Houston Family Magazine May 2020

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May 2020 | Vol. 32 | Issue 5

What Kind of

MOM Are You?

Ready or Not, Here Comes

SUMMER Parenting From the

TRENCHES Special Needs and


Now offering pediatric Telemedicine Use our virtual care platform to see and speak directly to one of our providers from the comfort of your own home. We know that when your child is sick, having immediate access to a trusted and convenient after-hours resource is critical. You can now access the same care your little one experiences in our clinics straight from your phone.

NightLightPediatrics.com/Telemed Convenient locations across Houston — we're right in your neighborhood.

Clinic Hours: Weekdays 3 p.m. - 7 p.m. Weekends 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. Telemedicine Hours: Weekdays /Weekends 6 a.m. - midnight

Your night, made brighter. May 2020

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MAY 2020




features|in this issue 8

on the cover

HFM Ambassador Jacob loves reading, biking and everything BASEBALL. He wants to be a famous ball player when he grows up and would love to kick it with Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman. Cover Photo: Features Jacob and his mom, Alexandra Ryoo of MISO Fotography

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ready or not, here comes summer!

How to transistion from stay at home orders to a fun summer routine


10 ten attributes i appreciate about my mom


15 ways to earn extra money as a mom


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Writer Christina Katz shares her favorite traits of her mother in celebration of Mother's Day


family FYI


publisher's note

Things you need to know about

Happy Mamma's Day!




camp lead in


i am houston


mind, body & soul




Kid Ambassadors

What kind of mom are you? Summer Camp,will it or won't it happen?

Zane Carson Carruth, Many hats, one large heart A nurse's perspective: the halo effect Top family friendly audio books Meet Noelle Dujunco

Read us on the go! Download our app in the app store or google play.

How to bring home the bacon while working from home

to my teenage son

What i want for Mother's Day from you

Talking to children with special needs about the coronavirus Teaching tools to help your kids while school is closed

countdown to college

Tips to help students find their fit

The 7 rs of long-distance grandparenting How to make the most of being far away

surviving parenthood

50 lessons from the trenches



camp directory


Virtual Calendar

Activities for Families

family fyi DO YOU HAVE A CHILD IN GRADES 9-12 THAT IS INTERESTED IN INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS? LEVY PARK’S ON DEMAND HOSTS D-I-Y THEATER ARTS PROJECT Levy Park On-Demand features daily interactive activities, including story times for families with children, fitness classes, at-home activities, games and more. Levy Park On-Demand provides those at home with a valuable resource for staying physically, mentally and emotionally positive. To find the full line-up of at-home programming, visit levyparkhouston.org or the Levy Park On-Demand pages at facebook.com/LevyParkHou and YouTube.

The World Affairs Council of Greater Houston has opened its registration for its global scholars academy sessions starting and running through the month of July 2020. The Global Scholars Academy is a non-profit and non-partisan academic opportunity for middle school and high school students to develop an interest and to demonstrate expertise in different cultures and in international issues. For more information, please visit wachouston.org.

EXPLORE TOLERANCE BY JAUME PLENSA If you’re looking for an outside activity where you can keep social distance, it’s hard to overlook the seven sitting figures that sit at the corner of Studemont and Allen Parkway along Buffalo Bayou Park. Maybe you’ve marveled at these 10-foot statues and wondered what they symbolize. Created by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, the human figures represent the world’s seven continents and contain stainless steel alphabet letters from many languages. Learn more at houstontx.gov/parks/artinparks/ tolerance.html

HFM IS LAUNCHING ITS KID-AMBASSADOR SHOW IN MAY Eshaan Mani, one of HFM’s very talented kid ambassadors will be hosting a bi-monthly show on Houston Family Magazine’s newsletter and social media pages and youtube channel. The show is comprised of 3 segments starting with kid-friendly interesting news and information, a Houston Family Magazine focus on an I am Houston-Kids and lastly our very own kid ambassador profiles. Stay connected @houstonfamilymagazine and sign up for our newsletter at houstonfamilymagazine.com.

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Kimberly Davis Guerra kim@houstonfamilymagazine.com

online editor Latesa Guerra

calendar editor

Chantal Lemieux calendar@houstonfamilymagazine.com

creative director

Casey Johnson casey@houstonfamilymagazine.com


event director

Mary Sue Kent marysue@houstonfamilymagazine.com

contributing authors Katy M. Clark Janeen Lewis Christa Melnyk Hines Elizabeth Irvine Christina Katz Cheryl Maguire Eshaan Mani Kerrie McLoughlin Mary Jane Weiss, Ph.D.

contributing photographers

Brandy Dykes Photography Cathleen Duffy Photography Chubby Cheeks Photography Alison Ross Photography Willow & Pine Photography

advertising sales Kristian Carroll Beverly Davis Amy Garrett Mary Sue Kent Tish Petty


Gayle Wheeler-LeSueur, Graphic Designer


Midway Press, Ltd Dallas, TX

contact us:

1334 Brittmoore Rd, Ste 2602 Houston, TX 77043 (P) 713.266.1885 (F) 713.266.1915 www.HoustonFamilyMagazine.com

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. houston family magazine


May 2020

ABOVE// Beverly Davis welcomes her new grand daughter ‘Maeve’ to the Houston Family. 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 CONTACT US Let us know how we’re doing. kim@houstonfamilymagazine.com


ast month we started a weekly ‘Mini Mag’ to offer support to our readers during this unprecedented time. It seemed like a great idea at the time. A way to stay on top of the demands that our community was facing on a daily level. It has been really well-received and filled a definite need.

What I didn’t think about, at the time, was how much writing, designing and creating we were going to need to do to keep up with a weekly magazine, along with our normal daily demands of producing daily Enewsletters, updating websites, social media and planning for the regular monthly magazine. Not to mention navigating running a business in the midst of a global pandemic. Just a little to manage for a local family magazine! It’s been 20 years since I worked for a weekly – I forgot how much work they require!! Hats off to my amazing staff for navigating it all with me with grace, humor and grit! Great Job! We hope you have enjoyed reading all of our mini mags as much as we enjoyed producing them! On that note, I’d love to know what you need right now. What kind of support would be most helpful? Are you looking for ways to navigate this time with your kids? Looking for tricks/hacks on working from home? Want to think about anything else but COVID-19? Need some good distractions?? Send in what you are looking for and we will do our best to support you. We have been here for 32 years and seen Houston/USA/ World go through terrible tragedies, storms and financial disasters. We know that we will get through this and be the better for it. It is just going to take patience, kindness and intelligent guidance from our leaders. Be that leader for your family and/or community. Let’s teach/ show our kids how this is done. Our community will come out HoustonStrong once again! Be safe. Be smart. Be well!


WE’RE PERSONALIZING CARE. ONE PATIENT AT A TIME. Keeping you and your family healthy. It’s your primary focus, and ours. At Memorial Hermann Medical Group, we understand busy families and hectic schedules. That’s why we deliver health care designed around you. Your needs. Your preferences. Your convenience. With over 60 practices in Greater Houston, we’re ready to put you first. Looking for a primary care physician? Call our New Patient Scheduling team today.

832.658.MHMG (6464) 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., 7 days a week

Advancing health. Personalizing care.

memorialhermann.org/mhmg May 2020

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Ready or Not,

Here Comes Summer! written by Christa Melnyk Hines | photos by Chubby Cheeks Photography


his past spring may have been full of a sense of anxiety and apprehension about what would happen next as we all grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic. Are you dreaming about a summer that’s a little more carefree, creative and spontaneous?

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HIT PAUSE. Rather than vault into summer, ease into it. Even if you’ve been stuck in the house over the past few months due to the Coronavirus, you’ve probably fallen into a day-to-day routine that keeps your kids relatively engaged. “Use the first few weeks of summer like a detox from

routine activities,” says mom of three Shannon Kinney-Duh, holistic life and spiritual coach, A Free Spirit Life. TIP: Brainstorm a list of summer desires/activities together. Mindfully, answer questions like: What do I/ we want summer to look like? More down time? More family connection? Less running

around? And remember, free activities count too. KinneyDuh’s sons enjoy making stopmotion movies, writing plays, painting at the park, water balloon fights and movie nights in the backyard.

BOREDOM IS OKAY. Kinney-Duh suggests we look at boredom as a creative opportunity. Boredom, she says

“invites kids’ creativity to kick in, providing their deep need to play more with a space to flourish.” Multiple studies show that kids, who are given the time and space for creativity and personal expression without adult interference, turn out to be more flexible to change, stronger problem solvers and innovators. “Children need time to immerse themselves in creative activities, a place that feels safe to express ideas that are unconventional, and encouragement to explore the unknown so they can discover what they enjoy and unlock a universe of possibilities,” writes Helen Hadani, a researcher at the Center for Childhood Creativity, in her paper Inspiring a Generation to Create: Critical Components of Creativity in Children. TIP: Keep a space in your home that allows for freewheeling creative expression. Stock it with painting, drawing and craft supplies, inexpensive cameras, recycled objects, and building materials.

STRIKE A BALANCE. For some of us, envisioning long days without a plan causes our brain synapses to crackle and pop with alarm. Without structure, won’t our kids spend the next two and half months fighting or turning into houseplants playing video games? Of course, we also don’t want to spend the entire summer peeling our sweaty selves in and out of the car as we run our kids from one scheduled activity to another. “All too often we fall into the ‘too much/not enough’ trap,” Kinney-Duh says. “We end up filling our days with obligations and too many activities with this underlying feeling that if we don’t, we somehow aren’t doing enough for our kids. This cycle can easily leave us feeling tired, overwhelmed and depleted.” Decide what a happy medium looks like and what your priorities are, including your needs for self-care.

TIP: Ask questions like: What types of skills would I like my kids to work on this summer? What are they interested in doing? Could a responsible sitter help run my kids around a few times a week? What are ways I can recharge and care for myself to ensure I show up feeling present, patient and engaged with my family?

PROVIDE SIMPLE STRUCTURE. While summer is meant to be more laid back, providing a framework around the days helps kids feel secure and grounded. A sense of structure is especially important for children with sensory, attention or impulse control issues. They “benefit greatly from monitoring and feedback during the summer to stay on track, maintain and improve communication skills,” says parent and life coach Sara Minges, M.S., Playful Awareness. TIP: Plan weekday mornings for more structured activities and the afternoons for free play. Perhaps designate Sunday evenings as s’mores nights with friends or Fridays as pizza/game nights.

BE REALISTIC. When planning your family’s summer vacation, take into account each family member’s interests and build in time to relax and take breaks from each other. “Too many activities and not enough ‘chill time’ can push everyone’s last nerve,” Minges says. Instead of focusing on creating the perfect vacation, remain flexible. While you can plan for some variables, you can’t control the weather, a moody teenager, or your two-year-old’s inopportune meltdown while going through airport security. “Any personality, irritability or anxiety issues experienced during the year will still be there and may become more pronounced,” Minges says.

TIP: Choose a vacation destination with activities that appeal to each member of your family. Remind your kids of the importance of flexibility. “They may not have the extras or comforts they are used to when traveling such as comfy pillows, TV, separate bathrooms and beds, favorite foods, or friends to play with,” Minges says.

MAKE A FAMILY MEDIA PLAN. Establish your family’s technology rules as soon as summer starts to avoid tech overload and battles over time allowances. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no tech time for toddlers, other than video chatting, and only one hour a day for preschoolers. Set reasonable guidelines for your older children to ensure they’re getting plenty of exercise, good sleep and face-to-face time with family and peers. TIP: Set aside one tech-free day a week. “That means no technology at all,” Kinney-Duh says. “It may sound hard and you may feel restless at first, but it’s worth it!”

INSPIRE CREATIVE CONNECTION. Document the summer with photos and stories in a summer journal that your whole family can contribute to, including ups and downs. Chances are the moments when things went awry are those that you will recall with laughter later. TIP: Minges suggests creating a “wall of gratitude.” Using postit notes or slips of paper and markers, each family member writes their favorite moments from their vacation and pins it to the wall. Encourage younger children to draw pictures of their favorite moments. Don’t forget to take a photo of your wall!

SAVOR SUMMER. Notice and embrace the unplanned moments when family connection unfurls. “Our kids grow up fast and the summer seems to be shorter and shorter every year,” KinneyDuh says. “Slowing down and savoring the moment is really what summer is all about.”

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I appreciate about my mom Bethany Rupp and her boys Levi (oldest) and Brady (youngest). They live in Augusta Pines.

written by Christina Katz photo by Willow & Pine Photography

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It’s May which means flowers are blooming, birds are singing and it’s time to celebrate your mother, grandmother or another maternal figure in your life. I never fully appreciated my mother until I moved out to go to college and then later became a mother myself.

Here is a list of some of the attributes I appreciate about my mom:

it allows me to feel like the comedian for a moment.



Some of my first memories are going to the library with my mom. Thanks to my mom’s love of reading, I’m a voracious reader and a regular at our local library. My kids also go to the library every week and they love reading too.

As a child when I came home from school there was always a yummy treat to eat. Now my kids look forward to her delicious desserts.

9. SHE’S ORGANIZED. As a child, I could easily find everything due to her organization. I’m an organized person thanks to her which have helped me receive high grades in school, be successful at jobs and figure out my children’s busy schedules. It also helps with paying bills on time and other household-related tasks.

8. SHE LAUGHS AT ALL MY JOKES. Whenever I tell a joke or make a humorous comment, she always laughs. It is nice to be able to make someone else happy and

6. SHE DID MY LAUNDRY. Until I moved out, my clean clothes just magically appeared in my room. Now that I’m a mom of three children with a minimum of one wash per day, I can fully appreciate how difficult it was to clean and put away all my clothes for 18 years.

5. SHE GREETED ME WHEN I GOT HOME FROM SCHOOL. I didn’t think this was significant until my mom got a temporary job for a few months

during the holiday season. Even though I was old enough to drive a car, I didn’t like coming home to an empty house and missed seeing my mom. I was glad when she no longer had the job and was there when I got home from school.

4. SHE LOVES PLAYING BOARD GAMES. As a child, I loved playing board games like Clue and my mom’s favorite Scrabble. Now my kids love to play board games with her. This is a great way to build social skills.

3. SHE IS GOOD AT SPELLING AND GRAMMAR. Before there was spell check, my mom corrected my school papers because I’m horrible at spelling and often make grammar errors. To this day she will sometimes read my writing first and make corrections (since spell check isn’t as good as my mom).

2. SHE’S MY #1 FAN. Whenever I’m successful she is there to congratulate me. Even when I fail at something, she encourages me to try again or helps me figure out how to succeed at my next attempt. She supports me when I’m trying new things or experiencing difficulty. And the number #1 attribute I appreciate about my mom is...

SHE LOVES BEING MY MOM. What are the 10 things you appreciate about your mom? I bet she’d love to know. Instead of sending her an expensive gift or sappy card, why not give her a handwritten note with her top 10 list?! She’d probably treasure it more than you know! Cheryl Maguire holds a Master of Counseling Psychology degree. She is married and is the mother of twins and a daughter. You can find her at Twitter@CherylMaguire05

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Immediate Appointments Available! New Patients Welcome! Call (832) 548 5000 or visit LegacyCommunityHealth.org to make an appointment.

We accept HMO/PPOs, Medicaid and CHIP, plus offer programs to reduce the cost of services. May 2020

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15 Ways to Earn Extra Money as a Mom written by Cheryl Maguire


hen my youngest child entered first grade, the questions began. “Are you going back to work now that your kids are in school all day?” “What will you do for six hours when your kids are in school?” You get the idea.

BABYSITTER OR NANNY Some moms I know tend other kids while watching their own. If you are unable to find a job through friends and family, try looking on websites such as Sittercity, Care.com, or UrbanSitter. Pay range: $11–18 per hour

TaskRabbit matches you with people who need a task done around their houses such as cleaning, moving, furniture assembly, or home improvement. After you complete the job, you receive payment, minus a 15% TaskRabbit fee. Pay range: You set the rate; certain skills earn more money.


wanted to earn some extra money to help offset the high cost of college tuition. More importantly, I wanted flexibility. So I began freelance writing for different publications. Over time, my income has increased, and I’m hoping to save enough to pay for at least one of my kids’ college educations.

If freelance writing isn’t your thing, or even if it is and you want to add another job, here are some ways you can earn extra cash while remaining a stay-at-home mom like me.

CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE My friend used to provide customer service from her house through Liveops. She was able to create her own flexible hours by signing up for time blocks. She started taking calls for infomercials, then auto claims for Allstate and orders for Pizza Hut. The only cost to her was a dedicated phone line, which was $22 per month. Pay range: $10–20 per hour

TEACH ENGLISH There are a few different companies through which you can teach English online from your home. Most of the companies require you to have a college degree and be proficient in the English language. Some of the companies to investigate are VIPKID, Qkids, and Teachaway. Pay range: $15–25 per hour



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After correcting the misinformation—it is not really six hours when you factor in the varying bus schedules—I politely let them know that I wasn’t concerned about how I would occupy my time. I was busy volunteering at the school and doing other household tasks, but I also

May 2020

A recent article in Money Magazine described the job of being an Amazon delivery person through Amazon Flex. Drivers must use their own car and an app to select a block of time to deliver packages. Rates vary by state and time of year; during Christmas you can receive higher rates. Pay range: $18–25 per hour

ETSY SHOP OWNER Etsy is a website where you can set up your own store. Most people sell crafts, jewelry, clothing, home décor, or vintage items. I bought a graphic design for my website on Etsy, though, so you are not limited to those categories. Etsy charges a $.20 listing fee, a 5% transaction fee, and 3% + $.25 payment fee. Pay range: The range varies, but one website claims that a shop owner earns $70k per month!

PET SITTER A friend of mine started a pet-sitting business to board dogs in her house five years ago. She used the website Rover to set up her rate and availability. In addition to boarding pets, you can also walk dogs or watch pets and the owner’s house. The Rover website is not limited to dogs. Rover takes 20% of whatever fees you earn.

ONLINE TRANSCRIPTIONIST There are several companies that will hire you to work from home transcribing audio speech to written documents. The audio could be from a doctor, lawyer, court hearing, or freelance writer. Some companies don’t require any experience. There are transcription courses available for a fee. Some transcription companies are Rev, Scribie, and CrowdSurf. Pay range: The Rev website states the average earning is $245 per month.

Pay range: Set your own rates. My friend earns $40 per night per dog and sometimes has three dogs per week, or $840 per week minus the Rover fee. The website states you can earn up to $1000 per month.

FITNESS INSTRUCTOR A few of my friends are fitness instructors, such as spin, body pump, or TRX teachers. These require taking certification tests that can cost around $300. Then you need to recertify every two years, which costs roughly $100. My friends enjoy the flexibility of the job and the fact that they get paid to work out. Pay range: $10-$30 per hour, depending on the gym and class taught. Plus, most gyms offer free membership to their instructors. Some offer free childcare while you are teaching.

PAID FOCUS GROUP PARTICIPANT Market research companies pay focus groups for their reactions to or opinions of their products. Usually, group members participate for one to two hours. To participate in focus groups, you can sign up with companies such as WatchLab, User Interviews or FocusGroup.

You can list your house for free on the Set Scouter website to rent out for a movie or TV show. It doesn’t matter where you live. You never know when Hollywood might come knocking. Pay range: $250–1,000 per day

FASHION STYLIST Stitch Fix is a clothing subscription service. The stylists work from home and help other people create stylish outfits based on their budget, personality, and fashion tastes. You need to commit to working 15–30 hours per week. You also must participate in an onsite six-hour training course. Pay range: $14–16 per hour


Pay range: $100–400 per group, and sometimes a free meal.

TEST APPS OR WEBSITES Userlytics is a website that will match you with an app or website that is in the developmental phase and wants user feedback before it is launched. You will offer your thoughts about the app or website by verbally answering questions. Most projects take 15-20 minutes to complete.

You might think you need a teaching degree to be a tutor, but according to Tutors.com, anyone with a high school diploma or GED can be a tutor; you need only complete a tutor training program. Once you are certified, you can set up a free profile at Tutors.com to find jobs. Pay range: Pay range: $25–80 per hour

Pay range: Website states the range is anywhere between $5-$90 per tested project.

UMPIRE OR REFEREE There are many different youth sports that need someone to officiate, such as soccer, softball and baseball, lacrosse, field hockey, and more. Most referees need to attend certification training and complete a background check. Contact your local sports league to find out the requirements. Pay range: $25–50 per hour or per game


You probably won’t get rich doing any of these jobs, but the extra income might help pay for all the added expenses of having children like camp, sports, or college. For me, I enjoy earning a paycheck, but the real benefit is socializing with other people. Being a stay-at-home mom can feel isolating, especially now that my kids are older and

no longer at home during the day. I like interacting with other writers and editors, even it is only virtually. Of course, you never know—with that side business of yours, you could end up being the next Martha Stewart one day. A mom can dream, right?

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F E AT U R E | M O M L I F E

WHAT KIND OF MOM ARE YOU? Aren’t we all a little guilty of labeling other moms? Sure, we all share the common goal of nurturing a happy, healthy family, and we make different choices to get there. But just for fun, have you ever considered what “mom” category you most likely fall into? written by Christa Melnyk Hines IT IS A BUSY SCHOOL NIGHT. WHAT IS FOR DINNER? a. Tofu stir-fry b. Pizza c. Crockpot meal d. Hotdogs e. Mac and cheese f. One of your wholesome pre-made meals from the freezer

YOUR FAMILY PET IS A: a. Rescue dog or cat b. Cat or purse-sized puppy c. Golden retriever or a labrador d. A boxer or German shepherd e. Dogs, cats, fish, gerbils... we have a houseful f. An electronic kitten

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YOUR KIDS WANT TO GO TO AN AMUSEMENT PARK WITH FRIENDS. YOU: a. Say okay, but with strict instructions that they are not to eat anything with artificial colors. b. Warn them not to ruin those jeans you got them. They cost a fortune. c. Look online to see if there are any coupon deals. d. Insist on going, too. You are never too old for roller coasters! e. Say no problem and offer to drive. f. Agree, but secretly begin agonizing about the safety of the rides.

YOUR 10-YEAR-OLD IS BEGGING FOR THE LATEST SMARTPHONE. YOU SAY: a. No way. You can use a flip phone when you need to reach me. b. Yes, let’s go shopping! c. Okay, but first we are going to draw up a contract together and discuss the rules and responsibilities of owning a smartphone. d. Well, I don’t want you to be the only one of your friends who doesn’t have one. e. Sure, whatever. Let’s add you to the family plan. f. Are you kidding? A phone will expose your developing brain to harmful radiation.

YOUR CHILD HAS AN EARLY MORNING SOCCER GAME. YOU ARE MOST LIKELY TO WEAR: a. Yoga pants and an organic cotton t-shirt. b. Designer jeans, trendy boots, hip jacket and a cute hat. c. Comfy jeans and your favorite t-shirt. d. Team shirt, capris and a great attitude. e. Oops, forgot to do laundry. Pull on something relatively clean. f. Soccer causes concussions. My kids don’t play soccer.

YOU RELAX BY: a. Making homemade soaps and gardening. b. Shopping and a spa day. c. Relax? What? d. Cheering on your favorite team. e. Sleeping in and watching old movies. f. Cleaning and organizing.

A VACATION FOR YOUR FAMILY LOOKS LIKE: a. Camping. b. Relaxing at a beach-side resort. c. Disney World and a full schedule of activities. d. Wherever my child’s tournament is also being played. e. A leisurely drive to your destination with stops at historical landmarks and tourist attractions along the way. f. Family lake house.

HOW MANY EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES IS EACH OF YOUR CHILDREN IN? a. 0-2 b. 2-3 c. 4-5 d. 6+ e. I don’t have a clue.

YOUR CAR: a. Has a picture of the earth on it. b. Is detailed at least once a month. c. Has your website on the rear windshield. d. Features decals of your kids’ names and the sports they play. e. Is littered with crumbs, sippy cups and toys. f. Is meticulously clean.

YOUR FAVORITE WORK-OUT IS: a. Om! Yoga all the way. b. Tennis. c. Jazzercize. Group exercise is motivating. d. Running. Walking is for whiners. e. Chasing my kids. f. Weights and cardio with a personal trainer.

YOUR FRIEND INVITES YOU TO JOIN HER FOR A MANICURE. YOU SAY: a. Come over! I’ll show you how to do an inexpensive, all-natural mani that you’ll love. b. Sure, I could use a little pampering. c. I’d love to and then post a photo of the two of you enjoying your time on Facebook. d. Absolutely! I wonder if they can put a baseball design on my nails? e. Fun! Let’s have lunch, too! f. Hmmm. Does this place clean their tools between clients?

YOUR TODDLER HAS A MELT-DOWN AT THE STORE. YOU: a. Hand him homemade fruit leather you stashed in your purse. He is quickly appeased. b. Are surprised. This undesirable behavior clearly runs on your husband’s side. c. Take a photo of your screaming tot and post it to Facebook with the breezy status “Another day in paradise!” Your friends quickly commiserate. d. Annoyed, you pick him up, abandon the cart and flee the store. e. Allow him to carry on. He’s only embarrassing himself. f. Get worried and wonder if he is acting out because he is coming down with something.

YOUR PARENTING MANTRA IS: a. “Eat real food. Live simply. Recycle like there is no tomorrow.” b. “To be the best mom, you have to take care of yourself.” c. “Need something done? Ask a busy mom!” d. “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” e. “Keep calm and carry on.” f. “Cleanliness is next to godliness!”

YOU ORGANIZE YOUR FAMILY BY: a. Using an old-fashioned day-planner. b. Hiring a virtual assistant. c. Plugging everything into your smartphone. d. Recording all activities on the family wall calendar, color-coded according to the family member. e.Taking a fly-by-the-seat-ofyour-pants approach. It will all work out. f. Each person has a folder

ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. YOU: a. Sadly drop your child off and start researching how to home school. b. Skip through the morning routine singing “It’s the most wonderful day of the year!” c. Post Instagram photos of your kids dressed for the first day in Pinterestinspired poses. d. Give your kids a pep talk before dropping them off. e. Weep at the passing of another summer. f. Deliver an extra supply of disinfectant wipes to the teacher.

YOUR KIDS ARE PERFORMING IN THE SCHOOL MUSICAL. YOU: a. Prepare a healthy dinner before performance time. Good food will help them focus. b. Work with the music teacher to ensure the costume designs are just right. c. Arrive an hour and half before performance time. How else are you going to visit with friends and get a good seat for your YouTube recording? d. Rehearse daily with your kids. You would be mortified if they screwed up. e. Remind your kids to practice their lines and assume they have it under control. f. Stay awake worrying the night before. What if a piece of equipment falls on their heads? Could they fall off of the stage? You’ve heard about these things happening.

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The Results

IF MOST OF YOUR ANSWERS WERE: being a better mother. Your home further reflects your creativity and is a show stopper that is as comfortable as it is stylish. Whether you shop at garage sales or high-end department stores, you always know what looks good and your kids generally share your sense of style.

(A) CRUNCHY MAMA From food to cleansers, you take an all-natural approach to life. You are committed to a healthy lifestyle and to feeding your family wholesome, unprocessed foods. You either belong to a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) for locally sourced foods or you grow your own. You typically shop at places like Whole Foods and Sprouts with your cloth bags in hand. If you wear makeup, you keep it simple. You opted for a natural birth with your children, hired a doula and had a birth plan in place when you were pregnant. You have a “breast is best” philosophy for feeding your babies. You may have opted to homeschool your kids. What others admire about you: Your commitment to living a more holistic, simpler life.

What others admire about you: Your charming personality and fashion sense.

(C) CONNECTED MAMA Social media has created a perfect storm of connection for you. You not only get to chat daily with friends and family from afar, you can share entertaining bits and pieces of your daily life with friends who may be right around the corner. Networking comes with ease and you manage to find friends where ever you go. You frequently organize moms night outs, get togethers and events. Your smart phone is your favorite device. Of all the moms listed, you are probably the most sleep deprived. But you thrive on busyness and tend to be exceptionally organized.

(D) SPORTS MAMA You love sports as much as your kids. Your competitive nature can get you a little riled up during games. You push your children to always do their best whether in school, sports or life. You typically wear your hair in a pony tail, sporting a sun visor and a t-shirt that says “Baseball/Soccer/Football Mom.” You come to games prepared with a cooler full of healthy snacks, bottled water, blankets, an umbrella and a comfortable bleacher chair. Your favorite mode of transportation is your SUV or minivan to accommodate the sports equipment, random water bottles and any team members who need rides. As something of a mother hen, you carry a first-aid kit and can always be depended on to offer praise and encouragement to every player. What others admire about you: Your can-do, up-beat and playful personality.

What others admire about you: Your vast network and your resourcefulness.

(B) BUTTERFLY MAMA You rarely have a hair out of place and other moms are constantly wondering how you manage to look so classy and put together all of the time. You have a quiet confidence and own your fashionable style. You not only care about how you look, you also have the attitude that self-care is important to houston family magazine


May 2020

(E) FREE SPIRIT MAMA You tend to take a go-withthe-flow approach to life and prefer to live for the present. Your favorite outfit is whatever is clean and ready to throw on first thing in the morning. You don’t let a screaming child rush you into decisions you aren’t comfortable with. You aren’t

one to hurry to urgent care the minute your child sneezes, falls or nibbles on some sand. You don’t worry too much about the daily messes and chaos of life. Your attitude is that inconveniences and frustrations will sort themselves out eventually. For now, you say, let’s celebrate the moments and embrace the journey. What others admire about you: Your reliable, even-keeled sense of calm.

(F) MAMA BEAR Committed to the health and wellness of the family, you are an avid reader of medical news and child development books. You tend to worry about your family frequently and pay close attention to any sniffles or complaints of body aches. You frequently evaluate if your kids’ behavior is due to illness, allergy or some other disorder and you aren’t shy about consulting with the pediatrician.Your kids knew about stranger danger and how germs spread before any other kid on the block. You keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in the car, the house and in your purse. You are happiest in a clean, well-organized environment. What others admire about you: Your nurturing, fiercely protective spirit.

“Mama Bear” Christa Melnyk Hines is a nationally published freelance writer and the mom of two teen boys.


my strongest subject and it’s not yours. That I always have enough snacks for you in the pantry, and that I remember to buy two pounds of meat, instead of one, for recipes. You definitely have a bigger appetite these days.


Mom and son duo, Angel and Jonah Reynaud from The Woodlands, TX.

That I can encourage you to be your best in whatever role your coach feels is right for you, forgetting about playing time and focusing on teamwork and skill development. That I relax about how much you enjoy Fortnite and other video games, savoring the time you are in my house and under my roof even as you scamper through a virtual world. That I continue to bring you a bowl of cereal in the morning as you fall back asleep on the couch before school. It’s a little thing you could do for yourself, but I don’t mind. That it will continue to be easy between you and me when I tease you about those girls you message on Snapchat. That I have the agility to dodge the laundry you leave on your bedroom floor and the patience to teach you – again – how to fold clothes and put them away.

To My Teenage Son: What I Want For Mother’s Day From You written by Katy M. Clark | photo by Alison Ross Photography


know better than to expect a handmade card from you this year. Or a necklace made out of macaroni noodles or a stone painted with the words, “Mom, you rock!” After all, you are in high school. I will always treasure those cards and gifts from when you were younger, but what I wish for on Mother’s Day now that you are a teen has changed. So, as you roll out of bed, probably forgetting about my

special day even though your dad reminded you at least once, let me share what I want for Mother’s Day. These are the gifts that would mean the world to me this Mother’s Day: That I may always have a full pack of gum from which you can mooch. That my front seat continues to be a welcoming place for you to sit and chat with me, with plenty of

legroom as you keep growing. That we always bond over our cat, talking to her in baby voices and cracking each other up. (You could step it up in the litter box cleaning department, though.) That you will always want to tell me about who you eat lunch with at school. That I can help you with your Language Arts homework when you ask because you know it was

Okay, I see your face. You are wondering how you can wrap any of these “gifts” or if I’m serious about them at all. Please know that I am. But don’t worry about getting me everything. The truth is that I’ve already received the greatest gift this Mother’s Day: The gift to be your mom, especially during these teen years. Stop making that face. I’m serious. And yes, you can have a piece of gum. It’s in my purse. You know where. Katy M. Clark is a writer who celebrates her imperfections as a mom at ExperiencedBadMom. com.

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How to Talk with Children with ASD and Other Special Needs about Coronavirus Teaching Tools for these Children While School is Closed Mary Jane Weiss, Ph.D., BCBA-D has been at Endicott College for the past eight years and directs the Department of ABA, including the master’s and Ph.D. programs in ABA. Dr. Weiss also does research and training at the Melmark agency. Dr. Weiss has worked in the field of ABA and Autism for more than 35 years. written by Mary Jane Weiss, Ph.D.

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May 2020


hildren with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and all children with special needs, are going through as tough a time as anyone during the current crisis. In some ways, they may be more confused and unsettled than usual. Parents home with their children under these circumstances are wondering how they can help their kids and how they, themselves, can cope with the added stress. Mary Jane Weiss, Ph.D., Executive Director of Programs in ABA & Autism at Endicott College, has these ideas for parents: • Individuals with autism benefit from structure and clarity. • Maintain a daily routine that includes basics such as a standard wake-up time, getting dressed in the morning, eating meals on time; make a daily schedule so they know what to expect each day. • Remember to provide visual cues for tasks and activities. You can create your own without much effort using available household materials such, as a white board or post-its. • It is vital to get exercise every day and to break up sedentary schoolwork times with active breaks. • Use preferred activities as motivation. Specifically, follow less preferred activities (such as classroom worksheets) with highly preferred leisure activities, such as playing a game on the iPad or going out to play in the yard. • Focus on maintaining the skills that the child has mastered, rather than on learning new skills. The most important goal is to ensure that skills are not lost. Talk with your child’s teachers about the most important skills to practice and maintain.

• Discuss the goals your child has been working on at school with your child’s teacher; prioritize skills that should be continued and determine how to place others on hold for a short time. Be sure to talk about how to incorporate motivation systems into the work you do with your child. • Think of fun ways to include children in daily household activities, like cooking and laundry. Many skills can be reinforced through these daily tasks, and they provide time for socialization with family members. For example, everyone can be included in matching socks, sorting items by color, measuring ingredients, stirring food, etc. • Ensure that information about Coronavirus is presented in a manner that is developmentally appropriate and that focuses on behaviors (e.g., maintaining distance, washing hands). Use visual strategies to help them demonstrate these skills (e.g. picture cues for hand washing). • Address the reduction in actual social contact by using available videoconferencing capabilities. This can be done with friends and relatives, but also teachers and classmates, if they’re available. • Limit exposure to news that might be worrisome and hard to comprehend. Instead, present material that is appropriate. • In terms of discussing COVID-19 itself, Dr. Weiss reports that several ASD-related organizations have published guides for parents with children on the spectrum. One is The Autism Educator. It has a free Coronavirus Social Narrative to help alleviate the fear and anxiety

many children may be experiencing at this time. • Dr. Weiss says the Autism Society of North Carolina has a great visual storyboard that helps children learn how to avoid sharing germs to stay healthy while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a graphic for children that teaches the best way to wash one’s hands. • Finally, Autism Speaks has a guide on talking to your child about tragedy, six tips for the autism community. A challenge, says Dr. Weiss, is focusing on simple messages. For academic tasks, it might be helpful to use materials available on the computer. She offers the following resources and learning tools for those with ASD and other special needs: Choiceworks - Scheduling and Calendar - May help individuals understand the length of confinement. The schedule can be used for daily activities. Very user-friendly. Starfall - Educational Tools for Young Learners - This is especially helpful for reading and pre-reading children. Engaging game-based-learning. Headsprout - This is helpful for pre-reading and reading children. Much of the learning is game-based, with lots of highinterest activities. Instructional sessions for component skills such as using the mouse are available. Razkids /Reading A-Z - Razkids is also very helpful for reading and pre-reading children. Many instructional materials are available and there are 29 reading levels. The variety of topics is extensive and can be matched to student interests. There is also a Science A to Z section available. Kahn Academy - This is useful for a wide range of academic review activities, including those

for older learners or those with established skills. Singapore Math - Useful for learning and review of math facts and concepts through Grade 4. Some printable worksheets are available. The important message, during this time, advises Dr. Weiss, is to give children on the spectrum plenty of love and attention while also trying to maintain “business as usual” with set routines and schedules. Keep children engaged with activities they like during breaks from schoolwork and go easy on the talk of Coronavirus, even when speaking with other adults as they may understand more than you realize, and they may pick up on tone or parental anxiety. The material presented, as well as the instructional resources, she emphasizes, will help parents get through this trying period in American life. Endicott College offers doctorate, master’s, bachelor’s, and associate degree programs at its campus on the scenic coast of Beverly, Mass., with additional sites in Boston, online, and at U.S. and international locations. Endicott remains true to its founding principle of integrating professional and liberal arts education with internship opportunities across disciplines. For more, visit endicott.edu.

Read even more articles on special needs children online houstonfamilymagaine.com

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countdown to college:

Tips to Help Students Find Their Fit

by Janeen Lewis


he high school road to college may seem like four of the most challenging years families face. There are deadlines, tough financial choices and parents and children don’t always agree on colleges. If that isn’t stressful enough, every year there are tasks that high school students should be checking off their to-do list. How do parents help their high school students navigate all the details and decisions they must make during their countdown to college? Here is some advice from the pros -- a parent who’s been through the process and a college admissions counselor.

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It all starts with a conversation between parent and child. But often the question that starts the conversation is the wrong one, according to Rick Clark, an undergraduate admissions counselor. “Parents ask ‘Where do you want to go to college?’ “Clark says. The biggest question that parents don’t ask or lose sight of is ‘Why do you want to go to college?’ “ That is why it is important, and should be followed up with questions like “What do you hope to get out of this? What do you want to study? What do you want to do long-term?” says Clark.













Rachael Fain, a mom of three, stresses the importance of the GPA during freshman year. Fain’s daughter, Hannah, graduated from college in 2017. Fain also has a son, Matthew, who is a junior in college. “My children started taking high school classes in eighth grade,” Fain says. “A GPA is harder to bring up in junior and senior year, so our goal their eighth and ninth grade years was to keep their GPA high.” The freshman year is also important for getting on a challenging track of classes. “Course choice is important,” Clark says. “Math in particular is something students need to pay attention to.” Taking challenging classes in high school helped Fain’s son Matthew make his college decision. He decided to pursue his degree at the University where he took dual credit courses when he was in high school.

Tenth grade is a good year for self-reflection. Students can take personality tests and the PSAT to figure out their strengths and weaknesses. They can also start thinking about the kind and size of school they want to attend. Understanding what they are good at will help high school students be realistic about the school that is the best fit for them.

“The biggest question that parents don’t ask or lose sight of is ‘Why do you want to go to college?’ ”

Grades are crucial during the junior year. Junior year also involves a more challenging track of classes and leadership roles in clubs and activities. It’s hard to do it all, so how important are the extracurricular activities? It depends on the student and the college. “At one of my children’s colleges, extracurricular activities were really important,” Fain said. “At the other one, they didn’t’ matter as much.” Clark says one out of every four students who apply to the school where he works are accepted. “Most students that apply have good test scores, good grades and good courses. Then the review committee asks, ‘Is this kid a good fit for us?’” Clark says they look for students who are innovative or who are entrepreneurs, and they ask, “How does this student use their time?” “If they are a good student who goes home and plays video games, what will they contribute to the school?” Clark says. But it stands out if students are responsible, if they work a job or if they make an impact some way.

Clark says the most important thing about making a college decision is finding a good fit. “Fit doesn’t really mean can the student do the work, but are they aligned well to the school.” For example, Clark says two universities can look the same on paper. A student will apply to each with the same grades and same test scores and get accepted to one and not the other. “That is what fit is,” Clark says. “How a student fits with a school, not just from an academic standpoint.” If you and your child do not agree on the same school, Clark says how you approach the topic may resolve a lot of conflict over the situation. “Continue to tell your kids you love them, and that no matter where they go to college, it will be great.” The good news is that there are many schools across the country and probably more than one of them will match your student’s personality and academic standing. “If you or your child feels overwhelmed, take a deep breath and remember there is a school for every student,” says Fain. Janeen Lewis is a writer, teacher and mom to Andrew and Gracie. She has been published in several parenting publications across the country. May 2020

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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

Will it or won’t it happen?!


he jury is still out on so many things right now. With our city opening up for partial business on May 1st, people are venturing out into the world again with trepidation, hopefully. While many businesses are still closed to the public, the only thing we know for sure is the kids will be completing their academic year from the comfort of their own homes this month. Parents and kids alike are climbing the walls trying to balance their work/school work and their playtime. I anticipate houston family magazine


May 2020

after another month of this, everyone is going to be eager for the kids to get out of the house and do something ‘normal’. With that in mind, I spoke with our friends in the camping community to see what their thoughts are on the upcoming summer camp season. While they mentioned that we are still in a ‘see as we go’ mode, plans are in place to open up summer camp season with major adjustments. Some of the adjustments mentioned are: • Later start dates in June • Hiring/training additional

• • • • •

staff to handle additional cleaning requirements Ordering ample supplies to comply with local, state & CDC requirements in regards to COVID-19 Implementing small group activities Additional Screening Tactics New sanitation practices Offsite field trips will be cancelled Curbside drop off / pick up will be in place

If you have not booked camp for your child this

summer, you may want to contact the ones you had in mind soon. I have a feeling that they may fill up faster than usual given the last six weeks we’ve had! Know whatever you do for your family, this is a time in their lives they will never forget. Let’s make it one they can look back on and be proud of. Hopefully they will remember this as a time their family became stronger. Be safe. Be smart & be well.

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



ow will you know which camp is the best fit for your child? There are a number of factors to consider, including cost, distance, session lengths and hours, staff expertise and ratio to campers, age range, facilities and philosophy. Among the most important questions to ask, however, are whether the camp will have activities that appeal to your child, and how comfortable you both are with the camp environment. When it’s the right one, kids have a great time and come home with many happy memories. Check out our summer camp directory for a comprehensive guide to camps available here in Houston, as well as throughout Texas and the nation.

Alliance Fencing Academy



713.410.6655 Houston & Conroe, TX

AGES: 5-14

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.

TYPE OF CAMP: Day Camp, Art, Technology, Sports

Registration now open for summer camps at Asia Society Texas Center, where cultures, art, and ideas converge!

Asia Society Texas Center asiasociety.org/texas 713.496.9901 Houston, TX

Building Brains LEGO Engineering buildingbrains.biz

AGES: 6-12

TYPE OF CAMP: Full Day, Half-Day

888.55.BUILD 10 Locations in Houston

AGES: 3-12

Camp Allen


TYPE OF CAMP: Overnight

979.412.0376 Navasota, TX

AGES: 3rd-12th graders

Camp Champions


TYPE OF CAMP: Overnight

830.598.2571 Marble Falls, TX

AGES: 5-17

LEGO I: campers will learn math and science by building simple machines with lego and K’Nex. Fun themes like circus fun, and transportation. LEGO II: campers will learn to build simple machines using gears, levers and pulleys and then motorize.

Since 1921, Camp Allen has been providing kids with the best week of their lives! Located one hour northwest of Houston, Camp Allen offers week long residential camp sessions for ages 8-18. Camp Allen is the largest Episcopal summer camp program in the nation.

Camp Champions has created a tradition of excellence since 1967. With the facility and staff expected from a premier camp, Champions is distinguished by its developmental focus on building strong kids.

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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 Camp Invention


TYPE OF CAMP: Academic

800.968.4332 Multiple Locations

AGES: Grades K-6

Camp Olympia


TYPE OF CAMP: Overnight

936.594.2541 Trinity, TX

AGES: 6-16

Camp Lantern Creek


TYPE OF CAMP: All Girl, Overnight

936.597.8225 Montgomery, Texas

AGES: 7-17


www.camppedia.com 646.421.4941 Houston, TX

TYPE OF CAMP: Academic, Adventure, Art/ Theatre, Half-day, Sports, Technology AGES: 4-17

Christian Youth Theater Houston www.cythouston.org/camps


281.580.4298 Houston, TX

AGES: 5-18


Camp InventionÂŽ is the nationally acclaimed, nonprofit summer enrichment program created by the National Inventors Hall of FameÂŽ (NIHF) for kindergarteners through 6th graders.

Camp Olympia is a private, overnight Texas Summer Camp for boys & girls ages 6-16 that offers one, two and three-week sessions with over 45 different activities choices for campers.

Camp Lantern Creek is a girls sleep away camp created so girls can find their voices, try new things, take risks, be cheered on, push boundaries and so much more.

Find camps the easy way! Camppedia makes it easy for parents to find hundreds of spring & summer day camps for kids ages 4-17. Parents can customize their search by location, hours, and activities all on one single platform.

Christian Youth Theater Houston is an after-school theater arts training program for kids aged 5-18.

Where dinos emerge from clay and physics is as easy as blowing bubbles

ENROLL TODAY! HMNS.org houston family magazine


May 2020

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 Claire School of Dance www.clairedance.com


713-880-5565 Houston, TX

AGES: 3-11

Club SciKidz Houston

http://houston.clubscikidz.com 713.376.5939 4 Locations in the Greater Houston Area

Cy-Fair Music and Arts

TYPE OF CAMP: Technology, Academic, Half-Day AGES: 4-15


TYPE OF CAMP: Art, Theatre

281.855.8855 Houston, TX

AGES: 4-13

Elite University Summer Camps www.elitesummercamps.com


855.931.2586 Houston, TX

AGES: 4-12

Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council www.gssjc.org

TYPE OF CAMP: Overnight

713.292.0300 Houston, TX

AGES: 5-18

Camps for toddlers to pre-teens. Dance and crafts: Frozen, Fairy Magic, Princess Camp, On Your Toes, Dance Intensive. Also Camp Cupcake and Oooh La La Paris! Camp.

Our Summer Camp season will offer up to 42 summer day camp themes (S.T.E.M-based courses). From Robotics to Rocket Science, and even Mobile Game Design, we certainly have something for everyone!

Creative and Fun Music and Art Summer Camps for Kids Ages 4 to 13. Guitar, Drums, Piano, Singing, Instrument Discovery, and Visual Arts at our Cypress, NW Houston location.

Elite University Summer Camps is proud to celebrate 15 years of innovative, interactive, educational camps! EUSC provides camps from the following departments: STEM, Athletics, Visual and Culinary Arts, and Performing Arts. Each weekly camp offers a fun field trip, before/after care, and a full day of activities.

Girl Scouts is the world’s preeminent organization for girls in grades K-12.


BRAIN CAMP Help Stop Your Teen’s Testing Anxiety Through Neuroscience Technology! Brain Camp is a two-week program for students entering the 10th through 12th grades looking to increase their ability to learn and test through peak performance neurofeedback. Space is Limited, Call Today for More Information.

3730 Kirby Drive, Suite 930 Houston, Texas 77098


drron@hnbraincenter.com www.hnbraincenter.com

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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 Houston Center for Contemporary Craft www.crafthouston.org


Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC) is a nonprofit visual arts center dedicated to advancing education about the process, product, and history of craft.

713.529.4848 Houston, TX

AGES: All Ages

Houston Humane Society www.houstonhumane.org

TYPE OF CAMP: Adventure, Academic

713.433.6421 Houston, TX

AGES: 7-13

Houston Neuroscience Brain Center www.hnbraincenter.com 713.299.6006 Houston, TX

iD Tech

www.iDTech.com 888.709.8324 Held at 150 Prestigious Campus Locations

iKids, Inc.

TYPE OF CAMP: Academic, Day Camp Ages: 10th - 12th grade

Companion Camp at Houston Humane Society is a day camp for kids ages 7-13 to learn about animals, animal welfare, and the work that goes into running a shelter and wellness clinic. Campers will experience a newfound love for animals, how to be an animal advocate and the science of caring for animals. Junior Camp Counselor positions open for ages 14-18. Weekly sessions June 1 - August 14. Teen weeks (ages 12-15) weeks of June 22 and July 20.

Houston Neuroscience Brain Center is a clinical research facility dedicated to optimizing the function of each person’s brain through individualized assessment, training, and education grounded in neuroscience. Our goal is to increase your child’s ability to learn and test.

iD Tech is the world leader in STEM education, with 450,000 alumni and over 20 years of experience. Summer programs for ages 7-19 are held at 150 prestigious campuses including NYU, Caltech, and Imperial College London. Students build in-demand skills for futures in coding, game development, robotics, and creative arts. Visit iDTech.com.

TYPE OF CAMP: STEM Education AGES: 7-19


TYPE OF CAMP: Art, Theatre, Academic

713.665.5200 Houston, TX

AGES: 3-12

iKids offers educational, creative, and recreational enrichment for children. After-School Programs, Summer Camp, and more! Fine Arts to Performing Arts, STEM to STEAM and everything in between!

Please support The Health Museum in its mission to inspire the wonder and curiosity about health, medical science, and the human body for all ages.

Donate Today! thehealthmuseum.org houston family magazine


May 2020

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 Kanakuk Kamps www.kanakuk.com

TYPE OF CAMP: Overnight

417. 266.3000 Branson, Missouri

AGES: 6-18

Kidz Building


TYPE OF CAMP: Academic

713.382.9301 Houston, TX

AGES: 6-14

Language Kids World www.languagekids.com

TYPE OF CAMP: Academic

281.565.1388 Greater Houston Area

AGES: 3-5 & 6-10

Main Street Theater


TYPE OF CAMP: Theater, Half-day

713.524.7998 Houston, TX

AGES: 4-18

Mo-Ranch Summer Camp


TYPE OF CAMP: Overnight, Adventure

830.238.4455 ext 266 Hunt, TX

AGES: 8-15

Kanakuk is a premier summer camp experience for boys and girls with locations in Branson and Lampe, Missouri. Its 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 30 to Aug. 7 with 1, 2 and 4-week options.

Our camp delivers a design process that harnesses your child’s imagination to solve everyday problems. Our goal is to foster the next generation of disrupters with a unique camp curriculum that draws upon fundamental math and creative problem-solving skills.

Learning another language has never been so much fun! In our fun and innovative immersion summer camps, your child will develop conversational skills in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, French, English or American Sign Language while making friends and developing curiosity for other cultures! Multiple locations, schedules & payment options. Register in one or several weeks.

Our 2020 Summer Camp: Engage! runs all summer long and takes place at 4 locations: Rice Village, Museum District, Bellaire, and Midtown. Students create an original play and dance piece!

Our camp is a premier co-ed residential Christian summer camp located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country along the beautiful Guadalupe River.

Find a location and save today at

invent.org/save 1,800+ locations nationwide! May 2020

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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 National Basketball Academy https://tnbabasketball.com


832.392.0749 Houston, TX

AGES: 6-18

National Youth Theater



832.510.7794 Shenandoah, TX

AGES: 6-12

Play-Well TEKnologies www.play-well.org

TYPE OF CAMP: Academic, Half-day

602.317.7448 Houston, TX

AGES: 5-12

Pyramid Kids Camp at Moody Gardens www.moodygardens.com 409.744.4673 Galveston, TX

Scott Pera Basketball Camps at Rice University www.ScottPera.com 713.348.2859 Houston, TX

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May 2020

TYPE OF CAMP: Academic, Science AGES: 3 years - 8th grade

TYPE OF CAMP: Sports AGES: 5-18

The National Basketball Academy and the Houston Rockets are proud to present the official Rockets Youth Basketball Program! Find camps, clinics, and training programs near you.

National Youth Theater (NYT) offers students the opportunity to gain vocal, dance, speech, and acting skills through all of our programs including theater classes, Broadway-style musicals, summer productions, and summer theater camps.

We offer Lego Engineering Summer Camps throughout Houston!

We invite all curious young minds entering grades K-8th to participate in our Wild Marvels Summer Camps! Designing a better future for all living things. PreK camps also available throughout the year for 3-5 year olds.

Scott Pera Basketball Camps on the campus of Rice University are dedicated to providing basketball camps that are both instructional and informative along with creating a great atmosphere to learn!

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 Snapology of Cypress-Woodland www.snapology.com/cypress

TYPE OF CAMP: Academic

832.777.SNAP (7627) Cypress, TX

AGES: 4-14

Sherwood Forest Summer Camp

www.sherwoodforestsummercamp.com 210.464.1867 McDade, TX

TYPE OF CAMP: Art/Theater, Adventure, Overnight AGES: 7-16

Stars Gymnastics



713.464.1996 Houston & Katy, TX

AGES: 4-12

Summer ASAP! Camp at Westbury Christian School


TYPE OF CAMP: Academic, Art/Theatre, Sports, Technology, VBS AGES: 3-10

713.551.8100 Houston, TX

Summer Camps at HMNS


TYPE OF CAMP: Academic, Technology

713.639.4651 Houston, TX & Sugar Land, TX

AGES: 6-12

Snapology provides interactive, STEM/STEAM programs for children featuring technology and/or popular building toys. Snapology engages children ages 1-14 using LEGO® bricks, K’Nex and technology. While the kids are having fun with familiar toys, laptops and iPads, we sneak in the learning. Shh, don’t tell them it’s educational!

Sherwood Forest Campers will experience many of the skills and trades of the Medieval era, which means making things with their own hands not drawing a picture on your screen with their fingers!

Stars Gymnastics offers a fun and safe environment for girls and boys ages 4 - 12 to spend an active day learning gymnastics and participating in group games and activities. Note: Stars is not a licensed childcare facility. We are a sports training facility.

Summer ASAP! at Westbury Christian School is for ages 3-10. This camp includes VBS, Sports, STEM, Time Travel & Art. Join us for a Christ-centered, high energy summer of fun!

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!

Happy Mother's Day! books • puzzles • cards • more

from our family to yours

Curbside Pickup: 14532 Memorial Dr. www.bluewillowbookshop.com (281) 497-8675


Houston . Sugar Land . Katy


ClubSciKidzHouston.com May 2020

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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 Summer Incitement at Rainard www.rainard.org

TYPE OF CAMP: Academic, Half-day

713.647.7246 Houston, TX

AGES: 3.5 - 12

Texas A&M Sea Camp www.tamug.edu/seacamp

TYPE OF CAMP: Day Camp, Overnight

409.740.4525 Galveston, TX

AGES: 6-18

The ARTZ: Aerial Circus Endeavor (ACE) Summer Camp www.theartz8.com 281.972.9147 Houston, TX

The Grand 1894 Opera House

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TYPE OF CAMP: Full-day, Fitness AGES: 5-15


TYPE OF CAMP: Arts & Theater

409.765.1894 Galveston, TX

AGES: 7-16

The Health Museum


TYPE OF CAMP: Spring Break Camp

713.521.1515 Houston, TX

AGES: 5-13

Each summer we look forward to opening our campus and sharing the Rainard experience with all gifted children, ages 3.5-12, in the Houston area. We use critical thinking and problem solving to encourage the complex and higher-level thinking on which gifted children thrive.

Hands on marine adventure camps at Texas A&M University at Galveston. Marine biology, marine science, oceanography and more!

Enjoy our full-day adventure so awesome that the little ones won’t want to leave. Kids will learn Fabric, Trapeze, Lyra, and hammock at our camp. Dates: June 1st- August 28th

In partnership with Missoula Children’s Theatre, The Grand presents our annual Theatre Camp! Camp dates are July 20-24th. Camp culminates in a performance of MCT’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

Spark your child’s curiosity at our Discovery Camps— designed to give kids the opportunity to have intelligent fun, make friends, and make the most out of their spring, summer and winter break!

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 Topgolf Houston-Katy



832.610.2030 Houston, TX

AGES: 6-12

Xplor Preschool and School-Age www.XplorPreschool.com/Houston


(877) 322-2891 Houston, TX

AGES: 6wks-12yrs

YMCA Camp Cullen


TYPE OF CAMP: Overnight, Adventure

936.594.2274 Trinity, TX

AGES: 5-17

YMCA Camp Twin Lakes


TYPE OF CAMP: Overnight

512.250.9622 option 6 Cedar Park, TX

AGES: 7-16

Yorkshire Academy

TYPE OF CAMP: Academic, Art/Theatre, Technology

www.yorkshireacademy.com 281.531.6088 Houston, TX

AGES: 24 months - 6th grade

Topgolf venues across Houston are offering 3 days of nonstop fun for kids ages 6-12 with Spring Academy. Beginning March 9th kids of every skill level will get the opportunity to learn about the great game of golf taught by golf professionals from Topgolf Coach. From chipping, putting, and full swing, to the rules and etiquette, kids will learn everything they need to know to improve their game.

Xplor Preschool and School Age has two locations in the Houston area. We provide private preschool, after school and camp programs.

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.

YMCA Camp Twin Lakes-overnight camp minutes north of Austin. We provide a safe, supportive, and fun environment for campers to explore, play and make lifelong friends— all in the great outdoors.

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.

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The 7 Rs of Long-Distance Grandparenting written by Kerrie McLoughlin | photos by Brandy Dykes Photography

LOCAL: Grandparents John & Becky Williams came to visit Eve, their Cypress based grand daughter all the way from Zambia, Africa.

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ost long-distance grandparents will agree that you don’t have to live in the same town to play a huge role in the life of your grandchildren. Yes, you might be sad that your grandkids don’t live close by, but you can certainly still create a special and lasting relationship with some planning. Here’s how:

DO YOUR RESEARCH Joy Candrian of the blog XOXO Grandma suggests: “Research the places where your grandchildren live and when FaceTiming or talking on the phone, ask them intelligent questions about their home, school and the things they have done that week.” Another example might be checking out the latest children’s movie in your own town if you know your grandkids are going to see it as well so you can talk about the best parts together.

READ TO THEM AND PLAY GAMES “Record yourself reading a book and then upload that recording to YouTube so your grandchild can hear your voice and see you reading them a story. After you’ve got your recorded story online, mail the book to your grandchild so they can follow along while they watch your video,” shared Candrian. Buy a blank puzzle at a craft store then, if you are arsty, draw a picture on it. If not, write a message and color in some of the pieces. Your grandchild will have a blast putting it together over and over. Online games like Words with Friends are also a fun and educational way to connect.

RECOGNIZE HOLIDAYS AND SPECIAL DATES Keep track of important dates so you can be there for the big events. Set reminders on your phone or put them on your wall calendar so you can send cards or plan a video chat for birthdays, graduations, last day of school, prom, sports, spelling bees and so much more. Candrian offers, “I think giving gifts is such a natural way to show we care, and giving a handmade gift [such as a quilt] shows we care enough to spend our time for those we love. Your grandchild may not understand that now but as they grow older and wiser, your gifts should help them feel the love you have for them.”

RAISE VIDEO CHATTING AND SOCIAL MEDIA TO A NEW LEVEL Skype, FaceTime and Zoom make it so much easier to see their faces and keep yours fresh in theirs. They grow and change so quickly, so make weekly dates to do things like call up the grandkids and take them on a walk with you, let them watch you bake something, read to them. One way my 90-year-old grandmother loves to keep up with her grandkids and greatgrandkids is to hop on Facebook daily to check out status updates and photos.

REMEMBRANCES Make sure you have plenty of photos of your grandchildren around your home and send photos of yourself to them as well. You want them to get to know you as well, and it’s so easy these days to create photo

books and books of stories from your childhood for them on a site like Mixbook. Check out the Marco Polo app for a FaceTime meets voicemail experience, where you get to leave and receive video messages, and they don’t disappear… you can save them on Marco Polo indefinitely and also save them to your phone or forward them to other family members.

PLAN REGULAR VISITS AND SPECIAL TRIPS Carissa Jones, mom of 8, shares, “Both sets of grandparents take small groups of one to two kids home with them. My parents take the kids to their home for their 10th birthday and they have a special long weekend together that each kiddo has anticipated in the months leading up to their birthday.”

READY FOR A FUN VISIT When it’s time for the kids to come to your home, make sure you have a stash of games, books and universal toys (think Legos and Magnatyles) so they feel at home. Scout out local indoor trampoline parks, nature centers, kid-friendly restaurants and other activities that you can all do together during the visit. Despite distance, you can form close bonds with your grandchildren and ensure you play a key role in their lives. Carissa Jones sums it up nicely: “I think much like parenting, relationships are built on the foundation of time together and on traditions.” Kerrie McLoughlin is the writer mom of 5 kids ranging from 10 to 18 and blogs at TheKerrieShow. com.







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Fourteen years have melted away since motherhood planted itself firmly into my heart, wrapped its tendrils around my soul and lovingly commandeered my life. While I’m amazed at how much I’ve learned in such a short space of time, raising two boys to develop into responsible, generous, and kind young men is a daily work in progress. Nonetheless, here are a few golden lessons I can chalk up so far...



When feeling mired in sick days, unappreciated and bonetired, remember that tomorrow is a new day.

Every mom needs a “beenthere, done-that” seasoned mom in her life to help put parenthood into perspective, calm anxieties or provide resources.

2 The ring of dirt left around the bathtub after evening baths is a tell-tale sign that your child had a top-ten day.

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Keep a quotes journal for the funny, sweet and poignant things your child says.

5 The $100 interactive dinosaur exhibit isn’t nearly as fun as the free model train exhibit.

6 When your child presents you with a handful of sweaty, wilting dandelions, they become your favorite flowers.


It’s okay if your son doesn’t like sports.

8 Kids will forget their backpack, socks and a coat, but they’ll never forget a promise you regret making three days and 21 hours ago.

9 Hugs make everything better. The run, tackle, squeeze hug nearly knocks me off my feet every time.


Keep your favorite photo of your child nearby to remind you of his inherent sweetness, especially for those moments when he’s acting like the ultimate punk.

11 If you want an honest opinion, ask your child. Chances are he’ll tell you anyway.


Little boys’ pockets contain a treasure-trove of discoveries.

13 If you’re like me, the first time your child says he loves you, takes a step, or rides a bike without training wheels, you’ll cry.

14 Mud, dirt and boxes provide hours of entertainment.


A parenting strategy that works with one child might not work with another.

16 Sitting in a bathroom in the middle of the night with the shower running to create steam helps a baby suffering with croup. The steam is also a great way to get a 3 a.m. facial.


Teaching kids to say please and thank you matters.





You’ll discover which of your children has the worst gag reflex when you bring home a new puppy who gets really sick in his crate.

A glass of wine works, too.

Warming up to sing opera in the middle of the grocery store will turn spotlight-averse fighting siblings into model citizens almost immediately.


You won’t be the first parent to pick up your wailing child and abandon your shopping cart in the middle of the store.

26 Learn together and take as many opportunities as possible to explore science, nature, music and art.

Talking with and listening to your kids matters, too.



Play board games and cards together. Not only will your children learn math and reading skills, they will learn how to win and lose gracefully.

Follow your instincts. The pediatrician isn’t always right. Find a new one if he blows you off or is condescending.


The best time to find out about your child’s day is during car rides, when he doesn’t want to eat his dinner or bedtime.



Parent time-outs can help you remain calm, cool and collected in a heated moment.


Scheduling time just for you isn’t selfish. Self-care makes you a better parent.

36 Pursuing personal interests and goals teaches your children that care-taking is only one of your roles.


44 Teach your child that it’s perfectly acceptable to spend a little time alone to brood, create, read, pray and rest.


Boo-boos don’t hurt as much when you stick an Avengers band-aid on them.


Share your interests with your child.

Nurture your child’s interests. Even if they seem a little unusual.



Find a trustworthy, dependable sitter who your children like. Breaks are healthy for both you and your children.

Kids are curious. Be curious, too.

48 Begin and end every day with a hug and a kiss.



Counting together backwards from 20 helps an upset child (and parent) calm down.

Forgive yourself. Parenting is tough and sometimes you do and say the wrong thing.




Little boys think it’s fun to sneak up on you and scare you. But if they truly catch you unprepared and you scream, you might make them cry.

Every child has the potential to change the world. Your child already changed yours.

Take walks with your child. Walking sideby-side encourages conversation.



When stuck in an airplane with a toddler in melt-down mode, sometimes the only thing you can do is pretend you don’t know him.

Incentives and rewards work for kids...and parents.

Experiences are more valuable than stuff.


Spending time with your spouse making dinner and watching a movie after the kids go to bed is almost as fun as a night on the town.

You may have to ask for your meal to go sometimes, but taking your children to familyfriendly restaurants helps them learn social graces and boundaries in public places.


34 And chocolate. Dark. For your heart.

32 Going outside for a breath of fresh air while your spouse takes over the bedtime routine is a sanity saver on rough days.


Save the notes your child writes you.


Writer Christa Melnyk Hines is centered in her family, which includes a golf-impassioned husband, two busy boys and a pair of lovable mutts. She is the author of Confidently Connected: A Mom’s Guide to a Satisfying Social Life.

Write notes to your child.

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Zane Carson Carruth: Many Hats, One Large Heart

written by Eshaan Mani, HFM Kid Ambassador | photo by Cathleen Duffy


rs. Zane Carson Carruth has always loved writing, especially the magical world of children’s literature. This Houstonian wears many hats in her professional career, as a marketing expert, certified business etiquette and protocol professional, philanthropist, and a children’s book author. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mrs. Zane has

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started her own YouTube channel championing children’s literacy. On her channel, called ‘Zane Carruth,’ she reads several books for children ages three to eight from her beautiful home in Houston. And she already has two videos up, where she reads her own stories. Mrs. Zane Carson Carruth spoke with HFM about her prolific career of writing, etiquette, and philanthropy.

THE WRITING JOURNEY Mrs. Carruth wrote her first book, The World’s First Tooth Fairy…Ever 25 years ago and picked it back up in 2016 to inject new life into the manuscript and self-publish it. “I just picked up a spiral notebook, one day 25 years ago, and started writing about this little cute, girly fairy. I had no idea where the story was going.

It wrote itself,” she reflects. Mrs. Carruth followed up the first book with a second one titled The Adventures of Abella and Her Magic Wand, which was released in January of 2018. Both of these books have won the prestigious Story Monsters Approved Award. Her latest book is titled Abella Starts a Fairy School, and it is slated to release in the fall of 2020. For Mrs. Carruth, the process of writing

each book has been a unique journey. Her first book was her longest journey, as she explored the world of her protagonist ‘Abella’ and the history of the tooth fairy, and her second book took her “twenty minutes on a flight” to write. But while writing her third book she experienced writer’s block and found that “you can talk yourself out of it. I remembered the process of writing the other books, and the words just came to me!” PROMOTING LITERACY THROUGH TECHNOLOGY Mrs. Carson Carruth has a YouTube channel where she introduces kids to the wonderful world of reading and support education at home. “It was such an amazing experience. I hired a videographer who recorded me reading my books and edited it together. I plan to livestream on the channel sometime soon to answer questions that I’ve been asked frequently about such things as self-publishing.” She is incredibly committed to children’s literacy and the youth of today writing and reading more. Mrs. Carruth believes reading is “invaluable for the future generations… you learn about everything from books!” Over the course of the next few months, she hopes to read several more books and release more videos on her channel for kids and adults to enjoy while staying at home. PHILANTHROPY FOR NOBLE CAUSES NEAR AND DEAR But it’s not just literacy that Mrs. Carruth loves. She serves on the board of the Houston Grand Opera, the SPCA, and the Discovery Green Conservatory. “I love anything with a heartbeat, both my husband and I enjoy the arts, and my husband loves greenspaces and parks!” Her husband Brady is the chairman-elect for the 2021 Houston Rodeo, and she hopes it will be a great success. She

“absolutely adores the rodeo. It’s an amazing experience, with stars like Gwen Stefani and Lizzo and those beautiful animals.” Just like her philanthropic efforts are concentrated towards causes she holds dear, Mrs. Carruth encourages the youth to begin their philanthropic journey by donating their time to noble causes that align with their passions. In honor of her social work and philanthropy, she was named one of ABC13’s Woman of Distinction earlier this year. This award has a special meaning for her, as her mother-in-law was a Woman of Distinction in the 1990s. “It makes me feel wonderful when I think that I’m following in her footsteps.”

BRANDY DYKES PHOTOGRAPHY Family & lifestyle photography www.brandydykes.com


PRAYING THROUGH THE PANDEMIC It’s been a rough ride with the COVID-19 pandemic, and Mrs. Carruth has also been affected by its repercussions. “I haven’t been able to go to church, and I am a strong Christian, so that has been tough.” But she is confident that we will get out of this predicament stronger and more united, “and until then, know that everyone is in my prayers.” I really enjoyed speaking with Mrs. Carruth and getting her perspective on literacy, writing, and philanthropy. I encourage all readers to visit her website and YouTube channel, and to read her books.

FOLLOW ZANE ONLINE: Website: www.worldsfirsttoothfairy.com Mrs. Carruth’s Youtube Channel: www.youtube.com/channel/ UC8hKWd7czdfIBtsW0iUSS4Q

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A Big Thank You to all Nurses, Doctors, Staff and First Responders out there.

A NURSE'S PERSPECTIVE | THE HALO EFFECT written by Elizabeth Irvine


just got off the phone with my sister, Lisa. She is the Chief Nursing Officer for the University of Kansas Health System St Francis Campus— which means her role asks her to oversee about 700 staff. I was most recently in this hospital for the surprise birth of my niece and her husband’s (who is also a doctor at St Francis Campus) baby. Before that, my husband’s father had open-heart surgery here. It’s one of those kind of places that people are hard-working and friendly. You feel taken care of. I called to check in with her ( catching her on her drive home) after a typical 12 plus hour day, in a row. I know she is knee-deep in the thick of it. Trying to prepare for what must feel like a looming Tsunami about ready to make landfall. She’s intelligent, a compassionate listener and no stranger to working long stressful hours. That’s what nurses do.

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I’VE GOT YOUR BACK I asked her to share with me a little day-today of hospital life at the moment. She said our nurse’s morale is good. “One thing that makes me happy— we have implemented a buddy system. This means each nurse ‘has the other’s back.’ For example, while dressing for isolation another buddy nurse makes sure, validates you, that your protective equipment is on properly. It builds a safe feeling knowing someone is with you, watching over you.” HALO EFFECT— TO SEE THE GOODNESS Lisa radiates positivity. She talked about the halo effect. By definition, the halo effect, “ is a form of cognitive bias which causes one part to make the whole seem more attractive or desirable”. She told me there is part in all of this, that gives us the “pause”—through this, she feels it’s an

awesome responsibility to be given. To keep patient’s, and her nurses safe. “This pandemic has brought us all together. The whole hospital staff (doctors, nurses, etc) have become a team. It’s really incredible to see the positive effects of teamwork, critical thinking, sharing, learning, strategizing how to make smart decisions— not to mention the coming together of the global community. In 2020, we have the ability to teleconference with other hospitals in all parts of the world. It creates an incredible sense of bringing us all together as a world”. SHELTERING IN & FLATTEN THE CURVE I told Lisa, I feel kind of helpless staying at home. She said on the contrary— to stay home is the smartest action anyone can take right now, as we just don’t have any other real defense but to flatten the curve. Obviously, there are people who

need to show up for work, but if there is an option to stay put, it’s doing your part in a big way. In re-framing the importance of sheltering in I feel comforted. I encourage you to do the same. I know each of us can contribute in our own way— whether that is home-schooling your children, finding creative ways to work from home or avoiding an extra trip to the grocery store. NURSES I come from a long line of nurses. My grandmother, my mom and my sister, we are all nurses. For me, I am no longer involved as a staff nurse but head the calling nonetheless:

Elizabeth Irvine: nurse, educator and award-winning author. She is the founder of Truewellbeing, where you can find her books, jewelry and sign up for soulful workshops, with a new focus on virtual sessions.

Let me dedicate my life today, in the care of those who come my way. Let me touch each one with healing hand, and the gentle art for which I stand. And then tonight when the day is done, Let me rest in peace, If I’ve helped just one.



Sharing stories with your family can leave a lasting impression. As a parent, you probably remember the magic of having a book read aloud to you as a kid, and family audiobooks offer that same experience for your own children. Whether you’re looking to increase at-home education during school closures, help increase literacy, or discover the joy of group listening, Audible has created a list of some of the best family audiobooks for your family to enjoy, Together.

JENNA DUNCAN PHOTOGRAPHY Houston Family Photographer

A Series of Unfortunate Events #1 By Lemony Snicket Narrated by Tim Curry

Length: 2 hrs and 29 mins


By Roald Dahl Narated by Kate Winslet

Length: 4 hrs and 18 mins


By Cornelia Funke Narrated by Lynn Redgrave

Length: 15 hrs and 34 mins

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Chronicles of Narnia Series By C.S. Lewis Narated by Michael York

Length: 4 hrs and 21 mins

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Book 1 By J.K. Rowling Narrated by Jim Dale

Length: 8 hrs and 18 mins



Featured in:

Check out www.audible.com/ep/article-best-family-audiobooks for their complete list. May 2020

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D E PA R T M E N T | V I R T U A L C A L E N D A R

virtual calendar of events Houston has gone virtual. Visit some of your favorite places from the comfort of your own home.

Houston Public Library

Online resources and digital services are always available 24/7 with your MY Link Library Card including e-books and e-audiobooks, streaming TV, movie and music services, online classes and tutoring, and databases. Daily houstonlibrary.org

houston zoo

Sharing daily updates of what our furred, flippered, and feathered friends are up to and how our zookeepers are caring for them. Each weekday (Monday-Friday) we’re hosting a Facebook Live to bring the Zoo to YOU! As always, we also have several live web cameras (www.houstonzoo.org/explore/webcams/) so folks can check on their favorite animal any time of day.

YMCA Virtual workouts

Now offering free virtual fitness classes from the YMCA and LES MILLS to stay healthy at home. Daily ymcahouston.org

Monday-Friday at 11am Houstonzoo.org

At-Home Adventures through Asia

Houston Center for Contemporary Craft

The Asia Society Texas Center aims to build a foundation for global learning and foster cultural empathy by sparking learner curiosity and sharing different perspectives with its adventures through Asia program. A different country is explored weekly.

Tune into HCCC’s interactive, virtual programming to learn about art-making activities they can do at home with the kids, visit artist studios, see exclusive exhibition content, and more.

Daily asiasociety.org/texas/asia-society-home

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 1pm crafthouston.org/events/virtualprogramming-on-social-media

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writers in the schools (QuickWits)

WITS has fun, innovative workshops and activities for kids ranging from K to 12th grade. WITS writers lead children through fun and accessible creative writing activities. Middle and high school students can take courses with WITS U but preregistration is required, and participants are screened upon entry. Participants can register via the WITS website. Weekly witshouston.org/wits-u

Marine Science Virtual Classroom: explore our ecosystem Students are encouraged to ask questions during the live stream in the comment section below the video. Interested students should check out website blog posts a few days prior to each lesson as there will be worksheets, videos, and optional activity supplies they may want to collect before each live lesson. The instructors will be referring to some of these materials (especially the worksheets) throughout the live videos. Each lesson is geared towards students in preK through 8th grade, but anyone is welcome to join, participate, and enjoy. 9:30am, Daily facebook.com/reefrelief/ youtube.com/user/thereefrelief

Justin Roberts Stuck at Home Concerts

Are you stuck at home? So is GRAMMYnominated indie rock star Justin Roberts! Every morning this week he is going live to share projects that can be done at home, teach a song on the ukulele, and more. On Thursday he hosts a big interactive concert on YouTube... and takes requests! Daily at 10:30 am justinrobertsmusic.com/stuck-at-home/

Galveston Bay Foundation virtual visits

Galveston Bay Foundation gives lessons on microscopic ecosystems featuring a virtual lab, conservation craft, talk with a Bay biologist and an activity of the week. Download The At Home With The Bay Accompanying Activity Guides: bit.ly/ActivityGuides1

Tuesdays with Tinkergarten

Galveston Historical Foundation

Each Tuesday a virtual Tinkergarten class is led by Founder, Meghan Fitzgerald. Kids are invited to join from their backyard, fire escape, living room, or any safe spot where there is space. The classes last approximately 20 minutes.

Join us for a series of live Facebook lectures straight from Galveston Historical Foundation’s offices in the 1860 Hendley Building! Lectures will cover a variety of Galveston-focused topics and will have ample time for Q&A as well.

Tuesdays at 10:30 am facebook.com/ events/962194417571724/

May 8 at 2pm – Dickens on Dickens May 22 at 2pm – The Republic of Texas facebook.com/galvestonhistory

moody gardens- Pyramids

The pyramids at Moody Gardens are teeming with life and learning. There are curriculum guides to support lessons. During the stayat-home mandate period, the non-profit educational attraction is also committed to posting educational items on their Facebook page twice each day. www.facebook.com/moodygardens. www.moodygardens.com/education

LUNCHDOODLES with Mo Willems

Mo Willems invites kids into his studio every weekday to draw, doodle, and explore new ways of writing. So grab some paper and pencils, pens, or crayons and join Mo. 12pm Central Time, Daily kennedy-center.org/education/mowillems/

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D E PA R T M E N T | V I R T U A L C A L E N D A R

virtual museum tours

Google Arts & Culture Virtual Museums

Explore panoramic views of famous sites in 360˚ Street View tours. Virtual Tour of Mikhail Bulgakov Museum, National Palace of Sintra and Chateau de Vaux le Vicomte. Daily artsandculture.google.com/project/ streetviews

Vatican Museum

National Museum of Natural History

The Smithsonian, National Museum of Natural History virtual tours allow visitors to take self-guided, room-by-room tours of select exhibits and areas within the museum from their desktop or mobile device. Daily naturalhistory.si.edu/visit/virtual-tour

Lone Star Flight Museum

Explore the treasures of the Catholic Church such as Michelangelo’s sixteen Chapel inside the world’s smallest independent country.

The Museums online experience has great STEM fun, video tours of its planes and exhibits and several behind the scenes archives, how-to’s and much more!

Daily museivaticani.va/content/museivaticani/ en/collezioni/musei/tour-virtuali-elenco.1.html

Daily- Times Vary facebook.com/lonestarflightmuseum/

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National Air and Space Museum Live Chats

The National Air and Space Museum hosts an Air and Space Live Chat on Facebook Live. Each week features a different expert to answer questions from kids, students, and air and space enthusiasts. The live chats will be held every Thursday until the Museum reopens. Thursday at 12pm facebook.com/airandspace/

museum of fine arts houston

Art is for everyone—and now everywhere. Although the doors may be temporarily closed, stay connected and inspired by accessing the museums online collections and exhibits streaming films, art-making activities, artist’s talks and more. Daily mfah.org/visit/mfah-virtual-experience

Goodnight with Dolly Daily at 6 pm Central

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library presents Dolly Parton’s weekly read-aloud video series. The Book Lady (and country music icon) sits down to read books from the Imagination Library to children and families. Titles include The Little Engine that Could, There’s a Hole in the Log on the Bottom of the Lake, Llama Llama Red Pajama, I Am a Rainbow, Pass It On, Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon, Violet the Pilot, Max and the Tag-Along Moon, Last Stop on Market Street, and Coat of Many Colors. youtube.com/user/imaginationlibrary/featured facebook.com/dollysimaginationlibrary imaginationlibrary.com/goodnight-with-dolly-read-aloud/

Metropolitan Opera for Kids Weekly at various times

The Met offers one opera specially selected for our young audience members along with opportunities to learn more about the production and hear from some of the amazing artists who helped make it happen! metopera.org/discover/education/freestudent-streams/home/

Daily Story with David Walliams

Children’s author David Walliams shares a new audio story each day, selected from his World’s Worst Children short story collections. Daily worldofdavidwalliams.com/elevenses/

Virtual storytime: Casting a Banishing Charm on Boredom

The all-new Harry Potter At Home hub offers craft videos, quizzes, puzzles, articles and more. J.K Rowling opened license for teachers to read the seven Harry Potter books aloud to their students. Daily wizardingworld.com

Dav Pilkey (Captain Underpants) at Home with Library of Congress

Tune in to a short video of Dav Pilkey drawing, reading aloud, and following his mantra—Always Be Creative! Friday at 7am, Central loc.gov/engage twitter.com/librarycongress

Enjoy your library at home storytime Enjoy a storytime with the latest books and classics from your Houston Library on Facebook Live.

Monday-Wednesday-Friday at 11am, Central facebook.com/houstonlibrary/ posts/10158229211635645

Pete the Cat Club Virtual Storytime with James Dean

Pete the Cat creator James Dean posts a live storytime on Instagram Live. (Live videos aren’t accessible on the desktop or web browser version of Instagram.) Daily at 11am, Central instagram.com/petethecatofficial/

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D E PA R T M E N T | V I R T U A L C A L E N D A R

Musical relief with the Houston Symphony

Lift your spirit with concert broadcasts to stream on demand for free online, as well as enjoy musician videos, blogs, curated playlists, and more. In addition, the Symphony is stepping up to create a new schedule of content available in greater quantity on its website and via social media. You can listen live every Sunday at 8 p.m. on Houston Public Media News 88.7 FM on the radio or online, and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 8 p.m. on Houston Public Media Classical HD (88.7-2 on your HD radio) for weekly two-hour Houston Symphony broadcasts. The Sunday broadcasts repeat every Wednesday at 8 p.m. on Houston Public Media Classical HD (88.7-2 on your HD radio) and online. houstonsymphony.org/listenathome

Mr. O “Wow Moments” from Children’s Museum Houston Daily at 10:15am

Mr. O’s “O Wow Moments” help you to become a scientist at home with hands-on, minds-on experiments and demos!

Art together with main street theater

Enjoy an array of engaging content from talented Main Street Theater artists as they post fun and interactive video content and activities.

HITS theatre at home

Embrace virtual classes as a new form in educational performing arts programming. Classes and workshops include production, musical theatre and dancing tots.


Every Tuesday @MainStreetTheaterHouston @msthouson @mst_houston YouTube: Main Street Theater Houston

Weekly hitstheatre.org

ROCO in concert

Instagram Live with Author/ Illustrator Ben Clayton

Tot Tunes with the Children’s Museum Houston

ROCO In Concert performances with the full orchestra will be broadcasting live, you can also enjoy their extensive online content library of past live performances with new curated playlists - including one featuring works that ROCOrooters music education program activity sheets paired, for families to do learning activities together while enjoying our concerts. Every Sunday at 2pm roco.org/live houston family magazine


May 2020

Draw with Ben Clayton, author and illustrator behind the Narwhal and Jelly comics, and talk about waffles and mermicorns during these LIVE Instagram sessions. Daily @ 11:30 am @narwhalandjelly

Engage your toddlers through music and movement with a sing-along with our Tot*Tunes team! Daily @ 3:15 pm cmhouston.org/events/toddler-time

art, literature & beyond ART Khan Academy: Art History

Learn the basics, starting with About “Seeing America” khanacademy.org/humanities/art-history

BrainPop: Arts & Music

Engaging learning activities, animated movies and activities to encourage kids to ask questions and use their minds. about.brainpop.com

Tate Gallery at Home

Be inspired with paint, drawing, performances, sculpture and technology. There is an activity for all age groups. tate.org.uk/kids/make

Art Puzzle

Running out of activities and puzzles, this set of virtual puzzles of some of the world’s artistic masterpieces is fun for the whole family. jigzone.com/gallery/Art

Queensland Art Games

QAGOMA’s Children’s Art Centre works with artists to create exciting activities, books and programs just for kids to explore art and artists from Australia and around the world. Play fun games, watch cool videos and get creative with make-at-home activities. qagoma.qld.gov.au/learn/kids

VIRTUAL STORYTIMES Oliver Jeffers Storytime

On Instagram Live, kids and parents can listen to author Oliver Jeffers read his young reader books (How To Catch a Star, The Way Back Home, The Day the Crayons Quit, etc.) once each day. 6pm GMT, 2pm EST, 11am PST Monday-Friday instagram.com/p/B9vasYyhwdu oliverjeffers.com

Peter Reynolds

Author, illustrator, and founder of FableVision. Find Peter’s weekday read-aloud events of his books such as The Dot, The Word Collector, Ish, The Best Kid in the World etc.. Noon EDT, Monday - Friday. facebook.com/PeterHamiltonReynolds

Diane Alber

The author of Scribble books (I’m NOT Just a Scribble, Never Let a Unicorn Scribble, Scribble Stones, etc.) reads one of her books daily at noon. Watch for announcements of free downloads and painting tutorials. Noon, Monday-Friday facebook.com/imnotjustascribble

Pete the Cat Club Virtual Storytime with James Dean Pete the Cat creator James Dean posts a live storytime each weekday on Instagram Live. (Live videos aren’t accessible on the desktop or web browser version of Instagram; watch with the app on Pete the Cat’s official Instagram account.) 11am Central time instagram.com/petethecatofficial/

Josh Gad

The actor who voices Olaf in Frozen reads books (and does all the voices) for families at bedtime. Gad has his own family, so the time changes each night. Follow #GadBookClub on Twitter and Instagram for that night’s reading. Every night instagram.com/joshgad #GadBookClub

Draw With Rob

Rob Biddulph, award-winning author of Blown Away, Odd Dog Out and many others, is hosting #DrawWithRob sessions online every Tuesday and Thursday at 10am GMT. His first video, which teaches kids how to draw Gregosaurus from Happy Hatchday, is a must for any child who’s ever wanted to draw a dinosaur. Tuesday and Thursday at 10am GMT twitter.com/RobBiddulph/status/1239853999697932289 robbiddulph.com/draw-with-rob

David Walliams

Every kid’s favorite author is reading chapters from his World’s Worst Children books, every day at 11am for a 20-minute treat that’s the perfect accompaniment to that apple (OK, biscuit) your child is snacking on. Daily. 11am soundcloud.com/harpercollinspublishers/theworlds-worst-children-2-3/s-zHZPQlifKuV

Free Practice Online SATs and ACTs

Saturdays from 10am-2pm Central until the end of May. Work now to be ready for the June tests. Take an official, full length SAT or ACT under proctored conditions in the comfort of your own home and find out your score as soon as you are done! chariotlearning.com/events/

Mac Barnett’s Book Club show

Join a mini themed shows part live theatre, part comedy skit, part craft lesson. They score high on the entertainment value and regularly feature surprise guests. Tune in for: chapter books After Dark where Barnett styles himself as a TV host reminiscent of the 1950s, where “Each night I’ll pour a glass of milk, put on my most comfortable tuxedo and read a chapter of my memoir, Mac B, Kid Spy #1: Mac Undercover, illustrated by @mikelowerystudio. Nightly. 7:00 pm instagram.com/p/B-F4IUonxnW/

Cressida Cowell

The author of How To Train Your Dragon is reading a chapter a day of her bestseller to kids on BookTrust HomeTime virtual hub -. Illustrator Ed Vere is hosting draw-along online sessions, and there are also quizzes, games and competitions for kids to check out. booktrust.org.uk/books-and-reading/have-some-fun/

VIRTUAL field trips San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo has a website just for kids with amazing videos, activities, and games. Enjoy the tour! https://kids.sandiegozoo.org/

Yellowstone National Park

Take a tour of Yellowstone National Park! www.nps.gov/yell/learn/photosmultimedia/virtualtours.htm

Explore Mars

Explore the surface of Mars on the Curiosity Rover. They are updating from WEBVR to WEBXR now, but 360 Mode offers a digital view! https://accessmars.withgoogle.com/

Virtual science with South Florida Science Center and Aquarium

LIVE science demos and lessons every Friday at 3pm Aquarium programs every Wednesday at Noon Virtual “Science Shorts” and DIY @ Home science experiments every Thursday at 2pm Future Scientist Storytime every Tuesday at 9am with coloring sheets available for daily short science demos and DIY lessons, weekly virtual exhibit tours, and, of course, scientist story-time. Whichever adventure they choose, children can spark imagination, and continue their education, discovering The Palm Beaches at their own pace. sfsciencecenter.org/virtual May 2020

45 houston family magazine

Farm Food 360

This Canadian farm offers 11 Virtual Tours of farms from minks, pigs, and cows, to apples and eggs. www.farmfood360.ca

U.S. Space and Rocket Museum

See the Saturn 5 Rocket on YouTube and more on this tour thanks to a real father/son outing. www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Qe5RqyMNhc

Discovery Education Virtual Field Trips A few of the field trip topics include www.discoveryeducation.com

The Louvre

Travel to Paris, France to see amazing works of art at The Louvre with this virtual field trip. www.louvre.fr/en/visites-en-ligne

The Great Wall of China

This Virtual Tour of the Great Wall of China is beautiful and makes history come to life. www.thechinaguide.com/destination/great-wall-ofchina

Boston Children’s Museum

Walk through the Boston Children’s Museum thanks to Google Maps! This virtual tour allows kids to explore 3 floors of fun. www.bostonchildrensmuseum.org/museum-virtual-tour

Georiga Aquarium

Enjoy a variety of live webcam options from sea lions, African penguins, jelly fish, Ino-pacific, the Ocean Voyager and more! www.georgiaaquarium.org/webcam/beluga-whale-webcam/

Star Atlas

Through Star Atlas, kids can explore over 60,000 stars, locate planets, and watch sunrises and solar eclipses. If you enter your location, you can see all the constellations that are visible in the night sky in your corner of the world. https://staratlas.com/

The Great Lakes

This virtual field trip from Great Lakes Now has three components: coastal wetlands, algae, and lake sturgeon. Each video is a quick five minutes. www.greatlakesnow.org/educational-resources/ virtual-field-trip/

Nightly Streams of The Metropolitan Opera

There is still a ray of light for opera fans even though the stage may have gone dark for now at Lincoln Center. One of New York City’s greatest cultural institutions is streaming free encores of its Live in HD series from the past decade. Performances are available on the Met’s website each night at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be available to stream for 20 hours. metopera.org/user-information/nightly-met-operastreams

Family Lifestyle Photography families · babies · Children · couples · love

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houston family magazine



May 2020

Architecture wonder: The Sydney Opera House

Most identify the soaring white sails as one of the world’s most photographed venues, if you haven’t been yet now’s your chance to take a peek inside. Accompanied by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra playing, cellist Benjamin Schwartz and soprano Nicole Car you’ll wander through a day in the life of the site, from early morning until the curtain is drawn. youtube.com/watch?v=_hunddVoMjo

Visit the Holy Land

As the world’s countries have closed their borders, cities of the Holy Land such as Bethlehem and Jerusalem can still be visited. p4panorama.com/panos/HOLYLAND/

Tour Anne Frank House

The story of Anne Frank is often performed in theatres, now you can take a 360-degree tour of this little girl’s home in Amsterdam. annefrank.org/en/museum/web-and-digital/

Volcanoes National Park

Take a ranger led tour to one of America’s lesser known national parks. Located on Hawaii’s Big Island, Volcano National Park has stunning black rock formations with fiery lava and a rainforest, it is definitely an unforgettable journey. artsandculture.withgoogle.com/en-us/national-parks-service/hawaii-volcanoes/nahuku-lava-tubetour

Deep Dives

If going to your happy place ordinarily involves a regulator, mask, BCD, wetsuit, plane ticket and possible live-aboard reservations—NOAA is willing to take you there gear- and cost-free: You can do a series of virtual dives through National Marine Sanctuaries, whether you want to peace out to the waters around American Samoa (don’t miss Big Momma), the Florida Keys (have a look at the Aquarius Reef Base research center) or any of several spots in between. sanctuaries.noaa.gov/vr

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Watch sea creatures in this California aquarium with live animal cams. montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams

Street Art Tours

Street art brings color, imagination and purpose to otherwise bland city walls. Leisurely urban strolls aren’t necessarily on the agenda just now, but you can still explore the world’s best graffiti, from Buenos Aires to Bombay, in Google’s impressive Street Art collection. See giant abstractions transform nononsense industrial buildings in Moscow; get spied on by portraits in the arrondissements of Paris; and in Berlin, relive the fall of the wall through its iconic graffiti. streetart.withgoogle.com/en/online-exhibitions

International Space Station

Take a video tour of the space station and explore space with the astronauts. nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/suni_iss_tour. html

Discovery Education Virtual Field Trips

No permission slips required. These virtual events let educators take students to amazing places and give them remarkable experiences, without ever leaving the classroom. www.discoveryeducation.com/community/virtual-field-trips/

Panda Cam Zoo Atlanta

Pandas are always fun to watch, quarantine or not, and Zoo Atlanta offers this live stream of the only panda twins in the United States, Ya Lun and Xi Lun. https://zooatlanta.org/panda-cam/

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Offers ten live cams where viewers can sneak a peek at the sharks, do a little birdwatching in the aviary, and they can even check the goings-on in the open sea. https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals-and-exhibits/live-web-cams

Kid Ambassadors


Get to know

Noelle Dujunco 1

I like learning about climate change, the Earth, how to reduce my ecological footprint, etc. I think as a person who lives on Earth it’s part of my responsibility to treat the Earth nicely.


My dream job would probably be an epidemiologist, dermatologist, fashion professor, or a bookstore owner.


My current favorite book series would probably be the “Hunger Games” Series. My favorite classical book is currently “Little Women”.


I play 3 instruments: viola, classical guitar, and electric guitar.


If I could choose a dessert to eat every day it would be blueberry cheesecake or blueberry cheesecake ice cream.

May 2020

47 houston family magazine


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May 2020


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