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Houston's Birthday at Historic Houston VIDEO PICK: The Magic School Bus The Sound of Music Sing-A-Long About GISH PICKS About Gish Creative Theater District Open House Music Lessons with Mr. Tim Happy Birthday, Historic Houston! WOW Talk
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Greetings and welcome to GISH PICKS: A GUIDE TO CULTURAL ACTIVITIES FOR FAMILIES, a free weekly e-newsletter/blog I created as a service to the Houston community in 2003 in which I cull from the loads of activities in our city and pick three weekend events (“PICKS”) to recommend to parents, caregivers, and educators all over Houston. I’m a mom and am always looking for cultural – yet FUN! – events for my family and I am so happy to share them with YOU. My business grows by word of mouth so please enjoy the events and please share this blog. And be sure to tell the organizations you visit that you heard about them from me. And if you’re in Facebooklandia, please sidle over there and like our GISH PICKS Facebook page and share it with your friends and family and elsewhere on social media, too. Don’t want to miss any posts? Click on the drop-down LIKE button and then check “See First” under “In Your Newsfeed.” Thanks!

School is back in session and summer is over. I’m happy and sad – I know you know what I’m talking about! Good luck to all of you as you sign your autograph on a bazillion school papers, meet new teachers, hear lots of stories from your kids, and relive your own childhood (tears and all!). My favorite book to help kids with this transition is Hooray for Diffendoofer Day – it’s a little-known Dr. Seuss book about a super fun teacher, Miss Bonkers, and the wacky life at Diffendoofer School. I think you’ll love it!

We all know August is horribly hot so it amazes me that Houston was founded on August 30, 1836. What were the Allen brothers thinking?! They traversed Buffalo Bayou, discovered our wild-and-wooly lands, and made it the home we know today. They came from New York and told great lies such as our city had “balmy breezes” and mountains – to get folks to move here. It’s all part of the gutsy city this place is. Houston has been my home since 1963 (with some pit stops in other cities over the years) and I just love it heat and mosquitos and floods and all. It’s got some of the best arts in the nation and we are the MOST DIVERSE city in the United States (see more about that here).

Next week, on August 30, Houston turns 180 and we are celebrating with two events: the first one is my “Words of Wisdom” speaker series “Happy Birthday, Historic Houston!” talk this Friday, August 26, noon-1pm at the Hines Center. And then on Sunday, August 28, the Heritage Society is hosting a special Houston birthday party from 1-3pm at Sam Houston Park. There will be loads of activities and historic fun for all. Details on both events are below.

Remember Miss Frizzle and “The Magic School Bus”? The intro to the show is my VIDEO PICK this week, in honor of wacky teachers everywhere. And here is a fun fact: the show was on from 1994-1998 for 52 episodes. Enjoy this clip and here’s to many Miss Frizzle’s in your children’s school lives this year!

Click to view video
Click to view video

Have a great week, love one another, please share this, and IGNITE YOUR WEEKEND!

Picks for the Weekend of August 26-28, 2016

Happy 180th Birthday, Houston


It’s Houston’s 180th birthday (woo hoo!) next week and the Heritage Society is celebrating this important milestone with a party this Sunday, August 28, from 1-3pm. It’s a walk into Houston’s past with FREE museum exhibits and tours of historic homes plus many other activities. You’ll get to snap a selfie with Sam Houston himself and there will be live music just like ye olde days in the city’s oldest park, Sam Houston Park. The City of Houston founders, “the Allen Brothers,” will be strolling around and everyone can enjoy cake with Houston’s unsung founder, Charlotte Allen, the “Mother of Houston.” And doncha worry -- there will be plenty of water, refreshments, and cake for everyone!

Family friendly activities and games for children are also part of the afternoon and it will be a great day to get to know Houston’s heritage first-hand. As event Chair and Great Day Houston’s Resident Historian R.W. McKinney said “Can you image what life was like 180 years ago in a town that would go on to change the Nation? It was a hot, humid, scarcely populated, swampy town that would one day leave its mark by helping to put a man on the moon, give humanity innovations in health care, become the energy capital of the World, tout being the most diverse city, hosting World events and is now the third largest. Houston has a reason to celebrate. Join us!

For more information about the day, please click here. The Heritage Society is located at 1100 Bagby Street in downtown Houston. Visitors should park in the paved lot directly behind the historic Kellum-Noble House; enter the lot from Allen Parkway inbound.


Ok, I admit it: I’m a sucker for singing out loud anywhere so I was excited to see that the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion is presenting a “Sound of Music” Sing-A-Long this Saturday, August 27 at 8pm. I went to one about ten years ago and just loved it so I highly recommend this. You can enjoy Maria and the nuns and the Baroness and the brown paper classic. There will be a costume contest beforehand (doors open at 6:30pm) so dress up and get ready for lots of yodeling as the sun sets in the Houston Alps.

Tickets are $5-$15; click here for information on parking and the location.

Sound of Music Sing-A-Long

23rd Annual Theater District Open House


It's time for the 23rd Annual Theater District Open House, which will take place this Sunday, August 28 from noon-5pm. This wonderful Open House is always at the beginning of each fall and is a FREE, family-friendly event in the heart of the Theater District at the Alley Theatre Production Center (500 Louisiana), Hobby Center for the Performing Arts (800 Bagby), Wortham Theater Center (501 Texas Avenue), and Jones Hall (615 Louisiana Avenue). The Theater District Open House is a fun-filled, family day of learning more about Houston’s nine major performing arts organizations, including the Alley Theatre, Gexa Energy Broadway at the Hobby Center, Da Camera of Houston, Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Symphony, Society for the Performing Arts, Theatre Under The Stars, and Uniquely Houston. There will be activities and live performances by each of the Theater District’s groups, including musical theater shows, behind-the-scenes backstage tours, an interactive instrument petting zoo, and much more.

For more information about the Open House, please click here.

Art of Sound


My son’s longtime violin teacher, Tim Browning, is now offering lessons in your home through his new music school, the Art of Sound. He’s very engaging with kids and will work with you or your children starting at any level on a variety of instruments. Tim is a violin graduate of HSPVA, sings professionally with VOX-the Rob Seible Singers, and directs the Men of the Houston Boychoir. With more than 15 years in private teaching, Tim would love to come to your home to teach you or your child violin, viola, piano, voice, or even music theory lessons.

Does your child want to make all-region orchestra this year? Tim has had students make 1st chair! Want to improve your child's grades? Children of all ages show academic improvement when they study music. Want to learn to pick out your favorite song on the radio? Want to learn how to improvise or sight-read? Did you take lessons as a child and wish you hadn't quit? Get started today by contacting Tim by calling 832.452.7970 or emailing

The monthly tuition is $150 for weekly half hour lessons and $250 for weekly hour lessons. Cash/check/credit/Apple & Android Pay are accepted.

Historic Houston


Join us for our monthly WORDS OF WISDOM: lively talks on inspiring topics speaker series on Friday, August 26, noon-1pm at the Hines Center for Spirituality and Prayer. Our city is 180 this year! Houston was founded on August 30, 1836 by the crafty Allen Brothers, who told everyone they would find mountains and balmy breezes here. Learn about Houston's colorful history as told by Emily Ardoin of The Heritage Society.

The "WORDS OF WISDOM: lively talks on inspiring topics" speaker series was created by me last year for three reasons: to connect wise Houston leaders with an audience; to inspire curiosity in Houstonians; and to highlight topics and people here in a new and unique way. Our theme for the talks this year is "Houston's Great!" so the speakers are plucked from many different parts of Houston to talk about what makes Houston GREAT. There is one final WOW talk for 2016 on October 28 with Jonathon Glus of the Houston Arts Alliance -- mark your calendars now and plan to join us. You are welcome and encouraged to bring a brown bag lunch or to purchase yummy food to go from Treebeard’s across the street at 1117 Texas Avenue in Christ Church Cathedral.

Please enroll in advance by clicking here. Parking is easy: head one block over to the garage at 511 San Jacinto Street (between Texas and Prairie Streets). Bring in your parking ticket and they'll validate it for you.

GISH PICKS is a free weekly email in which I highlight family-oriented cultural events, products or services.
Please note that I "highlight" events, but I don't know if they are appropriate for your particular children, so choose wisely based on age, maturity and interests. I know many of you go to events based on GISH PICKS recommendations; PLEASE remember to tell the organization that you are there because of us. Word-of-mouth like yours helps our business to grow. In the same spirit, please also feel free to share GISH PICKS with friends and families.

Do you have something you would like to promote on Gish Picks? You can promote family-friendly events, products or services to Houstonians all over the city and the surrounding area who are active parents, involved citizens and great shoppers. We love doing this community service and want to keep it free for our readers but in order to justify the hours spent researching, writing and designing this newsletter, we need advertising support. If you'd like to learn more, please click below.

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The purpose of GISH PICKS is to help parents become aware of all the fun things they can do with their children in Houston and the surrounding area, so GO FIND FUN! Please do give me feedback and ideas, as you are out there in the trenches also looking for interesting things for your family and I want to hear what you find.

If you are having trouble getting to a website listed here, try hitting the "Ctrl" button and left-clicking on the web address, which should make it "live".

For more about my personal, family, and business enrichment company, Gish Creative, and the services we offer, please click here. You are on this list because I thought this e-newsletter would be helpful to you or because you signed up for it. Please feel free to tell your friends to subscribe by clicking here. My goal is to serve as an information resource for Houston parents through my various endeavors, including:

  • GISH PICKS: A GUIDE TO CULTURAL ACTIVITIES FOR FAMILIES, which is online and emailed out to thousands of parents and caregivers;

  • SPIRIT PICKS: A GUIDE TO INSPIRING ACTIVITIES IN HOUSTON, which is online and emailed out to seekers all over Houston;

  • THE SUMMER BOOK® ONLINE, a searchable database of over 200 Houston day camps and classes for kids and teens;

  • IGNITE YOUR LIFE!, an art project and community campaign whose goal is to inspire people around the world to light a match to their own passion;

  • INTUITIVE GUIDANCE SESSIONS, which are one-on-one consultations with me at Body Mind & Soul on personal and/or work questions. Sessions are one hour or thirty minutes;

  • Bi-monthly “WHAT’S YOUR PURPOSE?” workshops at Body Mind & Soul, check the store’s online calendar for dates and more information; and

  • OTHER SERVICES including SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS, INTERACTIVE WORKSHOPS, MARKETING, PRIVATE CONSULTATIONS, GUIDANCE SESSIONS FOR FINDING YOUR PURPOSE, and ART PROGRAMS. Talks and workshops cover topics such as summertime fun, passion-finding (for adults, children and families), marketing, historic preservation, art classes, activism, and more. All of these services can be tailored for any audience and budget.

Sarah Gish
Sarah Gish
(Photo: Two Birds Photography)

Sarah Gish
1940-A Fountainview, PMB 116
Houston, Texas 77057
phone: 713.492.1173

© 2016 Sarah Gish

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