Katy Texas Community Blog

Browse the Katy topics below for insights, thoughts, and opinions from Katy Area residents and local bloggers. If you're interested in writing a blog for Katy Magazine, email editor@katymagazine.com.

 

11 Ways to Entertain the Kids in Katy This Winter (And Not Overspend!)

By admin

Katy Mom Offers up Some of Her Family’s Favorite Activities

Just because it is cold outside doesn’t mean the kids have to stay shut up in the house, whining about “nothing to do!”  Instead of sending them with a toothbrush to clean the tile grout at their first complaint of boredom, why not beat them to it with these 11 activity ideas?

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30 Minutes Alone

By Katy Magazine

One on one time in a busy Katy household is hard to come by, but it is possible!

My children, ages 18 months and 3 ½ years, are very busy.  They (luckily) love playing together and most often keep each other pretty well entertained.  We’ve reached a point where I can even spend 5 minutes tending to a household chore while the children play nearby.  We’re in the eye of the storm: my baby has not yet hit her terrible twos, and my oldest daughter understands how to share to some extent.  It is wonderful.

Yet in this blissful break, it is also important to me that I remember my favorite poem of all time.  It is called “Song for a Fifth Child” by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton, and while I never plan to have a fifth child to recite the poem to, I love the heart of the message: “The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow, for children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.  So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep. I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.” (more…)

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A Recipe For Rearing Happy Children

By admin

A Katy mom shares her experiences in motherhood

March 26, 2010 – Katy, Texas – Sitting at the kitchen table, I mulled over possible meals for the week. I flipped through the pages of a cookbook and read through various recipes as I started on my shopping list. I felt a tap on my shoulder and looked at my youngest child, Braden, as he began to describe in detail a building he had just made out of blocks. He tugged at my arm pleading for me to go and admire his creation. Dropping my pen by my cookbooks, I ran with him up the stairs to inspect his work. He anxiously awaited my reaction to his masterpiece. His building was indeed impressive and I told him exactly how amazed I was at his engineering skills. He smiled, gave me a hug and resumed his work.

I walked down the stairs and continued my list. Within seconds, my oldest child, Brandon, walked to the table and asked if I would help him plan his school schedule for the following year. He excitedly spoke of the many courses that were available at Seven Lakes High School.  I looked at the class descriptions and for the next half an hour we planned his perfect schedule. With a grin, he left the kitchen to commence another activity.

Hm…I thought…soup sounds good for Wednesday. “Mom?” I heard a voice call. It was my daughter, Melissa. “I need you to help me with my math.  Do you know what the formula is to find the area of a circle?” I smiled since I did remember this particular formula.

“It is Pi R Squared.” I replied. She looked at me with admiration and asked if I would watch her work out the next few problems. As she successfully completed her work, she thanked me and left the kitchen.

The children love pizza. Perhaps we can make home-made pizza Friday night. “Mom! Come out to the trampoline!” My son, Bryan, breathlessly exclaimed. “I want to show you my back-flip. You won’t believe it!” He reached for my hand and began to pull me to the back door.

As I watched Bryan jump contentedly on the trampoline, a mental picture came to mind. I pictured my children continually in orbit around me. At this point in their lives anyway, I was the gravitas pull that gave them bearing.  As I thought about this image, I marveled at how important it was for me, as their mother, to provide consistent support and stability to each one of them.

Though I had been working on a meal recipe list, I felt as though I had stumbled upon a more significant recipe…a recipe for rearing happy children.  And, I realized that the recipe started with me.  I suppose I have my work cut out for me!  What are some ways in which you show love and support to your children?  Post a comment below.

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Affordable Tutoring In Katy

By Katy Magazine

Katy Mom finding ways of tutoring her children

I have three children ages 7, 11, 15 they are in elementary, middle, and high school. I find it sometimes very hard to have one on one tutoring with them. They all learn differently and sometimes I try to find other ways to help them. I have took advantage of tutoring classes at some of the schools morning, afternoon or even during classes, neighbors in our area, phone tutoring, and even computer tutoring. Some schools even have saturdays as an extra day of tutoring. I just wish I could find a tutoring facility that would not be so costly. I have three children and I am always trying to find affordable tutoring for them.
Having children in different ages and levels of learning can sometimes become overwhelming. I have called different tutoring facilities but have found it to be very costly. I have heard good things about the tutoring facilities out here in Katy but have not had the pleasure of trying them yet. I have read the reviews of some of them. I find reviews very helpful but it’s nothing like your own experience with them. Oh and let’s not forget about our children that have extra curricular activities on certain days. When can we find time to tutor during these times?
 I have applied at least one hour for each of them for tutoring but I always ask myself what about the parents that have to work? I have alot of friends that are single moms and have long hours at work. So what about them when can they help their child in reference to tutoring? Can our children tutor with friends or relatives? Also can it be more affordable? So my parents of Katy what other ways of tutoring have you found it easy for your children? I would love to hear from you.
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An Amelia Bedelia Moment

By Katy Magazine

Loving those priceless moments with my Katy cuties

Yesterday, my extended family and I were spending the day together.  We were sitting outside, watching my 4 year old daughter, Avery, playing in the sandbox.  My sister, Amanda, and my grandmother were talking about a new dress my sister was hoping to sew.  She went to the car to get the pattern she had purchased, only to discover she had left it at her house in Spring.  All of the adults discussed how frustrating it is to realize you’ve left something by the front door instead of loading it up.  I had no idea my daughter was listening until she interrupted the conversation.

“Mommy,” she said, “I’m all done with the sand.  I’m going to go inside and wash my hands and make Amanda a pattern.” (more…)

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An Important Message About Dry and Secondary Drowning

By Ashley Lancaster

Katy, Texas Blog (June 13, 2017) – Texas Children’s Hospital shares important information on the definition of secondary drowning, dry drowning, and how Katy families can take action if their child is submerged in water.

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Back to School, Back to Schedule!

By admin

Katy parents say ‘Goodbye’ summer and ‘Hello’ school

We had every good intention of getting up at six o’clock a.m. this week, in preparation for the new school year, but those good intentions went out the same window that our good summer intentions of re-slathering the sunscreen every hour and a half went out of!  My twelve-year-old son had to wake me up at eight o’clock a.m. this morning, so we obviously haven’t been wasting our time practicing for up and at ‘em!  Shoulda,  woulda,  coulda…  Ok, I have set the alarm for a good old-fashioned try at it tomorrow morning, 6:00 a.m.  It’s that time of year again!

Almost gone are the lazy summer days of freedom and too much sun.  So many friends over and too much swimming.  So little chores to do, so much sleep to get!  Almost gone are the days of hanging out with friends until too late, since the kids don’t have to be anywhere anyway!  Almost gone are the endless popsicles, ice cream truck runs, and late night neighborhood walks. (more…)

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Beyond Bethke

By Ashley Lancaster

Katy, TX (April 26, 2017) – Katy ISD namesake and career educator, Catherine Bethke, continues to fuel a love for reading and passion for learning in students.

Written by Lacey Kupfer Wulf | Select photography by Anetrius Wallace

Catherine “Gigi” Bethke has devoted her life to young children, literacy, and reading. She developed reading intervention programs and a literacy library to help all students feel the same love of reading she has, allowing her to reach students beyond her kindergarten class. Carrie Lowery, principal of Catherine Bethke Elementary (CBE), adds, “When students are comfortable with literacy skills, their world is opened up for learning geared toward their passions.” It is little wonder why Bethke was chosen as the namesake for Katy ISD Elementary 39, which opened in August 2016.

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Birthday Party Fun Guide

By Ashley Lancaster

Katy, TX (February 16, 2017) –  Bring on the balloons, hot dogs, and bouncy houses – it’s party planning time! These Katy venues take the work off of you and allow more time for memories and fun. Whether you’re after an artistic experience or a superhero laser tag thrill, you’re sure to find something that will put the icing on the cake!

Compiled by Katy Magazine’s Editors

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Books Aplenty, Books Galore!

By Katy Magazine

Parenting books are everywhere!  Which ones do you recommend for this Katy parent?

I love to read.  I have to limit myself to the amount of “for pleasure” reading that I do because I tend to get so involved with the book that I neglect my house, my children and my husband until the last word on the last page.  I’ve found that self-help books are a bit easier to pull myself away from; the information takes a while to digest and if I read too much too quickly I tend to forget what I’ve read.  

I have a pile of no less than 8 books and magazines sitting next to my bedside right now, and all of them are self-help, books for better living, or parenting related.  I am in the middle of all 8 of them, and I really do love them all.   

When it comes to parenting books, there are the highly touted (and highly controversial) baby sleep books, but I am talking about so much more than that.  I love anything inspirational, funny, or helpful about raising children or activities I can do with my children.  What follows is a list of my favorite 10 parenting books and magazines from my reading over the last year or so. (more…)

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British International School Architecture Enriches the Student Experience

By Ashley Lancaster

Katy, TX Blogs (May 5, 2017) – “After 26 years in international education, one of the things I have enjoyed the most has been the rich, diverse and rewarding discussions with colleagues around the world. One of the common themes across Nord Anglia Education in recent years has been, how do we educate our students for their future?

Part of that discussion has been increasingly around the design of school buildings and learning environments. How can we expect to develop learning to meet the needs of 21st century learners when the buildings we work in still follow the same ‘industrial’ concepts used for years?

So, imagine being given the opportunity to be part of designing, building and opening a brand new, state-of-the-art, ‘school of the future’. Along with the Nord Anglia Corporate Development team and lead architect, Ed Schmidt, that’s exactly what we just did in Houston.

The basic premise was quite simple, instead of building a school around a standardized model of education and the requirements of teachers and teaching, what happens if you build it around the varied and personal needs of learners and their learning?

The usual concept for school buildings has traditionally been classrooms, each belonging to a teacher, all connected by corridors. Students move from room to room either based on their age or based on the subject they are being taught at that time. Rooms, furniture, displays are usually fixed. Of course, this model matches the traditional, industrialized and standardized model for education that has been in place for many years. In addition, rectangular boxes, joined by straight corridors are cheap and easy to build.

But, the real world does not work in isolation and we know that learners do not learn best in isolated classrooms. Connectivity is everywhere and modern schools must be willing to adapt.

(more…)

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Cell Phone Introduction

By Katy Magazine

Katy Mom wants to know what age is appropriate

I have a 6yr old  and 11yr old and they both been asking me when will they get their own cell phones. I have been debating what age should I start giving them cell phones. I didn’t give my 15 yr old a cell phone until he was 13yrs. Did I start too early or too late? I decided to give him one because of all the extra curricular activities he was in. The one thing that I am concerned about is too much phone usage. Are we ready to hear those rings and what about those text messages? What cell phone plan would benefit them? Should I get them on a texting plan? Also what phone would be best? These are some of many questions that come to mind.
 
I have seen children as young as 9yrs of age with cell phones in their hands. A cell phone can always be handy in an emergency when needed especially if they have to stay after school or attend extra curricular activities. This has came in very handy for me with my 15yr old.  (more…)
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Child Identification Cards

By admin

Katy makes it easy to help ensure the safety of your child

Make sure your child is protected by getting a Child Identification Card

The Katy Police Department offers a service to help locate lost or abducted children. The Kid ID  program provides parents with a photo ID card for their children. But this is no ordinary photo ID card.

Sergeant J. L. Field, the police officer in charge of the program for Katy Police Department, says that this card is connected to a national database, which can be accessed by any police department in the U.S. Once all identifying information about your child is collected, it is sent to the KidID.org along with the card information.

My daughter and I had my granddaughter go through the ID card process at the main police department. It took all of 20 minutes. During the process, Sgt. Field took two photos of my granddaughter – one facing the camera and a profile photo. He also took a photo of my daughter (granddaughter’s mom) facing the camera. Mom’s photo and the profile photo do not appear on the card, but are attached to the profile which is uploaded to the KidID.org data bank. (more…)

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Confessions of a Katy Parent

By admin

There are times when you can’t believe you just did that. Katy parents reveal some of their most embarrassing parenting secrets.

Missing Something
“When my twins were infants, I was in a constant state of exhaustion. One day they had their 2-month-old check-up. As usual, I got them ready in the carriers and put them by the garage door so I could grab my purse and get everything loaded in the car. Without even thinking, I jumped in the car and headed out. When I got to the end of the street, I realized I had forgotten something very important – the babies! I drove home as fast as I could and swung open the door. My little ones were fast asleep in the carriers with no idea that mommy had forgotten them.” – M.C. (more…)

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Deceptively Delicious

By Katy Magazine

Using Jessica Seinfeld’s Cookbook in our Katy home

I put Jessica Seinfeld’s cookbook, Deceptively Delicious, on my wish list the year it came out.  I received it as a Christmas gift and immediately began cooking from it.  Her premise is that we can puree vegetables and include them in recipes to boost the nutrition of a meal.  The idea is that as children eat the muffins you serve them or the chicken nuggets you’ve made for dinner, they are also getting a serving of vegetables, which they may not otherwise have eaten.

When I first began using the book, I was already pureeing foods for my first-born.  She was in the baby food stage, and so I’d chop and steam and puree (more…)

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Drop-Off Ritual for Back to School

By Kirsten Cornell

Katy, Texas – August 25, 2016

Heading back to school can be an exciting time of transition for families with preschool and Kindergartners, but it’s important to develop healthy habits – starting with your drop-off ritual – that set everyone in the family up for success for the year to come. That’s why Kiddie Academy developed an infographic outlining some of our kid-tested, mom-approved drop-off tips to start your school year off strong – starting when you get out of the car and head into school. They even include bonus tips from professionals who have been there: moms and dads like you! (more…)

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Easter Events & Services in Katy, Texas

By Ashley Lancaster

Katy, TX (March 6, 2017) – Katy Magazine has compiled a list of Easter Sunday services and family events for 2017.

Easter_Sunday_03

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End of School Year Reflections

By admin

Summertime is a good time to face challenges of the school year

The last 180 days have been a whirlwind for many families. We are the parents of four boys. Our oldest just completed kindergarten. Our heads are still spinning over how much our little boy has grown in such a short amount of time. I think it’s important to take some time this summer to reflect a bit on what changes may have occurred in our children. Celebrate and encourage the good, and think of some ways to tackle the challenges that also reared their ugly head.

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Exercise for Fun- Exercise for a Lifetime

By admin

Katy has many work-out options to fit your budget and your interests

No one likes spending time doing activities they find disagreeable, even if the activities are good for them.   So, what is the best way to ensure you will exercise throughout your life?  The answer is finding a form of exercise that you love.  Once you find a kind of exercise that is fun, you will be hooked and exercise will become a pleasure.

My favorite form of exercise is dancing.  I enjoyed ballet and ballroom dance when I was younger and find that I work hardest when the form of exercise is somewhat creative.  I was thrilled when we moved to Katy and found that several of the local fitness centers offered cardio dance classes.  If you pay for a membership to Lifetime Fitness or the YMCA, for example, the fitness classes are included in the membership cost.  I have loved attending Latin Dance, Hip-hop and Zumba classes.  They are great cardio workouts and they make me feel like a teenager again. (more…)

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Find That Last Blessing

By admin

Celebrating the Little Things

As a mother of four boys, I am used to having a less-than-perfectly-clean house. These hot days of triple digit temperatures don’t help keep a house clean. I can’t really send my boys outside to play, so we make do inside with books, blocks, cars, and videos.

Yesterday, I was so proud of myself for enlisting my oldest boy in a quick cleaning job. Singing the “clean up song,” we rapidly made headway into our living room, I mean, playroom. Perhaps you have such a room in your house. (more…)

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Football Hurrahs?

By admin

Father/son bonding doesn’t go exactly as planned

It was a 6 p.m. game at Rhodes Stadium. My husband was truly excited about taking our four-year-old son to one of his first football games. Our son was excited too. The two of them teased me about all the junk food they would eat while I stayed home with the babies. As they left, I heard my husband talking about what they would see.

Forty minutes later, they were on their way home already. It seems that our son just didn’t seem interested in learning about the game. They didn’t even eat anything while there. He just wanted to walk up the steps and watch some of the plays.

Needless to say, my husband was disappointed. (more…)

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Free Summer Meals for Kids and Teens in Katy, Texas

By Ashley Lancaster

Katy, Texas Blog (June 7, 2017) – Free breakfast and lunch will be provided to all children ages 18 and under at no cost this summer. Dates and locations below.

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From Katy to College Station, and Back Home Again

By admin

Growing up in Katy was one of the best things my parents could have done for me. I was raised a Winborn Eagle, A Katy Tiger, and a member of girl scouts, KYF, and more. Although I didn’t get to fulfill my dream of being a Katy Tiger, I was still able to appreciate everything Katy had to offer. However, besides a great education and amazing town experiences from little league games to the Katy Rice Harvest Festival, my most favorite treasures are my friends.

College station
Diane Winborn Eagles to Texas A&M Aggies
(Left to Right: Ashley McElmurry ’15, Brecklyn Gordon ’15, and Stephanie Ellis ’15)

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Fun-Tastic Spring Break Destinations

By Ashley Lancaster

Katy, TX (March 7, 2017) – Katyites can pack up the family vehicle and embark on a spring break adventure without ever leaving Texas.

Written by Kennan Buckner

Make special memories with your kiddos as you make new friends, both human and animal, at these spring break hot spots. From cooling off by a lake to sipping drinks poolside, vacationers are sure to have fun they’ll never forget at these Texas destinations.

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Healthy Alternatives to Valentine’s Day Candy

By Ashley Lancaster

Katy, TX (February 13, 2017) – Valentine’s Day has become a holiday filled with lots of candy and treats. Try to take the focus away from all of the candy this year by making some delicious and healthy treats with your children instead! Red fruits like strawberries, cherries, pomegranates and raspberries are natural ingredients for Valentine’s Day treats. Frozen fruits are a good substitute if you can’t find a fresh alternative and will work in many of the recipes below.

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Healthy Families: Parent Talk

By admin

Katy parents share tips on common topics we all face.

Need Advice? Have helpful tips to share? This section is where Katy parents help other parents with great advice and tips for common kid issues and childhood dilemmas.

Written by Kirsten Cornell

 How do you handle a toddler’s tantrum in a public place?

Prepare Ahead of Time
“I always try to address this before we go to a public place. For instance, if you throw a fit while we are in Target, we will leave without getting anything. Make sure you follow through. Park that basket and promptly leave. If it happens in a restaurant, I will go sit in the car with them for a time out and a nice long talk.” – Meredith Gilbert

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Hippity, Hoppity, Easter’s On Its Way!

By Katy Magazine

Enjoying Community Activities in Katy This Easter Season

March 24, 2010 – Katy, Texas – I love spring.  I love the comfortable weather and the flowers.  But I especially love Easter.

I have such fond memories of Easters past.  My family partook in so many of the Easter traditions: egg hunts, church on Sunday morning, confetti eggs, dying hard boiled eggs… the list goes on and on.  Now that I have two children of my own, I feel giddy about the opportunity to pass these traditions down to them.  And pass them down I will.

Avery enjoying the bounce house at last year's Easter Fest.

But my new favorite tradition started last year.  The Waters Church at 2710 N. Mason Road (Suite #145) hosts an annual Easter Fest in the parking lot of the church.  Our family went last year, and we were amazed at how much there was for our children to enjoy.

A lot of community outreach programs focus on Easter egg hunts this time of year, and we plan to be a part of many of those as well.  But The Waters Easter Fest is more like a carnival than the traditional Easter egg hunt event.  Last year, my oldest daughter got to have a pony ride, get her face painted, jump in bouncy houses, enjoy a petting zoo, and eat hot dogs for dinner at Easter Fest. 

I’m looking forward to Easter Fest this upcoming Wednesday, March 31st from 6:30-8:30 pm.  I’m sure many of the attractions from last year will be back, and this year I know my 3 year old daughter is really looking forward to the fire truck and a visit from Chuck E. Cheese.   

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Hopping Off the Wheel

By Katy Magazine

Spring Break ‘Staycation’ Means  Bonding Time for Katy Families

Over the years, my boys have been the proud and loving owners of two gerbils and a hamster (thankfully at different times). While the hamster was relatively placid and generally roamed around his cage placidly, we delighted in watching the antics of the gerbils for hours. It seemed that they were never still. If they weren’t climbing up on the various apparatus we purchased for them, they could be found running on the little wheel that went around and around but never went anywhere. We would laugh at them and think them silly for being perpetually “on the wheel.”

Since we have been on Spring Break, I feel as though I, too, have been “on the wheel” and have thankfully hopped off of it. It might be for just a brief week, but this week has proven to be a spirit renewer in ways I never envisioned. We have had a glorious “staycation.” Although we have not travelled anywhere exotic, the time off has proven to be priceless. My boys have enjoyed the quiet days spent playing outside in the temperate weather, going to various parks, fishing with friends, roller skating and riding their bikes, catching a movie, staying up later at night and sleeping in during the day, and taking a trip to the local library. We even all crammed into our car around bedtime and went for ice cream-the boys clad in their pajamas. Personally, I have read more books and have spent leisurely time mulling over writing and thinking than I ever have during the school week. We would never have been able to enjoy all of our relaxing, family bonding time during the hustle and bustle of the school week. Between the rigorous schedule of school and all the after school activities my boys participate in, finding time to “just chill” can be difficult. But hopping off the wheel has been crucial for us as a family.

What have been your experiences with Spring Break? Are you a working parent? If so, do you find it challenging to take time off to be with your child(ren)? What activities or places have you enjoyed together during this time off?

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How to get Your Katy Kids to Help With Chores

By admin

Five Whine-Busting Secrets Revealed!

For most of us moms, chores are something we dread.  I haven’t met a Katy mom yet who looks forward to folding laundry, washing dishes, or cleaning the bathrooms.  If you’re that mom, you can stop reading this article, you don’t need to waste your time!  This piece is for those moms who do their best to clean up the messes, take care of the daily routine tasks, but often find themselves alone in the process.  If this is you, read on, there is hope for help!

Here are five easy ways to get your kids to help with the cleanup of everyday living – after all, who made the messes, dirtied the clothes, and left the peanut butter jar out anyway?

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Katy Birthday Parties

By Katy Magazine

At Home or out in the Katy community? Where’s the best place to have a birthday party?

March 19, 2010 –Katy, TX –I’m a big fan of having my kids’ birthday parties somewhere other than our home. After a particularly messy 8th birthday party at home complete with chocolate cake smashed into the carpet, I made a decision that birthday parties are best away from home.   The clean up is so much easier and the packages they offer are so convenient for moms and dads. Some of the most fun and memorable parties my kids have had were…

Times Square Entertainment – There are so many things kids can do and the party hosts are awesome. They follow you around and take care of every detail. This is best for kids age 8 through teens. Bowling, games, laser tag and pizza is fun for boys and girls.

Mason Road Skating – There is nothing like their money machine! What kid doesn’t want to stand in a money machine and catch flying dollar bills. A lifetime memory!

Laser Quest – Tweens and teens really like this place. It’s dark and kind of mysterious and they have a few party rooms to choose from. It’s on Westheimer, but not too far down, just past West Oaks Mall.

Pump it Up – I’ve had younger kids parties there and one for my 10 year old Both were a big hit. Jumping around on large inflatables is a blast for all ages, even for the adults!

Do you know a great Katy party place? Post your comment here!

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Katy ISD 2015-16 Federal Report Card Available For Families

By Ashley Lancaster

Katy, TX News (March 1, 2017) – Katy ISD is sharing information about the State, district and your child’s campus as part of our obligations under the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). An information letter, along with a copy of the 2015-16 Federal Report Cards for the State, district and individual campuses are available for review online at tea.texas.gov.

An optional notification letter in English and Spanish is available if you choose to use this method of communicating. This is not a requirement. It is not necessary to send the Federal Report Card home with students.

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Katy ISD Art Students Recognized by NASA

By Ashley Lancaster

Katy, TX (January 10, 2017) A Katy ISD student’s dream of sending something into outer space has become an “out-of-this-world” reality when her artwork is selected by NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to become a part of a space calendar.

sylvie-mei-lim

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Katy ISD Posts Summer Reading List for 2010

By admin

Check out what your Katy kid should be reading this summer!

Katy Library

It’s out! Hot off the presses, the summer reading list for 2010 is officially posted on the Katy ISD website. Students can get a  jump start on their summer reading by checking out the reading lists for the grade level they will enter in the fall.

So why should they read during the summer? Summer is supposed to be for relaxing, taking vacations, and having fun,. That’s true, but part of the adventures of summer can include the adventures found in good book. We’re not talking about making them read because they “have to” learn something for school. The books on these lists are chosen to foster enjoyment of (more…)

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Katy ISD’s Partners in Education Kicks Off 15th Annual Food for Families Campaign

By admin

Katy, TX – October 27, 2016 The Katy ISD Partners in Education department is once again inviting the community to support families in need this holiday season.  Food for Families is an annual campaign that provides $50 grocery gift cards to Katy ISD students and their families. Principals from every Katy ISD campus identify students in need of assistance, and the gift cards are given to those students before winter break.  Last year, our Katy ISD community raised $25,000 to support students and their families during the holidays.  Since its inception in 2002, this initiative has blessed over 3,000 Katy ISD families thanks to the generous support of our community.

Those interested in participating may contribute cash or check by Thursday, Dec. 8.  Donations of any amount are welcome and will be accepted by Partners in Education in person or by mail:  Katy ISD ESC, 6301 South Stadium Lane, room 1520, Katy 77494.  Please make checks payable to “Katy ISD Food for Families.”

Food for Families, a Katy ISD Partners in Education yearly initiative, unites our Katy ISD staff and community in holiday support for select students and their families.  To learn more, visit Partners in Education under the “Community” tab at www.katyisd.org or contact Tammy Stringer, 281-396-2645, tammyrstringer@katyisd.org.

2016foodforfamiliesbanner

 

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Katy Magazine’s Annual Summer Camp Extravaganza 2017

By Ashley Lancaster

Katy, TX Blog (May 10, 2017) – We’ve got something for every kind of Katy kid!

Written by Kennan Buckner and Katy Magazine’s Editors

Take a look at these area summer camp offerings to find the perfect camp connection for your Katy kid. Regardless of what your child is interested in, there’s a camp available for making summer memories last a lifetime.

 

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Katy Mom of 11, Elena Carlberg, Shares Advice on Family Management

By Ashley Lancaster

Katy, TX Blogs (April 19, 2017) – Elena Carlberg and her husband David have been best friends since they met over 20 years ago when she was just 18. Today, she’s mom to their 11 biological children and counting her blessings one by one. Katy Magazine caught up with Elena to compile some of her best advice for other Katy supermoms.

Written by Kennan Buckner

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Katy Texas Birthday Party Fun!

By admin

Everyone knows Katy is a great place for kids, and that is especially true when it comes to planning a fabulous birthday party for your Katy cutie. Make party planning a family affair by involving the birthday boy or girl in the process, allowing them to pick a theme, a party game, or a special snack to serve. We’ve compiled a list of a few great venues in the Katy area to help you find the perfect party place for your child.

AMF West Houston Bowl
19936 Saums Rd.
281-578-9292 amf.com

Chuck E. Cheese
2002 Gulfmont Dr.
281-644-4950 chuckecheese.com

Dewberry Farm
FM 362 and Morrison Rd. Brookshire
866-908-3276 dewberryfarm.com

Houston Fun Plex
13700 Beechnut St. Houston
281-530-7777 houstonfunplex.com

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Katy, Texas Freebies & Discounts

By Ashley Lancaster

Katy, TX (March 9, 2017) – Everybody loves a freebie now and then. We’ve tracked down all the places in Katy to get a free product, service, or meal. Take a look!

BIRTHDAY

Applebee’s – Get one free birthday entree.

Arby’s – Diners get a free small shake with any purchase on their birthday.

Auntie Anne’s – One free birthday pretzel.

A&W Restaurants – Get a free root bear float on your big day.

Baskin Robbins – Get one 2.5 oz ice cream scoop on the house for your birthday.

BJ’s Restaurants – Birthday boys and girls get a free pizookie dessert.

Buffalo Wild Wings – Free snack-size wings.

Camp Bow Wow Katy  – All birthday dogs will get a free bath, a “Happy Birthday” bandanna, and a photo on their Facebook page. No credits – baths must be given on your dog’s birthday. (Dogs must pass all camp requirements.) Visit campbowwow.com.

Chuck E. Cheese – Birthdays get 100 free tickets.

CiCi’s Pizza – One free buffet with the purchase of an adult buffet and a regular drink.

Corner Bakery – A free cookie or bakery sweet.

Denny’s – Their Grand Slam Breakfast is free on your birthday.

Fuddrucker’s – $5 off your check, and kids receive free burgers on their birthday.

Great American Cookies – Get a slice of cookie cake at no charge with the purchase of a regular drink.

Grimaldi’s – Get a large, one-topping pizza for free on your birthday.

IHOP – Birthday diners get a free stack of Rooty Tooty Fresh N Fruity pancakes.

James Coney Island – Enjoy a cheese coney on the house on your birthday.

Jason’s Deli – Receive a $5 discount on your check.

La Madeleine – Get a free pastry on your special day.

Landry’s Seafood House – Choose from a complimentary appetizer or dessert with the purchase of an entree.

Marble Slab Creamery – Receive a free small cup or cone.

Marco’s Pizza – Anyone celebrating a birthday can get a free medium, one-topping pizza.

Nothing Bundt Cakes – Free Bundtlet cake on your birthday.

Olive Garden  – Get a free app or dessert with the purchase of two adult entrees.

Panera Bread – Get any bakery item at no charge on your birthday.

Rainforest Cafe  – Birthdays get a free appetizer with purchase of an entree.

RedBox Movie Rental – Complimentary Blu-Ray or DVD rental.

Red Lobster – Go in on your birthday and receive $5 your check with the purchase of two entrees.

Rita’s Italian Ice – Get a free regular Italian ice on your big day.

Schlotzky’s  – Redeem one free sandwich on your birthday.

Smashburger – Enjoy a hand-spun shake on the house with the purchase of an entree.

Smoothie King – Birthdays can purchase a 20 oz. smoothie for only $2.99.

Starbucks – Free hot or cold drink, bottled beverage, or food item on your birthday.

Taco Cabana – Birthdays get a free flauta plate that includes three chicken flautas, rice, beans, pico de gallo, sour crea,guacamole, and two tortillas.

Texas Roadhouse – Chow down on a free appetizer or sidekick of ribs with the purchase of an entree on your birthday.

Which Wich – Redeem a free small sandwich on your birthday.

Wing Stop – Enjoy a free order of large fries on the house.

Zaxby’s – Birthdays will receive a free Nibbler sandwich.

Zoe’s Kitchen – Enjoy a free entree on your special day.

NOTE: Please visit individual websites for more details – as most offers are valid only through e-mail subscriptions or app downloads. 

TEACHERS/SCHOOLS

Barnes & Noble – Teachers get a 20% discount on qualifying purchases when they are a part of the B&N Educator Program.

Leafology Tea Lounge Katy – Katy ISD teachers and faculty will receive 25% off a menu item when they present a valid ID. Visit leafologytealounge.com.

McDonald’s – Katy ISD teachers and faculty will receive a free small McCafe coffee when they present their school ID during the 2016-2017 school year. (Participating locations – see our blogs page for details.)

Katy Budget Books  – Teachers will receive 20% off in-store pick-up or school delivery when they order new books for their classrooms. They also have a Used Book Credit Account that has been donated to public school teachers for the purchase of used books for the classroom. Visit katybooks.com.

Michael’s – Teachers can get 15% their entire in-store purchase.

Peter Chang Restaurant – Katy ISD teachers and faculty can receive 10-50% off in January and August. Visit peterchangtx.com.

Texas Roadhouse – Teachers can get 10% off their meal every Tuesday with a valid school ID.

Verum Vi CrossFit Katy – Full-time teachers and students receive 10% off of their membership.


MILITARY/FIRST RESPONDERS

24 Hour Fitness – Active, reserve, and retired military and dependents receive 10% off their membership, and free workouts on Memorial Day weekend.

A&W – Active military can present valid military ID for a special discount at their Katy store. Details vary by location.

Aeropostale – Active, retired, and reserve military and their dependents get 20% off their purchase at any store nationwide.

Anne Taylor Loft – The Katy Mills Mall location offers 15% off full-priced items for active, reserved, and retired military and their dependents.

AT&T – Active, reserve, and retired military as well as veterans will receive a 15% government discount with a valid military or VA ID. Veterans must show a copy of your DD214 at all Katy locations.

AutoZone – Offers free shipping for online orders for any FPO or APO address for active, retired, and reserve military. Check with individual Katy stores for additional military discount programs.

Banana Republic – Their Katy Mills location offers 10% off in-store purchases on the first Monday of every month for active, retiree, reserved, veterans, and dependents.

Bass Pro Shop – From the 15th to the 22nd of every month, active, retired, reserve, veterans, and dependents can receive a store-specific discount when they present active military ID or DD214. Discount does not include reels, electronics, firearms, ammunition and reloading equipment, scopes, bows, arrows, taxidermy, gift cards, Tracker boats, Mercury motors, or ATV’s.

Camp Bow Wow – All military personnel receive 10% off all boarding and day camps, and 5% off of retail services. Just show proof of employment for the discount to be applied. (Dogs must pass all camp requirements.) Visit campbowwow.com.

Country Park Portraits– Active military personnel can receive a complimentary portrait session and 8 x 10 photo when they present a military ID.

Eddie Bauer – Active, retired, and reserve military and their families can receive 10 – 15% off in-store purchases. Must ask about veteran discounts at your location.

El Pollo Loco – Military service members receive 15% off of their order.

Goodwill – Offers 30% discounts to first-responders and their families every Friday.

Lowe’s Home Improvement – They offer a 10% military discount to active military, retired veterans, and immediate family. Must present a valid DD214 or other proof of service. Personal purchases only.

Michael’s – Military and immediate family can receive 15% off their entire in-store purchase when they present a valid military ID.

Peter Chang Restaurant – Police officers can get discounts in  April and October, family members of military in the month of May, and firefighters (regular, volunteer, and family) in the month of September. Discounts range from 10 – 50 percent and valid occupation ID is required. Visit peterchangtx.com.

Texas Roadhouse – Military members get 30% off their meal every day.

Verum Vi CrossFit Katy – Police, firefighters, EMT, and active military receive 15% off of their membership. Veterans receive 10% off of their membership.

WellPet Center Veterinary Hospital – Pets of active or veteran military and public service members get 15% off of their service.


SENIOR CITIZEN DISCOUNTS
Applebee’s – Diners aged 60 and up can get 10 to 15% off their meal at certain locations.

Burger King – Ages 60+ receive 10% off their order plus additional discounts on coffee and soft drinks.

Carrabba’s Italian Grill – AARP members get 15% off their entire meal.

Denny’s – Most locations offer 15% AARP members who are 55 and older.

Dunkin’ Donuts – AARP members get a free donut with the purchase of a large or extra large coffee.

El Pollo Loco – Seniors 60 and over receive 10% off their order.

Fuddrucker’s – Get 10% any senior platter if you are over 55 years old.

IHOP – They offer special pricing on breakfast items for diners over 55.

Office Depot/Office Max – AMAC members get 10% off office products.

Stein Mart – Shoppers over the age of 55 get 20% every Monday.


Please call to verify these deals and offers, as some vary by location or require an app download or coupon to redeem. 
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Katy, TX News – Former Katy Tiger Wins 2014 Grey Cup

By admin

Katy, TX News (December 16, 2014) – Bo Levi Mitchell, a 2008 graduate of Katy High School, recently led the Calgary Stampeders to a 20-16 win against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and took home the Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award during the 2014 Grey Cup Canadian Championship Football Game.

Bo Levi Mitchell

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Kid Crud

By Ashley Lancaster

Katy, Texas – The top five ailments to watch for in Katy this year

Written by Lana Timbs

Being sick is no fun for families, and is often inevitable. Katy doctors and pediatricians see certain illnesses often. Learn more about some of these common diagnoses and how to protect your family.

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Little Boy’s First Football Game

By admin

Enjoying Katy ISD Sports at a Young Age

It’s an understatement to say that football is big here in Texas. Football has never been that important to me. Even in high school and college, I didn’t mind skipping a game to do something else. I didn’t grow up in Texas, and maybe that has something to do with it! Our sons are Texans, and our oldest is beginning to watch sports with my husband. Of course, the questions range from, “Dad, what ball is that?” to “Are they supposed to be hitting each other?”

So much to learn! (more…)

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Living Between Adoration and Frustration

By Katy Magazine

Life in Katy with a toddler and a pre-schooler

I am constantly amazed by my girls.  Yesterday, I went in to wake up my four-year old from her nap and just sat and stared at her.  On a daily basis, I appreciate the obvious things about her: her sense of humor, her creative mind, the way she spins in circles when she feels beautiful.  But yesterday, sitting on her bed watching her breathe in and out, I was struck by the little things.  How her hands have grown.  How this amazing creation coexists with me every day of my life.  How I can know the exact outline of her face and still be surprised when I really look closely at how perfectly she was formed.

I sat there, watching my daughter sleep, thinking about how not 2 hours earlier I was praying for more patience to deal with the latest act of defiance.  With both of my daughters, four-year-old Avery and 18-month Kate, I feel like I spend my time living between adoration and frustration.  The same little creature that throws temper tantrums is the one I was (more…)

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Making Katy PONY History: Six-Year-Old All-Star Team to Compete in World Series

By Ashley Lancaster

Katy, TX (July 13, 2017) – The Katy Disciples 6U All-Stars team is going to the PONY World Series in Youngsville, Louisiana on July 13-15.  “What makes this so special is that it is the first six–year-old team to make it from the Houston area,” says Shaye Mathew, one of the team parents.

Submitted by Neil & Shaye Mathew | Edited by Katy Magazine

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Meal Swap

By Katy Magazine

One Katyite mom has found a way to relieve dinner stress

I believe in the power of family meals every night.   I do not particularly care for processed foods, nor do I always have the time to make something fresh and fabulous each night.

So, if I am generally opposed to easy-to-prepare processed foods but I don’t have time to cook healthful meals, what do I do? 

I meal swap.

Meal swapping is an idea that a few friends and I came up with to better answer the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?”  Each month, I prepare 2 home cooked meals to share.  I triple the recipe and feed one portion to my family that night.  The other two portions I package up in freezer safe containers, label the top of the container with the name of the meal and the last minute preparation instructions, and put it in my freezer.  (more…)

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Mommy Rock Star – Helping at School

By admin

There are many volunteers opportunities in Katy

Several days ago, I went to my child’s elementary school for a class party.  Upon entering the classroom, I felt like a rock star!  When the children saw me, they all began saying, “Hi, Mrs. Lewis!  I remember you!  How are you?”  You see, I had been their Junior Achievement teacher, so I had taught five short Junior Achievement lessons in their classroom.  I had loved every minute!  As I walked into the classroom, I felt honored that they knew me and felt even happier as I watched my son swell with pride.  I have really enjoyed helping in the Katy School District.

I am amazed at the parent support in the Katy schools.  I have never seen more parents who are willing to donate time and energy to making the schools better.    Some parents spend hours and hours volunteering at the schools as room mothers, PTA board members, lunchroom helpers, library volunteers, workday helpers, party planners, and organizers of special programs such as PATHS, Ranger Science, and Junior Achievement.   No wonder the schools are so good in Katy!  The parent support is unmatched!  I have just started to become acquainted with all the volunteer opportunities, but, boy is it fun!     (more…)

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Mother Code

By admin

Katy Mothers Helping Mothers

April 14, 2010 – Katy, Texas – This week, while waiting in the airport to board my plane, I noticed a mother approach the ticket counter with a young toddler and an infant in her arms.  She struggled to carry her belongings, and her two children through the throngs of people gathered to board.  Floods of memories came to my mind as I remembered myself in the very same situation.  I remembered the looks and smiles of those around me.  I remembered I yearned for an additional arm.  As I watched the mother carefully move to the boarding ramp, I remembered the numerous kind women who offered assistance when I needed it most.

On this trip, I was traveling by myself, but, I could recall many other trips with my babies and toddlers that had been quite stressful. On one particular occasion, a sweet middle-aged woman shared a row with me.  As I juggled cheerios, bottles, and Sippy cups, she was an angel.  She helped me the entire flight and turned a very difficult time into a manageable, happy time. (more…)

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National Donut Day Freebies & Discounts in Katy, Texas

By Ashley Lancaster

Katy, TX Blog (June 1, 2017) – Today is National Donut Day. Go nuts with donuts at these local shops and restaurants:

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No Place for Hate

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Katy ISD campuses discuss the importance of this anti-bullying campaign

Written by Kirsten Cornell | Photography by Anetrius Wallace

Katy, TX News – The No Place for Hate initiative, which launched in schools in 2001 by the Anti-Defamation League, provides educators and students with the resources to ensure that anti-bias and diversity education are an integral part of the school curriculum. “Our campus made the decision to pursue the No Place for Hate campus designation because we felt it was important for all students to feel accepted, valued, and respected for their individual differences,” says Doreen Martinez, assistant principal at Morton Ranch Junior High. “We also wanted to provide an opportunity to bring attention to bullying and help educate students on the negative effects of teasing, ostracism, intimidation, and rumor spreading.”

Morton Ranch Junior High No Place for Hate representatives Betsy Irwin, Doreen Martinez, Amanda Lara, Vanessa Whitehead, Mark McCord, Cindy Lamm, and Jordan Bates

Earning the Designation
The Anti-Defamation League asks that designated campuses hold meetings to discuss the initiative with the students and discuss active ways in which they can participate. “Students sign a resolution of respect and in doing so, they commit to ensuring that our school is a No Place for Hate campus,” explains Cimarron Elementary counselor Elizabeth Kratz. “Children spend most of their time with us, and we are the guiding factor in their lives. We want to make sure they understand differences not only in themselves, but in others as well.”

Stephens Elementary planned a “mix it up” at lunch where students were encouraged to invite students they didn’t know to sit and eat with them. “The goal was to make sure every student was included and felt welcome,” says Stephanie Vaughan, the school’s principal. Their culminating activity to-date has been a school-wide diversity concert, including a repertoire of songs representing different cultures. (more…)

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Odessa Kilpatrick Elementary’s “Outbackers of the Month”

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Katy, TX – October 24, 2016  

“Outbacker of the Month” is Odessa Kilpatrick Elementary ‘s most prestigious award. Kilpatrick Outbackers exhibit “Koalaty” character: they always lend a helping hand, have a smile on their face, serve as role models, and go above and beyond to make OKE an exemplary school. Each month, one student from each grade level, a staff member, and a volunteer are selected “Outbacker of the Month.”  Our September  Outbackers are teacher Rhonda Miller, students Edward Barbee, Grayson Sanchez, Declan Hoeferlin, Racheet Bedi, Caroline MacLellan , Tyler Cline and volunteer Felicia Schubert.

okeoutbackerphoto

 

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Outing to Katy Mills Mall

By Katy Magazine

Inexpensive fun at this Katy family’s favorite hang-out

Today I took my girls to Katy Mills Mall.  Sometimes we head there to shop, and I love those trips.  But today, we just went to be together.

Before we left, we gathered all of our change from around the house and stuck it in one of my daughter’s dress-up purses.  I was curious if it would be enough to keep us busy for the next hour, and I was pleasantly surprised.

We arrived, with no agenda except to walk the mall and spend our coins.  First, we stopped at one of those coin collectors with the funnel.  My girls had so much fun watching the coins pin around and around.  I was careful to pick out the pennies for this activity.  Total cost for this stop: approximately (more…)

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Parent Support of the 2014 Katy ISD Bond

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Katy ISD parents Vince and Pam Zinnante speak out on the Katy 2014 Bond Election

Written by Pam Zinnante

Katy, TX News –  We have lived in Katy for 35 years, and have seen multiple bond issues approved to relieve overcrowding in schools. My husband and I were pleased to vote in favor of the bond that provided relief to the south side of Katy when there was an outcry that Cinco Ranch High School had hit over 3,400 students and would grow to almost 3,800 students by the time Seven Lakes High School was due to open. Within a few years, fast growth indicated the need for yet another high school serving Katy ISD south of I-10, and a community that should not take sides rightly voted in favor of another school and additional improvements and spaces to benefit all students district-wide. (more…)

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Parker’s Journey

By Ashley Lancaster

Katy, TX (February 27, 2017) – Parker Brown, a 5-year-old Katy boy with hydrocephalus who loves cars and blowing bubbles, shows others that living with a disease can’t stop him from enjoying life.

Written by Lana Timbs | Select photography by Christi Harwell
KM_Feb March_17_Parker Brown Story_photos by Christie Hartwell (4) copy

 

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Pay it Forward with Donations to Katy ISD Police “Teddy Cops” Program

By Ashley Lancaster

Katy, Texas (March 22, 2017) – Officer Luis Santiago with the Katy ISD Police Department delivered 20 “Teddy Cop” Bears to some of our students today! Their goal is to give every PPCD, ECAP, YCAP, Lifeskills & TIP child in our school district a Police Officer Teddy Bear … specialized with a uniform and Katy ISD Police Officer badge!

In the first 5 months since the program was started, they raised over $11,000 to purchase 497 bears for students at 23 KISD elementary schools. They still need to purchase about 600 more bears for 14 more of the KISD elementary schools.

We are asking for your help to PAY IT FORWARD! Please consider making a donation for this wonderful program! You may send donations to the NCE front office. We will accept cash or checks (payable to Katy ISD), or you may purchase a gift card from the Build-a-Bear Workshop at Katy Mills Mall where the bears are made.

Here are a few pictures from this morning! More pictures can be seen by visiting the Nottingham Country Elementary School Official Facebook page.

Thank you in advance for your help, and thank you Katy ISD Police Department for the bears!!

Courtesy of Katy ISD

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Praying for Preslee

By admin

Katy mom Lara Massey shares her story of living through her worst nightmare, the tragic accident involving her 6-year-old daughter, and how Preslee Nicholson’s journey of recovery has brought hope to many

Written by Lara Massey | Select photography by Sassy Massey Photography

Katy, TX News – Arriving four weeks early, Preslee was born a fighter. After spending her first seven days in NICU, she came home weighing a little less than five pounds. The first few months of her life were just a glimpse of her strength and will to live. When Preslee was 2, her dad and I divorced. He was awarded visitation at various times, mostly during summer vacation for six weeks. In time, I remarried, and in a few short years our family welcomed Kaylee and Jax. Our lives were complete.

Lara Massey has been overwhelmed by the support she and her family have received from her hometown of Katy, and people around the country who have followed their journey
Photo by Melissa Brewer

Summer Days
Friday, July 5, 2013 was normal. Our family spent the day swimming at my parent’s house counting the days until Preslee returned home in two weeks. I knew Preslee would be traveling that day, and I was nervous. She was making a cross-country journey from Texas to Virginia with her dad’s girlfriend to visit family. I talked to her that night and told her I loved her, to be good, and that I would call her in the morning. By then, she would be in Virginia. I went to sleep that night uneasy, I always worry. I kept thinking that if I could just sleep, I’d wake up in the morning and Preslee would be off the road, safe and sound.

The Call
At 6 a.m. my cell phone rang. I heard a voice on the other end asking, “Are you the mother of Preslee Nicholson?” My heart stopped, and I said, “Yes.” The doctor told me that my daughter had been in a terrible accident. The words, “her heart is still beating, but she is non-responsive. She is not breathing on her own and has critical injuries,” kept repeating over and over. (more…)

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Pre-K, Here We Come!

By admin

With our oldest boy beginning pre-kindergarten this fall, my husband and I have a lot of jitters. I think that these feelings are totally normal, although they're certainly not fun to have.

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Preschool At Home

By admin

Early Education for Katy kids on a Budget

With the current state of the economy, we’ve been looking for ways to pull in extra money and cut our budget.  I’ve been working as a photographer on the weekends to help make ends meet, but it has been at the cost of time together as a family.  And the house?  Oh, boy… please don’t come over without giving me at least 6 hours notice!

Photo by Lerin Wheeless

Katy ISD offers half-day preschool for certain children.  Their eligibility can be based on having English as a second language, an active military parent, or federal income guidelines.  We were a little disappointed to find out that we make just $30 per paycheck too much to qualify!

My first thought was to take on more photography work to pay for preschool.  We figured out how many sessions I would need to book each weekend to cover the cost.  I was one of the crazy moms standing in line way too early in the morning on registration day with a baby and two toddlers in tow, just to make sure we secured our spot!  I paid the registration fees and filled out the paperwork for Bella (4) and Ben (3) to start in the Fall. 

However, as the weeks have gone by, we are reevaluating our decision.  After all, $700/month for preschool would mean quite a few photo sessions!  If I have them in school during the week and am working every evening and weekend… when will I get to be their mother?

One tearful family meeting later, we’ve made a decision… next year, we’re doing preschool at home!  I feel a tremendous burden off of my shoulders.  To prepare our children for the wonderful Katy ISD school system, we’re planning a daily schedule of learning activities.  One of my majors at NSU was Early Childhood Education, and with two siblings so close in age, this could be lots of fun.

(more…)

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Primrose Schools Promote Physical Activity Through Thumbs Up! Program

By Ashley Lancaster

Katy, TX (January 10, 2017) It’s no secret that young children are full of natural energy, and it’s often more difficult getting them to sit still than be active. But did you know that the amount of time children spend daily being physically active is decreasing? Despite children’s active nature, it’s still important for parents to encourage and support their physical development starting from birth. Research shows that children who develop basic motor skills through physical activity are more likely to become healthy, active adults, and there is increasing evidence that daily physical activity helps children perform better academically and avoid anxiety and depression in their teenage years.

(more…)

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Raising Yin and Yang

By Katy Magazine

The intricacies of raising two Katy kids that are as different as night and day

My first daughter, Avery, is what most would call strong-willed.  She is emotional and excitable, which make her fun to be around… most of the time.  Anyone who has been in our lives at all will vouch for the fact that when Avery is in her element, feeling wholly loved and supported, she is a gem.  However, when something goes wrong or when she is asked to obey and she doesn’t want to… well, everyone knows about it.  (more…)

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Reading Lasts a Lifetime

By Katy Magazine

Making Reading and important part of your Katy Cutie’s Life

March 25, 2010 – Katy, Texas – One of my favorite quotes is, “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents” (Emilie Buchwald). As a reading teacher, I know all too well the absolute importance that habitual reading (a minimum of twenty minutes spent reading each day outside of school) plays in the development of a child’s emotional and academic growth. Studies show that children who are exposed regularly to the joys of literature from a young age consistently rank in the top percentile when they are at the secondary level. Not only are vocabulary development and comprehension skills stronger than those of their peers, but knowledge gained through voracious reading then applies to all areas of the curriculum.

But what can a parent do when reading is a chore for a youngster? Read aloud, say the experts. Careful selection of high interest books can be a wonderful way to “reel” a reader into the joy of books. Young  children typically enjoy repetitive books or books that contain rhymes. For an older child, selecting books that have sequels can sometimes entice a reader to want to continue a saga. (more…)

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Reading with Children

By admin

One Katy mother shares her tips on getting your child to appreciate reading

We all know how important reading is for children. Children who are readers score higher on standardized tests, show a love for literacy, and are usually clearer writers and spellers. There are even studies that show that reading to a child still in the womb is a calming and beneficial practice. Parents of toddlers and pre-readers know the joy children exhibit as they wander through a bookstore or library and choose a book of their very own. My son loves to climb into any family member’s lap and simply say, “Read to me.” Books are one of his favorite hobbies, and I think it’s mainly because both his parents enjoy reading and reading to him.
 
So, how do you get your child to enjoy reading? Here are some simple ways parents can involve their families in literacy. (more…)
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Reflections of a Katy Mother

By admin

How one Katy mom discovers the simple joys

March 22, 2010 –Katy, TX — Rays of sunlight gracefully shimmered through the kitchen window as our family sat eating our breakfast.  It was Spring Break and we were all excited for the week that lay ahead. How were we going to spend our time?  What did we want to do first?  I listened as each child shared ideas for the coming days.

As we cleared the breakfast dishes, we decided to first start with a family bike ride through the beautiful nature preserve adjacent to our subdivision.  Since the winter had been unusually cold, it had been some time since we had ventured on a bike excursion.  Racing to the garage, we commenced untangling handle bars and bike pedals in order to give each bike a quick tune-up.  As we had suspected, several bikes needed air in the tires and all of the bikes needed a good washing.

My two youngest boys offered their brawn as they gleefully “fixed” the bikes with the tire pump.  I located some old rags and a bucket and we washed the winter dust from the metal frames.  The children chattered happily as they proudly prepped their bikes for our family bike ride. 

(more…)

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Rodeo Fun in Houston

By Katy Magazine

Photo courtesy of RodeoHouston

Schedule of Events for Tuesday

It’s going to be another fun-filled day at RodeoHouston. Here’s what’s coming up for tomorrow. Don’t miss Keith Urban in concert immediately following the BP Super Sereis V – Championship Round.

Here is a schedule of events for March 16

  • 8 a.m. Quarter Horse Show: Roping Events at Reliant Arena
  • Lowline Angus Cattle Show at Reliant Center – Main Arena (east side)
  • Miniature Hereford Cattle Show at Reliant Center – Main Arena (west side)
  • 10 a.m. Ag Magic Show at Kids Country Stage
  • 11 a.m. Kids Country Carnival (closes at midnight) at Kids Country Shelley Anderson at Kids Country Stage
  • 11:30 a.m. Bravado Cattle Show at Reliant Center – Main Arena (east side) (more…)
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Snacking Healthy

By admin

Must-Haves for the Pantry

Reaching for a snack is a constant for my kids, especially after school and after dinner.  Today’s kids are snacking more and getting much less exercise than kids five, ten, even 20 or more years ago.  Traditionally, families ate during mealtimes only, and they were more physically active in their overall lives.  In today’s America, however, far too many sugar-filled and salt-laden processed foods line our grocery aisles, and then find their way into our pantries at home – and we’re not spending the added “food energy” in our bodies as fast as we’re adding it.

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Speaking Up For Autism

By admin

Nine-year-old Kaylee Fowler becomes an ambassador for her spectrum mates by raising over $65,000 for Autism Speaks

Written by Clare Jensen | Photography by Lara Massey

Katy, TX News – Kaylee Fowler calls herself a bookworm, ballerina, scientist, inventor, chef, comedian, and child of the Lord. For the second year in a row, she was the top fundraiser for the Autism Speaks walk in Houston raising over $65,000 in 2013. Her team, God’s Little Lambs, seeks to help local families in need by raising autism awareness. Kaylee’s fundraising efforts were inspired by a desire to increase understanding for her “spectrum mates” – because she has autism as well.

Kaylee Fowler brings awareness to those diagnosed with Asperger’s by raising funds for Austism Speaks

Autism Spectrum
Autism is often characterized by repetitive behavior, difficulty with communication, and challenges in social interactions. Within the spectrum of autism, Kaylee has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a highly functioning form of autism.

One of her special qualities is that she focuses on specific interests so intensely that she learns expert level details before continuing to another topic. For example, at the age of 3, she became consumed with maps, and methodically proceeded to learn everything she could about geography, from continents to capitals. Once she learns something, it is imprinted in her memory for an extended period of time, often verbatim from her original understanding. Kaylee’s extensive vocabulary has allowed her to read full-length novels since the age of 4 or 5.

(more…)

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Sport Activities In Katy

By Katy Magazine

Katy Mom enjoys seeing her children having fun

I love the different kinds of sports that Katy offers for our children. There are so many choices that our children can pick from that they even want to do all of them. My son has selected t-ball and this is his first year in the sport. He has become a real pro at it. He anxiously awaits for his practices that he even tells me not to forget. I find this very amusing because he stares at his schedule and even the calendar just to make sure we don’t miss it. When we went to select his items for t-ball he was very excited that he wanted every item in the store.
Our first day of practice was real fun. He learned how to put on a baseball glove, hold the bat, hit the ball, pitch the ball, and even throw the ball to his teammates. I was on the bench being the cheerleader of the team. I even wanted to go out there and run with them. My camera will be full of pictures of his many special moments with his team to last for a lifetime. The practice went by so fast because of all the fun they were having that my son didn’t (more…)
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Spring Fun for Young Children

By admin

Exploring Katy’s budget and family friendly fun

Spring is traditionally a time for rebirth. Buds are slowly appearing on my crepe myrtle in the backyard, we’re beginning to hear baby birds in the chimney, and bugs are back.
 
Use these opportunities to share the season with your child. Here are three activities you can do with toddlers and young children. None should cost more than $5.00. You could always gather some friends with young children and share the cost. Everyone can then benefit and you have some adult time with your friends, too!
 
1.) Katy has several parks that lend themselves to exploring! Grab a paper lunch bag and head out! In the car, talk about what kind of nature items everyone might find. Then go out and see what everyone collects. Grass, leaves, rocks, twigs, sand, even a safe insect or two may find a way into the bag. Make a collage of the found items, sans bugs!
 
2.) During Hurricane Ike, we were blessed to have fair weather–at least in the beginning of the power outage. My husband, son, and I ate outdoors just to escape the stuffy house. Use our mild weather to help little ones learn and experience the art of the picnic. Go to your backyard, throw down a heavy quilt, and enjoy a simple meal. Invite a few pals over, and this will be a lot of fun.
 
3.) Everytime my son comes home from school with a little project, I marvel at how creative his teacher is. I wonder if I could do something similar. Then I walk through a educational store like MindBuilders (870 S. Mason Rd., Suite 126, 77450) or Learning Express (5556 South Peek Road, 77450) and the ideas start flowing. What can you come up with from seeing their displays?
         
How about these simple ideas to get you started? Buy a packet of animal stickers. Use your child’s crayons to draw a jungle scene. Have your child stick the animals onto the drawing. You can do the same with flower or vegetable stickers– you draw an empty garden, and your child decides where the stickers go on the paper.
 
How do you interest your young child in the season? I’d love to hear your insights.
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Sugar Overload

By Katy Magazine

One Katyite is rewriting holiday traditions to include less sugar and more nutrition 

When holidays roll around, the pull towards the kitchen gets stronger.  My desire to bake to make every occasion special is so deep rooted that I have had the hardest time breaking the trend.

I should stop and present this disclaimer: I’m not against sugar intake.  On the contrary, I love all things sugar.  But at some point, when the kitchen is overflowing with candy and my daughter brings home cupcakes from Nana’s house, the need to bake sugar cookies just because it’s a holiday deserves an honest assessment.

This Easter, I realized that we, as a family, are on sugar overload without me adding to the baking mix.  I knew this cognitively, but there was a powerful inner force that kept bringing me back to the kitchen, over and over again, reaching for the mixer.  “But baking a bunny cake is tradition,” I’d tell myself.  Or, “Sugar cookies at every holiday is so much fun!  I want my kids to have fun, don’t I?” (more…)

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Summer Camps for Girls in Katy, TX

By Ashley Lancaster

Katy, TX Blog (May 10, 2017) – Unique Summer Camps for girls ages 12 – 15 in Katy, Texas

Written by Katrina Katsarelis

Be Unique is a new program offering Teen Camps designed to empower girls to recognize their unique qualities, increase self-confidence, and develop a mature Christian perspective. All camps include the guidance in creating a sophisticated and well-rounded young lady who is confident within herself, secure in her environment, and has a positive direction for her life. Call for dates. Space is limited.

(more…)

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Summer Dessert Fun

By Katy Magazine

A Katy family makes a beach scene to compliment dinner

My four year old daughter and I decided to make May special and to count down the days until school is out.  I wanted to keep it healthy, low-cost, and low-stress, since the end of the year has enough stress of its own.

We decided to do a healthy(ish) dessert each week that somehow makes us think of summertime.  Last week, we made beach scenes.  We used graham cracker crumbs, low-fat vanilla pudding, and marshmallows to create the beach.

In each clear cup, we lined the bottom with graham crackers to look like sand.  We had to make sure to put enough of the graham cracker crumbs along the bottom, because once the pudding is poured in, they can get hidden from the side of the cup if there aren’t enough. 

Next, we stirred blue food coloring in to the vanilla pudding to create the water.  We used a box mix of French Vanilla pudding and stirred the blue food coloring into the milk before whisking it together.  Apparently French (more…)

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Summer Swim League

By Katy Magazine

Katy Mother Gets Ready for Summer Tradition

Guest post by: Usha L. Machiraju

This is my sixth trip back to the car, I have the list of things that need to be packed, and I am franticly checking them off as they go into the trunk.  Towels – check. Food two small coolers for the kids and a big one for us – check. Swim suits, caps and goggles – check. Folding chairs and a beach umbrella – check . Plenty of water and sunscreen – check.  No, we are not going to the beach. We are going to another swim meet! (more…)

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TAKS Exit Level Retest Scheduled for March 2017

By Ashley Lancaster

Katy, TX – January 4, 2017  Students who have not received a high school diploma because they did not meet the passing standard on sections of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) Exit Level will have the opportunity to retake the necessary subject area tests in March, 2017.  The TEAMS and TAAS tests are no longer being offered; however, individuals eligible to take TEAMS or TAAS will take the appropriate part of the TAKS Exit Level English language arts and/or mathematics tests.

(more…)

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Texas Children’s West Campus FAQ’s on Norovirus

By Ashley Lancaster

Katy, TX (March 10, 2017) – Has the “stomach bug” hit your household? It might be the highly contagious Norovirus. Read on for some information and tips from Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus.

What is norovirus?

Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that causes acute gastroenteritis. Following introduction of rotavirus vaccination, norovirus has become the most common cause of gastroenteritis in adults and children. Viral gastroenteritis is an infection that can cause diarrhea and vomiting. It happens when a person’s stomach and intestines get infected with a virus. Both adults and children can get viral gastroenteritis. The Center for Disease Control estimates norovirus to be responsible for 19-21 million illnesses, including 50,000 to 70,000 hospitalizations as well as 570 to 800 child deaths every year in the U.S. alone. Anyone can get infected with norovirus and become sick.

(more…)

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The ABC’s and 123’s of Choosing a Quality Preschool in Katy, Texas

By admin

A Katy parent’s guide to the basics of selecting the right preschool for your family

Written by Freda Ihediwa and Katy Magazine’s Editors

Selecting a preschool is not an easy task, especially with the overwhelming amount of quality preschools to choose from in the Katy area. Each one has its own unique qualities, and parents diligently seek a preschool that matches their family’s educational beliefs and values. Communication and research are key components when selecting a preschool that will accommodate your needs. Here are the basic ABC’s and 123’s of selecting the best fit for you and your child.

Primrose Preschool from drive

Primrose partners with parents to assist children with developing a love for learning

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The Aquarium

By Katy Magazine

One Katy family’s favorite place for the big celebrations in life

My daughter loves birthdays.  She loves her own (of course), her friends (the parties!), and especially birthdays of family members.  Our extended

Avery and Kate enjoy watching the fish swim around the tank

 family’s tradition is to go out to eat for any adult birthday, as a large family unit.  We used to try to head to places like Fogo de Chao or Perry’s Steakhouse, but as the children get older (and as there are more of them!), anywhere we go needs to be kid-friendly.

Enter our new family favorite: The Downtown Aquarium.  The food is still fancy enough to warrant a birthday celebration, and the children have so much to do that the event is at least as special for them as it is for the birthday celebrant. 

Before heading in to eat, we enjoy the shark tunnel train ride.  As we’re seated and making our dinner selections, the children can walk around the huge aquarium and pick out their favorites (this past time is was the green eels).  It’s not hard to keep the children entertained as we wait for our food with the cast amount of fish, sea horses, sharks, and eels to scope out.

The food is always amazing, and my youngest daughter especially loves the shrimp and chicken plate for children.  (more…)

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The Best Weekend Ever

By admin

My kids are so happy to be off for the holiday today – with the extra stress of cramming for the upcoming TAKS test at school, today came just in time. The weather is so perfect here in Katy today, warm and toasty, but with a cool breeze blowing through. So we started our three day weekend off right, out in the garden and front yard, adding colorful impatiens to our growing collection of spring beauties. Then we planted the rest of our herbs, adding dill, cilantro, and basil to our “edibles” garden. After some fun in the early morning sun, we started breakfast.

(more…)

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The Digitized Family

By admin

A look at the dangers of too much screen time and how Katy families can find the right balance for connecting and socializing with family

Written by Katy Magazine’s Editors

Katy, TX News – Go to any restaurant and you’ll see it: an entire family, silent, all looking down at their devices instead of talking with each other. Some “hip” new restaurants are even offering media-inspired entertainment at the table to keep everyone occupied throughout the meal. As we spend more and more time checking Facebook, Instagram, and playing Candy Crush Saga, we are spending less and less time connecting as a family.
Kids-on-devices

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The Family Dinner

By admin

One Katy Mom Shares the Benefits of Family Meals

March 25, 2010–Katy, TX — One of my most cherished memories from my childhood is family mealtime.  After a busy day of school, lessons, chores and homework, it was refreshing to pause for a brief moment to connect with each other.  I remember the savory aromas that called to each one of us to come.  Sitting around the dinner table, we laughed, talked and each shared highlights from the day.  To this day my parents, sisters and I remain very close.  I know that some of this closeness is due to our daily connection point…the family meal.  Now that I am married and have a family of my own, I have tried to carry on the tradition of family mealtime.

Scientific studies show there are numerous benefits to family mealtime.  One recent study showed that working parents who were able to eat dinner with their families expressed greater job satisfaction.  Other studies showed that children who have regular family meals eat more healthfully, and get better grades.  Family mealtime is a practice that truly benefits children and parents alike.  In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it is difficult to coordinate schedules and even to find a time when the entire family is home.   So how does a family create a habit of positive family mealtime?

First, make family mealtime a priority.  Set a goal for two or more family meals per week and work to increase the frequency.  Try to plan and schedule around family mealtime.  Though not always an easy task, most days you will find it is possible. (more…)

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The Kindness of Katy Strangers

By admin

Pleasantly surprised by Katyites’ kind words and good deeds during a family shopping trip

As I’ve written before, my husband and I don’t travel to many places with all of the children. The park and the mall are safe places, since there are a lot of wide, open spaces for the triplets and their older brother to act like children without bothering many people.

However, one gloomy day we needed to go to Target. We wanted to get out of the house, since the weather had been rainy for days in a row. We buckled everyone in and headed out. We went to the Super Target near LaCenterra. We could get some groceries and baby items and look quickly at the toy aisle.
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The Little Gym Parent-Child Classes

By Katy Magazine

My Katy kid loves The Little Gym…

And so do I!

Kate on the bars at The Little Gym

I love The Little Gym because my 18 month old daughter Kate’s face lights up when we walk through the doors. There are so many reasons that I love this place… and so many reasons that it has become my favorite hour of the week.  It’s because it is a special hour designed for us to spend together, just the two of us.  With a big sister at home, Kate spends most of her time following us around to “big kid” activities.  Even when I am careful to focus on Kate, she doesn’t have the space to come alive while under the shadow of a very loving – and helpful – sister.  At The Little Gym, Kate works on independence and self-esteem but it is also time for us to spend bonding.  When we have a chance to interact, I am able to capture those moments between she and I and cling to them (and to her) with so much gratitude.  During the times Kate is participating in more independent activities, I am able to step back and marvel at the things she knows and how she interacts with other children her age.  These are things I long to know about my second-born but don’t always have the ability to observe while facilitating life for both of my children.  The  activities are so uniquely crafted to Kate’s age and the focus is so much about the experience and the process, rather than the actual skills and where she is on the developmental scale. (more…)

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The Morning Triathlon

By admin

Running the Race Against the Clock Every Morning

Two weeks into having all four boys at a Mothers’ Day Out program has brought some big challenges to my life, especially in the morning. I am running around like a mad woman. I’m sure all moms understand and can add their own experiences to the morning routine. It’s calm, and then all of a sudden it’s time to get up and begin the Morning Triathlon!

The first event in this never ending triathlon is breakfast. Today, my oldest son was fine eating a bowl of cereal. Yesterday, it was a bagel and only a bagel. If I had offered cereal, the tears would have started. Tomorrow, the exact same cereal will not work. The babies are fine with anything I offer, bless their little stomachs! But with babies, I need to be with them with a spoon, so the second event in the Morning Triathlon gets off to a late start. (more…)

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The Reading Countess Chair

By Katy Magazine

A Katyite remembers where her love of reading originated

March 25, 2010 – Katy, Texas – I recently struck upon a picture of a “reading countess chair” while searching for comfortable seating for my classroom library. My heart did a little skip and a jump as I thought back to how I crafted my blog name, “Reading Countess.” As the only granddaughter for sixteen years, I was treated like royalty by my beloved grandfather. He was the only one in my family who called me “Contessa,” a play on my “real name”, and he went out of his way to treat me like a member of the royal court. Much to my brother’s chagrin, I received preferential treatment by Granddaddy time and time again during my childhood. When we misbehaved, it was my brother and not I who was sent outside to pick the weeds. I was even given “fresh water baths” when I was really young. My grandfather carted buckets of water from the kitchen to fill the bathtub so that I would not be forced to take a bath using the pungent sulfur water from the rest of the farmhouse’s plumbing system.   (more…)

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The School Scoop

By admin

Beck’s Student Discovery Contest
Julia Yang recently won Beck Junior High’s first Student Directory Cover Contest. The theme was “Just Think.” As part of her prize, Yang received a Beck Junior High hoodie and a decal. Pictured is Yang with principal Carra Fleming.

Beck's Discovery Contest

Beck’s Discovery Contest

Rachel’s Challenge at Beckendorff JH
Larry Scott, the uncle of Rachel Scott who was the first student killed at Columbine High School in 1999, shared with Beckendorff Junior High students about the program Rachel’s Challenge. The challenge is based on five ideas: look for the best in others, dream big, choose positive influences, speak with kindness, and start a chain reaction. Pictured are PTA vice president of programs, Amber Willingham; Larry Scott; principal Mindy Dickerson; and PTA president Ashley Vann.

(more…)

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The Twin Connection in Katy, Texas

By admin

We’re taking a closer look at the bond shared between identical twins through the eyes of local Katyites

Written by Kirsten Cornell Photography by Lindsey Shelburne

KATY, Texas (KM) –  As the crowd cheered and the dust settled, 8-year-old Christie Mewis took to the plate and readied her bat wanting to win another hometown softball game. Back in the dugout, her twin sister Carol suddenly grabbed her cheek, jumped to her feet, and shrieked, “Ouch!” Seconds later, Christie was struck in the eye by the pitch.

The connection between twins is unique and undeniable. There have been stories about twins feeling emotional and physical pain even though they were separated by miles, states, or even oceans. They enjoy a type of closeness beyond what most siblings experience. “We get closer each year that passes,” shares Christie. “I appreciate that she always there for me. No matter the situation or the time of day, I can always depend on her support.”

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Top 5 Fever Myths and Facts

By admin

Katy, Tx – November 9, 2016    Written by 

For many parents, fever is one of the most concerning and alarming symptoms a child can have. There are many scary fever myths out there – and it’s time to set the record straight! To many pediatricians, fever is considered a good sign that the body is mounting a response to an infection.

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Tough Talks for Katy Families

By admin

Five difficult conversations parents need to have with their kids, and how to know when to have them

Written by Kirsten Cornell and Katrina Katsarelis

Talking to our kids is usually an enjoyable experience, but there are some topics that make many parents uneasy. Should you be the one to bring up these topics or wait for your child to approach the subject? Here are some of the most common tough talks as well as tips from the experts to help guide you.

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Using Our Senses to Welcome Fall

By admin

Five simple ways to mark the change of seasons

I know it’s still in the 90’s here in Katy, so it doesn’t feel like fall at all. Even though I am a realist, I am also an impossible romantic when it comes to this season. ‘Autumnal is one of my favorite words. Apple cider and wagon rides fill my imagination. My son is learning about our senses and each season definitely has its own smells, sounds, and tastes, so I will focus this post on some family activities based upon our senses. (more…)

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Yo Gabba Gabba

By Katy Magazine

One Katy Mom shares how she uses her kids’ TV favorite as a parenting tool

What is it about these guys?

I skipped the Barney craze and luckily missed out completely on the Teletubbies.  I did some babysitting and so I knew of them, but I never had a deep understanding of these children’s television icons.

I am getting paid back tenfold via Yo Gabba Gabba. 

In today’s media driven society, there are so many more choices out there for television for children.  And, with as much as we limit tv time in our house, we’ve been through a few crazes: Sesame Street, The Wiggles, The Doodlebops… and most recently, Yo Gabba Gabba. (more…)

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