Friday, July 27, 2012

Name this place!

Where in Texas is Austin (my son not the capitol)?  Post a comment on my blog page if you know.  The first  individual who guesses correctly wins a home cooked meal by my hubby, Ivan! 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gator Country - Beaumont, TX

Our latest family adventure took us to Gator Country in Beaumont, TX.  Gator Country is an alligator wildlife park that focuses on rescue and conservation.  You may have seen them on CMT's Gator 911, A&E, Animal Planet, and/or Bravo.

The photo shown above is of Zach kissing Big Al.  (No offense Zach but I can't help thinking you and the crew must be a bit on the crazy side to get in a lake with an alligator let alone kiss one.)  Big Al is a big deal measuring in at over 13 feel in length and is about 80 years old. 

We enjoyed a very informative show about alligators, crocodiles, and snakes.  It was amazing to be able to see these animals up close.  Holding the alligator and snake was a fun experience.  My kiddos were enjoying it so much they asked if they could swim with the alligators.  The sun must have been effecting my judgement because I said yes.  I sent my dear son and daughter to swim with alligators for only $5.00 each.  GULP!  Before you judge me too much the mouths of the alligators were tapped shut and a professional was in there the entire time.  LOL.  Check out this video of my son, Austin, pinning an alligator.  If you are having trouble viewing the video click here to go to the YouTube link.


Thanks again to Zach and the crew at Gator Country in Beaumont, TX.  Visit them online by clicking here. 

Would you swim with an alligator if you had the opportunity?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Do little voices in you head sometimes whisper chocolate, chocolate, chocolate?  Well today the little voice in my head is screaming CHOCOLATE!  I must make the madness stop and feed my body what it needs.  The question is where to go.  Here are two of my favorite locations for this sweet indulgence.

The Chocolate Bar in Houston, TX is a place you can find chocolate covered popcorn, fruit, DoubleStuff Oreos, Mint Milanos, etc.  They have a seven layer cake that will blow your socks off.  You can wash it all down with a scoop of their homemade gourmet ice cream.  Located in Rice Village or River Oaks.  Click here to take a peek at their menu.

Dessert Gallery Bakery Cafe in Houston, TX in another favorite place to visit.  I LOVE their chocolate dipped chocolate chunk cookies.  They have cupcakes galore and lemon bars that are the perfect combo of sweet and tart.  Check out this video clip for an inside look of their delicious goodness!

What is your favorite sweet treat location?

Monday, July 23, 2012

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Dallas/Fort Worth

Legoland Discovery Center Dallas/Fort Worth is on our family "To Do" list.   Here are a few activities they offer:
  • over 2 million LEGO bricks under one roof
  • Kingdom Quest - an interactive LEGO laser ride (guests under 51" must ride with an adult)
  • 4D Cinema - feel part of the story
  • Master Model Builder - learn LEGO secrets
  • Forrest Pursuit Attraction (Children must be at least 40 inches and 4 years old to ride, and a maximum of 60 inches tall.)
  • Miniland - see iconic landmarks
  • plus party rooms, school workshops and a huge LEGO shop!

 It sounds like the ultimate place for LEGO fans – young and old.  Have you visited this location?  If so, would you like to offer any insider tips?  Suggestions?  Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment.  Thank you!

P.S.  Don't forget about the Lego Kids Fest happening in Austin, Texas
August 31-September 2.  Click here for more details.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Meatless Meals for Meat Eaters: Smoothie Collection

This collection of smoothie recipes from Meatless Meals for Meat Eaters looked so delicious and refreshing I had to share.  Click on the posted links to view.  Thanks for the fantastic recipes Miriam! 

Meatless Meals for Meat Eaters: Smoothie Collection:

Cranberry Peach Smoothie
Purple Morning Smoothie
Fruit Punch Smoothie
Strawberry Blast
Green Smoothie

Don't forget Putt-Putt Fun House Discount
Cards are still available!
Click here for more information.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Kayak Boat Rides at Discovery Green Park

Experience something that will have you and your friends talking! Enjoy a guided kayak ride on Kinder Lake in the shadow of Houston's dramatic skyline. It can be very relaxing, peaceful, and serene, while awakening your awareness of nature.

Saturday, July 21 from 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Ticket Price $5.00 per person
 (kayak accommodates 2 people and 1 guide)

713-538-RIDE (7433)

    What you need to know:
    • Each kayak will be piloted by one of our professional guides.
    • Children must be signed in by a parent or guardian, no exceptions.
    • Parents, you don't have to ride. Our kayaks will take up to two children or one adult and one child at a time for a total of three people including the guide.
    • Each ride will consist of two laps around Kinder lake to learn about paddling and enjoy all the beautiful fish swimming in the lake.
    Click here for more information, or contact

    All photos © by Discovery Green. Photos by Lauren Griffith, David A. Brown, Ben de Soto, Jeff Fitlow, John Gollings, Katya Horner, James LaCombe, Jay Lee, Jim Olive, Anthony Rathburn.

    Thursday, July 19, 2012

    Putt-Putt Funhouse Discount Cards!

    Space City Figure Skating Club is now selling Putt-Putt Funhouse Cards!
    Click here for more information on attractions! 

    These cards are $10 for 5 attractions and can be redeemed for a 10% discount at Funhouse Cafe and Ice Cream Parlor.  Attractions include Ballocity, Battle Zone, Bumper Boats, Bumper Cars, Laser Tag, Putt-Putt Golf, Rock Wall, and 3D Motion Theater!  This is great family fun for all ages and an excellent value (regular price for 1 attraction is $6.50!).

    If interested, please email Karyn Swindull at

    Thank you all for your support.

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    Road Trip to Austin, Buda & Gruene!

    Sometimes in life one must act on impulse.  That's what our family did recently and we are so happy we did!  What started as a family date night to the Show Boat Drive-In Theater ended up as a road trip.

    Pinned Image
    For more information on The Showboat Drive in Theater click here.
    While driving to the theater the weather turned bad.  Not just a little rain but a huge storm complete with wind, thunder, lightning.  Guess this is what happens when there's only a 20% chance of rain.  We stopped for a bite to eat until the worst of the weather passed.  While eating my dear hubby, Ivan, looked at me and said, "Wanna drive to Austin tonight?"  I looked at him as if he was crazy and said, "Let's do it!"  The kids were not aware of our decision until we were on the road headed out.  Never mind the fact that we have no extra clothes or even a tooth brush.  Let the adventure begin!

    We made a reservation in Pflugerville, TX.  Why Pflugerville?  Because it's fun to say.  Drove straight to the hotel and got a good nights rest.  The next morning I found a Walmart and purchased a few necessities.  After a delicious breakfast at the hotel we took a driving tour of the University of Texas and then went to the Co-Op for some new UT merchandise.

    Check out CraigO's here

    For lunch we stopped at Craig O's Pizza & Pasta on Balconese for my favorite baked spinach zitti.  Ivan, Ethan & Marisa had pizza.  Austin, who called himself the King while in Austin, ate delicious spaghetti & meat balls.  YUMMY!

    Next stop Buda, TX to visit Cabela's.  If you have a hunter in the family then you know you MUST stop at Cabela's if  you are within 50 miles.  The kiddos enjoyed viewing the Big Game exhibit,  Aquarium exhibit, and the shooting arcade.  I enjoyed the roasted pecans.


    While driving to our ultimate destination in Gruene, TX we found a Krispy Kreme Donut shop.  Ethan is crazy about this place and was beside himself to eat one, two, or five donuts.  I prefer good ol' Shipley's but to each his own.

    Our final destination was Gruene, TX where we drove down River Road and enjoyed a delicious sunset dinner at the Grist Mill.  We could hear families playing in the river, great music coming from Gruene Hall, and stayed cool by an evening breeze.  Life is good!
    More information on Gruene Texas can be found here.
    After dinner we stopped by the General Store for ice cream and headed back to Houston.  What a great whirl-wind trip.  Fun was had by all thanks to my hubby's crazy idea.  Thanks honey, we loved it!

    Tuesday, July 17, 2012

    Spaghetti Warehouse Restaurant

    The Spaghetti Warehouse is a fun place to eat great Italian-American food. Friendly service and good value.  The building decor takes you back in time.  Did you know that the Spaghetti Warehouse downtown was named one of the most haunted building in America?  

    The building was built as a warehouse in 1912.  Some say you can experience flickering lights, hear whispering voices and feel spirits around the women's first-floor restroom.  The restaurant has a flyer with the building history and it's alleged haunting.  Is it a marketing ploy or true?  I'll let you be the judge. 

    The Spaghetti Warehouse is turning 40 this year and has lots of celebration events happening.  They're Trolley Tour will be in Houston on September 26-29.  Click here for more information on the celebration. 

    Monday is Kid’s Day at the Warehouse. Each Kid’s Menu Meal is served with a salad, soup or applesauce; beverage and dessert. Limit two $1.99 Kid’s Menu meal with each adult meal purchase. Kids 10 and under, please. Dine in only.
    901 Commerce St., Hou., TX 77002
    11am - 10pm, Sunday – Thursday
    11am - 11pm, Friday - Saturday
    Phone: (713) 229-9715

    Monday, July 16, 2012

    Kemah Boardwalk

    There's always so much fun to be had at the Kemah Boardwalk!  Take advantage of Kid Krazy Mondays.
    Valid dates July 16, 23 & 30 and August 6 & 13.   Coupon required.

    Kemah Boardwalk also has the following
    events scheduled for July: 
    Click here to visit Kemah Boardwalk's web site!

    Don't forget Two for Tuesdays at the Downtown Aquarium.
    Click HERE for more information.

    Friday, July 13, 2012

    LEGO KidsFest: Austin, TX

    LEGO KidsFest is coming to Texas
    August 31-Sept 2, 2012!

    LEGO KidsFest brings all of the creative hands-on, minds-on fun of LEGO building and experiences together in one activity- and entertainment-packed family event for children of all ages and builders of all skills and interests.

    Austin Convention Center
    500 East Cesar Chavez Street
    Austin, TX 78701-4121

    The LEGO® KidsFest is comprised of a variety of fun activities. There is something for every member of the family. Each of the sessions offers the same interactive activities and play areas. No session is better than another to attend. Some of the highlights* include:

    Lego Model Museum
    LEGO Club & Master Builder Academy
    LEGO Activity Area
    LEGO Challenge Zone
    LEGO Master Builders
    Creation Nation
    Big Brick Pile
    LEGO Building Areas
    Monochromatic Group Builds
    Race Ramps
    LEGO Games
    Garden of Giving Presented by the LEGO Children’s Fund
    LEGO Ninjago

    More information on KidsFest can be found by clicking here!

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

    Craft: Glow Jar

    We came across this glow jar craft on Pinterest and decided to give it a try.  It was a bit messy but my dear daughter was impressed with it.  You have to shake the jar every 10-15 minutes to keep the glow going.  It will last 1.5-2 hours (which was plenty of time for my 7 year old).  Directions are listed below if you'd like to give it a try. 
    Materials:  Empty jar with lid (figure 1), glow sticks (figure 2), safety glasses, gloves, scissors, a towel for clean up.

    While wearing your safety glasses hold glow stick over jar cut stick in half (figure 3); empty contents into jar.  Be careful of sharp pieces of glass.  Replace lid on jar; shake jar; enjoy the glow (figure 4).

    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

    Camping Crafts (Part 2 of 2)

    Here are a few more craft ideas to help keep your family entertained on a camping trip.

    Declare your camping spot with a family sign made from items found on your nature scavenger hunt.  Detailed instructions can be found on the Family Fun website by clicking here.

    How about making a good old fashion pet rock. All you need is a rock, some google eyes, glue dots, and imagination. Don't forget to make a home for your pet rock to sleep in. Keep an eye on these guys. You'll have an entire family if you're not careful.

    Your kiddos can use leaves they've collected to create foliage friends.  All you need is some paper, leaves, markers, glue and lots of creativity.

    Before you go on a hike plan to make a nature bracelet. Tear off a piece of masking tape to fit around child's wrist. Place it around wrist with the sticky side out. Go for a walk and find things to stick to the masking tape like leaves, flowers, twigs, seeds, pods, etc

    One last thought on camping activities.  Stories around the camp fire are lots of fun.  Remember to keep them light hearted for little ones.  Our family favorite is the "Oh What a Goose I Am Skit" from the Boy Scouts of America.  You can print it out by clicking here.  Let the adventures begin!

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

    Camping Crafts (Part 1 of 2)

    Camping is a wonderful sport the entire family can enjoy.  There's nothing like building a camp fire, eating smores and sleeping under the stars.  Being able to spend quality family time together will bring memories that will last a lifetime.  Here are a few ideas to keep the kiddos busy while at camp.

    Solar Print Paper is a fun way to showcase unique items found on the trail.  It is easy to use and can be found at Lakeshore Learning Store or Oriental Trading for less than  $10.00 a box.

    Camp Mail because it can be fun to exchange notes with other friends/family at the camp site.  Parents can even "mail" good behavior rewards to their children.  Instruction can be found by clicking here.

    Fun with glow sticks. Click here for more information.

    This activity will keep eyes and hands busy on the trail.  Once items are collected the kiddos can use their treasures to create unique one of a kind works of art.

    Tomorrow's blog will feature more camp craft ideas.  Please feel free to post your family camping tips and craft ideas.  Bored kiddos = cranky kiddos.  Hope these activities can keep cranky away.  Have fun!

    Monday, July 9, 2012

    Sidewalk Chalk Fun

    A great boredom buster for my dear daughter is sidewalk chalk.  A bucket of the colorful sticks can bring hours of entertainment and giggles.  I love how creative she can be.  Take a look at her latest creation.
    Her simple beach scene with a lounge chair, umbrella,
    and lemonade on an end table.
    This is how she turns her chalk drawing into a working piece of art.
    All this play time can make a girl thirsty!
    Good thing her cool lemonade is near by.
    Caution:  Sidewalk chalk fun may rub off on you.  The good news is it
    easily brushes away (especially if you use a leaf blower like I did). 
    Don't judge me.  She loved it!

    What are some fun sidewalk chalk activities your family enjoys?  

    Friday, July 6, 2012

    Field Trip: Mrs. Baird's Bread

    Visit Mrs. Baird's web site here.
    Growing up in Houston, Texas the bread of choice was always Mrs. Baird's Bread. My grandmother lived near the factory and we always loved the smell of fresh bread baking. We would frequent their factory thrift store and many times the bread was still warm from production. Why not journey down memory lane and enjoy a factory tour! I can already smell the bread baking!

    Tours are available Wednesday and Thursdays at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.


    Note: Due to the capacity of our tour facility there is a 25 person maximum per tour, per time slot. Groups larger than 25 people will be split into multiple tours over Weds/Thurs period

    Houston Bakery
    6650 N. Houston -
    Rosslyn Rd.
    Houston, TX 77091
    (713) 996-5000 x 5000
    For a map,
    click here.

    Please note the following:
    • Children must be at least 6 years old to participate in a tour.
    • One adult (18 or older) must be present for every 10 children on the tour.
    • Your legs need to be covered
    • For safety reasons:
      NO open-toed shoes are allowed, no "heel-out" shoes like flip-flops or sandals, no "heelys" (tennis shoes on rollers) and no jewelry
    • No VIDEO cameras are allowed inside the bakery
    • Please contact the bakery a minimum of two-three weeks in advance.
    • During hot weather months, scheduling a tour in the morning is recommended.

                    Download a Coloring Book of the Adventure Tour Characters!      

    Thursday, July 5, 2012

    Sugar N' Spice and All Things Nice

    When I think about eating healthier I always crave food I should stay away from. I can literally hear the "Good Angel" and the "Bad Angel" arguing on my shoulders. No matter how hard I try the "Bad Angel" always wins. What can I say...I have no will power!

    I my moment of weakness my kiddos and I made cake batter cookies. We used a recipe found on Click on this link for recipe: Cake Batter Cookies

     What's good for the lips just may hurt my hips.  Curse you "Bad Angel"! 

    Wednesday, July 4, 2012

    Pinwheel Craft | Kids' Crafts |

    Here's a fun 4th of July craft, courtesy of, that the entire family can enjoy. Here's hoping that there's enough wind to keep the pinwheel moving.

    Detailed instructions can be found on the following link: 

    You can check out some of the fun activities around town by clicking here.  Have a safe and fun holiday.  Remember to thank our Military members for allowing us our freedoms. God bless the U.S.A. 

    Tuesday, July 3, 2012

    Kegg's Handmade Candies Factory Tour

    When I think candy factory I think Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. My sister and I use to wish for an opportunity to leap into the movie screen and taste the delicious goodness. (With permission from Mr. Wonka of course: we wouldn't want to turn out like Violet or be escorted away by an army Oompa-Loompas.) I recently discovered that you can bring a little of the movie magic to life by taking a tour of Houston's own chocolate Factory at Kegg's Handmade Candies!

    Kegg's Candies Store

    Come and Take A Tour for FREE!
    Reservations may be made online by clicking this link: Reserve online

    • When: Weekdays(Monday Thru Friday)
    • Times: 10:00 AM-3:00 PM
    • Cost: Free
    • Type: Self-Guided for Groups of less than 10 People.
    • Reservations Required: For Groups of 10 People or More
    • Length of Tour: Approximately 30 Minutes
    The Kegg’s Candies Chocolate Factory is a customer friendly production facility. It was built with a factory tour entrance and a 90 foot long glass wall exposing a clear view of the entire chocolate making process.  The tour ends in Kegg’s 2,000 sq. ft. colorful chocolate factory retail store where you’ll find over 600 handmade candies, frozen custard and Italian ice.  Free samples of signature confections can be had with ease.

    You will learn about the cocoa processing, the chocolate and confectionery manufacturing process as well as the history and tradition of Kegg’s Candies.  You will see, touch and feel an actual cocoa pod and learn how the cocoa plant, the cocoa pod and the cocoa bean play an important role in producing the chocolate candies we all love to consume.

    Group tours that are scheduled in advance are met by a Kegg’s Factory Tour representative that will guide you through the facility and provide information and answer questions. For groups smaller than 10 people or individuals, tours are self guided at the customers own schedule and pace. So just stop by any time during tour hours when it’s convenient for you.

    Don’t forget to bring a few dollars to buy some souvenirs as a memory of your visit. Stop by and experience what life at the chocolate factory is really like. They guarantee you’ll have a really “sweet” experience!

    For more information on Kegg's Candy Factory click here!

    Monday, July 2, 2012

    Fun with Glow Sticks

    We had so much fun playing with glow sticks tonight!  Who knew that a $5.00 trip to the dollar store would produce so much fun.  I think my older kiddos enjoyed it more than my 7 year old (but don't tell them I said so).  Here are a few photos of what we did. 

    Top row L to R:  Glow in the dark hopscotch, name in lights, glow stick taped to Nerf gun, glowing target for Nerf darts.

    Middle row L to R:  Hula-Hoop w/glow sticks taped to it, hula-hoop in action, cup w/glow stick taped, enjoying lemonade.

    Bottom row L to R:  Bubble bath w/glow sticks, swimming in neon lights, glow stickes rubber band to a headband, indoor fireworks in July!

    Check out this video of my daughter dancing in the dark!

    We also enjoyed a glow in the dark dance production by Marisa. The cartwheels did not record well but we hope you enjoy her video.

    Sunday, July 1, 2012

    Craft/Treat: Red, White and Blue Ice Pops

    Here's a fun 4th of July treat you can make as a family.MyRecipes
    Red, White and Blue Ice Pops
    Celebrate red, white, and blue all summer long with these patriotic ice pops. The secret ingredient is a blue sports drink, along with cranberrry juice and lemonade.

    Yield: 8 ice pops
    Cost Per Serving:$.15


    • 1 cup cranberry juice
    • 1 cup lemonade
    • 1 cup blue sports drink, such as Gatorade


    Arrange 8 3-oz. paper or plastic cups on a baking sheet and divide cranberry juice evenly among them. Place baking sheet in freezer and freeze until juice is almost firm, about 1 hour.
    Insert craft sticks into center of slightly frozen juice. (If sticks won't quite stand up straight, you can repositions them when the next layer starts to solidify.)
    Divide lemonade evenly among cups to make a second layer. Freeze until hard, about 2 hours. Pour Gatorade over lemonade layer and freeze until solid, about 3 hours. Gently pull each ice pop out of its cup (it helps to squeeze the cup lightly from bottom) and serve immediately.

    All You JUNE 2008

    NOTE:  Do you like the recipe but too many steps?  Simply fill ice cubes trays with red, white, and blue liquids.  Once set serve with gingerale.