22 December 2006

...And to All a Good Night.

Only two more shopping days until Christmas, and if you’re still searching for the perfect gifts, you can’t say we didn’t offer a few suggestions over the past few weeks!

The next time you hear from us, we’ll have a jam-packed January issue out on the stands, our first of 2007. In it, you can look forward to features on childcare and gifted education, as well as a special teen supplement. While you’re enjoying January, though, our minds are almost in March. We just like to keep one step ahead of you that way!

We’re taking a day or two off--to regroup, to relax and to celebrate, but we’ll be back shortly, and we’ve got big plans for ’07.

Enjoy your holidays

18 December 2006

All Aboard!

I love Dallas during the holidays. Where else can you experience a Christmas tradition like the Grapevine Vintage Railroad's "North Pole Express." We caught the 10:30 a.m. train this past Saturday with the boys (pictured). Little ones are encouraged to wear their jammies (parents too!) a la the real "Polar Express" and the mood is festive with sing-alongs and a surprise visit through the coaches by Old St. Nick. Tickets for the final weekend (this Friday and Saturday) are sold out, but often extra seats are released right before departure — so for train lovers it's worth a shot (plus there's free entertainment in the form of an ornament factory, Santa visits with photos, holiday model train layout and live entertainment at the "North Pole Fun Park" - aka Cotton Belt Depot in Grapevine).

And, if you're looking for something to do with the kids after Christmas, load up the fam for a round-trip train ride to the Fort Worth Stockyards Station Dec. 26-31. Trains depart daily from Grapevine at 1 p.m. and return at 6 p.m; or depart the Stockyards at 3:30 p.m. for the Trinity River Run to 8th Avenue and return at 4:30 p.m. For more info and prices, check out the Grapevine Vintage Railroad. --shelley

Age Games: Your Comments Wanted!

I recently sat down with our editorial director, Shelley, in preparation for an article I’m working on for the February issue regarding older versus younger moms. She asked me to think about the differences that she and I would experience as mothers each raising similar-age children (I have one on the way and she has three under 5) in respect to our ages (we differ by about 10 years). As a younger mom, will I be more fun-loving? As an older mom, will she be more patient? Will either of us become jealous of our stations in life in regard to parenting?

These questions really got me thinking and I posed these, and several others, to members of our readers’ panel (if you’d like to join, just shoot me an e-mail) to see what they thought and now I’m asking you. Have you ever felt ostracized by a group of older or younger moms? Do you feel like you “don’t fit in” because of your age? If you’re a younger or older mom, in a nutshell, how do you view the other mommy group?

I’m looking for moms who aren’t afraid to speak their minds! =) E-mail me at senior.editor@dallaschild.com. All comments may be used in the feature, so please include your full name, city in which you live, age now, age at which you became a mom and number of kiddos in your response.

I look forward to hearing from you shortly!

13 December 2006

Chic or Eek? Is Your Closet Calling for Help?

If you are a mom anything like me, your closet could best be described as casual meets corporate meets maternity meets carpool (in a variety of sizes to suit all life phases). I love to shop. I have many receipts to prove it {insert husband cringing}. I enjoy fashion and pour through women’s magazines for ideas. I have a clue. The one thing I don’t have much of is time. And, that’s what it takes to pull together a smashing wardrobe: time.

Or Nancy.

Who is this magic makeover marvel? Without giving away too many details (you’ll have to read the January issue of DallasChild), Nancy Klompus is the secret-weapon to many a well-dressed mom in the Metroplex. With more than 25 years of designer fashion experience (think Neimans, Saks and Barneys) under her belt, she works as a personal-style consultant, whipping wardrobes into shape with her impeccable eye for style. Nancy takes the best of what you have, organizes it, reinvents it and builds upon it.

I was brave enough to invite her into my closet {yes, nervously so, but you have to admit there is a problem before you can make improvements!}. Find out what I learned (tips you can steal, too) and discover why the right personal shopper might actually help save you money! --shelley

ps ... Who wants to vote? Is that my closet pictured above? Is it Tessa's? Or random Internet photo that Liz dug up? You tell us.

12 December 2006

Sugar & Spice for Dallas families

Fresh from feeding families at Thanksgiving, the North Texas Food Bank is hosting a special event this Friday for families at Dobie Elementary in Richardson.

Food Bank chef, Kyra Effren, will host a gingerbread house party for graduates of the six-week Operation Frontline program. Operation Frontline is offered through Dobie’s Even Start program and teaches Spanish-speaking families how to make healthy and “budget-wise” food choices through hands-on classes.

Effren will assemble the houses and let the families decorate with all sorts of candy d├ęcor.

Sounds like fun and a great way to give these families something sweet for the holidays.


06 December 2006

Just Two Weeks Left to Shop...

On the heels of Shelley’s shopping list (see “A Few of My Favorite Things” entry) and Liz’s shopping blitz taking place this weekend (check out “Time to Shop”), I decided it was time to dish on all the goodies I’ve been hording in my holiday hat, as well. Enjoy!

* If you want to make the holidays “blingy” and bright, gift a little one (newborn to age 6) with Swarovski-crystal or nailhead-embellished treats from u*b*baby. The angel onesie (with crystal-outlined wings on the back) is my absolute favorite!

*To make someone’s home (and heart) all aglow, check out the customized creations from Light Affection. Just submit a favorite photo and the company will turn it into an amazing standing light or night light. (I have one of these in my office and it’s beautiful!)

* For those on your shopping list who like to be in-step with celeb life (apparently Eva Longoria and Jessica Simpson, among others are loving this line), then check out gear from Bejeweled. I have my eye on the “Royal Highness” tee — too cute. Shop at www.fashionchateau.com or www.angelarunway.com.

*Want to give the gift of art this season? Swing by the
Mary Jack Studios’s Web site to see the wonderful, whimsical creations designed to inspire all little minds.

*Nothing says lovin' like something from the oven, but how about helping a Dallas-area charity at the same time? The Creating Comfort cook book, which benefits the Genesis Women's shelter, is chock full of tasty recipes for appetizers, main dishes and desserts. Shop at www.genesisshelter.org.

*For the new mom (or about to become one) on your list, visit LillaBoo. This stylish site offers fashion-forward baby basics. Think geometric-print bibs, blankies and bags — a great alternative to the more humdrum offerings that tend to flood the market.

* Want a truly inspirational gift for that woman in your life that reminds you to walk on faith (thanks mom!)? Check out Dallas-based company Christian Couture. ShaeLyn Werner’s collection (the creator) is something to behold. Bonus? For those of us with a baby bump, there’s also a maternity line that boasts sayings like “Blessed Belly” and “Heavenly Sent.”

*And finally, shield against the winter chill with a cozy fleece blanket from Affirmagy. These cuddly wraps boast uplifting affirmations, covering subjects like motherhood, love and serenity.

Happy hunting!
much love~

05 December 2006

Sneak Peeks...

Maybe it’s still December to you, but for us here at the magazine, December has come and gone – it’s time for the new year! For the covers of January’s DallasChild and FortWorthChild, we chose two fiery (and fun) red-heads by the names of Caitlin (DC - bottom picture) and Kelsie (FWC - top picture). The two girls didn’t seem upset that they were missing school to be “models,” dressing up in the “princess skirt” and other outfits selected for them. Here are sneak peeks of the little firecrackers from their cover search test shots from this past fall.

Thanks to Caitlin, Kelsie and their moms for such great and entertaining shoots this morning!


Time to shop!

If you survived Black Friday, but still don’t have your holiday shopping finished, you are in luck. Our fair city is not short of shops, but if you’re still at a loss, do not miss the annual Holiday Market sponsored by The 500, Inc. at Dallas Market Hall.

Five dollars gets you into this 2-day shopping fest this Saturday (12/9) 10-6 and Sunday (12/10) from 11-5. You’ll find more than 200 vendors selling everything from gifts and clothes to jewelry and crafts.

The 500, Inc. is a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to the appreciation and preservation of the arts in Dallas for nearly 40 years, and also hosts the annual ARTFEST.

And, if all the shopping becomes too harried, we’ve stumbled upon this little gem called Christmas Eve: the Joy of Giving, by Lisa Sferlazza Johnson and Tucker Johnson. Eve is a charming little fairy who goes to help build toys at the North Pole, where she learns that quality is more important than quantity…especially come Christmas time.

Happy shopping!


01 December 2006

Help Your Neighbor

It takes years to build a home, and minutes to lose it...

Operation Homefront is asking for your help for an Arlington family. A fire in late November destroyed the Willows Apartments and left the Davenport family with nothing. Dad is in Iraq and mom is caring for kids ages 6, 2 and 2 months.

The Davenports desperately need clothes, and so will Dad when he returns next year. (Sizes 6, 4T, and ever-increasing infant sizes for the kids, and mom is a 14)

They will also needed are furniture, kitchen items and, of course, diapers!

Operation Homefront’s chapter president, Karla Ayala, suggests saving your shipping costs by donating money or gift cards (all money will be converted to gift cards for the family). “Gift cards can be purchased at banks that can be used anywhere and Wal-mart gift cards are good to because they would cover food, clothes, toys, etc,” she says.

Operation Homefront is a national, non-profit, created after 9/11/2001 to provide emergency assistance to U.S. troops and their families.

Visit Operation Homefront's Texas chapter for information on how to help.

Many thanks, and have a great weekend

Oops! We Did It Again!

Fresh from the Dallas Bar Association's 23rd Annual Stephen Philbin Awards Luncheon (during which John Edwards was the keynote speaker), our star contributing reporter/writer, Lisa Poisso (looking radiant and stylish I might add), dropped by the office with the 2006 award for excellence in legal reporting in hand! This is the third major award given to Lisa's two part series: Overhauling Child Protective Services. Qualifies it as a must read, don't you think?
Happy weekend. --shelley