{refresh}

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Today’s creative daily prompt is “refresh.” One of my favorite things about the start of a new year is finding a new day planner. This time I decided to build my own.

I bought all the components as my Christmas gift to me. It’s so refreshing to have it all set up and ready to use. I’ve color coded the months. I’ve got calendar stickers and washi tape ready to pretty things up along the way. I geek out over office supplies so I’m super excited about it.

What makes you feel refreshed for the new year?

{Fun rolls in with The Trains at NorthPark}

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The Trains at NorthPark is the most elaborate toy trains exhibit in Texas with 1,600 feet of track. Miles got a sneak preview today. He loved it! He is a huge fan of trains so this was a magical surprise for him.

Miles wow

Be sure to bring your camera! The trains roll through more than 4,000 square feet of U.S. vignettes including downtown Dallas, the Perot Museum, the Grand Canyon, the Golden Gate Bridge and The White House. Admission is $7 for adults and $3 for children 2 to 12 and seniors 65 and older. Children under 2 get in free and discounted tickets are available at Tom Thumb ($1 off).

Dallas skyline

I found the Cotton Bowl scene especially impressive. It’s amazing how much detail they have in these scenes. Miles loved watching the hot air balloons moving up and down. He has been talking about seeing the trains since we got home.

Cotton Bowl

This is the train exhibit’s 16th year at NorthPark Center and 27th year in Dallas. The exhibit is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. It opens Saturday, November 22, 2014 and runs through Sunday, January 4, 2015. (Early closings are scheduled for Nov. 26, Dec. 24, Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. The Trains at NorthPark will be closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.)

White House

Thousands visit The Trains at NorthPark every year. For the last 27 years, the exhibit has raised money for the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. This fundraiser provides the funds for nearly one-third of their annual operating budget. The Ronald McDonald House of Dallas has served more than 35,000 families of seriously ill or injured children who have traveled to Dallas seeking medical treatment in area hospitals.

Miles watches trains 3

The exhibit is run by more than 1,500 volunteers working as individuals or in groups in three-hour shifts. For more information on how to volunteer or purchase a hand-painted railcar, visit thetrainsatnorthpark.com.

Miles and Mommy

Getting there:
NorthPark Center
(Level One between Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus)
8687 N. Central Expy
Dallas, TX 75225

{the bear scare}

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We were in the playroom when Miles noticed that Bear was missing. He called out, “Bo? Bo!” I thought Bear was probably just buried under the trucks in his toy box so I searched. No Bear. Miles was worried.

I checked the next room. Bear was found. Miles laughed and did a happy dance when he saw him.

After a very long hug (wish I had gotten it on camera), he looked at Bear with a surprised expression (my camera was ready now) and said something that sounded important. I’m guessing it translated to something like, “Do you have any idea how worried I was?!”

All the heart eyes for Bug and Bear.

{reviewed: big bad bubble}

You know what happens to monsters when they see bubbles? They shriek in fear. Or at least that’s how it works in La La Land.

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After taking Big Bad Bubble to some wise young critics, I can tell you that the book is a hit. And that isn’t a huge surprise because the book comes from Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri.

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Miles and Diego seemed to most enjoy the doughnut trees. The older kids (3 to 5 years) found the story hilarious and loved the illustrations. So we would highly recommend this book for your little library. It’s a fun one.

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{summer fun}

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Miles has been asking to go to the “pahk” (not sure where he gets his Boston accent) for days. He finally got to go to a park this morning. A splash park!

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It was our first time. He was wary of the water and all the people but warmed up after about 20 minutes and had a great time. He mostly stuck to the less crowded little river at one end of the play area.

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I’m so glad Cynthia suggested this for today’s play date. Our boys had fun and the weather was just right. It was just starting to feel too hot as we left.

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I know we still have a couple months of hot weather. It gets too hot for the regular park pretty early in the day so we may have to start checking out more of these water parks and splash pads.

{look up + sky}

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Today’s photo-a-day prompts are sky and look up.

This kid always manages to get food, shirt fuzz and who knows what on his neck and under his chin.

A few weeks ago, he started pointing up for airplanes and lights. Teachable moments + enough time to clean off the food and fuzz = success.

Me: “Where is the light?”
Miles: (points up) “Liiiiiiiighs!!”
Me: “Where do airplanes fly?”
Miles: (more pointing) “Ahblane!! Skah!!”

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{organic adventures}

Our first Urban Acres pick-up was this morning.

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The goal in joining the co-op was to get inspiration to try some new foods and recipes. I’m calling our first day a success. I tried Korean melon for the first time and fell in love. It’s like cantaloupe but a bit firmer.

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I used some of the beets, onion and greens for a salad for our dinner. I love shredded beets on a salad. And I made chicken marsala tonight for the first time. It was really yummy. Between our Urban Acres produce and the additional ingredients from Whole Foods, we ate all organic and almost all local. And it was delicious.