21 November 2008

Relax … and Give Back!

The new V Spa at Dallas' Hilton Anatole Hotel Has the perfect way to help a local charity while winding down from your Thanksgiving stress. Through Nov 30, the spa will donate a portion of sales from its treatments to Genesis Women's Shelter, which provides safety and shelter to local battered women and their children. The spa offers manicures, pedicures, massage, facials, men's treatments and more. Services are available from 9am-8pm daily. Call 214/761-7800 to make an appointment.

20 November 2008

Give It Up!

At some point, you've probably hurried past someone collecting for charity, grimacing as you pat your pockets and mumble, "Sorry, I don't have any cash on me!" But this Christmas season, The Salvation Army is one step ahead of you: The ubiquitous red kettles are going cashless. The new techno-savvy kettles were set to roll out in Dallas Nov 20 and will be set up in 12 locations across the Metroplex. The kettles will be equipped with credit card scanners attached to the stands. So be on the lookout for the new high-tech giving gadgets ... and have your card ready!

19 November 2008

TV Time

Tune in to the CBS Early Show this Saturday (Nov 22), and you might see a familiar face: Chef Jon Bonnell of Fort Worth's Bonnell's Fine Texas Cuisine. The culinary dynamo will present a special "Chef on a Shoestring" segment in which he'll create a traditional (and delicious!) Thanksgiving feast for just $80. When viewers across the U.S. see dishes like Butternut Squash Soup with Chili-Spiced Pecans and Pumpkin Seeds and Pumpkin-Spiced Cheesecake with Cinnamon Bourbon Whipped Cream, they'll learn what Fort Worth foodies have known for ages: Bonnell is a local gem.

— Claudia

14 November 2008

How Not to Cook on Thanksgiving

Turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes with little marshmallows, pumpkin pie, green-bean casserole - all homemade ... Wait, are you kidding?! I can barely get spaghetti with Newman's Own sauce on the dinner table without some minor disaster (or major whining). If Turkey Day seems just a bit insurmountable to you too, you might want to check out the Thanksgiving Day Ballroom Brunch at The Gaylord Texan in Grapevine. You'll get an eye-popping (and gut-busting) selection of ham, prime rib, sushi, omelets and, of course, turkey with sage dressing. There will even be an elaborate children's buffet (just their size!) featuring all their favorite foods. Top it all off with a dessert table that includes a chocolate fountain and sugar-free goodies.

Reservations are recommended. The price is $65 adults; $25 children ages 6-12; and free for children under 6. You can even add tickets to the "ICE! Exhibit," Gaylord's winter wonderland featuring 2 million pounds of ice carved into life-size sculptures, for $75 adults; $30 children 6-12; and free for children under 6. Call 817/778-2000 or visit www.gaylordhotels.com/gaylord-texan.

— Claudia

03 November 2008

Delicious Decision

Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops want you to vote, and they're ready to put their ice cream where their mouths are (actually, where your mouths are). The dreamy ice creamery, which has locations in Plano, McKinney and Highland Village, will give away free scoops (one per customer) from 5-8pm Nov 4, Election Day, in celebration of democracy. So get out there and vote (yes, it really is that important!), and then treat yourself to some Chunky Monkey, Cherry Garcia or any other decadent B&J flavor. You earned it!

— Claudia

31 October 2008

Know Before You Go

Starting Nov 10, it will cost you a bit more to visit the Fort Worth Zoo. The price of adult admission is rising from $10.50 to $12; the admission cost for children and seniors is not changing. Zoo officials said this is the zoo's first price increase in more than two years. During that time, the zoo's operational and fuel expenses have gone up, making the ticket price increase necessary.

The zoo plans to continue its half-price admission on Wednesdays.

— Claudia

Art Attack!

Make plans to attend the Target First Saturdays event this weekend at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas. In addition to free admission from 10am-2pm, you and the kiddos will enjoy an art scavenger hunt, family tours, Yoga in the Garden, storytime, NasherKids Live! puppet show and more.

Your kids are sure to love hanging out in this Dallas cultural hotspot!

- Claudia

29 October 2008

A Howling Good Time

Got a dog with a cute Halloween costume? Want to show it off? Head over to the Hackberry Creek Halloween Festival in Las Colinas at 6:30pm Oct 31 for Groom & Zoom Self-Serve Dog Wash's "Howl-O-Ween Pet Costume Contest." Haunting hounds will compete in categories like "Most Frightening" and "Most Creative." The festival will have fun stuff for little ones of the human variety, too, with a bounce slide, face painting, a haunted tunnel, a petting zoo and more.

And leading up to the costume contest, Groom & Zoom is collecting toys and treats to donate to the Irving Humane Society. Drop off some goodies at the store, 4127 N. Story Road in Irving.

— Claudia

23 October 2008


The weather just took a major turn toward autumn, which means the conditions are perfect for "Tales by the Rails: Scary Stories" from 7-9pm Saturday at the Grapevine Depot. Bundle up the family and enjoy spooky stories around the campfire withttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifh the Tarrant Area Guild of Storytellers. Free hot apple cider and popcorn will warm you up a bit, but you'll still have shivers down your spine! 817/410-3123; .

— Claudia

21 October 2008

The Power of a Smile

Does your kid have a million-dollar smile? Show it off this weekend during a casting call for Duracell's Power A Smile holiday ambassador program. Children ages 6-15 will be asked to show how excited they get powering up a new toy. Five winners will receive a trip to New York in early December, a $500 shopping spree, Duracell batteries and the chance to serve as a holiday ambassador delivering toys to local children's hospitals.

The Dallas casting call will be at the Dallas Museum of Nature and Science. The museum is open from 10am-5pm.

Kids can also enter online at www.powerasmile.com through Nov 3.

17 October 2008

For the Birds

The Trinity River Audubon Center was officially dedicated this morning, with many Dallas dignitaries attending. The center, which is shaped like a bird, is the first major signature development for the Trinity River Corridor Project, a $2 billion city of Dallas public works project. TRAC will be an excellent spot for bird watching and other outdoor activities and will also serve as a teaching facility for thousands of area students every year.

The center's grand opening for the public is this weekend, from 10am-5pm Oct 18-19. Admission is free all weekend. It's located at 650http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif0 S. Loop 12 in Dallas. Call 214/370-9967 or visit for more information.

Gather up the family and enjoy the beautiful fall weather!

— Claudia

16 October 2008

Grown-up Tea Party

Moms, gather up your girlfriends and make plans to attend a Harvest Tea at the Dallas Arboretum. These three-course teas are served at 2pm every Wed-Sun through Nov 23 and are open only to those ages 13 and up.

The Harvest Tea is $33.50, or you can add a glass of champagne before your tea service for $42.50. Both prices include admission, parking and gratuity. Advance reservations are recommended. Call 214/515-6610.

And while you're at the Arboretum enjoying your tea, don't forget to marvel at the beautiful fall flowers in bloom!

— Claudia

15 October 2008

Baby Pick-Me-Up

International Babywearing Week is Nov 12-18, and Peppermint Natural Baby Boutique in Richardson is celebrating by hosting a baby sling drive. The store seeks gently used baby slings to donate to No Mother Left Behind, a group of volunteers who promote the benefits of babywearing. Drop off slings at the boutique, 1778 N. Plano Road, Suite 100, in Richardson.
Call 214/623-5080 or visit www.peppermint.com for more information.

— Claudia

14 October 2008

Tea Time for a Good Cause

Bring your little ladies (and gents!) to Celebrity Café & Bakery's first-ever National Tea Party from 2-5pm Sun, Oct 19. Celebrity's 10 Dallas-Fort Worth locations will offer free cookies, petit fours and tea and will take donations for Kidd's Kids, a local charity that supports ill and physically challenged children. Each location will also have dress-up clothes for the little girls in attendance, and photographers will be on hand to take pictures of the fancy fun.

— Claudia

12 September 2008

Take a Hike Ike: What You Can Do to Help Evacuees

Currently, the Dallas Convention Center Shelter is housing more than 900 residents that have been evacuated from Houston and the surrounding areas due to the nearing threat of Hurricane Ike. As we all watch our TV screens to see the most up-to-date path of the hurricane, you might be compelled to help our fellow Texans. Here's how you can help:

Donations to help purchase food can be made to the North Texas Food Bank through their Web site: www.ntfb.org.

Donations to help purchase other essentials can be made to the Salvation Army through their Web site: www.salvationarmydfw.org.

Volunteers may register for assignments with the Volunteer Center of North Texas through their Web site: www.volunteernorthtexas.org or by calling 866/797-8268.

Cash donations to help provide other assistance can be made to the American Red Cross by calling 800/RED-CROSS or at www.redcross.org.


02 September 2008

Bring the Outdoors Indoors

While rifling through my mail last Friday, I unknowingly discovered a box holding the main source of my weekend entertainment: Namco Bandai's Active Life Outdoor Challenge for Nintendo Wii. Let me just preface this entry by saying that I absolutely detest video games. Really, I cannot stand them. Why? Beyond the violence, gore and male-intended content (of most adult games at least), I’m not one to spend hours at a time sitting on the couch … that is, unless there’s a Law and Order marathon on TV! But that’s beside the point.

When my father decided he wanted to give into the video-gaming frenzy and purchase a Nintendo Wii, I rolled my eyes. But my apathy soon changed. Now I jump at the chance to play a pick-up game of tennis with my mom (yes, my ‘rents are technologically-savvy!) or bowl against my younger brother. I can see why this gaming device is the hottest thing since sliced bread (and why kids can’t get enough of it).

So, when I opened my mail to find a reviewer’s copy of the newest Wii game, The Outdoor Challenge, I couldn’t wait to visit my parents’ house and take the game for a test drive.

Outdoor Challenge is a part of Namco Bandai’s Active Life games, meaning that it’s similar to Wii Fit (read: you have to get your butt off the couch and participate). In the Outdoor Challenge, players stand on an Active Life Mat, reminiscent of Dance Dance Revolution. Players can compete (in one-person and two-person games) in a series of activities, like mountain boarding, log jumping, kayaking, mine-cart driving and – best of all – mole stomping. (Yep, you read that right.)

Imagine this: a room of four adults bouncing around on a mat while yelling, cheering and falling to the couch exasperatedly out-of-breath due to the on-screen challenges. It was a blast. (Several times my marathon-running dad joked that he was going to have a heart attack!) The games are physically challenging and require a great deal of focus, balance and agility, yet they're kid-friendly and can be adjusted in difficulty for young followers.

I haven’t fully changed my opinion on video games. But this new addition has me one step closer to becoming a believer. Snag yourself a copy of this game when it hits shelves later this fall and have your own family gaming night. (Don't forget to take water breaks!)


17 July 2008

Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

Moms and kids alike share the common craving of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When left up to the kids, however, the making of this classic sandwich can experience some creative twists. And that's what the makers of Jif peanut butter wish to celebrate with a good old American competition.

The Seventh-Annual Jif Most Creative Peanut Butter Sandwich Contest kicks off August 4 through November 14 - and kids across the nation are encouraged to invent new creative peanut butter sandwich recipes for entry.

Sandwiches will be judged on the following criteria: creativity, taste, appearance, nutritional balance and ease of preparation. The grand prize is a $25,000 scholarship fund. Four runner-ups will each receive a $2,500 scholarship fund. (That's definitely something worth talking about!)

To submit your original recipes (such as the peanut butter and jelly sushi rolls pictured at right), go to the Jif Web site.


07 July 2008

"Save Some Green and Go Blue"

While drought-like conditions aren't as wide-spread this summer as in the past, The City of Dallas Water Utilities' "Save Some Green and Go Blue" water conservation program offers these tips for staying water-wise this summer:

-Fill a bucket of water to wash your dog or car to avoid leaving the hose running
-Cover your pool or spa to reduce evaporation
-If you use an automatic sprinkler system, be sure it does not water sidewalks, driveways or streets.

-Fix leaky faucets.
-Take shorter showers, using low-flow shower heads.
-Upgrade your toilets (if installed prior to 1992) to a low-flow, water efficient model.

For more tips on how to save water this summer, visit SaveDallasWater.com.


30 June 2008

In the Cards for Stay-At-Home Mom

As you might imagine, we scroll through hundreds of parenting product ideas each week, and I'm not going to say we are jaded, but we are picky! Recently, a Rockwall mom sent something that caught my eye: original hand drawn greeting cards and labels with a twist. The self-described "Cute Card Queen," Courtney designs each card with colorful, whimsical cartoon characters to depict your family. I especially like her mommy business cards and her "send a card" service where you simply pick out a greeting and let Courtney jot a handwritten note and mail it for you! Plus, how could we not love a fellow mom (to a 1-year-old little boy) who confesses to being addicted to Cherry Coke Zero and LOST!

Check out her designs at Come Together Cards (hey, it's not too soon to be thinking about holiday cards & labels)!


16 June 2008

A Man to Inspire All

In the spirit of Father's Day (past), I'd like to mention briefly a man I never knew in person, but only over the television waves. After this weekend though, it seems as the person America saw in front of the camera was the same as behind the scenes. I'm of course talking about Tim Russert, moderator of Meet the Press and Washington Bureau Chief of NBC, who passed away this past Friday as he was recording a voice-over for last Sunday's show. He was a man who above all was a great father and a great son, writing about both in his book Big Russ and Me. It's heart-warming to see a man that loved everything about his life, but especially his son and his dad, so outwardly proud of them both. Beaming when he spoke of them in interviews, and telling all of America how proud he was to be Luke's dad.

So, grab your Kleenex's and watch his only child, Luke, speak of his dad Monday morning on the Today Show with Matt Lauer. I only hope that Tim Russert's legacy inspires fathers to become even better parents, letting their kids know just how much they love them, and how their life wouldn't be the same without them.

Learning from his closes friends and colleges over the past weekend, Tim Russert is a man who truly inspires, both as a politcal journalist who loved every minute of his job, as a son who admired his dad ever so deeply, and as a father who let his son know just how much he loved him every day of his life.


12 June 2008

Celebrate Dads at the Nasher

Looking for a Father's Day event that the whole family will enjoy? Head over to Father's Day at the Nasher Sculpture Center — Dads can soak up the artistic atmosphere without hearing the begrudged exclamation "I'm bored!" from the kids.

First, pop into the NasherCafe for brunch prepared by the one and only Wolfgang Puck from 11am-3pm ($30 per person, $15 per child). After filling your bellies, head to the family scavenger hunt in the Nasher's garden. While the kiddos are scrambling to find hidden treasures, Dads (and Moms) and take a moment to check out Mark di Suvero's Eviva Amore (shown in photo).

After the kids have had their fill of adventure, get your picture snapped by James French Photography, which will be on-site to take your family's photograph in the garden.

At 2:30pm, relax to the soothing performance by the Arts District Chorale, which will be an all-Brahms program including "Come Dance With Me." The day's events commence at 3pm.

Enjoy! And, if you're still looking for an outing to celebrate dad, go here!

— Gretchen

05 June 2008

Shampoos, Conditioners and Whoopie Pies (Oh My!)

The editorial team at DallasChild frequently receives various mom-centric (and kid-centric) samples of up-and-coming products and books for our testing and review. But rarely does a shipment cause so much stir as the recently received package from Suave — laden with tangerine-smelling lotions, shampoos and conditioners (just in time for summer!), as well as a box of One Girl Cookies' Pumpkin Whoopie Pies (shown in photo).

What the heck are Pumpkin Whoopie Pies, you say? Think (or imagine tasting) cake-like cookies flavored with all-natural pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger, held together sandwich-style with a sweet cream cheese icing.

Now do you understand what all the stir was about? We highly recommend this treat! And, although the adorable bakery is located in Brooklyn, NY, you can order some for your own tasting: go here. The treats are handmade and will ship to your doorstep in two days time — a perfect gift for someone with a sweet tooth!

Thanks Suave and One Girl Cookies! Check out the new Suave products and real-life transformations of moms-on-the-go on the Suave Web site.


04 June 2008

Go Skateboarding

If you have any budding, young skateboarders in your house, I’m sure you know how infectious the sport is. Well, an eagerly anticipated event is approaching this month, and that’s Go Skateboarding Day (June 21). Enthusiasts from across the Metroplex will gather at the Edge Skate Park in Allen to celebrate the spirit of their sport, and maybe pick up some new fans.

In anticipation of this special event, skaters and artists can enter a deck design contest, sponsored by the City of Allen and SD Skateboards. (For the uninitiated, the deck is the part of the board you stand on.) We first learned about SD Skateboards almost two years ago when we profiled its owner, then-13-year-old Sean Dillon. Since then, Dillon’s brainchild has become the family business, and it seems to have really taken North Texas by storm.

Check out Go Skateboarding Day 2008’s website for more information on contest entry rules and procedures (entries are due by June 16). And, you can visit SD Skateboards’ website for everything else you might need from grip tape to trucks…but, you may have to ask a skater what those are, first.


03 June 2008

Rock On!

Mimic the moves of actor Jack Black — no, we're not talking Kung Fu — at the newest (and coolest) music school in town: Paul Green's School of Rock. Just like in the movie, this music school aims to save rock-&-roll "one kid at a time." (And have a little fun too, of course!)

Director Mark Warner, an active Dallas-area bassist, will teach students to play some of the most intricate and rockin' classic rock with a focus on performing the music for live audiences. This philosophy requires that students stage live shows every three months — what better way to teach aspiring musicians than with live concert experience?

The Austin-based School of Rock students will help make the June 14 Grand Opening official with an all-ages benefit concert for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, concluding the weekend's Open House at 4pm June 15 at The Loft in Dallas. The Open House hours are 10am-4pm Sat June 14 and 12-3pm Sun June 15.

In addition to the Austin School of Rock performers, the benefit concert will include performances by Judas Rising (Warner's top-rated Judas Priest tribute band) as well as Brian Brooks, a current Make-A-Wish child and aspiring rocker. 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit the North Texas Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

If you've got your own aspiring rocker at home, check out the grand opening weekend at the School of Rock — I have a feeling you'll be nodding your head and singing along with the classic tunes before you know it!

Enrollment to the Dallas School of Rock is now open. Call 214/263-8325 for more information, or visit the school's Web site.


30 May 2008

Father's Day Finds

Since we’re always trying to be of service to you, it’s about time we provided you with some ideas for Father’s Day. Some dads are thrilled with gadgets of all kids, but, I think most are notoriously challenging to shop for. (“Just a card would be great; save your money!”)

Dallas’ Current Energy store may not sound like the place for off-beat dad gifts, but it may have exactly what you didn’t know you were looking for.

He’s got a soft side—you know that—but for a grooming gift, pick up the Man Can, containing organic spa products. Nothing too fancy, just soap, a cool back brush and hand cream. And, since he’ll need a can opener, or maybe a screwdriver, to open it, it really is one manly can of cosmetics.

I also like the Solio hybrid charger, which lets you charge all of your small electronics at once using solar power. It’s the only charger he’ll need, and he’ll probably get a kick out of using the solar power, since, you know, he does not own the electric company.

For more ideas on how to celebrate the dads in your life this month, be sure to pick up our June issue, where you'll find more gift ideas, large and small, and plenty of activities to have fun together.


28 May 2008

A Move in the Right Direction

Have you converted to re-usable grocery bags yet? No? If what’s holding you back is a convenience and/or style issue, I have good news. You’ll want to order a few new bags from Envirosax for yourself and the family. You can bypass all of the generic, grocery store brand-stamped eco bags on sale at the in the checkout lines, and you’ll be living the brand’s mission: A move in the right direction.

What makes these bags desirable? Let me count the ways. They’re inexpensive, durable and adorable, and they also wholeheartedly embrace their maker’s environmental message. From the organic materials, to the fair trade and fair wage standards of their China factory, this is one company that practices what it preaches.

Based in Australia (where toting green-colored sacks to the store is far and away the norm), Envirosax are now available in the U.S. You can also meander around their site to find easy tips for saving water and living a more sustainable life.

Greengrocer bags for mom and dad come in chic colors, and the new kids line features characters silly enough for your little shoppers to get excited about (pictured is “Baa, Maa & Paa”). Get the kids in the habit of using bags like these for toting library books, pool essentials and more, and you’ll all be making a move in the right direction.


21 May 2008

Moms, Martinis & Makeovers

Feel like getting a little bit pampered tomorrow evening? Leave the kids with dad, and bring your mom or your cosmetics-wearing daughter to Martinis & Makeovers, a fundraising event for the Collin County Ballet Theatre hosted by Neiman Marcus Willow Bend, Thursday, May 22.

Lancome's national makeup artist Tarek will be on hand to provide complete makeovers and demonstrations. And, the man knows a thing or two about make up. He has styled celebrities, models and music divas for their most important appearances.

Tickets are $30 per pair, or a $20 donation for individuals (meet up with friends!). While you're waiting for Tarek's expert advice, Neimans promises to keep the pink martinis and pink lemonade flowing.

Call Amy McMillin at 972/740-7123 for tickets, and check out our online calendar of events for more information.


19 May 2008

Oh, the Places They'll Go

Some travel experiences are just too good to keep to yourself. After all, who doesn’t have thousands of digital photos to prove it?

And the, then are those travel experiences that you haven’t had yet—the trip of your dreams, your top places to see in your lifetime or that upcoming summer excursion.

Well, your kids might have some travel memories (or fantasies) of their own. Challenge them to tell their story this summer, and, PS, there are prizes involved.

All summer long, kids can write about their travel adventures (real or imaginary) for the Youngest Travel Writer Contest. Sponsored by Smart Poodle Publishing (owned by a former travel writer), the goal of this contest is to keep kids’ minds sharp over the summer, as well as to inspire more great journeys.

To help your little voyagers get started, try asking questions like “What did you see or do that made this adventure unique?” or “What happened that was different or exciting?” Or, stage a family slide show of all those digital snaps and relive some of your favorite trips.

Email submissions to smartpoodle@comcast.net by Sep 1. Winners in three age categories will have their narratives posted on Smart Poodle Publishing’s Web site and win a prize package.

So, you can give your kids permission to let their minds wander this summer, just a little.


15 May 2008

Tea Time for Grannies

Calling all grandmothers, grannies, nanas...and their daughters and daughters-on-law: You're invited to a special event at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas next month. We don't have to tell you how important (and fun) grandmothers can be in the lives of young grandchildren (and the mothers raising them).

But science is looking at this relationship even closer to find out how grandmothers can best provide support to young families based on the years of mothering skills that they've aquired. (Hey, when there's so much love and advice on the line, not to mention the high-intensity of caring for a new baby, it's a good thing someone is studying this!)

So, if you have young children and a mother or mother-in-law in town, make a reservation to attend Presby's Grandmothers' Teas June 1 and 29. The events are free; you're only asked to take two anonymous surveys for research purposes. Then, meet and greet other moms and their moms, swap stories and discuss grandmothers' many roles in the family.

Call or email Jane Grassley, RN, to reserve your spot, 972/890-1515.


14 May 2008

Peeky Boo No More

Searching for a stylish nursing cover-up? (And not one of those blankies that will fly off your shoulder at the slightest hint of a breeze.) Look no further — two Frisco moms have come up with a solution: the Peeky Boo Baby Private Nursing Cover.

The Peeky Boo Baby nursing cover has a weighted corner that sits across a nursing mother's shoulder, insuring the security and privacy of the moment. The practical design doesn't fall short on style, either — the nursing cover comes in lots of adorable color and pattern combinations. And, moms can order matching bibs and burp cloths.

Check out the Peeky Boo Baby Web site to find a retail location near you.


13 May 2008

What If...

Who doesn’t love the clever, artistic logos that pop up on Google on various holidays? Well, did you know they are the work of artist and Google Webmaster Dennis Hwang? Hwang has been doodling these logos to mark certain occasions since 2000, and recently he got some help from some very artistic kids.

The Doodle 4 Google competition gives kids the chance to design a logo using the theme “What if…” This year, kids in all grades submitted variations on that theme for the chance to have their rendering displayed on the world’s biggest search engine May 22. The submission part of the contest is over, but the voting has just begun. Click to check out some of the phenomenal works that were submitted and vote for your favorites.

You can browse by age level, from the adorable K-3rd grade group to the seriously talented high school category. (In fact, a high schooler from the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts has made it to the voting round!)

Click through the submissions for an amusing mid-afternoon treat, and perhaps keep this idea under your hat for an art project for your own kids this summer.


08 May 2008

It's Your Day - Take a Break!

Mother's Day is an occasion to show appreciation to your mom or accept gracious (and humorously innocent) acts of kindness from your kiddos. The all-natural baby food maker Beech-Nut recently surveyed a group of new moms to see what their first Mother's Day means to them (and how their baby's firsts have affected their lives). Here are some of the endearing responses:
  • For 83 percent of new moms, Mother’s Day reminds them of how happy they are to be a mom, while 62 percent appreciate their own mother more after becoming a new mom.
  • When asked what they desire most on their first Mother’s Day, sharing a fun day with baby ranked highest (30 percent), although, many moms (28 percent) said they wouldn’t mind a little pampering with spa treatments.
  • Not surprisingly, nearly all new moms (93 percent) warmed to baby’s first smile as the most popular, unexpected joy of being a new mom.
Have a happy Mother's Day!


And the award goes to ...

Just another reason to call DallasChild an award-winner (besides being named the best parenting magazine):

The feature story “Diagnosing Joey: Unraveling the Mysteries of Pediatric Bipolar Disorder” by Jenny Davis (published in the Sept. 2007 issue of DallasChild) took the top honor at the Mental Health America 2008 Media Awards competition for Local and/or Regional Magazines.

Congratulations, Jenny!

To read Jenny's most recent article (on the heartbreaking condition of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia) pick up a May edition of DallasChild (or check it out online!).


07 May 2008

Law & Order

Here's a hot tip I just learned about. The Dallas Bar Association hosts its LegalLine twice this month to answer Metroplex residents' legal questions. Wednesday, May 14 and 21, Dallas attorneys will be standing by to take your calls and answer questions in this free community service.

Your calls are anonymous, so whether you have a large legal issue at hand, or just a brief question that could use some clarification, you can get trustworthy answers over the phone the second and third Wednesdays of each month. How is that for peace of mind?

Call the lawyers: 214/220-7476


05 May 2008

Double Vision?

If you’re a mother of multiples, we don’t have to tell you how busy life can get. And, although every family has its own strategies and procedures for managing day-to-day life, more help is on the way this fall from a local mom who has learned to succeed at parenting with her hands full.

Tonia Tomlin is a Plano mother of twin girls who will be releasing her book Chaos 2 Calm: The Moms of Multiples’ Guide to an Organized Family in September. What makes Tomlin’s book interesting is that it shares practical tips for things like baby-proofing (times two!) childcare challenges, traveling, organizing and other obstacles that seem insurmountable with two babies in tow.

The book isn’t on Amazon.com yet, but we’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, moms of multiples can make use of our exhaustive resource list to find support and social groups.


Be a Preppy "Yogini" Mommy

I found some exciting news in my inbox this morning… J.Crew now offers clothes for all those downward dog moves (and more). So exciting, especially since I’ve been on a quest for cute yoga clothes in colors and styles that I actually like. Perfect for hinting to your kids and/or husband for Mother’s Day!



01 May 2008

A Mother's Day Treat

Moms and moms-to-be: celebrate yourself at La Bella Belly Maternity’s Mocktails and Massages party in honor of Mother’s Day, 10am-12pm May 10 at the Village on the Green store.

Registered guests will munch on a light brunch and sip mommy-friendly mocktails while listening to several presentations on children's products and nutrition.

Several lucky moms will receive mini-massages by the prenatal massage experts at La Bella Belly Maternity, using the deluxe pampering Mama Mio products.

Every attendee will take home a goodie bag full of Mother's Day gifts and will be entered to win a Bugaboo Chameleon stroller (valued at $1,000).

Treat yourself! Register (for $20) by calling 972/385-4022 or clicking here. Visit La Bella Belly Maternity's Web site for more information (or to get in some online shopping!).


Hot Lips

Quick, moms…how many lipsticks, lip-glosses or lip balms do you have in your handbag or diaper bag right now? I just read an article that prompted me to check my own product arsenal. It seems some dermatologists are cautioning that shiny lip-glosses may be inviting skin cancer.

Yes, the dermatologists in this article (from Dallas, no less!) say shiny glosses actually allow the sun’s UV rays a window to penetrate the delicate skin on our lips.

Scary? Yes. That’s why I pulled out my stash to see if any of my products provided any kind of protection (for the price of a good lip gloss, I really thought they should). Anti-oxidants? Got ‘em. But out of the four lip products I’m currently toting around, only one offers UV protection: YSL’s rouge pur lipstick, with SPF 8.

So, I’m going to be especially careful this summer about what goes on my lips. And, I think I’ll be adding a new product to my cache—a Chapstick Classic with SPF…to wear under my glosses, of course.


29 April 2008

DISD Raises Water Conservation Awareness

The importance of water conservation in Dallas — especially during summer — is on the minds of many city residents (Can I wash my car? Water my lawn?). Children, however, aren't always conscious of their water use. But, in an effort to broaden the scope of water conservation awareness, the City of Dallas Water Utilities is posing a challenge to area middle school students.

The "It's All in a Drop" video contest kicked off April 23 at Billy Earl Dade Middle Learning Center, Atwell Middle School, Thomas A. Edison Middle Learning Center and Harold Wendell Lang Sr. Middle School with a series of pep-rallies (as shown in photo).

Seventh grade students at the schools listed above are encouraged to write, cast, direct and film their own Water-Wise videos and then upload them to YouTube (a technologically-advanced challenge for seventh graders, if I do say so). Winners will be determined by the most peer views of their videos, in addition to judging by DWU experts.

The winning video will be announced on May 30 at a final pep rally, where the filmmaker will receive an Apple iPod Touch and the chance to announce the Water-Wise Tip of the Day on Channel 8 with Chief Meteorologist Pete Delkus. Three runners-up will receive Apple iPod Shuffles. All finalists will have their videos posted on Channel 8's Web site.

Want to read more information on water conservation? Look here. And, while you're at it, check out the student's Water-Wise films posted on YouTube (videos will be available for viewing late next week).


28 April 2008

In the Mix

You’ve heard of Mommy Mixers by now, right? If you’re in the market for a great new babysitter (new to North Texas, perhaps), you’ll want to register now with Mommy Mixer.

MM aims to bring families and college-student babysitters together through fun, social mixers at high-end retail boutiques. Interested yet?

Although you won’t find a new nanny here, you will meet quality, young childcare providers with plenty of time on their hands. (Remember all the spare time you had with only 12 credit hours on your schedule? A distant memory, I know).

Moms are responsible for screening potential hires, but if you don’t meet a sitter you like (which is highly unlikely), you’ve at least got a guaranteed hour of boutique shopping.

Mixers are coming up this Thursday, May 1 at A. Hooper in Fort Worth; Tuesday, May 13 at Paper & Chocolate in Dallas; and Tuesday, June 3 at Calypso in Highland Park.

Register now, and you’ll be set for all the summer date nights you can handle.


17 April 2008

Hit the Road

If you’ve got a teen driver in your household, or younger siblings, cousins or in-laws about to take to the roads for the first time, here’s an event you’ll want to be aware of.

The Tire Rack Street Survival teen-driving program returns this Saturday to LaGrave Field in Fort Worth. The Tire Rack program is unique because it takes the basic skills kids learn drivers’ ed classes a few steps further by presenting them with hands-on experiences in real-life driving situations. Just bring your own vehicle, and trained instructors will help new drivers get real about staying safe behind the wheel. Example: how to react if your brakes lock up.

The program costs $60, but the experience could be life saving.

Register online at www.streetsurvival.org


16 April 2008

Country Tunes Fit for Baby

Have you ever caught yourself singing your favorite Reba song to calm your little one at bedtime? Texas mamas enjoy country music tunes almost as much as classic lullabies, and now they can enjoy the combination of both with the new Hushabye Baby CDs.

The Hushabye Baby disks (four volumes total) spin lullaby renditions of country music favorites — classics like The Judd's "Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout the Good Old Days)" and newbies like Carrie Underwood's "So Small." Moms will tear up to songs by Lee Ann Womack ("I Hope You Dance") and Rascal Flatts ("My Wish").

The CDs are lullaby renditions, not original artist recordings (but I think they sound just as good!).

You can bring the Grand Ole Opry to your nursery on April 22 — the disks will be available at Wal-Mart stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area — but you can order Volume 2 now on Amazon for $11 (and listen to all 10 tracks for free).


15 April 2008

Batter Up!

Baseball is widely accepted as America's favorite past time — especially during the summer months! Boys and girls of all ages try their swing at the plate, whether it's in an organized tee-ball league or a competitive softball club.

Xavier Polisetty, a Grapevine 7-year-old, has a deep love for the game of baseball — a love that led him to enter into the Diamonds in the Rough youth baseball contest sponsored by Briggs & Stratton, an international producer of gasoline engines. The contest will award $100,000 to youth winners across the country, specifically aimed to help maintain the child's chosen ball park.

Xavier penned an essay for the contest, saying that he would use the $5,000 regional prize to "help Grapevine to improve the Oak Grove ballfield. We have so many teams. The ballfield is too small. We need more batting cages, more restrooms. Also, we need a better water drainage system. When it rains, we can’t play and I miss it a lot."

His essay and obvious dedication to the game won him the $5,000 prize — and now he's batting for the national grand prize: an additional $5,000 for his chosen field (the Oak Grove Park) and a trip for four to New York City to see a game in the final season of Yankee Stadium!

But Xavier needs your help! Go to the Diamonds in the Rough contest Web site and vote (he is competing against 19 other regional winners across the nation).

Online voting ends at at midnight on April 20 — so click and vote for a good cause!


14 April 2008

Business 101

Are your kids budding entrepreneurs? Some kids seem like born business-owners, and if yours have graduated from the traditional lemonade stand, there are bigger and better things in store for them.

FranChild bills itself as the lemonade stand for the “next generation.” When father Ralph Williams helped his sons on a quest to earn a little extra cash by making hand-made candles and soaps, the project snowballed into an opportunity to help kids nationwide realize their dreams of early-business ownership.

Whether your kids are as serious about their first ‘biz, or just interested in a fun summer diversion, FranChild offers a great opportunity. With a little initial investment from mom and dad (don’t worry, we’re talking $25), kids get a start-up certificate, personalized business cards, ideas for marketing and selling, and more.

Just ask most of the occupants of the Forbes Richest People lists: Sometimes all it takes for success is just one good idea and a little hard work. We’re not saying it’ll pay for Stanford, but it could be an ambitious way to start off your summer!


What Does “Natural” Mean?

Now that it’s Earth Month, retailers are pelting us with “natural” versions of their products. But what does the term “natural” really mean? Is it a regulated term that implies certain standards? In a word: no. According to Consumer Reports’ Greener Choices, “There is no government or official definition for this term except on meat and poultry products as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Meat and poultry carrying the ‘natural’ claim must not contain any artificial flavoring, color ingredients, chemical preservatives or artificial or synthetic ingredients and are only ‘minimally processed,’ defined by USDA as a process that does not fundamentally alter the raw product.” A “natural” body care product could be made from organic ingredients -- or it could be completely based on synthetic chemicals, topped off with a little herbal infusion.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) continues to balk at regulating the term “natural,” so for now, consumers are left to sleuth out the contents of “natural” products for themselves. Greener Choices offers an Eco-Labels web page where consumers can look up what specific labels on different types of products actually mean.

A few retailers, such as industry leader Whole Foods, have set their own standards. Whole Foods has created a new Premium Body Care seal of approval for body care products:

• No formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, including diazolidinyl urea and DMDM hydantoin. Potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate are allowed under the new seal.
• No parabens.
• Only physical sunscreens such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide; no chemical sunscreens such as oxybenzone and octyl methoxycinnamate.
• Only naturally-derived fragrances.

~ Lisa

10 April 2008

Gallop Into Family Fitness

Running events are best left to your whippet-lean neighbor who runs every morning, rain or shine, right? Not this one – the Market, Set, Go! Fun Run and Garden Gallop, slated for Saturday, April 19, at the Dallas Farmer’s Market (1010 S. Pearl St., Dallas), is aimed at the whole family. Brought to you by the folks at the Dallas Dietetic Association (DDA) and Fit-For-Me Foundation, the event promotes good nutrition and family fitness.

“Childhood obesity continues to be a serious problem in the United States, and Dallas area kids are no exception,” says Fit-For-Me’s Don Miguel. “In the state of Texas, 25% of children 6-18 years of age are either overweight or obese. Dallas residents need more fun events that promote good nutrition and physical activity for the entire family.”

Proceeds of Market, Set, Go! Fun Run and Garden Gallop benefit Fit-For-Me, a non-profit organization committed to reducing childhood obesity rates in our area.

Register now for openings for runners and walkers from ages 10 through 75, as well as special registrations for teams of 25 and families of four. Your whippet-lean neighbor will appreciate the USATF-certified course and champion chip timing. You’ll enjoy a stroll around the Farmer’s Market on a shiny spring morning. Sounds like a painless way to inject a little more fitness into your family’s weekend, no?

~ Lisa

07 April 2008

The Eco-Metroplex

Dallas/Fort Worth may not leap to mind as a haven for green living and eco-resources, but our Metroplex is greener than you think! Fort Worth was recently ranked the 15th Greenest City in the United States by Popular Science magazine (based on renewable source energy, transportation, green living and recycling), and several other cities are leading the way with innovative green web sites and programs that get residents active in protecting their communities.

Several cities are holding green events this month:

Plano’s Live Green Expo 2008 : Empowering North Texans
Saturday, April 12

Colleyville Green Festival
Saturday, April 26

Look no further than your city’s own web site to learn more about green resources. Here are a few links to get you started – go to your own city’s site or call for more details on what’s available in your area:

Live Green in Plano Includes a program that trains volunteer families to teach others about green living -- get the kids involved!

Green Dallas

City of Fort Worth Environmental Management

City of Arlington Green Team

City of Southlake Eco-Friendly Alternatives

Carrollton Environmental Stewardship

~ Lisa

04 April 2008

Here She Comes...

Just had the photo shoot this morning for the winner of the mommy makeover contest we held on our website throughout the month of February. You’ll have to read the May issue to find out who she is and what she looks like now after the stylings of Nancy (clothes), Peg (hair) and Lindsay (makeup). What I can tell you though is that she looks BEAUTIFUL and couldn’t deserve it more!

It was a great shoot – lots of fun! Next one up: the Daddy Do-Over! Be on the lookout later this month for a post about the deserving daddy!

Cheers and have a great weekend!


The Green Issue: Are there life-altering toxins looming in your home?

Lisa's April feature story, Toxic Tots: Altered Lives, recounts the Sethi family's painful journey to discovering the cause of 5-year-old Tej's near-death health problems. This article is a must-read! And if you're left scratching your head (while suspiciously eying the nooks and crannies of your own home), be sure to click on the links to national and local resources listed alongside the article.

You can also read tips for cleaning your home with eco-friendly homemade products in DallasChild's April Green Issue — who would think that vinegar and a box of Arm & Hammer could accomplish so much (and pose so little harm)?

Or if you’re looking for green-minded reading material to sit down with after your kiddo’s bed time (besides our award-winning magazine, that is!) check out this book: Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home. Not only does the book (by Christopher Gavigan, CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World) detail ways for parents to toxin-proof their child's world, it offers up advice from celebrity parents, such as Meryl Streep, Gwyneth Paltrow, Brooke Shields, Courtney Cox, Kate Hudson and more. (Did you know that Gwyneth often makes homemade baby food for little Moses? Or that Courtney readily gave up toxic cleaning products, yet she simply can't stop using Windex? Read all about the "green" give and takes that these Hollywood parents make in their own lives.)

Let us know what you find to be the easiest (or most difficult) "greenifying" actions to implement in your home!


03 April 2008

Dip a toe into the green pool

Going green sounds great, in theory – but do you still find the prospect less than tempting? Try it; you’ll like it, says a new EcoPinion study. More than half of Americans queried admitted to not being ready to go green. Reluctant consumers perceive that many forms of green technology (renewable, energy efficient or recycled materials) are cost prohibitive, difficult to understand and maintain, and aesthetically unappealing. On the other hand, the 46% percent of those surveyed who had already made the move to greener homes were considerably more positive about green tech.

The highest percentage of green leanings were found among people age 55 and over, who were most likely to have adopted greener ways and to view green tech in a more positive light.

The take-home here: if you’ve been turning your nose up at green, give it a whirl. Keep an eye right here on our blog, and pick up an April issue of DallasChild or FortWorthChild, for more ways to ease your family into a greener lifestyle.

~ Lisa

02 April 2008

Baldologists Raise Funds for Pediatric Cancer Research

Pediatric oncologists at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Children's Medical Center Dallas went beyond the call of duty Saturday, Mar 29, by shaving their heads in order to raise money and awareness for childhood cancer research.

Drs. Martha Stegner, Mark Hatley, Naomi Winick and Tim McCavit joined the effort of St. Baldrick's Foundation, which is a non-profit charity that raises money primarily through head-shaving events. Bringing laughs to the crowd of children and adult supporters, the doctors, who call themselves the "Baldologists," each took a seat in the barber chair to undergo the symbolic haircut.

The Baldologists have a fundraising goal of $20,000, which they have yet to surpass. To pledge your support of the cause, go to their team Web site and click "download a donation form."


31 March 2008

A Film Festival for Families

From the You Don’t Have to Give This Up Just Because You Have Kids Department: Cinema buffs, take the kids along this weekend to the American Film Institute Dallas International Film Festival. Now in its second year, the festival presents a while bevy of family-friendly programming during its closing weekend, April 4 - 6.

• Victory Park plaza movie screenings, where kids can rum rampant or hunker down for the outdoor movie, shown on the huge screens
• The Wizard of Oz at the Meyerson, simultaneously scored live by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra
• Activities presented by Dallas Zoo, SPCA, Museum of Nature & Science and Dallas Children’s Theatre
• Performances by kid singers and actors

AFI DALLAS International Film Festival features international films from emerging filmmakers, the latest work from great film masters and unique nightly red carpet gala premieres including all attending filmmakers and stars. Spanning 10 days and nights as a whole, AFI DALLAS’ presentation of more than 200 screenings makes it one of the largest film festivals in the Southwest.

Help battle childhood hunger with AFI DALLAS and the North Texas Food Bank. Donate two cans of food at any screening and get $2 off admission.

Visit AFI DALLAS for complete festival details -- oh, and bring the kids!

Personalized Baby Blankies on the Fly

Dallas-based company Fill in The Blankie by Sonja Bebeblankee is creating "ultra-personalized baby blankets that truly say a lot about you." Their soft and snuggly blankets come in 32 different styles and are embroidered with an infinite variation of messages (up to 200 characters!).

The company is filling orders by the thousands — and in record speed too. Customers have the option to express the shipment of their customized blanket for a speedy delivery (2 business days). Regular shipping is 5-7 business days (much quicker than many embroidery services!).

In between filling orders and searching for new adorable fabrics, the company is giving back to the Dallas community in a way most familiar to the blankie maker: with a Blankie-A-Day donation program in coordination with Children's Medical Center in Dallas. This program offers up cute and quirky blankets to children staying in the hospital (especially those who spend their birthday at Children's).

What better way to support a local business and have your gift be the talk of the baby shower! Order customized baby blankets (or add a stuffed animal friend) online. You can also find Sonja Bebeblankees in Neiman Marcus stores (under the name Wendy Storkland).