocolate on the Great Lawn and experience the

RAINFOREST CAFE December 9, 16, 17 and 23 Meet Santa and Cha Cha (the red-eyed tree frog mascot) inside the Grapevine Mills restaurant for a breakfast buffet, crafts and activities. Registration is required online. $34 adults; $12.99 ages 4–10; free for ages 3 and younger. 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine; 972/539-5001 rainforestcafe.com

FAIRMOUNT’S FESTIVUS

KENT & C O. T H E S PA C E December 12 Liven up your Tuesday night at the Fairmount National Historic District’s annual Festivus (no relation to the Festivus made famous on Seinfeld). Bring your own camera for photos with Mr. and Mrs. Claus in Santa’s Village, decorate Christmas card ornaments and snack on French doughnuts from The Beignet Bus. Tickets include a holiday bus tour through Fairmount to view the Christmas lights. $10 adults; $8 kids age 12 and younger; $5 for kids who bring a new unwrapped toy to donate to One Safe Place. 1309 S. Adams St., Fort Worth; 817/632-6070 historicfairmount.com

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AGENDA

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL’S VAREKAI

F ORT WORT H CONVENTION C E N T E R A R E NA December 13–17 Cirque du Soleil returns with a new show based on the Greek myth of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun. Watch as the talented artists and acrobats perform gravity-defying feats as the environment changes from hidden forest to volcano to sky. Tickets from $40. 1201 Houston St., Fort Worth; 800/745-3000 cirquedusoleil.com/varekai

SCUBA-DIVING SANTA

SEA LIFE GRAPEVINE A Q UA R I U M December 13, 16, 20 and 23 See the aquarium’s turtles, stingrays and sharks receive holiday treats in the ocean tank and Stingray Bay at 10:30am. At 11:30am, a bearded, red-suited diver and his elf take the plunge into the aquarium’s 160,000-gallon ocean tank. Pose for pictures and find out if Scuba-diving Santa thinks you’ve been naughty or nice. $20.95 adults; $16.95 children ages 3–12; free for kids 2 and younger. 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine; 877/819-7677 visitsealife.com/grapevine

HOLIDAY BRICKTACULAR

LEGOLAND D I S C O V E RY C E N T E R December 16–17 and 23–24 Help a master model builder construct a Lego Winter Wonderland and drop your Santa letters in the Lego mailbox to be shipped to the North Pole. For a chance to win an annual pass, find all the elves hiding in Miniland and complete the scavenger hunt. $21.95; free for kids age 2 and younger. 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine; 877/818-1677 legolanddiscoverycenter.com/ dallasfw

YEAR-ROUND INDOOR WATER PARK OPENING

E P I C WAT E R S I N D O O R WAT E R PA R K Opening December Trade your winter coats for your swimsuits when Epic Waters, the world’s largest indoor water park under a single curved retractable roof, is expected to debut 40

Old Saint Nick decides to retire and hand over the reins—but whom does he choose to take his place? Reserve your seats for this children’s theater holiday musical, written by Casa’s own director of theater for youth, Noah Putterman. Tickets from $21. 3101 W. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth; 817/332-2272 casamanana.org in Grand Prairie this month. Check out the 11 slides, two-lane FlowRider surfing simulator, lazy river and children’s splash area called Rascal’s Roundup. Day passes from $14; free for ages 3 and younger. Annual and season passes available. 2970 Epic Place, Grand Prairie; 972/337-3131 epicwatersgp.com

A FAIRY TALE CHRISTMAS CAROL

ARTISAN CENTER T H E AT E R Through December 23 Charles Dickens’ enduring holiday tale gets a major update in this new children’s musical. The Big Bad Wolf (as Scrooge) gets a visit from his old business partner Jacob Midas, who warns of coming hauntings by the Fairy Godmother, Old King Cole and the Queen of Hearts. $11 adults; $7 children ages 12 and younger. 444 E. Pipeline Road, Hurst; 817/284-1200 artisanct.com

HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS

SU N DA N C E S Q UA R E P L A Z A Through December 23 The Man in Red will be sitting atop his shiny red sleigh (near the 65-foottall live Christmas tree) and available for visits and photos Wednesday–Sunday through Dec. 23. Sign up on the new registration system, and you’ll receive a text when it’s your turn with Santa. $20 for photos; cash only. 420 Main St., Fort Worth; 817/255-5700 sundancesquare.com

SANTA CLAUS – A NEW MUSICAL

C AS A M A ÑA NA T H E AT R E Through December 23 After a thousand years of delivering toys the world over,

december 2017 / fortworthchild

THE POLAR EXPRESS IMAX EXPERIENCE

F ORT WORT H MUSEUM OF SCIENCE A N D H I S T O RY Through December 14 Sit back in the museum’s Omni IMAX Theater, with an eight-story domed screen, and watch the 2004 holiday favorite about a doubting young boy who takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole and restores his belief in Santa. $9 adults; $8 youth 2–18. 1600 Gendy St., Fort Worth; 817/255-9300 fwmuseum.org

GIFT OF LIGHTS

TEXAS MOTOR S P E E D WAY Through December 30 Buckle in for a Texas-size drive-through light park on the race track’s 1.5-mile loop. Then stretch your legs with a walk through Santa’s Village and photos. Open nightly from 6–10pm. $25 per car. Proceeds benefit several nonprofits including Toys for Tots and the Ronald McDonald House of Fort Worth. 3545 Lone Star Circle, Fort Worth; 800/276-6344 tmsgiftoflights.com

ENCHANT CHRISTMAS

G L O B E L I F E PA R K Through December 31 Skate over a frozen outdoor pond and help Santa find his missing reindeer in the world’s largest light maze outside the Rangers ballpark. The 300,000-square-foot Christmas celebration includes a 100-foot-tall Christmas tree, a kids’ play area and Arlington’s traditional German-style Christkindl market. Get $5 off admission by reserving tickets online before you go: $29.95 adults; $21.95 children ages 5–14; free for age 4 and younger. 1000 Ballpark Way, Arlington; 817/273-5600 enchantchristmas.com

HAVE A BALL!

Party for a cause at these family-friendly holiday fetes featuring live music, dancing and a sweet spread of holiday treats benefiting local nonprofits. AN ENCHANTED WINTER BALL

H I LT O N D A L L A S / S O U T H L A K E T O W N S Q UA R E December 3 Walk the red carpet and dance the afternoon away with more than 30 princesses, including Cinderella, and more fairy-tale characters at this second annual fundraiser for Sunshine Spaces, which decorates dream rooms for children battling life-threatening illnesses. Tickets from $65. $150 for VIP Royal Package. // 1400 Plaza Place, Southlake; 979/324-9567; sunshinespaces.org

ROCKIN’ IN A WINTER WONDERLAND

AC H C H I L D A N D FA M I LY SE RV IC E S December 9 ACH Child and Family Services, which works to preserve families and find safe and loving homes for abused and neglected children, invites the community and many of its foster families to its first-ever family Christmas festival, featuring a concert by Luke Wade, former contestant on The Voice, plus a children’s train, cookie and hot cocoa station, a petting zoo, ornament making, and Santa. Free admission with donation of an unwrapped toy. // 3712 Wichita St., Fort Worth; 817/335-4673; achservices.org/winter-wonderland

SUGAR RUSH

A S H T O N D E P O T December 17 The Kids Who Care’s kid-friendly gala, benefiting the nonprofit musical theater, features lunch, mimosas for parents and a candy buffet for the kids. Play the Pop Rock Stomp, spend time with Santa and listen to live entertainment from the program participants. Call to reserve your seats. Individual tickets from $75. // 1401 Jones St., Fort Worth; 817/737-5437; kidswhocare.org

LONE STAR CHRISTMAS

G AY L O R D T E X A N RESORT Through January 1 Grant your kids’ Christmas wish with a fun day on the Gaylord’s Texas-sized snow tubing lanes, ice rink, snowball target range and two-story-tall ice slides inside the ICE! exhibit featuring scenes from ’Twas the Night Before Christmas. Prices

vary by activity; open daily through New Year’s Day. ICE! tickets from $21.99 for adults and $12.99 for children. 1501 Gaylord Trail, Grapevine; 817/778-1000 christmasatgaylordtexan.com

PANTHER ISLAND ICE

C OYOT E DR I V E - I N Through January 15 Fort Worth’s only outdoor ice skating rink, powered by a 150-ton chiller, is open every day this season (including on Christmas and New Year’s day) for holiday fun, music and figure skating exhibitions at Panther Island Pavilion. Bring your own ice skates or rent a pair for $12 (children’s sizes available). Free for spectators. Drive-in movie tickets sold separately. 223 NE Fourth St., Fort Worth; 817/698-0700 pantherislandice.com

F O R M O R E F A M I LY- F R I E N D LY F U N T H I S M O N T H , C H E C K O U R O N L I N E C A L E N DA R AT D F W C H I L D.CO M/C A L E N DA R.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF CIRQUE DU SOLEIL; LEGOLAND DISCOVERY CENTER; GAYLORD TEXAN; ISTOCK.COM/NERTHUZ

kid culture / T H E


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POTTERY PAINTING, MOSAICS & CLAY • Birthday parties • After school art classes • Kids night out 405 N. Carroll Ave, Southlake 76092 sunshineglaze.com / 817-424-1417

Kids Love Miss Cookie & April

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fortworthchild / december 2017

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confessions

“My 4-year-old son’s school was closed, so I took him to work with me for a few hours. He was using the potty by himself (he does it at school, and it’s literally next to my desk), and he was taking a long time so I peeked in to find him wiping up the poop he had gotten all over the toilet seat.”

MOMMY FAILS ILLUSTRATION MARY DUNN

—ASHLEY, DALLAS

My 2-year-old dropped a piece of ice in Panera, threw his hands up in the air and yelled ‘Damn it.’” —KIM, ROANOKE

I TOOK MY KIDS TO THE MOVIES AND LET THEM GET CANDY. I WAS DISTRACTED DURING THE PREVIEWS AND DIDN’T REALIZE THAT MY 4-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER ATE AN ENTIRE BAG OF GUMMY BEARS IN 20 MINUTES.” —SALLY, COPPELL

“I burped my 2-month-old daughter sans burp cloth and then discovered her dried spit-up in my hair in the form of a sticky clump of milk knots hours later while trying to run my fingers through my hair at work.” —JESS, DALLAS

Got a parenting fail you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you. Send it to editorial@dfwchild.com.

“Ten minutes before boarding a plane for an international flight, my 3-year-old spilled an entire cup of milk down the front of her. My husband took her into the bathroom, but instead of rinsing her clothes, he put them under the dryer. She stunk of spoiled milk for the entire flight.” —SUSAN, SOUTHLAKE

MY 3-YEAROLD DAUGHTER OFFERED TO DRESS HERSELF SO I LET HER, AND SHE ENDED UP IN A CUTE DRESS. WHEN I PICKED HER UP AFTER SCHOOL, HER TEACHER REMINDED ME TO SEND HER IN UNDERWEAR SINCE SHE HAD BEEN TWIRLING IN HER DRESS ALL OVER THE PLAYGROUND.” —TRACY, FORT WORTH

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december 2017 / fortworthchild


For every stage of life, we’re there for you.

More than 350 locations across North Texas. When you need convenient, quality health care, Texas Health has you covered. From pregnancy to imaging services to family care, we’re the health system more people choose for care in North Texas. We’re here for you, making it easier than ever to get more of the care you need.

TexasHealth.org/350 1-877-THR-WELL

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FortWorthChild December 2017