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Parent Review: Miracle on 34th Street The Musical

Gobble Up
Some Family Memories this Thanksgiving!

Miracle Poster

 

Kris Kringle is Alive and Well and in The Hub City…
Catch him while you can!

Special holiday week shows through Sunday November 26th.

Moonlight Broadway has given area families another holiday treat… a chance to bridge generations with its latest production of Meredith Willson’s Miracle on 34th Street – The Musical.  It’s the perfect outing for the entire family during the Thanksgiving holiday week, whether they are coming from out of town or across the street, are young or old.  And this production is particularly charming because, in true Moonlight Musicals fashion, they have included many children into the cast.

In fact, the story line revolves around a child: Susan Walker (enthusiastically played by Abi Mills).  Susan is a little girl who was never allowed to believe in Santa or other things that are not tangible.  It was a well-intentioned strategy by her mother, Doris, to protect Susan from being hurt or disappointed from dreams that may not come true.  Susan’s quest to discover if her friend Kris Kringle really is who he says he is, strikes a chord with the kids in the audience, establishing Susan as a hero: she is the little girl who finds her Santa and whose faith helps inspire all the adults around her to believe in and follow their own dreams.

Santa march

The Thanksgiving Day Parade scene at the first of the show, with the kids and floats is fun, and includes a spirited march as the children at the parade fall in behind Santa, forming a line and marching to, of all things, a Christmas carol!

The music is festive and enjoyable and helps make the musical version more lighthearted than the screenplay versions.  One that everyone in the audience will recognize is a family fave:  “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”… who knew that one of our favorite carols was born on the stage!

We loved the gentle, kind, yet commanding presence of Kris Kringle, played wonderfully by Mike Morgan.  His warm and playful manner was fun to watch as he interacted with the children on stage, from leading the kids on a holiday march, to answering their questions and requests with compassion and sage advice.  And what our kids enjoyed as well, was seeing how Kris was able to to help the grown-ups believe once again in miracles and in the goodness of people.

Santa and HendrikaA real treasure in this production, was a song performed by Santa and a little Dutch girl, Hendrika (played by Aubrey Giselle).  Santa is approached by the girl’s guardian, who tells Santa that the little girl speaks no English yet, only Dutch, whereby Santa begins a conversation in her language and they sing the little girl’s favorite Christmas carol together, “Bugles.”  It was an enchanting moment for the audience and the pivotal moment when Susan started to believe that the gentleman known as Kris Kringle, could in fact be Santa Claus.

Parent Pointers:

Parents need to be aware that the show does start by showing a tipsy Santa, who was to be in the parade, which gave the real Kris Kringle the chance to take over as Santa in the parade.  And the entire basis of the show centers around the disbelief in Santa Claus:  Susan was never allowed to believe in Santa or other things that are not tangible.  So parents may want to be prepared to answer some similar questions.  However, as the story progresses, Susan was shown that “Faith is believing in something that common sense tells you otherwise” – another teachable moment with out kids.

Preparing for the show:

Miracle on 34th Street has several different productions available on film or video, which would be fun to watch together either before or after seeing the play.  Most of the movies are not the musicals, so especially with older kids, it would be interesting for them to see the difference in a musical format compared to a story or screenplay format and for them to share which they prefer.  In addition to having a Christmas theme with Santa and some recognizable music, the show also features rich dialogue that is a great chance for older kids to follow the story, but that might lose the interest for the littlest audience members at times.Miracle cover

Miracle on 34th Street is set in the post WWII era, which gives us the opportunity to share with our kids how things were different.  One of the main characters was in the Marines, and uses words like “dames” in reference to some ladies and “the head” when talking about the restroom, which can be explained in today’s context.  And an explanation or Google search for “Gimble’s” and “Macy’s” before the show could help them understand that during that time period Gimble’s and Macy’s were real stores and heated competitors, not just the men who were in the show.

How families benefit:

Thanks to Moonlight Musicals, we’ve had the chance to enrich our children with the inspirational, magical, and yes miraculous, world of performing arts.  And what some may not realize, or forget at times, is that Moonlight Musicals is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.  As parents, we can feel that purchasing a ticket to their performances is a win/win: our kids are exposed to high-quality theatre giving us precious time together and conversations about topics that are brought to light, plus we are supporting a local nonprofit.  The seeds planted by Moonlight Musicals throughout the community have been exciting to see take root and grow.  Every theatre department and group in the area has either been formed as an off-shoot or has greatly benefited from the multiple opportunities for children (and adults) to hone their on-stage experiences.  The vibrant Lubbock theatre community gives thankful parents many outlets for our kids to be able to tap into their inner star (and for some theatre parents it’s a God-send, giving our spirited kiddos the outlet they need!).

Just the Facts!

When: Thursday, November 16, 2017 7:30 PM.
Friday, November 17, 2017 7:30 PM.
Sunday, November 19, 2017 2:00 PM.
Monday, November 20, 2017 7:30 PM.
Friday, November 13, 2017 7:30 PM.
Saturday, November 14, 2017 2:00 PM.
Saturday, November 14, 2017 7:30 PM.
Sunday, November 15, 2017 2:00 PM.

Where: Lubbock Memorial Civic Center Theatre. 1501 Mac Davis Lane, Lubbock, TX 79401.

How: Tickets are available at Select-a-Seat, online, or by calling 806-770-2000. Prices Range from Prices range from $prices range from $15 – $35 for children and from $25 – $65 for adults.

Length: Lasts approximately 2 hours with a 20 minute intermission included.

Age: Recommended for ages 4+ but best for 6+ .  Younger kids may get antsy at times.

Going to the show?  Let us know!  Write your reviews below.

 

Credits:  Book, Music & Lyrics by Meredith Willson.  Based on the 29th Centrury Fox Pictures.  Story by Valentine Davies.  Screen Play by George Seaton.
All rights to Willson’s song catalog owned by Sir Paul McCartney.

Images from Lubbock Moonlight Broadway 2017 production of Miracle on 34th Street – the Musical, LubbockForKids.com, and Kim Phillips.

Parent Review: Super Seven Brides for Seven Brothers by Moonlight Musicals

Early Performances Saturday and Sunday!
Catch the final, held-over performances on special days and times!

Celebrating Family Tradition.

Scene

The final summer production from Moonlight Musicals is a special early fall treat – a family-friendly musical during the very best weather of the year in West Texas.  “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” is a fun, sing-along, show, with tons of kids in the cast making it super-fun for the kids in the audience to relate to.  It’s a wonderful show to wrap up the season:  Focusing on family, and love, and music and dance. The beauty of this performance is its ability to span several generations:  Grandma and KidsGrandpa will know every word of the catchy songs, but what is exciting to see is the involvement shared by little ones as well as teens and Tech students.  As we were heading to meet the cast after the show, we passed several Tech co-eds who were singing and laughing and commenting that they had never heard those songs before but they were going to have to do something quick or they’d be singing “Bless Your Beautiful Hind, Wherever You May Be…” for weeks!

This is the perfect chance to catch the show for those whose bedtime is earlier… the final shows start at 7pm rather than 8pm.  And offering the show on Sunday provides a unique Sunday night family event to wrap up the summer and the weekend.  The night we attended, a storm was threatening, but held off and even provided a pretty specular rainbow over the theatre… we knew it was going to be a great night!

Rainbow

Family Traditions

What you’ll find if you attend a few of the Musicals, is that it is a family tradition at all levels.  You’ll see parents with their kids volunteering with the shows, running the shows, attending the shows, and performing in the shows.  Many of the kids you see on stage have literally grown up before our eyes as they and their families have made Moonlight Musicals their family tradition by performing together, on the stage and behind the scenes as well.  The fact that the families of the South Plains have multiple opportunities to join in and experience the arts in a tangible way, is priceless.

Mimi Pappas as Mrs. Hoallum with daughter Anya Pappas in the Ensemble, with fan Elizabeth Logan

Mimi Pappas as Mrs. Hoallum with daughter Anya Pappas in the Ensemble, with fan Elizabeth Logan

And being able to see the show as our kids head back to school, for the first time or the last time, was a sweet treat of together-time.  And then Milly (played by Marissa Hernandez – many will remember her performance last year as Christine in “Phantom of the Opera”) had to go and sing that song… the one that made the heart of every parent in the audience swell:  “Glad That You Were Born”…

“I’m glad that you were born.
Born to laugh, born to dream
Born to spread your light.
Through your eyes I see clearer
You bring God so much nearer.
Life has grown so much dearer,
I’m glad that you were born…”

But never fear… the tone of this show is light-hearted with lots of dancing, and singing from “Goin’ Courtin’” to “Wonderful Wonderful Day” to “Sobbin’ Women” to, of course, “Bless Your Beautiful Hide” … there is no possible way that you can leave the show not humming your favorite!

Parent Pointers: Tips for making your experience more enjoyable

Reminders:  The venue is perfect for even the youngest of children.  It’s outside so there’s lots of wiggle room and lots of tiered grass seating perfect for blankets and chairs.  Hills for rolling.  GamesBahama Bucks for munching.  Aisles for dancing (yes, it’s OK to let them dance… in fact it’s encouraged!).  And picnics are always allowed… even if the picnic consists of a quick drive through!

The doors open an hour before showtime, so try to get there as early as you can to stake your claim on a favorite spot.  It’s open seating in the General Admission-designated area, which is the top section and sides… perfect when you have little ones anyway!  Be sure to bring sunscreen, mosquito repellant, and also a light jacket or blanket because regardless of the heat index during the day, our wonderful West Texas evenings are cooling down nicely.

The final shows start earlier so it gives more time to stay after the show and take the kids down to the stage where they can meet and greet the characters.  They may even know some of the cast members and can grab some hugs, program autographs and photos.

After the show, just for fun, plan to have a movie night with the kids to see the movie version and discuss the differences… even the fact that when you see a live performance, there are usually new songs, people and sometimes even a different ending!

Just the Facts!

When: Held Over Shows.  Saturday 9/9 and Sunday 9/10.  Gates open at 6pm and performance starts at 7pm.

Where: Moonlight Musicals Amphitheatre at 413 East Broadway Lubbock, TX 79403.

How: Tickets are available at online, or by calling 806-770-2000. Prices Range from $23-$31 for adults and $10-$18 for children.  Students for $15. *For General admission child age is 5-9 years and Premium admission child age is 0-9 years.

Length: Lasts approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes with a 20 minute intermission included..

Age: Recommended for ages 4 and up.  Younger kids will still enjoy the open venue and the dancing and singing.

Planning to go?  Let us know how you like the show!  Write your reviews below.

Credits:  Book by Lawrence Kasha and David Landay.  Lyrics by Johnny Mercer.  Music by Gene de Paul.  New Songs by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn.  Based on the MGM Film and “The Sobbin’ Women” by Stephen Vincent Benet.

Images from Lubbock Moonlight Musicals 2017 production of Seven Brides For Seven Brothers and LubbockForKids.com. 

Parent Review: Peter Pan Proves the Power of Belief

Treasure MapsTick. Tock. Tick. Tock… don’t let this one get away!
Last show is Sunday April 23.

The Lubbock Moonlight Musicals organization through their Moonlight Broadway series once again treats the families of the South Plains to a top-notch, beautifully crafted performance that gives parents the chance to enrich their children and instill a love of the arts… and the ability to actually image themselves flying!  But invite your friends who don’t have kids too… it’s that much fun!

This performance of Peter Pan is a jewel and perfectly scheduled during the Easter holiday weekend (great for out of town guests) and during the weekend of the Lubbock Arts Festival (in fact, make it a day… most of the children’s crafts at the Arts Festival are in the lobby area, which is free of charge, plus they are offering free admission into the Arts Festival with tickets to see Peter Pan).

The set is beautiful and pulls even the little ones into the story… truly looks like a nursery, the sky, a forest and pirate ship.Peter played by Bridget Riley   teaches Wendy played by Francesca Arostegui andher brothers Michael played   by Aubrey Tucker and John play

This production is infectious… we found ourselves singing ” I Won’t Grow Up,” and  “I’ll Call for Tiger Lily, and I’ll Call for Peter Pan…” for days after the performance.   We loved each scene but the warrior dances lead by a mesmerizing Tiger Lily (performed by Alex Caldwell) were some of our faves.  Kids and parents will love seeing the young actors truly fly across the stage and across the skies to Neverland…  little Michael Darling (performed adorably by J. Aubrey Tucker) was even an old pro at flying, especially when grabbed in mid-air by the hands and feet by big sis Wendy (performed by Francesca Arostegui) and big bro John (performed by Elijah van Gilder).

The warm feel of the show is inviting… the professional talent (who were amazing!) combined with local cast members gave it a very approachable, reachable feel… one that the children in the audience relate to and can aspire to.  As we were leaving, we heard several kids say, “Wow, Mom, can I be in the play?  I want to fly like that!”  The fun was that contagious.

Peter Pan (performed by Bridget Riley) was stunning and so much fun to watch… a great, effortless flyer (you really thought Peter was flying!) and such a great voice!  The singing is what really struck our group.  The leads - Peter, Wendy, Hook, Tiger Lily - all had amazing, crystal voices that were perfect for each part.  Captain Hook (performed by David Edwards) was so well played… lovable, sinister, and hilarious with the perfect voice to not frighten the children in the audience, but to still give them a thrill.Captain Hook played by David  Edwards sings of his terrible plans to kill Peter to Smee played by Richard  Privitt and his pirate crew Keeg (1)

It’s evident to all, that Moonlight Musicals is dedicated to outreach and lighting the art-spark in our kids by including them in any way to join the fun… whether in the production itself (in fact, during the show, everyone has the chance to save Tink!), in their camps that they mention at the first of the show, and even in sharing with each child in attendance their own treasure map with crayons.  Each touch of the arts shares a new world with our children.

Teachable Moments

This production is a great example of the power of never giving up:  by thinking happy, positive thoughts, you can fly. That’s the secret of staying young, and we all have that power… with and without Fairy dust!  Such a great learning opportunity for our kids, and reminder for ourselves.  It was a perfectly-timed message for our teen (and parents too!).

Preparing for the Show

Children may think they know Peter Pan but many only know the 1953 Disney version. Be sure that your little princesses realize that this is a stage play, not the Disney version: they can (and should!) wear their favorite Tink or Peter Pan costume, but the character of Tinkerbell in the show does not take human form. She is a lively, sparkling light. But never fear: Tink is so cleverly acted, that her spunky personality shines through!  For older kids, encourage them to take a look at the original novel and then share their thoughts.  The Alligator is also never seen, but always heard by his loud, scary “Tick Tock.”   The imagination is always engaged!

Another point that parents can cover before the show, is that this presentation is from the novel, which was written at the turn of the century in 1904… a time when some words had different meanings. At the first of the show, Peter uses a funny word that in previous times meant a “funny donkey”… however some children may think it’s an unkind word (yes, you guessed it… starts with an A and ends with an S).  Another nice learning opportunity.

Just the Facts!

When:
Friday, April 14, 2017 7:30pm.
Saturday, April 15, 2017 7:30pm.
Friday, April 21, 2017 7:30pm
Saturday, April 22, 2017 2:00pm and 7:30pm
Sunday, April 23, 2017 2:00pm

Where:
Lubbock Memorial Civic Center Theatre. 1501 Mac Davis Lane, Lubbock, TX 79401.

How:
Tickets are available at Select-a-Seat, online, or by calling 806-770-2000. Prices Range from Prices range from $25-$75.

Length:
Lasts approximately 2 hours with a 20 minute intermission included.

Age:
Recommended for all ages but ideal for 4+.  Younger kids may get antsy at times, but the music and theatrics will keep them engaged.

Gone to the show?  Let us know!  Write your reviews below.

Credits:  A Musical Based on the Play and Novel by Sir J.M. Barrie.
Lyrics by Carolyn Leigh.  Additional Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green.
Music by Morris (Moose) Charlap.  Additional Music by Jule Styne.
Originally directed, choreographed and adapted by Jerome Robbins.
Producer:  Gerald Dolter.
Director/Choreographer:  Jeff Smith.
Conductor:  John S. Hollings

Images from Lubbock Moonlight Broadway 2017 production of Peter Pan (R) The Stage Musical and Elizabeth Logan.

Five Thanksgiving Memories You Can Make With Recyclable Crafts

by Baron Eliason
Founder, 123Recycling, Lubbock
Guest Contributor

Fall ProjectsThe holidays are custom made for memory making as a family. Making memories happens best when we take the time to work with our kids on things that are fun. If you can do that and teach some valuable life lessons – so much the better. 123 Recycling will be happy to pick up your recyclables but how much better if you reuse them for some holiday fun with the kids!

The goal of this article is to combine the memory making potential of Thanksgiving with the world changing emphasis on recycling, repurposing, and responding to the need to be better stewards of our earth.

This week the focus is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to introduce kids to recycling and reusing with fun crafts made from reusable material. A great fact to know and share with them is that we believe 65% of what we throw out is recyclable. I’m guessing that the percent that is reusable in some way would raise that number even higher. That means there is a lot of free stuff we can use for art just lying around.

So without further adeu, here are five ideas from my little brain – get creative and I’ll be you can do even better!

Beauty of Fall Display Boxes

Fall Display BoxesContainers for fruits are amazing resources for kids to use for stashing all kinds of things, especially the small ones. This one was used for organic apples and makes an amazing display case for the wonders of Fall such as beautiful leaves, acorns, pecans, and other wonderful bounty that kids love to find and to show off. Kids will love finding the best leaves and showing off their finds.

Turkeys, Pilgrims, and Indians – Oh My!

TurkeysEgg cartons and cardboard rolls make great tools for creating all kinds of characters from Turkeys to Pilgrims and Indians. A quick trip to a craft store and you could find some really cool stuff to add like google eyes, feathers, felt for clothes. But, a simple set of markers and crayons will do the trick as well.

You could make a whole tableau of the first Thanksgiving meal. Special hint: paper plates are great material for making a turkey’s fanned feathers.

Pump-can Decoration

PumpCansHere is an idea from Pam Bibb, art teacher at Miller Elementary. She loves to work with recyclable materials and her students have made some amazing robots. For Fall, she takes empty cans and colored paper to make pump-cans. This is something easy for kids to make and great for table decorations for the big feast. P.S. – mason jars will also work.

Fall Candle Celebrations

CandlesHere is an idea to take glass containers like mason jars or jelly jars, etc. and turn them into celebrations of Fall. My girl picked some leaves. I found a pickle jar. We used clear Scotch tape to attach them. If you are inclined, attach them by decoupaging. Insert candle and enjoy! The light will shine through the leaves and give you a beautiful show for free.

Napkin Rings

NapkinRingsTake some paper tubes, apply glue, roll on something fun and Fall-ish. Next, cut them down to size. Finally, add whatever else you might desire to make really cool napkin holders. I will say that the glue is more of a project. Again, I went with Scotch tape.

We hope you enjoy Thanksgiving and that these ideas will help you create some memories with your kids. Stay tuned for our next blog post next month for more ideas related to Christmas. If you have some ideas you would like to share, please email them to me at baron@123recycling.org.

5 Green Halloween Decorating Ideas for Families

by Baron Eliason
Founder, 123Recycling, Lubbock
Guest Contributor

Halloween Recycling Crafts

We are so happy to introduce our readers to our newest local blog contributor Baron Eliason!  He is the founder of 123Recycling based in Lubbock and he’ll be sharing with us ways that local families can make a difference in our environment AND do it while having fun!  Have a question?  Just leave a comment here or contact Baron through his website at 123Recycling.org  or email him at baron@123recycling.org.

As they say, the family that plays together, stays together.  With the holidays upon us, playing together is the key to holiday success.  In our busy lives it is easy to conclude: “who has time for figuring all this out?”  But the solution is right under your nose – recycling.

Art teachers have been recycling for years because the things we throw away make easy and fun art projects.  Why not learn from the pros and try it at home.  Recycling is as easy as 123 and it can be a fun way to make family memories that also teach great lessons about taking care of our beautiful environment.  As a father of five I can also tell you this, you will treasure these little artifacts for years to come!

In this holiday recycling series 123Recycling of Lubbock will be bringing you fresh new ideas to make recycling memories for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  To get started, let’s set the basic ground rules, it is easy as 123:  1) keep it simple 2) keep it safe 3) keep it fun.  What does that mean?  Use what you have in packaging materials, etc, help the kids with things like hot glue and sharp scissors, make sure you laugh and praise and smile a lot!

For Halloween, we are going to focus on five easy ideas for yard decorations.

Not only will you be having fun but you will be saving lots of money too – nothing scary about that!

 

1.  Milk Jug Monsters – faces

Milk Jug Monsters

a.      Collect and clean the jugs.

b.      Decorate the faces.

c.      Light with Christmas lights (you need to find them anyway) or electric candles, etc.  You can hang them from trees as floating heads or plant them in the garden, or put them on the roof as watchful gargoyles.
Hint: weigh them down with rocks, etc. to keep them in place, or……..

Milk Jug Monsters – yard spiders. 
Take a look at these pictures.  With scissors or a utility knife cut out these spooky spiders and let the kids decorate to taste.

Milk Jug Spiders


2.  Plastic Poltergeists

a.      Gather trash bags and variously-sized plastic bottles to make your very own ghost family vis-à-vis the family stick figures people put on cars.

b.      Use balloons to make the big trash bag heads and decorate them.

c.      Use any kind of stuffing to make the heads for the smaller ghosts.

Plastic Poltergeists

d.      Tape the trash bags under the head at the neck to keep the heads in place – shred the bottom to make them really float in the wind.

e.      Hang them from the trees, roof line, etc.

 

3.  Terrifying TombstonesRIP box

a.      Collect boxes such as Tombstone pizza, cereal, Amazon, etc.

b.      Cover them with white paper.

c.      Decorate with faces, R.I.P., funny messages

d.      Stake down with hanger wire.

 

4.  Marshmallow  Minions

Marshmallow Minion1

a.      Let the kids go wild making all kinds of faces.

b.      Wrap them in a dryer cloth or post them on a stick!

c.      You can make a whole pumpkin patch!  Warning: dogs and others might eat your decorations ;-)

 

5.  Things That Go Bump in the Night

a.      Collect things like cola and tin cans… anything that clinks and make a wind chime for some scary noises at night

b.      Put them on one side of a hanger and weight the other half to help them clink when the wind comes.  Hint: you could arrange for them to be shaken with a string.  Hint 2: you might need to hide them a bit, Moms might not be thrilled with the aesthetics.Bump in the Night Cola Cans

 

As you can see, there are plenty of fun things you can do for Halloween with things that get thrown away.  Stay tuned for some table decoration ideas coming in November.  Please share this post with your friends and share some of your ideas this holiday season – then… recycle the materials and keep the memories.

Happy Halloween from 123 Recycling – find us at 123Reycling.org or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.  We make curbside recycling easy for you.

Photo Credits:  123Recycling – Lubbock.

Help Make Your Child’s Halloween Experience Positive

By Kelly Martin, M.Ed, LPC
Guest Contributor

We are excited to introduce our readers to Kelly Martin… our newest contributor!  Kelly is a Licensed Professional Counselor, parent, and owner of The Playroom Lubbock offering therapy counseling services specifically for children and adolescents.  From individual and group Play Therapy to yoga and parent-included classes, Kelly and her team offer a wealth of support for local kiddos and parents.  Specialties include divorce care, self esteem, social skills, anxiety, grief, anger management, ADHD support… topics that hit home with many area kids and families.  We love Kelly’s first article… full of timely advice for all parents and especially helpful for children with sensory challenges.  Have questions or ideas for future blog topics?  Just comment below or you can contact Kelly directly at kelly@playroomlubbock.com and through her website at Playroomlubbock.com.
Welcome Kelly!

Help Make Your Child’s Halloween Experience Positive

Halloween Kids Jump

As Halloween approaches with all of the costumes, sights, sounds, smells, fall festivals, trunk or treats, and the traditional trick or treats, it’s important to keep in mind how the extra stimulation and treats affect our kids or the kids that come visit our homes or booths. (Not to mention the effects of sugar!). This article is intended to raise awareness about kids with special needs and to provide some tips for parents.

Children with sensory sensitivities like those associated with ADHD, Asperger Syndrome, or Sensory Processing Disorder can feel stressed at Halloween.

Parents want their children to have a positive, festive experience. With careful planning, preparation, and sensitivity in how you react, children with learning, behavioral, or sensory issues can enjoy this exciting time of year as well.

For those of you hosting Trick or Treat, a festival booth, or a Trunk or Treat, be accepting of all types of personalities and abilities that are behind the Halloween costume.

  • Children who struggle with poor fine motor skills may grab more than one piece of candy.
  • Children who take forever to pick out a piece of candy may have motor planning issues.
  • The child who does not say “trick or treat” or “thank you” may struggle with anxiety or may be non verbal.
  • The child who looks disappointed at the treats may have a food allergy.
  • And lastly the child who isn’t wearing a costume may have a sensory issue.

I am not suggesting that if your child has done one or some of the above examples that he or she may have a disorder. What I am suggesting is to show some grace and acceptance to everyone who rings your bell or visits your booth.

The Brain Balance Achievement Center gives fantastic Tips for Kids with Sensory Sensitivities. For example:
1) Giving your child a schedule of events can help children feel less anxiety.
2) Have a code word for your child to use if he or she feels overwhelmed and needs a break.
3) Before you leave, discuss how long you plan to stay and expectations for behavior.
4) Have your child practice wearing his costume BEFORE an event.
5) If you child has food sensitivities or allergies, plan ahead to offer alternatives like toys.

Playroom Lubbock Halloween tips

The Teal Pumpkin Project by The Food Allergy Research and Education raises awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters. You can provide non-food treats for trick or treaters and paint a pumpkin teal to place in front of your home to indicate you have non-food treats available. Free signs are available to download at www.foodallergy.org.

Teal Pumpkin Project

Lubbock has wonderful opportunities to celebrate Fall and Halloween. I hope this article helps keep Halloween a fun, positive experience for all.

Kelly Martin, is a Licensed Professional Counselor and owner of The Playroom Lubbock. She specializes in counseling and play therapy for children and adolescents.

 

The TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT and the Teal Pumpkin Image are trademarks of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).

Parent Review: Seussical from Moonlight Musicals

Catch a Family Funtastical Show Under the Stars!  Friday & Saturday performances through June 25th.  Performances added Thurs June 30th & Friday July 1st!

Cat in the Hat -Daniel Hogan -sm

Cat in the Hat – Daniel Hogan. Photo credit: Gypsy Artist Design and Photography.

Continuing our series featuring parent reviews & tips on local events and activities, our contributor Rebekah (a.k.a. Hub City Mom) shares her experience at the kickoff performance of Moonlight Musicals’ Summer Series:  Seussical!  Great review and super tips!  (Perhaps the perfect Fathers Day gift?)  Got an idea for a scoop?  Share it with us and we’ll check it out! Interested in writing a review?  Contact us and let’s blog!

by Rebekah Gillespie

Mom and SonThe 2016 summer series at Lubbock Moonlight Musicals kicked off recently with a fantastic performance of “Seussical.” This whimsical production of Dr. Seuss’s inspiring stories is fun, amusing and very entertaining. The entire family will love “Seussical”! We took our three-year old son to the performance, and he was captivated by it. This was his first theatrical experience, and he thoroughly enjoyed it. We all enjoyed the vibrant colors of the costumes and set as well as the remarkable singing and dancing.

“Seussical” follows the story of Horton the Elephant, citizens of the jungle and his friends from Whoville. Other key characters include Jojo, Gertrutde, Mayzie and Sour Kangaroo. My son’s favorite character is the Cat in the Hat who narrates the production. Thing 1 and Thing 2 make frequent apperances that leave the audience chuckling, and even the Grinch makes a special appearance. The incredibly hard work put into this production is evident throughout the entire performance making “Seussical” remarkably spectactular and memorable. The expressive song lyrics and upbeat music will leave you singing for days.

Cat on stage

This was our first Moonlight Musical experience in the amphitheatre, and the outdoor atmosphere is peaceful and serene. The summer evenings in Lubbock are very enjoyable making Lubbock Moonlight Musicals a great venue for outdoor entertainment. We also enjoyed bringing our son because it was a more casual environment than traditional productions at the civic center’s auditorium. Our son was able to sit, stand and lay down during the performance without being bothersome. The casual atmosphere at the amphitheatre makes it a great environment for small children who, like my child, have trouble staying still.

Thing sittingIn addition, I love that patrons are allowed to bring coolers and lawn chairs to the performance. We were able to have a picnic as a family and eat snacks throughout the performance without spending a small fortune on refreshments. Be sure to bring some cash for the concession stand because Bahama Buck’s is selling their pre-packaged Sno Blasts, which are delicious!  Also, freshly popped popcorn is always enjoyable at any performance.

Parent Pointers:  Here are a few tips to make your experience more enjoyable.

First, arrive early to the amphitheatre because seats are first come first serve unless previously reserved for a group. The gates open at 7 p.m. with the performance starting promptly at eight o’clock. Fortunately, every seat has a clear view of the stage making it impossible to have a bad seat. General admission is labeled in green tape; orange tape is premium admission. 

Horton

The center section of the amphitheatre as well as the first two rows of the side sections are premium seating. I would recommend premium seating if you want a center stage view and the opportunity to interact with some of the cast during the performance. There is a difference in ticket pricing for adults and children in the premium section and is important to be aware of those differences when purchasing tickets. I found that general admission worked great for our three year old because he didn’t sit still long enough to have paid for a premium seat. When he is older, I will invest in premium seating.

Secondly, be sure to bring a blanket and lawn chairs otherwise you will be sitting on the grass for two and a half hours. You can also bring a cooler and snacks to enjoy during the performance.

Family picnic

Since it is outdoors, mosquito repellent is must and beware of a few bees flying around the trash cans. You may also want to bring a light jacket if you get cold easily. Occasionally, the wind is blowing and will give you a chill. Binoculars are another item you may want to bring especially if you are arriving closer to the performance time. Remember that everything you bring in the amphitheater you have to haul back to your car. The amphitheatre is wheel chair accessible making it possible to bring strollers and wagons for smaller children.

Lastly, the cast will be available for pictures after the performance so bring a camera with a great flash. There is not enough lighting to get a good picture without a flash since the performance ends after dark.

My son was excited to meet the Cat in the Hat, but he was very uncertain about having his picture taken with him. Younger children might be intimidated by the characters in their costumes up close so be prepared to have someone take the picture of you and your child with the cast member. This will save time and avoid tears. As you can see, I ended up in the picture with my son still unsure about the Cat.

Meeting Cat

Preparing for the show:

It’s always fun to read Dr. Seuss, and I would highly recommend reading Horton Hears a Who to your child prior to seeing “Seussical.” In addition, there is also an animated movie about Horton that your child will love that can be watched pre or post show. These activities are enjoyable and will also help younger children better follow the performance.

Also, talking with your child about theater etiquette is another important way to prepare for “Seussical” or any performance. Lubbock Moonlight Musicals has a great page on theatre etiquette and gives patrons an idea of what is expected and permissible.

Lastly, a great talking point for your family is to discuss the function of a live orchestra. I loved seeing the orchestra at the amphitheater and the opportunity to explain to my son their purpose. Often times the orchestra is stationed in the orchestra pit which is hidden from the audience’s view. Some other questions my son asked that are worth discussing are: “What is the theater?”, “Why are they wearing costumes?”, “What are the [stage] lights for?”, and “Who is that person?”.

Seuss orchestra

Just the Facts!

When: Friday and Saturday 6/10 & 6/11, 6/17 & 6/18, 6/24 & 6/25, and just added: Thursday 6/30 & Friday 7/1. Gates open at 7 P.M. with performance starting at 8 P.M.

Where: Moonlight Musicals Amphitheatre at 413 East Broadway Lubbock, TX 79403.

How: Tickets are available at Select-a-Seat, online, or by calling 806-770-2000. Prices Range from $20-$28 for adults and $7-$15 for children. *For General admission child age is 5-9 years and Premium admission child age is 0-9 years.

Length: Lasts approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes with a 15 minute intermission.

Age: Recommended for ages 3 and up.

Planning to go?  Let us know how you like the show!  Write your reviews below.

Rebekah is a blogger and mom of 2 who has recently embraced Lubbock and the Hub City area as her home. You can reach her by leaving a response on this blog article.  Find her at HubCityMom.com

For more photos and full article, hop on over to Rebekah’s blog.

Photos by Rebekah Gillespie (unless noted). Images from Lubbock Moonlight Musicals 2016 production of Seussical.

 

Mom. You are not alone. Local insight and help for Postpartum Anxiety or Depression

by Kelly Martin, M.Ed, LPC
Owner, The Playroom Lubbock
Guest Contributor

Mom at sunriseIn the wake of Mother’s Day, we need to talk about something.  Let’s get raw and real.  You, mama, may be feeling the intense and overwhelming feelings of motherhood coupled with exhaustion and fears.  Life after the birth of your baby, and even life several months or even years after birth, is not quite like you expected or hoped it would be.  For most moms, sad or anxious feelings come and go.  Even the most upbeat mom can experience low days.  So how can we know if our sadness or anxiety or fears are something more serious?  What should you do if you’re depressed or anxious?

You are not alone.

Hope and healing awaits.

Please consider these 3 things if you have the feeling that something just isn’t right.

1. Read this article. It includes a quiz to differentiate between a case of the blues or depression. It will also provide guidance on lifestyle changes and what you can do to pull you out of a funk.

2. Consider connecting in a care group with other women with similar experiences here.

3. Email postpartumlubbock@gmail.com to inquire where to start. Another Lubbock area momma on the receiving end of that email will respond to you, will hear you, and can help guide you to resources if needed.

It’s a family affair.  

While many mothers suffer in silence with depression or anxiety after the birth of a baby, what is also not mentioned is that dads can also experience postpartum depression (PPD). In a significant number of households affected by PPD, both adults are suffering together.

Children of depressed parents have a heightened risk of emotional, intellectual, or behavioral problems. Developmentally their brains are very malleable as they learn motor skills and language. Their brains are growing neural connections, strengthening used connections, and shrinking neglected connections. The anxiety, frustration, and emotional strain caused by depression make a child’s brain more vulnerable. These conditions can impact a child even years down the road.

And yet, still hope.

Fortunately our brains are adaptable and moldable, meaning neural connections in the brain can be rewired through new experiences, new relationship connections, and healthy interactions with parents.

Holding Coffee

Taking a step…

If you recognize in yourself or in someone else the depression, anxiety, disturbing and intruding thoughts, or compulsive and irrational habits forming, please read the above article, connect with others who will understand, and email postpartumlubbock@gmail.com.

Kelly Martin is a Licensed Professional Counselor, parent, and owner of The Playroom Lubbock offering therapy counseling services specifically for children and adolescents. From individual and group Play Therapy to yoga and parent-included classes, Kelly and her team offer a wealth of support for local kiddos and parents.  Specialties include divorce care, self esteem, social skills, anxiety, grief, anger management, ADHD support… topics that hit home with many area kids and families.  Have questions or ideas for future blog topics?  Just comment below or you can contact Kelly directly at kelly@playroomlubbock.com and through her website at Playroomlubbock.com.

Standardized Test Prep and the Benefit of a Summer Prep Course

by Calli Christenson
Founder and Lead Consultant
CLC College Prep Services

Spring BreakCollege Tours (1)

045_CollegePrepCalli Christenson with CLC College Prep Services offers great advice for our readers in her latest post.  “Why consider test prep help for my teen over the summer?”  It’s a question that many parents struggle with and Calli helps answer here.  Calli and her team at CLC assist high school students across the country, and internationally, with the ever-changing college prep process… and they are based right here in Lubbock!  We are excited to share helpful education and college prep tips from Calli throughout the year at LubbockForKids.com.

In the increasingly competitive higher education admissions climate, standardized test scores provide a straightforward means for schools to evaluate potential applicants. While class rank, GPA and extracurriculars are important, test scores play a significant role in the admission review process and provide an even “playing field” for colleges to evaluate applicants who come from various types of high schools with varying opportunities and grading systems.

A strong test score allows students to stand out and can significantly impact the admission review process.

Furthermore, many colleges offer merit based financial aid that can considerably subsidize the cost of tuition and fees. Standardized test scores are one of the most common metrics used to differentiate between tiers of financial aid.

A strong test score will help students to be competitive for scholarships, both from colleges and outside organizations.

Junior students who score among the top of their peers on the PSAT have a chance to be designated as National Merit Scholars, which can often result in deep financial aid awards, including full tuition scholarships at many schools.

So, the pressing question is:

How does my child achieve a great score?

Very few students walk into a PSAT, SAT or ACT and receive a top score without some preparation leading up to the exam. The level of difficulty these exams present result in even the brightest students needing to prepare. We’ve found that the keys to scoring well on standardized exams come down to Knowledge, Strategy and Practice.

Knowledge:

Your student’s hard work in school lays the foundation for success on the SAT/ACT, but even students who perform well in the classroom will benefit from subject-matter review and content remediation, if necessary. Filling in the knowledge gaps and reviewing the fundamental concepts is an integral part of maximizing one’s potential on a standardized test. Practicing the large variety of question types for each test is essential, and understanding the content that is present on each exam will give students an upper-hand.

Strategy:

Test-taking strategies help students apply their content knowledge to the unique format of the standardized exams. Timed, multiple choice tests pose challenges that students may be unfamiliar with, despite having a lot of success in their high school classes. Test-taking strategies can help students pace themselves appropriately, avoid getting trapped by distractors (wrong answer choices), and make decisions about when and how to guess or skip a question to maximize the probability of choosing a correct answer. Students must be familiar with testing strategies in order to achieve their best score.

Practice:

Sound content knowledge and a repertoire of strategies are excellent starting points, but practice is essential in order for students to become familiar with the test questions and format. Familiarity leads to confidence and a reduction in test anxiety, which ultimately leads to better testing performance. Independent practice can be beneficial, especially for highly motivated and disciplined students but, often, guided practice in which students receive review, feedback, and support from an expert tutor is the most beneficial. Practice with an expert tutor will help students overcome the unique challenges the tests pose for different learning styles.

Even with good intentions it can be hard to maintain the discipline to study consistently on your own.

There are many great resources for practice available online; however, consistent and focused practice is necessary to take full advantage of those offerings. Tutors who are personally invested in motivating and meeting the unique needs of each student will help produce strong results. A collaborative, interactive classroom is a great environment for filling in knowledge gaps, in comparison to trying to “figure it out” on your own. The summer provides a great opportunity for focused test preparation without the demands of school and homework, and gives students the opportunity to acquire the skills they need to prepare for tests in June or early fall.

University clc

Photo provided by CLC College Prep Services

Calli Christenson is an Independent Educational Consultant and founder of CLC College Prep Services.  Prior to college consulting, she worked in undergraduate admissions, most recently serving as the Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Recruiting at Vanguard University of Southern California.  Calli is a Professional Member of the Independent Education Consultants Association (IECA) and holds a Certificate in Independent Educational Consulting from the University of California, Irvine. She is a member of the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), Texas Association for College Admission Counseling (TACAC) and a 2011 graduate of the IECA Summer Training Institute at Swarthmore College.

Questions for Calli?  Just comment below or she can be reached at calli@clccollegeprep.com. Follow her on Twitter @clccollegeprep and on Facebook at clccollegeprep

Financial Responsibility: Childs play?

We are always looking for great tips to share with local parents that help make our journey a little easier together!  That’s why we are proud to sponsor local consignment events like Just Between Friends and Cradles to Crayons that are so helpful for local families! Here’s a great article on the financial benefits that these events offer our kids from Just Between Friends.

Why Raising A Financially Responsible Child is Important
and How To Start  iStock_000019800764XSmall

Young adults today have opportunities to get into more financial trouble than previous generations. Take, for instance, the sky-rocketing percentages of college students receiving financial aid. A recent study showed that 60 percent of students obtaining a secondary education have taken out student loans to pay for tuition and living expenses. Outstanding student loans totaled over $1.2 trillion in 2015.

Credit card debt owed by U.S. Consumers has reached a staggering $712 billion. This means the average person has around $15,355 in credit card debt alone.

A contributing factor is, no doubt, income growth has been outpaced by the rise in cost of living expenses over the past 12 years. However, it is no surprise that over-spending habits and materialism have continued to expand America’s growing debt problems more than ever before.

There has never been a time when educating children on financial responsibility has been more important. Promoting work ethic and entrepreneurship, and teaching children healthy spending habits when they’re young will help ensure they become financially responsible adults.

And Just Between Friends of Lubbock, TX, a local bi-annual consignment sales event, offers a good venue for parents to start their children’s financial education experience.

“Every aspect of JBF promotes financial responsibility,” says Courtney Kattner, event coordinator for Lubbock JBF. “Consigning your children’s outgrown, un-used items is a great way to start teaching them the importance of getting the full value out of material goods purchased at retail prices and encourages entrepreneurship.”

Lubbock JBF consignors priced, tagged, and dropped off over 35,000 of their own items to the previous Back-to-School 2015 sale in August. Earning up to 70% of their gross sold items, the average consignor check was $409. Kattner, who also participates as a JBF consignor, says she makes enough money selling her own children’s items to purchase the majority of what they need for the next season without spending any additional money.

And the financial value gained by participating in consignment sales events don’t stop there. “Shopping for needed items at consignment sales before buying them from retail stores teaches families to use their financial resources wisely,” states Kattner. “I have been buying about 95% of my kids’ wardrobe at Lubbock JBF for the last 6 years. Because of JBF, I am financially able to provide my kids with almost everything they need, in brands they love, without creating financial stress for my family.”

Effective teaching of financial responsibility includes showing children how to live within your means. And living within your means, is finding a way to meet your needs without spending more than you get paid. If this financial value is not instilled in a child, you end up raising an overactive consumer or someone who is constantly competing with the Joneses. Consignment shopping shows children they can spend less money on what they need, creating more available money for items they want, while staying within their spending limits.

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Most consignment sales events, including Lubbock Just Between Friends, give a higher percentage to consignors who volunteer to help work the sale, promoting the idea that work ethic increases higher wages.

“Even the idea of earning a higher percentage in exchange for volunteer hours during the sale promotes solid financial values,” Kattner says. “When you volunteer and work a 4-hour shift during a Lubbock JBF sale, you earn a higher percent of your gross sold items, increasing the return on your initial investment.”

Showing your children the lesson that a little bit of work and time can have large-scale payoffs in the end is a virtue that will help lead them down the path of financial stability for years to come.

The bottom line is this: the best way to raise financially responsible children is to show them a good example. If your financial situation isn’t up to par, you can’t expect your children to pick up responsible spending habits. The good news is it’s never too late to start heading down the path of being a good financial steward. Baby steps lead to walking, then eventually running. And when it comes to your financial stability, running down the right path for as long as possible earns you huge rewards later in life for yourself and your children. Being a good financial role model could quite possibly end up being the greatest lesson you teach your children.

JBF Spring 2016 large

From Just Between Friends – Lubbock

To participate as a consignor or shopper, or to find out more details about the upcoming sale, Lubbock Just Between Friends Spring 2016 Consignment Sale happening March 9 – 12 at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center, visit their website at http://lubbock.jbfsale.com.