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Adventures at Garey Park

HAPPIYOUNGSTR

Adventures at Garey Park

HappiFamli, Senior Playground Correspondent

July 31, 2018

Georgetown just unveiled their marvelous new attraction that is Garey Park. This place has it all so come enjoy a day of fun with your family.

Dear Moms,

Have you hit the wall yet?  You know, that mid-summer wall. Sure, at the beginning it’s all play-dates and vacations and fun educational outings. You’re thinking,

“Wow, look at me, keeping my children entertained without a screen in sight. I am a domestic goddess.”

The next thing you know, PBS is raising your children and while, yeah, they do a decent job, its not quite the stimulating tour de force you had in mind for your summer-o-fun. 

Lucky for you, Georgetown just unveiled their marvelous new attraction that is Garey Park. This place has it all. Amazing splash pad; check. Two large playscapes; you betcha! Zip lines; Three of them! Hike and bike trails; explore to your hearts content! Even the swings are impressive.

A visit to Garey Park can easily be made into an all day affair. With so much to do, you’re definitely going to want to stay awhile. Pack a lunch to eat at one of their many picnic tables located under the pavilion or spread out a blanket and enjoy your meal under the shade of the mighty oak tree. If you run out of drinking water, they’ve got you covered. Near the restrooms you’ll find a water fountain complete with a water bottle refill feature.  The restrooms are clean and well kept but be warned, they do not offer a baby changing station.

If your family enjoys fishing, you can drive on down to the pond, located near the former private residence of the Garey family and have yourself some catch and release fun.  The park is a work in progress and there is much more to come like group cabins, an equestrian center, and a 600 seat amphitheater.

Admission into the park for Georgetown residents is $5 per car for the first two guests, and $2 for each additional guest over the age of 3. Non-Georgetown residents will pay $10 per car for the first two guests, and $2 for each additional guest. If you don’t have cash, not to worry, they do accept credit cards.

Click Here for more information on Garey Park.

Top 5 Questions to Ask a Babysitter

HAPPIYOUNGSTR

Top 5 Questions to Ask a Babysitter

HappiFamli, Senior Babysitter Correspondent

August 24, 2018

Finding a good babysitter is like winning the lottery – it can be life-changing!  Learn what to ask to see if your sitter is a good fit for you and your child.

Everyone knows that you are supposed to ask a potential babysitter about their experience level, availability, rate and references, but how do you really find out if they are a good match for you and your child?  An interview is your opportunity to form impressions about their self-esteem, maturity level and ability to handle stress.  Think outside the box and ask things like:

  1. What is your babysitting experience and have you babysat for a child who is my child’s age?  What types of activities would you do with this age group?
  2. What was your worst experience in child care and how did you resolve it?
  3. What was your best experience in working with kids and why?
  4. Would you feel comfortable telling me if you were unhappy with anything? Tell me about a work situation where you needed to express your unhappiness and how you handled that.
  5. What do you think makes a happy child?

Once you have hired a sitter, make sure you can relax and have some fun by putting together a short training guide that you review with your sitter before you leave.  Things to cover with your sitter are:

  • Household routine: what activities does your child like, how much structure do you want to the day, what is the general routine
  • Bedtime/Nap Routine: are there any sleeping rituals your child follows, do you keep a light on in the room, what should the sitter do if the child cries
  • Meals and food: what is the feeding schedule, are snacks allowed, what food is allowed
  • Household Rules: may your child play outside or in the front yard, can they plan an outing and transport the child, can friends come over for a play date, can they watch TV, is there anything that is off-limits.  Also be sure to discuss how the babysitter should handle discipline if your child is misbehaving.
  • General Guidelines: can the sitter eat any food in the house, or use the telephone or go to sleep if the children are asleep
  • Contact Info:  Make sure to leave all of your #’s and maybe information for a neighbor in case of emergency.

Austin Fun with Teens

HAPPIFAMLI

Austin Fun with Teens

HappiFamli, Senior Teen Correspondent

July 17, 2018

Austin is such a family-friendly city. There are endless ways to entertain kids of all ages here in town. We’ve rounded up a few ways you can enjoy Austin with your almost adult children- TEENS!

After a spending a day doing a few of these activities with your teenager, they’ll likely refer to you as a “cool mom” (or dad).

  • Our number one idea? Urban Adventure Quest! This interactive game takes you on a walking tour of Austin. Find clues on your smartphone and walk around searching for the answer. Working together to solve the clues = bonding time. Teens love smartphones. This is a total win-win.
  • We couldn’t make a list without including live music, seeing as we live in the “Live Music Capital of the World”. Teens love music and there are plenty of opportunities to see it together here. Blues On The Green, Unplugged At The Grove, even just music on the patio of Central Market. Live music is everywhere here in town.
  • Check out some funky Austin sites like the Cathedral of Junk or the HOPE Outdoor Gallery. The graffiti park will be moving soon, so check its Facebook page for updates on that.
  • Chill out at a local watering hole. Barton Springs is a no-brainer. It has the best people-watching and diving board. You could also make reservations to go see Hamilton Pool or Blue Hole in Wimberley for more of a road trip adventure.
  • Challenge them to a rock-climbing competition at the Austin Bouldering Project.
  • Treat yo’ self with some sweet treats at one of Austin’s local bakeries.
  • Take them to see a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse and share some fried pickles and a cookie shake. Free movies play all summer long in various Austin parks, schedule here. Or show them what a drive-in movie is like at the Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In.
  • Try SUP’ing (stand up paddleboard) around Lady Bird Lake, or drive a little bit outside of Austin and take surfing lessons at NLand Surf Park.

Summer Learning Loss

HAPPIFAMLI

Summer Learning Loss

HappiFamli, Senior Reading Correspondent

July 10, 2018

While summer is a great time to relax and have the kids enjoy some time off,  it is still important to make sure your kids don’t have any summer learning loss.

Every summer I start off having a ‘grand plan’ about what our summer will look like – long, relaxing days by the pool, lots of fun, and of course educational outings for the kids with time each day for reading books and doing some problem solving to keep those math skills sharp. 
 
I don’t even know why I kid myself.  Summer turns into a juggle of getting kids to camps, having friends over, sports activities, washing soggy towels from the pool, trying to limit screen time, all while I am trying to work from home.  Fun, but yet, not so much.
 
But here’s the thing – while summer is a great time to relax and have the kids enjoy some time off (who doesn’t remember great times at the pool all summer lazing the days away while eating as much junk food as possible), it is still important to make sure your kids don’t have any summer learning loss.
 
Yep – that’s an actual thing.  
 
It has been well-documented that students lose between 1-2 month’s worth of academic knowledge each summer.  And while that doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, the problem is that it becomes cumulative.  A 2007 study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University found the achievement gap at ninth grade mainly traces to differences in summer learning during the elementary school years. And a 2004 study found that all achievement gaps among students tend to be exacerbated by summer breaks.
 
Not good.  And yes, this adds on a little more momma guilt, but it also makes me stop and think about how important it is to keep my children’s skills moving in the right direction over the summer.   The challenge is how to make it part of our everyday routine and fun at the same time.
 
Here are some ideas to keep the “summer slide” at bay:
  • Do word searches and cross word puzzles together (you can find them for all ages)
  • Do puzzles, build Legos, solve sudokus and other brain teasers 
  • Read a variety of material – magazines, books, newspapers, cartoons
  • Have your kids read directions and do fun creative projects together
  • Find a great free, library program
  • Have the kids play some games at http://www.coolmath4kids.com/
  • Take outings to local museums
  • Enroll in summer camps – HINT: A great place to find camps is at www.happicampr.com
  • You can find even more fun summer activities that promote learning here