Trendy Mom Reviews
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Monday, November 13, 2017

Salata Party Hack: An Easy Salad & Baked Potato Bar for Holiday Parties

Holiday parties are a lot of work. In today's post, I'll share an easy Salata Party Hack for a Salad & Baked Potato Bar. This trendy dinner party idea is a nice alternative to the typically heavy foods that many people encounter at holiday parties. Your guests will love that the healthy salad & baked potato bar is delicious and packed with colorful nutrients. Let me tell you about the Salata Bar and share photos that show how easy it is to put together a fun dinner party for friends and family.

Every morning at 6am, the employees at Salata start washing, chopping, and dicing fresh veggies so that you are able to pick up the freshest salads and toppings. Absolutely everything is fresh! They offer a Salata Bar under their catering menu that makes it easy to host healthy holiday parties that everyone will rave about. The Salata Bar contains the signature Salata mix lettuces and a base of 12 toppings:

  • Corn 
  • Black beans 
  • Broccoli 
  • Bell Pepper 
  • Mushrooms 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Cucumbers 
  • Black Olives 
  • Feta Cheese 
  • Cheddar Cheese 
  • Cranberries 
  • Carrots 
It is served with bread, fresh baked croutons, and baked pita chips. The Salata Bar is for a minimum of 10 people and you may add additional servings in increments of 5 people.

You will get to select dressing with your Salata Bar. Our favorite salad dressings are the Lemon Vinaigrette, Ginger Lime, and Fat-Free Mango dressings.

In addition, you will want to add servings of protein. Salata offers a variety of protein options, but for the Baked Potato Bar, we recommend the Asian BBQ Chicken and the Pesto Chicken.

Here is the Asian BBQ Chicken.

Here is the Pesto Chicken.

Of course, Salata is well known for their soups. These are a great fit with a Salad & Baked Potato Bar! For instance, we love the Tomato Basil and the Chipotle White Bean.

The Tomato Basil is my favorite.

The Chipotle White Bean is my husband's favorite.

The Salata Bar also comes with fantastic croutons, pita chips, and rolls.

The baked pita chips with sea salt are my favorite.

The rolls are my husband's favorite.

My children are big fans of the croutons.

Now that I've shown an overview of the Salata Bar, let me share the Salad & Baked Potato Bar that we had at our party. We prepared the baked potatoes with olive oil and course sea salt. Let me share the instructions.

Recipe: Baked Potatoes with Course Sea Salt

  • 10 large Russet Potatoes (or substitute your choice or potatoes) 
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil 
  • 2 Tablespoons of course sea salt (or more/less as desired) 
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. 
  2. Wash the potatoes. 
  3. Stab each potato several times with a fork. 
  4. Brush olive oil on each potato. 
  5. Sprinkle each potato with course sea salt. 
  6. Bake for approximately 90 minutes, flipping every 20 minutes. 
  7. Optional: During the last 10 minutes, top each potato with remaining course sea salt. 
  8. Carefully allow to cool for a minimum of 15 minutes before serving to guests. 

Finally, while many of our guests love to bring decadent desserts, we also like to make sure that there is a healthy option. The Fruit Salad from Salata is a delicious staple for a dessert table. Salata adds a special touch to the fresh fruit by sprinkling dried cranberries onto their fruit salad.

Salata Party Hack: An Easy Baked Potato Bar for Holiday Parties
Simply combine the baked potatoes with the Salata Bar, proteins, and soup for your guests to create their own trendy dinners. Serve a fruit salad for dessert. Your guests will thank you for the healthy options!

Here are examples of some of the meals that our guests created. There is combinatorial explosion in possible combinations. Everyone was able to create their own idea of perfection.

Learn More

Visit Salata's website here to learn more about their fresh menu items.
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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Visit the Gaylord Texan for ICE! #LoneStarChristmas2017 #MommyBlogger17

One of our favorite family traditions is visiting the Gaylord Texan for ICE!  This trendy holiday celebration creates happy childhood memories for our children. In today's post, I'll share a glimpse into our visit this year and share a coupon for you to save 50% on ICE! tickets during the first two opening weeks.

The Gaylord Texan pays careful attention to every detail when it comes to ICE!  They decide on the theme months in advance and then 40 professional Ice Carvers come from Harbin, China to work their magic on the ice.  They have their own in-house team to create the amazing props that you will see around the resort. Here are some fun statistics of their Christmas by the Numbers:

  • 2 million Twinkling lights
  • 15,000 Sparkling ornaments
  • 54-ft tall Christmas tree
  • 2,000 Poinsettias
  • 19,500 Gingerbread kits
  • 100 miles of Christmas light strands
  • 5,600 feet of Garland
  • 2,000,000+ pounds of Hand-carved ice
  • 9-degrees inside the 14,000-sq-ft ICE! tent
We visited the 9-degree ICE! venue today and had a wonderful time. I won't spoil it for you, but I will tell you that my children found it magical.  The theme is 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.  We walked through the massive 14,000 square foot exhibit to follow the story and were mesmerized by the beautiful ice sculptures.  The attention to detail is truly amazing.

 My children loved the story. The sculptures had a big impression on them!

As I mentioned, I won't spoil the event by sharing too many photos, but hopefully, I shared just enough so that you realize how fascinating it is and that it is sure to create happy childhood memories.

After the wonder ICE! exhibit, we went snow tubing.  Since we don't always have snow in North Texas, this is a must-have experience for families.  My family had an amazing time as we experienced the snow and the rush of tubing down the hills.  

In addition to what we experienced, the Gaylord Texan offers other trendy activities to create special family and childhood memories.  Here is a quick list of holiday activities.

Photos with Santa

Whether you've been naughty or nice this year, don't miss your chance to have a treasured photograph taken with old Saint Nick before he leaves for the North Pole.
November 10 – December 24, 2017
Location: Lone Star Atrium (near the Oil Derrick next to Texan Station)
Price: Packages starting at $30
Times: Mondays – Fridays 4pm–9pm | Saturday 10am-9pm | Sunday 10am-6pm
Santa's Special Hours: Nov. 18- 25  | 10am-9pm; Dec. 16-23 | 10am-9pm 

Santa’s Christmas Cottage Escape Room

Santa has lost the golden key to the toy factory and left behind an Elf who needs your help finding it in time to return to the toy factory. You will have 40 minutes to solve the clues, find the missing key and return it to Santa’s Elf. Do you have what it takes to solve the clues?

November 10 – January 1, 2018
 Lower Level Texan Station

Price: $15* Children (4-11) | $25* Adults
Time: Every hour; times vary by day. Options are listed on purchase tickets calendar.

Anyone 11 years of age and under must be with a paying adult of 17 years or older. Not recommended for children under age 3.

Cookies with Mrs. Claus

Gather around for warm and cozy fun with the jolliest hostess of all - Mrs. Claus! Delight in the reading of classic holiday stories and sing along to Christmas carols, all while enjoying a batch of Mrs. Claus' world-famous cookies and a glass of ice cold milk.

November 10, 2017 – January 1, 2018
Location: Exhibit Hall C
  • $19.99* per child (4 and over) and $5* for the required accompanied adult.
  • Ages 3 and under are free with a full price paid adult of $19.99*. All children must have an accompanying adult.
  • Times: Vary by day, options are listed on purchase tickets calendar.
Guest should notify staff of any food/milk allergies at time of booking or in advance of entry.
Please arrive 5 minutes before your scheduled show time. Guest should notify staff of any food/milk allergies at time of booking or in advance of entry.

Build-A-Bear Workshop® Scavenger Hunt
Santa has recruited Gaylord Hotels’ Polar Bear, Snowburst, and his bear buddies to ensure Gaylord Texan is festively decorated with holiday cheer! And once the decorations are in place, the bears kick back inside the resort for a fun n’ festive holiday hangout. Can you track down all of these hard-working holiday bears?

November 10, 2017 – January 1, 2018
Location: Throughout the resort
Price: $12* per book (all ages) *One prize per book
Time: Vary by day, options are listed on purchase tickets calendar.

Glacier Glide Ice Skating
Enjoy a perfect day or evening under the stars by going on a yuletide glide at Gaylord Texan’s 6,000 square-foot outdoor ice rink. Christmas in Grapevine has never been more fun!

November 10, 2017 – January 1, 2018
Location: Convention Center Circle Drive
Price: $16.99* per person (all ages) *Unlimited for day of purchase
Time: Vary by day, options are listed on purchase tickets calendar.

Gingerbread Decorating CornerThis fun, sticky, interactive decorating tradition just got a whole lot sweeter! You can choose from a tasty gingerbread cookie family, a traditional gingerbread house or our Train Kit. After you've decorated to your heart's content, make your way to meet our The Gingerbread Man for a heartwarming hug you can capture with your own camera.

November 10, 2017 – January 1, 2018
Location: Next to Mission Plaza Marketplace
Price: $29.99* Family/Train Kit | $49.99* House Kit | $68.99* Combo Kit (House + Gingerbread Man + Family)
Time: Vary by day, options are listed on purchase tickets calendar.

Additional Gingerbread Meet and Greets can be purchased for $10.99 per person. Only available in-store in addition to an already purchased kit

Santa’s Snow Throw
Head to Santa’s Snow Throw, grab a bucket of real snowballs and aim for the targets created by Santa’s Elves!

November 10, 2017 – January 1, 2018
Location: Longhhorn Exhibit Hall C, Convention Center
Price: $9.99* per person (ages 4 and older) | Ages 3 and under are FREE with paying adult.
Time: Vary by day, options are listed on purchase tickets calendar.

Save on ICE!
Finally, as mentioned earlier, the Gaylord Texan provided the coupon below for our readers to receive 50% off of ICE! tickets!  You'll want to use this coupon soon as it is valid for the opening two weeks (11/10/2017  to 11/21/2017) before 5pm. The code is TRENDYMOM.   Visit the Gaylord Texan website here.

We hope that you are able to attend and create wonderful memories with your family.

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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Build! Build! Build!: Unique Building Toys That Our Children Love and That Make Great Holiday Gifts

In today's post, I'll tell you about two trendy toy sets that my children love.  As a mom, I have several things qualities that I appreciate in toys. I like toys that help my children with their development. Examples include developing their motor skills  and exercising their imaginations. I also like toys that are a good value when you divide the cost of the toy by the number of hours that they play with it.  Finally, I hope that the toys are colorful and fun so that they create happy childhood memories. The two toys that we are featuring today exceeded my expectations and set a high bar because they have entertained my children for many hours, helped with their development, and are adorably memorable.  They are the PicassoTiles® PTB100 Farm Theme Bristle Shape 100-Piece Basic Building Set and the  Picasso Tiles 82 Piece Creativity Set Magnet Building Tiles with 10 Different Shapes.

The first set is the trendy PicassoTiles® PTB100 Farm Theme Bristle Shape 100-Piece Basic Building Set

Here is the quick overview from the PicassoTiles website:
Features• PTB100-FARM are soft, rubbery, interlocking bristles that stick together at any angle makes it easier to build.• PTB100-FARM provides a good way to develop children's creativity at a young age. Your children can acquire a strong sense of color, geometrical shapes, & architectural design.• PTB100-FARM bristle block set has different brightly colored pieces which provide kid's endless building possibilities.• PTB100-FARM bristle block set can build different objects such as a car, a house, a robot. The most amazing thing is that kids can build a completed farm.• PTB100-FARM bristle block set includes different figures like farmer, pig, cow, donkey, sheep, and tourist. DREAM BIG & BUILD BIGNo limitations, scalable to build as big as desired by adding more pieces to create a masterpiece. PicassoTiles in colossal styles.
LEARNING BY PLAYINGNever too early to start developing kids creativity. Children can acquire a strong sense of color, geometrical shapes including 3D forms, numbers, counts & architectural design at an early age.
BONDING BY PLAYINGEntertaining for single or multiple parties and feel the sense of achievement together. Suitable for all ages (3 and up) by one party or in groups. A great way to spend quality time with the family and love ones.
LEARNING IS FUNEncourage creativity which is the key factor to success in today's ever-changing environment. Fun and entertaining; perfect educational present for school-age children that will never go out of style.
CREATIVITY BEYOND IMAGINATION3D Bristle Shape Building Blocks for preschool, pretend play and more. Easy to construct and easy to put away for storage. Recommended Age3 years and up. In The Box

- PicassoTiles® PTB100-FARM Bristle Shape 3D Building Block Set (100 Pcs)
In my personal experience, my children have spent hours and hours and hours with this set. We've also experienced a plethora of giggles with their fun creations and the trendy little characters and animals! Let me share some photos of scenes that my children created.

I like the photo below because they create a tree for the farm so that the farmer could have some shade.

The farmer is their favorite character.

The second set is the trendy Picasso Tiles 82 Piece Creativity Set Magnet Building Tiles with 10 Different Shapes

Here is the quick overview from the PicassoTiles website:
DREAM BIG & BUILD BIG - No limitations, scalable to build as big as desired by adding more pieces to create the master piece. PicassoTiles in colossal styles.LEARNING BY PLAYING - Never too early to start developing kids creativity. Children can acquire strong sense of color, geometrical shapes including 3D forms numbers counts, magnetic polarities & architectural design at early age.BONDING BY PLAYING - Entertaining for single or multiple parties and feel the sense of achievement together. Suitable for all ages (3+ and up) by one party of in groups a great way to spend quality time with the family and love ones..LEARNING IS FUN - Encourage creativity which is the key factor to success in today's ever-changing environments. Fun and entertaining, perfect educational presents for school age children that will never go out of style.CREATIVITY BEYOND IMAGINATION - Magnet Building Tiles Clear 3D color Magnetic Building Blocks Playboards for preschool, pretend play and more. Easy to construct and easy to put away for storage.In The Box
-4 x Large Square-8 x Small Square-8 x Isosceles Triangle-8 x Right Triangle-24 x Equilateral Triangle-7 x Letter N Shape-7 x Letter I Shape-7 x Letter X Shape-7 x Diamond Shape-2 x Car
In our personal experience, my children have spent many hours with this set. They created a Christmas Village under our tree.  

This is a closer view of their treasured trains and gems. 

This is a photo of their castle and guest house.

These building sets provide hours of fun thanks to the combinatorial explosion of possibilities! Visit Picasso Tiles to learn more.
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The Best Buy Holiday Toy Catalog: The Best Toys that My Children Circled

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

One of my favorite childhood memories was checking out the annual Holiday Toy Catalogs and circling my favorite toys. My husband did the same thing. It was always fun to read about the latest toys and hope that Santa would bring good surprises. In today's post, I'll tell you how my children continue this tradition with Best Buy's Toy Catalog. I will also tell you about a few of their favorite picks.

Nowadays, we browse toy catalogs online. Our favorite is the Best Buy Toy Catalog (available here.) My children had the opportunity to go through it earlier today and were thrilled. Our house was actually quiet for a while as they browsed the fun toys to identify their favorite picks! I had them create a list of their favorite toys. (This was a great way to get my oldest son to practice his handwriting!) They had a lot of fun going through the toy catalog. Let me share a few of their favorite picks.

First, we noticed that the Best Buy Toy Catalog has a large assortment of toys. The breadth of options is amazing. They offer everything from classic toys to learning toys. Of course, they even have the latest tech toys. As a mom, I love that there are so many toys that help them to learn and grow. I also love that the toys making learning fun!

The first pick is a Hatchimals Surprise Egg. These aren't just for girls either. My son is super excited about the possibility of Santa delivering a Hatchimals Surprise Egg (SKU: 5804806). I'm sure that you have heard about Hatchimals Surprise Eggs, but you may not realize the entire story. The Hatchimals live inside the eggs. You may hold them to hear their heartbeats, flip them for fun, and tap them for a response where they tap back. They hatch from the egg. Its rainbow eyes light up from the inside when it's ready to hatch. It's super exciting and sure to create fun memories! You may then teach your Hatchimal to walk, talk, dance, play games, and more! They are cute and cuddly little things!

Their next favorite pick from the Best Buy Holiday Toy Guide was pretty much every LEGO set. They can't get enough LEGOs. I had to ask them to narrow it down. The Batman Movie LEGO set (SKU: 5851808) was at the top of their list. This trendy set has 581 pieces, so it is sure to keep them busy for a while. Plus, the car and fun characters will allow them to spend many hours using their imaginations!

Some other great holiday toy picks from the Best Buy Holiday Toy Guide that my children love include: Hasbro Dropmix, Sphero Mini, Barbie Dreamhouse, Anki Cozmo, Parker the Augmented Reality Bear, Recoil Laser Tag Starter Set, Osmo sets, and  FAO Shwarz toys.  

Finally, as a mom of a toddler, I really love the FAO Shwarz Teddy Bear (SKU: 6102507) for my youngest. It's so soft and huggable! He was meant to be part of our family.

We hope that your children enjoy reading about the latest toys in the Best Buy Holiday Toy Catalog too!  

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Visit the Dallas Zoo! #DallasZooBlogs

This is the perfect time of year to visit the Dallas Zoo because the weather is starting to cool off and there are a lot of exciting things going on at the zoo. My family spent the day at the zoo and had an amazing time.  We call the visit "good childhood" because it is a trip that our son will always remember. In today's post, I'll share some highlights and encourage you to visit because we personally had an amazing time and think that it is a "must do" experience for families in the DFW metro.  

The Dallas Zoo is the oldest zoo in Texas.  The employees at this zoo are perfectionists that seem to pay attention to every detail so that guests have unique and memorable experiences.  As I mentioned before, we think that a trip to the Dallas Zoo adds a unique and amazing aspect to a "good childhood".  As a mom to a six year old, the Dallas Zoo is one of my top picks for attractions in the DFW metro.

Let's start with the schedule of Keeper Chats. These are unique experiences to meet the passionate zoo keepers who show off their favorite animals and fascinating information about them.  Our son loved learning firsthand from them.  Here is the schedule for the day that we visited:

Schedule of keeper chats 
 9:30 a.m.: Macaw keeper talk 
 9:45 a.m.: Cheetah Encounter 
 11:00 a.m: Wonders of the Wild bird and mammal show (in the Wonders of the Wild Amphitheater) 
 11:30 a.m.: Lemur keeper talk 
 12:30 p.m.: Reptile keeper talk 
 1:00 p.m.: Wonders of the Wild bird and mammal show (in the Wonders of the Wild Amphitheater) 
 1:30 p.m.: Wings of Wonder keeper talk 
 1:30 p.m.: Otter keeper talk 
 2:00 p.m.: Cheetah Encounter 
 2:00 p.m.: Primate Place keeper talk 
 2:15 p.m.: Koala Walkabout keeper talk 
 2:30 p.m.: Wings of Wonder keeper talk 
 3:00 p.m.: Wonders of the Wild bird and mammal show (in the Wonders of the Wild Amphitheater) 
 3:00 p.m.: Tiger keeper talk 

Please keep in mind that schedule may vary based on the date that you visit, but this is a great example of the broad variety of animals and chats at the zoo.

My little boy was mesmerized by the different talks. His favorite was the Cheetah Encounter.  This was a lively experience because they tossed a ball and everyone was able to see the amazing speed in which the cheetah chased the ball.  My son has the biggest smile on his face when he tells others about the experience!There are also plenty of opportunities to interact with the animals. For instance, we attended a few hands-on feedings in which we were able to see animals close. Here is a photo from a giraffe feeding.  I have to admit that I am jealous that a giraffe licked my husband's hand. I want giraffe kisses too! My son giggles that Dad was the chosen one.

We also fed nectar to lorikeets. The birds were beautiful and friendly. My son was nervous at first, but seemed comfortable after a few minutes. This is a testament to the Dallas Zoo because they created an inviting and comfortable environment in which my nervous son could relax and feel comfortable to interact with the lorikeets.

Finally, the boys fed some Galapagos tortoises.  This was a lot of fun.  Aren't they cute below?  My son was a bit timid, so we were grateful for this peaceful experience in which he grew as a person and became more confident and intrigued by the tortoises.

A photo posted by Trendy mom reviews (@trendymomreviews) on

The Dallas Zoo also offers opportunities for you to take a break from walking while still enjoying the amazing animals. For instance, the Wilds of Africa Adventure Safari Monorail is one of those opportunities.

This cozy ride is a great opportunity to relax with your family while enjoying an exotic experience with your family that includes waterfalls and lush landscaping with surprises around every corner.

The variety of African animals was impressive!  Check out this cutie.

Here is another adorable photo!

The Dallas Zoo offers something for everyone. Every child in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro should have an experience at the Dallas Zoo because they offer memories that last a lifetime.  As I mentioned earlier, the employees at the Dallas Zoo are perfectionists who pay close attention to detail to make sure that visitors have unique and memorable experiences.  We can't wait to visit again!

Learn More

Visit the Dallas Zoo website to plan your trip and purchase tickets.  You will also want to check out their special events such as Halloween Nights at the Dallas Zoo, camps, and more!

We give credit and a big "Thank you" to the Dallas Zoo for the photographs above that have the Dallas Zoo logo in the bottom right corner.
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Friday, November 10, 2017

Bicycle Organization for Families

Receiving a bicycle on Christmas morning is always a wonderful childhood memory.  However, something that many parents overlook is that they also need a way to organize the bicycle in their garage. In today's post, I'll tell you about the storage solution that we found from - the BUA Aluminum Floor to Ceiling (Black).  This was a great gift for my husband since he is in charge of keeping our garage clean and organized.

The bike rack was easy to install. It took him 26 minutes, including the time to open the box, read instructions, and put it up.  He didn't experience any frustration. It was easy-peasy. 

Here is a close-up of the ceiling.  He used two screws to stabilize it.  (The screws were included.)

Here is a view of the floor. The feet are easy to adjust on the ground.

He stores his bike on the top and our son's bike on the bottom.  It's such a nice and simple design.  If he wouldn't have taken the time to install this

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