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

Mindful Parenting

DEVELOPING YOU PARENTING SKILLS

I am typically a high-energy, fun having, party throwing, life loving mom, but something you may not know is that I can sometimes be a high stress, anxiety inducing, control  freak of a person.

Occasionally I even have outbursts, and unfairly my husband is usually on the business end of my rant. I am always working on controlling myself and my actions while learning to find a genuine peace and relaxation in enjoying life as it is.

I was intrigued to have been invited to the Mindful Parent workshop at the Mastermind Studio in Dallas where I was given a private class that combines practicing how to calm the mind while learning to understand how the parent and child’s minds work.

Having an understanding of scientific and therapeutic psychology can help you to develop your child with the most positive success.

The instructor Kristin Bemis has an extensive background in family counseling and play therapy specializing in behavioral and emotional difficulties.

I really enjoyed this class not only because I took away so many helpful parenting tools, but also because of the peace I felt in the calming space which was a much needed quick get away from this whirlwind of life.

CLASS OVERVIEW:

The class was held in what felt like an upscale swanky Yoga studio, she had me find a place to in sit in whatever position most comfortable to me.

We began by what most can describe as mediation or as they like to call it “Mindful Thinking”, we used this time to clear our minds and quiet our thoughts. She then had us visualize and recall difficult scenarios in our daily life and work ahead overcome those challenges in the future.

Next we shifted into more of a discussion section as she talked about how our minds processed emotions, parent and child frustrations, and how to understand those frustrations and work it out in a mindful way.

DID IT WORK:

Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t but I can say it has been 5 days since I left that workshop and I find myself much more calm in what I would normally consider a stressful situation.

Maybe it’s just my perception but I have noticed a change in Dexter’s behavior and attitude, he is 2 and has been much more agreeable and cooperative. My relationship with my husband seems improved as well.

I have noticed myself using the mental tools I learned in the workshop when I feel anxiety or anger coming on with him, and I have not had an outburst once… but it’s only been 5 days.

This workshop is for everyone, a mommy group activity, a growing opportunity for you and your spouse, or just one-on-one time with You. This might seem progressive or “out of the box” for some people but give it a try and you might surprise yourself.

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Dallas-based Mastermind is a new concept in fitness – the only “gym for your brain” in the country teaching mindfulness from a research driven brain health perspective to help ease stress and improve overall health and well-being. Mastermind offers regular workshops, seminars and mindfulness classes. To learn more, please visit http://mastermindmeditate.com/.

 

 

 

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

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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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Baby get your zen on

LITTLE BIT YOGA at MEDICAL CITY of DALLAS

Being a new mom is one of the most exhausting, stressful, and emotional times in a mother’s life , I CAN NOT stress enough the importance of daily outings. It is imperative to your sanity and well being that you get yourself together, walk out of the house and see other human beings once a day…if possible.

Even something as simple as going to the mall and walking one lap around it and going home can really help give you a sense of accomplishment and normalcy. One of my absolute favorite activities to do with my new born I looked forward to every Monday was Baby Yoga.

I highly recommend all new moms go to this class, it is only $5 and is 1 hr long and leaves you feeling calm and connected with your baby. This class is  one peaceful hour of stretching and interacting with mommy and baby while in a judgement-free environment. 

The class is absent from fear that your crying baby would disturb others, and if you need to breastfeed you are welcome to do so right there on your mat… and we all did! I was able to incorporate all of the stretching and baby soothing methods at home which I put in to use on a daily basis when settling a fussy little one.

In addition to the wonderful instructor who makes you feel so comfortable with your new lifestyle and confident about your new body, I also made lasting friendships with other moms I still see on a weekly basis. I encourage you to try this class if your baby is anywhere from 2 months- 7 months.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE BUZZ

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