MetroFamily Magazine Nov Dec 2022

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Make

NOV/DEC 2022
Sweet Memories Reimagining an Icon Myriad Gardens’ Crystal Bridge Conservatory reopens to the public More Magic, Less Stuff Creative ideas to gift experiences Holiday traditions in the kitchen

Pistol Pete and Boomer may not see eye to eye on all things, but there’s one thing we can all agree on:

Cool, refreshing WATER Cool, refreshing WATER is the best way to hydrate!

MOVING!

creative ways to exercise as a family during cold weather

MAGIC, LESS STUFF

ideas to gift experiences this season

SWEET MEMORIES

Local families share holiday traditions in the kitchen

OF METROFAMILY

Meet the community leaders behind

businesses

& NOW

fresh family fun experiences in OKC

FAMILY FUN

Myriad Gardens’ Crystal Bridge Conservatory reopens to the public

MENTAL WELLNESS

The benefits of music to family health

OF EVENTS

Find holiday magic at local light

and festivals

CHILDREN

Experience Native Heritage Month in OKC and beyond

the

MAKE SWEET MEMORIES

26

REIMAGINING AN ICON

12

MAGIC, LESS STUFF

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Features 10 GET
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Departments 8 NEW
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56 EXPLORING OKLAHOMA WITH
32 16 WHAT
WE CARRY WITHIN BY STARR HARDRIDGE (MVSKOKE). COURTESY OF SEMINOLE NATION MUSEUM. RACE’S HIP HOP NUTCRACKER. PHOTO BY KELLY HUYNH RIVERSPORT OKC. PHOTO BY GEORGIA READ
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Publisher Sarah Taylor

Page

Editor

Editor

Cuomo

Writer

Proud member of

Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce & Edmond Chamber of Commerce

Are you panic-cleaning closets this time of year, too?! When I start to think about the inevitable amount of new stuff my kids collect between the holidays and two of their birthdays, my need to purge toys and clothes they’ve outgrown shifts into overdrive. As I’ve gotten older, and perhaps somewhat wiser, I’ve tried to incorporate some traditions that minimize all the stuff (and my incessant closet cleaning).

First, I’ve discovered the joy in gifting our kids with experiences (and encouraging others in their lives to do the same!). That could be tickets to a sporting event or production, a membership to a local museum we enjoy as a family or classes or camps that pique their interest. The end result is often time spent together, and for my mama heart, that’s the very best gift of all. Find creative ideas to gift your kids (and their grandparents!) local experiences this holiday season on page 16.

Second, we have established family traditions focused on helping others. At their birthday parties, our kids request donations to a local nonprofit in lieu of gifts. My sons enjoy collecting warm blankets and food for individuals experiencing homelessness to donate to organizations like Upward Transitions and Sisu Youth Services. My daughter asks for dog and cat food for the Pet Food Pantry, to be distributed to seniors and veterans for their furry friends. During the holidays, we gift each child with cash to donate to an organization of their choosing. Every year I look forward to their thoughtful conversations as they decide where they want to make an impact. My very favorite part of this yearly tradition is driving each of them to their organizations of choice to

make their donations in person and hear from enthusiastic staff members who their money will help.

Don’t worry — I know my closet clean-out won’t be in vain because these kids of mine will still get plenty of new stuff. But in the midst of the chaos of this season, I hope what our family will prioritize is intentional time spent together and serving others. Will you join us?

ON THE COVER

Katelyn is the winner of MetroFamily’s 2022 Cover Kids Search in the 2-3 age category! She is from Piedmont and loves to make up games to play with her family, tell jokes and hang out with her cat, Pretzel. She enjoys playing outside in the mud, visiting local playgrounds, fishing and attending gymnastics at Dynamo. Katelyn likes to get crafty and creative by coloring, painting and baking with her mom. She frequently requests to have her nails painted. Katelyn is the daughter of Tara and Benjamin and little sister of Bonnie and Leon. The family’s favorite places to visit in the metro are Scissortail Park and the OKC Zoo.

Special thanks to Katiebug’s Sips & Sweets in Automobile Alley for providing such a festive photoshoot!

METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 5 MetroFamily Magazine is published bimonthly. Copyright 2022 by MetroFamily HoldCo, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Articles and advertisements in MetroFamily do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the magazine or MetroFamily HoldCo, LLC. We do not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. The acceptance of advertising by MetroFamily does not constitute an endorsement of the products, services, or information. We do not knowingly present any product or service which is fraudulent or misleading in nature.
Managing
Erin
Assistant
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Contributing
David Dinsmore Contributing Photographer Bridget Pipkin Art Director Stacy Noakes Senior Project Manager Kirsten Holder Director of Events Casey Shupe Editorial Assistant Emiley Bainbridge Account Executive Dana Price Contact us Mailing address: 6608 N. Western Ave., #458 Oklahoma City, OK 73116 Phone: 405-601-2081 tips@metrofamilymagazine.com www.metrofamilymagazine.com
2021 20212021 2021
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
MY EARLY DECEMBER BIRTHDAY BUDDY COLLECTS DONATIONS FOR INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS IN LIEU OF PARTY GIFTS.

Oh, Baby!

The team at MetroFamily got to “meet” more than 100 of the cutest babies in OKC through our 2022 Cutest Baby Photo Contest! Every single one captured our hearts, and it was next to impossible to select 10 winners. Meet two of our winners here, and find a full list of winners at metrofamilymagazine. com/cutest-baby-contest . Thanks so much to everyone who submitted photos, and thanks to prize sponsors Green Bambino and lactation consultant Becky Drevets.

Ryu, 14 months

Ryu loves to eat, dance along with music and pose by putting his pointer finger on his cheek.

Analicia, 5 months

Analicia loves jumping and playing with her older sister.

ENTER THE Ultimate Holiday Giveaway!

Your holidays just got brighter — because MetroFamily’s Ultimate Holiday Giveaway is back! Enter for a chance to win prizes from our partners, such as:

• Radio Flyer Tesla Model S for Kids

• 2-night stay at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, TX

• 2-night stay at 21C Hotel

• 1-night stay at the Omni Hotel

• $100 gift basket from Chickasaw Country

• TickTalk (the 4G/LTE smartwatch phone for kids)

• Tickets to OKC Phil’s Disney in Concert in January

• Tickets to Lyric Theater’s Huckleberry Finn’s BIG RIVER

• Passes to North Pole Adventure, Andy’s Altitude, Riversport Adventures and SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology

Plus hundreds of dollars in additional toys and prizes!

Enter daily Dec. 1-12 at metrofamilymagazine.com/contests.

6 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022
Enter your baby in our next contest in January 2023!
OFF THE PAGES

Ho Ho Ho-liday Festivities!

Get in the holiday spirit with our Winter Fun Guides! Find all the places Santa will be stopping by for photos in the OKC metro, dazzling local light displays, cultural celebrations, Christmas tree farms, festivals and much more at metrofamilymagazine.com/winter

Commemorate Native Heritage Month

From festivals and special events to history curriculum and resources, find opportunities to celebrate your own Native heritage or learn about Native culture during November and beyond at metrofamilymagazine.com/ native-heritage-month

METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 7 OFF THE PAGES
PHOTO BY FOTO ARTS PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO BY WITHUNMIND PHOTOGRAPHY, COURTESY OF SANTA BLAIR
Who? 3- to 12-year-old children Where? The University of Oklahoma Is compensation provided? Yes Who do I contact? Dr. Katerina Ntourou (405) 271-4214 ext 46069 oustutteringlab@ouhsc.edu IRB14017: Attentional bias to threat, social anxiety, and childhood stuttering. / The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution. www.ou.edu/eoo. Scan here for more information

5 Things to Know

Check out these new and unique family fun options in the metro:

The Oklahoma City Museum of Art, in partnership with the Kiarostami Foundation, is showing the multimedia, retrospective collection of artworks by acclaimed Iranian filmmaker, photographer and visual artist Abbas Kiarostami. The exhibit, Kiarostami: Beyond the Frame, includes the artist’s children’s films, graphic design work, immersive large-scale photographs and installations of his 21st century video art, making this marriage of art, creativity and technology especially relevant and exciting for youth visitors. Kids 17 and under always get in free to OKCMOA

The exhibit runs through April 9, 2023.

© THE KIAROSTAMI FOUNDATION

Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you have to miss your weekly trip to the farmers market! Edmond Farmers Market goes indoors starting in early November. Find more than 25 farmers and artisans selling fresh produce and unique items (perfect for holiday gifting!) at the MAC in Mitch Park located off Covell east of Santa Fe. The market is open from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

Oklahoma City’s Parks & Recreation department is hosting their first musical production, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Nov. 17-20. The show’s main characters are six kids competing for the spelling bee championship of a lifetime. As each speller steps up to the microphone, they give glimpses into their lives at home.

Kevin!!! If you love the movie Home Alone, you’ll want to kick off your holiday season with the score from the hit 1990 movie performed live by the OKC Philharmonic. Home Alone in Concert will be held Nov. 26 at 8 p.m. at Civic Center Music Hall.

OKC Ballet’s traditional version of the beloved The Nutcracker features all new choreography this year. This holiday spectacular includes students from the OKC Ballet Yvonne Chouteau School, plus live music from the OKC Philharmonic and Canterbury Voices. NEW this season: a sensory-friendly performance with adjusted lighting and sound, relaxed theater rules and additional accommodations will be held Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. The Nutcracker shows at Civic Center Music Hall Dec. 10-18.

Get more details on each of these events and experiences at metrofamilymagazine.com/new-and-now. Plus, find our Best of the Month lists, including the top 10 FREE events and best events for toddlers, teens and date night. Special thanks to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and Spontaneity Kid Care for their sponsorship of Best of the Month lists.

Get MetroFamily Magazine DELIVERED TO YOU!

For just $25 annually, become a MetroFamily Insider and receive a mailed subscription to MetroFamily Magazine, discounted and early bird tickets to annual MetroFamily events such as Kids Fest, Geekapalooza and Cover Kids and other special offers! A subscription makes a great holiday gift for a parent, grandparent or caregiver. Join today at metrofamilymagazine.com/insider

NEW & NOW 8 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022
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PHOTO BY JANA CARSON

GET WHAT YOU NEED

Our primary goal at MetroFamily is to make life easier for local parents. We strive to provide connection through community and to offer the most relevant, reliable information for you to have fun as a family, as well as the services, information and inspiration for you to be the best parent to your children.

Because parents are overwhelmed and inundated with information and advice coming from all directions, we make your mornings easy by delivering bite-size timely news, family fun and real-life parenting tips straight to your email inbox.

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NEW & NOW METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 9
TOP

6 CREATIVE WAYS TO STAY ACTIVE DURING THE HOLIDAYS

The words “hustle and bustle” tend to define the holiday season, but it is still important to set aside time for healthy movement! Physical activity lowers stress hormones, strengthens your immune system, improves your mood and even helps you sleep better, all things we need to fully enjoy the merriment of the season.

“In addition to all of the physical benefits, movement together, away from screens, brings us together,” shared Alexandra Taylor, local mom of two from Newcastle.

Taylor’s kids are ages 6 and 1, and their favorite way to stay active year-round is to go hiking. They even have a holiday tradition of a hike on Christmas and Thanksgiving.

“Our favorite place to hike is the Wichita Wildlife Refuge in Lawton,” said Taylor.

To make hikes or neighborhood walks even more fun, Taylor uses what she calls “listening time,” where everyone gets quiet and listens with intention.

“During our hikes, I like to have some quiet time to see what we can hear and enjoy the sounds of nature,” said Taylor. “We might hear leaves rustling or a stream and even more animal sounds because we are being quiet.”

Looking for creative ways to encourage your family to be more active? Here are six fun ideas to get moving during the holidays from Shape Your Future.

10 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022
THE WICHITA MOUNTAINS WILDLIFE REFUGE WAS NAMED A 2022 METROFAMILY FAMILY FAVORITES PLACE TO EXPLORE NATURE.
Kids’ growing bodies need 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Parents should aim for at least 30 minutes.

Take a tour of your favorite holiday lights! But instead of driving, walk around your neighborhood or through a local holiday light display. (Check out page 38 for ideas!)

When it is too cold to be outside, turn up the holiday tunes and have a dance party. Taylor said she leans into her daughter’s love of ballet for their dance sessions.

“My daughter is really into ballet, and we love to put on The Nutcracker and do our own interpretation at home,” said Taylor.

Transform mundane tasks into a competition! Raking leaves? See who can make the biggest pile. Putting toys away? See who can finish first.

Get the whole family involved in rearranging the furniture. Whether it is time to make room for the holiday decorations or you simply want to give your home a refresh, rearranging furniture is a useful way to work your muscles and finally clean under that couch!

A prized spot on the Taylor family Christmas tree is the perfect motivation for her kids.

“My daughter and I move toys and reorganize to make room for the tree,” said Taylor. “She is so excited to decorate her spot on the tree with her favorite unicorn ornaments every year.”

Turn screen time into fitness. While you watch your favorite show, exercise during commercials. Do pushups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, jog in place or anything else that gets you moving. Or turn on an active show!

“When we get stir crazy from not being able to go outside as much, we love to turn on Go Noodle or kids’ Zumba or yoga on YouTube to keep moving fun,” recommends Taylor.

If we are lucky enough to get a snow day, sledding, building a snowman and having a snowball fight are great ways to move our bodies and have a lot of fun.

“Last year when we had all that snow, we spent hours rolling snowballs and crafting a 7-foot snowman,” remembers Taylor. “We even made a snow volcano.”

Opt Outdoors Safely

Cooler weather requires proper attire and preparation for outdoor activities. Follow these basic guidelines from Shape Your Future to play it safe:

• Dress in layers so you can remove outer layers as your body warms up. Make sure your bottom layer is a fabric that draws sweat away from your skin. Waterproof boots and wool socks are also recommended.

• Wear a hat! A significant amount of your body heat is lost through your head, so proper head protection is essential.

• Play it safe and pack a safety kit. Plus, make sure you tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return, especially if you are hiking in an area with spotty cell service.

• Drink water before, during and after physical activity. Dehydration happens even in colder temperatures.

• Wear sunscreen because sunburns can happen in the winter, too.

• Be extra cautious when the ground is wet or icy.

Find more ways to stay active and recipes for healthy meals and treats at shapeyourfutureok.com.

METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 11 SPONSORED
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WITH PROPER PREPARATIONS, COLD-WEATHER HIKING IS A GREAT WAY TO DISCOVER NATURAL WONDERS DURING THE WINTER MONTHS.

Reimagining an ICON

MYRIAD GARDENS’ CRYSTAL BRIDGE CONSERVATORY REOPENS TO THE PUBLIC

I remember when the Myriad Botanical Gardens and Crystal Bridge Conservatory were the new darlings of downtown. Granted, there wasn’t much else to see in downtown OKC when the now-iconic bridge and gardens opened in 1988. Along with many others who’ve called the metro home from childhood to parenthood, I’ve watched as downtown has flourished through economic development, revitalization and the MAPS programs, and the Myriad Gardens has continued to serve as a central force beckoning residents and visitors alike to the heart of our city.

The beautiful grounds of the Myriad Botanical Gardens underwent extensive renovations in 2011, creating the lush, welcoming, outdoor backdrop for annual events like Pumpkinville and the Children’s Garden Festival. But, like a lot of relics from the 1980s (this geriatric millennial mama included!), some serious TLC was in order for the Crystal Bridge Conservatory. After closing to the public in 2021 for a $9.7 million renovation, the 13,000 square foot glass tube will reopen as an icon reimagined this November.

NEW AND IMPROVED

Visitors will immediately recognize improved accessibility, added educational experiences, updated spaces and varied views in the renamed Inasmuch Foundation Crystal Bridge Conservatory.

“I am most excited about how the new design is very visitorfocused and friendly in all ways,” said Maureen Heffernan,

president and CEO of Myriad Gardens and Scissortail Park foundations. “That’s the biggest thing we wanted to get right, so we tried to design everything from a visitor viewpoint. I think we have achieved that.”

The enhanced visitor experience begins at the entrance’s newly-added outdoor plaza, where plants and seating encourage visitors to take a moment to appreciate the beauty of nature. From there, guests enter the renovated lobby, complete with a new admissions desk, gift shop, coffee bar and classroom.

Guests will be drawn in to the conservatory through a wider entrance, leading to widened pathways throughout, as well as non-slip blue stone flooring and smooth walking surfaces to ease accessibility. The addition of a second elevator on the north end and new stairways will help with the flow of visitor traffic and allow guests to meander through the space at their own pace.

12 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022
LOCAL FAMILY FUN
VISITORS TO THE NEWLY REDESIGNED INASMUCH FOUNDATION CRYSTAL BRIDGE CONSERVATORY WILL NOTICE IMPROVED ACCESSIBILITY, INCLUDING NON-SLIP FLOORING, SMOOTH WALKING SURFACES AND A NEW ELEVATOR.

Seating has been added on all three levels to provide quiet spots to rest or enjoy the views.

Heffernan notes that the conservatory’s former waterfall could be noisy and overwhelming. Both more visually dramatic and soothing to the senses, a new waterfall sets the stage as visitors enter the redesigned space. The addition of a reflecting pool adds to the sense of serenity.

Of note for gardeners, conservationists and lifelong learners, the plant life inside the two conservatory zones — still delineated into a tropical wet zone and a tropical dry zone — has been more intentionally placed with visitor education in mind. More interpretive signage and exhibits will appeal to visitors of all ages.

“It really showcases the plants even more,” said Heffernan of the redesign. “Instead of coming in to a mass of plants, they are more distinguishable from each other. They are grouped in fruits, spices and commodity plants.”

Art features have been incorporated throughout the space to enhance and highlight the natural beauty of the trees and plants. A new terrace on the northern section of the second level can be rented for weddings or events.

OLD FAVORITES

REFRESHED

What will longtime residents like me, who visited the Crystal Bridge Conservatory both as a kid and then again with kids of my own, recognize in the new space? Not much, laughs Heffernan!

The popular skywalk on the third level remains intact, but even this landmark didn’t escape needed updates.

“Before, we had railings up the sides where kids couldn’t really see out,” said Heffernan. “We have created three bump-outs along the way so kids can see out through sturdy, clear material. Also at those bump-outs there are sensory interaction stations, which adds an enriching educational aspect for kids.”

All the plants were removed from the conservatory during renovation, and while the space still feels lush, the plant canopy will be noticeably lower as the young trees take time to grow. But Heffernan says that change will allow even greater appreciation for the 224 foot long, 70 foot

diameter bridge, covered in 3,028 sections of translucent, double-layered acrylic panels.

“Having a lower canopy is cool because the architecture of the bridge suddenly reveals itself,” said Heffernan. “You can see how lovely the architecture is, which you didn’t see as strongly when the plants were so big. It’s a real architecture icon for the city from the exterior, but now you see the inside as well.”

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METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 13
A STRIKING VERTICAL SCULPTURE, CLOUD PORTAL BY SCOTT MURASE, DIVIDES THE NORTH AND SOUTH ENDS OF THE CONSERVATORY. HIGH PRESSURE FOG NOZZLES CREATE MIST ON THE UPPER SPIRES OF THE SCULPTURE.

BEYOND THE FOLIAGE

Outside of the conservatory itself, reimagined spaces will serve to enhance the visitor experience. A Discovery Room has been added between the elevator and second floor entrance. In this space, children and families can enjoy illustrative graphics and text about how plants and insects work together as well as themed activities that will rotate monthly.

The Oculus Room, with the large, circular windows looking toward the Devon Tower, has transformed from a cave-like space to an airy art gallery with exhibits that will change every quarter. A bright, cheerful classroom at the north end of the bridge will host classes and programs for all ages.

The new museum-quality gift shop, designed by architect Charles Sparks out of Chicago, will feature custom display cases offering locally-made goods by Oklahoma artisans, branded Myriad Gardens shirts and mugs and garden-related books and houseplants, plus a coffee bar selling hot and cold drinks. Visitors will not have to pay admission to visit the gift shop or coffee bar.

UPDATED ADMISSION PRICES

Admission to the Inasmuch Foundation Crystal Bridge Conservatory will increase to $12 for adults; $10 for seniors, military and veterans; $8 for students and $7 for youth (ages 5-17). Discounts are offered for

THIS ARCHITECTURE DRAWING DEPICTS THE NEW GIFT SHOP, WHICH WILL OFFER LOCALLY-MADE GOODS BY OKLAHOMA ARTISANS, BRANDED MYRIAD GARDENS SHIRTS AND MUGS AND GARDEN-RELATED GIFTS.

groups of 10 or more. Family memberships are $85, which include free annual admission to the Inasmuch Foundation Crystal Bridge Conservatory, free admission to Pumpkinville in the fall and the Children’s Garden Festival in the summer and a discount on tickets to the Devon Ice Rink throughout the holiday season. Plus, members receive free admission to a plethora of botanical gardens around the country.

14 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022
Don't miss this interactive adventure during its last season at the Harn Homestead November 16-December 23, 2022

“As a nonprofit, we have to raise a lot of money every year,” said Heffernan. “Buying tickets or becoming members helps us grow our income so we can keep doing great things.”

Enjoying the outdoor gardens remains a favorite no-cost OKC experience for residents and visitors alike.

“Our exterior gardens are free, and that’s very rare,” said Heffernan. “Most are gated with an admission fee, so the fact that anyone can walk there, bring their family and not have to worry about paying to experience a beautiful garden is a real plus for OKC and for visitors.”

A FUTURE SO BRIGHT

After the successful completion of major renovations to both the outdoor gardens and the conservatory, Heffernan and her team are now focused on creating even more opportunities for families and individuals to connect with nature in meaningful ways. They hope to achieve that vision by adding more annual events and maintaining the grounds and conservatory as a top-notch botanical garden.

“In the Children’s Garden, we would like to look at how we can elevate that,” said Heffernan. “We have had so many families and kids enjoying that space for over a decade. We’d like to look at that area to see how we can make it even better and replace some things that have aged out.”

In Heffernan’s 11 years with the Myriad Gardens, she and her team have launched popular annual festivals like Pumpkinville; added

diverse programming like Dancing in the Gardens, a plant sale and concerts; overseen the opening of Park House and the design of the great lawn space and band shell north of the conservatory and revitalized the popular Full Moon bike rides, attracting thousands of repeat visitors throughout the seasons.

Plus, the Myriad Gardens’ November tree program, through which the team gives away up to 1,000 trees to residents, is making a lifelong impact in greening the city and educating residents on the importance of conservation through tree planting, pollinators and native plants.

“Having beautiful gardens and green spaces — 15 acres in the middle of downtown to relax, walk, take a break or have a place where you can come with your kids — that is priceless in terms of adding to people’s quality of life,” said Heffernan. “I like to think we’ve had a role in encouraging people to come downtown more, adding more vitality and momentum to how downtown has changed in many ways over the past decade.”

JOIN THE CELEBRATION!

Opening weekend for the new Inasmuch Foundation Crystal Bridge Conservatory is Nov. 18-20. Enjoy special hours Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Each day will include educational programming and activities. Find more details at myriadgardens.org

at The Cowboy

Winter Break Activities

Pictures with Santa Make & Take Crafts

METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 15
Kids Take Over The Cowboy Holidays at The Museum December 3 • 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Celebrate the season with photos with Santa and visit Prosperity Junction. Find the elves to earn your own special prize, create Western-inspired holiday crafts and meet Western characters including Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and Annie Oakley.
December 19 – 24 & 26 – 31 • 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Drop by and participate in family friendly activities. Create a different make-and-take craft each day. 1700 Northeast 63rd Street • Oklahoma City, OK 73111 nationalcowboymuseum.org/kids Winter
Activities are free for Members or with Museum admission. Available while supplies last.

MORE MagicLESS STUFF

Gift local experiences this holiday season

As I anticipate all the joy of the holiday season … I also internally cringe at the overwhelming amount of stuff my kids receive this time of year. Don’t get me wrong — I am appreciative of family and friends who seek to see my kids’ eyes light up, and I am the queen of over-the-top holiday magic — but as the years go by, I’ve learned the most precious gifts are those that encourage time together. And that don’t take up room in our already-cramped closets.

Gift kids (and grandparents!) a unique experience, membership, camp or class this holiday season with ideas from local organizations in these pages, grouped by interest.

ART AFICIONADOS

Performances for the family: Share the joy of music! OKC Philharmonic puts on three children’s concerts per season featuring movie tunes, classics and popular songs played by the orchestra. Bonus: before each show, check out the Instrument Playground, where kids can play instruments with the help of volunteers, as well as hands-on activities from community partners. A three-concert subscription is $24 per person, and single tickets are $9.

season. Enjoy this holiday spectacular at the Civic Center Music Hall between Dec. 10 and 18. A sensory-friendly performance is scheduled for Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $30.

Grandparent gift: Memberships to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art start at $60 for an individual and include free admission and other perks; $100 dual memberships also include free admission to 1,100+ museums in North America. Bonus: Kids 17 and under always get in free to OKCMOA, so this gift doubles as special time for grandparent and grandkid fun throughout the year.

Classes and camps for kids: Encourage a burgeoning tween or teen artist with studio school classes at Oklahoma Contemporary Classes are available in 4- or 8-week sessions and explore a variety of art-making techniques, from mixed media and ceramics to sewing and drawing. For younger artists, ages 5 to 12, gift a week at Camp Contemporary, offering creative summertime and school break camps exploring traditional art as well as DJing and performance arts. Call or visit the front desk to purchase a gift certificate.

At the McKnight Center for the Performing Arts in Stillwater, all ages are invited to wiggle, dance and sing along for their specially-curated family shows. Acoustic Rooster’s Barnyard Boogie starring Indigo Blume features New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander bringing two of his beloved children’s books to the stage in this musical. The show is Saturday, March 11, 2023, and tickets are $20.

Opt for a pre-holiday gift experience by enjoying OKC Ballet’s The Nutcracker. The beloved performance with live music from the OKC Philharmonic and Canterbury Voices features all new choreography this

Freebie: Plan a family day at Oklahoma Contemporary, where admission is always free!

16 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 GIFT GUIDE

ANIMAL ADVOCATES

skull to determine facts about the subject. Tickets are $40.

If dinosaurs speak to your child’s love language, a membership to Sam Noble in Norman is a must. Explore 500 million years of Oklahoma’s natural and cultural history, from dinos to our state’s unique biodiversity today. A family membership for two adults and all household children is $45 for the year.

$120 and include free admission for two adults and up to four kids.

Get really wild by gifting an animal encounter at the zoo! Go behind the scenes in a small group setting to learn how caretakers care for each animal. Choose from getting up close and personal with grizzly bears, Galapagos tortoises, Indian rhinos, bison, sea lions or Asian elephants. Experiences are $40+ per person.

For kids who love the science of how things work, gift a membership to SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology, where they can explore 450 skeletons from around the world. An annual family membership is $99 for up to four guests. For ages 16+, check out monthly Forensics Night events, where guests are assigned a mystery case and, through hands-on investigation, learn how forensics anthropologists and law enforcement “read” the features of a human

If grandma has a pooch with poor manners, gift classes to K9 . From puppy and obedience classes to behavior curbing locally-owned business can help with basic to advanced needs. Bonus: grandparents and grandkids can practice obedience skills with the pup between classes.

Make a difference: Make a donation to a local shelter or nonprofit that cares for animals in honor of your child or grandparent gift recipient. Check out 2022 MetroFamily Family Favorites animal rescue organizations: Oklahoma Humane Society, Pets & People or Second Chance Animal Sanctuary

Freebie: Spend some quality time together with a furry friend by visiting a Metropolitan Library location hosting the Children Reading to Dogs program.

METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 17

ACTIVE ATHLETES

Little athletes: The Lil’ Kickers program at SoccerCity OKC teaches soccer skills and also encourages teamwork, listening skills, cognitive functions and sportsmanship. Lil’ Kickers is open to ages 18 months to 9 years, and each session is 9 to 12 weeks long for $17 per class.

Equestrian enthusiasts: Check out riding lessons or spring break and summer camps at Cadence Equestrian Center experience is necessary, and lessons and camps include horse care instruction. All incoming students must complete a $65 assessment lesson; super start lesson packages for beginners are available for $500 and include 10 discounted group or private lessons. lessons are available for $55 to $85, respectively.

Tenacious teens: The Daily Shredd is Oklahoma’s firstof-its-kind indoor skateboard facility that offers a safe, clean environment for children (and adults) to get acclimated to skateboarding or elevate skills through group or one-on-one lessons with skilled instructors. Group lessons are $50 per person; open skate passes are $15.

For the family: Adventure abounds at RIVERSPORT OKC! Gift passes to Winter Glow through Dec. 30, which includes indoor skiing, ice skating, curling and climbing. Passes are $19.99 or $14.99 for youth under 12. Activities are for ages 6 and up; indoor skiers must be at least 8.

Day or seasonal passes for RIVERSPORT’s regular season, March through October, make great gifts, too. Spring, summer and fall adventures include whitewater rafting, tubing, surfing, flatware kayaking, SUP and land adventures like the Sky Trail, Sky Slides, the Rumble Drop, climbing and the Youth Zone. Day passes start at $54.99, seasonal passes start at $199.99 and Youth Zone passes are $9.99. Or purchase passes for individual activities, including Ski OKC, Surf OKC and kids’ adventure camps. Bonus: From Black Friday through Jan. 1, season passes are 50 percent off!

Grandparent gift: OKC Parks offers a number of classes for seniors, from yoga, music and floral arranging to art workshops, woodworking and theatre. Bonus: some classes are open to all ages and make a perfect grandparent-and-grandchild experience, including guided hikes at Martin Park Nature Center, archery, cooking and fishing. Classes range from free to $25.

Freebie: With the fall opening of the new lower section at Scissortail Park , families can now enjoy two basketball courts, a soccer field, a futsal court and four pickleball courts. Lace up your sneakers, grab your gear and head downtown for active family fun.

18 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022

TREND SETTERS

Top for toddlers through tweens: One of the best spots for kid fun in OKC is Science Museum Oklahoma, where STEAM and science come alive through hands-on activities, indoor play structures and mindblowing shows. Silver 2 memberships admit two and are $125; Silver 6 admit six and are $185; both options include free/discounted admission to participating Association of Science - Technology Centers throughout the world. Or reserve single-day tickets on a date of your choosing online; tickets are $20.95 for adults and $15.95 for seniors and kids ages 3 through 12.

Trending for teens: Ideal for the artistic, snag an at-home art kit from Factory Obscura. The Fluid Art Kit includes everything your gift recipient needs to make four original paintings. Bonus: each kit includes one voucher for a free kid admission to experience the immersive sensory art world of Factory Obscura. Kits are $35.

Grandparent gift: One of OKC’s newest and most revered attractions is Scissortail Park.

Individual memberships start at $40. Bonus: members get free pedal boat rides, admission to the Sky Rink for roller skating and access to member-only events, as well as discounts to other community attractions like Wheeler District and Factory Obscura.

Freebie: Visit Synesthesia at the Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art in Norman, where admission is always free. Created by the team at Factory Obscura, Synesthesia is an immersive, interactive art experience exploring color and inviting visitors to open their senses to gently touch, listen, crawl and discover. The exhibit will be on display through summer 2023.

METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 19
Cowboy Christmas Ball 27 TH AnNUAL FEATURInG MICHAEL MARTIn MURPHEY ( Friday, December 16, 2022 ) MAKE RESERVATIONS online at NATIONALCOWBOYMUSEUM.ORG/COWBOYCHRISTMASBALL

TREE HUGGERS

Classes for kids: Edmond Parks and Recreation offers after-school programming for ages 8 through 17 with weekly classes such as theatre, archery, outdoor living and the arts. Programs range from $5 to $100. Through Yukon Parks, kids and teens can enjoy classes indoors and outdoors year-round, starting from $5. OKC, Edmond and Yukon park systems also offer school break and summer camps perfect for gifting.

Take a hike: With 13 miles to explore, Edmond’s Arcadia Lake transports

city dwellers to the serenity of nature. For kids who love to hike or bike, gift an annual vehicle pass to provide the whole family year-long opportunities to opt outdoors. Annual passes are $80 (Edmond residents receive a 20 percent discount).

Dreaming of summer: If cold weather gives your summer-loving kid the blues, perk them up with the gift of summer camp. Outdoor fun abounds at the YMCA’s Camp Classen near Davis in southern Oklahoma, where activities for kids ages 6 to 16 include archery, horseback riding, hiking and canoeing. Choose from one- and two-week overnight or day camps.

Grandparent gift: Gardening grandparents will appreciate the gift of a membership to the Myriad Gardens, where they receive free admission to the newly-renovated Inasmuch

Foundation Crystal Bridge Conservatory, plus reciprocal admission to more than 300 public gardens nationwide. Members enjoy free admission to the Myriad Gardens’ popular Children’s Garden Festival in June and Pumpkinville in October (they’ll love taking the grandkids!). Memberships are $45 for individuals, $65 for duo and $85 for family (with additional options available online).

Freebie: OKC Parks hosts free hooked on fishing classes for ages 5 to 15 bi-weekly, in addition to many other free program offerings for kids and families, and Yukon Parks hosts free monthly family fun nights.

20 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022
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HISTORY BUFFS

Memberships for families: For those who love to learn, memberships to the Oklahoma Historical Society include admission to the Oklahoma History Center as well as OHS sites around the state, including historic homes, military sites and museums. At the Oklahoma History Center, don’t miss the exhibit Launch to Landing, featuring the Skylab 4 Apollo Command Module. Family memberships are $75 and admit eight.

Grandparent gift: Grandparents can visit two of OKC’s top museums with a recentlyunveiled dual ticket experience to the newlyopened First Americans Museum and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Or, take your gifting up a notch with an OklaHoma gift set, which includes a gift from each museum store in addition to admission to both. Purchase dual tickets or gift sets at First Americans Museum.

Freebie: Plan a family visit to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, where free admission and family activities are offered every second Saturday of the month for See You Saturdays. Plus, enjoy free admission and activities on Thursdays during the summer as well as during Spring Break and Fall Break programs.

This high-tech, interactive museum is ideal for multigenerational fun as kids enjoy the touch screens throughout and parents or grandparents recognize many of the famous Oklahomans featured in the museum.

Editor’s note: For quick links to purchase gift ideas outlined in this article, visit metrofamilymagazine.com/experiencesas-gifts

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Music Heals: Positive benefits for mental health

Music engages 20 to 30 networks in the listener’s brain, according to the work and research of famed author and neurologist Oliver Sacks.

Local licensed and board-certified music therapist Rachel Nowels can attest to the power of music to boost mental health as she spends every day demonstrating to her patients and their families the link between the two through her work at Bethany Children’s Health Center.

Though some may conjure images of “bare feet and flower crowns” when they think of the work of a music therapist, Nowels said the position “is very nerdy” and involves a lot of research, goal assessment and evaluation. Nowels specifically works with children in a pediatric environment and focuses on helping kids with issues related to trauma and coping.

“Music is a great tool to help people understand emotions a little better,” said Nowels. “Emotions are so abstract, and kids think in such concrete terms. It’s hard for them to understand the concept of frustration or being sad. We can use instruments and different interventions to help them explore something, like what ‘mad’ sounds like on a drum.”

The power of music

During his career in music, Alexander Mickelthwate, music director of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, has witnessed moments in which music has directly impacted someone’s health.

In one instance, an audience member at a concert Mickelthwate was conducting attended the performance with his father, who was dealing with advanced Alzheimer’s. The father’s mind cleared once the music began, and he began to converse quietly and normally with his son, with whom he had not held a meaningful conversation in some time as a result of the disease. The son told Mickelthwate that after the performance ended, he saw his dad recede back into the grips of the disease.

Mickelthwate’s son – who dealt with a mild form of Tourette’s syndrome as a young man – explored the science of the link between music and health with a project that evaluated the impact of music on the tics experienced by kids with Tourette’s.

“We start to hear music while we’re in the womb,” said Nowels, who has worked as a music therapist for 18 years with patients of all ages. “We’re surrounded by it. We don’t think about it. You’re in the car. You’re in the store. You’re watching TV. It’s everywhere. It’s something that’s part of us.”

Even the rhythm of one’s own heartbeat ties them to music, Nowels said, and there are therapeutic techniques tied to heartbeat. Research has shown steady beats can aid in physical therapy and recovery from injury as patients work on motor functions.

“The brain automatically picks up on that steady beat, and it’s a great tool for movement,” explained Nowels. “That’s why so many people incorporate upbeat music in exercising.”

Therapeutic benefits

In a clinical setting, the nature of music therapy works in conjunction with other plans of treatment patients may be undergoing to help improve outcomes across the board.

“We can come in and give them something unexpected, and by the end, they are smiling and interacting more and wanting to participate,” said Nowels. “It’s always exciting when we can find something that motivates them because in the beginning it can be kind of hard after their accident or illness to get them back up and believing that it’s going to be OK. It’s OK to smile again.”

Though the focus of much of Nowels’ work comes from the clinical realm and making sure patients are receiving appropriate therapies and plans, the impact of having a little music added to the treatment or recovery of a child resounds within the family members surrounding them.

“It can help take their mind off what they’re working on and focus on something else,” said Nowels. “It’s not clinical or nerdy to say this, but it’s good for the soul. It takes you out of your slump and lets you have a little fun. It takes you out of the bad.”

22 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022
FAMILY MENTAL WELLNESS
OKC PHILHARMONIC CHILDREN’S CONCERT

Incorporating music at home

Mickelthwate grew up listening to music at home and attending concerts, and he incorporates this in his own home with his children. For instance, when enjoying some Saturday morning pancakes his family may have Queen and the Beatles playing in the background.

“It doesn’t always have to be classical music,” said Mickelthwate. That said, Mickelthwate suggested using soundtracks from Disney movies or composers like John Williams for those curious about adding some classical music into their rotation but unsure where to start. The familiar songs will be easily accessible for the whole family while featuring symphonic structures that can pique interest in exploring more classical compositions.

“I would start with where kids hear orchestral music, and nowadays that is usually in movies,” said Mickelthwate. “It’s a great way to get your feet wet.”

Research has shown repeatedly that in using music to help people relax, it’s best to use a genre they prefer, said Nowels. From new age to heavy metal, she has seen people able to connect and refresh with a surprising range of styles.

“Listening to music that you enjoy is a great way to make you feel better and relax,” said Nowels, who played and studied piano growing up and works as a piano teacher in addition to her role as a music therapist. “To help with your overall mental health … you can try to learn to play an instrument. It’s a rewarding, meaningful activity that you can carry on at home.”

Inspiring young musicians

Singing can also benefit one’s mental health as it usually requires purposeful breathing techniques and strengthens one’s respiratory system. This can also lead to the social aspects of music – such as joining a choir – that can create social interactions naturally around a common interest.

“With mental health, it’s important to be connected with other people,” said Nowels. “Choirs and ensembles can provide that.”

Though voice may have the easiest entry point into participating in music, the fact that voices change at different times in life – such as during puberty – can cause some disruption as people try to hone their musicality. Mickelthwate said learning an instrument can help someone achieve and maintain a consistent level of musical skill they can build upon throughout their lives. With so many online resources available – such as guitar lessons on YouTube – there are a variety of ways kids or even whole families can try their hand at an instrument or two.

“With an instrument, you can continue practicing,” said Mickelthwate, who suggested students attending schools with a music program should take advantage of that opportunity to learn and practice.

Mickelthwate enjoys when the Oklahoma City Philharmonic engages with schools and youth organizations to provide them real-life examples of people who make their living in music. They never know when they may inspire a child who wants to work in music but is not sure how to get there.

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Editor’s note: For more information about the Oklahoma City Philharmonic’s upcoming events and family-focused programming, visit okphil.org

To learn more about what music therapists offer, visit okmedicalboard.org/search and look for licensed professional music therapists in the professions filter to find a list of those practicing in the area.

For families looking to pump up the volume on their upcoming outings, check out these music-related events in the metro:

Perfect for Littles

Nov. 26

Blue’s Clues & You! Live On Stage, Hudiburg Chevrolet Center (6000 S Prosper Blvd, Midwest City). 2pm. $43 & up. okcciviccenter.com

March 11

Acoustic Rooster’s Barnyard Boogie starring Indigo Blume, McKnight Center for the Performing Arts (705 W University Ave, Stillwater). 7pm. $20. mcknightcenter.org

Fun for All Ages

Nov. 16-Dec. 23

Lyric’s A Christmas Carol, Harn Homestead (1721 N Lincoln Blvd). Various times. $37 & up. lyrictheatreokc.com

Nov. 26

Oklahoma City Philharmonic presents Home Alone in Concert, Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave). 8pm. $27 & up. okcphil.org

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OKC BALLET'S THE NUTCRACKER . PHOTO BY JANA CARSON.

Dec. 1

Elf in Concert with the Tulsa Symphony, McKnight Center for the Performing Arts (705 W University Ave, Stillwater). 7pm. $28 & up. mcknightcenter.org

Dec. 2-3

Oklahoma City Philharmonic presents Coming Home for Christmas, Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave). 8pm. $27 & up. okcphil.org

Dec. 4

Canterbury Christmas, Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave). 7pm. $23 & up. canterburyokc.com

Dec. 10-18

OKC Ballet presents The Nutcracker with Oklahoma City Philharmonic and Canterbury Voices, Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave). Thursday, 6pm; Friday, 7pm; Saturday, 2 & 7pm; Sunday, 1 & 4pm. Sensory-friendly performance: Dec. 15. $30 & up. okcballet.org

Dec. 17-18

Norman Ballet presents Oklahoma Nutcracker, Nancy O’Brian Center

(1809 Stubbeman, Norman). Saturday, 7pm; Sunday, 2pm. $20-$30. normanballetcompany.org

Dec. 30-Jan. 1

OKC Broadway presents Cats, Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave). Friday, 8pm; Saturday, 2 & 8 pm; Sunday, 1:30 & 8pm. $30 & up. okcciviccenter.com

Feb. 5

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s a Superphilharmonic!, Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave). 2pm. $9. okcphil.org

Feb. 16-March 11

Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Lyric Theatre on the Plaza! (1727 NW 16th St). Thursday & Friday, 10am; Saturday, 2 & 5pm. $20-$25. lyrictheatreokc.com

March 22-April 2

OKC Broadway presents Disney’s Frozen, Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave). Various times. okcbroadway.com

April 2

Peter Pan, McKnight Center for the Performing Arts (705 W University Ave, Stillwater). 3pm. $25 & up. mcknightcenter.org

April 16

Oklahoma City Philharmonic presents Road Trip on Route 66!, Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave). 2pm. okcphil.org

Top for Teens

Nov. 10-11

Legally Blonde: The Musical, McKnight Center for the Performing Arts (705 W University Ave, Stillwater). 7:30pm. $27 & up. mcknightcenter.org

Nov. 12

Million Dollar Quartet Christmas, OCCC Visual and Performing Arts Center (7777 S May Ave). 2 & 8pm. $29 & up. occc.universitytickets.com

Check out metrofamilymagazine.com/ calendar for more information and additional events.

METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 25
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HOLIDAY TRADITIONS in the KITCHEN

For most of us, even the mention of the phrase “holiday traditions” evokes warm, cinnamon-scented memories. Sweets and treats are near synonymous with togetherness and festive celebrations this time of year. Read on to learn how four local families incorporate holiday culinary traditions, why they matter and how they’re passing these recipes to the next generation.

Bountiful breakfast + HEALTHY COMPETITION

Madi Pontikes and her family enjoy a traditional Christmas morning with a little bit of competition!

“Each year my parents, my in-laws, my sister and all the kids look forward to a gingerbread decorating contest,” said Madi. “It’s a really fun activity where the kids can get messy and enjoy togetherness. Each of the kids then gets to show off their creations and gets an award such as ‘most sprinkly, most colorful, most snowy;’ you get the idea!”

The Pontikes family also enjoys stuffed French toast, a recipe passed down from Madi’s mom.

“As soon as we had Christmas with our own family, we knew it was a tradition we wanted to incorporate,” said Madi. “Everyone looks forward to Christmas morning stuffed French toast for breakfast!”

Readers might recognize Madi from her popular Instagram platform, Move by Madi. With her focus on health and fitness, we couldn’t help but wonder about her family celebrating with indulgent foods.

“We mix real, energy-giving foods into our big meals,” said Madi. “The sweet, indulgent foods just taste so good, and a big part of life for us is enjoying food! We usually add some eggs to our breakfast so everyone feels good and big meltdowns don’t ensue. It’s all about balance, and we like to celebrate with butter and sugar around here!”

Stuffed French Toast

Ingredients

• 8 slices of white bread, cut into substantial cubes

• 2, 8-oz packages of cream cheese

• 1 dozen eggs

• 2 cups milk

• 1/3 cup maple syrup

• 2 teaspoons cinnamon

• 2 teaspoons allspice

Directions

1. Grease 9x13 casserole dish.

2. Whisk together eggs, milk, syrup and spices.

3. Place half of cubed bread in casserole dish. Cube the cream cheese and place it on top of the bread. Add remaining cubed bread to the dish. Pour egg mixture over bread and cheese.

4. Cover with Saran wrap and refrigerate overnight.

5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

6. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes (or until egg is cooked through); then serve with powdered sugar and syrup.

26 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022
DECORATING CONTEST.

MAIN COURSE with family ties

Simi John and her family are originally from India, and they reflect on their heritage through food every time there’s a celebration in their home.

“In Indian culture, hospitality is a big deal, so even just having guests in our home is cause for celebration!” said Simi.

The joy of cooking was passed to Simi from her mother, who is currently teaching Simi’s daughter, Moriah, to cook as well.

“I love cooking; it’s so therapeutic for me … it’s my me-time!” said Simi. “Thankfully my mom has more patience for kids in the kitchen and I love watching her with Moriah just like she was with me when I was little.”

The go-to meal for gathering is Biryani, an Indian casserole dish usually paired with nubian fried lentils and traditional Indian salads.

“When I was a kid, it was my job to help with prep work, as well as taking charge of the side salads,” said Simi. “Having this responsibility and being part of creating a meal for our guests reminded me to be proud of my culture. To be surrounded by the aroma of these traditional foods – it was a reflection of who I am.”

Simi feels strongly about intentionally celebrating her roots with her children.

“Tradition is important because it connects you back to the core of who you are,” said Simi. “Preparing recipes like Biryani reminds me that traditions have been around much longer than I have, and if we don’t honor these roots, they will dissolve.”

Shrimp Biryani Ingredients

• 1/2 pound jumbo shrimp

• 2 cloves garlic, chopped

• 3 cardamom pods

• 1/2 stick cinnamon

• 1 star anise

• 2 green peppers, diced

• 2 tablespoons ginger

• 1/4 teaspoon turmeric

• 1/4 fenugreek, optional

• 1/4 cup plain yogurt

• 6 tablespoons butter

Directions

• 1/4 cup oil

• chili pepper to taste

• 7 cloves

• 1/4 teaspoon fennel

• 2 onions, diced

• 2 tomatoes, diced

• 2 teaspoons masala

• 1 tablespoon coriander

• 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

• 2 cups basmati rice, cooked

1. Marinate shrimp in 1/8 cup oil, garlic and chili pepper.

2. Pour remaining 1/8 cup of the oil in a skillet; heat and then add shrimp. Cook over medium to high heat for 3 minutes until shrimp turns pink and opaque. Remove shrimp from oil and set aside.

3. In the same pan and oil, add cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, fennel and star anise. Add onion and peppers and cook until soft and onions are brown. Add ginger, masala, turmeric, coriander and fenugreek, if using. Stir. Add diced tomato.

4. Add shrimp and 1/3 cup of water back to the pan. Stir in cilantro and yogurt.

5. Place shrimp mixture in an 8x8 baking dish. Layer cooked basmati rice on top of the shrimp. Place 6 pats of butter, 1 tablespoon each, evenly spaced on top of rice.

6. Cook in 350 degrees F oven for 20-30 minutes.

METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 27
SIMI’S MOTHER, SHIRLY, ENJOYS TEACHING HER GRANDDAUGHTER MORIAH TO COOK. THE JOHN FAMILY ENJOYS CELEBRATING THEIR INDIAN HERITAGE THROUGH FOOD.

SWEET TREATS that

back

For the good days, the bad days and every day in between, let there be cookies! Jen Nguyen and her boys look forward to baking chocolate chip cookies each year around the holidays. This year they plan to include baby sister in the process, too!

“There’s so many sensory aspects of cooking that we are excited to get Evelyn involved in this year,” said Jen. “My oldest, Mason, wasn’t always totally on board with baking together, but he watched his dad enjoy making cookies with the family. Now he’s the one who is calling all the aunts, uncles and cousins to come over and help!”

Jen didn’t grow up with many holiday traditions. Both her parents and her in-laws

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give
JENNIFER AND HER HUSBAND, THAI, BAKE COOKIES WITH THEIR KIDS, MASON, ETHAN AND EVELYN.

immigrated from Vietnam without much in tow, so it has been really important to Jen and her husband to create moments of togetherness around the holidays and to establish new traditions.

She describes how they make several batches of cookies at a time, some to freeze and pull out for a quick treat, others to enjoy with their extended family and gift to homeless shelters in the metro.

“The give-back tradition did come from my mom,” said Jen. “She owned a convenience store where she would open her doors every Christmas to the community so they could take what they needed. We feel it’s always important to give back, especially around the holidays.”

To Jen, this simple baking tradition has brought her family so much closer.

“No matter what else is going on: work, sports, school, life … our kids know that we are going to stop everything to honor family time, to have fun together and enjoy each other.”

Chocolate Chip Cookies

RECIPE FROM WHOLE FOODS Ingredients

• 1 1/4 cups butter (2.5 sticks), room temperature

• 2/3 cup granulated sugar

• 2 1/4 cups brown sugar

• 3 medium eggs

• 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 3/4 teaspoon salt

• 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

• 3 cups all-purpose flour

• 16 oz chocolate chips

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl using electric beaters, cream the butter and both sugars. Add the eggs one a time; then add the vanilla extract. Add salt and baking soda. Then add flour 1 cup at a time. Stir in the chocolate chips.

3. Drop dough by tablespoon onto cookie sheets, allowing 2-3 inches between each cookie.

4. Bake about 10 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 29
Open Dec 1 25 6 10 p.m., Sun. Tues. (Drive Thru) 6 9 p m , Walking Wednesday 6 10 p m , Thursday (Drive Thru) 6 11 p m , Fri & Sat (Drive Thru) 118 ft Christmas Tree & Tunnel of Lights Over 100 Animated Displays! WALK THE LIGHTS Nov. 30 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Joe B. Barnes Regional Park Tickets $5 per person Children 5 and under FREE! Throughout the evening enjoy: LIVE holiday music Hot chocolate and eats from local food vendors Free photos with Santa HOLIDAY LIGHTS SPECTACULAR D e c . 1 2 5 J o e B . B a r n e s R e g i o n a l P a r k City of Midwest City Special Events 100 N. Midwest Blvd | Midwest City, Oklahoma (405) 869 8622 | MidwestCityOK.org

Making MESSY MEMORIES

Cookies and catch-ups are a staple in Samantha Young’s family.

“Every year about a week before Christmas, my mom, my sister and I and our children get together and bake dozens of traditional Christmas cookies,” said Samantha. “We bake and taste test cookies all day long, while sharing memories of past Christmases and catching up on each others’ lives.”

Some cookies are kept for the families to enjoy, and some get boxed up to give away. It’s a tradition that was recently reinstated when Samantha moved her family back to Oklahoma after living away during her time as a travel nurse.

“I think us all being apart made us realize how important doing those special things together really is, especially around the holidays with our own little ones,” said Samantha.

The good thing about cookie cutting and decorating is that kids of any age can be involved! Whether it be mixing ingredients, creating new shapes or finding funny and creative ways to ice the cookies, Samantha’s son and all his cousins look forward to the festivities. While cookies are seemingly the main event of the tradition, the real treasure is togetherness.

“Family time is so important, and we are creating fond memories with our extended family that our children can look back on in a positive way,” said Samantha. “Hopefully it will encourage them to create similar traditions with their own families in the future.”

Rolled Sugar Cookies FROM ALL RECIPES

Ingredients

• 1 1/2 cups butter, softened

• 2 cups white sugar

• 4 eggs

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 5 cups all-purpose flour

• 2 teaspoons baking powder

• 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. Cream together butter and sugar in a large bowl with electric mixer until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt.

2. Cover and chill dough for at least 1 hour (or overnight).

3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

4. Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Roll out dough to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.

5. Bake 6 to 8 minutes, until cookies are lightly browned.

6. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool completely before decorating.

Icing Ingredients

• 1/2 cup shortening or butter

• 4 cups confectioner’s sugar

• 5 tablespoons milk; more as needed

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• food coloring (optional)

Directions

1. Beat shortening (or butter) in a large bowl until creamy. Gradually mix in confectioner’s sugar in small amounts, alternating with milk until smooth. Mix in vanilla and continue to beat until frosting is stiff and glossy, about 5 minutes, adding more milk if needed.

2. Mix in food coloring, separating into smaller bowls if using multiple colors.

3. Spread on cookies or fill piping bags to decorate cookies as desired.

30 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022
SAMANTHA AND HER KIDS ENJOY A DAY WITH EXTENDED FAMILY BAKING CHRISTMAS COOKIES EACH YEAR.
Each Primrose school is a privately owned and operated franchise.Primrose Schools and Balanced Learning are registered trademarks of Primrose School Franchising SPE, LLC. ©2022 Primrose School Franchising SPE, LLC. All rights reserved. Primrose School of Southwest Oklahoma City 1520 SW 119TH | Oklahoma City, OK 73170 405.793.6000 | PrimroseSWOklahomaCity.com Primrose School of Edmond 15000 North Western Ave. | Edmond, OK 73013 405.285.6787 | PrimroseEdmond.com To enroll your child or join our team, contact us today. A place of love, laughter and learning. At Primrose®, our top priority is creating a positive and safe environment for every child, teacher and staff member. Our classrooms combine smaller student-teacher ratios with our Balanced Learning® approach to help every child flourish through purposeful play and nurturing guidance.

Top Events in November and December

Nov. 5

Pumpkin Harvest Craft Festival at Jackie Cooper Gym (1024 E Main St, Yukon) features more than 40 booths from across the state selling candles, wood crafts, needlework, home décor and more, as well as a bake sale benefiting Friends of the Park. Free to attend. 9am-3pm. yukonok.gov

Kids Take Over the Cowboy at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (1700 NE 63rd St) features an exploration of the new exhibit Sombreros Texanas and the Bosses of the Plains. Kids can make their own personalized headwear while supplies last. Free with admission. 10am-noon. nationalcowboymuseum.org

Geekapalooza: A STEAM Festival for Kids at Camp Trivera (2508 NE 50th St) features hands-on projects and expo booths hosted by local leaders focused on robotics, the science of flight, coding, geoscience and more. In advance: adults, $5; kids, $8; day of: adults, $5; kids, $10. 10am2pm. metrofamilymagazine.com

FREE Fall Frolic Carnival at the Belle Isle Library (5501 N Villa Ave) features games, treats, crafts, photo booth and more. All ages welcome. 2-4pm. metrolibrary.org

FREE Books and Ballet with OKC Ballet at the Capitol Hill Library (327 SW 27th St) features a fun and interactive program in coordination with the upcoming The Nutcracker performance. Kids can participate in a ballet class and learn a dance from the ballet. 1-2:30pm. Also held: Nov. 12 at the Bethany Library, 1-2:30pm; Nov. 14 at the Belle Isle Library, 4:155:45pm; Nov. 15 at the Midwest City Library, 4:30-6:30pm. metrolibrary.org

FREE Game Night at the MAC at Mitch Park (2733 Marilyn Williams Dr, Edmond) features an evening of fun with board games, snacks and a raffle. All ages welcome. 6-10pm. Also held: Dec. 3. edmondparks.com

Nov. 5-6

Oklahoma City Train Show at State Fairgrounds Pavilion (3212 Wichita Walk) features railroad memorabilia, toy trains, scale model trains and an assortment of railroad items. Adults, $12; kids (12 & under), free. Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, 10am-4pm. okctrainshow.com

Nov. 6

FREE Native Americans through Film at the Belle Isle Library (5501 N Villa Ave) features a curated collection of films celebrating the rich histories, diverse cultures and important contributions of our nation’s first people. 1:30-5pm. metrolibrary.org

Nov. 9

Homeschool Days at Oklahoma Hall of Fame (1400 Classen Dr) features selffacilitated and staff-led activities for the whole family. November’s theme is In It To Win It, focused on all things sports and Oklahoma athletes. All ages welcome. Adults, $7; kids (4 & up), $5. 10am-4pm. oklahomahof.com

32 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER CALENDAR #OKCFAMILYFUN

Nov. 11

FREE Veterans Day Parade in Midwest City (SE 15th St & Century Blvd, Midwest City) features marching bands, military personnel and equipment, Shriners and more. The parade will begin at SE 15th St and Century Blvd, travel east to Douglas Blvd, then west on Reno Ave, ending at Morris McGee Dr. 10am. midwestcityok.org

FREE Veterans Day Celebration in downtown Edmond (30 W 1St St, Edmond) features live music, vendors, guest speakers, live art, kids’ activities and a thank you card station. 4:30-6pm. metrolibrary.org

Nov. 12

Curiousiday: Día de los Muertos para los Animales at Sam Noble Museum (2401 Chautauqua Ave, Norman) features activities that celebrate lives no longer with us, such as extinct animals. All activities are provided in English and Spanish. Free with admission. 10:30am5pm. samnoblemuseum.ou.edu

Insect Hotels Family Workshop at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave). Learn how to attract beneficial insects such as bees, lacewings and ladybugs to our gardens by providing shelter for them. Preregister. Members, $12; nonmembers, $15. 1-2pm. myriadgardens.org

Choctaw Code Talkers at Oklahoma History Center (800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr) features a screening of the documentary. Free with admission. 1-3pm. okhistory.org

Dutch Oven Desserts at Martin Park Nature Center (5000 W Memorial Rd). Help cook some hot desserts in the cool weather and learn recipes you can make to impress friends and family. Preregister. $5. 2-4pm. Also held: Dec. 10. okc.gov/parksignup

Nov. 15

FREE OU Family & Community Engineering Night at the Norman Central Library (103 W Acres St, Norman) features a fun and engaging night of engineering activities. Best suited for kids in 1st-5th grades. Preregister. 6:30-8pm. ou.edu/ coe/explore/k-12-outreach

Nov. 17

FREE Group Hike on National Take a Hike Day at Edmond Park (7100 E 2nd St, Edmond) features a guided hike for all ages. Time TBD. edmondparks.com

FREE OKC Tree Lighting Festival at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (2 Mickey Mantle Dr) features live performances, free activities, including photos with Santa, and the traditional countdown to the tree lighting by Mayor David Holt. 5-7pm. downtownindecember.com

Nov. 17-20

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the Taylor Performing Arts Center (1115 SW 70th St) features a musical comedy centered around six mid-pubescent children who compete for the spelling championship of a lifetime. $15. Thursday-Friday, 7:30pm; Saturday, 2:30 & 7:30pm; Sunday, 2:30pm. Facebook.com/okcparks

Nov. 18-20

Inasmuch Foundation Crystal Bridge Conservatory Grand Reopening at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) features extended hours, live musical performances and unique classes such as Taste the Rainforest and Houseplants 101. Prices vary. Friday & Saturday, 9am-8pm; Sunday, 11am-6pm. myriadgardens.org

Nov. 19

FREE Will Rogers and the Great White House Sleepover Storytime at the Bethany Library (8700 NW 35th St, Bethany) features a special story time with Bart Taylor from the Will Rogers Museum in Claremore, Okla. After the program, he will demonstrate and teach rope tricks that Rogers made famous. All ages welcome. 10:30-11:30am. metrolibrary.org

METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 33

Nov. 20-Dec. 29

FREE Red Earth TreeFest at Red Earth Art Center (100 N Broadway Ave) features Christmas trees adorned with handmade ornaments created to showcase the diverse Native cultures in Oklahoma. Donations welcome. Weekdays, 9am-5pm. redearth.org

Nov. 25-Dec. 18

Holiday Pop-Up Shops in Midtown (399 NW 10th St) features an outdoor market with rotating, local vendors plus a Christmas tree lot benefiting John Carroll School. Free to attend. Friday & Saturday, 10am-8pm; Sunday, 9am-6pm. okcpopups.com

Nov. 26

Make Ready Market in Midtown (220 NW 13th St) features an outdoor market with an assortment of locally made goods. Free to attend. 11am-4pm. facebook.com/makereadymarket

FREE Art Kits & Family Tours at Oklahoma Contemporary (11 NW 11th St) features interactive guided tours of the exhibit La casa que nos inventamos: Contemporary Art From Guadalajara, plus an exhibition-inspired free family art kit to take home. Noon5pm. oklahomacontemporary.org

Nov. 29-Dec. 27

Holiday Classic Movies at Harkins Theatre (150 E Reno Ave) features classic holiday films including A Christmas Story, Elf and more. $5. 7pm harkins.com

Nov. 30

Walk the Lights – Holiday Lights Spectacular at Joe B. Barnes Regional Park (SE 15th & Century Dr, Midwest City) features a walk-thru event with holiday lights, live music, the chance to meet Santa and more. $5; kids (5 & under), free. 6-9pm. midwestcityok.org

Dec. 2

The Christmas Village at Chisholm Creek (13230 Pawnee Dr) features a celebration of community, family and

Christmas. Enjoy photo opportunities, the chance to meet Santa and other holiday characters, see a live reindeer, shop at the Christmas Market and more. There will also be holiday lights, a tree lot and two performances by OKC Ballet. Free to attend. 6-9pm. chisholmcreekchristmas.com

34 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER CALENDAR #OKCFAMILYFUN

Dec. 3

Saints Santa Run at SSM Health – St. Anthony (1000 N Lee Ave) features a festive, family-friendly 5k race, a 1-mile fun run and a free 50-yard kids’ dash. Benefits the Downtown Oklahoma City Partnership. $20-$40; kids’ dash, free. 8-11am. downtownindecember.com

FREE Cowboy Christmas Parade at Stockyards City (1305 S Agnew Ave) features a parade, Christmas music, Made in Oklahoma market and Cowboy Santa. 10am-1pm. stockyardscity.org

FREE Norman Christmas Parade in downtown Norman (Main St & James Garner Ave, Norman) features a nighttime parade with bands, festive floats, Christmas characters, including Santa, and more. 6pm. normanchristmasparade.com

Dec. 9-18

The Wizard of Oz at Sooner Theatre (101 E Main St, Norman) features a community theatre production of The Wizard of Oz. $25-$30. Friday & Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 2pm. soonertheatre.org

Dec. 10

FREE Deck the Hall of Fame at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame (1400 Classen Dr) features crafts, activities for the whole family and the chance to meet Santa. 10am-2pm. oklahomahof.com

Gingerbread Houses at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave). Decorate gingerbread houses, listen to holiday music and discuss the ginger root and the history of gingerbread. Structure, frosting and candies for decorating provided. Preregister. Members, $39; nonmembers, $45. 10am-noon. myriadgardens.org

Holidays at the Museum at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (1700 NE 63rd St) features a celebration in Prosperity Junction with crafts, a cast of Western characters and more. Free with admission. 10am2pm. nationalcowboymuseum.org

Wild Bird Holiday Decorations at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave). Learn about the best ways to help birds during winter. Attendees will create garlands and outdoor ornaments for the Children’s Garden and their own backyards. Preregister. Members, $8; nonmembers, $10. 1-2pm. myriadgardens.org

FREE Holiday Hop at the Edmond Historical Museum (431 S Boulevard, Edmond) features crafts, a model train exhibit and the chance to meet Santa. Activities take place at three locations within walking distance. 1-4pm. edmondhistory.org

FREE Second Saturday XL – Ice Block Party at Oklahoma Contemporary (11 NW 11th St) features winterthemed art projects, a hot chocolate bar, face painting, indoor snowball fight area and more. 1-4pm. oklahomacontemporary.org

FREE Geminid Meteor Shower Viewing Party at Martin Park Nature Center (5000 W Memorial Rd). Witness one of the year’s most active meteor showers. A few telescopes will be set up; hot apple cider and hot chocolate provided. Preregister. 6-7:30pm okc.gov/parksignup

Dec. 14-30

Van Gogh Exhibit at the Oklahoma City Convention Center (100 Mick Cornett Dr) features an immersive art experience using over 500,000 cubic feet of projections animating Vincent van Gogh’s works. $40 & up. See website for schedule. vangoghoklahoma.com

Dec. 17

Merry Mitchmas at Mitch Park (1501 W Covell Rd, Edmond) features a festive 5k & 10k. The course will be a scenic winter wonderland route through Mitch Park in Edmond. After the race, warm up with a festive hot cocoa bar. $35. 9am-noon. redcoyoterunning.com

Dec. 18

FREE Menorah Lighting by the Chabad Community Center at Scissortail Park (415 S Robinson Ave) features a celebration of the Festival of Lights and Hanukkah. 6-7pm. scissortailpark.org

36 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER CALENDAR #OKCFAMILYFUN

Dec. 21

FREE Winter Solstice Celebration at the First Americans Museum (659 First Americans Blvd) features a quiet, reflective experience with prayer, song and hot drinks available for purchase. 4-6pm. famok.org

Dec. 24

Christmas Eve Candlelight Services at Nichols Hills United Methodist Church (1212 Bedford Dr, Nichols Hills). Listen as the Christmas story of Jesus’ birth comes alive through music and scripture in the warm glow of candlelight. The service concludes with the tradition of passing lighted candles and singing Silent Night 4 & 5:30pm. nicholshillsumc.org

Dec. 24

Christmas at Crossings Candlelight Services (various locations). Celebrate the birth of Jesus through worship and carols, an inspiring Christmas message and a beautiful candlelight conclusion. See website for service times and locations. christmas.crossings.church

Dec. 30-Jan. 1

Cats at Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave) features the record-breaking musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber that tells the story of one magical night when an extraordinary tribe of cats gathers for its annual ball to rejoice and decide which cat will be reborn. $30 & up. See website for showtimes. okcbroadway.com

Find additional seasonal events at metrofamilymagazine.com/winter or scan this code:

Holiday Lights

Nov. 12-Jan. 1

Safari Lights at the OKC Zoo; drive-thru, $65 per vehicle; walkthru, $15 per person. Discounted pricing for members. 5:30-11pm

Nov. 18-Jan. 1

Luminance: An Enchanted Stroll at Mitch Park, 5-10pm

Nov. 19-Dec. 31

Chickasha’s Festival of Light Shannon Springs Park; weekdays, 6-10pm; weekends, 6-11pm

Yukon’s Christmas in the Park Park & Chisholm Trail Park, 6-11pm

Woodward’s Crystal Christmas at Crystal Beach Park; weekdays, 6-9pm; weekends, 6-10pm

Nov. 19-Jan. 9

Lights on Broadway in Automobile Alley, dusk ’til dawn

Bricktown’s Canal Lights, dusk ’til dawn

Nov. 23-Dec. 31

Lights from the Heart at Purcell Lake, 5:30-10pm

Nov. 24-Jan. 1

Downs Family Christmas Light Display in Norman, 6-10pm

Nov. 25-Jan. 1

Union Station Illumination at Scissortail Park, 6-10pm

Nov. 26-Jan. 1

Lights at Legion Park in El Reno, 4-7pm

Dec. 1-25

Midwest City Holiday Lights Spectacular at Joe B. Barnes Regional Park; weekdays, 6-10pm; Wednesdays, 6-9pm, drivethru closed; weekends, 6-11pm

Unique Holiday Light Experiences

Nov. 19

Chill Your Cheeks Run at Chisholm Trail Park (500 W Vandament, Yukon) features a 5k run and 1-mile Jingle Walk that begins and ends amid Christmas in the Park, Yukon’s holiday light display. $20 & up. 4:30-6pm. yukonok.gov

Nov. 26

FREE Lights in Legion Park Kickoff at Legion Park (Ash Street, El Reno) features train rides, the chance to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, a petting zoo and more. 4-6pm. facebook.com/lightsinlegionpark

Dec. 3

FREE Holiday River Parade on the Oklahoma River (800 Riversport Dr) features water skiing elves, holiday-themed boats, a laser light show, fireworks and more. 6-8pm. riversportokc.org

Dec. 3-10

FREE Lights on Broadway Holiday Events in Automobile Alley (Broadway Ave between 4th & 10th St) features local shopping, window displays, pop-up activities, special promotions and giveaways, plus family-friendly programming along the sidewalks such as live music, balloon art, performances, photos with Santa and more. Saturdays, 4-7pm. downtownindecember.com

Dec. 7-21

FREE Walking Wednesdays at the Holiday Lights Spectacular at Joe B. Barnes Regional Park (8700 E Reno Ave, Midwest City) features walk-thru access to the holiday lights display. The drive-thru will close to allow groups to walk the lights. Donations accepted. Wednesdays, 6-9pm. midwestcityok.org

38 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER CALENDAR #OKCFAMILYFUN

Top Events for Toddlers

Nov. 26

Blue’s Clues & You! Live On Stage at Hudiburg Chevrolet Center (6000 S Prosper Blvd, Midwest City) features a Broadway-style, 60-minute show with singing, dancing and Blue and her friends. $43 & up. 2pm. okcciviccenter.com

Dec. 3

Nov. 12-Dec. 27

The Polar Express Train Ride at the Oklahoma Railway Museum (3400 NE Grand Blvd) features a one-hour train ride set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack. Adults, $49-$75; kids (2-11), $42-$70. Thursday-Sunday, plus additional days the week of Christmas. See website for a schedule of departure times. okcthepolarexpressride.com

Breakfast with Santa at The Station Recreation Center (700 S Broadway Ave, Moore) features breakfast, crafts and the chance to meet Santa. Children must be accompanied by an adult. All ages welcome. $10. 8-10am. cityofmoore.com

Top Events for Teens

Nov. 10-11

Legally Blonde: The Musical at the McKnight Center for the Performing Arts (705 W University Ave, Stillwater) follows the transformation of Elle Woods as she tackles stereotypes, sexism, snobbery and scandal in pursuit of her dreams, and she proves you can be legally blonde and still the smartest person in the room. $27 & up. 7:30pm. mcknightcenter.org

Nov. 12

Christmas Vacation Under the Stars at the Wells Christmas Tree Farm (4091 E Franklin Rd, Norman) features an outdoor screening of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, movie trivia, giveaways and food trucks. $6. 4:308:30pm. wellschristmastrees.com

Nov. 25-Jan. 1

LifeShare Winterfest at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (2 S Mickey Mantle Dr) features two snow tube slopes, plus holiday décor and festive concessions. $16 per two-hour session. See website for schedule. okcdodgers.com

to

OKC

Nov. 25-Jan. 8

Winter Glow at RIVERSPORT Adventures (800 Riversport Dr) features ice skating, curling and indoor climbing experiences, all decorated in a holiday theme. Adults, $19.99 & up; kids (under 12), $14.99. See website for schedule. riversportokc.org

Dec. 14

Holiday Hoops at Scissortail Park’s Thunder Community Court (403 SW 10th St) features 3-on-3 basketball games, Santa Slam-Dunk and other contests. Preregister. Prices vary. Spectators welcome. 5:30-7:30pm. scissortailpark.org

Our Sooner Road o ce will be relocated over Thanksgiving weekend.

As of Nov. 28, nd our Sooner Road location at: 901 S Sooner Rd, OKC

Call (405) 840-1686

3 Locations
Serve You! Edmond •
• Yukon
to schedule an evaluation! Play • Learn • Thrive
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METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 39

Holiday Productions

Nov. 12

Million Dollar Quartet Christmas at OCCC Visual and Performing Arts Center (7777 S May Ave) features the sounds of the season and chart-toppers by Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley. $29 & up. 2 & 8pm. occc.universitytickets.com

Nov. 16-Dec. 23

Lyric’s A Christmas Carol at Harn Homestead (1721 N Lincoln Blvd) features Charles Dickens’ timeless tale of transformation and redemption in an outdoor production where families are guided from scene to scene starring Ebenezer Scrooge, Jacob Marley and a host of unforgettable characters. Adults, $61 & up; kids, $35 & up. See website for schedule. lyrictheatreokc.com

Nov. 22

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas at Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave) features the annual holiday tour with Christmas classics and multimedia effects. $30 & up. 7pm. okcbroadway.com

Nov. 25-Dec. 23

A Territorial Christmas Carol at Pollard Theatre (120 W Harrison Ave, Guthrie) features a re-imagining of Dickens’ classic tale with an Oklahoma twist. Best suited for ages 7 & up. Adults, $35; kids (12 & under), $10. See website for schedule. thepollard.org

Nov. 26

OKC Phil presents Home Alone in Concert at Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave) features a screening of the popular holiday classic with the soundtrack performed live by the Philharmonic. $27 & up. 8pm. okcphil.org

Dec. 1

Elf in Concert at the McKnight Center for the Performing Arts (705 W University Ave, Stillwater) features a screening of the holiday movie in high definition with the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra. $28 & up. 7pm. mcknightcenter.org

Dec. 2-3

OKC Phil’s Coming Home for Christmas at Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave) features an allnew extravaganza starring legendary

performer Michael Feinstein performing with the Philharmonic. $27 & up. Friday, 8pm; Saturday, 2 & 8pm. okcphil.org

Dec 2-3 & 10-11

RACE’s Hip Hop Nutcracker at OCCC’s Visual and Performing Arts Center (7777 S May Ave) tells a coming-of-age story that follows Carlos on his journey of self-discovery through magical lands and larger-than-life characters! All ages welcome. Performances in Spanish, free; English Performances, $23-$28. See website for schedule. racedance.com

Dec. 3-18

The Sugar Plum Fairy at Oklahoma Children’s Theatre (2501 N Blackwelder Ave). After a mishap leaves the Sugar Plum Fairy unable to perform, a new star of the show must be found. Best suited for ages 5 & up. Adults, $11; kids (2-12), $9. See website for schedule. oklahomachildrenstheatre.org

Dec. 4

Canterbury Christmas at Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave) features holiday favorites performed by the OKC Philharmonic and the Canterbury Chamber Voices. Best suited for ages 6 & up. $23 & up. 7-9pm. canterburyokc.com

Dec. 9-23

Jane Austen’s Christmas Cracker at Shakespeare on the Paseo (2920 Paseo) features an interactive performance with a host of characters in their finery for the Christmas holiday. All ages welcome. $12 & up. See website for schedule. okshakes.org

Dec. 10-18

OKC Ballet’s The Nutcracker at Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave) features the story of Clara, her Nutcracker Prince and the Sugar Plum Fairy performed by the Oklahoma City Ballet with the OKC Philharmonic. A sensoryfriendly performance will be held Dec. 15. $30 & up. See website for schedule. okcballet.org

Dec. 17-18

Oklahoma Nutcracker at Nancy O’Brian Center for the Performing Arts (1801 Stubbeman, Norman) features an adaptation with the original choreography, professional guest artists and historic Oklahoma characters. $20-$30. Saturday, 7pm; Sunday, 2pm. Normanballetcompany.org

Dec. 22-23

A Magical Cirque Christmas at Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave) features cirque artists performing to popular holiday music. $30 & up. 7pm. okcbroadway.com

40 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER CALENDAR #OKCFAMILYFUN
PHOTO BY JANA CARSON

INSPIRE A LOVE OF READING

Enroll your child in Dolly Parton's Imagination Library and get a FREE BOOK every month until their 5th birthday.

This program is made possible by support from the Friends of the Library and the Library Endowment Trust. Scan this QR code to learn more and register your child today!

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Winter Festivals Worth the Drive

Nov. 18-19

Dickens on the Boulevard Claremore (Main St, Claremore) features a Victorian-themed holiday festival with music, street dances, games, window setters and more. 6-9pm.

Nov. 19-20

Luther Pecan Festival Pecan Orchard and on Main Street (19020-19548 N Luther Rd, Luther) features local artists, musicians, food, contests, crafts and more. Free to attend. 10am-4pm. lutherregister.news

A Holiday Special (105340 Greer Rd, Lamont) features photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, manger petting zoo, holiday train, letter writing, yard toys and shopping. $12. 10am-dark.

Rd, Oologah) features storytelling, Wild West shootouts, children’s crafts, 19thcentury games, carriage rides, a shooting gallery, music, the chance to meet Santa and more. Free to attend; hayrides, $5 for

had a gaming experience like this. COOPGAMINGARENA.COM // 405-974-2757 42 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 #OKCFAMILYFUNNOVEMBER/DECEMBER CALENDAR

Date Night Ideas

Nov. 9

Straight No Chaser at the Hudiburg Chevrolet Center (6000 S Prosper Blvd, Midwest City) features the popular all-male a cappella group. $32 & up. 7:30pm. okcciviccenter.com

Nov. 10-20

The Great Leap presented by OKC Rep at Oklahoma Contemporary (11 NW 11th St) features a production about an American basketball team in Beijing in the post-cultural revolution 1980s. For two men with a past and one teen with a future, the game is a chance to claim personal victories on and off the court. $20-$60, plus pay-what-you-can options. See website for schedule. okcrep.org

Nov. 12

OKC Phil Classics Series: Bolero at Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave) features guest conductor Josephy Young and guitarist Pepe Romero performing with the OKC Philharmonic. $27 & up. 8pm. okcphil.org

Dec. 3

‘Tis the Season Market at Scissortail Park (415 S Robinson Ave) features shopping, live music and holiday performances. Free to attend. Noon-7pm. scissortailpark.org

Dec. 16

Holiday Wine-Down at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (1700 NE 63rd St) features a one-night painting class with instruction from Wine & Palette. Inspired by the nocturnal paintings featured in the museum galleries, create your own starry night desert landscape masterpiece. Preregister. $40$45. 6-9pm. nationalcowboymuseum.org

School Break Camps & Activities

Nov. 21-22

Dino Day Camps at Sam Noble Museum (2401 Chautauqua Ave, Norman) features activities, crafts, games and gallery tours for kids ages 5-11. Preregister, space is limited. $55-$65. 8:30am-4:30pm. samnoblemuseum.ou.edu

Dec. 19-22 & 27-30

Winter Break Camps at SoccerCity (4520 Old Farm Rd) features fun, age-divided, skill-building camps. Beginners and recreational players welcome. For ages 4-16. $100-$170. Morning session: 9am-noon; afternoon session: 1-4pm. All-day and half-day options available. Can attend one, two, three or four days. soccercityokcity.com

Dec. 19-24 & 26-31

Winter Break Activities at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (1700 NE 63rd St) features a different make-andtake craft each day including a reindeer bell necklace, snowflake ornaments and more. Free with admission while supplies last. 10am2pm. nationalcowboymuseum.org

Dec. 20-22 & 27-29

Winter Break Camps at Science Museum Oklahoma (2020 Remington Pl) features hands-on activities and live science demonstrations that explore the awesome power of science. For kids in PreK-6th grades. $75-$165. 9am-noon & 9am-4pm. sciencemuseumok.org/winter-camps

Dec. 21-22

December Drop-Ins at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave). Make a natural ornament, learn about winter plants and animals, play games, read a holiday book and more. All ages welcome. Free to attend; donations accepted. 10am-noon. myriadgardens.org

Dec. 22

Very Merry Workshop at Edmond Fine Arts Institute (27 E Edwards, Edmond) features special holidaythemed art projects. For kids in grades K-5. Preregister. $65. 9:30am2pm. edmondfinearts.com

METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 43
405.951.0000 | @okcontemporary 11 NW 11th St, OKC, OK 73103 ICE BLOCK PARTY Dec. 10 | 1-4 p.m. FREE • DIY snow globes • Hot chocolate bar • Indoor snowball fight + much more! Also join us from 1-4 p.m. Nov. 12 for tissue paper stained glass, familyfriendly exhibition tours and Art Packs for all ages!

Events

Dec. 31

Noon Year’s Eve Celebration at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (1700 NE 63rd St) features crafts, a countdown to noon and a toast to the new year. Free with admission. 10am-2pm. nationalcowboymuseum.org

FREE Rockin’ Noon Year’s Eve Dance Party at the Moore Library (225 S Howard Ave) features a craft, music, dancing and a balloon drop. All ages welcome. 11am-noon. pioneerlibrarysystem.org

Finale 5k at Bicentennial Park (500 Couch Dr) features a festive, all-ages run through downtown OKC. $30$40. 3pm. artscouncilokc.com

Opening Night Celebration at Bicentennial Park (500 Couch Dr)

and concludes with a bang at the midnight fireworks extravaganza. Performances will

place in four locations near the park. $8. 7pm-midnight. artscouncilokc.com

backtoearthschool@gmail.com

44 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER CALENDAR #OKCFAMILYFUN
New Year’s Eve
SUPPORT LOCAL SUPPORT LOCAL OTHER WAYS TO GIVE: www.rmhc-okc.org/get-involved WAYS TO HELP WHEN YOU EAT AT MCDONALD’S: Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC-OKC) has been helping children with illnesses and injuries cope better by keeping their families close. Our Ronald McDonald House® and our Ronald McDonald Family Room® provide families with a place like home where they can be together. • Ask to Round-Up on your next order • Drop change in the donation box • Add a donation when you order through the app • Every Happy Meal purchase = 1 cent to RMHC Donations can be mailed to: Ronald McDonald House Charities Oklahoma City P.O. Box 7979, Edmond, OK 73083 Enrolling now First and Second Grade Homeschool Hybrid Program MON-WED 8:30-2:45, AGES 6-8 Simply magical Back to Earth backtoearthschool.org |
(405) 520-0553 | 4221 N Walnut Ave, OKC
features music, a mural competition, a children’s area with themed hands-on art projects
take
The holidays spring to life in ICE! at Gaylord Texan! Our signature attraction is a whimsical masterpiece of scenes from The Polar Express carved out of two million pounds of boldly colored ice. NOV. 11 - JAN. 1 ChristmasAtGaylordTexan.com THE POLAR EXPRESS and all related characters and elements © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (s22) A GAYLORD HOTELS ORIGINAL EXPERIENCE

Museum exhibitions

Newly opened Opening Nov. 19

outLAWman at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (1700 NE 63rd St) explores the often-thin line that separated the outlaw from the lawman in the American West. Free with admission. Adults, $12.50; kids, (6-12), $5.57; kids (5 & under), free. Monday-Saturday, 10am5pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. nationalcowboymuseum.org

Opening Dec. 10

You Have Died of Dysentery at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (1700 NE 63rd St) focuses on Western-themed play and the often-dark realities of history through games, books and videos after 1970. Free with admission. Adults, $12.50; kids, (6-12), $5.57; kids (5 & under), free. Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. nationalcowboymuseum.org

Closing soon Through Dec. 15

Oklahoma Genocide: Massacre at Washita River at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame (1400 Classen Dr) explores the history of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes as well as the horrific truth of what occurred the morning of Nov. 27, 1868, when Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer attacked the sleeping Cheyenne village of Chief Black Kettle. Adults, $7; kids (6-17), $5; kids (5 & under), free. TuesdayFriday, 10am-5pm; Saturday, 9am-2pm. oklahomahof.com

Through Dec. 30

FREE Leaf in Light at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) features mixed-media works of art by Oklahoma City artist Kyndall Rainey. Using recycled materials and various paint mediums, she creates textured landscapes. Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. myriadgardens.org

Through Jan. 9

FREE La casa que nos inventamos: Contemporary Art From Guadalajara at Oklahoma Contemporary (11 NW 11th St) features the rich and complicated past, present and future of a creative community illustrated by works of art created within the last decade by visual artists from or living in Guadalajara. Wednesday-Sunday, 11am-6pm; Thursday, 11am-9pm. oklahomacontemporary.org

The Toniebox puts control of

in

hands

Toniebox

46 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 7638 N. Western, OKC • 405-848-1415 @learningtree.okc • learningtreeokc.com learning tree
storytime
the
of your little listener. get yours at
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER CALENDAR #OKCFAMILYFUN
discover play & Grow OKLAHOMA CITY PARKS & RECREATION 170 Parks 100 Miles of Trails 11 Recreation Centers 5 Swimming Pools 5 Golf Courses 3 Sports Complexes 3 Event Centers 2 Senior Centers 1 Fish Hatchery okc.gov/parks

FACES

Oklahoma City’s most important resource is our people. Behind our

businesses and organizations are owners and employees

and

with their

their business

their work is making a

to

Each business included in this guide

about

48 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022
city’s locally-owned
dedicated to serving the community
our families, each
own special stories of how
came
be and how
difference.
represents a specific category. Find more information
the businesses and the individuals featured at metrofamilymagazine.com/faces-ofmetrofamily.
OF
PHOTOS BY FOTO ARTS PHOTOGRAPHY AND PROVIDED.
Meet the Faces of MetroFamily 49 Wymer Brownlee 50 Edmond Farmers Market 51 OU Health Sciences Center 52 YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City 54 SoccerCity OKC SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

FACES OF Wymer Brownlee

The Face of Financial Planning for Families

As a husband and father, with one of his children having special needs, Aaron Waters is particularly attuned to the importance of financial planning.

“Life happens — it’s beautiful and hard, sometimes in the same moment — and a financial plan can help you weather the unexpected events that come up,” said Waters. “Every family is different and I am honored to help my clients figure out their insurance needs, an estate plan, a savings and investment strategy and more that makes the most sense to them given their goals, dreams and situation.”

“A financial plan is not a ‘one-and-done’ document. Instead, I’m with my clients through all the ups and downs of life, suggesting changes to their plans as needed,” added Waters.

Growing up in small-town Oklahoma, Waters originally planned to go into banking. When introduced through a mentor to a career in financial planning for families, he knew that’s what he wanted to do with his talents.

“I see every day how a financial plan improves peoples’ lives for the better,” said Waters.

When asked who needs a financial plan, Waters is quick to answer, “Everyone, especially families.”

“Life often throws curve balls,” continued Waters. “My wife and I welcomed our daughter with Down syndrome into our lives two years ago and, soon after, she needed major heart surgery. Having a financial plan and then changing that plan as we needed to for our new situation contributed to our peace of mind. Helping others with their plans and helping them through life-changing events is what I’m passionate about.”

Shareholder

N Portland, Suite 210, OKC 405-748-4000

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 49
Wealth Advisor,
Wymer Brownlee Wealth Strategies 13900
wymerbrownlee.com

FACES OF

Edmond Farmers Market

The Face of Farmers Markets

When Emily Young began working as the coordinator of Edmond Farmers Market in May 2020, it brought together her years of experience in merchandising, marketing, sales and social media communications.

“I love every aspect of helping small businesses thrive and the farmers market has been a perfect combination of using my skills to fuel my passion,” said Young. “This is my dream job.”

Young also recognizes the care, expertise and craftsmanship each of the vendors brings to the market.

“I value the humanity of every one of the farmers,” said Young. “I value the work and hands that have touched each food item or other crafted item that’s produced.”

The Edmond Farmers Market is a well-known, popular shopping destination in downtown Edmond from spring

through early fall, but area residents may not be aware that the market continues indoors during the winter months, too, on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon, November through March, at the MAC Senior Center at Mitch Park in north Edmond.

As Young reports, the market offers anything a big box store could but directly from the producer. Beginning in November, vendors will be offering winter squashes, onions, peppers, lettuce, spinach and other seasonal produce in addition to baked goods, spices and sauces. There will also be a wide variety of gift items from local artisans, including blankets, quilts, sweaters, scarves, home and Christmas décor, candles, gift baskets and more.

“It’s always fun to see how shoppers at the Edmond Farmers Market are inspired to try new things, discover new foods and purchase hand-made items directly from the hands that grew or prepared the items that are sold,” said Young. “Whether the consumer is finding food for dinner or handmade goods to give as a gift, they will get to thank the producer as they make their purchase.”

MAC Senior Center at Mitch Park, Edmond (park located east of Santa Fe off Covell)

Winter Market, November-March Open Saturdays, 9am to noon facebook.com/edmondfarmersmarket

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION50 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022

Katerina Ntourou has two very unique attributes: she is a native of Greece who now considers Oklahoma home and she’s one of very few experts in the state focused on researching stuttering in children and adults. Currently an assistant professor at The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Dr. Ntourou (or Dr. Kat as her students call her) is working to understand the causes and potential solutions for the social anxiety that can plague those who stutter.

Dr. Kat first got interested in studying stuttering while working as a speech-language pathologist with young children who stutter and their families in Greece. It was that interest that motivated her to leave Greece and pursue a PhD at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Kat is quick to point out that stuttering is very misunderstood. Among the myths are that the cause of stuttering is nervousness or stress and that those who stutter are less intelligent than those who don’t.

Stuttering typically starts around 2 to 4 years of age, but for the majority of children it resolves within the first few months. Approximately 1 percent of the population stutters. Given the estimated population of Oklahoma at around 4 million people, there are close to 40,000 individuals who stutter in our state.

For the last two years, Dr. Kat has led a study about stuttering for kids ages 3 to 12. During an initial meeting via a video conference call

and a follow-up in-person visit at her research lab, Dr. Kat conducts an in-depth stuttering assessment. At the end of the in-person visit, Dr. Kat provides the parent(s) with the test results, answers questions and provides resources. Parents who have their child participate in the study are compensated for their efforts.

“My goal in all that I do professionally is to help those who stutter to be confident, competent communicators who don’t let stuttering define them,” said Dr. Ntourou.

“In fulfilling that goal, I know how important it is for me to be a resource to parents. I’m happy to visit with those who either want their child to participate in the study or those whose child’s age is outside the range of the study to help them any way I can.”

Learn more about the study by scanning the code.

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 51
The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center The Face of Stuttering Research

YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City

The Faces of Community and Wellness

With a master’s degree in wellness management and having made a career of helping families at the YMCA, Sara Robinson-Holmes recognizes that the community and people she interacts with daily have empowered her to be a better leader.

“I attribute much of my growth over the years to witnessing children and families coming together to experience first-time achievements, such as learning to swim, finding their path in sports or learning to read in our camp programs,” says RobinsonHolmes. “Being at the Y allows me to witness the joy of seeing families create healthy habits and parents serving as role models for their kids.”

Looking to the future, she adds, “I know that we, as an organization, and I, as a Y leader, can continue to strengthen our efforts to support families of this community as we navigate increased mental and physical health challenges brought upon by the pandemic.”

Samantha Marez’ experience with the YMCA started when she was 17 years old, working with the after-school and other youth development programs. She loved developing relationships through her work and continued working at the Y while earning her business degree.

As she states, “I worked in different departments, gaining knowledge and experience and found a passion in just meeting and connecting with people. I knew very early that I wanted to be a servant leader and give back to those in the community, and the Y allows me to do just that.

“At the Y, we are here to serve all and that is what I love the most. There is not another place in the community where I get to connect with so many different people with so many different backgrounds. I find so much joy getting to know them and connect them to others that could make a difference in their lives.”

Her experience at the YMCA has come full circle, with her children now enjoying the YMCA and its services.

“How cool is it that you can bring your family to one place that has something for each of them to enjoy!” said Marez. “I grew up in the Y and my kids are growing up the Y. The Y is families serving families!”

52 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022

Originally from Dallas, Christin King received her degree in strategic communications from UCO in Edmond. After working in fashion in New York City, then at a full-service advertising agency in Oklahoma City, King says about her current position: “My passion for marketing and strategy has never been as rewarding as it has been here at the YMCA. Here, the return on investment (ROI) is not measured by the bottom line but is more about the impact the organization has on families in the communities it serves. That is very rewarding to me.”

In interacting with the families impacted by the YMCA’s programs, King hears every day about the difference the organization makes. One particularly powerful story came from a single mom who told King how the financial assistance she received for childcare saved her job and kept her family from being homeless.

King adds, “I was even hired when 8 months preg nant, and having our two daughters at quality, af fordable child care at the YMCA means I can provide meaningfully to my family and our community.”

In her position, Lacy Kendrick may not be on the frontline every day with Y members, but she works hard behind the scenes to make sure anyone who wants services from the YMCA gets them.

“My team is tasked with seeking partnerships with individuals and businesses who are just as invested in the health and wellness of our community as we are,” said Kendrick. “Their generosity allows families the access to our services they may not have the ability to pay for otherwise.

“From childcare to swim lessons to fitness programs, we are a place for all. I am excited to get up each day and go to work because of the two most important words of our mission statement: for all. We are a safe space for every single person in our community, regardless of gender, economic status, family structure, religion or physical abilities.”

Kendrick is passionate about service to others, having observed her parents, who were heavily invested in their community, and now, along with her husband, working to instill that sense of purpose in her own two sons.

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 53
YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City Over 14 locations in central Oklahoma ymcaokc.org

FACES

SoccerCity OKC

The Face of Soccer Fun

“Lil’ Kickers classes focus on child development just as much as they do soccer skills. The lessons encourage team work, listening skills and, for younger kids, cognitive functions and understanding.”

Hayden Wagner, Lil’ Kickers director

SoccerCity has been encouraging the instruction and playing of soccer for toddlers through adults in Oklahoma City for the last 11 years. As a testament to their popularity, enrollment numbers at the facility have grown year over year. The facility itself has four fields, three of which are regulation size and one that is smaller, used for 10 and under leagues and other purposes.

The Lil’ Kickers program serves children ages 18 months through 9 years, teaching the game at a developmentallyappropriate level and encouraging the idea of teamwork and other life skills. Imagination play games (and bubbles!) encourage a love of soccer right from the beginning. Each session of Lil’ Kickers is 9 to 12 weeks long, held throughout the year, and open to new participants at any time. They even offer a chance for a free trial class (call for details).

For adults, there are leagues for anyone interested in the game. Men’s, women’s, co-ed and even walking soccer leagues are offered. Their upcoming winter session, which is always their busiest, starts Nov. 7.

Looking for a unique birthday party venue? SoccerCity offers kids’ birthday party packages that include use of a field, which can be utilized for playing soccer as well as other sports such as lacrosse or football.

SoccerCity OKC 4520 Old Farm Rd, OKC 405-748-3888 soccercityokcity.com

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION54 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022
OF
Kickoff Your Holiday Season with An Enchanted Stroll November 18, 2022 | 5–10pm | Mitch Park FOOD TRUCKS LIVE MUSIC MERRY MARKETPLACE SANTA & FRIENDS SINGING CHOIR ICE SKATING Visit EdmondLights.com | Founding Sponsors

NEAR & FAR Experience Native Heritage

Today, Oklahoma is home to 39 distinct Native Nations, whose history, cultural diversity and ongoing contributions continue to shape and strengthen our communities. Only four of these Nations are indigenous to our state; the rest were forcibly removed from their homelands across the United States to what was Indian Territory beginning in 1830.

During Native Heritage Month in November and beyond, experience the distinct origins, cultural practices, artwork and vitality of Tribal Nations and gain a deeper understanding of Oklahoma’s history by visiting museums and cultural centers dedicated to preserving and sharing Native heritage, located in the OKC metro and around the state.

56 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 EXPLORING OKLAHOMA WITH CHILDREN
LEARN ABOUT OKLAHOMA’S 39 DISTINCT NATIVE NATIONS AT THE FIRST AMERICANS MUSEUM. ENJOY STICKBALL, DANCE AND OTHER DEMONSTRATIONS AT THE CHOCTAW NATION CULTURAL CENTER IN CALERA, OKLA. COURTESY OF THE CHOCTAW NATION OF OKLAHOMA.

NEAR

First Americans Museum Oklahoma City

Decades in the making, the First Americans Museum opened in September 2021 to celebrate and share the cultural diversity, authentic history and contributions of the 39 Tribal Nations in Oklahoma today. From first-hand accounts told by Native people in film and immersive experiences throughout the museum to an entirely Indigenous curatorial staff, the intentionality in Native people telling their own stories, from 500 A.D. to today, is apparent in every inch of the museum. The variety of hands-on and hightech experiences engage kids throughout the galleries.

DON’T MISS

In the larger-than-life, 320 degree Origins Theater, animations, sound and stories encircle the visitor with four origin stories, scripted, narrated and animated by Native community members.

Throughout the OKLA HOMMA gallery, three circular Moving Fire audio pods with glowing centers beckon visitors in to listen to stories that honor oral histories, including an origin story of a bison, hard truths about the quest to honor family members lost along the Trail of Tears and how song and dance are used to portray emotions.

Climb inside the Powwow Van to experience powwows across the state. The sights and sounds of powwows on this virtual road trip convey the varied customs, traditions and pride from a variety of Tribal Nations. Then, learn to play Chunkey, a traditional game requiring great strength and agility, through an immersive video game.

Red Earth Art Center

Oklahoma City

Located in the lobby of BancFirst Tower in downtown OKC, the Red Earth Art Center is home to an exhibit gallery that features rotating exhibits throughout the year, including special selections from the Red Earth permanent collection of traditional and modern fine art, pottery, basketry, textiles and beadwork, as well as contemporary Native artist shows and traveling exhibits. The Art Center also includes a sales gallery showcasing artwork and gifts by Native artists and businesses.

DON’T MISS

Visit redearth.org for instructions on how to make your own pony bead corn ornaments!

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Visit the Red Earth TreeFest Nov. 20 through Dec. 29, during which 16 Christmas trees are adorned with handmade ornaments showcasing the diverse tribal cultures of Oklahoma.

METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 57
VISIT THE RED EARTH TREEFEST TO SEE THE DIVERSE TRIBAL CULTURES OF OKLAHOMA ON DISPLAY. TOP LEFT: KIOWA TRIBE TREE. TOP RIGHT: OSAGE NATION TREE. TOUCHSCREENS THROUGHOUT THE FIRST AMERICANS MUSEUM ENGAGE YOUNG VISITORS. EXPERIENCE FOUR ORIGIN STORIES IN THE ORIGINS THEATER AT THE FIRST AMERICANS MUSEUM.

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Oklahoma City

Through artwork, artifacts, unique programs and interactive exhibits, The Cowboy shares the history and culture of the West, including Native Nations and people. Diana Fields, chief program officer, describes the focus on cultural continuance as showcasing both traditional and pop cultures to demonstrate the forward movement of Indigenous cultures that are always adapting, changing and contributing to the world around them.

A highlight for families, Liichokoshkomo’ encourages purposeful play in the museum’s 100,000-square-foot backyard. Explore lifesize Indigenous dwellings, including a Kiowa Tipi, Puebloan Cliff Dwelling and Chickasaw Council House.

DON’T MISS

Newly added to the museum’s Native American Gallery, artist Jake Tiger (Seminole) created a traditional Seminole outfit modeled from a painting of Seminole leader Osceola. In honor of Tiger’s work, during November, kid visitors can drop in to make bandolier bags with materials available. Also new in the gallery are various pieces of Star Wars-themed Indigenous art. Don’t miss the beaded Darth Vader mask!

Opened in August 2022, Art of the Northwest Coast features prints, glass, sculptures and basketry contrasting with the Native artwork typically seen in Oklahoma. From painted totem poles to bentwood boxes, the intricate carvings, bright colors and stylistic elements communicate stories, teach family histories, describe divine creatures and showcase the wealth of community leaders. Fields says this exhibit, on display through May 1, 2023, gives visitors a better frame of reference for the diversity of Indigenous communities.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

• Kids Take Over the Cowboy the first Saturday of each month; on Nov. 5 activities for Native Heritage Month will be provided from 10 a.m. to noon. Free for members or with museum admission.

• Every second Sunday, visitors can learn details behind a unique artifact from the museum’s collection. On Nov. 13 at 1 p.m., listen as Tiger discusses his traditional Seminole outfit. Afterward, enjoy an informal drawing session at 2 p.m. in the Art of the Northwest Coast exhibit. Drawing materials provided. Both programs are free for members or with museum admission.

• Cuddle up at home to enjoy Bedtime Buckaroos, virtual bedtime stories for kids read by local authors, community leaders or staff biweekly at nationalcowboymuseum.org. Listen live or watch back previous stories. November installments will feature books related to Native Heritage Month.

Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Center

Shawnee

40 minutes southeast of OKC

Beginning with Citizen Potawatomi oral traditions, the Cultural Center takes visitors on a journey through history, from the early ways of life, conflict and forced removals to settlements in Kansas and Oklahoma and finally to the Tribal Nation’s tenacity today in exercising sovereignty, expanding jobs and services and revitalizing tribal culture.

In the Gete Neshnabek Zhechgéwen gallery, visitors can view a wigwam as well as four interactive displays about Potawatomi medicines, the four directions and traditional hand games. From the Tribal Nation’s first contact with Europeans, explore the history of conflict with colonizers and the U.S. government; the Potawatomi were signatories to more than 40 treaties, more than any other Tribal Nation. Throughout the center, kid visitors especially enjoy connecting with Citizen Potawatomi Nation history and culture through touchscreen games.

DON’T MISS

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation Eagle Aviary is home to injured eagles that cannot be returned to the wild. Eagles are an integral symbol of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation culture, revered as warriors and messengers. A visit to the Eagle Aviary to learn about the birds’ care and cultural significance from their caregivers is a sacred, once-in-alifetime experience! Tours are by advance appointments only. Visit potawatomiheritage. com/aviary to take a virtual tour and read about the resident eagles.

58 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022
SEMINOLE REGALIA AT THE NATIONAL COWBOY & WESTERN HERITAGE MUSEUM INSPIRES NOVEMBER’S DROP-IN ACTIVITY FOR KIDS: MAKING BANDOLIER BAGS. ART OF THE NORTHWEST COAST AT THE NATIONAL COWBOY & WESTERN HERITAGE MUSEUM GIVES VISITORS A BETTER FRAME OF REFERENCE FOR THE DIVERSITY OF INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES. VISIT THE CITIZEN POTAWATOMI NATION EAGLE AVIARY TO LEARN ABOUT THE BIRDS’ CARE AND CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE FROM THEIR CAREGIVERS. PHOTO BY GARETT FISBECK (POTAWATOMI). COURTESY OF CITIZEN POTAWATOMI NATION.

FAR Choctaw Nation Cultural Center

Calera

2.5 hours southwest of OKC

Newly opened in July 2021, the center tells the 14,000-year history of the Chahta (Choctaw) people, primarily through the voices of tribal members. The abiding themes of compassion, courage and faith are apparent as visitors are guided on a timeline from the rich history of the moundbuilding ancestors to the struggle against the destruction of colonizers to the triumph of the Nation in modern times.

DON’T MISS

In the Luksi (turtle) Activity Center, children play in two home structures as well as a lookout and slide. The giant luksi doubles

as a reading space, plus kid-size tables and chairs offer coloring sheets of animals with their names in Choctaw and English.

Walk through a tribal village in the Chahta Pia (We Are Choctaw) exhibit, where kids love the pivoting touchscreens they can direct into the forest vignette to learn animal names in Choctaw. Stroll through the outdoor Living Village, situated along a walking path that includes traditional

Choctaw dwellings, a garden and a mound, reflecting the moundbuilding culture of the Choctaw people. Tours are self-guided and occasionally guests can enjoy dance, stickball and other demonstrations.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

The annual Choctaw Powwow will be held the weekend of Nov. 4-6, featuring Choctaw Day and Gourd Dance at the Choctaw Cultural Center on Nov. 4 and the Powwow at the Grand Theater, Choctaw Casino & Resort, Nov. 5-6.

kickoff - Satu r day- Saturday Nov e m be r 26, 4-6pmNovember 26, 4-6pmLights in Legion Park • Mr. & Mrs. Claus • Pony Rides • Smores • Petting Zoo• Train Rides www.facebook.com/cityofer Enjoy through December! FREE! METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / NOV-DEC 2022 59
THE LUKSI (TURTLE) ACTIVITY CENTER WAS CREATED FOR KID VISITORS AT THE CHOCTAW NATION CULTURAL CENTER. THE NEW CHOCTAW NATION CULTURAL CENTER IN CALERA, OKLA. OPENED IN JULY 2021. COURTESY OF THE CHOCTAW NATION OF OKLAHOMA.

Cherokee Nation Anna Mitchell Cultural & Welcome Center

Vinita

About 2.5 hours northeast of OKC

Opened this fall, the Cherokee Nation Anna Mitchell Cultural & Welcome Center in Vinita showcases Cherokee art, culture and history. The center offers permanent and rotating exhibits, refreshments and a gift shop.

The center is named for award-winning Cherokee National Treasure and renowned artist Anna Mitchell, who was known as a trailblazer and widely accepted as an authority on both Southeastern and Eastern Woodlands-style pottery. In recognition of Mitchell and her traditional, handmade

Chickasaw Cultural Center & surrounding sites

Sulphur & Tishomingo

About 90 minutes southeast of OKC

Experience the living history and culture of the unconquered and unconquerable Chickasaw people through awe-inspiring indoor and outdoor exhibits. Inside the center, walk through the Spirit Forest, where the sights and sounds envelop visitors, to understand the Chickasaw people’s connection to the natural world. Along the Removal Corridor, experience the atrocities and emotions of forced removal through the Indian Removal Act.

Outdoors, visit The Chikasha Inchokka’ (Chickasaw house) Traditional Village to explore re-creations of a Council House, two summer houses, two winter houses, a replica mound, a corn crib and a stickball field.

Continue your journey by traveling to Tishomingo, about 30 minutes south of Sulphur, to the Chickasaw Nation Capitol

pottery, the center will host a pottery show through the end of the year.

All Cherokee Nation museums and attractions in and around the Nation’s capital of Tahlequah offer free admission. For additional fees, take part in cultural classes on moccasin making, twining, pottery and more.

DON’T MISS

The larger-than-life “vessel” in front of the new Anna Mitchell Cultural & Welcome Center, an homage to Mitchell’s pottery, is sure to become an iconic destination for photo ops on Route 66.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

• Attend the first Indigenous comic convention in Cherokee Nation,

building. Built in 1898, the Victorian-style structure is now a museum that details how the Chickasaw people fought for tribal identity and independence. Next door, visit the Chickasaw Council House to see collections of pottery, jewelry, beadwork, artifacts and artwork.

SkasdiCon, on Nov. 5. The event features Indigenous artists, Native pop culture, comic book and cosplay panel discussions, a screening and panel for Inage’i (an original animated series in the Cherokee language), vendor booths and a familyfriendly cosplay competition.

• Through the first half of November, free fall festivals at Sequoyah Cabin Museum in Sallisaw and Saline Courthouse Museum in Rose feature activities and games, make-and-take crafts for kids and photo ops amidst the beautiful fall foliage.

• On Nov. 12, experience Cherokee Day at the Saline Courthouse Museum with free activities, including artist demonstrations, musical performances and make-and-take crafts for kids.

A few minutes away in Milburn, visit the Chickasaw White House, the Victorianstyle home of Chickasaw Gov. Douglas H. Johnston also built in 1898. The home was the setting for many important social and political events.

Admission to the historic sites in Tishomingo and Milburn is free; booking tour reservations in advance is recommended.

DON’T MISS

Plan your day in Sulphur and Tishomingo around at the daily stomp dances at the Chickasaw Cultural Center, held at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. A treasured tradition, the stomp dance illustrates the Chickasaw people’s spiritual and musical connection to nature through song and dance. Stomp dancers perform in traditional regalia and visitors are encouraged to participate.

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THE INTERIOR OF THE LARGER-THAN-LIFE “VESSEL” IN FRONT OF THE NEW ANNA MITCHELL CULTURAL & WELCOME CENTER PAYS HOMAGE TO MITCHELL’S ARTISTRY. COURTESY OF THE CHEROKEE NATION. THE CHICKASAW NATIONAL CAPITOL BUILDING HOUSES A MUSEUM ABOUT HOW THE CHICKASAW PEOPLE FOUGHT FOR TRIBAL IDENTITY AND INDEPENDENCE. COURTESY OF CHICKASAW COUNTRY.

Seminole Nation Museum Wewoka

About an hour southeast of OKC

Learn about the development of the Seminole Nation’s history and cultural identity from the Florida Everglades to Indian Territory through artifacts, artwork and exhibits. Experience the stories of the Seminole Lighthorsemen, feared lawmen who exacted harsh punishment on those who defied their laws. Plus, meet Alice Brown Davis, the first woman to serve as chief of any of the Five Tribes.

The museum is home to the largest collection in the world of beaded bandolier bags (traditional Native attire dating from the 18th century) by Jay McGirt, the foremost bandolier artist of the Creek and Seminole Nations whose work can also be found at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.

Additional galleries display artwork and special exhibits, a history of the town of Wewoka and recognize military heroes. Admission is free.

DON’T MISS

Through the end of the year, visitors can enjoy a retrospective exhibit on revered artist Enoch Kelly Haney (Seminole) featuring original pieces from the museum’s collection and pieces on loan from other sites. Haney, who died earlier this year, was the first full-blood Native person to serve in the Oklahoma legislature and earned the title Master Artist of the Five Civilized Tribes.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

On Nov. 18, visit Wewoka for the Seminole Nation Museum’s Holiday Bazaar to purchase baked goods and foodstuffs, art, crafts and handmade items for holiday gifting.

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(ABOVE) THIS ALLIGATOR SKULL IS FROM FLORIDA, WHERE THE SEMINOLE PEOPLE LIVED PRIOR TO FORCED REMOVAL AND RELOCATION. (BELOW) THE SEMINOLE NATION MUSEUM IS HOME TO THE LARGEST COLLECTION IN THE WORLD OF BEADED BANDOLIER BAGS BY JAY MCGIRT (CREEK, SEMINOLE). COURTESY OF SEMINOLE NATION MUSEUM.
LIFE IS A GIFT Give Hope Today. UnitedWayOKC.org No act of kindness is too small. Through your gift to United Way, you have the opportunity to ensure that our neighbors around us have happier, healthier lives. Please contribute to our 2022 Give Campaign, and provide help and hope to thousands of children, adults and families in need in our community.

Giving Back

The holiday season is the perfect time to teach kids about the value in giving back through time spent volunteering or sharing resources. Four local families share their favorite ways to make an impact on our community:

“One of our family values is to give back to our community, both financially and with our time. I have firsthand experience of how good social programs can help families in need and I’ve dedicated my life to ‘pass it on’ for the advancement of those in need. I’ve also instilled that same appreciation for giving back and taking care of community to my children, who are also active in their communities. One of the things I most enjoy is attending community events through my role at Sunbeam Family Services because it allows me to connect with various partners.”

“We love the growth and happenings occurring in Oklahoma City! With all the developments, it is important that our family helps invigorate a sense of community. We do this through our advocacy efforts, activities that involve fitness and faith and supporting the sustainment of local cultural hubs such as East End.”

“My girls and I attend Knit for Good, a weekly knitting circle, with several ladies in the community. We knit hats for the patients and families undergoing treatment at OU Children’s Hospital.”

“My kids have gained a greater understanding of the world around them and how they can use their time and talents to benefit others through local volunteer opportunities. We enjoy making and providing dinner for youth experiencing homelessness through Sisu Youth Services. The intake team always thanks my kids heartily when we deliver meals, which affirms for them the value in helping others.”

For more ideas to serve as a family in the metro, visit metrofamilymagazine.com/volunteer.

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