Around Town, Family

Dallas Heartwalk 2016

We participated in the Dallas Heartwalk this past September.  My dad and Mr. Amusing’s dad both have had heart problems in the past so donating to research into heart health is something we both support.  Mr. Amusing bought a bunch of orange sweatbands to distribute to his co-workers…but we arrived late and the walk had already started so now we have a bunch of orange sweatbands in the house.

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This walk is sponsored by a lot of big companies and it shuts down a lot of roads in downtown Dallas.  I would’ve run the 5k but there are so many people that it’s better to walk and talk and catch Pokemon 🙂heartwalk18 heartwalk19

The walk starts really early in the morning to lessen the effects of traffic, so we were done by about 8:30AM.  We didn’t want to just go home after driving all the way to downtown.  So we went to the Dallas Farmer’s Market.

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I haven’t gone to the farmer’s market since I was a child and a lot has changed.  There is a physical building with lots of shops and eateries inside, which is fantastic for hot Texas summers.  But there is also enough area surrounding the building for vendors to set up their temporary tents and sell their items this way as well.

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We got some juice, popcorn, tamales, hot dogs, pudding, so basically a little of everything 🙂  The kids had fun, Mr. Amusing had fun and we supported local businesses!

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After this we headed home rested up a bit and went back out to Las Colinas area because I wanted to catch Magikarp around the canals.

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This is one of the buildings on the canal and I thought it was funny they had those British phone booths in there!
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Funny faces are a must!
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Have you heard of the Prisma app?  It’s so cool, it takes your photo and makes it look like a painting.  I don’t remember which “filter” I used.  Here’s the original photo of the photo above:

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All that was on Saturday!  Full day for the Amusing family.

Family

Ian’s 4th Birthday Party

For Ian’s birthday party we rented out the water park at our local recreational center.  It was actually a couple of weeks after his birthday because all the weekends were booked out except for the Sunday evening before the first day of school.  My kids and most of our friends’ kids don’t go to school yet so I booked that night.  It was astronaut themed for my space loving kiddo.

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I had gotten balloons from Party City, they didn’t have any rockets or astronaut themed balloons, so I bought a sun, star and sphere shaped balloons.  Mr. Amusing even drew on the sphere one to make it look like the moon.  Well I was packing up the van and I put the balloons in there and left the trunk open.  My sister arrived to help me with last minute things and I got distracted from packing the van.  About 10 minutes later we resumed packing up the van and headed over to the rec center.  As we were unpacking the van I asked Mr. Amusing where the balloons were and he said there were no balloons.  I insisted that I put them in there and he said they must’ve floated away in the 10 minutes I was in the house!

Ian kept asking where his moon balloon went 🙁

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All of the water photos above were taken with the Fujifilm FinePix XP80 Waterproof Digital Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD (Yellow)

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I had Pizza Hut deliver pizza to the rec center and I cut cheese in the shape of stars. I also had starburst, moon pie, and milky ways out too.
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I made some chocolate covered pretzels with sprinkles and Pop Rocks!

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I got mixed results on the pretzel rods.  I had made them the day before the party and when I tried them there definitely was popping action going on.  My guests reported some got the popping action and some didn’t, but everyone told me they were delicious.
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For party favors I bought Astronaut Ice Cream  and made these cute little tags from my Stampin’ Up Shooting Star stamp set.

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My sister took this photo with her cell phone because I was too busy having fun with my kids going down water slides, splashing and swimming.  I made a chocolate cake following this recipe from Tastes Better From Scratch.  I baked it in a large Pyrex glass bowl and used Wilton White Candy Melts, 12-Ounce for the craters.  I got the candles from the dollar store and the astronauts are LEGO .
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This photo was taken by one of my friends that captured the moment when the huge bucket of water got dumped all over Mr. Amusing and Jensen.  It was a great party and it was private, I’m definitely going to book this place for Ian’s 5th birthday party.

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Family

Helping a sister out

Did you get any good deals on Black Friday?

My sister is a junior at Baylor University.  She needed help moving into her new apartment.  So we took a little road trip down to Waco to help her assemble some Ikea furniture and walk around the campus.

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This is around the time when Pokemon Go came out all of us were very into catching Pokemon and finding Pokestops.  The university had plenty of stops so we took a Pokestop tour of the campus 🙂
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Here’s Ian with his camera.

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Piggyback rides from aunties are the best.

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Camera in action and the resulting picture below.waco26

 

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Exhausted kiddos on our way back home.  This was also the first time I’ve ever had kolaches from the Czech Stop.  It’s now an addiction, lots of fruit jam in the middle of the moistest bread, so good.  I often make my sister get us some on her way home from Waco.
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Mr. Amusing made me drive back home from Waco so he could capture some fun shots of Dallas buildings.  It always freaks me out when he does this, I’m always scared he will drop his camera!waco28

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Family

Ian turns 4

Happy Thanksgiving, I hope you are surrounded by people you love and have great food to eat.

Ian turned 4 during the summer.  Since his 2nd birthday I have put balloons in his bed at night while he’s sleeping the night before his birthday, so he wakes up to a party!  I hope I can continue to do this every year for as long as he lives with me…Although 30 balloons will be a lot 😀  I also got him special donuts to share with his friends at school.  When I showed him the donuts he was so impressed!  I asked him if he wanted to eat all the donuts and he replied very matter of factly “No mommy I want to share them with my friends”.  I hope you stay kind hearted kid.

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I got the donuts from Earnest Donuts.  They have a lot of donuts and are all extremely delicious.  During the weekend we took Ian to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.

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They made little paper “helicopters” and got to fly them.  This was very entertaining as they flew all over the place.ian4thbirthday20 ian4thbirthday23

The main reason we brought them here was because Ian is REALLY into space and they have a planetarium and it was great.  Just if you bring your kids there make sure they don’t have light up shoes!ian4thbirthday21 ian4thbirthday22

They also have an Omni IMAX and we watched a dinosaur show, I’ve forgotten how immersive that theater is.
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They way Jensen was so concentrated on building this was so cute.  His cheeks I want to kiss them all the time.ian4thbirthday25 ian4thbirthday26

It’s not a museum without a dinosaur.ian4thbirthday27

 

Around Town, Family

Main Street Garden Park

Sometimes we go to downtown Dallas on the weekends, but not randomly because one doesn’t go to downtown unless you have some sort of plan.  Mr. A wanted to check out some parks in downtown that wasn’t Klyde Warren Park and surprisingly there are quite a few!  We went to Main Street Garden Park it has a water feature, playground green grass for your dog and places to sit.  It’s not huge but I like seeing parks in the middle of all the concrete.

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I am the master of funny faces 😀

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Ian wanted to play in the water, we said no.  This is the result:downtown19

Ian loves wearing this shirt, I made it for July 4th, which you saw in the last post.  It makes me so happy to see him love the clothes I make him.  Now he thinks I make all the clothes he wears 🙂  I got the fabric from Girl Charlee and the pattern is a free pattern from Peek-a-boo Pattern.

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Family, Holidays

Independence Day 2016

We have been going to the fireworks show in the city my parents live in for a couple of years now.  It’s not too crowded and there is plenty of activities for the kids.  With all the rain we got in the spring this year the normal location was still recovering from the flood damage.  So they moved it to a large park within walking distance of my parents’ house.  My parents had a small get together and we invited Mr. A’s parents too.  First we went swimming and had some BBQ.  Ian is still loving his Fujifilm FinePix XP80 Waterproof Digital Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD (Yellow)

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Then we headed over to the park where we would watch the fireworks. I made the kids and myself matching shirts, Mr. A was upset I didn’t make him one…maybe next year 🙂

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Ian loves his grandma a lot, he cried one time after we parted ways from a restaurant because he didn’t get to say “I love you” enough times.independence01

Every year Mr. A likes to try different techniques to capture fireworks and every year I’m so impressed by all the pictures he takes 🙂

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Family, Vacation

Father’s Day and a Lake House

I’m super behind on posts.  I’m really sorry!

In June the weekend before Father’s day my sister came to visit and took us to a lake house near Cedar Creek.  It was a nice and relaxing weekend.  When we got there we unpacked all the food we brought and made ourselves at home.

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Then we started up the grill.  I found these HUGE marshmallows at Aldi and Ian was all about the marshmallows.  We told him we were going camping (as you know this is as close to camping as I’ll go) and he asked “Are we going to make s’mores???”  because there is a Bubble Guppies episode about camping and they talk about s’mores.  He’s an expert on camping from watching that one episode 🙂

cedarcreek04 cedarcreek05 cedarcreek03After dinner we tried to start a little fire in the fire pit, but it had been raining and it was super humid so we were very unsuccessful.  Plus we didn’t bring any coal, lighter fluid or lighters and the lighters at the cabin were all broken.

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The next morning my sister and I participated in a 5k in town.  Everyone else stayed at the cabin and waited for us to get back.  The 5k was at the Cedar Creek Brewery and we all got finisher glasses and beer afterwards.  We stayed for the awards ceremony not knowing that my sister won 3rd place for her age group!

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We picked up some coal and lighters and some more food while we were in town.  We got back to the house and relaxed a bit while packing some sandwiches for lunch to eat on the boat we rented.

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We all took naps after the boating and woke up in time for more grilling and relaxation 🙂  We attempted to make a little fire in the fire pit again and we were successful!!  Although the marshmallows tasted a little like lighter fluid…

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The next morning we ate some breakfast and packed up to drive on back home, but not before taking some early morning photos.

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Such a fun weekend, minus the mosquito bites 😀

Holidays

Happy Halloween 2016

Hope you all are having a wonderful Halloween full of treats and tricks!

Ian is still into space and astronauts, so naturally he is an astronaut.  I found some space/galaxy fabric at Joann’s and made myself a hoodie and a skirt (not pictured) to be the galaxy.  Jensen’s favorite superhero is Batman and that’s what he wanted to be.

 

 

Family, Vacation

Orlando Part 5 – Hotel Review

We stayed at one of Universal’s on-site hotels, the Cabana Bay Beach Resort.  (If you are looking for pictures of room details there are none in this post….just a lot of pool pics of my kids).  This is the value hotel in their hotel line up.  There are 5 wings, and there are two room types: family suite and standard.  The family suite has a kitchenette and sitting area with pullout bed, while the standard room does not.  The styling of the hotel is retro themed.  This hotel boasts a huge lobby area with bar, 2 pools, a lazy river, sandy areas to lay out or play in the sand, firepits, a very large cafeteria, a gift shop, a starbucks, a workout room, an arcade room, and a bowling alley.  Staying at this hotel allowed early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, one hour before the theme park opens (valid theme park admission required).   You do not get Universal Express, which is the equivalent to Disney’s FastPass, if you stay at this hotel, if you stay at any of their other hotels you do.

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One of the wings of the hotel at night

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kids pretending to be frogs in the hotel lobby

We ate at the cafeteria quite a few times.  Unlike Disney hotels where they link all your stuff to your magic band, you have to go to the front lobby and ask for a charge limit to be allowed on the card, that’s what we did.  Also, the only thing they do room service for is pizza.  You can order any of the food in the cafeteria to go and take it to your room yourself.  I liked the variety of the food and the quality of the food offered.  The prices were not super expensive but not cheap either.  If you rent a car I highly recommend picking up some things like bottled water and snacks to keep in your room.  I packed nutrigrain bars, mini-muffins, fruit snacks and goldfish.  The kids ended up eating a nutrigrain bar or mini-muffin on the three mornings we went to Universal to avoid hangry children (which any adult knows is the worst).

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HUGE eating area, right next to the cafeteria

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Bowling alley upstairs, Starbucks downstairs

Unless you don’t have a bowling alley near your home I don’t recommend bowling here.  The prices are super inflated.  We went to check it out and walked right back out.  I don’t remember the prices but it was at least double a normal bowling alley.orlando-day3-07

The beds are comfortable with firm pillows and the rooms don’t have the window AC units.  The bathroom set up for the family suite has a sink and bathtub/shower room on one side and a toilet room on the other with a double sink in the middle, both rooms have doors for privacy.  The bedroom and living area is separated by a sliding room divider.  Both rooms have a TV.  The kitchenette has a sink, mini fridge and microwave with a bar seating with two bar stools.  The rooms are not big, but they are comfortable and very clean and well maintained.

So here’s a map of the resort that you get when you first check-in.  We stayed in the Continental wing, which I hear is quieter than the wings on the other side of the lobby area.  The Continental and the Americana rooms are “tower” rooms meaning they are like hotels where your door is inside.  The other wings are courtyard and your door is not in an AC’d hallway, similar to a motel.

We visited both pool areas.  On the first day we went down to the pool area closest to us.  This is the kids splash area , which is just a fountain that shoots water.  It was also much too cold since the sun was already hidden by the building.  All the water/pool photos were taken with Ian’s water camera!  Fujifilm FinePix XP80 Waterproof Digital Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD (Yellow)


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Ian was upset we didn’t stay longer, but Jensen was upset so we left and told Ian we would go swimming.  So on one of the Universal days where we got back early we went to the other pool area, which is kind of a hike, you have to walk through the main lobby building to get to it.  But this side is much more exciting with a water slide and bigger splash pad.

After the splash pad area we went into the pool!  The pool is very shallow I think the deepest is 6 feet and that’s only around the water slide area.  The kids loved jumping into the pool (as long as I was there to catch them)

First Ian’s jump sequence:

Next Jensen’s jump sequence:

and some more pool pics:

We really enjoyed staying at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort.  I felt that the free shuttles to the parks and that extra hour was well worth the few extra dollars.  After taxes and fees it came out to $168/night.  I hope you enjoyed my little recap on our Orlando vacation, this was one of the best vacations we’ve had and great memories were made.  One of the best decision was to have my sister come along, it created less stress with more hands to help with the young kids.  Thanks sis!!

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Family, Vacation

Orlando – Part 4

If you remember at the beginning of this re-cap of our Orlando trip I said we didn’t plan on going to Disney World.  I wanted to actually take a day off from the parks where we could relax and hang at the pool and well…relax because we were on vacation.  Mr. A had other plans.

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View of Cinderella’s Castle from the Ferry boat.

A long time ago Mr. A’s family went to Disney World.  At the time they offered tickets that never expired, this was before Animal Kingdom was around.  They ended up only using one day and never returned, so Mr. A’s mom asked for us to bring them and see if they were still valid.  So on the day we went to Disney Springs Mr. A went to customer relations while I took the children and shopped a bit.  He had 3 adult and one child park hopper tickets, when he came back he had 4 adult park hopper tickets that still didn’t expire.  We decided we would buy Ian’s ticket and give back two adult tickets to his parents.

We took a taxi from the hotel to the Magic Kingdom.  It was a $50 taxi ride…we should have rented a car for the day.  It was also hot hot hot.  We put on sun screen like it was going out of style.  There was not much shade, we saw everyone hiding on the planter walls to seek shelter from the brutal sun.

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Gryffindor for life 🙂

Not only was it hot, it was way more crowded than Universal.  All the rides had at least 30 minute waits, for Disney that was probably super short, but for the past 3 days we had almost no waits for the rides we wanted.  When you buy your tickets you can pre-plan 3 fast passes, the first one we got was Tomorrowland Speedway, we all could ride this one the minimum height is 32″.  Our kids love driving cars, so this was perfect for them.  The car seats two riders and the pedal is in the middle.  At first Jensen liked the idea of driving, but then he got lazy…Ian drove the entire time, unfortunately he couldn’t see over the steering wheel, so he kept driving to the left.  I laughed so hard the entire drive.

Next we headed towards Adventureland.  Where we did the interactive adventure, you go and get a map and a special tailsmen.  You have to find symbols hidden around Adventureland and follow the clues to the end.  Ian loved this, he thought it was so cool when things happened.  Some things surprised him like a cannon going off.  We ended up actually finishing it through the end.  We rode the Aladdin ride and the pirates of the Caribbean ride when the line was short enough.  We also may or may not have gotten a couple of pineapple dole whips 😉

After the adventure quest, we were all kind of miserable because of the heat, so we decided to go find something to eat.  We ate at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe where there’s a topping bar for your nachos/tacos.  It also has inside seating which was nice to take a break.  After being revitalized by food, we rode some more rides.  At some point we rode the train around Magic Kingdom for a good 10-15 minutes.

In the late afternoon, around 5ish the crowds really started dissipating.  This is when we rode a lot of rides.  As the sun started setting we rode the people mover in Tomorrowland.  Parents of young children, this is the best ride in the park!  It moves at fast pace after you leave the boarding area and it is elevated and goes around all of Tomorrowland and shows you all the rides in the area.  It even goes through Space Mountain!!  It’s very neat, plus you can take some cool pictures while on it.

The newest ride when we went was the Seven Dwarves Mine Train.  The wait time for this all day was never less than an hour and half.  Since we bought tickets so last minute we couldn’t get a fast pass for the ride.  Well right before the fireworks the wait time got down to 40 minutes.  This ride also offers parent swap, unlike Universal the whole party does NOT have to wait in the line.  The park attendant gives the party riding a laminated card and the people not riding (in my case Jensen and myself) can go off and do something else.  So while Mr. A and Ian were riding the ride I took Jensen to the Winnie the Poo ride right across from the ride entrance.  We rode the ride and came out in time to watch some of the fireworks.  Then Ian and Mr. A came and I took Ian to ride the ride again.  It’s a fun coaster, there’s a part where you go through the mountain and see the dwarves mining for all the gems.

Ian enjoyed this ride so much that when we got back for a week he would wake up telling me he had a great dream.  I would ask him what it was about.  He would reply “I was riding a roller coaster and there were fireworks in the sky and a silly guy with gems in his eyes.”  Mr. A and Ian just happened to be on the roller coaster while the fireworks were going off and Dopey is there with diamonds in his eyes like in the movie.

After we rode the rides we went to watch the ending parade.

The kids fell asleep before we could exit the park 🙂