If you have two days in San Antonio…part 1

We arrived in San Antonio right at dinner time. We stayed at the Marriott Riverwalk (with a river walk view room) and I would highly recommend it. Although there are lots of other quality hotels in the area, you get a great view of the riverwalk, there’s a Starbuck’s in the hotel, and it is walkable to lots of the main San Antonio attractions (like The Alamo). We checked in and then headed to Casa Rio for dinner…

I got the green chile chicken enchiladas (which I forgot to take a picture of), and they were excellent. The boys got nachos and tacos. The margaritas were also excellent!

One of my favorite things about our hotel besides the view:

Was the fold out couch. We usually have a room with two doubles or queens, but it saves us many an argument for the boys to be in separate beds…


The next morning we enjoyed our coffee on the balcony:

Then headed to the Alamo!

I have to say we lucked out with our weather. Texas is hot (boardering on insufferable) in July, and we managed to get overcast days with slightly cooler than average temperatures. The boys loved the Alamo, and we did pretty much everything you could do, from watching the movie on Alamo history to listening to a speech on Alamo artillery.

These two were the best listeners of the whole bunch:

And you’ve got to find the House cat:

We thought it was just a stray cat, but they have stuffed animals that match it in the gift shop, so apparently it is a house cat. After we left the Alamo we went to the river walk mall to escape an incoming rain shower, had lunch at the food court, then headed back to the hotel’s activity room:

We kept it pretty low key, which was great for the kids. Some sightseeing mixed with downtime is essential for avoiding meltdowns! We headed to County Line on the Riverwalk for dinner:

Their brisket and black eyed peas and bread were delish:

Afterward we headed out on the riverboat tour of the Riverwalk, which was fun:

A enjoyed it, despite contrary tween facial expressions. The boat tour is a great way to see and hear about the history of the city. And to see buildings like this:

It looks like there is no side! A cool optical illusion, with an interesting back story (I won’t spoil it). After the boat tour we headed off to bed with a cavern and zoo in our sights!

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If you have five hours in Austin…

On Sunday we were headed to San Antonio by way of Austin, so we spent a brief five hours in Austin. We headed straight to lunch at Shake Shack (because if there’s a Shake Shack near me, I’m going to it):



And then headed to the Capital building. This was a great choice because 1. It’s free and 2. There’s huge (not working obviously) cannons outside. Oh and 3. Lots of stairs to wear the kids out.




They also have several really cool libraries that weren’t open when we were there (Sunday) but I think they are open during the week:

After the Capital we headed to Barton Creek Square Mall because the boys requested to go to a Lego Store…

And I found nothing at Nordstrom despite my best efforts…

And we left at four and arrived in San Antonio in time for dinner!

Other fun spots that we had on our potential Austin list were…

Texas History Museum

Any of the many hiking trails

The bats at dusk

Cosmic Restaurant

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If you’re in Dripping Springs for a wedding…

As I referenced in my Waco post, our Texas road trip idea began because my youngest cousin (I have ten first cousins), was getting married. After we went to Waco we headed to Dripping Springs for the wedding, which is about twenty minutes outside of Austin. If you’re ever in Dripping Springs for a wedding, the Holiday Inn Express has a good pool…

And some nice nearby playgrounds…

But we were really there to hang with my family, and see my Grandparents:

And climb a few trees…

And go to a wedding…

We’ve been to quite a few weddings with these two. My tips are lollipops and iPad time bribes. Obviously they behaved:

J accidentally broke the corner of his iPad, and we are trying to keep it from dying completely, so I replaced it with this cover and have been really pleased (especially because it fully covers the broken corner). We were so excited to celebrate with our family…

And then we were headed out again with Austin in our sights! Stay tuned!

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If you have a day in Waco…

On the Fourth of July, while everyone else (literally everyone…no one was on the road!) was celebrating the holiday, we headed out on a week long road trip to and through Texas. My youngest cousin was getting married, so my sister and I planned a family trip that sandwiched the trip to Austin for the wedding in between Waco and San Antonio. We definitely didn’t have time to do and see everything, but we had a blast, and we fit in quite a bit for eight days with driving time, five kids, and a wedding included. I’m starting in Waco as it was stop number one. We had one full day to spend in Waco before we had to head down to Austin, so here is what we did!

We arrived in Waco at lunch time and made a beeline for In and Out Burger, where J declared he no longer eats burgers (tip to note: they have a secret menu with grilled cheese that you can order). This is the kid who ate burgers up until Thursday, July 5th…

Then we headed over to the Dr. Pepper museum (a great reprieve from the July heat), and spent a good hour and a half (you can definitely tour it in less) letting the kids wander, and enjoying Dr. Pepper floats.

The sweet kiddo next to J is one of my cousin’s daughters. Blonde hair does actually run in our family!

A now has a thorough knowledge of how Dr. Pepper is made, ask him anything! After the Dr. Pepper museum we headed over to Magnolia Market and Silos (as you might expect).

However, as you might not know my maternal great grandparents are from Waco. And Silos Baking Company? My Great Grandfather helped build the original building.

We used to go to Waco almost every summer, but I haven’t been in almost twenty years. It has changed quite a bit since our last visit! At Magnolia Market and Silos we wandered the grounds, the kids got slushies, and we bought a few souvenirs.



Then we headed to see the Baylor Bear. We wandered just a bit of Baylor’s campus (one of my cousins played baseball there), and J declared he definitely wants to play baseball there when he grows up.

He picked out a Baylor Bear souvenir and we headed down the street for dinner. We ate at Coach’s Smoke and the food was great and the staff was super helpful and kind.

Our landing spot for the night was the Homewood Suites. It’s not as close to downtown as other hotels,  but it’s perfect if you’re headed out the next day to Austin, which we were!

Other notable spots to check out if you have more than a day are:

The Wooly Mammoth Park

The Texas Rangers Museum

Other fun food places to try would be:

Torchy’s Tacos

Twisted Root Beer Company

Magnolia Table

Next we headed to outside Austin for a wedding! Stay tuned…

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Friday Favorites

We’re back! We just got home from an eight day road trip to,from, and through Texas. I can’t wait to share our adventures with you all, but until I get through all of our pictures here are some of my favorite web finds of the week!

The Tuscan Child and Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald are on my late summer reading list.

Creating volume in straight hair.

Christmas idea for puzzle loving J.

We just took the boys to their seventh wedding! That’s almost one per year.

Love this embroidered shift dress.

A calendar DIY to brighten up your office space.

Summer salads.

Florals in Nashville.

The impact of piano playing on language.

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Indian butter chicken

I posted this recipe on my Friday Favorites about a year ago and in that time it had become one of our favorite monthly rotations. This dish has just the right amount of heat and sweet. We serve it over Jasmine rice and corn, and put big slices of naan on the sides. It’s just the right amount of effort for a summer meal, but has a warmth that can carry the dish into fall.

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New road trip essentials

We’re headed out in a few weeks for a road trip across three states and straight into the middle of Texas. It’s going to be very fun, but very hot, and we are staying at four different hotels. With that in mind I got a few new items to help consolidate supplies and make the trip easier. First up is a new toiletries tote:

Before I was using three different totes to hold makeup, skin care, and brushes and it was ridiculous. This holds everything together and has movable Velcro dividers. Here is a peek at the brushes and mirror…

See! Everything in one spot, so easier and quicker for me to find what I need. My second task was to consolidate our shower and bath supplies. Previously in several totes, now in one hanging bag that I can put on the robe hook in hotel bathrooms…


And despite all this stuff it does actually fold up completely!

The label on the front is a bit twisted, but other than that it’s a sturdy tote. Lastly, I’ve consolidated the boys’ on the road trip supplies…

They mainly watch movies and J plays his iPad, so I’m limiting the amount of “stuff” we are bringing. Shareable card games, sticker books, magnet boards, and a few coloring supplies for creativity boredom. A fidget spinner, small squishy Tsum Tsum, and squishy basketball for stuck in a booster seat boredom. Books to read at night in the hotel room and neck pillows for in the car. They each will have a back pack, but it’s for their books, 3 stuffed animals, neck pillow, and blanket. And finally here are a few extra road trip tips that I have learned for our family are…

1. Bring smart water. It has electrolytes so it helps prevent dehydration on the road, and can help settle stomachs. You can buy it cheaper at Wal-Mart.

2. Bring all the medicine you think you’ll possibly need. All of it. Going to a Walgreens at 2 a.m. in an unfamiliar city is a pain. Trying to get a prescription filled in an unfamiliar city is even worse. Believe me. We’ve done both.

3. Sturdy, not cheap, ziplock bags with a zipper that you can access quickly. You’ll thank me later.

4. Snacks, lots of them, but not goldfish with extra cheese. Or anything labeled “extra cheese”.

5. Lollipops for on the road and at events that you need to settle kids who have decided they are now starving despite eating all the snacks earlier. As evidenced below…

This was right before he insisted he was starving. After he’d had snacks. Many of them. Lollipops are your friend.

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West World

When I was growing up my Dad’s parents were always reading and watching Western themed books and movies. I can remember the line of mass market paperbacks they had on the bookcase that now sits in A’s room. I remember watching The Searchers in Graduate School for a film course and giving the DVD to my Nannie after I’d watched it, only to learn she’d already seen it. Until I started down this reading road, I never understood the context of that movie, or perceived it the way I do now. It all started a few months ago when I picked up this book….

And I was completely intrigued by the story and that parts of it were based on true events. This lead me to the book here….

This is a challenging book to read, but such a powerful insight into the West in the mid to late 1800s. After that book, I began this one…

This takes a fiction look at the beginnings of paleontology during the mid to late 1800s. I would define this as a quick read, an interesting story, but it does get a bit muddled with American Idol type phrases (“after the break!”). Each of these stories happen effectively within the same time period, and it is two fiction perspectives mixed with a nonfiction history. Happy reading!

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Oven fries

These are A’s very favorite fries right now. Oven baked with a dash of paprika, salt, and pepper they are super simple to put together and the perfect side for Sunday night burgers.


3-4 russet potatoes scrubbed clean and sliced into wedges

1-2 tsp paprika

Salt and pepper

Canola oil

Rosemary leaves for garnish


Preheat oven to 425. Place potato wedges on non stick foil on baking sheet. Sprinkle with spices (except for rosemary), then drizzle with canola oil. Bake for 20 minutes, flip wedges and then bake for another 10-15 minutes until crispy, but not burnt. Out of the oven immediately place on paper towels and sprinkle with fresh rosemary.


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