All posts by Shannon

5 Fun Activities to do This Fall in Plano

Plano is such a great town with so many fun things to do. The problem is finding time to do it all. Fall is the perfect season here too. I am slowly decorating for Fall and bringing out my Halloween decor! We finally escape the dreadful summer and the temperature starts cooling off a bit.  Whether you are wanting a fun night out with friends or a nice park to take kids to play, here are 5 Fun Activities to do this Fall in Plano.

Attend A Festival

There are so many fall festivals- almost one every weekend! Let’s hope the weather cooperates and you can attend one or all of these with your family this fall. Be sure to check out the Plano Balloon Festival, Family Fun Fest at CUMC, the International Festival,  and SteinFest. We always attend the Plano Balloon Festival as a family, and I’m really looking forward to checking out some of the others as well. I love that several of these are taking place in downtown Plano!

Art and Wine Walk 

This event takes place in downtown Plano second Thursday of every month from April to December. It’s a sip and shop event where you can sip on wine and shop the local stores all while listening to some live music. Tickets are $12 pre-purchased or $18 at the door. This would be a fun thing to grab your girlfriends or fellow Moms and go.

Visit a Pumpkin Patch

There are so many great local pumpkin patches that will be popping up.  Some are really big and full of mazes, animals, and hayrides, where others are smaller and less involved. Still, they are fun to do this time of year. You can drive pretty far north and make a full day out of the Orange Pumpkin Farm or even the Autumn at the Arboretum. These are 2 places that really go all out and make it fun for kids and the whole family. These would be great to take visitors too.

Attend a Safe Trick or Treating Event

With Halloween being right in the middle of the school week, so many churches and other places now offer family friendly and safer alternatives to the traditional trick or treating. These are usually done during daylight and really fun for kids (especially younger aged). More and more are holding ‘trunk or treat’ style festivals that are fun as well. Plano holds an event called Boo Bash that is put on by the Parks and Rec department. The Heritage Farmstead is holding a Trick or Treating at the Farm on October 27th, and Custer Road Methodist Church always puts on a trick or treating event that will be free to the community as well. I love these because they are fun, safe, and a great way for your kids to get some good use out of their costumes!

Check out Hub Streat

Hub Streat is a newish to Plano but it is full of fun. It’s the food truck stop that has become a place to meet up with friends for drinks at night or take your kids for a fun lunch during the day. The outside area is also dog-friendly too! The food trucks rotate weekly so check their Facebook page nightly events.  I visited Hub Streat for a Mom’s Night Out and it was so much fun. With the weather cooling off, this would be a great spot to meet some friends and catch up.

What are you looking forward to doing this Fall with your family?

How to Keep Your Kids Safe on Social Media

How do we keep our kids safe on social media is one of the most talked about topics when I meet up with my fellow neighborhood Moms. We’ve been discussing it since our kids were in kindergarten. Sadly, things are not getting any easier. If anything, things are getting harder! There are so many more hidden dangers and secret ways for kids to hide things on their phones.

If you have a teenager or a soon to be teenager,  then you know they are all about their phones and social media. Whenever your family decides to allow your kids to have access to phones/social media, it’s important to know some ways to keep everyone safe and stay ahead of the game.

www.planomoms.com

Here are some basic facts about kids and social media.

  • Nearly 15 million teens in the U.S. were “social network users,” and nearly two million
    children (three to 11 years old) also used social networking websites
  • Among teens 12 to 17 years old, 65% have a profile on an online social network
  • 84% of teens polled said they have a Facebook profile
  • 52% of teens have given out personal information online to someone they don’t know offline,
    and one in four (25%) have shared personal photos and/or physical descriptions of themselves
    (twice as many girls as boys)

(Taken from Mcafee.com)

As we can all see, technology isn’t going anywhere. We need to be in the know of things around us to keep our children safe. These are some scary facts!! Are you prepared for your kids to be on social media? What are your rules and regulations for them? Here are some ideas.

  • Start early talking to your children about social media
  • Set some ground rules
  • Limit their time allowed online
  • Discuss what is appropriate on and offline

Tell them to remember that Nothing is secret when it comes to social media. My kids are still young so luckily we’re not there yet with the phones but we only allow Ipad/laptop use in common areas where we can see. My daughter also has time limits and certain things she can and cannot go to.

What ground rules do you set??? Do you check or monitor their phones? The good news is that there are constantly new apps and ways for parents to stay on top of safety with parental apps and monitoring programs. Here are 2 apps to download and look at to see if they fit your needs:

www.planomoms.com

MM Guardian

Protection for Kids, Peace of Minds for Parents

Advantages: Set time limits for usage, block apps and websites (including porn), parents can view browsing history, prevent sexting and cyber-bullying, get a location of child’s phone at all times, see how much they are texting and who they are texting to.

Cost: Varies/They have monthly subscriptions to try or other plans to try depending on a number of devices.

 

PhoneSheriff.com

Advantages:  Block phone numbers, set restrictions, and limits, monitor text message, and activity, time location tracking, more.  You can determine who they can and can’t communicate with, block websites, activity, and more.

Cost: $89 per year

I’m definitely (like many of you Moms) learning as I go with this tricky situation. My oldest is just starting to be at the age where she wants a phone and other devices and I know as her Mom I have to protect her. I want to hear from you and your experience. What are you doing to keep your kids safe on social media?? Let’s band together and help one another with this!

Keeping Kids Safe on Social Media

Looking for Fun Things to Do this Fall? Check out this awesome list of Fall Festivals.

The Dog Park at Jack Carter Park

The city of Plano has a very nice dog park that is the perfect place to let your dogs off the leash to run around and play. Since our puppy finally turned 4 months old and is old enough to go in we decided to go check it out. Let’s take a tour of the Dog Park at Jack Carter Park.

The park has a designated small dog area (great for dogs under 30 pounds) and large dog area (for those dogs over 30 pounds). The gates are totally separate to enter. Our dog, Lucky is just about at 30 pounds but since he’s still a puppy we decided to stay in the smaller dog area and I’m glad we did at this visit.

Both areas are a good size and have some seating areas along with a track that goes around. Both areas also have several stations filled with bags to help you clean up after your dogs and fountains for your dogs to drink water.

 

Dogs love to for a chance to run and play without being on their leash and this is the perfect place! Before you go, it’s a good time to know some of the basic rules of the park for safety and security of the dogs and others.

Dog Park Rules and Info

  • Great for dogs 4 mths and older
  • 3 dog limit per person
  • Dogs must wear current tags and registration at the park
  • Always look after your own dog and scoop the poop!
  • Enter the gates correctly and safely to avoid any issues when entering or leaving.
  • A note to remember, the park is closed every Thursday for maintenance from sun up until 4 pm.

Location: 2215 Pleasant Valley Dr. 

Contact 972-941-2275 for information or current conditions.

Recent Renovations

A dog owner I visited with told me that the large dog area had been closed to fix some draining issues. Apparently anytime the large dog side had some rain it had a hard time going away which caused the water to sit and that would cause mud. Mud and dogs do not mix well together! The problem has now been fixed to leave it good as new for all the dogs to play now.

I loved seeing all the dog owners visiting with one another and enjoying the nice morning. We will definitely be back with Lucky. Can you tell he had a wonderful time? He literally ran so much that he eventually crashed in the grass and needed to rest! He also was so tried the rest of the (which was great!!)

Have you been to the dog park in Plano or visited another dog park nearby? Tell us in the comments!

Top Attractions to See at the State Fair of Texas With Kids

The State Fair of Texas is almost here. I just love this time of year! Bring on the corny dogs and Big Tex! It’s such a fun time to take the kids and make a fun day out of it. We decided as a family a few years ago that we would visit the fair every other year because it can be costly. This year is our year to go and I’m so excited! I’ve put together my top attractions to see at the State Fair of Texas With Kids.

Big Tex!

This is a landmark. You have to go see Big Tex. If you’ve been around here for awhile you might even remember where you were when the old Big Tex caught on fire. It was awful. Luckily, this Big Tex is good as new and he’s looking good. He gets very crowded but he’s also a good meeting area or a place if you get lost. Big Tex is always high on our list!

Animals

Yes, they stink and it gets crowded but the kids love feeding them. Visiting and feeding the animals is a huge highlight every year. Go to the inside area and fork over the cash to actually feed the baby animals. The kids will love you forever.

Dog Show

If you are a dog lover then go to the indoor dog show. This is a nice treat to be able to sit down in the a/c! This is a great show that is kid-friendly and short and sweet. It does draw a nice crowd so be prepared to wait!

The Big Wheel

We never really go on this because the lines are always sooooo long but it’s fun to look at. I cannot imagine actually waiting in line for that but to each his own. I love taking pictures of it! If you’ve ridden this wheel, how long did you wait in line?

Food

Food is actually a highlight of the fair. Did you know some people come to the fair just for the food? They do!  We can’t leave without getting a Fletcher’s corn dog. They never taste as good as they do anywhere else as they do at the state fair. We always comment on how many tickets each corn dog is, but they are worth every ticket!! Other food favorites include a funnel cake, turkey legs (I’ve never had one!) and there’s always the food court area to try the winning foods of the fair.

Midway Games

Okay, so this is not high on my list but it is for my kids. This costs a fortune and the prizes are the worst things ever but the kids keep trying. We try and put this one-off until the bitter end. Maybe you have a good excuse to bypass this one??

 

This is my one extra stop and my kids love to go visit this half of a man. He’s funny (and a little crude) but he’s very interesting! Have you ever seen him? I cannot figure out his trick!

 

Are you going to the fair this year with your kids? What are your favorite things to do? Opening day is Friday, September 29th! We’ll see you at the Fair! Here’s a look at the daily schedule and ticket price information.

The best things to see and do with Kids at the State Fair of Texas

Fall Festivals 2017

Fall Festivals in 2017

Get your calendars ready, there are some super fun fall festivals coming up, and some in the same weekend! There’s going to be so much to do nearly every weekend until the holidays. It’s such a fun time of the year. Here’s a look at some Fall Festivals in 2017.

September

  • 8th-10th Oktoberfest in Allen at Watters Creek 2nd Annual Craft Beer Festival Enjoy 20+ Oktoberfest beers from area craft breweries along with live music, DJ, art vendors, food, and festive activities! Free admission
  • 14th Art and Wine Walk (Downtown Plano) Sip your favorite wines and shop while listening to some live music in downtown Plano! I love the 80’s theme.
  • 14th-17th Grapevest in Grapevine  The largest wine festival in the SouthWest! Wine tasting, Grape stomping, Kids Area, Car Fest, Live Entertainment and much more. Grapevine’s biggest event of the year. Purchase tickets online or at the event.
  • 14th-17th Addison Oktoberfest  Parades, Food, Beer, Rides, and Games. It’s the 30th anniversary this year!
  • Autumn at the Arboretum begins. This year the theme is “The Wonderful World of Oz” This is a must see!
  • 22- 24th. Plano Balloon Festival  Races, Balloon Rides, Food, Music, and fun for kids. The fun lasts all weekend long! Tickets run about $5 per person, free for kids under 2.
  • 22-24th McKinney’s 10th Annual Oktoberfest Beer, Food, Music, Kids’ Activities in downtown McKinney
  • 22-24th Greek Food Festival of Dallas Food, Music, Dancing, Cooking Demos, and much more
  • 29th State Fair of Texas  This will run through October 22nd.  Rides, games, food, and so much fun. The Fair comes around 1 time a year in Fair Park of Dallas and is a great time.
  • 30th Murphy Maize Days  Food, Concerts, Vendor Markets, Kids’ Area, Pet Adoptions, Pumpkin’ Chunkin contests and more.

October

  • 1st Family Fall Fest at CUMC 12 pm – 2 pm Fall fun for all ages, pumpkin farm, animals, food truck, obstacle courses (free event)
  • 1st “Mass in the Grass” Come enjoy outdoor worship at 10:30 am and stay for the festival on the field and playground area behind Haun Elementary. Music by Cast Iron Soul (regular performers at Frisco Square)
    Bounce houses, food, and fun for everyone.
  • 7th Aubrey Peanut Festival  Starts at 10 am with a parade! A full days fun of events for the whole family.
  • 7th -8th Cottonwood Art Festival  (Richardson) Free Park and Free Admission  Artists from all over the world, top bands, food, music, and fun.
  • 13th-15th ArmeniaFest Arts, Crafts, Dancing, and Eating Contests
  • 14th Plano International Festival (Haggard Park, Plano) Fashion show, food court, and more. Come learn about all different types of cultures and have fun for the whole family.
  • SteinFest (downtown Plano) 20th and 21 Beer, food, polka dancing, and more all taking place in historic downtown Plano! Events start at 10 am. There’s even going to be a Weiner dog fashion show!!!
  • 21st McKinney Wine and Music Festival 12 pm – 4 pm 12 of the best North Texas wineries, a variety of delicious restaurants, family friendly activities, a grape stomp, 40+ boutiques, and a full lineup of talented local musicians (FREE!!)
  • 26th Boo Bash (Put on by the Plano Parks and Rec) 5 pm – 8 pm Come dressed in costume with your trick or treat bag for a fun night of carnival games and candy!  Please bring a canned food item to donate to a local food bank.
  • 27th Trick Or Treat at the Farm (Heritage Farmstead in Plano) 10 am -12 pm Dress up in your costume and trick or treating at the farm! Activities include trick or treating, chicken feeding, tractor rides, a craft, and so much more!  Open to ages 1-9. Check their site for ticket prices.
  • 28th Custer Road United Methodist Church Fall Festival 5 pm – 7 pm Free community event- trunk or treating, bounce houses, games, and food trucks!

Thinking of hosting a neighborhood block party? Make sure you rent the Pop-up Party Trailer from the City of Plano for the best party!

A look at the best Fall Festivals happening in North Dallas in 2017.

Do you know of a great Fall Festival to add to our list? Tell us in the comments or email us at info@planomoms.com.

Let’s Go Visit the Dallas Zoo!

If you’re new to the Dallas area then spending the day at the Dallas Zoo is a must. It’s a great zoo with a lot to offer for the whole family. Grab your walking shoes, here are 5 Reasons to Go to the Dallas Zoo.

Size

The Dallas Zoo is a good sized zoo. It’s not too big and not too little. You can definitely do it in a day or even a few hours if you just have an afternoon. I’ve been to the Dallas Zoo several times and I feel like it’s very well marked and labeled for visitors. There are tons of maps and signs showing good directions.

Africa Exhibit

This hands down one of our favorite exhibits and what we do as soon as we arrive at the zoo every single time. We bypass all the other things and head straight to the African exhibit to feed the giraffes. This does cost extra (around $5) but is so worth it! My advice is to get there early and do this first so the giraffes are hungry! The giraffes will come right up at your eye level and eat from your hands. It’s an amazing experience that you and your kids will never forget!!

Looking for more fun things to do in Dallas? Check out these Best Places to Take Visitors or visit Klyde Warren Park

Children’s Area

The Dallas Zoo has a fabulous children’s area that is great kids. There is a fun water area so if you go during warmer months bring swim gear. We usually go during spring break and let the kids take shoes/socks off. You should also bring a towel. Other features in this area include a Farm where you can pet and see baby animals, a Swap/Shop area, Bird’s Landing, and other fun amenities. They also have eateries and places to sit in the shade. Just a warning; we usually do this LAST. Our kids NEVER want to leave this spot!!

(photo courtesy of Traci Denny)

New Hippo Exhibit

Spring of 2017 opened a brand new $14 million dollar center just for the hippos! It includes an African water hole that is 24 foot by 8 foot underwater viewing window of the 120,000-gallon pool. Visitors can get really up close and personal with the hippos in their new habitat. Come meet the Hippos in the Dallas Zoo YouTube channel, check it out!

Zoo Membership

Visiting the zoo can be expensive but there is a great deal that many people don’t take advantage of and that’s getting a membership. A family membership will cost you $129 for the year but it will include 2 adults and 4 children to come year round (364 days a year!) for free parking,  a subscription to the zoo magazine, free admission, exclusive members only event invites, and tons of discounts. This would be a great gift idea from grandparents or family instead of toys!

What is your favorite thing about the Dallas Zoo? Tell us in the comments!

5 Tips For Parents of Language Learners

As parents we want our children to be successful in life; and so we teach them skills that we believe will help them achieve their goals. That includes learning a new language. Foreign Languages are an important tool in our growing multicultural world.

How do we help our little language learners in this journey? And what do we do if we cannot speak the language they are learning?

The Language Institute has taught languages for over 25 years, and here are their top 5 tips for parents of Language learners.

1) Talk, Read, sing and play

Talk, Read, sing and play in both the native language as well as the new language being learned. It is no secret that children learn through play and interactive activities. If your child is learning a language that is new to you, do not hesitate to ask the teacher for online resources.

2) Follow-up classroom learning

Repetition is the key to learning! Our advice is to review the class notes. It helps to review the notes, even if it’s just flipping through your child’s notebook and ask what he/she did in class.

Encourage your little language experts to talk to you in the language they are learning. While the students are in class, basic commands are enforced in the language they learn. For example: Hello, Please, Thank you, Listen, Repeat, I want…, and more.

 

3) Be curious about what they know

Encourage your little language experts to talk to you in the language they are learning. While the students are in class, basic commands are enforced in the language they learn. For example: Hello, Please, Thank you, Listen, Repeat, I want…, and more.

 

4) Add language learning to something they already like

A lot of children have a favorite movie or toy, and most time they know the words and songs. Some toys come with different language settings, and you can also find movies (or segments of a movie) in different languages. These are tools that can be used in the language learning process.

5) Learn

For parents who do not speak the language that the child is learning, consider learning it too. When you know the language you can help your child learn… and they can help you learn too!

Most importantly, ENJOY EVERY STEP OF THE PROCESS.

For more information, Check out the Dallas International School or contact (972) 991-6379.

Meet Plano Mom, Alicia

 

Birthplace: Dallas, TX

Occupation: UXUI Designer, Calligrapher, Photographer

Family: Married and mothering. Husband: Ray + 4month Daughter: Audrey Victoria

What’s on Her DVR?: My 4month old laughing out loud do the first time 💕
Favorite Plano Restaurant?: Mexican Sugar, Shops of Legacy
Best Place for a Date Night: Shops of Legacy, you’ll always find something to do.
Beverage of Choice: Moscow Mule, but first Coffee…
Words She Lives By: “Grace not perfection.”
Favorite App: VSCO app
Beauty Product She Cannot Live Without: FRESH rose lip balm
Dream Vacation Place: Paris, France
If she had more time in the day she would?: Get more sleep. 😊
Favorite Thing to Do in Plano: Walk or bike the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve
Would you like to be the next Meet a Plano Mom? Fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon!

Host a Fun Neighborhood Block Party in Plano

Are you thinking about having a neighborhood get together? Hosting fun a neighborhood block party in Plano just got easier thanks to the BEST Neighborhood’s Pop Up Trailer. This is a perfect opportunity to meet your neighbors and have a great time. Make organizing your block party even easier and rent the city’s pop up trailer.

If you are a registered neighborhood association, HOA, or crime watch group renting the trailer is completely FREE! Contact BEST Neighborhoods at 972-208-8150 or email blockparty@plano.gov for more info.

The trailer will show up the day of or day before (depending on your party) at your designated location and drop off with all the supplies. Included in the trailer are adult tables, kid tables, games, coolers,  28 chairs, trash cans, recycling cans, extension cords, chalk board easel, traffic cones to block off the street, barricades, umbrellas and bases or shade. That’s a lot of great stuff to get you started for a fun day!

If you have space you can set up more tables and either do potluck (bring food to share) or even rent food trucks.

 

 

Are you ready to reserve the trailer for your block party?

Is your Neighborhood Registered?   Check here.   If not, fill out this form.

Check the Trailer Calendar for availability.

Plano Balloon Festival 2017

The countdown is officially on for the 2017 Plano Balloon Festival! This will mark the 38th year of the 3 day event that begins at 4:00 pm on Friday, September 22nd at Oak Point Park, 2801 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano, TX 75074. This is a total family-friendly event including the marathon and fun-run races.  Come learn all about what’s in store for the fun weekend ahead for the Plano Balloon Festival 2017.

Balloon Festival Facts:

When: Doors open 4:00 pm on Friday, September 22nd at Oak Point Park

Where: 2801 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano, TX 75074

Parking: Most parking will cost about $10 and check here for good places to park.  (Collin College, Oak Point, First United Methodist Church are some of the choices. Another option for $5 is to park at Plano Center but you will have a farther walk!)

Tickets: Beginning September 1st, you can pre purchase your tickets or buy them at the door. All Plano ISD elementary students will get a complimentary ticket to get in free to the festival on Friday evening so check those backpacks! Ticket prices are $5 per person/$1 off for Seniors 65 and older, kids under 36 inches are free.

Events/Attractions: If you have never been to the Plano Balloon Festival, you are in for a real treat! This is one of Plano’s biggest event’s and it is so much fun!

  • The biggest attractions are the balloons of course. There will be 40 beautiful, colorful balloons lighting up and taking off into the sky 2x a day along with a fun ‘glow’ that happens each night. (This is fun for the kids!) The 12 featured Special Shapes that are participating this year include Joelly the Baby Bee, Betty Jean the Butterfly, Tomcat, Terry Mouse, Bimbo Bear, High Kitty, Peg Leg Pete the Pirate Parrot, Humpty Dumpty, Love Birds, Annie the Lady Bug, SpyderPig, and the always popular High Jack.
  • A Parachute Team will perform Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons at 5:30 pm by jumping from their plane over the park and landing right in the middle of the launch field
  • Local Bands will perform Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday night
  • FIREWORKS will go off on Saturday night!!!
  • To top it all off Friday and Saturday evenings there will be a Balloon GLOW after dark that is a must see!

Still looking for something for the kids to do there? Don’t worry? They have an entire area designated just for Kids, called Central Market Kids Zone Fun! This will include bounce houses, rides, and fun. Tickets and wrist bands are available in the kids’ zone area for purchase. These rides and games are an additional cost to the festival.

 

Know Before You Go:

  • This event is very fun but it’s outside and is weather permitting. It can be very hot still in September so dress accordingly and plan to be hot! If it does rain the balloon events do get canceled.
  • It will be crowded. Be prepared for crowds, bring your patience.
  • You are not encouraged to bring pets!
  • Coolers are allowed but they do have tons of food trucks and food vendors set up so plan to eat some yummy food out there!
  • Bring chairs and blankets for picnic style and enjoy the evening.
  • Wear comfortable shoes because you might have to park and walk far.
  • Plan to have some family fun and enjoy this amazing event!!

We’ll see you at the Plano Balloon Festival! How many days are left??

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