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7 Reasons You Should Visit Great Wolf Lodge (with a Paw Pass)

We love staycations in my family and are always looking for great locations to visit that are not far from home.  Great Wolf Lodge is a quick drive for us and has become a spot that my daughters like to celebrate their birthday’s and my husband likes to go to avoid the sun and still be able to swim!  They even decorate your door for free when you tell them you are having a birthday when you make your reservations or by simply asking the front desk!

birthday at great wolf lodge

 

There is so much to do and see there for kids and adults of all ages including free water park passes with your stay.  You can use the water park the day you check in and the day you check out so you get your monies worth for sure!  Since there is so much to do (and buy) another way you can make sure you don’t break the bank is to purchase a Paw Pass because believe me, your kids are going to want to do everything.

We did receive complimentary Paw Passes so we could bring you this review but opinions are 100% my own.

Talk about kids feeling like VIP!  My kids thought they were so cool wearing these around their neck and showing them at each station we went to to take advantage of the stuff.  On the back of the paw print are the goodies you get to do and they are crossed out once you redeem them by staff.  The total savings is 35% using a Paw Pass versus buying each one of these items below separately.  Ready for adventure?

Here are 7 reasons to visit Great Wolf Lodge (and get a Paw Pass)!

Reason 1- You get Glitz Glitter tattoos!  My kids loved them and were able to use their creativity to pick the one they wanted!  There is a big list of designs to chose from and they can also pick the colors they want!   They stayed on for about a week but would of come off sooner if we wanted them to!

great wolf lodge paw pass

Reason 2- Head on over to MagiQuest for a good old fashioned game of MagiQuest or ShadowQuest.  The Paw Pass is good for 1 game and even your choice of Magi belt, classic wand, standard topper or compass.  All things you will need on your quest!  My girls had so much fun running the halls on their enchanted quest!  Older kids will love this adventure game that takes about 30 minutes to 3 hours to complete.

MagiQuest game

Reason 3- Are you ready for some candy?  When I say candy I mean a huge jelly bean filling station!  Your paw pass lets you fill up a huge cup of Jelly Beans! Look at this station?  Every flavor in the book plus you get to keep your cup as a souvenir!  My whole family enjoyed this one, not just the kiddo’s!  Get them hopped up on sugar and let them run the halls or swim at the water park open daily until 8pm!

candy at great wolf lodge

Reason 4- Head on over to the Creation Station and pick yourself up a cute and snuggly Great Wolf kids Character.  Similar to Build-a-Bear, you get to pick the character and watch them fill it with stuffing right there!  There are several of the same characters that you see walking around Great Wolf Lodge to choose from and even little clothes you can purchase to dress them.  We picked Violet and were also able to score some cute little outfits for her!  Your Paw Pass not only lets you get a character but also comes with the Clubhouse Crew Adventure Game.  This game was great for my kids (ages 4 & 6) because it was easy for them to play.  Each character has a chip in their hand which you wave in front of the screen and listen to the instructions.  It’s like a scavenger hunt for kids but be ready to go find the next kiosk with your next clue.  They are placed all over the resort!

clubhouse crew adventure game

Reason 5- Souvenir photo time!  Don’t forget to take a family photo while you are there by a professional photographer!  This 6×8 photo comes in a neat little frame that your kids are able to pick the background for their photo.  We picked the dragon so every time my kids look at it they will be able to remember their trip and how much fun they had!  Since we had 2 Paw Passes we were even able to take a family photo with a different background also!

great wolf lodge photo

Reason 6- Leather Treaty Bracelets with your child’s name on them from the Name Shop!  This was my fav take home from the paw pass because it was something my kids could wear every day!  They enjoyed picking out their braclet (lots of styles and colors to choose from) and watching the machine print their name on them!  Totally cool!

bracelets from great wolf lodge

Reason 7- No trip to Great Wolf Lodge is complete until you go to the water park and what do you need at a water park?  Swim googles of course!  Your Paw Pass gets you one pair of select Great Wolf Lodge goggles found at the swim shop outside the water park!  My kids loved them and so did Mom as they can use them once we leave when we swim!

We recommend a Paw Pass when visiting Great Wolf Lodge if you are going to take in some of the attractions!  The kids loved picking out all their goodies and besides they make really cool take home souvenirs also!  There is lots to do at Great Wolf Lodge for free also like The Great Clock Tower Show, Yoga Tails for kids, arts & crafts, kids bingo, nightly story time and much more so you can’t go wrong either way!  Hopefully one of their over 15 locations is not to far from you!  Check it out!

Have fun on your next trip!

 

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Frugal Travelers Love Aspen Square During the Off-Season

Looking for an awesome kid-friendly destination location for the family this fall or Winter that won’t break the bank?  Check out Aspen Square in Aspen!

condos in aspen

Aspen Square’s warmly welcoming personality, ideal location across from the base of Aspen Mountain, and full hotel-style services and amenities combine to make our property a great choice for a memorable vacation year round.

cheap condo in aspen

Booking a stay at Aspen Square during the off peak winter season has many advantages for a frugal traveler.
* Early and late season rates can be as much as 50% lower than high season, for the same room type
* More rooms are available in the lower seasons, so even hard to book rooms like our one-bedrooms or three-bedrooms are more likely to be open for booking.
* Guests receive the same outstanding services and amenities as the high season guest
* Smaller crowds translates to shorter lift lines, easier access to restaurant and event tickets
* Pre-holiday stays allow guests to enjoy the festive ambiance without the crowds and costs associated with holiday rates and costs in town
* End of season snow is sometimes the best of the entire winter season, with longer ski days in late March and early April

places to stay in aspenaspen square condos

Real review from their website!

August 10, 2017: “Great Hotel”

We stayed at Aspen square condominium for 3 nights during our July trip to Aspen. This hotel is centrally located in downtown and all the restaurants are easy walkable distance. Check in was quick and my kids were excited to see welcoming chocolate chip cookies in our suite when we checked in. The suite was decent size and we had a balcony with nice views of the mountains. Parking can be little tight in their parking garage but it is free. Bed was nice and comfortable and bathroom was of decent size. The suite also has a small kitchen so we were able to cook some food. Grocery store is right across the street. Make sure to open the windows while cooking as the fire alarm goes off even with little bit of smoke from cooking. We did not have any issue during our stay and will definitely stay at this hotel during our next trip to Aspen.

resorts in aspen co

 

Check them out here and enjoy your visit!  Comment below if you decided to stay and let us know how your trip was!

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Mom Pick-Best Pumpkin Patch in Dallas is open year round- Preston Trail Farms

2017 Mom Pick Best Pumpkin Patch

Fall is one of my favorite seasons!  The weather cools down, Starbucks brings back all their yummy fall drinks and Friday night lights are in full swing!  My most favorite reason for the season is getting out and enjoying all the festivals and pumpkin patches with my family that are a must this time of year.  Our 2017 pick for Best Pumpkin Patch in DFW (Dallas-Ft.Worth) is Preston Trail Farms!

best pumpkin patch in dfw

We did receive complimentary entry into the farm in order to bring you this review but opinions are 100% my own!

best farms in texas

Preston Trail Farms

Preston Trail Farms truly wants all their guests to learn about farm life, get a taste of the country life and even enjoy a hayride!  Started in 1997 and still in the hands of the same family, this ranch is the perfect opportunity to give your kids a hands-on farming experience!

preston trail farms store

Where else can kids (and adults) experience blossoming and small green pumpkins right on the vine, romping on hay bales and a chance to interact with 50 different farm animals.

Getting up to Gunther is a quick drive from Dallas, taking anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour depending where you live in the metroplex.  From the moment we walked in the door, I was very impressed, even meeting Farmer Rick himself.

preston trail farms store

This year-round destination has a general store and cafe where you can access fresh local foods, feed and other needed products and services (think hardware store.)  Check out this T-shirt!  Love it!

Big Orange pumpkin t-shirt

Things to do on the farm

One of the best things about Preston Trail Farms is the new home of the Big Orange Pumpkin Farm (open this year until 11/22/17!)  We all want to find that perfect big orange pumpkin right?  You will have a chance to walk the pumpkin patch and see where the pumpkins actually come from!  They have pumpkins for sale and picture ops all over the ranch so you can get that perfect fall or Halloween themed picture of your littles and/or family.

big orange pumpkin farm dfw

Other must do’s at that farm include the petting farm, hay maze, kids train ride, hayride, roping pen area.  All of this is included in the price of admission (plus cup of feed for the animals) to the farm during the Big Orange Pumpkin Farm ( Mid September to late November each year.)  If you want to visit the farm the rest of the year, there is no admission charge!

practice roping in dallas

The Petting farm is home to 50 some farm animals like goats, cows and even some real longhorn cattle up close and personal in their full-time home right here on the farm.  The longhorns come right up to you and will eat out of your hand!

longhorns in texas

petting zoo in north texas

The Hay maze is super fun but be careful, its a tricky one.  My family split up into teams and raced each other to see who would finish first.

hay maze in dallas

The kids train and family hayride was just a short wait and fun had by all.  Seeing the back of the ranch, set along the historic Shawnee Trail on the hayride was very peaceful and beautiful.

kids train big orange pumpkin

Interactive signs throughout the farm are displayed to help children learn more about all of the varieties of animals and pumpkins and to get you around.  We even got a free hot dog with the price of our admission on a weekend!  Who else is going to give you a free hot dog?

pumpkin patches in dallas

You simply must get out and enjoy the beautiful North Texas fall season on the farm at Preston Trail Farms!  You will not be disappointed by our 2017 Mom Pick-Best Pumpkin Patch in DFW!

windmill in dallas

For more info on Preston Trail Farms and their Big Orange Pumpkin Farm go here!  Tell Farmer Rick we sent you!  Quick info is below.

Preston Trail Farms Info- Open Year Round

Store Hours of Operation
6am-8pm every day Sunday-Saturday

 Big Orange Pumpkin Farm Hours of Operation
8am-8pm Monday-Sunday

Preston Trail Farms Cafe
6am-2pm Monday-Wednesday
6am-8pm Thursday-Sunday

  • Children under 2 are free
  • We welcome well-behaved dogs on a leash

Join us at our new location in Gunter Texas (click for map).

 Big Orange Pumpkin Farm Admission Prices (From Mid Sept-late November)

Weekdays (Monday through Friday) – $8 per person
Weekends (Saturday and Sunday) – $10 per person – Farm Train included!

preston trail farms admission price

MONDAY-FRIDAY Admission – $8
Includes:

  • one pie pumpkin
  • feed for petting barn
  • hayride
  • roping pen
  • hay maze

 SATURDAY/SUNDAY Admission – $10

Includes:

  • free farm train – NEW for 2017
  • free hot dog
  • free feed for petting barn
  • free hayride
  • free roping pen
  • free hay maze

Looking for other great trips around Dfw?  Check here!

fall festivals coupons nationwide

Don’t live near DFW?  Fall Festival Deals are in!  I have put together a great list of Corn Maze Coupons and Fall Festival savings nationwide.  Download valuable coupons for Corn Mazes, Pumpkin Patches and Fall Family Activities here!

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How to Plan a Disney Vacation for Beginners

Going to Disney soon?

I bet you have a zillion questions, I know I did the first time we went!  I had no idea where to stay, where to go, where to eat and how to get around once we were there!  I needed affordable options and ideas and didn’t know where to start.  I wanted my family to have a “magical” time and I wanted to make sure I researched everything before we went!

girls at disney world

You need to watch these free Disney Parks vacation planning videos!

They are a great starting point for planning your vacation!  They were a lifesaver for me when I started my planning journey….and it is a journey! : )

The planning videos include:

  • A complete tour of the 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, Disney Springs and over 20 Resort hotels at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida
  • A tour of the Disneyland Resort in California, including 2 theme parks, the Downtown Disney District and 3 hotels
  • Affordable ways to play and stay during your Disney vacation, plus personalized tips and information on special events

Sign up to receive your FREE Vacation Planning video!


Have a wonderful trip!  Let us know in the comments below if the videos from Disney were helpful to you!

Blessings!

 

Get a free baby sling!  Seven Slings wants to give you a promo code for a free baby carrier (a $48 value)  The promo code is “ENBABY”. Click on ‘Shop Now”, select any baby carrier you would like. Be sure to go to the sizing page so that you can get the right size carrier for you. Once you have selected your size, you will automatically be directed to the “shopping bag” where you can enter the promo code “ENBABY “ . This promo code will take 100% off of the baby carrier purchase and all you are required to pay are the shipping fees. You can use the code more than once- simply open a new browser window to do so. Due to it’s nature, this offer can’t last long , so order soon!


Read more

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Things to do in Dallas for Families- Reunion Tower’s GeO-Deck Review

Looking for some good ole family fun?  Visiting Dallas soon or perhaps live in the area and have always wanted to go up to the GeO-Deck?  Well now is your chance!  We did receive free entry to look around to bring you this review but all opinions are 100% my own!

geo-deck

Reunion Tower’s GeO-Deck Review

My kids love the Dallas Skyline and see it often as we drive through going places so we surprised them and didn’t tell them where we were going until we pulled in!  They were so excited and a bit scared to go up the 470 feet but we assured them it was safe and well worth it!

Parking is a couple blocks away and cost $6 for the farther parking lot and $9 for the closer one or you can Valet with the hotel for $19.  I did think that was a bit pricey but I guess that is pretty common when parking at any venue.  After you park, you can enter through the actual GeO-Deck entrance or the hotel entrance and walk over.  We followed the signs and it was very easy to navigate to where we needed to go and went and picked up our tickets at the will call desk.

reunion tower front desk

I was impressed and had never thought about it but there was a security check station where your bag was checked to ensure everything was safe.  This made me feel good especially since we were going up 470 feet in the air in a popular tourist attraction so you can never be too safe!

Our journey started with the PIX photo experience at the bottom of the tower. You get to pick from hats and goofy photo props then take your picture in front of a green screen and are able to pick from backgrounds of one of six images of the Dallas skyline at the end of your visit.  You get a free picture emailed to you but if you want to buy prints there is a cost.

reunion tower photo opp

Next we boarded the elevator and in 68 seconds we were exiting to the GeO-Deck 470 feet in the air.  The usher on the elevator took us up and answered questions and told us fun trivia on the way up.  One side of the elevator is all glass so you can actually look outside your whole way up.  Very cool.

This indoor/outdoor observation deck lets you explore the city unlike anywhere else. They have  interactive touch screen Halos and with just one swipe discover local hidden gems, historic landmarks, museums, parks and much more.  You can even name your own constalation.

reunion tower constellation

The views from inside were breathtaking and totally 360-degree since its a complete circle.  You could see for miles in any direction!

skyline of dallas

My kids, of course, wanted to head outside!  You can walk outside also around the exterior deck and feel the wind in your hair as you stand 470 feet on the outside deck!  We went during the day and it was very cool but I bet at night it would be Amazing!  They have high-definition zoom cameras also for free so you can truly see for miles and miles.

reunion tower view

We went upstairs from the Ge0-Deck to the restaurant and it spins, yes it spins and you can see and feel it spinning.  The pricing was good and we were going to eat but the line was long so we opted to go somewhere else.

camera reunion tower

Mom Always Knows definitely suggests making the iconic Reunion Tower one of your stops to explore for interesting things to see and do in Dallas.

Here is a coupon for you as well!!
$3 off General Admission to Reunion Tower’s GeO-Deck

To print your coupon, go HERE!

Receive $3 off an adult general admission ticket to Reunion Tower’s GeO-Deck when you present this coupon or mention code “USFam”!

reunion tower coupon

For more information visit Reunion Tower.

Have fun!!

Visiting Dallas, See our review of Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch.

 

Book your winter vacation to Steamboat Springs, Colorado and Stay at Chateau Chamonix

Need an awesome spot in Steamboat Springs, CO?

Introducing Chateau Chamonix, Mountain Resorts’ finest Ski-in/ski-out vacation property in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Chateau Chamonix offers the ultimate convenience of ski-in/ski-out accommodations. Sitting directly on the slopes of Steamboat’s Mt Werner, Chateau Chamonix is the ideal location for a Rocky Mountains vacation just steps away from the Steamboat Snow School, the Kids’ Vacation Center, and Gondola Square where you’ll find an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants.

steamboat springs, co

Amenities include indoor/outdoor pool, hot tubs, sauna, fitness center and a complimentary shuttle for a quick trip to the grocery store or downtown Steamboat Springs. Choose a luxurious 2, 3, or 4-bedroom condominium, each with a full kitchen, gas fireplace, washer/dryer and wireless Internet. There’s on-site check-in, complimentary hot beverages and pastries, as well on-slope ski valet and storage to make your stay as comfortable and relaxing as possible.

steamboat vacation

Book your winter vacation to Steamboat Springs early and receive up to 35% off lodging and 30% off lift tickets. Also, if you book and pay in full by August 31 you may be eligible for a lodging credit of $100-400. This early booking offer is available at all 350-plus Mountain Resorts managed Steamboat Springs vacation rentals.

Click Here to See All Special Offers –HereChateau Chamonix Steamboat

Other places you might like to see, check out our wildlife ranch tour HERE!

 

 

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Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch- A Wild Adventure Awaits in North Texas

We did receive free passes to visit Sharkarosa but all opinions are 100% my own.

Visiting DFW or perhaps live in the area?

A great idea for the weekend is to head up to Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch and experience some exotic animals from all around the world face to face!  When I say face to face, I mean face to face.  Ever been to the zoo and the animals are way back behind the glass and you really can’t even see them?  Not at Sharkarosa!  This unique self-proclaimed work in progress facility sits on 126 breath-taking acres and is home to over 100 animals at any given time.

The park offers field trips, private tours, open to the public Saturdays and Sundays and rental for events large and small!

Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch

Gates open at 10am on the weekends and the front section of the ranch is self-guided but has plenty of staff and signs to help you navigate your way through.  The pony rides and petting zoo is here as well.  ($5 extra for pony rides.)

Every 30 minutes there are also educational presentations in various locations.  We were able to catch the BEARS, right outside the restaurant!  Barnaby and Bailey (brother and and sister) are rescue bears that live there right on site and are pretty cozy!  It was awesome!

bears in north texas

The remaining portion of the ranch is seen on a seated Safari Tram ride that takes you into the habitats of our larger animals such as camels, zebra, Père David’s deer, draft horses, and more.  I recommend getting on the tram as soon as you arrive and get this part of your tour out of the way so you can eat or just piddle around at leisure.  We got there right at 10:15 and were able to jump on the 10:30 tram with no lines or delay.

wildlife ranch in texas

There are feed buckets on the sides of the tram to place feed in so that the animals will come right up to you.  The Tram driver tells jokes and keeps the tour moving and everyone informed about what to do and not do.  Sit at the front of the tram as we set in the back and it was sometimes hard to hear.  Some animals you can pet, some you can’t.  We bought 4 bags of food for $10 and it did come in handy feeding the animals at the petting zoo and on the Tram.

horses at Sharkarosa

 

My kids had fun on the Kids Barrel train that runs throughout the day upon request and we saw a couple of families using the free picnic grounds having a picnic.

barrel train ride

The day worked out perfectly.  We got off the tram and the Bear show started right away. We then ate at The Bears Den Restaurant and it was truly amazing.  Everyone in my party (all 9 of us) enjoyed our food and service very much!  They don’t use croutons but cheese puffs on their salads!  How cool is that and the pizza is wood fire-grilled right in front of you!  The best part is while we waited for the food, the kids in our party, were able to go right outside the door to an awesome playground and burn off some more energy while we waited!

bears at Sharkarosa

The only thing I would change is on the website, the park offers free admission to military, however, they did not give my Dad a military discount.   My father is a Veteran who served his country and has it proudly displayed on his state of Texas drivers licence.  They would not accept that as proof, however, since he is not “active” this is what he and many veterans carry as their proof.  I wonder if the young girl working the front was just confused?

zebras at Sharkarosa

Another thing I would suggest is lower the cost of the pony rides since they were literally 2 minutes for $5.  $2 or $3 would be more suitable for what you get but the awesome restaurant and the good time had by all pretty much overshadowed the short pony rides!

park at Sharkarosa

Sharkarosa Ranch is for sure a must see destination for North Texas visitors!  Make sure to tell them we sent you!

petting zoo in texas

We love coupons so here you go!  Visit here to print out your $2.00 Off Child Admission – This coupon may be redeemed for $2.00 off one child entry with the purchase of an adult entry. Not valid with any other offer or coupon. Limit two discounted child admissions with the purchase of two full price adult admissions.

Make sure you check out our Coupons page for more coupons and offers from our amazing partners!

Blessings!

 

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To the Woman who Mom Shamed me at The Dallas World Aquarium

So over the weekend we went to a popular destination in the area that we live.  It was hot, too crowded, and over priced.  I won’t name drop to be nice because maybe I was just in a bad mood.  No, on second thought, it was hot, too crowded, and over-priced ($77 for a family of 4.)  Just don’t go to the Dallas World Aquarium on the weekend is my best advice.  I am not saying this to bash them, just to create the possible mood that my children might of been in for the situation below.

Dallas World aquarium

Dallas World Aquarium

We had family in town all weekend so my kids woke up early that day, went to church, went out to eat and piled into the car to go to downtown Dallas from the burbs where we live and spent the afternoon being pushed, pulled, corralled and bumped around the different levels of the aquarium.  Anyone with a 4 and 5-yr-old knows that their mental and physical energy levels are only good for so long.

By the end of the day as we neared the bottom levels (you start at the top and work your way down to the bottom) there was some Mayan dancers that walked through and started to perform.

The dancing and music was pretty neat, I must say, and a good way to end the day.  My 5-yr-old was standing in front of me watching the performance and right or wrong she said to me, “boo.”  Keep in mind there was several people standing in front of us and to the side, no one behind as we were in the back.

mayan dancer dallas world aquarium

It was very loud because of the drums and the performance so no one could hear what my daughter was saying except for me and the couple to the right of us.  My daughter proceeded to “boo” the performers again.  I IMMEDIATELY reprimanded her and let her know all the reasons we don’t act like that.  I was embarrassed but more than that I was upset, “had I raised a daughter that would show such disrespect?”

Then to my dismay, I was MOM SHAMED!  The woman standing to our right, was shaking her head and looking smugly at us.  I could not believe it.  This woman was in her twenties and standing there with what looked to be her young husband and a father figure.  No kids.  No sympathy.

It was clear she was not a mother, because someone with kids might understand or lend a sympathetic smile.  I was so upset.  Someone with kids would understand what it took to simply get the kids dressed, fed and out the door that morning.  Someone with kids would understand that my child had already sat through church, lunch and a long ride where they behaved and it was time for a long over due nap.  Someone with kids would understand all the times I took little fingers off the glass and picked up trash along the way that afternoon or uttered the words “no” within the last 120 minutes.  Does this woman DARE shake her head at me?? Really?  Seriously!?

Had she taken a child to a place like that before?  Does she think that all children are well-behaved all the time?  Who does she think she is anyway?  Let’s pretend she has kids, great, she still doesn’t have a right to shake her head at us!

All of a sudden my first response was to protect my child.  Was she wrong for booing?  Oh yes, she was wrong but she was MY wrong!  Don’t judge me, don’t judge us and don’t judge her.  I wanted to protect her from this woman shaking her head at us.  I hoped she didn’t see.

I shouldn’t of but I tried to ask the woman what her problem was but it was so loud and she wouldn’t look at me when I pointed at her and asked her what her deal was.  I wanted to know what exactly she was shaking her head at.  I wanted to ask her if she had kids.

I want to be there when she does and when she remembers all the times she mom shamed and shouldn’t of.

When I got home later that night, I calmed down, got over it and let it go.  I wasn’t going to write this post for y’all but I thought it had some 3 valuable lessons to share.

  • Let’s stop the Mom Shaming and stick together!  Being a mom is hard!  Heck being a WOMAN is hard!
  • Show some sympathy towards other Moms (even if you are not a Mom.)  You never know what that mom or child has gone through leading up to where you step into the picture (I know ours wasn’t that big of a deal, but some are!)
  • Turn bad behavior into learning lessons for your child.  I was able to talk to my daughter about how booing might make the performer feel and how we show respect to everyone no matter how we might feel.

We won’t be going back to the Dallas World Aquarium anytime soon but the flamingos were beautiful!

flamingos dallas world aquarium

Do you have a mom shaming story?  Please share below and let us know! Blessings all!