Thursday, April 19, 2018

Easter Eggs at La Cantera

I intended to post this 2 weeks ago but then my computer had a teensy "liquid accident"....aka I spilled a whole glass of water on it. Sigh. So here I am posting this now. Normally we spend Easter with the family. It's usually a large gathering with hearty meals, church and the traditional scavenger hunts. But since family is scattered among 4 different states across the country, we decided to staycation. For the kids this year, I put together a small Easter basket with a 2 or 3 candies and a couple small trinkets . Then I added in 1 thing that they have each been wanting for awhile. Scarlett got Heelys and Maxwell got Batman Legos. I've been trying to go lighter and lighter on the gifts during holidays. I am trying to teach them that "stuff" is not as valuable as it may seem and that experiences and memories are what matters. The rest of the weekend we acted on that lesson and we did things together all weekend. We went to see the bluebonnets in hill country, we went to church and came here to La Cantera Resort & Spa. Views were beautiful and the food was just about as good as the views. On Sunday, they held an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids there. Ty and I drank some morning spirits while we watched them run around and open their eggs. 

My favorite part of this Holiday was watching my children be kind and compassionate. There were 2 or 3 little kids that showed up late and the Easter Egg Hunt was nearly over. Their parents were trying to tell them to look around in bushes to see if maybe someone had missed any. Disappointed, the little hands held empty baskets with no such luck. Scarlett looked at her bag full of eggs and said, "Can we hide some for them, Mama? We don't need all of these." My heart just about burst. If any of you have been following a while, you know just how sweet and caring my Scarlett is. She took her brother and with hands full of eggs, they went out and hid them around the grass. Then Scarlett walked over and told them they had hid some for them. Smiles began to cross their faces as they found egg after egg. Scarlett helped a 2 year old to find some that she had hid while Maxwell cheered, "There's more!". 
I know I have said this so many times but when things like this happen, I wonder if this is just their good nature and character...or if Ty and I are doing something right to raise GOOD and caring people. I hope a little of both. Either way, those were the few moments that truly made my Easter holiday special. We enjoyed a nice church service as well, followed by dinner out with some new friends from church. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Weekend Vibes: Antlers, Cheerleading & Happy Sunday Endings.

Scarlett had her very first Cheerleading Show! It happened at Sunset Station in downtown San Antonio a couple weekends ago. I was SO excited to see her perform. I was also a little nervous since she missed 3 practices because we were on vaca. But still, she did great and of course I got lots and lots of photos and videos to remember it all. Maxwell was so into the fountain and the train there. We got to watch a the longest train ever go by. And yes, we had to watch ALL of it.

After her show we were starving so we went down to the Riverwalk and grabbed a quick bite to eat on the River. It was Friday night and the place was packed! Note to self, make reservations if you want to eat dinner at the Riverwalk on the weekends. We still managed to take in a bit of the scenery and then talk Scarlett off the ledge when we told her we were not going to ride the boats down the river. She's been asking since we got here if we can ride the boats so I need to make reservations to do this in the near future.

On Sunday we took a trip into New Braunfels to take in some of the scenery. We asked a local where we could get a bite to eat (best way to find the good food) and he told us about this little place called Antlers Cafe- said it was great food. The sign itself said it all. Now, I'm not really used to the tiny hole-in-the-wall places. Living in Saratoga Springs for the last 7 years I had gotten pretty used to a certain type of restaurant. In Saratoga, you can judge a book by it's cover, if you know what I mean.  We got to sit outside, which as everyone knows by now, I love. There was a hen house below the deck where we were sitting. Chickens were roaming freely. Of course the kids ran off to play on the play set not far from the chickens. I've noticed a theme that most of the TX eating spots are VERY family friendly. When I sat down and looked around, I had this feeling come over me. This recognizable happy feeling that I've been getting each time I discover new things here in TX. Antlers lined the walls making it obvious of the name choice. Two older cowboys sat behind us chatting.

The waitress dropped off the old man's salad and as he began to eat, I watched him. I'm normally not a people watcher. In fact, that's more of Ty's thing. I seem to be oblivious of others and usually my senses are focused on what I'M doing or experiencing. Maybe that's the Leo in me?  Anyhow, that happy feeling again. It came over me and I tried to pinpoint just what it was that made me smile inside. As I studied the older man's face, it hit me. He looked remarkably similar to my late Papa. The long face with white hair and oversized ears. The way he pushed his food around before he took a bite of his food even reminded me of him. He looked over and caught me off-guard. I quickly tried to act nonchalant and smiled to him. He smiled back with a nod as I suspect any cowboy would do.

I brought my focus to the menu. That's when the skepticism started. Frog legs and beer were the highlights??! Their menu also said "wine". No options. Just "Wine". When I asked what kind of wine they had, the waitress said in her ever so southern, sweet voice, "I'm not sure, I can show you the bottle?" The Bottle.... as in they only had one kind? I smiled and replied, "I'll just have a beer."  After we sat for a bit waiting for our food, Ty asked me if I liked it so far and I smiled. "Well, despite the one bottle of wine they offer, the beer is good and this place reminds me of the Rammer Jammer, so yes, I'd say I do." It really did look VERY similar to Bluebell's little hole-in-the-wall bar!

Ty and I ordered burgers.I took a big ole' bite of my cheeseburger with all the toppings. That's when the skepticism stopped. It. Was. Delicious!!! The food really was remarkably tasty!  And I put that down for a good ole' cheat meal on that day ;) I ate my entire plate: burger, fries, pickle, and a couple beers to boot!

Anyhow, after we finished our food and then watched the kids play with the chickens for awhile, we headed home. Windows down, warm air pouring in and Chris Stapleton turned up. I looked back to see two heads tilted to the sides with eyes closed. Just the way I like to end a Sunday. Full stomach & a happy heart.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Weekend Vibes: Brunch, The Pearl & Bumper the Dog.

This is from a few weekends ago but I thought I'd post it anyhow. Weekends are the best, aren't they? Every Saturday Scarlett has horse lessons. While we are waiting for her, Maxwell loves to get out of the car and play with the farm dog. His name is Monster but for some reason, Maxwell calls him Bumper. I think it may have something to do with the fact that when he plays "doggy" with his sister,  he calls himself Bumper. Where the name came from? We may never They are just the cutest sight to watch. He plays fetch with him, pets him and walks with him, telling him little Maxwell stories. I mean, you can see how adorable they are by the photos alone.

We had one of those spontaneous Saturdays where we just got in the car and ended up where we ended up! It happened to be at The Historical Pearl in downtown San Antonio. They have a great vibe there. A big grass area where the kids can play along with a splash pad for warmer months. There are little places to grab food and restaurants surrounding the whole area. On Sundays they hold a Farmer's Market that we sometimes hit up.

On this day we grabbed some snacks for the kids and let them run around the green with the other children. Ty and I had a drink and just sat relaxing at one of the tables on the grass. On Sunday, we went to The Rustic to grab brunch. They have my favorite kind of brunch. Just a smorgasbord of dishes to pick from. They call it, "Let's Jam". Usually there is live music playing but we were a little too early on this day. This is another great spot whether you have kids or not. They have a huge outdoor area that the kids can run around and play at while they are waiting on their food. Hanging chair swings, a canoe and the best rustic lit up sign are just a few of the decor pieces that give it's name meaning. I should have taken more photos of the actual area but we have been here quite a few times now and I feel like I've done a lot of sharing of this place. Anyhow, still a great place to go at the Rim in San Antonio.

We ended our weekend how we end most of our weekends, at home lounging outside with the kids. I love Sundays even though it's a reminder that the weekend is over. It's the day that we prep for the week ahead and relax a bit. I feel so relaxed after prepping and listening to some good music for the soul. Anyhow, it's actually only Friday right now so I'm about to go enjoy the weekend again! I hope you do too!!!   

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Weekend Vibes: Coffee, Wild Horses & Car Washes.

I admit that I have a bit of a traveling heart lately. I find myself caught up in the urge to see new things and experience more. That's me. Give me a little and I'll want more. Ask my Mother, I've always been kind of a wild child in that way. Not to mention I'm an east coast girl who never got to see anything off of the East Coast so the fact that we are getting to see new places and plan some trips is a dream for me.

 Despite all of that, there is also something tremendously gracious about spending weekends with my family. Just the 4 of us out exploring this city that we call home right now. Even my gypsy heart can't deny that it feels right to be doing simple things. Sometimes I plan something fun to do and other times we just get in the car and see where the road brings us.

It's on the weekends that we find happy moments like this. Sometimes it's just hanging out in the driveway listening to Leon Bridges and watching the kids wash the cars, splashing the water and giggling. Other times it's heading out to The Historic Pearl to let the kids play while we grab a coffee.
Last weekend Scarlett got to touch wild horses!! Of course she talked about this for...well, actually she hasn't stopped talking about it yet. Scarlett's horse lessons are in hill country and I love spending time there every Saturday. The beaut is unreal there. Last week, Scarlett was riding her horse (bareback may I add) when we heard the pounding of hooves beating on the ground. Her horse turned it ears and lifted his head. We turned to look and just outside the fence was the most beautiful herd of wild horses running by. They ran by a couple times before stopping to graze close to the fence. Scarlett's instructor brought her down to where they were and I watched as Scarlett's little hand reached in the fence to touch a light chestnut horse with a magnificent pale mane. Needless to say, her lesson ran an hour longer than it was supposed to. That's what I love about Texas. No one is in a rush to pass by the enjoyable, little moments. They just live them.

I decided to start posting "weekend vibes" posts, regularly- I have a few already waiting to be posted. It's a great way for me to document our life and experiences and give you all ideas for fun things to do as well maybe. PS. If anyone is in or from Texas, I'd love all of your ideas on things to do!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Disney 2018: Itinerary & Photos

Here is the itinerary I promised to post. This is a day by day guide to how we did Disney this year....

Wednesday: Flight to Orlando
- late afternoon. Flight landed at 8pm
Rode the Magical Express to All Stars Resort and checked in to get a good night's rest. (We stayed one night at All Stars resort because we flew in the night before our reservation so that we didn't waste an entire day on travel) All Stars Resort is the least expensive tier of resorts that Disney offers inside of Disney.

Thursday: Magic Kingdom. Brought our luggage to the desk and had them send it over to the Grand Floridian. Ate a quick breakfast. Took the shuttle to Disney's Magic Kingdom.
Lunch: Ate a quick service lunch in the park. Left park around 4. We rode the Ferry over the water to get to the Grand Floridian and swam for a bit until it was bedtime. Dinner was quick service by the pool. Highlights of the day: Meeting Buzz Lightyear for Maxwell, sweet treats & exploring the Grand Floridian for our first time.

Friday: Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.  Breakfast: We slept in a little bit and then ate from our fridge in villa (from Garden Grocer) for breakfast.
We rode the monorail to Epcot. We used our snack points to eat around the world showcase. (During Flower and Garden Festival there are little pop up shops of snacks and drinks. It's my fav!)
Late Lunch/early dinner: Chef De' France in France, of course, before heading back to hotel.
We watched Lilo & Stich at movie night outside on the big blow up screen and ordered a pizza to be delivered to us on the lawn. They gave away free popcorn as well.
Highlights of the day: Tasting all of the drinks and tapas from around the "world", finding all of the characters in the gardens and of course sleeping in! Huge perk!

Saturday: Pool day Breakfast: Ohana Character Breakfast @ Polynesian's Resort (this is just a walk from the Grand Floridian) We took the entire day and just stayed by the pool after breakfast. All Disney Resorts have activity instructors that do kid games by the pools and arts and crafts throughout the day. So Ty and I laid in a Cabana all day, drinks in hand and watched the kids play in the water and go down the water slide a hundred times! It was wonderful. When doing Disney for more than a few days, always take a "Pool Day".
Lunch: Quick Service by the pool
Dinner: Food from our fridge in Villa

Sunday: Hollywood Studios & Downtown Disney
Breakfast: Quick service from the Grand Floridian cafe.
We took the shuttle to Hollywood Studios. We caught 2 shows (for the kids) and then left as they had refurbishment galore and the Toy Story Land doesn't open until June. (In my opinion you don't need a whole day at Hollywood Studios anyhow) Before leaving, we ate a cheese board and some beers at a little spot called Baseline in Hollywood Studios. After that we took the shuttle to Saratoga Springs Resort to see if it lived up to our home base and from there we walked over to Disney Springs and let the kids pick a toy and do some shopping.
Early Dinner: T-Rex Restaurant which Maxwell LOVED. (A dino lover's dream version of Rainforest Cafe). Then we headed back to the hotel for you guessed it,  pool, hot tub and relax before bed. We did s'mores at the campfire by the water and watched Fireworks

Monday: Epcot Day 2 
In my opinion, you can spend 2 days at Epcot if you have enough time.
Breakfast: Ate at Cafe from Grand Floridian before leaving and brought it with us to eat on the Monorail. My mother joined us for day 2 at Epcot.
Lunch: Tokyo Dining
Shopped in China and Japan, ate more snacks around the world and did more rides.
Dinner: Quick Service at Grand Floridian
Highlights: The Margarita from Mexico Flower & Garden Fest, seeing my Mom and step-father and meeting Disney characters with the kids.

Tuesday: Magic Kingdom Day 2 
Again, this is another park that you can spend 2 days at if you have kids my age.
Breakfast: Quick Service
My mother joined us at Magic Kingdom for day 2.
Lunch: Quick Service at Pinocchio Haus and then spent the rest of the day doing as many rides as we could.
Late Dinner: Be Our Guest Restaurant in Beast's castle. This was a 7:30 reservation and the kids were sleeping before we left! Tip: If you make a reservation and want to move it, just check in when you are ready and most times they will accommodate you. Be Our Guest is a popular one so we weren't able to move it up.
Highlights: Riding the Seven Dwarf's Mine Train, watching the kids delight and spending more time with my mom and step-father. Also, eating at Be Our Guest, Beast's Castle is pretty fun!!

Wednesday: Animal Kingdom 
Breakfast: We grabbed snacks and ate on the shuttle to Animal Kingdom. We got there super early so we could rush to the Na'vi River Journey ride which we couldn't get a fast pass to because of their rule of limiting how many popular rides you can pick.
Lunch: Yak & Yetti (One of my favs!)
Came back and hit up the hot tub one last time before dinner reservations.
Dinner: at Citricos which is an upscale restaurant at the Grand Floridian. Food was AMAZING!
Highlights: The Flight of Passage was my ALL TIME FAVORITE ride in all of Disney! They did an amazing job on it and I can't wait to go again!! Avatar world was so realistic and the kids loved getting their faces painted. Lucky Scarlett got to ride Flight of Passage twice since she was a rider swap.

Thursday: We ate a quick service breakfast by the water and then spent the day laying in the sand while we waited for our bus to come take us to the airport.
We had an AMAZING time at Disney and it will go down in our memories as a fabulous 2018 trip.