July 25, 2014

Trinity Forest Aerial Adventure - Ziplining and Obstacle Course Fun for the Whole Family!

Recently, I told you about a new place in town I had heard about - Trinity Forest Aerial Adventure. It's right next to the Southern Cross Ranch . . . and you can actually get a combo pass to both locations if you want.

Last weekend we decided to take our whole crew over and try out both locations. We had an absolute blast. But there are a few things I wish I had known going into the day. Let me start by explaining we took three adults, an 8-year-old, two 7-year-olds, and a 4 year old. The two biggest boys - ahem, men - were the most excited during the planning.

My husband, Joey, and I are the only ones who have ever done any kind of ziplining before and that was when we were on vacation in St. Lucia so we knew better than to expect the same kind of experience. But with six boys in tow, we also knew it would be something that would keep everyone busy.

When you arrive there is a little booth at the front where you get your arm bands. The ones for the Trinity Forest side are color-coded according to the time that you are registered for - you get three hours to do as much ziplining and obstacle course running as you would like. Then if you also have paid for access to the Southern Cross Ranch, you will also get a wristband to indicate that.

First we went to the Trinity Forest Ziplines and Obstacle Course since we knew we would be limited on our time there. It took a bit to get everyone harnessed in and ready for the initial training. You will need gloves and I would recommend bringing your own gardening, work or batting gloves rather than trying to make the free ones they provide work. Our little guys especially struggled with the adult size gloves they provided at various spots throughout the course. I would also recommend wearing longer shorts or jeans to keep the harness from rubbing your legs.

Our 4-year-old was too little to actually do any of the activities on the Zipline or Obstacle Course. What I failed to realize was that once we entered into the course, he wouldn't even be able to follow along with us. Just short-sighted on my part since I couldn't see the course layout, but I was sad that my husband ended up having to stay with him and not getting to participate in the activities with the rest of us. Next time, I would get a sitter or arrange a play date so everyone could enjoy themselves.

You will participate in a half hour initial training course and then be allowed to join the others on the actual courses themselves. The courses are separated by difficult level - Green, Yellow, Blue and Black - similar to ski runs. You must do the easier ones before you can attempt the more difficult, and if you get to a place where you refuse to go on and they must "rescue" you (primarily children would be the ones to do this, I think) then you are no longer allowed to continue on any other part of the aerial course out of consideration for the time and enjoyment of all of the others trying to use the courses.

I have to tell you we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was a cooler day - in the seventies - and the course is built into a copse of trees so there is overhang protection from sunlight. However, I would think on most days you would want to bring bug spray, sunscreen and water. There are several water spots along the course where you can get a small drink but being a germaphobe, it's not something I would use.

No one wanted to leave the obstacle course and zipline fun, but eventually our three hours were up. We headed over to the Southern Cross side which has a ton of potential. There is an amazing meeting facility where you could hold a wedding or a family reunion. Outside there is a swimming pool, basketball courts, a pond to fish in, paddle boats, a small petting zoo, a zipline over the top of the pond and even bungee trampolines.
Unfortunately, only part of the area is open every other hour so we weren't able to enjoy most of these features. Hopefully, as the location gets more exposure and the clientele begins to build, this will allow them to provide adequate staff to keep all of the elements open at all times and therefore give the children more options.

In the meantime, follow this link and you'll be able to get tickets for Trinity Forest for Buy One, Get One FREE!

July 19, 2014

Making Family Memories at the Mesquite Rodeo

I was provided with tickets for my family to attend the Mesquite Rodeo in return for this review. 
All opinions contained herein are mine, and you should know by now if I'm anything, it's honest.

This one turned 7 and we celebrated at the Mesquite Rodeo!
The Mesquite Rodeo plays a pivotal role in my childhood. We went as a family. We went with our school. We went with our church youth group. I went from being fascinated by the animals to totally ignoring the activity in the arena and spending the entire time flirting with whatever guy was my latest obsession.

So when I got the chance to take my family this past weekend - I was super-stoked. We took our boys a few years ago but they were so small that they don't really remember much, and we had to leave early because they got cranky.

But this time I was determined to make the most of the opportunity. We loaded up our household and headed over early. The rodeo begins at 7:30 and the doors open at 6:30. There are several activities for everyone to enjoy during that time. Face painting, pony rides, barbecue, drinks, shopping, pictures and even a mechanical bull ride.

Two of the highlights of the rodeo for us are the Dash for Cash and the Mutton Bustin'. Both are for children, but if you want your child to have a chance to participate in Mutton Bustin' you will need to register them at the information booth on the East Side of the arena prior to the start of the rodeo. (Kids must be less than 55 lbs. in order to qualify, and only 8 are chosen each night.)

We actually had TWO boys chosen to do Mutton Bustin' - the other two were actually too heavy to qualify, but they did participate in the Dash for Cash, albeit unsuccessfully.

Our newly 7-year-old and our 4-year-old were excited to be chosen to ride the sheep. Unfortunately, I don't think that the 4-year-old actually had any clue what was going to happen.

This is what he looked like before the event started . . . 

and this is what he looked like immediately after.

Big brother did really well - came in second to a 9-year-old girl who had done it 3 times before, but he was still quite disappointed. So while watching these boys perform was quite the highlight for us adults, the end result didn't look super pleasant. Thankfully, since these pictures the boys have discovered they actually DID enjoy themselves. 

We were finally able to stay until the very end . . . it was a fascinating night at the rodeo. All kinds of craziness as you can tell by the transfixed gazes of our children. 

We will be going back to the rodeo on a regular basis moving forward. The kids actually signed up for the Mesquite Rodeo Kid's Club. By registering, they will get a FREE rodeo ticket, special prizes throughout the year including a birthday gift and tickets to other events held at the Resistol Arena in Mesquite. Plus, anytime they visit the Rodeo they can get a special gift by just showing their Mesquite Rodeo Kid's Club Deputy Card.

Sign up today and start making your own family memories at the Mesquite Rodeo. 

July 16, 2014

COMING SOON: $2 Off LEGO® KidsFest in Dallas (August 29 - 31) #giveaway

How freaking amazing is that?

If you have LEGO
® freaks in your house like I do, this event is something you can't miss out on. 

The award-winning LEGO KidsFest is going to be back in Texas - this time at the Dallas Convention Center - from August 29-31. 

Perfect for your LEGO-maniacs, they can expect hands-on building, creative experiences and one-of-a-kind activities. Children of all ages and builders of all skills and levels will find the perfect way to stay busy and enjoy themselves. 

We're really lucky to have this show in town as it only makes seven North American appearances each year. The remaining stops are:

Dallas, TX (Aug. 29 - 31) 
Richmond, VA (Oct. 3 - 5) 
Indianapolis, IN (Nov. 7 - 9)
LEGO KidsFest is three acres of LEGO exhibits and activities including LEGO Chima, LEGO Friends Photo Booth, LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Disney Princess, LEGO Super Heroes and LEGO Mindstorms.

There's even a LEGO Model Museum, the LEGO Master Builder Academy, Race Ramps, Creation Nation, Construction Zone, LEGO DUPLO, a LEGO Retail store and LEGO KidsFest Marketplace, the Big Brick Pile, LEGO Ninjago and more.

Your LEGO maniac will be beside themselves with excitement about this event. 

"Any family who likes to be inspired, get hands-on and have fun together won't want to miss LEGO KidsFest," said Vince Rubino, LEGO events manager. "We're bringing so many activities for Dallas-area families to showcase their creativity and building skills in what is sure to be a family event to remember." 

Five sessions - all identical - are available for the August 29-31 tour stop. LEGO KidsFest tickets are $22 for adults and $20 for children and can be purchased online at http://www.legokidsfest.com

OR you can enter to win two tickets right here on the MelissaStuff Blog!! 

One reader will win (2) tickets to the opening night session on Friday, August 29, 2014 from 4 - 8:30 p.m.  You must be 18 to enter, 1 entry per day allowed, and there will be a random drawing by USFG on Monday, August 4th! I will post the winner on the blog and your tickets will arrive by mail 10-14 days before the event. I received complimentary tickets as well in return for posting about this event.

July 15, 2014

Rodan & Fields Giveaway

I was provided with a free Rodan & Fields mini-facial in return for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Hmm, you know how there are always those things that - no matter how out there you are with yourself, how transparent or bold you pride yourself on being - you still feel self-conscious about? Well, one of mine is my skin. 

I didn't have a horrible teen experience. I'm not having the worst breakouts ever as an adult. It's just been a steady pain in the butt and apparently my face feels the need to remember every issue it has ever had - in my opinion, the result is an uneven, bumpy looking complexion which annoys me in pictures take from the side. (Seriously, to the degree that you won't see any personal pictures of me in this post!)

Recently, I was asked to try out the Rodan & Fields mini-facial. I have to say I think it was very helpful in cleaning out the pores, smoothing out the skin and giving my skin a healthy-looking sheen. Obviously I didn't use it for an extended period of time so I can't tell you if the results would have continued to improve, but based on the results I did get, I would think they would have. 

The first step is the Micro-Dermabrasion Paste - it scrubs great but melts into soft feeling skin that makes you truly feel like you've had a facial. There's also a lip and full body version that I would love to try. Unfortunately, my bumpiness doesn't stop at my chin.

Following that you apply a Night Renewing Serum that seriously feels like you're rubbing a silk blanket against your skin. It comes in a small pod for the mini-facials and I squeezed out every last drop. It was too bad there wasn't enough for the rest of my skin. Ha!

Fair warning these products are not inexpensive and will probably be a splurge for some of you. But if you're going to splurge, this is one product I could recommend. If you think of it in comparison to a facial at a spa that lasts an hour . . . you could split the container of this product with a spouse or sibling and still make it last several months! In that sense, it becomes much more economical and long-lasting. 

Today, you have the opportunity to win a tub of this scrub for your very own facial experience.

There are two different ways to enter:

#1 - Take this survey and if you don't win the tub of Micro-Dermabrasion Paste, you will receive a sample of the mini-facial anyway!

#2 - Share this post through Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Google+ and receive an additional entry for each method. (Please tag @MelStuffBlog or MelissaStuff Blog so I can verify your entry.)

Leave a comment for each entry please. 

I'm super excited to see who wins . . . good luck!

This giveaway will end at midnight on July 26th. The winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond before the prize will be passed on to the next name chosen.

July 14, 2014

Ziplining, Dude Ranch, Family Activities - All 15 Minutes from Dallas!

My family was super excited to learn that there is now a dude ranch just fifteen minutes outside of Dallas - you can do all kinds of things from zip lining to pedal boats, bungee trampolines to wagon rides. Seriously . . . even the BIG kids around here were oohing and aaahing. I can't tell you how thrilled they are that we will be going out this weekend to try everything out as a family. And I can't wait to share the adventures and the pictures with you. 

The Trinity Forest Aerial Adventure park is a combination of a Canopy Tour, Challenge Course and Zip Line Adventure. Super Safe and Off-the-Charts Fun!

We love the idea that we can spend time in nature doing adventurous activities without having to dire hours to the middle of nowhere. Let go of your worries. Forget those deadlines. No phones. No Internet. No North Dallas traffic jams. 

Right next door is the Southern Cross Ranch, which offers a range of recreational activities such as Rock Climbing Walls, Pedal Boats, Bungee Trampoline, Swimming, Fishing, Wagon Rides, Pony and Horseback Rides on the Trails, as well as a 300-foot Zip Line over one of the ponds. 

Right now you can your ALL DAY COMBO TICKET that gives you access to both parks for just $64.95-Adults, $59.95-Youth or $54.95-Children!


In return for this post, I received tickets to these attractions myself.