Monday, January 30, 2017

Family Fun

We had the opportunity to visit parents/grandparents this weekend, and we had so much fun! On Saturday, we got to visit a "canstruction" event put on by a local university, and then we had lunch at the food truck festival. Many laughs, good meals, and fun times were shared this weekend! We are so thankful for our extended family and the fun times we have with them.

"Canstruction" Zone

Food Truck Festival

Making banana pudding with Nana

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Local Tourists

January has been so much fun that I am just now getting caught up on all the going-ons here on the blog! If you want to know what we've been up to the rest of the month, scroll through the last few posts, which will walk you through our adventures of the new year so far.

As you no doubt know by now, travel is our passion and what Jeff and I wish we were still doing full-time. However, that isn't really possible at the moment, so we've determined to make "staycations" a priority. As time allows, we are trying to discover our immediate surrounding areas and to see them through travelers' eyes. We had a blast exploring in Denton and Dallas this past weekend.

On Saturday, after Ruth's riding lesson and Weston's buddy's birthday party, we headed over to Denton for a brewery tour and beer tasting at Audacity Brewery. We didn't love any of the beers, but we sure did have a good time! Later, we made our way to LSA Burger Co. where we enjoyed some very delicious burgers and chili cheese fries along with the funky atmosphere. Our day ended with a viewing of "Sing" at the theater, which was entertaining for all of us.

Our first stop on Sunday was the Dallas Farmer's Market, where shopped and laughed and indulged our senses. After that, we visited Reunion Tower and enjoyed a bird's eye view of the city. When it was time for lunch, the vote for sushi at Sushi Bayashi in Trinity Groves was unanimous. Afterwards we walked across the street for a beer tasting at Four Corners Brewing Co. Finally, we headed over to SMU to see the George W. Bush Presidential Museum. On the way home, the boys even worked in a playground visit, while Ruth and I did a little shopping. And back at the house, we watched a documentary about the JFK assassination to expand on some of the knowledge we had gained during the day.

It was such a fun weekend, and we truly had a great time being "tourists" in our own backyard. If any of you live in or have visited the DFW area, please share your recommendations of things to do or see, so we can keep growing our staycation master list. And for anyone living anywhere, I encourage you to get out and explore your immediate surroundings. You never know what kinds of gems you might find!

Audacity Brew House

LSA Burger Co. in downtown Denton

Watching "Sing" from cushy seats

Dallas Farmer's Market

Reunion Tower

Sushi at our favorite sushi place

Four Corners Brewing Co.

George W. Bush Presidential Museum

Monday, January 23, 2017

Field Trip

Last Tuesday, the boys and I had the opportunity to go on a field trip with our CC friends to the Sci-Tech Discovery Center in Frisco. We had so much fun learning about the states of matter and some of the properties of motion in a couple of special presentations, and we loved all the hands-on exhibits.

Fun with the Whisper Dish

Learning about the states of matter and the flammability of certain gases

Playing germ pinball

Under the huge magnifying glass 

Bubble Fun

Swimming in "red blood cells"

Learning about the importance of trajectory by playing Angry Birds

Learning what kind of wall makes the best defense for the castle

The Lego room was definitely the most popular with the younger guys

Sunday, January 22, 2017

A long weekend in Houston

So, we got back from Max's birthday bash at Great Wolf Lodge late on the 12th, and, on the 13th, we headed south, to Houston, to spend the weekend with family. And, what a good time we had! We played and laughed and talked and ate and drank and generally made merry all weekend long and into Monday. Our family is such a blessing to us, and we are always thankful for opportunities to spend time with them!

Breakfast at the little table

Shrimp Boil

A sweet indulgence

So much sweetness between these two cousins!

A port and sparkling juice tasting

Playing school

Friday, January 20, 2017

Max's Birthday

We arrived home on the 10th, after stopping for lunch at Taco Bell, because our poor, deprived children complained that we had never taken them there. We squeezed in a few loads of laundry and a date night before giving Max his birthday surprise the next day: a visit to Great Wolf Lodge. He (and everyone else) was beyond excited! We got to the lodge around 1:00 that afternoon and stayed until the water park closed on the 12th. It was a great way to spend a January birthday!

The end of date night at Winewood in Grapevine

Birthday Party

Great Wolf Lodge

Water park fun

The younger guys thought the ropes course was almost as much fun as the water park

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The trip home from Orlando

We left Orlando on the 6th and headed up to the Pensacola area for a couple of nights. Along the way we met Winter head-on, and we almost froze to death when we got to Lambert's Cafe in our short-sleeved shirts. If you aren't familiar, Lambert's is the home of "throwed rolls," meaning the softball-sized rolls are actually tossed to you, sometimes from across the dining room. This was absolutely thrilling for our group, and Weston kept trying to get the thrower to hurl the rolls from farther and farther away, which the thrower seemed delighted to do. They have their own unique way of serving good old Southern comfort food, and everything was so delicious.

We survived the freezing temperatures at our KOA and were able to enjoy a yummy breakfast at a cafe that could easily have been mistaken for a bait shop, before heading over to the National Naval Aviation Museum. It was so interesting to see all the planes and learn about the history and technology of many of them. I can tell you for certain I was not meant to be a Blue Angel! We ended the day with dinner at The Cobalt Restaurant, overlooking the Gulf.

When we woke up on the 8th, we left Pensacola knowing only that we weren't really ready to end our vacation and that we didn't want to go home. We also knew we were hungry. A quick internet search introduced us to The Biscuit King's Fun Barn: Home of the Ugly Biscuit, and there was no way we were going to pass that up! I don't think I can capture in words the experience, but everything about it was so fantastic. One reason we travel is to discover little gems like this.

After we had eaten our scrumptious ugly biscuits and collected all manner of free stuff from the Biscuit King himself, we knew we would be heading in a westerly direction, but other than that had no end point in mind. So, while Jeff drove, taking us to interesting places like LSU and the Horseshoe Casino, I searched around online until I found a little cabin outside of Jefferson, TX, on Lake O' the Pines, where we could just chill. Literally, as it turned out, because the pipes had frozen and one was busted and making a river outside the house (thankfully not inside!) when we showed up around 10:00 pm, leaving us with no hot water. (The owner came first thing in the morning and got everything patched up, so it really wasn't a big deal.) We spent our time there reading and watching football and consuming warm beverages. It was truly restful, and we were glad we decided to extend our vacation. We did eventually make it home but were only here for less than 24 hours before embracing our next adventure, which is a tale I will save for another post.

Lambert's Cafe: Home of Throwed Rolls

Breakfast at Reileigh's Cafe

National Naval Aviation Museum

The Cobalt Restaurant

The Biscuit King's Fun Barn

LSU Stadium
Geaux Tigers!

The Horseshoe Casino

The view from our little cabin in east Texas

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Universal Studios: Day Three

On our third and final day at Universal, we revisited some of the places we loved, like Harry Potter World, Woody Woodpecker Kidzone, the Curious George ball room, and the bigger roller coasters. But, we also worked in some new sights, a few shows, and a very late dinner at CityWalk. We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Universal and would definitely recommend it, especially if you have Harry Potter fans in your midst.

Scooby Doo, where are you?

The ball room was Clay's favorite

Getting ready for the hilarious horror make-up show
by posing with (and like) a dinosaur

The Sponge Bob Parade

Clay made some new friends

The Despicable Me Parade

Sinbad's EighthVoyage

Rival houses, but truly friends

Clay had so much fun talking with the interactive fountain

Last hurrah at Antojitos

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Universal Studios: Day Two

On our second day at Universal, we ventured outside of Harry Potter World. Ruth and Weston rode their favorite ride, The Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, over and over, while the younger guys split their time between the Woody Woodpecker roller coaster and the Curious George splash park and ball room. Later, we all met up again to explore some other parts of the park. Somewhere between Woody Woodpecker Kidzone and Springfield U.S.A. we lost a child for a heart-stopping 10 minutes. When he was found, it was definitely time for a drink at Moe's (from the Simpsons). Then it was on to Seuss Landing for some very silly fun. The day ended with several water rides and dinner at a wonderful Italian place at Universal CityWalk.

Max and Clay were thrilled to see a real live transformer

Clay and Sponge Bob shared a moment

Clay and Max's favorite ride was the Woody Woodpecker ride,
and they rode it over and over and over. 

Curious George's splash town was a big hit with the younger guys

Max and Clay wanted to spend most of their time in the enormous ball room

About the time we stopped to look at these Back to the Future relics
was when we discovered Clay was no longer with us.
I was definitely wishing I could go back in time by about 10 minutes!

Duff's Brewery and drinks at Moe's

Fun at Seuss Landing

Ending the day with a splash
(and then stepping into the people dryer)