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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: motherhood

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


 

Awesome Waterfront Fun at Grand Prairie's Joe Pool Lake

Debora Manusama

From eating seafood to kayaking, there are so many fun things to do in Grand Prairie's Joe Pool Lake! 

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Small World, Big Imagination.

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

Our visit to a pretend play heaven in Southlake, TX! They have everything from a mini supermarket, teepees, to a mini farm!

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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!

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. 

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Why Learning Self-Defense is Every Woman's Responsibility

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

I know what you think. This title might be a little too paranoid. I mean, there are so many bad things that are happening in the world today, but it couldn't be that bad right? Well, as a part-time worker at an anti-human trafficking organization, I can tell you that kidnapping, trafficking, rape, and robbery could happen to anyone at anytime, anywhere. I've heard and read so many stories where women get kidnapped by anyone from  colleagues, distant relatives, to a complete stranger.

It's not about focusing on the fear of the bad people out there, though. It's about focusing on equipping yourself for your future. At least that's what I learned from one of the mothers who took her daughter to a RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) class at Irving Fire & Police Academy back in April.

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"You never know what life throws at you," said Maria who had been coming to the 12-hour class with her teenage daughter, Sarah.

They were not the only mother-daughter team in the room. I saw so many others who came with their nieces and daughters, some even come every year just to refresh their memories.

 

There were about 16 people in the class from all over the DFW metroplex (yes, that's the cool thing about this class, you don't have to live in Irving to join). This class get filled up very quickly every month.I guess the hunger and the need for such training are growing. Self-defense is not just for The Avengers cast or martial arts-enthusiasts, or those who live in a high-risk neighborhood. Because although you can depend on our law enforcement officers to protect us to some extent, you just never know.

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Different ages, different walks of life, same goal - to equip themselves for life. The classes are not all physical though, participants learn the theories at a class setting first before they got to the physical training.

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Check out the gears! You don't have to worry about getting hurt, the trainers are professionals so they know how to prepare you for the bad situations without hurting you. However, you can hit and kick them in return! (They got protective gears on too, so everyone's safe!  ;).

 

It was so empowering just to watch these women defending themselves. They're all everyday women, just like you and me, with no martial arts training background whatsoever. And there they were, kicking, pushing, and defending themselves. This is more empowering than a Beyonce video!

My favorite part was watching these ladies cheering their classmate as she got into a 'combat' with the trainers. "You can do it! Come on! Work around it!," they yelled with excitement.

It's such a beautiful and empowering atmosphere, women supporting and believing in other women. Nobody was too young or too old to fight. Anyone can get up and fight to defend themselves.

This women-only 4-day class takes place every month at the Irving Police & Fire academy for FREE. The minimum age is 10 years old and the class is also available in Spanish! This month's class is full, but be on the lookout for the next one on July 18th!! For more info and registration, click here. 

 

 

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.

A Little Pre-Valentine's Day Family Staycation

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

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We don't usually celebrate Valentine's Day, because well...I'm just not into anything cheesy and lovey dovey like that (ever since I was a teenager, true story!). So when I noticed that Valentine's Day was like 2 weeks away from last weekend, I thought, hey, why not do a little staycation around my city of Las Colinas and have a little getaway with my little family. Any excuse to have a little getaway, right? So last weekend we stayed at NYLO Hotel Las Colinas. And we loved it!

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I like the modern and spacious loft design, with a touch of industrial decor around the hotel. The room is just the right size for our small family. To get the glimpse of our staycation, click play and don't forget to subscribe on youtube.

https://youtu.be/o3YnIEXMz10

We got everything from waffles, chinese food, to fresh-cut tulips, turned on the TV and just chilled there. It's nice to not have to clean up and make your bed every once in a while.

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Yes, J loves his orange juice. And I love spending a Saturday, not having to worry about events and what-not. I didn't even post anything on my social media that day! I think that's the essence of 'celebrating love' - as most people believe February 14th is all about. I personally like having J with us, because, well...my love is for him too, not just for Mr. Man. And it's just more convenient to have us all together. It's just the 3 of us anyways. But whatever works for you, kid or no kid, as long as you can have a little 'sabbath' from work and routines and getaway with your loved ones.

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We talked, argued a little bit, ate, laughed, and rested. I don't know what they put in our pillows but we slept good that night. Cute coffee mug? I know! I got it from ILY Couture. It's on sale now so get it quick!

The next day, we had breakfast at The Loft at NYLO.

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And Mr.Man played pool while Jerome chilled with his youtube videos.

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If you don't have any plans yet for Valentine's Day weekend, NYLO hotel Las Colinas offers special rates starting at $199 per couple, which include a 1 night stay and 3-course dinner on the Valentine's Day eve (Saturday, February 13th) with delicious menus like Peppercorn Orange Poached Shrimp. Lamb Chops, and Chocolate Walnut Bread Pudding. Yumm!!

Book your stay now and if you don't know where to go or what to do during your stay around Las Colinas/Irving, check out Visit Irving's blog.

*in-room photos by Beckley.Co // in partnership with NYLO Hotels.

 

The Meetup Dallas Launch Party

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

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As I mentioned on my previous post, I've been looking forward to come to this particular event, put together by the lovely and creative ladies of The Meetup Dallas for a while. With their motto "We rise by lifting others", The Meetup is meant to serve as a networking event to connect creative and entrepreneur women across the metroplex without the catty competition. And last Wednesday, it did just that.  

Didn't wanna wear anything too crazy and formal, so I decided to go with my new ASOS skirt & flats, and my Loren Hope necklace + Perry Street earrings that I got from my Rocksbox, a monthly premium jewelry subscription which allows you to borrow designer jewelries for just $19/month. And if you use my code mozdebxoxo, you'll get your first month FREE!

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Anyways, I met some really interesting bloggers and business owners at the event, including one of my favorite local photographers, Megan Weaver, Angie of POSH floral, the lovely ladies from We The Birds macarons, and interestingly, a financial professional name Lucy. To catch a glimpse of the event, press play on the following video and don't forget to subscribe to my youtube channel!

https://youtu.be/9IN-GzuUNRk

 

The fact that Stacy and Laura share the same vision of connecting women to encourage growth and collaboration instead of competition is inspiring. Looking forward to coming to their quarterly events :) In the meantime, don't forget to give them a follow!