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Life in DFW

My life as a wife and mom in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and all things fun about it!

Filtering by Tag: dallas mom blog

Whimsical, Engaging, and Fun -- This Is The #CaterpillarShow

Debora Manusama

Having been translated to more than forty-five languages since it's first published in 1969, children's book The Very Hungry Caterpillar is one of the most memorable  classics of all time. Creator Eric Carle's charming storytelling and colorful illustrations have captured millions of hearts, ours included. 

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Last weekend, we're so excited to finally check out the book's theatrical adaptation at the Dallas Children's Theater, along with the adaptations of Eric Carle's other works including The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Mister Seahorse, and The Very Lonely Firefly.

The play was created by Jonathan Rockefeller, who directed a short animation movie called 10 Little Rubber Ducks , also written by Eric Carle. 

We came to the 1.30 PM show on a Saturday, when J had just gotten up from his nap. He was immediately intrigued by the colorful hanging mobile at the DCT lobby and of course the butterfly cardboad cutout by the entrance. 

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Turns out, the catterpillar wasn't the only one who was hungry. J was also very hungry! We decided to give him a little bit of his gluten-free chex mix at the lobby area before walking into the theater, because no food/drinks are allowed inside. 

photo by Linda Blase

photo by Linda Blase

From the very beginning, the show was very engaging and captivating. We loved the different colors projected to the stage by the lighting equipments. And the 75 muppets really brought Eric Carle's famous characters to life, including Mister Seahorse! 

photo by LInda Blase

photo by LInda Blase

The play successfully captures the whimsy and playfulness that we love about Eric Carle's works.  

photo by Linda Blase

photo by Linda Blase

It was lovely seeing and hearing kids of all ages gush, laugh, and even count as they watch the show. The show will run till February 25th, so if you haven't got your tickets yet, NOW is the time to do so by clicking here.

We applaud DCT's effort in making the show as accessible to as many children and families as possible, by providing wheelchair seating, visual impaired seating, and even a sensory friendly show (on Febuary 17 at 1.30 pm)! An ASL interpreted show was also provided on January 28.  For more information, please call 214-740-0051, and for any other info about DCT calendars, activities, and membership, visit. DCT.org . 

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Spread the word y'all, don't forget to use hashtag #CaterpillarShow. No photography/video is allowed throughout the duration of the play, but the puppets and puppeteers do come out at the end of the show for photos. You can even meet the puppeteers in person at the lobby! 

We hope you and your family get the chance to experience the show and we can't wait to come back for DCT's upcoming shows throughout the year! 

 

*post cover photo by Linda Blase


 

Win BIG by Sharing Your Big D Moments!

Debora Manusama

VisitDallas is launching a campaign designed to inspire locals from all over North Texas to rediscover Dallas. WIN BIG Prizes including a night stay at the Ritz-Carlton and tickets to Justin Bieber by sharing unique images with the hashtag #DallasBIGMoments via Instagram from May 8 – May 31.

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A Family-Friendly Brunch Spot in Deep Ellum

Debora Manusama

Deep Ellum might not be the typical area for your to go for a Sunday brunch with your family. But this one spot might change that. This is Filament! 

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Bubblies, Starfish, and Fun for All Ages - It's #GrapeFest!

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

I had been talking about this event since August, and I also did an instagram giveaway for it (congrats to all the winners!) last week. On September 15, The 30th Annual GrapeFest finally took place! And I am so grateful that I got to come and cover the event for 2 days, and even did an instagram takeover with Visit Grapevine

The event was free all day on Thursday (9/15) and free from morning till 5 pm on Friday (9/16), and because J was in school and Mr.Man was obviously at work, I got to enjoy the festival on the first day all by myself!

Click play to watch the whole experience and don't forget to subscribe :)

https://youtu.be/IPtlcFA5KIA

There were so many unique vendors selling everything from jewelries, apparels, to funny wooden signs (one of them says, "God is great. Beer is good. People are crazy" ;) and unique beautiful wine bottle holders.

Now because it was super hot outside, I decided to have my lunch at my favorite spot, Main Street Bakery. But on the second day, I had the brisket on a bun and corn dog with J by the Gazebo Stage.

Pauline, the manager of Main Street Bakery gave me this delicious cronut! It messed up my dress with all of its chocolate syrup drippings. But it was worth it!

What I loved about this festival was the fact that they put time and effort to entertain kids as much as they do with adults. They have interactive games, petting zoo (where a goat jumped onto my chest asking for food and got me screaming like crazy lol), Sea Life touch pool, LegoLand activity center, and GrapeStomp for kids called KidStomp!

I ended both my first and second day at the Champagne Terrace. I would like to participate in the People's Choice Wine Tasting but with a kiddo and no stroller, I had to skip it this year.

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I love this magical moment where the bubble machines were blowing a bazillion bubbles in front of the Champagne Terrace and all of the kids went running to catch them.

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This is insta-worty for sure! ;)

Over all it was an awesome experience, with the food, the live music, and various different wine tastings from different continents that took place. I cannot wait to go back next year!

The Highend But Approachable Board & Barley

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

The weekend is almost here and it's time for me to share about my current favorite place to eat around the DFW metroplex and beyond. My family has been so blessed to be able to do this together as a unit, and J has been such a good little foodie so far so we hope that we can keep this up at least once a month! ;) We had never been to Denton's Historic Downtown Square before so we were so excited to come explore it two weeks ago. They have everything from coffeeshops, pizza places, to boutiques, and more importantly, Denton's first brewpub restaurant, Barley & Board.

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Nestled in the historic Texas Building, Barley & Board has that industrial-country feel to it with bricks, woods, leathers and of course a moose head wall mount. You can hear music like those of Alina Baraz & The Galimatias playing in the background while watching people taking pictures by the mural right across the street through their huge windows.

Check out the in-house brewery! Looking at it got us thirsty! Actually, looking at their menu would make you thirsty, because they pair every meal with a matching beer right on the menu cards! Anyways, Mr. Man went ahead and ordered one of their IPAs.

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I had one of their craft cocktails called Clara Lou, which is an original creation by B&B's bartender that is made of tequila, hibiscus syrup, lime & grapefruit. Ooh, yes it was good. And that flower is edible by the way!

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Our very knowledgable waiter recommended us to try their Sweet Potato Hummus which is served with warm pita breads, pepitas, and chipotle oil. So we placed our order while snacking on some warm sweet & spicy mixed nuts. It's got thyme, brown sugar, and cayenne! Not your regular mixed nuts!

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The hummus was bomb!! What a brilliant idea! The mashed sweet potatoes with garlic and chickpeas make such a great combo. Love the sweetness that you don't normally get in regular hummus. And the Bacon Wrapped Medjool Dates were beautiful. The chorizo and piquillo sauce meet the sweetness of the dates - yummm.  I admire Executive Chef Chad Kelley's attention to detail!

You're probably wondering what J was having. Well he LOVED their matchstick fries! So much that he didn't mind having them without ketchup!

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We had heard that the B&B's Burger had just been named the best in Dallas by D Magazine, so of course Mr. Man had to give it a try. It was very straightforward and simple, they didn't try to get too fancy with it. A couple of fluffy buns, a well-seasoned patty, sweet onions, house sauce and American Cheese (yes, not brie cheese or anything like that) - and you got an amazing burger. Well, burgers don't have to be  complicated right?

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Now my friend, the picture above is a pic of  the Sweet Pig & Angry Bird: half rack ribs, brazen quail, slaw, & pickles. Yup. Seriously, bomb! The sauce really stood out for me because it has that tanginess to it that I like.

Now we were super full by this point, so we decided to box out the leftovers and went straight for the happy endings ;) They don't have their desserts printed on the menu cards, but they do serve them, so you better check with your waiters.

I ordered the scrumptious deconstructed strawberry shortcake with lemon shortbread and amaretto whipped cream. I could taste a hint of basil on their strawberries sauce there. So divine!

Mr. Man went with B&B's own version of s'mores with a thick oatmeal cookie, thick toasted marshmallow cream, and dark chocolates. Again, I love how Barley & Board takes something familiar and classic, and make it their own. Not overly complicated, although very detailed, and highend but approachable. We can't wait to go back!

Have a good weekend, y'all!

 

Pairing Fine Texas Wines & Cheeses at Cross Timbers Winery

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

Labor Day weekend has passed and summer is officially over but the excitement continues in the City of Grapevine! As you might have read in my previous post, the ultimate wine experience, GrapeFest, is coming next week from September 15th through the 18th and you and your family are invited! To celebrate, I got a little bit of a head start last week when I went to sample an array of exquisite local wine & cheese selections at Cross Timbers Winery.

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Located in the Historic Brock Family farm house, Cross Timbers Winery  now serves as a popular venue for weddings, receptions, parties and other special occasions. Providing 'wine tasting with wine education', the winery's tasting room is open for public from Tuesday to Sunday (see complete schedule here), with a wide variety of wine to choose from including reds, whites, single varietals, and blends.

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For this particular evening, I got to taste the Cross Timbers Muscat Canelli, Cross Timbers Chardonnay, Cross Timbers Sangiovese, and Cross Timbers Tempranillo.

We paired the wines with the delicious cheeses from Dallas' very own, Mozzarella Company . Owner Paula Lambert hosted this session, as she guided us through each pairing.

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Lambert fell in love with fresh mozzarellas when she was on an extended visit to Perugia, Italy. Due to the absence of such delicacy back home in Texas, she decided to bring the art of cheesemaking home with her. Her factory has been making fresh, award-winning cheeses by hand now for 34 years!

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We sampled Queso Blanco with Chiles and Epazote, Smoked Seamorza, Montasio Festivo, and Caciotta Black Pepper and Garlic (a lot of people's favorite that evening!).

My favorite combo was definitely the Cross Timbers Chardonnay with Smoked Scamorza! I loved the smokiness of the smooth, hand-formed cheese (they were smoked over pecan shells!) paired with the light-bodied Chardonnay.

But there was a wild card pairing! And it turned out to be my ultimate favorite!

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Cross Timbers Sparkling Wine with Cella and Rosemary Montasio! I loved the Cella cheese best! It is a mixture of cow's and goat's milk, with a subtle citrus flavor from lemongrass. Excellent, excellent flavor. I couldn't get enough of it!

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Some of the lovely ladies I met at the event include (left to right) Julia Sizemore (GrapeFest volunteer), Paula Lambert (Mozzarella Company), Carolyn Lease (event organizer), and Sharon Kircher (with Bank of the West, the presenting sponsor of GrapeFest).

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And the lovely lady on the far right on the picture above is Penny Bigbie, owner of Cross Timbers Winery.

Kimberly Foster from Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau was kind enough to get me a cookbook from Paula Lambert (signed!!) called Cheese, Glorious Cheese and this sweet encounter between the two of them in the photos below wrapped up my beautiful evening at Cross Timbers!

This is just a glimpse of the ultimate wine experience that The 30th Annual GrapeFest has got to offer next week! I can not wait to see y'all there! If you haven't already, get your tickets here

 

A Taste of France in the Heart of Grapevine

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

The beauty about being a foodie, a.k.a someone who loves food and is open to trying many different kinds of food (mostly gourmet), is that you get to travel the world without having to leave town. Finding different types of foreign cuisines is not that difficult these days, especially if you live in a big city. Last weekend, our 'destination' of choice was France, and we're so thrilled that we got to savor some delicious French-American dishes at Chez Fabien at the Main St. Bakery on Main Street, Grapevine.

We usually come here for breakfast on the weekends because we love the pastries like the Dessert Trio, Almond Croissant, and the giant macarons.  Or when we're in the mood for something more filling, we'd go for Le Parisien, Chocolate Chip pancakes, and Belgian Waffles.  

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This time however, we're going for the dinner menu! So I dressed up a little bit to welcome the weekend and the fact that I got to be off duty for a little while (what up clutch bag reference! hehe). Well not really. I am never off duty ;)

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We were greeted by a friendly staff who took us straight to this cute spot by the Le Place des Bisous sign, which means the place of kisses. Aaww...

Kisses aside, we were hungry, so it was time for us to order some appetizers. The bread basket had this creamy butter with scallion in it that I loved, and the escargot were buttery and flavorful, we couldn't help but to ask our server to not clear the plates yet so we could dip the bread in the remaining melted butter, garlic, thyme and all of those herbs!

J had just woke up from his long nap so he was a bit cranky. And by a bit I meant crazy cranky lol. The manager Pauline was very understanding though. We immediately ordered him some Grilled Salmon and Fries. What? Yes, they have good menus for kids, not just some basic mac n cheese or pb & j. And check out that old school entertainment! Etch the Sketch! But of course, being born at 2013, J thought it was an iPad.

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I asked our server Casey to surprise me and he ordered me the Lemon Thyme Roasted Chicken. The chicken fell off the bone, you can taste the herbs all the way to the bone, and the purple baby carrots added just the right crunch to the whole dish.

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I paired it with their summer cocktail Concombre Bouquet which balanced the whole dish with its fruity, fresh taste. Mr.Man went with Pinot Grigio out of the 60 wine selections that they offer.

This is how I eat every day by the way. With a toddler boy holding my neck and jumping up and down around me lol.

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Mr. Man had the Friday night special which was the Bouillabaisse, a seafood stew that's originated from the port city of Marseille with ingredients like garlic, tomatoes, fennel, fish, and shellfish. Here at Chez Fabien, they add their own spin to it though by adding King Crab. The broth was on point, I would highly recommend you to try this dish instead of the more Americanized selections, although they do serve burgers :)

What added a more oomph to the whole French vibe going on here was the live performance by Isabel Crespo (she performed La Vien Rose!). If you can't make it here on Friday nights, there's also live music on Thursday and Saturday from 7 pm to 10 pm. That awesome sparkler birthday candle on the left is just what the bistro usually does for customers who are celebrating their birthdays. That's lit!

As a happy ending to our lovely evening, we savored some Banana Nutella Crepe and Bistro Bread Pudding. They are so generous with nutella on their crepes so if you love nutella like I do, you should order the crepes! The bread pudding is always available from breakfast to dinner, it's got the chewy texture that I like, and it comes with lots of peanuts! Yum! If you're allergic, make sure you let them know :)

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Over all, it was a sweet family nightout accompanied by sweet acoustic live music, delicious French dishes, and some craft cocktails (they make their own syrup and juices here!). The best thing was we didn't have to travel very far.  Can't wait to go back here :)

If you're coming to GrapeFest this September, Main St. Bakery will have a booth open outside the bakery/bistro serving their famous Croi-Dough and also sandwiches!  

 

Counting Down To The Ultimate Wine Experience : GrapeFest® 2016

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

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First of all, let me start by quoting this famous saying that I found all over pinterest a while ago. 720014thumb

Ow yea, a lot of you could probably relate ;) I love how this poster encapsulates one's love for wine as an adult with good humor. And in the spirit of loving the fruit of the vine itself, I am super excited to remind you guys about a wine experience that is coming to Grapevine, TX on September 15 to September 18!

Yes, in exactly one month from today, the 30th annual GrapeFest® commences with a variety of activities and entertainment for all ages. I missed the 'all ages' part last year, so I didn't go and check it out with Mr. Man. And we missed out on a lot of fun things provided at this family-friendly event!

GrapeStomp

Aside from the largest consumer-judged wine competition in the country, People's Choice Wine Tasting Classic, that is going to take place at the festival along with the California Wine Tasting and the International Wine Tasting featuring Australia, you can also experience the fun GrapeStomp as seen in the picture above. With just $5/person (on top of festival admission), you get to stomp and squish some juicy grapes with a partner! I will definitely try this one this year!

And as for the little ones, KidsWorld will have them covered with tons of activities such as the SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium touch pool and the LEGOLAND® Discovery Center. There will also be interactive games and prizes!

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As if all of those I've mentioned above are not awesome enough, there will be non-stop live entertainment on multiple stages around the festival area as well as festival foods and delicious treats from multiple vendors for y'all to enjoy.

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And last but not least, complimentary parking and shuttle services will also be available!

Click here for more info on the parking and click here to get tickets for the event!

Now if you're in for a fun and free event prior to the big festival, check out Nash Farm's Italian Car Fest on September 10! I'm sure your dudes will enjoy this event, ladies! A number of Italian automobiles and two-wheelers will be displayed on the show field here at the farm, so you get to walk entirely around them and chat with owners about their special machines (well, maybe not you, but your Mr. ;) ).

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Parking is FREE as usual and there will also be food vendors present on this historic 157 year-old venue!

So many awesome things coming up in Grapevine, TX, be sure to follow them on instagram, twitter, and facebook for more updates.  I hope to see y'all at these events next month! :)

Have an awesome Monday!

***

Festival pictures courtesy of The City Grapevine 

Where To Cool Off Around Grapevine, TX

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

It's the first day of August! The HOTTEST month of the year! Oh gosh, when summer gets to this month, a lot of people might still be on vacation mode, while others are on that back-to-school blues :P But me? All I could think of is the heat. But I have a toddler, I can't just go to the malls and museums to avoid the heat all the time! Well, the beauty about living only 10 minutes from Grapevine is that I get to visit the city and experience its variety of entertainment and recreational activities all the time with my family. And when it comes to indoor play areas, Grapevine has a lot to offer!

Paradise Pond

Located in the First Baptist Church - Grapevine, this play area opens only 2x a week on Thursdays & Fridays from 9 am to 11 am. During the summer though, they open on Mondays as well! See details here.

There's only a $1/person charge, which is very affordable compared to going to a museum and other commercial indoor play areas. However the line to get in is very long! Especially if you're a first-timer because you'd have to sign a waiver to get this key tag right here.

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My strategy is to get there around 8.50 am the latest. I know this sounds like a lot of work for y'all, but once you have the key tag, you won't have to get in the long line. And believe me, you'd be surprise to see a lot of other moms and dads who'd also get here by like 8.45 am.

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Strollers are not allowed, there are clean socks available for your kids to borrow if they need to, and there plenty of things they can do inside!

They have a bounce house, a giant slide, areas for the crawlers, plenty of toys from pretend cookware to Star Wars, fire engines, and dinosaurs. They also have costumes for the kiddos to play dress up with! But J's favorite is this mini 'roller coaster' right here!

And this one right here! No quarters needed, it's all free.

Yeah, he still tries to shoot some hoops even with his cast on. He's recovering though, we're getting that cast off this Wednesday :)

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No food or drink allowed in the carpeted area (which means the whole play area), so you're only allowed to feed your kiddo (or have a snack yourself) at the 'lobby' area (the one with the checked tiles).

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The Rec

REC stands for Recreation, Education, and Community. It is a 108,000 sq feet health and community center with an indoor playground, full-size gyms, indoor aquatic center with slides and even a child watch area!

 

It's a beautiful facility that opens from as early as 5 am (details here). And when you walk in you could easily find this awesome indoor playground in the lobby which is open to everyone!

J's favorite is this interactive wall of lights thingy.

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There's a restroom for kiddos inside this air-conditioned play area as well, which I love! Now the play area is awesome, but you gotta come check out the aquatic center. It's like a mini indoor waterpark!

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That area on the second level right there is the fitness room! They also have dance studios, swim lessons, party rooms, and even video games for kiddos to play. The guest pass is $10 but you have to be accompanied by a REC member. If you're interested in becoming a member, the details are here. You can be a member even if you're not a Grapevine resident!

Now if after all of the awesomeness I've talked about above, you still want that outdoor vibe...Check out this park that I like!

Parr Park

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Why this park? Because it has a good amount of shaded areas, lots of trees, and this awesome splash pad!

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As soon as his cast is off, we're going to celebrate like crazy here for sure!

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J was dancing to the sounds his daddy made. I don't know that this thing is but it looks fun to play! :p

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Lots of trees right? Love it. I would come in the morning though, it just gets too hot for me to enjoy it in the afternoon.

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Love that the restroom, picnic area, splash pad, and play area are all very close together. And best of all, it's all FREE!

Okay, one more thing : if you're around Main Street, Grapevine don't forget to visit this popsicle place that I really like called Hip Pop! My favorite flavor is : Busta Limes!

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This is a throwback pic of course, look at how tiny J was!

Anyways, I hope that this post has been helpful. Stay cool, everyone! And Happy August!