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4th of July Community Events

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


With Independence Day right around the corner, you're probably looking for 4th of July Community Events that you and your family can participate in. Rest assured, there is plenty going on in the Richmond area that is perfect for your 4th of July celebration! From children to adults, here are just a few of the events you can look forward to.

What would a 4th of July celebration be without fireworks? The Seabourne Creek Nature Park and theRosenberg Civic Center is where it all happens this year. From 6 PM till 10 PM, your family can enjoy a carnival, horse-drawn wagons, live music, food vendors, and of course - fireworks, which complete the evening.

You can also enjoy the Katy Freedom Celebration and Fireworks show at the Katy Mills Mall. There will be fireworks and a tailgate party, so bring your own food and enjoy the fun at this free event.

For an indoor concert with fireworks after the show, Freedom Rings is a patriotic event featuring acts likeStars and Stripes Forever and best of all, it's free to attend at the Stafford Centre from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Located at Constellation Field in Sugarland, the Star Spangled Spectacular has a myriad of exciting things to do such as children's games and activities for everyone. Of course, there is a patriotic fireworks finale afterwards. Swanson and Moe will be there and you can even enjoy some delicious apple pie from Skeeter's.

No matter what you enjoy doing on the 4th of July, these events will bring out the patriotism in you and your family.

Want to learn more about the Richmond area and what it has to offer?

Pending home sales hit highest level since 2006

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Pending home sales hit their highest level in nine years in April, a sign that last month’s sales decline for existing homesmay be only temporary.

The National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index, which is based on contract signings, jumped to 112.4 in April, rising for the fourth consecutive month. That’s its highest level since May 2006. All four regions of the country saw more contract signings in April, led by the Northeast and Midwest.

 “Realtors are saying foot traffic remains elevated this spring despite limited — and in some cases severe — inventory shortages in many metro areas,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Homeowners looking to sell this spring appear to be in the driver’s seat, as there are more buyers competing for a limited number of homes available for sale.

 “As a result, home prices are up and accelerating in many markets.”

There’s a limit, however, as to how high prices can go since mortgage interest rates are beginning to rise.

 “The housing market can handle interest rates well above 4 percent as long as inventory improves to slow price growth and underwriting standards ease to normal levels so that qualified buyers — especially first-time buyers — are able to obtain a mortgage,” Yun said


Summer Lovin' Grilling Tips

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Get ahead of the game this summer and use these tips for great grilling.

This summer we have no doubt the grill masters at Lakes of Bella Terra will be barbecuing amazing steaks, ribs and hamburgers for family and neighbors. Lakes of Bella Terra has compiled a list of handy tips for your summer grill fest.

#1 Safety First
Safety is the number one priority this summer. To avoid cross-contamination, use separate cutting boards, utensils, and platters for raw and cooked foods. Store all foods in the refrigerator until use. Keep children away from grill. Always have a fire extinguisher and proper heat protective gloves within reach. Make sure you use a thermometer to reach the desired and safe temperature for chicken (160 degrees Fahrenheit).

#2 Preheating
Preheat the grill 15-25 minutes before you start cooking to help eliminate bacteria. A properly heated grill will help increase your cook time so dinner will be ready earlier, too.

#3 Remove Debris
After preheating, use a wire grill brush to clean off charred debris from previous grilling. Repeat this step after use, too.

#4 Oiling The Rack
Sticking is inevitable, even on a clean grill. To avoid this problem, rub the rack with a vegetable oil-soaked paper towel. Hold it with tongs and slide gently over rack. Do NOT use an aerosol cooking spray on hot grill.

#5 Beginners Luck
Fired up? Good! If you are new to grilling, don’t worry – it’s not as complicated as it looks. If you are new to lighting a gas or charcoal grill, make sure you read the instructions or watch a training video on YouTube. Here are two great demos: Charcoal or Gas.

Oil slump isn't affecting Houston homebuilders ... so far

Friday, February 13, 2015

Houston homebuilders grew concerned about the future of their industry as oil prices plummeted to six-year lows.

However, tumbling oil prices haven't had a big impact on Houston's homebuilding industry so far, said Toy Wood, CEO of the Greater Houston Builders Association.

Check out the article for more. 

Texas Real Estate Market Still Going Strong

Friday, February 06, 2015

According to HousingWire.com, “The Texas housing market has been an emblem of strength throughout the financial crisis, not feeling the same blow that the rest of the nation experienced. And 2014 was not too different, according to the 2014-Q4 quarterly housing report from the Texas Association of Realtors.”

Texas home sales in the first half of 2015 are expected to be similar to what we've seen in 2014, but continued increases in home prices and record-low inventory levels should still continue,” says Jim Gaines of the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. “Historically,Texas home prices have only risen 4.5% year-over-year. Continued housing demand, especially in Texas' metro areas, will be critical to sustaining our market's strong housing development in 2015." 

Read the article here.

Free Tickets to Katy Home & Garden Show

Thursday, January 22, 2015
Free tickets to the Katy Home and Garden Show compliments of Lakes of Bella Terra

How to Make Healthy Food Fun for the Kids

Friday, January 09, 2015
Pita bread with avocado and pepper for festive little treats. 
Use a pretzel as the tree trunk! 

Make place settings a tropical paradise-- LITERALLY! 

Strategically placing the fruit is key. 
Make the meal exciting and enjoyable for the whole family. 
It encourages nutritious meals and promotes quality time spent with each other. 

Humor. How can you go wrong? 

10 Survival Tips for Holiday Travel

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

3 Hours of Christmas Music

Monday, December 22, 2014

Need to add a little cheer in your home? Enjoy an evening of festive relaxation with three consecutive hours of Christmas music without interruptions or advertisements here:

3 Hours of Christmas Music

Holidays in Houston 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014


The holidays are here! Now the question is, where do we celebrate first?!
The Official Visitors Site for Houston has listed the top Holiday events of the year by category. 

Performing Arts

A Christmas Carol - A Ghost Story of Christmas

Nov. 26 - Dec. 24 
A Christmas Carol - A Ghost Story of Christmas returns this year with a re-telling of Charles Dickens' classic story that follows Ebenezer Scrooge's journey with the three ghostly spirits that visit him on Christmas Eve.

Sister's Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi's Gold
Nov. 19 - Dec. 28

Denise Fennell returns as Sister in this holiday mystery extravaganza! It's CSI goes to Bethlehem as Sister takes on the mystery that has intrigued historians throughout the ages: On the night of that famous holy birth, what happened to the Magi's gold? Forensic tools in hand, and assisted by a helpful flock of audience members, Sister hunts over manger and under camel hump in her relentless search for the culprit. 

Madeline's Christmas
Nov. 16 - Dec. 20 
"In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines." This charming 1956 classic finds Madeline in a Christmas crisis when all of her schoolmates are sick, including Miss Clavel. Who will run the school? How will the girls get home for the holidays? 

Cirque Musica Holiday Spectacular
Dec. 2 
Cirque Musica Holiday Spectacular is a concert and visual experience for the entire family, blending the spell-binding grace and dare-devil athleticism of today's greatest circus performers with the sensory majesty of the greatest holiday music of all time. 

A Christmas Carol - Houston Grand Opera
Dec. 5 - 31 

God bless us, everyone! When Charles Dickens' novella A Christmas Carol appeared in 1843, it delighted Victorian London and still inspires imaginations today. Iain Bell, a promising young British composer, has written a captivating score to a libretto by Simon Callow, the renowned film and stage actor. Remembered for roles in films like A Room with a View and Four Weddings and a Funeral, Callow has also played Ebenezer Scrooge and Dickens himself on the screen.

Houston Ballet's The Nutcracker
Nov. 28 - Dec. 28 
Set in nineteenth century Germany, the ballet opens at a charming Christmas party at which the mysterious Dr.

Houston Ballet's The Nutcracker
Houston Ballet's The Nutcracker

Drosselmeyer gives his little niece Clara a magical toy that takes her on an unforgettable journey. From the Christmas tree that grows to a towering forty feet in the first act to the cooks who fly magically through the air in the second act, The Nutcracker is sure to enchant audiences of all ages.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular
Dec. 5 - 28 
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes triumphantly returns to Houston's Hobby Center for the Performing Arts after eight years with an all new show, more spectacular than ever! In one of those brand-new scenes, New York at Christmas, the Rockettes will board a life size double-decker tour bus, taking audiences on a guided tour through the streets of New York City. A 50-foot LED screen enhances this scene and the entire show with breathtaking new imagery. 

Dear Santa
Oct. 31 - Nov. 29 
Dear Santa is composed of a number of short scenes that range from the hilarious to the touching. Many views of Santa are seen - from the point of view of the child who alphabetizes her Christmas list and sends it out in August as well as that of children at various stages of belief - and disbelief! Santa and his helpers shed light on many of the mysteries surrounding him, including why you don't always get the gift you ask for, how Santa delivers all those gifts in one night, how he finds children spending Christmas away from home, and how his power transcends the boundaries of race, gender and religion. 

Christmas at the Villa: Noel Noel 
Dec. 13 - 14

Eagerly awaited each year by audience members and singers alike, Christmas at the Villa is a welcome break from the frantic pace of the holiday season. The serene beauty of the Italianate Chapel is a perfect setting in which to be uplifted by lilting carols, choral classics, and new works sure to become future favorites.

Very Merry Pops
Dec. 12 - 14

Back again in 2013 is this much loved holiday tradition, with favorites like "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas," "Deck the Halls" and "Jingle Bell Rock,"plus the return of a special piece, "Glad Tidings". Guest narrators include spiritual leaders from throughout the Houston community. 

Handel's Messiah
Dec. 19 - 21
Every year, your symphony brings you this holiday favorite, where you'll hear your favorite arias and choruses from  "Ev'ry Valley Shall Be Exalted", "O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion", "Rejoice Greatly", and the timeless "Hallelujah" chorus.Enhanced lighting will create an ambiance invoking the candle-lit style of Handel's 1700s.

Felicias Fiestas!
Dec. 31 
On New Year's Eve, Ars Lyrica offers a festive evening of celebration and beautiful music featuring soprano Melissa Givens and mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte. Grammy nominee and plucked string expert Richard Savino curates this holiday-inspired program, which includes Spanish and Latin American Baroque classics that are sure to be magnificos.

Holiday Festivals 

Zoo Lights
Nov. 21 - Jan. 4
The Houston Zoo transforms into a winter wonderland, filled with brilliant displays of colorful lights and festive holiday music. Sip hot chocolate as you stroll through the Zoo and take in all the awe-inspiring sights, including thousands of twinkling lights adorning the magnificent live oak trees, whimsical colorful projections over 15 feet tall, and life-size animated animal sculptures.

Nutcracker Market
Nov. 13 - 16 
This year's market, will feature more than 300 national and international merchants carefully selected for their unique offerings selling gifts for the entire family-home décor, gourmet food, garden, clothing, novelties, accessories and more. All proceeds from the market benefit the Houston Ballet Foundation.  

Festival of Lights
Nov. 15 - Jan. 3 
The Gulf Coast's largest holiday lighting event features aa 100-foot slide, ice skating, and a mile-long trail of more than a million lights and 100 sound-enhanced animated displays sparkling over the beautiful Galveston Bay. Photos with Santa will be available nightly throughout the festival, and it will snow in Galveston every Friday night.

9th Annual WHAM (Winter Holiday Art Market)
Nov. 21 - 23
One of Houston's favorite artists' enclaves opens up for a weekend of great shopping. The event will feature items made by more than 60 local artists including jewelry, sculpture, photography, paintings, clothing and more.

65th Annual H-E-B Holiday Parade 
Nov. 27
Thousands of spectators make their way Downtown for Houston's signature H-E-B Holiday Parade with fantastic floats, high-flying hot air balloons, marching bands and costumed characters. 

Uptown Holiday Lighting
Nov. 27
On Thanksgiving evening, thousands of Houstonians and out-of-town guests will gather along Post Oak Boulevard for the Uptown Holiday Lighting, an event now in its 27th year. This fun-filled family event will ring-in the holidays with more than a half-million twinkling lights; festive music; holiday characters including clowns, larger than life Santa's reindeer; a special appearance from Santa and a fireworks extravaganza. The holiday ambiance created by 80 brilliantly-lit holiday trees standing guard over Post Oak Boulevard will continue into the holiday season.

Mayor's Holiday Celebration

Dec. 5
Mayor Annise Parker will host her third Holiday Celebration at City Hall's Hermann Square. The annual event will include the Mayor's Official Tree Lighting Ceremony, music, a fireworks extravaganza and more. This popular event is free and open to the public. 

Dickens on the Strand
Dec. 5 - 7
Bah, humbug! The 41st Annual Dickens on The Strand is a holiday festival, where bobbies, Beefeaters and the Queen herself will be on hand to recreate the Victorian London of Charles Dickens. Characters from Dickens novels walk the street. Food and entertainment fill the area with sights and smells that take you back to another era. 

Heritage Society Candlelight
Candlelight Tour at Heritage Society

Heritage Society's Annual Candlelight Tour
Dec. 13 - 14
Step back in time and tour eight of Houston's oldest historic homes, trimmed to perfection in traditional 19th century décor. Children may also visit with Santa, enjoy a holiday story reading from historic characters and make crafts at Santa's Workshop.

Campfire Christmas
Dec. 12 & 13, 19 & 20
Enjoy a progressive Christmas dinner, music, hay ride, exclusive evening tours of the 1890s Davis Victorian Mansion and 1930s George Ranch Home and finish up with dessert around the campfire with the George Ranch cowboys.

Ice Land: Ice Sculptures with Sponge Bob Square Pants

Nov. 15 - Jan. 4 
Moody Gardens and Nickelodeon have come together to create the Gulf Coast's only holiday ice sculpture attraction featuring the world-renowned underwater characters from Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants. ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures with SpongeBob SquarePants debuts on Nov. 15, 2014 and offer a unique and interactive holiday experience. 

Holiday Concerts

Christmas Gloria

Nov. 29-Dec. 4
There's no better way to ring in your Holiday season than joining with family and friends for the warmth and joy of a Mercury Christmas concert. Featuring the glorious sounds of a soprano soloist on works by Handel, Vivaldi & Bach. Start a new holiday tradition in your favorite local destination.

Holly Jolly Jingle Symphony Spectacular

Dec. 4
Frolic in our Winter Wonderland, complete with snow, with performances of holiday classics and popular carols. The plazas are all decked out for holiday fun. Guests can visit with Santa, Frosty and other holiday characters, make arts and crafts, play in the snow, listen to carolers sing and much more. All aboard for a ride on the Candy Cane Express for a merry good time. 

Preservation Hall Jazz Band: A Creole Christmas 
Dec. 5 
Celebrate the holidays - New Orleans-style - when Preservation Hall Jazz Band brings A Creole Christmas to Houston for the first time! This ensemble will leave its famed French Quarter venue long enough to spread some holiday cheer on this side of the Sabine. Featuring performances of such favorites as "Blue Christmas," "Swingin' in a Winter Wonderland," "Bells will be Ringin'" and "The Dreidel Song," this event for the whole family is sure to turn into one big party on stage! 

ROCO Connections: Yuletide Brass
Dec. 8
ROCO's traditional holiday celebration at Bayou Bend features The ROCO Brass Quintet. 

Christmas with Elisabeth von Trapp
Dec. 19
Join the granddaughter of Georg von Trapp, of the film, The Sound of Music, for a holiday concert featuring Christmas music and music from the celebrated film. Elisabeth grew up listening to her grandfather play his guitar at their Vermont lodge and now delights audiences around the world with her beautiful voice.


Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service 
Nov. 20
This annual service brings together leaders and members of many faiths to offer prayers of thanksgiving. All are welcome.A reception on the plaza follows the program.

The Grinch's Holiday Workshop
Nov. 22 - Jan. 4 
Join Cindy-Lou Who, the lovable dog Max and the "Mean One" himself, The Grinch, at The Grinch's Holiday Workshop, a new interactive experience opening at the Children's Museum of Houston. Inspired by Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! 

2014 TXU Energy Turkey Trot 
Nov. 27
Move your feet before you eat! This competitive run or fun run/walk benefiting Sheltering Arms Senior Services. There will be a 10K, 5K and a Kids Run (>1 K) on Thanksgiving Day. New this year - Go the extra mile and fundraise for Neighborhood Centers and Sheltering Arms.

Tomball German Christmas Market & Festival
Dec. 12-14
Come and enjoy the family-friendly ambiance - Gemütlichkeit - of this unique music/street festival with three stages of live music and an open air market along with antique shops in the old town area. 

Holiday Home Tour at Rienzi
Dec. 10
Get in the spirit of the season by touring Rienzi when the house museum is beautifully decorated to celebrate the holidays. Guests enjoy live seasonal music and a reception of holiday goodies. Stationed docents guide visitors through the house, highlighting the Masterson family Christmas ornaments.

2014 Heights Holiday Home Tour
Deck the Heights! The Houston Heights Association Holiday Home Tour will include Friday and Saturday tours of five unique Houston Heights homes along with docents who will comment on the rich historical and architectural significance and unique holiday decor of each home.

Yuletide: Holiday Time at Bayou Bend

Nov. 21- Jan. 1
Bayou Bend is renowned for its annual Yuletide tradition which features festive lights, decorations, and Candlelight tours outside, and special room settings inside that bring historic American celebrations to life. 

Additional Family Activities 

ice at discovery green
Ice at Discovery Green

The Galleria's 26th Annual Ice Spectacular 
Nov. 15 
The 26th Annual Ice Spectacular at The Galleria will kick off the holiday season with the lighting of its 55-foot Christmas tree, featuring 450,000 twinkling lights and 5,000 ornaments in a variety of colors and shapes. The 45-minute tree-lighting show will feature a performance by Kree Harrison, American Idol Season 12 Finalist and dynamic ice routines by five popular professional skaters. 

Ice at Discovery Green

Nov. 25- Feb. 8
Ice skating returns and its bigger than ever! Skate among the downtown skyline at Discovery Green's now 7,716-sq. ft. outdoor rink in the heartof Texas. Park-goers will enjoy a variety of family-friendly programming throughout the holidays, including concerts, movies and more.

Chanukah on Ice
Dec. 21 
Chanukah On Ice at Discovery Green will feature a skate with Clutch - Houston Rockets mascot, Chanukah gelt, huge ice menorah, spin the driedel and great gourmet foods for purchase from Laykie's.

Santa Hustle
Dec. 20
Runners have a "jolly good time" in Galveston for the annual Santa Hustle! At this event, half marathon and 5K runners compete in Santa suits and beards in a race thattakes them along the island's gorgeous Gulf waters and historic downtown streets. Along the route, participants can stop at cookie and candy stations while enjoying holiday music.

Galveston Holiday Lighting Celebration
Nov. 28
The Holiday Lighting Celebration kicks off with the arrival of Santa Claus by horse-drawn carriage, performances from The Nutcracker, a hand bell choir, and Old-Fashioned Christmas Carolers,followed by the lighting of Hotel Galvez & Spa Hotel's iconic 35-foot Christmas tree onthe front lawn. 

Holiday in the Park
Galveston Holiday in the Park December 13th- 14th, 2014 Join us this holiday season for Galveston Holiday in the Park. Bring out the whole family for a day filled with festive holiday tunes from local and area school choirs, bands and amazing church choirs during this free event. Performances will be held in Saengerfest Park at 23rd & Strand from 12:00pm-6:00pm on Saturday, December 13th, and Sunday, December 14th, 2014. 

6th Annual Gingerbread Build-Off 
Dec. 13
Check out some holiday competition! More than 30 teams will create gingerbread buildings and structures with in a few hours to be judged byan independent panel of food, design, art, and architecture experts in downtown Houston's Market Square Park.

Christmas in the Park at George Ranch
Dec. 6-31
Ever wondered how the first settlers in Texas celebrated Christmas? Ever wanted to take a sneak peek into a Victorian home decorated in full Christmas regalia? Now is your chance! Through December, George Ranch Historical Park will explore special holiday traditions that evolved over a 100 years. 

2014 Total Jingle Bell Run and Walk
Dec. 14
Get in shape and support a great cause during the 2014 Total Jingle BellRun and Walk in Downtown Houston. The event, which includes morethan 5,000 participants of all ages, benefits the Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA Partners Campaign.

Bayou Bend Free Family Day: Historic Holidays
Dec. 16
Bayou Bend celebrates Free Family Day in the midst of the Yuletide celebrations. The event focuses on Historic Holidays in early America.

The 2014 Advocare V100 Texas Bowl
Dec. 29 
The 2014 Texas Bowl will feature a Big 12 team against one from the Big 10. The game is a post-season college bowl that is televised by ESPN. 

Festive Hotels

Holidays at the Houstonian 
(all season long) 
Hundreds of thousands of lights sparkle throughout the property, as dozens of Christmas trees are decorated with ornaments, poinsettias, ribbon and lighted garlands.Monday through Saturday  from 6 to 7 p.m. in the lobby, holiday entertainment is provided by local organizations, from high school and church choirs to local pianists, bell ringers and instrumentalists. Cookies and hot chocolate are available for everyone. The pastry team creates several Gingerbread Houses to adorn the mantle in the lobby, each six feel tall and made of 325 pounds of a variety of colorful candies. A train continuously circles through the houses on the mantle.

Holidays at the St. Regis
(all season long)
Warm up this holiday with Afternoon Tea at The St. Regis Houston where tea service is a time-honored tradition. Experience legendary St. Regis Butler Service and delight in a traditional menu of petits fours, tea sandwiches, scones and Devonshire cream. For the little ones, there's the Teddy Bear Tea

Holidays at the Four Seasons
(all season long)
Enjoy S'More Funeach Friday evening at the Four Seasons during the holidays, with s'moreroasting and great drink specials on the pool deck. Kids will enjoy the Children's GingerbreadWorkshop each Saturday and this year the adults can have funtoo, with the Adult Gingerbread House Competition December 6.

Sunday Brunch with Santa at Hotel Galvez & Spa
(First four Sunday's in December)
Santa Claus will make a special appearance at Hotel Galvez on Dec. 7, 14, and 21 during its popular Sunday Brunch. Children are invited to visit with Santa to share their wish list and families will enjoy dining on this sumptuous holiday brunch. Take time to see the hotel's gingerbread display created by Executive Chef Antonio Galan and his team. Sunday Brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and was named one of the Best Brunches in Texas by Southern Living Magazine and voted as one of the Top 100 Brunches in the U.S. by Open Table Users. Reservations are strongly recommended. Call 409-765-7721 or make reservations via Open Table

Note: Some organizations have not yet finalized their holiday plans. Please check back on this page for updates.

To view the entire list: CLICK HERE