McKinney Mommas: December 2014 Google+

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Holiday Wonder at Perot Museum #DFW

Thank you to guest writer (and mommy), Erica R. for going on a fun family adventure to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and sharing her adventures with us at McKinney Mommas!

We are huge dinosaur fans in this house. 

We will never forget the reaction of our oldest, who was 3 at the time, when we walked into the dinosaur hall at the Perot Museum for the first time, and she saw the T Rex. 

She could only say “Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh my GOSH!” over & over. 

Now both girls can recite the names of most of the skeletons in the museum.  

The Perot Museum keeps them curious, and we love that.
Perot Museum, dallas museum, kid-friendly museum

Today we visited all of our favorites – the dinosaurs, the earthquake simulator, the gem hall, and the children’s museum – and experienced a couple of new things. 

The current traveling exhibit is 2TheXtreme: MathAlive! The girls really liked this exhibit. 

They climbed a rock wall, rode a snowboard, and took a 360 photo of themselves which was emailed home so we could watch it again. There are all sorts of things in this exhibit for kids of all ages. 

We also had a great time at “Story Time Under the Stars” inside the portable planetarium. The girls couldn’t wait to get inside the inflatable planetarium (okay, maybe they thought it was a bounce house!) - either way, they were mesmerized by the night sky and fully engaged all three stories. 

dallas, #DFW, family outing, dallas museum

There's just a few more days to experience some of the special winter programs at the Perot Museum, so plan your visit in the next few days (ends January 5th, 2015) to catch:

Live Winter Wonderland Demonstrations (daily Dec. 20 – Jan. 5) From live shows with cold habitat animals from the Dallas Zoo, to experiments with super-cold liquid nitrogen, the Perot Museum takes winter wonderland to the extreme.

  • Animal Adventures with the Dallas Zoo, Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 1 and 2 p.m
  •  Fruit DNA Extraction, daily 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Science on the Spot featuring wintry demonstrations, daily 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
  • 2TheXTreme:MathAlive (through Jan. 4, 2015) Snowboard through a mountain pass, design your own video game, attempt an Ollie on a virtual skateboard, master engineer a modern city and capture a snapshot of yourself in 360-degrees. Then challenge a friend in a mountain bike race, jump into a ‘binary dance party,’ or program and control Curiosity, NASA’s next Mars rover. 
  • Discovery Days (January 10) Families discover the fun of science together every second Saturday! Try out real experiments, design and build new creations, and check out dynamic performances each month with guest scientists, educators and artists

For more information on admission, pricing, and special events throughout the year, visit:

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Deliciously Easy Entertaining With Whole Foods Market

Disclosure: I received samples of products from Whole Foods Market to facilitate this post. However, all opinions are 100% my own and have not been influenced by the products received. 


You're not ready for holiday entertaining yet. 

Not until you've seen this appetizer spread I created from Whole Foods Market.

Whole Foods was my first stop this season for throwing together a quick and easy cheese platter, perfect to impress last minute guests that might drop by.

If you have questions about how to create a quick and easy appetizer platter, here are some of my favorite tips: 

McKinney Mommas' Tips For A Delicious Cheese Platter

Tip #1. 

Too many cheeses confuse guests.  Stick to 3 or 4 good quality cheeses.  

Tip #2. 
Be sure to include some nuts or crackers to cleanse the palate between tasting the different cheese. 

Tip #3. 
Use the expertize of the cheesemonger to your advantage. No question is dumb. Explain the purpose of your platter (holiday, wine pairing, etc.) so they can steer you in the right direction.

Tip #4. 
Don't serve your cheese cold! Be sure to set it out an hour before serving to optimize the flavors.  

holiday entertaining, raincoast crisps, brillat savarin

Now, if you're lost, when choosing cheeses for your cheese platter this year, which I often am too - these (3) are a gorgeous choice, and of course most important....delicious too!

1. Le Marechal  - a French raw milk cheese that all levels of cheese lovers will like, nice and nutty similar to a Gruyère

2. Brillat Savarin with Truffles - this is absolutely the BEST cheese I've had in a few years! A triple cream cheese with a bloomy rind (like the classiest version of brie you've ever tasted) with a layer of truffles in the middle!

3. Mons Petit Sornin - this French cheese is washed in a local beer to the region of France that it's made. I'd call this one a "stinky" cheese in my book. It packs a bit of a punch, so I'd only include this cheese if your guests are adventurous cheese eaters.

Your guests will be talking about this cheese platter, for days!

I'm glad this year I was steered towards these three cheeses from Whole Foods Market. 

I have found a new favorite that I will add to any of my cheese boards from here on out - the Brillat Savarin with Truffles is honestly amazing and will wow any of your guest.

Yes, even your in-laws will be singing your praises! (hee, hee) 

Raincoast Crisps, Potter's Crackers

Be sure to grab some Raincoast Crisps (apricot, fig and lemon crackers) and Potter's Crackers - organic artisan crackers to round out your entertaining platter! 

Both of these crackers are beautiful on the platter and are the perfect compliment to the cheeses! 

Happy Holidays, and Happy Entertaining!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Meeting The Octonauts At SEA LIFE Grapevine #TX

Guest Blogger, Erica R. takes it away again with a visit to the SEA LIFE Grapevine for some holiday fun! 

Do your kids love the Octonauts? Mine do! 

They were very excited to meet Captain Barnacles and Kwazii at SEA LIFE Grapevine, and try out  some new Octonauts toys while watching the Christmas episodes of the cartoon.

octonauts event #DFW

SEA LIFE Grapevine is a favorite of ours. 

It’s just the right size for their attention span. 

They love Stingray Bay, the sea turtles, the 360◦ tunnel and the seahorses. My youngest even hugs the seahorse window each time we’re there.

aquarium girls, underwater life, octonauts
SeaLife has a lot of fun things happening for the holidays this year!

 The Octonauts events will be at the aquarium until December 21st

Octonauts holiday activities include:

• Meet Captain Barnacles and Kwazii in the Cinema. Plus, get an Octonauts sticker! (Weekends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
• Take a special undersea mission with an Octonauts fact-finding trail, available at admissions. (Daily)
• Listen to a festive tale as SEA LIFE team members read one of the Octonauts holiday-themed books (Daily at 11am) 

• Watch a special Octonauts holiday-themed episode in the Cinema. (Daily)
• Octonauts-themed ornament coloring activity. (Daily)

Octonauts #DFW
The Octonauts were a little larger than they appear on TV!

If the Octonauts aren't enough, how about a #ScubaDivingSanta?

The jolly old beareded, red-suited diver, along with his elfs are taking the plunge in a magical dive show with the fish, sharks and sea turtles in SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium’s 160,000-gallon ocean tank. 

Pose for pictures and find out whether Scuba Diving Santa thinks you’ve been naughty or nice.  Scheduled dives occur at 11:30 a.m. on December 13, 14, 20 and 21. 

Snap a selfie of yourself & your family with a scuba diving Santa! #SantaSelfie

These events are free and included in the price of admission to SEA LIFE Grapevine.

Sounds like lots of fun at SEA LIFE!

#ScubaDivingSanta Octonauts
Octonauts cutouts are throughout the Aquarium too, so your little ones can get a pic with their favorite characters.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

This Mom Doesn't Style Her Hair #RSVPInStyler

I received samples of InStyler tools from Vocalpoint to facilitate this post. I could receive compensation if purchases are made through the links in this post.

I can't keep hiding behind my "I just had a baby" excuse.

It's been 8 months now since the arrival of my third and final little girl, and it's time to start fixing my hair once in awhile.

Now, I'm not going to pressure myself to fix it daily, or heck, even weekly. But, the holidays are here and we have lots of family gatherings, which mean family photos.

I don't want to embarrass my kiddos when they look at holiday photos later in life, and see their mom peering at them through messy bangs and frizzy locks of hair.  

McKinney Mommas Hair Baby
Thanksgiving hair - after some help from InStyler
I was given the opportunity to check out a few hair styling tools by InStyler, and thought this was the perfect timing - right before Thanksgiving family photos to get my messy hair in gear.

InStyler Tools
  • TULIP Auto Curler - makes perfect curls in 3 seconds!
  • MAX 2-Way Rotating Iron - rotating iron for straightening & eliminating frizz
  • Ionic Styler Pro - ceramic hot brush and flat iron, great for short styles

The MAX 2-Way Rotating Iron was by far my favorite styling tool. Honestly, it works like a breeze and made me think:

Dang! I wouldn't have waited so long to style my hair if I knew it was this easy! 

mom hair, easy hairstyle

Even though it's blurry, I just HAD to share this photo. My 2 year old must have thought it was a momentous occasion, when she walked into the bathroom and saw me actually styling my hair.

She took this photo of me without me even knowing. I had no idea until I uploaded the photos. 

Hee, hee, my little "paparazzi-in-training", what a cutie she is! 

Okay, now for the embarrassing Before / After photos........

Before After Hair Photos

AS you can see, in the BEFORE photos my hair has some random, funky wave to it that is unruly and just plain messy.

I found, the MAX 2-Way Rotating Iron has this awesome rotating barrel, so you aren't frying your hair between two flat stationary plates, like most straightening irons. 

I love the built in brush, that has ionic bristles, to comb and eliminate frizz, while the rotating barrel polishes the hair cuticle. Also, you can change the direction of the roll to either flip ends under or out by a simple double click of the tool!

I'm throwing away all my cheap, silly hair tools after using this one. Seriously. 

Max 2-way Rotating Rion, hair styling tools
Me and the InStyler MAX 2-Way Rotating Iron

I'm really not a foofy, nails and hair sort of gal, but this styling tool made doing my hair super easy and I felt like a totally new person when I saw how my hair could look in just 10-15 minutes!  

InStyler has mommas like you and me in mind, and is offering an awesome discount on their styling tools right now until 1/31/15. 

You can get 30% off up to 2 InStyler tools with my discount code when you  by visiting, and entering [SAVE30] Expires 1/31/15.

I totally recommend this product, and can't wait for you to tell me how YOU like it!   

You'll be happy you did!