HOUSTON: Color Factory with kids

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.

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Trying out my token and it works. First official photo from Color Factory’s Cameras.

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.

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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

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This photo was from one of the Color Factory’s cameras in the room. Pretty neat huh?

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Doodle Away.

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.

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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.

~Rhea

Playhouse Halloween Makeover | Halloween Decor on a Budget from DOLLAR TREE

*DISCLOSURE:  This post is NOT in anyway sponsored by Dollar Tree.

The kids playhouse has been due for a fresh coat of paint but since we were out for the most part of summer, we never got around to painting it. I figured in it’s current “grungy” state, we might as well start decorating it for Halloween. If you’ve been following us for awhile you know how much we try to enjoy this season with all the opportunities to play pretend and dress up. Well, this year we decided to “dress up” the playhouse as well but challenged ourselves to decorate the playhouse with a $25 budget and we all know shopping at the dollar store is probably the only way to get this challenge done so the kids and I headed to our local Dollar Tree and this is what we ended up getting.

4 Halloween Themed Flower Stems

2 2-pack glittery spiders

2 Black Creepy Cloth

2 White Creepy Cloth

2 Hanging Ghosts

1 BEWARE sign

1 spider web with spider decor

2 rubber rats

2 styrofoam Pumpkins

2 styrofoam tombstones

2 plastic skulls

2 plastic skull fence

1 cauldron pail

The talking doorbell was on clearance from BIG LOTS post Halloween from two years ago. I bought it for less than $5.

Here’s the BEFORE and AFTER for comparison.

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BEFORE

AFTER

Here are the back details of the house 🙂

Xavi and Cassie enjoying their mini haunted house

I’m sure we could have gotten more stuff from the Dollar Tree since they had a lot to offer like string lights shaped like skulls, pumpkins and bats, giant spiders, clip-on bats, etc. but a challenge is a challenge besides I’d like to think less is more.

How did we do with the 25-dollar challenge? Not bad right? I know Halloween is still a ways to go but I hope this inspires you and your kids to decorate your cubby house this Halloween season. Enjoy!

~Rhea

DIY: #Walmartplayhousehack

Since I’ve been getting a lot of DMs about Cassie’s playhouse, I decided to finally blog about the building process and the house details. I’ve always wanted a wooden playhouse for Cassie and one of the main reasons for picking a wooden one instead of the hundreds of plastic options is the fact that you could make it your own. I wanted to have that option of painting and decorating the house like you would with your own home and I wanted it to be something my daughter and I could do together.

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This is the stock photo on the Walmart website.

We bought this Backyard Discovery Timberlake Cedar Wooden Playhouse at Walmart.com when it was on sale right before Christmas. It wasn’t much of a big sale but I’ve been on the watch and so far this was the cheapest it’s been. You can click on the product name above to link you directly to the Walmart website. When we purchased it, this playhouse was $175 and that’s very cheap considering that its a wooden playhouse. Right now (as I’m writing this blog) if you check the website the playhouse now runs for $184 which is still less than $200, still not bad for the price.

So before I decided to paint the house I started looking up Wooden Playhouse Decoration Inspiration on Pinterest and stumbled upon the Kmart Cubby house Hack and if you search on Instagram #kmartcubbyhack, it apparently is a thing that’s been around especially in Australia where parents decorate their kids wooden playhouses into posh, sophisticated, rustic, vintage or farmhouse inspired mini homes. The two houses look quite similar and from my understanding you’re able to purchase the other cubby home from Kmart in Australia for $199 AUS. I thought originally that they were the same size, I know I could’ve easily compared both by looking at their specifications online but based on some photos of the interior of the Kmart Cubby Home, that seems a tad bit bigger and wider to the point where you can put mini shelves. I honestly don’t know but with this Walmart Wooden Playhouse there’s barely any space if you have two kids playing in it already.

My husband, Marco, did most of the assembling but of course I helped, others may say that it’s possible to do it yourself but in our experience it definitely was a two-man job. I’d say the materials were labeled clearly and the instruction manual wasn’t all that confusing so I’ve got no complaints in that department. One day should be enough to build it although it took us quite awhile to build it since we were doing it leisurely during our spare time. We were building it inside our garage.

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The house after we assembled it.

As much as I loved how it turned out, I wanted to make it our own so that’s when I decided to paint it. I was a little undecided with the color scheme but I was sure I wanted gender-neutral colors to suit both Cassie and Xavi so I ended up with your typical black/white combo.I didn’t have to go far for paint, Walmart had the basic black and white (no mixing needed), I literally grabbed them from the shelf and paid for it. With the paint, I wasn’t too particular, in fact I just picked the color and picked the cheapest one. I didn’t bother reading if it was flat, matte, interior/exterior paint, quick dry— we were just painting a playhouse anyway.

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Marco was scared that the paint brushes that I got from the Dollar store were no good but again we were painting a playhouse, the wider the brush the more area it covers in one stroke. You will also need foam brushes to cover the crevices that you can’t reach with a normal paint brush. We didn’t bother sanding the wood prior to painting since it was already smooth to begin with. The paint color, type of paint and paint brush size are all subject to preference. Before you start painting, here are the things you need to do:

  1. Take out/ Unscrew all the house accessories (cooking stove, phone, doorknob, etc) and set them aside in a safe area so you don’t lose any screws
  2. Lift house and put a plastic drop cloth beneath it (or whatever that can protect your floors from messy paint)
  3. Apply painters tape to edges or corners that you don’t want to be painted or repainted. If you’re using tape on a newly painted surface make sure that the area is dry before applying tape.
  4.  PAINT first coat. I would suggest using different set of paintbrushes if you’re going with more than one color and also going one direction when painting, it just looks less messy that way)
  5. Use foam brush to fill in tight spots that can’t be reached by your paint brush.
  6. Once first coat is dry, apply second coat.
  7. Screw in all house accessories that were taken out prior to painting.
  8. DECORATE. Have fun putting up curtains, frames, house number, a bell— anything you want to personalize your playhome.

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In hindsight, it would have been easier to paint the material before assembling it. If you do decide to go this route, make sure that you re-label the wood before painting over the letters, these letters will serve as your guide when assembling the playhouse.

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VOILA! Here’s the finished product.

I’ve linked the metal vases with rope accents that were purchased from Dollar Tree, you can get them online but only in bulk. I also linked in the Grass Rug that we placed under the house, I wasn’t too comfortable with Cassie stepping on possibly rickety wooden planks so this was the cheapest and most practical alternative we could find and this rug can be used both indoor and outdoor, at least I won’t have to worry if it gets rained on. The Greenscapes Grass Rug measures 4×6 and was purchased from Target online for $22.99. We’re still in the process of adding more accents here and there but I think that pretty much wraps up the house building process. If you have any questions about  this #kmartcubbyhack or rather this #walmartplayhousehack send me an email or shoot DM, I would be glad to help.

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Finally my little family is done with this little project.

Thanks for stopping by!

~Rhea

The Thing with Xavi

From his gender, to me not getting an epidural while giving birth, to having a newborn photoshoot done, to loud whiny cries—everything has been unexpected with this little guy.

We weren’t going to do a newborn photoshoot for Xavi, a lot has been going on and I didn’t even bother doing my research for local photographers just because our schedule (or Marco’s, rather) hasn’t been that flexible and that would definitely be an additional expense so I didn’t dwell on it.

In an unexpected turn of events, we ended up doing one for him and we were blessed enough to work with a very nice local photographer. Amanda Hakes of Betty and Bobby Photography was very professional and she handled Xavi wonderfully, she was very pleasant to work with and was very patient with him. When he wouldn’t cooperate anymore, she waited while I fed him until he was satisfied and there was no pressure in my part at all. Here are some photos of her beautiful work.

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 This boy looks like an angel when he’s asleep but he can cry LOUDLY when he’s hungry

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She got promoted to BIG SISTER

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I already know he’s going to be a Mama’s boy

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Of course daddy is the happiest, he has another player on his team

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With our little, handsome newborn

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I know you’re an Ate now but you will always be mommy’s baby

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Our latest family photo— Daddy Marco, Mommy Rhea, Ate/ Manang Cassie and Xavi.

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I decided to share these photos today as Xavi turns three weeks. He had his 2-week appointment a few days ago and we were a bit worried that he wouldn’t gain his birth weight back because we had that problem with Cassie. From 7 lbs. and 13 oz Xavi’s weight went down to 6 lbs and 11 oz on his first doctor’s visit and we’re happy to say that he gained his birth weight back and more, he’s currently 8 lbs and 11 oz. My little man feeds a lot, I don’t remember breast feeding Cassie this much but when he asks, mommy gives and believe me he asks a LOT.

Post partum recovery for me is a lot better this time around in both emotional and physical aspect. I’m more mobile and at three weeks I’m doing chores like I didn’t even give birth and I find that pretty amazing considering that I didn’t have an epidural during labor. I’ve lost 20 lbs. since giving birth and I need to lose 15-20 lbs more, so far so good. Cassie has adjusted pretty well with the presence of her little brother, of course she acted up the first few days when we brought him home but recently she’s asked to take part in taking care of him, throwing his dirty diapers and putting lotion on him. Hopefully in the next few weeks, we can fully adjust with the new baby in the house and establish a new norm for our growing family.

~Rhea

DIY Winter Maternity Shoot: 37 Weeks

Being pregnant can toy with your emotions and affect your self confidence especially when you’re used to being small most of your life. It’s like one day you wake up and look at the mirror and there it is…that big bump and that large behind. Based on my first pregnancy I already knew that I wasn’t one of those women who carry their babies small, it’s always my behind and my belly that go first; the arms, the face and the rest of me follow.

At 37 weeks I knew I didn’t want my pictures taken because I was scared to see a planet in the photos plus its been snowing here in Indiana and all I wanted to do was stay warm indoors but my sister Pauline convinced me to do them, nothing fancy just some DIY project that we both could work on. And it just so happened that it was her birthday that day and she suggested that we could do my pregnancy photos, how could you say “No” to the birthday girl, right? So I took out my brand new portable makeup train case with the light-up mirror that Marco gave me for Christmas and had Pauline do my makeup.

I didn’t have anything to wear since this was an impromptu thing but having a theater background assured me that I could scrounge up some things I could use for the photos. I’d have to admit it’s not the best but I think it’s pretty okay considering that I didn’t have a lot of winter-apt stuff, I barely could fit any of my old clothes and we were chasing good lighting a.k.a Mr. Sun.

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So here’s what I came up with: my DIY Flower crown from years ago, Tassel earrings on sale at Walmart for $2, my thrifted fur find from a garage sale in 2007, a plain white tank top that barely fits me, a knitted sweater I thrifted from Goodwill, a tulle maxi skirt from the Philippines that doesn’t fit me at all. (unzipped skirt clearly not in photos,haha) and Zara nude flats that I risked in the snow (btw, they survived).

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…And we were lucky enough to have light snowfall while we were taking pictures.

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I’m sharing some of my raw and unedited photos just to continuously remind myself how beautiful and wonderful pregnancy is no matter how ugly I feel inside and out and after I give birth I’m going to make sure that I wear my ‘battle scars’ (aka stretch marks) with pride.

They say the biggest blessings come in small packages, I guess this little one is an exception because this tummy of mine ain’t nothing like a small package. Haha. I can’t wait to meet you my little Xavi.

~Mommy Rhea