Saturday, March 30, 2019

Weekend Vibes: Things To Do With the Family on The Weekends

We are all about the weekends.  That is when we spend our time looking for adventures and doing things together as a family. A lot of people tell me that I have the best ideas of things to do and ask how I come up with them. So I thought I'd share some of our favorite weekend things to do below!

Bowling. A couple weekends ago we spent the weekend bowling. The kids really love bowling lately. So we try to go 2x a year. We found a really cool bowling place that served great food and had the coolest atmosphere. We enjoyed it.

Go Hiking. This is a good idea for multiple reasons. No matter where you live, it's likely there is somewhere to hike close by. You can get in some exercise and fresh air while you spend time with the family. We bring the dog and a picnic and make it a fun little family outing.

Go to The Drive Ins: This is one of our favorite things to do during nice weather. We either make a big bed in the back of the pick up or open the back of the SUV. We bring snacks, drinks and get cozy for a movie. This is great for families with little kids because if they don't want to sit through the whole movie, they can go to sleep or play. Maxwell has been going since he was 6 months old. See our fun Drive-In post HERE.

Brunch someplace outdoors. We LOVE outdoor eating. So we look for the best outdoor dining spots wherever we go. Texas has the best places with playgrounds and are usually always dog-friendly too.

Find a Local Event. I watch Facebook for suggested events in the area. This has led me to some cool things like a Hot Air Balloon Festival, Rodeos, Fairs, certain holiday events and even family friendly football watch parties.

Stay In: Having fun doesn't always mean going out. Often some of our favorite weekends are hanging out at home. I think it's important to be intentional with this. Anyone can just sit around and watch tv while everyone is glued to their electronics. But it's something entirely different to be intentionally connecting. Hang outside and watch the kids ride bikes or play. Cook on the grill and set up dinner outside on the patio. Set up sprinklers for the kids and let them invite a neighbor or friend over. They get to splash and have fun, you get to enjoy a glass of your beverage of choice and watch them. Wash the cars together as a family. Let them get dirty. Have a game night and ban all electronics. Order take out and set up a picnic on the livingroom floor while you watch a movie together. My kids LOVE when we do that. Those are just a few of my ideas. Get creative. Trust me, when you do stuff like this, even for just one day during the week, you feel so much more connected and for me, less guilt that I didn't spend quality time with them.

Look for Adventure. I often find that people think they have to travel to find good adventure. When we moved to Texas, that was the first thing I looked for: Cool things to do. The internet is an abundance of information and as long as you have that, you can find every dang there is to do! People here in Texas ask what we have done so far and when we tell them, most people have said, "Wow, we haven't even done half of that stuff and we are from here!" When you plan a vacation, you intentionally look for these great places and fun things to do. Guess what? You can do the same thing right where you live. For instance, when we lived in New York, we went Railbiking! See that HERE. And we went floating on Lake George on an actual tiki bar!! When we got to Texas.....welll for any Texas readers, you can see a list of things we did here:

Visited Austin TX HERE
Went to a TX hill country winery HERE
Saw the Riverwalk HERE

500 Acre Ranch in Cat Springs, TX HERE
San Antonio Zoo HERE
Fredericksburg, TX HERE
Luckenback, TX HERE
Big Bend HERE
La Cantera for Easter HERE
Swam with Dolphins at SeaWorld HERE
Stayed at the Treehouses in New Braunfels HERE
Visited the Rodeo & Roseanne Pop Up Shop HERE

Staycation at the Fairmont in Austin HERE
Weekend in Hill Country HERE
Galveston TX HERE

This was all done in the very first year we were here. AND, most of this was very affordable. But it doesn't have to be a long weekend away. Sometimes we love just heading out for a day like we did to the winery or the Zoo. I'm a bargain hunter when it comes to finding reasonable things to do. So do a little research.

If this hasn't given you enough ideas, then check out our Weekend Vibes posts HERE. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Back in Siesta Keys

We try to visit my mother in Florida as much as we can. She moved there last year and Our trip to Siesta Keys to visit my mom was a great time!  I wanted to visit her over the summer, just the kids and I, but the red tide had plans of it's own. So we rescheduled for October and Ty got to come with us. We stayed with my mom for part of the time and then rented a Beach Cottage for the other part of the trip. Our cottage was just around the corner from the beach and this made for amazing sunsets and sunrises. I will link everything we did and where we stayed.

We stayed at Tropical Breeze Resort in Siesta Keys . We LOVED this place!! Super friendly and accommodating, so close to the beach and lots of room options. Check out our "Siesta Key" highlight reel on instagram at @itslaurenrebecca for all of our vaca details and tour of where we stayed. 

As I had told you in a past post,  I was going to try and be more intentional about working out and eating healthier. And I did for the most part. We are usually pretty active on our vacations anyhow. Always out swimming or walking or doing some sort of adventure. But I made sure to get in a few workouts even if they were quick ones. It felt good to stay on track. Generally on vacation, I abandon all routine workouts and eating is a free for all. And sometimes that is ok because often you might not have enough time to workout or you just deserve a good break from trying to eat so on point all the time, and just enjoy eating and drinking whatever you please. Sometimes this doesn't work well for people because they feel like they fall off the wagon and it's like starting all over again when they return. For me, by the end of vacation, I am craving healthy foods, balance and some good fitness. So it is not a problem for me. This time it was more about not wanting to feel sick and bloated. So I made sure I incorporated a lot of healthy, clean meals and still had some full-on unhealthy, super chocolatey, greasy meals also. I'm a sucker for some good onion rings!! We had a full kitchen in our cottage so we also bought food and made some meals in our place.  Some places that we ate at were: Another Broken Egg (this was around the corner from where we stayed and they had the best breakfast. We ate here a lot), Green Zebra Cafe (this place had organic options and it was where we went when we needed a healthy meal), Meaney's Mini Donuts (We can't come to Siesta Keys without grabbing some of these deliciously amazing mini donuts), Osyter Bar or SKOB (My mom took the kids one night and Ty and I did some restaurant and live music searching. This place was great for seafood and some live music), Bon Jour French Cafe (They had GF and Vegan options),  Made in Rome Organic Gelato (Obv we had to try this place), The Cottage (this place was right around the corner from where we stayed too and they had great food and the drinks were good too)
Marina Jacks  (We ate dinner outdoors overlooking the ocean at this restaurant. Very cool atmosphere and they also had live music)

Things To Do:
We went to Big Cat Habitat in Sarasota, which I highly recommend! It wasn't expensive and it was so cool to see all of the wild cats. I had NO idea that a Liger was a real thing! No clue why we had no photos of the cats but I do recommend it. We rented little scooter cars and drove around the beaches.  The kids thought this was the best thing ever. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens was another favorite for the kids. They had the coolest gardens and fun little exploratory places included a tree with roots that they found amazing!
We also took one day and went to Busch Gardens. It was so empty there as far as people. We lucked out and got the place to ourselves. Kids loved the animals, rides, getting their faces painted and games there. We also really enjoyed just hanging out at the beach. Red Tide was just ending and when we went to the beach, we had a manatee come right up to us and stick his snout out of the water!!! Coolest thing ever!! The beach is such a therapeutic place. We spent lots of evenings and mornings there. The kids can never get enough of it.

On our way home, we flew Southwest and the pilots & staff were the best! They let the kids take a look at the cockpit and where they fly. Maxwell was in his glory! We had an awesome time as always and look forward to visiting my mother again.

Busch Gardens
Tropical Breeze Resort
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Another Broken Egg

Big Cat Habitat Sanctuary 
Marina Jacks

The Cottage