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Oliver Lapin Family Day Super Hero Benefit Carnival Stargazer Hands-On Houston About GISH PICKS About Gish Creative
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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. Please enjoy and please share. My business grows by word-of-mouth from people like YOU!

Got your candy? Have your costumes? Then it’s time to throw open the doors and have a Happy Halloween! If your neighborhood is anything like mine, kids will line the streets for hours and it’ll feel like a crazy nighttime carnival for awhile. When kids stop at my house, I ask them to tell me one wish, which I grant with my magic wand before I load them up with goodies. It’s fun to see them stop and think. By the way, if you’d rather not hand out sugar-filled junk, check out this alternative: Unreal Candy. I can’t wait to try it out!

I’m thrilled to report that the talk by Dr. Wendy Mogel last night at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center was a huge success! If her psychology/book writing thing doesn’t work out, I’ll be the first to stand in line for tickets to her stand-up comedy show as she was sooo funny. She made all of us feel better about our totally and completely imperfect parenting while also giving us some great advice for doing the best we can. Dr. Mogel’s talk was part of the ERJCC’s annual “Jewish Book and Arts Fair, which we were happy to let you, dear readers, know about. The number of advance tickets sold for the Wendy Mogel event were the most for ANY event in Book Fair history – thanks in part to many of YOU purchasing tickets using the special “gishpicks” promo code which garnered you plenty ‘o savings. You’ll get to reap the $$ rewards again with this Sunday’s “Oliver Lapin Family Day” using the same code, so check out the PICK below for details.

Congrats to new GISH PICKS Facebook page LIKE-ers Lisa Brooks and Alison Bell who won free tickets to Wendy Mogel’s talk. This week’s likers will get free tickets to the Mama Doni Band concert this Sunday, November 4, 4pm at the ERJCC. Want to win? It’s super easy: head to Facebook land, find GISH PICKS, and hit LIKE. I’ll pick winners by midnight TODAY from my new fans so good luck! (P.S. While you’re in Facebook land, please like my page for THE SUMMER BOOK: A GUIDE TO HOUSTON DAY CAMPS AND CLASSES FOR KIDS AND TEENS. Many thanks!).

This Saturday, there are two fun festivals for families next door to each other so come out and enjoy both: the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft’s “Hands-On Family Festival and the Family Day Fiesta” at Lawndale Art Center. Be sure to check out my retablo, FOR AURORA, on view inside at Lawndale’s annual “Día de los Muertos” exhibition. It’s a beautiful show.

Have a great week, be kind to others, and GO.FIND.FUN.

Picks for the Weekend of November 2, 2012

Oliver Lapin Family Day


“Funky music with a Jewish twist” is how they describe the Mama Doni Band, the headliners for this year’s “Oliver Lapin Family Day” being held this Sunday, November 4 from 9:30am-5:30pm. The “Family Day” is part of the annual, amazing “Jewish Book and Arts Fair,” now in its 40th incarnation. “Get Cooking for Reading at the J” is the theme of the day and its geared towards kids preK-5th grade. The detailed schedule is below.

  • 9:30-10:20am
    PJ Library Story Time

    Storytime for kids 2-6 years old with the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston's Community Education Coordinator, Barbara Loeser, who will engage kids with stories, songs and craft.

  • Noon-1pm
    Get Cooking! with Mama Doni and Recipe Rachel

    Recipe Rachel and Mama Doni, authors of Get Cooking! A Jewish American Family Cookbook & Rockin' Mama Doni Celebration, will present a hands-on cooking demo taking kids through a year of holidays with fun, "menschy" activities for every season.

  • 1:30-3:30pm
    Building Blocks - Masada

    Architect Stephen W. Schwartz has developed an exciting two-hour activity that will have over 100 kids and parents working on the 400 square-foot Masada, using over 50,000 LEGO building blocks! This impressive teamwork family and history program will end with an engaging lesson about the structure they helped build together.

  • 4-5:30pm
    Mama Doni Band with Rachel Harkham

    Mama Doni returns to Houston with her new cookbook, her co-author, Recipe Rachel, and the Mama Doni Band for a concert and book/CD signing. The Mama Doni Band and Recipe Rachel are cooking up a MUSICAL STORM for a rockin' family concert!

The “Oliver Lapin Family Day” is free except for the Mama Doni Band at 4pm. For reduced rate tickets to that show, click here and type in “gishpicks” as the promo code.

Hands-On Family Festival


This Saturday, November 3 from 11am-3pm, the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft is hosting the second annual HANDS-ON FAMILY FESTIVAL, a free community celebration. Families and visitors of all ages are invited to this fun day of indoor/outdoor activities. Everyone will get to enjoy hands-on craft activities, demonstrations by local artists, refreshments, garden tours, and “CraftTexas 2012,” a juried exhibition featuring outstanding craft by Texas artists. Here’s what happening:

  • Craft Activities: basket weaving, pattern design, felt purses

  • Artist Demos: cold hammering (metal) by local metalsmith, John Barber; basket weaving by the Clear Lake Basket Weavers Guild; and woodturning by the Gulf Coast Woodturners Association

  • Craft Garden tours every half hour, starting at 11:30am

  • Snacks available for purchase from Ladybird food truck and Porch Swing Desserts

  • Beer sponsored by Karbach Brewing Co.

The Houston Center for Contemporary Craft is located at 4848 Main Street and HANDS-ON HOUSTON FAMILY FESTIVAL is free and open to the public with no advance registration required.

Hayden's Super Hero Benefit Carnival


I was recently sent a notice about the touching story of a six year-old named Hayden who has pediatric brain cancer, so I thought I’d share this information with you. Many have rallied around young Hayden in a variety of ways, including organizing a Super Hero Benefit Carnival, which is this Sunday, November 4 from 1-4pm at Frank Elementary, 9225 Crescent Clover Drive in Spring, Texas. There will be plenty of fun activities for kids including bounce houses and yummy food and adults can bid on auction items like a Tree Frog Swing Set and a signed 8x10 photo of future Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell.

The entry fee is $5; food and bounce house tickets are sold separately. The Silent Auction will run from 1-3:15pm. All proceeds from this benefit will go towards offsetting Hayden's ongoing medical costs as well as pediatric brain cancer research. For more information, contact Kellie Cataldo, President of MOMS Club Spring-SW, at


Stargazer is a movie lovers delight – a special one-day-only event in which movie memorabilia (posters, photos, other goodies) will be on sale and it’s this Saturday from 10am-5pm at Hollywood Frame Gallery, 2427 Bissonnet Boulevard. HFG is a full service, custom framing business specializing in the framing of artwork and items like movie posters. They are the exclusive Texas dealer of Jim Tweedy’s Friendly Doggies and Charlie the RedCat original artwork as well as the artwork of many other regional and local artists. Their huge selection of quality custom picture framing products makes every job a unique and creative masterpiece. The business has been owned by Kathleen and Ricky Connaughton for almost twenty years and I highly recommend them!

Hollywood Frame Gallery

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, business, and family 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, which is online and emailed out to thousands of parents and caregivers;

  • THE SUMMER BOOK®: A GUIDE TO HOUSTON DAY CAMPS AND CLASSES FOR KIDS AND TEENS which comes out annually in March and is sold at bookstores all over Houston, including Barnes and Noble; and

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

Sarah Gish
1940-A Fountainview, PMB 116
Houston, Texas 77057
phone/fax: 713.482.7065

© 2012 Sarah Gish

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