Category Archives for Blog

Teacher Gift Ideas for Every Budget

With all the hustle and bustle of your holiday shopping have you thought about what to get your child’s teacher? Teachers don’t expect presents but it’s always nice to be remembered. Cards, hugs, and sweet letters are always nice and appreciated. If you are looking for something else, here are some great teacher gift ideas for every budget in mind.

When looking for new and fun ideas I always turn to Pinterest! If you are someone that is crafty and can copy by picture check out these simple gifts that wouldn’t cost very much.

Starbucks Gift Card

Teacher Gift Ideas

This idea comes from Just Add Confetti and includes a free printable. Attach a $5 Starbucks gift card and you’re done! This would be great if you have several teachers to give to.


Wrapping Paper

Teacher Gift Idea

I personally love this gift. It’s so practical and something the teacher will actually use! This came from It’s Always Craft Time and includes a free printable as well!


Cozy Socks/Lotion/Nail Polish

Teacher Gift Ideas

This is one I have done before. It’s great when you have a lot of teachers to give to. Grab some cozy socks from Walmart or Target, add some lotion or nail polish and wrap it up. This came from Touchet Soiree blog.


Stovetop Potpourri Recipe

Teacher Gift Ideas

This is nice and would make their house smell nice for the holidays! You could easily do this for a group of teachers if you had to as well. This idea came from YellowBlissRoad on Crafting Chicks. 


Gift Card Ideas

Teacher love gift cards! We really do! There are so many great places teachers can use gifts cards for. Here are some ideas. Target, Walmart, VISA, Barnes & Noble, or a local restaurant is always fun. Most teachers have a “favorites list” at their school. This usually tells all about them and what they love. Go off this list. They will be SO HAPPY 🙂

I know you might think gift cards are not personal but teachers LOVE THEM!!! Even if it’s a $5 Sonic card. That’s enough for a few happy hour drinks there and that will make their day.

One thing you might consider is joining in with a few classmates and getting a bigger gift card from the class. This is always a very nice gesture and then the teacher can go and pick out something really nice for themselves!

 

Don’t have time to make something?

Check out these great ideas you can buy and get delivered in a few days with Amazon Prime!

The following contains affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, Plano Moms earns a small commission. 

Fun School Supplies!  Teachers always need school supplies. Did you know a lot of teachers have to buy supplies out of their own pockets? They do. It’s crazy.

Jewelry: This always makes a nice gift and gives the teacher something to remember you by. I have a few bracelets and earrings I’ve kept from very sweet students!

Amazon Gift Card: This would be an awesome gift as the teacher would be able to pick out whatever they want!!! If they like to read they might order a new book over break.

Like I said before, teachers do not expect a big gift. I nice card or a thank you go a long way. Teachers do understand that not everyone can buy gifts as well so don’t feel bad if you can’t.

What are your best teacher gift ideas? We’d love to hear them. Tell us about them in the comments below!

 

Teacher Gift Ideas for Every Budget


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The Best Family Memberships in DFW

Now that you are in full holiday shopping mode, have you thought about the experience gifts? Experience gifts are gifts that you can go and do something fun with your family. To me, these are the best gifts and make the best memories. There are so many awesome ideas for family memberships in DFW. Zoos, museums, pools, are just some of the examples. This is the list you need to send to your extended family to get you for Christmas!! Here’s a look at some of the best family memberships in the area.

Texas Discovery Gardens

family memberships

At Texas Discovery Gardens, families can enjoy a year-round tropical butterfly house, Snakes of Texas exhibit, insects from around the world, and 7.5 acres of outdoor gardens. They are 100% organic and feature native and adapted plants that thrive in North Texas weather. New in 2018: enjoy a Natural Playscape for children of all ages, including a rock wall, tree deck, and log scramble. Their companion Eco-Discovery Adventure will feature activities for children throughout their grounds.

Members can take advantage of daily Toddler Talks, Butterfly Release demonstrations and Critter encounters, as well as discounts on monthly Stories and More programs and summer/winter camps.

Benefits:

  • Free admission to the Gardens and Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House & Insectarium
  • Discount for Workshops
  • 10% Discount in Gift Shop
  • 10% Discount and early shopping for Butterfly Plant Sale
  • Invitation to exclusive Members’ events
  • Free or reduced admission to 300+ gardens!* (see details at bottom of page)
  • One day of free admission to the State Fair of Texas for up to six people (valid weekdays except for Columbus Day).

Offer: Buy one give one 50% off holiday promotion

Get your membership HERE

Family Membership Cost: $65  for 2 adults and all children under 18

Why this Saves You Money: Visiting the gardens 1 day will cost you $8 for adults and $4 for children 3-11. This is such a fun place to visit that you could spend that the price of a membership in just a few visits. With their buy one, get one offer this makes a great gift idea!

The Pogo Pass

While many places around DFW have a single location membership, only one pass provides over 20 locations and some with multiple visits! 
 
The Pogo Pass provides a huge saving for only $39.95 with our promo code: PLANOMOMS. Standard price is $99.95 each.
 
Some of the most popular places include
– Amazing Jakes
– Dr Pepper Star Center
– Fort Worth Zoo
– Strikz
– Hawaiian Falls
– Sci-Tech Discovery Center
For only $39.95 per person per year (a child over 2 years old needs their own pass) they can get 27 visits and 13 sports games!
 
They provide GIFT CARD options as well as membership you can use straight away, through the use of their downloadable APP.
 
To get this unique Pass and start making memories with your family all year long, Grab Yours Here 

National Videogame Museum

Benefits:

  • free admission
  • discounts on parties/camps/preschool
  • 10% off in the store
  • early registration for camps and programs

Family Membership Cost: 4 family members $80, 6 family members $120

Why this Saves You Money:  Day tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for kids 10 and under. If you want to go a few times it will save to get the membership.

 

Plano Parks and Rec Pass

Benefits: (access to)

  • Carpenter Park Recreation Center
  • Liberty Recreation Center (and pool)
  • Oak Point Recreation Center (and pool)
  • Plano Aquatic Center
  • Rowlinson Natatorium
  • Jack Carter Pool
  • Tom Muehlenbeck Recreation Center (and pools)

Family Membership Cost: yearly: $399 or $50 a month ( you could just do the summer months for the pools!)

Why This Saves you Money: Most of the pools charge $5 for kids and $9 for adults (Jack Carter Pool’s prices). You will save big time by getting the membership even if it’s only for the summer months!

Dallas Arboretum

Benefits:

  • Free year-round general garden admission
  • Free parking (available on a first-come, first-served basis)
  • Free access to parking garage
  • Express entry during major events
  • Discounts in the Hoffman Family Gift Store, the Arboretum online store and at area businesses
  • Reduced ticket prices for Cool Thursdays Concerts, adult programs, workshops, and lectures
  • Invitations to exclusive members-only events such as the annual Easter Egg Hunt, Goblins in the Garden, and Sweets and Treats
  • Quarterly newsletters and monthly emails highlighting gardening information and upcoming events
  • Reciprocal admission to more than 200 botanical gardens and arboretums worldwide
  • Early Morning Member Walks, 7-9 a.m. from March 1 through November 3 (No photography allowed before 9 a.m.)

Family Membership Cost: $131 They have several options and prices so check out their website for more info.

Why this saves you money: The price per ticket is $15 for adults and $10 for each child per visit! This is such a beautiful place you will want to go again and again all year.

Best pumpkin patches in Dallas

Texas Pool

Benefits:

  • Private Party discount with free use of Texas Pool propane/grills
  • Senior members’ visiting grandchildren get in FREE
  • Admission to exclusive Members Only Events
  • Reduced Guest Pass Pricing
  • Member Discounts for Swim Lessons, Discover Scuba,  Mermaid Classes, Yoga, Chess Team, and Special Events

Family Membership Cost: $85 (See website for more options)

Why this Saves you Money: Non-members will pay $10/person or $30/family for an all-day guest pass for just one swim! Get the membership and swim all summer long!

Dallas Zoo

Benefits:

  • Free admission 364 days a year
  • Free parking*
  • Subscription to Focus, the Dallas Zoo member magazine
  • Invitations to members-only events, including Member Morning hours
  • Personalized membership cards
  • Reduced admission to 150+ zoos nationwide
  • 10% discount at the Zoofari Market gift shop
  • 10% discount at the Prime Meridian Café, Wilds of Africa Grill, and Serengeti Café
  • Discount on camps and educational sessions
  • Discounted daily and annual admission to our affiliated Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park

Family Membership Cost:  Includes 2 adults and 4 children $129

Why this Saves you Money: Adult tickets are $15 and kids are $12 for one visit, plus you will pay a parking fee! Get the membership to be able to come all year long any time you want!

Heritage Farmstead

MEMBERSHIP with the Heritage Farmstead Museum is one of the best investments you can make in your community’s future and your family’s future.

Benefits:

  • Free daily admission for 4 family members
  • 4 tickets to the annual Lantern Light holiday event
  • Complimentary Book
  • Special Member Rates to all events
  • Monthly e-newsletter of upcoming opportunities and events, so you get the most from your membership
  • 10% discount in the Museum Store

Family Membership Cost: $65

Why This Saves You Money: It’s a $109 value for just $65!!!

Sci-Tech Discovery Center

Benefits:

  • free admission
  • discounts on parties/camps/preschool
  • 10% off in the store
  • early registration for camps and programs

Family Membership Cost: for up to 4 family members, $80

Why this Saves You Money: General admission tickets cost $8.50 for everyone ages 3-65. This is a fun place that changes out exhibits so kids will never be bored!

 

Perot Museum

Benefits:

  • Free admission
  • Exclusive Museum Events and Hours (members only hours and previews to new exhibits first!)
  • Discounts (parking, the theater admission, special events, and the gift shop!)
  • Admission to more than 360 museums worldwide!

Family Membership: Basic family membership cost $100 for the year. Check out their other options

Why This Saves you Money: General Admission for adults is $20 and kids is $11! This adds up. The Perot Museum is such a top recommended fun place to take kids and even a nice place to take visitors.

10 Best family membership ideas in Dallas


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give10back baby

Buy, Save and Fundraise – let us tell you how you can do all three!

This is a sponsored post. For more information. please see our disclosure statement and policy.

Do you like the thrill of the chase?

Do you love finding the very best possible deal on a branded product?

Let me ask you something else: would you like to buy something and know that some of the $$ you spend will go to your PTA, Kid’s Boy Scout troop, School Band or Angel Tree? Whichever causes you are passionate about.

The great news is, with Give10Back you can do both with every purchase you make!

Most of us tend to buy the same products regularly – think Clorox branded cleaning products, Kitchen wipes or Baby Items like Diapers and wipes for example.

We usually pick these up in our local Walmart or even online at Amazon and get them shipped. What if you could get them shipped to your door and you saved anywhere from 30-60% in the process?

Go now – don’t wait another minute. Open another tab and bookmark Give10Back.

Then remember to go and check every time you have your wallet out ready to pay.

Not only that but they have all types of products. Their range is never going to be Amazon-sized but they get new stock all the time and are surprised daily by new deliveries which they add to the website as quickly as they can.

As we are in the peak of Gift purchases it makes total sense to check what they have and compare prices on all types of products: everything from Household, Toys/Gifts and Kitchen and Home appliances to Sports and Outdoor equipment

I checked a few and found some great examples of huge savings:

  • Xbox One Console with Shadow of War Bundle

Give 10 Back Price: $299, compared to $329 at Amazon (checked Dec 2nd).

xbox give10back

 

 

 

 

 

  • Baby Einstein 2-in-1 Lights & Sea Activity Gym & Saucer

Give 10 Back Price: $74.99 $119.99. Save $45.00 – 37 % OFF!

give10back baby einstein fundraise

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right now there are Toy Drive Donations happening through Toys for Tots and other local drives.

Check out how you can use Give10Back to save money on your toy purchases and teach your kids about Philanthropy too!

So, here is the last and possibly best bit of all!

Fundraising

Any organization can run a Give10Back Online Shopping Fundraiser for free – year round. Every month, a check could be sent to your favorite charity and all you did was buy the products you normally buy! They would get 10% back on every checkout.

Both the Little Elm ISD Education Foundation and Lakewood Elementary PTA both received $1,000 fundraising checks from Give10Back this year.

Registering your school, church, non-profit organization or cause is simple! Just register online here and you’ll receive an email with tips on promoting your fundraising drive and other helpful information.

I’ll leave one last awesome tip for you. They offer free Shipping – in 2 days on all orders over $49.

They throw in a 30-day money back guarantee too!

To find out how they do all of this and meet Walter, one of the founders locally right here in Dallas, watch this:  Give10Back Facebook Live Video

 

Image credits: Give10Back.com


Are you a Plano Mom? If you live, work or play in or around Plano, sign up for our newsletter to get weekly news, events and offers to your inbox. Join the Plano Moms community on Facebook,Instagram, and Twitter – connect with us and each other!

North Tx performing arts

North Texas Performing Arts Opens New Theatre and Adds Preschool Classes

This is a sponsored post from North Texas Performing Arts. All opinions are ours. Please see our disclosure statement for more info. 

North Texas Performing Arts has been educating and entertaining students for over 25 years with performing arts classes, camps, productions and more. Believe it or not, the idea for their very first theater, the Plano Children’s Theatre, was born on the yellow brick road.

North Texas performing artsIt was during tech week (a time when actors, parents, and staff usually want to strangle each other) for a production of the Wizard of Oz that Sara Akers (NTPA founder) was directing at Grace Presbyterian Church, that the kids and parents began asking, “What are we going to do next, Sara?” The mission was simple: to provide arts opportunities for youth, ages 5-18, which promote life-long learning, creativity, communication skills, teamwork, integrity and good citizenship.

Now they are bigger and better than ever with the opening of a brand new headquarters inside The Shops at Willow Bend. Found on the second floor near Dillards, the new facility features two mainstage and two black box theatres and dozens of educational rooms outfitted for theatre classes, dance classes, art classes, private lessons and more.

North Texas Performing ArtsThe new facility is twice the size of the previous NTPA – Plano location. With the added space, North Texas Performing Arts is also adding new programming with a special series of STARters classes designed to help 1 to 5 year-olds grow and develop skills through artistic mediums. North tX performing arts

Creativity is an intrinsic part of human nature. We learn, imitate, change, and adapt from and to the world around us. The arts affords opportunities to use that creativity and apply it to other areas of life, such as cognitive, social, emotional, senses, and motor movement. The STARters program will offer a full range of classes including Kindermusik®, Drama, Art and Dance.

NTPA is offering open houses this December for parent and preschoolers to try out the new STARters programs for free. Stop by their space on December 4, 11 or 18 from 10 AM-Noon (come and go as you please) to check them out.

 

Offer: Use the code PLANOMOMS at checkout for 30% off your first class, camp or production at NTPA.org.

north texas performing arts

Follow them on Facebook to stay up to date with the latest events!

plano moms plano tx

Are you a Plano Mom? If you live, work or play in or around Plano, sign up for our newsletter to get weekly news, events and offers to your inbox. Join the Plano Moms community on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – connect with us and each other!

date night ideas

Top Date Night Ideas

Is it date night? If you’re lucky enough to have a sitter for the night, here are so fun ideas for a date night in Plano! Grab your hubby or your favorite girlfriends and have a fun night out on the town.

Date Night Ideas This is a sponsored post from PINSTACK. For more information. please see our disclosure statement. 

PINSTACK

date niight ideas

Are you looking for something to do tonight that is different?

Whether you want a nice dinner out with an array of chef-inspired selections and an extensive selection of beer, wine, and cocktails or you want to bring out your inner kid and challenge your partner to a game of bowling, race up the rock wall, or play a classic game of PAC MAN on the World’s Largest PAC-MAN …PINSTACK will be your best date night ever.

date night ideas

PINSTACK offers an upscale, state-of-the-art destination featuring a full-service restaurant, 28 bowling lanes and an array of games and attractions including laser tag, rock climbing wall, indoor ropes course and more. PINSTACK serves a chef-inspired menu that includes classic dishes as well as innovative eats. The full bar features custom craft cocktails and extensive beer and wine selections.

Looking for a fun night out to PINSTACK mid-week?  Wednesdays are their “Wine-Down Wednesdays” where they offer 50% off Bottles of Wine.

Don’t forget that Happy Hour is  4-7p Monday-Friday.

For more specials, check out their website. 

Check out these locations:

Plano 6205 Dallas Parkway Plano, TX 75024    972-781-2695

and Allen  635 Central Expressway North   Allen, TX 75013    972-869-2695

Other Fun Places for Date Night:

Restaurants

Katy Outpost: Enjoy the patio with a nice drink and good atmosphere

City Line: (Richardson) Lots of fun shops and places to eat. Check out our review of City Line

Hub Streat: This is Plano’s food truck location that is also a restaurant/bar. It’s so much fun!

Watters Creek in Allen: Tons of restaurants and outside patios!

Love and War in Texas: Restaurant and live music (Plano off 75/Plano Parkway)

Whiskey Cake: Great food and atmosphere

Mexican Sugar (Shops of Legacy, Plano) Great food and drinks

The Melting Pot (Addison) Fondue!

 

Fun and Different Ideas:

Escape Room: You work with a group to try and escape the room! 11th Hour Escape in Plano (Make reservations!)

Painting with a Twist: Grab some wine and bring out your artistic side for this date

Coyote Drive-in (Lewisville) Would be fun for the family or a date night too!

Zip Line at Oak Point: Go Ape is now open and sounds really fun and different!

Top Golf: Located in Allen or The Colony, this makes for a nice night out and something different.

Cooking Class: Grab your partner and learn to cook together!

 

Are you wanting to plan a date night? Here are some great ideas for drop-in daycares around town and some places that offer parent’s night out!

Moms, tell us your favorite place for a Date Night!

The best date night ideas around Collin County area


Are you a Plano Mom? If you live, work or play in or around Plano, sign up for our newsletter to get weekly news, events and offers to your inbox. Join the Plano Moms community on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – connect with us and each other!

haircuts for kids

Best Places for A Kids Haircut in Collin County

Is it time for a haircut? Check out these places that Moms have recommended as great options that offer haircuts for kids around town. You want a good experience for you and your kids. These places below came highly recommended!

Now is the perfect time to get a nice cut before the holidays. You want your kids looking nice for all of the parties and holiday photos. Here are the best places to get haircuts for kids Collin County.

This is a sponsored post. For more information. please see our disclosure statement and policy. 

Best places haircut for kids in collin county

The Kid Salon  Allen

Haircuts for kids
The Kid Salon is uniquely designed to capture a child’s imagination, to welcome them, and make them feel safe when they are approached for service by one of our very experienced stylists.  They offer private rooms for parents and special needs children.  They are mom designed with all kids in mind.
Follow them on Facebook. 
Offer: $2 OFF any haircut to all Plano Moms. 

Snip-It’s  Plano off 121

Snip-its of Plano celebrates kids by making great haircuts fun! Snip-its stylists specialize in kids’ haircuts and will put your child at ease as soon as they walk in the door.

The Ultimate Haircut Adventure begins with Snips and The Gang at the entrance arch to the salon and moves to the styling station. Each styling station is designed for maximum safety and comfort, including kid-size styling chairs, a parent chair for mom or dad, and plenty of room to move around.

Haircuts for kids

Their Kids Hair Experts explain the haircut steps to your little one, and actively listen to both parent and child for smiles all around. Snip-its’ stylists then work their Magic while the kiddos keep busily entertained on Snip-its games, featuring kid-friendly apps. There are also bubbles, lollipops and a whole lot of FUN!

Upon completion of the haircut, kids trade in their Adventure Club pass for a prize at the Snip-its Magic Box and can pose for a new ‘do selfie with Snips!

They also do kids’ birthday parties, spa services, and salon-quality, kid-friendly Snip-its hair care products? At Snip-its, We Speak Kid™ so everything in their salons is designed to make kids feel special and have fun.

When you’re ready, so are they. They are a walk-in salon, so no appointments are necessary. Come to Snip-its, where haircuts are ha-ha-happy!

To learn more, visit their website www.snipits.com and join in the fun!

Get social with us! Facebook.com/SnipitsPlanoFrisco

#WeSpeakKid

Offer: Click here for a special $12 haircut only for Plano Moms!!!

Cookie Cutters Salon  Richardson

haircuts for kids

Cookie Cutters offers children a one-of-a-kind haircut experience that both parents and kids won’t soon forget. Their stylists are trained in the newest styles and are comfortable cutting all children’s hair…even the squirmiest little ones!  An indoor playground, videos, fantasy chairs, and excellent customer service are just a few reasons why Cookie Cutters is the most kid-friendly salon in the country.  Their goal is to make every child that comes to their salons as comfortable as they can while giving them a haircut that parents will be proud to show off to family and friends!

hair cuts for kids

Offer: Mention this blog post for a $14 haircut  (reg. $17.95).

Follow them on Facebook!

Other Places that Do Haircuts for Kids:

Sweet n Sassy (Willowbend Mall, fun for a party!)  (469) 546-1010

Cuts On The Fly  Tia will come to your house and cut hair!!! (214) 859-8876

Kids B Kids (Plano at Parker/Indep) (972) 596-8979

Groovy Cuts Rockwall and McKinney locations  (972) 390-2887

Tangles and Knots Garland (214) 862-2780

Sharkley’s (by Stonebriar Mall) (214) 387-8200

Floyds 99 Barbershop Frisco (214) 618- 3199

It’s always nice to find good places where others have had a nice experience. Let us know if your favorite place needs to be added to our list!

A special thanks to our sponsors of this post: The Kid Salon, Snip-It’s, and Cookie Cutters!

plano moms plano tx


Are you a Plano Mom? If you live, work or play in or around Plano, sign up for our newsletter to get weekly news, events and offers to your inbox. Join the Plano Moms community on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – connect with us and each other!

co parenting

Accepting my Daughter’s Stepmom

Today’s guest post is from Amanda, who is the founder and CEO at Kandyapplemama.com. She blogs all about her experience as a co-parent. Thank you, Amanda!! 

Two years ago, if you had told me I would one day be best friends with my daughter’s stepmom – I wouldn’t have believed you.

If you had said we would be having dinner together, going on co-parenting dates, running a business, and living together – I would have called you crazy.

A little over a year ago, when Kandy Apple Mama first started, our family had just started co-parenting. After two years of not being able to be in the same room, never understanding each other’s side of the situation, fighting about everything, (and Stepmom hating my guts! *gasp*) and believing there was no way we would ever get along – the four of us (Mom, Dad, Stepmom, and Stepdad) began developing our co-parenting relationship. Ultimately, this “co-parenting thing” would develop into a life-changing friendship.

Identity Crisis

My ex-husband and I had just negotiated a new custody order when Kristen and I started getting to know each other. Before, she had barely made it on my radar as anything more than “my ex’s girlfriend” then later, “my ex’s fiancé.” After they were engaged was when I realized – wow, she’s in it for the long haul. And while I was happy he found the one for him, I wasn’t as happy when I realized what that would mean for my daughter.

As a mother whose entire world revolved around my little girl before the divorce, I had serious identity issues when it came to not being able to see her and mother her each and every day.  It took me years to realize exactly why I was depressed beyond “missing my baby.” It was because every bit of who I had been when I was married revolved around being K’s mom. When my days with her were cut down to 2 a week, it felt like I was in mourning each and every moment I was without her.

Then on top of trying to figure out who I was now as a mother, this new woman walks into the mix.

For years I had actually been praying for Kristen – praying that the right woman for my ex would come into the picture and make him happy. I wanted that for him. But what I had never thought about was the fact that by marrying K’s dad, she would essentially be K’s “new mom.”

co parenting

Replacement vs. Supplement

Since getting to know Kristen and the kind of stepmom she is, she’s helped ease my fears of being “replaced”. She’s made it clear that she’s not here to replace Mom but to supplement my role as the mother when K is with her Dad. She also refuses to let K call her “Mom” which while many readers have been appalled by it, has actually helped me feel irreplaceable.

In turn, I have made a point of helping carve out Kristen’s role as Stepmom as someone just as important as Mom and Dad. But that didn’t start until nearly two years ago…

One weekend before co-parenting ever entered our vocabulary, as we were transferring K from Mom’s house to Dad’s, Kristen was the one picking her up. K’s Dad was away at the Air National Guard, and Kristen was getting ready for some bonding time with our daughter. She planned to take her to Going Bonkers, a local play place. We met up in the Wal-Mart parking lot and got out of our cars…

Kristen later told me that she was fully expecting the worst from me in that moment. She was sure I would be uncomfortable handing over my daughter to soon-to-be-official Stepmom when her dad wasn’t even here. But I didn’t. I put on my happiest face and was super excited about hinting to K where she and Kristen were going. “You’re going to have so much fun! Kristen has an amazing surprise planned. It’s going to drive you bonkers!”

K was so excited that day, it brought tears to my eyes.

The Real Reason

People think I’m weird for accepting my daughter’s stepmom as a fellow co-parent and mother figure. And to be honest, maybe they’re right. It is unusual, out of the norm, freaky, bizarre… It surprises every. single. person. who finds out.

In reality, it was very hard for me to overcome that primal, territorial feeling known to mothers. Your first thought when someone else comes in the picture as a mom is “No way! That’s my daughter!” And watching Kristen with K, or hearing how she essentially is “Mom” at K’s dad’s house was really hard for me to get past. It took time and some serious internal work.

But the real reason I accepted my daughter’s stepmom… was my daughter.

Do you know how happy it makes her to see both her moms getting along? How giddy she’s been that she doesn’t have to choose sides?

I took a step back after that day in the Wal-Mart parking lot and realized something. In the past, telling her I’ll miss her when she leaves left her running to the closet to hide at pick-up time. But getting excited about all the fun she would have with her dad or with Kristen actually made her happy. That was the only “real” reason I needed.

The Turning Point

After that, removing the conflict and getting to know Kristen was at the top of my to-do list. But the biggest turning point for our relationship was all thanks to K, herself.

Kristen attended a women’s retreat last October and when she returned, K overheard her story about how God was working in her life to help her accept her role as the stepmom and second wife. The next time she came to Mommy’s house, it was all she talked about. Not the entire story, but enough to intrigue me. K was singing Kristen’s favorite song, telling me how she went on a retreat and came back talking about a puzzle piece…

While my first instinct was to be jealous K was getting so close to her stepmom, I stopped myself. I remembered my promise to remove the conflict and make K happy – even if that meant talking all about Kristen. When Stepmom came to pick her up at transition time, K pushed her to tell me the whole story.

To my surprise, Kristen opened up to me. She shared how she had been having trouble with the idea of being someone’s “second wife” which she equated with “second choice.” She confessed she had been jealous of me, and felt as though she was living my life. I was shocked.

I remember being so surprised by her confession that I was brought to tears. After all this time of only focusing on how I felt as a mother, I never paused to wonder what it must feel like to be in her shoes. Suddenly, it felt as though a wall came tumbling down. After we talked she even asked to give me a hug.

It was in that moment both our eyes were opened.

In Each Other’s Shoes

From then on, Kristen and I began sharing pictures of K whenever she was with us. That little act of kindness really helped me feel at ease when K wasn’t with me. Although I couldn’t be with her while she was doing so many fun things with her dad and Kristen, it was calming to see how happy she was.

The more we shared about K, the more we started sharing about ourselves and our experiences. We both had been so stuck in our own minds, overwhelmed with our own issues as a part of a not-so-blended family, it was like we were walking around with blinders on. Once we started talking and opening up, those blinders fell away and we realized how wrong we had been about each other. Our bond grew gradually, in a natural way, and left us both feeling cautiously optimistic about forming a real friendship.

From Co-parents to Business Partners

Then one day among our everyday conversation, I started opening up to Kristen about Kandy Apple Mama. I shared all of the potential I felt it had as a platform, the things I wanted to accomplish with it, the obstacles I was facing running a business… and she seemed intrigued. I remember telling my husband how excited she was talking about it and wondered whether she might start her own blog. When he suggested I ask her to join me at Kandy Apple Mama, I never thought she’d go for it.

Before I could even ask, Kristen offered to help! She asked if I had ever considered bringing on a business partner. I was shocked! (Was she reading my mind?) Of course, I was more than willing, and the rest is history! We met the very same day to talk blog and make a business plan.

Going from co-parents to business partners has brought Kristen and I much closer than expected – we’ve become best friends! We are both so passionate about what we do that the hard work almost doesn’t feel like work (almost). Not only that, but it’s seriously improved our co-parenting relationship and forced us to work out our differences on hot-button topics we would have never otherwise discussed.

Holding Each Other Accountable

Working on the blog together, doing the research, tackling the hard subjects no one else will, speaking with so many families in similar situations… It really drives home how important co-parenting is to us. Not just for parents wanting to escape conflict, but for the kids. Co-parenting with my daughter’s father, her stepmom, stepdad, and myself, has changed our daughter’s life in a way I never thought possible. She’s happy, loved, and excited to be in a blended family with so many people that care about her. The friendship that we, as her parents, have developed is icing on the cake!

While running a blog and business partnership with your daughter’s stepmom might not sound ideal to most people, it’s actually a large part of what keeps our blog running. If Kristen hadn’t partnered with me, Kandy Apple Mama wouldn’t be where it’s at today, and I probably would have quit by now. 

It might sound cheesy, but I know this all happened for a reason. No relationship or friendship is perfect – including ours! But our relationship is more than co-parenting – we hold each other accountable, build each other up when we’re feeling down, and keep each other on track – in business, in life, and as mothers to the same little girl.

xoxo

Santa Claus

The Best Places to See Santa in Collin County

Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus way! If you like to get a good picture with your kids and Santa then we have the perfect list for you. We have all the details below on Santa’s around town and some that have been around for years and years. I will even tell you my personal favorite so read all of them! Here’s a list of the best places to see Santa in Collin County!

Willow Bend Mall

This is a fun place to visit Santa at the Ice Palace!

Visit with Santa now until – Saturday, Dec. 24 during all mall hours with the exception of the following dates:
•    Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2 p.m.  – 9 p.m.
•    Thursday, Nov. 24, Closed
•    Saturday, Nov. 26 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
•    Christmas Eve, Santa heads back to the North Pole at 6 p.m.!

Santa will take periodic milk and cookie breaks at:
•    Monday – Saturday, 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.
•    Sunday, 3 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Stonebriar Mall

Visit Santa from now until December 24th.  JC Penny/Dick’s Sporting Goods Court

Don’t miss the easiest way to visit Santa—just reserve your time and skip the line! Save $5 on photos when you book between Monday and Wednesday (through December 9th).

Reservations and photo purchases are not required to visit Santa.

Regular Hours: 
Monday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM

 

Special Hours:
12/15 – 12/23: 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM
12/17 Hours: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Christmas Eve: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM, No Breaks

*Santa may take occasional breaks to feed the reindeer.

Pet Nights
Mondays from 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM (November 13 – December 11)

Collin Creek Mall (Plano)

Santa’s hours will be:
from now until Dec. 24th:
Monday through Saturday during the holidays 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
Sunday during the holidays noon to 6:00 pm
Christmas Eve: Santa will be departing by 5:00 pm

Santa will take breaks periodically during the day to feed his reindeer and have a cookie snack!

Watters Creek (Allen)

Santa

Daily from November 18th through December 24th

Everyone’s favorite jolly guy will be available to take photos with children and listen to holiday wishes November 18 through Christmas Eve. Visit him at his home away from home on Village Green Drive between The Cellar and Tangerine Salon. Holiday photo packages start at $25.95.

Click here for Santa hours. 

Please note the times that Santa feeds his reindeer from 2 – 3pm daily

The Galleria Mall

A must for every holiday season, straight from the North Pole, Santa invites all children to his new Village to hear gift requests and take photos.

Click here for Santa’s daily schedule 

North Park Mall

This is probably the most popular Santa ever. I have friends that grew up in Dallas and had pictures made with him now they take their own kids to see this Santa. He is very authentic looking and it’s quite the ordeal to actually see him! If you want to see this Santa the best thing to do is to go super early (or send someone down there early to get a ticket).

Tickets are available starting at 9AM, Monday – Saturday, and 10AM on Sunday.

Monday – Saturday
11AM – 2PM
2:30 – 5PM
5:30 – 7PM

Sunday
12:30 – 3PM
3:30 – 5PM

Christmas Eve
10AM – 2PM

 

They also have storytime with Santa!

Monday – Saturday
10:30AM

Sunday
12PM

Fairview Santa

 

The only way you can see this Santa is by appointment only. They started this system a few years ago and I literally have praised them since. It’s the best! You make an appointment online, they tell you when to come and there is hardly any waiting. It’s AMAZING!

When you book your appointment you put down a $20 deposit and when you visit Santa this will include 1 photo! It’s so nice.

Appointments are going on now through December 24th.

We are very sad to share that “The Big Guy” recently passed away. He was a legend around North Dallas families always bringing smiles and happiness to every child. He was very loved by many Plano Moms (myself included). 

Santa

 

Other Places to See Santa This Year:

Breakfast With Santa (Craig Ranch Fitness)

Saturday, December 2nd at 9 am. $5 per person for a breakfast plate. There will be a life-size gingerbread house and tons of fun for the whole family! RSVP today at youthcenter@craigranchfitness.com

Dallas Arboretum 12 Days of Christmas

Wednesday Nights November 15-December 20, 6-9 p.m., Near the Elves’ Workshop – Ann Stuart Courtyard Santa is back in the garden this year in the perfect holiday setting resplendent with twinkling lights

Breakfast with Santa (Plano)

Saturday, December 9th. Santa is making a special trip to Carpenter Park Recreation Center to eat breakfast with you and your family. While enjoying tasty breakfast treats, create your Santa wish list and holiday crafts. Little ones can enjoy some one-on-one time with Santa and receive a souvenir photo. $9 per family

The Shops at Legacy

December 2-24th Book your appointment by calling (972) 834-4300, or online at http://www.silverstarpicturessanta.com/. Photo packages start at just $30!

The Star in Frisco

From now until December 24th (by appointments only)

Bass Pro Shop (Grapevine)

Get a free photo with Santa from now until December 24th! Call ahead and make sure to check on hours.

 Enchant Christmas

Free once you’ve entered the gates of Enchant. He was a really sweet Santa!


Are you a Plano Mom? If you live, work or play in or around Plano, sign up for our newsletter to get weekly news, events and offers to your inbox. Join the Plano Moms community on Facebook,Instagram, and Twitter – connect with us and each other!

Chamberlain School of Ballet

This post is sponsored by Chamberlain School of Ballet. All opinions are ours. For more information please see our disclosure statement. 

If you have lived in Plano for a while and have children in dance lessons, chances are you have heard of Chamberlain School of Ballet. Owner Kathy Chamberlain first opened the studio in 1977. The studio has now been open to Plano for 40 years and includes more than just ballet. Now they offer classical, jazz, tap, modern, composition, and dance for musical theater,

Chamberaln Ballet

Kathy started her school in Collin County because she wanted to offer excellent training in a safe and happy environment. She has a passion for teaching dance that began at a young age for her.

Her passion and skills have taught some amazing dancers in the area the last 40 years. She has brought such a positive experience dance around Collin County. Over the years, Kathy is now seeing former students bringing their own children to back her dance studio to take lessons.chamberlain ballet

Her students learn so many lifelong skills including confidence, good posture, and discipline. Ballet and dance is an art and skill that can stay with students for the rest of their lives.

Kathy loves that her dance studio is like a family. Family is very important to her. She knows all of her families at the dance studio and all the students love her!

Are you wanting to take dance classes or enroll your children in dance but don’t know where to start? The good news is that Chamberlain School of Ballet offers classes for all ages groups. Classes start at Mommy and Me age level of 18 months and go all the way up to adult classes. They offer classes for everyone!

 

Kathy welcomes all Plano Moms to come by and visit her studio. She is offering a free registration fee (normally $35) for all new families!

Abbie had a chance to visit with Kathy herself in her dance studio recently. Check out this interview they did and learn more about her studio and team of teachers.

 


Are you a Plano Mom? If you live, work or play in or around Plano, sign up for our newsletter to get weekly news, events and offers to your inbox. Join the Plano Moms community on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – connect with us and each other!


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Winter Camps for Kids

Fun Ideas for Winter Camps for Kids 2017

Having time off from school can be very hard on parents, especially working parents. Here are some great options for winter camps for kids. These will keep them busy and be having fun all break long! Now the question will be, whichh winter camp to choose!!

Infinite Bounds 

Winter Camps

Keep the fun going all winter long for your kids! Now enrolling for winter sessions:

Dates:

  • December 21 & 22
  • December 27-29
  • January 2-3

What to Expect: Over 10 trampolines, 50′ foam pit, 30′ air slide, gymnastics every day, popcorn and movies every day!

To sign up or get more info: call (972) 491-1916 or check out Infinite Bounds website.

Power Kids Sports and Fitness

winter camps

Shop ‘Til You Drop Holiday Camps and Weekend Open Gym at PowerKids!!Drop your PowerKids off to burn some energy and have a blast while you shop, run errands, work, go to brunch or just relax!  Structured, coach led camps during the week and loosely structured Open Gym on the weekends are not only fun but teaches lots of sports skills while strengthening your child’s muscles and endurance!  Sports skills, games, crafts, trampoline, tumbling, acro yoga, and more!
  • Ages 3 through 14 (must be potty trained)
  • Age appropriate groups
  • Wear athletic attire
  • Bring a healthy snack and lunch 
A PLANO MOMS EXCLUSIVE!!  Become an Elite Member of PowerKids and receive unlimited classes for your entire family!  That means any of our awesome class offerings for kids as well as classes in Adult Power Training. You also receive discounts on camps and your family get 6 FREE hours of Open Gym per month!! 

Kidventure

Back by popular demand, Kidventure will be operating its legendary Winter Camp at select locations. They’ve crafted 5 unique winter themes for maximum fun and a memorable experience. Winter Camp is designed to give kids the opportunity to have fun, make friends, and make the most out of their holiday break!

  •  Choose a single day of camp or attend them all
  • Each Camp Day is 9AM-3:30PM with option of 7AM-6PM
  • Celebrate the holidays while staying active and making friends

 

REGISTER and get more information on each camp offered.

Be sure to follow them on Facebook for more news.

 

The Yoga Factory

Dates:

  • December 26-29
  • January 2-5

winter camps

The Yoga Factory Kids Camp for ages 4-11 will be a mix of high energy movement, play, and exploration using yoga poses, fun and imagination to learn self-awareness, focus and calmness all in a non-competitive environment. Kids will learn lifelong techniques to love themselves, and one another while learning the positive benefits of being still in the midst of a very busy world.

The camps are a great way for kids to work on physical fitness, play, breathe, relieve stress, and just have fun! 

 

Sci-Tech Discovery Center- Frisco

They have day camps for both Thanksgiving and Christmas Break! These are listed in 2 groups: for Grades 1st/2nd and 3rd/4th. They also have a MakerSpace Camp that is for 5th-8th graders. Check out their website for full details on each daily camps list of activities and how to register!

PSA- Plano/Murphy/McKinney

Winter Camps include basketball, soccer, volleyball, weapons & light sabers, martial arts, science, and arts/crafts. They have so many to choose from and great options for working parents!

Check out their full listings of 2017 Winter Camps and learn how to register.

 WOGA Gymnastics (Frisco and Plano)

Great for ages 3 and up. In addition to outstanding gymnastics training, campers will enjoy tumbling, trampoline, games, arts and crafts, and other activities.

Thanksgiving Camp: November 20-22nd

Winter Camp:   Plano dates: December 21-22 and 26-29, 2017 – January 2-3, 2018

Half-day camps (9am-12) $35 per day

Full day camps (9-2) Campers bring a lunch $45 per day.

North Texas Performing Arts 

For students in grades K-5

Join us on your day off from school for a morning, afternoon, or full day camp. These day camps are themed around popular children’s stories and promote learning through creativity.  Each day, students will actively bring a different story to life through visual and performing arts. Visual arts activities include painting, pottery, mixed media, cartooning, sculpture, drawing, collage, and printing. Performing arts activities include story dramatization, improvisation, theatre games, movement, and pantomime.

November 20-22nd and December 21-22nd from 9 am – 5 pm      See their website for more info on each day camp!

Texas Discovery Gardens

Critter Camp: Wednesday,   – 

Take a break from the frigid temperatures outside and come into our Earth Explorers Camp as we learn about ways that animals in Texas avoid the ice and snow!

$140; $118 for Members of Texas Discovery Gardens

Have an Ice Day Camp:  

Join the EarthExplorers as we explore ice, snow, and everything cold!

$140; $118 for Members of Texas Discovery Gardens

Adventure Kids Playcare 

Adventure Kids is a great drop-in daycare service and they offer some fun choices for holiday camps coming up. Kids will have a great time doing games, crafts, and fun activities.  Check out the choices below and get your kids signed up.

There’s no reason for winter break boredom!

Contact 972.612.5400

Check out their locations across DFW!

winter camps

 

Now that the kids are taken care of during the day, be sure and check out our Plano Moms Holiday Guide filled with fun family-friendly events to keep you entertained all season long!

winter camps

plano moms plano tx


Are you a Plano Mom? If you live, work or play in or around Plano, sign up for our newsletter to get weekly news, events and offers to your inbox. Join the Plano Moms community on Facebook,Instagram, and Twitter – connect with us and each other!

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