Homestead Farm – Exploring Maryland

Since the weather has been mild the past week or so, we’ve been trying to find things to do outdoors. Last week, I wrote about Clark’s Elioak Farm in Ellicott City. Though I loved everything about the farm, we wanted to go somewhere closer to home. Enter Homestead Farm.

Homestead Farm

Homestead Farm is located in Montgomery County, Maryland, specifically in Poolesville. I don’t have stats on the acreage of this farm but it is rather large. Their pumpkin patch is one of the biggest I’ve seen.

On their site, you can see when fruits are in season so you can pick the time of when you want to go.

Cost? Admission is free! So just visit and see what they’ve got there =) The following is what we saw when we came in mid-October =)

Hay Ride

Like legit hay rides. During the weekends. You sit on a truck bed with hay and is pulled by a tractor! It’s great! Ok it’s $4 per person and free for under 2 year olds. What’s cool about this place is it’s a 20 minute ride all around the farm! The view is great and if company is awesome, then this ride is definitely fun! Ok Homestead Farm, I see you.

Petting Zoo

Not completely a petting zoo. You don’t really pet the animals but you do get rather close to them. My favorite is the little tiny spotted piggies. The kiddos definitely enjoyed this part and even the adults loved looking at the animals. A cool feature are the ramps/climbing places for the mountain goats! I like the fact that Homestead Farm thought about this feature. They also have chickens, more goats, and alpacas.. or llamas… I have no idea.

Apple Picking

Or fruit picking really. October is for apples. During the time we came, Pink Lady Apples were in season. There are tons! Just walk through the many aisles of apple trees and you can fill up a bucket in a short amount of time! Also they make for great pictures, okkkaayy?

Market

All the farms have great markets! This one is pretty big with lots of produce and jelly! They also had caramel apples! YUM!

 

Final Thoughts

 

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There aren’t as many things to do for kids as far as activities. But Homestead Farm is huge. You can still have your kids see many different things in the farm. It’s also nice because you get to spend time with your kids in some form of nature. I definitely loved seeing baby bro run around, looking at his surroundings. Good deal Homestead, good deal.

 

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the day!

(All gifs are from giphy.com)

10 Step Korean Skin Care Review

Ok so I’ve talked about how my skin has been breaking out like crazy since having my second child. I’ve also reviewed the Clarisonic Mia 2 and how it’s helped a bit with my breakouts. This time, I’m going to talk about the 10 step Korean Skin Care Routine. This was huge for me because how does one review each product if I’m using all of it at the same time?? So I won’t! I’ll just take you through the steps and as a whole, let you know how it worked out for me!

What is the 10 Step Korean Skin Care?

Kbeauty is trending nowadays because most Kpop stars are known for having the smoothest, flawless faces.

However, I do want to stress that I know many Korean friends who have great skin that don’t use Korean skin care. So genes may also have something to do with it.

With that being said, I still wanted to try it because as a mom, I rarely have time to go out and get a facial or go to a spa so this is my way of getting my own relaxation time at night.

The 10 step korean skin care includes: an oil based cleanser, a water based cleanser, an exfoliating scrub (2x a week), a face mask (2x a week), a toner, an essence, a serum, eye cream, lotion, and sunscreen (in the morning).

Yes, that is a lot. The first night I tried it, it took me a total of 20 min (without the mask). The next morning, it was 10 minutes (without the exfoliator, and without the mask). After I was used to the steps it took me 9 minutes at night (plus 5 with exfoliator or plus 20 min with mask), and 6 minutes in the morning. Not bad.

The Products

You can probably buy these things separately. But because I’m a noob and these things are esssspensive, I bought the 10 step korean skin care (for combination skin) pack at SOKO Glam.  Here are the products that they chose for me:

  1. Klavuu Pure Pearlsation Divine Pearl Cleansing Oil (oil-based cleanser): claims to remove makeup and brighten the skin
  2. Neogen Green Tea Real Fresh Foaming Cleanser (water-based cleanser): claims to remove impurities such as sweat and dirt and to brighten, calm and hydrate the skin
  3. Neogen Canadian Clay Pore Cleanser (exfoliator): claims to eliminate sebum, blackheads and dead skin cells
  4. Manefit Bling Bling Hydrogel Mask – Whitening Platinum  (one sheet mask for single-use): claims to give you a radiant glow to leave you with hydrated, supple, and dewy skin
  5. Missha Time Revolution Clear Toner (toner): claims to help encourage cellular turnover to give you a clear, bright, even skin tone
  6. Neogen Real Ferment Micro Essence (essence): claims to have skin plumping benefits and give you glowing, supple skin
  7. Missha Time Revolution Night Repair New Science Activator Ampoule (serum): claims to repair and hydrate skin to give you a luminous smooth, and even-toned skin
  8. Benton Fermentation Eye Cream (eye cream): claims to help repair, hydrate, plump and smooth the skin around the eye
  9. Etude House SoonJung 10 Free Moist Emulsion (moisturizer): claims to give skin deep hydration and increased elasticity, as well as repair skin damage
  10. Missha Mild Essence Sun Milk SPF 50+/PA+++ (sun screen): lightweight sunscreen that won’t leave your face feeling greasy

My Expectations

For me, acne is my biggest issue. But more than that, I also wanted to decrease the appearance of scars and sun spots on my face. I want my face to be brighter and more moisturized. Lastly, I wanted to decrease the appearance of wrinkles on my face, especially around the eyes.

That sounds like a lot but I mean I spent $200 on the set so I mean it better do at least half of what it claims!

The First Day

Here is my face on the first day. As you can see there’s lots of acne scars and lots of sunspots on my face.

Before trying this skin care,  my routine would consist of an oil cleanser, water based cleanser using the clarisonic, toner, lotion, then eucerin cream on the dry spots on my face. My face would feel pretty sticky but since I was going to bed anyway, I didn’t mind.

After the first time trying the products, I didn’t notice any major difference in the way my skin felt except for the fact that my face didn’t feel as sticky or greasy. Note that I still used the clarisonic for the water based cleanser and spot treated one big dry spot on my face with the eucerin cream.

The Next Day

I woke up a little scared because I wasn’t sure if I was going to see any redness or rashes. They say you should test things out on your skin first but I didn’t to that. But I’m a “go big or go home” type of gal so there you go.

Luckily, no breakouts. I did the day skin care routine (double cleanser, toner, essence, serum, eye cream, moisturizer, and sunscreen) and did my makeup as usual. I don’t do foundation and I stopped using the tinted moisturizer last month, but NARS concealer does the trick for me to cover up the pimples and the dark circles around my eye. Yay for make up! I didn’t notice any difference with makeup application after the new skin care routine. I did notice that my skin had a subtle brightness to it.

 

That night though, I did notice that I was breaking out a little on my forehead. I wasn’t too worried though because I read somewhere that every time you change your makeup routine, you could expect some breakouts in the first week or so.

 

After 1 month

Throughout the first month, my skin felt cleaner and more moisturized. I also saw that my skin was brighter (not as dull-looking). However, my main problem – acne – came and went and came back again. I don’t think the products made it worse, but I don’t really think they made it better (acne-wise).

After the 1st month, my skin did look good, however, I wasn’t sure if it was because of my cycle (ya know what I mean ladies ;-)), or because of the products itself. So I kept going into the second month just to see what happened.

After 2 months

So the pictures below show the results after weeks 5, 6, 7, and 8. As you can see, my face definitely looks a lot brighter. I used the same lighting and location each time so it wouldn’t skew my results. I can’t really tell if it took away my dark spots. But I know that the larger dark spots are still there (rows 2 and 3 below).

My biggest issue is still the acne on my forehead. I definitely still have major breakouts on my forehead. Maybe they are not as big, but I have so many little bumps on my forehead! I don’t know which is more annoying!

Overall Assessment

My Expectations

From my expectations, I think this 10 Step Korean skin care routine hit a couple of points. My skin definitely feels more moisturized and as you can see from the pictures, my face is definitely brighter. Not oily-brighter, but just brighter in that I felt like it has some “glow” to it now. As far as wrinkles, the camera can’t pick it up, but I did notice a slight improvement in the fine lines around my eyes. They don’t seem to be as noticeable as before.

However, I think the 10 Step routine also missed a couple of points. I’m not quite sure if my sun spots went away though. I feel like they stayed about the same. My acne… oh man… I wished so bad that it worked. I even tried to switch up the serum between week 6-8 to see if it would help and it looks like it either stayed the same or made it even worse =(.

The Products

Most of the products in the 10 step korean skin care routine I bought, lasted about 1.5 – 2 months. I did the recommended regimen, which is a morning and night routine every day. The eye cream and the essence are what I have tons of leftover – I think they can last 1-1.5 more months. The toner and the oil-based cleanser are what I had to reorder after 5 – 6 weeks. Also, there is only 1 sheet mask. Luckily I had some other sheet masks so I was able to 2 the recommended 2 sheet masks per week. That can get so expensive!

My favorites are the water-based cleanser, the eye cream, and the toner. I felt like the Neogen Green Tea Cleanser was effective in cleaning my face.  The Missha Time Revolution Toner also felt very refreshing and when used with a cotton ball, can pick up the last bits of dirt on your face that the cleansers/clarisonic didn’t get. The Benton Fermentation eye cream is also very soothing and does not feel greasy at all. I really feel like it decreased some of the fine lines around my eyes.

Would I Recommend It?

If you’re skin is not acne-proned and you just want something to brighten your skin and make it more moisturized without breaking you out, then yes go for this 10 step korean skin care routine. But for me, I just wouldn’t pay this much if it didn’t have the effect I wanted it to have. My acne is still a problem and though I did like the brightening effects of this 10 step skincare, I think I will just keep the toner and essence for that purpose.

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Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the day!

(all gifs are from giphy.com)

Badlands Playspace – Exploring Maryland

So here’s my first blog for my “Exploring Maryland” Series! And what better way to start off this series than something for parents and their kids! I’m talkin’ about Badlands Playspace! For the really hot days or the rainy days, this is the place to go to when you’re trying to get your kids out of the house! An indoor playground with built in activities for the kiddos? Yes please!

Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post nor am I affiliated with Badlands Playspace. This is literally just an honest to goodness review on this facility.

What is Badlands Playspace?

According to their website, Badlands Playspace is an indoor playground inspired by nature. It’s a 30,000 square foot facility that provides many activities for kids and for the parents to “relax in the café while the kids explore the open play area, climb the mountain, or tinker with a new tool.”

Pros and Cons

Before I go into the details, I may as well write the pros and cons in the beginning in case you don’t want to see all the details.

Pros:

  • Large play area
  • Toddler times during the fall so the larger kids don’t topple the little ones over
  • Different activities during the day to keep toddlers interested
  • Butterfly room – kids can explore and get real close to real butterflies!
  • Workshop room – for kids who don’t want to run around, there are many activities in the workshop
  • Complimentary Coffee/Water

Cons:

  • This can get pretty pricey
  • The website states that they do not allow outside food

Badlands Playspace

Before you go

Go online, fill out a waiver for each kid and then block out the time of when you’d like to go. Each admission gives you 2 hours of play, or if you’re a member, 3 hours of play.

The Space

Badlands Playspace is located on Randolph Rd in Rockville, MD. When you enter the facility, you can see that it’s a huge open space which is nice because it makes it seem like a very welcoming environment.

If you’ve already reserved your spot online before coming, you just go up to the counter and tell them the names of your children. They will ask if you’ve been there before and if you haven’t, they will ask if you’ve signed a waiver for your children (also online).

If you haven’t done any of those before coming, you can do so at the kiosk. They have 5-6 computers so you can register your children and sign the waiver. I do recommend registering your kids online and signing the waiver. It helps make things faster when you check in and going online shows you how crowded the space is and sometimes they do limit the number of kids at a time.

Open Playspace

The main area of Badlands Playspace is an open space that has tunnels and slides where kids can climb up a fake mountain to go down the slide. The only thing is, if you’re sitting in the cafe, you will not be able to see your kids if they’re on the other side of the mountain.

Toddler Space

Badlands Playspace really try to accommodate different ages. So they have a smaller space for toddlers so that they won’t get run over by the bigger kids. It’s right next to the cafe, so the parents can sit and “relax” while their toddler runs around this little space. Fair warning though. There are steps for climbing, so you won’t totally be relaxed if your little ones like climbing.

This is also one area where they come and have mini dance parties, which is nice so your kiddos can dance around while you get maybe a 5-10 minute break sitting at the cafe.

Workshop

If your kiddo is not into active play, there is a workshop for them where they can look at some pets that they have, play legos, and do other non-running activities. It also has huge windows that overlooks the small butterfly room so your kids can also take a look without going into the butterfly room itself.

Cafe

Coffee is complimentary! So is water! So that’s good. However, they do not allow outside food since they do sell food at the cafe. I’m not sure how much they enforce it. But I’m not a huge risk taker so I would bring some goldfish and water/milk for my kids and we eat on the way to Badlands Playspace and then right after we leave. To be honest, the kids are too busy playing anyway, so they don’t ask for food until we get into the car.

 

Birthday rooms

I don’t have great pictures of these rooms, but basically, you can host your kids’ birthday parties here and they set up your own room for the parties. They provide the food but I believe you can bring your own cake.

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Activities

Badlands Playspace also has tons of activities for toddlers this fall! Toddler times are Tuesdays-Thursdays from 10am-1pm. They have a yoga room where your kiddos can follow a yoga video. They also have an activities coordinator that help your children socialize with other kids.

There’s also a small butterfly room that is pretty cool! Your kids can take a closer look at butterflies as they fly around the room filled with plants and flowers.

 

Membership

Ok so let’s do the numbers. For general admission without membership, kids that are 3+ years old, it’s $20, 2-3 year olds are $12.50, adults are $5 each, and babies 0-12 months are free.

When you get the membership ($20/month for 1 kid, $30/month for 2 kids, $35/month for 3 kids or more), the general admission will be 50%, the adults are free, 3 hours of play (instead of 2 hours for non members), 20% discount at the cafe, and a free guest pass (1 kid and an adult) if you visit 3 times a month.

Is it Worth it?

Well, for one kid (3+ years old), it’s $25-30 per visit without a membership (depending on how many adults come). With a membership, it’s $10 per visit. So if you go twice a month, you’ve already made it worth it ($50-60 vs. $40).

For two kids (3+ years old), it’s $45-$50 per visit without a membership. With a membership, it’s $20 per visit. So if you go at least twice a month, you’ve already made up the difference ($90-$100 vs. $70).

So yes, I’d say it’s pretty worth it if you like the place =).

Bottom Line

Because of the weather these days, if your kids love the playground, this is a great place to go to. Yes, it’s a little expensive compared to free outdoor playgrounds. However, Badlands Playspace is really great to visit at least once. Save it for the days when you just need to get your kids out of the house if you must, but definitely give it a shot and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed =).

Good for parents? Yes
Good for kids? Yes
Good for the wallet? Ehhh? lol

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the day!

 

(all gifs are from giphy.com)

Traveling With E For the First Time

This one is a more personal blog post. When I started blogging in 2013, it was a way to let family and friends know about my life as a mom. I wanted to share all my adventures with E and then when baby bro was born, with him as well. I loved it because I felt like even if I don’t get to see some people in my life that often any more, they can still sort of catch a glimpse of what’s going on if they decide to read my blogs.

Then I took a break from blogging for a bit but when I decided to come back to it, I thought I should publicize it to also share these adventures with others who could be strangers but who could be going through the same things and we could laugh or commiserate together.

However, I had trouble personalizing my blogs without divulging too much information to protect the privacy of my children and to an extent, my husband. So here’s my first attempt at trying to be more me while also protecting my kids’ privacy.

A New Adventure

I’ve never gone on trips by myself with any of my kids. It’s always been a fear of mine that I would not be able to “control” them and they would run around and get themselves hurt, hurt others, or my worse nightmare, get taken away from me. I know, I always think of worst case scenarios. You don’t?

But E is now 4, about to turn 5, and I really wanted to go visit a friend of mine whom I haven’t seen in such a long time. I felt bad leaving A with two kids, so I chose the lesser of two evils at the time. Terrible twos or 4 going on 16?, I chose the latter, thank you very much.

E can now entertain herself pretty much. Give her a coloring book, and she’s quiet for at least 30 minutes to an hour depending on how new the coloring book is. Toys entertain her still. And if ever in desperate situations, yes, the iPad will come out. Don’t judge me. I honestly really don’t care too much about screen time as long as they’re not on it all day, every day. I grew up on TV and I think I turned out ok… not that I needed to defend myself, but sometimes mama bear comes out and well, there you go… sorry… again I digress.

Packing for Our Trip

Ok, so I only decided to drive 4 hours away, and only stay the night. One small suitcase would suffice. I did manage to fill it up though.

I packed her two sets of pajamas – she doesn’t wet the bed anymore, but hey, new territory means new game plan. Packed extra clothes in case anything happens. Her teddy bear is a must if traveling over night. And lastly, her hair stuff because girl has got a lot of hair. (Yes, I did forget her toothbrush, but thankfully, my friend has three kids so her house is well stocked.. phew!)

For me, just a pair of jammies, and a change of clothes would suffice. That and all the chargers that I needed for my phone, my hot spot, and my iWatch. This was also in the middle  my 10 step korean skin care, so yes I brought all of it with me!

Our Trip to Jersey

We left around 9am because in my head, that means we would miss all the traffic. Wrong. For some reason there was crazy traffic in the Baltimore Tunnel… then when we finally reached Delaware, we were stuck.

E took it like a champ! “It’s ok mommy, I’ll just sleep.” She didn’t even want the iPad. She literally sat there and just looked out the window. I dreaded the moment that she would get bored and start crying because that is what I remember would happen when we were traveling as a family.

That moment never came. She was in and out of her sleepiness. When she did finally wake up, we were finally on the Jersey turnpike after 3.5 hours of driving in traffic! She was a little grumpy but grumpy in a way where she didn’t want to talk to me so I’d take that over whining grumpy.

I decided to stop for some food because I realized that maybe E was just hangry. Sure enough, we got to the stop and as soon as she smelled food, girl perked up like “hey, I’m about to get fed!” We opt for a burger and salad and she was as happy as can be because she didn’t have to share with baby bro or A! Ha!

After filling up, we start back on our way and we still had 1.5 hours to go! I was in shock! But E was fed and she was happy. The last 15 minutes was the only time she kept asking “how far away are we” and “are we almost there?” questions. That, I could handle. We just turned on some Disney songs and belted out like there’s no tomorrow. Disney songs?? Yaassssss!

Being with Friends and Staying the Night

As soon as we got there, my friend and I had a happy reunion. E took some time to warm up but she loved the girls in no time! They were playing and laughing and I was so happy that I decided to make the trek to visit. There’s nothing like feeling at home at someone else’s home. That’s just how it is when you go to through PT school together. Friends for liiiiifffeee.

I was nervous about sleep time. But E was so busy with the girls that I don’t even think she had time to get nervous and worked up about sleeping. My friend did give her a light up pillow which helped tremendously. I was able to go have some alone time/mom talk with my friend when our girls fell asleep. That was well needed.

The next day, E and the girls played all morning until we decided to go home right after lunch. I figured it would be the perfect timing because then E would nap on the way home a little.

Our trip home

E fell asleep 15 minutes into our drive.  I was able to listen to some of my own music while she slept for about 1.5 hours. Yes N’SYNC, Britney, and Backstreet Boys, yasssss… go ahead, judge me.

When she woke up, I knew she would have to go pee, so I made it a point to keep on a lookout for an exit. I also needed some caffeine because driving could really suck the life out of you sometimes.

She was very excited when we stopped because she thought we were going to have a burger and salad again. I had to remind her that we already ate lunch and that we were just stopping to go to the bathroom and to get a drink.

We were at Starbucks so I got her a strawberry frappuccino without the syrup and without whip cream – essentially milk and strawberry puree. She felt sooooo special when she got that. I don’t think I’ve seen her smile wider. Ha!

The rest of the trip was uneventful. We sang some songs, ate some snacks, she watched a little bit of the iPad but got bored pretty fast, then she colored on her coloring book.

All in all, it was a pretty easy trip and I think I will take her on more trips like these because it was so easy! Did I just jinx myself? Maybe I won’t take her on so many trips?? hehe.

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What I Took From This Trip

This was the first time, E had me to herself for longer than a couple of hours after baby bro was born. She seemed content and loved telling me stories. Part of what I loved most about this trip is that I got to ask her some questions regarding home life.

I asked her about baby bro and how she feels about him and she told me straight up, “Mommy, I love [baby brother]. I will always love him even when he does bad things to me.” I can’t. So I ask her how she felt when baby bro hits her. She says she gets mad at him but that she still loved him.

I asked her about mommy and is she ok with me working. To which she answered, “Yes Mommy, you have to work so you can get money so we can have food. So go work.” Ha! I mean I did tell her that once, but I didn’t think she would keep remembering it. Oops… whatever, that’s real life man.

I asked her about A and how she used to be so mean to him because she would only go to mommy. She tells me she will be better and not be mean to A.

This trip was tiring. I never drove this long by myself before. I also didn’t sleep too well because E had to pee in the middle of the night and when I wake up in the middle of the night, it’s hard for me to sleep again.

BUT my heart was full. I was able to spend some time with my friend which is always a great time. And most importantly, I was able to have some one on one time with E. I could tell she appreciated it. She was so grateful and just kept asking me if I could take her on other trips as well.

I know I won’t have that all the time. I know she will grow out of the phase when she wants to hang out with me. So what I took out of this trip are the memories. Memories of E wanting to spend time with mommy, E wanting to talk to me about her toddler life, and E smiling the whole trip to and from Jersey (except when she was sleeping and when she just woke up from her naps).

There really are no words to describe how much I loved this trip. To me, this is a trip I will definitely always hold so dear to my heart. They are only so little for so long. I gripe all the time about how tired I am, but I know that this too shall pass. In the meantime, I think I’m ok being a bit tired in exchange for all the memories with my loved ones.

Thanks for reading and hope you have a great rest of the day!

(All gifs are from giphy.com)