31 August 2009

What to Do Today: Sept. 1

Got a little Lego maniac? Check out the Lego Store Mini Model Build from 5-7pm today at the brand-spanking-new Lego Store at Dallas' NorthPark Center. Children ages 6-14 will make their own Lego model to take home, but get there early — the event has limited supplies! Free.

Artistic kids won't want to miss Pictures and Pages from 10:30-11:15am today at Fort Worth's Kimbell Art Museum. Kids ages 4-6 will hear the story The Pet Dragon: A Story About Adventure, Friendship and Chinese Characters before making a cool craft to take home. Call ahead to pre-register (required)! Free.

Looking for a group of other moms you can hang out with? Check out the First Baptist Church of Lewisville MOPS meeting from 9am-12pm today (and every first and third Tuesday of the month, September through May) at Lewisville's First Baptist Church. Mothers of Preschoolers meetings include crafts and fun for kids (through kindergarten age), plus grownup conversation for moms. Free.

30 August 2009

What to Do Today: Aug. 31

Take your little dino lovers to the exhibit Treasures From the Earth: Diamonds, Gold and Dinos from 9am-5pm today at McKinney's Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary. This super-cool collection includes rare fossils (there's even a T-Rex skull!), a piece of silver salvaged from a sunken Spanish ship and more. $8 adults; $5 seniors and children ages 3-12; children younger than 3 free.

Spend an evening at the ballpark with the Texas Rangers Home Game at 7:05pm today in Arlington. The hometown team will take on the Toronto Blue Jays — and you can enjoy ballpark treats, fireworks and the chance to catch your own fly ball! Tickets start at $3.

Bring your young reader (kindergarten through third grade) to Prime Time at 4pm today (and every Mon through Nov 30) at the Lewisville Public Library. There will be stories, games, crafts and more, all aimed at helping kids sharpen their reading skills. Free.

28 August 2009

Friday is Special Pie Day

It’s finally Friday (hooray!) and you don’t feel like cooking tonight. So what’s for dinner?

Swing by eatZi’s Market & Bakery between 4-9pm, and pick up one of their four new oven-baked pizzas (available for take-out only).

The available flavors are margherita (extra virgin olive oil, eatZi’s sun dried tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil), mushroom (pesto, a blend of shredded cheeses, roasted Portobello mushrooms, caramelized onions and goat cheese), multi cheese (a “white style” pizza made with gorgonzola, mozzarella, parmesan, pecorino roman and ricotta cheese) and hot copa (pepperoni, fresh tomato sauce, a blend of cheeses, oregano and slices of hot cappacolla ham).

The pies sell for $10 each (plus tax) on Fridays only. EatZi’s is located at 3403 Oak Lawn Ave. in Dallas.

– Mari Park

27 August 2009

Adoption Diaries

Grab a box of tissues.

WE tv’s new series, Adoption Diaries, is an emotional program that follows stories of open adoptions, which guarantees the birth mom a role in her baby’s life. With the help of Dr. Jennifer Bliss and the Independent Adoption Center, a nationwide nonprofit agency who specializes in open adoptions, the moms get to select a couple who will adopt and care for their newborn baby. Watch each birth mother and couple’s unique stories (like that of Janelle and Mimi, pictured at right), and learn more about the processes of open adoption as the families experience a roller coaster of emotions during the process.

Adoption Diaries premieres on Saturday, September 12 at 10pm ET/PT (9pm). The show will then air three half-hour programs every Saturday. For more information, visit WE tv online.

– Mari Park

What to Do Today: Aug. 27

Hear some great country and bluegrass music at the Big D Opry at 8 tonight at Fellowship Dallas Church. Sydney Brannan, winner of the recent Big D Opry Talent Contest, will sing, along with plenty of other talented Texans! $18 adults; $11 children younger than 11.

The busy week is nearly over (yeah!), so why not unwind a bit early with the MasterWorks Concert Series at 7 tonight at the Hurst Public Library. Guitarist Rhett Butler will perform his jazz-inspired tunes so music fans of all ages can groove along. Free.

NORTH TEXAS Children of all ages will enjoy stories and socializing at the Raising Readers Storytime at 10:30am today and Friday at Denton's Barnes and Noble Booksellers. After the stories are over, check out the children's area's cool train table! Free.

26 August 2009

Foodie Fun

Parents, call the baby-sitter or leave your kiddos with grandma and grandpa and take a date night for yourselves. Visit the swanky Nana Restaurant for its monthly Friday Night Flights on September 4, between 6-8pm. Try three food samplings created by executive chef Anthony Bombaci and three accompanying wines for a mere $20 (plus tax and gratuity).

The menu includes prosciutto wrapped dates and mascarpone, crab croquettes, Thai cucumber salad, and cavatelli and lamb bolognaise.

Friday Night Flights are available on the first Friday of every month. Call Nana at 214/761-7470 for reservations, or make reservations online.

– Mari Park

25 August 2009

What to Do Today: Aug. 26

Bring your pint-sized Picasso to the Dallas Museum of Art's Sketching in the Galleries for Kids from 2-3pm today. Kids will get to create their own masterpieces, drawing inspiration from the galleries' beautiful works. $10 adults; $7 seniors; children younger than 12 free.

Classical music isn't just for lulling cranky toddlers to sleep! Catch a performance of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra String Quartet at 7:30 tonight at Fort Worth's Bass Performance Hall. Violinists Michael Shih and Adriana Voirin DeCosta, viola player Laura Bruton and cellist Karen Basrak will perform beautiful music leading up to the FWSO's Beethoven festival this weekend. $10.

Preschoolers will enjoy stories and socializing at the Lake Cities Library's Storytime and Craft at 10:30am today. This fun weekly event includes age-appropriate books and a craft that kids can take home. The library serves families in Coring, Hickory Creek, Lake Dallas and Shady Shores. Free.

Y Water? Give It A Try

Nix sugary juices and sodas and introduce Y Water to your kids. Packaged in fun, colorful Y-shaped containers, the flavored water is organic and low calorie. The four different types available are brain water, immune water, muscle water and bone water. Dubbed as “developmental drinks,” these beverages are jam-packed with nutrients like vitamins B, D, C and E, iron, calcium and potassium.

Not only that, but Y Water bottles double as toys. With the help of knots, little rubber connectors, kids can link the bottles together and build with them. Another option is to send the bottles back (for free!) to be recycled.

Find Y Water at Whole Foods or get it online in cases of 24 for $39.80.

– Mari Park

Back to School!

Today was the day. The first day of school for Denton ISD. My 8-year-old, Madeline, started third grade, and she is a real pro at this whole "school" thing. She was so excited to be going back; I think summer's appeal had completely worn off. My 5-year-old, Finley, was a bit less enthused about school. She has always been quite attached to her mama, and nearly every separation is very difficult for her. Kindergarten was definitely no exception.

Bright and early, we arrived in the school parking lot (at right) with smiles intact. Finley was goofing around, giving her (much) big(ger) sister bunny ears and laughing hysterically. We made our way to the front doors of the school, where we queued up with other nervous parents and kids.

Near the front of the school, I found a lovely big rock, and I asked the girls to sit on it for a photo. Finley was still all smiles, but Maddie was NOT happy about being made to pose for a photo when other kids were present. "No more photos," she growled through gritted teeth (at left).

We swung by Maddie's classroom, where she was completely mortified when I suggested taking a picture of her at her new desk (sorry, Mads!). We left her on her own and then headed down to Finley's classroom. Her wonderful new teacher greeted her - by name - at the door, and we found her seat. This is about the point when Finley's bottom lip started to quiver and protrude a bit. I knew we were in trouble. I started trying to distract her with puzzles, taking photos (at least she was willing) and giving her hugs (probably hurting more than helping, but I can't help it). Finally it was time for me to get going to work, and time for Finley to forge ahead on her new educational journey on her own. Her teacher accompanied her to the classroom door to wave goodbye to me, and by this point Fin was full-on crying. She was the only one in the class who cried. But I know for a fact she was not the only one in the school who was crying, because I was myself! I managed to dart out of her sight just before the tears started. I popped my sunglasses on as I walked down the hallway to hide my puffy eyes, but they were there.

The first day of kindergarten is surely an emotional time for all moms. Watching your little baby - who was surely just born, wasn't she?! - start an adventure that will last the next 12 years is difficult. But it's also so exciting. I can't wait for Finley to learn how to read. I can't wait to see all the neat artwork she creates. And I can't wait to meet all the new friends she'll make. It's a journey for both of us, and one that I am more than happy to take.
— Claudia

What to Do Today: Aug. 25

Take your little ones for a truly artistic experience at the Premier Interactive Family Tour from 2-3pm today at the Dallas Museum of Art. Kids of all ages will love getting an up-close look at the museum's beautiful works with a member of the education staff. This tour is the last in the museum's Summer Spotlight series. $10 adults; $7 seniors; children younger than 12 free.


Book lovers of all ages will revel in the Children's Storytimes Keller from 10:15am-12pm today (and every Tue and Thu) at the Keller Town Hall. Storytimes are split up by age groups so every kid gets just the right book. Registration is required. Free.

Attention, country music fans! Brandon Rhyder will perform at 9:30pm today at Denton's North Texas State Fairgrounds, part of the live music lineup at the North Texas State Fair and Rodeo. East Texas native Rhyder, whose catchy hooks are sure to have music lovers of all ages dancing, has been performing across the state. (And before the show, take a whirl on the fair's huge Ferris wheel!) Tickets are $12 adults; $5 children.

24 August 2009

Star Stories

Your little ones love bedtime stories, but are you getting tired of reading them every night? Let celebrity parents, including Kelly Ripa and Kevin Bacon, read to them instead through Speakaboos, an online publisher that brings classic literary stories to life.

Each story features original illustrations and music, and is narrated by a celebrity. The videos also have subtitles running along the bottom of the video, so kids can learn as they watch and enjoy some of their favorites, spanning from Aladdin to Arthur.

Watch all the videos for free or download the tracks or video online.

– Mari Park

23 August 2009

Today in NORTH TEXAS: Aug. 24

The annual North Texas State Fair and Rodeo - offering up a fun assortment of carnival rides, live music and horse-riding action - is up and running, and tonight's main event is the Invitational Ranch Rodeo at 7:30pm at Denton's North Texas State Fairgrounds. Teams of riders will face off in competitions like branding, sorting and bronc riding. Yee-haw! $12 adults; $5 children.

Today in FORT WORTH: Aug. 24

School's back in session in Fort Worth today (yes!), and while older kids trudge off to class, younger kids are still eager for summer fun! Why not check out Family Storytime at 10:30 and 11:15am today at Fort Worth's Southwest Regional Library. Kids of all ages will enjoy books, songs, puppets and crafts, and parents will get handy early literacy tips. Free.

Today in DALLAS: Aug. 24

School's back in session (or soon will be), and while many parents are breathing a sigh of relief, plenty of little kids with older siblings are wondering what they'll do without their temporarily constant playmate. Give them a little extra love by taking in the beautiful Native Texas Butterflies exhibit at McKinney's Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary. Kids will love exploring the 800-square-foot butterfly house, complete with a variety of species that are sure to set kids' spirits soaring. $8 adults; $5 seniors and children ages 3-12; children younger than 3 free.

21 August 2009

Just Rocks!

At a young age, it can be hard for your child to hold a pencil or crayon properly. No doubt you’ve tried to keep them from grabbing it in their fists.

Teach your little one the proper grip in a fun way with Crayon Rocks. Made of soy wax, they are a perfect size for little hands to properly grasp and doodle with, and produce drawings with a smooth, rich, pastel-like effect. Plus, the unique shape of the crayon makes coloring larger shapes easier minus the hassle of peeling off wrappers (and seeing them littered all over the floor!).

The non-toxic crayons come in sets of eight ($4.95) or sixteen ($6.95) and are recommended for children ages three and up and are available online.

– Mari Park

Celebs' Birth Stories Revealed

You may have heard of (or read) the book Your Best Birth, written by moms Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein. The former talk-show host and film director teamed up to talk about natural births and their own personal birth stories. Their book was a spin-off of the duo's documentary entitled "The Business of Being Born."

Now, Lake and Epstein are taking their mission to motivate moms' reevaluation of birth to the next level with MyBestBirth.com. It's here that viewers can watch mini interviews with celebrity moms (like Cindy Crawford and Melissa Joan Hart) who discuss their natural and home birth stories.

Their messages are fascinating — yet their ideas can be a hot-spot for debate amongst moms. Whether you agree with their opinions or not, it's interesting to hear the reasoning behind these celebrity mommies' decisions regarding the birth of their babies. Check out the videos!


20 August 2009

Want Mod? It’s No Puzzle.

Love modern pieces in your home, but stuck on how to make a room appealing and kid-friendly?

The Puzzle Side Table makes a chic (and cute!) addition to any abode. Available in two colors, black and natural, this versatile piece will fit in perfectly in the little one’s bedroom or even the living room. Kids will love this simple, unique shape that makes modern decorating fun.

The Puzzle Side Table is available online at Tonic Home, and sells for $195.

– Mari Park

Today in NORTH TEXAS: Aug. 20

It's only 9am and the kids are already bouncing off the walls. What to do?! Hop in the car and head to Denton's Golden Triangle Mall for Raising Readers Storytime at 10:30am today at Barnes and Noble Booksellers. The storytime is for kids of all ages and will be held in the store's cool children's area. Ahh, 20 minutes of peace! Free.

Today in FORT WORTH: Aug. 20

It's almost time to hit the books again! Learn how library resources can help make homework easier at Family Night at 7pm today at the Hurst Public Library. Parents and students will find out how to use the library's free online tutors (and make school a bit easier!). Free.

Today in DALLAS: Aug. 20

Looking for a way to connect with other moms? Check out the North Dallas Early Childhood PTA Membership Round-Up from 9:30-11:30am today at Dallas' Northaven Park. You'll learn more about the organization, which is dedicated to supporting moms of children ages birth to 5, and enjoy snacks, drinks and adult conversation! And bring the kids along for games and crafts just for them. Free.

19 August 2009

When Baby Won't Sleep...

... Get advice from the experts!

That's exactly what we'll be doing in our upcoming fall-winter issue of DallasChild Baby magazine, sister publication to DallasChild. But, we're still looking for candidates to participate in the feature story.

Are you a sleepy mom or dad with an infant (younger than 12 months)? Do you desperately need help getting your baby to sleep? Write me an e-mail at gsparling@dallaschild.com and tell me about your sleepless baby. We'll add you to the list of possible families that will be selected to work with area sleep experts. If you're not selected, don't worry! You will find essential tips to getting baby to sleep in the next fall-winter edition of DallasChild Baby, set to hit stands mid-October.

In the end, this story could mean more sleep for you (and baby, of course!). Thanks in advance for your submissions!


ZillaMail Me, Please!

E-mail has replaced snail mail as a main means for communication. No doubt your kids have been begging to get their own addresses to chat with friends (and send mail to grandma and grandpa, of course!), but with the Internet, it’s hard to take all the precautions necessary.

Get a safe e-mail service for your kids through ZillaMail. Parents can set up the free account and create a password-protected contact list in the child’s address book. Then, kids can only receive e-mail from buddies on the list, guaranteeing no spam. Want to keep an eye on their messages? Parents can also opt to be copied on all outgoing messages.

Not only that, but the ZillaDog homepage has other fun features kids can enjoy – all their favorite games, movie trailers, and music (that are age-appropriate) are available, minus annoying pop-ups.

Check out this free service and get more information here.

– Mari Park

Today in NORTH TEXAS: Aug. 19

Ever wondered how people make those cool balloon animals, swords and hats? Children ages 10 and older will find out at Balloon Art 101 at 2pm today at the North Branch Denton Library. A professional balloon sculptor will teach kids all the tricks of the trade. Free.

Today in FORT WORTH: Aug. 19

Hop aboard for the Grapevine Vintage Railroad Summer Field Trip, setting off at 10am today from the Grapevine Vintage Railroad. You'll go on an hourlong trip in the railroad's 1900s-era coaches. Visit the Grapevine Vintage Railroad's Web site to download an application for the trip. $10 adults; $8 children ages 3-12.

Today in DALLAS: Aug. 19

OK, so it's a little hard to think about Christmas when you're knee deep in new school supplies and drenched in sweat after a simple walk to the mailbox and back. But you can get in the holiday spirit early with Disney's A Christmas Carol Train Tour, making a stop from 9am-4pm today at Dallas' Union Station. The tour offers a sneak peek at the upcoming 3D Disney version of the Christmas classic, plus games and other wintry fun. Free.

18 August 2009

Cute, Cuddly Carryalls

Is your little one getting nervous about starting school? Boost her confidence by getting her a companion and backpack, all in one, with an Ecozoo animal bag.

These adorable bags feature a cuddly creature (choose from a panda, pig, elephant and a puppy) on the flap. All are made of organically-grown cotton canvas and rope and have recycled plastic components. The padded shoulders straps will ensure comfort on little shoulders, and internal pockets mean plenty of room for your tot to tote her belongings.

Ecozoo animal backpacks sell for $29.99 online only.

– Mari Park

Almost Famous!

We got a spot of news today that made us happy. At a meeting this morning with our DallasChild Model Search sponsors and venue NorthPark, Lisa Dawson (of Kim Dawson Agency) told our publisher that the agency signed our Dallas April cover girl, Audrey, and LOVE her (and her parents)! Apparently, she's getting lots of work and is a great addition to the agency. We're so thrilled for Audrey! She and her mom were so gracious and such a pleasure to be around and work with back in March when we shot our April cover. It's still one of our favorite covers to date!

Speaking of modeling, our registration is open and online now for DallasChild's 2010 Model Search at NorthPark on October 10. The Kim Dawson Agency will be on hand too for judging duties along with me, our Art Director. This is the only time of year we'll be taking entries for our cover, so be sure to sign up and show us what you got!

- Lauren

Today in NORTH TEXAS: Aug. 18

It's almost time to hit the books again (sorry, kids). Get ready for your next classroom adventure at the Back 2 School Bash from 5-8pm today at The Colony Recreation Center. The event will include free school supplies, child ID kits, door prizes and more for kids in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Pre-register at the rec center. Free for The Colony residents; $5 for non-residents.

Today in FORT WORTH: Aug. 18

Your whole family can enjoy a day of recreation - for free! - at the Naturally Fun Neighborhoods Open House from 5-8pm today at Arlington's Cliff Nelson Park and Recreation Center. The event will include fishing, arts and crafts and more while learning what the rec center has to offer. Free.

Today in DALLAS: Aug. 18

Sing along to groovy ABBA songs as the international hit musical Mama Mia! takes the stage for a nearly two-week run starting at 8pm today at Dallas' Music Hall at Fair Park. The show, which was turned into a movie starring Meryl Streep last year, is about a single mother whose daughter reintroduces her to three men from her past. Tickets start at $25.

17 August 2009

Doodled Designs

Here’s a way to wear custom jewelry and showcase your child’s artistic prowess all at the same time. Formia Design, created by Swedish born jeweler Maria van Beek, takes your kiddo’s scribbles and transforms them into pieces of wearable art.

The process is simple: pick a drawing that you especially adore and e-mail it to van Beek, noting the material (titanium or sterling silver) and type of jewelry you would like (necklace, bracelet, earrings, keychain). She then calculates the price (starting at $59), and completion of the piece takes 10-14 days, including shipping.

Not only are they perfect for yourself, they would make great, thoughtful gifts for grandparents and teachers.

Order your custom-made jewelry here.

—Mari Park

Little Walker!

Last weekend, I spent lots of time with my favorite (almost) 1-year-old, Marley. The last time I visited Little Miss Marley she was 6 months old. SIX months old! And now she's turning one in less than a month. How time flies.

Our visit was filled with lots of Cheerios, peek-a-boo laughter and TONS of trips around the living room. Let me explain: Marley is on the brink of walking. She constantly wants to "walk" around the room with some assistance (from her stroller, shown in the photo) or from an adult. It was a riot to take turns walking her around — but after awhile I can see why my friend Ann is anxious for her daughter to walk. (Ahem, backache?)

But, Marley has plans of her own ... she'll walk when she wants to! In the meantime, what tips might you share to help Ann boost Marley's walking confidence? And, what are some similar stories you have about your tot learning to walk?


Today in NORTH TEXAS: Aug. 17

Hear a great story - and get some play time in - at Preschool Storytime at 10am and 2pm today at the Flower Mound Public Library. The storytime, aimed at kids ages 3-6, will include books, songs and age-appropriate activities. No pre-registration is required. Free.

Today in FORT WORTH: Aug. 17

Have some all-American fun with the Texas Rangers Home Game at 7:05pm today at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The hometown boys of summer will take on the Minnesota Twins. Tickets start at $3 for kids (if bought online). Bring your baseball glove and get ready to catch those fly balls!

Today in DALLAS: Aug. 17

This is the last week to take in the KidsArts/Kids' Works: A Cosmic Art Odyssey exhibit at the Irving Arts Center. The exhibit, which includes paintings, photography, sculpture and more created by KidsArts summer campers, is open from 9am-5pm today (and Tue-Wed and Fri; 9am-8pm Thu; 10am-5pm Sat; and 1-5pm Sun through Aug. 23). Who knows - you may even recognize one of the little artists! Free.

14 August 2009

It Gives Us Butterflies!

Wondering why you’ve been seeing dust circulating in downtown Dallas?

The Texas Discovery Gardens has been undergoing renovations in the main building (the outside gardens are still open and available to the public). But here’s the really cool part: The gardens are adding a butterfly house! The Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House and Insectarium opens in September and will be a year-round, tropical enclosure for the winged beauties.

Be one of the first to visit the new butterfly house at the Grand Opening Celebration from 10am-5pm Sept. 12-13. All kinds of entertainment will be available, including children’s crafts and performances by local entertainers.

While you’re there, check out the other collections including the Scent Garden, which was patterned after a London herb garden, and the Faerie Blanton Kilgore Rose Garden, which showcases antique and fragrant roses of all colors.

Be sure to check the gardens’ Web site for more info to come.

—Mari Park

Write On!

Although the weather outside is frightful (frightfully hot), the holiday season will be here before we can say "Ho, Ho, Ho.” Why not save yourself the “waiting-till-the-last-minute-to-do-everything” stress and get a head start on ordering holiday cards or invitations for that festive shindig you're throwing. Start with local favorite Write Selection and choose from custom greeting cards and beautifully crafted custom invitations printed on only the finest papers by Crane, William Arthur, Julie Holcomb, Elum and Luscious Verde, to name a few.

If feeling like you're on top of your game isn't incentive enough then maybe this will help - for the entire month of September, any order placed for custom holiday greeting cards and/or invitations will get a discount of 20%. Write on! It gets better. For all those who suffer from ABC (astonishingly bad creativity), Write Selection offers a full-time in-house design team ready and willing to help you pull off that "Oh, they're just something I whipped up" look.

So let's re-cap: fabulous you on top of your game, saving money and looking like a creative design-ista for all to envy. This feels so write.

314 Preston Royal Village (Northeast corner of Preston/Royal)
Dallas, TX 75230



Today in NORTH TEXAS: Aug. 14

Tonight's the night for the kickoff of the 21st-Annual Lions Club Balloon Festival and Fair at 5pm at Highland Village's Copperas Branch Park! You'll see a beautiful balloon glow at dusk tonight, plus arts and crafts booths, live music, a kids area and more. Saturday and Sunday will see the addition of balloon races and pancake breakfasts. Free.