Houston Family Magazine February 2021 Issue

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February 2021 | Vol. 33 | Issue 2











Let's celebrate those who have blazed the trail for change.

11 VALENTINE’S DAY GIFT GUIDE Show your love with one of these great gifts.

12 SHAPING HAPPINESS FOR LIFE See how warmth and affection can result in life-long positive outcomes for your children.

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Use the affection effect to build a stronger marriage.


Get crafty with the kids by creating this adorable Valentine inspired gumball machine candy dish.


Protect your kids from online & real-world predators.


Here’s what you need to know if your child has had Covid and plays sports.


Move beyond the pandemic and back into some fun summer activities with KidVenture Camp.


Explore the city through food during the month of February during Galveston's Restaurant Week.


Happy Campers enjoying the fun and excitement of camp activities at KidVenture Day Camp

Learn how to brush your teeth the right way.

25 CAMP DIRECTORY Discover Spring & Summer Camps

photo by Relics of Rainbows Photo









It's all about showing the love for the month of February.

12 local Houston businesses with products and services worth your support.

Elizabeth Irvine shares a simple comfort food recipe, Pasta Carbonara.

Check out our favorite products for wellness and relaxation.

Meet Brandi Pearce, author of Mommy's Oven, a children's book about surrogacy.

Meet this month's HFM Kid Ambassador, Annabella Ayala.

Celebrate the month of love with these book picks from Bluewillow bookshop.

Explore all the great things happening in the Greater Houston area in February.

Letter from the editor



Kimberly Davis Guerra kim@houstonfamilymagazine.com

associate editor

Chantal Lemieux chantal@houstonfamilymagazine.com

creative director/ production

Casey Johnson casey@houstonfamilymagazine.com

Loving our partners, our kids, ourselves. Loving our community and our neighbors and our world. Since the clock struck midnight on December 31st, everyone has been looking for a re-set. A new start. A way to put the devastation of 2020 behind us. Unfortunately, that takes work.

contributing authors Kimberly Blaker Michael H. Davidson Christa Melnyk Hines Elizabeth Irvine Dr. Christina Johns Casey Johnson Valerie Koehler Chantal Lemieux Mike McDonell Sandi Schwartz

contributing photographers

Casey Ayala Portraiture Jennna Duncan Photography MISO Fotography Priddy Little Picture Photography Relics of Rainbows Photo

advertising sales Beverly Davis Tish Petty


ABOVE// Some Valentine Kisses from Bodhi

THE BIG TO DO Did you know our online calender is packed with even more great family friendly events? Check it out at houstonfamilymagazine.com. FIND US ON FACEBOOK @houstonfamilymagazine FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM @houstonfamilymagazine

Publication Printers Denver, Colorado

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14123 Bluebird Lane Houston, TX 77079 (P) 713.266.1885 (F) 713.266.1915 www.HoustonFamilyMagazine.com

CONTACT US Let us know how we’re doing. kim@houstonfamilymagazine.com

While we all would have loved everything to be back to normal, it’s not. Not yet. It’s going to take effort. However, a lot of the efforts are going to be quite fun. For instance, spending more time with our kids. Spending quality time with our partners or spouse. Spending time taking care of ourselves. This are areas that, as busy individuals, we may tend to overlook. With that in mind, this month’s articles are all designed to educate and empower. “Kids need Camp”, can it be any more obvious? Our kids are starving for normalcy, friendship, activity outdoors. These basic qualities of childhood have been missing for far too long. We encourage you to read Mike McDonnell’s article. Showing affection to our partners and our kids. The effect it has on them and on us, is not always obvious. Take a few minutes to read and check in with yourself to see where you are with your actions. Can you do better? Can you do better with yourself? Be kind and be honest. Just being aware of your tendencies is the first step in real change. Loving our community and fellow man is increasingly more important in this day and age. This month we celebrate Black History month. How much do you know about this celebration? Read Kimberly Blaker’s article to educate you & your family on why it’s important to celebrate. Whatever way you decide to show or share the love this month, we hope that it brings you joy. We appreciate our readers, our clients, out staff and community. Thank you for all of your support!

Houston Family is published monthly by Houston Family Magazine, LLC. Houston Family is distributed free of charge, one copy per reader. Only Houston Family authorized distributors may deliver or pick up the magazines. We reserve the right to edit, reject or comment editorially on all submitted material. We cannot be responsible for the return of any submitted material. Houston Family is ©2020 by Houston Family Magazine,LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without express permission is prohibited. 4 | HOUSTON FAMILY MAGAZINE February 2021

Yorkshire Academy


Boys & Girls Club of Houston BGCLUBS-HOUSTON.ORG

Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming WOOFGANGBAKERY.COM


Get Out And Support Our Community! OVME

Whether it’s a new pet bakery, non-profit or camp, we are all about showing the love to these local businesses.


Miso Fotography MISOFOTO.COM

While some are new to the market, others have been around a while, and all of them could use our support. Look for their stories online throughout the month of February on our website, ENews and social media platforms. Do your best to support when & where you can.

Real Eyes Skincare


Literacy Now


HAVE SOMEONE YOU WANT TO BE FEATURED? Send their information to kim@houstonfamilymagazine.com.



Little Beakers

D-Bat West Houston




Paisley House Design Interiors PAISLEY-HOUSE.COM

Relics of Rainbows Photo RORPHOTO.COM


OUR CONGENITAL HEART SURGERY OUTCOMES ARE AMONG THE TOP IN NORTH AMERICA When your child suffers from a heart condition, your family does, too. At Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, in partnership with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, we provide specialized care personalized to help your child live a healthy life. Because when it comes to you and your child’s health, there is nothing more important to us. And with Safe Wait™ enhanced safety measures at all of our facilities, you can get the care your child needs with peace of mind. LOCATED IN THE TEXAS MEDICAL CENTER 6 | HOUSTON FAMILY MAGAZINE February 2021



FAITH, HOPE AND A NONTRADITIONAL APPROACH SAVE NEWBORN’S LIFE Kemberlee Burgert recalls the moment she knew. On November 23, 2019, she and her husband, Jeff, traveled to a community hospital in Tomball, Texas, for a planned delivery. Her doctor was inducing labor. Her baby was getting too large. It was time. While her pregnancy had gone smoothly, her delivery was challenging. “The doctors began inducing labor that evening, and by the next morning, I was in fullblown labor but had not even begun to dilate. When the baby’s vitals started moving out of the normal range, doctors performed an emergency C-section. And right away, I could tell from everyone’s face that something was wrong,” she says, her voice quivering. “Then they pulled the baby out, and he was blue.”

Diagnosed with a Rare Heart Defect

Pediatric cardiologist Arpan Doshi, MD, affiliated with Memorial Hermann, reviewed the baby’s test results and diagnosed the baby with Ebstein anomaly, a rare congenital heart defect in which the tricuspid valve, the valve between the upper right chamber (right atrium) and the lower right chamber (right ventricle), isn’t formed properly, allowing blood to leak back into the right atrium. The most severe cases can result in heart failure, or even death. Often the cause is unknown.

Flown to Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital

Walter was flown via Memorial Hermann Life Flight® to Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in the

Texas Medical Center, where he was placed in the hospital’s Level IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). There he was cared for by a team of pediatric heart specialists, led by pediatric cardiac surgeon Jorge Salazar, MD, professor and chief of pediatric and congenital heart surgery at McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and co-director of the Children’s Heart Institute at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. Having just given birth, Kemberlee had to stay behind. Jeff went to Kemberlee’s mother’s home to explain to their two daughters, Auden, 11, and Klara, 4, that their baby brother wouldn’t be coming home for Thanksgiving after all, then headed to Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.

Born with Half a Heart

For the next few days, Walter clung to life, experiencing bouts of arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat. As Dr. Salazar explains, “The arrhythmia was a symptom of Walter’s underlying condition. Babies with Ebstein anomaly are essentially born with half a functioning heart. We knew if we didn’t correct the fundamental problem, his heart would likely fail.” Fortunately, the heart specialists at the Institute are experienced in treating even the most complex and severe heart conditions. “The traditional approach has been to accept that these kids have to live with half a heart,” says Dr. Salazar. “But the long-term consequences of that are quite significant in terms of quality and length of life. One of the purposes of

For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit childrens.memorialhermann.org/heart or call 713.222.2273.

Advancing health. Personalizing care. 7 | HOUSTON FAMILY MAGAZINE February 2021

our program is to get the message out worldwide that there is an alternative—that whenever possible, we should give these kids a normal heart and avoid the single-ventricle or half-the-heart pathway.”

A Whole Heart

On December 9, 2019, Dr. Salazar and his team performed surgery on Walter’s heart, repairing the valve and removing a portion of the right atrium, which he says was abnormally large and dilated, alleviating the arrhythmia. The procedure was a success, and Walter’s prognosis is excellent. By not settling for a suboptimal outcome, Dr. Salazar’s team was able to give Walter a wholly functioning heart and the chance to live a long, full life. “Walter is an example of the team believing, having faith and looking for the solution as opposed to accepting defeat,” says Dr. Salazar. “And that team includes Walter’s family, who wanted what was best for their child. We all wanted the same thing—to give Walter the best life possible.”

‘In the Very Best Care’

The Burgerts recently celebrated Walter’s first birthday. “He’s the happiest kid I have ever seen,” says Kemberlee. “He is always smiling and laughing. He is truly a joy in every way. We are so tremendously thankful, humbled and blessed. Walter ended up exactly where he needed to be, in the very best care.” “The key is to believe in possibilities,” says Dr. Salazar. “Because if you don’t believe in possibility, then you’re never going to see it.”

family life | F E AT U R E




So let’s celebrate Black History Month by first acknowledging our history that contributed to the persistent prejudice and injustice. Then let’s celebrate African-Americans, both young and old, who fought for freedom and civil rights.

A BRIEF HISTORY For nearly 250 years, America held black men, women, and children as slaves. They were considered ‘property’ and worked as servants and on plantations, not by choice, and for little compensation.

ABOLITION The legalized slave trade ended in 1808. But slaves continued to be smuggled into the United States, and the millions already held in servitude found no relief. By a half-century later, most Northerners opposed the institution of slavery. But Southerners still relied on slaves to work their plantations. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln, who opposed expanding slavery, was elected president despite opposition from the South. This resulted in several southern states’ withdrawal from the union and their formation of the Confederate States of America. On April 12, 1861, the Civil War began. It was the beginning of the end of slavery. Although the war had many causes, in September 1862, Lincoln warned the Confederate states that all slaves would be declared free if the Confederates failed to return to the Union by January 1, 1863.

When the date came, the Confederate States had not returned to the union. So Lincoln immediately issued his Emancipation Proclamation. It declared all slaves held by the Confederates “shall be forever free of their servitude, and not again held as slaves.” Slaveholders released few slaves immediately. But two years later, the South surrendered, and the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified, abolishing slavery. All slaves were finally set free.

SLOW CHANGE Many whites were displeased with the end of slavery. Some even believed whites were God’s chosen people. Therefore in 1867, a group was formed to keep blacks ‘in their place.’ The group was the Ku Klux Klan. Its purpose was to intimidate black Americans. In 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified, giving U.S. citizenship to blacks and guaranteeing equal protection under the law. Then in 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment gave them the right to vote. President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Civil Rights Act in 1875, guaranteeing AfricanAmericans equal rights in public accommodations and jury duty. But the progress was short-lived. In 1883, the Supreme Court ruled the Act unconstitutional. Over the following decades, the change took a gradual pace. Conservative Southern leaders sought ways to deprive African-Americans. They created laws to keep them from voting and that legalized segregation. The Ku Klux

Klan took matters into its own hands. From 1889 to 1918, the Klan captured and hung 3,224 men, women, and children, mostly black.

ORGANIZING THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT In 1905, W.E.B. Du Bois wrote: “We claim for ourselves every single right that belongs to a freeborn American—political, civil, social; and until we get these rights we will never cease to protest and assail the ears of America. The battle we wage is not for ourselves but for all true Americans.” Out of his letter came a civil rights organization called the Niagara Movement. It lasted only five years. But it led to the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1910. Around the mid-1900s, the pace of the civil rights movement took off. In 1948, President Harry Truman created a Civil Rights Commission. He called for an end to school segregation and proclaimed a fair employment policy for federal workers. Over the next few years, state Supreme Courts heard school segregation cases. Not all were successful. But on May 17, 1954, the United States Supreme Court made a ruling. In Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the Court ruled school segregation is unconstitutional. The next decade was turbulent. Many whites refused to accept that black and white children would attend school together. There were bus


boycotts and other peaceful demonstrations by blacks and civil rights activists. There were also acts of violence by whites that favored segregation. Then, in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a new Civil Rights Act. It outlawed discrimination in voting and public accommodations. It also required fair employment practices. In 1965, the Voting Rights Act was passed. It barred the use of literacy and other tests as a requirement to vote. Over the last half-century, African-Americans have seen continued change and progress in the United States. Still, despite laws to protect their rights, prejudice and discrimination against them endure.

AFRICANAMERICANS WHO TOOK A STAND It takes dedicated leaders to achieve the kind of change we’ve seen over the last two hundred years. The following celebrated men and women challenged the system and led the way to reform. Sojourner Truth (1797?-1883) escaped slavery and became a traveling preacher. She was a talented orator and, in 1843, became the first black woman to speak out against slavery. Later, Truth strove to improve the conditions for black people who settled in Washington, D.C. Nat Turner (1800-31) led a massive slave revolt in Virginia in 1831. It was known as the “Southampton Insurrection.”

Nearly sixty white people were killed. Turner and many of his followers were later captured and hanged. Nonetheless, he became a symbol for abolition. Harriet Tubman (18201913) escaped slavery in 1849. She helped free more than 300 slaves through the Underground Railroad and served as a spy and a nurse during the Civil War. Later she helped raise funds for African-American schools and advocated for women’s rights. Booker T. Washington (18561915) headed and expanded the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, a college for black students. He believed that black economic independence was necessary to gain social equality. His autobiography Up from Slavery got published in 1901. W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963) founded the NAACP. His goals included ending segregation and the widespread lynching that was taking place in the United States. Du Bois also visualized world change. He was the author of many works, including Black Reconstruction (1935). In 1961, he moved to Ghana and joined the Communist Party after becoming alienated from the United States. He later died “in self-imposed exile.” Thurgood Marshall (1908-93) was the first black United States Supreme Court judge. Before taking the seat, he served as director of the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund. Marshall appeared before the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education 1954 and other monumental civil rights cases.

James Leonard Farmer (192099) founded the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in 1942. He and his organization favored nonviolent protests. Rosa Lee Parks (1913-2005) got arrested in 1955 after refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man. This led to the Montgomery bus boycott, which facilitated the national civil rights movement. In 1979, she won the Spingarn Medal for her courageous contribution. Malcolm X (1925-65) became a Black Muslim minister after he converted to Islam. He became an influential leader. In 1964, he broke away from the movement to form the Organization of Afro-American Unity. He was assassinated in 1965, presumably by Black Muslims. Martin Luther King Jr. (192968) is one of America’s most noted civil rights leaders. His leadership included organizing the 1955 bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. Over the years, he was arrested 30 times for his peaceful civil rights activities. King’s extraordinary leadership led to the Civil Rights Act of 1965. In 1968, he was assassinated. Andrew Young (1932- ) assisted in drafting the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He also served as the first AfricanAmerican U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

YOUNG ADVOCATES OF CIVIL RIGHTS Belinda Rochelle explains in her book, Witnesses to Freedom: Young People Who Fought for Civil Rights that kids also made

valuable contributions. On April 23, 1951, high school student Barbara Johns led a boycott at R.R. Morton High School over the black school’s poor conditions. The Morton students rode an unheated school bus to school. They also had to wear heavy winter coats to classes to keep warm. The school’s textbooks and classrooms were also in poor condition. A month following the boycott, a lawsuit was filed against the school district. Another high school student, Harvey Gantt, was a senior when he organized a sitin demonstration. He and other black students walked into a segregated diner to be served. Instead, they were immediately taken to jail. Gantt became the first black student to enroll in the segregated Clemson University of South Carolina. Sheyann Webb was only eight when she became involved in the movement. On March 7, 1965, the courageous little girl participated in what became known as Bloody Sunday. In this demonstration, 600 people began a 54mile march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. It was in response to the death of a black man killed in a fight with the police. On Bloody Sunday, officers attacked innocent marchers, including children, during the demonstration. Many were beaten and injured. Sheyann escaped the worst of the day, suffering only from the tear gas she encountered. As an adult, she’s traveled the country advocating for

education and discussing the civil rights movement. While each of these men, women, and children played a crucial role in the movement, they couldn’t have done it alone. Millions of Americans throughout history have taken part in the cause. Their cumulative efforts have made an impact—just as the collective contributions of people today can bring change for tomorrow. Kimberly Blaker is a freelance writer. She’s also founder and director of KB Creative Digital Services, an internet marketing agency, at kbcreativedigital. com Sources: Milestones in Black American History: Forever Free BY Christopher E. Henry Witnesses to Freedom: Young People Who Fought for Civil Rights by Belinda Rochelle Profiles: Black Civil Rights Champions by Kimberly Hayes Taylor An Eyewitness History: The Civil Rights Movement by Sanford Wexler The New Webster’s International Encyclopedia revised edition Atlanta, Georgia, 1960-1961: Sit-ins and Student Activism by David J. Garrow Beneath the image of the Civil Rights Movement and race relations : Atlanta, Georgia, 1946-1981 / David Andrew Harmon



VALENTINE’S DAY GIFT GUIDE show your love with one of these great gifts UNWILTED


Scrupulously handcrafted, paper flower arrangements that are always stunning and always in season.

Plan your every day, YOUR way. The planners from Plum Paper are entirely customizable.





This sweet gift collection brings together two hoppy favorites both made with local Shovel Town Brewery’s Double IPA beer.

Sold exclusively on Amazon, PLUMS has matching mens and womens prints so you can match with your signifiiant other. www.amazon.com




BROKEN TOP CANDLE CO. The Botanical Soy Candle Collection by Broken Top Candle Company is inspired by tradition, celebrating classic elements with an urbanapothecary feel. www.brokentopcandleco.com

A mystery scratch-off book with 50 creative adventures...The catch? You don’t know what you’re doing until you scratch it off!

Brite Lite creates custom neon signs adding a pop of color and inspiration to your space. Best of all, you get to choose every detail of its personalized design.



ACOUPLEPUNS Snarky meets sweet when it comes to this line of uber Instagrammable (yeah, that’s a word) hand illustrated cards, stickers, wine tags and more. www.acouplepuns.com 11 | HOUSTON FAMILY MAGAZINE February 2021

family life | F E AT U R E

XOXO How a Parent’s Affection Shapes a Child’s Happiness for Life written by Sandi Schwartz | photo by MISO Fotography 12 | HOUSTON FAMILY MAGAZINE February 2021

We all live busy, stressful lives and have endless concerns as parents, but it is clear that one of the most important things we need to do is to stop and give our kids a big loving squeeze. Research over the past decade highlights the link between affection in childhood and health and happiness in the future. According to Child Trends – the leading nonprofit research organization in the United States focused on improving the lives and prospects of children, youth, and their families – science supports the idea that warmth and affection expressed by parents to their children results in life-long positive outcomes for those children. Higher self-esteem, improved academic performance, better parent-child communication, and fewer psychological and behavior problems have been linked to this type of affection. On the other hand, children who do not have affectionate parents tend to have lower self-esteem and to feel more alienated, hostile, aggressive, and anti-social.

WHAT THE SCIENCE SAYS There have been a number of recent studies that highlight the relationship between parental affection and children’s happiness and success. In 2010, researchers at Duke University Medical School found that babies with

very affectionate and attentive mothers grow up to be happier, more resilient, and less anxious adults. Five hundred people were followed from when they were infants until they were in their 30s. When the babies were eight months old, psychologists observed their mothers’ interactions with them as they took several developmental tests. Then 30 years later, those same individuals were interviewed about their emotional health.

The adults whose mothers showed “extravagant” or “caressing” affection were much less likely than the others to feel stressed and anxious. They were also less likely to report hostility, distressing social interactions, and psychosomatic symptoms. Researchers concluded that the hormone oxytocin may be responsible for this effect, as it is released when a person feels emotions related to love and connection. Next, a 2013 study from UCLA found that unconditional love and affection from a parent can make children emotionally happier and less anxious. This happens because their brain actually changes as a result of the affection. On the other hand, the negative impact of childhood abuse and lack of affection impacts children both mentally and physically. This can lead to all kinds of health and emotional problems throughout their lives. What’s really fascinating is that scientists think parental affection can actually protect individuals against the harmful effects of childhood stress. Then in 2015, a study out of the University of Notre Dame showed that children who receive affection from their parents were happier as adults. More than 600 adults were surveyed about how they were raised, including how much physical affection they had. The adults who reported receiving more affection in childhood displayed less depression and anxiety and were more compassionate overall. Those who reported less affection struggled with mental health,

tended to be more upset in social situations, and were less able to relate to other people’s perspectives. Researchers have also studied the benefits of skin-toskin contact for infants. This special interaction between mother and baby, in particular, helps calm babies so they cry less and sleep more. It has also been shown to boost brain development. According to an article in Scientific American, children who lived in a deprived environment like an orphanage had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than those who lived with their parents. Scientists believe that the lack of physical contact in the orphanages is a major factor in these physical changes. Finally, numerous studies on the effects of massage show the positive benefits it offers to reduce anxiety in children. Massage is also a good way for parents to connect to their children, both physically and emotionally. Starting in infancy, a parent can begin to massage their child, which can create a strong bond. Studies have shown children and adults who receive massage experience less anxiety during academic stress, hospital stays, and other stressful events.

SO, HOW CAN YOU BRING MORE HUGS INTO YOUR FAMILY’S DAY? From the moment you bring your baby home from the hospital, be sure to hold, touch, and rock them in your arms.


Spend many precious moments caressing your baby so that their skin can touch your skin. As they get older, be playful by doing fun activities like dancing together or creating silly games like pretending to be a hugging or kissing monster. Set a reminder to make sure hugging is part of your daily routine. In the adorable Trolls movie, the Trolls wore watches with alarm clocks that would go off every hour for hug time. If that’s what it takes, then set yourself an alarm. Or make sure to give your kids a hug during certain times of the day, such as before they leave for school, when they get home from school, and before bedtime. Another interesting idea is to use affection while disciplining your child. As you talk to them about what they did wrong, put your hand on their shoulder and give them a hug at the end of the conversation to ensure them that, even if you are not pleased with their behavior, you still love them. If your children hit their sister or brother, hug them and explain how hugging feels better than hitting. Finally, be careful not to go overboard and smother your kids. Respect their individual comfort level, and be aware that this will change as they go through different stages. Sandi Schwartz is a freelance writer/blogger and mother of two. She has written extensively about parenting, wellness, and environmental issues. You can find her at www. happysciencemom.com.

family life | E D I T O R I A L

Photographer: MISO Fotography https://misofoto.com Instagram @misofoto Sugar Land, Texas 14 | HOUSTON FAMILY MAGAZINE February 2021

Show Your Love!

The Affection Effect in Marriage written by Christa Melnyk Hines

“They must still be dating,” my friend whispers to me. As we stand shivering at my son’s soccer game, my brotherin-law and his fiancee cuddle together sharing a warm blanket and a chair. “No married couple would be that affectionate toward each other,” she says. Her assessment seems a bit pessimistic to this romantic. Must the spontaneity and sweetness of courtship die as we move out of the “shout from the roof-tops” kind of young love into the demands of young parenthood? Growing complacent about displaying affection isn’t unusual as a marriage is peppered with children, crises, celebrations and day-to-day routine. Nonetheless, simple expressions of love like handholding, hugs and kisses, and compliments are an important component to the health of a marriage and the family unit. “Without intimacy, people can and often do begin to feel isolated, alone, bitter, depressed, used and simply uncared for,” says Amanda Deverich, a licensed marriage and family therapist. “All the happiness that was amplified by the physicality in the early part of the marriage is no longer there to grease the wheels of family life. What remains is grinding drudgery, financial stress and short tempers.”

AFFECTION IN THE MIDST PARENTHOOD. Many parents find that affection for each other can get lost in the mind-numbing whirlwind of sleepless nights and the general challenges of new parenthood. “This is a natural phenomenon in the family life cycle as parents devote their energies to the newborn,” Deverich says. After the initial adjustment period, nurture your relationship to avoid resentment and a sense of neglect. Such feelings can quietly chip away at the positive family dynamic that your kids rely on to feel safe and secure.

WHY AFFECTION IS HEALTHY. “Couples believe affection is simply an inspired by-product of a feeling,” Deverich says. “However, it can be the other way around. Love, connectedness, and caring can be sparked by physical touch.” While excessive public displays of intimacy can cause discomfort for those around you––including your kids–– showing warmth toward one another gives children a sense of well-being, that all is well in their family unit. “When children see this model behavior where affection

is easily expressed, that is a skill set that can translate into other arenas of their life,” says psychiatrist Dr. Bela Sood. “They learn how to be kind, gentle, as well as, be happy with other people as they watch their own parents.”

WHEN AFFECTION DOESN’T COME NATURALLY. Not everyone was raised in affectionate homes and others simply aren’t wired to display warmth toward others, including the ones they love the most. “Understand the uniqueness and differences in the other person without being judgmental about that,” Sood says. But that doesn’t mean you can’t work on meeting your spouse’s needs for affection. Recall what attracted the two of you in the first place. Physical touch and tenderness toward each other can reaffirm your love and create instant connectedness. “We forget that we have control over many things that go on in our lives if we are willing to make that sacrifice,” Sood says. “And why are we willing to make that sacrifice? Because we love that person.” Christa Melnyk Hines, a nationally published freelance writer, and her husband of 23 years are the parents of two boys.


17 Simple Ways to Rekindle that Lovin’ Feelin’ • Hold hands

• Hug and kiss • Look each other in the eyes • Get involved in a hobby together • Listen when your spouse talks about his or her interests • Flirt with each other • Laugh together • Pen a love note and leave it on your spouse’s pillow • Send a flirty text message • Email a link to a sweet love song to your mate • Give your spouse a back rub • Offer a sincere compliment • Help each other around the house and with the kids • Call each other during the day just to check in • Court each other • Tell your kids what you love about your spouse • Say “I love you”

family craft | E D I T O R I A L If you’re looking for a simple and fun activity to make with the kids or to give as a gift, these little Valentine Gumball Machine Candy Jars are perfect and affordable at just under $8 each.

Valentine Gumball Machine Candy Jar

SUPPLIES • Clay Flower Pot • Flower Pot Bottom • Wooden Craft Ball • Glass Bowl • Industrial Stregnth Glue • Acrylic Paint Optional: Get creative- use stickers, glitter or ribbon to get the perfect look for your gumball machine. GET CRAFTY Paint and decorate the flower pot, stand and wooden ball any color(s) you want. Let it dry! Using your industrial glue (I used clear Gorilla glue) go ahead and glue your wooden ball to the center of the lid. Set aside to let it dry. Next, glue your bowl to the bottom of your newly decorated flower pot and let dry for 2-24 hours. Once your glue has cured, fill with the candy of your choice. Happy Valentine’s Day! 16 | HOUSTON FAMILY MAGAZINE February 2021

family life | F E AT U R E



According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, in 2019 alone, there were more than 1,300 attempted child abductions by strangers. Equally troubling, there were 16.9 million reports that year to the CyberTipline relating to child sexual abuse images, online enticement of kids, child sex trafficking, and child sexual molestation. But strangers aren’t the only culprits of these crimes. Tragically, kids are at higher risk of abduction or sexual molestation by acquaintances, family, and friends. According to the FBI, only 24% of actual kidnappings are by strangers, while nearly half are by family members. The balance, 27%, is by acquaintances of the victims. These latter two statistics add to the difficulty in teaching kids how to be safe.

Teenagers are at the highest risk of being murdered by a stranger. Finkelhor and Ormrod, in their Juvenile Justice Report, point out that only 3% of murdered children under 12 are victims of strangers. In contrast, 87% of teen murder victims are killed by strangers. Most kids who are sexually assaulted, however, are neither abducted nor murdered. In fact, one in ten kids will be


sexually abused before the age of 18, according to the organization, Darkness to Light. Stranger and acquaintance dangers come in many forms, and different concerns are more prevalent at each stage of development. So recognizing where these dangers lurk and how child predators operate is crucial to keeping kids safe. Second is making kids

Many predators look specifically for shy kids and those who lack self-esteem because they lack the assertiveness to speak up for themselves. understand these dangers and how to protect themselves if they’re ever confronted.

EASY PREY Sex offenders are good con artists. They often groom kids and even the adults around children. These predators “gradually and methodically build trust,” explains childmolestationvictims.com Shy kids are at higher risk for abduction and for sexual assault. Many predators look specifically for shy kids and those who lack selfesteem because they lack the assertiveness to speak up for themselves. If you have a shy child or one with low self-esteem, pick up some books on helping your child to overcome shyness and improve their self-esteem.

YOUNG CHILDREN During the infant and early years, children can be kidnapped quickly with no need for coaxing. Leaving a small child unattended in a stroller or locked car for just moments is long enough for an abduction to occur. When shopping, keep your child in sight at all times. For challenging outings, leave your child with a sitter, or use a child safety harness with toddlers. This gadget prevents small children from wandering off and reduces potential danger should parents become distracted. As soon as your child is old enough to understand, read stories, and discuss stranger and acquaintance dangers to reduce your child’s risk. Whether at home or away, young children should

be supervised when they play outdoors. As they grow, keep close tabs on their whereabouts. Never allow them to play unattended in parks, wooded lots, or secluded areas.

AS YOUR CHILD GROWS Pedophiles and other sexual predators come from all walks of life. Although kids of all ages are victims of child sexual abuse, most pedophiles prefer children nearing puberty. According to Child Lures, a child-abuse prevention program, pedophiles “prey on a child’s sexual ignorance and curiosity.” Sexual abuse is most often committed by males, though not exclusively, and of all social and economic backgrounds. Pedophiles often look for access to kids by taking a job working with or near them, chaperoning or leading activities and clubs, and coaching sports programs. Predators also befriend adults to gain access to a child. While not all men who take an interest in or get involved with kids through these means are predators, parents should nonetheless remain alert to the possibility. Teach your child what areas of the body are off-limits to others and how to say ‘no’ to someone who touches them in an uncomfortable way. Also, make sure your child understands that if something does happen, your child isn’t to blame and should tell an adult. There are several changes in your child’s behavior that might indicate something has gone wrong, according to

the North American Missing Children’s Association. These include withdrawal, unusual anger, acting out, fear of being alone or with a particular person, or decreased interest in activities, especially those in which the molester is involved. If you notice unexplained changes in your child’s behavior, talk with your child to determine the problem, or seek professional help.

PRE-TEENS AND ADOLESCENTS It might seem stranger dangers should lessen as kids grow. Instead, it is compounded as strangers and acquaintances prey on older kids by different, more stealthy, and accessible means. Approximately one in five kids is solicited by an online predator according to the latest Youth Internet Safety Survey by the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center. To keep your kids safe on the Internet, purchase internet filtering software. Although filters are imperfect and don’t screen every inappropriate site, they can significantly reduce access to dangerous sites. There are also many phone and computer apps to help you monitor your child’s internet activity and their physical whereabouts. Also, insist your kids only use chat rooms designed for their age group. This reduces their risk of involvement in adult discussions. Then, know which ones their using. Many kids’ chat sites are moderated to ensure no inappropriate or potentially dangerous discussion takes place. Be aware, though, that predators


often lurk even on kids’ social media platforms and through gaming sites and systems. Some child predators are known to pose as children to befriend kids. Most, however, know their adult age can be part of the attraction, particularly for teens. So make sure your kids understand the importance of never giving out their name, address, phone number, or other personal or family information to strangers on the Internet. Teach your kids no matter how well they think they know an online acquaintance or how old the stranger claims to be, there’s no certainty the person is who he claims to be or what his intent. They should never meet someone they’ve met online without parent approval. Finally, keep a close eye on your kids when they use the Internet. Monitor the situation if an abundance of time is being spent on the Internet or gaming systems.

PEER DANGERS Teens’ growing independence also makes them vulnerable to rape, which is committed by adult predators and peers alike. When alcohol and drugs become part of an adolescent’s social habits, the potential increases. Teach your teen about the risk and how to be safe. Discuss date rape drugs and the risks they pose. Always know the details of your teen’s whereabouts. Also, enroll your daughter in a self-defense workshop, so she knows how to defend herself.

MORE TIPS TO KEEP YOUR KIDS SAFE Getting across to kids the dangers that strangers and even acquaintances can present requires talking to your kids at their level. It’s also essential kids know realistic ways to protect themselves. The following suggestions could help your child avert or escape a dangerous or threatening situation. Your kids, even adolescents, should always tell you where they’re going (the exact address), who they’ll be with (first and last names), and for how long. If the time to return is undetermined, give your child a check-in time. Your child should always walk with others, never alone, at night in particular. Try not to scare your child, but offer real-life incidents your child can relate to. If you or someone you know has been victimized, cautiously share this information with your child. Just do it in an age-appropriate manner they can comprehend and handle it emotionally. Children, and even adults, tend to live in the moment and believe, “It can’t happen to

me.” Sharing a real event that’s happened to someone you or your child knows can help bring home the reality it can happen to anyone. Teach your kids to say “no” to adults they don’t know, and even to adults they do know if something doesn’t seem right. Always keep doors locked, even when an adult is at home. Teach this by example. Never open the door to a stranger regardless of their appearance. If your child is home alone, your child shouldn’t even open the door for acquaintances unless parents have approved that particular person on that specific occasion. Create a secret family password that only specific family members and friends would be given to pick up your child. If your child is approached and the password is not immediately relayed, your child should run away. This is true even if approached by a police officer. If your child’s on a bike and someone tries to grab him, he should wrap his full body (arms and legs) around the frame of his bike. Because the bike moves with the child, it makes it difficult for a fast getaway by the abductor.

consider Enrolling your child in a self-defense workshop. Kids should understand that if they’re being chased or they’re captured, they should defend themselves. Your child should scream loudly and continuously and attempt to run away. Finally, when it comes to abduction, an ex-spouse, estranged grandparents, or other family member is even more likely to be a perpetrator. More than 200,000 children are abducted by family members each year. If you suspect the possibility of this occurring, take every precaution while abiding by child visitation requirements. If you have a serious concern, seek legal advice on how to protect your child when a court order requires you to allow unsupervised visitation with the potential perpetrator.

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CHILD IS MISSING: Be prepared in the unlikely


event your child disappears. Keep an updated record that includes your child’s hair and eye color, height, weight, blood type, phone numbers and addresses of friends, and a recent photo. Be sure to include several strands of your child’s hair with the roots and follicles attached for a DNA sample. Also, create an impression of your child’s teeth in a piece of sterilized Styrofoam. According to federal law, a waiting period cannot be required for reporting missing children. If your child comes up missing, contact your local police department. Make every effort to search for your child while using caution not to disrupt evidence. Kimberly Blaker is a freelance parenting writer. She’s also founder and director of KB Creative Digital Services, an internet marketing agency, at kbcreativedigital.com

family health | F E AT U R E

HFM Kid Ambassador Jacob Ryoo

With 35 to 45 million kids ages 6 to 18 playing sports in the United States every year, kids who have contracted COVID-19 need specific consideration with regard to their heart prior to restarting their activities.

Photographer: MISO Fotography https://misofoto.com Instagram @misofoto Sugar Land, Texas 20 | HOUSTON FAMILY MAGAZINE February 2021

Heart Health Month

Covid-19 & Sports

Has your child had Covid? Here’s what you need to know before starting sports.

written by Dr. Christina Johns, Pediatric Emergency Physician

With 35 to 45 million kids ages 6 to 18 playing sports in the United States every year, kids who have contracted COVID-19 need specific consideration with regard to their heart prior to restarting their activities.

need ample time to recover before stressing their heart when playing sports. For moderate infection (more than 4 days of fever greater than 100.4°F, myalgia, chills, or lethargy or those who had a non-ICU hospital stay and no evidence of MIS-C), a screening ECG and possibly other tests may be required prior to return to play, and those with severe infection may need to wait 3-6 months and have clearance by a pediatric cardiologist before returning.

COVID-19 can cause heart damage and myocarditis in some children, which can be a cause of sudden death during exercise. With many kids exhibiting fewer, milder or even no symptoms even after being exposed to COVID-19, parents need to make sure to talk with a doctor before they let their kids rush onto the field. Three questions doctors and parents need to ask are:


HOW RECENT WAS YOUR CHILD’S COVID-19 INFECTION? Kids should be given a minimum of 10 days to recuperate and get their bodies capable of strenuous exercise. A gradual return to play program is recommended.

HOW SEVERE WAS THE INFECTION? Similar to how recent; kids

Every sport comes with its own level of intensity. Check with your doctor to see if they think your child is ready for the sport they want to play. Additionally, heart attacks in children are rare and most commonly the cause of chest pain in children is unrelated to the heart muscle itself. Some examples include: Medicine – Albuterol, most common medicine for wheezing given to children via inhaler or nebulizer, can cause your child’s heart to race. Costochondritis (kos-tuh-konDRY-tis) – This is chest wall pain. Often a result of strenuous activity (like weightlifting or gymnastics), this can also happen when children have

an upper respiratory infection with frequent coughing. The pain is due to inflammation of the cartilage that attaches your sternum to your rib cage. Pain can typically be reproduced with pressing on the inflamed area and it generally goes away within a few days. Usually not a cause for concern, heat packs and ibuprofen can be given for pain relief if necessary. Acid Reflux/Gas – Children are notorious for having trouble pinpointing pain so “chest pain” can actually be heartburn or gas pains. After visiting a doctor, acid reflux and gas can be resolved with antacids and changes to diet. If a child passes out during exercise, all physical activity must stop immediately, and the child needs to be evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible. This may just mean getting an ECG, a chest x-ray and/or a physical exam, so even if your child says they feel fine after a few minutes of rest, do not allow any physical activity until a physician has evaluated them for potential heart conditions.

Covid-19 in kids & teens While fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults, children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, can get sick from COVID-19, and can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 to others. Children, like adults, who have COVID-19 but have no symptoms (“asymptomatic”) can still spread the virus to others. Most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or have no symptoms at all. However, some children can get severely ill from COVID-19. They might require hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe. In rare cases, they might die. Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in adults and children and can look like symptoms of other common illnesses such as colds, strep throat, or allergies. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 in children are fever and cough, but children may have any of these signs or symptoms of COVID-19: • Fever or chills • Cough • Nasal congestion or runny nose • New loss of taste or smell • Sore throat • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing • Diarrhea • Nausea or vomiting • Stomachache

Dr. Christina Johns is Sr. Medical Advisor for PM Pediatrics and a practicing pediatric emergency physician. Follow her at @drcjohns on twitter, @ deardrchristina on Instagram, and Dr. Christina Johns on Facebook.


• Tiredness • Headache • Muscle or body aches • Poor appetite or poor feeding, especially in babies under 1 year old Visit www.cdc.gov for more information.

family wellness | F E AT U R E

KIDS NEED CAMP more than ever

written by Mike McDonell of KidVenture | Photos by Relics of Rainbows Photo

Undoubtedly, the pandemic has altered our lives like no other event in recent history. Its impact on the health and well-being of people near and far is well documented. The strain on our economy, and the pressures it has placed on communities and families cannot be underestimated. Yet for many, the mental health of our children often gets overshadowed in the midst of everything else. Right now, that mental health of our kids is of paramount importance and one we at Kidventure refuse to ignore and one we plan to help cure in our 26th season of camp.

Photographer: Nicole Oman | Relics of Rainbows Photo https://rorphoto.com Facebook @relicsofrainbows 22 | HOUSTON FAMILY MAGAZINE February 2021


ndoubtedly, the pandemic has altered our lives like no other event in recent history. Its impact on the health and well-being of people near and far is well documented. The strain on our economy, and the pressures it has placed on communities and families cannot be underestimated. Yet for many, the mental health of our children often gets overshadowed in the midst of everything else. Right now, that mental health of our kids is of paramount importance and one we at Kidventure refuse to ignore and one we plan to help cure in our 26th season of camp. Prior to this pandemic, our youth were experiencing the highest rates of anxiety and clinical depression ever.

According to the National Institutes of Health, anxiety disorders in adolescents increased 20 percent from 2007 to 2012. Today, 1 in 3 teens will experience an anxiety disorder. The percentage of teens who experienced at least one major depressive episode increased rapidly at about this same time. Today, 1 out of about every 5 girls reports experiencing symptoms. Startlingly, the suicide rate for young people ages 15 to 19 increased by 76 percent from 2007 to 2017 and nearly tripled for adolescents ages 10 to 14. These numbers, in and of themselves, are appalling but throw a global pandemic on top of an already compromised generation of youth and the impact can be devastating. For so many kids, the pandemic has served to further isolate them from friends and peers.

For some, school has provided a limited reconnection to peers and friends. However, school doesn’t provide for the substantive social connections and bonds like camp has done for millions of kids. Peter Scales, Ph.D., and noted author/educator, and Senior Fellow, The Search Institute wrote, “The biggest plus of camp is that camps help young people discover and explore their talents, interests, and values. Most schools don’t satisfy all these needs. Kids who have had these kinds of (camp) experiences end up being healthier and have less problems which concern us all.” The concept of camp is born in a belief that kids flourish and grow best when they are in an environment that values everyone for who they are. Camp harnesses the very nature of childhood with


its quest for exploration and it’s propensity for creativity. Camp provides a culture where positive relationships are what matters most, ones that are based on strong values and care for one another. In an environment like camp, kids develop greater confidence, strong relational bonds and attain a sense of belonging that is so challenging to find right now. The founder of Active Parenting and family therapist, Michael Popkin, Ph.D., puts it like this, “The building blocks of self-esteem are belonging, learning, and contributing. Camps offer unique opportunities for children to succeed in these three vital areas and even beyond home and school.” For 26 years Kidventure has been focused on bringing kids together with the specific and intentional mission to help

raise happy and healthy kids in the unique environment of camp. That need has never been greater than now. While there is good reason for hope and promise because there is a vaccine for the virus, there is no vaccine for loneliness, for isolation, and for anxiety. Camp is part of that necessary cure for our children. At Kidventure, we have five clear and distinct priorities for this 2021 camp season. They are as follows:

• Provide kids with an environment that is safe, kind, and loving. This is our foundation. • Give kids the opportunities to be a child, to explore their world, try new things, and gain confidence in the process and in doing so, tamp down the fear. • To provide an example through their camp counselors and directors of how to come together in unity, with respect for one another and celebrate the best of what makes us human beings. • To provide a place where kids can contribute to something great. Kids want to help, to give, and to make the world a better place. • To provide our campers’ parents with support, with confidence that their

children are being cared for, that they are safe, and that their mental and physical wellbeing is of paramount focus. Kidventure and our 2021 teams are right now, planning, preparing, and training for these priorities. We’ve been a part of the Houston landscape and the lives of thousands of families in this town. However, in our 26 history, our purpose and the need for what we so love to do has never been greater. Right now, our kids need to get reconnected and made to feel a part of something unique, and with purpose. Our kids need to be validated, not by the number of likes on their social, but with a smile and a hug from a real friend that genuinely cares. Right now, our kids are drowning in loneliness and fear amidst a world of uncertainty, hatred, and separation, and right now we must look to come together as parents, camp, and community to act in their best interest.

Kidventure has been part of this very important community since 1994 and we invite you to be a part of Kidventure’s Summer Camp 2021. Official registration for Kidventure 2021 Summer Camp will begin on February 8th at 9AM. At that time, you may register for any of our programs including Discoverers (ages 3-5), Explorers (entering 1st grade-5th grade), Leads (entering 6th grade-9th grade), as well as our Overnight Camps in the Texas Hill Country. Camp will begin June 1 and there are locations throughout the greater Houston area to choose from offering as many as ten weeks of camp. We will also be hosting a special ‘Virtual Camp Show’ on January 29th. Log on and join our camp team as we talk all about the upcoming summer season and answer all your questions about this very important year. Simply visit kidventure.com for all your camp information and to register or call us at 713.960.8989.


C A M P D I R E C T O RY | S P E C I A L S E C T I O N





Katy 281.769.2398 Memorial City 713.838.1414 Sugar Land 832.886.4153 The Woodlands 936.271.2259 Woodforest 936.209.2212

713.410.6655 Houston & Conroe


AGES: 5-14

AGES: 3-12 Flexibility for your family, FUN for your kids! Drop-in for an hour or stay all day. We have an option to meet every family’s needs this summer. 9AM-4PM, before and after care available.

CAMP ALLEN campallen.org 936.825.7175 Navasota, TX TYPE OF CAMP: Overnight Camp AGES: 6-17 Camp Allen provides a fun & unique environment for young people to cultivate friendships, experience personal growth, and learn about the unconditional love of Jesus Christ.

TYPE OF CAMP: Sports, Day Camp

Alliance Fencing Academy’s summer and winter fencing camps are an opportunity for your child to have fun exploring one of the original and foundational sports of the modern Olympic games while picking up technical and competitive skills that will last them a lifetime.

ALLEY THEATRE www.alleytheatre.org/hfm 713.315.5441 Houston, TX TYPE OF CAMP: Theatre Camp AGES: 5-18 Alley Play Makers camp allows your child to learn theatre skills, have fun in a diverse environment, make new friends, and discover ways to shine on and off the stage.




713.521.1515 Houston, TX

281.580.4298 Houston, TX TYPE OF CAMP: Theater Camp AGES: 5-18 Come join us Under the Sea this Summer for a fun,creative, theater arts camp! At the two week long Summer Stock camp for ages 8-18, students will be learning and performing a full Junior musical, The Little Mermaid Jr. complete with costumes, sets, and choreography culminating in 2 performances. In the weeklong Under the Sea Day Camp for ages 5-12, students will be learning the basic building blocks for Theater Arts performances including singing, acting, and dancing culminating in a showcase for parents and friends. If your child loves to perform, this camp is for you!!



TYPE OF CAMP: Spring Break Camp AGES: 5-13 When school’s out, Discovery Camps at The Health Museum are in! This year, you get to spend your spring break with us from the comfort of your own home with our Discovery Camps in a Box! Kids will engage in STEM activities and learn about medical science and the human body through hands-on science and experimentation.

S P E C I A L S E C T I O N | C A M P D I R E C T O RY







education@houstonspca.org Houston, TX

417. 266.3000 Branson, Missouri

TYPE OF CAMP: Adventure, Academic

TYPE OF CAMP: Overnight Camp

AGES: 3rd-8th grade

AGES: 6-18

Get ready for some off-the-leash fun this summer at Houston SPCA Critter Camp! Vet Camps, crafts, games and more. Follow @HoustonSPCA on FB, IG & Twitter

Kanakuk is a premier summer camp experience for boys and girls with locations in Branson and Lampe, Missouri. It’s 5 overnight camps provide children and teens with fun, safe and age-appropriate outdoor camping experiences that develop them spiritually, physically, emotionally and socially. Sessions run from May 29 to August 6 with 1, 2 and 4-week options.

713.639.4651 Houston, TX & Sugar Land, TX TYPE OF CAMP: Academic, Technology AGES: 6-12 From robots and rocket science to mummies and spying, students can participate in a variety of week-long camps at the Houston Museum of Natural Science!

June 7 – August 13 www.houstonspca.org un Summer F e! Starts Her


C A M P D I R E C T O RY | S P E C I A L S E C T I O N







713.960.8989 Houston, TX

512.263.8992 Hunt, TX & Rocksprings, TX

281.565.1388 Greater Houston Area


TYPE OF CAMP: Overnight Camp

TYPE OF CAMP: Academic Camp

AGES: 1st-5th Grade & 6th-9th grade

AGES: 8-13 & 13-16

AGES: 3-5 & 6-12

Kidventure Overnight Camp has been an experience like none other. Now, more than ever, our kids need camp. The opportunity to rebuild relationships, gain confidence, and dream big has never meant more. Join Kidventure for the summer of 2021 and be part of an adventure that will last a lifetime.

Learning another language has never been so much fun! Spanish, French, Italian, Mandarin, German and Sign Language summer camps. Fun, innovative and engaging! Virtual and in-person options.

Kidventure will offer over 16 Camp programs across the Houston area. Each Houston Day Camp program provides each age group with its custom curriculum, unique camp activities, and dedicated adult camp team designed to bring out the very best camp experience for every child.

Join us for an action-packed, faith-filled week of summer camp! Located on 1,100 forested acres one hour north west of Houston, Camp Allen provides affordable, over night camping experiences for ages 8-18.


936.825.7175 27 | HOUSTON FAMILY MAGAZINE February 2021

S P E C I A L S E C T I O N | C A M P D I R E C T O RY






936.594.2274 Trinity, TX

Greater Houston Area

281.531.6088 Houston, TX

TYPE OF CAMP: Overnight, Adventure AGES: 5-17 Nestled among the tall pines along the shores of Lake Livingston lies one of Texas’s premier camps. Campers take part in choice-based activities in a safe, fun and supportive environment.

TYPE OF CAMP: Day Camp AGES: 5-15 Offered at locations around the Houston area, our camps place special emphasis on youth choice, achievement and a sense of belonging. Activities may include sports and outdoor games, creative and performing arts, archery, engineering and nature exploration.



TYPE OF CAMP: Academic, Art/Theatre, Technology AGES: 24 mo. - 6th grade Yorkshire Academy’s Summer Program offers a wide array of camp options for 24 months–6th grade. Ex.: Academics, 50 enrichment camps- such as cricket, yoga, robotics, art, Spanish, and themed camps - half day, full day, or full time care.

mind body and soul | E D I T O R I A L

Sam’s Simple

PASTA CARBONARA written by Elizabeth Irvine Serves 4-6 | Prep & Cook Time about 40 minutes

Elizabeth Irvine: Nurse, educator and award-winning author. She is the founder and owner of Truewellbeing Inc.

February is a great month to cook up something warm and comforting. We chose to share this recipe as it’s the ultimate home cooked soul food, inexpensive to make for a large family, and can be put together in the time it takes to cook up some bacon and boil pasta. A few easy tips to make this creamy goodness with no cream. The humble ingredient list: eggs, bacon, parmesan cheese, black pepper and pasta—combine to create a fabulous dish. Plus, these items are often things you have on hand. Try out this as a Friday night indulgence— paired with a big salad and a glass of Chianti. An easy Italian weekend treat that will make your family think you are a pro. Bon Appetite.

PASTA CARBONARA • Pasta any shape

• Heat a large pot of water. When water starts to steam add 2 Tbsp salt.

• Pancetta or Bacon (cut into small pieces)

• Add 2 Tbsp oil to a large dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Add pancetta/bacon and cook until the bacon is crisp around the edges.

• 4 egg yolks and 2 eggs (the more yolks that you add the creamier the sauce will be, so add the whole carton if you want)

• Add pasta to your boiling water, usually when the pancetta is halfway done cooking.

• Parmesan • Black pepper

• Whip your egg yolks and whole eggs in a medium bowl and then add parmesan and pepper. • When pancetta/bacon is done remove from heat and if you prefer blot on paper towel. • When pasta is done (I prefer al dente) you have two choices: either drain pasta and save 1 cup of the cooking water, or alternatively use tongs to transfer the pasta from the water to the pot with pancetta (I like doing it this way because your pasta still has some of that starchy water on it, which helps with your sauce.) If you do it the other way just add a little pasta water at the end. • Moving quickly with your tongs mix pasta and pancetta together, then immediately toss in your egg mixture and combine well. Once everything is coated nicely, divide pasta among bowls and season with more black pepper and parmesan. • Serve with a big salad and wine. 29 | HOUSTON FAMILY MAGAZINE February 2021

family life | F E AT U R E


Exploring The City Through Food




For a small city, Galveston packs a big personality. Houstonians and other travelers love escaping here for its pier and seaside recreation and special cultural and culinary appeal. Galveston makes for an easygoing, easy-tolove waterfront hub that’s worth making time to visit.


he Island in winter has a special charm. Sure, we know that Galveston is a seaside resort and it’s amazing in summertime, but the truth is, it’s pretty amazing in winter too. The sea in winter is special, the light is awesome, the sounds of the waves is soothing, the seagulls dancing over the water are mesmerizing, and the salty tang of the sea exhilarating. A little wintery sunshine is inviting enough for a walk on the beachfront. On your way, you’ll cross people walking their dogs, others jogging or cycling and some simply admiring the sea. There’s life on the beachfront even in winter. And if you’re lucky enough, you might even enjoy a couple of hours sitting on the beach, reading a good book while the children collect shells or build castles in the sand. The beachfront is home to a variety of businesses. As you stroll along you see bars and restaurants serving everything from ice-cream to high end

seafood. With the famous Pleasure Pier as a backdrop, daytime traditional seaside fun mixes seamlessly with nighttime funky beachside culture. If you’re inkling for a delicious meal overlooking the beach, several island restaurants are ready to help you put distancing worries aside and serve you and your families outside in an open-air setting. From casual beach hangouts to steakhouses, sweet treats, family-owned establishments, fine dining experiences and the freshest Gulf seafood, Galveston Island offers countless delectable eateries to suit everyone’s taste no matter the budget, craving or time of day. From seafood, to steakhouses, Italian, Greek, Asian, German and Mexican – the choice is abundant. From February 1-28 savor the Island’s vibrant food scene at the tenth annual Galveston Restaurant Week for four full weeks of delicious dining. Participating in Galveston Restaurant Week is easy! No tickets or passes are required! Food lovers may simply dine


out at as many participating restaurants as they like during Galveston Restaurant Week. Two and/or 3-course dinners will be priced between $20$45; and 2-course lunches, breakfasts, & brunches will cost between $10-$20. You could support the extraordinary local restaurant industry by taking advantage of great-value special menus at some of Galveston’s best eateries and fill your taste buds with deliciousness all month long for a taste of summer in winter. Perfect for the family or for date night.

PARTICIPATING RESTAURANTS galvestonrestaurantweek.com





There’s no shortage of opportunities for seafood satisfaction on the island. One of the favorites to enjoy is what the locals call a “Boat to Table” day. You don’t need a boat or a fishing pole to indulge! Visit a local seafood market and cook a meal at home or dine at one of Galveston’s MANY seafood restaurants that serve seafood from local waters.





(409) 763-9316


Courtesy Gaido’s Famous Seafood Restaurant: A Cookbook Celebrating 100 Years MAKES 1 DOZEN OYSTERS

San Jacinto Butter

For San Jacinto Butter


tablespoons minced garlic


tablespoon minced yellow onion


tablespoons white wine

Sauté the garlic and onion in the white wine in a sauté pan until very tender.


tablespoons butter


tablespoons fresh lemon juice


vegetable or chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon salt

Oysters 12


oysters on the half shell


ounces grated Parmesan cheese


tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Get your cookbook at www.gaidos.com 32 | HOUSTON FAMILY MAGAZINE February 2021

Combine the garlic, onions, wine, butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a blender, and process to puree.

For Oysters Melt the San Jacinto Butter in a small saucepan. Brush the oysters generously with the butter until coated all over. Sprinkle the cheese over the oysters. Grill the oysters for 5 to 10 minutes until the butter bubbles. Watch closely to ensure cheese doesn’t burn. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

family finds | T H E G O O D S T U F F

MIND, BODY & SOUL Chakra Balms Ignite your chakras! Each Balm contains over 100 drops of a custom essential oil blend, specifically focused for each Chakra,120 drops of 5 custom blended, pure essential oils.

7 Balm Package $111 or Individual Balms $18 www.chakrabalms.com

WISH*CRAFT DIY CRAFT KITS Lunar Magic Charm Jewelry, Moon Phase Journal & Mystical Moons Paint a Scarf The perfect projects to keep the kids entertained and inspired whether they are schooling at home or in person.

$15.99+ • www.brightstripes.co

STAY HYDRATED Foldable Water Bottle Perfect for school and on the go, this water bottle expands and contracts based on your needs. Available in multiple colors.


Single Bottle $24.95 • www.quebottle.com

A unique gift that can be enjoyed over and over again. Use code HFMPUZZLE5 and get your custom 8x10 photo puzzle for only $5.00.

8x10 puzzle • $5.00 (Promo Code HFMPUZZLE5) www.photography.com

EXPERIENCE PURE BLISS Blissful Waters Float Center Give the gift of total relaxation with a floatation and sensory deprivation therapy experience.

3 Float package $180 • www.blissfulwatersfloat.com 33 | HOUSTON FAMILY MAGAZINE February 2021

i am houston| E M P O W E R E D H O U S T O N I A N S

Brandi with husband Nick and sons Oliver & August


Brandi Pearce author of Mommy’s Oven

Infertility is unfortunately an obstacle that many women face. It can be overwhelming and soul crushing to go through the process of trying to get pregnant naturally or with the assistance of fertility clinics only to be told that pregnancy just isn’t possible for you. What options are left to a woman who desperately wants to build her own family? It comes down to two choices, surrogacy or adoption. Many people talk about their experience with adoption, but we don’t typically hear much about the surrogacy process. Children’s book author Brandi Pearce recently went through her second pregnancy by surrogate and was inspired write a book in an effort to explain the situation to her 4-year-old son in a way that he could understand. We caught up with Brandi to talk about her new book and her journey through surrogacy.


WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR WRITING MOMMY’S OVEN? After being in the hospital for 6 years fighting Crohns disease, and sometimes only surviving through the strength of others, I knew the surrogacy process would be no different. We would need the support of those around us to handle the ups and downs of the surrogate process. Surrogacy opened my eyes to a new world of miracles. I thought I’d seen them all! Now we have two of those incredible miracles. What I didn’t know, was how much our journey would help others. As our story began to unfold to our friends and family on social media, I began to have women reach out and share their own stories. The heartaches, the triumphs, the questions, the gratitude for opening up and encouraging acceptance and understanding. I wasn’t just having an impact on them; they were having an impact on me. There is so much unspoken about the world of infertility because it is hard to be vulnerable, it is hard to face pain publicly. When we started our second journey, we faced a new challenge. How do we explain to our 4 year old that we are growing our family, in a way he would understand. When we came up with this story, he not only loved it, but thought it was so neat that he was the main character. After we told him the story, I realized we are probably not the first parents to go through introducing our child to a new sibling that didn’t come from mommy’s tummy. I was right!

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST UNEXPECTED OUTCOME TO COME OUT OF WRITING THE BOOK? I have been blown away by the response Mommy’s Oven

has received. I haven’t just heard from surrogate families, I have heard from families with adoption, with infertility, with miscarriages. Each one expressing what a blessing Mommy’s Oven has been in helping them communicate and explain these situations to their children.

WILL YOU BE WRITING MORE BOOKS IN THE FUTURE? This book has meant so much to me and my family, and definitely led me to a world of writing that I had no idea I loved so much! There may soon be a series called The Adventures of Augie and Ollie that helps kids comprehend difficult life struggles, as well as an inspirational personal story of my lifelong battle with Crohns disease.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF RAISING A FAMILY IN HOUSTON? Although my family has traveled all over the world, Houston has been my hometown since I was 2 years old. August has been to 33 states, and yet, Houston will forever be the place where the people are truly kind, the land is beautiful and “yall” is part of the daily vocabulary. My husband and I feel blessed to be raising our children in a place where they are learning respect, compassion, culture, and a serious love for steak, tex-mex, and baseball. Thank you Brandi for taking time out for us and we look forward to reading your future book series! Visit mommysovenisbroken.com for more information about the book and to purchase your own copy!

About the book: In this true story, young August learns about how he will get a new little brother. He learns of how his little brother will grow in someone else’s tummy, not his mommy’s. Will he look like Augie? Will he grow for too long? Will Augie get to take his little brother home once he is born? Join August on this new, exciting adventure of getting a new little brother in a very unique way. If you are looking for a way to help your children understand that families can be created in many different ways, this is a story to keep on your bookshelf!

GET YOUR COPY mommysovenisbroken.com

family life | F E AT U R E To learn more about the MD Brush, visit mdbrush.com

Teeth Brushing 101: how to brush your teeth...the right way

Teaching effective oral hygiene should begin at an early age and that includes creating proper brushing habits. Start your kiddos off on the path to healthy teeth with these tips. written by Michael H. Davidson RDH, BSDH | photo by Jenna Duncan Photography 36 | HOUSTON FAMILY MAGAZINE February 2021

An estimated 70% of Americans are suffering with gum disease right now. The most common form of gum disease, gingivitis, is caused largely in part to how the toothbrush is used, specifically the angle of the bristles relative to the tooth and the stroke used.


he most effective way to teach proper technique is to lead by example. During the formative years, Parents and kids need to brush together in front of the mirror. Kids want to please their parents and love literally mirroring them therefore, Parents should use this to their advantage. However, it helps if the parents are brushing correctly too.

THE MOUTH REALLY IS THE GATEWAY TO THE BODY An estimated 70% of Americans are suffering with gum disease right now. The most common form of gum disease, gingivitis, is caused largely in part to how the toothbrush is used, specifically the angle of the bristles relative to the tooth and the stroke used. What does this mean - gum disease can easily be prevented by brushing at a 45˚ angle, the preferred method according to the ADA. This allows the toothbrush bristles to reach into and below the gum line where bacteria proliferate. Gum disease is preventable with the right technique; and I set out to design a toothbrush to teach this super effective technique and more importantly what that FEELS like. The MD Brush enables you to think and brush like a dentist from the comfort of your home. Its multi patented design reminds you to pay attention to angles and position every time you use it. Each component of the md brush, its bristles, grip, and visual indicators, was designed to place you at the correct 45° angle to ensure you brush below the gumline, where gum disease starts. Furthermore, continued use of the md brush alters the

muscle memory associated with brushing so you can permanently break the cycle of ineffective plaque removal.

THIS IS HOW DENTAL PROFESSIONALS BRUSH Moms, dads, and children agree, while it takes a few days to break the pattern, once you get the hang of it, you’ll never go back to the old way of brushing. MD Brush helps you achieve fresher breath, stronger teeth, and healthier gums which all lead to a healthier you. We are excited to announce our new line of Grïppi toothbrushes, powered by MD Brush technology. The slightly smaller Grïppi line is aimed at equipping adults and children alike with a ‘lifestyle brush’ that encourages a more effective technique, providing a twice-daily upgrade to their overall health. You can purchase your own Grïppi brush at getgrippi.com. The original MD Brush can be purchased at mdbrush.com.

Sharing His Vision. Teaching His Values.

Contact the Admissions Office Today admissions@stannecs.org or 713.526.3279


WE DON’T NEED BETTER BATTERIES, WE JUST NEED BETTER TECHNIQUE Correct brushing is the start to a healthier you and here are 5 critical tips to having a healthy, happy mouth & blood stream!! • Learn to brush using the ADA recommended 45-degree method • Floss…more than once a month! • Visit you dentist for annual checkups and cleanings • Healthy diet • Moderation of alcohol and fatty foods Set a good example for your children by brushing healthy and help them learn to love to brush! They will thank you for it…eventually!


All of us are going through something different, but wondering the same thing: “What’s my next step?” We’re helping people get through unexpected challenges and come out the other side even stronger. Now’s the time to regain certainty and confidence. Let’s connect and start planning what’s next for you. LET’S GE T STARTED Jennifer Steil, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, RICP® Wealth Management Advisor jennifersteil.nm.com 07-1011 © 2019 Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (NM), Milwaukee, WI (life and disability insurance, annuities, and life insurance with long-term care benefits) and its subsidiaries. Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (NMIS) (securities), a subsidiary of NM, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser and member FINRA and SIPC. Jennifer Steil is an Insurance Agent(s) of NM. Jennifer Steil is a Registered Representative(s) of NMIS. Jennifer Steil is a Representative of Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company®, (NMWMC) Milwaukee, WI (fiduciary and fee-based financial planning services), a subsidiary of NM and federal savings bank. All NMWMC products and services are offered only by properly credentialed Representatives who operate from agency offices of NMWAC. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, Certified Financial Planner™ and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.


Kid Ambassadors


Get to know

Annabella Ayala 1

I love to color using color pencils while creating my own drawings.


I play “hair salon” almost every day while wearing a smock and jotting down client walk-ins along with their hair styling wishes.


Walking on the neighborhood trail is one of my favorite ways to spend time with my family… also, fun to spot tiny turtles in the tunnels!


If I could only eat one type of meal for the rest of my life, it would be TACOS!


My dream is to travel to New York City - fashion capital of the world!


My wrestling coach is a USA Olympic Bronze Medalist. Hi, Randi!

Photographer: Casey Ayala Portraiture Insta @caseyayalastyleportraiture 38 | HOUSTON FAMILY MAGAZINE February 2021



Valerie Koehler, owner of the Blue Willow Bookshops, shares some of her favorite Valentine books, visit BlueWillowBookshops.com

The Valentine is Missing by Anne Passcher

In this sturdy novelty board book, the teacher’s valentine goes missing in a very sweet Valentine’s Day mystery. Where did it go?


by Adam Rex

Adam Rex’s hilarious letters between a hopelessly romantic ox and a conceited, beautiful gazelle are paired with Scott Campbell’s joyful illustrations in this romance for the ages.

My Baby Loves Valentine’s Day by Jabari Isam

Celebrate all the lovely things that Baby discovers about Valentine’s Day in this sweet board book.


by Katherine Applegate

An oak tree and a crow help their neighbors embrace their differences in this beautiful, nuanced middle-grade novel that features the love of a community.

Super Fake Love Song by David Yoon

Cirrus mistakenly assumes Sunny is the lead in a rock band, and Sunny leads her on until the lies threaten their relationship.

Channel Kindness: Stories of Kindness and Community by Lady GaGa

The author ‘s mission is to show how the quiet power of kindness can change the way we view one another, our communities, and even ourselves.

the big to do | C A L E N D A R O F E V E N T S

the big to do

We’ve said goodbye to January, use the - slightly - longer days to enjoy the month’s brilliant batch of events, Valentine’s Day celebrations, and exciting new exhibitions happening. For more February 2021 highlights sign up for our daily e-newsletter and bookmark our online calendar at houstonfamilymagazine.com

Atkinson Farm, Spring TX

Photos by Priddy Little Picture Photography FB & Insta @PriddyLittlePicturePhotography

All events listed are FREE unless otherwise noted. Don’t forget to check out our online calendar at www.houstonfamilymagazine.com/event-directory/ for even more family friendly activities.

FEBRUARY 1 Galveston Restaurant Week (Feb.1-28) Celebrate delicious at the tenth annual Galveston Restaurant Week which brings Galveston Island’s vibrant food scene to life for four full weeks of delicious dining. February. galveston.com/whattodo/festivals/ restaurant-week/ Participating restaurants Various times. All ages

Detective Days


There’s mystery afoot at Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens. Detective Days are self-guided activity sheets for both the house and the gardens that provide a focused activity, challenging a child’s observational skills and critical thinking. mfah.org Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens Every day. Age: 6+

Tuesday afternoon at the zoo Enjoy a fun filled family afternoon learning and viewing all of these amazing creatures. houstonzoo.org Houston Zoo 12:00pm until closing. All ages

Virtual Blue Willow Bookshop Story Time Enjoy Blue Willow’s virtual storytime,


songs and an art activity every Thursday. bluewillowbookshop.com Blue Willow Bookshop 10am. Age: Toddlers and preschoolers

VIRTUAL Brunch & Books February is all about self-love! Join us for a double book feature featuring Good Vibes, Good Life by Vex King and Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown. Tune in for a moderated discussion with local Houston relationship therapist. midtownhouston.com Virtual 11:30am-1pm. Age: Adult

Feb r ua r y 20 21 VIRTUAL Teach You Tuesday Create your own tie-dye blankets that you can snuggle in when the weather gets a tad chilly. midtownhouston.com Virtual 5:30-7:30pm. All ages

FEBRUARY 3 Nature Discovery Center & Story time Visit the discovery rooms and enjoy the outdoor trails and play area. Plan to stay for nature story time which can include live animal encounters and a simple craft. naturediscoverycenter.org Nature Discover Center Tues.-Fri. Noon-5:30pm, Sat.-Sun. 10am530pm, story time Wednesday at 4pm. All ages

Homestead Open House Discover the Redbud Hill Homestead and Akokisa Indian Village. Self-guided interpretive brochures are available in the Nature Center. hcp4.net

Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center 1-4pm every Wednesday and Saturday. All ages


FEBRUARY 5 Bookworm Discussions - The Fan brothers and Brigette Barrager Connect with acclaimed authors while you support local business, consider purchasing a copy of these authors books from the bookshop and receive a bookplate signed by the authors for you to place in your book as a special thanks. bluewillowbookshop.com virtual event 1:30pm. Age: 15+

FEBRUARY 6 Fort Bend County Libraries presents Author Spotlight: Voices of Diversity Tonya Duncan Ellis is the author of the Amazon bestselling Sophie Washington children’s book series. Viewers can hear about the authors’ journeys to having their books published, challenges they faced, and the inspiration behind their passion for writing. www.fortbend.lib.tx.us

Virtual event. Click on “Classes & Events,” select “Virtual Programs,” and find the programs. 2pm. All ages

Prelude Concert Series in the Park Music nurtures creativity, self-expression and development, bring your toddler and preschooler to enjoy a variety of musical styles. levyparkhouston.org

4:30pm Levy Park. Age: toddler and preschooler

ROCO Connections: Celebration of Margaret Bonds a concert featuring the music of Margaret Bonds, one of the most prolific Black composers in the 1900s. Produced in collaboration with Rienzi, the concert also features returning ROCO favorite, Timothy Jones, bass-baritone, and Howard Watkins on piano. https://roco.org/performances/rococonnections-celebration-of-margaretbonds/

Family Day: Virtual Lunar New Year 2021! Celebrate the Year of the Ox! NYC’s Asia Society rings in the new year with performances and traditional craft activities inspired by Lunar New Year traditions across Asia. asiasociety.org Virtual event 12pm. All ages

Cistern History Tours (free every Thursday) Learn about the architecture of this unique space and the history of Houston’s water system during a guided 30-minute tour. buffalobayou.org Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, 105 Sabine Street 10am-5pm. Reservations are required. All ages

Atkinson Farms Spring, TX

Jollisant Farms Plantersville, TX

Blessington Farms Simonton, TX

Kosub Farms Strawberries Poteet, TX

3217 Spring Cypress Road, 77388 832-381-8202 facebook.com/Atkinson4thgeneration

510 Chilsom Trail, 77476 832-444-8717 www.blessingtonfarms.com

Froberg’s Farm Alvin, TX

3601 W. Hwy. 6, 77511 281-585-3531 www.frobergsfarm.com

11351 County Road 203, 77363 936-894-2766 www.jollisantfarm.com

3425 Coble Rd, 78065 210-385-7302 www.facebook.com/ kosubfarmsstrawberries

Sweet Berry Farm Marble Falls, TX 830-798-1462 1801 FM 1980, 78654 sweetberryfarm.com

For blueberries, blackberries and other fruit picking, check out these farms in the late spring and early summer months.

Youth Self-Defense Class

Levy Park 6pm. Age: 5-15

Strawberry season is in full swing and a great way to get outdoors while social distancing. Here’s a list of where you can go in the greater Houston area to get your berry fix. Don’t forget to call or visit your website before you go!


Virtual concert 7pm. All ages

Youth Krav Maga by Krav Maga teaches your child self-defense techniques and de-escalating verbal techniques that will protect your child’s personal space. Levypark.org

strawberry pickin’ time

The Menil Collection Located in the heart of Houston, this impressive collection is located in several buildings nestled between pocket parks and outdoor sculptures, a perfect setting for picnic lunch. Menil.org Menil Collection 11am-7pm every day. All ages. Stroller friendly.

Berryland Farms of Texas Winnie, TX

Fruit ‘N Such Orchard Dickinson, TX

Blakelock’s Berries Grangerland, TX

Harvest Season Farm Tomball, TX

2877 FM 1941 Rd, 77665 713-551-6360 www.berrylandfarmsoftexas.com

15761 FM 3083, 77302 www.blakelocksberries.com

Chmielewski Blueberry Farm Hockley, TX 23810 Bauer Hockley Road, 77447 281-304-0554 www.chmielewski-blueberry.com

6309 Avenue U, 77539 832-443-6733 www.facebook.com/fruitsnsuch.orchard

21110 Bauer Hockley Road, 77377 281-351-7676 www.harvestseasonfarm.com

Morehead’s Blueberry Farm Conroe, TX

19531 Moorhead Road, 77302 281-572-1265 www.moorheadsblueberryfarm.com

the big to do | C A L E N D A R O F E V E N T S FEBRUARY 8 At-Home Adventures through Asia: India Explore these well-thought-out crafts, discussions, videos, storytimes and dances as you explore global learning and foster cultural empathy by sparking learner curiosity, contextualizing information, and sharing different perspectives with your child. asiasociety.org

Youth Self-Defense Class Youth Krav Maga by Krav Maga teaches your child self-defense techniques and de-escalating verbal techniques that will protect your child’s personal space. Levypark.org Levy Park 6pm. Age: 5-15

Acquire basic photography skills to express your creative. hcponline.org Virtual 9am. Age: 12+

Family Day at the Ocean Star


Enjoy Blue Willow’s virtual storytime, songs and an art activity every Thursday. bluewillowbookshop.com Blue Willow Bookshop 10am. Age: Toddlers and preschoolers

Da Camera presents Solzhenitsyn and Prokofiev: The War Years The renown pianist will perform two of Sergei Prokofiev’s monumental sonatas, written after the composer’s return home to Stalinist Russia following 18 years of exile. dacamera.com Virtual concert. 7pm. All ages

COOKS + BOOKS: Chocolate Fever The perpetual question – “What’s for dinner?” We’ll read a book and cook up a recipe inspired by the story. Chocolate Fever (Chapters 5) by Robert Kimmel Smith. Spectacular Spiced Veggie Chocolate Chili + Herb Sour Cream Dollop + Spiced Chocolate Mugs! Rosenberg-library.org Virtual event 4pm. Age: 7+. Pre-registration is required; space is limited.

FEBRUARY 10 Nature Discovery Center & Story time Visit the discovery rooms and enjoy the outdoor trails and play area. Plan to stay for nature story time which can include live animal encounters and a simple craft. naturediscoverycenter.org

Celebrate The Year of The Ox: Chinese Lunar New Year (Feb.1113th) Enjoy a broadcast of cultural dances, musical performances, crafts, and food demonstrations that showcase the breadth of Lunar New Year traditions across the world. ccchouston.org/lunarnewyear

Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum, Galveston


Virtual Event Various times. All ages

FEBRUARY 13 ROCO Unchambered: Kaleidoscope ROCO’s Unchambered series continues via livestream with a program featuring ROCO’s Principal Winds and a world premiere commission by Composer-inResidence, Alyssa Morris. https://roco.org/performances/ unchambered-feb-2021/ Virtual concert 5pm. All ages

Happy Valentine’s Day

FEBRUARY 15 At-Home Adventures through Asia: Vietnam Spend this week riding on a moped, playing with water buffalo, creating a lotus lantern, and exploring the culture of today’s Vietnam! Asiasociety.org Virtual event Various times. All ages

FEBRUARY 16 Virtual Blue Willow Bookshop Story Time Enjoy Blue Willow’s virtual storytime, songs and an art activity every Thursday. bluewillowbookshop.com Blue Willow Bookshop 10am. Age: Toddlers and preschoolers

COOKS + BOOKS: Empanadas that Abuela Made

VIRTUAL Samba Dance Class Houston Symphony presents Music Illustrated: Virtual Reality in Concert (Feb. 13 &14) Enjoy the unexpected when music, dance, and technology meet. This event will feature Google’s virtual reality technology. As the Houston Symphony

Nature Discovery Center & Story time Visit the discovery rooms and enjoy the outdoor trails and play area. Plan to stay for nature story time which can include live animal encounters and a simple craft. naturediscoverycenter.org Nature Discover Center Tues.-Fri. Noon-5:30pm, Sat.-Sun. 10am530pm, story time Wednesday at 4pm. All ages

Coffee Cake Book Club Join a book club which meets every third Wednesday of each month to discuss opinions, views and laugh. bluewillowbookshop.com Blue Willow Bookshop 11am. Age: Adult

FEBRUARY 18 Youth Self-Defense Class Youth Krav Maga by Krav Maga teaches your child self-defense techniques and de-escalating verbal techniques that will protect your child’s personal space. Levypark.org


At-Home Adventures through Asia: Japan Have you ever played Pokémon or read Manga? Or tried some yummy sushi? If so, you already know a little bit about Japan! Explore these well-thought-out crafts, discussions, videos, storytimes and dances. asiasociety.org


Levy Park 6pm. Age: 5-15



Virtual 7-9pm. All ages

Use a common petroleum product (shaving cream?!), food coloring, a toothpick, and cardstock to create your own marbled art creation. Explore your creative side and make a unique one-ofa-kind Valentine card for your loved one. oceanstaroec.com

Virtual event Various times. All ages

Nature Discover Center Tues.-Fri. Noon-5:30pm, Sat.-Sun. 10am530pm, story time Wednesday at 4pm. All ages

Learn a popular Brazilian dance style during this exciting class. Samba is a partner dance from Rio de Janeiro that evolved as a ballroom dance to the Brazilian samba musical rhythms. Instruction is provided by the Brazilian Arts Foundation. Midtownhouston.com

Jones Hall. The Saturday performance will also be livestreamed. 8:30pm Feb. 13, 3:30pm Feb.14. All ages

Photography Workshop

Virtual Event Various times. All ages

Virtual Blue Willow Bookshop Story Time

performs favorites like Clair de Lune and Ride of the Valkyries, artist Topher Sipes dreams up mesmerizing music. houstonsymphony.org

The perpetual question – “What’s for dinner? We’ll read a book and cook up a recipe inspired by the story. Empanadas that Abuela Made by Diane Gonzales Bertrand. Abuela’s Awesome Corn Empanadas + Argentine Chimichurri Sauce + Lime Melon Fresca Rosenberg-library.org Virtual event 4pm. Age: 4-8. Pre-registration is required; space is limited.


Da Camera presents Sullivan Fortner Filmed at the Steinway piano factory in New York, rising jazz pianist Sullivan Fortner will play his original compositions and standards from the American Songbook in a new, exclusive Da Camera stream, followed by a live talk back with the artist. dacamera.com Virtual event. 7pm. All ages

Houston Grand Opera presents HGO Digital: Songs for Murdered Sisters Considered one of the worst cases of domestic violence in Canadian history, Joshua Hopkins’ life changed forever when his sister Nathalie, along with two other women, were murdered by her ex-boyfriend. houstongrandopera.org Virtual concert. 7:30pm. All ages

FEBRUARY 20 Fort Bend County Libraries presents Author Spotlight: Voices of Diversity Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton - An internationally-known writer, educator, activist, and performer, Mouton is a Poet Laureate Emeritus of Houston. Formerly ranked the No. 2 best female performance poet in the world, Mouton has established herself as a notable force in the performance and slampoetry world. www.fortbend.lib.tx.us Virtual event. Click on “Classes &

Feb r ua r y 20 21 Events,” select “Virtual Programs,” and find the programs. 2pm. All ages

VIRTUAL Family Capoeira Join us for a virtual Family Capoeira class, a unique Afro-Brazilian martial art that develops discipline, coordination, strength, and rhythm. Instruction is provided by the Brazilian Cultural Institute. midtownhouston.com Virtual 10-11am. All ages

Volunteer at the Buffalo Bayou Lend a hand to Buffalo Bayou Partnership! Volunteers are invited to help care for Buffalo Bayou’s parks and trails on the 3rd Saturday of each month. Buffalobayou.org Buffalo Bayou 9am. Age: 9+

FEBRUARY 21 Opening Day “Electrifying Design: A Century of Lighting” The exhibition examines lighting as a transforming force in daily life and in major design movements. mfah.org Museum of Fine Arts, Houston All day. All ages

FEBRUARY 22 BECOME A PUBLISHED AUTHOR OR ILLUSTRATOR Start working on your idea TODAY. Publishing is a powerful incentive for learning and is a unique way to validate that a child’s voice should be heard. iwrite.org online submissions. Age: 3rd-12th grade.

FEBRUARY 23 Virtual Blue Willow Bookshop Story Time Enjoy Blue Willow’s virtual storytime, songs and an art activity every Thursday. bluewillowbookshop.com bluewillowbookshop.com Blue Willow Bookshop 10am. Age: Toddlers and preschoolers

COOKS + BOOKS: Nanette’s Baguette The perpetual question – “What’s for dinner?” We’ll read a book and cook up a recipe inspired by the story. Nanette’s Baguette by Mo Willems. Bánh Mì on a Baguette Sandwich + Hibiscus Ginger Party Punch. Rosenberg-library.org Virtual event 4pm. Age:3-8. Pre-registration is required; space is limited.

FEBRUARY 24 Nature Discovery Center & Story time Visit the discovery rooms and enjoy the outdoor trails and play area. Plan to stay

David Hockney, Under the Trees, Bigger, 2010–11, oil on 20 canvases

for nature story time which can include live animal encounters and a simple craft. naturediscoverycenter.org Nature Discover Center Tues.-Fri. Noon-5:30pm, Sat.-Sun. 10am530pm, story time Wednesday at 4pm. All ages

FEBRUARY 25 Youth Self-Defense Class Youth Krav Maga by Krav Maga teaches your child self-defense techniques and de-escalating verbal techniques that will protect your child’s personal space. Levypark.org Levy Park 6pm. Age: 5-15

FEBRUARY 26 Waugh Bridge Bat Colony An estimated 300,000 Mexican freetailed bats emerge from the Waugh Bridge every evening at dusk to find food. Buffalobayou.org Waugh Bridge Dusk. All ages

FEBRUARY 27 ROCO In Concert: Shadows ROCO will explore the interplay of light and dark in “Shadows”, built around a commission by Alyssa Morris, Tlapalli Tlahuilli – based on the children’s book “Musicians of the Sun” and featuring ROCO’s principal winds as soloists. roco.org/performances/roco-in-concertshadows/ Virtual Concert 5pm. All ages

Fort Bend County Libraries presents Author Spotlight: Voices of Diversity Crystal Allen - The author of the Mya Tybbs middle school series, Allen works extensively with schools across Texas to encourage children to write their stories. www.fortbend.lib.tx.us Virtual Event. Click on “Classes & Events,” select “Virtual Programs,” and find the programs. 2pm. All ages

Photography Workshop Acquire basic photography skills to express your creative. hcponline.org Virtual 9am. Age: 12+

FEBRUARY 28 Houston Museum of Natural Science at the Park - Space: Going the Distance Encounter real specimens and artifacts from the museum collection in an intimate, educational atmosphere. levyparkhouston.org 2-4pm. All ages

N O W E X H I B I T I N G | M U S E U M C A L E N DA R



Temporary Hours of Operation

Wednesday 11am-5pm, Thursday 11am-9pm, Friday & Saturday 11am6pm, Sunday 12:30pm- 6pm Monday- closed except selected holidays, Tuesday – closed

Carmen Herrera: Structuring Surfaces Carmen Herrera has built a prolific career spanning nine decades, dedicated to expanding the boundaries of geometric abstraction. Carmen Herrera: Structuring Surfaces is the first MFAH exhibition devoted exclusively to the internationally celebrated Cuban American artist, who turned 105 in May. Through April 25, 2021

Hockney-Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature Two visionary artists, separated in time and space, are united by a shared fascination with nature. February 21- June, 2021

Electrifying Design: A Century of Lighting Over the past 100 years, the field of lighting design has been a catalyst for technological and artistic expression. Through May, 2021



Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9am-5pm., Sat. 10am5pm., Sun. 12-5pm

Stories of Survival: Object. Image. Memory. Stories of Survival: Object. Image. Memory. is an epic exhibition showcasing more than 40 personal artifacts brought to America by Survivors of the Holocaust and other genocides. Through April, 2021



9am-5pm Mon-Sun

Pompeii: The Exhibition The exhibition tells the tale of the lost and forgotten city of Pompeii, hidden until its rediscovery more than 250 years ago. Peruse the 150 precious artifacts on loan from the unparalleled collection of the Naples National Archaeological Museum in Italy. Through March, 2021


www.thehealthmuseum.org Hours: Mon.-Sat. 9am-5pm., Thurs. 9am-7pm., Sun. 12-5pm

Admission: $10 adult, $8 senior 65+, free for children under 2 FREE on Thursdays 2-7pm

GEAR UP: The Science of Bikes This interactive exhibition tells the story of the bicycle from inception to present day. Visitors learn how bikes work; what the history/evolution of the bike is; the science and technology behind the machine; and how bikes have impacted our culture. Through May 21, 2021



Hours: Thurs.-Sat. 10am-5pm., Sun. 12-5pm

Fight to the Finish Exhibits Lest we forget those that fought for the freedoms and liberties we have today, we have the opportunity to reflect on the final year of the war and the personal strength and sacrifices of those that fought abroad and those that served and supported here at home. Through April, 2021

Start the New Year

HEALTHIER Safe, convenient primary care — at a location near you.


1488 1774

At Houston Methodist, we provide personalized care for you and your family, including physicals, immunizations and preventive care. Many of our practices: • Provide in-person and virtual visits with online scheduling • Offer same-day sick visits • Are conveniently located close to work or home • Accept most major insurance plans



59 6 10

And, with enhanced safety measures in place, you can rest assured your safety is our priority.

houstonmethodist.org/pcg 713.394.6724 44 | HOUSTON FAMILY MAGAZINE February 2021







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