Meet Bernadette Verzosa of ParentsPost.com! Houston Mom & Journalist, Empowering Houston Parents!

At BigKidSmallCity, we believe the more we know about the people of Houston, the smaller our city feels.  And who better to meet a Houston mom that is empowering Houston parents?! Meet Bernadette Verzolsa of ParentsPost.com! In her own words, she tells us about her family, her website and what she loves about Houston! I have… [Continue Reading]

Bernadette ParentsPost FAMILY PIC

Oyster Creek Park & Trail – Visiting Houston’s (Sugar Land’s) Parks, One Week at a Time

Address:  4033 State Highway 6 South, Sugar Land, TX 77479 This week’s park of the week is a little outside Houston, in Sugar Land!  Oyster Creek Park is easy to get to, just off of Hwy 6.  There is a 3 mile trail, water features, bridges, picnic tables, grills, gardens and large parking lot. The website… [Continue Reading]

Bike Riding at Oyster Creek Park

BigKidSmallCity’s Favorite Houston Events for this Weekend: April 17, 2014

Listen to my favorite events for the weekend of April 17, 2014. For the full list of weekend events, go HERE! I hope it helps you plan your weekend!

Inspire Mural

Flash Giveaway: Family 4 Pack to Saturday Showing of “James and the Giant Peach” at Main Street Theater!

James and the Giant Peach is now at Main Street Theater, and  I have tickets to give away TODAY!  The flash giveaway starts now! ***Update:  Congratulations to Rachel C!  She won the tickets to Saturday’s show!*** One will win a family 4 pack to Main Street Theater’s “James and the Giant Peach”, for Saturday, April 19,… [Continue Reading]

James and the Giant Peach



Things to do this week!

Inspire Mural

BigKidSmallCity’s Favorite Houston Events for this Weekend: April 17, 2014

Listen to my favorite events for the weekend of April 17, 2014. For the full list of weekend events, go HERE! I hope it helps you plan your weekend! … [Read More...]

Discovery Green Spashpad

Things to do in Houston today, and this Easter weekend, with kids! April 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 2014

Here are the things to do in Houston this week and Easter weekend! James and the Giant Peach opens at Main Street Theater and it's sure to be … [Read More...]

More Dates!

More Things to Do!

Bike Riding at Oyster Creek Park

Oyster Creek Park & Trail – Visiting Houston’s (Sugar Land’s) Parks, One Week at a Time

Address:  4033 State Highway 6 South, Sugar Land, TX 77479 This week's park of the week is a little outside Houston, in Sugar Land!  Oyster Creek … [Read More...]

Monster Truck

What you need to know about the Discovery Green Monster Truck Toddler Tuesday, presented by Amerigroup RealSolutions – April 15, 2014!

Here's what you need to know about Discovery Green's Monster Truck event on April 15, 2014! ***Update: Because of the rain on Monday, the … [Read More...]

More to do!

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How can I partner with BigKidSmallCity at local events? You asked BigKidSmallCity!

BigKidSmallCity Photo Booth at Discovery GreenHow do I work with BigKidSmallCity at local events?

I’ve had the good fortune of working with Discovery Green and other Houston institutions recently.  I often have a tent at family events and host a photo booth, craft table or something similar.

I am always happy to collaborate with others and have given away Main Street Theater tickets, handed out Brazos Bookstore swag and worked with Nhem Photo and Stormy.

If you are interested in working with me, here are the requirements:

1.  You should be sure you mostly agree with my philosophies.  If not, we’ll probably not be very good partners.  I like to surround myself with people that are kind and are inclined to collaborate and help others.

2.  You should have a good product or service that you believe in.  If you have some widget or scheme that you would not recommend to your grandma, best friend or minister, then we don’t need to recommend it to our community.  However, if you have a product or service that you have poured your heart into, then you are just the person to work with me.

3.  Onsite collaboration is fully dependent on the events I have scheduled and who I’ve already lined up to work with me.  If schedules work out and we work together, I will promote your website or page on BigKidSmallCity.com.  I will not pay you.

4.  My top priority is the BigKidSmallCity community.  Any work we do will be for the good of this community.  My booths are for BigKidSmallCity and not a free space for selling your goods.  If your product is useful to the community, we can certainly introduce it to them through demonstrations, giveaways or marketing materials.

5.  I will help to promote your local business, but I am not doing the work for you.  My role is cheerleader.  And, you are my cheerleader.  We are partners after all!

If you agree with these requirements and have an idea for working together, contact me at Jill @ BigKidSmallCity.com!

 

CDC? By William Steig – Books for Kids to Read

It’s Felicia!  Today’s review is of CDC? by William Steig/

There are a few children’s authors that are staples in our home that my kids can practically recite every page from memory. William Stieg is definitely one. We love “Shrek”, “Dr. De Soto” “The Magic Bone”, and his fabulous book “CDC?”.

We have a chalkboard in our kitchen and each morning while the kids eat breakfast I like to take a page from “CDC?” and have the kids sort it out as they eat their breakfast. Luckily each page is never longer than ten letters!

This book is a letter, number and sometimes symbols code book with each character separated by hyphens. Each page has a watercolor illustrations to give a helpful hint in deciphering the puzzle presented on each page. If the pictures do not help you, you can read each letter phrase over and over again until it begins to make sense.

Page 39 has a bride and groom couple gazing into each other’s eyes with a caption below it that reads, “I-L B U-R-S 4-F-R N F-R” Upon first glance, it looks like gibberish, but if you are able to decode what Steig has so cleverly written out, the caption says, “I’ll be yours forever and ever!”.

That combination is one of the more difficult ones found in the book. Here is another one; “E-R I M !” The vivid watercolor accompanying it as a little boy behind the curtain! Can you guess what the word puzzle is?

Both my daughters, ages six and eight, delve right in to solving each puzzle in the morning and my older girl has come up with a few word codes on her own as well! Bonus! Unbeknownst to them, this gives me a few minutes of peace in the morning as I struggle to get breakfast together! If you love this book and solve all the puzzles in it, don’t worry! There is another one just like it. It is also by Steig and it is called “CDB?” Both books will have you rolling in laughter!

Go HERE to get it on Amazon. Or better yet, shop local and head to Brazos Bookstore!

Planning the Perfect Birthday Party? One Lucky Person will Win Free Party Printables & Onsite Styling from Crowning Details!

Julie Verville Curious George Table Feature
Remember Julie from Crowning Details? She serves up party inspiration!

This week she is offering party printables and styling for at no cost, to one lucky birthday boy or girl in the Houston area!  There are many themes to pick from AND Julie will meet you at the party spot to do the styling for you!

The winner must be in the Houston area and can pick from the following themes:

-Nautical whale theme (boy- blue/green and girl- pink/blue)
-Sports (2 color schemes; traditional sports colors and a vintage blue/orange pattern)
-Preppy golf (boys and girls color schemes)
-Prince/crowns (blue/gold)
-Princess/tiaras (pink/gold)
-Parisian (pink, black and white)
-Fairy garden party (pink/purple and pink/yellow/green color combinations)
-Safari chic (black, navy and lime green)
-Hollywood Glamour/Movie Party- black, gold and white color scheme

Printables and Styling must be redeemed by August 1, 2014.
Winner agrees to allow pictures taken of party styling (not including pictures of people or personal property)
Giveaway closes on April 20, 2014 at 9:01pm.
Winner must have party in the Houston area & redeem by August 1, 2014.
Official Rules: http://wp.me/P2efXF-5a0

Queen Vic Pub & Kitchen – Our Search for Houston’s Best Restaurants for Kids

Wrap at Queen Vic Pub
Location: 2712 Richmond Ave 77098
Age Appropriate: All ages!
Price: $

Hi, I’m Juliette! My husband, my 6-year-old and I love going out to eat and we are sharing our restaurant finds with you.

Thanks to a dear friend of mine, I discovered a new restaurant last week: Queen Vic Pub & Kitchen on Richmond at Kirby. I must have driven by it hundreds of times and never stopped but now I realize what I have missed.

The Queen Vic
It is a small restaurant/pub with valet parking to deal with the lack of space and saves you the worries of where to park. I actually started pulling in and panicked when I realized I had absolutely no money!!! I ended up driving around and parking in the neighborhood.

I have to say that it changed my idea of what a pub could be.

The inside is like a cute little jewel box – very art deco with dark brown and white with silver accents. It looks like a very clean, modern and hip pub. They have a small covered patio which is perfect for children. I have to say that this is probably better for lunch as a family restaurant than dinner or happy hour. Please, let me know if I am wrong!

Their bathroom is clean and spacious.

Salad at Queen Vic Pub
The menu is really interesting and unique mixing English and European classics with an Indian twist. The name, of course, is for Queen Victoria who ruled over Great Britain, Ireland and India. We ordered a small salad – very simple, classic and delicious at the same time and a Chicken Tandoori wrap.

It was spicy, curried, very tasty and a perfect compliment to the salad. It was very affordable about $10.00 and the atmosphere plus the great company of my friend really charmed me and made me want to come back with my husband and my son.

I think it is a great place to have lunch al fresco with friends or family. I actually really liked that it was small and cozy as opposed to the bigger dining rooms we are used to here in Houston. Let the spices of India make their magic and create a wonderful experience for you right here in Upper Kirby!

See you next week for our next culinary adventure!

The Queen Vic Pub & Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Things to do in Houston today, and this Easter weekend, with kids! April 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 2014

Discovery Green Spashpad
Here are the things to do in Houston this week and Easter weekend!

James and the Giant Peach opens at Main Street Theater and it’s sure to be fabulous.  Get your tickets for the 1:00 or 4:00pm show.  Dress up or dress down, this theater is small and casual.  The only requirement is that kids must be older than 3 years old.

Houston’s animals get their own egg hunt on Sunday.  Stop by the Houston Zoo to see the animals get egg-themed enrichment all day.  Kids can also participate in scavenger hunts and egg-themed activities.

The Discovery Green Flea is moving back to the evening hours this weekend.  On Saturday, starting at 6:00pm, you can tour the local vendor’s booths, grab some dinner and, our favorite, people watch.  Also at Discovery Green, toddlers will get to participate in a free storytime and activity on Tuesday.  Bring your preschooler to meet Tigger and Pooh!

Look below for the full list of things to do.  Go HERE to get this list delivered to your inbox each week!

[Read More...]

Where in Houston? Sharon Engelstein’s Dillidiidae at Hermann Park!

Blobs
 

Yesterday I asked where in Houston this picture was taken. It’s of Sharon Engelstein’s Dillidiidae in Hermann Park! It just arrived and is near the playground!

Houston Matters: The Ethics of Parent Blogs (Is There Such a Thing?)

I had the great honor to be on Houston Matters this week with Mocha Dad and Milehimama.  This time the topic was on parent blogs and the rule book bloggers follow.

Maggie, of Houston Matters, posed these questions:  Is there a rule book of ethics? Where do you draw the line when it comes to promoting products?  Should kids have an online presence at all?

There is no rule book for bloggers.  And the rules that are set, change every day.  If you are a blogger, I highly recommend connecting with Blog Elevated in Houston to stay up to date with the rules that do exist.  The next conference is September 25-27.

Besides the basic rules, like disclosing sponsored posts and not swiping content, most guidelines are made up by the blogger.

The blogger sets the tone of the blog.  If you make your blog positive and upbeat, you attract a community that is positive and upbeat.  Same for funny, encouraging, whinny or rude…

On my blog, feedback and criticism is invited, if this appropriate tone is used.  If someone else joined in and upset the tone (and is nasty and rude), I would delete the comment.  I’ve never had to do this, but if it were to happen, I’d invite the comment-er to start their own blog (using their preferred tone).

One thing that should be obvious (but isn’t always): If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t post it on a computer screen.

As for sponsored post, it also depends on the blog.  To have the opportunity for sponsored posts, you need a good sized audience.  But to keep this, you can’t constantly promote average products.

Each blogger has to decide what works for them.  My top priority is my community.  My readers trust my judgment and recommendations for things to do in Houston.  I will not accept opportunity that will undermine this trust.

If there is something that fits my blog, usually a Houston event, and I genuinely love it, I will promote it.  And there are many things that I have promoted for free, just because I adore them.

To listen to the audio clip, go HERE or hit play below!  (The blogger discussion starts at about 30 minutes in!)

Where can you ride a camel, meet a monkey & break a world record? Nature Fest, Bridgeland, April 26, 2014

Bird Acrobats at Bridgeland Nature Fest5
If you know a little someone who would like to ride a camel and meet some reptiles, a monkey and a kangaroo, mark you calendar for Bridgeland’s annual Nature Fest!

April 26, 2014, 10:00-5:00pm
Oak Meadow Park, 17730 House Hahl Road.

Bridgeland Nature Fest Monkey
Staples Safari Zoo will return with its unique troop of rescued exotic animals. Crocodile Encounter will also perform its interactive reptile show and showcase a variety of native creatures.

There will also be pedal-powered animal art from the Austin Bike Zoo, pony and camel rides, a petting zoo, bubble runners, bounce houses, arts and crafts and gourmet food trucks.

[Read More...]

What you need to know about the Discovery Green Monster Truck Toddler Tuesday, presented by Amerigroup RealSolutions – April 15, 2014!

Here’s what you need to know about Discovery Green’s Monster Truck event on April 15, 2014!

Monster Truck
***Update: Because of the rain on Monday, the activities may move around a bit due to wet lawns… but the event is still on for Tuesday!***

1.  The truck will arrive at 9:30am and you can take your picture with it.  It will be parked by The Lakehouse Cafe and Discovery Green office.

2.  Storytime will be at 10:30am on the stage.

3.  Truck rides will begin at 10:45am.  Kids must be 30″ tall.  The truck will pick up kids by The Grove Restaurant and drop them off by the splashpad.  The truck will then drive around the park, on the street, without kids, to start the route again.

4.  VIPs get to ride first!  Crystal C entered this week’s contest and won!  You can still be a VIP by volunteering with Discovery Green!  Email me (Jill @ BigKidSmallCity.com) and I will put you in contact with Discovery Green.  They need people to help with the cardboard craft!

5.  The Discovery Green craft this week is to have the kids make their own monster truck out of cardboard boxes. They will have some boxes available but want you to bring your own large cardboard box and duct tape.  Discovery Green will provide assembly instructions, paint and duct tape (while supplies last), and printed head lights, grill, dashboard elements, and wheel hubs.  This auto shop will be on the lawn between the sidewalk and the George R. Brown.

Discovery Green Map for Monster Truck Event
6.  BigKidSmallCity will have  a booth at the event!  Come find me IN THIS NEW LOCATION: by the stage and library.  I will have a giveaway, some crafts and a spot for you to read truck books with your kids.

Stormy Facepainting
7.  My friends Stormy and Macaroni Kid will be next door!

If you come out, be sure to come introduce yourself.  I love to meet the people of Houston.  And as always, I’ll be giving out free compliments and encouragement.  Just use code word getting-out-of-the-house-with-kids-is-a-lot-of-work-but-also-a-lot-of-fun.  Really.  Try it.

Inspiration for Dinners in 25 Minutes or Less!

Every week, Pranika shares a quick and easy dinner idea, along with beautiful pictures.  Go HERE to see them all!

Pranika and Family
Last weekend, Pranika was cheering the MS 150 riders and *gasp* she ordered pizza. Once you get over the shock of this, go here for Pranika’s favorite website for dinners in 25 minutes or less!

Where in Houston?

Blobs
Where in Houston was this picture taken?

The Time Warp Trio Series by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith – Books for Kids to Read

It’s Felicia!  Today’s review is of Time Warp Trio Series by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith.

So my younger daughter has finally been hooked into reading and has literally whizzed through every Bean and Ivy book at least twice in less than two weeks. I want to keep the reading steam going but I have not found anything that interests her. The Magic Tree House books have been deemed too boring and I have been really struggling to find another series to make her happy.

I thought about it for a while and then, it hit me! The Time Warp Trio series would be perfect for her. It is similar to The Magic Tree House series, but better because it is written by the fabulous Jon Scieszka. There is plenty of tongue in cheek humor found on the pages and the characters are brave, funny and loyal to each other.

Although this series has not won any awards, the author has put in a wonderful mixture of facts, humor, and effort into this series. Scieszka makes each of sixteen book s seem like you are part of the story and he never resorts to any of the bad behavior or grammar that some books use to hook reluctant readers in, *cough* Junie B. Jones *cough*.

My older daughter also adored this series in first grade so I knew that I could find a few on her bookshelf to test out on my little one before purchasing the rest of them. My hunch was right and she went right through the six that we have here at home. If you are looking for a bridge between story books and chapter books or just looking for something to entice a hesitant reader, look no further! This series is full of fun, adventure and history!

Go HERE to get it on Amazon. Or better yet, shop local and head to Brazos Bookstore!

Video of the Week: You Belong to Little Old Me!

Happy Saturday!

Meet Vicki Powers of Houston on the Cheap! Helping Houstonians learn how to live in a big city without spending big bucks!

At BigKidSmallCity, we believe the more we know about the people of Houston, the smaller our city feels. And who better to meet than a Houston mom that is helping Houstonians learn how to live in a big city without spending big bucks?!

Credit: Jenny Krummel Photography

Credit: Jenny Krummel Photography

Meet Vicki Powers of Houston on the Cheap! In her own words, she tells us about her family, her website and what she loves about Houston!

I grew up in Austin from age 2 – 22 and moved to Houston for my first job out of college. Everyone asked me why I was leaving Austin!

My husband and I have two freshmen (1 in high school, 1 in college). Surprisingly, he proposed after just three months of dating! We love to travel and create family memories on the road. My Schnoodle is a rescue dog who entertains me while I work — more like sleeps all day while I work. I’ve never experienced such unconditional love till I had a dog — and she’s my first!

Gingers 14th Birthday
My background is journalism: magazines and freelance writing. One of my favorite career memories early on was spending 24 hours on an offshore drilling rig — just to experience it first hand for a story.

As the economy started changing, I took a blog class and started HoustonOnTheCheap.com as a class project. I had no expectations, which is probably the best way to start. And I just celebrated my 5th blog anniversary. I love helping Houstonians learn how to live in a big city without spending big bucks! And it’s always fun meeting readers — especially when they recognize me on the street! Some of the site features include Kids Eat Free, Free Weekend Fun, Cheap Eats, and Half-Price Tickets.

Vicki Powers at Via Colori 2012
Although Houston has a reputation for being big and flat, I have fallen in love with its beautiful trees, parks, walkable museum district, quirky art cars, and colorful murals. And it’s an easy place to discover free fun, which I never realized until I started compiling Free Weekend Fun!

When my girls were younger, I loved taking them to the Houston Zoo and Cockrell Butterfly Center. We are animal lovers, so catching glimpses of the giraffes, elephants or monkeys always made for a fun day. The Cockrell Butterfly Center was a highlight, especially when butterflies would land on us!

Now that my girls are teenagers, our favorite Saturdays involve heading to the Heights for a little vintage shopping, lunch, and artsy photos opps.

I love the downtown chalk festival, Via Colori, that happens each November. It’s just such an amazing rush of color and creativity right on the downtown streets. It’s always hard to pick a favorite chalk design, but the 3D ones usually grab my heart! And best of all, it’s a fundraiser for The Center for Hearing and Speech.

Photo Credit:  Jenny Krummel Photography

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