Dallas Mom Blog and Fort Worth Mom Blogger: Trendy Mom Reviews
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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Hurricane Harbor's Splashwater Beach is Perfect for Babies, Toddlers, and Older Children


As a mom of two energetic little boys that have a several year age gap, it's sometimes hard to accommodate both of them.  My 8-year old is not quite old enough to do things on his own, but at the same time, my baby requires a lot of attention too.  It seems like the team at Hurricane Harbor understood my struggle because they created the Splashwater Beach with 40 water features that appealed to both of my children despite their large age gap!  In addition to making an area that is perfect for both of my children, I also have to give them credit because Splashwater Beach kept them active and busy for hours with plenty of exercise. 



The tropical themed play area is the largest splash pad that we have ever visited. There is plenty of room for children to run around and tire themselves out.  (Our youngest son fell asleep in the car before we even left the parking lot after all of the excitement!)



Here is a photo of my oldest son exploring the area.



Here is my 1-year old as he takes in the new play area from a different angle.



Here he is after his first time getting wet!


Here is another photo of the play area. I thought that this was a fun photo because you are able to count 10+ different water features into this small photo alone if you look closely.  They really packed a lot of fun water features into this area.  (There are 40 water features in the entire area!)


The palm trees were my youngest son's favorite!



Of course, if you have children that are older than mine, they will also love the waterslides, lazy river, wave pool, and other attractions at Hurricane Harbor. We spent most of our time in Splashwater Bay, but if you live in the DFW metro, you know that Hurricane Harbor has a good reputation for attractions that appeal to all ages. Here is a photo of a couple of water slides near the Splashwater Bay.  (Visit here for a full list of other attractions.)



We hope that you enjoyed this glimpse into our world of raising two little boys that have a several year age gap.  Hurricane Harbor is a fantastic water park for kids and adults of all ages.  The new Splashwater Beach is particularly fabulous for parents that have younger children that need to escape the heat and cool off with plenty of physical activity.  Learn more at the Hurricane Harbor website here.




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Our Visit to the Sea Turtle Rescue Center at SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium


If you follow regularly, you know that we were looking forward to visiting the SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium to check out the Sea Turtle Rescue Center, a new interactive rehabilitation experience.  The exhibit opened today and we absolutely loved it!  Let me share a quick overview and then some personal photos. 

The new permanent exhibit lets guests of all ages learn about the threats turtles face in the wild and experience first-hand the process of successfully rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing sea turtles.  Upon entry, guests will become a bonafide turtle rescuer as they collect a mock turtle from the beach, name and weigh their patient, then begin a virtual rehabilitation journey.  After using an x-ray machine to diagnose and remedy injuries, guests nurse their turtle back to health at the feeding and hydration station then release them back into the wild.



When you enter the exhibit, you select a little sea turtle doll.  




Each sea turtle doll is each unique, even weighing different amounts!





You'll go through four steps to simulate saving a sea turtle. I won't spoil the surprises for you, but here is just one photo that shows an example of simulating an x-ray on a sea turtle.  Each step includes a hands-on exercise for educational fun.


While my oldest son took his job of saving a sea turtle very seriously, my 1-year old loved hugging his turtle and then playing too!



Part way through the rescue process, you come around the corner to see a tank with rescued sea turtles.  Each sea turtle has a unique story that you will want to learn about. They are quite mesmerizing to watch!




Toward the end of the exhibit, there is a window where you are able to look behind the scenes.  I really like the transparency and education that SEA LIFE Grapevine offers. 



Finally, while the photo below is not from the sea turtle exhibit, I have to share it because it's adorable. My 1-year old had a hands-on experience. We enjoyed a lot of baby giggles on our visit!



While we focused on the new Sea Turtle Rescue Center in today's post, there is a lot more to the SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium.  We love this local attraction that has created many happy memories for our children. The opportunity to learn and connect with sea life is amazing for them!




Visit!

SEA LIFE Grapevine is located at 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine, Texas 76051.  For more information visit www.visitsealife.com/grapevine or call 469-444-3050.

About SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium:
SEA LIFE Grapevine transports you into the amazing underwater world.  Prepare for astonishingly close views of everything from humble starfish and seahorses to graceful rays and powerful sharks.  With an amazing 360° ocean tunnel, 30 display tanks and thousands of sea creatures the aquarium is the perfect stop for family fun.  To get any closer you would have to get wet!  Admission is $20.95 for adults, $16.95 for children ages 3 to 12.  For more information visit www.visitsealife.com/grapevine.  SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium is located at 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine, TX 76051. Phone: 469-444-3050. Follow us on Facebook: @sealifegrapevine Twitter: @sealifegrpevine and Instagram: @sealifenorthamerica.
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Visit the Whimsical Kiwanis Club Butterfly Festival at The Shops at Willow Bend to Create Special Childhood Memories


The Greater Plano Kiwanis Club is hosting the annual Butterfly Festival at The Shops at Willow Bend from May 4 to May 13, 2018. This whimsical event is sure to create happy childhood memories for your family as they offer the opportunity to experience more than 1,000 butterflies and more. Plus, it's located at The Shops at Willow Bend where you will be able to shop for trendy Mother's Day gifts while you are there. 

Let me share the details:
What: The Shops at Willow Bend will host The Greater Plano Kiwanis Club  Annual Butterfly Festival where visitors can walk through a conservatory filled with flowering plants and observe more than 1,000 flying butterflies in a natural setting. 
Where: The Grand Court at The Shops at Willow Bend 
When:  The display will be open May 4 – 13, 2018 on Mondays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. 
Price: Tickets are available for purchase at the display: Adults are $6.00 and Children are $5.00. Children under the age of 2 are free with adult purchase. 
Proceeds benefit:  The Greater Plano Kiwanis Club
Website: Visit here
This event created amazing childhood memories for my little boys.  They are curious about nature and have read many books about butterflies.  My oldest son knows a lot of facts about butterflies such as how they use their feet to eat and other trivia. Seeing a variety of butterflies in real life to touch and feed them was an immersive experience to treasure. Let me share a few photos from our visit.

They started by meeting a woman dressed as a beautiful butterfly. Her costume was fantastic. My youngest son rocked his butterfly wings while being mesmerized by her costume!  



We entered the tent that contained thousands of butterflies such as the one tucked into the flowers above.



Here is another butterfly. I've never seen one this big!



The volunteers at the event were fantastic. I think that they realized that we were clueless about how to feed a butterfly, so one woman came over and taught us how to feed one. It was a surreal experience to connect with a butterfly and feed it!



 Here is a closer view.


Here it is when she handed it over to our son.  While he looks confused in the photo, let me tell you that he raved about the butterflies for the rest of the day! He seems to have a new obsession with butterflies now that he has seen them up close, touched them, and fed them.


In addition to the live butterfly experience, the Butterfly Festival also includes face painting, balloon animals, and a trendy little gift shop area with butterfly items. Here is a view from above!



Finally, Mother's Day is just around the corner. If you are already at the Butterfly Festival, you might as well fit in some Mother's Day shopping at The Shops at Willow Bend. To give you some inspiration, the photo below is a reminder of some of my favorite shops there - Godiva Chocolatier, L'Occitane, Bath & Body Works, Crabtree & Evelyn, Hallmark, and Paint me Pretty. Click here for the full mall directory.



We hope that you have the opportunity to experience the Butterfly Festival and create happy childhood memories with your children too!

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Visit the New Sea Turtle Rescue Center at the SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium



SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium is pleased to announce Sea Turtle Rescue Center, a new interactive rehabilitation experience opening Saturday, May 5. 

The new permanent exhibit lets guests of all ages learn about the threats turtles face in the wild and experience first-hand the process of successfully rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing sea turtles.  Upon entry, guests will become a bonafide turtle rescuer as they collect a mock turtle from the beach, name and weigh their patient, then begin a virtual rehabilitation journey.  After using an x-ray machine to diagnose and remedy injuries, guests nurse their turtle back to health at the feeding and hydration station then release them back into the wild.

Check out this quick video for a sneak peek on the SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium Facebook page:



In addition to observing non-releasable sea turtles in a display tank, guests can also view aquarists through a glass window working with real injured patients in the aquarium’s new rehabilitation facility and hospital.  The Grapevine aquarium is the first SEA LIFE in the U.S. to be permitted to rehabilitate sick and injured sea turtles and release them back into the wild through partnerships with Animal Rehabilitation Keep(ARK), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other Texas coast sea turtle hospitals. 

“Our new interactive rehabilitation exhibit profiles real-life endangered sea turtle rescues that our dedicated SEA LIFE team have been involved in.  Since our opening, we’ve rescued seven non-releasable sea turtles.  With our new permit and hospital, in addition to rescue, we can now care for sick or injured turtles until they’re well enough for release back into the wild,” said Karen Rifenbury, Curator, SEA LIFE Grapevine. “Visitors will be able to learn about new patients and the medical team working that day through our patients-in-residence display board.”

“Along the Texas coast, many turtles are found injured or sick each year. There are only five sea turtle rehabilitation facilities, so every facility has to work very hard. ARK is very excited to welcome SEA LIFE Grapevine to sea turtle rehabilitation and look forward to continuing our collaboration to save sea turtles. With the addition of their rehabilitation center, each sea turtle will be given even more attention while in rehab,” said Alicia Walker, Program Coordinator, ARK.

“Already a tremendous partner in sea turtle conservation, SEA LIFE Grapevine is now stepping up to do even more.  Recent freezing temperatures in South Texas filled our coastal rehabilitation centers to capacity with cold-stunned sea turtles.  It is reassuring to know they are there to help if needed next time,” said Mary Kay Skoruppa, Texas Coastal Ecological Services Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Coinciding with the opening of Sea Turtle Rescue Center, the aquarium welcomed a non-releasable green sea turtle named Thalassia.  “Sea Turtle Rescue Center also houses non-releasable sea turtles creating a turtle sanctuary not found anywhere else in DFW. Efforts like these are what make SEA LIFE Grapevine so much more than an average mall aquarium,” said Kelly Schwartz, General Manager, SEA LIFE Grapevine.

SEA LIFE Grapevine is located at 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine, Texas 76051.  For more information visit www.visitsealife.com/grapevine or call 469-444-3050.

About SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium:
SEA LIFE Grapevine transports you into the amazing underwater world.  Prepare for astonishingly close views of everything from humble starfish and seahorses to graceful rays and powerful sharks.  With an amazing 360° ocean tunnel, 30 display tanks and thousands of sea creatures the aquarium is the perfect stop for family fun.  To get any closer you would have to get wet!  Admission is $20.95 for adults, $16.95 for children ages 3 to 12.  For more information visit www.visitsealife.com/grapevine.  SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium is located at 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine, TX 76051. Phone: 469-444-3050. Follow us on Facebook: @sealifegrapevine Twitter: @sealifegrpevine and Instagram: @sealifenorthamerica.
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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Recipe: Mixed Berry Jam

Thanks to Ball Canning for providing this recipe and images.

Did you know that making your own jam is super easy? You can even mix and match your favorite berries such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries to create a quick and delightful jam using Ball® RealFruit Classic Pectin. Whether the fruit comes from your garden or you stocked up on berries from the store, this recipe is fantastic for any combination of berries! Let me share one of my favorite recipes because it is delicious. Plus, let me emphasize that it is easy to make!

Recipe: Mixed Berry Jam

Ingredients

  • 4 cups crushed berries, mix and match your favorites such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and/or raspberries
  • 4 ½ tbsp Ball® RealFruit Classic Pectin
  • 3 cups sugar

Yield

  • Makes about 6 (8 oz) half-pint jars

Directions

  1. Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.
  2. Combine berries in an 8-quart saucepan. Gradually stir in pectin. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, over high heat, stirring constantly.
  3. Add entire measure of sugar, stirring to dissolve. Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam, if necessary.
  4. Ladle hot jam into a hot jar leaving a ¼ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim. Center lid on jar and apply band, adjust to fingertip tight. Place jar in boiling water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled.
  5. Process jars 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Turn off heat, remove lid, let jars stand 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool 12-24 hours. Check lids for seal, they should not flex when center is pressed.
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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Easy Recipe: Beets Made in an Instant Pot


Easy Recipe: Beets Made in an Instant Pot
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 5 beets
Directions:
  1. Add the ingredients and close the lid safely.
  2. Cook for approximately 15 minutes.
  3. Allow to cool and gently scrape the skin off of the beets.
  4. Rinse the beets off after removing the skin.
  5. Cut the stalks off of the beets.
  6. Enjoy!
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