Toy shopping for the kids? Look out for these things

Scooters are the toys most often associated with emergency room visits. Deborah Cannon/American-Statesman 2013
Scooters are the toys most often associated with emergency room visits. Deborah Cannon/American-Statesman 2013

The Consumer Product Safety Commission released a new report about toy safety in America. In 2015, there were 185,000 toy-related emergency department-treated injuries and 11 deaths in children ages 15 and younger.

The toy that caused the most trauma? Non-motorized scooters — 45 percent of the injuries were because of a scooter. Bumps, bruises and cuts were the most common injury, and the head and face were the most affected area.

 

 

Dr. Eric Higginbotham, who leads the emergency department at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, recommends that parents inspect toys given to their children before giving them to them.

Higginbotham and the commission recommend looking out for toys that have these features:

  • Magnets – Children’s magnetic toys are covered by a strong safety standard that aims to prevent magnets from being swallowed.
  • Balloons – Children can choke or suffocate on deflated or broken balloons. Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than 8 years old. Discard torn balloons immediately.
  • Small balls and other toys with small parts – For children younger than age 3, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.
  • Scooters and other riding toys – Riding toys, skateboards and in-line skates go fast, and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should be worn properly at all times, and they should be sized to fit. Also look out for cars.
  • Stuffed toys, dolls, doll accessories and toy figurines can cause suffocating.
  • Water guns can cause drowning.
  • Battery charging should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to young children. Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack any mechanism to prevent overcharging.

When shopping for toys follow these tips:

  • Study the label: It’s important to know how to properly use the toy. Read warning labels and instruction manuals to learn about proper play, and then give your child pointers on safe use.
  • Shop for age-appropriate toys:  Check the packaging for age limitations. Later, keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger siblings.
  • Go big: To prevent choking, make sure the toys are too large to fit inside your child’s mouth.
  • Buy safety gear: For bikes, skateboards and similar toys, make sure your child is properly fitted with a helmet and pads.
  • Check the sound levels: Avoid any toys that are too loud to prevent hearing damage.
  • Beware of battery operated toys: Make sure your little one can’t remove the battery. “Button-style” batteries can cause potentially fatal internal burning when swallowed.
  • Look for non-toxic toys: Make sure toys don’t contain toxic materials that could be poisonous.
  • No matter what, supervise your child: Any toy can be dangerous without parental supervision.

Heading out with kids this Thanksgiving? Make sure they are in the right car seat

Buckle Up for Life, a national injury prevention program, offers these tips for car seat safety this holiday season:

  • Use the “Inch and Pinch” Test. After you’ve buckled your child in, pinch the car seat strap near their shoulders. If you can pinch a wrinkle in the fabric, tighten the strap until it is snug. Then grab the car seat at the bottom where it is attached to the car and tug from side to side and front to back. If the seat moves more than an inch in either direction, tighten it.
  • Secure Holiday “Extras” in the Car. Make sure that all gifts, luggage and other holiday “extras” are tightly secured in your vehicle. These objects could become projectiles in the event of a crash.
  • Ensure Your Child’s Seat Faces the Correct Way. Some parents and caregivers may wonder when it’s safe to turn the car seat around to face forward. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children remain in rear-facing car seats until age two, or until they exceed the height or weight limit for the seat.
  • Remove Your Child’s Winter Coat. Before securing your child in their seat, remove their winter coat. A coat can prevent the harness from fitting correctly. It also could compress in a crash, compromising the seat’s ability to protect your child.
  • Don’t Rent a Car Seat. Traveling by plane? If you are renting a car, use your own car seat. When you rent a seat you don’t know important facts about its history that could affect its ability to protect your child (e.g., expiration date, crash history, etc.) The good news is that many airlines allow you to check your car seat for free.

A few years ago, we created our own car seat safety guide that included not just children in car seats but also children in booster seats as well as when kids could go without boosters and when they could enter the front seat domain.

Find it here or find our cheat sheet below.

carseats2Where’s the safest place for your passengers?

Keep the youngest in the middle of the car and have the right kind of car seat for each passenger based on age and weight.

1. A teenager or an adult can ride in the front seat with a seat belt on. The safest place is still the back seat.

2. An infant must be in a rear-facing car seat.

3. Adult drivers must wear seat belts.

4. Children younger than age 2 should be in rear-facing car seats.

5. A 4- to 7-year-old should sit in a high-back booster seat until he reaches the upper weight and/or height limit for the seat.

6. A 2- to 4-year-old should ride in a forward-facing car seat until he reaches the upper weight and/or height limit for the seat.

7. An 8- to 12-year-old less than 4 feet 9 inches can be in a high-back booster or a low-back booster used with the car’s adjustable head rest until he reaches the upper weight and/or height of the seat.

Sources: Dell Children’s Medical Center, Safe Kids Austin, American Academy of Pediatrics

 

 

Plan ahead for family fun in December in Austin

So many great things to do next month. Check out our calendar.

Events

rgz trail of lights 05
The Trail of Lights opens Dec. 10 in Zilker Park. American-Statesman Staff

Elgin Christmas Tree Farm. Hayride, pick your own tree, crazy maze, playground and more. Open for the season beginning 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. through Dec. 21. 120 Nature’s Way, Elgin. elginchristmastreefarm.com.

Evergreen Christmas Tree Farm. Cut your own tree and then play old-fashioned games or roast marshmallows. 10 a.m. to dark through Dec. 24. 242 Monkey Road, Elgin. evergreen-farms.com.

Santa in the Garden. Find your favorite jolly old elf among the plants. 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dec. 3. Zilker Botanical Garden. 2220 Barton Springs Road. $3-$1. austintexas.gov

Breakfast with Santa. A light breakfast, crafts, a sing-along and Santa. 9-11 a.m. Dec. 3. Dittmar Recreation Center, 1009 W. Dittmar Road. austintexas.gov

Hancock Candle Trail. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Dec. 2 and 3. Walk the luminaria-filled trails of Hancock Recreation Center with carols and a special guest. 811 E. 41st St. austintexas.gov

Montopolis Holiday Celebration. With a performance by the Austin Symphony Orchestra. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 3. Montopolis Recreation Center, 1200 Montopolis Drive. austintexas.gov

Parents Night Out at Candy Land Castle. Stories, treats and crafts while parents get a night out. 6-10 p.m. Dec. 9. Hancock Recreation Center, 811 E. 41st St. austintexas.gov.

Trail of Lights. See Zilker Park all lighted up. 7-10 p.m. Dec. 10-23. Free Dec. 10-16. $3 Dec. 17-23 for ages 12 and older. $15 parking passes or ride the shuttle for $5, which includes admission, Dec. 10-11, Dec. 16-23. Shuttles leave from Burger Center, 3200 Jones Road, and Republic Square Park, 422 Guadalupe St. austintrailoflights.org.

Afternoon with Santa. Meet Santa and enjoy cookie decorating, crafts and snacks. 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Dec. 11. $30. Cookies for Caring. Build your own cookie tin while benefiting the Statesman Season for Caring program. 1-3 p.m. Dec. 11. $35. Driskill Hotel, 604 Brazos St. driskillhotel.com.

The Harlem Globetrotters are coming to the Erwin Center in January.
The Harlem Globetrotters are coming to the Erwin Center in December.

Night Before Christmas Break. Enjoy reindeer game and treats. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Dec. 15. Metz Recreation Center, 2407 Canterbury St. austintexas.gov

Teddy Bear Tea at the Four Seasons. Enjoy a traditional tea service, reading of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” and a visit with Santa. Bring an unwrapped new teddy bear for Dell Children’s Medical Center. $45, must make reservation at 512-685-8300. Noon and 3 p.m. Dec. 3,4,10, 11 and 18. Four Seasons, 98 San Jacinto Blvd. fourseasons.com/austin

Explore Asia: Holiday Storytime and Crafts. 1-3 p.m. Dec. 9. Free. Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Road. austintexas.gov/aarc/

Caring Santa. Come get your picture taken with Santa in this special event for kids with sensory, physical and developmental differences. 9 a.m.-11 a.m. Dec. 4, Barton Creek Square and Round Rock Premium Outlets. 9:30-11:30 a.m. Dec. 4, Lakeline Mall. simon.com/caring-santa.

Harlem Globetrotters. Start whistling now. The twirling basketball stars are back. 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 28. $17-$130. Erwin Center, 1701 Red River St. uterwincenter.com

Museums

Bradley Tredway, 7, made a colorful gingerbread house at the Bastrop Public Library open house event in 2013. There are many spots to make a gingerbread house in December. SARAH ACOSTA/AUSTIN COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS
Bradley Tredway, 7, made a colorful gingerbread house at the Bastrop Public Library open house event in 2013. There are many spots to make a gingerbread house in December.
SARAH ACOSTA/AUSTIN COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS

Bullock Museum. Living History Days. See history come to life. 10 a.m. Dec. 1. “The Muppet Christmas Carol” movie. $5. 1 p.m. Dec. 3. Free First Sunday: Celebrate. Learn about diverse holiday traditions. Noon-3 p.m. Dec. 4. Free. Little Texans. Drop in and play for ages 2 to 5. 10 a.m. Dec. 8. Family Workshop. See the play “Stille Nacht,” about the rise of Nazism, and write about it. It’s all tied to the exhibit “State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda.” For kids 10 and up. 1 p.m. Dec. 10. Science Thursdays. Hands-on activities from Central Texas Discover Engineering including boat races. 10 a.m. Dec. 15. Story time. For ages 2 to 5. Learn about the new year. 10 a.m. Dec. 22. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com

Neill-Cochran House Museum. Making Making History: Gingerbread Houses. $35 per house. 1-3 p.m. Dec. 3. Sunday Funday. The Natural History of the Board Game. Free. 1-4 p.m. Dec. 4. Making History: Christmas Villages. $20 per house. 1-3 p.m. Dec. 17.Neill-Cochran House, 2310 San Gabriel St. nchmuseum.org

Thinkery. Sensory friendly hours. Not a Box! Use your imagination based on the book by Antoinette Portis, “It’s Not a Box.” 9:45 a.m. Dec. 26 for 1-year-olds; 10:45 a.m. Dec. 26 for 2-year-olds; 11:45 a.m. Dec. 26 for 3-year-olds. $20 one child and adult. Little Thinkers Club: Art Start: Discovering Color, Lines and Shapes. 9:45 a.m. Wednesdays for 1-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. Wednesdays for 2-year-olds through Jan. 25. $20 per class. Tinkering Tots: Let’s Create a Soundscape. 9:45 a.m. Fridays for 2-year-olds; 10:45 a.m. Fridays for 3-year-olds through Jan. 27. $20 a class. Baby Bloomers for kids infant to 3. Study Nature this month. 9 a.m. Mondays and Saturdays. Special guests throughout the month. $4.50. Candy Chemistry Gingerbread Workshop. For ages 7 and up. 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 3-4, Dec. 10-11, Dec. 17-23. $12 per person plus $30 per kit. Tech Gingerbread Workshop. For ages 8 and up. 2:30-5 p.m. Dec. 3-4, Dec. 10-11, Dec. 17-23. 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 24. $12 per person plus $30 per kit. Traditional Gingerbread Workshops and Tot Gingerbread Workshops (for ages 5 and younger). 9:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 10:45, a.m. 11 a.m., 2:45 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 3-4, Dec. 10-11, Dec. 17-18, Dec. 19-23, Dec. 24, plus noon Dec. 19-23, and 1:30 p.m. Dec. 19-23. $12 per person plus $20 per kit. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Contemporary Austin. Families Create! Art Car Derby. Make a model art car and race it, plus check out art cars parked on the grounds. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 10. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. thecontemporaryaustin.org

Texas Museum of Science & Technology Star Party. Every Friday in December, look at the stars in the parking lot. 8 p.m. Fridays. Science Saturday with themed activities. 4-6 p.m. Dec. 24. Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org

Hill Country Science Mill. Mosaic Artwork. Be part of creating a holiday mosaic. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 19-23, Dec. 26-30. Hill Country Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City. sciencemill.org.

Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum. Kids Kraft: Fiber Frenzy. $15. 9 a.m. Dec. 17 for kindergarten-second grade; 11 a.m. 3-5 grade. Umlauf Sculpture Garden, 605 Robert E. Lee Road. umlaufsculpture.org

Theater

Ballet Austin's production of "The Nutcracker." Choreography by Stephen Mills. Photo by Tony Spielberg.
Ballet Austin’s production of “The Nutcracker.” Choreography by Stephen Mills. Photo by Tony Spielberg.

Ballet Austin’s “The Nutcracker.” 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3, 9-10, 16-17, 20 and 2 p.m. Dec. 10-11, 17-18, 20-23. $15-$89. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

“Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.” A modern update of the classic fairy tale. 8 p.m. Dec. 6-11, 3:30 p.m. Dec. 10 and  1 p.m. Dec. 11. Bass Concert Hall, 2350 Robert Dedman Drive. $30-$125. BroadwayinAustin.com

Stories in Motion. Move to the tunes of “The Nutcracker” with Ballet Austin. For preschoolers and their parents. 11 a.m.-11:45 a.m. Dec. 14. $15. Ballet Austin, 501 W. Third St. balletaustin.org.

Zach Theatre Open House for Zach North. Get a sample of the classes you can take plus performances. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 3. Zach North, 12129 RM 620 N. zachtheatre.org

“Charlotte’s Web.” Aerial artists Sky Candy bring the spider to life. 2 p.m. Dec. 3, 10; 11 a.m. Dec. 3, 10. $16-$21. Zach Theatre’s Kleberg Theatre, 1421 W. Riverside Drive. zachtheatre.org

Tatyana Lubov and Hayden Stanes dance in "Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella." Carol Rosegg
Tatyana Lubov and Hayden Stanes dance in “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.” Carol Rosegg

Cici the Hip-Hopera.” A hip-hop version of the Cinderella story. $15-$20. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1-2, 4 p.m. Dec. 4. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. scottishritetheater.org.

“Snow Queen 2: Riddle of Eternity.” This new musical from Laura Freeman tells the story of when Gabby steps into the video game of “Snow Queen 2” to reclaim her best friend Kyle. 11 a.m and 1 p.m. Dec. 3-4, Dec. 10-11, Dec. 17. $12-$18. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. scottishritetheater.org.

“Holiday Heroes.” The classic story of two elves gone wrong. 11 a.m. Dec. 17. $21-$16. Zach Theatre’s Topher Theatre, 202 S. Lamar St. zachtheatre.org

“Wassail 2016: A Solstice Christmas Celebration.” A variety show featuring music, magic, dance and poetry. Benefiting Kids for Kids to help children in Darfur. 2:30 p.m. Dec. 18 (shorter version), 5:30 p.m. Dec. 18. $5-$15. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. scottishritetheater.org.

“Petra and the Wolf.” Mother Falcon and the puppetry of Glass Half Full Theater tell this “Peter and the Wolf” adaptation. 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 17 and 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 18. $22. Stateside at the Paramount, 719 Congress Ave. austintheatre.org.

 

Books

Storytime in the garden. Hear stories about wildlife traits.10:30 a.m. Dec. 5. $3-$1. Zilker Botanical Garden. 2220 Barton Springs Road. austintexas.gov

BookPeople events. Audrey Coulthurst, Paula Garner and Amy Tintera read their books “Of Fire and Stars,” “Phantom Limbs” and “Ruined.” 2 p.m. Dec. 3. Story times. 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays and 11:30 a.m. Saturdays. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

Barnes & Noble Events: “Polar Express” pajama story time. 7 p.m. Dec. 2, all locations. Harry Potter Magical Holiday Ball. Dress as your favorite Harry Potter character. 7 p.m. Dec. 9, all locations. 11 a.m. Saturday story times at all locations: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” (with sign language at Sunset Valley). Dec. 3; “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” Dec. 10; “Santa’s Sleigh Is on Its Way,” (with sign language at Sunset Valley), Dec. 17; Hap-Pea All Year, Dec. 31.

At the library

Crafternoon. 3 p.m. Dec. 1, Cepeda Branch; 4 p.m. Dec. 8, Twin Oaks Branch; 3:30 p.m. Dec. 13, Howson Branch; 3:30 p.m. Dec. 19, Manchaca Road Branch.

Chibitastic! A Chibi drawing workshop. For ages 6 and up. 5 p.m. Dec. 1, Little Walnut Creek Branch; 3:30 p.m. Dec. 5, Hampton Branch; 3:30 p.m. Dec. 12, Manchaca Road Branch.

What’s Your Story? For ages 10 and up. 5:30 p.m. Dec. 1, Faulk Central Library.

Literature Live Presents: “The Nutcracker.” 6:30 p.m. Dec.1, Manchaca Road Branch; 10:15 a.m. Dec. 2, University Hills Branch; 1 p.m. Dec. 3, Recycled Reads Bookstore; 10:15 a.m. Dec. 6, Cepeda Branch; 10:30 a.m. Dec. 7, Terrazas Branch; 3:30 p.m. Dec. 8, Milwood Branch; 2 p.m. Dec. 10, Pleasant Hill Branch; 3:30 p.m. Dec. 13, St. John Branch; 3:30 p.m. Dec. 14, Ruiz Branch; 3:30 p.m. Dec. 15, Old Quarry Branch.

Bow Wow Reading with Bonnie! 11:30 a.m. Dec. 3, Yarborough Branch; 11:30 a.m. Dec. 17, Yarborough Branch; Read to Aussie! 3:30 p.m. Dec. 8, North Village Branch.

Saturday Family Movie “Elf.” 2 p.m. Dec. 3, Windsor Park Branch.

T(w)een STEM Lab. For ages 7 and up. 3 p.m. Dec. 6, Carver Branch.

Sew Happy. 5 p.m. Dec. 6, Manchaca Road Branch.

Tween and Teen STEAM. For ages 10 and up. 5 p.m. Dec. 6, University Hills Branch; 5 p.m. Dec. 20, University Hills Branch.

Family Board Game Night. 5:30 p.m. Dec. 6, Faulk Central Library.

Felt Friends World Tour: Polar Bear Pin. 3:30 p.m. Dec. 7, Windsor Park Branch; 6 p.m. Dec. 14, Faulk Central Library.

Anime Club. For ages 12 and up. 5 p.m. Dec. 7, University Hills Branch.

Music & Movement. 11 a.m. Dec. 9, Milwood Branch; 11:30 a.m. Dec. 14, Manchaca Road Branch.

Winterfest. Crafts, treats, book sales and more. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 10, Yarborough Branch.

Annual Holiday Celebration. 12:30 p.m. Dec. 10, Pleasant Hill Branch.

Holiday Fun. 1 p.m. Dec. 10, Carver Branch.

Badgerdog Creative Writing Workshop: Songwriting. 2 p.m. Dec. 10, Twin Oaks Branch.

Perler Bead Palooza. For ages 5 and up. 2 p.m. Dec. 10, Faulk Central Library.

Storybook Dance Making. 2 p.m. Dec. 11, Recycled Reads Bookstore.

Holiday Cookie Decorating. 6 p.m. Dec. 12, Ruiz Branch.

Holiday Celebration. 3:30 p.m. Dec. 13, St. John Branch.

Teen Book Club “Graceling” by Kristin Cashore. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 13, Howson Branch. “The Scorpio Races,” by Maggie Stiefvater. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 15, Spicewood Springs Branch.

NBTween Book Club: “The Turtle of Oman,” by Naomi Shihab Nye. 4 p.m. Dec. 14, Howson Branch. “When You Reach Me,” by Rebecca Stead.” 6 p.m. Dec. 15, Twin Oaks Branch. Gregor the Overlander,” by Suzanne Collins. 6 p.m. Dec. 21, Spicewood Springs Branch.“Ghosts” by Raina Telgemeier. 6 p.m. Dec. 21, Yarborough Branch.

Teen Geek Night. For ages 12 and up. 5 p.m. Dec. 14, University Hills Branch.

The Best Nest Family Book Club “Bud, Not Buddy,” by Christopher Paul Curtis. 6 p.m. Dec. 15, Faulk Central Library.

Horrifically Happy Holiday Movie: “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians,” 6 p.m. Dec. 15, Carver Branch.

Star Wars: May the Party Be With You. 2:30 p.m. Dec. 17, Little Walnut Creek Branch.

Family Movie Matinee: “The BFG.” 4 p.m. Dec. 20, Cepeda Branch.

A Magical Holiday Party. 5:30 p.m. Dec. 20, Southeast Branch.

Mostly Manga Bookclub: “My Hero Academia.” 5 p.m. Dec. 21, University Hills Branch.

Family Craft Night. 7 p.m. Dec. 22, Hampton branch at Oak Hill.

“Kwanzaa Program.” 2 p.m. Dec. 27, Carver Branch.

A real Cinderella story from the girl who will play Ella at Bass Concert Hall

Tatyana Lubov plays Ella in "Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella."  Carol Rosegg
Tatyana Lubov plays Ella in “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.” Carol Rosegg

Tatyana Lubov has her own Cinderella story. The Cottage Grove, Wisc.-native stars in the modern adaptation of “Cinderella,” which will be on stage Dec. 6-11 at Bass Concert Hall as part of the Broadway in Austin series.

Lubov, 23, had moved to New York four months before an open call for the touring show of “Cinderella” was announced. She showed up and was number 412 on the list. She didn’t get seen that day, but the casting directors let the crowd of disappointed actors know that they could submit a video instead.

She did, “but I didn’t at all think it would get seen,” Lubov says.

Six callbacks later, she got the part of Ella.

“It’s pretty incredible,” she says.

She knew that the director liked her, possibly because of her upbringing in a small town near Madison, Wisc. Something the director brought up a lot was “never try to be nice, never try to act nice. It’s something that’s in you,” she says. Being nice is just part of her upbringing. “Nice was how I was raised,” she says. “I definitely shared what Ella’s morals would be.”

Unlike Ella, she has two, very alive parents, who are a choir director and a composer, and an older brother instead of wicked step-sisters. Her brother, though, could be wicked. “I would always be crying, and he would look angry,” she says. “We had a rough growing up together. Now we’re best friends. It’s funny how that worked out.”

Tatyana Lubov and Hayden Stanes dance in "Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella." Carol Rosegg
Tatyana Lubov and Hayden Stanes dance in “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.” Carol Rosegg

Lubov has always loved the story of Cinderella, and always thought she looked like her. “She was my favorite princess,” she says. Yet, this Ella is a much stronger version of Cinderella. “She’s not a girl looking to be rescued,” she says. “She has her own ideas. She’s very strong.”

And that’s what makes her an inspiration to young girls, Lubov says.

Yes, there’s still a fairy godmother, but, Lubov says, the magic comes from the Ella’s decision to follow her dreams and go to the ball.

Also different is that Ella encourages the prince to open his eyes and see the world around him outside of the castle. “She gives him all of these ideas of how to run the kingdom,” Lubov says. No shrinking violets here.

For Lubov, the parallel of making dreams come true brought her to New York, where she worked as a waiter for a caterer, a nanny and dressing up as Elsa from “Frozen” for birthday parties. In summer, she worked at a resort singing at night and working as a chamber maid during the day.

Now six nights a week, she dons a ballgown and dances with a prince and sings her favorite song: “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?”

“Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella”

When: 8 p.m. Dec. 6-11, 3:30 p.m. Dec. 10 and  1 p.m. Dec. 11

Where: Bass Concert Hall, 2350 Robert Dedman Drive

Tickets: $30-$125

Information: BroadwayinAustin.com

Looking for family holiday fun for Thanksgiving week in Austin? Find our list

Oh, it could be a long week next week. Many schools are out all week, and we know families are looking for things to fill those days.

Time to get inspired by the upcoming holidays with these family-friendly events.

Sunday

Caring Santa. Come get your picture taken with Santa in this special event for kids with sensory, physical and developmental differences. 9:30-11:30 a.m. Sunday, Lakeline Mall, 1200 Lakeline Mall Drive. simon.com/caring-santa.

Beginning Friday

Elgin Christmas Tree Farm. Hayride, pick your own tree, crazy maze, playground and more. Open for the season beginning 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday-Dec. 21. 120 Nature’s Way, Elgin. elginchristmastreefarm.com.

Evergreen Christmas Tree Farm. Cut your own tree and then play old-fashioned games or roast marshmallows. 10 a.m. to dark Friday-Dec. 24. 242 Monkey Road, Elgin. evergreen-farms.com.

Thursday

Turkey Trot Kids K. $8-$10 a kid. 8:15 a.m. Thursday. Long Center, 701 Riverside Drive. thundercloud.com/turkey-trot/event-info

Friday

Santa on the Terrace. Get your picture taken with Santa with Austin as a backdrop. Free. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday. Long Center. 701 Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org.

Friday and Saturday

Lights Spectacular Bling Bar. Make your own LED jewelry. $5 to make two battery-powered gifts.  10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Hill Country Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City. sciencemill.org.

Beginning Saturday

Teddy Bear Tea at the Four Seasons. Enjoy a traditional tea service, reading of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” and a visit with Santa. Bring an unwrapped new teddy bear for Dell Children’s Medical Center. $45, must make reservation at 512-685-8300. Noon and 3 p.m. Saturday and Nov. 27, Dec. 3, 4, 10, 11 and 18. Four Seasons, 98 San Jacinto Blvd. fourseasons.com/austin

Jasper Czysz, 4, holds onto his Hot Wheels toy he is ready to donate, but first watches the annual Chuy's Children Giving to Children Parade. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Jasper Czysz, 4, holds onto his Hot Wheels toy he is ready to donate, but first watches the annual Chuy’s Children Giving to Children Parade.
RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Saturday

Chuy’s 28th Children Giving to Children Parade. Line the streets of Congress Avenue from the Capitol to Cesar Chavez Street to see this holiday parade. Bring an unwrapped gift for Operation Blue Santa. Free. 11 a.m. Saturday. chuysparade.com

Sunday, Nov. 27

Zilker Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony. Take a spin under the tree for the first time of the season. 6 p.m. Nov. 27. The tree will be lighted 6 p.m.-midnight Nov. 27-Dec. 31. Zilker Park. austintexas.gov/zilkerholidaytree

The Zilker tree will be lighted on Nov. 29. SUZANNE CORDEIRO/FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN.
The Zilker tree will be lighted on Nov. 27 for the 50th time.. SUZANNE CORDEIRO/FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN.

More things to do with families

If you don’t want to go full-on holiday, take in a musical with a classic story.

“Charlotte’s Web.” Aerial artists Sky Candy bring the spider to life. 2 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 11 a.m. Saturday. $16-$21. Zach Theatre’s Kleberg Theatre, 1421 W. Riverside Drive. zachtheatre.org

“Annie.” See the classic musical. $29-$99. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday. Long Center, 701 Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

Or head to the movie theater for these family-friendly films:

“Trolls.” The dolls with the large-and-in-charge hair come to life in this movie with the voices of Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake. PG.

“Moana.” Disney’s animated tale with the music of Lin-Manuel Miranda of “Hamilton” fame takes us on an adventure across the ocean. Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) navigates the ocean with the help of demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock). It opens Wednesday. PG.

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” From the mind of “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling comes this story of beasts lost in New York City at a time before Harry Potter. Eddie Redmayne stars. PG-13.

Or go explore nature.

Austin Nature & Science Center has three events this week. Family Stargazing. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Free. Family Archery Day. For ages 6 and older. 9 a.m.-noon Wednesday. $3. Family Atlatl Day. learn how prehistoric hunters took down mammoths and use a atlatl (spear thrower). 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. Free. Austin Nature & Science Center, 2389 Stratford Drive. austintexas.gov/ansc

Find your family fun this weekend in Austin, Nov. 18-20

So much good stuff happening this weekend. Pick your fun with these ideas:

Friday

Texas Museum of Science & Technology Star Party. Every Friday in November, look at the stars in the parking lot. 8 p.m. Friday. Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org

Music & Movement. 11 a.m. Friday, Howson Branch.

Friday-Saturday

“Whether the Weather.” Pollyanna Theatre Company presents this weather inspired play for ages 18 months to 4 years. $6.50. 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Friday-Saturday. Long Center,. 701 Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

Saturday

Baby Bloomers for kids infant to 3. Learn about making things move. 9 a.m. Saturday. Special guests throughout the month. $4.50. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

"Charlotte's Web" is at Zach Theatre through Dec. 3. Winnie Hsia from Sky Candy plays Charlotte. Kirk Tuck
“Charlotte’s Web” is at Zach Theatre through Dec. 3. Winnie Hsia from Sky Candy plays Charlotte. Kirk Tuck

Science Saturday with themed activities on the Foundations of Cognitive Applications. 4-6 p.m. Saturday. Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org

Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum. Kids Kraft. Make ecofriendly sculpture. $15. 9 a.m. Saturday for kindergarten-second grade; 11 a.m. 3-5 grade. Umlauf Sculpture Garden, 605 Robert E. Lee Road. umlaufsculpture.org

Alamo Drafthouse. Alamo for All sensory-friendly family movies. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” 12:20 p.m. Saturday, Lakeline. drafthouse.com

Paramount Theatre story time. 11:30 a.m. Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

Bow Wow Reading with Bonnie the Dog. 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Yarborough Branch.

 

The Paleontological Society of Austin's Annual Fossil Fest is making dinosaurs come alive for kids and families this weekend.
The Paleontological Society of Austin’s Annual Fossil Fest is making dinosaurs come alive for kids and families this weekend. Ralph Barrera/American-Statesman

Saturday and Sunda

“Charlotte’s Web.” Aerial artists Sky Candy bring the spider to life. 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 11 a.m. Saturday. $16-$21. Zach Theatre’s Kleberg Theatre, 1421 W. Riverside Drive. zachtheatre.org

The Paleontological Society of Austin’s 26th Annual Fossil Fest. See and touch fossils as well as dig in a fossil pit. $3 adults, $2 students, free children 5 and younger. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Old Settlers Association in Round Rock, next to the Dell Diamond. austinpaleo.org/fest

Sunday

Caring Santa. Come get your picture taken with Santa in this special event for kids with sensory, physical and developmental differences. 9:30-11:30 a.m. Sunday, Lakeline Mall, 1200 Lakeline Mall Drive. simon.com/caring-santa.

Perler Bead Palooza. 2 p.m. Sunday, Faulk Central Library.

Pecan Street Brass. 2 p.m. Sunday, Recycled Reads Bookstore.

Win a copy of “Kubo” for the Thanksgiving break

Beetle, voiced by Matthew McConnaghey, right, and Kubo, voiced by Art Parkinson in a scene from the animated film, "Kubo and the Two Strings." Laika Studios/Focus Features
Beetle, voiced by Matthew McConnaghey, right, and Kubo, voiced by Art Parkinson in a scene from the animated film, “Kubo and the Two Strings.” Laika Studios/Focus Features

Some movies come to theaters and seem like they are gone in a blink. “Kubo and the Two Strings” is one of them. Yet, the review we ran gave it an A-, and the animated telling of a Japanese fable also stars local-guy-made-it-big Matthew McConaughey.

It’s out on Blu-ray next week and I have 12 copies to give away. Would you like one? Send an email to nvillalpando@statesman.com with your name, address (no P.O. Boxes) and phone number. Put “Kubo” in the subject line. I’ll draw out the 12 winners on Friday afternoon.

The film is from the folks who brought you “Coraline,” “ParaNorman” and “The Boxtrolls,” so you’re in for a slightly dark, thoughtful and beautiful treat.

How to keep the family harmony this Thanksgiving

We all have this picture of what a Thanksgiving meal should be: Norman Rockwell's "Freedom from Want" from a 1943 Saturday Evening Post. Be careful that your expectations are not too high. Curtis Publishing.
We all have this picture of what a Thanksgiving meal should be: Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom from Want” from a 1943 Saturday Evening Post. Be careful that your expectations are not too high. Curtis Publishing.

Gathering multigenerations of family members under one roof for Thanksgiving and beyond can be stressful.

Carolyn Rosenblatt, a nurse and attorney focusing on elder law, wrote the book “The Family Guide to Aging Parents: Answers to Your Legal, Financial and Healthcare Questions” and runs the website agingparents.com.

Families, she says, usually fight over one thing: something that happened in the past.

You can avoid that conflict and others by doing these things:

  • Don’t be the person who baits another family member by bringing up the ugly past incident.
  • If someone does bring it up, have something at the ready to change the subject to even if it’s something as mundane as weather and traffic.
  • Find some way to get every family member involved in the making of the meal and thank them for doing their part.
  • Avoid setting the expectations too high. Thanksgiving is one meal.
  • Use the generations well. Have the youngest generation engage with the older generation by asking questions about what life was life when they were growing up.
  • Have generations teach each other skills. This might be a chance for Grandma to teach the grandson how to make her famous pumpkin pie. This also might be when the granddaughter shows her grandfather what this Snapchat is all about.
  • Leave the house. Plan one fun activity to do a day during the visit, but make it optional. It’s OK to choose to stay home while others go out. You can even take a survey beforehand to find out what people are interested in doing.
  • Schedule in downtime and make it OK to retreat. Everyone doesn’t have to be in the same room all the time.
  • Play group games like charades — but only if your family isn’t overly competitive and has a sense of humor.
  • Create a “no complaining zone.” So, Aunt Sue’s mashed potatoes were disgusting. You don’t have to eat them or mention their grossness.
  • P.S. If your family fell on different sides of the voting ballot, this isn’t the time to talk politics. It’s time to remember above all else, you’re family — even if you don’t agree.
Clockwise from left, Michelle Gleason, her daughter, Allison, 17, sister Susie Krejci, parents Diane and Joe Krejci, nephew Tommy Krejci, 5, daughter Emily, 14, and husband Jake share conversation during a Thanksgiving dinner at the Bakehouse in 2011. Keep Thanksgiving conversations light and don't bring up past wounds. Deborah Cannon/AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2011
Clockwise from left, Michelle Gleason, her daughter, Allison, 17, sister Susie Krejci, parents Diane and Joe Krejci, nephew Tommy Krejci, 5, daughter Emily, 14, and husband Jake share conversation during a Thanksgiving dinner at the Bakehouse in 2011. Keep Thanksgiving conversations light and don’t bring up past wounds. Deborah Cannon/AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2011

Thanksgiving also can be one of those times when changes in parents’ mental and physical abilities might become more apparent. You might not have seen them recently and the difference between last time and this time is something you can’t quite capture in a phone call.

Thanksgiving or Christmas can be a time to take stock in how they are doing.

Here are some of the red flags to watch out for:

  • Are there changes in the way they think or do things?
  • Are they leaving out ingredients or seem unsure of how to make a recipe they’ve made for years?
  • Do they seem unable to find things or do things seem out of place ?
  • If you happen to see a lot of bills laying around, are there a lot of “past due” notices?
  • Do they seem more emotional or angry? Is their personality different?
  • Have their hygiene habits slipped?
  • Have they lost or gained a lot of weight?

If you see some of these signs, it could be a sign of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. (The risk of Alzheimer’s doubles every five years.)

So, what should you do? During the Thanksgiving meal or even Thanksgiving day is not the time to bring it up. “That’s disrespectful and hurtful,” Rosenblatt says. Instead, take notes and talk to your parent at a later time. Bring other siblings or loved ones into the conversation, too. Together, you might have more information than just what one of you has witnessed.

When you do talk to them, approach it as an offer to help, not an accounting of all the things they are doing wrong. Be matter of fact, but treat them with respect and compassion.

Put yourself in their shoes. “It’s terrifying,” she says. “No one wants to lose control over one’s life.”

Even if you are in conflict or are seeing some troublesome signs, remember, you’ve only got one family. Enjoy them while they are here — even if you don’t think you can stand them. There is good in all of us. Find it and focus on that as a reason to be thankful.

Looking for things to do with your kids this weekend? See our calendar for Nov. 11-13

We’ve got some fun days ahead at our local museums, book stores and more.

Friday

Texas Museum of Science & Technology Star Party. Every Friday in November, look at the stars in the parking lot. 8 p.m. Fridays. Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org

Friday-Saturday

"Charlotte's Web" is at Zach Theatre through Dec. 3. Winnie Hsia from Sky Candy plays Charlotte. Kirk Tuck
“Charlotte’s Web” is at Zach Theatre through Dec. 3. Winnie Hsia from Sky Candy plays Charlotte. Kirk Tuck

“Whether the Weather.” Pollyanna Theatre Company presents this weather-inspired play for ages 18 months to 4 years. $6.50. 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Friday-Saturday. Long Center, 701 Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

Saturday

Thinkery. Baby Bloomers for kids infant to 3. Learn about making things move. 9 a.m. Saturday. Special guests throughout the month. $4.50. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Contemporary Austin. Families Create! Miffy’s Friends. Study rabbit sculpture “Miffy’s Fountains” and learn more about rabbits before making your own sculpture. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. thecontemporaryaustin.org

Texas Museum of Science & Technology.   20th Anniversary of the Tutankhamun Exhibition. The exhibit of 131 replicas of the pharoah’s possessions opens Saturday and will run for the next six months. Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org

BookPeople events. Bundy Renfro reads story time. 11:30 a.m. Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

Barnes & Noble Events: Meet the Maker. Different makers show you how they work. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, all locations. 11 a.m. Saturday story times at all locations: “Penguin Problems,” Saturday.

Bow Wow Reading with Bonnie the Dog. 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Austin Public Library Yarborough Branch.

Made With Code. 1 p.m. Saturday, Austin Public Library Cepeda Branch.

Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum. Kids Kraft. Make ecofriendly sculpture. $15. 9 a.m. Saturday for kindergarten-second grade; 11 a.m. 3-5 grade. Umlauf Sculpture Garden, 605 Robert E. Lee Road. umlaufsculpture.org

Saturday and Sunday

Barton Hill Farms in Bastrop opened its Willie Nelson-themed corn maze for the season. You ll find a pumpkin patch, farm animals, face painting, a 2,000-square-foot jumping pillow, a train and food from Cindy s Gone Hog Wild restaurant.  Photos: Barton Hill Farms
It’s the last weekend for Barton Hill Farms’ fall festival. Barton Hill Farms

Thinkery.  Owl Pellets Investigation. For 4 and older. 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $8 child, $8 adult. NXT Mindstorms. For 8 and older. Play with Lego Mindstorms robots. 1:15 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $8 child, $8 adult. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

“Charlotte’s Web.” Aerial artists Sky Candy bring the spider to life. 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 11 a.m. Saturday. $16-$21. Zach Theatre’s Kleberg Theatre, 1421 W. Riverside Drive. zachtheatre.org

Barton Hill Farms fall festival. Find a lot to do including the maze in the shape of Lonesome Dove, live music, pumpkin painting, train rides and more. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. $11 adults, $8 3-10 years old, free for children 2 and younger. $1 off online. Barton Hill Farms, 1115 FM 969, Bastrop. bartonhillfarms.com

Sunday

Bianca Serra, 4, visited the Umlauf Sculpture Garden with her family where she prayed with a bronze statue of a nun.  LAURA SKELDING / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Bianca Serra, 4, visited the Umlauf Sculpture Garden with her family where she prayed with a bronze statue of a nun. LAURA SKELDING / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Bullock Museum. Family Workshop. See the play “Stille Nacht,” about the rise of Nazism, and write about it. It’s all tied to the exhibit “State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda.” For kids 10 and up. 1 p.m. Sunday. Science Thursdays. Hands-on activities from Central Texas Discover Engineering including boat races. 10 a.m. Thursday. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com

BookPeople events. Betsy Devany reads “Lucy’s Lovey.” 2 p.m. Sunday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum. Family Day. Live music, yoga, stories and art-making. Free. Noon-4 p.m. Sunday. Umlauf Sculpture Garden, 605 Robert E. Lee Road. umlaufsculpture.org

 

 

How do you talk to your kids about the election results

Liv Gjestvang, right, has her kids Solveig Applegate, left, and Karsten Applegate help with voting at the Indianola Church of Christ, Tuesday, March 15, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Liv Gjestvang, right, has her kids Solveig Applegate, left, and Karsten Applegate help with voting  in Columbus, Ohio. Jay LaPrete Associated Press

If you woke up today in shock or in excitement (if you even went to sleep last night), you might have been trying to wrap your head around what just happened. And then you have to talk to your kids about it.

We asked Julia Hoke, a licensed psychologist and the director of psychological services at the Austin Child Guidance Center, what to tell our kids.

If your side won, it’s important to let kids know that some of their friends might not be sharing their enthusiasm. They or their might say things in the heat of the moment, that they don’t mean, or they or their might have said some things throughout the campaign that they didn’t mean.

The general message to give to your child no matter how they sided: Be kind. Try to see it from someone else’s position.

And if mean words continue and a friend won’t let up, tell an adult.

For families who might be in a state of shock, kids who might be feeling very hurt that their side didn’t win or concerned about the outcome, it’s important to calm their fears, as best as you can.

“What kids want to know first is that they are safe,” Hoke says.”It’s hard when adults are feeling that we’re not safe, but it’s ‘we’re your parents and we’re going to look out for you.'”

Be honest with your children about how you are feeling, but also don’t try to scare them by given them too much information, too much emotion.

Most kids really want to know: what does it mean for me, our family and my friends? Try to be reassuring, but you can be honest and tell them that you really don’t know. Continue to reassure them that your job as the parent is to keep them safe.

President-elect Donald Trump gives his acceptance speech during an election night rally Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/John Locher)
President-elect Donald Trump gives his acceptance speech during an election night rally. John Locher Associated Press

For parents and children who have been worried this election about their legal status, this might be especially hard to do.

“It’s important to validate their feelings,” Hoke says, even if you can’t answer the question of what it means.

“As much as parents can, reassure them that ‘I’m the mom, I’m the dad, I’m going to handle that. It’s not something you need to worry about.'”

Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about their feelings and yours as well. To not talk about it, will make kids worry more, Hoke says. It’s OK to admit you are worried, too.

If you’re the parent who unwisely said things like “If he wins, we’re moving to Canada,” it’s time to tell your child that you really didn’t mean that.

Tell them: “Sometimes people say things in the heat of the moment. We’re going to stay here. The things that were important to us yesterday are still important to us today.”

Make it about the things you value as a family, even if you don’t agree with the things the president elect has said he values.

If kids were very excited by the Clinton campaign, and now feel defeated, encourage them to be involved in other ways.

“What can we still do to make changes?” Can we volunteer with a group of refugees or people that are different than us? Can we visit a place of worship different that our own? Can we be kind to others.

“This wasn’t the end of all those things, those things that made you excited or passionate about it,” Hoke says.

And also remember that the conversation you have with a 5 year old is different than the one you’ll have with the 11 year old. It’s OK to tell kids that you don’t know the answers to their questions, that you don’t know the future. That you’re shocked and hurt as well.

A big hug is in order.

How have you talked to your kids about the election?