Category Archives for Around Plano

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?

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!

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.

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??

Why You Should Use Adventure Kids Playcare

After you have kids, it can be very hard to juggle the balance between being a Mom, a Wife, an Employee, and even a Friend. You might feel like you are being pulled in thousands of directions and it can be hard to find a good babysitter to watch the kids that is reliable. What’s a Mom or Dad to do when you have a last minute work meeting come up or a friend in town you haven’t seen in years when you have no family in town? Enter Adventure Kids Playcare. They are your guilt-free childcare when you need it!

Read their mission statement: “Our mission is to provide a safe and fun environment for kids while giving parents the ability to take a little time for themselves without feeling guilty!”

Can you think of some times when you are in need of some drop-in day care services? I certainly can! Here are just some ideas!

Why Might You need a Drop in Day-Care?:

  • Mommy/Daddy Date night
  • Meet Friends for Happy Hour
  • Go to the Doctor/Dentist Kid-Free
  • Run Mommy Errands All Alone
  •  Work Meetings after school hours
  • Mom’s Night Out
  • Take Classes
  • Enjoy some alone time
  • Babysitter Cancelled
  • See a Movie
  • The list can keep going on and on!

Now that you have a need, why should you choose Adventure Kids Playcare? Here’s why…

Reasons to Choose Adventure Kids Playcare:

  • Convenient locations around the DFW area (one in Plano)
  • All crew are CPR/First Aid certified (and passed criminal background checks)
  • It’s a clean environment
  • Very secure (the front door is locked)
  • Parents must show ID to collect kids
  • Kids take shoes off when entering facility
  • Serves ages 6 weeks to 12 Yrs old
  • Convenient hours (most centers are open late and even later on weekends)
  • Most of all… kids have FUN

I recently tried out Plano’s Adventure Kids Playcare and the Staff and Center were wonderful!! My little guy was thrilled to see a huge play area filled with slides and climbing areas and even fun games. He ran away from me so fast, he didn’t even say goodbye!

The center is great for so many ages groups and sectioned off appropriately for younger kids (babies/toddlers). They even have a preschool designated area where they do curriculum lessons and some sort of an art activity each day.

They also have a nice kitchen and eating area where kids will eat snacks and lunch/dinner. Parents can send lunches/dinner or pay an additional fee for this to be provided.

Guess what? They also do parties and Parents Night Outs! This is a great time to start and get signed up.

For more information about rates and hours for the Plano location, please visit the Plano site or the main site for more locations and hours. Like the Plano location on Facebook for more information.

 

Did you know they have a great referral program? If you refer a friend that has never used Adventure Kids Playcare before, you will get 1 hour of childcare for FREE! Your friend will get $10 off the price of a new membership.

 

Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program

Since 2014, the Plano Mayor’s Summer Internship Program has been going on. It connects motivated high school students to local businesses and organizations. These interns are provided real work experiences that help them transition into college and future careers.

Let’s meet Sara, one of the many chosen interns for this past summer. She is going to tell Plano Moms more about her summer internship.  The photos below are some that Sara took during her experience.

 

 

What age, grade, and school do you attend?

Sara: 16 years old. Going to be a Junior at Plano Senior High School.

 

 

 

– Why did you apply for the program?

Sara: My Business Teacher recommended me to the Internship program. It interested me because you don’t see a lot of opportunities for High School undergrads to get out into corporate America. I want to be an Event Coordinator someday, and it was the best opportunity for me to get placed in a hotel. Did it meet your expectations? Yes, definitely! I know I shouldn’t go in expecting anything. However, it exceeded my expectation.

– What did you learn from the experience?

Sara: While in the hotel, I shadowed several different departments. I started off in Front Office/Housekeeping, Accounting, Kitchen, Banquets, Restaurant, Human Resources & General Manager. I ended my Internship with four weeks in Sales/Catering & Events. During my time here, I learned how crucial how important leadership & teamwork is to be successful.

My favorite part was being able to plan the Plano Mayor’s Internship Luncheon for 400ppl. I started by planning the menu with the kitchen to relaying the information to all of the departments. It was exciting to see it come through to fruition on Monday, July 31st.

If anyone were to ask me today, 10 out of 10, I would recommend applying for the internship.

Shannon, who is the Director of Catering Events at the Hilton Granite Park says that

“Sara attended several of our internal meetings to see that being in Events, there is a lot more to the “behind the scenes” in planning. She also responded to leads, went to Wedding Tastings, shadowed corporate groups while they were in-house, worked social events (weddings), assisted with office projects, attended Sales calls with the team as well as go on hotel sites with prospective clients.”

It was important to her to “ensure that Sara had a well-rounded experience within all aspects of the Sales/Catering & Events Department. Each department strives for the same goal, to get business into the hotel and ensure the client is happy with their event. Sara gained experience in each department, to know not only what they do, but also allow her to decide where she would like to be in the future.”

 

It sounds like Sara had an awesome experience, something she will always remember! Do you know someone that might be interested in applying for the next summer’s internship? Here’s how to apply! 

Thank you so much to Sara and Shannon

 

 

Plano Balloon Festival Runs

It’s time to break out your running shoes and participate in Plano’s most memorable and talked about yearly races at this years Plano Balloon Festival Runs! This year there will be 4 races, something for everyone! This year will include a half marathon, relay, 5K or 1K. Come read more about the races and sign up today!

What: Plano Balloon Festival Runs for the Whole Family

When: Saturday, September 23, 2017 – 5K and 1K

  • 7:30 AM 5K Run/Walk Start
  • 9:30 AM 1K Fun Run/Walk Start
  • 9:30 AM 5K Awards Ceremony

 

Sunday, September 24, 2017 – Half Marathon and Relay

  • 7:00 AM Half Marathon & Relay Start. Relay Exchange Point Opens
  • 9:30 AM Half Marathon Awards Ceremony

If you are really adventurous there is a Sky-High Challenge where you can run in BOTH days! (The half marathon and the 5K).  There is even a 3rd metal involved!!

As you run and walk you will have the best views of the balloons taking off for their morning departures. The balloons will be launching at 7 am on both race days. You will not want to miss this!!

All participants will receive a commemorative finisher medal featuring 7 hot air balloons.  Participants will also receive two tickets to the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival plus parking on race day! That will be worth the race itself! There are so many activities lasting all day and into the night so you will definitely want to come back and bring the whole family for this special day.

Registration fees depend on your age and races you enter. Please see the Plano Festival Runs page for more info on this as well as packet pick up and FAQ’s for the Race. Sign ups are happening right now so dust off those running shoes and get ready to have so much fun!

****GIVEAWAY*****Are you interested in running in the race? Comment below with why you want to run in this race as we are giving away one FREE race registration to someone that comments!!

How to Choose a Quality Preschool

Choosing a childcare can be an overwhelming process. There are too many options and it is not easy to discern which is the best choice for your child. Thankfully, there are a few resources available that should allow you to see through the true strength of a childcare’s offering.

But first, you must ask yourself what is important to you. Beyond the basics of safety and cleanliness, how important is curriculum to you? And if the curriculum is important, how does the center implement their program. Does the owner decide the curriculum or is there an expert team that designs the curriculum? Does the curriculum have proven results?

The State of Texas has an extensive list of regulations that have been developed over decades of experience. These rules have been developed based on things that went wrong, so those same experiences are not repeated. Unfortunately, not many centers do a great job in following Licensing standards. The good news is that you can search the compliance history of any child care by visiting this link and searching for the Texas child care:  This link will show you any deficiencies the center has had and how serious the deficiencies were.

 

 

Most important though, is the feeling you get when you tour a facility. Here are a few questions to think about when you tour a childcare facility?

  • What did you think about the ownership and management? Are they all about the money or do they have a passion for childcare? What about the teachers?
  • What do online reviews say about the childcare? Are those genuine reviews? Beware of campaigns that artificially boost online reviews.  Ask them about a recent customer who has written a review.
  • Try talking to current customers to get the good and the bad
  • Did the center focus on safety and cleanliness? What processes are used for keeping the center clean? What processes are used for ensuring proper hygiene? What processes are used for changing diapers? Does the center have a safe sleep policy for infants?
  • What processes do they use to drive learning? Is there evidence of learning in the center?
  • Are there any audit processes to keep the center running to some standards?
  • In the prices charged, are there other hidden fees that may not be apparent (supply fee, activity fee, etc.)? Are there any activities that are included in the program (for e.g. dance, music, yoga)?

A thorough process of review should help you separate hype from reality!

 

A great place to consider is The Learning Experience at Plano or Allen for your child’s education. They believe in offering a quality product to their customers. When you come into the center, ask about the specials for Planomoms that they are running. If you register on the same day you tour, they will give you a $50 discount on registration if you print this page and bring to them (offer ends 10/31/17). We would also encourage you to follow this process of selecting a childcare to find one that cares for your little one like you do yourself!

 

How to Survive the DMV

One of the most dreaded chores you will do is going to the DMV to renew your license, take a drivers test, or change names on documents. I say dreaded because if you’ve lived here long enough you’ve heard horror stories of hours and hours of waiting time and other issues. Luckily Plano Moms know some tricks to help you. Here is a guide on how to Survive the DMV.

 

The DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) is located in a few places across the metroplex. Here are some locations that might be close to you.

Here’s the good news, you can renew do a lot of these online now so check to see if you qualify for online renewal and changes. A new change is now you can MAKE AN APPOINTMENT to ‘check in’ online and this will save you hours!

Make an On-Line Appointment To:

  • Renew/Replace your DL
  • Get a First Time Texas DL/ID/Permit
  • Change Address or Name
  • Take a Written Test or Add Endorsement

I can speak from experience with this because recently I had to renew my DL. I knew it was time because I got something in the mail as a reminder. 6 years ago I renewed online so now I had to go in the office. Poor me. I was dreading this all summer long! I got up early one morning and went to this website, clicked to renew my DL, chose the Plano location, and was able to check in online. I received a text with a time to arrive.

Upon arrival, the line was around the corner of the building. It looked like people had been waiting for hours! (and come to find out they actually had!) They started calling out appointment times and once they called mine I was able to get in, sign in and get a number. Next, the waiting started. I had to wait about 50 minutes until my number was called. This was agony. It was hot, people were frustrated, and it felt like forever!

Just be prepared that even when you have an appointment you will have to wait!!

Here are my tips:

  1. If you can renew or make changes online then do this first! That’s the best!
  2. If you have to go in then make an appointment. Try to get online to make your appointment before 10 am (this will get you in earlier in the day so they won’t be as backed up!)
  3. Bring reading material or something to do when you wait!
  4. Don’t bring kids (if you don’t have to!)
  5. Try to do in the middle of the work week and not in the summer time (if you don’t have to!)
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