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July 2011

Volume 2 | Issue 7

* Activities * Fun * Safety * Travel * Dance * Recipes *

July 2011


July 2011


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Table of Contents


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A conversation with Mary Ellen Kirkpatrick-Leyendecker, Dance Expressions

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Danny Perez, Soccer Guru Comentary-United High School Soccer League Championships ...Read more


July 2011

Dear Friend & Readers,

Another summer is here. Cookouts, travel, picnics, camps and planning! In this issue, we bring you loads of articles for summer fun and safety, activities from the Imaginarium of South Texas as well as Open Art Studio, an amazing conversation with Dance Expressions owner, Mary Ellen Kirkpatrick-Leyendecker and news from the world of local sports through our partnership with Laredo Sports Wire News Network. Not to mention our new Mompreneurs and a mini-interview with a well renowned author on his latest book. Laredo Family Time Magazine constantly strives to bring you the best in family articles and resources and in order to accommodate your busy schedule, we are now offering subscriptions to our monthly publication. Receive a copy every month of our publication for a low fee! See our website for details and to order. Take advantage of this new offer.

Thanks for reading and take care,

Claudia Perez Rivas Editor


July 2011


July 2011

Laredo Family Time Magazine Publisher

Rimar Publishing Group


Claudia Perez Rivas

Advertising/Marketing Manager

Juan J. Martinez Jr.


Guillermo A. Sosa-Signature Portrait Photography

Calendar Editor

Sales 956.285.8274


Patricia Driscoll Eric Ellman Gretchen Otto-Pimentel

Activities & Craft Columns

Veronica Ortega– Open Art Imaginarium of South Texas



Editorial Submission Guidelines Would you like to write for our Magazine? For editorial guidelines contact us at A submission does not guarantee publication. We reserve the right to edit all submissions. Interested in advertising in Laredo Family Time Magazine? Contact out advertising department for more information. Subscriptions are available for 6-month ($36) and 12-month ($40) terms. Go to website for details. Laredo Family Time Magazine is published monthly by Rimar Publishing. Copyright ©2011. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited. Opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily the opinions of this publication. Mailing Address: Laredo Family Time Magazine P.O. Box 3735 Laredo, TX 78044

Laredo Sportswire News Publisher

Nuno Sciaraffa

Sports Editor

Elsa Garcia

Sports Analysts

Danny "The Soccer Guru" Perez—Soccer Mark Guerra Mike Hernandez—Basketball


Nuno Sciaraffa Tere R. Tamez Alex Cano Website:


July 2011

Family Time

From soccer practice to dance lessons, busy family schedules often make it difficult for parents and children to spend quality time together. Yet, an electronic that was once seen as a barrier to family time is now bringing people of all ages together: The video game console. Nearly nine in 10 families own some type of gaming console and 88 percent of those families play video games together, according to a recent survey. Furthermore, four in five parents believe playing video games is a great way to create family "WeTime" - time spent getting together with family to enjoy each other's company, whether planned or spontaneous. "Many parents of teens and tweens grew up playing video games themselves, so the trend of family gaming is one we expect to grow with each generation," says Erica Danielski, Memorex brand manager, Imation Corp. "The concept of 'WeTime' hasn't changed, but the tools families use to bring it to life have evolved. Memorex is working to enhance 'WeTime' with gaming accessories that are helping to reinvent family game night." To ensure your family's video game night is a success, consider these tips:


Find a way for everyone to play. In anticipation of family game night, purchase four-player games that are rated E (Everyone) by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (meaning the content is suitable for ages 6 and older). Racing games are great for families they enable you to incorporate accessories that enhance and add comfort to the gaming experience.

Memorex's 3-Pack Racing Wheels for Nintendo(R) Wii (TM) are the perfect game-night companion, as most popular racing games come with one wheel but allow four players to get in on the action.


Create family game night when you're on the go. If the family is on vacation or simply too busy to sit down for family game night - why not host game night on the go? Many of today's hand-held gaming consoles are interactive, allowing multiple players in the same room to game together. To make it easy to switch between titles and keep track of games while you're on the go, check out the Memorex Universal Game Selector Case for Nintendo(R) DS(TM). Players can store and switch between up to three games without removing the cartridges from the storage compartment, and the universal design ensures it's compatible with most of Nintendo's hand-held game consoles.


Keep the controllers charged for the next game night (while keeping the living room tidy). There is nothing worse than sitting down to family game night only to find your controller batteries have died. Power up your family's playtime with the Memorex Dual and Quad Controller Charging Kits for Nintendo Wii. Kits charge two or four controllers simultaneously, while keeping gaming areas organized and reducing clutter.

For more information, visit the Memorex Fan Page on Facebook or Courtesy of ARA Content


July 2011

by Patricia Driscoll

We bought those colorful kid aprons at the Hobby Lobby for a few bucks each and we found paper chef hats by the dozen through the Oriental Trading Company. They also have aprons by the dozen for cheaper than the Hobby Lobby- but they were out of stock when we needed them.

Today, we celebrated our daughter's 4th birthday at The Healthy Dish. It was a fantastic time and the kids really enjoyed it. My daughter had chosen what I thought was a super-cool theme of Dinosaurs and Fossils. After loading our cart at Party City with dino-themed items, and thankfully just before paying, she informed me that she actualy wanted a DinosaurFairy theme. That was going to be too hard to explain to my logical friends, so we re-entered negotiations. We shook hands on The Princess and the Frog.

Patricia Driscoll writes from Laredo, where she lives happily with her husband, two children, two cats, a millipede, three hermit crabs and the occasional domesticated scorpion

You can have The Healthy Dish provide aprons and hats but that is factored into the party cost.

I met with the Healthy Dish Cooking Team: Luis, Herlien and Paulina Andrade to discuss the details. They hadn't ever done a cooking party before. They offer weekly kids cooking classes where children come in twice a week fo two hours, wear aprons and chef hats, cook and maintain their own recipe binders. This party business was a new service and I agreed to be their guinea pig. All experiments should end so well.

We all showed up an hour early and decorated the room. You'll notice that the room appears small in the photos. Healthy Dish can accomodate up to 12 children at a time, but no more. This facility is made for cozy parties. The good thing is that the children spend most of their time at the tables unless they are washing their hands between tasks, so the limited floor space is not an issue when they are all focused on squeezing cream cheese from a tube, cutting a strawberry, or cutting out shapes.

I explained that we wanted to do a Princess and the Frog themed party and that we had a kids cookbook with New Orleans-inspired recipes. We looked through the book together and settled on cute sandwich cut-outs, mint juleps to drink and froggy cupcakes. Herlien had some ideas about how to make the recipes more fun- instead of PB&J blossom cut-outs, the kids used turkey and cheese and colored cream cheese; instead of mint lemon juleps, the kids made a similar drink but using strawberries and limesThey provided me with printouts of the recipes we selected to use as favors for the gift bags- We rolled them like scrolls and put them into the brown paper bags (yes, I used brown paper bags, why not? They are recyclable!)

Once the kids started mixing the batter, breaking eggs and cutting out bread shapes, their focus was on! First, the kids prepared the batter for the froggy cupcakes that needed to bake while we made our tea sandwiches:


July 2011

Finally, we decorated our cupcakes! The kids mixed the food coloring and frosting together in the little bags, snipped the ends and made their little frogs with gummy candies.

At the end of the party, we brought out a small cake I baked the night before and lit the little candles- We sang the Happy Birthday Song to my little girl and then handed out party favors to guests as their parents came to pick them up. This was a wonderful partyIt's a party I'd do again in a heartbeat.

Then, the kids started to assemble their sandwiches. First, they used cookie cutters to cut shapes in cheese slices. Then, they cut shapes from the bread and turkey.

The only other learning point I can pass on from this experience is to pay attention to the signage throughout the kitchen. Underneath Herlien's workstation were two plastic bins, one labeled "Arroz" and the other "Beans". I'm not sure why I thought they may have actually meant "Trash", but I routinely threw away things into the "Beans" bin throughout the party. Toward the end of the party, Luis informed me that I had been throwing away popped balloons and soppy paper-towels into their bean reserve. I was, like, "You mean that the bin labeled "BEANS" really contains beans?" Shocking. I know. Hey, kids parties are stressful. Cut me some slack.

Um, short note on Cookie Cutter Safety here. I noticed my daughter's cupcake-shaped perforations weren't as deep as they could be in her slices of white bread, so I gave her cookie cutter a good "THWAP!" to aid the bread incision. Don't do that. The blood-curdling scream she emitted informed us all that I had helped her cut more than just the bread. I had also managed to slice through her perfect porelain flesh. I am happy to report that, although the facility is small, the aisles are wide enough to enable a birthday toddler to flail up and down them, screaming and crying that her mother had just maimed her at her own birthday party. So-in short, be careful with those things. Anyway, we were able to finally stop the bleeding, and we returned to assembling our sandwiches...

So, if after reading this, you think you might be in the market to do your child's next birthday party at The Healthy Dish, here are a few pieces of advice I can offer:

1) This facility and service is best for kids four and older. 2) Three year olds need a lot more help (one instructor for 5 fouryear olds today versus one instructor for 2 three-year olds). 3) I don't recommend bringing two-year olds. 4) The facility is small so limit kids to 12 and the number of parents present to 3 (including parents of the birthday girl or boy). 5) Don't "THWAP" any cookie cutters. 6) Don't throw trash in their bean container. If you want to learn more, I encourage you to call Luis and Herlien at (956) 727-DISH. They are wonderful to work with! They are working on several menu options for people to choose a meal item, drink and dessert for the kids to make at a set price. I believe they are very reasonable. This was a grand experience. It's one my daughter won't forget- and we are so thrilled that The Healthy Dish put on such a great day for us and our guests! Happy Partying! The next culinary task was to make a twist on the Mint Juleps in our Princess Tiana Cookbook. They were delicious! Strawberries, lime, ginger ale, purified water, sugar and mint! mmmmmmmmmm!


July 2011

There's a reason families continue to cram the whole crew into the minivan and look forward to summer getaways. With everyone short on time, from PTA meetings to soccer games and everything in between, a family vacation is still the best way to soak up the time you have to share with your loved ones. The family vacation is something that creates lasting memories, and stories that get passed down the generational ladder.

Family Travel

But what is it that makes a family vacation so great? Reasons range from special attention given to each family member, to activities you all do together that bring you closer. Wherever you choose to travel, here are five ingredients that are sure to make your trip memorable for everyone. * Get active together. Choose an adventure the whole family can enjoy during your trip. Maybe it's seeing the area you're visiting by bicycle or horseback. Or perhaps there's a theme park nearby where you can all enjoy a thrill. Taking a unique class offered by the resort where you are staying or a nearby activity center can also be a great way to bond. Choosing a resort with family activities is a good idea if you like the simplicity of having everything in one place. * Give everyone the star treatment. Before you leave, make sure to ask all family members what types of things they'd like to do during your vacation and plan so everyone is considered. Try to stay somewhere that goes out of its way to make all family members feel welcome. For example, The American Club Resort in Kohler, Wis., has a special check-in for kids where they receive a gift package to enjoy during their stay. For a memorable vacation, get the family active together. At The American Club Resort, you can swim, hike and golf.

* Get outside. One of the best ways to enjoy a beautiful destination is to explore its natural areas. Taking a hike with the whole family can expose your children to the wonders of the outdoors, and they're sure to enjoy a natural experience that is different to what they would see at home. Also, a day at the beach is sure to be a hit with everyone. * Make time for alone time. If you're spending a whole week together, each family member will want some time for themselves to explore their own interests. Allow time for afternoon relaxation and consider designating one day for individual activity. The American Club Resort makes this easy for families by offering fun activities for children, while mom and dad take advantage of the down-time at the award-winning Kohler Waters Spa, shopping throughout the resort or just soaking up the sun. The resort offers golf and tennis lessons for kids, as well as arts and crafts and a minicamp for younger children. * Make meals special. Vacation is a great time to try new foods together. Whether you're grilling at your cabin, or dining at a familyfriendly establishment, encourage family members to branch out from their normal eating habits. If your vacation is long enough, let each family member have a night to pick what the family should do for dinner. Family vacations are truly memorable when each family member feels special and enjoys not only the shared activities, but has the choice to participate in individual activities that fit their interests. Whether that's being outdoors, adventuring into a new culinary territory or taking a few minutes to oneself, family vacations are most appreciated when the destination offers activities to fit everyone's interests. Making sure each person feels included in this summer's vacation ensures everyone will have stories to tell for years to come. Courtesy of ARA Content

Want your kids to feel special? When your family checks in at The American Club Resort, each child receives a gift package to enjoy during their stay.


July 2011

Being on a strict budget may mean making sacrifices along the way, but with a little smart planning - and shopping - your well-deserved vacation getaway need not be forsaken. The Internet, including online travel agencies, branded suppliers and other websites, is the leading source of travel information, surpassing referrals from friends and acquaintances and travel books, according a 2009 survey by the U.S. Travel Association. With so much information available at your fingertips, it's easy to plan ahead and manage your travel spending. Not only that, a wide range of travel coupons are available online to help trim costs even further. Follow these tips from the cost-conscious experts at to make your vacation dollars work hard for you. Accommodations: According to the U.S. Travel Association, lodging is the second highest source of travel spending in the country (second only to food). But your accommodations don't have to break the bank. First, consider what type of hotel will best suit your travel needs. Will your trip be filled with sightseeing, tours and excursions that keep you away from your room most of the time? Or do you prefer to spend a leisurely stay at the hotel, enjoying its onsite amenities and attractions? Depending on your preferences, you can allocate your spending to the elements that matter most. In other words, if exploring is on your agenda, save some cash by booking a lower-cost hotel with fewer amenities.

And never make an online purchase without checking first to see whether any discount codes are available to bring your price even lower.

Online tools will allow you to search by amenities, location and even by other travelers' ratings. Many sites offer hotel discounts, as well as tools to determine which arrival dates offer the best rates.

Car Rentals: Beware of extra expenses with the add-ons, taxes and fees. Whenever possible, return the car with a full tank of gas. Know that airport car rentals are at a premium. If you can arrange for other transportation - such as a hotel shuttle - look for rental locations near, or even at, your hotel that are likely more competitively priced.

Flights: Pack light. Most airlines now charge for checked baggage, and extra fees apply if you exceed quantity and weight limits. Remember, you'll have to double those fees if you want to return home with your luggage.

Be sure to try variations in your pick-up and drop-off dates and times. Even minor alterations can impact your price, for example, taking you out of the daily rate and into weekend pricing.

Start early and do your homework. Several services are available that help you compare rates, as well as the number of stops and travel schedules, side by side. You'll get better rates booking well in advance.

Vacation Packages: Numerous airlines and travel sites offer vacation packages with myriad features. Flights and car rental, car rental and hotel, all three - you name it. In addition to discounts on the key elements of the package, many also offer steeply discounted - or even free - add-ons such as entertainment tickets or meal vouchers. For the best deals, look for last-minute packages, where prices have been slashed to help fill vacancies, or for off-season destinations. To find more travel savvy tips and savings, visit

Content courtesy of Family Features


July 2011

By Gretchen Otto Pimentel

Green Living

Five of the most important things you can do for your child: All low cost or even FREE! Recently a friend was lamenting about the high cost of private preschool. She is willing to make the necessary sacrifices to insure her children’s future well being, as many of us are.

The Book Nook is located in downtown Laredo. First United Methodist Church and the public library here also have regular sales.

But in an analysis of the cost benefit of those expenditures, it occurred to me that there were perhaps many lower cost alternatives that may even have an even *greater* benefit than preschool to a child’s future success in education and overall well being.

Once the books are acquired, obviously, set aside periods of family reading time. Be a good example and always let your child see you read yourself. Join a book club if you need a kick start!

In no particular, order, here are five things every parent can do to help ensure their child’s success:

Get happy, especially in your marriage A stable home environment will help your child thrive in education and in life. This starts with your primary partnership. Decide to be happy. Even when it is hard.

Talk to your child Talk about anything. About nothing. Use worlds both big and small. Tell stories. Describe the world around you. It doesn’t matter. Just TALK TALK TALK!!!!

Strive to continuously do kind things for your spouse. Tell your spouse how much you love them. Embrace regularly, especially in front of the children. They will take great comfort in the fact that you love each other and they can count on you to provide them with happiness, optimism, and stability. They will worry less and be free to concentrate on the important business of growing up.

Some research suggests that the number of WORDS children hear correlates with their success in academics and overall achievement.

This activity is not only FREE, but will benefit you in an incredible number of ways. When your spouse feels loved ad appreciated, it is likely that he or she will reciprocate as well. So this tip makes everyone happy!

So even before they can talk back, start that conversation…and never let it end! Using a baby carrier to keep your baby very close to you can even enhance the opportunities for more conversation. And when they are older, keep that conversation going!

One of my favorite essays on this subject is from Art Moore, hosted on All Pro Dad: The piece links marital happiness to kids future success.

Acquire more books A recent study has suggested that the more books found in the home, the better educational advantage of the children who live there:

Eat family dinner together Studies of family dinner behavior have revealed a host of benefits to regular family dinners. In addition to healthier eating, those benefits have included better language skills and better grades in school: blogposts/2011/04/05/eat-dinner-as-a-family/

Make the effort to sit down with your family and eat dinner together as often as possible, preferably every night. Take the time to engage in lively conversation. It is best to not use electronic devices and/or watch television for the best results. This will be a precious gift to your family and the memories will last a lifetime. You will never regret it.

This objective can be accomplished with extremely minimal expense. Quality books can be inexpensive with a few creative acquisition strategies. Rummage/garage/yard sales are a great source for books. You can often bargain for a low price for a whole box. Many libraries have used book sales, often by ―friends of the library‖ or other similar organizations.

Get them involved in music Numerous studies have shown participation in music to enhance learning ability:

It is a good idea to let friends, family and neighbors know that you are trying to expand your library of childrens books. They may have extras that they are looking to get rid of, as their kids outgrown them. Churches often have used book sales. You might suggest one at your Church. It can be a great fundraiser. Charity thrift shops can be another good source. If relatives or friends inquire about gifts for your children, feel free to let them know what books they like.

There are numerous ways to save money and still encourage music education and appreciation. You can often rent instruments or buy used. Craigslist can be a good source for used instruments, including pianos. Relatives sometimes have free instruments to give away. You can seek budget lessons from an older high school or college piano students for your beginners . There are also some relatively inexpensive self learning options with CDs and books.

Set up a book swap among a group you belong to. You can all bring of box of books your child has outgrown or no longer wants, and people who need them can take what they wish.

A local musician once told me to get them started early in making instruments of typical household items. Help them practice simple rhythms and simple songs while banging on the pots and pans, etc to nurture this gift.

If you live in Laredo, Texas, the Laredo Center for the Arts operates a fabulous used book store.

Gretchen Otto Pimentel, “Mrs. Green,” is a Laredo resident and freelance author. She is currently on hiatus from her legal career while at home with her young children. She enjoys researching and writing on family budgeting with a focus on choices that benefit the planet.

We wish you and your children much success in your parenting journey! 12

July 2011

For modern families, being eco-friendly can be a big priority. That's why it's important to plant the recycling seeds in children early so their love for the environment grows as they do. However, because students spend significant hours in the classroom, teachers must partner with parents to develop habits that are relevant at home as well as at school. The United States generated more than 243 million tons of material waste in 2009, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. However, Americans recycled only 34 percent of that waste. Statistics such as these present ample opportunities for teachers and parents to implement recycling programs through which young children can make real contributions to saving the planet. Here are a few tips to get started: Find the right program Getting your family or children signed up in a recycling program often helps make learning more fun. Elmer's Products has developed the Elmer's Glue Crew Recycling Program as a resource for helping teach children how to show the planet some TLC. The program provides parents and teachers with helpful recycling-related lessons as well as hands-on projects to keep kids excited about recycling in their daily lives. Additionally, it ensures the plastic that glue bottles and sticks are made of is delivered to the type of facility that can recycle them, making sure they stay out of landfills. Reduce paper use New information is thrown at children everyday - often times in the form of sheets of paper. While using recycled paper is good, the added communications can pile up. Teach children to print only if absolutely necessary. Instilling selective printing habits in children early will cut back on paper waste and foster environmental awareness for the long-term. Divide and conquer The Environmental Protection Agency estimated that more than 30 million tons of plastic waste was generated in 2009 alone. Rather than having one universal trash bin, teach children to separate their waste across various recycling bins. Creating separate bins for materials - such as paper and plastic - will get children in the habit of sorting waste so they can recycle both at home and at school. To help parents and teachers ensure the recycling message stays relevant and fresh, companies like Elmer's have setup online resources at and so users can find new activity ideas and share success stories. Content courtesy of ARA


July 2011

Kid Safety

When it's time to get the kids ready for sports practice or the big game, there's one piece of equipment that should always be included - protective eyewear. Sports-related eye injuries are more common than you might think, and kids are particularly vulnerable. Balls, bats, racquets and contact with other players can cause temporary injuries as well as long-term vision problems - even cataracts and blindness. Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of sports-related eye injuries happen to those younger than 25, while approximately 43 percent occur in children younger than 15, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. But the American Academy of Ophthalmology says that 90 percent of serious eye injuries are preventable through use of appropriate protective eyewear.

Some eye guards come with an anti-fog coating, or side vents to prevent fogging. Try on different types to figure out which will work best for your child.

Kids grow quickly, so check the fit of your child's protective eyewear at least once a year, more often if he or she has had a growth spurt.

Each sport has specific requirements for eye protection. Check the packaging to make sure the product you select has been tested for use in your child's sport. These requirements are established and certified by each sport's governing body and/or the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

The eye-safety standards by sport are:

ASTM F803: Eye protectors for selected sports (racket sports, women's lacrosse, field hockey, baseball, basketball)

ASTM F513: Eye and face protective equipment for hockey players

ASTM F1776: Eye protectors for use by players of paintball sports

ASTM F1587: Head and face protective equipment for ice hockey goaltenders

ASTM F910: Face guards for youth baseball

What You Need to Know Regular eyeglasses and sunglasses are not enough. They aren't strong enough to stand up to hard blows or fast-flying objects. Ameritas Group, a leading provider of dental, eye care and hearing care plans, offers these tips for choosing the right eyewear and protecting your child's vision:

If your child wears prescription eyeglasses, ask your eye doctor to fit your child with prescription eye guards.

Eye guards with polycarbonate lenses are the most impact resistant, so be sure you know what you're buying.

Choose protective eyewear with wraparound frames to help protect the eyes from all sides.

Make sure protective eyewear fits properly. Most come with an adjustable strap to accommodate growth. If frames are too large, they won't provide enough protection and could obstruct peripheral vision. If they are too small, they can be uncomfortable and make it too tempting to leave them off.

In these photos: E.J. and Christian Coronado


July 2011

Allergy season can have your children huddling inside the house with runny noses, itchy eyes and heavy sneezing. It's a sight no parent wants to see since this is the time of year the weather makes children want to play outside. "Preventing or reducing allergy symptoms is entirely possible if you avoid your allergy triggers and work with your doctor to treat the symptoms," says Dr. Tanya Remer Altmann, mother, pediatrician and author. "No parent wants to keep an active child indoors when the sun is shining and everyone is outside," Altmann says. "And, no parent wants to see her child feeling miserable. There are plenty of ways to help your children enjoy the summer months and still reduce allergy symptoms like sneezing and itchy, runny noses." "Dr. Tanya," as she is known on the "Today" show and through her blog, provides the following tips to help your children keep allergy symptoms at bay so they'll be outside in no time.

During the peak allergy season, enjoy indoor activities, such as museums, libraries or indoor play areas.

Runny noses can become sore very quickly, so use a lotioned tissue like Puffs Plus with Lotion to help prevent and reduce tenderness. In addition to soothing your children's noses, teach them to blow their noses correctly. Ask your child to blow as if they were blowing out a candle through their nose with their mouth closed. This visual will help your child to remember to blow gently, which is key.

Keep your car and home windows closed to help keep airborne pollens away.

Minimize playtime outside early in the day when pollen counts are highest. Have your children plan indoor activities during the earlier hours, and schedule any outdoor sporting activities later in the day.

Teach your children to wash their hands and faces after playing outside. Many experts advise teaching children to sing the ABC song, or "Row Your Boat" to help them understand how long they need to keep the soap and water on their hands to get them thoroughly cleaned. You can also have them take a shower - washing their hair - and put on clean clothes after coming in from the outdoors. This is especially important to do before bedtime.

If your child has been diagnosed with specific allergies, consider placing a High Efficiency Particulate Arrestor (HEPA) air filter in their bedroom to help them sleep more comfortably at night.

With your children's allergy symptoms prevented or reduced, you and your children can get outside and enjoy the warm temperatures in the great outdoors. For additional helpful advice on allergies and prevention tips, visit


July 2011

In this activity, you’ll make a ―bee hummer‖—a toy that sounds like a swarm of buzzing bees when you spin it around.


What Do I Need?

a Popsicle stick or craft stick


cap erasers

index card



a wide rubber band (about 1/4 inch wide) that’s long enough to stretch lengthwise around the Popsicle stick (e.g., #64 rubber band)

What Do I Do? 1.

Put a cap eraser on each end of the Popsicle stick.


Trim an index card (about a quarter of it) so it fits in the space between the two erasers on the Popsicle stick.


Staple the card to the Popsicle stick.


Cut enough string—about two feet—to safely swing the card.


Tie the string next to one eraser; make several knots so it’s secure.


Stretch the rubber band around the Popsicle stick from one eraser to the other, and make sure it’s snugly in place.


Swing the bee hummer. You should hear a sound like bees buzzing.

Imaginarium of South Texas  a place for curiosity and creativity 


July 2011

Repurposed Crafts

Paper Pals This is the challenge: using only a paper roll tube and scissors, cut out a shape of something, like a shark, dog, cat, chair anything you can think of.

Do not use any glue or tape.

Do not add, just delete.

Use a marker for details.

This is good practice for observation skills: concentrate on the shape you are cutting out (little squares, etc) to form the object you want. Victoria Ortega, is an Art Education Consultant and owner of Open Art Studio. She likes to teach children to reuse objects, be resourceful, and be creative. She believes childhood art should be a special time to imagine, illustrate, invent, improvise,

This one has two sides. On one side there is a cat lying down (then we flip it over) and on the other side we have a flying pig.

and inspire. 17

July 2011

Every month, we celebrate women in business. Mom-preneurs, who in spite the difficulties and challenges of family life, they follow their passion by operating their own unique business.

Introducing Felt from the Heart The Business: ―Felt from the Heart‖ is just a creative and innovating idea, where I can share my projects and continuously post new content that is sure to inspire you!! All felt products are handmade, like key chains, door wreaths, home decorating items, hair accessories, party favors and much more !! After working non-stop for 15 years, I found myself at home with my 4 month-old twin boys and pregnant again !! Sounds like a lot of work, and it was, but still, I ―felt‖ like I had to do something to distract myself. Since I couldn’t go anywhere, I started to find that working with felt was a great distraction. I remember always getting compliments from my oldest daughter’s teachers. ―You’re always very creative with your daughter’s projects, you should teach how to do them and sell them‖, they would tell me. Challenges & Rewards: Free time has always being an issue in my life. Being a full-time wife, mother of 4 kids and also having a full-time job, there is no free time, at all. But whenever I have a chance, there is always a project in mind. It’s always great to get compliments on your work from people that like what you do. A handmade gift is appreciated for the meaning and uniqueness of it.

Felt From the Heart Claudia Cavazos Facebook: Felt From the Heart

Introducing The Blissful Boutique The Business: I began sewing quilts for the children in my family and I was hooked! I soon found myself looking for other items to make: baby and toddler blankets, aprons, burp cloths, and any other projects that caught my eye. I'm always baking for my family, friends, or co-workers. My baked items are those that have been tastetested and "family-approved" (nothing goes without their thumbs-up). They include year-round items - such as my signature Loaded Brownie - as well as seasonal items that partner well with the weather - key lime pie is now available for those hot summer days! I decided to start my own business because I wanted to use my creative outlets to provide quality hand-made items for others. I am a huge fan of hand-made products because of the dedication to quality by the crafter. Since I support hand-made products, I know what it feels like to purchase an item that was made especially for you! Challenges & Rewards: I work full-time and I am a full-time mom, so having a business of my own in itself is a challenge. But I love challenges because facing them becomes a learning process and an opportunity for growth. It is so rewarding when I finish a product and it's ready for delivery. It is such an awesome feeling knowing that someone will enjoy something that I have created from scratch! The Blissful Boutique Jacqueline Villanueva Phone: (956) 206-4106 E-Mail: Facebook: The Blissful Boutique Website:


July 2011

Mini-Interview 




What inspired you to write the book? In 1998, I wrote in my journal that there needed to be a verb that describes what dads do every day, like there is for mothers, and I chose "daddin'." I guess there were many reasons. I hold a lot of affection in the term "dad," because that is what I called my father. Also, in 1998, my sons were 17, 13 and 6--by those ages I had seen and experienced a lot of different types of interactions that showed clearly the beautiful range of states of being and actions involved with being a dad. A verb is a state of being or an action. Dads needed their own verb. How did you get your start in writing? My first professional writing was for a small, weekly newspaper in the southwest area of Houston. I was about 22 at the time. As for writing generally, I got hooked on writing with a specific assignment in class in seventh or eighth grade, and I fell in love with writing freshman year in high school. If you mean, how did I get started writing the book, it began fairly naturally as I wrote snippets and thoughts about the boys, and that led to stories and soon I had a variety of pieces. I looked to those and the keepsakes I kept in my "daddin'" cardboard box for the inspiration and guidance for the book. What is your favorite part of the book? Oh, that's not fair!! I really do love them all, and sometimes I will pick up the book, open to a random page and read to reminisce. I'm going to be a brat about this answer. My favorite part is the photo on the back cover because it captures the motivation for everything between the covers. What was the hardest part of the book to write? Leavin', without a doubt, because I had to confront the pain and sadness of losing my dad, and of having to decide what to do about separation from the family that led to divorce. What are your future projects? I am working on a couple more photography books (I have published four, so far) and am outlining a book that will be based on my workshops titled Memories to Memoirs. The book will be a guide to help others reconstruct their memories and go through the writing steps to make memoirs. I will be interviewed on July 7 by Authors Access on how this process can help writers of all types. Anything else you would like to add? The book is, above all, a tribute to the humanity and genuineness of my parents and my sons. I learned how to be a dad by the things that both my mom and dad did over the years, and of the stories they shared; and I applied what I learned as I grew to be a dad over the years with my sons. It is all a very human endeavor, never perfect, and we need to be accepting of the imperfections in the processes of parenting and in growing up.


July 2011

How did Dance Expressions get its start?

How long has Dance Expressions been in business?

My mother , sister, and I , all had dance training while we were growing up. We had always been involved in performing and costuming, and always had a love and appreciation for the great musicals, music, and the arts. It seemed only natural to share our passion and knowledge for dancing with others. We converted our garage into a functional dance studio, and began with a few students from the Hillside and Northside subdivisions.

Dance Expressions has been in operation since the 80's, and Laredo Ballet Theatre began in 1989 with it's first production of the Nutcracker in Laredo, Texas.


How did you enter the dancing world? My mother enrolled my sister and I into dance lessons from a very early age. She completely immersed us into every aspect of theater, music, costuming, competing and performing and dance training. We continued our formal dance training, private lessons, seminars, and workshops to enhance our dance studies. We expanded our knowledge into the different dance genres in order to be able to teach in those areas. Cheryl received her state certification in Dance in Abilene and in Austin Texas. I received my BA in Dance from Austin, Texas, and later became state certified . What is the goal or mission of Dance Expressions?

How many recitals per year and how are the classes structured? We have two performances during the year, our Winter performance of Nutcracker, and the end of the year dance recital in June. The classes are structured by age groups, and dance areas of study. All classes are divided by dance levels according to age and ability. What do you hope your students learn (other than dance) when they finish their training at Dance Expressions? Dance Expressions , "The Official School of The Laredo Ballet Theatre" wants for every student to acquire a great appreciation for dance and performing arts, and to learn and apply every aspect of classroom and performance etiquette with the greatest of professionalism.

For further information and registration one may call (956) 7245330.

The goal of Dance Expressions is to provide the student with valuable dance technique that is needed in order to be able to obtain the knowledge and skills to perform at an advanced level, if he or she chooses to do so. The mission of Laredo Ballet Theatre is to provide classical ballet training in the Russian style method, which is a highly disciplined form of training. Our mission is to preserve the original choreography of the world's greatest classical ballets; Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, and others. What type of dance is the forte of Dance Expressions? Classical Ballet is the forte of Dance Expressions. How is Dance Expressions involved with Laredo Ballet Theater? The Laredo Ballet Theatre is a special performance group consisting of students who receive their dance training at Dance Expressions. Only the upper level Ballet students are accepted into LBT, and are selected to perform the different roles in the full-length classical ballets. How does your teaching differ from other dance schools? Our studio provides the students with the knowledge and training skills in the upper division levels of dance technique . The student has many performance opportunities, as well as guidance and the training to be able to successfully audition and to get accepted into prestigious dance companies and schools throughout the country and abroad.


July 2011

Photos by 21

July 2011

Laredo Sportswire


July 2011

There was a lot of passion, talent and skills on the soccer pitch this weekend. No, I'm not talking about the Champions League Final or the Major League Soccer games on TV but the playoffs and championship games of the United High School Soccer League for elementary students. There were 28 teams divided into three divisions of U-7, U-9 and U-11 as boys and girls could play together on those teams as 7 on 7 game format. All the teams had to be from the same elementary school to ensure or better to instill that school pride that is so relevant at the higher education level. These games were the culmination of a regular season that lasted two months and had the teams play twice a week. This weekend games were played at the United High School 9th Grade Campus to a great multitude of parents,family members, soccer aficionados and the soccer guru himself. United High School Boys Soccer Head Coach Mario Gonzalez has been the organizer of this elementary soccer league the last three seasons, which has always grown more and more with every season. Gonzalez, who himself is a product of the local soccer leagues, noticed a lack of school-themed soccer league for elementary students. Gonzalez had coached the Clark Middle School Huskies several championships in the Boys & Girls Basketball League for several years so he thought that it would be a great way get the young kids exposed to the game he loves. Gonzalez uses this league as a fundraiser with the proceeds going to the school activity fund to help pay for travel, uniforms, equipment and training videos of the United Longhorns Soccer team. Several of his high school soccer players serve as referees and volunteers to help with rules, techniques or advice for these young superstars of soccer. The volunteer hours count as community service towards several school clubs such as National Honor Society and others. Gonzalez also has his assistant coaches help

out with coaching techniques and soccer tactics to help the coaches better train the students.

frame but quick feet got him creating havoc whenever he touched the ball. He was constantly pressuring the ball or directing his team's offense with great calmness and great vision. There are some things you cannot teach but are within that person to rise above all else when the time calls. Rocha's ability to completely take over the game and have that smooth ,cool confidence reminded the soccer guru of one such diminutive Argentine forward that is the best player in the world right now. Rocha got several shots on goal that Nye goalkeeper Octavio Santos had to dive to preserve his team's small lead. The Benavides team following their leader Rocha were going all out to get that equalizing goal.

The soccer guru got to the soccer fields and was not only amazed with the quantity of people there to watch the games but the quality of play on the field. These were young kids already doing set plays, running offensive schemes and playing well above their age level. You already saw the components of the teams with its "hustle" guy, its "role player", its "playmaker", its "enforcer" and its "superstar". They looked just as good as middle school programs and even several JV programs as well. The games were also just as passionate and exciting as those we are so accustomed on the high school division and the professional games. The most intriguing match-up of the night was the U-11 championship featuring Nye Elementary coached by Fausto Garcia vs Colonel Santos Benavides Elementary coached by Jorge Rocha. Both these coaches had their teams physically fit and mentally ready for the great showdown.

All that pressure from the Benavides team was starting to take its toll on the Nye defense. When the pressure mounts , mistakes tend to happen and that sometimes decides championships. That miscue came in the form of a handball in the Nye goal area that the referee awarded a shot from the penalty spot. What ensued from the penalty kick was not only amazing but a glimpse of greatness in the making or better yet...the birth of a legend. Diego Rocha calmly placed the ball on the penalty spot with all the hopes of his family, his school and his team on his small shoulders but did not let them down as he rifled a shot past the goalkeeper to tie up the game 1-1 in the game closing minutes. Cool, calm and confident makes for a very deadly soccer combination and Rocha epitomizes those qualities. So into overtime we go. The overtime was not the Espinoza show or the Rocha show but the goalkeepers show. Both goalkeepers made several diving saves that even left the fans bases of both schools applauding their efforts. One of those plays had Benavides’ goalkeeper Brendis, take on the imposing Espinoza on a physical showdown that Brendis got the better of and he also got ball. Nye goalkeeper Santos not to be outdone made several one -on-one saves against Rocha to conserve the tie.

The Nye team scored first off a throw-in that caught the defense a little off guard to the delight of the Nye faithful. Nye player Alejandro Espinoza, a tall and imposing player, made a beautiful cut between defenders and rocketed a shot past the outstretched hands of Benavides goalkeeper Sebastian Brendis for the 1-0 lead. The Nye team not letting on the pressure kept possession of the ball to frustrate the Benavides team. Espinoza was once again the "go to guy" as he was creating shots for his team and himself with great ease and strength. Espinoza was unstoppable but Benavides goalkeeper Brendis made several key saves to keep the score the same. The Nye team was more passionate and hard working but heart can only take you so far. The Benavides team started to look to their own superstar Diego Rocha to take over just when it seemed that momentum was favoring the Nye team. Rocha, the complete opposite of Espinoza, small 23

Both goalkeepers were doing their job but would have their school's fate in their gloves as we headed into penalties. The next round of overtime were the dreaded penalties that have had even World Cup greats like Italy's Roberto Baggio, Mexico's Beto Garcia Aspe, England's David Beckham and even Argentina's Diego Armando Maradona have missed in the game’s biggest stage. These kids weren't in the World Cup but this IS their World Cup as far as they are concerned. The best out of three strikes were being taken with the goalies making several big saves. Rocha and Espinoza both had their kicks stopped as the goalies put on their superman cape to make world class saves against great pressure. The Benavides team made their penalty strike in sudden death that gave them the advantage. The next kick was being taken by Nye. The shot came and Brendis stopped on the line to seal the win and get the championship for Col. Santos Benavides. The Benavides team mobbed goalkeeper Sebastian Brendis as they jumped on him celebrating just like the pros. Col. Santos Benavides win 1(2) - 1(1) versus Nye Elementary. Benavides player Diego "Messi" Rocha was given Championship MVP honors. The soccer guru proceeded to get comments from both coaches as to their thoughts on the games. Nye Coach Fausto Garcia said he was proud of his team's performance and that he was glad that they left it all on the field. He said he was glad to see his team's progression to reach a final against a very good Benavides team. The soccer guru asked Benavides’ Coach Jorge Rocha, his thoughts which were that he was extremely proud of how the team did not get down on themselves when they were down and confided in each other to get the victory. He lauded the play of his goalkeeper Brendis in his team's great time of need and also thanked the parents of his team for their support... Read more at

July 2011


July 2011

July 2011  

Summer safety

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