Take the Kids Skydiving… at iFly Houston – Memorial!

We went skydiving!

My youngest son has kept on his bracelet all week and told everyone we met about iFly Houston!

iFly invited us out for a flight and the kids could not have been more excited.  They have been asking to go for years… and finally they got their chance!

Our iFly flight was schedule for a weekday at noon.  We arrived, signed the waivers and headed up the stairs to find the giant glass chamber where people were flying!

We watch several people fly before we got started, so we had some idea what we were able to do.  Each flyer went in with the instructor.  He stood on the ground and held the suit as the person flew.  He gave instructions through hand signals and if the flyer was straight enough, they could fly on their own.  And at the end, the instructor would fly and put on a show for everyone watching!

After this, we watched our safety video, learned the hand signs and went to suit up.  Kids 3 and older can fly, but my one year old was feeling left out.  The instructors insisted on her using an extra toddler suit and helmet, just to make her feel better.  (And they had no idea I was writing about the trip… they just offered to help!)

Soon after, the kids were in the flight chamber waiting room (and I was outside with baby… and switched with my big boy later on).  One by one they went in and flew!  They each had two minutes… but in the wind, it did feel like much longer.  We had the high flying package, so at the end, the instructor actually took his feet off the ground and flew up high with the kids!  Watch the video!

The kids (6, 9 and 11) thought this was the greatest experience and declared they wanted to come back for Flight School.  Watching them was not at all scary because the instructors were doing a great job and the kids were happy.

There was another little girl in our group (about 5 years old) that was scared after her first flight.  She wanted to quit before her second trip in, but with the mom’s permission, the instructor encouraged her, got her to try again and held her very close for another flight.  I was really impressed that they were so caring.

I did take my flight… and let me tell you that I am scared of most everything, including heights and small spaces.  Once inside, the height was really no big deal and the space was plenty big enough.  It was the giant gusts of wind on my face that I found hard to handle!  For the first few seconds of my flight I was wondering how I would be able to survive for the minute… but in the end, I was glad I did it!

If you are thinking about going to iFly, here are some things to know:

  • Kids 3 and older can fly.
  • You need to wear closed toe shoes.  A flight suit, goggles, ear plugs and helmet are provided.
  • Small lockers are available for free.
  • In the flight chamber, one person is adjusting the giant fan.  They work with the instructor (and I assume they adjust it based on your size and how high they want you to go).
  • To start the flight, you just lean into the wind and float up.  At the end, the instructor takes you to the exit, you grab on and pull your legs out.
  • The instructor stands on the mesh ground, with the giant gusts of wind coming from the floor.  The flyer floats in the air and tries to keep their body straight and chin up.
  • If you have a high flight at the end, an instructor actually flies up with you and brings you back down.
  • If you fall in love with flying, you can join Flight School.  We have not been, but accoring to Houston mom Hilary, you get more flying time and practice skills (like going up, down and spinning).

If you want to learn more about iFly, go HERE!


Five Tips for Keeping Your Family Safe This Summer from Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital

Ah, summertime is here! This time includes relaxing at backyard cookouts, enjoying longer days with outdoor playtime and celebrating summer holidays with family and friends. Summer’s outdoor activities and celebrations often involve spending more time in the sun and using fireworks.

It is no coincidence that area ERs see an increase in fire and heat-related visits during summer months. Read about 5-year old Shelby’s story and learn some simple tips from the affiliated physicians at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital to help your family avoid injuries and beat the heat this summer. Fun-in-the-sun should be just that, fun!

Burn Patient’s Mom Stresses Fireworks Safety

When it comes to celebrating the holidays with fireworks, Casey takes her daughter’s safety very seriously. “As a parent, you try to take every precaution to keep your child safe,” she says, “but unfortunately accidents happen.”

Last Fourth of July, Casey’s 5-year-old daughter, Shelby, was celebrating at home with family and friends when tragedy struck. At nightfall, the group ventured outside to participate in their own firework show. Shelby and her family members sat in the bed of a pickup truck parked a safe distance from the site where the fireworks were being lit. In the uneven field, however, one of the lit fireworks fell over, striking Shelby in the chest and catching on fire the jacket she was wearing. As a result, Shelby suffered second and third degree burns to her right arm, neck, chest, left shoulder and left arm.

Shelby was taken directly to Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, where she was treated by affiliated surgeon Todd Huzar, MD, Director of Pediatric Burn Surgery at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, and Assistant Professor of Surgery at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. Dr. Huzar was able to repair the burns on her chest by performing multiple skin grafts, where healthy skin is transplanted to the affected area.

“Throughout our stay, the nurses, physicians and entire staff took great care of Shelby, working continuously as a team to help her get better,” says Casey. “After going through something traumatic, I was so appreciative of how attentive they were to Shelby and our entire family.”

In December 2017, Casey returned to Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital to speak about fireworks safety. “Holidays like the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve will always be bittersweet for us,” she says. “But I am grateful for my daughter’s caregivers who continue to care for Shelby. She is now active and plays like a normal kid, despite her injuries.”

Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital’s Tips for Avoiding Burns This Summer

Dr. Huzar says each summer, particularly around the holidays, as the temperatures rise, so do the number of burn cases in the ER. To help keep your child safe, follow these important tips:

  1. Leave fireworks to the professionals. Attend one of the many public fireworks displays around the city instead of hosting your own fireworks show.
  2. Avoid the sparkler temptation. They are pretty and seem harmless, but they are dangerous. Sparks from a sparkler can reach up to 3,000°F, plenty hot enough to cause severe burns or ignite clothing.
  3. Keep kids away from outdoor grills, firepits and campfires. Create a three-foot safe zone around them.
  4. Properly dispose of charcoal or ash from a grill or fire. They can ignite or, if stepped on, burn feet (as can hot pavement – remember to always wear shoes when going outside!).
  5. Limit sun exposure and liberally use sunscreen. Avoid exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and apply – and frequently reapply – at the minimum, SPF 50 sunscreen on all exposed skin.

By following these simple tips, you and your family can enjoy a burn-free summer. If a burn does occur, however, the best thing to do is seek medical assistance. Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, located in the Texas Medical Center, offers the only pediatric burn program in Houston.


Earn Rewards Now with the John P. McGovern Summer Reading Program!

The Houston Public Library’s John P. McGovern Summer Reading Program is open NOW!  From now through August 1, 2018, you can read, record your hours, earn rewards… and it’s all FREE.

And anything counts… books, comics, audio books, reading with your kids!  All you need to do is:

1. Visit houstonlibrary.org/summer
2. Click the registration button and follow the prompts.
3. Log in anytime to track your reading goals and activity participation.
4. Unlock badges by logging 20 minutes a day and attending library programs!
5.  Visit your local Houston Public Library location, after June 1, to pick up your prizes.

AND this year there will also be drawings:

1.  Kids (ages 5-12) that log at least 1 day will be entered into a weekly drawing for a Kids Edition Amazon Kindle Fire. 1 winner per week.
2.  Teens (ages 13-18) that log 30 days will be entered into a drawing for a pair of Skullcandy wireless headphones. 1 winner per location. Drawing will take place August 2, 2018.

AND the prizes you earn by reading are:

Level Babies, Toddlers & Pre-K (0-4) Children 5-12 Teens 13-18
Registration Book Book, lanyard and button Book, lanyard and button
10 Days Read Book & Finger Puppets Book & Button Book & Button
20 Days Read Book & Bubbles Book & Button Book & Button
30 Days Read Book & Rubber Duck Book & Button Book & Button
5 Programs Attended Button Button

 

 

 

 

 

Register and get ready to earn prizes HERE!


Hundreds of Houstonians are now potential lifesavers… thanks to SAVE A LIFE training from the American Heart Association & Houston Methodist

You can never be ready for cardiac arrest… but you can be prepared.  This is why the American Heart Association and Houston Methodist DeBakey Institute for Cardiovascular Education & Training teamed up to provide FREE CPR training to Houstonians.

Outside of the hospital is where 80 percent of cardiac arrests happen and the chance of survival drops by 10% EVERY minute without immediate bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

David Nuno, from ABC 13, knows first hand about the importance of CPR.  It saved his young daughter’s life when she quietly slipped into the neighbor’s pool.  As you can understand, he is now PASSIONATE about teaching everyone CPR.

And wouldn’t it be amazing is there was someone trained in CPR anywhere you were around Houston?  The participants in this weekend’s Save a Life training are helping to make this a reality.

The hundreds of people that participated in the Infant CPR and choking relief training, Hands-only CPR training and CPR certification training are now potential lifesavers.

Learn about Save a Life HERE or find your own CPR resources HERE!


Take a Free Class at H-Town Elite Gymnastics!

Here’s the thing about my family… we do almost everything together.

If we are going somewhere around Houston, we go together.  If one of the kids has a baseball game, we are all there.  If one wants to sign up for a class, I sign them all up.

There are four kids and just one mom and that is how we roll.

The trick is deciding what we will all do together.  My daughter had been asking for gymnastics classes for a year, but I was not sure that everyone was on board… but she was persistent.

I started to ask around and a mom told me about H-Town Elite Gymnastics in The Heights.  She liked the quality of the classes and the prices.  AND I liked that we could take a FREE class to see if we even liked it.

So I signed us up for a free class, forced the boys to try it out and let my daughter take her class.  My boys complained a whole lot ahead of time… but they smiled all through the class and after the hour, they were pretty sure they should sign up for more.  (And my daughter was just ecstatic before, during and after her trial class.)

We have now take classes for a couple of months and still feel the same way.  My daughter would like to eventually move from recreational classes to the competitive team (also at H-Town Elite).

My boys do not ever want to be competitive gymnasts, but the classes really do help with agility, balance and flexibility.  And since taking the classes, I’ve noticed some crazier stunts in the kid produced movies made around my house.

If you also want to try out gymnastics, but not pay until you are sure, call H-Town Elite for a free trail class!  Reach them at 713-955-5427 or contact@htownelite.com!


Register Now for Summer Discovery Camps at Houston’s Most Interactive Science and Health Learning Center

Spark your child’s curiosity at The Health Museum’s annual Discovery Camps!

During the annual Summer Discovery Camps, kids will have the opportunity to explore medical sciences and the human body through hands-on interactive experiences and workshops carefully curated by The Health Museum’s education staff.

Discovery Campers will dissect real organs, practice actual surgery procedures, and learn about what it takes to be a medical professional such as a doctor or veterinarian, among various other activities, during camp.

This is open to children ages 5 to 13 years old, and will take place June 4 to August 24, 2018, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Before and after care will be available for families who need it.

Camp Course Options include:

Children 5-7 years-old: Biorhythm: The Musical, Body Is Art: Organ Edition, Mini Chef’s Academy, Mini Chemist, Mini Vet, No Bones About It & The Clinic

Children 8-10 years-old:  Bio Beatz I, Body Is Art II: Body Systems Edition, Brain Pop!, Ev3 Robotics, Game On!, Grossology, Junior Chemist, Junior Vet, Savory Science

Children 11-13 years-old:  3D Design & Printing, Bio Beatz Ii, Body Is Art III: Human Edition, Edible Explorations, Mini Medical School I, Mini Medical School II, Pi Scratch Programming & Design, Senior Chemist & Senior Vet

Learn more and register HERE!


Sign Up Now! Read and Get Rewarded with the John P. McGovern Summer Reading Program!

The Houston Public Library’s John P. McGovern Summer Reading Program is open for registration NOW!  From June 1 through August 1, 2018, you can read, record your hours, earn rewards… and it’s all FREE.

And anything counts… books, comics, audio books, reading with your kids!  All you need to do is:

1. Visit houstonlibrary.org/summer
2. Click the registration button and follow the prompts.
3. Log in anytime to track your reading goals and activity participation.
4. Unlock badges by logging 20 minutes a day and attending library programs!
5.  Visit your local Houston Public Library location, after June 1, to pick up your prizes.

AND this year there will also be drawings:

1.  Kids (ages 5-12) that log at least 1 day will be entered into a weekly drawing for a Kids Edition Amazon Kindle Fire. 1 winner per week.
2.  Teens (ages 13-18) that log 30 days will be entered into a drawing for a pair of Skullcandy wireless headphones. 1 winner per location. Drawing will take place August 2, 2018.

AND the prizes you earn by reading are:

Level Babies, Toddlers & Pre-K (0-4) Children 5-12 Teens 13-18
Registration Book Book, lanyard and button Book, lanyard and button
10 Days Read Book & Finger Puppets Book & Button Book & Button
20 Days Read Book & Bubbles Book & Button Book & Button
30 Days Read Book & Rubber Duck Book & Button Book & Button
5 Programs Attended Button Button

 

 

 

 

 

Register and get ready to earn prizes HERE!


METdance Girls Dance Camps… for Girls Ages 3 to 7!

Introduce your little dancer to the FUN of dance at a one-week METdance DANCE CAMP!

Excite and capture the imagination of your dancer through these one-week camps.  They include themed dance classes, crafts, stories, glow dance party, selfie station, manners and etiquette lessons and a desert decorating “tea” party everyday!

Get all the details HERE.  Enrollment is limited to 12 campers per class, so sign up soon if you have a little dancer!


A Quick Guide to Galveston Island Beaches with Chevrolet… and How We Take 4 Kids Without Going Crazy!

Years ago, a trip to Galveston, with little kids, seemed like too much trouble.  The drive and the beach just seemed like  a lot of WORK.

Then a Houston mom told me about West Beach, parking on the sand, having all the gear you need (without hauling anything) and being home by early afternoon… and the beach trip suddenly seemed like a lot MORE FUN.  And we have been going weekly for the last several summers!

To help with your summer beach trips, here is a simplified guide to Galveston Beaches and lots of details on West Beach… all from our sponsor Chevrolet.

To get to Galveston, just drive down I45, stop at our favorite Buc-ee’s, and let the highway turn into Broadway. Broadway will dead-end at the water and you can easily find any of these beaches:

  • East Beach:  When Broadway ends, turn left and go to the end of the island.  East Beach has bathrooms, showers and concessions and alcohol is allowed.  There is a fee to park in the parking lot.  Check out the pictures HERE.
  • Stewart Beach:  Back where Broadway ended, Stewart Beach is right in front of you.  This is the family beach and there are bathrooms, showers and concessions and no alcohol is allowed.  There is a fee to park in the lot.  Check out the pictures HERE.
  • Seawall Beach: Just west of Stewart is the Seawall.  This is a long strip of beach with lots of hotels and restaurants.  Street parking is metered but beach access is free.  There are some restrooms along the Seawall.
  • West Beach: West of the Seawall (on the same road) is West Beach.  Here you can drive onto the beach and it is free.  Cars on the beach are not beautiful, but it sure is easy. Just drive on to the packed sand, back up to the water and have everything you need without hauling bags and chairs and coolers and kids. The one issue… there are no restrooms (and *maybe* you will find a port a potty).  Check out the pictures HERE.
  • Galveston Island State Park:  Just west of West Beach is Galveston State Park.  Here there are not many people… but there are showers, changing rooms, a nature center, miles of trails, camp sites, places for kayaking and more.  There is a small fee to enter the park.  Check out the pictures HERE.

Before moving to Texas, I had never seen cars on the beach… and that first time a friend told me to drive onto West Beach, I thought she was insane.  But I did, and it was so EASY.  Cars on the beach is not beautiful, but you just drive on to the packed sand, back up to the water and have everything you need without hauling bags and chairs and coolers and kids.

Also, note that at beach entrance 10, the cars drive behind the parked cars… away from the kids playing in the wet sand. (At Surfside, we saw cars driving on the wet sand, way too close to kids playing.)  Watch the video above to see what I mean.

(Update: Note that with the recent drought, the sand is much softer.  Look before you drive onto it… so you don’t get stuck!)

On our last trip, we drove the Chevy Traverse, but the sand is so packed that cars can drive on it as well.  The one problem with West Beach is that there are no restrooms.

So, we spend a few hours at the beach and then head to one of the many other Galveston attractions (with restrooms!).  Find lots of things to do in Galveston HERE.

Chevy loaned us the Traverse for the roadtrip and it was surprisingly easy to drive.  It is bigger than my minivan, but with all the sensors and cameras, it was actually easier to drive.  This car had the standard rear camera, a forward-looking camera in the front grille and two side-looking cameras under each side mirror, all displaying a 360 degree, bird’s eye view of the entire perimeter.

I liked that the Chevy knew when I had opened the back door before the trip, and reminded me to check on the baby at the end of each trip.  And my big kids were especially pleased with the wifi hotspot, USB ports and power plugs.

We all give the Chevy Traverse two thumbs up… and the short roadtrip to Galveston another two thumbs up (for a total of 24 thumbs up).  And if you are looking for a very EASY trip to the beach, check out West Beach!

Beaches near Houston:

 


A comprehensive, searchable and free directory of all the daycares and preschools in Houston on Winnie

Houston parents, your daycare and preschool search just got a lot easier. Winnie’s new daycare and preschool search helps parents in Houston find quality child care in just a few clicks.

When Anne Halsall, mom of 2, started looking at preschool options for her oldest son, she was at a loss for where to begin. She was new to the area and didn’t know other parents who could give personal recommendations.

“I really had no idea where to begin.” said Anne. “I knew there had to be tons of great preschools all around me, but I just couldn’t find them.” Google was no help, as it only brought up the big, popular schools that had long waitlists.

This experience inspired Anne — a software engineer and one of the co-founders of parenting tech startup Winnie — to make the daycare and preschool search process easier for other parents by bringing it online. “At Winnie, we feel strongly that both children’s and parent’s lives are enriched when they have access to quality childcare and early education opportunities,” said Anne. “We want everyone to be able to find this information. That’s why we are making it accessible and free to use.”

Anne, along with the rest of the team at Winnie, recently launched a comprehensive, searchable and free directory of all the daycares and preschools in Houston. Listings include detailed descriptions, photos, tuition information, availability data and more. And in addition to this wealth of information, Winnie also contains reviews from parents whose children have attended the daycare or preschool. This way even if you don’t know someone directly who sent their kids to a specific daycare or preschool, you can still get the inside scoop.

Sophisticated search

One of the reasons we love Winnie’s new daycare and preschool search is that it is more than just a listing of all the providers — it’s a powerful, fully interactive search tool. You can refine your search with keywords like “montessori” or “bilingual” to find the programs that match exactly what you’re looking for. You can even choose to only see daycares and preschools with 8+ hour days, something that is critical for working parents. We also love the interactive map that allows you to zoom to a very specific neighborhood and find providers close to your home or work.

In addition to all the large daycare and preschool facilities, included in the results are small in-home providers that are otherwise extremely hard to find online. In-home providers are a great option many families don’t know about where children receive highly individualized care in a home setting.

Safety first

One of the most useful features of Winnie’s new tool is the link to the licensing database on a daycare’s Winnie page under the “Contact Information” section. Click on the license number to be taken to a full report from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. All licensed child care providers are inspected regularly and these inspections, along with any complaints filed against the provider, are public information.

What’s next

“We really want to get the word out about Winnie because when you have child care, you have options. Whether you utilize it or not, just knowing what your options are is very powerful,” Anne explained. You can check out the childcare options available to you at https://winnie.com/houston/childcare.