SEA LIFE + Toddler Tuesday

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SEA LIFE Aquarium, Grapevine Tx

Two mama friends and I visited the aquarium in Grapevine Mills Mall today, it may not look like much on the outside but we all agreed it was one of the best toddler outings yet!

The SEA LIFE Aquarium is a small aquatic establishment nestled inside an outlet mall but it is packed with hundreds of mesmerizing sea animals and interactive opportunities making it perfect for toddlers.

Every Tuesday is toddler day with special pricing at $15 for you and two toddlers (I believe this excludes summer time).

From the moment you walk in and throughout each area this aquarium is decked out with wall to wall “under the sea” sights and sounds.

Although there were many small children it was a very relaxing experience, made in part by the low lighting, calming yet ominous music, running water, and of course the tranquility of beautiful fish swimming all around you.

The aquarium is layed out in a way that makes it very easy to manage toddlers. Each veiwing area is small and the hallways are long and narrow keeping little ones close and less likely to run off.

If you have a small toddler you are no stranger to time restraints and understand the importance of short and sweet outings before the meltdowns ensue. This place is great because of its small size, you can easily get through the entire thing in an hour.

Some of our favorites:

The Sting Ray Habitat- The kids LOVED this one! The huge open topped tank went to the floor and the littles had a blast running through the tunnels, chasing sting rays, eels and sharks.

The Interactive Fish Tanks- You can find stand alone mini aquariums all over the place with glass bubbles you crawl into to get a surrounding effect. The kids all got a big kick out of this.

The Tunnel- Definitely the most popular viewing spot. As you walk through the glass tunnel you are surrounded by 360° of Sea life! We saw huge manta rays, sea turtles, tropical fish, sharks, whale fossils and more!

The Rainforest Room- Another calming spot exuding a floor to ceiling nature ambiance. And I do mean floor to ceiling. The ground was made of faux dirt and bark that was soft and cushy. Above your head were beautiful branches and leaves, and all throughout were peaceful water features and lovely sea creatures.

The Sea Anemone Petting Farm- This was really fun to see all of those beautiful, spikey, loofa like beings you see stuck to the ocean floor. There was was a specialist to educate everyone on each one and even let us pet them. Very sticky but very cool!

Check out our day

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Future Chefs in the Baking.

YOUNG CHEF’S ACADEMY of ROCKWALL

While working on another project I stumbled across the Young Chefs Academy of Rockwall, and I am so glad I did. I was instantly intrigued and called right away to get more information.

I was told about an upcoming Gingerbread Workshop they offered and thought “we have to do that!” and I set up a moms group outing immediately.

The girls of Young Chefs were so sweet and set up a special workshop just for us that would be more appropriate for the 2-4 year old age group. Normally their workshops accommodate a 4-10 year old age range.

This has been one of my favorite group outings so far, we had a full class 15 kids, their moms and a few young siblings.

The kids were so ecstatic when they walked into the bright and colorful chefs kitchens where they were all given tiny aprons and lined up to wash their hands and pick their seat.

I wasn’t sure what this workshop would entail or how the kids would do but surprisingly they all did very well, there were some minor “two-year-old moments” here and there but overall it was great.

The instructors started off by showing all the kids the baking basics in which they all got to try out the techniques for themselves, pass, and try another.

We learned the fundamentals of how to properly measure flour, separate an egg, sift, and get the perfect half inch width for our gingerbread dough. Most of the moms actually learned a thing or two themselves.

The kids then got to do the fun stuff and play with the dough, create their gingerbread shapes, and put the little guys into the oven…safely of course.

The way everything was set up was perfect for kids, all of the gingerbread men were pre-baked and ready so the children did not actually have to wait through each process, they were simply just learning and practicing.

Next came the best part, decorating! Each kid got several cookies and a variety of icing, sprinkles, and toppings to dress their cookies however they pleased, I saw several very creative little hands at work.

The best part about this workshop was the close interactive bonding time between the moms and the littles. We rarely do activities where the kids aren’t running around and playing, this was a much calmer situation and really was a team effort between parent and child.

The Young Chefs Academy also has a location in Frisco and they offer unique workshops like this every month, they also do birthday parties and regular cooking classes for kids.

If you are looking for something different and unique to do with your family I highly recommend checking this out, we had a great time and can’t wait for our next get together here.

Photos by LEXIE GRABEN

Blueberries Are Ready For Picking!

THE BLASE FAMILY FARM

1220 East Fork Drive Rockwall TX 75087

We have been waiting all year for the Blase Family​ Farm to open, if you’re wondering what we’ve been waiting on it’s the blueberries! They are finally ripe and ready for picking!

The Blase Farm located just 25 min from Dallas, tucked away in the middle of Rockwall is the cutest little bluberry grove that allows kids to come and pick their own blueberries.

Blueberry season runs from May – July, they are then closed until fall in which they have a fantastic pumpkin patch (stay tuned for that post later this year), they are open from 9am-1pm, so you’ll want to plan accordingly.

We went mid May and it was a beautiful 70°, the park is very shady and cool but the actually area where the berries grow is open to the sun so keep that in mind when planning your visit.
What to know before you go:

How it works- Upon entering the farm you will stop by the stand grab a basket or bucket, head on back about 100 yards to start picking. You fill your container with as many berries as you please, as you return to the front you will pay for the blueberries you’ve picked. The average cost was about $5 per person.

Appropriate age- Dexter is almost two and he was just a bit on the young side for this, it is doable and was a fun activity but he definitely didn’t get the concept. I think this is perfect for kids ages 3-6, however there were several moms with young toddlers so if you are up for it than I say “give it a shot!”

What to bring- if you are taking a younger child I would bring your own container possibly a Ziploc bag or something with a lid. I saw many kids including Dexter throw the blueberries everywhere. We actually ended up leaving with none as we lost the entire collection on our way back to the front of the farm. Oh well, lesson learned, and​ now I am passing that on to you, you’re welcome!

What to wear- durable, sturdy shoes! I saw many kids and would recommend wearing rubber boots, both you and your child, and possibly even bring an extra pair of shoes and plastic bag for your boots for the ride home. It is a highly wooded area, and depending on the weather that week could possibly be a tad muddy. Bringing me to my next section…

Stroller or no stroller?
I saw moms with both. Depending on the age and number of children you have you might want to have your stroller. Just keep in mind the terrain conditions in which I mention above. If​ you have a jogger or something very rugged you will be golden.

Lunch-
This is a true farm, they do not sell food so everyone brought their lunches and sat at the shady picnic tables to eat. They do however sell popsicles, they are really yummy, all natural and very low in sugar. You will want to make sure and snag one!

If you are looking for a fun playdate idea or something different to do with the whole family on a weekend, this is a great activity for everyone! Get more information HERE

See you out there,
Noelle and Dexter

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Summer Bucket List 2018

Maker:L,Date:2017-8-26,Ver:5,Lens:Kan03,Act:Kan02,E-Y

Summer is a here and we need stuff to do!!!!  Here is a list of links to my favorite Uptown Mom posts to plan for a fun summer in Dallas!

Aquariums and Gardens Made Perfect for Toddlers

FAIR PARK OF DALLAS – Children’s Aquarium & Texas Discovery Gardens

3601 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Dallas, TX 75210

 The Arboretum of Dallas and The Dallas World Aquarium are both city staples and wonderful places to visit and learn, however you will probably spend a good chunk of your day and your wallet when you go.

As day time moms we are usually looking for something that fits within an hour and a half – two hour window, is inexpensive and covers a smaller surface area to easily manage kids who like to run. When looking to get your botanical fill and aquatic activities in there are two places that happen to be side by side that fit this criteria.

Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park-

We have visited this garden several times recently, it is a smaller, quicker alternative to the Arboretum. This butterfly garden is a newer addition to Fair Park and hidden gem amongst the busy city buzz.

Inside, the two-story Butterfly House and Insectarium you are transported to a tropical rainforest, complete with hundreds of free-flying butterflies. Something to note: you actually feel like you are in a rainforest… a bit warm and muggy, so dress accordingly.

Each day at noon there is a butterfly release and new butterflies are set to fly free around the space. This is an indoor/outdoor garden making for a great activity when weather may be unpredictable.

The indoor butterfly house is beautiful, relaxing and very toddler friendly, your little ones can roam and explore without going too far from sight. If the weather is nice bring snacks and enjoy the outdoor gardens as well, then you are on your way for a nice long nap!

The Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park-

We made an impromptu visit to the Children’s Aquarium last week and were pleasantly surprised. It is a historical building so it is a bit older but it was a perfect morning activity for toddlers.

As soon as you walk in you are greeted with a beautiful water display with live sea animals they allow you to touch (supervised of course). We then ventured over to the coastal fish and sea life displays and were thoroughly impressed and captivated!

There were creepy but amazing eels, a huge shark, beautiful sea turtles, and more. Our favorite part of the aquarium was the Stingray Bay. This new expansion is really fun and interactive. As you walk out on the deck you stand above open toped tanks containing very large sting rays, sharks and fish.

As you walk down to the lower level there is another open tank with several playful sting rays… yes, I said playful. This was so fun! The stingrays cannot sting or bite you, but they see and hear you, they come up to the glass and splash and flap their wings, then you can pet them. The aquarium has food you can feed the stingrays, we had a blast together petting and feeding those little guys!

We love both of these places, depending on your child you could easily visit the butterflies and the fish in the same trip or split it up like we do, either way it’s a great day!

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Jump Up, Jump Up and Get Down!

DFW TRAMPOLINE PARKS

Oh January, the Christmas merriment is over, it’s still cold out, and you need to get out of the house.

Try taking the kids to a trampoline park, they’re not just for birthday parties. If you’ve never been to one it’s exactly what it sounds like, a a huge space full of trampolines and mats! Most have special hours and pricing just for toddlers. It’s the perfect indoor activity that’s easy, inexpensive and will guarantee nice long nap!

The two main players in the DFW area are Urban Air and Jump Street . We have been to both below are some FYI’s of each.

URBAN AIR:

  • 6 locations all around the DFW area
  • OUR FAV FEATURE: Large facilities (some locations have additional rigs such as  padded jungle gyms, zip lines and foam pits)
  • Toddler hours are Wednesdays and Fridays from 10-12
  • Cost is $5
  • Must fill out waver upon entry. Waver is valid for 1 year. You can fill it out online before you go to avoid waiting.
  • Bring socks
  • Snacks for purchase but mostly candy

 

JUMP STREET

  • 4 locations (one being centrally located on 75 and Walnut Hill)
  • Less trampoline space than Urban Air. Toddlers are limited to the toddler area, but it has a bounce house and foam pit for kids 4+.
  • OUR FAV FEATURE: Toddler hours are ALL DAY, EVERYDAY
  • Cost is $5
  • Must fill out waver upon entry. Waver is valid for 1 year. You can fill it out online HERE  before you go to avoid waiting.
  • Bring socks

Happy jumping and we’ll see you out there,

Noelle and Dexter!

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5 Minutes to Flawless

MAKE UP SCHOOL at MAKE UP FOR EVER

I recently had the pleasure of getting to experience a hidden gem of a mom’s night out… MAKE UP SCHOOL!

Not only is this a class held at one of the best make up stores in the biz, but this class at NorthPark is taught by one of the most talented and stunningly beautiful artists I have ever met!

If you’re not familiar with Make Up For Ever you should be! Many celebrities wear it for their professional finish, HD quality, photo friendly products.

Did you know they have the cutest studio classroom right in the store where master classes are held every Monday evening for $25. Each class has a different lesson on make up application.

We got to take the class that is perfect for moms, 5 minutes to flawless. This lesson will teach you the essentials to have you ready and out the door as fast as that Keurig can have your coffee ready!

We learned about each product and practiced step by step how to apply it. We did the whole look from start to finish with the instructor. My favorite part about the class is getting to try out all the different make up and brushes and really see what they can do.

It’s also my least favorite part because it makes me want to buy it all! It’s pretty tempting because when you complete a Make Up School class you get %20 off of everything in the store!

It was definitely a good old fashioned girly night. We did make up, chatted, laughed and got a much needed break from the craziness at home.

The class holds 4-8 people making it great for bachelorette parties or a girlfriend’s get together.

Uptown Mom will be hosting a 5 Minutes to Flawless class on Jan 8 at 2pm with Laura. We will have sweet treats and sips. I invite you, my fellow moms who enjoy trying new things and meeting cool people! I hope you’ll join me!

Check out all the pics from our experience

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Park Treasures

It’s October, pumpkin spice is in air and the weather is perfect which means get your butt outside and enjoy it. We have been soaking it all in around town while hitting up some of our favorite secret play spots! Check out our top 3 park picks you may not even know exsist;

3) Reverchon Park

3505 Maple Ave, Dallas, TX 75219

This park is near and dear to me, I have been an avid Reverchon Park goer even before I had a baby…. well I took my fur baby. This park has everything (said in my SNL Stefon voice), it’s in a perfect secluded location right off of Dallas’ famous Katy Trail. The trees, plants, ponds and greenery are unbeatable for an uptown city park. There are several grassy, spacious areas for babies, both human and four-legged. Being attached to the Katy Trail allows a workout with a view for mom before or after playtime. Reverchon Park was built to accommodate handicap children which also lends itself well to crawlers. I took Dexter here all the time before he could walk because all the ramps and low lying playground equipment made it easy for him to enjoy the park. This park also has a permanent shade structure shielding little ones from UV rays and exhausting heat.

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2) Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge

Unless you are new to Dallas or have been living under a rock you probably have seen the magnificent white arch that stretches across the Trinity River, also known as the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. Did you know that it is also a fabulous pedestrian walkway containing play areas, games and spray grounds?!!!! Not to mention the absolute, hands down best view of the city.  It’s beautiful in the daytime or evening. At night you can grab a snow cone from the ice truck at the front to cool down and for bite to eat just stroll on over to the adjacent Trinity Groves center. If you are looking for something different than your average park,  plan a playdate at the bridge!

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1) ALLAN SHIVERS PARK at Scottish Rite Hospital 

2222 Welborn St, Dallas, TX 75219

You have most likely driven past the Scottish Rite Dallas hospital, saw the crayon sculptures and thought “that’s cute” and went on your way. I did anyway. We recently discovered that those giant crayons are the entry way to the best park in Dallas we’ve ever been to, the Allan Shivers Park! We immediately fell in love with how beautiful and well kept it was. There were pretty flowers all around the perimeter and the soft foam covered ground was immaculate. I saw not one paint scratch or rusty bar. Safety and security are top notch here, the park is enclosed with a gate and serviced by friendly security guards. The playground equipment got an A+ in innovative, interactive and unique pieces. We played with musical stations, a scavenger hunt, electronics and make-believe! It’s shady, tranquil and relaxing. This park is number 1 on our list for a reason, if you’re in the area go see why for yourself!

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It’s a party in the G.Y.M.

OPEN PLAY for PRE-SCHOOLERS at the LAKE HIGHLANDS NORTH REC CENTER

 

My experience can be summed up in a song…

I hopped through the door at LHN with a baby and a little grin,
Welcome to the land of games excess are we gonna fit in

Jumped in the gym, here we are for the first time
Look to my right and I see the giant bounce/ climb

This is all so crazy, didn’t spend the day being lazy
My baby’s playin’ and I’m feelin’ so ecstatic

Too much fun and I’m happy
That’s when the babies all climbed through the hole

And the bounce house fun was on
And the bounce house fun was on
And the bounce house fun was on


You get more bang for your buck at The Lake Highlands North Rec Center Open Play, an ordinary gym that has been transformed into toddler heaven costing you a whopping $2. This play space is equipped with several mini bouncers, soft climbers, balls, blocks, gym toys and plenty of kids 5 and under to play with.

Dexter had a blast and enjoyed all the other baby tots who were all very well behaved for the most part. This is not only happy hour for toddlers, it’s a social mommy mixer. The “stay at homers” club is in full swing with super friendly and engaged moms who are all there for the same reason… OUR KIDS ARE DRIVING US CRAZY!!!

It is a fun and inexpensive way to get out of the house and stay out of the heat, and did I mention there is a splash pad right outside?!

  • Open Gym times: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10:30am-12:30pm
  • 9940 White Rock Trl
    Dallas, TX 75238
  • CLICK HERE FOR MORE BUZZ

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