Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Game Plan: Do the Holiday happening hop – THIS WEEKEND

Today Mother Nature did us all a favor – she threw us a little cold weather to remind some of us that it is CHRISTMAS. I know just because I had already done a little shopping and put up the ornaments, the cheer hadn’t gotten into gear. HOWEVER, once that chilly air hit this morning, we started putting together our GAME PLAN for hitting the holiday happenings this year with the kids. I don’t know if it seems like there were more this year than normal or everyone just stepped up their game, but here’s our four must-dos for the holidays this weekend. Yep, our plan is to try to conquer holiday all in one weekend! Here we go:

#1. Arlington Christkindl Market, Dec. 8 - 11:
No everyone, this is not a new event for Amazon’s newest techno toy, but a new FREE event in Arlington that is hopefully the start of something truly unique for Arlington AND DFW. Partnering with its Sister City in Germany, this Christkindl Market kicks off Thursday, Dec. 8 with a tree lighting with the mayor, fireworks display, free trolleys, free parking and oodles of fun including Brave Combo and other German acts. But for a little more insight, I refer to the official website: Arlington Christkindl Market is an enchanting family market in the tradition of those held throughout Germany during the Christmas season. Set up as an Old World- style charming festival, this outdoor market offers authentic German cuisine, beverages, entertainment, arts, crafts, exquisite unique ornaments, rare European crafts and holiday gifts and the opportunity to devour German delicacies like brats, goulash, potato pancakes, gingerbread, cookies, German beers and Gluhwein!

With all that in store (including my love for Gluhwein – I made that a few years ago and it was amazing), why wouldn’t you make this part of your holiday happenings? AND IT’s FREE TO ATTEND.

#2. Polar Express at the Omni, Dec. 10 & 17, Dec. 19-22:
This year will be our first year to sport our PJs in public for this annual event at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History and I think I’m the most excited. What’s not to be amazing about Pjs, free hot chocolate and watching one of the best holiday movies with your tots? It’ll cost you a little bit, but that’s not bad for comfy seats and a good time.

#3. Holiday at Galleria Dallas:
One of the best parts of my job is knowing the ins and outs of some of the best and coolest things to do in DFW. This one is no exception. With the largest indoor Christmas tree in the U.S., you gotta at least come take a photo of the tree and come see the amazing skaters dancing around its base. But folks there’s lots, lots more! They’ve got Slappy’s Holiday Circus, free Nestle Toll-House cookies for the first 300 kids to see Santa (beginning at noon), and of course, there’s Missile Toes, the ice-skating Santa with fireworks, to boot. Personally, it’s the parking attendants in Santa gear and the beautiful red lights that get me all giddy, but I know the whole family will be delighted when we make this stopover.

#4. North Pole Express/Grapevine Train, Weekends in December:
We are huge fans of trains. Huge. All things train, we are on it, so this event is a must every year. We have made this a family tradition with another family as our gift to each other and made it a whole night in Grapevine with light shows, shopping and a wind down of our full day at Esparzas. Grapevine is the “Christmas Capital of Texas” they say, and with a train ride with Santa and lots of other holiday activities in one of the most lit-up downtown’s in DFW, we give this one “two thumbs up.” And if you have older kiddos looking for something cool to do, you can make a glass-blown ornament at Vetro for $25. We love it and you will too.

Whew. If we don’t feel the holidays this weekend, then we are doomed. So don’t be a Grinch this weekend and get out there and enjoy what 2011 has left with your family!

Join the team at the Mom2Mom on the at

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Game Plan: Making the Perfect Christmas Bow

Call me a dork, but part of my favorite things about Christmas is not just buying the gifts, but wrapping them. I take great pleasure in carefully selecting my wrapping paper and ribbon. I love wrapping presents so much I even have a gift-wrapping room in my house (well, it’s a room with a lot of gift wrap and other things as well.)

The Gift-Wrapping Room (Thanks, Grandpa!)
Unfortunately, although I have tried many, many times, making the perfect bow has not been easy for me – at least until now. I usually have just made a simple bow (like the way you do on your shoes), but have honestly yearned to learn how to make one of those pretty, pom-pom ribbons like you used to get when stores wrapped your gifts.

However, during a special presentation, one of my guilty pleasures – The Container Store, showed me that there was still hope to make the perfect bow. So much so, they even made me make one myself and it came out just the way it supposed to! Now, I pass on the love to you and present my holiday present: my secret to making “The Perfect Christmas Bow.”
And like every time I’ve ever been to The Container Store, I spotted some more things I didn’t know they made, but now I had to have. First was “Neat Roll.” All I can say, is “why didn’t I think of that?” It’s like those wrap bracelets we had when we were growing up – except you use it to close off your wrapping paper. Genius really and you should get yours now because this little guy was literally flying off the shelves!

The other one was this container for my son’s Legos – which of course, was a huge Lego. They even had one for the little men and it came in so many sizes and prices, which means that we will probably have to get more of these as well.

I bought a lot more stuff too...but that's another time. If you ever want to talk more about organization – then we should meet for lunch and a date at The Container Store. Perhaps this might be my new girlfriend getaway (when I’ve only got an hour to spare.)

Happy Wrapping!

Please note:
I attended a special blogger event at The Container Store to learn about the resources I have discussed here, but my sincere love of The Container Store is all my own.

However, during a special presentation, one of my guilty pleasures – The Container Store, showed me that there was still hope to make the perfect bow. So much so, they even made me make one myself and it came out just the way it supposed to! Now, I pass on the love to you and present my holiday present: my secret to making “The Perfect Christmas Bow.”

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Game Plan: To Nintendo or not to Nintendo? – That is the question.

Games for Girls Summit - Dallas 2011
By Autumn Rose Reo on 11/20/11 19:48 | Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Are you one of those people who loves to play Farmville on their Facebook? Do you have Angry Birds on your Ipad? Is your idea of exercise pulling out the Wii Fit? Well, folks, that’s not me. Actually, while I am a competitive person and LOVE my techno toys, games (and especially a gaming system), don’t interest me. My husband enjoys them and has many on his phone and computer and my son has a Leapster he received as a gift, but admittedly we don’t have a Wii, a PS, a DS or any other one of those things. However, just like everything with being a parent, sometimes you find yourself reconsidering your thinking. This was especially the case for me after attending a special event at the W Hotel in Dallas called the Games for Girls Summit, which has me wondering now: Can games be a good thing?

Hosted by an esteemed panel of women including Nicole Armstrong of Activision, Suzanne Kantra of Techilicious, and local hostess with the mostess, Holly Homer of She is Dallas/June Cleaver Nirvana, the Games for Girls Summit was held at the W Hotel in Dallas on November 15. The two-hour event included moms and their kiddos listening to information about games while experiencing the newest kid-centric games on the market. I really enjoyed being able to see the games in action by kids of all ages and since we are a group of moms talking about mom stuff – it was nice to have my kids experience it with me.

Although the environment was amazing, it was the facts from a few recent studies by BYU, NCBI and NPD I heard that really made me think.

Check these out:

• 42% of kids less than 8 years old have a TV in their room.
My kiddo has always had a TV in his room.

• Today, 91 percent of kids (approximately 64 million) ages 2-17 are gaming in the U.S.
My kiddo has a Leapster and has eight game apps on my Iphone.

• 11% of 0-8 years olds have used a smartphone.
He can operate my phone better than I do.

• People who play video games are more creative. Gamers process info faster and by playing a game together, create a social bond sooner with others.
Well, I have to wonder about this one since “creative” is a relative term, but it can’t hurt to add a little creativity to his learning, not to mention the ability to process info quickly. And while social interaction skills are so important at this age, I had always thought that games would make it that much harder, but it seems the opposite is true.

• Gamers spend 80% of their time failing.
This was the one that really seemed to make me reconsider that by playing games like a Wii can really make my kid build perseverance: the age-old lesson, “When you fail, try, try again.”

Those stats game me really reeling. Then they brought out the goodies – all the newest and coolest games imaginable including Moshi Monsters: Moshling Zoo, Lalaloopsy, Zoobles, ZhuZhu Babies, Squinkies 2: Adventure Mall Surprize and one of the coolest games I have ever seen - Wappy Dog. The Wappy Dog interacts with the Nintendo DS and vice versa. I have to admit this toy was so cute and I’m really thinking about getting one for my three-year old.

All in all, I thought the summit was eye-opening and a real life-changing experience, honestly. So the next day when I went to Best Buy, I sauntered over to the game section to look at what was out there. I will admit it was a little overwhelming, but at least I made my first step into gaming…and in perfect timing for the holidays (at least for my kids!)
Got any suggestions for a non-gaming mom? What’s your favorite system for the kiddos?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Game Plan: Celebrate the holidays one bottom at a time!

Huggies Launches New Santa Diapers  | Fort Worth Star-Telegram
By Autumn Rose Reo on 11/13/11 22:29

Now that I have two children, Holiday preparation consists of a lot more than just putting up my decorations. It's actually more fun now as I figure out the attire for our family photo for the family Christmas photo. From the sweaters to socks, in a way I never thought I would be, I enjoy trying to put together that one moment when it is ok to make everyone look like "Leave it to Beaver."

In the middle of all of the holiday fuss, I received a package that truly was the icing on the cake! Diapers! And not just any diapers but some of the cutesy diapers I have seen in a long time. Of course, with the recent trend in printed diapers, we have had our share of the cute jean diapers for my son and as a baby shower gift I received the sweetest personalized diapers complete in their own cupcake basket. But the timing on these couldn't be sweeter: Santa diapers from Huggies!

Available now until December and in sizes 3-6, these "Santa pants" are too cute and later found out have a greater cause. When parents create and share their Huggies/American Greetings "Stylize your Santa" card, they will also help to diaper a baby in need with Every Little Bottom, an organization committed to donating 22.5 million diapers to those families in need.

What a great stocking stuffer for my kiddos along with friends and family. Actually, Im thinking about using these for as a unique invitation for our holiday party. Now the hunt is on to find these like i did the jean diapers at my grocery store!

* I was provided these diapers from Huggies for the purpose of the review.

Read more: