Little Helpers

VOLUNTEERING WITH MEALS ON WHEELS

We recently got the opportunity to partner with the fantastic Dallas based organization Wee Volunteer an establishment dedicated to creating volunteer opportunities for children. I love this organization, getting involved is a great way to start teaching your kids to serve their community. Wee Volunteer offers many ways to give back, but one activity you can do with toddlers is their Meals on Big Wheels drop off  program. Dexter and I along with many other mommy groups participated in this last week, if you are wondering if this is the right way for you to give back here is a little about my experience, what to expect, and a few tips to know:

THE PROCESS:

About 10 moms and 15 kids between the ages of 2 and 8 met at 10:00 am at the VNA (Visiting Nurse Association) of Dallas where we collected all of the prepacked coolers of food we would be dropping off.

We loaded up the party bus and headed to our first destination wich was an elderly living apartment complex in Oak Cliff.

Each mom was given two names, and apt #s of people who were expecting meals. Most of the recipients were older and disabled so we were also given a phone number to call and let them know we would be dropping their food off in a couple of minutes.

We located each apartment, knocked on the door and happily gave each person a hot and cold meal, one for now, one for later.

Even though Dexter is very young he had so much fun handing everyone their food, and the residents were thrilled to get a delivery from a tiny visitor.

After each mom dropped off their two packages we loaded back on the bus, grabbed a snack that we had each brought for ourselves, and headed to our next and final location another similar complex.

We repeated the process once again, hopped back on the bus, ate more snacks and drinks, by this time we were all pretty pooped and it was nap time!!! Dexter definitely got a good nap after our outing.

SOME TIPS AND THINGS TO KNOW:

It costs $12 person to participate in the Meals on Big Wheels program, this pays for the cost of the bus. Each family is asked to make/bring placemats to hand out upon delivery.

This is the perfect volunteer activity for a 4-8 year olds based on my observation, the program says 2yrs and up are appropriate age to volunteer. I would say if your child is 2 you be the judge on wether they can handle it or not, some two year olds are easier than others.

Keep in mind their will be some walking and carrying things, so you will want to bring disposable bags, wear comfortable and cool clothes and shoes, and possibly even bring a very small umbrella stroller if think your child might need it…(I carried Dex a lot, but he tends to be uncooperative some times).

Bring your lunch or snacks. Everyone brought a lunchbox with goodies to refuel in between visits and this was the key to happiness and quiet it seemed.

The Wee Volunteer Meals on Big Wheels program is a fun and easy way to get your child started on a path of volunteering. All of the kids I met had done this several times anhd loved it, they were all wonderfully well behaved children who loved to give back. This is a great example to show Dexter as he grows and learns. I also got a chance to meet new friends which is important for us full time moms to grow our network of other Dallas mamas!

Check out Wee Volunteer for other ideas and opportunities.

See you out there,

Noelle and Dexter

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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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12 Days of Christmas at the Dallas Arboretum

If you are from the Dallas area you probably already know about the Dallas Arboretum. I grew up going there every year in the spring and fall but it’s only been in recent years that they have added holiday displays and activities. With Texas weather being so unpredictable it’s nice to have more outdoor options for Christmas family fun!

The Dallas Arboretum features oversized scenic displays of the time honored Christmas carol The 12 Days of Christmas. As you walk the gardens you are directed to each ornate presentation encased in beautifully crafted gold and jewels. From a partridge in a pear tree to 12 drummers drumming each vignette is as visually dazzling as the next.

This is a great way to share the Christmas carols you love with your children while getting some fresh air and exercise. Check out of the fun we had with our playgroup in the photos below!

Don’t forget to check out the children’s garden  if you have some extra time. This is a newer addition to the park including an ABUNDANCE of interactive, educational exhibits and activities…. not to mention visually stunning and stimulating for the littles.

There are many options for tickets and parking listed HERE , of course the best bang for your buck (especially for full time moms) is the 1 year membership.

PHOTOS by Alexis Marie Photography

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