How to handle Halloween with food allergies

Halloween can be one of those tough holidays for children with food allergies or diabetes.

This orange plastic pumpkin filled with candy presents a problem for kids with food allergies. Thinkstock
This orange plastic pumpkin filled with candy presents a problem for kids with food allergies.
Thinkstock

Two years ago, I interviewed Marty Barnes of Mommies of Miracles, a support/advocacy group for families with children with complex medical issues. She had these suggestions:

  1. Encourage neighbors to stock non-food items in their trick-or-treat basket, such as glow bracelets, stickers, tattoos, noise makers, bouncy balls.
  2. Put a sticker on your child that says “non-food items only.” That way you don’t have to explain at every door why you can’t take the candy.
  3. Place a sign on your door that reads “Non-food items available here.” Or paint a pumpkin teal. The Food Allergy Research & Education group created the Teal Pumpkin project to represent that you are food-allergy friendly by having non-food treats at your house. You can download a Teal Pumpkin sign here. 
  4. Take the candy if you don’t want to be impolite, but take it to an orthodontist participating in the Halloween Candy Buy Back program. I searched my ZIP code and found three locations nearby.

There are a lot of great things happening in the world of food allergies. ‘Specially for Children, which is affiliated with Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, just became a FARE site.  This means that kids who are at ‘Specially for Children can participate in research studies, like the peanut allergy study that is going on right now.

I’ve also written about how to handle school issues when you have a child with a gluten intolerance or Celiac’s disease. A lot of the same principles would apply to any food allergy or intolerance. Some of the suggestions:

  1. Have approved snacks at school for the teacher to give out if there is a cupcake day.
  2.  Educate the teacher and the classes’ parents about why your child can’t have the cupcake and offer parents solutions of what they could bring for your child.
  3. Empower kids to be their own advocate and understand what they can and cannot have.

The local chapter of FARE is having a walk on Oct. 30  to raise awareness about food allergies. The fun is happening beginning at 2 p.m. outside the Dell Diamond, 3400 E. Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock. Kyle Dine, a food allergy educator and musician, will perform. Find more information at foodallergywalk.org/austin2016

Keep Austin kids busy all the way through Monday with our weekend calendar, Oct. 7-10

A lot of schools have student holidays on Monday. That makes for a long weekend of keeping kids busy. You’re in luck. There are a lot of things happening in and around Austin for families this weekend. Here are a few ideas.

 

 

Friday

Texas Museum of Science & Technology Star Party. Every Friday in October, look at the stars in the parking lot. 9 p.m. Fridays. Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org.

Thinkery. Tinkering Tots: Make it Move. 9:45 a.m. Fridays for 2-year-olds; 10:45 a.m. Fridays for 3-year-olds through Nov. 18. $20 a class. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. Thinkeryaustin.org.

Explore pollinators and other creatures during Wildflower Center's Nature Nights.
Explore all kinds of bugs at the Wildflower Center Friday night.

Wildflower Center. Bug Night Out! See the bugs come to life with your flashlight, plus hands-on activities. 6-9 p.m. Friday. Wildflower Center, 4801 LaCrosse Ave. wildflower.org.

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

Friday-Saturday

Boo at the Zoo. Dress up and enjoy the zoo with Halloween-themed activities. 6:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays in October. $15. Austin Zoo, 10808 Rawhide Trail. austinzoo.org

Friday-Sunday

Austin Kiddie Limits. Hear kids music plus build things, make art and dance. Free for kids 10 and younger with parent with a wristband at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Zilker Park. aclfestival.com/kids.

Friday-Monday

Sweet Berry Farm fall fun. The Texas-shaped hay maze and smaller candy corn hay maze are open through Nov. 6. You can also find hay rides, pumpkin decorating, a train and more. Priced per event. 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. 1801 FM 1980, Marble Falls. sweetberryfarm.com.

Saturday

Baby Bloomers for kids infant to 3. Learn about corn, 9 a.m. Saturday. $4.50. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. Thinkeryaustin.org.

Contemporary Austin. Families Create! Tall Tales. Write a book with Austin Bat Cave. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. thecontemporaryaustin.org.

Sandy Loker reads “Can I Sniff My Way To Heaven?” 11:30 a.m. Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com.

Barnes & Noble. 11 a.m. Saturday story times at all locations: “Tek: The Modern Caveboy,” Saturday.

Saturday Movie Matinee, “Victor Frankenstein,” 2 p.m. Saturday, University Hills Branch.

"Rosita y Conchita" is on  stage at Scottish Rite Theater.
“Rosita y Conchita” is on stage at Scottish Rite Theater.

Star Wars Reads Day. 2 p.m. Saturday, Windsor Park Branch.

Saturday-Sunday

“Rosita y Conchita.” See this bilingual Día de los Muertos play about two sisters who try to reunite. $8-$12. Saturday-Sunday and Oct. 16, 22-23 and 30. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. scottishritetheater.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. Through Nov. 13. $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.

Superhero capes for ages 4 and older. 11:15 a.m. Saturday-Sunday and Oct. 22-23. $8 child, $8 adult. Sewn Circuits for ages 8 and up. Make light-up embroidery. 1:15 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. Saturday- Sunday and Oct. 22-23. $8child, $8 adult. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. Thinkeryaustin.org.

Saturday-Monday

“The Arkansaw Bear.” 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 11 a.m. Monday. Free, but reservations recommended. Austin Playhouse, 6001 Airport Blvd., South Entrance. www.austinplayhouse.com

Sunday

"Arkansaw Bear" is at Austin Playhouse this weekend.
“The Arkansaw Bear” is at Austin Playhouse this weekend.

Literature Live! “Mother Goose on the Loose.” 2 p.m. Sunday, Faulk Central Library.

Austin Ukestra Ukulele Group. 1 p.m. Sunday, Recycled Reads Bookstore.

Storybook Dance Making. 2 p.m. Sunday, Recycled Reads Bookstore.

Monday

Thinkery. The Thinkery is open on Monday, when it typically is closed except for Baby Bloomers. It’s the Great Pumpkin! Paint a pumpkin and look inside a pumpkin. 9:45 a.m. Monday for 1-year-olds; 10:45 a.m. Monday for 2-year-olds ; 11:45 a.m. Monday for 3-year-olds, $20 one child and adult. Baby Bloomers for kids infant to 3. Learn about corn, 9 a.m. Monday. $4.50. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. Thinkeryaustin.org.

Monstober: Frankenfigures. 4:30 p.m. Monday, Willie Mae Kirk Branch.

Felt Friends World Tour: Panda Pin. 5 p.m. Monday, Ruiz Branch.

 

Study: Most dads don’t know what to get the mother of their children for Mother’s Day

 

The Operator, which is a gift-giving app, conducted a survey about gift giving for Mother’s Day. It’s a gift-giving app, so take this survey with a grain of salt.

It found that

  • 60 percent of dads say they never know what to get for Mother’s Day
  • 60 percent of dads say their significant other resorts to dropping hints
  • Nearly half of all moms resort to dropping hints
  • 1 out of 3 of moms admit they have secretly purchased gifts for themselves for Mother’s Day
  • The majority of moms (85 percent) state that Mother’s Day is important to them.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a column that what I really wanted for Mother’s Day was a day off to do what I wanted that didn’t involve chicken nuggets.

But if I were in the gift-giving mood for Mother’s Day, here are some ideas with local roots:

Help a worker in an orphanage in India through the Miracle Foundation.
Help a worker in an orphanage in India through the Miracle Foundation.

Skip the physical gift and make a donation to Austin-based Miracle Foundation, which will use your gift to pay for the annual salaries and room and board for the housemothers working in orphanages in India. Find a link to the campaign atmiraclefoundation.org/mothers/

Suavs shoes is offering a 15 percent off discount on all of its white and navy shoes. Use discount code MOMSDAY15 at suavsshoes.com. Suavs also have a new summer collection that ship the week of May 14, but you can preorder them now. The collection includes two new colors: light blue and gold.suavsshoes.com

Round Rock Premium Outlets has a special Mother’s Day gift. If you spend $250 or more from now through May 8, bring your receipt to guest services for a free gift. Thursday, the outlets kickoff Mother’s Day weekend with music, food and a fashion show, 6 to 8 p.m.; and Thursday-May 8, the mall will host a sidewalk sale. 4401 N. Interstate 35, Round Rock.

Suavs navy or white shoes are on sale for 15 percent off.
Suavs navy or white shoes are on sale for 15 percent off.

Sip and shop at Hacienda Austin and the Distillery on Thursday. From 6-8 p.m. enjoy Austin Cocktails and SRSLY Chocolates while shopping. Plus learn to make paper flowers with Mia Savage. Hacienda, 204 Colorado St. thedistillerymarket.com

South Congress Hotel Shop recommends these Mother’s Day gifts: Barkley Sound Bags tote bag made from recycled boat sails, $165; pinstripe denim chambray robe from Finery, $175; Maison Louis Marie perfume oil, $58, and Las Bayadas striped beach blanket from recycled cotton with Mexican fabrics, $45. South Congress Hotel, 1603 S. Congress Ave. southcongresshotel.com

Second Street District will be offering free two-hour validated parking on May 8 in the AMLI Downtown and AMLI on 2nd garages. Rae Cosmetics with be offering a Mother-Daughter Day of Beauty with makeup strategies, a $200 value for $75 and get 20 percent off of purchases that day. Teddies for Betty’shosts a pajama party 6 to 9 p.m. May 7 with

South Congress Hotel Shop offers Barkley Sound Bags tote bag made from recycled boat sales, $165; Las Bayadas striped beach blanket from recycled cotton with Mexican fabrics, $45, and  Maison Louis Marie perfume oil, $58.
South Congress Hotel Shop offers Barkley Sound Bags tote bag made from recycled boat sales, $165; Las Bayadas striped beach blanket from recycled cotton with Mexican fabrics, $45, and Maison Louis Marie perfume oil, $58.

20 percent off. Sikara & Co. will donate 30 percent of jewelry sales to Ballet Austin.

Viva Day Spa will be opening its new store at the Domain, at 11601 Rock Rose Ave. in June. Before then, try these Mother’s Day specials:

Super Mom package is more than three hour massage, facial, manicure, pedicure and hot towel treatment. It comes with a gift bag and hot tea, wine and chocolates, $285.

Love Your Mother package lasts almost two hours and features a sauna, massage, body butter wrap, sugar scrub for the feet and calves, dry brush exfoliation, hot towels, mint scalp treatment, take home gift bag and chamomile tea, $189.

The Sweet Mama facial is an hour and a half facial with vitamin C masque; eye and

Vintage brass vases, set of three, $58, at the Distillery.
Vintage brass vases, set of three, $58, at the Distillery.

lip treatment; neck, shoulder and arm massage; cocoa butter hand treatment; and a gift bag and chamomile tea, $159.

Pretty Hands and Feet gives you a pedicure, manicure, foot massage with warm stones, hand treatment and hot tea or wine and chocolates, $95.

Viva is at 1811 W. 35th St.and 215 S. Lamar Blvd. vivadayspa.com

Hiatus Spa + Retreat is offering The Best Mom Ever!, $299, with a facial, massage and manicure. Mom 2.0, $179, gives her a facial, massage, mani-pedi retreat, body glow revitalizing wrap and acupuncture. Celebrate Mom, $249, with a choice of a monthly retreat, a body polish, pedicure, massage and a cocktail. This month’s retreat is the Wanderlust, $195, with pomegranate powder, lime and mandarin on your skin, a massage with avocado body butter and a pomegranate cocktail. Hiatus Spa + Retreat, 1611 W. Fifth St., Suite 155. hiatusspa.com.

How does “Mother’s Day” stack up to real motherhood? Not well

Last night I took a fellow mom to see “Mother’s Day,” the Garry Marshall-directed film starring Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Sarah Chalke and Jason Sudeikis. You’ll have to wait until Friday to read my review in Austin360.

 Julia Roberts, left, and Jennifer Aniston in a scene from "Mother's Day." (Ron Batzdorff /Open Road Films)
Julia Roberts, left, and Jennifer Aniston in a scene from “Mother’s Day.” (Ron Batzdorff /Open Road Films)

Here are some scenes in the movie that would never happen to moms in real life:

Two moms at a park having a meaningful conversation while their children play.

Children taking a nap with no fuss, also at said park.

Moms  who have time to go running or take a yoga class.

Moms who are perfectly put-together even after going running or to a yoga class.

Children who go to school, yet never seem to have any homework.

Children who are not constantly interrupting their parents or screaming at any given moment.

Parents who talk to at least one child regularly, yet have no idea that their daughters are married and have children.

The siblings who get along all the time and look after one another.

The children who get up early and make pancakes for their mother, and she’s not concerned that they used the stove or the state of her kitchen.

A trip to the grocery store that doesn’t involve children, but does include a cart that isn’t completely full. Who goes to the store and only buys three items?

The homes that are perfectly clean and don’t involve moms hunting for lost shoes, homework or that permission slip you needed.

Mom mobiles that don’t have layers of Cheerios, fries, gum and sticky liquids.

A father giving his baby to another man who is a complete stranger.

The moms who never seem to have to work, yet have cars and clothes and homes.

Julia Roberts’ wig. (What is that?)

Yet, for all of that make believe, here are some scenes that have happened to us or will soon happen to us:

The mom running after the daughter’s bus to give her her lunch.

The dad uncomfortably having to buy tampons for his teenage daughter.

Pets that you get talked into that go horribly wrong, in this case the ant farm that is now sans ants.

The dad losing it at a referee call at his daughter’s soccer game.

The dad watching through the window as his daughter comes home from a date, yet playing it cool like he never did that.

The mom having an argument loudly with herself.

The mom who is late to a meeting and is running full tilt to get to that meeting.

The mom who finds herself realizing that her bra is inside out and her shirt has a huge gash in it.

 

What are you doing for spring break in Austin? We’ve got ideas

There’s so many great things happening for kids during spring break, from South by Southwest events or inspired-events to inexpensive movies to special museum happenings. Check out our list of things to do and if you have another event, email me at nvillalpando@statesman.com.

Events

Rodeo Austin. 10 a.m.-midnight Mondays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday through March 26. Fairgrounds admission $8 adult, $5 kids, free children 2 and younger; $10 parking. Travis County Expo Center, 7311 Decker Lane. rodeoaustin.com

Mother-Son Adventure. Go kayaking on Lady Bird Lake. 10 a.m. Saturday. $15. Camacho Activity Center, 34 Robert T. Martinez Jr. St. RSVP at barbara.garcia@austintexas.gov

Under the Springs. Meet a mermaid, see a new exhibit, “One Square Foot of Barton Springs,” and enjoy kid-friendly activities. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. March 16. The Splash Exhibit, 2201 Barton Springs Road. austintexas.gov/splash

Flashlight Friday. Explore the Wildflower Garden at night and learn about nocturnal animals. For kids 5-12, 7:30 p.m.-9 p.m. March 18. $10 adults, $5 child. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

Easter Eggstravaganza. 10-1 p.m. March 19 Dove Springs Recreation Center, 5801 Ainez Drive.

Search for Lost Eggs. Crafts and egg hunt. Noon March 19. Dittmar Recreation Center, 1009 W. Dittmar Road.

South by Southwest

Billy Bishop, with Obselete Industries, hands Nolin Flaherty, 6, a screen printed poster at Sx Create last year. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Billy Bishop, with Obselete Industries, hands Nolin Flaherty, 6, a screen printed poster at Sx Create last year. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

SXSW Create. Make things and learn about the makers’ spirit. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Free. Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road. sxsw.com/exhibitions/sx-create

Family Music Meltdown. Hear Strumero, Gina Chavez, Red Yarn, Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, Mister G, Sugar Free Allstars, the Deedle Deedle Dees, El Tule, Gina Chavez, plus science with the Thinkery and trampolines. Free. 3-7 p.m. March 16, Pan Am Park’s Hillside Theater, 2100 E. Third St.

SXSW Gaming Expo. This is one free event where you can try out all kids of games and watch people play games. Noon-8 p.m. March 17-19. Free. Austin Convention Center, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St. sxsw.com/exhibitions/gaming-expo

All The Children Boogie: A Tribute to David Bowie. Family radio show Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child, LiveMom, and the Austin Scottish Rite Theater are presenting this show, which includes musicians Jon Langford, David Wax Museum, Riders Against the Storm, Nakia, Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, The Deedle Deedle Dees, Rockaroni & Cheese, Joe McDermott, Groundwork Music Orchestra, Hey Lolly Band and more. 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. March 18. Free. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. scottishritetheater.org

Amazon Music’s Kid’s Day. Lisa Loeb, The Pop Ups, The Not-Its! and more play all day at the Thinkery. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. The Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. RSVP: facebook.com/events/1056104811099225/

Mark Anthony, 13, plays a virtual reality light saber simulator made by Sixense at South by Southwest Gaming last year. Efren Salinas/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Mark Anthony, 13, plays a virtual reality light saber simulator made by Sixense at South by Southwest Gaming last year.
Efren Salinas/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Rock + Read. At this book/music fest. Hear Lucky Diaz & the Family Jam band, Mister G, The Que Pastas, Big Don, The Not-Its!, Red Yarn, and the Deedle Deedle Dees. See Rob Harrell, Dianne Hutts Aston, Don Tate, Chris Barton, Emma Virján and Jan Bozarth read their books in the BookPeople Storytime Tent. Free. 1-5:30 p.m. March 20, on the lawn at Domain II. 

Theatre

“James & the Giant Peach.” The Roald Dahl book comes to life in musical form. 11 a.m. Saturday, Sunday, March 19, 26; April 2, 9. 2 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, March 19, 20, 26, 27; April 2, 3, 9; and 4:30 p.m. April 10. $29 adults, $26 children. Zach Theatre’s Kleberg Stage, 1421 W. Riverside Drive. zachtheatre.org

Circus Chickendog’s “1001 Tricks in 1 Hour!” See the animals work their magic. 1 p.m. March 14-18, 10:30 a.m. March 19. $15. The Institution Theater, 3708 Woodbury Drive. www.chickendog.net

Museums

Screenprinting for ages 8 and up. 10:30 a.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. $29 one adult and child. Wet Weather for ages 1-2., $29 one adult and child. 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Soap Making for ages 4-7. 10:30 a.m. March 19 and 2:30 p.m. March 20. The museum is open all day on Monday, but there will be no Baby Bloomers. “Rainbow Fish” at 9 a.m. Saturday. “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” Baby Bloomers, 9 a.m. March 19. The Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org.

Spring Break at the Bullock. Each day explore different activities. March 14-18 Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com

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

Umlauf Sculpture Garden Family Day. Enjoy free activities including art making, stories, yoga and more. Noon-4 p.m. Sunday. Umlauf Sculpture Garden, 605 Robert E. Lee Road. umlaufsculpture.org.

Art Free-For-All. See the Contemporary Austin’s educational offerings with an open house. Noon-4 p.m. Saturday. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. contemporaryaustin.org

Hill Country Science Mill. Celebrate spring break with Imagine Yourself on Pi Day, Monday; Imagine Yourself Blasting into Space with rocket activities, Tuesday; Imagine Yourself Creating Games and Gadgets, Wednesday; Imagine Yourself Discovering Mysteries of the Universe, Thursday; and Imagine Yourself Exploring the Living Worlds with guests Party Animals, Friday. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. during spring break.  101 S. Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City.$6.50 students, $8 adults.  www.sciencemill.org.

Movies

Alamo Drafthouse Kids Camp. “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” 10:30 a.m. Friday-March 17, Lakeline. “Batman: The Movie,”4 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. Saturday-March 17, Village; 10:30 a.m. March 19 and March 20, 10 a.m.March 19, Lakeline. $1-$3 donation. drafthouse.com

Spring Break at Flix Brewhouse. Watch $2 movies at 10:30 a.m. each day next week. “How to Train Your Dragon,” Monday; “Spy Kids,” Tuesday; “Jumanji,” Wednesday; “Babe,” Thursday, and “The Land Before Time,” Friday. Flix Brewhouse, 2200 S. Interstate 35, Suite B1, Round Rock. flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

“The Peanuts Movie,” 4 p.m. Tuesday, Cepeda Branch.

Books

Cassandra Clare reads “Lady Midnight” at St. Edward’s University. 7 p.m. March 16. Zach Theatre comes for story time, 11:30 a.m. Saturday; Armstrong Community Music School story time, 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Tiny Tails to You Petting Zoo story time, 10:30 a.m. March 16, and Be Yourself story time, 11:30 a.m. March 19. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com.

Barnes & Noble. 11 a.m. Saturday story times at all locations. “When Spring Comes,” March 19. Other story times: “How to Catch a Leprechaun,” 11 a.m. March 16, Lakeline; “The Most Magnificent Thing” 11 a.m. March 15 Round Rock; “Rock-A-Bye Romp,” 7 p.m. March 18, Round Rock. Batman vs. Superman Day for teens. 7 p.m. March 19, Arboretum and Round Rock.

Library

“Literature Live! Presents: The Selfish Gardener Puppet Show,” 2 p.m. Sunday, Faulk Central Library; 6 p.m. Monday, University Hills Branch; 11:30 a.m. March 17, Ruiz Branch.

Crafternoon, 4 p.m. March 17, Cepeda Branch.

NBTween Book Club for ages 8-12. Read “El Deafo,” 6 p.m. March 16, Yarborough Branch; “The London Eye,” 6 p.m. March 17 Twin Oaks Branch.

Art Smart, ages 5 and up, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Willie Mae Kirk Branch.

Circuit Break, for ages 10 and up. 7 p.m. Friday, Ruiz Branch.

What would you do if you had an extra day? 10 things to do on Leap Day

Leap Day, that once-every-four-years day we call Feb. 29, is Monday. Oh, how we wish it were a Saturday or a Sunday, or better yet, a paid day off. What’s the point of an extra day, if it’s going to be a Monday?

I’ll be spending it at the dentist, so that makes it even more special.

Kindell Pedersen takes time out to read and enjoy her lunch break on a hill facing Lady Bird Lake Friday. Courtney Dudley AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Kindell Pedersen takes time out to read and enjoy her lunch break on a hill facing Lady Bird Lake Friday. Courtney Dudley AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN

If we can’t take the day off, here’s some little things we could do to make it feel extra special.

  1. Get the homework done early or skip it if you can, and rent or stream a movie with the family.
  2. Actually take a lunch break. Go on a walk, eat lunch in a scenic spot nearby or have lunch with the kids at school when it’s not their birthday.
  3. Stop off for a latte, a breakfast taco or something special on the way to work.
  4. Paint your toe nails.
  5. Wear the dress or the outfit that makes your feel your best.
  6. Splurge on what’s for dinner. If you can go out and that’s still relaxing, do it. If not, buy that expensive cut of meat or that piece of salmon. Buy something decadent for dessert.
  7. Make a list of everything you’re grateful for in your life and post it somewhere. You can even have the kids do the same.
  8. Do one good thing for someone. My daughter and I have been handing out our extra boxes of Girl Scout cookies to the homeless people we pass driving around. She feels so good about doing this that if we stop and we don’t do it, I get a talking to. It could just be that you open a door for someone who has their hands full.
  9. Our traffic is not fun. All of Austin knows this. On at least this one day, be the bigger person and let someone in. Lay off the horn. Take deep breaths. Listen to some fun music or a cool book on tape and will the drive to be relaxing.
  10. Go for easy breezy. Don’t rush things. Be late if you need to be. Take some more deep breaths and choose this one day to not worry about whatever you’ve been worrying about. Save it for another day.

Share what you’re going to do on Twitter and Instagram #LeapDayATX.