Thursday, August 17, 2017

Thoughts for Thursday: Coffee Talk

If we were sitting down together having coffee this morning, we would have a lot to chat about. A few things: 


\\ I feel like this has been the longest week in the history of ever. I looked at the clock and the calendar on Tuesday and realized it was only 8:30 a.m. on a Tuesday morning and was immediately thinking, "Calgon, take me away!" Anyone else with me?

\\ I know there's a giant debate in the mom-o-sphere about back-to-school/end-of-year/Teacher Appreciation Week gifts. And I'm totally going to be that basic mom who is giving Walker's teacher a candle at Meet the Teacher on Monday morning. This one, to be exact, with a cute little tag on it that says, "This year is going to be Scent-sational!" Cheesy, yes. But I'm hoping she'll appreciate it, even though I'm sure it'll be one of 10 candles she'll receive that day. 

\\ All of these first day of school pictures I'm seeing are making me cry like crazy -- especially those Kindergarten ones...and most especially those first day of Kindergarten/first day of senior year side-by-side pictures. I mean, I literally cannot look at them without crying and hearing that cheesy country song, "You're Gonna Miss This" playing in my head. I said it on Instagram yesterday, but I'll say it here again: I'm raising a glass to those of you mamas sending your babies to Kindergarten. You'll find me curled up in the floor in the fetal position in two years when we have to send Walker to Kindergarten. And now I'm moving on because I can't talk about it. 

\\ So I told y'all I recently purchased Rapidlash and would report back if it worked or not. And um, YES. It works! I haven't noticed too much of a difference in thickness, but I have noticed a huge difference in length in almost a month of using it nightly. Totally worth the $30-ish in my humble opinion! 

\\ And on the subject of beauty buys, I have had a couple of people ask me about the whitening "toothpaste" I use, so I thought I would share here, too. It has totally taken me about six months to fully grasp using a charcoal "toothpaste," but now I don't think I could ever go back. I use this one {purchased on Amazon} and it lasts forever! I use the freebie soft-bristle toothbrush my dentist gave me at the end of my last appointment, wet it under the sink and dip into this canister of activated charcoal. I use it twice daily {if I remember} and it has really made a difference in the color of my teeth! So much so that my dentist asked me what I was using to whiten my teeth, so I consider that a win! I still do follow-up with a regular toothpaste using my electric toothbrush. ;)

\\ Walker said to me yesterday: "Mommy, it's the best." I said, "What's the best?" He replied, "Your laugh. I love you so much. You're my best friend." Y'all, I about started crying my head off at that sweet statement! There are some days I want to ring his neck, but then he charms the socks off of me with little statements like those. Can he just stay little forever? 

\\ Knox has started saying his name {"Naaaaaaaaa!"} and I think it's the most precious thing on the face of this Earth. He's so proud of himself when he says it, too, and usually follows it up with a clap and "Yay!" 

\\ I haven't yet shelled out the money for the highly-coveted Lake Pajamas {they're on my Christmas list!} but I did recently buy these and I am completely and utterly obsessed. As in, I do a load of laundry every day just so I can wear them again that night. Does that make me crazy? Don't answer that. ;) 

So what are you confessing today? 

Linking up with Annie, Natalie and Julie
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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

What's Hap-pinning Wednesday: My Favorite Back-to-School Items for Young Kids

While I don't have a child in "official" school yet -- which, by the way, you can find me curled up in a fetal position on the floor when that happens in two {yes, two!} years -- I do have one who attends twice-a-week preschool and needs a good amount of "stuff" to begin the school year. 

Since he's only in preschool, my husband thinks I go a little overboard for taking Walker out to buy a new first day of school outfit, getting him a new backpack/lunchbox combo and making a big to-do over a traditional first day of school meal...but I just think it's fun and I love the joy it brings each year around this time. And hey, they're only young once, right?! ;) 

Before I started staying at home, I worked in the communications department of a local school district, and ever since then -- even though I'm no longer working -- I still get a sense of giddiness around this time of the year when school supplies start taking over the back half of Target; back-to-school commercials begin popping up on TV; and, quite frankly, I am immediately transported back to my school years and can just smell those freshly-sharpened pencils and feel the anxiousness the night before the first day of school brought. I just love it all. 

So here are a few of my favorite back-to-school items for young kiddos, and many of these have been purchased in our home and are packed up and waiting for Walker's first day next Thursday!


one || two || three

four || five || six 

seven || eight || nine 

-ONE-
We use these Bento-style lunchbox containers year-round, but I always buy them brand new at the beginning of the school year since they get a little icky after a year. They're good, hard plastic and are perfect for packing Walker's school lunch twice a week -- and for packing a lunch for all of us {me included!} on-the-go during the summer. They also hold up well in the dishwasher. 

-TWO-
I mentioned this water bottle before here, but I love how the Contigo Kids stainless steel water bottles keep water extra cold. We use the Contigo Kids water bottles for every day use, but I do like to send this stainless one with Walker the first few months of school since it's still hotter than you-know-what in Texas until about mid-October. I just like knowing that his water is kept extra cold for him to drink after being out on the hot playground or in gym. 

-THREE-
I love to use silicone muffin liners in Walker's lunchbox container to hold a little treat: Greek yogurt-covered raisins, a few dark chocolate chips, or even a brownie cut up into little chunks. It also is great for holding Goldfish crackers, grapes, etc. It just gives me some added space and keeps little things contained. And a bonus is that I can use them to bake and just pop them in the dishwasher on the top rack. 

-FOUR-
These are my very favorite socks for Walker! Knox still wears my favorite baby socks, but Walker loves these ankle socks, and I love how well they stay on his feet. The seam at the toe is also quite small and thin and doesn't bug him as much as other brands. 

-FIVE-
I have purchased Olive Kids backpacks {and lunchboxes} for years and I just love them! I can't justify spending the money on an expensive backpack for preschool since Walker's comes home with glitter, glue and dirt all over it each week. But these are good quality for the price and are the perfect size for my 3.5-year-old. I also love the side "pocket" that perfectly holds his water bottle. 

-SIX-
These reusable ice packs are the perfect size and weight for little ones' lunchboxes: they don't weigh it down too much, fit perfectly into his lunchbox and stay cool for a long time. Again, it's hot in Texas for a while, and I like knowing that Walker's food isn't hot by the time his noon lunchtime rolls around. 

-SEVEN-
Again on the note of Olive Kids, I purchase the backpack/lunchbox set each year before school starts. Walker is getting the construction themed ones this year for obvious reasons, but all the prints are so cute! {They also make coordinating nap mats that roll up easily and have a little handle to carry them; too bad he doesn't nap at school anymore!} This lunch box is the perfect size to hold his Bento lunchbox container, utensils (if needed) and two ice packs. 

-EIGHT-
I used to purchase expensive Stride Rite tennis shoes for Walker each year, but that turned into multiple times a year because his foot grew so quickly...and turned into hundreds of dollars out of our wallets spent on those expensive shoes! So, when I found that Stride Rite made a line of shoes for Target, I was hooked. These shoes are good quality and hold up extremely well. Since Walker can't yet tie his shoes, I also love the Velcro strap that he can do himself to make him feel independent, but it doesn't look cheesy or dorky. These shoes are a winner in my book! 

-NINE-
We have checked this book out from the library and will be picking it up today in anticipation for next week's first day! I have always liked reading books to prepare Walker for big events {e.g. his baby brother's arrival, school, etc.} and this book is so sweet! He loves the original "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie," so I think this one will be a hit. 


What about you? What are your favorite back-to-school items for the littles in your life?

Linking up with Jessi and Jenn

Monday, August 14, 2017

Weekending: Family Fun Edition

For what felt like the first time in a long while, we had a weekend full of just spending time with our family with absolutely zero plans...and it was wonderful. But as per usual, the weekends always fly by! Here's what we were up to: 


\\ FRIDAY: 

+ We celebrated my aunt's birthday with a family lunch with the boys, me, one of my brothers and his girlfriend, my aunt, grandmother and uncle. It was so good to have some of my family together in the same Metroplex for a few hours! 


+ After lunch, the boys and I went with my brother and his girlfriend to grab ice cream and visit for a bit; Knox was in love with his ice cream, as evidenced by it all over his face: 


+ That evening, we took the boys out to Benihana for their first-ever hibachi experience. Walker was completely in love {he's the perfect age to actually "get" it}, but Knox was a little "meh." It was still so much fun and of course, delicious! 

My earrings
My top is here in limited sizes, but similar ones here and here



+ Brandon and I had a lazy evening of lots of football on TV and an early bedtime. 

\\ SATURDAY: 

+ Walker had his very first belt testing for Taekwondo, and we are so thrilled that he got his first-ever belt: yellow! We're proud of how far he's come in such a short time with Taekwondo and are pleased at how much it's helped with behavior, respect and self-control! 


+ My mother-in-law was having a garage sale and I went over Saturday morning to drop some stuff off and help her out for a little bit. After that, we had leftover Benihana for lunch {delicious!} and then I went to get a massage when the boys were taking their afternoon naps. It was absolutely amazing, per usual, and I told Brandon that is the best Christmas present I've gotten a monthly massage membership! 

+ We did a ton of cleaning out and organizing around the house on Saturday afternoon/evening. There's something about the impending start of school that always makes me want to get organized! We cleaned out Walker and Knox's toys, organized LEGOs {soooo many LEGOs!}, Brandon made a Home Depot run and quite literally cleaned the floor of our garage and did some yard work, too. I did a ton of laundry and cleaning inside the house, as well. We made these "burgers" for supper and then watched a few minutes of "20/20" in bed {yes, we're old} before a big ol' storm rolled in and we had a scared little bedtime visitor {Walker} for a few hours until the rain stopped and he was returned to his bed. ;) 

\\ SUNDAY: 

+ We went to church, but I was quickly able to snap this picture before we left. As I captioned on Instagram, "One of us is thrilled it's Sunday and realizes this is the day the Lord has made...and the other isn't rejoicing and being glad in it." Ha! 


+ After church, Brandon made us all grilled cheese, which was perfect for a rainy Sunday. Too bad we didn't have any tomato soup on hand! The boys and I all napped while Brandon cleaned both of our cars inside and out and returned some stuff to Home Depot. 

+ We made a quick Sam's run, then came home and Brandon made us pancakes, eggs and biscuits for supper. I loved having him in the kitchen for two meals yesterday! ;) 




+ The sun was finally out, so we went on a long family walk. Walker is doing so great on his balance bike


+ We did the bath and bedtime routine and then Brandon and I finished our "20/20" episode, I read a few pages of my book and we called it an early night. 

I hope y'all have a great week! 

Linking up with Biana 
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Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, y'all! I'm looking forward to a summer weekend of very little commitments and spending some much-needed time with our little family of four. Here are my Friday Favorites this week...



-ONE-
These shorts from PinkBlush: love them so much. The pom-pom detail, the navy, the elastic waistband...they're comfy, cute and fun. I'll be wearing these until our weather starts to cool down in oh, early- to mid-October.  



-TWO-
This face wash I ordered on a whim last weekend. Brandon was out of town, I was down an Amazon rabbit hole and ordered it. And I love it. I have used it three times and I can already tell a difference in my skin. It's a definite add-to-your-Amazon-Prime-cart-now order. ;) 



-THREE-
This post about my favorite things to do with toddlers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area was a fun one to write. If you missed it, you can check it out here



-FOUR-
This quote from the Duchess of Cambridge I saw on Mama Fix's Instagram. I read it and was just overwhelmed at how much truth was in that one statement. I feel that so many times, we often only discuss the positives of motherhood and forget to talk about how hard it can be sometimes, too -- especially on social media. I'm so guilty of this myself, but we'll only post the perfectly-staged pictures of our angel babies and pretend that life is perfect...when in all actuality, our three-year-old just threw a tantrum because we gave him the red vitamins he just asked for but now doesn't want; our one-year-old is screaming his newly-found high-pitched squeal because we won't pick him up while we dare try to go to the bathroom; our house has toys scattered all over the place; we just stepped on a LEGO; and our husband is traveling for business. 

So I appreciated reading this from her, because even I thought her life with nannies and stylists and hairdressers and a private secretary was all sunshine and roses...and it reminded me that being a mom is pretty universal: it's amazing at times and, quite frankly, it's really freaking hard sometimes, too. 

So thanks, Kate. 'Preciate your words of wisdom from across the pond. 




-FIVE-
This article from Women's Health magazine. I was actually quoted in it, and I'm so thankful to the writer, Jessica Migala, for randomly reaching out to me. It was a super cool experience and one I'm really excited about and proud of. 



-SIX-
This brave boy. He got a big ol' boo-boo this week and handled it like a champ. I was a complete emotional wreck, but he was jumping around, laughing and up to his old tricks not an hour later. He's going to be four in January and it hurts my heart to even type that sentence. 



And this little one. I have a feeling he's going to give me a run for my money, but oh my gracious, his little four-tooth grin just melts me into a thousand tiny pieces. It's true what "they" say: if you ever want to see your heart living outside of your body, have children. 




Linking up with: April, Amanda, Andrea and Katie
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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Thoughts for Thursday: Coffee Talk

If we were sitting down together having coffee this morning, we would have a lot to chat about. A few things: 


\\ Walker's first day of school is in approximately two weeks and I can't believe it. While I enjoy the structure and routine of the school year, I will definitely miss the slower, easier summer days and the "flying by the seat of our pants" on activities. I just feel like once school starts, it's just pretty insane until about January. Whew, I'm getting antsy just thinking about it. 

\\ Speaking of Walker, his poor little head had to be glued together on Monday morning...and it was all my fault. And yes, I feel horrible.

Knox was taking his morning nap on Monday, and Walker and I were playing "Airplane" {or "Super Man"} on my bed -- a game we play often. He loves it, and I do, too! Usually Walker will "land" on the pillows of our made bed. But this time, he did a barrel roll and the back of his head landed right on the corner of my nightstand. I seriously just watched it all happen in slow motion and couldn't get to him fast enough. I couldn't hear anything but silence and as soon as he started crying, I whipped back into reality and ran over to him...and blood was everywhere. I immediately went into panic mode, grabbing a washcloth from my bathroom and telling him to hold it on his head while I slipped on my flip-flops and grabbed Knox out of his bed. I put them both in the car as quickly as possible and drove like a bat out of hell to the pediatrician's office. I didn't even realize until I was getting the boys out of the car to rush into the pediatrician's office that Walker was barefoot and Knox was still in his sleep sack. (Insert monkey covering its eyes emoji here) The nurses immediately whisked us all back into a room and they came in to assess, clean and then glue Walker's head back together. 

Thankfully Walker was so calm during the entire thing. The only time he cried was when they told him they had to cut a little patch of his hair in order to glue his scalp back together. And sweet Knox in his sleep sack was just happy as a clam. But of course I was a blubbering mess and felt terrible. But, after a sticker at the doctor's office, a couple of doses of Tylenol/Motrin throughout the day, a trip to Dairy Queen for a hot fudge sundae, a visit to both the library and the fire station, and a sweet cookie delivery from his best friend, Walker was {and is} doing great. He can't wash his hair or go swimming until Saturday, but overall, he's such a champ and I'm so proud of him. 

But I still feel horrible. 

\\ On a much lighter note, did anyone else think this season of "The Bachelorette" was pretty terrible? I really liked Rachel...until the final episode when she told Peter "The Bachelor isn't for you." I totally think Bryan is sleazy and I just wasn't impressed with him in the least. I did, however, love Twitter on Monday night! My favorite tweet said, "Peter won the popular vote and Bryan won the Electoral College." I about spit my water out reading that! Ha! 

\\ I helped my mother-in-law sort some of my nieces' old baby clothes and my boys' old baby clothes for an upcoming garage sale she's having and oh my word, y'all, I seriously got teary a few times looking at my sweet babies' old newborn clothes. They grow so fast and I told my mother-in-law, "We are so done having babies, but nothing makes me want to have one more than looking at these sweet newborn-sized gowns." Time is such a thief! 

\\ Does anyone have a LEGO table for their kids? Walker is super into LEGOs (and Knox loves to play with the Duplo sets, too!) and so Brandon and I thought their big gift this year could be a LEGO table. But there are so many options and I'm just overwhelmed. We were eyeing this one; any thoughts? 

\\ Brandon and I are attempting to cut out a good chunk of dairy and wheat from our diets, and so far we've done really well. Aside from cheese, I honestly don't eat too much dairy and couldn't tell you the last time I drank a glass of milk. But we just noticed some health issues stemming from eating a lot of that, so we are trying to cut back and eat more quinoa, rice, veggies, meats and do more soy/almond/cashew-milk based products instead. It's so funny how I'm honestly not missing all of that stuff, either! 

\\ I have a massage scheduled for Saturday afternoon and I'm so excited about it I could burst. I seriously feel like a kid on Christmas Eve. Ha! 

\\ I despise ironing clothes. I let it pile up for weeks on top of our dryer until the pile is so big it falls over, and then I'm stuck ironing for hours upon hours upon hours. Please tell me I'm not the only one? 

So, what are you confessing today? 

Linking up with Annie, Natalie and Julie

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

What's Hap-pinning Wednesday: My Favorite Activities for Toddlers in DFW

When I first became a stay-at-home mom two years ago after working in the corporate world for 18 months with a child, I was a little overwhelmed with the many activities that parents could do with kids in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I wanted to take Walker {and eventually Knox} places, but I didn't want to break the bank. We did a few trial runs at some places, only to find out they were better suited to bigger kids. But on the opposite end, we tried out some places and Walker loved them so much he cried when we left because he wanted to continue to play.

I learned quite quickly that the key to me being a happy stay-at-home mom and Walker and Knox contented kids is to not stay at home all day, every day; we are "get out and go" people...of course, after Knox's morning nap and before their afternoon naps. ;) 


Here are my favorite activities to do with toddlers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, whether you're local or traveling to the area: 

Cheap or Free: 


{1} Residential and Neighborhood Pools 
Don't we all know someone, or maybe have a friend-of-a-friend who has a pool? We personally don't have a pool, but my in-law's do, so we spend a lot of time over there in the summer letting the boys swim. It's good because it lets them spend time with my in-laws, but it also wears them out! 

On the opposite end, our neighborhood pool is awesome! It has slides, a baby pool area, a snack shack and much more. Our pool is also attached to our local recreation center, which has a basketball court, activity rooms, etc. We also have friends who are members of a local country club and invite us to swim there with them, and we are big fans of a local pool that, while it's not free for us since we aren't residents, is only $6 for adults, $3 for kids and free for Knox, and it's so fun! {It also has an indoor pool option for rainy days!} 

And if all else fails, buy a cheap plastic baby pool from Target, put it in the backyard and fill it up with water from the hose. Sometimes I think the boys like that more than a big pool! 


{2} Neighborhood and City Parks
Toddlers love to run and play, so don't discount taking them to a local little park! Adjacent to our neighborhood pool is a little park, and even though it's not the nicest, the boys love it! And, like the pool, going up and down the slides wears them out and guarantees me a good nap from them. ;) When the weather is nice, we like to walk the half-mile there and half-mile back in our double stroller. It's good exercise for me, too! 


And sometimes, we'll even take them to the track of our local high school and just let Walker run and run {and Knox crawl all over the place}! 


{3} Fritz Park Petting Farm
Only open June 1-July 31, Fritz Park Petting Farm is a free petting zoo owned and operated by the City of Irving. There aren't a ton of animals, but toddlers -- especially animal-loving ones -- won't care a lick! We haven't been since Walker was about 19 months old, but he loved getting up-close-and-personal with the goats, rabbits and chickens. You can stay as long as you want, and there's a little playground nearby, too. 


{4} DFW Airport's Founders Plaza
Our little plane-loving boys absolutely adore Founders Plaza, an outdoor area near the DFW Airport where you can sit and watch airplanes of all shapes and sizes take off and land. They have speakers where you can hear the control tower communicating with the pilots during the final approach; picnic tables to have a meal or a snack; and a big hill kiddos can run up and down. It's so fun, especially on days with good weather. We will often pack a picnic lunch and just sit and watch the planes. 


{5} PetsMart, PetCo and any feed suppy store
Two words: "free zoo." I love taking the boys with me to look at the fish, dogs, cats, birds and reptiles for a while, and they love it, too! 

Brandon has a local little feed store next to his office, and we often go in there when we're visiting Brandon for lunch to let the boys look at the chicks, ducklings and goslings. 


{6} The Ark 
The Ark is a play place located inside GracePoint Church in Coppell. It has slides, a big ball pit and is basically a very large, somewhat clean version of a restaurant play place. Plus, you can't beat the fact that it's indoors and air conditioned, especially in the summer! There are tables so your kiddos can have a snack or a meal, but remember to bring socks; they can't play in their shoes. 

What I like most about this place is that it's divided into two sections: one for big kids, and one for smaller babies and toddlers. Be sure to check their website for specific hours, as they change during the school year and summer. 


{7} Coppell Farmer's Market Splash Pad 
While we're talking about Coppell, Walker loves the splash pad that's directly adjacent to the Coppell Farmers Market. The water is on from 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. on Saturdays and 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Sundays-Fridays beginning in April. There's an awesome playground right there, too, and I joke that many times I'll put a swimsuit on Walker, slather him with sunscreen...and instead of playing at the splash pad, he'll play on the playground. We like to bring a picnic lunch and eat at the splash pad if we're able. There's also a ton of newly-opened restaurants around this area, including: Twisted Root, Quincy's Chicken Shack, Dodie's, Frost Cupcakery and George's Coffee + Provisions.



{8} The Tubes at Irving Bible Church
Walker is the perfect age for The Tubes now, but Knox is too small. I think it's perfect for about a 2.5/3-year-old and up. (The actual height limit is 52 in. and below.) It's a monstrous play place inside Irving Bible Church that is very clean and well-maintained! While there's really not much space for parents to sit, I was impressed with this place. Like with The Ark, be sure to bring socks, because they can't play in shoes. It's open from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. daily, and there's even a coffee bar a couple of yards away for moms to get a cup of coffee while they watch their kids play. There's also a really cool {shaded} playground outside, too, that's great for cooler days. 



{9} The Mustangs of Las Colinas
Toddlers really couldn't care less about the sculptures at The Mustangs of Las Colinas, but there is a ton of space to run and there's water for them to splash in! {And parents can marvel at the beauty.} Put the kiddos in some water shoes {we love these}, a bathing suit and a rash guard; pack a picnic lunch and bring your camera…you'll be surprised how much they enjoy this free activity! 


{10} Dallas Galleria Play Place
The Galleria Play Place, located on the 3rd floor of the Dallas Galleria, right outside Nordstrom, is perfect for kiddos (42 in. and under)! It's a very clean, large play place in a Mayan theme, complete with slides, a big structure to climb on and some tunnels. {It totally reminds me of that Nickelodeon show from our childhood, "Legends of the Hidden Temple."} It's the perfect place to go when it's raining or cold, or when Mom needs a shopping break and the kids are tagging along! 

Be sure to pack socks; kids can't go in shoes. Park in the Nordstrom garage and take the Nordstrom elevator up to the 3rd floor, then walk out to the middle of the Galleria and you'll spot it. 


{11} Music & Movement Story Time at Grapevine Public Library 
Grapevine Public Library is by far my favorite story time in the area. It gets a little crazy during the summer, but it's so fun for the kids! Right now, story time is 10:15-11 a.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. They give kids a variety of "instruments" to play {e.g. shakers, Boom Whackers, scarves, bean bags, etc.} and let them dance and sing while playing music; then they read a story or two; and then bring out the big parachute for them to play under. This summer, after story time, they would turn the lights out, turn on disco balls and lights, pump up the music and let the kids have a dance party! 

And it's not just story time that makes this library so great. Outside in the kid's section {which is HUGE}, they have a variety of activities for kids to do: books, of course; a puppet show; a play mat with cars; a microscope; Magna Tiles; a coloring station; puzzles; and more. 




{12} Chick-fil-A Play Places 
Chick-fil-A is always a hit at our house! I'll let the boys go play after they eat their lunch, and I love that these places are {mostly} clean. ;) One of our local Chick-fil-A's even has little containers of Cheerios for babies to munch on while they wait for their meal. {And be sure to check out my list of Mom Hacks here that includes my favorite Chick-fil-A tips!} 


{13} Dove Park and Parr Park + Spray Grounds 
Dove Park is an awesome park and splash pad located in Grapevine. The park is open year-round and the spray park is open May-September each year from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. Admission is $2 per person for Grapevine residents and $5 per person for non-residents; 12 months and under are free. 

Parr Park is also a park and splash pad combo located in a gorgeous area of old Grapevine. The park is open year-round and the spray park is open May-September each year from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. and is free! 

**I also really like Bicentennial Park in Southlake. There's a splash pad area, covered picnic tables, a special zip line for bigger kids, a little stream running through the area, a giant sand box, swings {my kids' favorites!} and more. 



{14} Bass Pro Shops
This is such a great rainy {or cold} day activity. I'll often just take the boys up to Bass Pro Shops and let them "ride" on the ATV's, boats, etc. and let them look at the fish in the tank and in the little pond, as well as the snake in the big observation area. They do an awesome "Santa's Wonderland," in December that's completely free! 



{15} Bubble Land at Gateway Church (Southlake)
BubbleLand is an indoor, clean play place located inside Gateway Church in Southlake. It's only open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. The boys love the ride-on ark, fire truck and train, and there's a slide, little tree for the babies to crawl through and they'll sometimes turn on the bubbles! Be sure to wear socks. 


Paid, but still fun:

{1} Play Street Museum
With many locations {Allen, Frisco, McKinney, Plano and new locations coming soon in Flower Mound and Richardson}, Play Street Museum is awesome! It's basically a tiny town for young kids, and we love it! It's $11 for each child ages 1-8; children younger or older receive a free admission if accompanied by a paying sibling; they receive one wooden "coin" to get a healthy snack after they play. With everything from an art station, to a Moon Sand station, to a fun little interactive "town," it's everything a kid could want. We haven't yet visited the other locations, but the Plano one was definitely one to write home about. They're open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m....and I'd suggest getting there early {especially in the summer and during Spring Break} so you don't have to wait. 



{2} Peek N Play 
Peek N Play is very similar to PlayStreet and we love them both! At Peek N Play, kids have to go barefoot, so remember that. There's big tree house and slide that goes down into balls, a small area for babies, a cute little "town" for bigger kids, and a full upstairs with blocks, LEGOs and two swings. They're open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., and it's $12 per child; crawlers and under are free with an accompanied elder child and adult. 



{3} SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium
A much smaller and better-priced than the Dallas World Aquarium {although still a little high to me} is the SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium, located inside Grapevine Mills Mall. They have "Toddler Tuesdays," where tickets are cheaper {$15 for one adult and two toddlers, through age 4}. It's a small place, enough to walk through for about an hour in a stroller, and it's very kid-friendly. 


{4} Pottery Painting at Sunshine Glaze (Southlake)
I love to take the kids to Sunshine Glaze around Mother's and Father's Day to paint a little something special for my in-law's, parents and grandparents. It's definitely a little nerve-wracking with two active little boys {I think I say, "Be caaaaareeeeeful!" about 140 times while we're there!} but they love it. And I love that there are high chairs available for little ones. The price varies based on what you choose to paint; check out their specials here


{5} Kid Movie Days at Your Local Theater 
This is totally a great idea for those super cold, super hot or yucky rainy days! Walker has only been to the movies twice; he's not really a sit-still-and-watch type of kid, but we've tried before and it's so much fun! At one of our favorite local theaters, they have "Mommy Mondays," where the cinema volume is lower, the lights are brighter and they offer $6 tickets before 2 p.m. {AKA: before nap time!}. 


{6} Dallas and Fort Worth Zoos 
My grandparents graciously gifted us with a Dallas Zoo membership for Christmas, and we are loving getting use out of it! We bring our wagon, pack a lunch and let the boys see all they want to see {and ride the carousel and Monorail}. The Dallas Zoo is open from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily. It costs $8 to park {members are free}. Admission prices are listed on their website here

We aren't members of the Fort Worth Zoo, but love it, too. It's a smaller zoo and, when we visit, we bring the wagon, pack a lunch and let the kids ride the carousel. I'm so thankful we have two zoos in our area! The Fort Worth Zoo is open from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily. It costs $5 to park. Admission prices are listed on their website here; Wednesdays are half-price admission. 



{7} Trampoline Parks 
We have many trampoline parks located near us, and my boys love them! Two near us offer "Toddler Time," where, on a specific day at a specific time, they allow only kids ages five and under to jump. My girlfriends and I love taking our kids during this time because we know they won't be trampled by big kids and are around little ones their own age. One of our local trampoline parks even plays kid-friendly songs over the loudspeakers. 




{8} Grapevine Vintage Railroad 
Our boys love the Grapevine Vintage Railroad! Our favorite thing is the "Grapevine Fun Train," which is a little 30-minute ride up and back through Grapevine. It's the perfect amount of time for little ones before they get antsy. ;) The Fun Train only runs on Saturdays from March-November, but thereafter they do it during the week at various times. They also have fun events throughout the year, including the North Pole Express, Day Out with Thomas, an Easter Train, etc. Check their website for pricing. 



Honorable Mentions: 

{1} Market Street Playground (Flower Mound)
We love Market Street not only for their grocery shopping, but one of our local stores has an amazing outdoor {shaded} playground for kiddos where you can sit and sip coffee while they play, as well as wine on tap and yummy food you can either take to go or sit down and eat...and it's all kid-friendly. 

{2} Central Market Playground (Southlake) 
Two words: playground and drinks. ;) But seriously, parents can grab a drink from an outdoor bar and sit and watch their kids play on the HUGE outdoor playground. And, you can get your shopping done while you're there, too! 

{3} Gymboree Play & Music Classes
When I first started staying at home, we did a weekly 45-minute Gymboree Play & Music Class. Walker had so much fun playing on their equipment, running around, singing, playing with the parachute and bubbles. They're so fun and a great way for them to burn energy and meet some little friends. {Click here to find a class near you.}

This is such a little slice of heaven in the middle of old Grapevine. I didn't even know it existed until we took Knox's one-year portraits there this summer! There's a cute little playground (with swings!) and it's fun to wander around the beautiful arboretum and see the flora and fauna; my boys love the koi ponds, too! 

I'm only putting this one as "Honorable Mention" because we haven't yet been there! I can't believe we haven't, but it's still on our list. I've heard their Moody Family Children's Museum is quite a site to behold, and we're planning to go soon! 

{6} Dallas World Aquarium + Klyde Warren Park
Located right in the same vicinity of the Perot Museum are both Klyde Warren Park and the Dallas World Aquarium

Klyde Warren Park is a free park right in the heart of downtown Dallas. Admission to the park is free, but be sure to check their website for parking options. Not only are there a ton of food trucks to get a bite to eat, but there are always fun events for kids and adults alike to partake in. There's also a Children's Park with interactive fountains, a story-telling tree, a playground and a kid-sized amphitheater. 

While we absolutely love the Dallas World Aquarium and have been a number of times, I do think the price is a little steep for the boys' attention levels right now. {Adults are $20.95 + tax and children 2-12 are $14.95 + tax; children 2 and under are free.} They have a number of great exhibits and it's so clean and well-done. Paid parking is available in lots near the aquarium, so be sure to prepare for that. 

This is an amazing museum with a wonderfully done children's museum and Dino Dig! The only reason this is listed as an "Honorable Mention" is because it's pretty pricey: $15 per adult; $12 per child ages 2-18 and parking is limited and pricey. But it's very fun! 

What are your favorite DFW activities for toddlers?! 

Linking up with Jessi and Jenn 
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