Friday, September 30, 2011

FUNky Friday


You may think Barbie is confused, but she isn't. She knows what day it is: Backwards Day. Heres what you do: Pick a random day(or January 31st if you want the official day...yep, there is actually an official backwards day! Who knew?!) and surprise your kids with as many backwards things as you can. For example, serve dinner for breakfast and then breakfast for dinner. Make everyone's beds backwards-put the pillows on the opposite end of the bed so when they go to sleep at night they are sleeping "upside down." Put your clothes on backwards and see if they notice. They will. And they will think you are crazy. And also the best mom EVER. Walk around the house backwards. Drive backwards..just kidding. That may be slightly unsafe..lol. The possibilities are endless really! I'd love to hear any other "backwards" ideas you may have. Its so fun to be a mama...most of the time ;) I love to come up with fun things to do and silly memories to make.

Photo via www.linneyville.com. It really had nothing to do with my post other than the fact that this totally rad Barbie has her clothes on backwards. And she made me laugh.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Geocaching

I thought I'd share one of our families favorite activities today: Geocaching. Its like a real-life treasure hunt! All you need is a GPS, a brain, and two legs. Its become something that my husband has been taking the kids to do on Saturday mornings every so often (getting some of that father daughter bonding time in:) The kids just LOVE it. If you haven't tried it, you have to!

Below is actually a repost from my family blog My Kids Say I'm Silly. Its from our very first geocache trip almost two years ago- I'll never forget how excited the kids were to find their very first cache aka "treasure" :)

.........
So Friday, Joey had the day off-yea! We decided to start our holiday weekend off with a new family activity-geocaching. Click the word to find out more about it if you aren't familiar. Joey received a GPS as a birthday gift this year and has been wanting to do this geocaching thing for awhile. I honestly had never heard of it(has anyone else?) But it sounded fun-I've always thought treasure hunts were exciting and I knew the kids would love it. Here are pics from our first geocache hunt we did early Friday morning before the heat kicked in-dang its been hot in Dallas! Highs have been around 103. Don't be jealous.


This particular geocache was placed in a vineyard near our home. It is inside this new Croatian Village development going up nearby and its gorgeous. The architecture, lake, vineyards, bridges, everything is beautiful. I got some perdy pictures of the kids and their daddy.



Lets go!




View from the vineyard


There was a clue online that said, "Inside the troll's attic." The kids guessed it would be inside this little building. . .

They were right. Inside the roof was the treasure!



Daddy and his girls



Here I am filling out the log. Once you find it, you write down your name/group name and the date you found it.


Most geocaches have little trinkets inside. You take whats inside and you replace it with a few of your own for the next person/group that hunts. Its such a fun idea! This is what we found. Keychain with keys(to who knows what:), spongebob, rubberband bracelet and one of those little pill things that you put in water and it turns into a foam animal.
We left a couple of shrinky dinks the kids made and a little pocket knife thingy from when Joey worked for VoiceStream(which later became T-Mobile, which by the way is the BEST cell phone company:)


While we were there we saw a couple of bunnies. . .
And some grapes growing on the vine. So cool! Then we pressed the grapes, made wine and partied..hahaha.


This will definitely be something we do again and again. Its the perfect little family activity.
I recommend it!


Monday, September 26, 2011

mysKoop monDay: Gloria's Restaurant






Location: 152 Fountain Ct, Fairview, TX 75069 Map It!!



If I could sum it up in one sentence: For a deliciously unique dining experience and amazing customer experience, Gloria's Restaurant in Fairview is the place to go.










And here's the sKoop. . .




Gloria's Restaurant in Fairview has recently become my favorite place to eat. Hands down its my favorite right now...just thinking about it is making me hungry! I had been to the location in Frisco in the past, but this one blows it out of the water. The ambiance, the service, even the food is better here. You can choose to eat inside or out on the patio. Inside is nice, patio is "fun." When the hubs and I first visited Gloria's, we ate on the patio and it was loud, too loud if you want to have a nice romantic date and conversation. The restaurant borders the fountain area where the kids are running around so I would recommend eating inside if you want quiet. But the patio is definitely a fun atmosphere. We prefer inside-the atmosphere inside is really nice. I looove the way its decorated-very tasteful and sleek. Its a perfect place to go on a date.


The food here is awesome. I love the chicken chimichangas(I'm a chimi freak!) and plantanas here(fried cinnamon flavored bananas-so good!) My husband always orders something funky and different from the Salvadorian side of the menu-last time he ordered quail. And it was delicious! The chips are always fresh warm and crispy(chips at Mexican places are VERY important to me-if they can't get that right, then they probably will mess up everything else:). And I love the salsa and bean dip..so yum.



The service is what has really truly impressed us here. We've been here about 3-4 times now and it has been incredible each time. Never an empty glass, never an empty bowl of chips. Fresh food, friendly service. VERY impressive. And I am a big critic. The whole experience here is always great. And I always see the manager walking around going to the tables asking how their experience has been. Whoever this manager is, hes good. Very good.


We thought we'd be brave and try to go with the kiddos for my birthday last month. We have 4 kids as you know and they are pretty well behaved but still, we usually don't go anywhere much nicer than Chili's with them, so I wasn't sure how it'd go. This place is a step up. Not super fancy, but very nice. And we did it and we rocked it. The kids really loved it here. They were impressed with the pillows and the changing light colors behind the plants. They also loved their food-they have a good kids menu that is well-priced and has a good variety of Mexican and American foods. We went right at 5pm before it got crowded and it worked out well with the kiddos. They had a highchair for the little guy and the hostess and server were very friendly to the kids. We didn't feel like we weren't welcome with our posse of 4 rugrats and 2 adults:)



Our last visit, we had the best server ever. He saw me taking lots of pictures and asked if it was a special occasion or a birthday and I told him it was mine and he offered to take a family picture(see below). It was so sweet-I didn't even have to ask! And then later on he brought me a dessert and didn't embarass me with a huge restaurant song. He simply had the kids and my husband sing to me:) It was cute. And the dessert was the most delicious Flan I've ever tasted! It was the perfect end to my evening.



I've always left Gloria's happy. Always.





mysKoop TIPS: Make sure if your meal doesn't come with a plantain/plantana on the side to order one..its something you have to try once in your life if you haven't. Its a little funky if you aren't used to it, but I LOVE it. Dip it in the sour cream stuff. YUM. Also, you could make a family night of it by having the kids wear their swimsuits under their clothes and then taking them to the fountains right beside it to run around and play after your meal! Or just walk around and go shopping at the Village at Fairview. Its such an awesome area!



kidsKoop: Ella, age 7, "I loved the pillows! They were purple!" (Purple is indeed her favorite color.)


hubsKoop: "I got medieval on that quail." Um, ok.



















Friday, September 23, 2011

FUNky Friday

Not only is a Bumbo good for entertaining a baby..it makes a lovely crown. I call this picture,"Bumbo King."




My husband is going to LOVE me for posting this picture.





And for a little sneak peek into my home last year during the holidays when my husband chased one of my kids while wearing this Bumbo crown, causing her to shriek, all while the baby was crying while another child was jumping up and down trying to make him happy and the dog was spazzing out, here ya go. Wow, that was exhausting just reading that description. Enjoy this moment of crazy in my life as a mom of 4 (or should I say 5 if you count my husband:) kids and a puppy.

video

Now that's fun right there.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Family Night

Families are the most important thing we have in this life. I mean, who doesn't agree with that?




I love these people right here...





We as parents need to do everything we can to love our kids and help them to be happy. We need to stay a tight-knit family unit and have fun together. And heres where "family night" comes in. This isn't an idea I came up with myself AT ALL, but I wanted to share with you. With the "busy-ness" life sometimes throws at us...who am I kidding..ALWAYS throws at us, we have to make sure as parents that we are taking the time to hang out with our kids and spend time with them.

I am LDS and this is something we Mormons do: we set aside one night a week dedicated to a family activity. Now you don't have to be LDS/Mormon to do this, you can be any type of Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, non-religious, whatever! If you have a family, this is for you. All you have to do is set aside a specific time one night each week to doing something fun with your family. You schedule nothing on that evening that will interfere with it. Treat it as something very special(because it IS). You can set it up however you like, you can just go to the park together, you can make it more of a formal lesson(we do this lots) where you actually talk about something important to your family like a value such as faith or honesty. You have a discussion, you talk, you play a game together, whatever. We do a song, prayer, lesson & treat. The kids take turn with who is charge of Family Night or Family Home Evening(FHE is what we call it). They love being in charge and look forward to this every week! While you can tweek it and make it your own, here are a few things this night HAS to have:



1. A TREAT(this is a MUST for us...notice how I list it as number one? :)

2. FUN

3. CONVERSATION

4. LOVE




Food is a big deal to me. Especially food loaded with sugar(my kids are lucky this is my weakness!) Fun is something that is sorta a given. And conversation is a must. We need to be having regular conversations with our kiddos! They need to know we are here for them and that we will listen to them. They need to know we care. Its especially important to start a habit of listening to our kiddos when they are young so the habit of them communicating with us carries on through adolescence. And love is really what this night is about-you are showing you love these precious children by setting aside this night each week to be with them and ONLY them(No cell phones or ipads-put them away! puhlease)



I hope this sparks an idea in your mind and its something you implement with your families soon if you haven't already. It really will bring you closer together as a family and create lots of FUN memories! My mom did this for us kids when I was little and I have many fond memories from it.

Click here for lots of fun family night ideas!

Monday, September 19, 2011

mysKoop morph

I've been thinking and thinking and thinking about what I want this blog to become. Its my baby....and I want it to grow big and strong:) Okay, that sounded creepy...

Really though, I've been thinking about the purpose of this blog and what I truly want to do with it. And the bottom line is that I want this blog to be FUN. And just doing reviews on the places we love to go isn't enough. While I will continue to do a weekly review on a Dallas area fun spot, I want to share everything I can think of that will add more joy and more fun to your families life. I'm going to jazz this blog up with more frequent posts(I've been slackin...school started and we had three birthdays in our house! SO BUSY! But I'm back!) and posts that are just plain fun. Whether its a fun idea of something to do at home with your kids, a fun craft(and simple because I'm not crafty AT ALL), a fun spin on dinner, or just a random funny post, just for the heck of it. Thats what I want. I want to have more fun with this blog (because I'm a fun gal!) and I want to help other find more joy and laughter in their lives with their families.

So, get ready for mysKoop to morph into something MORE!

I will plan on doing "mysKoop Mondays" from here on out: those will be my review days. And how about I throw in "FUNky Fridays" for just plain mom randomness. Because I just thrive on stuff like that. Every other post will just be whatever I feel like because, well, I'm in charge of this thing!! :)

I'm already lovin this...

Monday, September 12, 2011

mysKoop monDay: Rainforest Cafe








Location: 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine, TX 76051 Map It!!





If I could sum it up in one sentence: The Rainforest Cafe is a fun themed dining experience inside Grapevine Mills Mall that is great for families, but a bit overpriced for the quality of food(but I guess you are paying for the atmosphere too... so I think its worth it...:)










And here's the sKoop. . .




If you have kids(or even if you don't), The Rainforest Cafe is a restaurant you've got to go to at least once. We usually go at least once a year because it is a pretty unique dining experience. And the reasons we don't usually go more than once a year are 1. Its a good 45 minute drive from our home. 2. I think the food is overpriced. Its like a glorified Chili's with monkeys. But we do love to go :)




Upon entering the restaurant, there is a really cool fake crocodile in this misty pool that my kids love to hate. My 4 year old on our last visit did not want to go near it. She swore it was real! It was hilarious. She didn't like it but swore she did and talked and talked about it when we got home later:) It opens its mouth and you try to throw coins inside. Pretty fun for the kids. Past the crocodile is the shop where the restaurant sells all kinds of souvies from shirts to mugs to candy to stuffed animals to toys. They've got it all. And honestly the prices of the shirts and plates(which are the items we have purchased) aren't too bad. They are almost always on sale-2 for whatever. Then as you make your way through the gauntlet of merchandise(they are smart) you finally get to the restaurant area. This location is pretty busy but if you go at a good time(we last went on a Saturday evening kinda later, around 8, and only had about a 15-20 minute wait for 7 people, not bad) then you usually don't have a crazy long wait.




The best part of this place, of course, is the atmosphere. This place is decorated pretty dang awesome. There are animatronic jungle animals everywhere that kids dig. Well, they either love it or they hate it. We have pretty timid kids and our older two freaked out when we first took them at the ages of 4 and 2. So, if you have kids that are easily freaked out like ours, you may have some crying kiddos during the "thunder"(which happens about every 15-20 minutes). The thunder consists of all the animals coming to life, making lots of noise, and moving around like nutsos. Its pretty cool but small kids sometimes do not like it. Our third daughter however, who is our more "fearless" child, has never had a problem there(well other than the crocodile at the entrance that she is leary of). Just depends on the child's personality I guess. There are beautiful aquariums everywhere, fake trees, a starlit sky & waterfalls. Its really neato.



The place is super family friendly. Lots of highchairs, booths and accomodations for large groups. Lots of fun souvenirs to choose from. And great bathrooms with changing tables. They also have a kids menu with a wide variety of choices. So, an A+ in that department. I've also heard they also do birthday parties.




My gripe with this place is that I don't think the food is all that. Its alright. Its no better than Chili's(which I like just fine but Chili's also has lower prices and honestly the food at Chili's I even like more). I feel like they get you with low quality food at a ridiculous price because they know people will come to see all the cool animals. So they jack up the prices a lot because they know you'll pay it. I don't think the food is bad, don't get me wrong(though they go a little crazy with cilantro on certain dishes), but its just priced too high for what it is. Thats my only gripe. But I guess they kinda have to, you are there not just for the food but for the atmosphere and service(which is usually pretty good too). So, I'll pay it. They got me.




Overall, this is a fun experience your kids will definitely never forget. If you haven't been yet, you have to go! Just be ready to spend some dough.




mysKoop TIPS: Click HERE for free printable coupons(they are "rewards" calendars-your child can get a free kids meal for losing a tooth, reading, doing well in sports, etc) for free kids meals before you go! We did this last time and saved about ten-twelve bucks. I think you can get one free kids meal for each adult at the table. Don't go without coupons! Also, if you go to The Great Wolf Lodge and then hit The Rainforest Cafe, keep your Great Wolf Lodge bands on for a free appetizer(I think its a bowl of queso). We did that once and felt all special:) Nothing is better than free food! One other item of note: the famous "volcano" dessert no longer has an actual sparkler on top:(. Its still $9.99 though. But it just has a plastic sparkly thingy on top. Kinda lame. I wouldn't buy it. They need to lower the price now that the whole point of it is gone. Its not really a volcano anymore....





kidsKoop: Cali, age 4, said, "I love the crocodile!" No, she doesn't. She just thinks she does. From far away :) lol




hubsKoop: "If your kids misbehave, just threaten to throw them to the crocodile...just kidding." Hahahaha. He wouldn't. Or would he?




And here are a few pics from a couple of our past visits...my mom is in these pics because she always likes to go with us when she visits! Where she lives, they don't have one of these restaurants and she loves to visit them for the fun atmosphere. And check out my little guy in the last picture. He never cried but he certainly made some hilarious faces. He was like, what the heck are all these gorillas doing??!























Monday, September 5, 2011

North Texas Kids article

To read my article in the September issue of North Texas Kids, click here! I'm very excited to be one of their new monthly columnists! I had lots of fun writing this article about our families experience at Trade Days in McKinney. Hope you'll check it out!! Lots of info, pics and tips to make your experience at Trade Days a success!

Oh, and I almost forgot: PAGE 14 is where its at!