Santa Babies : Meeting Santa for the first time

One tiny human meets Santa

Woah, guys… Do you know who this guy is???? I hear he’s kind of a big deal.

We’ve all seen the semi-hilarious first photos with Santa that have taken turn for the worse. As with any first, no one can reallllly gauge what’s going to happen. I mean, this is legitimately the first time your child has seen someone dressed this way. If we’re being honest, that much red and fur combined is a BOLD choice for even the most magical of us. Bottom line, you just never really know how it’s going to go the first time your baby sees Santa.

This year my sister Baileigh, and brother-in-law Aaron had the BRILLIANT idea of inviting Santa over for the babies first visit. Bella, our “One Tiny Human” and our nephew, Harrison had a very special first visit with the man in the red suit and his lady this weekend.

Santa Babies : Meeting Santa for the first time

One Tiny Human with Santa

These guys have snacks, smell like peppermints, and are super cuddly. I think I like them.

They were so sweet with the babies and spent plenty of time getting know them, not being rushed through the moment. It allowed us to capture a few special pictures like when they were reading to them. We were able to enjoy coffee,  warm cocoa and Christmas cookies while the kids chatted with the Claus couple. It was a huge difference from the traditional mall Santa experiences that we’ve done before.

One Tiny Human and Harrison read with Santa

“Twas the night before Christmas…” read by Santa and Mrs Claus. So precious!

And because no one can resist a picture with Santa we jumped in front of the camera for a quick snapshot too. I think I will always love the magic of Christmas. (I am also kind of in love with Randy’s Christmas pug sweater.)

Family Santa Pic

Time for a family picture. The magic of Christmas is real no matter how old you get.

Family Santa pic with one tiny human

I highly recommend this for a first Santa experience or a 100th Santa experience for that matter. as you can tell, meeting Santa in this way completely put the babies at ease and we all had a lovely time together. We were able to capture some of the sweetest pics that I’m sure we’ll treasure forever.

Have you ever had a Santa come to your house? What was it like when you took your child to meet Santa for the first time ?

Holiday Magic is Everywhere in Arlington Texas

Enchant Christmas Arlington Texas

Last Friday, I was invited to spend the day touring some of the things the city of Arlington, Texas has in store for us this holiday season. You already know Arlington offers so much to take part in all year-long but this season is especially fun! If you are looking for an entire day of Christmas fun you are going to want to read all the way through this post. I even found a few spots I’ll be back to visit all year-long! I’ll let you guess which ones.

Decorator’s Warehouse & Rose Garden Tea Room 3708 W Pioneer Pkwy, Arlington, TX 76013

Decorators Warehouse Arlington Texas

First stop on our tour was Decorator’s Warehouse. It has been recognized for years as the premiere Christmas store throughout Texas. Owners David and Kathy Hanson, who started the business in 1989, have pursued with great passion the design and creation of a Christmas store that would be unparalleled anywhere.

Reindeer Christmas decor Decorators Warehouse Arlington Texas

There are 20 different theme areas from snowmen, Santas and elves to rustic and woodland as well as beautiful elegant and classic themes, and so many more. Each theme area is an adventure in itself where you will see displays such as a full-size Santa’s workshop, a classic truck and life-size bears and Santas. They also feature the largest selection of Christmas trees in Texas as well as ornaments, wreaths, garlands, florals and everything else known to the imagination.

Bear photo op Decorators Warehouse

Vintage Truck Decorators Warehouse

Located in the back of Decorator’s Warehouse is the Rose Garden Tea Room. We enjoyed lunch here after shopping a bit. They have a signature Rose iced tea. I recommend making a reservation because it is a very popular destination but so perfect to enjoy a day of Christmas shopping and lunching with your lady friends.

Downtown Arlington

After shopping to our hearts content we headed downtown to visit some more local shops. You know I am a huge supporter of shopping our local small business.

Downtown Arlington Texas

Legal Draft 500 E Division St Arlington, TX 76011

Legal Draft is possibly one of my favorite new finds. It has a welcoming vibe and great selection. They have seasonal varieties that will keep you coming back and the location lends to additional shopping and eating locally too. This is a place I can see my husband really enjoying for date night or a night out with the guys.

Legal Draft Arlington Texas

Urban Alchmey Coffee

Welcome to your new living room. Urban Alchemy will be your cozy chair, your favorite meeting space and go-to place to celebrate. Arlington’s very first, locally-owned coffee and wine bar is coming to downtown in 2017. Give them a follow on Instagram to be in the know for announcements and local events.

Sleepy Cottage www.thesleepycottage.com 500 E. Front Street #150 Arlington, TX 76011

Sleepy Cottage has curated some of the most adorable merchandise I’ve seen in one place recently. I’m not really even going to elaborate. Check them out in person and online. TRUST ME.

The Sleepy Cottage Arlington Texas

Gift from the sleepy cottage Arlington Texas

Travel gift from The Sleepy Cottage Arlington Texas

Sugar Bee Sweets Bakery   

On top of being one of the best wedding cake bakery the metroplex offers, you can also stop in for an espresso, cupcake or sweet treat anytime you like.  I highly recommend the s’mores cupcake.

Sugar Bee sweets Arlington Texas

Six​ ​Flags Over Texas 201 E Road to Six Flags St, Arlington, TX 76010

Six Flags Over Texas truly outdid themselves with a special surprise for us. They day of our tour they opened the park early just for us! Have you ever had an entire theme park just for yourself? I certainly never have. It was magical. all of the grounds are decorated for the holidays and the music playing made me feel like a kids again. But it just kept getting better!

We were first in line to experience Frosty Snow Hill where you can bring your family to go sledding down a hill made of real snow. Our group had the best time. Afterwards, we stopped in to enjoy a custom-made hot chocolate. If you haven’t been out to Six Flags Over Texas now is the time!! You want to make this part of your holiday festivities!

Six Flags over Texas Arlington Texas

Bloggers Six Flags over Texas Arlington Texas

Sledding at Six Flags over Texas Arlington Texas

Enchant Christmas Globe Life Park Corner of AT&T Way and Copeland Road, Arlington TX

Enchant Christmas Arlington Texas

The annual Arlington Texas Christkindl Market, is now even grander as part of Enchant: The World’s Largest Christmas Light Maze & Market. Visit Texas Christkindl Market Lane in Enchant, November 24 thru December 31, 2017.

Ice Skating at Enchant Christmas Arlington Texas

Surrounded by millions of dazzling lights, the memories you make at Enchant will last well beyond the holiday season. Come enjoy the world’s largest light maze, gliding around the magical ice-skating pond, visiting Santa or sharing hot cocoa with your loved ones while listening to live entertainment, you’ll find enchantment around every corner. Enchant has over 100 food and market vendors, including the Texas Christkindl Market Lane. Unwrap new holiday traditions at the most scenic wonderland in Texas!

Enchant Christmas

I’m not sure I realized just how much there was to do in Arlington Texas for the holiday season but since my visit I’ve been telling everyone what a great time we had. I hope I was ably to share some new places and events that you can add to your holiday plans.

Have you visited Arlington, TX recently? Any of these you plan to go to? Leave me a comment below or on IG/FB!

 

 

This is the Gift Your Kids Will Use All Year Long : Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet

One minute you’re packing away the Halloween costumes and in a blink of an eye, the holidays have arrived. Cruise through the merriest time of year by getting a jump start on your gift giving. Turn to Amazon and their all-new Fire 7 Kids Edition tablet. With a little something for everyone (think: exciting content for the kids and peace-of-mind parental controls for the grown-ups) this tablet is the perfect gift for everyone on your list. The best part? You can order with just a few clicks. Read on for four reasons Amazon’s Fire 7 Kids Edition tablet makes the perfect gift this season.
Perk: Amazon has a special stackable offer just for Red Tricycle readers! Save an additional $5 when using code REDTRI at checkout. Click here for details.

girl coloring with tablet

1. Two-Year Worry-Free Guarantee: It’s the Gift That Keeps on Giving
You want to give a gift that keeps on giving past the holidays and Amazon’s Fire 7 Kids Edition tablet fits the bill. Every tablet comes with a two-year worry-free guarantee warranty. In basic terms: if something happens, return it to Amazon for a replacement. No questions asked. Bonus: every tablet also comes equipped with a kid-proof case in blue, pink or yellow.

boy with tablet boredom buster

2. Amazon FreeTime Unlimited: Boredom Be Gone!
The delight and joy when your child opens his present is what gift giving is all about. After unwrapping Amazon’s Fire 7 Kids Edition tablet, he’ll be ecstatic. For starters, each tablet includes a one-year subscription to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, an all-in-one app that provides unlimited access to over 15,000 kid-friendly books, videos, apps and games. And it’s good stuff, too. We’re talking content from PBS Kids, Disney, Simon & Schuster, Amazon Originals and more. Kids can also enjoy access to over 55,000 websites and YouTube videos in the FreeTime kid-safe web browser. This is one gift that’ll keep them entertained for hours on end.

Boys with tablet

3. Parental Controls: Mom & Dad Love It, Too
As much as you want to satisfy your kids, you also want to gift something that will make the grown-ups happy, too. We love how Amazon’s Fire 7 Kids Edition tablet meets the needs of both parent and child. Each tablet comes fully equipped with parental controls, which allow adults to manage and customize their kids’ experience, set bedtime curfews and employ tighter controls on screen time and content. With Learn First, you can block access to videos and games until educational targets such as reading goals are met. Your child can only access the tablet during specified times you designated for them.

mom and daughter with tablet
4. Parent Dashboard: A Gift You Both Can Enjoy
Sure, toys and games are great, but what you really want in a great gift is something both parents and kids can enjoy. Here’s where the tablet’s parent dashboard comes in. It features daily activity reports allowing you to review the books, movies, TV shows, educational apps and games your kids accessed and discussion cards, which provides you talking points and sample questions based on the content your kids discovered. This combination of reviewing what your kids see and discussion cards will help parents connect with their kids during the busy holiday season and keep tabs on what they’re enjoying.

Don’t forget to save an additional $5 by using code REDTRI at checkout! Remember: it’s stackable!

––photos courtesy of Red Tricycle

Ready, Set, It’s Thanksgiving! 5 Unique Hostess Gifts for this Season and Beyond

Babbleboxx Thanksgving

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com

Ready or not Thanksgiving week is here! The kids are out of school. Holiday phone calls are being made to finalize last-minute travel plans. Pies are being baked. It’s hectic but the very best kind, right? This year we are extra out of sorts because literally every household in both our families have moved, some to new houses and some out of the state. Due to the distance, new schedules, and getting settled, we won’t be hosting together in our familiar homes as in years past but we’ve partnered with a few amazing sponsors to highlight five unique ideas to show our gratitude and appreciation to those opening their homes to us this week. So whether you are traveling across the country or just across the street we’ve got the perfect suggestions for what to bring to your host/hostess whether they are a pet lover, always on the search for the perfect cocktail, or just a little something everyone can enjoy.

For the Hosts + Guests

Thanksgiving Edible arrangements

Edible Arrangements is a fantastic gift solution to bring to any Thanksgiving gathering. It adds a healthy option to the menu and creates a delightful centerpiece to share with the crowd while the finishing touches are being added to the main courses. Guests are always looking for something to snack on while the food is being prepared, aren’t they? That’s how it goes down at my house EVERY year! I’m certain this will be well received by any hostess.

It’s delicious and super convenient! We received the Salted Caramel Harvest Bouquet™ with signature Orange Swizzle Berries® This arrangement included salted caramel apple wedges, chocolate dipped strawberries, playful pineapple leaves, a chocolate covered pineapple “apple” in the middle, additional grapes, strawberries, cantaloupe and a ceramic pumpkin container that can be used again. You can order yours until the day before Thanksgiving and I have discount codes for you too!!

Use : THANK17 $10 OFF $39+ ($49 for CA) valid 11/13 – 11/22, unlimited use, for fulfillment any time.
         FEAST $20 OFF $99+, valid 11/13-11/22, unlimited use, fulfillment any time

Edible Arrangements Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

For the Furry Friends

Babbleboxx Thanksgiving Pets

This year we adopted Doug, into our family. She is a 6 year old rescue dog coming to us from a local animal shelter and has been one of the best pets we have ever had. We are so thankful for her and do our best to offer her the best in nutrition and treats whenever possible. Solid Gold Pet believes that every per deserves the longest, happiest life possible. These are treats we feel really good about offering our pet and bringing to other pet lovers for the pets in their families as well.

Solid Gold Pet Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

We also wanted to pay tribute to all those dedicating their time to providing love to those pets without homes this year. Petlanthropy.org is an organization doing just that. They partner and work with hundreds of local animal shelters and rescue groups across the nation. They are filling in the gaps to ensure all animals in shelters have health and happiness until their forever home is found. Offering a Petlanthropy.org donation gift card allows the recipient to give to a local shelter or rescue organization of their choosing. It’s perfect for someone who loves pets and insists “You don’t need to bring anything”. I love it because it is one way that we can remember to say THANK YOU to our local shelter for bringing so much love into our home with dog Doug.

Petlanthropy  Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

For the Guests

Thanksgiving Cocktails

While your hosts are preparing the turkey, it can be a lot of fun help them by serving up a few handcrafted cocktails. A fun cocktail in refreshing and can liven up practically any atmosphere. Clean Cocktails for the Modern Mixologists is a great way to introduce clean cocktail recipes to a crowd Feel free to leave the recipe book behind for your hosts to garner ideas for their next soiree. I know they will appreciate it.

Clean Cocktails Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Looking for a great non-alcoholic option to serve as well? Sipp Sparkling Mojo Berry has you set. Sipp mixes organic ingredients with blends of herbs and fruits to create a lovely refreshing beverage. You can choose to serve it alone or as part of a mixed drink. There are 6 original flavors to choose from so you can really have a lot of fun with this.

Sipp Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 

Hopefully you found a little inspiration in the gifts above. I know I was introduced to a couple of new favorites myself. The truth is we each have so much to be thankful for this season and every season! I want to show my gratitude whenever possible.

Happy THANKSGIVING to all our readers – We are thankful for YOU all year long!

What are you most thankful for right now?

Where to Stay and Play on South Padre Island

South Padre Island Texas WelcomeBeautiful South Padre Island has a known reputation for the influx it receives during a couple busy Spring Break weeks in March. If that’s the only thing that comes to mind when you hear South Padre, I’d suggest you think again! It is a WONDERFUL getaway for families too! During the rest of the year, South Padre Island is a relaxing oasis that rivals the best beach towns in America. This summer our family was invited to experience this Texas island as a family and we’ve got the best recommendations for a getaway you’ll never forget.

*We believe in full disclosure and wanted to let you know that this trip was provided by the South Padre Island CVB in partnership with Texas Travel Talk. As is common in the travel industry, our family was provided with accommodations, meals, and other compensation. As always we only provide opinions, recommendations, and experiences that are 100% authentic and our own.  

Where to Stay on South Padre Island

Pool at the Sapphire South Padre Island

One of the things I love most about staying on South Padre Island is that there are a wide range of available properties to fit every accommodation preference and budget. I can assure you that there is not a bad view anywhere on the island but if luxury accommodations are what you are looking for (you KNOW this is what our family enjoys most!), I highly recommend booking at the Sapphire through Coastal Lifestyles Luxury Rentals. The Sapphire has two private pools and rows of private cabanas to enjoy a beautiful day poolside.

Sapphire pools South Padre island

Beautiful lush landscape leads you to the beach boardwalk and the beautiful Gulf of Mexico just steps away from the pool cabanas. If you like to pool hop, staying at the Sapphire also allows you access to the neighboring Pearl pools and facilities as well. After spending a little time in the sun you can indulge yourself in luxury with amazing massages, refreshing facials, relaxing manicures and pedicures at the Sapphire Spa.

Sapphire Spa South padre island

Your teens can enjoy a space all to themselves in the Teen Game Room to enjoy some shuffleboard, pinball, pool and foosball! All fun and games here at Sapphire South Padre! At the end of the night, when you want to wind down as a family there is a private movie theater that let’s YOU choose the movie from a lonnnnng list of new releases. Just schedule the movie of your choosing with the front desk and it’s all yours!! This was one of our family’s favorite amenities.

Private Movie Room Sapphire South Padre island

Where To Play on South Padre Island

There is so much to do on the island you might have a tough time choosing exactly what to do first. We spent a very full weekend here and STILL didn’t have enough time to fit every thing in that we wanted to do. That gives us plenty of reason to plan a second (and third) trip back! Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy everything that the island has to offer.

-Get up early and watch the sunrise on the beach. 

Sunrise Sapphire South Padre Island

Build Sandcastles with the Experts!  Who else is fascinated with the elaborate sandcastles you’ve seen on the beach? I am always enamored with them. As it turns out, the experts are available and willing to teach you and your crew a few simple techniques to make you a master architect of sand as well. Several members of our group had the opportunity to meet on the sand to get an in-person lesson. This will be one of our “bucket list” items for our next beach trip!

Sandcastle building South padre island

-Get out on the water in a kayak, jetski, water bike or stand up paddle board!

If your body is a little water logged from being IN the water, you can still have fun ON the water. Even if your family has never kayaked before South Padre Island truly is the perfect place to learn. Of course you’ll all be wearing life-vests but the water surrounding the island in most places is only four feet deep. This means even if you are a little apprehensive about your stability on the water, and worst case scenario you do tip, all you need to do is stand up.

ProTip: Be prepared for the hyper-salinity (extra salty) of the water here. If it gets in your eyes it may be a bit more noticeable than average salt water.

Kayaking on South padre island

-Take a Eco-Sea life cruise while Dolphin watching or go on a pirate adventure on the Black Dragon with Osprey cruises

Pirates Pier Port Isabel

We arrived on a Friday night just in time for the evening pirate show and cruise on the Black Dragon. Drinks and snacks are available on the deck and aboard the ship. This cruise is IDEAL for families with young children.

Black Dragon Sign

The Black Dragon cruise is super interactive and the crew is just incredible with families! You’ll be on board to catch a beautiful sunset over the water and if you are there on a Friday or Saturday you’ll also get to watch the fireworks!

On Saturday, we took the 2 pm Dolphin watch cruise and we saw one of the most active dolphin pods I’ve ever seen!  This was a perfect time of day to be out on the ship too.

Osprey Cruises Chase Family South Padre Island

The ocean breezes kept us cool and there was plenty of shade on the deck to ensure we wouldn’t get too much direct sun. While sightseeing, you’ll also learn about the local wildlife and ecology of the Laguna Madre. The crew will use a trawling net to bring sea life directly to you onboard the ship and return it safely back into the eco-system.

Eco Tour Osprey Cruises Starfish South Padre Island

-Go Birdwatching at the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center. The birding center is fascinating and people come from all over the world just to see the birds that migrate here.

Swim the Day Away Remember the two awesome pools I mentioned at Sapphire? AND at the Pearl? Almost every resort or condo has great pool access to enjoy splashing the day away. Be sure to take enjoy some pool time while you are here!

Swimming at Sapphire South Padre Island

-Enjoy a fun filled day at Schlitterbahn South Padre

“Experience the best the Gulf Coast has to offer… a 25-acre paradise and the most popular waterpark in the Rio Grande Valley. Enjoy nearly two dozen world-class attractions, roar down 13 amazing indoor and outdoor water slides, or float one of the multiple river systems. The resort includes lodging, great Gulf beaches, fantastic dining location options, and unlimited use of both the indoor and outdoor waterparks.”

Where To Eat on South Padre Island

Vegetarian foods at the Painted Marlin grille

Whether it’s prepping for the day or coming in from a full day of island activities, South Padre has you set for dining options for breakfast lunch or dinner. Two of our best recommendations are WindJammers Beachfront Cafe ( located inside the IslaGrand Beach Resort) and The Painted Marlin Grille. Both have spectacular views and casual attire is acceptable at either location. Remember to be laid back enjoying the views and atmosphere, even though you are in Texas this is island life!

Painted Marlin Grille

Painted marlin South Padre dining

 

Fish and Chips at the painted Marlin Grille South Padre Island

For more family fun and ways to explore South Padre Island head over to Visit South Padre for all the latest activities and fun on the island! Be sure to check out our Instagram for more photos of our trip to South Padre Island and for the latest in Texas travel follow @TXTravelTalk on twitter.

Have you visited South Padre Island? What was your favorite activity, accommodation, or memory? Share in the comments below!