Final WPC – All-Time Favorites

Goodbye Weekly Photo Challenge.  Thanks to the WordPress team for all the support and  guidance on this photo blogging journey.  The many friendships of fellow bloggers you helped create.  Thanks for all the memories.

 

My All-Time Favorites

From WPC – Place In The World and Reflections 

Watching the boats come in at sunset – Surfside Beach

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One of the many beautiful parks in the Austin,TX area

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From WPC – Up Close – Squirrel Playing “Peek-a-boo”

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From WPC – Minimalist – Seagull flying high

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From WPC – Endurance – Labor Day Cup 2014 – A show of Endurance

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From WPC – Work Of Art – Beautiful Seashell

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My wonderful son playing in the surf – Surfside Beach

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This post is part of The Final 😦  Weekly Photo Challenge

 

Until we meet again …

Thanks for visiting!

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Place In The World – Weekly Photo Challenge

“Where do you belong? In the hustle and bustle of a big city or amongst friendly faces in a small town? For this week’s challenge, show us your place in the world.”

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The weekly photo challenge this week is Place in the World.  I am a country vs city girl.  Large crowds, heavy traffic, tall buildings on busy city streets are not my thing.  I grew up near the ocean in a relatively small area with wide open spaces.  Summers were spent by the water; camping, swimming, boating, skiing, tubing, basking in the sun.  Give me wide open spaces and friendly faces.  🙂

Outdoors in nature, by the ocean or in a beautiful meadow by a pond, country is my happy place.  I always feel grounded here, calm and at peace.

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062aA place to reflecttree reflection in water

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This post was part of The Daily Post – Weekly Photo Challenge:  Place in the World

Until next time …

Thanks for visiting!

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Yes, It Does Snow In Southeast Texas.

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

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I live in Southeast Texas, about 55 miles SE of Houston and 9 miles to the Gulf of Mexico.  The weather here is for the most part coastal weather.  Short, mildly cold, wet winters with long, humid, hot summers.  This past winter was a bit unusual, as we were given snow in early December.  It doesn’t snow very often here, but it does happen.  And when it happens we Texans have mixed emotions.  We are happy; we feel we are witnessing some sort of miracle, a blessing of sorts, a beautiful, wonderful, white winter wonderland.  On the other hand, we go into freak out mode.  How will we get to work?  Are the roads passable?  And if so, will we know how to drive in this white stuff?  Or maybe they will just shut down the city!?  LOL …I can count on one hand the amount of times in my life time that it has snowed.  But then I wanted to see how accurate my memory really was …so I did a little research.

  • In the winter of 1973, it snowed three times, dropping 2 inches on Jan. 11, 1.4 inches on Feb. 9-10, and 1.4 inches on Feb. 17-18.  I remember the snowfall on January 11 well.  I was 12 years old and it was my first time to ever see snow …that I could remember anyway.   It stayed on the ground most of that day.  I experienced my first snow angel, built my first snowman, and had my first snowball fight!
  • It snowed seven times in the 1980s with the most snow coming on Dec. 22, 1989, with 1.7 inches.  When reading this information, I was a bit sceptical.  Had it really snowed that many times??  I do remember the snow in 1989.  My oldest son was 2 and it was his first experience with this cold, wet, white wonder.  We lasted 10 minutes outside and it was too much for his little hands, even with mittens.  I took lots of pictures, after all it is an event to see snow in Texas.  Unfortunately, I laid the camera on the back of our truck, forgot it, and drove off losing the camera and all our snow pictures.  Although I do not have my pictures, the memories remain …
  • The Christmas Eve Snow Storm (2004) –  This one I remember, as I cried.  Standing at the patio door looking out on Christmas eve.  Thinking what a miracle it was that it snowed at all, much less on Christmas eve!

  • The earliest snow on record was on December 4th, 2009 when Houston received 1 inch.

Here are a few pictures captured from around the county of our most recent snow.  I apologize for being so late in getting this post out as it is now early Spring …yikes!

As the warm weather fast approaches, just a reminder of the many gifts of nature.  Sometimes snow, sometimes even in Southeast Texas.  😉

 

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“Close your eyes. Hear the silent snow. Listen to your soul speak.” ― A.D. Posey

 

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“Every snowflake is unique, yet they are each perfect.”
― Donald L. Hicks, Look into the stillness

 

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Until next time …

Thanks for visiting!

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Sources:

http://abc13.com/weather/snow-in-houston—-it-happens-more-than-you-think/2753082/

Thanks to the Community of Brazoria County for some of the wonderful pictures.

Spring Break – Surviving Vacation With Family

Ahh …Spring Break, that time of the year when children, teenagers and young adults suddenly descend upon your quite space.  The time of the day generally reserved for you, your Mom time, the time when you do all the things us Mom’s do during the day.  Now, instead of finishing that novel, painting your next master piece or Tuesday yoga classes …your weekday-daytime role has changed.  Enter CEO of the household; you are an entertainer, chauffeur, activity director and the list goes on.  So what does everyone in your household, including the CEO do when school shuts down for a week?  Pack the car up!  Reserve your plan ticket!  Go on a family vacation!

A few things to remember early on:

To make sure everyone has an enjoyable trip, be sure to choose a trip for all ages.

Set a Budget. Travel with your family does not have to be expensive. Decide on a comfortable budget that works for your family and include an allowance that provides for extra items such as souvenirs and a few unexpected activities.  Involve your family to make sure they agree with your travel plans.  But, do remember do NOT limit yourself to just traveling for the sake of traveling, spend all your money to get somewhere you can’t enjoy. Go splurge and pick one big thing to do; eat at a famous restaurant, see a big concert, attend a mega sporting event, have fun and make some incredible memories!

If at all possible, book in advance.

Plan and organize.  Make a list and go over it often.  Pack needed essentials for car or plane travel: snacks, water, books, travel games, etc.  Leave plenty of time to get where you need to be.

Start rested. Try to finish all your packing and arrangements the day before your departure.  This lets all of you relax, take a deep breath and clear your mind before the trip begins.

During the trip take lots of pictures and document happy memories. 

Recognize everyone’s limits… and your own.  But most of all …Have fun!

 

So You Are Traveling By Car …Road Trip! 

Pack needed essentials and entertainment: snacks, water, books, travel games, toilet paper (just in case) wet wipes etc. especially for longer trips.

Vehicle maintenance is essential.  Have your vehicle completely checked out by your mechanic. Oil changes, brake checks, light checks are important to the vehicle’s safe operation.

Safety – Pack plenty of water, a first-aid kit, tool kit which should include a flashlight in case you break down at night. Call to make sure your road assistance plan is up-to-date and charge your phone beforehand.

Remember to take frequent breaks – Preferably every two hours if you have young kids.  Find interesting spots to take a car break, historical monuments, roadside parks or a playground nearby Everyone needs to get out of the car and stretch their legs and kids need to run around and burn off some energy.

Finally, remember to sit back and enjoy the scenery

 

So You’ve Chosen To Fly …

Tips and Tricks for a pleasant and worry free flight

Non stop. Check with a travel agent so you can fly non-stop, off-peak and avoid congested airports. Generally, off-peak times are Tuesday through Thursday, plus late at night, very early in the morning, and mid-morning. The busiest and most congested airports in the U.S. include New York’s La Guardia, Miami International Airport and Chicago’s O’Hare.

Sit smart.Travelers with babies and toddlers are often advised to sit in the plane’s bulkhead because it has extra room.  Do take note; I am told by others with young children that there is no room under the seat for a carry-on bag, you may need that extra space for easy access to snacks, drinks, and gadgets during takeoff and landing.

Ear discomfort. To avoid and relieve ear pain when you take off and land, offer your family gum, hard candy or anything else that gets the mouth moving.

In case someone gets sick, bring plastic bags and have them ready. Gallon-size ones are best and can serve a dozen useful purposes.

 Pack light.  Wear or carry your coat, hat, scarves or place them in your carry on.  For shoes, wear your bulkier pair and place a pair of sandals/flip-flops/water shoes in your front pocket of your luggage. If you need formal shoes for dining out or dancing, pack them in your luggage and stuff your socks into the shoes to save space.  Very important, be sure to have travel insurance that will cover you in the event of cancelled flights, lost luggage and (hopefully not) but any health issue that may arise.

During your flight stay entertained with magazines, books, video games, and don’t forget the earbuds!

 

At the Hotel and Out and About

When traveling with young children you want to know that they are safe.  Perhaps you are staying an extended period of time in a particlular hotel, you may want to childproof first.  If  you do decide to childproof, bring along outlet covers, a bathtub-faucet cover, and plastic cabinet locks (duct tape makes a very good temporary lock). Parents’ safety starter kit, available at Amazon online, or nearby retailers, includes all the essentials.

 Clothing and comfort.  Bring at least two sets of pajamas, a warm set as well as a cool one. Sometimes it can get really hot or really cold in hotel rooms.

If you are traveling to places where it is quite warm in the day and colder at night, bring clothes that can be layered.  If you will be away from the hotel for a day/evening trip, you may not want them during the day but be glad to have the extra layer in the evening .

Don’t forget to pack your charges and Bring your gadgets.  You can even use a cable wrap and neatly store everyone’s cables and plugs in one central area. Don’t forget an adapter if you are traveling to countries that use different outlets. Pack your camera in a travel bag, you can use this as a personal item and take it with you onto the plane with your carry-on. If you use film, bring extra, some countries don’t have it readily available and it can get really pricey.

Plan Your Itinerary.  It is always fun to have some spur of the moment adventures …however, to avoid stress, long lines and shortened family fun time, it is best to make a schedule before attending certain events.  You may need to do a little research first and find out all your needed information a head of time.  A good example would be a music venue like SXSW Music Festival in Austin, TX.  You will need a schedule of timed events, locations and directions for parking etc.  You don’t want to spend all your time driving around looking for parking or walking around trying to find your event, only to arrive and find you missed it!

Well there you have it!  You are now equipped to not only survive …but to have fun on your Spring Break family vacation.

Until next time …

Happy Travels!

Favorite Places to Eat in Austin

One of my favorite things to do while living in Austin was to eat out.  And of course, Austin is all about good food and live music!  You can find some of the best restaurants anywhere, right here.  Some of them world-famous!  Austin has the popular spots, you know the ones …everybody knows this place and goes here type places.  And then you have the unique, little hole in the wall, out-of-the-way, type places that you may not know about.  Whatever you are looking for Austin has it.  Here is my pick of some of the best places to eat in Austin, most are budget friendly!! Bon Appetit!
Madame Mam's Guadalupe 037
2514 Guadalupe Street
Madam Mam's Noodles & More
2700 W Anderson Ln #419
Both locations are good.
Love the Chicken Pad Thai!!
Southwestern Grill  Arboretum, Great Hills 9400 Arboretum Blvd
Love this place!  If the weather is nice set outside on the patio.  The view is awesome!
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5300 S Mopac Expressway or any of the locations
My pick for the best sandwiches in Austin!!
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Anderson Mill/Jollyville 13435 Us-183 Ste 415 or any of the locations
Breakfast is Great!  Try the Baked Potato Omelet
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Downtown and Arboretum location
Healthy Food –  I recommend the Strawberry Banana or Mango Smoothies, so good!
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Italian food, Sandwiches/Subs, Bakery  – 4700 W Guadalupe St
Love this place!  Great food and atmosphere and shopping near by!
You have to have the Italian Cream Cake or anything in the Bakery!
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Anderson Mill/Jollyville – American, Southwestern 12832 N Hwy 183
Good, country-style diner food.  Breakfast is good.  The Burger’s are great for the price!  You can get a Burger and Fries for under $10
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Hyde Park Area, 4001 N Lamar Blvd
Love, love this place!  A Gourmet grocery store, cafe and live music all in one place.  It is Kid friendly, nice outside patio and adjoing play area for kids.
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Fresh Baked Goodies 1120 W 6th St.
They have wonderfully delicious desserts. The Chocolate Cake is very rich and moist. Located on Old Pecan Street (W 6th) surrounded by plenty of little shops.
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P-Terry’s

Burger Joint – 3303 N Lamar Blvd
Good food at good prices.  Best Chocolate Shakes!!
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8103 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78757
I liked the Burnet location for lunch since I worked nearby.  The BBQ may not be the best in Austin   …but it is good!  You can’t go wrong with the food, friendly service, the cheap prices, and the very casual atmosphere.  They also have a good breakfast and love the tea and desserts.
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San Marcos Road Trip & Cinnamon Banana Muffins

Hello everyone!  I hope you all had a marvelous week!  Do you have big plans for your weekend?  I hope it will be a good one!  A couple of weeks ago we made a road trip to San Marcus, Texas and of course, what would a road trip be without some awesome snacks to take along.  How about some yummy cinnamon banana muffins …

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Recipe is coming …I promise.  🙂

My youngest son played in the State Championship Soccer Tournament in San Marcos.  His team won 3rd place and we all had a great time.  🙂

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San Marcos is a quaint but lively college town, nestled in the Hill Country about 30 miles from Austin, TX.  Home to Texas State University …

Outlet malls, for some great shopping with some great deals and …of course, the San Marcos river.

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Tubing time!

San Marcus River

I just wanted to walk around San Marcus and surrounding area and just take pictures of all the beauty I found there.  Even though San Marcus is home to Texas State University, it has not lost that quaint, small town feel.  The downtown area; lined with historical old buildings, great for shopping and eating.  The soccer fields; right next to a beautiful river with a flowing waterfall …so much to see …a photographers dream.  But …I got known of this, as we were in a time crunch and the weekend was pretty much all about soccer.  But even though I did not get many pictures …we had a great time and enjoyed our trip.

If you ever are in San Marcus you have to eat at Grins Restaurant.  It is a local hot spot for college kids, tourist and locals alike.  They have absolutely the best Hamburgers I have ever had!  Hands down the best!

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Picture compliments of toursanmarcus.com.

The place is really neat as it is built somewhat like a tree house, with part of the dining area being split level and has the perfect tree-shaded deck for outdoor dining.

 

And now …back to these delicious muffins 🙂

Cinnamon Banana Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

By:  Arl’s World

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Ingredients

Muffins

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup olive oil

2 eggs

2/3 cup mashed very ripe bananas (2 medium size)

1 tsp vanilla

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Topping

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

1 Heat oven to 375°F. Grease bottoms only of 12 regular-size muffin cups with shortening or spray, or line with paper baking cups.

2 In medium bowl, beat 2/3 cup sugar, the oil and eggs with wire whisk. Stir in bananas and vanilla. Stir in remaining muffin ingredients just until moistened. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

3 Mix 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. sprinkle on top of batter.

4 Bake 17 to 21 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately remove from pan to cooling rack.

 

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Destination – Galveston Seashore

One of our favorite places to go is to the beach.  Every summer we spend lots of family time at the seashore of Galveston Island.  Starting with Spring Break madness and continuing through the summer months, Galveston offers a great getaway, perfect for families, couples and all you spring breakers.

If Spring Break is not your ideal getaway time, than August might be.  If you can stand the summer heat, as it gets really hot this time of the year, August is a good time to take a vacation.  As summer comes to an end and families prepare to send their children back to school, hotels lower their rates and sometimes offer end of season specials.  This was true of the Holiday Inn Club Vacations Galveston Beach Resort where we chose to stay this particular trip.

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There are quite a few good places to stay in Galveston, but what sets this place apart from the others is location, location, location! It is right on the beach!  We also like that it is about 5 miles out-of-town so you get less of the crowds.

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Our suite was really nice with a full kitchen, living room and spacious bedrooms and bath.  You have a shared laundry room with one other unit/suite.  We loved the balcony that went from the living area around to the main bedroom.  The view was absolutely gorgeous!  It was so peaceful to set out on the balcony in the morning or evening, looking out at the beautiful blue ocean …and all the colorful beach houses.

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The infinity pool has a large wrap around deck that leads you out to the beach.  On either side of the deck you have areas for grilling with picnic tables, basketball court and volleyball court on the beach.  For some reason I just could not seem to get a good shot of any of those … but hey, trust me when I say that I think you would approve.  🙂

Walking the beach and hunting for seashells is always one of our favorite pastimes.  I think my son find some interesting ones on his walk.  1965a

It was a great time down by the seashore in Galveston Island.  Family and friends + good times = memories made.  🙂

Glad you could come along!  See you next time!

Thanks for visiting!

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