FAQ: Are Your Hiring? How Do I Partner with BigKidSmallCity?

Jill Jarvis and Rebecca Sperra Channel 13 Roadtrip Segment
Friends – I get a lot of questions about working with BigKidSmallCity.com, so let me answer them here!

1.  Is BigKidSmallCity.com hiring?

I am not hiring for salaried positions, but there are unlimited opportunities to earn money with commissions.

If you refer someone who purchases a sponsored post, event listing or advertisement, I offer a 50% commission on the first sale.  (Of course, posts, listings and ads need to fit with the tone and theme of BigKidSmallCity.)

If you are interested, contacted me at Jill @ BigKidSmallCity.com.

2.  If I want to work with BigKidSmallCity.com to reach Houston parents, what should I do?

First, please email me at Jill @ BigKidSmallCity.com instead of messaging me on Facebook.  I focus on my email and don’t keep up as well with FB messaging.

Second, if you are being paid to promote something, or plan to make money with what you are promoting, please don’t ask me to promote it for free.  This is a pet peeve of mine.

Third, active members of the BigKidSmallCity community, with small businesses/websites/services, can be featured in a Friday post for free. Active members are email subscribers, blog readers/comment-ers, Facebook fans, Meet-up participants, etc. (This is not for just anyone to promote themselves… that is handled with advertising!)

Forth, if you want to partner with BigKidSmallCity.com, go HERE and contact me.

What do teachers want for end-of-year gifts?

Back to School
It seems like yesterday that I was planning out Halloween costumes… but suddenly it’s the end of the school year and time for summer break. Just before we finish the school year, we’ll get our teachers a little something to say “thanks!” for taking care of our kids. But what should this be?

Lucky for us, we have experts (teachers!) in the BigKidSmallCity community. Here’s what they recommend:

1. Unless you really know the teacher well, avoid teaching motifs. The classrooms are usually already full… and their homes aren’t classrooms!

2. Give handwritten thank you notes or pictures from the kids.

3. Give something consumable! Consider giving Giftcards. Starbucks, Chickfila, Barnes an Noble, Amazon, Target…

4. Books for the classroom! Seems like there can never be enough books in the library.

Are you a teacher… what else would you like?

What are the best Texas roadtrips to take from Houston, with kids?

Omni San Antonio Aquatica Brooke Sea Turtle
Want to get away, enjoy a vacation with the family, but not have to work so hard to have fun? Here are the Texas roadtrips recommended by Houston parents!

Read on to see spots near Houston, towards Austin, Corpus Christi, San Antonio and Dallas.  Drive a short distance, or drive for a few hours… either way, there is a great adventure waiting!

Do you have a Texas getaway spot to recommend? Tell us so we can add it to the list.  (Also, here are camping spots near Houston & here are our roadtrip packing tips!)

Close to Houston:

  • The Woodlands Resort – 31 Miles from Downtown Houston – 2301 N Millbend Dr, The Woodlands, TX 77380
    • Water slide, underwater music, sprayground, toddler pool, lazy river, dive-in movies and family activities.
    • 200 miles of hiking and biking trails that meander through the southern reaches of the East Texas Piney Woods.
  • Galveston50 Miles from Downtown Houston
    • Beaches, museums, parks and restaurants!


Head Towards Austin:


Head Towards Corpus Christi:


Head Towards San Antonio:


Head Towards Dallas:

The Best Texas Roadtrips from Houston... as recommended by Houston parents!

How has the transition been from Corporate America to full time blogger? You asked us!


I made the leap last December.

After 13 years as an electrical engineer, after 7 years as a full time working mom, after returning to work after 3 maternity leaves and after 3 years as a full time engineer, blogger and mom, I left my career in telecommunications.

I wrote about the leap HERE, and the number 1 question I’ve gotten since is, how is life now?

Life is really good.

That said, life was good even before the transition.  I had a very good job and very good (and steady) paycheck, a very very good healthcare plan.  I was instrumental in getting cutting-edge phones and tablets to market, and this made me feel accomplished.

The issue was that with the career in telecommunications, the website and, most importantly, the family, everything had to go exactly as planned.  There was no margin for error.

School drop off, work meetings, extra-curricular activities, business travel, blog posts, Houston events, homework, dinner, bedtime… it all had to be executed perfectly.  We were extremely efficient and got a heck of a lot done in a day.

But if someone got sick, if a factory went offline, if the server crashed, or *gasp*, some event ran long… everything fell apart.

This was all good for a time, and got me to where I am today, but parts of the last 13, 7, 5, and especially 3 years were extremely stressful.

The balancing act worked for so long because it wasn’t every minute that was painful.  Because of this, sometimes I think it was foolish to leave the steady paycheck…

My cure to this second-guessing is to think about last August.

A major customer was taking 3 devices to market, each 1 was failing the final tests and I was in meetings and debug sessions for 18 hours a day for 2 weeks… and I was the person responsible for managing and resolving the issues, while caring for the kids and running my own small (and secret!) business.

I can still recall the feeling of having a 500lbs weight on my chest and not knowing when I could get out from under it.  And this was not a one time feeling.

Fortunately I had grown BigKidSmallCity.com and BKSCGroup.com enough and had the option to make it my full time career, and did in December 2014.

And I feel like it is much easier to breathe these days.

The posts on BigKidSmallCity.com have increased some, the videos have become a weekly thing and we’ve expanded into doing consultations with business owners, writing long-form copy and helping others build their own websites and businesses.

I’m exploring the direction to take the business and certainly feel stress at times… but I get to be in control of exactly what I do.

No jumping on a plane to solve a customer problem, no more late night conference calls and no more muting and un-muting, pretending I was working from an office and not helping my kids with homework.

Do I get more done?  Absolutely not.  Over the last several years, I gotten more done in a day than some do in a month.  I was efficient, always thinking ahead and had every single detail planned out.

But now I am getting the right things done.  Growing my own business, signing up for little league, sitting down for dinner and reading a few extra books to the kids.

So, I’d say life is really good.  Not as safe and steady with changing routines and paydays, but certainly of a higher quality.

How can I help or volunteer with BigKidSmallCity? You asked us!

Discovery Green Cart
I am always surprised by this question and happy that so many parents are willing to spend time working with BigKidSmallCity.com.  I am always happy to meet more great people and to have help!  If you are interested in helping BigKidSmallCity, here are some ways:

1.  Tell your friends about BigKidSmallCity.com.  This might seem like no big deal, but it is hugely helpful to me.  Tell other parents at the park, leave cards at your place of work, invite your friends to the events…

2.  If you see something wrong with the website or newsletter, please tell me!  My view is sometimes different, so if you cannot access the website, links are broken or are not getting a newsletter, please email me.  I guarantee a post each weekday and a newsletter each Thursday, so if you don’t see them, there is something wrong.  Thanks for your help!

3.  Help at a local event.  Help pass out cards or goodies or watch over the craft table.  Your kids can usually come too… if you are confident in watching them while working.

4.  Submit a post.  If you want to share your favorite places in Houston, email me and suggest a topic.  (Jill @ BigKidSmallCity.com)  I’m always looking for new posts for Houston area parks, pictures for “Where in Houston”, Houston Area Library reviews, unique things to do in Houston, events that you love, etc.  (Note that if you have a business, I will link to you, but the post should not be promotional.  That’s advertising and is covered HERE.)

5.  Suggest meeting venues.  We are starting a series of talks and workshops and are always looking for places for 10-200 adults to meet.  It can be a restaurant, classroom, conference room etc.  The same goes for kid-and-parent events.

6.  Be featured on BigKidSmallCity.  If you have a businesses/website/service and want to be featured in a Friday post on BigKidSmallCity.com, email me.  (This is for active members of the BigKidSmallCity community that are on the email list, comment on Facebook page, attend events, etc.  It’s not for just anyone to promote themselves… again, that is handled with advertising!)

7.  If you have more ideas than please suggest them!


When will Houston Spring Break 2015 events be posted? You asked us!

Tube Slide at Love Park Houston Heights
Soon!  I am waiting on some of the Houston venues to post their Spring Break plans… but in about a week, I expect to post the preliminary list of events, in Houston, for kids, March 7-22, 2015!  That said, I do have information Houston Rodeo and Fun Things to Do in Houston on BigKidSmallCity.com for you to start planning your vacation now!

Get Houston Rodeo Insider Tips & Discounted Carnival Tickets/Admission
Find over 40 Free Things to Do around town
Find Quirky Things to Do in Houston
Find things to do in the Rain
Top 10 Kid Friendly Restaurants in Houston
Visit a new Houston Park
Explore Montrose with kids
Explore Downtown with kids
Browse hundreds of Things to Do, with Kids, in Houston


If we want to Homeschool in Houston, where do we even start?

Houston Public Library Flip Kit at Table
This is a question I get a lot… and I would also like to know the answer!  Fortunately the BigKidSmallCity.com community is full of experts that are nice enough to share their knowledge!  Below are resources to get you started with Homeschooling in Houston.

Thanks to Amy H, Kimberly R, Pat S, Nicole W, Kyla H, Sarah C!

  • A great place to start is with the Texas Home School Coalition.  You can learn about the laws and watch a series of videos on what to consider before homeschooling, and how to start.  There are also a couple THSC Homeschool Conventions coming up.
  • Find a Homeschooling Group in your area.  They are a huge source of information and resources.  Some suggestions:
  • Private Co-Ops allow kids to attend a “school” a couple days a week and to teach at home the rest of the week.  One recommendation is to find your own groove with homeschooling first before committing to a co-op.
  • For more information on curriculums, check out 102 Homeschool Curriculums to help match your teaching style to your child’s learning styles.
  • For Houston Area Homeschool Days, Labs and Classes, go HERE!

Who are the best Veterinarians in Houston? You asked… and Houston parents answered!

You have a pediatrician, dentist… but what about a veterinarian? These are the Houston area vets that the BigKidSmallCity community has recommended!

Where do you take your dog or cat?  Tell us!

What Pediatric Emergency Room do you recommend?

Texas Childrens Hospital ER
A month ago my daughter tumbled right into a concrete park bench. It seemed minor at first, but quickly turned serious when she had a big bump on her forehead, couldn’t stay awake and was vomiting. Jump forward 5 hours and everything was okay, but at that moment, I didn’t really know what to do.

Fortunately I did know from playing competitive sports that a head injury plus loss of consciousness plus vomiting meant to get to a doctor right away. It was a Sunday afternoon so we called our doctor’s answering service on the way to Urgent Care for Kids. Within 30 seconds of walking in there, they told us to get to Texas Children’s for a CT Scan.

At Texas Children’s we were calmly rushed to see a team of doctors and get a CT Scan.  Five hours later we walked out with a bad concussion, but to my great relief, without internal bleeding or fractures.

I then began asking Houston parents for advice on where to go for a weekend injury, or serious emergency, when the pediatrician is not available.  (If you are looking for Houston Pediatricians, go HERE.)

It looks like Houston has lots of spots that specialize in emergency care for kids.  Some are good for the flu and non-life-threatening injuries and others are equipped to handle the most critical issues.

Note that this is for your information only.  BigKidSmallCity does not provide medical advice and is not responsible for your experiences or the treatment of your injuries.

With that, here are the suggestions from Houston parents!

Do you have more to add?  Let us know!

What Houston Area Pediatrician Do You Recommend? You Asked Us!

Doctors Office
Here is the list of Houston parent recommended pediatricians! If you have more suggestions, let us know!

Note that this is a starting point only and BigKidSmallCity is not responsible for your good or bad experiences, or your medical care.

If you are looking for pediatric dentists, go HERE.  If you are looking for a pediatric ER, go HERE.


  • Pure Pediatrics – Concierge practice with a low patient volume and high patient/parent satisfaction.  Dr. Alana A. Kennedy-Nasser, MD
  • Texas Children’s Pediatrics – Locations all over Houston – Reader Recommended: Dr. Lee (Kirby), Dr. Injac (Kirby), Dr. Smith (Kirby), Dr. Ho (Kirby), Dr. Lisa Rowland (Bellaire), Dr. Neal Grossman (West Houston), Dr. Tonya Brown-Price (Midtown), Dr Sandles (North Shore), Dr. Salem (Memorial), Dr. Scott (Grand Parkway), Dr. Bishop (Grand Parkway), Dr. Thomas Worrall (Cypress), Dr. Greeley (Heights), Dr. Audrey Winer (North Cypress), Dr. Pottkotter (Sugar Land), Dr. Ellane Lloren (Humble), Dr. Butler (Medical Center), Dr. Michelle Shuman (Spring Branch), Dr. Susan Parkerson (Spring), Dr. Wendy Valicek (Shadow Creek), Dr. Andy Wei (Westchase), Dr. Shannon Hayes (Green Park),  Dr Abbas Kapasi (Medical Plaza The Woodlands), Dr. William Stanley (Kingwood)
  • Kelsey Seybold Clinic – Locations all over Houston – Reader Recommended:  Dr. Mark R. Kozak (The Woodlands), Dr. Susan Sponenberg (Tanglewood), Dr. Gwen Williams (Clear Lake), Dr. Rhoula Sabbath (Katy), Dr. Wong (Spring), Dr Black (Cypress)
  • Bluefish Pediatrics – Memorial & Cypress – Reader Recommended:  Dr. Brack, Dr. Eric Lindsay, Dr Pielop, Dr. Peter Jung, Dr. Meadows and Dr. Eddings
  • Great Kids Pediatrics – Memorial Hermann Memorial City – Reader Recommended: Dr. Crane-Storey, Dr. Arnal, Dr. Paredes, Dr. Ann Lee
  • Bee Well Pediatrics – River Oaks – Reader Recommended:  Dr. Lara Leonardt
  • West Alabama Pediatrics – River Oaks – Reader Recommended:  Dr. David Walburn
  • Bootin and Savrick Pediatrics – Medical Center, Memorial, Pearland, Recommended Reader: Dr. Monica McGrann, Dr. Bootin
  • Fannin Pediatrics – Medical District – Reader Recommended:  Dr. Christa Filak, Dr Angela Chia, Dr. Victoria Regan
  • VIP Pediatrics – Near Bellaire/Medical Center
  • Dr. Sheri Mitchell – Museum District
  • Steeplechase Pediatrics – Houston, Katy, Cypress – Reader Recommended: Dr Goytia
  • Cinco Ranch Pediatrics – Cinco Ranch – Reader Recommended:  Dr. Shepherd
  • Clear Lake Pediatrics – Webster – Reader Recommended:  Dr. Bhutani, Dr. Pocsick, Dr. Shuman
  • Dr. Lee Dockray – Cypress
  • Family First Pediatrics – Spring – Reader Recommended: Dr. Cristina Marchesano, Dr. Shirley
  • Champions Pediatrics – Spring, Tomball – Reader Recommended: Dr Nandwani
  • Sprout Pediatrics – I10 & Greenhouse – Reader Recommended: Dr.Dahlavi and Dr. White
  • Katy Memorial Hermann Hospital – Katy – Reader Recommended:  Dr. Francisco Moreno
  • Town Center Pediatrics (All Female Doctors) – Sugar Land – Reader Recommended:  Dr Dawn Lord, Dr. Laurie
  • Pearland Pediatrics – Pearland – Reader Recommended: Dr. Gray
  • Vital Allergy & Asthma Center – Hermann Park – Dr. Brian Tison
  • Humble Pediatrics – Dr. William Stanley


  • Mosaic Clinic Dermatology (For kids 4+ and adults) – – Heights, Montrose, Tanglewood, Galleria – Dr. Rashid – Open Saturdays!