Our friends at Ford dropped off a brand spanking new 2014 Ford Escape for the weekend a few weeks back and told us to go enjoy the last of summer out on the town. And that WE DID!
There are somethings in life that are just awesome… like a clean car, a full tank of gas and DALLAS. rWe had a weekend of fun cruising around in the Escape. It’s the perfect size vehicle, not as small as a sedan but not as big as a standard SUV. It gets great gas mileage and you can talk to it. No seriously. You can push a button and say “Turn temperature to 80 degrees” and the car will go to 80 degrees. It was a great vehicle that gave us a fabulous weekend out on the town.
Our first day with the Ford Escape just so happened to be our 16th anniversary. 16 years so of course we had to celebrate. My husband chose, and we enjoyed dinner at the spot he proposed 17 years ago, Benihana’s. Then went and enjoyed a reflexology session. 16 years is an accomplishment and it was fun to just celebrate us without the chaos of the our kids.
Since summer was coming to an end and the kids had to officially start school that following week, my sister (Dallas Socials) and I took them out on the town for some fun.
We hit up our new favorite spot Steel City Popsicles.If you are in Dallas, and haven’t tried Steel City Popsicles, you are missing out! OMG! These things are magically delicious and perfect for a hot summer day (or cold day with the heater on, yes they are that good.) We went to the Greenville location, but there also is a location at the Dallas Farmer’s Market.
To end the weekend, I left everyone at home and ran errands. The Ford Escape was a great companion. It has an AWESOME rear camera making parking a breeze (I so can’t park and this camera just glidded me right into parking spots!). There is plenty of room, even for all of the groceries I have to buy. (Did I mention the foot activated – HANDS-FREE liftgate? That’s right, when you have your key near-by, just kick your foot under the bumper and the power liftgate will open making it easy to load and unload bags! Oh and keyless entry. We have a Ford Expedition and the keyless entry has saved us on many occasions!
Thanks Ford for a fabulous weekend with the 2014 Ford Escape. To learn more about the Escape, check out this video:
In a few weeks, we are packing up for another family road trip. We will be venturing down to our favorite area of Texas – the hill country. Yes, Austin – AGAIN. It never gets old and until we can move there many road trips will have to do. One of our planned adventures is Schlitterbahn Waterpark! Read more about our Schlitterbahn adventure after the recipe!
A perk at Schlitterbahn water park is that they allow you to bring in your own ice chest (and they don’t charge you a DIME!). That’s right, load up your cooler with food and drinks – and you don’t have to worry about that expense while enjoying the water park.
I’m not a meat eater, and finding vegetarian cuisine that works well in a cooler – AND that the whole entire family enjoys, well there’s only 1 sandwich that I’ve made that fills all those duties: My YUMMY Cucumber Sandwich. Here’s the recipe that I use that’s cooler perfect.
Delicious Cucumber Sandwiches Recipe
Cucumbers (1 will make about 4 sandwiches)
Tub of Whipped Cream Cheese (sorry this makes it not vegan – room temperature is best)
Packet of Ranch Dressing (I buy the Kroger brand, tastes the same as Hidden Valley to me and half the price)
I’ve seen this sandwich done a few ways, but here is how I do it.
Dump the whipped cream cheese into a bowl, ideally at room temperature for easy mixing.
Mix in the packet of ranch dressing with the whipped cream cheese.
Cut up your cucumber – sliced then (wish I had pulled out the Mandolin!)
Make your sandwich by spreading the cream cheese ranch mixture on both pieces of bread. Layer are many cucumbers as you like.
Sandwich bag your cucumber sandwiches and put them in the refrigerator. Try to keep them in there for at least an hour – but over night is fine. Then just throw in your ice chest before you leave and head out to the water park.
YUMMY! What is your favorite cooler sandwich?
Schlitterbahn Water Park
As I mentioned, we were able to go to Schlitterbahn Water Park. We have 4 kids, which I really wasn’t sure how this would work as they are all at different ages – and all ages still require a good deal of our attentions. Spoiler alert – it was awesome!
While Schlitterbahn has several locations, we visited the location in San Marcos, TX. We live in Dallas – so it was just a 4 hour drive. Bonus – my husband’s family now lives in Austin, TX – so that gave us a place to stay and was nice to visit and catch up with his family.
On the day we visited Schlitterbahn, it was extra hot. We bought the kids swim shoes at Walmart. Swim shoes are a must-have when visiting a water park. I even bought me and the husband a pair. YES, they are ugly – but a must have along with sun screen. We are very pale people and the Texas sun just doesn’t like us.
On the day of our visit, we loaded up our picnic, sunscreen and swim shoes and spent the day playing in the water, running after toddlers and enjoying the various slides. I was surprised at how family friendly, Schlitterbahn is. I had a mom help me when my toddler ran. People were kind and the park was clean and a ton of fun.
If you are looking for a fun waterpark vacation idea, definitely check out Schlitterbahn Water Parks!
A few weeks ago, JVC contacted me and asked if the boys would like a set of headphones. These weren’t just any headphones for toddlers!
I immediately flashed back to the car ride earlier in the day. My kids screaming, the iPad playing some crazy sounds from some game Izaiah was playing and there I was left turning up the volume on NPR trying to drown out the noise.
While I know the headphones wouldn’t stop the kids from screaming, it would alleviate one noise point – Izaiah’s iPad game. Done. YES – PLEASE SEND HEADPHONES AND SEND THEM QUICK.
Headphones for Toddlers
What we received was a darling set of headphones that fits my kid’s head just right. And they aren’t just cute – they feature a volume limiter to prevent hearing damage. That’s especially important to me with toddler headphones since my kid likes to listen to things LOUD. The ear pads are soft for comfortable wear.
Here’s a few more details on the JVC HA-KD6 headphones:
The HA-KD6 headphones are an on-the-ear design, sized for kids, featuring a volume limiter to prevent hearing damage. Theyre available in four different bright color combinations and come with stickers so kids can enjoy decorating their headphones.
Wide headband can be decorated with supplied stickers or users’ own
Small size for children (over 3 years old)
Soft ear pads for wearing comfort with extended use
Vivid colors and ideal for kids with no painted parts
4 color and sticker variations for both boys and girls
Thanks JVC! Izaiah loves his toddler headphones and so does this mom. Now, if anyone has a solution for kids screaming in the back of the car – please let me know.
A few weeks ago, our friend’s at Ford dropped off a Ford Fiesta for me to drive for the week. It was bright blue and was the perfect companion as the week had me running errands non-stop preparing for a road trip.
The Fiesta had a lot to offer, especially for it’s budget price. If you are in the market for a family vehicle, here are some of the things that I loved about the Ford Fiesta:
1. Sized Just Right
I had never driven a Ford Fiesta before. Both my husband and I both drive SUVs, so the car was a change to the normal feeling I have of riding above everyone else. In the Fiesta it’s like I fit in with other cars on the road.
2. Seats 5 Comfortably
While our family has 6 people, this was a great car for us that would work well during the week. We really only need 1 family vehicle. My daughter is tall and old enough to ride in the front seat. The car was able to fit my 3 boys in their car seats in the back.
The real question for this mom, is how much can the Ford Fiesta haul? We were preparing for a road trip, so decided to do a luggage test.
The results: 2 pieces of large luggage with room for small bags. That works for me! For our weekend get-aways, this is the perfect amount of room for our luggage. I also went grocery shopping in the Ford Fiesta and it passed the test and held all of our groceries just fine.
4. Great Gas Mileage
With the SUVs we get anywhere from 12 mpg to 18 mpg – with the Ford Fiesta – 40 mpg! That is HUGE! If you are on the road a lot, this car can save you big in gas and is much more affordable than a hybrid.
5. Priced Perfectly
Speaking of price, did you know the base model Ford Fiesta starts at $13,475?
Family Vehicle of the Year
The Ford Fiesta has been named to the 2014 Parents & Edmunds.com 10 Best Family Cars list. Families demand a lot from their vehicle and the experts from Parents and Edmunds.com chose this years top ten based on safety, convenience features, and high-tech performance features at all price levels. The Ford Fiesta is one of two cars named in the Budget category. The top ten cars will be published in the July 2014 issue of Parents magazine and online at Parents.com/best-family-cars.
Overview of the Ford Fiesta
2014 Fiesta lineup is led by the 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine
· Delivers more than 40 mpg
· 123 horsepower, so it doesnt hold back anything on the road despite the fuel economy
· The engine is so small, it can fit in a suitcase!
· Fuel-efficient and fun. Engine was selected Popular Mechanics breakthrough award winner
· EcoBoost engine increases fuel economy by 20% and reduces emissions
This past January, my husband and I had the chance to travel to Las Vegas for CES 2014. It was an amazing experience and like all attendees, were excited to check out all of the new technology. One of the booths we stopped at, was the ibitz booth where we learned about the ibitz Fitness tracker for kids by GeoPals. When Best Buy offered to send a set over, I was excited to give these a try.
Fitness Tracker for Kids
The idea behind ibitz is to get your kids MOVING. Your kids can place the tracker on your shoe or it slides perfectly on to a pocket.
Your kids proceed as normal and then can see how much they moved with the ibitz kids app.
The iBitz fitness tracker for kids comes with:
ibitz activity tracker
clip for hip and shoe
To get started, you simply sync your device using the ibitz PowerKey app and your registration key (that will be on the back side of your clip). The PowerKey app is available for iOS. Here is how to setup the pedometer:
Parents, you can setup goals for your kids and even incentivize them by rewarding them with things such as screen time, or products. It’s a super fun way to keep your kids engaged with how much they are moving.
I want to put it on my toddler, just to see how much he goes. I know it will put my numbers to shame. Speaking of my numbers… if you are an adult, ibitz makes a fitness tracker just for you.
ibitz Unity Fitness Tracker
In addition to the kids fitness tracker, ibitz also offers the ibitz Unity family fitness monitor.
The ibitz Unity features include:
tracking steps, distance, calories
wear on hip or shoe
stores 30 days
can sync with numerous devices
The Unity tracker sets up the same way as the kids fitness tracker does. The ibitz Unity app offers a slick dashboard to show you your activity.
Family Fitness Tracking
Get everyone moving this summer. We are looking forward to using these fitness monitors on our upcoming vacations. We will be hiking, going to the beach and lots of sight-seeing which means miles and miles of walking. It will be neat to tally up totals at the end our trip!
These fitness trackers are both available at Best Buy and are reasonably priced:
Scarborough Faire is a renassiance festival in Waxahachie, TX. It runs from April 5 through May 26, 2014, weekends and Memorial Day Monday – 10 AM to 7 PM. Our family was offered tickets, so that we could share this experience with you.
Saturday was one of those days of well intent. We planned on picking our daughter up from a lock-in and heading out early to beat the heat. Yeah, that didn’t happen. We headed out to Waxahachie, TX late – it’s about 30-minutes south of Dallas. The kids had only been fed Kind bars and I was feeling the stress realizing that the toddlers hadn’t napped and our daughter had barely slept the night before. Thankfully all of my concerns were nothing and we had a fabulous day at the faire.
What to Expect
Imagine being whisked away to a village set in the renaissance era. Scarborough Faire is like taking a trip back into time. There are numerous people, both workers and attendees playing various roles – setting the stage for your visit. From the way they talk to mannerisms, you will find people take this renaissance festival seriously!
There are numerous shops and activities to do through-out your visit. Some of the activities are free, others you pay for.
My daughter’s favorite find was her flower headdress. She said she felt like she fit in more with it. Next time, we will make sure she is in costume, she had so much fun and loved the role-play aspect of the festival.
I wasn’t sure how our boys would do, but honestly was blown away at the fun they had. Everyone was super kind and there were so many things for them to do and see.
The first thing we did was rent them a “Dragon Wagon”. It was $2.50 an hour, with a minimal security deposit (and they accepted credit cards.) This allowed them shade and the ability to jump in and out as their legs got tired. Our youngest spent most of his time in here, just eating grapes and chilling. It was nice to have a spot for them – as there is a LOT of walking.
What to Know Before You Go
As I mentioned there is a LOT of walking. Wear shoes that will allow you to walk on dirt. I would recommend against flip flops or sandals.
Bring sunscreen as it is HOT. The villages at Scarborough Faire do offer shade, but still – it’s hot.
There are numerous food vendors through out the festival. You can find everything from turkey legs (my kids favorite) to sweet potatoes (my favorite) to fresh fruit (which was great for a late snack).
Cell phone reception is spotty. Make sure that you have a meet-up spot, should you get separated from your family.
Buy a $3 program at the entrance. This will have a map and a schedule of all activities. Speaking of schedule.
PLAN. There is so much to do and see, and several things are done only at certain times. Keep reading, to see what you need to see!
First Aid is near the front entrance. We had a minor incident with our toddler getting too curious and hitting his head. They supplied an ice pack immediately. This is just one of those, good to know things – especially when bringing kids.
Plan to See and Do
As I was saying, PLAN! We missed a few things, but here are some activities you will not want to miss!
Fire Juggler – WOW. Yes, he is on a ladder.
Jousting – This is held several times through-out the day. Something to note, it’s violent (fake blood and all!)
Music – You will find music through-out. Stop and enjoy the sounds!
Sword Lessons – This is a fun activity for the kids!
Glass Blower – Another neat experience!
Wooden Horse Jousting – I remember riding this as a child! Each of our kids loved this. You ride the horse down a track and try to hit a shield with a fake sword.
Hair Braiding – This starts at around $20. The “twisted sisters” have numerous styles for you to choose from.
Archery – The older kids shot arrow into targets in the hay. It was a fun experience, something they had never done before!
Turtle Race – This is silly, but my 9-year-old still raves about this.
Where is It
Scarborough Faire Renaissance Festival
2511 Farm to Market 66
Waxahachie, TX 75167
All 6 members of our family enjoyed the faire. Each of our kids has talked about the faire over the past week. The experience was educational, fun and something we definitely look forward to going to again.