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Superhero 5K and Family Fun Run

5 Apr

Check out my guest blog over at www.northtexaskids.com!

Click here for my story about the upcoming Superhero 5K and Family Fun Run benefitting Dallas CASA.

-Jennifer

Register Now for the Jack Eight Fund Poker Night!

3 Nov

Over two years ago, my cousin’s girlfriend, Jessica, came up with the idea for the Jack Eight Remembrance Fund.  It’s a fundraising organization whose sole mission is to raise money for education, support, and prevention of suicide.  The cornerstone of the Jack Eight Foundation is the annual poker night, held every November on the National Survivors of Suicide Day.  Each year, the proceeds from the annual poker night go to a different charity, chosen each year for their substantial contributions to suicide awareness and prevention.

This year, the Jack Eight Remembrance Fund is partnering with The Alliance of Hope (www.allianceofhope.org), a wonderful organization that supports the survivors of suicide loss through online forums where survivors can connect with other survivors, obtain information, and find real-world resources to support them in their journey.

For many people who still feel backed up against the strong wall of negativity and stigma surrounding suicide, an online support group can be a very important tool for opening up, sharing experiences, and obtaining help without leaving home.

Ronnie Walker founded The Alliance of Hope to fill a void in support services for those grappling with the devastating aftermath of suicide.  The online services provided transcend time and distance, reaching survivors all over the world.  We are proud to be supporting her organization.

OFFICIAL DETAILS FOR THE 2ND ANNUAL POKER AND BINGO TOURNAMENT

WHAT:  No-Limit Texas Hold’em and Bingo Tournament

WHEN:  Saturday, November 19th, 2011 at 5:00 pm

WHERE:  The Diamond Club at The Ballpark in Arlington

WHY:  Each year, the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving is National Survivors of Suicide Day.  As survivors, we have lived through a difficult, challenging loss.  On this day, we recognize our loss, take pride in our accomplishments, and raise money to help those who are struggling with the loss of a loved one to suicide.

SILENT AUCTION:  There will be a silent auction during the event.  Please bring cash or checks to cover any bids you may place.

POKER: LIMITED SEATS AVAILABLE.  Register now to save your seat.  Pass-the-deal poker, 1st and 2nd places receive prizes.

COST:  With pre-registration, the fee is $55.  If you pay at the door, the fee is $75.  Included in the fee is dinner, and entrance into either the poker tournament or the bingo tournament.

DINNER:  Registration includes a Texas Rangers themed dinner, dessert, gaming, and a chance to experience The Diamond Club.

ADDED FUN:  There will be a personal gold representative present to evaluate any gold you wish to sell, and write you a check on the spot!  So dig through those jewelry boxes, and make some money!

REGISTRATION:  Pre-register now to reserve your spot, and save $20!  Register here, or send an e-mail to jessica@jackeightfund.com to register.  Please include the names of your attendees, and whether you prefer to play in the poker tournament or the bingo tournament.  You will receive an invoice for your payment through Paypal.  Alternatively, you can write a check to The Jack Eight Remembrance Fund, and mail to 1229 Alliance Blvd, Rhome, TX  76078.

**If you choose to pay at the door, we will accept cash or checks.  NO CREDIT CARDS OR DEBIT CARDS WILL BE ACCEPTED.

***There are a number of ways you can help.  Get your friends, your spouse, or your neighbors and COME to the event!  It’s at a great venue, with great food and great entertainment!  Make it a girls or a guys night out!  If you don’t play poker, play bingo!  If you can’t come, sponsor someone else to come!  Maybe you know someone who’d like to come, but can’t pay the entry fee!  What a gift!  You can also help by sending this note to people you know via e-mail or FaceBook, or adding it to your own blog!  Tell people about it!  Go to the Jack Eight website and make a direct donation!  http://www.jackeightfund.com/  Thank you in advance for your support!  Both of these organizations mean a lot to me!  It’s not easy to lose someone you love to suicide.  It’s devastating.

Cops & Robbers

27 Oct

Now that it’s fall, my children and I are able to spend more time outdoors again.  This summer was so hot that we wound up spending most of our time indoors.  Oddly enough, even the pool was too hot this year.

I love being outdoors.  When I was a kid, you could always find me outside somewhere, playing with neighborhood kids, swimming at the neighborhood pool, riding my bike, climbing a tree, having an acorn fight, judging a talent show, or making a hideout in the bushes.  My siblings and I did not go in until it was time for dinner.

Back in those days, we used our imagination to entertain ourselves.  Over the past few years, I have been trying to instill the same love for outdoors and innovation!

This weekend, a neighbor boy came over and I taught the kids how to play cops and robbers.  You split the kids into two teams.  Half are cops half are robbers.  You designate a “jail” and conversely, a robber “hideout”.  From there, the robbers pretend to steal (we pocketed leaves from the yard).

If the robbers are spotted stealing, the cops try and catch them.  If the cops catch the robbers, the robbers are escorted to jail.  The robbers can stay in jail for a minimum time limit (we made it two minutes, so the kids would not get bored).

If the robbers get away with the theft, they can bring the monies back to their hideout and stash it.  The robber hideout is “base”.  Robbers can also bust their partners or teammates out of the jail.  If no police are guarding the jail, one robber can save another robber.

The cops win if all of the robbers are jailed.  The robbers win if they confiscate “x” number of fake money (we did 20 leaves).  If you can find an enthusiastic group of kids, they might even help you keep the brown leaves off your lawn and they wouldn’t even know it; less raking for the grown ups!

Fall Activities Around Arlington

4 Oct

HOLY SCARECROW, BATMAN!!  There’s SO much to do around here this month!  Here are a few – click on the links for more info.

State Fair of Texas (through October 23)

Dallas Arboretum – Autumn at the Arboretum (daily in October)

Pumpkin picking and scarecrow building at Gnismer Farms (Wednesday, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in October)

Studio Movie Grill – Spookley the Square Pumpkin (weekends in October)

Halloween Crafts at Michael’s stores (various dates through October)

Green Meadows Petting Farm in Grand Prairie (daily from October 6 – November 1; closed October 8-9)

After Dark in the Park at River Legacy (October 7-9)

Harvest Fair at the Grand Prairie Farmers Market (October 15)

Log Cabin Village – Frontier Fall Fest (October 15)

Fort Worth Zoo – Boo at the Zoo (October 21-23 & 28-30)

Fort Worth Botanic Garden – Fall Festival in the Japanese Garden (October 22 & 23)

Halloween Nights at the Dallas Zoo (October 27-29)

Roundtable Discussion – Boredom Busters

23 Jun

A couple weeks ago, Lori wrote a great blog about Boredom Busters (click here to read it).  I loved it – I always enjoy peeking inside another mom’s head to see what cool ideas they use to keep their kids entertained.

I wanted to expand on Lori’s list a little bit, and encourage everyone to throw in their two cents.  Summer is the time when all of us need a hand in filling the long days!

What are some creative, free OR inexpensive things you do with your kids?  Here’s my list.  I think I’m going to print it out and let my kids pick one every day until we’ve done them all!

  • Summer reading club at the library
  • Read It Again kits at from the library
  • Learn a new skill (for my 5-year-old, we’re going to work on tying shoes and cartwheels)
  • Spraygrounds
  • Arlington Museum of Art (it’s free, they only ask for donations)
  • Bowling (we signed up for kidsbowlfree.com – you just pay for shoes)
  • Roller skating (the Arlington Skatium on Cooper has a “cheap skate” night for $1.99)
  • Levitt Pavilion concerts
  • Summer movie series at Studio Movie Grill or Cinemark (cheap tickets)
  • YMCA (my kids love going there while I exercise, and we often swim there together)
  • Keep a summer journal
  • Make giant bubble wands
  • Angry Birds sidewalk chalk & water balloon game (found here)
  • Make lemonade
  • Start up correspondence with a pen pal
  • Go on a scavenger hunt (even in your own house!)
  • Have a picnic (even in your own house!)
  • Go outside, sit on the shade, and blow bubbles
  • Bake cookies
  • Make puzzle planks (found here)
  • Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes in slices of watermelon
  • Have a family jam (everyone play a different instrument!)
  • Go fly a kite
  • Play follow the leader, freeze/melt, head, shoulder, knees, & toes, or I Spy
  • Fill up a box with objects around the house that all start with the same letter
  • Explore outside with a magnifying glass
  • Make a living room fort
  • Cut out pictures from old magazines and make a collage
  • Paint a picture outside
  • Play dress-up
  • Play with playdough
  • Do a puppet show
  • Trace your bodies on giant pieces of paper and draw in some clothes
  • Have a water balloon fight

Kid’s Improv Comedy Concert in North Richland Hills

23 Jun

An improv comedy concert is coming to Green Valley Park in North Richland Hills on Thursday, June 23, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. This event is geared to youth ages 6-12.  Parents are welcome too.  KidProv will be performing improvisational comedy live on stage and it might require a lot of audience participation, so be prepared if you are sitting up front!  Improvisation, according to KidProv, is simply to use what you know and make up what you don’t!  Picnics are welcome and there will be $2 snow cones to help you beat the heat.  Lawn seating will be available, so please bring blankets and lawn chairs.  For more information, please call 817-427-6620 or click here.

Recycled Crayons Craft

15 Jun

A friend of a friend told me about this simple craft about a year ago.  It’s been on my list of things to do and I never got around to it until recently.  With the weather hitting the high 90s, the crayons my kids left in the car were no match for the heat.  They melted all over the inside of a pencil box we keep in the car.  Sometimes it takes an act of Nature to motivate me!

I did what I could to scrape the bottom of the pencil box.  I peeled all of the crayons and broke them into pieces.  The girls helped me, although they quickly got bored of the peeling part.  We put the piles of crayons in a disposable muffin tin.  (I wasn’t sure what the crayons would do to a non-disposable tray and I didn’t want to find out!)

I then put the tray in the oven set to 400 degrees for about 5-10 minutes.  You’ll know when it’s ready because all of the big chunks will be completely liquefied.

Once the crayons are completely in liquid form, I cooled them for about 5 minutes.  I then stuck the entire tray in the freezer.  It took about 20 minutes to freeze them.  Once they are frozen, you can remove them from the freezer and pop them out of the tins.  Leave them on the counter a few minutes and they’ll go back to room temperature.

*One useful tip is to try and fill the tins as high as you can.  If they aren’t filled, the crayons will be thin and will break easily when the kids color with them.

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