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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Purring for Purple Pet Products



            This is a sponsored post for which I have been compensated with a free product sample 
                         in exchange for my honest review. Opinions and photographs are my own.


Awesome paws! Calling all cat people!!! This post is just for you and I have a GIVEAWAY of some pretty spectacular cat litter products from Purple Pet that will leave your little fur ball purring for more!

I have been a cat owner for most of my life. I love cats.They have big, unique personalities, they are independent, yet love to snuggle, and the ones who are sassy are my personal favorites. In fact, in my house, we love our cats so much that we celebrate their birthdays! And yes, that is cats... plural! We have two because they are great as a pair, and our family history of TWO kids at a time dictates that we follow suit with cats  Our little fuzzballs, Marshall and Tusken, recently celebrated another birthday. At this celebration, they got gourmet "cakes" topped with cat treats, while human guests dug into a Cat Litter Cake! In case you have never heard of this disgusting, yet hilarious, and actually tasty concoction here it is- white cake and German chocolate cake are crumbled together and mixed with vanilla pudding, then topped with crushed, yellow Oreo cookies, a little green food coloring and Tootsie Rolls. But what makes this dessert standout is the way it's served. It's presented in a clean, brand new litter box and scooped out with a cat litter scoop! If you want step by step directions for this cake you can find them here.

Birthday cats!
Cat Litter cake in the iPrimio XL litter pan with iPrimio ScoopMonster Foam Handle Sifter Scooper

Our birthday cats received another wonderful present once the cat litter cake was scooped out. They got a non-rusting, iPrimio Ultimate Stainless Steel Litter Box  and the best cat litter scoop I have ever owned. The iPrimio ScoopMonster Foam Handle Sifter Scooper is durable and made of solid aluminum. It's large and wide which makes scooping easier and faster. The grates allow litter to sift through easily, making this daunting chore a breeze. I have been using these products for a few weeks now and not once have I had to dig and scrape the box to get it clean. 









The iPrimio ScoopMonster Foam Handle Sifter Scooper also comes with a 3M plastic hanger that allows you to attach the scooper right on the wall if you choose.






Do you want to scoop up a surprise for yourself?! Just leave a comment on this post with the name(s) of your cat(s) and why you love them. One winner will be drawn at random and will receive their very own iPrimio cat litter supplies from Purple Pet Products! Winner will be notified on Monday, May 13th, 2019!

You can keep the "pawty" going by following Purple Pet Products on Facebook and Instagram to see what else they offer pet owners....


 Purple Pet Cat Facebook:

and

 Instagram:


❤️

MJ

For more of my party ideas, home decorating, favorite recipes, twin activities x 2, and all things





"Mrs.Party Planner" please check me out on facebook and "like" the page. New blog posts will appear in your news feed.You can also follow me on www.bloglovin.com, on Instagram and Pinterest

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas


Teacher Appreciation Week is in early May for most of the United States. However, if you live in Texas, it is this week. The PTA (Parent, Teacher, Association) sent a letter home suggesting a sweet or salty treat to bring your child's teacher this past Tuesday. That day also happened to be National Picnic Day, and I had these adorable mini picnic baskets I ordered from EcoPartyTime, an idea was formed!

I put a cupcake liner in the baskets and filled with a variety of fudge from a local candy shop. I also decided to add these mini chocolate hamburgers (which are fun for kid's lunches too) and chocolate Pocky Sticks. 
I made the tag with my Cricut machine and good old fashion glue, paper, and scissors when I realized the original tag I made on the Cricut was too big for the favor. 

How cute are these?!
 

The pink fudge is Dr. Pepper flavored! Which is a big deal if you are a native Texan.

The next day, my kids brought in a homemade card and I attached this eco-friendly gift to the back of the card. On the package, I wrote Thank you for helping me GROW and included a handful of flower Seed Confetti, also from EcoPartyTime. You simply cover the paper confetti with soil in a sunny spot and water, then watch the wildflowers bloom! My kids planted the rest of the confetti in the backyard and we are patiently waiting for them to grow in our butterfly garden.


For the rest of the week, we brought teachers some items from their class wish lists (items they needed for the classroom) and a gift card to one of their favorite places as a little treat and way to say thank you for all they do! From my own experience working in an elementary school, witnessing the extra effort teachers put in to help students when they struggle, and seeing all the creative and fun ways teachers help kids learn, they deserve a week to be spoiled! Thank a teacher today! And a little good humor since summer break is coming up fast....




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❤️
MJ

For more of my party ideas, home decorating, favorite recipes, twin activities x 2, and all things


"Mrs.Party Planner" please check me out on facebook and "like" the page. New blog posts will appear in your news feed.You can also follow me on www.bloglovin.com, on Instagram and Pinterest



Monday, April 22, 2019

Earth Day Party Ideas



*Earth Day was started in the United States on April 22, 1970 in order to support environmental protections. It is now a worldwide event that is celebrated in more than 193 nations. This year, the Earth Day Network is asking people to join in the campaign to Protect Our Species  (NBPostGazette, 4/21/2019).

* "Extinction is a natural phenomenon, it occurs at a natural "background" rate of about 1 to 5 species per year. Scientists estimate we're now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate, with literally dozens going extinct EVERYDAY" (Center for Biological Diversity, 2008).

*The number of animals living on the land has decreased by 40% since 1970 (Earthday.org)

*Marine animal populations have also decreased by 40% (Earthday.org)

*About a quarter of the world's coral reefs have already been damaged beyond repair (Earthday.org)

* It is estimated that humans have modified more than 50% of Earth's land surface, which has affected many ecosystems as well as the range in which specific species of wildlife used to exist (Earthday.org).

So what can you do to help protect our species and our Earth? It's very simple. Help raise awareness. Support and get involved in Earth Day activities near you. If there aren't any, start a simple clean up. Share your support for Earth Day on social media. Celebrate Earth Day in school or host your own Earth Day Party. Here's some easy and fun ideas the kids can help with too.....


My girls and I made the Earth with bleeding tissue paper and blue and green watercolors to fill in some areas. 

The Earth Day banner is made from a paper shopping bag cut into pennants and adored with sticks, flower petals, leaves, and grass that we found in our backyard. My girls made this banner all by themselves with just a little help from me.

Organic herb container made from recycled materials
An easy and cute kid's craft idea is this organic herb container. I love having fresh basil nearby for a basil, mozzarella, tomato, and balsamic salad in the summer. We simply cleaned an aluminum can, added paper eyeballs and a bottle cap with glue. I purchased the fresh organic basil plant at a local grocery store. 

You can't have an Earth Day party without treats! My kids went bonkers for these healthy creature treats. A giraffe made from a banana with sliced almonds and cocoa dusted almonds (cocoa dusted almonds are amazing! You can purchase them here from Amazon.) Butterfly apples, veggie insects, kiwi and tomato sea turtles, and earth cookies completed our snack buffet. The earth cookies are so easy to make and turn out great! You can find the recipe here. However, you simply separate the sugar cookie dough into two sections and add blue food coloring to one section and green food coloring to the other. Then pinch a little dough from each section and roll together. Bake for desired time. Usually 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. 



If you are going to have an Earth Day Party, you want to make sure you are using eco-friendly products. I used un-waxed butcher paper for the table covering (you can get a large roll cheap from Home Depot). Place mats were colored paper which will be reused and eventually recycled.

I searched all over for the cutest, Earth friendly partyware that was also reasonably priced. And I'm happy to report that I found it! Ecopartytime has a great selection of plastic free and Earth friendly party supplies. They have colorful, recycled napkins, sturdy bamboo palm leaf, and sugarcane tableware that are all biodegradable. Decorations, invites, favors, and gifts for every occasion and holiday! And the best part, if you would like to see and hold some of the products before ordering a large quantity for your party, you can order a sample request. For five dollars, which helps cover the cost of shipping, you can pick five items to test for yourself. Just in case you have questions as to whether or not the bamboo cutlery will hold up and not taste like wood. And I can tell you from experience, it does hold up and does NOT taste like wood! I was very satisfied with the quality of these products. And this is not an ad or sponsored post.

Plates, cutlery, and cup all from EcoPartyTime.
 Another item I found from EcoPartyTime, is the adorable plantable flower confetti. Once planted, they will grow into wildflowers. I chose to spread them on the table for decor before the kids planted them in the backyard, however, these would be super cute incorporated into a gift. Say for the upcoming Teacher Appreciation Week?! Stay tuned for that!



Finally, these adorable little animal erasers from Amazon are non-toxic and earth-friendly. They made the perfect little favor for this years Earth Day campaign: Protecting Our Species. 


Through the years, I have learned simple things that I can do to help the environment. I remember receiving a tree to plant from elementary school every Earth Day and planting them in our back yard.
Here are some things you can do this Earth Day and everyday to help keep our earth beautiful.

1. Turn off lights and fans when not using them
2. Unplug phone chargers from the wall when not in use (not only does this save energy, but it also can prevent a possible fire)
3. Plant trees and native plants that will attract pollinating bees and butterflies
4. Turn off the water when brushing your teeth 
5. Skip plastic straws if you don't physically need them
6. Use reusable shopping bags (they cost about a $1 per bag and last a long time) Did you know that you can't recycle plastic shopping bags at home? They end up in landfills and our oceans, causing animals to suffocate when they mistake them for food, or get stuck in them. However, places like Target and other grocery stores do have bins at the front of the store where you can bring your plastic bags, including Ziploc brand bags to recycle. 
7. Recycle! If you don't have a recycle bin at your house, ask your trash provider or city for one. We have a dedicated recycle bin in our kitchen along with a garbage can. You can recycle aluminum cans, glass, plastic bottles, milk jugs, yogurt cups, cardboard, and paper. Please rinse your items from any food debris before placing in recycling.
8. Lower your thermostat by just a couple degrees. When you lower your thermostat, it helps your system so it doesn't have to work so hard and it saves you money!
9. If you haven't already switched to LED light bulbs do it now. They use 25-85% less energy, last almost 25% longer, and are much better for the environment. 
10. Donate clothes you don't wear anymore or other household items instead of throwing them away.
11. Try eating less meat and dairy. Domestic meat and dairy products require a lot of natural resources. Try abiding by meatless Monday. It helps the environment and its good for your health.


Pin Me!


Happy Earth Day!!! What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day?!

❤️
MJ

For more of my party ideas, home decorating, favorite recipes, twin activities x 2, and all things


"Mrs.Party Planner" please check me out on facebook and "like" the page. New blog posts will appear in your news feed.You can also follow me on www.bloglovin.com, on Instagram and Pinterest










Monday, April 1, 2019

April Fools' Day Fun



In years past, I didn't do anything for April Fools' Day. I was usually in survival mode during my children's early years. However, now that my kids are older, it is so much fun! No diapers, no naps (needed), they love exploring and traveling, and I have a couple pranksters! Hiding behind corners and trying to scare each other is a daily occurrence here. One of my boys received a prank kit last Christmas and it's been nonstop ever since. Shocking pens, whoopee cushions, fake injuries, itching powder, you name it! 

This year I decided to pull a few pranks of my own on them. First up, was their lunches. They had "moldy" bread, bugs, and olives disguised as chocolate covered almonds. They all despise olives so this was a great one. However, only one out of four was brave enough to investigate the olives. The others didn't even touch them. 


When they returned home from school, they were greeted with a surprise junk food dinner. Lemonade was served. However, as they quickly realized it wasn't really lemonade. Lemon jello looks an awful lot like lemonade when presented in a cup with lemons and a straw!



One of their favorite junk foods, corn dogs were also served. Although, these aren't ordinary corn dogs, these are actually cake pops! I found this recipe on Hungry Happenings. Beth has an amazing blog filled with all kinds of fun food creations. My corn dogs didn't turn out as pretty as hers did, but the kids said they tasted great!

Cake Pop Corn Dogs from Happy Happenings
You can't serve junk food without burgers! These were a hit with even my husband who was my official taste tester last night. I made vanilla cupcakes and cut them in half for the burger buns. Tinted vanilla frosting with red and yellow food coloring for the ketchup and mustard. Dyed shredded coconut green for the lettuce. And then added a Keebler Grasshopper cookie for the meat and sesame seeds to top it all off.






I hope you didn't get fooled today! And if you did, please share it. I would love to hear what your favorite pranks to pull are?

❤️
MJ

For more of my party ideas, home decorating, favorite recipes, twin activities x 2, and all things
"Mrs.Party Planner" please check me out on facebook and "like" the page. New blog posts will appear in your news feed.You can also follow me on www.bloglovin.com, on Instagram and Pinterest



Sunday, March 31, 2019

Baseball Treat Idea



Calling all baseball and softball parents! Opening day is this week. However, in the south, little league has been playing for weeks. 

If you need a snack idea or you want a little surprise for the team at the end of the season, I've got an easy and cute idea for you. 

While browsing at Five Below last year, I found the baseball Big League Chew and couldn't pass them up. I also wanted to add something with my son's team name, so I found these little plastic hats that double as an ice cream bowl off Amazon. They have a variety of the major league teams. Lastly, nothing says baseball like Cracker Jacks. You can also find these on Amazon since I wasn't able to find any at the local grocers. Tie them up with cellophane and ribbon and you have yourself a fun baseball treat.


Have a great season!!!
❤️
MJ

For more of my party ideas, home decorating, favorite recipes, twin activities x 2, and all things
"Mrs.Party Planner" please check me out on facebook and "like" the page. New blog posts will appear in your news feed.You can also follow me on www.bloglovin.com, on Instagram and Pinterest


Saturday, March 23, 2019

Best Playgrounds in Northern Dallas

Frisco Commons Hope Park Photo Credit: Update Frisco

Allen, TX
Celebration Park (701 Angel Pkwy, Allen) Kids eyes will light up when they see this park. It's huge. There is a very large Kid Mania built play structure, spray park, numerous sports fields, paved trails to walk or bike, pond with ducks, and restrooms.

Celebration Park 

Green Park (1305 Comanche, Allen) This park is great for little ones. It's a first responders theme and has a firetruck, police car, police station, and ambulance. Pavilion and picnic tables too.

Carrollton, TX
The Fields at Carrollton Parkway (1401 Carrollton Pkwy, Carrollton) Another park that has it all. Two playground structures, splash park, hike/bike trails, restrooms, sand volley ball courts, numerous sports fields, pavilion, and concession stands.

Mary Heads Carter Park  (2320 Heads Ln, Carrollton) Fun play structures! A pirate ship and lots of slides. Restrooms,walking/biking trails, and a pond.

Mary Heads Carter Park 

Frisco,TX
Frisco Commons Park aka Hope Park (8000 McKinney Road, Frisco) This park has it all. It came highly recommended to us when we first moved to the area and we were not disappointed. It has a large, closed in playground great for a range of ages. Spray park in the summer, lots of trails, and a fishing pond. You can also rent the pavilions for around $25 if you are a Frisco resident and they have a large grassy area near the spray park which makes it an ideal location to host a Birthday Party and maybe even rent a game truck with laser tag ;)

Northeast Community Park (2895 Honey Grove  Dr. Frisco) Not only does this park have a fun playground, it also has a skate park. Walking trails, a pond, and future plans to expand with a splash park.

Little Elm,TX
Little Elm Park (701 W Eldorado Pkwy, Little Elm) This is our favorite park because it has it all. Great playground with two zip lines, lots of trails to walk, BBQ grills, picnic tables, sand volleyball courts, great place to feed the ducks, and a sandy beach to play and swim. There is also public access to launch your boat or jet ski and you can rent paddle boards and kayaks from DFW Surf Little Elm Beach.

Little Elm Park Photo Credit: Little Elm Economic Development

Beard Park (310 E. Eldorado Pkwy. Little Elm) Another one of our personal favorites. Fun structures all on soft turf. Restrooms, music features, and you can take walk or bike the trail to Hula Hutt for a fun dining experience. And don't forget to try the Kawakini Stuffed Avocado while at Hula Hutt.

McCord Park (FM 423 just north of Main St. Little Elm) Nice playground for all ages in an open area, new splash pad (1001 Witt Rd), disc golf, and over a mile of paved trails. They also have plans to open a dog park here in the future.

McKinney,TX
Al Ruschhaupt Park (Phase 1:1986 Park View Ave. and Phase 2:2701 Northbrook Dr. McKinney) Great play structure that is also boundless (wheelchair accessible), splash pad, hike/bike trails, restrooms, many sports fields, large picnic shelter, and amphitheater.

Plano,TX
Jack Carter Park (2800 Maumelle Dr., Plano) A fun, all inclusive playground, walk/bike trails, restrooms, pavilion, pond, and sand volleyball courts. The Jack Carter Pool is not too far away from the park either and boasts pools, water slides, lazy river, Flow-Rider Surf Simulator and more!

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve (6701 W Parker Rd Plano) This is actually my favorite place to hike in the area. You almost forget that you are just minutes from the DNT (Dallas North Tollway). You can hike in the woods or on their paved trail, and they also have a creek to splash in. They playground is nice and they have restrooms.

Rowlett,TX
Kids Kingdom (5300 Main St. Rowlett) Another huge park with a ton to do! Fun play structure with zip lines, dinosaur bones in a sandpit, trails,and restrooms.

Kid's Kingdom Rowlett Photo Credit: Play by Design, LLC


**COMING SOON TO FORT WORTH:***
Frank Kent's Dream Park Fort Worth An all abilities playground on 57,000 sq ft that will be fenced in. This park looks amazing!

Photo Credit: Frank Kent's Dream Park 
Have I forgot any other great playgrounds? Leave a comment and let me know! Happy playing!

❤️
MJ

For more of my party ideas, home decorating, favorite recipes, twin activities x 2, and all things
"Mrs.Party Planner" please check me out on facebook and "like" the page. New blog posts will appear in your news feed.You can also follow me on www.bloglovin.com, on Instagram and Pinterest

Saturday, March 16, 2019

St. Patrick's Day Shake


St. Patrick's Day Shake

Here's a fun, sweet treat for your kids to share on St. Patrick's Day! Notice, I said "share" unless you are okay with your kids bouncing off the walls! If that's the case then, bottoms up!

Shake Ingredients:

3 cups of vanilla ice cream
3/4 cup of milk
1/4 tsp. of green food coloring.

Blend until smooth.

I added a donut, rainbow candy, and cotton candy. However, you could add any rainbow candy or green topping like candy or sliced fruit.

And if looking at this puts in you in a sugar coma, fear not, I have our favorite green smoothie recipe too!

Green Smoothie

3/4 cups of water
1 1/2 cup of pineapple
1 medium rips avocado (halved and pitted)
1 1/2 cups of Kale or Spinach
1/2 cup of ice cubes
1 Tbsp. of flax seed

Blend until smooth!

Have a Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

❤️
MJ

For more of my party ideas, home decorating, favorite recipes, twin activities x 2, and all things
"Mrs.Party Planner" please check me out on facebook and "like" the page. New blog posts will appear in your news feed.You can also follow me on www.bloglovin.com, on Instagram and Pinterest














Friday, March 1, 2019

Best Date Night Ideas In & Around Dallas 2019

This view of downtown Dallas is from the rooftop bar at the NYLO hotel.

Live music and Dancing

Lava Cantina (5805 Grandscape Blvd. The Colony) Check the schedule for many nights of live music, specials, and Sunday brunch with live Jazz through March 31, 2019 kids eat free.

Lava Cantina The Colony

Legacy Food Hall (Legacy West, Plano) This upscale food hall also has a good size outdoor concert area where you can nibble on a variety of amazing food, enjoy a drink, and watch live music. Outdoor heaters are available during the cold months too. Click the link for a schedule of their entertainment and many events.

Eight11 Place (7080 Main St. Frisco) This one of a kind restaurant and bar has a warm and cozy outdoors and indoor seating. Live music, good food and great drinks. The outdoor tables have small fires which make it the perfect spot to order their s'mores board and go to town roasting your own Marshmallows.
Eight11 Wine Bar

The Rustic (3656 Howell St. Dallas 75204) This is one of Dallas' must visit spots.  Local craft beers, great drinks, home style meals made by locally sourced ingredients, live music from local and national bands. You can't go wrong with this venue for live music and fun.



Post Time Honky Tonk(3650 N Buckner Blvd Ste 100 Dallas) If you are looking for a good, country western bar with cheap drinks, great music, and dancing, this is the place to go. The crowd is more mature and the attire casual.

Watters Creek (Allen, TX) During the warmer months Watters Creek has great live music in a nice open atmosphere. You can also visit the plethora of shops and dining choices.

Watter Creek Allen, TX
Unique Date Night Activities

Texas Star Dinner Theater (Grapevine and Fort Worth) Visit this long running and awarded murder mystery dinner theater. Shows every weekend. $60 per person (without gratuity) includes dinner and the 90 minute show. Soda and alcoholic beverages are also available through the show for purchase. This interactive wild west show will keep you entertained and provide lots of laughs.

The Salt Retreat (2552 Stonebrook Pwy. #925 Frisco, TX) Do you suffer from allergies, asthma, anxiety, or skin conditions like eczema? Clink the link to find out more about salt therapy and how you can try it. Take some to kick back in their comfortable recliners, breathe, and close your eyes. I promise this will be a very relaxing experience, and they give a discount to first time visitors.



DFW Surf (Little Elm Beach) Rent a kayak or paddle board and enjoy Lake Lewisville. You can rent a 2 person kayak for $35 an hour. They also have paddle board classes on Saturday afternoons for $60.

Sunset from Little Elm Beach

Delta Charlie's (5303 Challenger Dr. Dallas) How about a romantic private plane ride around downtown Dallas while enjoying a delicious 3 course meal?! FYI: Check Groupon for a great deal!

Whirly Ball Plano (3115 West Parker Rd, Plano) Whirly Ball is a combination of basketball and lacrosse in bumper cars. 1 person can play 30 minutes for less than $10. This would be a fun option for a group date.

Thrills
Six Flags Over Texas (Arlington, TX) Not just for kids, if you love roller coasters, this is the place to go. Thrill rides, games, and junk food.

Zero Gravity Thrill Amusement Park (11131 Malibu Dr. Dallas 75229) If you are really brave and up for bungee jumping, the Skycoaster, Texas Blastoff and more, give this place a go!

Skycoaster at Zero Gravity

Kartland Indoor Go Karts (10550 John W. Elliott Dr. #100 Frisco 75033) Fast, indoor, European go karts are sure to provide lots of excitement.

Go Ape Zip Line and Adventure Park Plano (5901 Los Rios Blvd. Plano, 75074) Take a 3 hr adventure through the forest canopy through suspended obstacles, a tarzan swing, and many zip lines! Open year round, but check their site for times and tickets. Adult tickets are $59 per person. Sign up for their newsletter or check Groupon for discounts.

Go Ape! Plano

IFly Dallas Indoor Skydiving (8380 SH 121 Frisco) This needs to be on your bucket list! See what it feels like to fly!

I-Fly Frisco

Red Door Escape Room Plano (Plano, Southlake, & Fort Worth) Best rated escape room in the DFW area. Do you have what it takes to escape?

Dave and BustersPinstack, MaineventFree Play Richardson Bring out your inner child and play video games, bowl, laser tag, and old school games. Menu options and adult beverages are available too.

Dallas Axe Throwing (suite 440, 715 N. Glenville Dr., Richardson 75081) The latest activity for couples, corporate events and parties. Come and see if you can throw the axe at the target.

Frisco Gun Club Classes (6565 Eldorado Pky. Frisco 75033) Whether you have never held a gun,  are an experienced shooter, or in between they have a class for you.

Texas Horse Trail Rides 

South Fork Ranch Trail Rides (3700 Hogge Dr. Parker, TX 75002) See the ranch where the 1980's hit show Dallas was filmed and take a trail ride. SouthFork Ranch offers trail rides daily at 10am, 11:30am, 1pm. 2:30pm, and 4pm. Riders must be at least 8 years old, 48'' tall, and not exceed 240 pounds. Closed-toe shoes are required for all riders. 


South Fork Ranch

Widow Maker Trail Rides  (2301 Cedar Springs Road #200 Dallas) You can take a 2 hour ride with this highly rated business. Ride through forest trails and along the edges of  Lake Grapevine.

Fort Worth Stockyards Stables and Horseback Riding (128 E. Exchange Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76164) 20 minute arena rides, 30 and 60 minute trail rides along the historic Chisholm Trail. Open 7 days a week from 10:30am-5pm.

River Ranch at Texas Horse Park (811 Pemberton Hill Rd. Dallas 75217) Pony rides, trail rides for beginners up to advanced. Parties, events and 1 hr trail rides start at $55 per person.

Comedy Clubs

Dallas Comedy House (3025 Main St. Dallas) This comedy club is in Deep Ellum so you can make a whole evening out of visiting some of the great restaurants, bars, and shops in the area.
Dallas Comedy House

Hyenas Comedy Club (Locations in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Plano). Lots of great shows and Thursday nights are free admission!

Backdoor Comedy Club (N. Central Expy. Dallas, TX 75206) Voted best comedy club by D magazine and Dallas Observer.

The Comedy Arena (305 E Virgina St. #204 McKinney, TX 75069) Improv, sketch, standup, and classes on how to become a performer are offered here.

Hiking/Biking

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve (6701 W. Parker Road, Plano 75093) One of my favorites. Paved trails, unpaved nature trails, 200 acres of creeks, paths, and open spaces. You can easily forget you are just a couple miles from the Dallas Tollway.

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve Lookout

Prairie Creek Waterfall (park on West Prairie Creek Drive, Richardson, TX) Okay this doesn't exactly qualify as a hike but you can take a nice walk to this beautiful waterfall and have a picnic.


Cedar Ridge Preserve (7171 Mountain Creek Pwky Dallas, 75249) Highly rated park trail located south west of Dallas. Closed on Mondays.

Trinity River Audobon (6500 Great Trinity Forest Way, Dallas, TX 75217) Free admission on the third Thursday of every month. 5 miles of trails through wetlands, prairies, and forest. Indoor exhibit, lots of birds and possible animal sightings.

Heard Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary (1 Nature Place, McKinney, 75069) Shorter hiking trails, lots of wildlife, no pets allowed. Great indoor exhibit.

The wetlands at the Heard Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary

Katy Trail Dallas (multiple entry points, click the website and location for more details) You can walk, run, bring your own bikes, or rent bikes and enjoy this paved trail that runs through the city. If you get hungry or want a cold drink, just stop at the Katy IceHouse along the trail. Or, you can do what we did, and head over to El Bolero in the design district for one of their famous oilman margaritas and sample some of their quality Mexican cuisine.


Signature drink: The Oilman margarita (best margarita I've ever had)


Sports

Top Golf (locations in Dallas, The Colony, Allen, and Fort Worth) Practice your swing, eat, drink, and hangout in this popular 3 story venue.

Top Golf The Colony

American Airlines Center 2500 Victory Ave. Dallas TX 75219) Catch a Dallas Mavericks or Dallas Stars game. Lots of great concerts held here too. Check their calendar.

Frisco Rough Riders Baseball (Dr. Pepper Stadium Frisco) During the summer months you can watch this AA team play right from their own lazy river in the stadium!

Dr. Pepper Stadium Frisco, TX. Home of the Rough Riders

FC Dallas soccer (Toyota Stadium Frisco) Catch a soccer game and see the brand new soccer Hall of Fame museum.



Allen Americans Hockey (Allen, TX) If you are in the mood for a hockey game but don't want to drive down to Dallas, check out the schedule for the Allen Americans.

Texas Legends Basketball (Frisco, TX) Check out this affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks for a great game at the Dr. Pepper arena. Great promotions all the time like $5 Friday game tickets and $1 beers on Wednesdays.


Beer and Wine Time

Mitas Hill Vineyard (2300 Vineyard Hill Lane, McKinney) Enjoy Texas wine indoors or outdoors on the patio overlooking their vineyards. Wine flights, wood fired pizza, salads, appetizers, and vineyard tours available. The wine bar and tours are closed for winter.

Mitas Hill Vineyard

Landon Winery (McKinney, Wylie, and Greenville locations) Sample and sip locally made Texas wines. Check their calendar for live music and events.

Sixty Vines (Plano and Uptown locations) Choose from many great wines on tap! They have a fantastic menu and the decor is modern and sleek. A personal date night favorite.



Union Bear Brewing (Granite Park in Plano) This large venue offers plenty of parking, indoor and outdoor seating, & Plano brewed beer. Delicious menu and brunch on the weekends!

Deep Ellum Brewing (2823 St. Louis St. Dallas) If you have lived in the Dallas area for awhile, you have probably seen Deep Ellum beer in your local grocer or restaurant. Come and visit this hip and lively brewery to see where all the magic happens.


Cooking classes

Sur la Table (Preston Royal Dallas) Check out their calendar and see all the different recipes you can whip up together!

Central Market Cooking School (various locations) The popular grocery store also offers cooking classes.

Central Market Cooking School

Taste Buds Kitchen (Plano) BYOB and make a few recipes. Private parties available too.

Local Yocal Steak 101 (McKinney, TX) Classes held on Saturdays during the months of March-July and then September-November. $75 pp for this 2.5-3hr class/information session that concludes with sampling many of their great steaks.

Tre Wilcox Cooking Concepts (Plano) Prep and plate a 3 course meal or take a couples cooking class with this well known chef. Classes fill up quick so schedule your spot today!


Spas

Relache Spa Marriott Gaylord Hotel Grapevine (1501 Gaylord Trail Grapevine 76051) Enjoy a variety of spa services and relaxation together.

Spa Castle Texas (Carrollton and Dallas) There are mixed reviews on this place but many good ones too, so you decide if it's worth a shot. Saunas, pools, spa services, resting lounges, workout facilities and dining.

Uni Sole Reflexology (Main St. Frisco) I have seen many places like this all around Dallas and wondered about them. From what I read, you could get a good massage for around $35?!  I had to try it. If you are looking for an upscale spa with amenities, this is not your place. However, if you are looking for a good massage that doesn't break the bank, this is it.  I opted for the 70 minute massage, reflexology, and hot stones for $45 (without gratuity)! NOTE: This was a special so please call and check ahead of time. However, the regular priced massages were very similar in price.  It was fantastic. I left feeling refreshed and will be back. They have a large room where couples, friends, and groups can all enjoy their services together.

Artsy 

Dallas Museum of Art (1717 N Harwood, Dallas) First of all, the admission to this museum is FREE. If you are not into art museums, I really encourage you to give this a chance. An art museum is not my idea of fun, but I gave it a try and was very impressed. This large museum has many interesting and great pieces of art. They have a cafe with good food for reasonable prices.


Dallas Arboretum (8525 Garland Road, Dallas, TX) This is a must do if you are visiting, just moved here, or have never been. Take a nice stroll through the many gardens here. This place is beautiful in the spring, summer, fall, and winter! Lots of events occurring weekly.



Painting With Influence (1014 S Broadway Ste 104, Carrollton, TX) Check their calendar for water marbling, pottery, painting, and fused glass classes. BYOB and they take care of the rest.


Ghosts, Goblins, and Mystery

The Dark Hour Haunted House (Plano, TX) Open year round. Check their website for times. I have only visited around Halloween but out of all the many haunted attractions I have visited (around the country), this is in the top 3. Hold on tight to your partner!

Ghosts of Denton (Denton Square, TX) On Friday and Saturday nights through MOST of the year (check the site for more details) you can take an entertaining, educational, and spooky 90 minute walking tour through Denton Square. For $15 a ticket, this is well worth it.



 Fort Worth's Ghost Bus Tour (Fort Worth, TX) Board an air conditioned or heated bus with a themed cocktail in hand if you like, and sit back for a spooky and educational tour of Fort Worth's mystery, madness, and mayhem. Tours and Thursday-Saturday 7 and 9pm. Tour ticket is $25 and a tour ticket with cocktail is $31.


For more of my party ideas, fun around DFW, favorite recipes, kids activities, and all things
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