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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: mom blogger

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!

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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!

The Art of Staycationing

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

I don't know who came up with the term 'Staycation' and what do you guys usually do when you do it (I guess everybody's different), but for me and my family, the point of going on a staycation is getting away from our daily routines as you would when you go on a vacation, without having to travel very far.  ashton-27

So this month, we chose to 'travel' to our neighboring city, Fort Worth, TX. It's only 30 minutes from our apartment, it's got a good historic and downtown district, and it's got this beautiful hotel called The Ashton Hotel.

Located strategically by the city's Sundance Square, The Ashton is a luxury boutique hotel that has a lot of history in it. In fact, it is listed as a member of the Historic Hotels of America.

Okay so what do you do on a staycation? Here's what we usually do.

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1. Chill in the hotel bathrobes and watch cable TV all afternoon

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Seriously guys, this is the best feeling ever. The thought of not having to do laundry, cook, and clean up is a vacation in itself to me! The hotel room was so luxurious and comfy, the custom bathrobes made me feel like a boss lady, and that view by that big window --- ohhh yesss, I can get used to this! At least for another 20 hours lol.

Don't try to do too much on your staycation. The point is to relax. So chill, watch tv, have some cookies, and savor the moment.

2. Enjoy room service if there's any or try the hotel breakfast

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The Ashton waffles were amazing. I wish they offered room service on the weekends, though.

3. Go to the nearest kid-friendly attraction

Choosing Fort Worth Zoo was a no-brainer. It's our favorite zoo in the DFW metroplex, it's got tons of attractions, and we got our FREE tickets from our POGO PASS :) If you're thinking of visiting Dallas/Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austion, Arizona, or Vegas you can get entries to multiple family-friendly venues with just under $50 when you purchase the passes at pogopass.com with my code MOZDEB. 

4. Try the nearby restaurants

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We had dinner at a Japanese restaurant called Hanabi, and then made a quick stop at my favorite ice cream place in the metroplex, MELT. I had the cookies and cream but J had their vegan 'Out of the Blue' and it was amazing!

5. Take a walk around the hotel 

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We took a walk to Sundance Square, explored the downtown area a bit, and then went back to the hotel, took a nice warm shower, and watched a good movie until we fell asleep. It was definitely a rejuvenating getaway. We can't wait to do it again!

Hotel and Six 10 Grille photography by Beckley & Co. 

In partnership with The Ashton hotel. 

Pinterest

#SpringGoals

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

2 weekends ago marked the beginning of Spring. The season where a lot of people get sick (including J and Mr. Man) because of pollen allergies and what-not, while others soak up the sun and enjoy the chilly yet sunny weather with picnics and al fresco dining. blueedited-4

 

A vast majority of people usually do a lot of cleaning and decluttering (especially with their closet, fridge, and pantry!!) at this time of year. Many others usually focus more on getting their bodies toned for the 'bikini season' that is coming in a few months. That's why you'd see a lot of 'bikini bootcamp' tips circulating around pinterest at this time of year. A lot of people also go on vacations mainly for spring break. Or if they don't, they'd probably have their summer vacation planned out already.

I, on the other hand, am currently not seeing the urgency of doing all of the above.

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My house is pretty clean, although I will need to clean blackberry stains on my carpet with some vinegar and baking soda soon. I don't have a bikini-body but I don't even wear bikinis. So, all that's left for me to focus on are other urgencies like medical bills, J's health, my mom's upcoming visit and tons of work (events, collaborations, etc) that are due this Spring. On top of it all, I still have to be a good wife, and make room for some quality time with Mr.Man. Dude, my brain could explode any minute!

So  I have only one #SpringGoal : To declutter my mental closet. 

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Now, how do we declutter? By throwing away everything we don't and won't need in the future (that's why you look for any expired food to throw away from your pantry right?). Everything that we don't fit in anymore and things that are not relevant for us going forward - they have to go!

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If it was an internet browser, my mind would have so many 'tabs' opened in every second of the day. But you know what, not all of them needs to be opened! In fact, most of them are the things that I can toss out of my mental closet. Like J in the picture above. I often stare blankly at one spot like that, while 'trying on' different thoughts that I keep in my mental closet. Some are good and creative (I get so many brilliant ideas during the day), but some are just pure insecurities and worries.

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So yeah, this spring, and everyday, I'm hoping to throw away any thoughts that are no longer relevant to who I am today and who I want to become, to what my marriage is and what I want it to become, to who my son is and who I want him to become, etc. 

How about you?

***

these pictures were taken along the Las Colinas Boulevard in Irving. J's wearing a muscle tee from Ollie and Mave :) 

Trying Some Delicious 180-Second Pizzas

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

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Mr. Man, J, and I were so thrilled when we received the invitation to try some 'fast-fired' pizzas at the opening of Blaze Pizza in Arlington,Texas. What is fast-fired you ask? Well the pizzas here are ready in just 180 seconds! IMG_8294

How? Because the floor temperature of their oven ranges from 600F to 800F. This fast-fire method complements the restaurant's fast-casual concept where you get to freely build your pizza with toppings of your choice (no charges for extra toppings!!). However if you're not in the mood of building your own pizza, you can just order their delicious Signature Pizzas like the one I had in the picture above, Meat Eater (pepperoni, meatball crumbs, red onions, mozzarella, and red sauce).

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The one on the left in the picture above (and on the cover photo of this post) is the pizza I 'built' myself with vegan cheese (soy-free), artichokes, spinach and mushrooms. So good!! They also have gluten-free crust available if that fits your preference :)

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If you're too full and couldn't finish the whole pie, you can take the leftovers home in this half-a-pie takeaway box. Genius!

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And for those of you who want to enjoy delicious fast-fired pizza while saving up some money, you can download their app and get rewards!

I love the casual, hip, but family-friendly ambience of the restaurant. The artisanal ingredients they use with allergen-free options like vegan cheese, their affordable pricing, their fast-fire method and most importantly, their good taste - oh! I cannot wait to go back there and have me some delicious pizzas.

Check out this video of our visit to Blaze and don't forget to subscribe!

https://youtu.be/jI0K2i0l5Nw

Why Mommy-dates Are Vital for Our Survival

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

No matter how 'fun' and 'okay' my motherhood life might seem on social media (hashtag it #momlife hayyy ;) ), I am gonna be real honest with you and tell you this : I face real challenges that other moms face and there are days when I just snap and lose my patience. I remember crying in the restroom because I had J's poop all over my shirt last year. Sometimes we feel helpless and just overwhelmed, no matter how many kids we have and however young or old they are.

At those moments, we tend to think that we are the only one going through this, while the other moms have it all together. But let me tell you this : we ALL have those days in our walks as mothers and wives. So why go through it alone when you can have your fellow mommy-friends supporting you and cheering for you?

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That's why I think having a community of moms who uphold the kind of values you uphold is very important. We bring our kids to playdates so they can socialize and learn to interact with other kids, why don't we go on mommy-dates ourselves?

I'm so grateful for my friend and neighbor, Roselle, who has been able to pick me up and go on little playdate slash mommy-dates with me on almost every Tuesday. We've been to local libraries, Dallas Arboretum, and recently, a Midwestern-based restaurant that specializes in ButterBurgers and Fresh Frozen Custard, Culver's.

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Started back in 1984, Culver's has now grown to over 550 restaurants, including in the DFW metroplex. We went to the one in The Colony, which was just opened back in September of 2015. And of course, we brought our kiddos with us.

Roselle decided to try the Beef Pot Roast sandwich (left) with some BBQ sauce on top, and I tried the ButterBurger Cheese. Yum!!

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I like the fact that their ButterBurger is cooked-to-order and the patties are NOT frozen, seared to perfection, so you get that crust when you bite into it. Check them out on instagram to see more of their delicious burgers, sammiches, and more. 

Over the delicious lunch, Roselle and I talked about everything from parenting, Disney movies, to Beyonce! I love that when you carpool and go out for lunch with your fellow moms and their kid(s), you get to see how they deal with their kids, how they overcome challenges you might be facing or have yet to face. And be real, you know.

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For dessert, I tried the Frozen Custard made with cold-pressed vanilla and fine dairy. This one's the Chocolate Chip Cookie Concrete Mixer. I added some brownie bits too!

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Roselle tried the flavor of the day which was Cherry Cheesecake and she said it was super yummy!!

We ended the afternoon by taking photos (and being photobombed by our sons) and taking a long ride home together.

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Wherever you are in your journey of motherhood, don't ever feel like you are alone. Find a good friend and hold on to them. Support them and cheer for them, because we are better together.

Blue Bell's Homecoming at Big State, Irving

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

Having lived in the Las Colinas-part of Irving for 1.5 year now, I had never really been to what they call the 'downtown Irving' area until just yesterday. The only time I went to this part of the city last year was to pay for my speeding ticket at the Municipal Court (yeah, I know, I'm not proud of it haha), so I didn't know that there were more than just courts and malls pass the 183 highway! Oh my gosh, how could I miss it!  

So what brought me to the area yesterday? The return of Blue Bell Ice Cream to North Texas. I was invited by a friend of mine from Visit Irving to attend a little celebration of the ice cream's come back at the legendary Big State Fountain Grill. They were going to give away free scoops of blue bell ice cream from 1 to 3 p.m. , so of course I said yes to the invitation.

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One of the oldest joints in the area, this place used to be a clothing store and then turned into a drug store, and now a restaurant.

 

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It's very colourful and bright, with a vibrant and retro vibe that I like. Very family-friendly, in fact the waiters treat us like family here.

 

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I am glad that I decided to have lunch here before getting in line for my free scoops of Blue Bell. Look at those pretty tiles!

 

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So why is Blue Bell such a big deal, here in Texas? I might never fully understand that, because I'm not from here. But I can tell you that it's more than just ice cream here. It's like a tradition. I remember trying Blue Bell for the first time at a friend's house when we first got here, and they told us that "It's a Texan thing, you just have try it!". So we did, and we liked the Dutch Chocolate and Cookies n Cream!

 

Anyhow, a few months ago, Blue Bell issued a recall due to listeria found in some of their products (read here). It was the first recall they've done in 108 years! Yesterday, thankfully, they have managed to make a come back in North Texas, with better and improved products of course.

 

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I invited a friend of mine, a fellow mom-blogger, Roselle to join us. Her son, Ezra couldn't wait any longer! He wanted his ice cream a.s.a.p.! Oh, I feel you, Ezra.

 

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It was still 12.30, and the ice cream was not going to be served until 1. So, a grilled cheese wouldn't hurt, would it? :) The housemade fries were also delicious!

 

A few minutes later, people started lining up. Oh, it's time!

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Yasssgimme gimme gimme!

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Sonja and Jay, a lovely couple I just met yesterday, savoring the Dutch Chocolate and the Buttered Pecan ice cream. They're the nicest people! Recommending me on what and where to eat around the area, and telling me how amazed they were at the fact that I was carrying J with my Boba baby-carrier. "We didn't have that back in my day. That looks hard to me!," Sonja said.

 

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The next 2 hours were filled with media people taking photos and recording videos around the store. The news coverage was aired on NBC 5 yesterday. The journalist, Eric King, had actually talked to a elderly couple who took a day off from work, just to have some Blue Bell scoops at Big State yesterday! What a devoted love they have for the ice cream!

 

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More than just the ice cream, my little one was interested at the Jukebox. Something that his generation might not even know if it wasn't for retro places like Big State.

 

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So, my little one took a 50-minute nap, had 2 scoops of ice cream, and discovered a jukebox,while I had 3 scoops of ice cream, a cheeseburger with housemade fries, and a great chit-chat with my mommy friend. Ah, what a good day. Welcome back, Blue Bell! Can't wait to pick you up on my next grocery shopping ;)