Houston Family Magazine https://houstonfamilymagazine.com Your Houston Resource for Everything Parenting & Events Tue, 06 Apr 2021 15:41:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.3 Why an Active Lifestyle Matters at Elevations RTC https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/family-wellness/why-an-active-lifestyle-matters-at-elevations-rtc/ https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/family-wellness/why-an-active-lifestyle-matters-at-elevations-rtc/#respond Mon, 05 Apr 2021 14:10:29 +0000 https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/?p=94170 Families looking for a residential treatment center for their teenagers are often focused on the recovery process to get back on track. However, there is something to be said for a well-rounded experience during this stay, and all the smaller things can contribute to the greater good. Living an active lifestyle on campus is something […]

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Families looking for a residential treatment center for their teenagers are often focused on the recovery process to get back on track. However, there is something to be said for a well-rounded experience during this stay, and all the smaller things can contribute to the greater good.

Living an active lifestyle on campus is something that Elevations RTC takes very seriously. There are many benefits to staying active, and students finding something that they really enjoy to take with them after graduation.

What are some of the benefits of an active lifestyle? Specifically for students, this is a bigger look at what activities tend to provide.

Activities 12 months out of the year

Staying active throughout the year is important to stay motivated at all times. There is nothing worse than getting outside and getting in a routine during the summer, only to stay locked up inside and inactive in the winter. Salt Lake City and surrounding areas have plenty of activities to do during all months out of the year. Even if there is significant snow on the ground, there are skiing and snowboarding trips available for students.

There is also the opportunity to spread out in the gym and other activity areas on campus. With so much space on campus, students never feel like they are crammed in, even when the weather is poor.

Healthier lifestyle

Living on campus gives students the option to eat healthily and stay active to reach physical goals. Many students might not initially realize just how much of a difference eating healthy and working out can affect their overall health. Once they see physical changes, and they notice mental changes, they can start to feel a new outlook on life overall.

A student who has specific goals for their health can have that as part of the program at Elevations individually. There are healthy choices for students at all times, so it is one of the easiest places to make something like this work.

Passions and distractions for life

With various activities available, there are so many opportunities for students to discover new passions in life they could have for quite a while. Some students already have a passion built-in before they arrive, while others are looking for something new that keeps them occupied.

The beauty of a passion is that it can go well beyond the campus at the Elevations RTC school. Ideally, a student can leave campus with something that keeps them motivated to improve and excel at. There are even some unique scenarios where an activity can turn into a career if a person wants to go that route.

Building friendships

Not all activities at Elevations RTC are team-oriented, but there are certainly enough for students to come out of their shells a bit and live a more active lifestyle with others. Building friendships with other students on campus can significantly help get through what can be a challenging time.

Every student has a different story, but the greater focus on graduation and living a better life afterward is relatable for everyone. Since most of the activities are focused on keeping things light and fun, this is a time for students to create friendships with those who have similar interests.

The reason why Elevations RTC offers so many options on campus is that students should never feel like they must settle. Not everyone will love snowboarding, basketball, or any other physical activity for that matter, but there will be a few that branch off into different opportunities.

Friendship does not begin and end at Elevations RTC either. There have been many instances where graduates have stayed in touch after the fact, even meeting up if it is possible. There is a special type of bond created by students enrolling at Elevations RTC because few others can relate to spending all that time on campus.

Encouraging activity

It is easy for students to fall into bad, unhealthy habits when at home. The campus setting and the constant movement around campus inspire people to stay as active as possible. This is great news for those who might not be that motivated themselves by default. As time goes on, seeing everyone else stay active also inspires people to follow and realize the benefits.

No matter what ultimately motivates students to get going at Elevations RTC, there are so many different noticeable benefits from the beginning. It becomes a bit of a snowball effect, as students build up momentum and really begin to dive into what they are thoroughly interested in.

There will be days for every individual out there that might not be as motivating as others, but creating a routine can help tremendously with those lacking that certain amount of drive. Most students are leaving Elevations RTC significantly healthier compared to their arrival. Making a few subtle changes might not seem like that much of a deal, but people definitely notice once they reunite with their family after the fact. After not seeing them for months at a time, they can finally see the impact these activities have made.

After graduation, staying active and eating the right things just comes down to individuals making smart decisions independently. It is not quite as easy as while on campus, but the foundation has been laid to have success for the rest of life in whatever activities keep a person going.

 

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4 smart Ways to Live Below Your Means https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/familyfinance/4-smart-ways-to-live-below-your-means/ https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/familyfinance/4-smart-ways-to-live-below-your-means/#respond Mon, 05 Apr 2021 13:56:09 +0000 https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/?p=94167 At some point, all of us have felt society’s pressure to live by a certain standard. The possession of material things has become a status symbol. The more things you have, the better off you are. Although we all know this to be false intellectually, it has been the catalyst to many of us living […]

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At some point, all of us have felt society’s pressure to live by a certain standard. The possession of material things has become a status symbol. The more things you have, the better off you are. Although we all know this to be false intellectually, it has been the catalyst to many of us living beyond our means.

The key to staying on top of your financial health is to work with what you have and use less than you need. When you get a boost in salary, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to start upgrading things like your car or your home. Living beyond your paycheck can quickly put you in financial trouble and cause a lot of stress just to impress the neighbors.

If times are tough, planning and living within your means is the best way to secure your money for the future. Let’s take a look at a few ways that you can live below your means and save money throughout your lifetime.

BUY USED

Buying a brand new car is a luxury, but not a priority. The purpose of having a car is to provide you with reliable transportation, not to make a statement about your wealth. You could choose to buy a brand new car that will cost you thousands of dollars in payments, interest, and insurance or you could go for a reliable and still stylish used car. For example, you could end up paying more than $30,000 for a new model or $6,000 for a slightly used car. The savings will benefit you more in your retirement or college fund.

Buying used can be extended beyond vehicles. There is no limit to purchases that you can make of used goods. Consider the money you could save if you choose to buy used clothing, books, and toys.

DOWNSIZED HOUSING

When you analyze your finances, there is no reason for two adults to pay for a mortgage on a four-bedroom home just because it is large and in the right fashionable neighborhood. When buying a home, take some time to consider how much room you need to live comfortably and what kind of mortgage payments won’t put a significant strain on your budget.

PAY OFF DEBT

Millions of people struggle with paying down their debt. If you want to live comfortably without the strain of massive debt hanging over your head, you have to be smart about how you manage your credit. Paying the minimum payment on your credit card balances or other loans will keep you in debt for years. Instead, be proactive in clearing your debt and dedicate at least 25% more than the minimum payment for each of your debts to pay them off faster and save on interest. Finding ways to get some fast cash can go a long way to helping pay off the amount owing without dipping into your savings.

CREATE A BUDGET

You can’t manage your finances without having an understanding of your money situation. Track your spending for an entire month to create a budget that will give you a clearer picture of your finances. Once you can see where your money is going, you will make decisions about where cuts can be made.

Living below your means doesn’t mean that you have to cut out everything that makes your life enjoyable, but you have to be willing to cut back on expenses that aren’t a priority. Follow some of these tips to help you live an extraordinary life that is within your means and get yourself and your family on a strong financial foundation.

 

 

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Car Safety Tips to Take to Heart During Every Family Road Trip https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/family-travel/car-safety-tips-to-take-to-heart-during-every-family-road-trip/ https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/family-travel/car-safety-tips-to-take-to-heart-during-every-family-road-trip/#respond Mon, 05 Apr 2021 13:50:37 +0000 https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/?p=94164 One of the best ways to create cherished memories with your family is to travel with them. As a parent, your responsibilities extend beyond the enjoyment and comfort of your family. Security and safety are just some of the things that are often overlooked in favor of the adventures you’re about to have. Here are […]

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One of the best ways to create cherished memories with your family is to travel with them. As a parent, your responsibilities extend beyond the enjoyment and comfort of your family. Security and safety are just some of the things that are often overlooked in favor of the adventures you’re about to have. Here are some of the most important car safety tips that you need to keep in mind every time you go on a road trip.

Make Sure Your Car Is in Traveling Condition

Before any trip, always take your car to your local shop to have it checked. Your car needs to be in good working condition to avoid any accidents and inconveniences that could ruin your trip. Ensure that your brakes and tires are in good condition, and check your vehicle’s fluids and make sure that they’re within accepted levels. A lot of car breakdowns and accidents can be avoided with this simple checkup.

Prepare for Inclement Weather

It’s important to always take the possibility of inclement weather into account, especially when you consider the effects of climate change. About 21% of car accidents are caused by inclement weather. If you’re caught in a storm, it’s best to stop at a parking lot or hotel if you’re uncomfortable with driving through bad weather.

Always Bring Emergency Supplies

Since you’re going to be travelling to a place far from your comfort zone, it’s important to bring emergency supplies such as a portable cellphone charger, powerbank, jumper cables, blankets, extra clothes, jackets, flares, water, non-perishable food, and a first aid kit. These emergency supplies will drastically increase your chances of survival in the event that you get stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Get Plenty of Rest Before Driving

Fatigue is one of the biggest dangers drivers face during long trips. Extended periods of driving increase the risk of drowsy driving, which was found to have caused about 91,000 accidents in 2017. Fatigue impedes reaction time, decision making, and focus, all of which are necessary to avoid accidents. Studies have found that driving for 18 hours straight is similar to driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.05%, which is just 0.03% short of being in a state of intoxication.

Tie Everything Down

It’s important to ensure that everything in your car is secured in place. Even small objects can become projectiles at the moment of an impact. Remember that the kinetic force involved in a collision creates massive force. Even when you’re strapped to your seats during a collision, anything that isn’t strapped down can hit you or your passengers. A bit of foresight could save lives.

Finally, it should be noted that there are simply times when accidents happen despite our best efforts at avoiding them. Knowing how to prevent accidents is only half the battle. Knowing what to do after an accident is just as important. If you do find yourself in a car accident during your family road trip, it’s important that you focus on getting quality personal injury law advice once you’ve gotten everybody to safety.

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4 Talks to Have With Aging Parents Before It’s Too Late https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/family-life/4-talks-to-have-with-aging-parents-before-its-too-late/ https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/family-life/4-talks-to-have-with-aging-parents-before-its-too-late/#respond Mon, 05 Apr 2021 13:47:50 +0000 https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/?p=94161 Realizing that your parents are getting older and your roles are reversing can be a difficult pill to swallow. Sensitive topics like this are always difficult to broach, and apprehension can kick in as you wonder how the other party will take what you have to say. The reality is that the significant changes to […]

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Realizing that your parents are getting older and your roles are reversing can be a difficult pill to swallow. Sensitive topics like this are always difficult to broach, and apprehension can kick in as you wonder how the other party will take what you have to say. The reality is that the significant changes to your parent’s life will also affect those around them. While at one time you may have looked to your parents for guidance, now you are the one who needs to take on this role. Here are some difficult but necessary discussions to have with your aging parents.

 

Start the Conversation

Discussing your parents’ wishes before there is an issue at hand is ideal. Most people are more practical about a situation if it seems a long way off in the future. Granted, not every family will have the luxury of time, but if you can, try to have discussions years before the need arises. The worst time to have a conversation with an aged parent is when they are already flustered after crashing the car, or you find them lost and disorientated.

 

Funeral Instructions

Discussions about death are more straightforward when it is not imminent. Look for ways to naturally bring up the subject of your parent’s funeral wishes, like when they are talking about a friend that has recently passed away. You may find that your parents have already made significant headway on their plans. Moreover, many seniors prefer to discuss their funeral arrangements to ensure it will be to their preferences. Some of the topics to discuss include:

 

  • Would they choose burial or cremation?
  • Do they have a burial plot?
  • Where would they like to be buried or scattered?
  • Would they prefer a “do not resuscitate” or DNR order in their final days?
  • Would they like a religious ceremony, or do they have a special place for the funeral?

 

Assisted Living

There may come a time when your parents are not able to fully take care of themselves. You also may not have the time or space to take on the additional and challenging role of caring for elderly parents. Talk to them about what to look for in an assisted living facility. You can book a tour to check out different places and even book in for day stays or short-term care at some locations. Having these conversations early will give your parents time to process the various options and state their priorities.

 

Legalities and Paperwork

Money matters can be the most difficult of all conversations to have with parents. You don’t want to come across as money-grabbing, nor do you want them to feel like they are losing their independence. Chat to your parents about having a folder that includes the following information:

  • Do they have a will?
  • Where is the will located?
  • Who is their lawyer?
  • Will they offer you permission to speak with their lawyer?
  • Who is the executor of their estate?
  • Do they have powers of attorney?
  • Do they have a list of their monthly utility bills?
  • Where do they keep their tax returns?
  • Do they have a list of their various bank accounts?
  • Do they have a safety deposit box?

Although these pragmatic discussions can be tricky, it will be a lot harder to find this information during a crisis.

Talking with your parents about the effects of aging and the associated challenges for independence, finances, and care is never easy. Some families have much more open communication lines than others or may have a more pragmatic way of dealing with the business of moving on in years. Despite how anxiety-provoking these talks might be, the best time to start is now.

 

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How to Best Care for Aging Parents https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/family-life/how-to-best-care-for-aging-parents/ https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/family-life/how-to-best-care-for-aging-parents/#respond Mon, 05 Apr 2021 13:45:03 +0000 https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/?p=94158 At some point in life, there comes a time when parents begin to age. At first, the changes that are noticed could be simple. Whether it’s repeating a sentence or developing discomfort in the joints, these small changes begin to take a toll on older adults. When watching your parents age, it can be difficult […]

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At some point in life, there comes a time when parents begin to age. At first, the changes that are noticed could be simple. Whether it’s repeating a sentence or developing discomfort in the joints, these small changes begin to take a toll on older adults. When watching your parents age, it can be difficult to know how to help them. In reality, you cannot reverse the aging process. Instead, you can intentionally care for your parents during a very difficult time. In this article, we will share how you can best care for your aging parents.

1. Be a Listening Ear

As people get older, they often want to reminisce on good memories. With age sometimes comes a lack of social awareness. Older individuals tend to ramble on for extended periods of time. Although you may find this annoying, it is meaningful to listen to everything that elders have to say. When you ask follow-up questions and engage in conversation, your parents will feel loved and cared for. In the last years of life, many senior citizens are fueled by relationships and quality conversations.

2. Know When to Let Go

As a child, it is easy to believe that you know what is best for your parents. In some instances, you may have more insights about certain behavioral patterns. At other times, the doctor holds a lot of knowledge about what is best for an aging individual. Rather than fighting for what you want for your parents, it is best to make an objective decision about what is right for them. At a certain point, you may have to trust that your parents will do well in a senior care facility. You can aid your parents by finding the best senior care options that are available near you.

3. Talk to Them Honestly About What Is Happening

If your parents are struggling to focus or remember certain aspects of their life, it is important that you stay honest about their current circumstances. If you try to sugarcoat the reality of their situation, it could cause more confusion for them. Although it is difficult to face the truth, it will give your parents the opportunity to make the most of their days.

4. Start a Joint Journal

Begin by writing down notes to your parents in a journal. Share fond memories, acknowledge your favorite traits about them, and tell them how they have inspired you personally. When they have energy, your parents can begin writing down memories from the past. In addition, they can share their words of wisdom about the most important things in life. Not only will this be a great way to encourage and affirm these individuals, it will be a meaningful souvenir that you can keep with you once your parents pass away.

Summary

Dealing with loss is challenging. During times of sadness, we often react with impatience, resentment, and lack of self-control. Rather than panicking at the reality of the aging process, take the time to make memories with your parents. When you look back, you will appreciate that you soaked in every moment that you had available with the people that you love.

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What to Do When Camping With a Baby https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/family-fun/what-to-do-when-camping-with-a-baby/ https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/family-fun/what-to-do-when-camping-with-a-baby/#respond Mon, 05 Apr 2021 13:41:14 +0000 https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/?p=94155 Camping is an enjoyable activity that you can do with your family, but adding a baby into the mix calls for additional planning and considerations. However, it does not mean that you should completely abandon the idea. Here are some tips to help you pull this off so you can have a weekend to remember […]

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Camping is an enjoyable activity that you can do with your family, but adding a baby into the mix calls for additional planning and considerations. However, it does not mean that you should completely abandon the idea. Here are some tips to help you pull this off so you can have a weekend to remember with your family:

Have a Trial Camping at Home

Set up your tent in the backyard and “camp out” at night. It will be an effective way to prepare your kids for what they can expect during your camping trip. It will also be a way for you and your partner to identify what baby essentials to pack for your actual camping trip. During the trial run, you can quickly get back in the house what you don’t have, and it will also give you an idea of what items you will need that you still have to buy.

Search for a Nearby Campsite

It will also be a nice option if you can look for a campsite that is within a reasonable distance from your home, with the idea that you can pack up and go home easily should things not go according to plan. Once you have a good familiarity with camping with a baby, you can start venturing a little farther from your home so you can explore nature around Houston.

Pack the Right Items

Make sure that you have tons of diapers and wipes for your baby. This is one item you should not forget because it can be challenging to look for a nearby store that sells diapers. You will need plenty of wipes because they will be extremely useful during changing times and feeding times. Bring blankets as well. The best blankets for babies would be something thick enough to keep them warm at night. Remember, babies may still find it hard to regulate their temperature, so they must always be kept warm. You should also make sure that you have comfortable clothes for your baby during the day. Pack breathable clothing so your baby won’t feel uncomfortable whatever time of the day.

Bring Portable Items

Aside from clothing, you also need to think about having portable camping gear for your baby so you and your family can have an enjoyable outdoor adventure. Portable items should be easy to set up and pack away and not take up much space. Some of the portable things you may bring include:

  • Camping chair
  • Pop-up playpen
  • Changing mat
  • Travel cot

Get a Baby-Friendly Camping Tent

It’s essential that you get a camping tent big enough to accommodate your family plus your baby camping gear. It is also an ideal choice to get a camping tent that has a separate sleeping area so everyone can stay in the tent comfortably.

Choose a Quiet Spot

Babies would sleep most times of the day. Additionally, babies can get cranky and cry endlessly. That’s why it should be a must for parents to choose a spot in the campsite where the baby can rest, and other campers can enjoy their time at the campgrounds. Make sure to pitch your tent away from on-site facilities where most camp goers will flock.

Inform Your Neighbors

It will be taken as a sign of courtesy if you can go out and inform your neighbors that you are camping with a baby. If you prepared earplugs, you could hand them out so they won’t have to suffer in case your baby throws a fit.

Camping with a baby should be easy if you follow these tips. Before you know it, camping with your baby is just another walk in the park.

 

 

 

 

 

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Poetry Inspired Books https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/book-bites/poetry-inspired-books-3/ https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/book-bites/poetry-inspired-books-3/#respond Thu, 01 Apr 2021 02:34:45 +0000 https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/?p=94112 Celebrating Poetry – HFM Book Bites Valerie Koehler, the owner of the Blue Willow Bookshops, shares some of her favorite poetry inspired  books. If you’re in the Memorial area of Houston and looking for a quaint little bookshop to take the kids or even just browse the shelves yourself head on over to  Blue Willow […]

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Celebrating Poetry - HFM Book Bites

Valerie Koehler, the owner of the Blue Willow Bookshops, shares some of her favorite poetry inspired  books.

If you’re in the Memorial area of Houston and looking for a quaint little bookshop to take the kids or even just browse the shelves yourself head on over to  Blue Willow Bookshop at 14532 Memorial Drive, Houston, TX 77079 or visit online at www.BlueWillowBookshops.com.

The Poet X

by Elizabeth Acevedo

A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world in this debut novel by renowned slam poet Acevedo.

 

No More Poems

by Rhett Miller

Acclaimed singer-songwriter Miller teams up with Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat in this collection of irreverent poems full of clever wordplay and bright visual gags

 

Long Way Down

by Jason Reynolds 

In this novel written in verse for teens, fifteen-year-old Will sets out to avenge his brother Shawn’s fatal shooting and is counseled on his elevator ride by seven ghosts who knew Shawn.

 

I’m Just No Good At Rhyming

by Chris Harris

This hilarious debut molds wit and wordplay, nonsense and oxymoron, and visual and verbal sleight-of-hand in masterful ways that make you look at the world in a whole new wonderfully upside-down way.

 

I Am Loved

by Nikki Giovanni

Newbery Honoree Ashley Bryan adds a visual layering to a dozen poems by National Book Award winner Giovanni that drum home the most important message: “You are loved.” 

Everything Comes Next

by Naomi Shihab Nye

Here are Naomi Shihab Nye’s most beloved poems, including “Famous,” “A Valentine for Ernest Mann,” “Kindness,” and “Gate A-4,” as well as new, unpublished poems.

Blooming Beneath The Sun

by Christina Rossetti

Classic nursery rhymes by 19th-century poet Rossetti have embodied the simple essence of childhood for generations, and Ashley Bryan brings new life to them in this wonderfully illustrated selection.

Counting Sheep

by Jacqueline Kelly

In rural Texas in 1901, 13-year-old Callie nurses a butterfly with a broken wing and delivers a baby lamb, despite her mother’s disapproval of Callie’s “unladylike behavior.” 

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Galveston from the water https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/family-fun/galveston-from-the-water/ https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/family-fun/galveston-from-the-water/#respond Thu, 01 Apr 2021 02:32:23 +0000 https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/?p=94109 Galveston from the water. There is a plethora of ways to watch all life on the water and enjoy the stunning scenery that surrounds it. Whatever options you prefer, just the fact that you’re alone or with friends and family offers some of the best sightseeing angles and people watching (the water is always bustling […]

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Galveston from the water. There is a plethora of ways to watch all life on the water and enjoy the stunning scenery that surrounds it. Whatever options you prefer, just the fact that you’re alone or with friends and family offers some of the best sightseeing angles and people watching (the water is always bustling with activity on a nice day) that Galveston has to offer. Soak up spectacular views of the sun and sunsets as it displays an array of colors dancing on the water’s surface. Get to the coastline and explore Galveston from the water!

Beach

With 32 miles of shoreline Galveston Island offers something for every kind of beachgoer. Any beach you decide on will surely give you the repose or adventure you are looking for.

Surf the coast

The dirty little secret is that Galveston can get some pretty fair surf so why not grab a board and surf a wave? If you’re a beginner, check out Ohana Surf and Skate or C-Sick Surfin’. Surfing is for all ages.

Power Ride or glide on a Kayak

For a laid-back exploration, plan a Galveston kayak tour. There are several companies that offer single and tandem kayak tours. Enjoy the sunset on the water and bring your favorite beverage to toast the end of another beautiful island day. Check out www.beachtowntours.com/kayak-tours or choose a cruise and relax while you coast around Galveston Bay. If you prefer to power your exploration, there are also several jet boat rentals available for your perfect island day. Visit www.galvestonwateradventures.com.

Jump out of the water

Probably one of the most popular boat tours is to watch the dolphins splash and play. Head over to Pier 21 to select your time and boat. While you are there, stop and visit the Texas Seaport Museum and the tall ship Elissa. The ship was built in 1877 and is considered one of the finest restored historical vessels in the US. If you want to see more, drive over to nearby Seawolf Park for a peek at a WWII-era US Navy submarine and the USS Stewart, a destroyer from the same period.

Catch of the Day

Galveston’s location makes it a top spot for fishing, which ranks among the most popular Galveston water activities so why not fish with a local expert? The area has several companies that offer fishing excursions, listed below are 3 that you may consider.

Angler Charters caters to groups. All trips can be customized with catering, beverages, time extensions and sail time, providing the perfect adventure.

Captain Cody offers bay and offshore fishing charters that specializes in catching large fish close to shore but will take visitors as far out as 70 miles.

Reel Men Fishing Charters  offers options and gear for a day reeling in the fun as well as sunset and bay cruises.

For the naturalist

If you are a nature enthusiast, head to Galveston Island State Park, where you can go walking along the boardwalks, kayaking through the bayou, and bird-watching on the bay side. The beach side area of the park (south of FM 3005) is closed to all visitation until 2022 due to renovations.
There are a number of trails and boardwalks over dunes and marshes as well as observation platforms. You can swim, fish, picnic, bird watch, hike, mountain bike, paddle, camp, geocache with the kids, study nature or just relax! The park also does a good job of presenting family activities on a regular basis, so be sure to check the calendar and visit the nature center to learn more about the park and its programs.

Paddle Your Heart Out

Explore the State Park by Paddle. There is a plethora of paddling trails to choose from. https://tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/boat/paddlingtrails/coastal/galveston/

The Galveston State Park does not rent canoes or kayaks however, there are a few options for rentals and shuttles:

Staff and Friends of Galveston Island State Park has supplies on a first come first serve basis as well as trained kayak guides who can accommodate groups of up to 15 people for scheduled kayak tours.

Artist Boat has certified kayak instructors who can lead you to great water explorations.

Austin Canoe and Kayak rents out kayaks, canoes and standup paddle boards by the day. http://www.austinkayak.com/rentals.php

REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) rents kayaks, canoes, paddles and PFDs (personal flotation devices). Visit your nearest REI co-op to see what’s available closest to you.  http://www.rei.com/FindStores?state=TX&radius=900

If you still need more reasons to get excited to explore Galveston Bay from the water, check out the wide range of resources for a virtual activities to build up momentum https://www.galvestonnaturetourism.org/virtualactivities/. Get to the coastline and explore Galveston from the water!

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Honey Bees: Danessa ‘Nes’ Yaschuk https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/features/i-am-houston-danessa-nes-yaschuk/ https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/features/i-am-houston-danessa-nes-yaschuk/#respond Thu, 01 Apr 2021 02:28:09 +0000 https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/?p=94107 Meet Founder of SweetNes Honey Apiaries Danessa ‘Nes’ Yaschuk! We were recently given the opportunity to meet with husband and wife duo Brent and Danessa ‘Nes’ Yaschuk of SweetNes Honey Apiaries and explore their beekeeping and honey production operation located in Damon, Texas. It was an amazing and educational experience for the kids who were […]

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Meet Founder of SweetNes Honey Apiaries Danessa ‘Nes’ Yaschuk!

We were recently given the opportunity to meet with husband and wife duo Brent and Danessa ‘Nes’ Yaschuk of SweetNes Honey Apiaries and explore their beekeeping and honey production operation located in Damon, Texas. It was an amazing and educational experience for the kids who were able to participate. SweetNes Honey Apiaries owner Nes grew up in Houston and started a beekeeping business to save the bees and to educate the next generations on the importance the honeybees and other pollinators have on our ecosystem.

How It All BEEgan:

My fascination with bees began when I was eight years old. Our home in Houston, Texas, had a Wax Leaf Ligustrum shrub right outside our kitchen window. Every spring it would be buzzing with honeybees and other mesmerizing pollinators. I could spend hours watching them, and I soon discovered a passion for catching and releasing bees. I would use Ziplock bags to catch the bees and pop them into large plastic coke bottles (dry of course) with holes poked in them. I would keep count of how many I could get. Through my youthful scientific observations, I learned they were collecting the pollen from the flowers and storing it on their legs. My curiosity often resulted in my mom telling me to stop playing with the bees after doctoring up my many stings. Yet every time I would run back out to catch more. My friends would sit far away on the sidewalk to watch. I don’t know why they never wanted to catch bees with me?! By then, all of my friends and family referred to me as “Nes” or “Nessa” and I remember joking that if I ever owned a boat, I would name it SweetNes. The year was 1988 and I had never really heard much about beekeeping or beekeepers, nor did I really understand what they did. Never could I have imagined how the name SweetNes would come into play in the future!

Fast forward many years later, after school, college and many different jobs, I met my future husband Brent. We married and eventually moved to the suburbs of Sienna, in Missouri City, where we expanded our family with two super cute little boys and a dog named Sketch. I was working as an office manager and although I liked my job, it was not my passion. I hated being stuck indoors behind a computer screen on beautiful days. One evening while sitting in bed working on my laptop, I sat up and blurted out to Brent, “You know what I really want to do? I want to be a beekeeper!” Total silence. Then he looked at me like I had grown a third eye. He thought I was crazy.

The BEEquel:

I started studying everything I could find about bees and beekeeping. I followed beekeepers on social media, collected books and joined all the local bee clubs I could find. I attended the Fort Bend Beekeepers Association and convinced a senior beekeeper to mentor me. He reluctantly did so. He was a grumpy guy, but I ran full speed ahead and caught my first swarm of bees in my own backyard! I was officially a beekeeper! By the end of the week, I had two, and by the end of the month I had six hives. I partnered up with another hobbyist beekeeper and we started providing bee removal services to our community. We did professional cutouts and repairs to safely remove the bees. Doing this resulted in our apiary growing rapidly. We continued doing bee removal for a few years. Meanwhile, Brent and I started a farmer’s market in our community and sold honey there as well. I bought a large block of beeswax from my mentor and started teaching myself how to make candles and other beeswax products.

My beautiful candles smelled amazing so I decided to create an Etsy shop to see if they would sell. I had to come up with a name for my shop and I already knew that SweetNes would be a part of it. SweetNes Honey Apiaries & Beetique was born in 2015.

Bees hard at work

Challenges Come With Opportunity:

Our apiary was located on someone else’s property. Unfortunately, their property completely flooded during Hurricane Harvey and we lost over half of our bees. We decided to take the plunge and move to an acreage in Damon, Texas where we could rebuild and grow the business. We quickly built up our apiary and then some. I became the Vice President at the Fort Bend Beekeepers Association going on two years now. One of our members announced that they were retiring and selling off their entire honey business. My husband, being the entrepreneur that he is, jumped at the opportunity, and the next thing I know ‘HE’ is buying the business! Who is crazy now!? We went from 50 hives to 150. Never in a million years did I, or Brent, think that HE would become a beekeeper! HA! When I first started beekeeping, he got involved with the business side of it, but definitely not the bee side of it. Today he is elbow deep in bees with me and loves selling honey on the side of the road. We make a pretty good team overall. He is the analytical ‘big picture’ and numbers guy, while I am more creative, detail oriented and ‘it’s the small things that matter’ person. We harmoniously balance each other out.

Unique Selling Points:

Here at SweetNes Honey Apiaries & Beetique we take pride in offering an array of all-natural high-quality products straight from our beehive. Pure raw unfiltered wildflower, clover, Tallow and Huajilla honey to name a few, creamed honey in an assortment of flavors, organically infused honey, honey sticks, fresh cut comb, pollen, natural beeswax in bulk, beeswax candles, balms and many other bee-made and bee-themed items. We do all of our own beekeeping and honey production. We are a family owned and operated Honey Farm, Honeybee Rescue and Beetique.

Our Products:

Our sweet products can be found on our website at www.sweetneshoney.com or on Etsy at SweetNes Honey Beetique. We do doorstep deliveries ourselves to local places. If you are further away, we will promptly ship it to you. You can also find our products in many retail locations as well: Jr’s Texas Best Smokehouse, Needville Feed & Supply, Select HEBs, Novak’s Meat Market, Prasek’s Hillje Smokehouse, Hinze’s Country Kitchen, Silver Sycamore, Home Studio 6, Wharton Feed & Supply, and more. You can also catch us from time to time at local farmers markets, Blessington Farms as well as Dewberry Farm. We love getting out and mingling with people and letting everyone try our products. If you ever have any questions about a specific product, where it’s available or just want to chat, give us a buzz at: hihoney@sweetneshoney.com.

Brent gives Sophia a close-up look of the bees at work.

Bee-A-Keeper Tours:

Have you ever wondered how honey is made? How bees work together inside their beehives? Or what exactly a beekeeper does? Well now you can experience just that! SweetNes Honey Apiaries & Beetique offers ‘Bee-a-Keeper Tour’ where you can explore all things bees! From bees and beekeeping to hive tools and honey – we will show you in detail what we do. You will be able to don a beekeeping suit, light a smoker and look deep inside an active beehive. You are free to take as many pictures and silly selfies with the honeybees as you like! People of all ages are welcome to come and tour our Honey House, where we process our honey, stroll the apiary here on site and learn about bees. We also have some adorable other furry friends roaming around waiting to be loved. Whether you are interested in becoming a beekeeper, or you just to want to fulfill an item off your bucket list, we are here to help!

Bailey gets up close and personal with a worker bee

Our Aspirations:

Our passion for bees goes much further than just harvesting that beautiful golden honey. We offer honeybee educational presentations to schools, boy and girl scout troops, small groups, networking events, environmental day events, corporate business events, families and even parties. We bring in an observation hive with live honeybees at work so that adults and children alike can take a peek inside the honeybee hive to see what the bees are up to. We bring items they can see, smell and touch, such as beekeeping equipment, products from the hive and even some honey sticks to take home. We want to teach as well as inspire creativity and a love for nature. We strive to bring awareness for our buzzy, fuzzy friends, the pollinators, and how important they are to our food supply and overall ecosystem.

Emily learns how to use the smoker to calm the buzzing bees

SweetNes Honey Apiaries & Beetique “A little something to make life sweeter!”
online: www.sweetneshoney.com | instagram @sweetnes_honey_apiaries | facebook @SweetNesHoneyBeetique

Photos by Be Captured by Christina follow her on instagram @be_captured_by_christina

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Bunny Butt Cupcakes: A Sweet Easter Treat https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/family-food/bunny-butt-cupcakes-a-sweet-easter-treat/ https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/family-food/bunny-butt-cupcakes-a-sweet-easter-treat/#respond Thu, 01 Apr 2021 02:15:52 +0000 https://houstonfamilymagazine.com/?p=94105 Bunny Butt Cupcakes: A Sweet Easter Treat. Recipe courtesy of Amanda Rettke of “I am baker” Prep time: 45 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes | Servings: 24 Ingredients 1 2-layer size white cake mix 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons, Pure Lemon Extract, divided 1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract 3/4 cup white chocolate chips 2 […]

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Bunny Butt Cupcakes: A Sweet Easter Treat. Recipe courtesy of Amanda Rettke of “I am baker”

Prep time: 45 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes | Servings: 24

Ingredients

1 2-layer size white cake mix
1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons, Pure Lemon Extract, divided
1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
2 sticks butter, softened
16 ounces confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk
10 drops Green Food Color
1-2 drops Red Food Color
12 large marshmallows, halved crosswise
3 tablespoons white ball sprinkles

To make cake

Prepare cake mix as directed on package, adding 1 tablespoon lemon extract and vanilla. Spoon 3 tablespoons batter into 24 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake as directed on package for cupcakes. Cool cupcakes on wire rack.

To make bunny feet

In medium, microwave-safe bowl, microwave white chocolate chips on high 30 seconds. Stir until completely melted and smooth. Spoon into pastry bag or re-sealable plastic bag. Snip small corner from bag. Pipe 24 pairs of bunny feet onto parchment or wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Use toothpick to smooth out bumps or rough edges, and gently tap cookie sheet on counter to help settle. Allow to harden 2 minutes in freezer or 15 minutes in refrigerator.

To make frosting

In large bowl, beat butter and remaining lemon extract until light and fluffy. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating well after each addition and scraping sides and bottom of bowl frequently. Add milk; beat until light and fluffy. Remove half the frosting and place in medium bowl. Add green food color; mix until evenly blended. Spoon into pastry bag fitted with grass decorating tip. Set aside. Remove half the remaining frosting into small bowl. Add red food color; mix until light pink. Spoon into another pastry bag.

Using pink frosting, pipe three toes and padding on each bunny foot. Once frosting has set (about 1 hour) gently press down on pink frosting to create smoother look.

To assemble cupcakes

Pipe green frosting onto each cupcake in series of short motions to create individual grass spots. Cover top of each cupcake completely.

To make bunny butts

Place cut sides of marshmallow halves onto each frosted cupcake, leaving room for bunny feet. Shape remaining white frosting into dime-sized balls then roll with white sprinkles to cover. Pipe small drop of remaining pink or white frosting onto top of each marshmallow. Press bunny tail on top.

Place both bunny feet against base of marshmallow with toes facing down.

Tip: Looking for a more fuzzy butt for your bunnies, try dipping your marshmallows in white chocolate and rolling in coconut. Check out the full video online at https://iambaker.net/bunny-butt-cupcakes/

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