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family september 2015/ free

proudly serving parents for over 26 years


online personal style services


belly laughs beat the blues


avoid overcommitment!


arts guide for the family


september twenty-fifteen

on the cover Our 2014 Cover Kids Winner, Kingston, is a fun, energetic and sports loving kid with a big heart. His passion is Basketball, which he has been playing for 3 years. Kingston prefers the outdoor life of bike riding and go-carting. Kingston has mastered the art of batting those blue eyes and flashing those dimples to warm the hearts of those around him.


Photographed for Houston Family Magazine by Anthem in Art Photography

fe ature s

departments 6


ONLINE STYLISTS The internet brings style to the masses by Sara G. Stephens



FYI Facts and tips you need to know


LAUGHTER Belly laughs beat the blues by Marye Audet


FAMILY FINDS Fall fashion finds



HELIUM HAND Avoid overcommitment and enjoy volunteering by Andrea Slaydon


MUSIC PARENTS’ SURVIVAL GUIDE A parent-toparent conversation by Amy Nathan

TALK TO THE DOC Broken bones 101 by Dr. Vinitha Shenava


FAMILY FINANCE 3 Money “Musts” for Families Sending a Child to College This Fall by Casey Galindo

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resources 23


I AM HOUSTON Megan McGuff by Sara G. Stephens


BOOK BITES Recommendations from Blue Willow on books your kids will want to gobble up

on the go 32




pg. 8


real life guide 46 HE SAID, SHE SAID by Sam and Pam Middleton

publisher’snote I have always

gravitated towards the arts. Whether through music, reading, theater or drawing, I have always found great enjoyment from the creative process. I believe it truly soothes the soul and makes you become a better person because of it. For that reason, we celebrate the Arts this month. We encourage you to incorporate some form of the Arts in your children’s world by whatever means available. It can be as simple as opening new experiences by reading with them every night, or, enrolling them in acting/dancing/art classes every day. Whatever direction your child leans to, foster that by supporting and encouraging their dreams. We need more creativity in the world! Like Megan McGuff. She is proof of fostering and caring for artistic dreams at an early age. A product of the Humphrey’s School of Musical Theatre, Megan is currently touring with the “Matilda” production and living her passion. find out more about her experiences and her advice for families who share this drive. Having a bit of a hard time these days? Life not exactly going your way? In this month’s Belly Laughs Beat the Blues, Marye Audet explains why laughter is truly the best medicine. I know I have always found it to help me get through tough times! Check out some of her findings to add a little chuckle to your day. Whatever your passion is, I hope you nurture and foster it in yourself and in your family. It will make your home a happier place and will continue to encourage our youth to be all that they can be.



PUBLISHER Kimberly Davis Guerra

ART DIRECTOR Patricia M. Young


PRODUCTION Gayle Wheeler-LeSueur, Graphic Designer Laura Chiles, Photographer

MANAGING EDITOR Sara G. Stephens CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS Marye Audet, Casey Galindo Dr. Vinitha Shenava Andrea Slayden ADVERTISING SALES Tish Petty, Karen Craft Beverly Davis

PRINTING RR Donnelley Contacts Us: 5131 Braesvalley, Houston, TX 77096 (P) 713.266.1885 (F) 713.266.1915

Houston Family is published monthly by Red Head Publishing, 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 ©2015 by Red Head Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without express permission is prohibited.

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familyfyi news, events and entertainment

tennis anyone?


ot only is tennis fun, it also provides aerobic and anaerobic exercise for the whole family. People who play tennis burn a reported 476 calories in a 1-hour singles game. Still fairly new

to Houston, PlayYourCourt is a user-friendly site designed to match an individual (or family) with an experienced, pre-vetted instructor in their area, who can teach them tennis at any neighborhood court. https://

trees-and heritage-preserved Texas’ Live Oak trees date back more than 50 years in Fort Bend County but are slowing going extinct. These trees are part of Texas’ heritage, known for their historical use as a land markers in old Spanish land grants.Together, Taylor Morrison and Johnson Development Services have undertaken a large scale preservation plan to save more than two dozen live oaks, some as tall as 40-60 feet, from extinction by carefully preserving and relocating them in order to protect a species of tree held dear by many Texans.

alief scores big on data


he Accountability Department of Alief Independent

School District has been recognized as Data All-Stars in SunGard K-12 Education’s Lead without Limits Awards program. From nominations from educators and school administrators from across the country, the team of Alief ISD administrators was selected as those who best use data to positively affect student achievement. Way to go, Alief!

p2p helps manage debts Back to school has always been a time of spending, but it’s also a time of settling debts as students move into dorms and split living costs. PayPal’s Peer-to-Peer is increasingly popular for splitting rent, with digital payment options that allow students to easily and efficiently exchange money.

symphony immerses itself in the community The Houston Symphony has recruited four new string musicians to focus on enhancing the orchestra’s growing education and community engagement activities while also performing on stage for select Houston Symphony performances. Jenna Barghouti (violin), David D. Connor (double bass), Anthony Parce (viola), and Hellen Weberpal (cello) are part of the first group of Houston Symphony Community-Embedded Musicians who will spend most of their time in schools, neighborhoods and health care settings, beginning in the fall of 2015, teaching and engaging people in learning experiences in, through, and about music.

rita’s settles in the heights

Rita’s Italian Ice, has begun scooping ice from its newest location in Houston at 2802 White Oak Drive in the Houston Heights section of the city. The diverse neighborhood is home to many wellknown bars and restaurants including Fitzgerald’s, one of the oldest live music venues in the city. september 2015 . houston family magazine . 7

familyfinds the good stuff

We have a clothes crush on this collection of sweet, interactive t-shirts from Lotty Dotty! Dress the screen-printed doll figures with velcro-backed designer mini-outfits. from $25.

Measure your kids’ feet right in the comfort of your own home with Squatchi. $19.99.

whether they’re jumping in leaves, or heading to Grandma’s house, your family will fall in love with these fabulous fashion finds!

Bring the ballet flat trend to your family, with Linge’s shoes, available in a range of gorgeous colors. $39.

The MayFair tote in Currant gloss features snap pockets, perfect for carrying groceries--in style! $385. 8 . houston family magazine . september 2015

Pair these sporty Joe Boxer sneakers with a Canyon River Blues top and skirt for an affordable outfit that’s right on trend. From $14.99.

Your special little guy will light up in this glow-in-the dark t-shirt, made of soft, hardwearing cotton jersey. $30.

We are positively mad for the vintage plaid, peter-pan collars, and darling bows of Elephantito’s Fall Girls collection. $65-$79.

These comfy threads are just in time for football season and celebrating your fave team. From $24.95.

on the web.

giveaways! • Little Mermaid Tickets

• Dewberry Farms Tickets • Texas Renaissance Fair Tickets • Moody Gardens Tickets • Houston Dynamo Tickets

online exclusives Taming Morning Madness Help Your Child Make the Most of Daycare and Preschool How to Handle Picky Eating in the Long Term 7 Steps to Make Your Children Self-Aware MoMENts: Labor of Love


Advice Column for and About Teens

online content


The lazy days of summer may be slipping away, but our editorial staff is raring to go!

We are updating our Pinterest Boards, Instagram and Facebook page to offer more local content! Check them out to daily for deals, giveaways and cool new ‘must haves’ New columns with exclusive HFM content detailing a day in the life of local families! Mommy Moments, Daddy Days and We Are Houston will all document stories and moments from local families with stories to share!

Stay in the know with useful, timely information from our family to yours! september 2015 . houston family magazine . 9

talktothedoc health and wellness broken bones 101 dr. vinitha shenava, pediatric orthopedic surgeon at texas children’s hospital west campus

the start of a new school year brings football, volleyball, basketball--and sometimes a broken bone to go along with these and other athletic activities. here’s what you can expect as a result.


s a pediatric orthopedic doctor, I see tons of broken bones, especially during the summer when kids spend more time outdoors. It’s not uncommon to see broken arms, collar bones or ankles. The most common broken bone we see is forearm fractures. When children are falling, they’ll often try to brace themselves with their arms, causing fractures of their shoulder, elbows, forearms or wrists. It’s important to note that not every fall results in a broken bone. Therefore, paying attention to classic signs that could indicate a broken bone such as an audible snap, pain, the inability to touch or

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move the injured area, swelling, tenderness, bruising, or even deformity (the area looks curved or crooked) is very important. Occasionally a broken bone will also be associated with a tear or opening in the skin which is an even more serious injury. If you suspect a child has a broken bone, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. When we first see children with a suspected broken bone, we will get an X-ray of the area. This allows us to see the bone, see if it’s broken and determine the extent of the injury. Depending on the location of the fracture, we might order an MRI or CT scan. This allows us to evaluate the fracture in 3 dimensions which is helpful in unusual or complex fractures. The majority of fractures in children can be treated with a cast. However, a small percentage are best treated by surgery due to their location or if the bones are not well aligned. All orthopedic surgeons have the ability to treat fractures, but ones that occur in children possess unique qualities that occasionally are best treated by pediatric orthopedic surgeons who have additional training in caring for musculoskeletal problems in children. One factor unique to children is the fact that their bones are actively growing, so some fractures will improve their alignment (remodel) with growth. Another issue is that children’s bones differ

from adults because they have growth plates (also called physes) and fractures in children can involve the growth plate. The growth plates are located at the ends of long bones, such as those in the arms and legs, and allow the bone to grow in length. They are made of cartilage, a soft rubbery material, which can be vulnerable to injury. In fact, when damaged, the bone can sometimes stop growing partially or completely. Treatment by a medical provider who is knowledgeable in these types of injuries, especially one with expertise and experience in treating pediatric patients, is necessary to prevent issues in adulthood. Children can sustain growth plate injuries from falling during a wide variety of activities. Contact and repetitive sports such as basketball, football, gymnastics, skateboarding, bicycle riding and flipping on the trampoline are common causes. In order to minimize further injury, these fractures may require surgery or follow up on a long term basis to monitor for any permanent damage. In general, children make a full recovery following a fracture and are usually back to running around, cast free, within a few months.

familyfinance money matters 3 money “musts” for families sending a child to college this fall by casey galindo, wells fargo education financial services and academic needs. Wells Fargo’s new Get College Ready interactive website ( GetCollegeReady) can help you learn about options. Anytime you consider taking out a loan, have a plan for how you’ll pay it off. Managing Money:

For many young adults, going away to college is the first time they will manage a budget or use other financial products such as checking and saving accounts, debit cards, credit cards or insurance. Families can help their students make sure they have the right accounts and services as well as an understanding for how to manage them responsibly. For example, with Wells Fargo’s My Money Map, consumers of all ages can easily track spending, set budgeting goals and monitor savings.

more than just academic learning, college represents a time in young adults’ lives when they begin forming financial habits that carry them through life.


f you had a college-bound student, your summer months were most likely spent less swimming at the local pool, at cookouts with family and friends, or on family road trips and more on everything involved in getting your child sent off to college, complete with everything he or she would need: computers, bedding, school supplies and the list goes on. If only you could have earned frequent flyer points for the endless trips to IKEA and Wal-Mart, you could fly the whole family to Hawaii for the holidays. Now that it’s September, and you’re certain your child has many of the creature comforts of home, it’s time to turn your attention to the vital task of helping your student start their

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adult life on firm financial footing with tools and good personal finance habits that will serve them well throughout their lives. As a parent and someone who has worked in the banking industry for more than many years, I offer three steps that can help your family get financially ready for college: Paying for College:

There are many options for paying for college, including tuition payment plans, scholarships, grants, federal and private student loans. Before you apply for a student loan, you should consider other financial means you plan on using to cover costs. It’s important to understand the features of student loans and consider a loan option that best fits your child’s personal

Building Credit:

Helping students understand the responsible use of credit and how it works can set them for more financial freedom and choices down the road. Wells Fargo’s The Path to Good Credit can help students understand credit basics and how, with smart planning, they can get on the right path for financial success. As your child begins to pave the road of his or her higher education career, you will begin a new life chapter with him or her. By taking the time to build a thoughtful financial plan, you’ll be able to spend more time with your family and truly make this first college semester comfortable, memorable, and root of a healthy financial lifestyle.

september 2015 . houston family magazine . 13


online personal stylists

Once reserved for Hollywood royalty, powerhouse executives, and blue-blood socialites, personal styling services have entered the democratic age. Stepping beyond the dressing rooms of high-end boutique stores, personal stylist service providers have embraced the Internet to bring A-list fashion counseling to the masses. by sara g. stephens


ust like a trusty shopping buddy, a good personal stylist will pair your fashion taste and personality with items you will look good in, feel good about, and actually wear. Traditionally, such professionals can charge in the range of $100 per hour. But an awareness of the returns to be gained from servicing a larger percentage of the fashion market has prompted many stylists to form or join online services that anyone can access. The psychology of it all

Dawnn Karen, MA is an Ivy League grad and Founder of the Fashion Psychology™ field and the Fashion Psychology

Institute™ (FashionPsychologyInstitute). She works with elite clientele via her consultancy www.FashionPsychologySuccess. com. Karen says that the idea of having a personal stylist appeals to people because color and fashion unknowingly affect human behavior. She adds that, “One’s mood can be a psychological barrier that prevents a client from accurately perceiving his/her own best looks.” These are the psychological reasons behind people lusting after the idea of having a personal stylist and why this industry has for so long thrived for the small percentage of fashionistas who can afford them.

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The advent of online personal style services has leveled this aspect of the fashion playing field, making personal fashion counsel accessible to the masses. Karen sees the good and the bad of this trend. “One of the biggest pros of online personal styling services is the convenience of flexibility of scheduling a session,” Karen says. “One of the biggest cons of online personal styling services is that one cannot see the body language of the client when wearing the selected garments.” At this point, Karen does observe an online personal stylist market geared toward children, but more toward middle and upper-class families.

What’s out there?

The options for online personal style services are varied and growing: K Couture ( is an online formal wear shop that offers access to its fashion experts via email or through a phone call. Stylists help customers navigate the right colors for them and the best styles for their body types. A custom dress option enables clients to submit their measurements and then create the perfect dress with the help of a personal stylist. FabKids ( is a children’s fashion brand and personalized shopping site that creates monthly outfits and

shoes for boys and girls, giving VIP Members access to competitive pricing and durable, stylish clothing and shoes. Parents start by taking a personal style quiz with their child. The quiz presents a series of outfits, from which the child chooses which she would wear to a particular type of event (school, special occasion, etc.). Based on the child’s responses, a FabShop is created with personal selections for the child. Her store is saved in a personal profile, where parents can shop for complete outfits for $29.95. Individual items start at $14.95, and shoes start at $16.95. With a new collection each month, VIP Members can choose to shop or save their $29.95 credit, or they can skip any time, with no obligation to buy. As a customer of Stitch Fix ( you start by creating a style profile, including measurements (height, weight, waist size, and shoe size; prints you like or dislike; your accessories preferences; and your budget. Stitch Fix sends a “fix,” a box of five surprise garments for you to try, along with styling tips on how to dress it up or down. You can keep any, all or none of the sent items, returning what you don’t want in a prepaid envelope. If you buy at least one item, the $20 styling fee is applied to your order. There is a 25% off incentive for keeping all the items sent. Especially appealing is that StitchFix adapts future deliveries based on your feedback. Think of Keaton Row ( as the “Avon” of online personal stylists. The company outsources its styling to amateur fashion hounds, screened by Keaton Row’s style director, to hunt for fashion for its customers. Stylists create for their clients personalized “lookbooks” of outfit ideas from online retailers. Clients choose which looks they’d like to see in person. The items are sent to the customer, who can try the pieces on in the comfort of her own home, with no obligation to buy.

For those who prefer the in-store experience, Nordstrom offers a hybrid solution that lets customers use the web to book their in-store appointments with a store personal stylist (/ After the customer books an appointment, her Personal Stylist will contact her within 24 hours to learn more about the customer’s style, budget and goals. When the customer arrives for her appointment, she will experience a dressing room full of options put together just for her. Trunk Club (trunkclub. com) is a personal styling service for men, and was acquired last year by Nordstrom. After a man signs up for the service, he is interviewed by his stylist to determine his personal tastes, and provides his measurements. The customer then receives his first “trunk” – a box containing a selection of clothing and other items. He pays only for what he does not mail back within 10 days.

At Personal Shopper, by Shop Your Way (ps.shopyour-, a personal shopper will research products, suggest gift ideas, fiind deals and sales, create custom catalogs for the customer, and find cool new items suited to her preferences. The service’s personal shoppers are fashion bloggers, stylists, authors, teachers. and moms. Stylit is a free service out of Israel that sends personalized outfit advice to the customer’s inbox weekly. The service uses quizzes and algorithms to put together personalized outfits in digital lookbooks that are emailed on a regular basis to clients with links to the featured clothes and accessories. The service is free. Clothes are budget friendly. Different from the other personal style services mentioned, Stylit does not permit the customer to try items on before purchasing them. Additionally, the “stylist” component is missing from the equation, as buyers do not re-

ceive feedback on how the items look on them. The gee-whiz aspect of this service is that the algorithms get smarter each time the customer offers feedback on a look. So, provided she has good judgment from looking in the full-length mirror, the client can, in essence, become her own personal stylist, with an automated sales person standing outside her virtual dressing room to go and fetch additional items she chooses to try on. Another departure from the personal, online stylist, My Private Stylist ( is a web-based, visual, personal styling program that’s available to its owners 24/7. Rather than offering customers a personal stylist, it, too, aims to enable clients to become their own personal stylists. After gathering vital information about a customer’s unique body shape, the software creates a detailed, customized program in moments, addressing all the styles and accessories that work or don’t work for the customer, and an explanation of why. Clients learn what styles will accentuate their positive assets and those that will minimize their challenges. Users can then log in to their online program and check out more than 660 full colour fashion photos in 40 categories, chosen based on the customer’s data. The program also gives examples of how to put the outfits together and detailed descriptions of the suggested clothing. Having this program has been described as “like reading a current fashion magazine that has been tailored to you….. from top to toe.” The software is available online ranging from $69-$89. Readers of Houston Family Magazine can redeem a 50% discount off this price by entering coupon code ”Houston Family” at checkout. PrêtàStyler (PretaStyler. com) is a companion program to My Private Stylist. It provides the shopping and styling solution to, “Now that I know what suits me, where do I find it?”

The service starts by creating a personally curated fashion mall for each member that is constantly restocked with garments and accessories specifically chosen to flatter the member’s shape and age. Personal styling recommendations are added for every garment, specifically for each member. PrêtàStyler offers a 14-day free trial period, with an ongoing membership price of $9/mth. Readers of Houston Family Magazine are eligible for $5 memberships by entering “Houston Family” at checkout.

Should you use an online personal stylist? Do you... 1. find yourself leaving the store empty-handed because you couldn’t find an outfit that felt or looked right? 2. have a shape that has changed as the result of pregnancy, illness, or diet, and you haven’t updated your wardrobe accordingly? 3. lead a hectic life and don’t have time to go shopping? 4. have a recent lifestyle change, for which you have no corresponding outfits, and don’t know what to get or where to find it? 5. own a lot of individual garment pieces, but never can find the right outfit to wear, because none of the pieces mix or match? If you answered yes to any one of the above, then an online personal stylist could be just what your closet craves.

september 2015 . houston family magazine . 15

feature It has no carbs. It’s good for your heart. It’s good for your lungs. It’s good for your partner. Laughter is good for your brain. When you’re laughing, at least you’re not crying. Laughter can literally get you high. And finally, Holy crickets, I almost forgot this one: it’s fun! Making hospital patients laugh reaps benefits for both the patient and the staff. It has been found to reduce pain, strengthen the immune system and improve respiration. That, in turn, benefits the staff since the patient is less anxious, more compliant, and often is able to be released earlier. Laughing lowers your risk for heart attack, increases circulation, helps you fight infection, increases energy, and helps manage both pain and stress. It burns calories, boosts confidence, and best of all, the pharmaceutical companies haven’t found a way to make it into a pill–it’s a remedy that is available to anyone!

belly laughs beat the blues-and more!

by marye audet

“Laughter is the best medicine:” It’s an old adage that has been floating around for decades, but have you ever wondered if getting more laughter in your life could make a difference in your mental, emotional, and physical health? It’s interesting to note that children laugh an average of 500 times a day while adults are lucky if they manage five good guffaws. Traffic jams, tight budgets, and work deadlines are only a few of the evils of modern society that will suck the giggle right out of you. The problem is that not only does all that stress weaken your sense of humor, it also weakens your immune system, makes you more prone to depression, and increases your grumpiness. 16 . houston family magazine . september 2015

What if adding a little laughter to your life could conquer all of that? Is Laughter Really So Good for You?

We talked to Frank Chindamo of LaughMD, a company that installs channels that run funny videos on hospital television channels (for more information check laughmdcom). Chindamo an adjunct professor at four colleges, and one of the advisors for LaughMD is none other than Patch Adams, the real man that inspired the “Patch Adams” movie. When asked what the benefits of laughter were he replied that in light of the fact that he had taught about comedy, as well as making hundreds of comedy videos, he knew “a thing or two” about laughter. Laughing has been voted the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

Getting More Laughter into Your Life

It’s great that laughter is so good for you, but on those days when the toilet overflows, the baby is teething, and the boss wants you to stay late at the office? Well, laughter can seem downright impossible. A smile might even be a stretch – so how do you wrestle even one belly laugh from deep inside? One possibility is Laughter Yoga. Introduced to Houston in 2011 by Lainie Diamond, laughter yoga won’t ask you to twist your limbs into a pretzel shape or balance in an impossible pose. In fact, there are no poses and no floor exercises at all. Ms. Diamond says, “We’re in a group and we move and laugh. We self hug, we wiggle like we have ants in our pants, we affirm our bodies aloud. It releases anxieties and lets out feelings. I like to call it Expressive Breathing Movement Exercises.

Wiggling in a group of people and laughing is an intimidating idea to most folks but Diamond laughs, “I like to say that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. You need to fake it until you make it! The motion will create the emotion, and you’ll feel so much better afterwards!” Kids are welcome to attend classes with a parent or guardian. Get the whole family involved. You can find more information on the website, There are plenty of other ways to get more laughter in your life if laughter yoga isn’t your cup of tea. • Watch funny movies! There are plenty of them available on Netflix, you’ll just need to figure out what type of comedy makes you laugh. • Take a laugh break with a quick, funny video on YouTube or one of the funny video sites. A Google search for funny videos, funny cats, or whatever will turn up a plethora of possibilities. • Ask your friends or spouse to tell you a joke. Better yet, ask your kids to tell you a joke. • Television Sitcoms are always available with cable television! • Utilize Pinterest! Start a board with all of the quotes, memes, and pictures that make you laugh as you are surfing the Internet. • Call or message an old friend and talk about all of the crazy stuff that you did way back when. • Head for an amusement park with a friend. There are hundreds of ways to encourage laughter in your life, but one of the biggest is simply not taking yourself so seriously! Encouraging Laughter in Your Family

Laughter builds camaraderie, teamwork, and a feeling of belonging. Those are the foundations of a strong family life, so it stands to reason that it’s a good idea to get your whole

family laughing right along with you. Building a sense of humor in your child will help him handle stress better now and in the future. • Family game nights can be a great way to bond and laugh. • Get your child a joke book. Most kids love these things right around the age of eight and will read them voraciously and then follow you around trying out jokes on you. Let yourself really focus on your child and laugh at their jokes. • Gentle wrestling, a pillow fight, or some other nonviolent activity can be lots of fun. Just stay away from tickling – it takes away your child’s control over the situation and is almost abusive for some children. Know your child and what is OK with them. • Watch a funny family movie. Don’t Stifle Laughter in Your Family

It’s a lot easier to allow laughter to be stifled than you might think. Every day people are exposed to infinite amounts of violence, anger, and ugliness. It comes through the news, through social media, and through daily interactions with others. Watch less commercial television, and especially the news. It causes stress that you probably don’t need to deal with. There is so much violence that society doesn’t even recognize it as violence anymore. Watching someone get murdered on a television show creates stress in your body just like watching someone get murdered on the street would. You may think you are immune to it because it’s just pretend but your body tells a different story. Frank Chindamo suggests National Public Radio as a way to find out what is happening in the world. It is world news and tends to be less jaded than conventional news stations, he says. So, grab a funny movie, make some popcorn, and gather the family for an evening of laughter. It’s good for what ails you. september 2015 . houston family magazine . 17


do you have a helium hand? avoid overcommitment & enjoy volunteering!


t’s hard to believe it’s that time of year again. Class sign-ups, bake sales, fundraisers, committee preps, party planning, lunch packing, and the list goes on. For parents, the energy of a fresh start to the school season makes us especially eager to raise our hand for just about every task. How do we avoid overcommitting again? This constant need to say yes, or “helium hand,” can be avoided if you keep a few things at mind to start. “I try not to overcommit, but a yes here and there somehow turns into a lot of work,” says Houston mom of 3 Jenn Canady, “I get so burned out by the time the end of the school year comes around.” Why do we do it year after year? Why do we keep saying “yes” to every little project and request? For starters, we want to feel valued and plugged into what is going on in our community. Maybe we want make friends or get to know the staff

at the school. Let’s face it, the truth is, schools, PTA’s, churches, and other groups rely on volunteers in order to operate. They need us! But, they don’t need the same person saying yes for every little project. Houston mom Jennifer Manning has two children and says she knows all too well about being overcommitted. “It happens when I fall into the trap of ‘if I don’t, who will?’ I need to remember that I’m not that important to everyone, but I am crucial to my friends and family,” said Manning, “I will always be searching for the right ‘fit’. It’s not full-time, nor is it complete withdrawal.” Jenn Nevitt is a mom to two kids and also the PTA President at Bear Branch Elementary in Kingwood. “Our whole organization is made up of volunteers,” said Nevitt, “From officers, executive board, committee chairs, to classroom helpers. Every single thing is done by volunteers,

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whether it’s someone working 2-4 hours a year or even some who works 50 hours a month.” Nevitt wants volunteering to be fun and rewarding, not something people fear or dread doing. Her method for recruiting helpers is to match up people with things they are passionate about. “It makes the job more fun and less like work so they remain committed. If the volunteers feel like what they are doing is important or they are making a difference, they also feel the value of their work. I encourage parents to use their voice and be an active role in their child’s school and education.” As a Children’s Ministry leader, Rachel Lockhart helps organize volunteers to work with the children in a church community. “When people volunteer for something they are passionate about, they do a better job.” said Lockhart, “The volunteers don’t get

by andrea slaydon burned out because they are excited about helping out.” Other tips to avoid volunteer burnout: • Identify what jobs you have done in the past that may translate to a volunteer position. • Make sure to ask about scheduling of the volunteer activity, so you don’t over commit for things on the same days. • Choose volunteer activities that you can do as a family, so you can still spend time together and get a job done. • Ask about volunteer jobs that can be done at your home or on your own time. • Don’t be afraid to say no! They will find someone else to do the job. “Apply your gifts to things that are gratifying to you,” said Nevitt. “Volunteering should be fun, rewarding, besides meeting the needs of the organization.” Keep your helium hand at bay, and make the new school year more fun and enjoyable for you and your family.

iamhouston people who represent all that is good about houston

megan mcguff: artistic drive, passion, and determination interviewed by sara g. stephens


FM: When did start your musical theatre training? MM: I started training in highschool, when I was 14, at Humphrey’s School of Musical Theatre. I trained there for around four years, and I’m a substitute dance teacher there now. HFM: At what point did you know you wanted to pursue theatre professionally? MM: Musical theatre is definitely my passion. I’ve been curious about it most of my life, and I knew for sure I wanted to pursue it professionally when I did my first musical, during my freshman year of high school. That was “Beauty and Beast.” It’s funny, because another ensemble member of the show I’m in now, Matilda, was in that same high school production. He played Gaston. So, it’s come full circle. HFM: What high school did you go to? MM: I went to Dawson High School in Pearland ISD. I homeschooled in my senior year

so I could focus on getting work in the theatre. Then I started working professionally in TUTS [Theatre Under the Stars] Main Stage shows. It’s a great program. I would recommend it to anybody. HFM: Was that a difficult transition for you after attending public school all your life? MM: It was actually easier for me than public school. I have problems focusing with a lot of noise. All the kids talking around me distracted me from learning. HFM: But was it hard to maintain discipline with your studies, with everything else going on? MM: Not at all. I was way more disciplined in home school. It was so much easier for me. I didn’t enjoy high school as much as homeschool. Emotionally I was tired because I was working so much, but I managed. It’s something I loved to do, so it wasn’t really a problem for me. HFM: How did your parents feel about your decision to

20 . houston family magazine . september 2015

‘‘ you have to work hard and keep trying no matter how many times you’re told, “no.” You have to have drive and the willingness to keep going.


armed with infinite initiative, megan comes off the strappy heels of playing “legally blonde” lead role elle wood, and now tours the country with the all-age endearing “matilda” production, slated to hit houston’s theatre under the stars october 16-18.

invest yourself so deeply into theatre? Were they supportive? MM: My family is very artistic. My cousin is an actress and playwrite, and my family supports all the arts. My mom is a single mom--she’s on tour with me now. She completely supports me in what I’m doing. HFM: So do you think theatre is in your blood? I wonder if that’s a trait that

gets passed down. MM: It depends on the family. Some of the kids I know in theatre do have a bunch of family members in the business, but there are kids who do and wouldn’t have a desire to do this job. I think it’s different for each family. HFM: What’s it like having Mom tour with you? MM: Oh my god, it’s so great! I love it so much. We’re experiencing new cities we haven’t been to, and we get to do it together, which makes it so much better. Being on tour has been very different than what I’m used to when I’m at home in Houston. We go non stop--constantly doing something new every day. We went powerboating the other day and jumped into a lake in our clothes, cuz we didn’t have our swim suits.

HFM: Sounds like fun. How’s that different from how you spend your free time in Houston? MM: I’m actually kind of a homebody. I spend a lot of time at home. I like to go downtown, to the parks. I like West U and Highland Village, those areas, especially the creperie in West U. I’m relaxed, and I just like to chill out when I get home because I’m so busy when I’m out touring. I have four dogs and a cat who I just love. I really miss them when I’m away, but my grandpa takes care of them. HFM: Tell me about Grandpa. MM: Oh, he’s so sweet! He came to L.A. to see me perform, and I will get him to come to Seattle. He’s so supportive of my career. He comes to as many shows as he can. He can’t move as well as he used to, so just getting on a plane is big deal. It’s really special to have him care so much. HFM: If you weren’t in musical theatre, what would you do? MM: My love is definitely being on stage, but I also love teaching children. I love when their eyes light up when they’re learning something new, or when they discover they can create something. I find it so interesting to see how every child does things differently. I love seeing all the personalities. My dance students are eager to learn, which is so nice. HFM: How would you advise your students—or any kid—about making it in the theatre? What does it take? MM: You have to work hard and keep trying no matter how many times you’re told “no.” You have to have drive and the willingness to keep going. HFM: Tell me about the show you’re working now, “Matilda the Musical.” MM: Every age will enjoy this show. It’s meant for everybody. There’s something to grab kids’, teens’ and adults’ attention. It’s not a kids show-it has some dark moments and some light moments. The music

is fantastic, and Dennis Kelly wrote a great book—it’s really funny and really scary at times. It’s also a very moving musical. “When I Grow Up” is one of the best numbers in the show. HFM: What role do you play? MM:I play a kid, Hortensia, in the ensemble. I went to the audition and to callbacks for about five months. At that time I was going out for the “swings”--they learn every part, so if somebody calls out of the show, the swings go in. At some point it switched to them wanted me to play Hortensia. I was so excited when I got the call. I was jumping up and down. It’s mostly a dancing part—it’s a hardcore dancing show. HFM: How do prepare to go onstage? MM: It’s a different mindset for each role. For Hortensia, I need to make sure my moves are the sharpest possible, and that my dialect is clear when singing. We’re using British accents in the show, which is new for me. It’s also a different experience moving to an ensemble role after playing a lead part. HFM: You played Elle Wood in “Legally Blonde.” That must have been fun. MM: Yes! She’s my favorite part to play in any of the shows I’ve ever done. I’m not like her at all—I mean, I do like to go shopping, and so does she—but other than that, we have nothing in common. Maybe that’s why she was such a fun part to play. But it was such a challenge. I was literally on stage the whole show, except to go off stage and get changed. It definitely gave me something to work for, and the show itself was so much fun. HFM: What are your plans after “Matilda?” MM: I’m planning on moving to the east coast after I’m done with the tour, which should be six months, possibly a year. Ultimately, my goal is to live in New York and be on Broadway. Hopefully, that will happen soon! september 2015 . houston family magazine . 21

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arts guide houston


peek behind the family arts scene in houston

Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Main Street Theater

Museum of Fine Arts Houston

Theatre Under the Stars

the music parents’

Survival Guide a parent-to-parent conversation

By Amy Nathan, Author of The Young Musician’s Survival Guide Excerpt from the book THE MUSIC PARENTS’ SURVIVAL GUIDE: A Parent-to-Parent Conversation by Amy Nathan (Oxford University Press, 2014).

Dealing with Time Issues in Practicing


any kids, even those who love music, find that the daily work of practicing falls into the same category as homework, something they aren’t always thrilled to tackle. They may have fun playing music and even like practicing much of the time, just not necessarily every day. “It is absolutely as normal as the sun coming up each morning that children do not want to practice every day a hundred percent of the time,” says Norma Meyer, piano teacher and mother to professional bass player Ranaan Meyer. Most of our educator advisors agree. “Even professional orchestra members and conservatory professors tell me, ‘My child is reluctant to practice.’ I tell them, ‘That’s normal,’” observes Larry Scripp, a music dad who is also a professor at New England Conservatory (NEC). Our pro advisors didn’t always want to practice every day when they were children either but eventually became regulars. So did many of the youngsters of our parent advisors. Their parents used different strategies to encourage the practice habit—from strict oversight to a more relaxed approach. “There is absolutely no formula,” notes NEC’s Mark Churchill [a former dean]. “It’s a step-by-step, trial-and-error process. Of course, you map out a plan, but it needs to be a very flexible plan.” “Practicing is always a challenge for kids,” observes conductor and music parent Marin Alsop. “There will be good days and bad days. Understand that, be sympathetic, but also be consistent in expecting regular practice. However, don’t mistake a lack of desire for practice as more than simply that.” It doesn’t necessarily mean a youngster has lost interest in music.” “What ultimately turned my children into regular practicers was their involvement with other kids—playing in group classes and youth orchestras—plus their commitment to their instruments,” says Sarah Odhner. The positive peer pressure that comes from performing with a group helped many of our other advisors’ sons and daughter catch the practice habit, too. “If our daughters took only private lessons and had just occasional recitals, I suspect neither would have continued with music,” says Heather Gange, mother of two string musicians who began studying at Peabody at a young age. “Playing in orchestras and chamber music groups let them develop musical friendships, see that the ‘cool’ people play at a high level, and kept my daughters interested and motivated to practice.”

Here are a few more ideas for adding a bit of fun to practicing: • Toy audiences: “We kept early practice sessions short, with stuffed animals cheering them on,.” - Marilyn Resmini, Virginia • Pet performances: “My daughter would practice and give concerts to the family dogs until she was ready for us to listen to her. We pretended we hadn’t heard the early stuff so she could perfect it before playing it for us.” - Beverly Berndt, Missouri • Loud music: “We made going to lessons fun. We played loud music on the way and stopped for ice cream afterward.” - Pam Conrad, Oregon • Favorites: “Every practice session should include time to play pieces that are already polished, so they can add a bit of musicality to them to make things interesting. Where’s the pleasure for a child of always practicing only pieces that are new, tricky, and need work?” - Kim Field, London, UK • Talk it over: “We talk about the pieces they’re playing. I share my ideas about the pieces—the images, colors, and stories I hear in them—and compare my thoughts to their ideas so they can develop their own ideas about the music.” - Jiji Goosby, Tennessee • Extras: “In addition to their regular lesson music, we got music for pieces they could play on their own for fun, like Star Wars music and the Pink Panther theme.” —Diane Cornelius, Oregon


Managing “O

the Ups and Downs

Fine-Tuning the Parent’s Practice Role oung Kids learn through play, as education experts tell us and any parent can confirm. That’s as true for music as for any other subject. Parental coaching for beginners should aim at making the practice experience fun—or at least have elements of fun in it. Scavenger hunts added fun to some families’ early practice sessions. “When my twin daughters were young, we would put the little songs they’re supposed to practice on index cards. One of them would hide the cards around the house and then the other would go find them. When she found one, she’d have to play that song,” says Rebecca Henry, a Peabody violin teacher whose daughters started on cello and violin as preschoolers. Flute teacher Vanessa Mulvey recommends a grab-bag approach. “Write on pieces of paper something that has to be done in the weekly assignment and place the papers in a hat or in a plastic egg. The child draws out a paper and does that part of the assignment.” . . . Another way to add some zip to pieces that need to be practiced is to “make up stories or operas about them,” says Rebecca Henry. “I also encouraged my daughters to be creative and make up new sounds or songs on their instruments.”

ur youngest daughter played piano, hated the pressure of performance, and so we allowed her to quit. What we should have done was find a better teacher, one willing to let her play popular music instead of classical,” says Kyle Todd. Several of our advice givers managed to do what this Massachusetts dad wished he had done. They found teachers who gave students a broader range of music to study, which revived the youngsters’ interest.

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“If children don’t like the music they’re playing, speak with the teacher and try to find an alternate, an equivalent piece in terms of technical challenges and musicianship,” says Dominique van de Stadt, the Arizona mom who has had a lot of experience maneuvering her four kids past their musical hurdles. “If the hated piece absolutely has to be learned, balance it with a piece the child really likes.”

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Theatre Under the Stars

Matilda the Musical continues to thrill sold-out audiences of all ages on Broadway and in London’s West End.

The Theatre Under The Stars’ 2015/16 Broadway season is filled with a spoonful of sugar, one small girl with extra big dreams and a show that will have you “dying” with laughter, this season is sure to hit everyone’s “sweet” spot. Based on the beloved novel by Roald Dahl, Matilda the Musical continues to thrill sold-out audiences of all ages.  The Wall Street Journal says,  “The makers of Matilda have done the impossible – triumphantly! It is smart, sweet, zany and stupendous fun.” A Christmas Story is far and away the most fun you’ll have this holiday season! In this clever musical adaptation of the 1983 film comedy, we follow the childhood dreams and schemes of little Ralphie, whose heart is set on getting one thing and one thing only for Christmas: the official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle. Then, The Bridges of Madison County, one of the most romantic stories ever written, first captured the nation’s attention as a best-selling novel and is now an irresistible, two time Tony Award®-winning Broadway musical. No sugar needed to help this musical go down.This “practically

perfect” portrayal of Disney’s Mary Poppins treats audiences of all ages to the cherished story of a very special nanny. Consider yourself at home in this dramatic take on a classic novel — Oliver… with a twist. Rediscover the story of a runaway orphan who finds himself in the grimly fascinating underbelly of eighteenth-century London. Getting away with murder can be so much fun… and there’s no better proof than the knock-‘emdead hit show that’s earned unanimous critical acclaimed A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder! Direct from New York, where a most gentlemanly NPR critic said he’d “never laughed so hard at a Broadway musical,” Gentleman’s Guide tells the uproarious story of Monty Navarro, a distant heir to a family fortune who sets out to jump the line of succession, by any means necessary. And a special Subscription Add-On: Disney’s The Little Mermaid! Back by popular demand for 5 performances only! Based on the Disney animated film and hit Broadway musical, The Little Mermaid is back to thrill TUTS audiences! Dive on in! For more information about TUTS and their community initiatives, visit september 2015 . houston family magazine . 25

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Fall Classes at HITS Theatre At HITS Theatre, students in grades 1 through 12 learn musical theatre and plays by attending after-school and weekend classes held throughout the year Join us for exciting and fun theatre and taught by skilled classes for kids! professionals. Over the course of a semester, students audition for a part, memorize the script, music, and choreography of a show, and adapt into their unique roles. HITS ensures that every student performs on stage in each show, regardless of ability or experience. Each class performs a Broadway-style production at the end of the semester at HITS Theatre. With a strong sense of ensemble leading the way, HITS’ goals are to serve our students’ personal development and growth as both performers and individuals, while continuing to produce quality shows that everyone can enjoy. Visit for more information or call 713-861-7408.

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Fall in Love with the Arts at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Fun is just around the corner with family-friendly events at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion presented by Huntsman. First, get into the spirit of Halloween as the Houston Symphony performs bone-chilling Hocus Pocus Pops. music and spooky sounds Photo by Ted Washington. Oct. 24. Daddies, mummies and all the little ghosts and goblins are invited to dress up in their favorite Halloween costumes for a chance to walk on stage during the concert. Or jump on the Great Pumpkin Express as it leaves the station to sweep you away on a tour of The Pavilion’s haunted grounds. Then, Nov. 14, fun takes center stage at the 20th Annual Children’s Festival. Entertainment spans from local performances to popular children’s performers. Lots of activities are located everywhere, so every child has something to enjoy. Lastly, ring in the holidays at Holly Jolly Jingle Dec. 3. Frolic in our Winter Wonderland, complete with snow. Guests can visit with Santa, Frosty and other holiday characters, listen to carolers sing and ride the Candy Cane Express. For more information, visit 26 . houston family magazine . september 2015

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The Health Museum The Health Museum is an interactive health science center that features the Amazing Body Pavilion, and The DeBakey Cell Lab, a bilingual exhibit that’s designed to introduce biology-based science to Fall programs, special events the public and inspire future and more. Explore what it means to be human at scientists and science-lab The Health Museum! leaders in the medical field. Our 3D film Planet You, is an up close look at the creepy, crawly microscopic critters that live on your skin! Step Right Up and enter The Bone Zone at The Health Museum! A carnival theme provides the entertaining setting for children of all ages to learn about the importance of diet and exercise for healthy bones. Opening September 12, 2015. And don’t forget the 7th annual Siege of the Skeletons! Our community based Halloween art exhibit is on display, September 29 to October 31. Fall programs, special events and more make The Health Museum the perfect place for super science fun! Visit for details and discount offers.

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A.D. Players Children’s Theater A. D. Players, originally known as After Dinner Players, was founded in 1967 by Jeannette Clift George. The troupe of part-time actors performed its first performance in 1968, and seven years later created a Touring Company. A.D. Players’ 2013 production In 1993 A. D. Players of Jungle Book was a favorite with families. started Houston’s first year-round children’s theater at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church Rotunda. Since then, A. D. Players Children’s Theater has been providing the Houston community with entertaining and educational performances that spark the minds and warm the souls of children both young and old. Whether you attend a performance with your family or with an entire class of students, A. D. Players Children’s Theater provides value-based entertainment that is appropriate for all ages. Every year, A. D Players’ puts on four family-friendly performances that provide children with an engaging and creative escape into the magical world of theater!

september 2015 . houston family magazine . 27

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Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Comes To The Grand! The beloved TV classic RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER soars off the screen and onto the stage at Galveston’s Grand 1894 Opera House this holiday Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer comes season.  Presenting two to Galveston Grand 1894 Opera House. performances on Saturday, December 19, 2015, come see all of your favorite characters from the special including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice,Yukon Cornelius  and, of course, Rudolph, as they come to life in RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL.  It’s an adventure that teaches us that what makes you different can be what makes you special.  Don’t miss this wonderful holiday tradition that speaks to the misfit in all of us. For information or tickets, contact The Grand at 800.821.1894 or

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Family Friendly in West Houston by Valerie Koehler

Come visit us at the Blue Willow Bookshop!

Our mothers taught us not to brag but we do believe that we have the best children’s book selection in Houston. We are a general interest shop but when you come visit us, you will see all that we have to offer for books and gifts from our family to yours. We offer weekly storytime, author events, bookclubs, baby registry, personally designed gift programs, free gift wrap, the list goes on. Go to our website to sign up for our E-Banter and find out why your family needs to visit us. We are waiting for you. – Valerie 28 . houston family magazine . september 2015

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National Museum of Funeral History Capturing the attention of history buffs, science junkies and classic car fanatics to art lovers, pop culture enthusiasts and political aficionados, the National Museum of Funeral History is a unique educational experience Join us for the Dia de los Muertos celebration! offering something for everyone! Housing the country’s largest collection of funerary artifacts and exploring the heritage of the industry, exhibits showcase everything from vintage hearses and caskets to authentic items from presidential and papal funerals, mourning rituals of ancient civilizations and more. From October 1 – November 2, have a “spooktacular” time exploring the family-friendly haunted house or listening for whispers from beyond in “Myths and Legends of the Graveyard.” On October 24, check out the Halloween Classic Car Show featuring over 150 vehicles, from classic to contemporary, plus fun kids’ activities, refreshments and music. On November 1, join in a special Dia de los Muertos celebration with authentic “ofrendas,” sweet treats, story time, special costumed characters and more.

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Main Street Theater Now in our 40th Anniversary Season, Main Street Theater provides professional theater experiences for all ages. Founded in 1975, our MainStage produces intimate, literary plays for Main Street Theater provides profesadults; our Theater sional theater experiences for all ages! for Youth produces engaging productions based on children’s literature for families and school groups ages 3 and up, both in-house and on tour around Texas; and our Education Department offers classes and camps on-site and at satellite locations around the Greater Houston area for youth aged 4 – high school. We work out of 2 brand new facilities: our Rice Village home on Times. Blvd., and as part of the MATCH (Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston) on Main Street.

september 2015 . houston family magazine . 29

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Houston Symphony The Houston Symphony will officially start its 201516 season of POPS, Family and Classical concerts in September 2015 after an action-packed Summer Concert Series.The POPS season will kick off early in The Houston Symphony will officially start its 2015-16 season in September. the month with The Music of the Beatles concert, led by Principal Pops Conductor Michael Krajewski, on September 4, 5 and 6. Finnish a cappella sextet Rajaton will be the featured vocalist in this presentation, providing a fresh take on the timeless songs. The next weekend, a special preface to the Symphony’s classical season will feature world-famous violinist Joshua Bell at the Houston Symphony’s Opening Night. Led by Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Bell will perform the West Side Story Suite for Violin and Orchestra. The classical season will officially begin with performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 on September 17, 19 and 20.The orchestra will also perform the world premiere of the orchestral version of Stomp, composed by John Corigliano. Young violinist Simone Porter will play Barber’s Violin Concerto on September 25-27. The rest of the concert will feature the work of Dvorák in both his Symphony No. 6 and selections from Symphonic Dances. For tickets and information, please call (713) 224-7575 or visit

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bookbites book reviews

for the love of reading valerie koehler, owner of the beloved blue willow bookshop, and her staff hand-pick the best reading selections for kids.

baby toddlers: little owl’s 1-2-3 by divya srinivasan (viking books for young readers, august 2015)

The illustrations help guide the reader through each situation.

We loved her first two books, so we are thrilled that the author has adapted them for little hands (and mouths!). The little owl flies around the night sky visiting his friends. Help young readers to find all the animals in this visually stimulating board book.

ing story traces all five of their intersecting paths through high school. Realistic fiction at its best, this is a very satisfying novel.

tweens: fuzzy mud by louis sachar (random house books For young readers, august 2015)

emerging readers: it’s tough to lose your balloon by jarrett krosoczka (random house books For young readers, september 2015)

In gentle tones, Krosoczka helps explain that things don’t always go your way. You may lose a balloon, a sandwich, or even more. As we try to teach our children resilience, this book is a good conversation starter.

Tamaya, Marshall, and Cole all attend the prestigious Woodbridge Academy. When Cole begins to bully Marshall, Tamaya flings mud at Cole that she notices feels weird, fuzzy. The next day Tamaya’s hands have broken out in a terrible rash, and she discovers that Cole is having a much worse reaction. Meanwhile, ongoing Senate hearings are being conducted to discuss the ethics of Biolene, a new product that could provide an alternative energy source but that has serious environmental and health consequences. Encourages discussions about science, ethics, bullying and the lengths we go to stand up for what’s right.

guys read: ten terrifying tales edited by jon sciesczka (walden pond press, september 2015)

Walden Pond brings another fine story collection to their critically acclaimed Guys Read Series. Sciesczka has long been committed to crafting stories for the ordinary boy who might be intimidated by big books. In this collection, well known authors such as Dav Pilkey and Michael Buckley tell scary stories that keep the reader on the edge of his seat. teens: the infinitei in between by carolyn mackler (harper teen, september 2015)

Five students find themselves in the same group at freshman orientation. At the end of that day, they make a promise to meet in the gym when they graduate. Told in five voices, the ensu-

dumplin’ by julie murphy (balzer & bray, september 2015)

Willowdean Davis is fat. She is also self-confident, fearless, funny and comfortable in her own skin. Life in Clover City, Texas, has been just fine. It’s only when she meets Bo, a cute co-worker who seems to like her that she begins to doubt herself. To find her self-confidence again, Willowdean enters the Miss Blue Bonnet Clover City pageant to prove that she deserves the spotlight as much as anyone else.

september 2015 . houston family magazine . 31


calendar of events

Dog Days at Discovery Green.


Sensory Friendly Day at the Woodlands Children’s Museum.

september 1


kelly clarkson.

Enjoy an evening of music with Kelly Clarkson with Pentatonix and Eric Hutchinson. All ages. $25+. 7pm. Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. 2005 Lake Robbins Dr., The Woodlands.

jump session for kids with special needs.

On the first Tuesday of every month, Sky High Sports turns off the music and dials down the distractions for the comfort of special-needs kids and their families and friends. All ages. $5 (parent or guardian free). 3pm-6pm. Sky High Sports. 10510 Westview Dr., Houston.

by karen neely

713-464-5867 or

open door.

Open Door is an arts and crafts program offered at Crosspoint Church on Tuesday mornings. All ages. $15 registration fee. 9am-12pm. Crosspoint Church. 4601 Bellaire Blvd., Bellaire. 713-668-2319 or

toddler yoga.

Toddler Yoga is a fun, active way to interact with your child as they become a lot more mobile. For children under 3 years of age. 10:30am. Free and open to the public. Central Library, 500 McKinney, 77002, 832-393-1313.

32 . houston family magazine . september 2015

toddler time.

A fun program for younger children. Ages 18mos.-3yrs. Free. 10:15am & 11am. Katy Library. 5414 Franz Rd., Katy. 281-391-3509.

preschool story time.

Read books, sing songs and do a craft project. Ages 3-6. Free. 10:30am. Northwest Branch Library. 11355 Regency Green Dr., Cypress. 281-890-2665.



legos and duplos at the library.

Join our block party Wednesday and show us your creations! LEGOS and DUPLOS provided. 3pm. Free and open to the public.


6th Annual Galveston Island Wild Texas Shrimp Festival. Photo courtesy of the Galveston Island Wild Shrimp Festival.


family faves september 18

dog days at discovery green

This dog-gone fun weekend includes DockDogs®, canine athletes from Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana competing in jumping events

september 25

galveston island wild texas shrimp festival

Event activities include a shrimp gumbo cook-off, gumbo tasting, free outdoors show, lil’ shrimps parade, kids area and more! indicates family fave pick

onthego Central Library, 500 McKinney, 77002. 832-393-1313.

years of transforming communities through innovative, child-centered learning with a day-long celebration which includes live performances, “Happy Birthday” singing, birthday cake, DJ dance party, and birthday games. All ages. Free (for the first 35 children to arrive). 10am-6pm. Children’s Museum of Houston. 1500 Binz, Houston.

mommy mingle.

Bring your little ones to Tot*Spot (the exclusive exhibit for children 35 months and under), on the first Wednesday of the month, and enjoy free coffee and snacks. Ages 35 mos and younger with adult. Free with general admission ($9, $8 senior age 65+, children under 1 free). 10am-12pm. Children’s Museum of Houston. 1500 Binz, Houston. 713-535-7238 or

teen game frenzy.

Come unwind after a long, stressful day of school. Play video games, eat snacks and have fun. Teens. Free. 4:00pm. Northwest Branch Library. 1355 Regency Green Dr., Cypress. 281-890-2665.



blue willow bookshop storytime.

Bring your child to Blue Willow to enjoy stories, songs and an art activity. Toddlers & preschoolers. Free. 10am. Blue Willow Bookshop. 14532 Memorial Dr., Houston. 281-497-8675.

museum free family night children’s museum of houston.

All admission fees are waived and families are able to come to the museum and experience everything it has to offer. All ages. Free ($3 parking in garage). 5pm-8pm. Children’s Museum of Houston. 1500 Binz St., Houston. 713-535-7264.

holocaust museum houston free thursdays.

Visitors to the Holocaust Museum Houston enjoy free general admission. All ages. Free. 2pm-5pm. Holocaust Museum Houston. 5401 Caroline St., Houston. 713-942-8000.

the fab 40 takes on the who’s “tommy”.

children’s museum of houston 35th birthday bash. The Children’s Museum of Houston will celebrate 35 years of transforming communities through innovative, child-centered learning with a day-long celebration. See September 5. Photo courtesy of Visit Houston. free thursday at museum of fine arts, houston.

Enjoy a full day of free activities every Thursday. All ages. Free. 10am-9pm. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. 1001 Bissonnet, Houston. 713-639-7300.

free family thursday at the health museum.

Visitors enjoy free general admission. All ages. Free. 2pm-5pm. The Health Museum. 1515 Hermann Dr., Houston. 713-521-1515.

table top game night.

This event provides children and parents an opportunity to play board games, card games, strategy games and other types of games with one another, to try out new games before they buy them, and to make lasting friendships. All ages. Free. 6pm-9pm. Bad Wolf Trading Company. 16911 Old Louetta Road #3, Houston. 832-717-4298 or



turtle patrol.

You can become a citizen scientist, and help the park to understand more about the Kemp’s Ridley Sea

Turtle, an endangered species that nests Galveston Island State Park. All ages. Free (with park entry $5). 6pm-7pm. Galveston Island State Park. 14901 FM 3005, Galveston.

baby boot camp’s freebie friday.

The first Friday of every month, Baby Boot Camp is free to moms with stroller-aged children. Free. 9:30am-10:30am. Memorial City Mall (by the entrance to Beck’s Prime) 303 Memorial City Way, Houston, TX 77024. summer.maura@

giving spirits concert series.

Come out to the Plaza to enjoy live music from Brazil TX (Brazilian Music & Dance) and learn more about the local non-profit, The Alzheimer’s Association. All ages. Free. 7:30-9:30pm. Sugar Land Town Square. 15958 City Walk, Sugar Land. www.sugarlandtownsquare.



children’s museum of houston 35th birthday bash.

The Children’s Museum of Houston will celebrate 35

More than 40 Houston musicians recreate - note for note - “Tommy” the iconic rock opera by The Who. All ages. Free. 8pm. Discovery Green. 1500 McKinney, Houston.

movie nite on the strand – maleficent.

Moviegoers are encouraged to stop for a bite to eat at a wide variety of downtown restaurants before setting up a blanket or chair for a free movie under the stars. All ages. Free. Movie begins after dusk. Saengerfest Park. 2300 Strand, Galveston.

labor day concert series.

Make plans to celebrate Labor Day with friends and family at Waterway Square. All ages. Free. 6-9:00pm. Waterway Square. 31 Waterway Square Place, The Woodlands.

art activities at IKEA!

Bring the kids to IKEA for an art activity presented by the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. Ages 5-15. Free. 2-4pm. IKEA. 7810 Katy Freeway, Houston.

first saturday arts market.

First Saturday Arts Market is a monthly outdoor fine arts event featuring the works of dozens of visual artists and showcasing paintings, sculpture, photography, jewelry and handcrafted items. All ages. Free admission. 6pm-10pm. Wind Water Gallery parking lot. 548 West 19th St., Houston. 713-802-1213 or

september 2015 . houston family magazine . 33

Peter Pan presented by Society for the Performing Arts.

galveston beach hike.


Set against the backdrop of Civil Rights-era Atlanta, Driving Miss Daisy chronicles the unlikely bond between an aging white Southern Jewish woman and her African-American chauffeur. Aug. 5-Sept. 13, see website for showtimes. Tickets: $23+ Stages Repertory Theatre. 3201 Allen Parkway, Houston. 713-527-0123.

Dancin’ in the Street...Motown & More Revue Miller Outdoor Theater

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Dancin’ in the Street… covers the timeless classics of legendary Motown artists and many more soul music greats. Sept. 3-6, 8pm • Tickets: Free Miller Outdoor Theatre. 6000 Hermann Park Drive, Houston.

Bollywood Blast-Breathless Miller Outdoor Theater

Breathless is a mesmerizing Bollywood saga featuring breathtaking dance, beautiful costumes, and jaw-dropping acrobatics. Get ready — this is Bollywood like you’ve NEVER seen before. Sept. 8, 8pm • Tickets: Free Miller Outdoor Theatre. 6000 Hermann Park Drive, Houston.

The Velveteen Rabbit Houston Grand Opera

Opera to Go! presents The Velveteen Rabbit based on Margery Williams’s cherished tale. Sept. 23-25, 11am • Tickets: Free Miller Outdoor Theatre. 6000 Hermann Park Drive, Houston.

Music of the Beatles The Houston Symphony

As a tribute to the Beatles, who first performed in Houston 50 years ago, we’re kicking off the season with an all-out Beatles celebration.

Beach hikes start at the park’s Nature Center; we’ll orient ourselves, and then move to the beach to look for beach treasures and explore why this place is so special. All ages. Free to park visitors ($5/adult entrance fee, anyone under 13 years is free). 10am-11:15am. Galveston Island State Park 14901 FM-3005 Galveston. calendarofevents or Lisa.Reznicek@

young writers workshop.

Houston’s only free writing workshop for kids, presented by HPL Express, Writers in the Schools and Discovery Green. All ages. Free. 10:30am-11:30am. Discovery Green. 1500 McKinney St., Houston. 713-400-7336 or



live music at east beach.

Grab your beach gear and head to the island’s party beach for a free, live concert series from every Sunday throughout the summer. All ages. Free. 3pm-6pm. East Beach, Galveston.

sunday family zone + studio.

Spend some time with the friendly family educators: sit on a pillow and read, sketch a work of art and join an investigation of an artwork. All ages. $15 adult, $10 senior, $7.50 child age 13-18 (children 12 and under free). 1pm-4pm. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Beck Building, 5601 Main Street, Houston. Law Building, 1001 Bissonnet, Houston. 713-639-7300.

bayou bikers.

Bayou Bikers meet at Market Square Park on the first Sunday of the month for 25- to 40-mile bike rides exploring the bayous of Houston. All ages (mountain bikes or bikes with fat tires required). Free. 8am. Market Square Park. 301 Milam, Houston.

labor day concert series. See Sept. 5.

34 . houston family magazine . september 2015

art activities at IKEA! See Sept. 5.



baby bounce.

An active storytime for infants. Ages 3-18mos. Free. 10:15am. Katy Library. 5414 Franz Rd., Katy. 281-391-3509.

baby time.

Stories, songs, and playtime for babies 6-18 months, and their caregivers. 10:30am. Free and open to the public. Central Library, 500 McKinney, 77002, 832-393-1313.

preschool storytime.

Stories, songs and crafts for children ages 3-5 years old and their caregivers. 1pm. Free and open to the public. Central Library, 500 McKinney, 77002, 832-393-1313.

toddler time.

Stories, songs, crafts and playtime for toddlers. Ages 18-36mos. Free. 11:30am. Central Library. 500 McKinney St., Houston. 832-393-1313.

creative moves for tots class.

All Tots are invited to play, dance, move, shake, and stretch in a funfilled mommy and me class. Ages 5 and under. Free. 12 pm. The Church of St. John the Divine. 2450 River Oaks Blvd., Houston.



teen craftomatics.

Teen program meets to work on various crafts. Ages 10+. Free. 4:30-5:30pm. Kendall Library. 609 N. Eldridge, Houston.

i love my grandparents!

Celebrate upcoming Grandparent’s Day with tales of grandma and grandpa, or grandfather and grandmother, or mimi and pawpaw. Ages 3-6. Free. 1:30-2:30pm. North Channel Branch Library.

onthego 15741 Wallisville Rd., Houston.

open door. See Sept. 1. toddler yoga. See Sept. 1. toddler time. See Sept. 1. preschool story time. See Sept. 1.

sketching in the gardens of bayou bend. See Sept. 1.



an evening with poet robert pinsky and mayor annise parker.

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky joins Houston Mayor Annise Parker for a poetry presentation and citywide launch of “My Favorite Poem: Houston.” All ages. Free. 6-8pm. Julia Ideson Building, Auditorium, 550 McKinney, Houston. 832-393-1662.

legos and duplos at the library. See Sept. 2.

teen game frenzy. See Sept. 2.



katy gardening club.

On the 2nd Thursday of the month, join other gardeners in your area to learn new ways to grow. Free. 11am. Katy Library. 5414 Franz Rd., Katy.

“the red handkerchief: a holocaust memoir, yvonne ward-hughes”.

At age 19, Yvonne’s mother, Maria Spronk-Hughes, joined a Resistance group in Amsterdam, Holland and performed acts of sabotage against the Nazis; join Yvonne as she talks about her mother’s experiences and courage. All ages. Free, but registration is requested. 6:30-8:30pm. The Holocaust Museum Houston. 5401 Caroline St., Houston.

centerstage Sept. 4-5, 8pm; Sept. 6, 7:30pm Tickets: $25-$140 Jones Hall. 615 Louisiana. Houston. 713-224-7575.

Opening Night with Joshua Bell The Houston Symphony

Prepare for the dazzling opening of the Houston Symphony’s 2015-16 Season when world-famous violinist Joshua Bell returns to perform an arrangement written for him, William David Brohn’s tuneful and virtuosic arrangement of the West Side Story Suite. Sept. 12, 7:30pm Tickets: $29-$165 Jones Hall. 615 Louisiana. Houston. 713-224-7575.

Galveston Symphony Orchestra The Grand 1894 Opera House

The season opening concert presented by the Galveston Symphony Orchestra. Sept. 6, 7pm Tickets: $20-$30 The Grand 1894 Opera House. 2020 Postoffice St., Galveston. 800-821-1894.

Peter Pan Society for the Performing Arts

Fly to Neverland in a whole new way with this spectacular, innovative live stage production of PETER PAN that combines intimate theater-in-the-round and overhead surround CGI projection; with actors in dazzling flying sequences forty feet in the air and whimsical puppets that bring J.M. Barrie’s classic tale to fantastical life, creating a truly unique environmental theatrical experience! Sept. 9-Oct. 4, see website for showtimes Tickets: $30-$105 THREESIXTYTHEATER. 4747 Southwest Freeway, Houston. 713-632-8113.

september 2015 . houston family magazine . 35

centerstage The Rat Pack is Back! Society for the Performing Arts

This spirited show recreates one of the famous “Summit at the Sands” nights when the swingin’, ring-a-ding group known as “The Rat Pack” was creating hipster legends with a free-wheeling, no-holds-barred nightclub act starring Vegas’ four favorite sons: Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin and Joey Bishop. Sept. 18, 7:30pm Tickets: $33-$78 Jones Hall. 615 Louisiana. Houston. 713-227-4772.

The Little Mermaid Theatre Under the Stars In a magical kingdom fathoms below, we meet Ariel, the little mermaid who is tired of flipping her fins and longs to be part of the fascinating world on dry land. Sept. 10-13, see website for showtimes. Tickets: $30-$124.50 The Hobby Center/Sarofim Hall. 800 Bagby, Ste. 300, Houston. 713-315-2400.

Rent Theatre Under the Stars An inspiring musical about friends and artists struggling with addiction, poverty, AIDS and most of all, love.

Sept. 18, 7:30pm, Sept. 19 1:30pm and 7:30 pm Tickets: $24-$60 The Hobby Center/Zilkha Hall. 800 Bagby, Ste. 300, Houston. 713-315-2400.

Music of the Americas The Houston Symphony Enjoy an evening of classical music with the Houston Symphony led by Andrés Orozco-Estrada as conductor. Sept. 10, 8pm (doors open at 7pm) Tickets: $20 orchestra, free mezzanine and lawn seating

free family thursday at the health museum. See Sept. 3.

tai chi by the reflecting pool. See Sept. 3.

blue willow bookshop storytime. See Sept. 3. free thursday at museum of fine arts, houston. See Sept. 3.

museum free family night children’s museum of houston. See Sept. 3. holocaust museum family free thursdays. See Sept. 3. table top game night. See Sept. 3.



remember when rock was young: the elton john tribute starring craig a. meyer.

Starring Craig A Meyer as Almost Elton John, and featuring music by The Rocket Band, this magical musical journey celebrates the chart-topping hits of Sir Elton John. All ages. Free. 8pm. Miller Outdoor Theatre. 6000 Hermann Park Drive, Houston. www.milleroutdoor

performing asia: kathak dance with shovana narayan.

dog days at discovery green. This dog-gone fun weekend includes DockDogs®, canine athletes from Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana competing in jumping events; a doggie costume contest and more! See September 18.

turtle patrol. See Sept. 4.



art thing!

Learn about art and artists and make your own creation to take home. Children. Free. 3pm. Central Library, 500 McKinney, Houston. 832-393-1313.

fiesta patrias.

Led by Padma Shri Guru Shovana Narayan, this performance takes the audience on a journey through emotions moved by rhythm and melody. All ages. $15 for members. 7:30pm. Asia Society Texas. 1370 Southmore Blvd., Houston.

Celebrate Mexico’s independence day with a reenactment of the “Grito de Dolores” or Father Hidalgo’s cry for liberty. All ages. Free with museum admission. 10am-6pm. Children’s Museum of Houston. 1500 Binz, Houston.

opry on the square.

music night on the strand: the fab five.

Come out and enjoy Country Now and Then, featuring country favorites that will appeal to all generations of Country Music fans! All ages. Free. 7:30-9:30pm. Sugar Land Town Square. 15958 City Walk, Sugar Land. www.sugarlandtownsquare.

36 . houston family magazine . september 2015

Don’t miss free live concerts in downtown Galveston’s Saengerfest Park! Visitors are encouraged to bring their own seating. All ages. Free. 6pm-9 pm. Saengerfest Park. 2300 Strand, Galveston.

2nd saturday at the depot.

2nd Saturday at the Depot is a free monthly, family-style event with games and activities, entertainment and a movie at dark on the giant inflatable screen. All ages. Free. All day. Tomball Downtown Depot. 201 South Elm Street, Tomball.

young writers workshop. See Sept. 5.

galveston beach hike. See Sept. 5.



9th annual fiestas patrias.

Celebrate at Traders Village along with Telemundo TV 47 the Fiestas Patrias holiday tradition with a free live concert featuring Walter Suhr & Mango Punch!, dancing, foods and family fun. All ages. Free ($4 parking). 1pm. Traders Village. 7979 N. Eldridge Rd., Houston.

robin preiss glasser at blue willow bookshop.

Robin Preiss Glasser will share her

onthego A Study of Viscosity: An Exhibition by Marthann Masterson


arthann Masterson, a third-generation Houstonian, started her career as a professional chef and television personality. Her creative energy and talent has now moved to the art studio. She studied at the Glassell School of Art. Her work has been exhibited in Houston and Florida, where she won an international art competition and her paintings were viewed by more than 40,000 people. One of her pieces inspired a ballet in Sarasota, Florida. Masterson was also one of five featured artists in a “The Soul of The Artist,� a book by Janet Roe. A Study of Viscosity: An Exhibition of New Work by Marthann Masterson is on exhibit at the Winter Street Gallery, Upstairs, 2101 Winter Street, 77007. A reception with the artist scheduled for Sept. 26 at the Winter Street Gallery from 5:30pm. to 8:00pm.

september 2015 . houston family magazine . 37


centerstage Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. 2005 Lake Robbins Dr., The Woodlands.

Houston Grand Opera Studio Showcase Houston Grand Opera

The Showcase will feature operatic scenes, including excerpts from upcoming 2015–16 season repertoire, with selections by Handel, Mozart, Puccini, and Carlisle Floyd. Sept. 10, 8pm; Sept. 12, 8pm. Tickets: $15+ Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center. 550 Prairie St., Houston. 713-228-OPERA (6737).

O Columbia Houston Grand Opera

Inspired by interviews with Houston-based NASA astronauts, scientists, and engineers, O Columbia traces a history of dreamers and explorers-from Sir Walter Raleigh journeying to the New World, to a Houston teenager experiencing communion, and later, heartbreak, with a Columbia space shuttle astronaut, to future astronauts venturing to the far reaches of the solar system-in an ode to America’s pioneering spirit. Sept. 23-24, 8pm Tickets: $20 Bayou Music Center. 520 Texas Avenue, Houston. 713-228-6737.

Autumn Hunt The Hobby Center

Ars Lyrica’s Seasonal Rituals begin with Antonio Vivaldi’s Autumn, the first of four concerti constituting his beloved Four Seasons, each of which appears on its own program this season. Sept. 13, 6pm Tickets: $37-$59 The Hobby Center. 800 Bagby, Ste. 300, Houston. 713-315-2400.

new Fancy Nancy book, Nancy Clancy: Soccer Mania. All ages. Free. 2pm. Blue Willow Bookshop. 14532 Memorial Dr., Houston. 281-497-8675 or

live music at east beach. See Sept. 6.

sunday family zone + studio. See Sept. 6.



button battle: supernatural vs. dr. who.

September’s battle is between mega fandoms Supernatural and Doctor Who-which one is the best? 6-12th graders. Free. All day. Kingwood Branch Library. 4400 Bens View Lane, Kingwood.

baby bounce. See Sept. 7.

mesoamérica de mexico at miller outdoor theatre.

Delight your senses with colorful traditional and contemporary folkloric dances from the Mesoamerican region. See September 19. Photo courtesy of Miller Outdoor Theatre. Photo by Arrows and Anchors Photography.

baby time. See Sept. 7. preschool storytime. See Sept. 7.

toddler time. See Sept. 7.



twilight meditation.

Relax with an evening of quiet meditation. Adults and mature children. Free (suggested donation of $10). 6-7pm. Rothko Chapel. 3900 Yupon St., Houston.

open door. See Sept. 1. toddler yoga. See Sept. 1. toddler time. See Sept. 1. preschool story time. See Sept. 1.

sketching in the gardens of bayou bend. See Sept. 1.



hispanic heritage program.

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with a special kid’s craft program and refreshments too!

38 . houston family magazine . september 2015

Ages 4+. Free. North Channel Branch Library. 15741 Wallisville Rd., Houston.

legos and duplos at the library. See Sept. 2. teen game frenzy. See Sept. 2.



lenny kravitz.

Enjoy an evening of music from singer/songwriter Lenny Kravitz. All ages. $39.50+. 7:30pm. Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. 2005 Lake Robbins Dr., The Woodlands.

free family thursday at the health museum. See Sept. 3.

tai chi by the reflecting pool. See Sept. 3. blue willow bookshop storytime. See Sept. 3. free thursday at museum of fine arts, houston. See Sept. 3.

museum free family night children’s museum of houston. See Sept. 3. holocaust museum family free thursdays. See Sept. 3.

table top game night. See Sept. 3.



ariana grande.

Few artists are having a bigger year than the pop music superstar; with two Grammy Awardnominations, a coveted performance spot on the 57th Annual Grammy Awards and more, this will be a concert to remember. All ages. $20. 7:30pm. Toyota Center. 1510 Polk Ave., Houston.

dog days at discovery green.

This dog-gone fun weekend includes DockDogs®, canine athletes from Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana competing in jumping events; a doggie costume contest and more! All ages. Free. 10am-6pm. Discovery Green. 1500 McKinney St.,

september 2015 . houston family magazine . 39

Treehouse exhibit at HMNS Sugar Land.

Houston. 713-400-7336 or

pine leaf boys at market square park.

Louisiana’s finest, four-time Grammy-Nominated, world-renowned Pine Leaf Boys are making their way to Downtown Houston! All ages. Free. 7:30pm. Market Square Park. 301 Milam, Houston.

eoin colfer and jonathan stroud at blue willow bookshop.


Houston Museum of Natural Science Shark!

See what it’s like to get up close and personal with sharks at the live shark touch tank, track great white sharks swimming in the Gulf of Mexico in real time, and see what’s happening with sharks all over the world through amazing conservation efforts led by top marine biologists. Aug. 29, 2014-Sept. 7 Tickets: $25 adult, $20 child and senior 62+ Museum Hours: Mon.-Sun. 9am-5pm Admission: $20 adult, $15 child (3-11), senior (62+) and college students Houston Museum of Natural Science. 5555 Hermann Park Dr., Houston. 713-639-4629.

Houston Museum of Natural Science – Sugar Land Treehouses-Look Who’s Living in the Trees!

Explore our summer exhibit to uncover fascinating facts about who actually lives in trees, what kinds of animal clues to look and listen for in the forest, and how people use trees for their homes. May 22-Sept. 5 Museum Hours: Thurs. & Fri. 9am-3pm, Sat. 9am-5pm and Sun. 12pm-5pm Admission: $12 adult, $9 child and senior (62+) Houston Museum of Natural Science – Sugar Land. 13016 University Blvd., Sugar Land. 281-313-2277.

The Health Museum Eat Well, Play Well

Eat Well, Play Well encourages healthy living by teaching the science of making healthy food choices and helping children

Eoin Colfer and Jonathan Stroud will discuss and sign The Forever Man and The Hollow Boy, their new books for kids. All ages. Free. 5pm. Blue Willow Bookshop. 14532 Memorial Dr., Houston. 281-497-8675 or

IKEA crayfish party.

Come out to IKEA for for their Swedish Crayfish Party! All ages. See website for ticket prices. 5-6:30pm, 7-8:30pm. IKEA. 7810 Katy Freeway, Houston.

night market and exhibition opening.

Celebrate the opening of the new exhibition Drawn from Nature with this Night Market & Exhibition Opening featuring food trucks, family activities, local vendors, and more! All ages. Free. 6-9pm. Asia Society Texas. 1370 Southmore Blvd., Houston.

turtle patrol. See Sept. 4.



mesoamérica de mexico.

Delight your senses with colorful traditional and contemporary folkloric dances from the Mesoamerican region. All ages. Free. 11am. Miller Outdoor Theatre. 6000 Hermann Park Drive, Houston. www.milleroutdoor

life learning for kids!

This program presents practical, 40 . houston family magazine . september 2015

hands-on activities which highlight skills that school-age children might need to better manage, understand and succeed in everyday life. School-age children. Free. 3pm. Central Library. 500 McKinney, Houston. 832-393-1313.

texas home and garden show.

Talk with area’s finest home improvement experts and receive show-only discounts and fantastic opportunities for everything home and garden. All ages. $10 (children 14 and under free). 10am-7pm. NRG Center. 8400 Kirby Dr., Houston.

step afrika!

The electrifying dance troupe Step Afrika! returns to Miller for another exhilarating performance! All ages. Free. 8pm. Miller Outdoor Theatre. 6000 Hermann Park Drive, Houston. www.milleroutdoor

audrey and don wood at blue willow bookshop.

Audrey and Don Wood will discuss and sign their new picture book, Full Moon At The Napping House. All ages. Free. 11am. Blue Willow Bookshop. 14532 Memorial Dr., Houston. 281-497-8675 or

dog days at discovery green.

See Sept. 18, 10am-4:30pm.

young writers workshop. See Sept. 5.

galveston beach hike. See Sept. 5.



ballet folklorico performance.

Houston-based Mixteco Ballet Folklorico takes audiences on a trip through Mexico with vibrant costumes and beautiful dances, exploring Mexican dance’s earlier European influences all the way to modern-day Mexico.

onthego All ages. Free. 2pm. George Memorial Library. 1001 Golfview, Richmond. 281-342-4455.

running of the bulls 5k run/walk and toro’s kids 1k.

The fifth annual Running of the Bulls 5K run/walk will go throughout NRG Park with interactive water stops, presented by Cigna, featuring TORO, the Houston Texans Cheerleaders, the Deep Steel Thunder and more, in addition to TORO’S Kids 1K for children 12 years and under. All ages. $20+. 7:45am. NRG Stadium. Reliant Parkway, Houston.

dog days at discovery green.

See Sept. 18, 10am-4:30pm.

texas home and garden show.

See Sept. 19, 11am-5pm.

live music at east beach. See Sept. 6.

sunday family zone + studio. See Sept. 6.



sensory friendly day.

Young guests will enjoy sensory exploration through exhibits and hands-on activities, as well as social and imaginary play, art projects and a special “cool down classroom.” Children. $5. 10am-5pm. Woodlands Children’s Museum. 4775 W. Panther Creek Drive, Suite 280, The Woodlands.

baby bounce. See Sept. 7. baby time. See Sept. 7. preschool storytime. See Sept. 7.

toddler time. See Sept. 7.



celebrate hispanic heritage!

Let’s explore the ancient Mayan civilization! All ages. Free. 4:30-5:30pm.

nowexhibiting and adults discover there are many fun and interesting ways to stay active. May 16-Sept. 7 Museum Hours: Mon.-Sat. 9am-5pm, Sun. 12pm-5pm Admission: $9, $7 child and senior (65+), children under 2 are free The Health Museum. 1515 Hermann Dr., Houston. www.thehealth

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Shadow Monsters

Shadow Monsters, an interactive installation by New York-based British artist Philip Worthington, invites Museum visitors to take part in a fully immersive art experience. May 23-Sept. 20 Museum Hours: Tues.-Wed. 10am-5pm, Thurs. 10am-9pm, Fri.-Sat. 10am-7pm and Sun. 12:15pm-7pm Admission: $15 adult; $10 senior (65+), $7.50 child (13-18) and student (19+) (children 12 and under free); discounted tickets may be purchased online The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Beck Building, 5601 Main St., Houston, and Law Building, 1001 Bissonnet, Houston. 713-639-7300.

Children’s Museum of Houston Amazingly Immature

Based on KLUTZ® Encyclopedia of Immaturity Vol. 1 and 2, KLUTZ® Amazingly Immature will offer you the opportunity to embrace your inner ingenious zaniness while exploring what these behaviors can teach you about science, engineering, math, and literacy. Mar. 7-Jan. 5, 2016

september 2015 . houston family magazine . 41

nowexhibiting Summer Of Epic Adventure: Forces Unite

Gear up, train up and put your powers to the test! May 23-Sept. 7 Museum Hours: Tues.-Sat. 10am-6pm, Sun. 12pm-6pm, Thurs. 10am-8pm Admission: $10 (adults and children 1+), $9 seniors 65+ Children’s Museum of Houston. 1500 Binz, Houston. 713-522-1138.

The Menil Collection Affecting Presence and the Pursuit of Delicious Experiences The exhibition highlights abstraction as an artistic means used across time, place, and culture to make present the ineffable forces that shape human experiences.

July 17-Nov. 8 Museum Hours: Wed.-Sun. 11am-7pm. Admission: Free The Menil Collection. 1533 Sul Ross St., Houston.

Galveston Arts Center Eric Schnell: Binder

In Binder, Schnell combines delicate ink and graphite drawings with bamboo, clay, masking tape, and other assorted detritus from his studio and life to create a narrative of attempted psychological transformation. Aug. 22-Oct. 4 Museum Hours: Tues.-Sat. 11am-5pm, Sun. 12pm-5pm, closed Monday. Admission: Free Galveston Arts Center. 2501 Market Street, Galveston. www.galveston

Atascocita Branch Library. 19520 Pinehurst Trail Dr., Humble.

open door. See Sept. 1. toddler yoga. See Sept. 1.

toddler time. See Sept. 1. preschool story time. See Sept. 1.

sketching in the gardens of bayou bend. See Sept. 1.



houston symphony. Be sure to check out Houston Symphony’s new 2015-16 season! See Center Stage on page 34.

kinder korner: celebrate mo willems.

Stories, a craft, a movie & more! Kindergartners. Free. 4:30-5:30pm. Cinco Ranch Branch Library. 2620 Commercial Center Blvd., Katy.

legos and duplos at the library. See Sept. 2. teen game frenzy. See Sept. 2.



back to school boot camp.

Library staff will demonstrate how to use online resources - databases, websites, and tutoring -- which can be accessed on library computers or from home. All ages. Free. 7pm. University Branch Library. 14010 University Blvd., Sugar Land. 281-633-5100.

free family thursday at the health museum. See Sept. 3.

tai chi by the reflecting pool. See Sept. 3. blue willow bookshop storytime. See Sept. 3. free thursday at museum of fine arts, houston. See Sept. 3.

museum free family night children’s museum of houston. See Sept. 3. 42 . houston family magazine . september 2015

holocaust museum family free thursdays. See Sept. 3. table top game night. See Sept. 3.



HGMS gem and mineral show.

Unique jewelry and other earthly treasures--perfect for gift giving minerals and fossils for the collector or home decor. All ages. $8, $6 for students and seniors. 9am-6pm. Humble Civic Center. 8233 Will Clayton Parkway, Humble.

METdance celebrates 20!

METdance rings in its 20th season under the stars with Celebrating 20!, a special season opening kickoff concert! All ages. Free. 8pm. Miller Outdoor Theatre. 6000 Hermann Park Dr., Houston.

the 6th annual galveston island wild texas shrimp festival.

Event activities include a Shrimp Gumbo Cook-Off, Gumbo Tasting, Free Outdoors Show, Official 5k, Lil’ Shrimps Parade, Live Music, Vendors, Kids Area and a Strand Merchant Walk-About! All ages. Free. 5-10pm. Saengerfest Park. 2302 Strand, Galveston.

full moon hike.

Ranger Lisa will take you on a short hike and help you discover the mysteries of la luna, or the moon, while we discover the night life of Galveston Island State Park! All ages. $5. 8-9pm. Galveston Island State Park. 14901 FM 3005, Galveston.

turtle patrol. See Sept. 4.



sensory storytime.

An interactive program for children with Autism Spectrum disorders, sensory integration issues, other developmental disabilities, and their typically developing peers. Free. 2pm. Central Library. 500 McKinney, Houston. 832-393-1313.

world of percussion.

Houston Symphony percussionist Brian Del Signore will introduce a wide array of percussion instruments from many countries and cultures worldwide. All ages. Free. 1:30pm. Sugar Land Branch Library. 550 Eldridge, Sugar Land. 281-238-2140.

bugs, brew, and barbecue.

More than 100 classic Volkswagen “bugs, Texas craft beer from Houston area brewers, local

onthego becue and live music! All ages. Free. 9am-6pm. Tomball Downtown Depot. 201 South Elm Street, Tomball.

4th annual CCA concert for conservation.

Legendary Rock N Roll Hall of Famers Lynyrd Skynyrd will headline the concert with a fiery slice of Southern style guitar rock heaven. All ages. $40+. 4pm. Sam Houston Race Park. 7575 N. Sam Houston Parkway West, Houston.

screen on the green: the princess and the frog.

Catch a free flick in the shadow of Houston’s skyline. All ages. Free. 8pm. Discovery Green. 1500 McKinney, Houston.

adopt-a-beach cleanup.

Join thousands of Adopt-A-Beach volunteers who remove an average of 500 tons of trash each year from Texas beaches. All ages. Free. 9am-12pm. Menard Park. 27th and Seawall, Galveston. adopt-a-beach.

HGMS gem and mineral show. See Sept. 25. the 6th annual galveston island wild texas shrimp festival. See Sept. 25, 10am-6pm.

young writers workshop. See Sept. 5.

galveston beach hike. See Sept. 5.



mid autumn fest.

Join us as we pay tribute to children and Houston’s Vietnamese and Asian community with activities and live performances, including lion dancers and mooncake tastings. All ages. Free with museum admission. 10am-6pm. Children’s Museum of Houston. 1500 Binz, Houston.

nowexhibiting Houston Public Library-Julia Ideson Building Remembering World War II: Houston’s Latino Veterans

Through archival documents and photographs held at the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, and through oral histories conducted by staff and volunteers, this exhibit reflects the experiences of and pays homage to Houston’s Latina and Latino veterans of the Second World War. Sept. 1- Nov. 14 Museum Hours: Mon.-Tues. 10am-6pm, Wed. 10am-8pm, Th. 10am-6pm, Sat. 10am-5pm, closed Friday and Sunday. Admission: Free Julie Ideson Building. 550 McKinney St., Houston. 832-393-1662.

Holocaust Museum Houston Roman Vishniac: A Selection from the Permanent Collection of Holocaust Museum Houston In his travels through Eastern Europe, famed photographer Roman Vishniac was able to capture rare photos of the living situations and daily lives in povertystricken Jewish communities there.

Sept. 25-Jan 24, 2016. Museum Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9am-5pm, Sat. 10am-5pm, Sun. noon-5pm. Closed Sept. 14 and 23 for religious observance. Admission: $12 adult, $8 seniors 65+, children under 6 free, students 6-18 free, college students with valid ID free. Holocaust Museum Houston. 5401 Caroline St., Houston. 713-942-8000.

HGMS gem and mineral show. See Sept. 25, 10am-5pm.

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onthego the 6th annual galveston island wild texas shrimp festival. See Sept. 25, 10am-5pm.

live music at east beach. See Sept. 6.

sunday family zone + studio. See Sept. 6.



mixteco ballet folklorico: the essence of mexico.

The group presents dances from the Northern state of Nuevo Leon, which were first brought to Mexico from European countries such as Germany, Austria, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. All ages. Free. 11am. Miller Outdoor Theatre. 6000 Hermann Park Dr., Houston.

kevin henkes at blue willow bookshop.

Story to Screen outdoor movie event, presented in partnership with Alamo Drafthouse’s Rolling Roadshow. All ages. Free. 7pm. Central Library Plaza, 500 McKinney, 77002. 832-3931313.

ransom riggs in conversation with tahereh mafi.

Ransom Riggs will appear in conversation with Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me) to discuss his new novel for young adults, Library Of Souls. All ages. Ticketed event. See website for details. 7pm. Stratford High School. 14555 Fern Dr. Houston.

open door. See Sept. 1. toddler yoga. See Sept. 1. toddler time. See Sept. 1. preschool story time.

Kevin Henkes will discuss and sign his new picture book, Waiting. All ages. Free. 5pm. Blue Willow Bookshop. 14532 Memorial Dr., Houston. 281-497-8675 or

See Sept. 1.

baby bounce. See Sept. 7.

The Grammy® Award-winner and music superstar announced his One World Tour in support of his brand new album, A Quien Quiera Escuchar. All ages. $26+. 7:30pm. Toyota Center. 1510 Polk Ave., Houston.

baby time. See Sept. 7. Preschool Storytime. See Sept. 7.

toddler time. See Sept. 7.



to kill a mockingbird.

A special Banned Books Week

sketching in the gardens of bayou bend. See Sept. 1.



ricky martin in concert.

legos and duplos at the library. See Sept. 2. teen game frenzy. See Sept. 2.


To submit calendar listings, send information to calendar@ houstonfamilymagazine. com (no attachments please). Listings can also be mailed to Calendar, 5131 Braesvalley, Houston TX 77096; or faxed to 713-266-1915. Include the name of the event, date and time, venue address, short discription, appropriate age range, fee, phone number and web site address. Submissions are listed on a space-available basis. We’d love to include high-resolution photos, as well; please submit 300dpi-minimum, color jpegs (we cannot return). Deadline for the calendar is two months in advance of issue date.

44 . houston family magazine . september 2015


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september 2015 . houston family magazine . 45

hesaidshesaid the last word playrooms by sam and pam middleton


pam got a taste of “the good life” in her daughters’ playroom, and it has rekindled old dreams of having a special place to call her own. the idea resonates with sam, reviving fond family memories.

TO: Sam FROM: Pam SUBJECT: Playrooms I was playing with the girls in their playroom yesterday. Well, to say I was “playing Minecraft” with them would be a stretch. More accurately, I was fumbling around on the screen, coaxing myself through the paralyzing choices of whether to press the X or the Y, the right trigger or the left trigger, while the girls created architectural masterpieces and mocked my sluggish, dull- witted maneuvers. But it didn’t bother me in the least. I was so completely relaxed as I kicked back on a bright pink futon under their draped fort, my feet propped up on a tufted, zebra bench, with a cup of hot coffee within arm’s reach. Between fleeting bursts of crafting productivity, I would sip my breakfast blend and take in the sheer joyfulness and tranquility of the playroom. It’s an inviting space--one I would have killed for as a child--and one that made me forget about


46 . houston family magazine . september 2015

the world outside the door, the dishes in the sink, the laundry that needed folding, the dinner that awaited planning. And it occurred to me: We need a place like this. We need our own playroom where we each can escape to the serenity of personally meaningful joy, surrounded by inspiration and creature comforts that speak only to us--not as mom or dad, husband or wife--but as the individuals we sometimes forget we are, each with a unique personality, and hopes and dreams. I don’t know what that space would look like, what things would fill it, or even whether we would share a space or each have a separate space. I just have a strong sense of urgency to make it happen. I think a regular dose of self-validating pampering of the soul is much in order for most parents these days, whether they realize it or not. Once upon a time, I envisioned a garage-top art studio, my colorful canvases propped up along the whitewashed walls, sunlight streaming through the French windows to stir my imagination. These days, I might just settle for an empty closet with a reading lamp and a book. TO: Pam FROM: Sam SUBJECT: Playrooms Fundamentally, I am opposed to anything that would make us forget about the dishes, laundry, or any other household chores. But I do still I appreciate the need to ‘get away’ from it all some days (I call those “week days”). The playroom idea reminds me of when I was a kid, and both my mother and grand-

mother had dedicated sewing rooms where they would retreat to “patch clothes.” I could never explain the need for a bed in the sewing rooms, nor the consistent lack of progress made on the clothes stacked inside. But, invariably, around the holidays, each would emerge from her mysterious room with a quilt or other craftwork that would justify the use of the space over the course of the year. These sewing rooms were their playrooms. The space for them was a place where they could imagine and create something beautiful--an opportunity not so prevalent or appreciated in the everyday workings of ranch life, where both Mom and Grandma worked as vigorously and sweat as hard as my grandfather, father or any of my brothers. Their sewing/play rooms also presented a place to rest without risk of criticism from the rest of their hardworking family--free of self blame, too, because each knew she was recharging in a way that would fortify her to execute all the demands of motherhood and work to her utmost abilities. The fact that Mom and Grandma each had this type of sanctuary also deepened their bond, allowing them to quietly share the experience of their retreats and see each other outside their standard familial roles--as the individuals they were. All to say that I, like you, don’t know how to create a playroom that would let me get away to myself. But maybe I don’t need a place, just a person. You’re pretty good and keeping me real. How about a date night this weekend? A friendly game of pool with some good-natured ribbing. We’ll make the world our playroom.

Houston Family Magazine September 2015  
Houston Family Magazine September 2015