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December 2012

Giving vs. Getting: Why giving is better Tips for celebrating a harmonious interfaith holiday


Over 181 great holiday fun ideas close to home and beyond

Dr. Oz brings his health program to ASTEC Charter School

December 2012 |


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Photo courtesy of Downtown Oklahoma City, Inc.

You could WIN big!

It’s the “Season of Giving” and we’re giving to YOU! Make the most of the holidays with our Holiday Fun Guide ( holiday-fun), full of the best holiday events and activities in the metro. From there, you can find other resources including our Guide to Giving Back, Places to Find Santa, Holiday Lights Guide and Winter Break Camps Guide. One of the biggest MetroFamily giveaways of the year, our 12 Days of December contest will be held from December 1–12, just in time for holiday fun and giving. Enter to be eligible to win each day's prize pack, which range in value from $250–$350 and feature toys, family-friendly products and tickets to local attractions. PLUS, enter each day to increase your chances of winning our Grand Prize—a $500 gift card to Quail Springs Mall! The Grand Prize winner will be announced on December 13. MetroFamily is proud to be a sponsor of the website where you will find downloadable freebies that are perfect for the holidays and any time of the year.

From our MetroFamily to yours, we wish you a wonderful, peaceful holiday season and a healthy and happy new year. Join the MetroFamily community of active local parents at:

4 | December 2012

Sign up to be eligible for great prizes at • Enter to win over $250 in daily prize packages in our 12 Days of December contest, December 1–12. These prizes are perfect for holiday giving, getting and doing! Find the details at left. • Also up for grabs are two family fourpacks of tickets to the December 22nd Christmas production of “If You Believe” presented by the Academy of Dance Arts. Deadline December 15. • The Baby Gear Giveaway features over $350 in baby-friendly products. December 15–January 15. • More surprise giveaways will be held this month. Follow us on Twitter ( or like us on Facebook ( metrofamily) for the announcements.

You could SAVE big! Find coupons to the businesses listed below at www. metrofamilymagazine. com/okc-family-discounts. • Gymboree • Bright Smile Family Dentistry • Oklahoma Health Solutions • Skate Galaxy • College Nannies and Tutors • Guitar for Kids • The Vintage Pearl • Museum of Osteology • Bouncin’ Craze • Dawn to Dusk Inflatables • Jump!Zone • Mathnasium • Jingle & Jangle • Green Goodies by Tiffany (good from December 20–January 31) PLUS, save big bucks with the Kids Pass for 2012-2013 that includes over 30 coupons to local and statewide attractions! Download it today at

Contents December 2012



Dear MetroFamily


Family Shorts

Editor’s Note.

Community news, resources & other family-friendly information.

16 Oklahoma Reads Great reads for all.

18 Exploring Oklahoma & Beyond

• We're taking the inter-faith family photos today. Should we see if one of those will work? • • Other than that, one that promoted the Holiday Fun guide or the Exploring Oklahoma and Beyond article would be fine so look for one of those in the ones that were sent to you (since I haven't seen them, just don't know). I bet we get the ones of the family by tomorrow? Or at least by Monday.

Holiday adventures in Oklahoma, Branson, Grapevine and Kansas City.

20 Ask the Expert

Encourage your family to give to others.

22 Real Moms of the Metro

Meet Stacy McDaniel, President of Cleats for Kids.

26 Problem-Solving Products 28 Focus on Education

Dr. Oz brings a healthy focus to ASTEC Charter School.

30 Local Shopping

Find unique holiday toys at Kidoodles in Norman.

Holiday fun abounds in the metro and beyond. For a glimpse at what's in store this month, look to the calendar (page 35) and Exploring Oklahoma and Beyond (page 18).


32 Your Healthy Family

The hustle & bustle of the holiday season can be stressful— especially to families combining different religious backgrounds. Meet two local families who have found ways to celebrate successfully, plus tips for creating a harmonious holiday.

35 Calendar

Fun events, activities and classes.

46 Mom Gets the Last Laugh

ON OUR COVER: Jack Love, 10 year old son of Leigh and Shawn Love, is a 4th grader at Nichols Hills Elementary. Read more about Jack and his contributions to Limbs for Life in OKC on page 9. COVER PHOTO: by Leigh Love. PHOTO ABOVE: courtesy of Downtown Oklahoma, Inc.

Healthy and delicious holiday recipes from readers.

The most wonderful time of the year? “Not so much,” says this mom of teens.

December 2012 |


Dear MetroFamily, How does it happen that the years go by so quickly? I know it’s some complicated physics equation involving the rotation of the earth and my advancing age, but it just seems that with each passing year, time flies more swiftly by. It wasn’t just yesterday that my kids were babies; it seems like just yesterday that I was also newly married, bringing my husband The obligatory sibling photo op, Christmas 1993. From left, oldest to home to Wisconsin, to spend the youngest: Lori, Teri, Kristi, Tami, Juli, Randyl and Mari. holiday with all of my siblings at my parents’ house. This is the last Christmas I can remember us all spending together, and it was a whirlwind trip that took us to points all over southeastern Wisconsin. I wouldn’t trade those memories for the world. Spending that time together brings back memories of our Christmases as children, when we would all pile into the car for the Christmas Eve church service, come home for dinner and then wait (and wait) and finally open our presents. It would always be a late night with lots of tired smiles. And snow! We do things differently in my little family of four; some years we travel, some years we have guests, but we always sit and talk about the Christmases past, shared memories that still mean so much. May you have a blessed and happy holiday season! Until next year...


Sarah Taylor, Publisher Our family gatherings, followed by ice skating on ponds during the winter break.

Lela Davidson, Mom Gets the Last Laugh

My favorite thing about the holidays was going to my grandparents' house and spending the day with family.

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Editor Mari M. Farthing Art Director Kathryne Taylor Advertising Sales Athena Delce Dana Price Office and Distribution Manager Kathy Alberty Assistant Editor & Online Content Manager Brooke Barnett Calendar Editor Sara Riester

Circulation 35,000 – OKC, Edmond, Nichols Hills, Norman, Moore, Midwest City, Yukon Also available as a digital edition at

What was your favorite part about the holidays as a kid?

Jennifer Geary, Exploring Oklahoma

Publisher Sarah L. Taylor

Contributing Writers Brooke Barnett, Lela Davidson, Julie Dill, Shannon Fields, Jennifer Geary

We asked our contributors:

Decorating Christmas cookies with my mom—and eating a few on the sly.

To submit events to our calendar

Project Manager Janetta Bridges

P.S. Visit to read my blog, “Keeping it Real,” about my personal adventures in the ups and downs of parenting.

Brooke Barnett, Assistant Editor

Info And Questions: 405-601-2081

Fantasy fudge, presents and two weeks off school—in that order.

Articles and advertisements in MetroFamily do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the magazine or Inprint Publishing, Inc. 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. MetroFamily Magazine is published monthly by Inprint Publishing, Inc. 725 NW 11th, Suite 204 • Oklahoma City, OK 73103 Fax: 405-445-7509 E-mail: ©Inprint Publishing, Inc. 2012, All Rights Reserved. Volume 15, Number 12

December 2012 |


Contributing writers: Brooke Barnett, Mari Farthing

Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday

Giving Back: Military Charities

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, isn’t it? That’s what the song says, but often it’s just too easy to feel overwhelmed. Here are 10 tips (including a few products) to help keep your holidays frazzle-free, whether you’re celebrating at home or on the go.

Amber Gravitt’s sixth grade class at Bryant Elementary in Moore has collected donations of popcorn and movies to send to deployed military troops for two of the past three years. This year at the school’s Veteran’s Day celebration, she collected donations again, and recognized the service and sacrifice that has deeply affected so many members of our local community.


“The sixth graders also made a huge banner expressing our appreciation and they wrote down quotes to inspire the soldiers as well,” says Gravitt. “We have a lot of students with parents serving in the military, and this is our way to give back.”

2. Check it twice. Determine what you can do in advance (like baking) and what you can ask others to help you with. Don’t try to do it all yourself! 3.

Make it tasty. Planning a party at home? Try flavorful, healthy recipes. Make your own bubbly drinks with recipes from The Artisan Soda Workshop ($15, www. or make a dish with seasonal ingredients from Cooking Season by Season ($35,


Don’t ditch the diet. If you know you’re going to indulge at dinner, try to eat lighter at lunch. Be sure to drink plenty of water to prevent energy slumps. Make it more interesting with the Aqua Zinger ($16 to make your own naturally-flavored water.


Stay on budget. Enlist the kids to help you deck the halls with homemade decorations like cut-out snowflakes and colorful paper chains.


Pack smart. If you’re traveling, pack shampoo and other toiletries in Brincatti bottles ($10,, which are easy to refill and clean out when you’re done. If you travel with toddlers, bring the Travel-Tot Kit ($35, www. to child-proof your destinations.


Reach out. Share what you have and teach your children the importance of giving by donating time or gifts to families or charities in need. Find ideas at giving-back.

8. Streamline your routine. Cut down on your primping time with double-duty products like Stila Convertible Color ($25, www., a compact for lips and cheeks. 9. Take a time out. Decompress a little and focus on self-improvement with a book like Fit Soul, Fit Body ($15,, which may also help you to get a jump on your healthy resolutions for 2013. 10. Make memories. Start traditions that focus on time together. Pile in the car in your pajamas to see the lights, frost cookies together or make ornaments for friends.

There are several charities set up to help and assist our nation’s military, their family members and veterans. A few of note: • The Hugs Project. Based in Oklahoma City (with locations nationwide), this organization sends care packages to deployed military members and accepts volunteers and donations of materials and money. ( • Operation Homefront. Provides emergency financial and other assistance to family members of military, active duty and veterans through monetary donations. ( • Operation Gratitude. Sends care packages to lift morale for deployed military, family members and veterans. List of ways to help on website include ideas for fundraisers. ( • The Wounded Warrior Project. Gives support to wounded veterans, ensuring their needs are not forgotten after their service and sacrifice. (www.

Photo courtesy of the Intergenerational Computer Lab.

Make a list. Write down what you need to get done, whether it’s for a trip or a party. Everyone is more excited this time of year—which could make for more distractions.

Free Computer Access & Training at OCU Whether you are looking to improve your computer skills for the workplace, learn video editing or simply need a place to check your email, the Intergenerational Computer Center (ICC) on the campus of Oklahoma City University (2501 N Blackwelder) has you covered. Funded by a grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the ICC is a community outreach computer center that provides free computer access and training to Oklahomans of all ages. Offering access to nearly 70 Windows and Mac computers, the ICC offers free Internet access and a wide variety of software applications. A children’s area with age-appropriate computer programs and educational activities is available for families. Free training courses are available on a range of topics including computer basics, Internet basics, English as a Second Language, K–12 educational resources, Microsoft Office, website design and photo editing. Professional development is also available for educators on Smart Boards, Smart Response Systems and more. “Since opening our doors, we have served almost 2,000 walk-in clients and have conducted or hosted over 470 different classes,” explains Veronica McGowan, ICC Director. “The ICC has worked with many community groups, customizing instruction to fit our partners’ needs. We also need volunteers who enjoy teaching, helping with community outreach and working with our community partners.” The ICC is open Monday–Thursday, 10:00am–9:00pm; Friday, 10:00am–5:00pm; and Saturday, 11:00am–3:00pm. For more information or to view a current class schedule, call 405-208-6230 or visit

8 | September 2012

Photo by Leigh Love.

Never Too Young to Help Others Nine-year-old Jack Love of Oklahoma City has been named the first official ambassador for Limbs for Life, a nonprofit organization that helps amputees. The boy was honored for his efforts to raise dollars and awareness of the organization’s mission to provide prosthetic limbs to those in need. “I was very surprised and excited and amazed,” Jack said. “Jack Love is a ‘little’ guy making a ‘big’ difference,” said Debra South, Executive Director of Limbs for Life. “He has warmed our hearts trying to help amputees.” Jack learned about Limbs for Life after watching an episode of the TV show “Secret Millionaire” and was inspired to pursue his own efforts to support the nonprofit’s mission. “It stuck with me and I wanted to tell others about it because I had never heard of Limbs for Life before,” Jack explained. “I told our Sunday School director at Nichols Hills United Methodist Church that I wanted to raise money for Limbs for Life. I gave her the website and she looked it up and we started an offering for them every Sunday.” Jack is determined to share with others, including his fourth grade classmates at Nichols Hills Elementary. With the help of his teacher, they are coordinating a “penny war” to raise money for the organization. Jack feels honored to serve as Limbs for Life’s first ambassador. He hopes to set an example and inspire people to do something positive for others. “It makes me feel good inside just helping people,” Love said. “Young people can make a HUGE difference when people are willing to listen.” We recently asked Jack a few questions about why he feels like his volunteerism is making a difference: Q. What has been the most rewarding part of the work you’ve done for Limbs for Life? A. The most rewarding thing has been inspiring other people to help Limbs for Life. And I’ve also liked meeting all the people involved with [the organization]. Q. What is the most surprising thing you have learned since you’ve been volunteering? A. That so many people have prosthetics and you never notice it. It has also surprised me that the director, Debbie South, has actually listened to me, just a kid. She takes me very seriously like I’m an adult. That makes me want to keep volunteering. Q. What would you tell other kids (and adults!) about why they should volunteer for organizations like Limbs for Life? A. People should volunteer with organizations like Limbs for Life because they are helping people who can’t afford prosthetics. Volunteering makes me feel great and I think it will make other people feel great too! And it’s in Oklahoma City... right where we live! For ways that your family can get involved this holiday season, visit our Guide to Giving Back at For volunteer opportunities all year long, visit www.metrofamilymagazine. com/volunteering-opportunities.

The holidays are here and, with them, come lots of opportunities to capture the joy and festive feelings of the season. One glance at our Holiday Fun Guide (www. will suggest a host of ways to celebrate the season with your family, including lighting displays, holiday events, live performances and more. We polled our readers for their favorite places in the Oklahoma City metro to catch the holiday spirit. Here, in random order, are their recommendations: • Guthrie’s Territorial Christmas (through December 22, • Yukon Christmas in the Park (through December 31, • Bricktown Canal Lights and Free Water Taxi Rides (lights through January 1, water taxi rides through December 31, • Snow Tubing at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (through January 5, • North Pole City (through mid-January, www. • Devon Ice Rink at the Myriad Gardens (through February 4, • The Nutcracker presented by the OKC Ballet (December 7-16, • Edmond Electric Parade of Lights (December 8, 6-10pm. • Christmas Train Rides at the Oklahoma Railway Museum (December 15, www. • Chickasha Festival of Light (through December 31, Thanks to Jamie B., Cassandra D., Tiffany F., Janet C., Jennifer S., Margaret W., Janette H., and Cindy D. for contributing to this list. Visit www.facebook. com/metrofamily to share your thoughts on next month’s list. Have a place you’d like to suggest? Comment at www. holiday-spirit.

December 2012 |


Photos courtesy of Downtown Oklahoma City, Inc.

Top 10 Reader Picks: Best Places to Catch the Holiday Spirit

10 | December 2012

October 2012 |


Learning Outside the Lines: The String Man By Julie Dill

Photo by Julie Dill.

Did your school get a visit from the String Man when you were a kid? Students of Fisher Elementary were impressed and engaged when David Titus (the String Man), made a visit to their school and used string as a means of storytelling. This author and professional storyteller has been performing for children and adults since 1968. He has taught, and learned many string tricks from around the world and has entertained audiences across six continents. While his string illustrated stories such as Anansi, students were wowed with the effortless images created by Titus. Each student was given a string and had the opportunity to mimic some of the basic figures that encouraged practice in fine motor, visual and auditory skills. School PTA organizations often earmark funds to bring outside authors and storytellers to their schools. Exposing students to the art of storytelling can foster a lifelong, positive attitude towards literacy. Community members, like the String Man, can teach students the value of the arts by simply allowing them to become active listeners. Fifth grade teacher Tami King observed many positive aspects to the unique approach. “I loved the way it piqued their interest. It encouraged collaboration, interaction with their peers and that out-of-the-box type of thinking,” she said. Stephanie Savage, fifth grade teacher, agreed. “My students loved it. They continued to show an interest in it, even days later,” Savage said. For more information about the String Man, visit Shown at left: Fisher Elementary third grader, Ashlyn Rogers.

Spotlight on Character: Generosity One cannot be too generous. Very few try; and none succeed. — Percival Christopher Wren Being generous means carefully managing family resources in order to be able to freely give to those in need. The holidays are the perfect time to show how giving brings even more happiness than receiving. In your home, model generosity by helping one another on projects, spending money on items or experiences that benefit the entire family and giving up personal time to enjoy activities with other family members. Parents can also use the holidays as a time to refrain from giving into their children’s every desire in order to have the money and time to give them what they truly need. Encourage generosity in your family by saying these “I will” statements aloud with your children and applying them to everyday life: I will: share what I have with others • not expect anything in return • give of my time and talents • praise the good I see in others • consider the needs of others. Read about generosity to bring the lesson home to your kids. • Mine! (by Shutta Crum, pictures by Patrice Barton) is a board book with few words that underscores the importance of sharing. • In The Sparkle Box (by Jill Hardie, illustrated by Christine Kornacki), Sam learns the lesson that it’s important to give to others, and how being generous to those in need helps us to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. • Room for the Baby (by Michelle Edwards, illustrated by Jana Christy) shows how a community who generously shares with one another makes a big impact at Hanukkah. Courtesy of Character First,

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Oklahoma’s 12 Days of Christmas Local children’s author and winner of the 2011 Oklahoma Book Award (for her book Mostly Monsterly), Tammi Sauer has made a name for herself in children’s literature. This Edmond mom has five new titles out this year, including The Twelve Days of Christmas in Oklahoma ($13, Sterling Children’s Books, illustrated by Victoria Hutto). “[This book] is part of a fun and informationpacked state series developed by Sterling,” says Sauer. “Each book in the series follows a particular format and is done by an author and an illustrator from that state. I was thrilled when Sterling asked me to write the Oklahoma book. I, of course, dedicated it to every kid in Oklahoma. Yeehaw!” The story for young readers is told through letters home from Addison, who visits her cousin Ethan in Oklahoma. Addison discovers how amazing the state of Oklahoma is when she travels all over the state visiting landmarks and hearing stories.

December 2012 |



Harmonious Holiday: Tips & Advice for Interfaith Families During the holidays, ask any married couple about holiday stress and you just might hear stories about rushing from holiday event to holiday event, squeezing in time to share important family traditions and finding ways to teach children about the true meaning of the holidays amidst the hustle and bustle. But what happens when the two sides of the family don’t share the same backgrounds, traditions or religious beliefs? Finding ways to celebrate the holidays from different perspectives is a difficult endeavor even for the tightest knit families—but with the right approach, families can find ways to celebrate all aspects of their faiths and communities harmoniously. Meet Two Local Interfaith Families When Jennifer and Jeb Swan of Edmond decided to get married, they had to come up with a plan for also marrying their different religious affiliations. With Jennifer coming from a Christian background and Jeb from a Jewish family, they had to find a way to navigate their different belief systems. “Jeb and I fell in love knowing we had different backgrounds,” Jennifer explains. “He is a little torn, but in our home, Christianity is taught to the kids." In their household, harmonious family interactions and holiday celebrations are primarily based in respect. “We respect each other’s family values, and that is why we have separate celebrations with each of our families,” Jennifer says. “We discussed it before we got married and we decided the children would be raised Christian. But, if one of them decides to be Jewish later, then that is their decision. Jeb’s family would most likely want his children to grow up Jewish, but they respect our wishes.” When it comes to the holidays, the Swans take a separate-but-equal approach to holiday traditions. “His side of the family celebrates at their home every year. We never bring up the cross or Jesus in front of some of them, especially the elders. The children do love getting a gift every day for a week [with his family],” she explains. “On Christmas day we have a big feast with my side of the family, where we pray before we eat and open a ton of presents, even some from Santa, and watch classic Christmas movies.” As far as her children go, Jennifer says they openly share about the faiths of both sides of the family. “My oldest does understand the difference in Judaism and Christianity,” she explains. “Our daughter is too young, but she loves getting presents and she also follows the kosher food [laws] when around his family.” For Jennifer, family harmony is an outcome of open-minded appreciation. “Just respect the family home you are in and their ways

14 | December 2012

of religion,” she advises. “If your religion is different, be open minded and look at it as a cultural experience.” Laura and Jonathan Burdette of Oklahoma City agree. “My husband grew up in the Disciples of Christ church, and was pretty openminded,” Laura, who was raised in the Jewish faith, explains. “When we were dating, I did a lot with the temple and we decided to raise our children in the Jewish faith. Judiasim is passed down through the mother, so even if we had raised them Christian, they would be recognized as Jews.” Even while raising their children under the beliefs of Judaism, the Burdettes find balance by incorporating both sides of their family’s faith, including her husband’s Christian upbringing. “We do Hanukkah as well as Christmas, so the kids do get to experience a more traditional Christmas and midnight mass. They don’t have any confusion. They’ve always known they are Jewish and that we also choose to do some of the ‘fun parts’ of the Christian holiday as well.” For the Burdettes, a meaningful holiday season is about communication. “It’s important to talk about things, talk about your traditions, and share why you believe what you do. I wouldn’t try to have my kids believe both and then have them choose when they grow up. You have to know where you stand and go from there.” And it is a system that has worked for this family. “It is important to have family support,” Laura jokes. “My husband hasn’t officially converted, but sometimes he goes to the temple more than we do!”

Raising an Interfaith Family “Celebrating Christmas with a Christian parent will not undermine a child’s Jewish identity and celebrating Hanukkah with a Jewish parent will not change a child’s Christian faith if the child is truly being raised with a religious affiliation that confirms the child’s place in the community and speaks to his or her relationship with God,” explains Rabbi Vered L. Harris of Temple B’Nai Israel in Oklahoma City.

Photo by Steffani Halley.

When parents of different religions come together to start a family, Rabbi Harris recommends that the parents decide in which faith to raise the children. “Religion gives children a foundation for building a lifelong relationship with God and developing their personal character. It is much bigger than a Christmas tree or a Hanukkah menorah; religion serves as the basis for a person’s ethical and moral development. This occurs all year long.” Even after choosing which faith in which to raise children, families still often participate in the traditions of both religions during the holidays. “I recommend the parents do not ‘dumb down’ either religion,” Harris suggests. “Some keep their children away from other observances until they are sure the child understands. Other families choose to have symbols for both religions in their home. However it is done, the theology, history and core beliefs of the holidays should be explained in age-appropriate terms.”

Tips for Blending Holiday Traditions Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M, LCSW, a family therapist of 37 years and author of Take Out your Nose Ring, Honey, We’re Going to Grandma’s, believes that parents who share the holiday traditions of both religions with their children can give them a solid identity based on the family values and traditions. “Interfaith families must discover ways of celebrating the holiday season which are both comfortable and rewarding for them,” explains Kendrick. “How you celebrate your holiday rituals and traditions should flow naturally from how you are raising your children. The importance and practice of your faith should determine the nature of your holiday celebrations.” Follow these tips to help create harmonious holidays: • Plan ahead. Discuss what holiday traditions will be a priority for your family. If you think that new holiday traditions might disappoint extended family members, let them know in advance and calmly ask for support. “The challenge is to create holiday celebrations that respect and honor all religious values and traditions,” Kendrick says. “It’s not an easy task, and there’s no absolutely ‘right’ way to do it.” • Don’t homogenize. Resist the urge to combine holidays into one celebration. Commemorate and celebrate each holiday separately, explaining the variations of your traditions and the beliefs behind them. • Honor both sides. Even if your children are being raised in one religion, they should learn about the faith and holiday traditions of both parents. “Give your children the gifts of your holiday rituals and traditions,” he adds. “Let them hear about, if not experience, them.” • Share the deeper meaning. Rather than just observe holiday traditions out of habit, be sure your family understands the purpose and meanings of activities, celebrations and symbols, and why they are part of holiday rituals. “Our children need to understand the purpose and core messages of the holidays and how they fit into our religious traditions,” Harris explains. “This means discussing the meaning and history of the tree, the wreath, the menorah and the dreidel.” • Seek secular sources of joy. As a family, volunteer together, practice random acts of kindness or lend a hand to those in need during the holidays. (Editor’s note: Find family-friendly volunteer opportunities at

Jennifer and Jeb Swan purposely share their Christian and Jewish faiths with their children, Nona, age 3, and Noah, age 11 (not pictured).

• Join forces. Consider celebrating the holidays with other interfaith families. This may help your children to feel less isolated in their experience and provide you with ideas for new ways to celebrate together.

Celebrate Your Diversity “Above all, I recommend a daily practice that conveys to children who they are, the religious belief from which they can pull strength and meaning, and how to live in the world true to their religious convictions,” Rabbi Harris concludes. “Then when the winter holidays come around there is no ‘December dilemma’—there is just the holiday that is part of their religious observance, and the holiday that is part of their other parent’s religious observance, and the child knows the difference.”

Brooke Barnett is the Assistant Editor and Online Content Manager at MetroFamily Magazine.

Daddy Christmas & Hanukkah Mama By Selina Alko Alfred A. Knopf, $17 How do the holidays work when one parent is Christian and the other is Jewish? It can be confusing for kids, but in this book, one family’s blending traditions show how it can also be fun and exciting.

December 2012 |


Oklahoma Reads Great Reads for All Julie Andrews’ Treasury for All Seasons: Poems and Songs to Celebrate the Year Celebrate the seasons with your family through this amazing collection of songs and poems by over 75 historic poets and songwriters. This illustrated volume will quickly become a treasured family favorite. (Selected by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, paintings by Marjorie Priceman; Little, Brown Books; $20)

Board Books


Baby’s Christmas By Esther Wilkin, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin (Golden Books, $7) A classic book gets a modern, durable new package. A brightly-colored and old-fashioned holiday board book for babies and toddlers.

Craft: Techniques & Projects (DK Publishing, $40) A great gift for the creative person in your life! Filled with a variety of projects, detailed photos, templates and materials lists.

Early Readers Cold Snap By Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman (Alfred A. Knopf, $18) If the kids are dreaming of snow this holiday season, let them live vicariously through the residents of Toby Mills, who are having the coldest winter ever. Cowboy Christmas By Rob Sanders, illustrated by John Manders (Random House, $11) Three cowboys out on the range reminiscing about their childhood holiday celebrations are in for a surprise when they return to camp.

Grades 3+ Bored No More! Quiz Book By Aubre Andrus (American Girl, $10) A fun activity book for tween girls chock full of quizzes that will fill up her time with fun, thoughtful activity. Iron Hearted Violet By Kelly Barnhill (Little Brown Kids, $17) Violet isn’t the typical, fragile princess you read about in most storybooks. She’s reckless and clever, and when she finds a forbidden book, she finds the power to create her own happy ending.

16 | December 2012

The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep By Harvey Karp, M.D. (William Morrow, $26) Getting your baby to sleep well is probably the number one parenting concern. This book addresses questions and offers solutions for kids up to age 5. It’s Okay Not to Share By Heather Shumaker (Penguin, $16) A rulebook for parents of toddlers and preschoolers that flies in the face of convention, with details on how this will help kids to learn and grow into compassionate people. Mom’s Pocket Posh (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $8) These pocket-size books of puzzles and games come in versions perfect for ages 4–6 or 7–12, so you can keep your kids busy on the go. Not Your Mother’s MakeAhead and Freeze Cookbook By Jessica Fisher (Harvard Common Press, $17) Like the idea of make-ahead cooking but not always the execution? This book features recipes giving flexibility to make-ahead cooking, so you can stock your freezer with healthy and delicious meals.

Reviews by Mari Farthing.

December 2012 |


Exploring Oklahoma and Beyond Regional Holiday Fun

Explore Oklahoma

Muskogee The Castle of Muskogee has fun for all budgets. You can drive through light displays for free (donations are accepted) and visit the petting zoo or watch a holiday movie. There are also many indoor and outdoor activities to participate in for a small fee, such as carriage rides and crafts. Check the website for dates and prices. (3400 W Fern Mountain Rd, Muskogee; 800-439-0658, www.okcastle. com)

Christmas is a great time to take a short trip to a new destination, and you don’t have to travel far to have some amazing experiences. Oklahoma has many wonderful Christmas events that don’t require you to pack a suitcase or use tons of gas to get there!

Also, near The Castle and well worth the time is the lights display at Honor Heights Park. (Honor Heights Dr, Muskogee; 918-684-6302,

Broken Arrow


Rhema Bible Church in Broken Arrow has been adding to their unbelievable lights display for 30 years. If it’s cold, you can see a large portion of the lights by driving through the designated lanes, but if you have the time and the weather is right, get out and explore. My children’s favorite feature is the bridge, which is covered in 90,000 lights that are synchronized to Christmas music. There are many paths that are stroller and wheelchair friendly and you can purchase hot chocolate and snacks. It’s free to see the lights, and at certain times there are carriage rides and pictures with Santa for a fee. I have found that dusk is the best time to go because there is still plenty of easy parking and the kids love that moment when the lights all come on for the first time. (1025 W Kenosha St, Broken Arrow; 918-258-1588, www.

Shepherd’s Cross has a wonderful Christmas program during the second and third weekends of December that is entertaining and educational. Downstairs in the barn you can visit their living nativity and then head upstairs for a wide range of activities. There are Bible character reenactors, spinning and weaving demonstrations, hands-on activities for kids, games and snacks. Plan to spend a few hours if you want to try all the offered activities. (16792 E 450 Rd, Claremore: 918-342-5911,

Adair If you have a train enthusiast in your family, you might want to check out the Christmas Train in Adair. Take a ride on an oldfashioned steam train, see a presentation

of the Christmas story, play games, see a music show, visit Santa—and lots more. Visit the website for ticket information and dates. This is an evening activity and takes two to three hours, so you may want to make this a weekend trip. (572 Dry Gulch Rd, Adair; 918234-8100,

Branson, Missouri Branson is a great place for a Christmas vacation. Whether you’re looking for a drive-through lights display or a high-energy musical show, you’ll find many options that will make your whole family happy. • Silver Dollar City. During the holidays this theme park hosts a light parade twice each evening, an enormous special effects Christmas tree, musical shows, plays and even special cooking classes. Events are held through December 30. (399 Silver Dollar City Parkway; 800-475-9370, www. • Polar Express Train Ride. Branson Scenic Railway’s Polar Express ride is sure to be fun for the entire family. Children are encouraged to come in their pajamas (just like the movie!) as they ride the train to meet Santa, have hot chocolate, and sing carols. (206 E Main; 800-287-2462, www. • Branson Area Festival of Lights. Don’t miss this one-mile drive with more than 175 lighted displays. The drive-through is open through January 2, and you can print a $2 off coupon at christmas/bafol.

Photos courtesy of the Kansas City CVB and Silver Dollar City.


he holidays are an amazing time of year in Oklahoma and our neighboring states. Just a short drive out of the metro area will deliver your family to a holiday wonderland, both in Oklahoma and just beyond our borders in nearby Branson, Grapevine and Kansas City. Let’s get started!

Kansas City Museum’s Igloo

Country Club Plaza, Kansas City

18 | December 2012

Christmas Light Parade at Silver Dollar City near Branson

• Shopping: Branson Landing and the Tanger Outlets are beautiful outdoor shopping centers with plenty of places to stop and eat and even take in a light and water show. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in those places, there are also many local shops with unique items to surprise your family and friends. (Branson Landing, 100 Branson Landing; 417-2393002, / Tanger Outlets, 300 Tanger Blvd; 800-407-2762, • Shows. I’m not sure if you can find a theater in Branson that doesn’t have a Christmas show. Entertainers of all kinds have some wonderful programs just for the season and you can find information at

Grapevine, Texas Grapevine is known as the Christmas Capitol of Texas, and this quaint little town rolls out the red carpet to welcome visitors during the holiday season. • The Gaylord Texan Resort hosts a Christmas Wonderland with ICE! DreamWorks Merry Madagascar featuring a variety of activities including the ICE exhibit, snow tubing and special meal and photo ops with DreamWorks characters, through January 1. (1501 Gaylord Trail; 817-778-1000, www. • The North Pole Express departs from the Grapevine Depot and features a fun-filled ride with a visit from St. Nick. Children are encouraged to wear pajamas. Held Friday-Saturday through December 23.

(705 Main St; 817-410-3557, www. costumed characters for kids of all ages to enjoy. All activities are free and continue through December. (Crown Center, • The Palace Theater hosts special holiday 2450 Grand Blvd; 816-274-8444, www. events, including a classic holiday movie series; performances by the Texas Tenors (12/13-14, 16 & 20-22); An Elvis Kind • Kansas City Museum’s Igloo. The of Christmas (12/2); and a Christmas Kansas City Museum’s popular Igloo has Spectacular series held through the been “refrozen” and brought back at Zona month. Visit the website for dates and Rosa Shopping Center. The crawl-through times. (300 S Main St; 817-410-3100, www. Igloo is located in The Grove as part of the Fairy Princess and Santa’s winter scenery through December 24. (8640 N Dixson • Christmas on Main Street includes a Ave; 816-587-8180, festive step back in time as Main Street in Grapevine is transformed into a • Crown Center Ice Terrace. Kansas holiday wonderland. Featuring Christmas City’s only public, outdoor ice skating rink characters in costume, holiday decorations, celebrates its 40th season and is open for games and tractor-drawn wagon rides. skating through mid-March. Admission Friday-Sunday through December 23. (817is $6 and children 4 and under are free. 410-3557, (Crown Center Square, 2425 Grand Blvd; 816-274-8411, • Create your own holiday treasures at the Vetro Glassblowing Studio through • Country Club Plaza Lights. The December 29. Work with a glass artist to Plaza Lights have been a Kansas City select up to three colors and make your holiday tradition for more than 80 own ornament. Plan an overnight visit to years. Thousands of lights outline the allow time for your creation to cool. $30, Spanish-influenced architecture of this first-come, first-serve, visit website for prestigious shopping and dining district. availability. (701 S Main St; 817-251-1668, Lights glow until mid-January 2013. (4750 Broadway Blvd; 816-753-0100, www. Kansas City, Missouri For more holiday fun in Kansas City, visit Just a short drive away, Kansas City offers a wide variety of family-friendly festivities and However you spend it, have a safe and happy fun ways to celebrate the season. Seasonal holiday season! highlights include: • Santa’s Crayola Christmas Land. Featuring super-sized Crayola products for kids to play on, Christmas Land features Santa, Perry the Penguin and other

Compiled by Brooke Barnett, Mari Farthing and Jennifer Geary.

December 2012 |


Ask the Experts Encouraging Generosity This month’s question: During this holiday season, I want to encourage my children to see beyond their own wants and needs and find ways to encourage them to address the wants and needs of others. What's the best way to get my kids to become generous with others? One of the best ways to teach generosity is to show kids by example. Talk with them about ways you like to help others and get them involved with you. Find volunteer opportunities for the whole family and participate in them as often as you can. When my kids were young, we started filling shoeboxes with toys, necessities, and other items to send to organizations who ship them to children who would not otherwise receive anything for Christmas. Every year, we also took them shopping to pick out a toy for a child the same age to donate to the Toys for Tots drive. The kids were so excited to shop for a child they had never even met, but who would get to play with and enjoy the toys. We took part in church volunteer activities and found other organizations to help out. For example, a close friend works in hospice care and when my kids were too young to visit patients, they still were able to volunteer by making cards and writing letters to the hospice’s patients. There are many ways to get kids involved in helping others, even at a very young age. If you have a special interest in a particular organization or volunteer effort, contact them to find out how your family can get involved and what the kids can do to participate. Tamara Walker, RN is a talk show host and speaker in Edmond. So glad you asked. My family and I started a wonderful tradition a few years ago. Each Christmas Eve, we make cookies and treats and wrap them up in nice bags to take to people working the night before Christmas. The kids find it fun to wear their Christmas pajamas, drink hot chocolate and listen

to Christmas carols while visiting people working during the holiday. Just this past year we visited the ER at our local hospital, spent some time with truckers at the local truck stop, and stopped at our local fire station to say thank you and Merry Christmas. The kids have a blast distributing the treats and it is a perfect opportunity to think and act in a way that celebrates our Lord. Not to mention, they seldom go to bed early that night anyway. If this isn’t of interest to you I would also offer the area Food Bank or local soup kitchens as alternative family trips during the holiday. Donnie Van Curen, M.A., LMFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist with Counseling 1820, LLC. 405-823-4302, The holiday season is a perfect time to practice generosity and a great time to teach it to your children. We hope that it overflows to a year-round trait they will carry with them through life. Make giving a family project. If you see someone in need, or hear of an agency that you can contribute to, include your children in those projects. Brainstorm with them over your family mealtime—who would they like to help this holiday? What are some action steps they can take to help others? There are hundreds of non-profits in the OKC metro area (Editor’s note: visit www. for our listing). Call one, or visit their website to learn the organization’s needs and whether or not there are opportunities for children to donate their time, energy or money. And remember that giving doesn’t have to take a

lot of your time or money; look around and you’re sure to find many opportunities to help others. Another exercise is to write down their blessings, material or otherwise. We all get caught up with what others have and what we don’t have. When we realize we have so much, it becomes easier to share with others. Devonne Carter, LCSW, is a Clinical Social Worker in private practice in Edmond. 405326-3923,

Our Readers Respond: • Leave a bag of unwanted toys out for Santa Claus to fix and give to kids who would otherwise not have any. The unwanted toys are then replaced with the new items your kids are getting for Christmas. We always let the kids pick out some new toys to give as well. • Take kids to the shelter to volunteer. They will see that there are people who need things to keep them alive— not just clothes or toys. Not only will you be teaching your children valuable lessons but also helping people. They will see gratitude in the people they helped, which will make them realize generosity is rewarding. • I do Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes with my kids (www. I have them fill a shoe box for a kid their age and then we track it online to see what country it ends up in. • We ‘adopt’ a foster kid to give gifts to through our church. This year, I am also doing the Need, Want, Share gift giving. They will get one Need gift, one Want gift, and one Share gift, getting back to the reason for Christmas and not just all about how many gifts they get. Thanks to Amy F., Ashley V., Kristin W., and Joy H. for your feedback! Have a question for our experts? Email it to editor@

20 | December 2012

December 2012 |


Real Moms of the Metro Meet Stacy McDaniel: Advocate for Active Children


Photo by Autumn Moore Photography,

tacy McDaniel believes that every child should have the opportunity to experience the positive benefits that come from playing sports. She is the president of Oklahoma Cleats for Kids, a nonprofit organization that she founded with husband Mark in 2011. Oklahoma Cleats for Kids ( provides donated sports shoes, clothes and equipment to kids in need.

“Mark and I started Cleats for Kids in 2011 because, as parents of three children, all of whom play sports, we saw so many kids for whom the cost of shoes and equipment was an impediment to playing sports. There was no organization that was helping meet this need,” she explains. “So, our vision for Cleats for Kids was born to support every child’s right to develop a healthier lifestyle and build character by helping them get what they need to play and stay involved in sports.” In the first nine months of 2012, Cleats for Kids distributed more than 2,000 pairs of shoes, clothing and equipment to hundreds of local kids in need. Here is more on how this 47-year-old native Oklahoman juggles a busy non-profit, three kids and helps kids across the state achieve their full potential through an active lifestyle: What’s one thing most people don’t know about you? I competitively rode horses. What are you passionate about? I am very passionate about all kids having the opportunity and tools to reach their fullest potential. How has motherhood changed you? Motherhood has given me a different

Quick Facts About Stacy 1. What are five words that describe you? Hardworking, loves family, volunteer, friendly and positive. 2. What’s on your playlist? Dave Matthews Band, Mumford & Sons, Norah Jones. 3. What’s your favorite family outing? Going to the lake in the summer. 4. What’s your favorite movie? Forrest Gump, Legends of the Fall and Elf. 5. What’s your guilty pleasure? Pedicures.


Real Mom Stacy McDaniel, pictured with her husband, Mark, and Josh, age 13, Meghan, age 9 and Cole, age 15.

perspective on life. It has taught me to value each and every day and to enjoy and appreciate the individualism God has given each person. How do you banish stress? Exercising—I enjoy Pilates, yoga and spinning. What inspires you? My friends and family inspire me. I am so blessed to be around faithful, kind, smart, conscientious and community oriented people! What do you like most about your job? I love that Cleats for Kids helps kids in need have active lifestyles and play sports. I also love that we strive to be “to kids, by kids, and for kids,” involving youth to give back to their community. What is on your wish list? I wish there were more hours in the day! What are you most proud of? I am most proud of my kids—Cole, Josh and Meghan. What motivates you? A feeling of accomplishment. How do you find balance in your life? I try to find time for devotion, family, helping others and exercise. | December 2012

Advice for other moms? There are so many aspects of motherhood. Moms should try to focus on the important things and communicate about everything. Where are you from originally? I graduated from Edmond High School and have degrees from OSU and OU. My husband and I have lived in Oklahoma City since we both graduated from law school. What’s the biggest challenge in your life? As life has gotten busier, I have a hard time with multitasking. How do you help others? I hope that I am supportive and help others achieve their goals and be the best person they can be. What is your parenting style? Authoritative with lots of love. Favorite quote or advice about motherhood? “Be the change you want to see in the world” —Ghandi. Brooke Barnett is the Assistant Editor of MetroFamily Magazine. [Editor’s Note: Follow Oklahoma Cleats for Kids on Facebook at https://www.facebook. com/okcleatsforkids]

December 2012 |


Problem Solvers Helpful Family Products When we hear about new or helpful products, we like to let our readers know! Here are a few of the more interesting items we’ve recently discovered. Visit the product website for a list of local retailers.


Your daughter wants makeup in her stocking.


LipBliss glosses are made with natural ingredients designed by a mother/daughter team to promote positive virtues. ($12, www.


Your phone dies at the most inopportune moments.


Keep the FatCat PowerBar handy to quickly and safely charge your phone on the go. ($70,


Love the touch screen tablet; hate the smeary fingerprints.


The XStylus Touch is an easyto-grip stylus made especially for smart phone and tablet touch screens. ($37,


Is he ever too young to learn table manners?


No! With Softgear’s My Place Mat, your youngest can learn where to put his plate, cup and utensils. ($10,


You wish you had your toothbrush in your pocket!


The SlimSonic portable toothbrush is an electric toothbrush in a stylish case that’s easy to carry with you. ($15,


You want exercise. They want fun.


The JumpSport iBounce Kids Trampoline includes a tablet computer mount and Hop-A-Long with RompyRoo DVD so kids can jam out while developing coordination and balance. ($150,

26 | December 2012

December 2012 |


Focus on Education HealthCorps Brings Oz to ASTEC “If you eat differently and move a little more, you change your health destiny,” Dr. Oz told the crowd at ASTEC. Right now, health and fitness are not considered as important as English or Math, but the goal of HealthCorps is to elevate health and physical education to core curriculum subjects, which would make them eligible for federal funding, Oz explains.

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Television.

HealthCorps in Oklahoma City “Before we go into a city or state, we get recommendations from people on the ground to determine need, program fit and opportunities for growth,” says Dr. Shawn Hayes, Chief Academic Officer and Director of Research and Education at HealthCorps. “A school that kept coming up in conversations was ASTEC Charter High School.” Harold Hamm, Chairman and CEO of Continental Resources and founder of the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center at OU Health Center met with HealthCorps officials in 2011, where they discussed ASTEC. “Our team was told what a remarkable school it is: dedicated administrators, faculty, staff and parents. While it serves a ‘high need’ population, a criteria for us to go into a school, 92 percent of its graduating seniors go on to college,” also an important goal of the HealthCorps program. “After visiting several Oklahoma City high schools including ASTEC, our HealthCorps team met with Continental Resources’ leaders and determined that our initial feelings about ASTEC were correct: it was a very special school and a perfect fit for our program,” says Hayes. Dr. Freda Deskin, CEO and Founder of ASTEC, is thrilled by the partnership with HealthCorps and the sponsorship of the program by Harold Hamm.


ccording to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), increasing obesity rates across the country are contributing to higher healthcare costs and an increase in problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, joint problems and depression. But the obesity is not just affecting adults; each year, the prevalence of obesity among children also grows.

What does this have to do with Oklahoma? Oklahoma is 51st in the nation for consumption of fresh produce and according to CDC statistics, one of 12 states in the nation reporting over a third of the state’s population as obese. In late October at Advanced Science & Technology Education Charter (ASTEC) School, Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Emmy-award winning talk show host, author and cardiologist visited to discuss HealthCorps, the non-profit nationwide movement that he developed with his wife to address the obesity epidemic at the adolescent level.

Origins of HealthCorps After speaking at his daughter’s school many years ago about how food affects the body, Dr. Oz was contacted by many of the parents of the students he had addressed, asking about the information he gave to the students, including comparing the nutritional value of white bread to that of a candy bar. This is when Oz realized the value of informing children, who then take the information home and open a dialogue with parents.

Deskin understands that the HealthCorps program will provide ASTEC students with a health plan that will help them now—“We know that when students are undernourished, they do not do well in the classroom,” says Deskin—and will help them to make positive choices through the rest of their lives.

How it Works HealthCorps coordinators are brought into a school for a minimum two-year period to provide a program that targets students and the local community. Education is focused on three main areas: 1.

Nutrition. How to choose good-for-you foods and maintain a healthy relationship with foods.

2. Fitness. How to use lifestyle choices to make the most of calorieburning opportunities. 3.

Mental Resilience. Building good decision-making and communication skills to foster healthy relationships and set longterm goals.

“We have found that it takes at least [two years] to truly engage the entire school community and to shift the culture in the school,” says Hayes. ASTEC, Inc., a not-for-profit organization, operates ASTEC Charter High School and ASTEC Charter Middle School, both of which are located in Shepherd Mall in Oklahoma City. Visit www. to learn more. Learn more about HealthCorps at

28 | December 2012

HealthCorps at ASTEC ASTEC’s HealthCorps Coordinator is Ryan Fightmaster, and his impact on the students was obvious in the warm, rousing welcome that he was given when he took the stage. As someone who was diagnosed at a young age with type I diabetes, Fightmaster says “health has always been a priority for me.” The HealthCorps curriculum is integrated into 13 different classes, reaching over 300 students. Through Fightmaster, ASTEC students receive lessons on the core areas of nutrition, fitness and mental resilience. “Some example lessons include how to read the nutrition label on food packaging, structuring a balanced workout, and managing stress through meditation,” says Hayes. Teachers are asked to set aside time each day to accommodate the additional curriculum. Hayes continues, “Exposing students to exciting fitness opportunities is another component of the HealthCorps program. Each week, Fightmaster leads a group of 30 students in an after-school club called R.I.S.E, an acronym for Ready, In-Shape, and Everywhere.” The program includes a variety of exercise (including yoga, circuit training and Zumba) and a student-led discussion on health topics. The changes aren’t just affecting students—the faculty have made changes as well. “Over 55 members of the faculty and staff signed up for a team-based walking competition that just concluded in October,” said Hayes. “Each team was challenged to count their steps, convert them to miles, and then race to an imaginary Chicago. One faculty team barely edged out another for the victory, but all saw the benefits of goal setting and group exercise.”

Goals HealthcCorps’ education is designed for long-term effects on students and beyond. “We have specific goals of improving an understanding of nutrition, fitness and mental resilience; changing eating and physical activity habits, and, hopefully, engaging stakeholders to change the infrastructure of their schools,” explains Hayes. HealthCorps wants to inspire schools to improve their nutrition program, and to spread that message into the community.

Hayes continues, “More broadly, our program endeavors to heighten the awareness within the community of the long-term effects of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease, and how each individual and the community as a whole control these factors.” As the program continues, the community partnership will increase. “ASTEC students are becoming change agents across Oklahoma City. Currently, students are preparing to host a community health fair on December 4th in the high school. Students are busy creating booths to help educate fellow community members about how to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle,” says Hayes. And that’s just the beginning, explains Hayes. “Within the next few months, HealthCorps will be hosting a ‘Know Your Numbers’ event at the school.” Parents of ASTEC students are invited to come to the event to learn about the detection and prevention of diabetes, including blood glucose readings and educational information from students and local dietitians. Hayes continues, “Plans are underway to provide parents with a weekly Zumba fitness class at the high school next semester.”

Positive Effects HealthCorps has had a positive effect in each of the over 300 schools where the program has been implemented. Instead of teaching about the concept of wellness, HealthCorps teaches the students and the community how to truly embrace wellness. Deskin agrees. “We believe the negative effects of obesity and all the health challenges that accompany it can be reversed with proper education for our students.” This story is best illustrated by an interaction Deskin noticed in the second week of the program. “A student told Mr. Fightmaster that he wanted a snack and started to buy a package of M&Ms. After reading the label, as instructed in his HealthCorps class, and seeing Red Dye 40 as one of the ingredients, he decided to get a banana instead. He was surprised to learn that the banana cost less, as well.” And that’s a great lesson for us all to learn.

Mari Farthing is the Editor of MetroFamily Magazine.

Asking Dr. Oz ASTEC Charter School students had a question and answer session with Dr. Oz following the announcement of the HealthCorps Program. What’s behind the rise in childhood obesity? It’s easier to make the wrong choice than the right choice. Fewer kids walk to school now than in the past, and it’s easier to reach for fast, unhealthy food instead of healthier food. What is your greatest achievement and your greatest failure? Staying married for so long is definitely my greatest achievement; everyone changes, and in a relationship, you have to rebuild every seven years. My greatest failures happen in the operating room and usually result in death; but I’ve learned that you must forgive yourself and not give up. How do you find time for yourself? We all have an obligation to do well. Do things that you love with passion, and do them slowly. Don’t make the mistake of playing it too safe (flying slowly and low to the ground); you have to try to soar. What is your advice for new graduates? Find a mentor—someone doing what you want to do, who has already weathered the storms that you will face. Look to your parents, teachers, business people in your community. And then when you become successful, pass it along and mentor someone yourself. What is the motivation behind HealthCorps? There is a disconnect in our communities, and we all have an obligation to one another, to work in our fields to make them better and to work in our communities to make positive improvements.

December 2012 |


Local Shopping Kidoodles Toy Zone: Putting the Magic Back in Holiday Shopping


hristmas is the most exciting time of year in our store,” exclaims Jill Copelin Hunt of Kidoodles Toy Zone in Norman. “But, truly, every day is exciting in our store!”

Kidoodles is located inside Copelin’s Office Center on downtown Main Street in Norman. Established in 1983, Copelin’s originally gained a reputation for quality customer service with its full line of office and computer supplies, office furniture and teaching tools. As it grew, Copelin’s expanded its service to parents and educators by providing enrichment toys, puzzles, crafts and other teaching tools needed for the classroom and homework help. In 2009, an opportunity came about to combine their well-known customer service with another iconic Norman business, a specialty toy store called Kidoodles. “Kidoodles had a long-standing reputation of meeting the needs of kids,” explains Ed Copelin, owner and founder. “It had been in business in Norman for 27 years, so they were serving parents who grew up shopping there. When the former owners were ready to move on, we essentially combined two completely operational stores. It fit like a glove and was the perfect complement to our teaching supplies.” Today, Copelin’s Kidoodles Toy Zone stocks a wide range of educational and developmentally-appropriate toys for kids of all ages, including Melissa & Doug, Playmobil, LEGO, International Playthings,


Tolo, Brio and more. “We strive to provide both quality toys and quality service,” Jill explains. “We have things in our store that aren’t available anywhere else.”

A Local Toy Tradition “In our family, we have 10 children under the age of 11 and we are always striving to find quality, educational-based toys. The toy section has just been growing and growing. It has pretty much taken over the store,” Jill laughs. “Sometimes people come in to buy a printer cartridge and they are just blown away by the toy section. Sometimes they end up shopping and buying a birthday present while they are here.” Families who were familiar with Kidoodles will recognize the large selection of highquality, educational toys, as well as the other crowd pleasers—namely, the store’s “kidsized” entrance door and mini-shopping carts. “It’s an important part of the environment here,” Ed comments. “Families can come in and try out a sampling of our toys that are avaible on the sales floor,” Jill explains. “They can put their hands on the toys and can see their kids interact with many of our items before they purchase them.” “We belong to a professional association of locally-owned toy stores,” explains co-owner Lin Copelin. “This helps us to stay up-todate on our toy offerings and the latest safety standards. We have high quality standards and have been known to send a shipment back if it doesn’t meet our standards.” | December 2012

The Perks of Shopping Locally The Copelins are strong supporters of local shopping, explaining that every dollar you spend at a local, independent business returns three times more money to the local economy than the same dollar spent in a chain or “big box” store. “Plus, we can help you find an awesome, hand-selected gift for any child, especially during Christmas,” Jill explains. “We can make suggestions based on the age and interests of the child, or give you ideas based on our best-sellers.” For customers who are tight on time, Kidoodles takes it to the next level. You can call the store and tell them your budget and the child’s age. Hunt explains, “We will select the gift, wrap it and deliver it straight to your car.” To reward repeat customers, Kidoodles offers a VIP card that provides a $10-off coupon for every $200 you spend in the store.

Birthday Registry If you’ve ever struggled to come up with a gift for one of your child’s friends or classmates, Kidoodles has a perfect solution. “Our birthday registries allow kids to shop our store and pick out items they would love to receive,” Hunt says. “That way, you can get something you know the child wants and feel confident that all items have been ‘momapproved.’” Hunt recommends setting up the registry two weeks before the child’s party and then all

items are conveniently grouped together for quick and easy shopping. Kidoodles provides each “Birthday Star” with a T-shirt and registry inserts to include with invitations. “It’s a really popular service,” she adds. “It’s so helpful for guests and something that is fun for the birthday child and parents to do together.” Kidoodles can also set up Christmas registries to help extended family members shop for holiday gifts. As one of the few locally-owned toy stores in the area, Hunt says Kidoodles’ fun atmosphere reflects the store’s spirit. “We have a good time here. We are constantly playing with toys and trying out new things,” she says. “It should be fun—it’s a toy store!” For more information, visit www.

Brooke Barnett is the Assistant Editor of MetroFamily Magazine.

What do customers love most? “They know to expect quality customer service and to always find the perfect gift. We help them locate just the right gift and even wrap it up for them.”

Kidoodles Toy Zone 425 West Main Street, Norman 405-360-8697, Monday–Friday, 10:00am–6:00pm; Saturday, 9:00am–5:00pm.

December 2012 |


Your Healthy Family Healthy Holiday Recipes from Our Readers 3 cups chopped green cabbage 2 cups chopped zucchini 1 cup sliced carrots 1 cup chopped celery 2 cans vegetable broth 32oz V-8 juice 1 cup dry red wine 1 tablespoon dried basil 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon dried oregano ¼ teaspoon pepper 1 can (28oz) diced tomatoes, undrained 1 can (15oz) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained 1 can (15oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained 1 package (10oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained Grated Parmesan cheese Heat oil in 8-qt pot over medium heat. Cook garlic and onion in oil about two minutes, stirring occasionally until onion is tender. Stir in remaining ingredients except cheese. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat, then cover and simmer one hour. Serve with cheese.

Crock Pot Applesauce


hile the holidays are a beautiful time for family gatherings and rich traditions, those big dinners and baskets of baked good and neighbors often come with at least one unwanted result. The average American gains up to five pounds over the course of the holiday season, and it’s no secret that for most of us, it’s much easier to gain the weight than it is to lose it. That said, the holidays are meant to be enjoyed, and counting calories this time of year can certainly cramp one’s style.

The good news is, even festive family fare can be prepared in a sensible, healthy way that fills tummies without expanding waistlines. This year, I asked readers to submit their favorite healthy winter recipes, and I have to say… the hardest part was choosing which ones to print, and I thoroughly enjoyed the testing and sampling process with my girls! The best part is that it was totally guilt-free!

Minestrone Submitted by Emily Davey, mom of two daughters, ages 8 and 12, and a 4-year-old son: “This recipe is fairly simple, packed with veggies, and has an amazing taste. It’s filling and perfect for a cold weather lunch. You can double or triple it to serve a crowd.” 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped ½ cup chopped onion


Submitted by Lisa Huggins, mom to a 3-yearold son and a 17-month-old daughter: “Who doesn’t love a good crock pot recipe? This one is healthy and versatile, in that you can substitute pears, and make pear sauce if you prefer. But the best part has to be the smell… my house smells like Christmas the whole day!” 8–12 medium apples (honeycrisp, gala, and Fuji work well) 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 1 cinnamon stick 5 teaspoons light brown sugar Peel, core, and chop the apples. Add lemon juice, cinnamon stick, and brown sugar. Set slow cooker to low and cook 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally. If you like a chunky apple sauce, lightly whisk or leave as-is. For a smoother sauce, use an immersion blender until you achieve the desired consistency.

Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt Submitted by Adrienne Dumas, mom of one son, age 15: “This recipe is delicious and healthy, and with four ingredients, it’s almost too easy… a too-good-to-be-true kind of dessert!” 1 24-oz carton unflavored Greek Yogurt (Author’s note: we used the honey flavor) 1 can pumpkin 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice 4 teaspoons granulated sugar (With the honey-flavored yogurt, I omitted the sugar.) | December 2012

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Churn in an ice cream maker until the desired consistency is reached. (Alternately, place mixture in the freezer and stir every hour or so until it reaches a smooth, cool consistency.)

Spinach and Mozzarella Egg Bake Submitted by Sarah Lucas, mom of one daughter, age 4: “I’m a vegetarian, and am raising my daughter the same way, so I love this recipe because it’s simple, healthy, and appealing to meat-eaters and non-meat eaters alike!” 4 cups packed, fresh spinach 1–2 teaspoons olive oil 1½ cups 2% milk mozzarella ⅓ cup thinly sliced green onions 8 eggs, beaten 1 teaspoon seasoned salt or blend Salt and pepper to taste Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray an 8½" by 12" casserole dish with olive oil or nonstick spray. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add spinach all at once, and stir just until the spinach is wilted, about two minutes. Transfer spinach to the casserole dish, spreading it around so all the bottom of the dish is covered. Layer the grated cheese and sliced onions on top of the spinach. Beat the eggs with seasoned salt and salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Pour the egg mixture over the spinach/cheese combination, and then use a fork to gently stir so the eggs, spinach, and cheese are evenly combined. Bake about 35 minutes or until the mixture is completely set and starting to lightly brown. Let cool about 5 minutes before cutting. (The egg bake will settle down some as it cools.) Serve hot. Many thanks to all of our readers who submitted a recipe, and to my girls for helping me prepare and sample the finalists! Remember to use common sense when preparing holiday fare. Take smaller portions of dishes that are heavy on fat and/ or carbohydrates, and fill up on vegetables, sides, and simple desserts such as these, which will be healthy, flavorful alternatives. Happy holidays!

Shannon Fields is a freelance writer from Edmond and a Certified Pharmacy Technician at Innovative Pharmacy Solutions.

December 2012 |


Our gift to you: Fun for the entire family!

Happy holidays from

34 | December 2012

Cirque Du Soleil’s Dralion Fusing the 3,000-year-old tradition of Chinese acrobatic arts with the multidisciplinary approach of Cirque du Soleil, Dralion draws its inspiration from Eastern philosophy and its never-ending quest for harmony between humans and nature. The show's name is derived from its two emblematic creatures: the dragon, symbolizing the East, and the lion, symbolizing the West. The international cast features 52 world-class acrobats, gymnasts, musicians, singers and comedic characters. This critically-acclaimed tour will host seven performances at the Chesapeake Energy Arena from December 19–23. Performances will be held on Wednesday–Friday at 7:30pm; Saturday at 3:30pm and 7:30pm and Sunday, December 23 at 1:00pm and 5:00pm. Tickets begin at $35 for adults, $28 for children ages 12 and under. For show and ticket information, visit


Photo courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil.








Lyric’s A Christmas Carol

Opening Night

Downtown in December

In 2011, Lyric began a new holiday tradition in the Oklahoma City metro with the premiere of Lyric’s “A Christmas Carol.” Featuring dazzling special effects including snow and flying ghosts, this original adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel returns to Lyric’s Plaza Theatre (1725 NW 16th) again this year, with performances through December 29. Capture the magic and joy of Christmas as the ghosts of Past, Present and Future lead the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a powerful journey of transformation and redemption. The production is recommended for ages 5 and up, and performances are held Tuesdays–Thursdays, 7:30pm; Fridays, 8:00pm; and Saturdays, 2:00pm and 8:00pm. Tickets are $40 and are available by calling 405-524-9312. Visit www. for more information.

Scheduled for Monday, December 31 from 7:00pm– midnight in downtown Oklahoma City, Opening Night 2013 includes over 25 performances of music, comedy and dance across nine venues. The countdown to midnight will be held in the Myriad Gardens with live music, a traditional Opening Night ball and one of the state’s largest fireworks shows. Opening Night wristbands provide admission to all venues and are $8 in advance, $10 at the event. Children five and under are free. Wristbands are available beginning December 3 at metro area 7-Eleven and Homeland stores, MidFirst Bank locations and Science Museum of Oklahoma. For more information, call 405-270-4848 or visit www.

Downtown in December is a series of holiday events and attractions in the heart of Oklahoma City, running through December 31. Celebrate the holiday season with outdoor ice skating, snow tube rides down the Southwest’s largest man-made slope, afternoon visits with Santa Claus, a festive 5K and fun run, free water taxi excursions, and a new outdoor winter market, all surrounded by twinkling holiday lights. Most events are free of charge and open to the public. For complete schedules and more information, call 405-235-3500 or visit www. For even more holiday events and activities, visit MetroFamily’s Holiday Fun Guide at Photo courtesy of Downtown Oklahoma City, Inc.

Photo courtesy of the Arts Council of Oklahoma City.

Photo courtesy of Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma.

December 2012 |


Quick Reference American Banjo Museum 9 E Sheridan Ave, OKC 604-2793, City Arts Center Fair Park, 3000 Pershing Blvd, OKC 951-0000, Fine Arts Institute of Edmond 27 E Edwards, Edmond 340-4481, Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art 555 Elm Ave, Norman 325-3272, Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum 13th & Shartel, OKC 235-4458, Museum of Osteology 10301 S. Sunnylane Rd, OKC 814-0006, Myriad Botanical Gardens 301 W Reno, OKC 297-3995, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum 1700 NE 63rd St, OKC 478-2250, Oklahoma Aquarium 300 Aquarium Dr, Jenks 918-296-FISH, OKC Museum of Art 415 Couch Dr, OKC 236-3100, OKC National Memorial 620 N Harvey, OKC 235-3313, OKC Zoo 2101 NE 50th St, OKC 424-3344, Oklahoma Children’s Theatre 2501 N Blackwelder, OKC 606-7003, Oklahoma History Center 800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr., OKC 522-0765, Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History 2401 Chautauqua Ave, Norman 325-4712, Science Museum Oklahoma 2100 NE 52nd St, OKC 602-6664,

Do you have an event for our calendar? Email All phone numbers are area code 405 unless otherwise noted. Information should be verified before attending events as details can change after press date.



For a comprehensive and constantly-updated Holiday Fun Guide, check out www. holiday-fun! Note: Q denotes a holiday fun activity.

Daily Events December 1 • Saturday Little Willie’s Triple Dog Dare at Leadership Square (211 N Robinson) features a timed stair climb ranging from 22 to 69 floors total. Includes division for kids under 16 & benefits SaBaR Youth Triathalon. $40 ages 17+, $20 for ages 10-16. 8am. www. Q Breakfast With Santa at the Norman Senior Center (329 S Peters, Norman) includes pancake breakfast, pictures with Santa, holiday crafts & candy cane hunt. $5 per person. 8:30am. 366-5472, www.normanfun. com. Q Wreath Making at the OKC Zoo is an opportunity for teens ages 16+ create a holiday wreath from plants grown on zoo grounds. Preregister. $20 members, $25 nonmembers. 9-11:30am. Q First Annual MOPS Holiday Craft Fair at Church of the Harvest (2800 W Indian Hills, Norman) features crafts, home items & more. 9am-3pm. 672-2232. Q NorthCare 5K & 10K Reindeer Dash at NorthCare (4436 NW 50) benefits crisis counseling for children & features a 5K, 10K & FREE children’s reindeer dash. $20. 9:30am. 858-2831, FREE Lowes Build & Grow Clinic “Sandman’s Plane” from Rise of the Guardians at participating Lowe's Stores invites children to complete a wooden project with a parent/guardian. Participants receive an apron, goggles, certificate and project patch. Preregister. 1011am. | December 2012

Q Gingerbread Dreams at the Myriad Botanical Gardens allows children to learn about spice trees in the Crystal Bridge & then will make their own gingerbread house to decorate. $10 per child member, $15 per child nonmember. 10-11:30am. 297-3995, www. Q FREE Mayor’s Christmas Party for Kids at the Robertson Activity Center (1200 Lakeshore, Yukon) features crafts, polar bear pictures & visits from Jinglesauras, Rudolph, Frosty & Santa Claus. 10amnoon. 354-4882, Q FREE Cowboy Christmas at Stockyards City (1305 S Agnew) features a Christmas parade including 100 Longhorn steer, rodeo cowboys, antique cars, pictures with “Cowboy Santa” & other festivities. 10am-noon. 235-7267, Q Breakfast with Santa at Orr Family Farm (14400 S Western) features a pancake breakfast, story time & carols with Santa. Includes one train ride & carousel ride. Preregister. $12.50 per person. 10am-noon. 799FARM, Also held: 12/8, 15. Q FREE Saturdays for Kids–Old-Fashioned Ornament Making at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Children will make favorites such as pinecone bird feeders & decorated snowflakes. Preregister. Free museum admission for children & one accompanying adult. 10am-noon. Q Christmas Bazaar at Choctaw Church of the Nazarene (1100 Harper, Choctaw) features homemade crafts & direct sales vendors. A 50-50 raffle will be held in support of the Midwest City/Del City MOMS Club. 10am-3pm. 834-2477, Q FREE Saturdays with Santa at the Devon Rotunda (333 W Sheridan) features visits with Santa, letters to the North Pole, pictures in Santa's sleigh, crafts & more. 10am-5pm. 235-3500, Also held: 12/8,15, 22. FREE Baby Food 101 at Green Bambino (5120 N Shartel) teaches how to make & store your own baby food. Preregister. 11am. 848-2330, FREE Crafts for Kids “Rain or Shine Mobile” at Lakeshore Learning (6300 N May) for ages 3+. 11am3pm. 858-8778, Q FREE Holiday Crafts & Tree Trimming at the Southern Oaks Library features crafts & decorating the library’s tree. Preregister. 2:30-3:30pm. Q Nutcracker Family Session at Paint Your Art Out (10 S Broadway, Edmond) allows families to create their own masterpiece on canvas. Preregister. $25. 3:30pm. 513-5333, Q FREE Christmas Ideas for Nature Enthusiasts at Martin Park Nature Center (5000 W Memorial) features many holiday gift options for the nature lover. 4pm. 7550676,

The Great Escape at Mustang Town Center (1201 N Mustang) provides hotdogs, crafts, basketball, game room & group games for children ages 6-12. $15. 6-11pm. 376-3411, FREE 4th Annual Shawnee Indian Education Student Pow Wow at the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center (1700 W Independence, Shawnee) features dancing, potluck dinner & craft market. Gourd dancing, 2pm; Dinner, 5pm; Grand Entry of all dancers, 7pm. 410-4743.

December 1–2

on the first Tuesday of every month. Quantities limited. 5pm. 840-9993, Q FREE Tree Fest at Mustang Town Center (1201 N Mustang) features the lighting of the Christmas trees, performances, vendors & an appearance by Santa & the Mayor. 6-9pm. 376-3411, Q FREE Cookies with Cowboy Santa at the Outlet Shoppes at OKC in the Food Court (7624 W Reno) for children 12 & under. While supplies last. 6:30pm. www.

OKC Train Show at the State Fairgrounds features the largest model train layout in the Southwest. $10 adults, FREE children 12 & under. Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, 11am-5pm. 842-0518,

Q Holiday Movie A Christmas Story at the Chickasaw Cultural Center (867 Charles Cooper, Sulphur). $3 adults, $2 children, $5 combo includes soda, popcorn & movie ticket. 6:30pm. 580-622-7130, www. Also held: 12/11 It's a Wonderful Life, 12/18 Elf.

Q 35th Mesta Park Holiday Home Tour features tours of five historical homes & refreshments. $12/$5 children 17 & under in advance, $15/$7 children 17 & under at the door. Children 5 & under free. Saturday, 4-8pm; Sunday, 1-5pm.

Q Traditional Holiday Wreath Making Class at the Mary Nichols' Family Leadership Center (6100 N Robinson) for Girl Scouts of all ages & friends. $10 members, $22 nonmembers. 6:30-8:30pm. 800-6980022,

December 2 • Sunday

December 5 • Wednesday

Q Horseshoes & Holly Open House at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum Store includes free gift-wrapping. 10am-5pm. Also held: 12/9, 16. Q FREE Admission at the OKC Museum of Art as part of Downtown in December’s Free Museum Sundays. 1-5pm. FREE Family Day at the OKC Museum of Art features hands-on activities, live performances, face painting, door prize drawings & more. 1-5pm. Q FREE Cowboy Christmas Concert at the Belle Isle Library features Cowboy Jim Garling as he performs songs & tells stories from the trail. 2:30-3pm. Q Baroque Christmas presented by the Canterbury Choral Society at the Civic Center Music Hall showcases Handel’s Messiah & Bach’s Magnificat followed by a Holiday Reception in the Civic Center lobby. $30+. 7pm. 232-7464, Q Winter Wind Concert Series at the Performing Arts Studio (200 S Jones, Norman) features Sam Baker. $20. 7pm. 307-9320,

2013 Miracle Children of Oklahoma Calendar Launch Party at the Children’s Hospital Atrium (1200 N Children’s Ave) celebrates the release of the 2013 calendar with Miracle children, doctors & representatives. $5 per calendar. 10am. 271-9043,

December 6 • Thursday Q FREE Join the Elf Academy at Sooner Mall (3301 W Main, Norman) & Quail Springs Mall (2501 W Memorial) features holiday projects & activities for ages 3-6. Preregister. 5:30-7:30pm. 360-0360 or 755-6530, or Q FREE Holiday Happening at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History features pictures with Santa, live holiday music, crafts, storytelling & shopping. 5:30-8:30pm. Q Territorial Christmas at the Harn Homestead Museum (1721 N Lincoln) features crafts, hay rides & a visit with Santa. $3 in advance, $5 at the door. 6-9pm. 235-4058,

December 3

December 6–7

FREE Admission at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History on the first Monday of each month. 10am-5pm.

Q FREE Pictures with Santa at Mustang Town Center (1201 N Mustang). Bring your own camera. Thursday, 10am-1pm; Friday, 5-9pm. 376-3411, www.

Q FREE Movie Mondays "Arthur Christmas" at Harkins Theatres in Bricktown provides a FREE screening of a holiday movie every Monday during the season. Preregister online at least 5 days before the screening. Guests admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. See website for details. 7pm. www. Also held: 12/10 White Christmas, 12/17 It's a Wonderful Life, 12/24 Miracle on 34th Street, 12/31 Home Alone.

December 4 • Tuesday FREE Monthly Mini Model Build at Penn Square Mall’s Lego Store for ages 6-14 to build a new model

December 6–9 Q Home for the Holidays: A Gift of American Dance presented by the American Spirit Dance Company directed by Jo Rowan at OCU Kirkpatrick Fine Arts Center (2501 N Blackwelder). $28. Thursday-Friday, 8pm; Saturday, 2pm & 8pm; Sunday, 2pm. 208-5227,


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Metropolitan Library System

Belle Isle.................5501 N Villa...........843-9601 Bethany................3510 N Mueller.........789-8363 Capitol Hill............ 334 SW 26th...........634-6308 Choctaw.................2525 Muzzy...........390-8418 Del City..................4509 SE 15th...........672-1377 Downtown.............300 Park Ave.......... 231-8650 Edmond............... 10 S Boulevard......... 341-9282 Midwest City......... 8143 E Reno........... 732-4828 Ralph Ellison....... 2000 NE 23rd...........424-1437 Southern Oaks....6900 S Walker.........631-4468 The Village........... 10307 N Penn.......... 755-0710 Warr Acres...........5901 NW 63rd...........721-2616 Harrah...............1930 N Church Ave.....454-2001 Jones.......................111 E Main............399-5471 Luther......................310 NE 3rd............ 277-9967 Nicoma Park...... 2240 Overholser........769-9452 Northwest ..........5600 NW 122nd........606-3580 Wright Library.... 2101 Exchange.........235-5035

Pioneer Library System

Blanchard............... 300 N Main............ 485-2275 McLoud....................133 N Main............964-2960 Moore.................... 225 S Howard.......... 793-5100 Newcastle............. 705 NW Tenth.......... 387-5076 Noble........................204 N 5th..............872-5713 Norman.................225 N Webster......... 701-2600 Purcell.................... 919 N Ninth............ 527-5546 Shawnee............101 N Philadelphia......275-6353 SW OKC............... 2201 SW 134th.........979-2200 Tecumseh............114 N Broadway........598-5955

December 6–22 Q FREE Christmas in Downtown Edmond 2012 features wagon rides, strolling carolers, make & take crafts, Mr. & Mrs. Claus, extended business hours & more. Thursdays-Saturdays. See website for schedule of events.

December 6–23 Q Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol presented by Oklahoma City Theatre Company at the Civic Center Music Hall features a creative twist on the Dickens classic. $20. Thursday-Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 2pm. 297-2264,

December 2012 |


December 7 • Friday Q FREE Gingerbread House Competition & Silent Auction at the Moore Public Library. 5-7pm. Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art Gala 2012 at the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art (1900 W MacArthur, Shawnee) features wines, dinner, auctions & Latin American music by Alegria Real. Preregister. $125. 6pm. 878-5604, Q FREE Old Town Christmas Tree Lighting & Moore Public Library Holiday Gala at Old Town Moore & the Moore Public Library features a Christmas tree lighting, activities & snacks. . 6-8:30pm. Q FREE Tree Lighting Ceremony at Andrews Park in Norman features fun for kids, hot chocolate & cookies while supplies last & pictures with Santa. 6pm. 3665472, Q FREE Norman Holiday Open House at the Norman Library celebrates the holidays with music, crafts & more. 6-8pm. Q FREE Moore Santa Express Toy Drive at the Moore Community Center (301 S Howard, Moore) Bring an unwrapped toy & enjoy activities & refreshments.

Weekly Events FREE Discovery Room programs at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. See website for details. FREE Art Moves weekdays (Monday-Friday) in downtown OKC (various locations). Performances, demonstrations, short films & discussions. Noon-1pm. 270-4892, Toddler Time playtime at Mustang Town Center (1201 N Mustang). $2 or FREE with Town Center membership. Tuesdays & Thursdays, 9am-noon. 376-3411, www. FREE Admission at Norman’s Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art on Tuesdays. 10am-5pm. Activities include Art Adventures for children ages 3-5 with adult (10:30am). Family Fun Night at JumpZone (SW 104th & Western) includes 2 adults, 2 children, 1 large pizza, 2 liter pop for $25. Tuesdays & Thursdays, 4:30-8pm. 200-1691, www. FREE Wednesday Night at the Movies at the Downtown Library. Held every Wednesday, 6-8pm. 231-8650.

Q 12 Gifts of Christmas presented by World Vision at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman presents music, storytelling, magic & more to celebrate Christmas. $25+. 7pm. Q Holiday Pipes Concert at OU Catlett Music Center (500 W Boyd, Norman). $9 adults, $5 students/OU faculty & staff/seniors. 8pm. 325-4101, OKC Thunder vs. LA Lakers at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. $10 & up. 8:30pm. thunder. Other home games this month: 12/9, 12, 14, 17, 27, 31.

December 7–8 Q Hip Hop Nutcracker presented by Race Dance Company at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School Petusky Performing Arts Theatre (801 NW 50) features a modern take on the Nutcracker through hip hop music & dance with real world issues in an urban setting. $12 adults, $5 children. 7:30pm.

FREE Children’s Storytime at Full Circle Bookstore (1900 NW Expressway) each Saturday, 10:15am. 8422900, FREE Children’s Story Time at Edmond’s Best of Books, Saturdays, 11am. 340-9202, www. FREE Skating Lessons at Skate Galaxy (5800 NW 36) for beginner, intermediate, advanced & featured styles. Saturdays, noon-12:45pm. 605-2758, www. Drop in Art at the OKC Museum of Art features handson art activities. FREE with paid admission. Saturdays, 1-4pm. All-Star Bowling for Differently-Abled Individuals at AMF Yukon Lanes (500 E Main). $8/week includes 3 games & shoes. Saturdays, 1pm. Email dbrakefield@ to verify schedule. 354-2516. FREE Green Earth Gang for ages 9-13 works on conservation projects in Martin Park. Saturdays, 2-5pm. 755-0676,

FREE Thursday Noon Tunes live concerts at the Downtown Library, 11:30-1pm.

Live Banjo Performance at the American Banjo Museum (9 E Sheridan) invites guests to enjoy a live banjo performance on Saturdays. FREE with paid admission. See website for schedule. 3-5pm. 604-2793,

Cocktails on the Skyline at the OKC Museum of Art features a full bar, complimentary chips & salsa & live music on the Roof Terrace. See website for weather cancellations. FREE for members, $5 nonmembers. Thursdays, 5-9pm.

FREE Green Earth Rangers at Martin Park Nature Center (5000 W Memorial) for teens ages 13-18 to assist the park with complex, leadership-driven conservation efforts. Sundays, call for times. 755-0676,

Family Fun Day at Celebration Station (509 Westline) features unlimited rides & a pizza buffet for $15.99 per person. Thursdays, 4-9pm. 942-7888, www.

FREE Open House at techJOYnt (8328 Glade) provides information about this hands-on, technology-based after-school education academy. Sundays, 2-4pm. 3455010,

The UCO Jazz Lab features performances each Friday & Saturday at 8pm. $7 adults, $5 age 12 & under. 3597989,


Toys may also be donated at any Moore Fire Station 11/23-12/17. 6:30-8:30pm. 793-5110, www. | December 2012

December 7–9 Q Winter Market at the Myriad Botanical Gardens features local artisan vendors, hot beverges, local wines & a variety of musical performances. 10am-8pm. FREE admission. 297-3995, Q FREE Boys Ranch Town Drive Through Living Christmas Pageant (5100 E 33, Edmond) features a 20-minute drive through of a variety of scenes from the life of Christ portrayed by the residents & staff. 7-9pm. 341-3606,

December 7–16 Q The Nutcracker presented by the OKC Ballet at the Civic Center Music Hall shares the magic of Clara’s fantastic journey through a land of snow & sweet confections. $33+. Friday, 7pm; Saturday, 2pm & 7pm; Sunday, 2pm. 848-8637,

December 8 • Saturday Q Breakfast & Movie with Santa at Quail Springs Mall (2501 W Memorial) features breakfast, movie & door prizes. Benefits Positive Tomorrows. 8:10am. $6. 7556530, Q SandRidge Santa Run at Leadership Square (211 N Robinson) features a 5K, one-mile Fun Run & Santa Claus Kid's Dash. Costumes Contest with cash prizes. Prices vary. 9am. 235-3500, www. Q Christmas Celebration at the Chickasaw Cultural Center (867 Charles Cooper, Sulphur) features holiday lights & decorations, Traditional Village Tours, children's ornament workshop, photos with Santa & holiday shopping. Activities are FREE, admission required for the Chikasha Poya Exhibit Center. 10am-5pm. 580-6227130, Q FREE 2012 Main Street Christmas Holiday Parade in downtown Norman. 10am. 366-8095, www. Q FREE Lowes Build & Grow Clinic "Gingerbread House" at participating Lowe's Stores invites children to complete a wooden project with a parent/ guardian. Participants receive a FREE apron, goggles, certificate & project patch. Preregister. 10-11am. www. Story Time in the Conservatory at the Myriad Botanical Gardens features the story "Gingerbread Pirates" & pirate cookie decorating. FREE for members, $2 per nonmember (Crystal Bridge admission fees apply). 10-11am. 297-3995, Q The Candy Cane Gift Market at Yukon Czech Hall (205 N Czech Hall, Yukon) features shopping, prize giveaways & more. Benefits the Relight the Mill Project. 10am-4pm. TheCandyCaneGiftMarket. Q FREE Holiday Extravaganza! at Uptown Kids (5840 N Classen) features Santa Clause, the Uptown Elf & Spaghetti Eddie in concert. 10:30-11:30am. 418-8881, Q Edward-Jones Food Drive with Santa & His Elves at Randel Shadid Law Parking Lot (19 N Broadway, Edmond) includes live music, photo ops and a canned

food drive for the Regional Food Bank. 10:30am-1:30pm. 340-1241, Q FREE Crafts for Kids “Snowy Days Sled” at Lakeshore Learning (6300 N May) for ages 3+. Children build & decorate a miniature sled. 11am-3pm. 858-8778, FREE Domesticated Snakes at Martin Park Nature Center (5000 W Memorial) teaches proper feeding, handling & vet care on a variety of domesticated snake species for those considering adding a snake into their household. For ages 9+. 12:30pm. 755-0676, www.okc. gov/parks/martin_park. Q Christmas Tea with the Queen at OCU (2501 N Blackwelder) benefits Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park & features an afternoon of holiday revelry with Queen Elizabeth I & her court including high tea, hors d’oeuvres, silent auction, live music, & historic costumes fashion show. $25. 2-4pm. 235-3700, www. Nightlight Run at Joe B. Barnes Regional Park in Midwest City is a run through the Holiday Lights Spectacular. $25 in advance, $30 race day. Registration, 4-5pm; Run, 5:45pm. Q FREE Edmond Electric Parade of Lights features a holiday parade of lights through Downtown Edmond beginning with the Mayor’s Tree Lighting Ceremony in Shannon Miller Park. See website for parade route. 6-10pm. 216-7671, Q FREE Victorian Walk Evenings in downtown Guthrie features a turn-of-the-century feel with Living Postcard window displays, street carolers, street vendors, lighted buildings, Candlelight Trolley Tours, dining and shopping. Also held: 12/15.

December 9 • Sunday Q FREE Admission at the American Banjo Museum (9 E Sheridan) & Red Earth Museum & Gallery (6 Santa Fe Plaza) as part of Downtown in December’s Free Museum Sundays. Noon-5pm. www. Q North Pole Holiday Adventure at the MAC (2733 Marilyn Williams, Edmond) features Santa’s Sweet Shoppe, the Snow Room, Reindeer games & crafts. $5 per child. 2-5pm. 359-4630, Q A Rock & Roll Christmas Show presented by RoKademy at the Thelma Gaylord Academy (1801 NW 16) features musicians from the Academy performing Christmas tunes. $10. 7pm.

December 10 • Monday “Does Marriage Education Work?” from the OKDHS Practice & Policy Lecture Series at the Oklahoma History Center (800 Nazih Zuhdi). Noon-1pm. 521-3552,

December 10–14 Q FREE Holiday Fun Week at the Capitol Hill Library features a different holiday activity each day for children in grades K-12. See website for schedule. MondayThursday, 3:30-5pm; Friday, 2-4pm.

December 2012 |


December 11 • Tuesday December 14–16 Homeschool Day at the Oklahoma Aquarium accommodates homeschool families & groups who do not meet the standard minimum for education group rates. Preregister. $10 adults, $7 youth. Preschool Cookie Decorating at Mustang Town Center (1201 N Mustang) for ages 5 & under. Supplies provided. Preregister. $5. 10am, 4:30pm & 7pm. 3763411, Q Tiny Tuesdays “Felted Wool Snowmen” at the OKC Museum of Art for ages 2-5 with caregiver features a come-and-go, open-ended art making experience. FREE with paid admission. 10am-noon. FREE Navidad: Christmas Traditions from Mexico at the Bethany Library teaches children ages 3-11 about traditions from Mexico through stories & songs. Includes holiday treats. Preregister. 6:30-7:15pm. FREE Teen Ink Coasters at the Moore Library lets teens create their own coaster with ink & creativity. Supplies included. Preregister. 6:30-7:30pm. OKC Barons vs. Peoria Rivermen at the Cox Convention Center. Tickets $16+. 800-745-3000 or www. 7pm. Other home games this month: 12/14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 31. Q Holiday Painting at Paint’n Station (7906 N May) allows patrons to create holiday pottery including holly bowls, Christmas trees & reindeer hand/foot platters. Preregister. 842-7770, Also held 12/13.

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Q FREE Drive-Thru Living Nativity at Bethesda Church (3101 SW 89) features live people & animals depicting scenes from the decree of Caesar Augustus through the resurrection of Christ. 6-9pm. 681-8103,

December 15 • Saturday Q Find the Lost Elf at Mustang Town Center (1201 N Mustang) features hunting for elves, holiday games, crafts & snacks. For ages 4-8. Time TBA. $5 per child. 376-3411, FREE Practice ACT/SAT at College Nannies & Tutors (1333 N Santa Fe, Edmond). Preregister. 9am. 5136060, Q FREE Story Time with Mrs. Claus at the Outlet Shoppes at OKC in the Food Court (7624 W Reno) for children 12 & under. Mrs. Claus will read "The Night Before Christmas" & each child will receive a copy of the book while supplies last. 10am. www. Behind-the-Scenes Tour at the Oklahoma Aquarium gives visitors a chance to tour the Sea Turtle Experience holding facility & see the turtles & other animals not on exhibit. First-come first-served. Not recommended for children under 5 years. $10 adult, $8 youth (does not include Aquarium admission). 10:30am, 11:30am & 1:30pm.

December 13 • Thursday

FREE Chasing James at Green-Bambino (5120 N Shartel) features local moms in one of Oklahoma’s newest child-friendly bands. 11-11:30am. 848-2330,

Q Holiday on Broadway at OCCC Bruce Owen Theatre (7777 S May) presents seasonal music from Broadway, film & television. $20 adults, $10 ages 17 & younger. 7-9pm. 682-7576,

Q Christmas Train Rides at the Oklahoma Railway Museum (3400 NE Grand). Rides at 10:30am, noon, 1:30pm & 3pm. $15, FREE for children under 3. 4248222,

Q Sounds of the Season at Yukon Fine Arts Auditorium (600 Yukon, Yukon) features the OKC Philharmonic performing holiday favorites. $5 general admission tickets. 7:30pm. 354-4882, www.

Q FREE Crafts for Kids “Polar Bear Pencil Holder” at Lakeshore Learning (6300 N May) for ages 3+. 11am3pm. 858-8778,

December 13–16 Q FREE One Incredible Moment at First Presbyterian Church of Edmond (1001 S Rankin, Edmond) is a musical drama of Jesus’ birth, life, death & resurrection. FREE general admission, $10 reserved seating. 7:30pm. 341-3602,

December 14 • Friday Q Canterbury Choir Concert at the Myriad Botanical Gardens Conservatory features the Canterbury To Go choir performing holiday favorites. Preregister. $10 member, $15 nonmember. 7pm. 297-3611, www. Q Michael Martin Murphey’s Cowboy Christmas Ball at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum features entertainment, buffet & a visit from Santa. Preregister. $60 member, $75 nonmember, $25 children 12 & under. 7pm. | December 2012

Q FREE Holly Jolly Holiday Party at the Ralph Ellison Library features crafts, pictures with Santa, gifts & holiday treats. While supplies last. 1-4pm. FREE Sensory Afternoon at Martin Park Nature Center (5000 W Memorial). Programs will include introducing nature to the visually impaired, hearing impaired, cognitively impaired & individuals with sensitivity to environmental factors.1-4pm. 755-0676, FREE Post Cemetery Wreath Laying at Fort Reno (7107 W Cheyenne, El Reno). Join the Daughters of the American Revolution as they participate in the National Wreaths Across America campaign by laying handmade wreaths on military graves. 1pm. 262-3987, www. Q FREE Gingerbread House Contest at the Edmond Historical Society & Museum (431 S Boulevard, Edmond) for ages 6 through adults. Entries will be judged in three age divisions for creativity/theme, appearance & uses of materials. Preregister by 12/12. See website for complete rules. 2pm. 340-0078, www.

December 16 • Sunday December 22 • Saturday Q FREE Admission at the Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum (1400 Classen) as part of Downtown in December’s Free Museum Sundays. Noon-5pm. Q Breakfast with Santa at the Myriad Gardens features breakfast, photos with Santa & a small gift for each child. Preregister. $25 adults, $20 children 12 & under. 8:30am & 10:30am. 297-3611, www. Q FREE Christmas Guns Celebration at Fort Reno (7107 W Cheyenne, El Reno) features a timeless celebration from German & American folklore with cannons & guns blasting, snacks, story-telling & a visit from Santa. 2-4pm. 262-3987, Q Jazz Sisters of Swing Holiday Show at the Performing Arts Studio (200 S Jones, Norman) features numbers from the swing era, the rock & roll years & more. $7 & up. 7:30pm. 307-9320,

Q FREE Living Nativity at the Outlet Shoppes at OKC Center Court (7624 W Reno) features the Bethesda Assembly of God as they portray Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the wise men & shepherds in the manger scene from the first Christmas. 10am-9pm. www. Q "If You Believe" presented by danceXpress Oklahoma at Rose State Performing Arts Center (6000 Trosper Rd, Midwest City) is an annual Christmas production based on the children's book "Polar Express" featuring a cast of 100+ local dancers. $8. 3pm & 7pm. 324-7600,

December 27 • Thursday FREE Movie Night at the MAC "Mr. Popper's Penguins" (2733 Marilyn Williams, Edmond). Food & drink available for purchase. 7pm. 359-4630, www.

December 17 • Monday December 29 • Saturday Q FREE Gingerbread House Decorating at the Southern Oaks Library features group gingerbread house decorating for display at the library. Preregister. 10:30-11:15am.

Q FREE Crafts for Kids “New Year’s Party Mask” at Lakeshore Learning (6300 N May) for ages 3+. Children make a festive mask to welcome 2013. 11am-3pm. 8588778,

December 18 • Tuesday

Q Mannheim Steamroller Christmas at the Civic Center Music Hall features holiday music in Mannheim Steamroller’s signature sound where classical & modern day rock, acoustic & electronic music meet. $25+. 8pm.

Q Christmas Party at both Bouncin Craze locations (14901 N Lincoln, Edmond & 9333 W Reno, OKC) features crafts & games. $7.50 per child. 4-8pm. 6072020, Q "Give & Make" Round Robin Holiday Craft Event at the Mary Nichols' Family Leadership Center (6011 N Robinson) lets Girl Scouts craft & give back to the community while parents shop. $10 members, $22 nonmembers. 5-8pm. 800-698-0022, Q Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold at the Civic Center Music Hall. Sister creates a living nativity unlike any you’ve ever seen. $30+. 7:30pm.

December 19 • Wednesday Jim Brickman at the Rose State Performing Arts Theatre (6420 SE 15, Midwest City) features the Grammy-nominated solo pianist. $32+. 7:30pm. www.

December 31 • Monday Q Opening Night in Downtown OKC is a family-friendly New Year's Eve celebration with music, dancing, theater & fireworks. $8 in advance, $10 at the event, children 5 & under are FREE. 7pm-midnight. 270-4848, www. Q VIP New Year's Eve Celebration for Kids at Skate Galaxy (5800 NW 36) features a balloon drop, skating, dancing, prizes & more. 7pm-2am. 605-2758, www. 2 • Wednesday

January 2 • Wednesday OKC Thunder vs. Brooklyn Nets at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. $10+. 7pm. Other home games this month: 1/4, 9, 16, 31.

December 19­–23

January 4–6

Cirque Du Soleil “Dralion” at Chesapeake Energy Arena. $35+ adults, $28+ children 12 & under. Wednesday-Friday, 7:30pm; Saturday, 3:30pm & 7:30pm; Sunday, 1pm & 5pm.

Annual Eagle Watch at Arcadia Lake in Edmond. Begin at the Arcadia Lake Park Office (9000 E 2, Edmond) to receive information about where Eagles can be found. $3 per vehicle. 7:30am-4:30pm. 216-7471,

December 21 • Friday Q FREE Polar Express at Mustang Town Center (1201 N Mustang) features hot chocolate, games & movie screening. 7pm. 376-3411,

Finding a copy of your favorite local family resource has never been easier! MetroFamily is now at all OKC area Jimmy’s Egg locations Homeland stores Crest stores YMCA branches Area libraries (MetroLibrary System and Pioneer Library System) And over 400 additional area businesses & schools.

You may also enjoy the convenience of a subscription for only $21.95 per year. Call 405-601-2081 or go to subscribe

January 5 • Saturday FREE Saturdays for Kids—Golf Ball Art at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum kicks off the new year creating abstract art with paint, a golf ball & an aluminum tray. Includes FREE museum admission for child & one accompanying adult. 10am-noon. December 2012 |


Ongoing Events Through December 2 Q Journey to Bethlehem at Forest Hill Christian Church (2121 N MacArthur) features guided walking tours in a first-century, outdoor, interactive family Christmas experience. 6-9pm. 495-0439,

Through December 9 The Wizard of Oz at the Poteet Theatre (222 NW 15) features a musical adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s classic tale. $20. Thursday-Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 3pm. 6091023, Q White Christmas at the Sooner Theatre (101 E Main, Norman) features music by Irving Berlin. $18+ adults, $15 children 12 & under. Friday-Saturday, 7:30pm; Sunday, 2pm. 321-9600,

Q FREE A Territorial Christmas in Guthrie includes a production at the Pollard Theatre, historic home tours, Victorian Walk Evenings & more. See website for details. Saturdays. 282-1947,

Through December 24 Q FREE Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops (200 Bass Pro) features photos with Santa, crafts, holiday ornaments, lights & more. See website for details & schedule.

Through December 29 Q Lyric’s A Christmas Carol presented by Devon Energy at the Civic Center Music Hall captures the magic & joy of Christmas as the ghosts of Past, Present & Future lead the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a powerful journey of transformation & redemption. $40. See website for show times. Q Christmas Lights Up the Farm at Orr Family Farm (14400 S Western) features a lights display, train ride, hot chocolate & homemade fudge. FREE marshmallow roasting with admission. $8.50 per person. Fridays & Saturdays, 5:30-9pm. 799-3276,

Advanced ticket purchase recommended. $10 per 90-minute session. See website for schedule. 235-3500,

Through January 6 Q Express Ice Edmond Outdoor Ice Rink at Festival Market (1 & Broadway, Edmond). $10 with skates, $7 with own skates, $5 for ages 5 & under. See website for hours. 274-1638, Q Norman Holiday Outdoor Ice Rink at Marc Heitz Chevrolet (I-35 & Lindsey, Norman). $10 with skate rental, $7 with own skates, $5 for ages 5 & under. See website for hours. American Moderns, 1910-1960: From O’Keeffe to Rockwell at the OKC Museum of Art includes paintings & sculptures by a variety of artists. Dancers & Deities: Kachinas from the James T. Bialac Native American Art Collection at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History features a selection of Native American Kachina.

Q A Christmas Carol presented by the Oklahoma Children’s Theatre at OCU (2501 N Blackwelder) features an adaptation of this classic Dickens tale. $12 adults, $8 children ages 2-12. Thursday, 11am; Friday, 11am & 8pm; Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 2pm. 951-0011,

Through December 30

Oklahoma & Infamy at the Oklahoma History Center includes artifacts, uniforms, interviews with veterans & personal letters. FREE admission to veterans & active duty military.

Q FREE Water Taxi Rides on the Bricktown Canal for all ages. Cruises board on Mickey Mantle Drive across from RedHawks field. 6-9:30pm. 235-3500, www.

Through December 10

Through January 1, 2013

Oklahoma at the Movies at the Oklahoma History Center showcases the creativity & innovation of Oklahomans & their legacy of creating, starring in & watching motion pictures.

Q FREE North Pole Winter Wonderland Holiday Exhibit at the Myriad Botanical Gardens features holiday lights, poinsettias, North Pole mailbox for letters to Santa & a model train. Admission to the Crystal Bridge is FREE each Sunday from November 25-December 23 from 6-9pm. 297-3995, www.

Through February 9

Q FREE Automobile Alley Lights on Broadway (4th-10th St. on Broadway) features more than 150,000 LED lights draping the historic buildings. Dusk to dawn. 235-3500,

Through February 15

FREE Silent Witnesses at the OU Health Sciences Center (1000 Stanton L. Young Blvd) includes photography by 25 internationally-acclaimed photographers featuring prosthetic legs to bring awareness to the ever-increasing humanitarian & diplomatic efforts to stop the landmine epidemic. www.

Through December 16 Q Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells at the Oklahoma Children’s Theatre (2501 N Blackwelder) features a play adapted from Barbara Park’s popular book series. $9 adults, $6 children 2-12. Wednesday & Friday, 11am; Saturday-Sunday, 2pm. 951-0011, www.

Through December 22 Boo Ritson Exhibit: Homecoming at the City Arts Center (3000 General Pershing). Opening reception 10/9, 5:30pm. 951-0000, Q Holiday Gift Gallery at the Firehouse Art Center (444 S Flood, Norman) features unique, handmade artwork for sale. Monday-Friday, 9:30-5:30pm; Saturday, 10am-4pm. 329-4523, Evening Reception on 12/14 from 6-9pm.


Q FREE Garden Lights at the Myriad Botanical Gardens features illuminated gardens. 235-3500, www. Q FREE Canal Lights on the Bricktown Canal features holiday lights accessible by foot or Water Taxi. 2353500,

Southwest Visions: Paintings from the James T. Bialac Native American Art Collection at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History includes Southwest Native American paintings.

Through February 4 Q Devon Ice Rink at the Myriad Gardens. $10 with skate rental, $7 with own skates. Monday-Tuesday, 3-8pm; Wednesday-Thursday, 3-10pm; Friday-Saturday, 10am-11pm; Sunday, 10am-8pm. 235-3500, www.

Echoes & Rituals: The Artwork of Robert Taylor & Harvey Pratt at Science Museum Oklahoma showcases works by two renowned Oklahoma Native American artists.

OKC Beautiful SMO Upcycle Challenge at Science Museum Oklahoma is a juried exhibit of functional art/creations using upcycled materials. Opening Reception: 11/15, 6-9pm.

Through May 29 Crumbo Spirit Talk at the Oklahoma History Center features the art of Woody Crumbo & his children.

Through January 5

Through June 1

Q Santa's Adventures on the Oklahoma River at the Boathouse District (725 S Lincoln) features a 200foot zipline, kayaking activity for kids 3-9, inflatables, mechanical surfing machine, rock climbing wall & air jumper. $10 per attractionattractions, $20 all-day pass. See website for schedule. 552-4040, www.

Enriched: Animal Art from the OKC Zoo at the Oklahoma History Center showcases the process of animal enrichment through painting. MondaysSaturdays.

Q Snow Tubing at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark features snow tubing from the ballpark's upper deck on a hill of manmade snow & a smaller slide for children. | December 2012

Through August Pablo Picasso’s Woman in the Studio at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art features works by Picasso from the museum’s permanent collection and on loan from the St. Louis Art Museum.

December 2012 |


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44 | December 2012

December 2012 |


Mom Gets the Last Laugh The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?


Illustration by Emily Ball,

ontrary to the song, Christmas is not the most wonderful time of the year. It is actually the darkest, most fattening, and interpersonally volatile time of the year. But that would make for terrible lyrics. Every year, I attempt to hide my pessimism in favor of delivering a Grinch-less holiday experience for my children. Annually, I determine to create visions of sugarplums dancing inside their sleeping heads. When they were little, I decided to buy them each an ornament every year. I planned for a far away future when I’d hand them a box with twenty or so Christmas ornaments to remind them of home, family tradition and their happy childhoods. Intermixed with the rest of our ornaments, my children now have motley collections of reindeer, Santas and snowmen—each marked with their names and the date. They are 11 and 13 now. Each year they search out their own trinkets and reminisce before setting them in places of honor upon the tree. Aside from near toxic levels of dairy intake, this is our only holiday tradition. There are foods I might prepare this year or that; we spend the day at home or away; and Santa was long ago replaced by a kid in a blue Best Buy polo. I’ve even stopped dragging my family to church, but only because I feared the holy water might melt them like the Wicked Witch of the West. Last year I lured them to midnight services with the promise of carrying fire around a church. So naturally, that was the year the congregation elected to forgo the candle element of the candlelight service, which we might have known if church were a regular part of our week. Times like this I wonder if it should be. Although our family has yet to—and truthfully may never—find our “church home,” we are consumers of Christmas pageantry nonetheless. At least, that’s what I thought. When my daughter was about 6, she asked about a nativity scene; she wanted to know why Jesus was in that “hay thingy.” The hay thingy. “The manger?” My daughter smiled in her cherubic way, innocent and oblivious. Surely, she knew that the Lord and Savior’s bed was commonly referred to as a manger. The Christmas Eve story is one of the main stories, after all. For crying out loud, she played an angel in the Christmas pageant— you know, that one time, when she was 2. But still, who doesn’t know manger? What kind of apple-pie eating American child living


smack dab in the heartland doesn’t know about the baby Jesus in the barn? That was when I realized there are certain things your children are not going to learn through osmosis or the culture at large. Even putting that cute nativity scene out on the dining room table is not enough. If you want them to know about mangers, you need to take them to church. However, that’s tough for a family of occasional Christians… progressive Christians… Heathens, if you will, living in the Bible belt. We had tried several churches, but nothing really stuck. The closest we’ve been to church lately was turning around in the parking lot of the gigantic gift shop-equipped house of worship with the million dollar crosses, man-made pond and enormous banners that hang like billboards over its concrete walls to advertise the services offered for the current holiest day. “See, Mom,” my daughter said as I maneuvered through the beautifully landscaped parking lot. “We do go to church.” She’s going to be a lawyer. Last Christmas, we let the kids open most of their gifts on December 21st, before driving 14 hours to a New Mexico ski resort for the season of cream-filled indulgence. On the way home, my daughter realized we hadn’t opened ornaments. Somewhere between travel planning, un-fluffed artificial tree limbs, and the glass ball confetti that was once organized boxes of décor, I had neglected the only constant in our holiday season. But did they really want ornaments? These too-cool children, poised on the edge of being teenagers, all ear buds and eye rolls? | December 2012

Yes, they assured me. The ornaments were a must. Shopping for them made the top of my post-vacation to-do list. I spent a while with the clearance rack castoffs before settling on two glass gingerbread people, matching but not identical. As we were technically into the New Year’s portion of the year, I didn’t bother to wrap them. Instead, I laid them on top of the piles I had made on the dining room table, my halfhearted attempt to sort out the holiday mess of mismatched garlands and broken angels. My son asked about his ornament. “It’s there,” I said, nodding to the pile. “I see it!” He picked up one of the gingerbread men. “Is this mine or Gaby’s?” He giggled when I showed him the other one—just like a little kid at Christmas. Then he took the ornaments upstairs to show his sister. My children may never get the Bible stories quite right and our traditions may be sparse, but we take our joy where we find it. The most wonderful time of the year really does exist, so long as we remember it only lasts a moment. As for the manger, we’ll keep trying. I hear the candles are back at midnight mass.

Lela Davidson is the author of Blacklisted from the PTA, a collection of irreverent essays about motherhood and the modern family. She blogs about marriage, motherhood, and lifeafter-40 on

MetroFamily Magazine December 2012  

MetroFamily's December 2012 issue includes tons of ideas, activities and events for family fun in the Oklahoma City metro area.