*DISCLOSURE: I RECEIVED THIS PRODUCT COMPLIMENTARY FOR REVIEW PURPOSES. ALL THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS ARE MY OWN.
So we’ve heard all the hype about these Aussie towels, they’re fun, they’re beautifully designed (they have tons of cute ones, btw) and they boast about being rapid dry, compact, ultra-absorbent and sand free. Sure that’s great and all but what makes it a perfect choice to give to your mom this Mother’s Day? I mean let’s face it, not everyone enjoys the beach and frankly with this current lockdown situation I’m not sure if any of us are going to enjoy the beach anytime soon. Plus, who would want to give their mom a beach towel for Mother’s Day, right? That’s what I thought until I was gifted one and came to realize that all the “hype” IS true.
So I got the Tesalate Into the Wild XLand yes that particular size of towel at 160cm x 160cm / 63 x 63 inches is good for two (or one with multiple kids, haha) all of their claims hold true but what I’ve come to enjoy about this specific towel is its versatility. Yes, I am in love with their designs, it was hard to pick just one design and every mom would just adore this towel during a trip to the beach because you’re not packing all the sand from your kids’ sand castle or beach toys and you won’t have to lug around a beach towel soaked in water but its hard to believe that I enjoyed this towel so much at home while on quarantine.
Here are 4 ways I’ve used my Tesalate towel at home (so far):
1. Sunbathing Towel
The most obvious way to use a beach towel is to use it as it should be but not at the beach so sunbathing in the backyard it is (for now anyway). Staying indoors for quarantine has gotten my skin so pale so when it got a bit warm I decided to soak up the sun.
2. Personal Blanket
It still gets a little bit chilly here in Indiana so I’ve used it to keep me warm and cozy while I binged watched my series or caught up with some of my books during my downtime from the kids.
3. Picnic Blanket
The size I got was just a perfect fit for all of us, we did a spur of the moment picnic with mostly unhealthy snacks and enjoyed spring in our backyard. Cheeseballs FTW!
4. Teepee Rug
We were playing pretend for the afternoon and the kids and I decided that this would make a perfect area rug for their teepee. They pulled out the feather headdresses I made them and voila!
And this is why I’m convinced that this towel would be a perfect “wild card” present for Mother’s day—you can just use it as a “cool” towel but if you want to it can be so much more than that. I mean what mom would not want an “all-around” towel, something you can enjoy at the beach and also at home or something you can enjoy with your kids, with your spouse or just by yourself. I’m still trying to discover new ways to use my Tesalate beach towel, I have a feeling it would go well with crafts but for now if you’re still unsure about them, click on this link and go check them out.
Never in my wildest dreams did I picture being on lockdown and on self-quarantine for Easter but from the looks of it, I don’t think Cassie and Xavi will get to do an Easter Egg Hunt with their friends this year. The Corona Virus is still continuing to increase in numbers and it hasn’t even reached its peak so this year’s lists have a lot of things we can enjoy at home while we’re doing our share by practicing social distancing.
We’re doing a BIG Easter gift , a playset from Coco Village, instead of going crazy on their baskets because of our current situation so we reused their baskets from last year and I also included in their baskets some items that I’ve been hoarding for them. Clothes and shoes were the last on my list because we still have a lot plus I don’t think we’re going anywhere any time soon, we’ve been living in our Pjs for the most part so without further ado, here’s this year’s Easter Basket Ideas.
Btw, here’s the bundle deal from Coco Village: the kitchen, the mini market and a shopping cart all for $199. Don’t forget to use the code: LETSPLAY at checkout if you wanna get your kids the entire set.
Thought I’d show you the prints that you’re getting if you’re purchasing the box. The fantasy-feel of these illustrations make the perfect display for Cassie and Xavi’s room when we redecorate it. We were lucky to find it on sale at our local Ollie’s for $2.99.
The perfect Easter game to play with your kids ages 3+ (and yes, you can still play with it after Easter). Its a great first exposure to board games as it teaches our little ones fine motor skills while having fun.
Obsessed—-ever since we got exposed to Cry Babies, Cassie would not stop talking about them so we are grateful for Cry Babies for sending us a bunch of their Fantasy House line to add to Cassie’s Easter basket.
They are these cute little babies that have their own houses and when you bottle feed them, they cry real tears, their pets have a line too and they also have their own cartoon series, just a heads up.
Yes, we always get excited over the wooden toys Hearth and Hand comes out with but Xavi has been wanting to play with Cassie’s doll house and what better way for them to play together if he had some animals to contribute to their pretend play, right?
There are different versions can teach your little ones about shapes, numbers, colors, etc. Right now we want to focus on numbers for Xavi so that’s what we got for him. Learning numbers through Eggs—- I though that would be an Egg-citing add on to the Easter basket. 😀
Our original plan this year was to travel as a family since the holidays were pretty hectic, I wasn’t sure I was ready for party planning stress but then with Marco’s crazy schedule at work and with some prior commitments at Cassie’s school we had to postpone travel plans and so I told Marco that I’d just throw a playdate for Xavi. We’ve come up with a small local mom group here in Muncie and we rotate houses to hold play dates so I figured it would be a perfect time to host a playdate (on the day of Xavi’s actual birthday), at least we could somehow celebrate Xavi’s birthday, right?
Then mom guilt started kicking in, I mean Cassie had a pretty big birthday celebration last October and when she turned two during our first year here in Muncie, we didn’t know a lot of people yet even then we had a big party for her. I almost considered just having a small party at Escapades like when he turned One but I wanted to be comfortable at home so exactly 5 days before his birthday I decided a theme for the playdate and officially made it a playdate birthday party by sending out an invite.
Everything was going to be last minute so I decided on a theme that would be easy to execute and since Xavi already got a dinosaur suit from Pilica for Christmas and a dinosaur balloon that we didn’t get to inflate, might as well go with that theme. I also used pretty much all of his dinosaur toys to somewhat decorate the place. The rest of the supplies were from the dollar store and Walmart and I did a bunch of easy DIY projects that I will touch on in this blog post.
First dino toy spotted as a centerpiece, I randomly just put them all over the place.
For the backdrop, I just used two different shades of green crepe paper rolls that I got from the dollar store and Walmart. I cut long strips just above floor level (or however long you want the strips) and taped them on the wall alternating. I printed some leaf templates I found on line on different shades of green colored construction paper and placed them on top of each other so I could cut them all at once. I did the same for the dinosaur prints but this time on brown colored construction paper, decorate as desired.
Above are the templates I used for the backdrop I made for Xavi’s birthday, Click on them to use.
We ordered our goodies from our favorite chef here in Muncie, Chef Maggie of Simply Patisserie and I was so glad that she was still able to do our order considering that we asked her last minute.
Dino toy #2 spotted along with the white chocolate pretzels aka “Dino Fossils”
Xavi’s chocolate Dino cake
Toy #3 spotted with the letter board
I reused the ballon garland strip from Cassie’s birthday and just popped all the leftover balloons from her birthday. I bought 12-pack green and gold balloons from Walmart and 15-pack white balloons from the Dollar Tree and filled the strip up once I inflated them. The big dinosaur balloon was the one we got from Pilica and you can get that at your local Target.
Loot bags were done last minute as well, we had left over sandwich bags from Cassie’s birthday and I searched for a random baby T-Rex online to put on it. I would’ve done a whole lot more if I had the time (like a hatching egg or maybe dino foot print thank you tags ) but then again, its supposedly just a a playdate, right?
We threw in our favorite chocolates in there and I found some ‘dinosaur themed’ items to just tie in the theme— crayons, stickers, erasers, slap bands, dino goo and finger puppets.
You know the kids are having fun when they make a lot of mess. Haha.
Xavi enjoyed his chocolate birthday cake from Chef Maggie of Simply Patisserie. The kids always enjoy getting your cake, cupcakes and sugar cookies.
And Daddy made it home! Marco was long call today so he came home late, we waited for him so Xavi could blow his candle and slice the cake.
Ninang Telly is in town!!!
As usual Tita Ditas spoiling the little boy. 🙂
Perfect way to end Xavi’s birthday, Mexican night with the Rousseaus. I had my frozen margarita so it’s all good.
And that wraps it up guys, I hope those templates will somewhat help you throw an awesome Dinosaur Party. I know it made Xavi’s playdate look like a planned party playdate even if it was done last minute.
I guess the reason why you’re reading this blog post is because you want to find out what a trip to the Houston Color Factory with kids looks like. So read up…
Color Factory- Houston
Address: 3303 Kirby Dr, Houston, TX 77098
***PARKING IS HARD. So make sure to read the website prior to your visit. They will tell you where to park. We lucked out and found parking at the very end of the street by an empty lot. It was a walk with kids but its free.
Tickets: $35 for adults; $28 for kids (3-12)
You have to buy tickets online and they sell them by time slots just to ensure that there’s just a right amount of people when you go. Also they want to make sure its never too crowded to take pictures and enjoy the installations. See, they thought about us. lol
The kids prices… yep, I know. I was a bit hesitant to purchase a $28 ticket for Cassie (4) not knowing what to expect plus mind you that doesn’t even include taxes. Cassie and I ended up paying somewhere close to $75 for the both of us (yikes) since Xavi was free but I can honestly say it was worth it. I figured they scouted the entire US to find the best place to put up a pop up of this amazing New York exhibit and among all the cities in the United States, they picked Houston so I wasn’t going to let this chance slip away. Plus on their website they go in detail explaining how they came to do so. Check it out here.
Pro tip with kids: Come 30 minutes early so you can enjoy the lobby display and take pictures. (I mean that’s the reason why we rough out a trip to the museum with kids, right? Its all for the gram. lol) Plus it gives you and your kids time to enjoy the FREE mochi without getting a brain freeze. Don’t bring strollers. They’re not allowed in the exhibits inside, you will be asked to check them in.
Once they take you in, adults are asked to register and get a token that can be scanned for different photo opportunities all throughout the exhibit. Yes, they have pretty amazing cameras set up so you and your friends (or kids for this matter) can enjoy taking as many pictures as you want. These photos will directly go to your registered email once the visit concludes so its important to have that token with you at all times.
Pro tip with kids: Have them get their own token even if they’re not registered, I’ll tell you at the end of this post why that’s a good thing. Make sure that your kids tokens are a different color from yours, you don’t want to scan the wrong token and have those photos sent to an invalid email address. It would be a waste.
After registration, they let you grab your very own French Macaroon to enjoy. They have a LOT of flavors to pick from too (same as the Mochi), I made sure I picked Coffee. The kids are allowed to get their own macaroons, even Xavi who came in free had his own.
Unwoven Light by Soo Sunny Park
Nice to hold but No-no to touch, of course Cassie went in and reached for it. She did this too at an exhibit at the Broad but they were more understanding over here when I apologized.
Someone forgot to blow dry her hair today. Haha
You know your kids are having fun when you can’t even ask them to take a decent picture with you because they’re too busy playing with gigantic bouncing balls. haha
Pro tip with kids: I wish I had one for this room but I was honestly overwhelmed, I myself got excited and I wasn’t thinking straight but if I were to change anything, I would have given my kids one ball each and I would have gone straight for the camera so we could take decent pictures and get that out of the way then explore and play in the room. Oh, and make sure your kids don’t throw the balls too high so they don’t hit the ceiling.
YOU. ARE. MAGIC
Pro tip with kids:See our hands on those blue things? Don’t let the kids do that part, if you break connection (they will explain this over there) those things don’t light up so if they ‘accidentally’ take their hands off then you’ll be taking pictures in total darkness. Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration.
Also, notice the letters GI not lighting up? Well, no one was there to press those thing in the right side of the room (not seen in photo) so a full room is what it’ll take to get a good photo. The nice thing with those tokens is you can always go back and try it again if it fails the first time.
The Confetti Room
The photo opportunities here are endless with two cameras situated by Color Factory to take awesome photos but this is also the room where my kids felt so wild and free that they were rolling over and having confetti wars with each other. They got so excited that Cassie felt compelled to ‘taste’ confetti.
Pro tip with kids: THEY. WILL. GO. CRAZY.— just expect that. And also don’t make the same mistake I did, I had Cassie wear boots to the exhibit and she brought home a dozen confetti paper in those boots.
Make sure you leave the room without any confetti on you, you also get to grab a bag of colorful popcorn (yes, just like the confetti). 3rd treat of the tour.
We have this in our local Muncie Children’s Museum so we didn’t really spend a lot of time in this room. Its a given though, kids will always want to play with this giant version of the Lite Brite, big lighted pegs? I mean who wouldn’t.
Pro tip with kids: Grab a marker as soon as you enter, markers are limited and just to let you know, they might be too heavy for your kids so make sure to assist them. Then search for an area on the wall with minimal doodles.
Do not let them handle the markers by themselves unless you have older kids. My daughter tried turning around while holding it and almost knocked someone over.
Sniff. Sniff. And sniff some more.
You know how you smell something and it brings up a memory, well this room is full of those.
Pro tip with kids: If there’s too many people in the middle, you can always go straight to the walls, they also have those tubes on there and they will give you the exact “sniffing-experience”.
My partner in crime, Ann Marie.
This interactive activity might only be applicable to adults and older kids since instructions are given. My kids were too young to do this one and so I had Xavi on my lap and Cassie had to stand.
Pro tip with kids: Distract the little ones with a pencil or paper or whatever is on your assigned color desk while you’re doing the activity. It can be hard but it’s doable.
Oh, and you get a small pack of candies based on your color card. 4th treat of the tour. They’re also nice enough to hand your kids candies even if they didn’t do the activity with you.
I think the main attraction and the last exhibit of this pop up is the massive ball pit, a collaboration with NASA which makes perfect sense that the area is designed like a galaxy and that they decided to put this pop up in Houston. This intergalactic experience is quite a workout with kids though, they have a bunch of cameras set up in the ball pit area but getting there is quite the struggle.
Pro tip with kids: If you have more than one child below the age of 5 then it would be best if you had another adult or a friend handling the other one(s). The pit is deep and they can easily “sink” in it. I know Cassie started panicking because she started feeling trapped after awhile.
Also be careful with those phones, they do tell you that you can easily lose your phones in the pit but it also helps if you leave it in the cubbyholes especially since you’re going to need both hands to handle the kids. Believe me its hard to keep track of your child and your phone at the same time when you’re trying to stay “afloat” in the ball pit yourself.
Take advantage of the camera set ups in the ball pit if you need those photos badly, you can take a gazillion ones with your token.
Before you exit, they ask you to drop your tokens in exchange for a souvenir. The choices we had were a pin, a pen, temporary tattoos (or was it stickers? ) or a magnet. This is where it pays for you to have your kids get their own token. They also have to drop those and you get to bring more souvenirs home, I know I kept those for myself. Haha, I’m kidding. And if you’re wondering what that black thing we’re eating is, thats the complimentary black ice cream in a cone from Aqua S, another Instagram worthy Ice cream place in Houston. That was a nice treat to end the tour.
Pro tip with kids:Don’t get your ice creams all together. Make your kids have their ice cream first so you can make sure that they don’t get any stains on their clothes and also so you can enjoy your own ice cream once they’re all done. And take pictures…they have some cute colorful areas for sitting.
Can I just point out how even the staircases to different rooms and different exhibits were presented in a way that was still in theme with Color Factory’s color goals. Even going up and down the stairs seemed enjoyable.
The last colorful wall before we headed down to the souvenir shop aka the Exit.
Even the mirror by the restroom was gram-worthy. Haha.
Most interesting wall right after the souvenir shop, make sure you slide up those circular panels, they have a lot of photos from Htown . Get to know your city y’all, Get to know Houston.
Overall, I can say that the Color Factory is a place for kids and adults alike and I would like to commend everyone who made our tour a very pleasant one. As a mom, you’re always weary about causing delay especially in exhibits like these and in the Color Factory, I never felt any pressure to hurry up to the next room with my kids. They never made me feel that the kids were rowdy, on the contrary they were very welcoming so enjoy and take your time and let the kids be kids. I’m sure it would be have been a different experience with friends, the Color Factory could easily be an Instagram playground but the look on Cassie and Xavi’s faces every time we entered a new exhibit room was priceless. I love how we ooh-ed and aaah-ed over things together, it certainly is a great thing to experience with your kids, I highly recommend you take them.