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Friday, April 13, 2018

RC’s Playhouse review

RC’s playhouse review for local friends. 

We decided to check out RC’s on Friday since it was half off during their soft opening. We met up with new friends so the kids could all play together. They ended up playing amazingly well for over 3 hours! There were almost no fights and the ones that happened were resolved quickly and easily. That’s like unheard of with a bunch of kids under 5 in a new place. 😳 

Pros

Location. It’s maybe 5min away from us so super easy to get to. We’re on the outskirts so it will be closer to 10-15min for those in town or towards cedar creek. 

Indoor. While we LOVE being outside, it’s nice to have an option for rainy days. It’s also going to be too hot to play outside before we know it and this will be perfect for that. We have memberships to the zoo and dinosaur park, but won’t be able to use those much during the summer. 


Variety. There’s a infant/young toddler area. There’s a smaller space for younger kids or less adventurous kiddos who want to play without going through the large tunnels. There’s a huge structure with different areas to start and end. The zip line was a huge hit. Then there’s more of a quiet area. Table and chairs with puzzles and building toys (magnatiles I think). The older kiddos rotated nicely between all the areas taking breaks to build together after chasing each other around









Relaxation: yes...you read that right. I got to sit and mostly relax! This is a great place to take your kids and be able to chat with other mamas. We almost didn’t know what to do with ourselves. We had to occasionally help a kid or tell them to stop something, but for the most part, we did nothing. Amazing right?! I even showed off a quick Color Street application. Lol

*Update* We went back again for their grand opening since it was free. I, again, got to relax with another mom! I even was able to do my nails while they played. So nice! I did the kiddo's nails too. How cute are our matching mermaid print nails?! And my friend has on Broadway Glimmer. (Join my FB page Crystal's Cute-icles for more info on our adorable nails)




WiFi: if you need to get some work done while the kids play, this is the place to do it! Bring your laptop and let the kids go wild. 

Snacks:  I like that we can bring our own snacks (and we even joked about pizza delivery). There’s also  some small snacks available for purchase. 

Tired kids: Emma took a nap for once! That almost never happens. All the kids slept in a bit the next day. 

Cons:

Size. While they do a great job of making the most out of their space, it’s on the smaller end of all the play spaces we’ve been to over the years. Not bad when there’s only a couple families, but if they’re busy, I think it will feel really crowded quickly. 

Seating: this is mostly due to space. Not a ton of seating for grown ups. Again, fine when slow, but when busy, people will be sitting on the floor. Which really doesn't bother me much, but some might not be fans. If I remember right, there's 2 small tables with chairs, a couch, and a loveseat?

Price. This is the biggest con for us. It’s $9/child. Times that by 3 kids and we’re at $27 a visit. They do have monthly and annual memberships, but even at their reduced grand opening prices, they’re still really high. $75/month for family of 3 or $450/year for family of 3. Even with $100 off of the annual membership this month, it’s a huge investment. This price point won’t be feasible for many families, especially those with single income households. 

Compared to the many similar facilities we’ve been to in the last 5 years, across multiple states, the cost was shocking. For the space and location, I’d expect closer to $5/child. For comparison, here are some membership prices for other Austin area places we’ve gone or plan to go. Pricing will be based on my family cost (me and 3 kids since Josh is usually working when we do activities) to keep it even. 

RC’s playhouse: $450/yr. $350/yr if purchased on April

Dinosaur Park: $75/year. Wyatt is still free here otherwise it would be $100/yr

Capital of Texas zoo: $99/yr 

Thinkery: $99/yr

McKenna Children’s Museum: $150/yr 

Mt Playmore: doesn’t appear to have annual price. Looks to be $45/mo for 3 kids so? This one is more expensive, but it’s also much larger. This is also the most similar concept to RC's.

*Update* I just saw they lowered their pricing for 12-23mo to $5/child. So, that puts us at $23/child per visit. I'm assuming membership pricing is the same since it wasn't mentioned. 



Final thoughts: Overall, this place is a great addition to the area. For as many families as we have out here with small kids, there are not many places to play indoors. Anything that can keep my 3 happily playing for close to 4 hours wins a prize in my book. I’m still in shock that they played so good for so long. Unfortunately, I’m not sure we can find room in our budget for more than the occasional trip and even that will be hard to justify. If it were closer to $150-$200/yr I think it would be more manageable for families. The owners and staff are all super friendly and great with the kids. 

My kids are still talking about it and want to go back so that’s always a good sign. Ethan said he wanted to stay FOR.EV.ER, asks nonstop for a membership, and said he wants to go everyday, twice a day. Lol Every time we leave the house they ask if we're going to the fun play place. 

Here's a few pics I snapped while they played. Look at those big smiles!






Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Play Makeup for Toddlers

For the past 4 months, I have slowly KonMari-ing my belongings. Which means I have a lot of excess I'm getting rid of. While doing my makeup, I thought of how wasteful it was to just throw it all away. That's when I remembered that I pinned this cute idea about a year ago. My toddler loves to get into everyone's makeup bag and pull out everything while making a huge mess. So, I decided to make her a makeup bag of her own.

I have a ridiculous amount of cute makeup bags courtesy of an old IPSY subscription. I also had a few makeup brushes from samples that didn't work for me. Everything used was something I already had and planned to discard.

First, I took a few old eyeshadows out of my discard pile. I used a nail file to scrape out the shadow and used a makeup remover cloth to get any small bits left.


Then, I picked some colors from my nail polish discard pile. I ended up swapping the bright pink for 2 others since I couldn't get the cap off. 


Then, simply pour the nail polish into the empty pots. For some I used 2 colors mixed to get the color I wanted. I left them open in front of a fan on low overnight to dry. They take awhile to dry since it's a thick coat of polish. She ended up with a foundation, blush, sparkly lipgloss, and 2 eyeshadows.

I gave it to her this morning and she LOVED it. She immediately asked for me to open them and went to putting on her makeup. She sees me, her aunts, and her Mimi put it on all the time so she loved getting to feel like one of the girls.



She ended up playing with them almost all day and night. Everyone that was near her got a makeover. Puppies, stuffed animals, and big brother included. 



So if you have any old makeup products, this is a super quick, easy, and free project to throw together. It only took me about 10 min to do (minus dry time) and has already provided hours of fun for my sweet girl. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Sweetest big brother

Sometimes Ethan is so adorable that I just can't handle it. Last night, he asked to sleep in his chair instead of the crib. We decided to give it a go and put the gate up at he stairway. Well, this morning I woke up to some sweet brotherly love.

Emma must have woke him up crying. He went running into her room and I heard him saying "hiii Emma" through the monitor. He started talking to her and trying to comfort her (most likely putting his hand through the slats and patting her on the head like he does).

She started crying harder and I was making my way upstairs when I hear him run to the gate and yell down to us. "HEY! HEY! Baby crying!" Hahaha. Then when he sees me, he runs back to Emma and says, "it's ok baby" "it's ok sweetheart" like he hears me say to her.

Seriously the cutest. Sure, he's the toddler brother who hurts her sometimes (usually on accident since he's so not gentle), but he's also a total sweetheart who adores his baby sister. He loves to protect her and snuggle with her. 

Here my little cowboy pushing her and having to pause to kiss the top of her little head. <3 *swoon* 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Pee Wee Rebuild Part 1

Middle of the day texts from Josh are often very random. One day I got a text with a Craigslist link asking “Can I buy these for Ethan”. It’s a link to 2 dirt bikes. Ethan just turned 2, no idea why he needs even 1 dirt bike, let alone 2. But, they were a great price and I figured they’ll take some time to even be running so why not let them have some fun working in the garage. Josh thought it would be fun to track their progress, so here's part 1.

Week 1

So, Josh and Ethan went out that night and picked up two Yamaha PW50 dirtbikes.  These are the smallest dirt bikes made, and are known as “PeeWees”.  The bikes don’t run, but are mostly complete at least, and were advertised as needing minor things such as a carb rebuild.  Ethan hopped on one immediately while Josh was talking to the seller and wouldn’t get off them as they were being loaded on the truck.  He “vrooomed” the entire time for onlookers as Josh tied them down. It’s like he knew they were for him. This kid is obsessed with anything on wheels.
Doesn't he look like a little natural up there?
So excited!

Over the next few days, the bikes were cleaned and examined.  A power washer was borrowed (and later broke-oh the joys of working in the garage), fuel tanks drained and cleaned, carbs cleaned, etc.  One bike is going to be the “parts bike” and the other bike is going to be rebuilt.  The question was which one?  Before any more time was dumped into trying to get them to run, Josh did a compression test on both of them.  This determines if the inside of the motor has enough pressure to run.  (Or something??)


Red bike pre-cleaning 




Yellow bike pre-cleaning




Ethan trying to put the fender back on. 

Ethan pointing out all the spots that were missed cleaning. 

Red bike cleaned and stripped of bodywork.

Online the lowest seen for a running engine was 80 psi, the minimum is supposed to be 100 psi.  This is what ours got:

Yellow Bike: 65 PSI
Red Bike: 30 PSI

The engines need a new top end or a complete rebuild.  Normally, this would be extremely expensive, but for little bikes it’s fairly cheap.  A new top end was ordered instead of rebuilding the original.  It was half the cost, had decent reviews, and a warranty to boot. 

The bikes VINs were ran: The yellow bike is a 1982 and the red bike is a 1987.  That’s roughly thirty years for each, with 2-8 year olds thrashing the crap out of them.

Week 2:

The red bike was selected for rebuild.  Even though the compression was lower, every other aspect was better.  The forks weren’t seized, wiring harness and switches were intact, and since the top half of the engine was being replaced, compression tests didn’t matter. 

Disassembly began. 

Ethan wasn't happy about disassembling it.


 He kept wanting to put it back together. 

Bike frame

Engine pulled from frame

Pictures of the inside of worn out motor


The engine, rear wheel, and other components were removed from the frame.  This was supposed to take an evening, but a lot of fasteners were seized up.  After two evenings it’s about halfway done.  This will continue throughout the week.  I swear any time Josh gives a time frame for something, I should expect at least double ;)

That’s the progress so far. Next on the agenda:

Finish disassembling everything.  Figure out the paint scheme for the bike.  Then take frame, exhaust, bars, wheels, and other small parts to powder-coater.  As it sits, it looks more like a tetanus delivery machine than a dirt bike.  Any parts that can’t be powder-coated (nothing with bushings/seals since the parts go into an oven), will have to be sanded down and spray painted at home.  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Farm Camp

This morning we got to visit Homestead Farms for their farm camp. Ethan loves farm animals so I thought this would be a lot of fun for him. We've been there once before for a field trip and enjoyed it. Farm camp is for ages 2-12 for about 2-3 hours depending on the age group. It's $25/child so not too bad for something different to do.

Little guy was a bit overwhelmed at first. It always takes him a little while to warm up to things. There were a lot of kids and he was probably the youngest since he just hit the 2 yr cutoff.

After decorating his bucket, our first activity was feeding the fish and learning about how seeds grow. Everyone got to plant some green bean seeds which Ethan loved because it involved tools and dirt.


 Next stop was learning how they milk the goats. My silly guy with a bucket on his head ready to catch the milk. His little hands holding the cup are just adorable.


While in the milking room, Emma decided she was hungry. It's like she knew the room was all about milk. I was feeding her when they offered to let the parents try milking so I figured, why not try to milk a cow while nursing a baby?! haha Luckily one of the other moms thought to take a picture for me since it's not every day I breastfeed while milking an animal. 


Of course we had to try some goat's milk after that. Ethan loved it. He wouldn't share. Then when he finished his, he took mine. I love that he is so willing to try different food most of the time. 


Then we went and saw the pigs and horses, pet the baby goats, fed the adult goats, and got to go collect an egg from the chicken coop. Ethan threw his egg like a crazy toddler, but luckily it didn't break. We also had a small snack.

Sweet Emma fell asleep about the time we were feeding the goats. This is one of the huge reasons I love babywearing. I was able to enjoy the farm with my toddler while she went from my back, to nursing, to asleep on my chest. With how muddy it was, a stroller would have been a huge pain to push and it would have gotten filthy. And it would have made keeping up with Ethan difficult. Since there was a risk of it getting dirty, I skipped the wraps and light colored carriers and used the Boba 3G. This is my fave option for wearing if I'll be moving a lot and wearing for awhile. I wore her comfortably for a little over 2 hours with lots of bending down. 



Because of the rain this week, the farm was extra muddy. One of Ethan's favorite things was jumping in puddles and stomping in the mud. From the moment we got out of the car until I took off his boots, he was looking for puddles. It was so much fun to be like a kid and not care about getting dirty. 


All in all, it was a great morning. They have a bunch of slots still available and I'd definitely recommend it. Ethan was tired and had a great nap when we got home which meant I actually got a break to do a yoga video. We had so much fun splashing around and making a mess. 


Bonus: The farm also has a little store where everything is local. I got some goat's milk since Ethan liked it and some other goodies. We had the cranberry bread and dried fruit for afternoon snacks and I'm thinking tomorrow we'll have the tamales for an easy dinner.



Monday, February 9, 2015

Frazzled mama

Anyone that knows me, knows I love babywearing. It's a great way to get things done around the house and run errands while keeping the little one close and happy. I've always known it makes things easier and keeps the babies happy. But until today, I didn't realize just how much it makes a difference for me and keeps me a calm mama who feels in control.

I had a drs appt today so I had to figure out where to put the kiddos during the appt since I couldn't exactly wear them when they're doing my checkup. We don't have a double stroller since our single stroller is almost never used anyway. With just one kiddo, it was always easy, use the stroller. Well, with 2 under 2, I felt so stuck because Emma can't sit up yet and Ethan won't sit still for that long. I ended up putting Emma in her carseat snapped into the stroller and wore Ethan in since it was a bit of a walk and on the 5th floor. Then once I got inside, I swapped him to the stroller and kept her in the carseat on the ground. It worked ok, but it was such a pain pushing the stroller around and carrying her seat and then trying to fit them both in the room with me.

I totally felt like that mom that doesn't have her Sh!t together. lol I was a frazzled mess trying to keep them both happy and distracted. I had to take Emma in and out of her carseat a few times so she could nurse. Yup, another HUGE benefit to wearing means I can feed her while I do what I need to. I hated feeling like this mom who had no idea how to keep things together. Both kiddos were cranky and on the verge of meltdowns.

To make up for it, I decided to try tandem babywearing for the first time. Ahh, it felt so much better to have my kiddos close to me and I had my hands free to do whatever I needed. No needing to take her out of the seat, no needing to distract him with toys, no pushing a stroller while carrying a carseat. Just me and my babies nice and relaxed. We took a little walk through the neighborhood pointing out all the things we saw along the way and I finally felt calm again. 

My happy place

Monday, January 19, 2015

Reese's Spread yumminess

When I got a survey from Influenster for an upcoming vox box about peanut butter, I was excited. My husband and son love PB. This is currently our PB collection in the pantry. Needless to say, we're always up for trying more.


See that orange one?! Yeah, that's the new Reese's chocolate peanut butter. It's just as amazing as it sounds. It's like a blended up Reese's cup. Josh was like "Why did it take so long for them to make this?" 


The boys like to just eat it right out of the jar with a spoon and already devoured a good chunk of it. Josh actually went straight for it the day after when he got home from work. lol I usually have PB in a tortilla with banana and honey, but didn't think that would work for this. Instead, I added some sweetened coconut and a warm tortilla. It was melty, sweet, chocolately goodness. 

This was definitely a toddler approved snack. He was so happy and gobbled it up. 

We'll definitely be buying this again. Hubby already said he needs a jar to take with him when he goes overseas. So glad we got to try this from Influenster.

"I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes."
 
Images by Freepik