Activities battle break’s boredom
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.