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Family First How to find more time for family

Living Small How families can manage cramped quarters

Frugal Fun

Inexpensive activities the whole family can enjoy

Late Summer 2016

VOL. 5, NO. 4

Sharing the joy of



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LATE SUMMER 2016 VOL. 5, NO. 4

Neighborhood Publications LLC 9337 Spring Cypress Road, Suite #205 Spring, Texas 77379 Editor Leanne Donelson Head Writer Candy Cruz

Assistant Editor Candy Cruz


Contributing Writers Candy Cruz, Josh Arcemont

How families can cut screen time


How families can get up and go


Inexpensive activities the whole family can enjoy


How to find more time for family


How to help kids get into golf


3 ways families can reduce everyday expenses


Did you know?


Cut costs at the grocery store


How families can manage cramped quarters


College saving suggestions that won’t break the bank




Make weeknight meals healthy and simple


Simplify flying with babies in tow


Top ways you might be wasting your money


Budget-friendly family vacation tips


Help kids feel comfortable at the dentist


Warning signs of childhood vision problems


How to childhood your home


How kids can help out around the house


How to prepare a home for elderly residents

Social Media Editor Madi Wheeler Graphics Photography Mike Reeves Audree Garcia, Kellie Cataldo Publisher Neighborhood Publications

If you would like to advertise or want information about us, please call (281) 401-9143 or email: With Summer in full swing: attending day camps, other summer programs, and eagerly waiting for school to start can be very stressful. During this transition time, every family faces different challenges. Your kids may complain about being bored after a summer of fun, or perhaps you have a child starting high school or going away to college. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed during this busy transition. Fortunately, there are practical skills like communication and planning that you can use to help you manage this in-between time. By making your family a priority, you can help your whole family navigate this unpredictable period and savor what’s left of the summer. Plus, if you make the effort to spend some extra time with your family, you’ll find yourself at summer’s finish line before you know it and you may even wish that it lasted longer. Thank You, Leanne Donelson DISCLAIMER: All articles, information, website addresses and cartoons in this publication express the opinions of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Neighborhood Publications LLC or its employees.  Neighborhood Publications LLC is not responsible for the accuracy of any facts stated in articles, information website address and cartoons submitted by others. The Publisher Neighborhood Publications also assumes no responsibility for the advertising content with this publication and ad warranties, representations and endorsements made in the advertising content are solely that of the advertiser and any such claims regarding it’s content should be taken up with the advertiser. Neighborhood Publications LLC disclaims and denies any and all liability, therefore The publisher Neighborhood Publications LLC assumes no liability with regard to its advertisers for misprints or failure to place advertising in this publication except for the actual cost of such advertising. Although every effort is taken to avoid mistakes and /or misprints in this publication, the publisher assumes no responsibility for any errors of information or typographical mistakes. Under no circumstances shall the publisher be held liable for incidental or consequential damages, inconvenience, loss of business or services, or any other liabilities from failure to publish, or from failure to publish on a timely manner. This is not an official publication of your particular subdivision, (although we print more interesting information and take better photos) and your particular subdivision does not endorse, affiliate or associate itself or its affiliates with this publication. Neighborhood Publications and it’s Associate Publications/Business Interest, whether business or person, do not accept any assumed benefit of the QR Bar Code Readers/Bar Codes, etc. published in any of Neighborhood Publications/Great Local Families Magazine or it’s affiliate publications whether in print or electronic. The publisher is not liable for ANY DAMAGES for failure of the Post Office to deliver the magazine in a timely manner, so long as the publisher has delivered the magazine to said delivery point by the contracted date. All articles and photos in this publication are copyrighted. PUBLISHED BY: Neighborhood Publications, 9337 Spring Cypress Road, Suite 205, Spring, Texas 77379.

4 Neighborhood Publications Late Summer 2016

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CALENDAR OF EVENTS Kids 1st Saturday Recurring monthly on the 1st The Breakfast Klub 3711 Travis St., Houston, TX 77002 (713) 524-9901 10 am – 2 pm They have a moonwalk so the kids can bounce around, a face painter, arts & crafts, and from time-to-time live entertainment to keep your little ones entertained for hours. Mid Main First Thursday Recurring monthly on the 1st Thursday Mid Main Art Garden 1015 Winbern, Houston, TX 77002 (832) 819-BIKE 6:00 to 10:30 pm Admission: $5 Celebrate the First Thursday of every month with an outdoor market in Winbern Street, live music, art shows, tasty drinks and appetizer specials. Mid Main benefits a different local charity each First Thursday of the month. Open Hangar - WWII Aircraft and Museum Recurring monthly on the 1st West Houston Airport 18000 Groschke Rd., Houston, TX 77084 (281) 579-2131 10:00 am - 3:00 pm The Houston Wing of the Commemorative Air Force invites you and your family, friends or group to visit our Hangar and tour our WWII Aircraft and WWII Museum on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month. Get up close to our Wing’s 5 flyable WWII military aircraft. Go inside a WWII Paratroop aircraft and climb into the cockpit of a WWII trainer. BASF Kids Lab May 30 - September 5, 2016 Recurring weekly on Monday Children’s Museum Of Houston 1500 Binz Street, Houston, TX 77004 Admission: $12 for Children and Adults; $11 for Seniors Explore chemistry through engaging experiments and demonstrations and learn how and why some of the world’s marvels work. Houston Fire Department Appreciation Day July 19, 2016 Dave & Buster’s 6010 Richmond Avenue, Houston, TX 77057 Contact: Alice Smith (713) 346-0707 11:00 am to 10:00 pm Admission: Free for all Firefighters, First Responders & their families The Fourth Annual Houston Fire Department Appreciation Day July 19th! All HFD fire fighters and first responders, along with their families, will enjoy a visit to Dave & Buster’s for FREE - free game play and free food!

BCO Stand Up Paddleboard Lessons July 24, 2016 288 Lake, 4800 Schurmier, Houston, TX 77048 (713) 524-3567 2:00 to 5:00 pm Admission: $27 Get wet in the cool, spring-fed waters of 288 Lakes, easy access off 288 and South Sam Houston Tollway. It’s a full body workout, but so much fun you won’t even notice you are working out!

Bikes, Bats, Brews & Bcycles - all on Buffalo Bayou! July 22, 2016 Meet At Fonde Community Center’s Parking Lot 110 Sabine St., Houston, TX 77007 (713) 524-3567 7:15 to 10:30 pm Admission: Free Join Bayou City Outdoors as we lead the group for an easy 6 – 8 mile ride stopping for about 30 minutes to watch the bats pour out and then onto to downtown for the adventurous. We’ll stop at a local watering hole and be back by 10:30. Brick and Block July 23, 2016 Children’s Museum Of Houston 1500 Binz Street, Houston, TX 77004 Admission: $12 for Children and Adults; $11 for Seniors Mind-blowing lineup of Minecraft and Lego activities to provide your family with the ultimate building experience. Bring your camera. Houston World Series of Dog Shows July 20 - 24, 2016 NRG Center – 8400 Kirby Drive, Houston (281) 536-0528 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Admission: $15 - adults; $10 - seniors 55+; $10 - active/retired military personnel and family with ID; FREE - children 12 and younger with adult Celebrating its 39th year with more than 12,000 entries and 40,000 visitors and participants, it is one of the largest events of its kind. 150th Anniversary Commemoration of the Buffalo Soldiers July 28 - 30, 2016 Recurring daily Buffalo Soldiers National Museum 2900 Briarpark Drive, Houston, TX 77042 The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum will commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the Buffalo Soldiers throughout 2016 with special programming that is free to the public.

6 Neighborhood Publications Late Summer 2016

Houston Shakespeare Festival July 29 - August 7, 2016 Recurring daily Miller Outdoor Theatre 6000 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, TX 77030 Times: 8:30 pm from July 29 to August 7 The Houston Shakespeare Festival, a professional project of the University of Houston, is a two-week event where you can catch performances of Shakespeare’s Henry V and Much Ado About Nothing depending on the night. Spider String Showdown August 6, 2016 Children’s Museum Of Houston 1500 Binz Street, Houston, TX 77004 Times: 11:00 am to 3:00 pm Admission: $12 for Children and Adults; $11 for Seniors The Children’s Museum of Houston will get tangled in a web of excitement during a SpiderMan celebration, which includes interactive activities, a Spider-Man appearance and a Web Sling Showdown! You, along with 79-kids will have the opportunity to participate in the Showdown from 11 am to 3 pm Sign-up is on site from 10 am to noon The Mystical Arts of Tibet Featuring the Tibetan Monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery August 18 - 21, 2016 Recurring daily Asia Society Texas Center 1370 Southmore Boulevard, Houston, TX 77004 Times: 12:00 to 6:00 pm Admission: Free Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery will construct a mandala sand painting and perform special ceremonies. During this ritual, millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place in order to purify and heal the environment and its inhabitants. Meet Curious George August 27 - 28, 2016 Recurring daily Children’s Museum Of Houston 1500 Binz Street, Houston, TX 77004 Admission: $12 for Children and Adults; $11 for Seniors We’re not monkeying around! Visit with Curious George as he swings by the Children’s Museum of Houston. Don’t forget your camera for this special appearance.

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OFF How families


can cut screen time

o matter where you look, screens are everywhere. The proliferation of easily portable tablets and smart-0phones means many people, adults and children alike, are never too far from the nearest screen. While that accessibility has dramatically changed the way many people live their lives, excessive exposure to screen time can produce a host of unwanted side effects. Spending significant time being sedentary and staring at screens can increase children and adults’ risks for cardiovascular disease. An Australian study published in the December 2012 issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that, compared with persons who watch no television, those who spend a lifetime average of six hours per day watching television can expect to live 4.8 fewer years. So what can families do to cut back on their screen time? While it likely won’t be easy to put down smartphones and tablets and turn off laptops and televisions, the following are a handful of ways for

families to spend less time staring at screens. Remove televisions from bedrooms. Parents may find it impossible to gauge, much less control, how much time their kids spend watching television when youngsters have TV’s in their bedrooms. Though this will likely be met with considerable resistance, remove televisions from bedrooms in your home. Set a positive example for kids by removing your own bedroom television as well. Come kids’ bedtimes, make sure all devices, including smartphones and tablets, are left in common areas of the home rather than bedrooms so kids are not tempted to watch videos instead of falling asleep. Institute a “no screens” rule during meals. Many parents grew up in households that did not allow televisions to be on during meals, and while the times might have changed with respect to the technology, similar rules can still

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prevail today. A “no screens” rule during meals gives parents and their kids time to catch up, bond and foster stronger relationships. Do not use the television for background noise. Turn the television off when it’s serving as just background noise. If you need background noise, turn on some music instead. Log screen time. Logging screen time for each member of the family can provide an estimate of just how much time the whole family spends staring at screens. Encourage each member of the family to spend as much time being physically active as he or she spends staring at screens. Set goals for each member of the family to reduce their screen time, even rewarding those who reach their goals. Reducing screen time can improve overall health and help family members reconnect with one another.

Late Summer 2016

Neighborhood Publications 7

How families

can get up and go

Walk or ride bikes to run errands


amilies often look for fun things to do together, and few things are more fun than physical activity. Choosing activities that combine fun with physical activity is a great way to bond as a family and get healthy at the same time. According to Let’s Move!, an initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama to fight the problem of childhood obesity, children need 60 minutes of play with moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. Parents know it can sometimes be hard to get kids to disconnect from their devices long enough to get out and play. But Let’s Move! notes that kids who are supported by their families or surrounded by others interested in physical activity are more likely to participate in such activities themselves. Families looking to get fit and grow closer can consider the following approaches to live healthier, more active lifestyles. Give gifts that encourage activity. Both youngsters and adults are enamored with the latest gadgets, but tablets and video game consoles won’t do much to make families more physically active. In lieu of toys that promote sedentary lifestyles, give kids toys that encourage physical activity. Erect a basketball hoop in the driveway or go buy new bicycles for the whole family, resolving to go for a nightly ride together. Restrict TV time. Establish house rules regarding how many hours of television kids and adults can watch each day. Kids will follow their parents’ lead with regard to how much television they watch, so parents should

8 Neighborhood Publications Late Summer 2016

be mindful of their own viewing habits, resisting the temptation to plop down on the couch for several hours each night. Don’t turn on the television at night until the whole family has engaged in some physical activity. Walk or ride bikes to run errands. When running errands in town, take the kids along and walks or ride bicycles rather than drive. This is a great time for families to catch up, and walking or riding a bicycle is great exercise for adults and kids alike. Schedule physical activities for the weekends. When planning weekends, parents can schedule a physical activity for the whole family. Make time to go hiking at a nearby park or schedule a family basketball game in the driveway. Such activities are healthy, and they don’t have to cost a lot money, either. Volunteer as a family. Another way to get up and go as a family is to work with a local nonprofit or charitable organization. Sign the family up for monthly park or beach cleanup projects that get the family out of the house and moving. Or sign the family up to work at a local soup kitchen where kids can learn the value of helping others while staying on their feet. Let kids plan activities. One great way to get kids excited about an active lifestyle is to let them plan family activities. Kids who are encouraged to come up with activities, whether it’s visiting the zoo or going kayaking as a family, are more likely to embrace those activities.

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Inexpensive activities the whole family can enjoy


amily-friendly activities provide great opportunities for parents to strengthen the bonds they have with their children. But finding affordable, fun events the whole family can enjoy can sometimes prove challenging for budget-conscious parents. Few families can make it through a month without developing and adhering to a house-hold budget. But even if money is tight, there are a host of affordable activities families can enjoy together.


One of the best things about the great outdoors is that it’s often free to enjoy. Research local parks to find ones that offer age-appropriate hiking trails. Parents with young children should look for parks that offer more relaxing hikes with well-established trails that do not require any difficult climbing. If the kids are a little older, parks with more challenging, less-developed trails may suffice. Prepare lunches at home and enjoy a family picnic in the park. Many parks do not charge entrance fees, and packing your own lunches will save on meals. The only cost you might be responsible for is the fuel it takes to get from home to the great outdoors.


Many communities host weekend festivals that offer various family-friendly activities. These festivals may focus on a particular town or city’s cultural history or offer wider appeal, such as an apple festival or a film festival for kids. These festivals tend to cater to families, offering games and possibly even rides kids will love. Adults, too, can enjoy such gatherings, as festivals often invite local restaurants and food and beverage merchants to set up booths and peddle their wares to hungry festival goers.


While bowling is not free, bowling remains a relatively inexpensive and family-friendly activity. Bowling alleys may offer discounted rates for children and lower rates during off-peak hours. Seniors may also be eligible for discounts, so bring grandma and grandpa along as well. Bumper bowling makes it possible for toddlers to join in the fun, too, so don’t be discouraged from bowling if your children are closer to preschool age than high school age.


Volunteering provides a unique way for parents to bond with their children while instilling a sense of community responsibility in their youngsters. Volunteering does not cost a dime, and parents can choose activities they feel will teach kids while simultaneously providing an activity they can enjoy. For example, local beach or park cleanup programs can teach kids about the importance of protecting the environment while also allowing them to enjoy the great outdoors. Many communities offer a wealth of affordable familyfriendly activities the whole family can enjoy.

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Late Summer 2016

Neighborhood Publications 9

How to find more time for family Family dinners do more than just ensure kids are eating healthy meals each night.


alancing professional responsibilities with commitments at home is challenging for many working parents, the majority of whom admit to feeling stressed about juggling work and family life. A 2013 survey from the Pew Research Center found that 56 percent of working mothers and 50 percent of working fathers find it difficult to balance their personal and professional responsibilities. While the same survey found that only 23 percent of mothers feel they spend too little time with their children, those figures doubled for fathers. Finding more time for family can seem impossible, especially as children get older and more involved in school and extracurricular activities. Kids growing up and getting more active in school and in their social lives tends to coincide with parents advancing in their careers and taking on more responsibilities at work. But no matter how hectic family schedules become, parents and kids can work together to find more time for one another. Commit to nightly family dinners. Family dinners do more than just ensure kids are eating healthy meals each night. In its “The Importance of Family Dinners VIII” report, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that, compared to teens who have fewer than three family dinners per week, teens who ate dinner with their families five

or more times per week were one a half times more likely to say their parents knew a great deal or a fair amount about what’s really going on in their lives. The report also found teens who say their parents know very little or nothing at all about their lives were one and a half times more likely to have used marijuana and one and a half times more likely to have used alcohol than teens who said their parents know a great deal or a fair amount about their lives. Nightly family dinners need not include elaborate meals, but parents who find time to have dinner with their children at least five nights per week may end up knowing their kids better and helping their sons and daughters avoid risky behaviors. Inquire with your employer about telecommuting. Telecommuting can be very family-friendly, allowing parents to cut out potentially lengthy commutes and spend more time with their children as a result. George Washington University in Washington, D.C. cites encouraging a better work-life balance for its employees in support of its telecommuting policy. The university notes that employees who have a better balance between their personal and

10 Neighborhood Publications Late Summer 2016

The average commute in the United States is 45 minutes. professional lives may benefit from reduced stress and stronger overall health, which benefits the university by reducing healthcare costs. Parents who want to find more time for their families should inquire about telecommuting. Even if it’s just one or two days a week, the benefits can be considerable for both employee and employer. Move closer to work. Commuting consumes a considerable amount of time. In its 2015 ThankYou Premier Commuter Index, Citi found that the average commute in the United States is 45 minutes, and that those commutes cost workers nearly $2,600 per year. By moving closer to their offices, workers can instantly create more time for their families and potentially save themselves considerable amounts of money. Parents need not reinvent the wheel to find more time for their family, which can greatly benefit kids and parents alike.

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Good News, Bad News Tips from Master Josh Arcemont I recently had reconstructive surgery on my ACL. This is “bad news” for me because it means I won’t be able to practice martial arts for a minimum of 6 months. When I received this news it reminded me of an ancient Chinese story my instructor once told me. The story goes that one-day a farmer’s horse ran away. His neighbor hears of his bad news and says. “I hear that you lost your horse. That is bad news and bad luck.” “Well, who knows?” said the farmer, “Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t.” Well, the next day the farmer’s horse returns to his stable, but brings along a drove of wild horses it has befriended with him. The neighbor across the way decides to come over and congratulate him. “This is such goodness,” he says. “Well, who knows,” said the farmer, “Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t.” The next day the farmer’s son decided to ride one of the new wild horses, to break it in. As luck would have it, the son was thrown from the horse and broke his leg. Of course, upon hearing this sad news, their neighbor came over to offer condolences. “This is such sad thing,” he said. “Your son has broken his leg. This is bad news.” “Well, who knows,” said the farmer. “Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t.” On the following day soldiers came by commandeering an army. They took sons from most of the surrounding farms, but because the farmer’s son had a broken leg, he could not go and was spared. And well, maybe it was good news and maybe it wasn’t. This positive “Taoist” story offers many readings. It serves as a reminder that nothing is ‘good news’ or ‘bad news’ per se, but that it always comes down to one’s own interpretation.

(832) 717-4376 6411 FM 2920 Spring, Texas 77379 To advertise, call 281-401-9143 or email:

Late Summer 2016

Neighborhood Publications 11

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12 Neighborhood Publications Late Summer 2016

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How to help kids get into golf Getting kids into golf is a great way for parents to bond with their children while enjoying the great outdoors. Golf can also be used to teach kids humility, sportsmanship and the importance of hard work. Thanks to the often frustrating nature of golf, parents may find it somewhat challenging to instill a love of the game in their youngsters. But there are ways to introduce kids to this wonderful game that kids might just play for the rest of their lives.


olf is a game of skill that can take years, if not decades, to master. Many golfers find their time on the golf course both rewarding and relaxing, even on those days when the fairways seem impossible to find. Though many players never swing a golf club until they reach adulthood, it’s never too early to hit the links. Some of the world’s most accomplished golfers, including four-time Masters champion Tiger Woods, began playing as toddlers, and many feel that getting an early start can lead to a more successful game down the road.

Focus on having fun. Few, if any, golfers at your local golf course on a given weekend could say with certainty that golf has never frustrated them. The challenge of golf may be its most appealing characteristic to older players, but young kids can be easily overwhelmed by the challenges golf presents. By focusing on having fun instead of perfecting techniques, parents can get kids to look forward to their time on the links. The more fun kids have, the more likely they will be to embrace the game and its many challenges. Don’t put pressure on youngsters as they develop their games, but encourage them through their struggles and reassure them that you faced the same obstacles when you started playing. Hire an instructor with experience teaching children. Instructors with experience teaching children will understand the basics of the game and how learning those

basics provides a great foundation for future enjoyment and success on the course. Instructors who have taught kids in the past also know that teaching youngsters the finer points of golf requires patience and encouragement. Ask a fellow parent or an employee at the club where you play to recommend an instructor for your child. And take advantage of any kids’ courses your club offers. Purchase the correct equipment. Even the best golfers are bound to struggle when using the wrong equipment. While it might be unwise to invest in especially expensive equipment for youngsters likely to grow out of it in a few months’ time, deals can be found on used kids’ equipment. Used kids’ equipment is typically subjected to less wear and tear than used equipment for adults, as kids tend to play less often and fewer holes than adults when they do play. But make sure to find correctly sized equipment that kids feel comfortable using. Play some holes. Instructors may teach kids the differences between the types of clubs and how to swing and putt. But golf is most fun when players are out on the links going from hole to hole. Instruction is important, but don’t forget to play a few holes with your child each week as well. Golf is a challenging game, but it’s one that can be enjoyed by athletes of all ages.

Over 20 Years Experience

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Late Summer 2016

Neighborhood Publications 13


ways families can reduce everyday expenses

Parents in middle-income households with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend $245,000 raising a child up to age 18.


he costs of raising a family can be considerable. In its 2014 “Expenditures on Children by Families” report, the United States Department of Agriculture estimated that parents in middle-income households with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend $245,000 raising a child up to age 18. While estimates regarding the cost of raising children in Canada are widely varied depending on the source of the approximations, it’s fair to assume that raising children in Canada can be costly as well. Thanks to the costs of food, housing, childcare and education, many parents find themselves looking for ways to trim their everyday expenses and create more room in their budgets. Fortunately, such cost-cutting can be done without forcing parents to alter their lifestyles dramatically.

1. Consume less energy. Reducing energy consumption does not mean parents and their children will spend their nights in darkened homes illuminated only by candlelight. Technology has made it easier than ever before to cut energy costs around the house. If you don’t already have one, install a programmable thermostat at home so you are not paying to heat or cool your home while no one is there. Though their price tag might be higher than traditional light bulbs, energy-efficient lightbulbs also can cut costs, as they consume considerably less energy without reducing light output and last far longer than traditional bulbs. Parents can also reduce the temperature on their water heaters. Manufacturers may set water heater temperatures as high as 140 F, and it requires considerable standby heat to keep waters at that temperature. Lowering your water heater temperature to 120 F won’t make showers any less enjoyable, but you might notice considerable energy savings over the course of the year.

2. Conduct an entertainment audit. Home entertainment options have expanded considerably in the 21st century. Many families still pay for cable or satellite packages, but they’re now also paying for streaming subscriptions to services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. Audit your entertainment consumption, determining whether your household relies more on cable/satellite service or streaming subscriptions. Consider reducing your cable/satellite package to the basic plan, if not cutting the cord entirely. If your family is less reliant on streaming subscriptions, cancel those subscriptions to save money. If you rely on both equally, consider cutting one for a month to see if you can live without it. With so many entertainment options available,

14 Neighborhood Publications Late Summer 2016

chances are you won’t even notice the missing service. 3. Become a smarter food shopper. Frequent trips to the grocery store waste gas, add unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle and increase the chances you will make impulse purchases. Try to get all of your grocery shopping done in one weekly trip, using a list so you are less likely to make impulse purchases. Make the most of sales by buying sale items with longer shelf lives, such as cereals, in bulk. Saving more money is a goal for many families. While saving more often means making sacrifices, those sacrifices do not always necessitate drastic lifestyle changes.

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Did you know?

Did you know?

According to Let’s Move!, a comprehensive initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama to combat childhood obesity, doctors are concerned that the rise of obesity in children and teens may lead to problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, and sleep apnea as they age. Children who are obese may have high cholesterol, high blood pressure and an abnormal glucose tolerance, increasing their risk factors for cardiovascular disease. But poor physical health is not the only concern parents should have if their children are obese. Overweight and obese children are often targets of social discrimination, which can negatively affect their self-esteem and may even hinder their academic and social functioning. Parents concerned about their children’s weight should consult their children’s physicians and recognize that a combination of daily exercise and a healthy diet is the most effective way to help kids lose weight and maintain a healthy weight into adulthood.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that children and adolescents get 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day. The CDC advises that such physical activity should include aerobic activity and muscle and bone strengthening exercises. Aerobic activity should take up most of kids’ daily physical activities and can include moderate activities, such as brisk walking, or more intense activities like running. Parents should make sure kids include some vigorous aerobic activity in their physical activity routines at least three days per week. Muscle strengthening activities do not mean parents should get their youngsters in the gym as soon as possible. Rather, activities like gymnastics or push-ups done three times per week can be enough to help kids build strong muscles. The CDC notes that as kids reach adolescence, they may start structured weighttraining programs to strengthen their muscles. Jumping rope or running three times per week can serve as kids’ bone-strengthening exercises.

Welcome to Kwik Kar


How May We Help You Today?



Our Number One Goal Is Customer Satisfaction!

Kwik Kar Lube & Automotive Service Centers 8959 Spring Cypress at Champions Forest DR. To advertise, call 281-401-9143 or email:

Late Summer 2016

(281) 320-9900

Neighborhood Publications 15

Cut costs at the grocery store P

arents know the cost of raising a family can be considerable. While some of the expenses associated with raising a family, including healthcare premiums, are largely beyond parents’ control, moms and dads can take steps to cut costs and start saving money. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2014 Annual Expenditure Survey, parents devoted about 8 percent of their family spending to groceries in 2013. Families with more than two children no doubt spend even more on groceries, which may be stretching their budgets very thin. Fortunately, parents concerned about their grocery bills can employ various strategies to lower those bills and start saving more. Never shop without first making a list. Modern grocery stores are much bigger than they might have been when today’s parents were growing up. While that might be more convenient by ensuring parents can find all their groceries under one roof, it also can lead to more impulse buys as shoppers stroll aisles and pass display after display. After checking your pantry and refrigerator to determine what you have and what you might need, make a list before heading out for the grocery store. Such lists can help you avoid purchasing items you don’t need. Keep the kids at home. Kids have a knack for finding unhealthy snacks and beverages, and parents may cave to the temptation to purchase such items in an attempt to get youngsters to calm down. By keeping kids at home while you grocery shop, you can limit distractions and get out of the store quickly. That reduces the likelihood that you will buy items you don’t need, which will save you time and money.

Grow your own herbs and vegetables. Cooking with herbs is a wonderful way to add flavor to any meal, and vegetables are an essential element of a healthy diet. While store-bought herbs and vegetables may not break the bank, over time the cost savings of growing your own herbs and vegetables can be considerable. And many people find gardening a relaxing and rewarding hobby they can enjoy on their own or with their children.

$15 every few months at your local home improvement store is more financially savvy than purchasing a 10-count box of garbage bags for $5 every couple of weeks. Avoid buying perishable items in bulk, as you run the risk of not eating the items before they expire, negating any savings you might have realized by buying in bulk.

Resolve to prepare meals with items that have been abandoned in your pantry. Few people, especially parents, wait until their pantries are completely empty to go grocery shopping. If your pantry is full, clean it out and place some of the older, unexpired items on the counter, resolving to use them for meals during the week. This is a great way to make use of items you already purchased but might have forgotten about while also ensuring your money is not going to waste. Buy in bulk. Buying certain items in bulk can save large families considerable amounts of money. For example, buying a 100-count box of garbage bags for

16 Neighborhood Publications Late Summer 2016

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Late Summer 2016

Neighborhood Publications 17

How families can manage cramped quarters above their averages from 2000 to 2010. There are many reasons why city life might make more sense than living in the suburbs for young married couples. Living in the city may lead to far shorter commutes for working parents, and the availability of public transportation in cities may save parents the costly expense of purchasing their own vehicles. But city life may force families to cope with cramped quarters. Even the most spacious apartments may not provide the same square footage as single-family suburban homes. Parents who are committed to city living may need to get creative in order to live comfortably in apartments.


oung parents living in cities face difficult decisions regarding their living arrangements. The suburbs versus city debate is one many young married couples have had, and that discussion is often prompted by the arrival of children.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau suggests that more people are choosing cities over the suburbs

21st century. While that data indicates 53 of the 81 cities in the United States with populations exceeding a quarter million people experienced reduced growth in 2013-2014, the most recent year for which statistics are available, during that time such cities still exhibited growth well

Actively police clutter. Few things can make apartments seem more cramped than clutter. Unsolicited mailings, old magazines and unused kitchenware are just a few of the items that can make small apartments seem even smaller. Discard junk mail the moment you walk through the door, making a daily effort to keep kitchen counters

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau suggests that more people are choosing cities over the suburbs in the

18 Neighborhood Publications Late Summer 2016

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and tables, coffee tables and other areas that tend to accumulate clutter clear of clutter. Reducing clutter also makes homes safer for young children, making it easier for them to navigate a home while reducing choking hazards. Keep hosting duties to a minimum. Many men and women love to host friends and family, and that desire to host won’t subside simply because you live in a city. But even if you love to host, host more intimate gatherings so you are not forced to use your already limited storage space to store items, such as extra plates, utensils and drinking glasses, that you will only use every so often. Fewer guests means fewer items you need to store year-round. Go easy on the tots’ toys. Parents of young children know that kids’ toys take up a lot of space, and that’s space that many city dwellers simply don’t have. Rather than adding to youngsters’ toy stash each month, explain to them that space is limited and that some older toys will have to go before new ones can be purchased. Donate old toys and let kids know their items will be given to less fortunate youngsters, as that may make kids feel better about parting ways with their toys. Set a good example by showing kids when you discard or donate older items before replacing them with new ones. Think vertically. Single-family home owners may not need to make much use of the vertical space in their homes, but such is not often the case with apartment dwellers. Utilizing vertical space in an apartment can be as simple as buying some shelving units or bookcases. To be safe, keep items the kids will use on lower shelves so they are not tempted to do some climbing to reach their toys or books. Parents who choose the big city over the suburbs may need to make some sacrifices to make better use of cramped quarters.

College saving suggestions that won’t break the bank


he cost of college tuition concerns parents from all walks of life. While college continues to get more expensive, it remains a worthy investment. In its 2015-16 “College Planning Essentials” report, J.P. Morgan Asset Management dispelled the growing notion that a college education is not worth the student loan debt many young adults assume to earn their degrees. The report noted that college graduates earn 38 percent more than high school graduates, even after factoring in student loans. The report also noted that the return on investing in college is nearly $1 million more in lifetime earnings. What’s more, a 2013 report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce projected a shortage of five million college-educated workers by 2020, suggesting that college graduates will be in high demand by the start of the next decade. While such figures highlight the importance of a college education, they may do little to ease parents’ concerns about how to finance that education. While saving enough money for college may seem impossible, parents can take steps to decrease the likelihood that their kids will need to take on substantial loans to support their education. Start early. The earlier parents start saving for college, the more money their children will have to finance their educations. Parents may not realize just how much college tuition is rising compared to other expenses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index, the cumulative percent price change of college tuition between 1983 and 2015 dwarfed the price changes of other expenses.

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For example, while the cumulative price change of housing rose 143 percent during that period, the cost of college tuition rose 722 percent over the same period. The earlier parents start saving for college, the more they can take advantage of compound interest that many college savings plans offer. Schedule automatic monthly contributions to college savings accounts. Parents learn to expect the unexpected soon after their children are born. Unforeseen expenses may tempt parents to reduce or skip their monthly college savings account contributions. Reduced or missed contributions can add up over time, however, potentially reducing the totals in your child’s account by a substantial amount. Set up automatic contributions with your bank or portfolio manager so you are not tempted to use the money you set aside each month for college to finance other expenses. Increase contributions each year. Increasing your annual college savings contributions each year can help the accounts keep pace with the inflation rate of college tuition costs. While you might not match that rate, increasing contributions each year by as little as 5 percent won’t greatly affect your overall budget but can have a considerable impact on college savings. Saving for college can seem like a daunting task. Yet parents of young children can quell their fears about college tuition costs by making a plan now and sticking to it until kids are ready to enroll in a college or university.

Late Summer 2016

Neighborhood Publications 19

DANCE DANCE Starting dance lessons is exciting for children as well as parents. Dance is capable of fostering a positive self-image in both girls and boys and can teach a child self-confidence, self-discipline, poise and grace and is a wonderful activity for children. A child introduced to dance at an early age will likely develop a love of the arts and a passion for rhythm and movement. Most importantly, dancing is lots of fun!


Some people believe that a child should be enrolled in dance classes as soon as possible, sometimes as early as the second birthday. Toddlers and preschoolers usually begin with “creative movement” classes instead of structured dance classes. If your child is ready, an early start will give her a tremendous

Registering now for Fall Classes!

B A L L E T • TA P • J A Z Z • P O

KOENIG DANCE continued

20 Neighborhood Publications Late Summer 2016

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boost. Several things should be considered when deciding where your child will enroll in dance classes. Dancing has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, one consideration to keep in mind are the teachers. Koenig Dance Studio has a long history of dance instruction with some of the best instructors in our area. Which dance class is your child interested in? Many young children have dreams of becoming a famous ballet dancer, so you might want to start with ballet. Most dance instructors offer mixed classes for younger dancers, often devoting half of the class time to ballet, the other half to either tap or jazz. Ask the dance teacher if your child could try a couple of different classes before deciding.

LOCATION: Another consideration is location, so you don’t spend all your time hauling children to and from a studio. Koenig Dance Studio has the advantage of being located across from Hassler Elementary for many years. Now with a bigger facility and still close to home Koenig Dance Studio is opening up a new location on 9702 Spring Cypress Rd. next to Little Scholars. With this convenient location no need to spend valuable family time in traffic. This new location is set to open in the Fall of 2016. COMMUNITY: Koenig Dance Studio has been involved in the community for many years giving away more than $50,000 in scholarships to local children interested in dance. They are literally raising the bar each year with their scholarship programs insuring that every child has a chance and the opportunity to follow their dreams in dance. Because Koenig wants every child to have the opportunity to dance they will be starting a new program called Leaping Stars, which offers, students with special needs the ability to get involved in an extracurricular activities while improving motor skills, confidence, and socialization. Leaping Stars will be working with the community and will be available this Fall. Koenig Dance Studio allows children to explore and express themselves freely. Dance is a great hobby and opens up many opportunities for children to meet new friends, enjoy music, express themselves and exercise in a safe, accepting environment.

2 years to adult!


SCHOOL To advertise, call 281-401-9143 or email:

281-374-8300 Late Summer 2016

Neighborhood Publications 21

Make weeknight meals healthy and simple


ouseholds in which both parents work and kids have school and extracurricular commitments can get a little hectic, particularly on weeknights. Parents who want to prepare nutritious dinners may feel it’s impossible to do so without making elaborate, time-consuming recipes. But there are ways for busy, time-strapped parents to make sure weeknight dinners are both healthy and simple. Stock a healthy pantry. When grocery shopping, purchase some healthy nonperishable foods that you can rely on in a pinch. Instead of stocking the freezer with unhealthy yet easily prepared frozen foods that are often loaded with saturated fat, stock your pantry with whole grain pastas. Whole grain pastas are lower in calories and higher in fiber and contain more nutrients than refined white pastas. And once water is boiled, whole grain pastas can be prepared in roughly 10 minutes. Rely on a slow cooker. One of the simplest ways to prepare healthy meals that won’t take much time to

Making meal prep a family affair can save a substantial amount of time.

Preparing meals can take as much time, if not more, than cooking meals, so making meal prep a family affair can save a substantial amount of time.

prepare each night is to use a slow cooker. Set dinner in the slow cooker in the morning before leaving for work, and by the time you arrive home each night you will have a fully prepared, healthy meal ready to be served.

Cook meals in advance. Families who are hesitant to use slow cookers may benefit by preparing healthy meals over the weekend and then refrigerating or freezing them so they can be cooked on weeknights. If you plan to freeze meals prepared in advance, remember to remove them from the freezer the night before and place them in the refrigerator so they are thawed out when you arrive home from work to place them in the oven.

Make meal prep a family affair. Families who share the responsibility of making dinner on weeknights may find it easier to prepare healthy meals. Younger children may not be able to join in the preparation of too many dishes, but middle school and high school students can help out by chopping vegetables while their parents work on other parts of the meal.

Choose simple recipes. Trying new recipes is one of the joys of cooking. But trying new recipes on weeknights can be timeconsuming because cooks have yet to grow accustomed to each step in the recipe. When looking for new weeknight recipes, look for meals that can be prepared in five steps or less, leaving the more complicated recipes for weekend meals.

22 Neighborhood Publications Late Summer 2016

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Neighborhood Publications 23

• General, well & ill child care • Physicals • Immunizations • Same day appointments available Newborn to 18 years old!


8714 Spring Cypress Rd., Suite 170 (Corner of Champion Forest & Spring Cypress) Dr. Tad Shirley, M.D. Gleannloch Resident

Dr. Susan Reed, M.D.

24 Neighborhood Publications Late Summer 2016

Hours: Mon. – Fri. 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

To advertise, call 281-401-9143 or email:

time in mind before selecting an itinerary. It also pays to familiarize yourself with the airline’s policy regarding infants and carry-on bags before booking your flight. Choose an aisle seat. You and your baby likely won’t make it through the flight without having to stand up and walk to the bathroom or simply walk the aisle to calm your baby’s nerves. Choose an aisle seat so you don’t have to ask your spouse or the passenger sitting next to you to stand up several times during the flight.

Simplify flying with babies in tow


Feed your child and check his or her diaper before takeoff. Hunger and/or wet, dirty diapers typically make infants cry no matter where they are. If you want your baby to fall asleep the moment you board your flight, make sure he or she is well fed and has a clean diaper prior to boarding. Close the window if the sun is shining through, as that can make it difficult for kids to fall asleep.

any parents of infants resolve to avoid air travel until their tykes enter toddlerhood. But air travel is not always avoidable, as parents may need to attend family functions or other events with baby in tow.

able for parents and their fellow passengers. While there is no way to guarantee infants won’t shed a few tears during their next flight, the following are a handful of ways to simplify flying with kids less than two years of age.

Flying with infants can be difficult, as airplane cabins can hurt youngsters’ ears and cause them to cry. In addition, parents may be nervous that something might go wrong when flying with infants, potentially making the flight less enjoy-

Choose an infant-friendly flight time. Flying at a time of day or night when infants typically sleep can increase the chance that babies will sleep through much of the flight, if not the whole trip. When booking flights, keep kids’ usual nap

Prepare for takeoff and initial descent. Pressure changes in airplane cabins tend to be most noticeable during the takeoff and initial descent. Such changes are when ears are most likely to pop. Many adults experience discomfort when their ears pop during cabin pressure changes, and infants are no different. Speak with flight attendants upon boarding, asking for advice about managing any pain that might result from popping ears. Some parents find that offering infants pacifiers or bottles as cabin pressure is about to change can help infants make it through such changes without crying. Keep in mind that pilots typically announce when planes are about to begin their initial descent, which may be 20 to 30 minutes before the plane is scheduled to land. Flying with infants may be something parents prefer to avoid, but there are ways to make such travel go smoothly.

Start their world off right!

Champions Now Enrolling! Montessori SCHOOL 281.257.2700 E E FREGR ISTRATION 18 months to 5 years

16715 Champion Drive Louetta @ Champion Drive

when you mention this ad To advertise, call 281-401-9143 or email:

Late Summer 2016

Neighborhood Publications 25

Loom Craft of Spring Supports Local Kids Loom Craft of Spring decided to help out local students in the area by giving away four scholarships. These four young women will be using the scholarships to help them in this upcoming school year. We are very excited for these young women and their adventures this 2016-2017 academic school year and wish them the best of luck!

Julie Hawkins – Klein Collins HS

Attending Southwestern Christian College

Mikaela Vasquez – Klein Forest HS Kathy Thomas (left), Julie Hawkins, Haley Wooddell and Heather Moureau (far right).

Attending University of Texas Austin

Haley Wooddell – Klein Oak HS Attending Lone Star College

Kirby Valdes – Klein High School Attending Texas A&M

LOOM CRAFT HOME DESIGN CENTER, LLC 5005 Spring Cypress Road • Spring TX 77379 Mikaela Vasquez

Kirby Valdes

281-370-2255 A

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26 Neighborhood Publications Late Summer 2016


4334 Farm to Market Rd. 2920 #30 • Spring. TX 77388

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Top ways you might be wasting your money Many consumers waste money every day without even noticing it. Yet, rethinking our habits could provide savings that add up quickly over time. Here is a list of the top ways we waste money. Are there any areas where you could improve? Paying credit card interest: Always aim to pay off credit card debt as soon as possible. Consider moving balances from high interest credit cards to one with a lower interest rate. This will allow you to pay off debt faster.

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Buying bottled water: Did you know that most bottled water isn’t any better for you than tap water? In fact, some bottled waters come from municipal sources and are repackaged for consumer consumption. Switch to tap water and a reusable bottle to save money and the environment.

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Wasting food: The average household throws out about $600 worth of food each year. Meal planning and budgeting for food can reduce waste significantly. Learning how long food keeps and the truth about expiry dates can also help, as can cooking in bulk and freezing meals.

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Wasting energy: Every month, many homeowners throw money out their doors and windows through energy loss attributed to poorly insulated or maintained homes. Combat the problem easily for instant savings. Top up attic insulation with an easy-to-install batt product, like Roxul Comfortbatt, which can also be used to insulate crawl spaces, basement headers and walls for greater energy efficiency. Caulk cracks and crevices around doors and windows and invest in a programmable thermostat. Choosing the wrong plan, option or service provider: Many of us overspend on our phone, cable and even our mortgage. Have you stayed with the status quo for convenience? It might be time to rethink your options. Right-size your phone plan – perhaps an unlimited plan is unnecessary – to reflect actual usage and shrink monthly bills. Consider alternate sources for television and movie viewing. Always shop around for mortgage or car insurance and consider using a broker who has access to dozens of potential lenders/insurers. Splurging on coffee: Café-quality coffee

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is an indulgence, and a cup of Joe-to-go can cost between $2 and $7. Consider investing in a quality coffee maker or espresso machine for your home or office and put your daily savings to better use. Buying lottery tickets: Quite simply, the odds of winning the lottery are not in your favor. Most of us have a better chance of getting struck by lightning. Spending just $10 a week over 20 years adds up to more than $10,000. Put that into a savings account, and you’ve

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already won. Impulse buying: A little self-control can go a long way to lining your wallet. Become a smart shopper by researching prices and options before making significant purchases. Plan ahead to save additional money by packing lunches or snacks instead of eating out. It’s doesn’t take big sacrifices. Resolve to make some small changes more often to save.

Late Summer 2016

Neighborhood Publications 27

Budget-friendly family vacation tips F

amily vacations provide wonderful opportunities for families to bond and make lasting memories. But such opportunities do not come without a price, and that price is oftentimes very steep. According to the 2015 TripBarometer study from popular travel website TripAdvisor, travelers across the globe are open to spending more on travel in 2016 than they have in the past. The study, conducted on behalf of TripAdvisor by the independent research firm Ipsos, analyzed more than 44,000 responses from travelers and hoteliers across the globe. Thirty-three percent of respondents plan to spend more on travel in 2016 than they did in 2015, while 31 percent admitted that they plan to spend more on travel because it’s important for their health and well-being. Those figures are good news for the travel industry, but travelers, especially parents who plan to vacation with their children, should expect to encounter rising room rates when planning their trips. That’s because nearly half of all hoteliers surveyed indicated their intentions to increase room rates in 2016. While that might scare off some budgetconscious travelers, parents should know there are ways to cut the costs of family vacations.

travel agency representatives are accustomed to working with travelers who are on a budget and building vacations that include all the sights their clients want to see for the amount they’re willing to spend. Travel agency representatives typically have considerable connections in the countries they specialize in, and those connections can produce memorable experiences at lower costs than travelers would likely pay booking the trips on their own. In addition, many travel agencies include the cost of admissions to various sights in their packages, making it easier for travelers to budget for their trips. Scour discount websites for deals. E-commerce marketplaces such as Groupon aren’t just for date nights at home. Such websites and services also provide domestic and international travel deals. Families can book entire trips through such websites, many times at considerable discounts, or scour the sites for deals on sightseeing opportunities in the cities where they will be vacationing.

Consider alternative accommodations. Families accustomed to staying in hotels while on vacation may be able to save by exploring some budgetfriendly alternatives to hotels. Vacation rental properties, which may include private homes or condominiums, may charge less per day than four- or five-star hotels in the same city. Before booking accommodations, parents should explore all lodging options, including online bed and breakfast websites that may showcase private homes that boast lower nightly rates than large hotel chains. Book through a travel agency. Many travelers now book their own vacations through popular do-it-yourself travel websites such as Orbitz, but going it alone may not be the most cost-effective approach for families. Many

28 Neighborhood Publications Late Summer 2016

Plan to cook. Meals can quickly consume travelers’ budgets. The Consumer Expenditure Survey released in 2015 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that food and alcohol can take up about 16 percent of the budget for international travelers, and 27 percent for domestic travelers. Such estimates seem low and might reflect the difficulty surveyors had distinguishing between travelers who visited friends and family, and subsequently spent little on food, and travelers who had to purchase all of their vacation meals. Families can cut meal costs by planning to do some of their own cooking. Rental properties and extended stay hotels are typically equipped with full kitchens, which can help parents save money without sacrificing the quality of their vacations. Families looking forward to their next vacations can implement several strategies to make those trips affordable.

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Parents should know there are ways to cut the costs of family vacations!

To advertise, call 281-401-9143 or email:

Late Summer 2016

Neighborhood Publications 29

Help kids feel comfortable at the dentist


outine dental examinations and cleanings are an important component of oral healthcare for both children and adults. However, many children do not visit the dentist until well after the time recommended by medical and dental professionals. Parents may be unaware of the dental health timeline, or they could be reluctant to bring their children for fear of how their kids will behave — especially if parents are harboring their own apprehensions about the dentist. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child go to the dentist by age 1, or within six months of the eruption of his or her first tooth. Yet, according to a survey commissioned by Delta Dental Plans, the average age of a child’s first dental visit is 2.6 years. Parents worried about how their kids will respond to the dentist can take the following steps to acclimate kids to dental visits to make them more comfortable during their appointments now and down the road. Be a positive role model. Children frequently learn by example. If they see their parents being

diligent about dental care, they’re more likely to embrace proper oral hygiene. Bring children to your own dental appointments so they understand the process and become familiar with the type of equipment used. Stick to the first-tooth milestone. Take your child to the dentist on or about when his or her first tooth erupts. Early dental visits will get kids used to going to the dentist and prevent minor problems that may lead to more complex dental issues. Read books about the dentist and role play. Information can allay kids’ fears about the dentist. Read books together about dental visits and act out possible scenarios with your kids. Give kids toy dental health tools and have them practice exams on you and vice-versa. Be supportive and instill trust. Avoid telling your child that everything will be okay. If a procedure is needed, this could affect his or her trust in you and make the dental office an even greater source of anxiety. Simply

30 Neighborhood Publications Late Summer 2016

be supportive and offer a hand to squeeze or a hug if your child needs you. Consider using your dentist. Some parents like to take their children to a pediatric dentist, but it may not always be necessary. Many family practices cater to patients of all ages, and the familiarity of the office may help make children feel more comfortable. Speak with your dentist about the ages they see. Steer clear of negative words. Michael J. Hanna, DMD, a national spokesperson for the AAPD, suggests using positive phrases like “clean, strong, healthy teeth” to make the visit seem fun and positive rather than scary and alarming. Let the office staff come up with their own words to describe processes that won’t seem too frightening. By employing these techniques, kids’ dental visits can be more pleasant for all involved, paving the way for a lifetime of healthy teeth.

To advertise, call 281-401-9143 or email:

A-Pro FenceWorks & Home Services, LLC

“Done Right the First Time” H Iron & Wood Fences & Gates H Design, Build, Repair, Paint or Stain H Install & Repair Gate Operators H Chain Link Fences & Dog Runs

Free Estimates No Job too Small Licensed and Insured for YOUR Protection


GLF Resident – Veteran Owned To advertise, call 281-401-9143 or email:

Late Summer 2016

Neighborhood Publications 31

Warning signs of childhood vision troubles


dults know when they are beginning to experience trouble with their vision. In such instances, men and women will book appointments with their eye doctors to determine what’s causing their problems. Whether it’s a fear or eyeglasses or simply feeling their symptoms are normal, kids might be hesitant to tell their parents about any vision problems they’re having. As a result, parents must learn to recognize certain warning signs that indicate their children are experiencing vision problems. Vision problems in youngsters can be especially problematic, as many of the lessons kids learn in school still begin on a chalkboard. The following are some potential indicators that kids might be dealing with vision problems that require medical attention. Reading habits: Vision problems may be most noticeable when kids are reading. As youngsters learn to read, they might use their fingers to keep their place while they figure out the pronunciation of certain words. But kids eventually grow out of that

habit. Kids who are still doing so long after they have learned to read may be having trouble seeing words on the page. In addition, kids who pull their reading materials very close to their eyes may be struggling to see the words. Viewing habits: Peculiar viewing habits may also be indicative of poor vision. Kids who sit too close to the television may be struggling to see what’s on as opposed to just being overexcited to see their favorite shows. Kids who prefer to watch programs on tablets they can hold as opposed to televisions may also make that choice because it’s easier for them to see on their tablets than on the television. In such instances, ask why they prefer tablets to television. When kids watch TV, ask them to move further away from the television. If they complain moving back makes it hard to see, book an appointment with an eye doctor. Eye rubbing: Many kids, and even adults, rub their eyes when they are feeling fatigued. But kids who seem to rub their eyes frequently and at times of the day when they

32 Neighborhood Publications Late Summer 2016

should not be tired may be experiencing vision troubles and feeling frustrated that they cannot see very well. Eye activity: Some kids begin to close one eye when reading, watching television or attempting to read signs. That may be indicative of a refractive vision disorder, in which the eye struggles to focus, or refract, light correctly on the retina. Such problems can often be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses, but some refractive disorders may require surgery. Squinting: Kids who squint a lot may be finding it difficult to focus on words on a chalkboard or even television programs. Squinting may also be brought on by a corneal abrasion. Parents who notice their youngsters are squinting should consult the child’s eye doctor to determine the cause of the problem. Vision problems can be especially harmful to children, who rely on their vision to perform their schoolwork. Parents who learn to recognize the various warning signs of vision troubles can nip problems in the bud before they have too great an impact on youngsters.

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Just mention this ad and receive 1/2 off enrollment fee when you apply by August 1. Montessori degreed teachers with low child ratios. Full and part time education for children 1 - 6 years of age. Abundant, natural outdoor space to foster creativity. Outdoor gardens maintained by the schoolers. Montessori education developes self-esteem, independence and concentration. Give your child a head start with a quality Montessori education!

Elements is now accepting applications for Fall Enrollment!

17505 Chaseloch • Spring, Texas 77379

Currently under construction. Anticipated opening – August 2016.

Share your pics and thoughts! Send us your cutest kids, pets, wedding, vacation pictures and selfies to be featured in our next issue.

Also send us community news and events you know about!

Please visit our website for more information: email: To advertise, call 281-401-9143 or email:

Late Summer 2016

Neighborhood Publications 33

How to childproof your home


ew parents face a host of challenges upon bring their newborn sons and daughters home, not the least of which is childproofing their homes so the newest additions to their families are safe and sound. The strategies moms and dads employ when childproofing their homes will change as youngsters grow older and more curious, but the following are a few tips to get parents started. Install safety latches and locks on cabinets and drawers. Curiosity might start to take over at the moment infants learn to crawl, so new parents should install safety latches and locks on all cabinets and drawers in their homes. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission notes that such latches and locks can prevent access to a host of potentially harmful items, such as medications, cleaning products, knives, and other sharp objects. Use anti-scald devices. Burns from hot water can quickly cause significant burns to young children’s skin, so install anti-scald devices that regulate water temperature and reduce the risk of kids being burned. The CPSC also recommends lowering water heaters to 120 F to further reduce the risk of burns. Use safety gates at stairways and in rooms that are off limits. Safety gates around stairways and in doorways of prohibited rooms can reduce the likelihood of potentially harmful falls and keep kids out of rooms where they might be harmed. Place gates in the doorways of rooms that contain sharp objects, work tools, substances that can prove harmful if ingested, and any other items you don’t want inquisitive tots to come into contact with. Make sure all safety gates at the top of stairways are the kind that can be nailed into the wall. Attach bumpers to the edges of sharp furniture. Corner and edge bumpers can reduce the risk of injury when kids bang their heads on sharp furniture such as coffee tables or other items with hard edges. Make sure the bumpers are firmly secured before allowing youngsters into the room. Infants, toddlers and young children are vulnerable to injury around the house. Parents can reduce that injury risk by taking several steps to childproof their homes. More childproofing tips are available at

34 Neighborhood Publications Late Summer 2016

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9337 Spring Cypress Road Spring, Texas 77379

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Late Summer 2016

Neighborhood Publications 35

How kids can help out around the house


ual-income households have become the norm, replacing households in which only one parent works. In an analysis of the Decennial Census and the American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Sample files, the Pew Research Center found that 60 percent of married couples with children under 18 lived in dual-income households in 2012. That’s nearly double the amount of households where only fathers worked, and 10 times the number of households where only mothers worked. While there are many financial benefits to dualincome households, managing a household in which both parents work full-time can be difficult. Parents who both work full-time have less time to maintain their homes, and few may have the energy to keep up with the chores and cook dinner each night. Involving the kids with helping out around the house can be a great way for parents to instill a sense of responsibility in their youngsters while also taking some of the burden off Mom and Dad. How much kids can help out around the house depends on there ages. The following are a few agespecific chores kids can do to make life at home a little easier on their parents.


4- to 5-year-olds

Children 10 and older

Toddlers and preschool-aged children might not be able to do too much to lighten their parents’ loads, but simple chores like cleaning up their play areas can make things easier. Make kids responsible for putting their toys away after play time. Kids between the ages of two and three also can help set the table for dinner by laying out placemats, but make sure such youngsters steer clear of utensils.

Children finishing up preschool and those currently enrolled in kindergarten can pitch in a little more around the house than they did as toddlers, setting the table for meals (prevent kids from accessing sharp utensils like steak knives) and even helping with some simple meal prep. Such youngsters can put their folded laundry away and clean their rooms as well.

Kids who are 10 and older can help out in ways that can make parents’ lives much easier. Such youngsters can clean bathrooms, do laundry, vacuum the floors, and load and unload the dishwasher. Such chores are time-consuming and complex, and parents may want to give older kids allowances or increase their allowances to show their appreciation.

6- to 9-year-olds


First, second, third and fourth graders are old enough to be given more significant chores than they had when they were younger. Kids between the ages of six and nine can be trusted to feed the pets, though parents should teach them the appropriate times to feed pets each day and the correct amount of food to place in bowls so pets don’t overeat. Kids in this age group also can rake leaves and water plants around the house after being taught how to properly water each plant. Folding laundry, dusting furniture and bookshelves and taking out the garbage are a few more tasks kids between the ages of six and nine should be able to handle.

Adolescents can be trusted to make simple meals and babysit their younger siblings, saving parents time and money. If adolescents babysit, consider paying them for their time even if they already receive an allowance.

4- to 5-year-olds Children finishing up preschool and those currently enrolled in kindergarten can pitch in a little more around the house than they did as toddlers, setting the table for meals (prevent kids from accessing sharp utensils like steak knives) and even helping with some simple meal prep. Such youngsters can put their folded laundry away and clean their rooms as well.

36 Neighborhood Publications Late Summer 2016

When giving kids additional responsibilities around the house, parents should realize that kids won’t always be perfect when doing their chores. Resist the temptation to do chores for them, and praise and encourage kids when they do things right.

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How to prepare a home for elderly residents

Many seniors move in with their adult children to make their golden years safer, more enjoyable and manageable.


pon reaching retirement age, new retirees may face decisions regarding their living arrangements. Some seniors may opt to stay put, while others may want to downsize their homes to save money and relieve themselves of the burdens of maintaining larger homes. Those are not the only situations in which seniors find themselves. Some seniors realize they can no longer care for themselves without assistance. In such instances, seniors may opt for assisted living facilities or choose to move in with a relative, such as a grown son or daughter. While assisted living facilities are designed to meet the needs of the elderly, young men and women welcoming seniors into their homes may need to take on some home improvement projects to ensure their homes are as safe as possible for elderly residents. Convert a room on the first floor into a bedroom. While this may not apply to all seniors, some men and women struggle with stairs as they age, and that can make it difficult for them to fully participate in a household. Homeowners with an extra room to spare can convert a room on the first floor of their homes into a bedroom so seniors won’t have to climb up and down stairs throughout the day. That ease of accessibility to the primary floor of the house encourages seniors to be active participants in a household. If possible, choose an area that is close to a first-floor bathroom. Take steps to make bathrooms safer. The National Institute on Aging says that more than one in three seniors over age 65 fall each year, and 80 percent of those falls take place in the bathroom. Slippery tile floors can make it difficult for seniors to navigate bathrooms safely, and bathtubs and shower stalls present additional challenges.

Install grab bars on bathroom walls and next to toilets to provide support. In addition, consider installing a shower chair or bench and removable shower nozzle in the shower or tub so seniors can sit down while they bathe and rinse without having to stand up on slippery surfaces. Make sure any mats around bathtubs and sinks are nonskid to reduce the risk of falls even further. Install an extra phone line or two. While kids and adults between the ages of 18 and 50 may never use the landlines in their homes, many seniors still rely on traditional telephones as their primary means of communicating with the outside world. Install extra landlines in your home, including in seniors’ bedrooms, so they can more readily access the phone should they fall and need to call for emergency help. Phones in seniors’ bedrooms may also provide some additional privacy

38 Neighborhood Publications Late Summer 2016

to seniors who don’t want to carry on phone conversations in busy areas of the home, such as the kitchen or living room. Such lines may also reduce feelings of isolation. Prioritize accessibility when storing items. When storing groceries, books, magazines, or other items seniors are likely to use, choose locations that are accessible to seniors. Avoid storing items on the top shelf of pantries, bookcases or entertainment centers, as seniors with limited mobility may not be able to reach them. Many seniors move in with their adult children to make their golden years safer and more enjoyable and manageable. Such a change in living arrangements may necessitate some changes on the part of homeowners so they can ensure their homes are safe for seniors.

To advertise, call 281-401-9143 or email:

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Profile for Spring Klein Magazine (Neighborhood Publications)

Spring Klein Magazine: Late Summer 2016 Vol.5 No.4  

Family Life (July/ August 2016)

Spring Klein Magazine: Late Summer 2016 Vol.5 No.4  

Family Life (July/ August 2016)