Ac­tiv­i­ties bat­tle break’s bore­dom


Austin American-Statesman - - AUSTIN360 DAILY - DEB­O­RAH CAN­NON / AMER­I­CANS­TATES­MAN Con­tin­ued from E Con­tact Ni­colevil­lal­pando at 912-5900.

Mary Moore Searight, Zilker and May­field Na­ture Pre­serve have hik­ing trails or paths through wooded ar­eas. Or head to the Lady Bird John­son Wild­flower Cen­ter in Jan­uary, when the ad­mis­sion is free.

• Have fun with art. We’ve been ex­plor­ing Cray­ola’s Crys­tal Ef­fects mark­ers in our house. Draw on the win­dow and watch the crys­tals spread across your draw­ing. It’s like watch­ing paint dry, only a lot more fun. Side­walk chalk in the drive­way also works magic.

• Make a ginger­bread house or a log cabin. Yes, there are kits, but with frost­ing and Arch­way wind­mill cook­ies or gra­ham crack­ers you can build a house eas­ily with­out the bak­ing process. Or use frost­ing or peanut but­ter and pret­zel sticks to make a log cabin. Dec­o­rate with raisins, can­dies and ic­ing.

• Make blan­kets. Go to the fab­ric store and pick up two same-sized pieces of fleece. Put one piece of fab­ric on top of the other. Cut out the cor­ners, then cut a slit ev­ery inch on all four edges. Tie the tabs of fab­ric cre­ated by the slits for a no-sew blan­ket. If your kids get into this, it’s a great phi­lan­thropy project for an­i­mal shel­ters or home­less shel­ters.

• Have a nightly movie fest. For $1 at Red­box, plus a bag of mi­crowave pop­corn, you can have some fun. Take turns pick­ing out the movie.

• Tell sto­ries. Have one per­son start the story with one sen­tence, then go around the ta­ble or liv­ing room and have each per­son add a sen­tence. You also can build a story box of un­usual ob­jects that the sto­ry­teller has to use in the story. Use blan­kets to turn the liv­ing room into a tent and flash­lights for more story fun.

• Col­lect na­ture. Start a rock col­lec­tion or look for bones in an open field. The Austin Na­ture Cen­ter will help you iden­tify what you have and you can even trade in your finds for big­ger things.

• Have fun with chem­istry. “Geek Mom” has recipes for soap, crys­tals and blobs. Now that’s fun in the kitchen.

• Learn an an­cient craft. Grab some pa­per and an origami book and start fold­ing. Or pick up a rope and a knot-ty­ing guide. Dif­fer­ent col­ored plas­tic strings could cre­ate days of lan­yard mak­ing. There’s even how-to guides on YouTube.

• Make your own games. Grab some card­board (even the back of a ce­real box) and some mark­ers, and let your kids make up a board game. stated a 5 p.m. news­cast.

Watch­ing the weather: KXAN named new week­day morn­ing and week­end morn­ing weather cast­ers — Mark Mon­strola and David Yeo­mans, re­spec­tively – and a new traf­fic re­porter, Amanda Du­gan.

At KEYE, chief me­te­o­rol­o­gist Troy Kim­mel will de­part at year’s end. The sta­tion re­cently wel­comed a new week­end weather caster, Jor­dan Steele, as well.

Some­thing to talk about: Fall brought changes to the day­time TV line­ups on sev­eral lo­cal sta­tions. The big­gest switch-up hap­pened on KVUE, where “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” slid back an hour to 3 p.m. to make room for “Katie,” Katie Couric’s highly an­tic­i­pated yak­fest.

KEYE wel­comed a pair of new­com­ers, Jeff Probst and Ricki Lake, to its af­ter­noon lineup.

And KTBC added “Dish Na­tion,” a celebrity gossip show, to its week­day sched­ule.

Court­room drama: KXAN was hit with a pair of law­suits in May.

One al­leges the sta­tion aired a li­belous story; the other, filed by former me­te­o­rol­o­gist Rhonda Lee, ac­cuses the NBC af­fil­i­ate of racial dis­crim­i­na­tion. Lee made head­lines again ear­lier this month af­ter claim­ing she lost a TV gig in Shreve­port, La., af­ter re­spond­ing to Face­book posts.

Hook ’em, ’Horns: Sev­eral new ca­ble providers signed up to carry the elu­sive Austin-based Longhorn Net­work, in­clud­ing AT&T U-verse, Cox Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Google Fiber.

But Time Warner Ca­ble, the area’s No. 1 provider, has yet to reach a deal with the ESPN-run net­work. Dish Net­work and DirecTV also don’t carry LHN.

Rat­ings race: KVUE is the sta­tion to beat at 4:30 a.m., 5 a.m., 6 a.m., mid­days and 10 p.m., ac­cord­ing to the lat­est Nielsen fig­ures.

KXAN, how­ever, is the top dog at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

In prime­time, the CBS lineup on KEYE ranks No. 1.

New news bosses: Two Austin sta­tions wel­comed new news direc­tors in 2012.

Chad Cross, a UT grad, is the new head hon­cho at KXAN, while Greg Turchetta is now call­ing the shots at KEYE. Cross comes from Wi­chita, Kan., Turchetta, Or­lando.

For­mula One fever: Austin’s in­au­gu­ral F1 race was broad­cast around the globe, giv­ing Cen­tral Texas plenty of ex­po­sure.

The Fox-owned Speed chan­nel re­ported it alone had 500,000-plus view­ers who tuned in for the race. Numer­ous other net­works also broad­cast the his­to­ry­mak­ing event.

Next year’s Austin F1

Kids can keep learn­ing through the hol­i­days with the hand­son ex­hibits at Austin Chil­dren’s Mu­seum.

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