Sunday, November 11, 2018

coming soon . . .

I just returned from a quick escape to the sunny skies of California . . . 
And why is this first time I have tasted Dole Whip float?  I have been to Disney parks many times and oh my have I been missing out!  I won't even tell you how many I had in my one day at Disneyland! 
. . . more to come soon!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Fort Worth, Texas

School is officially busy!  It has been two weeks and the homework has been insane!  I insisted we escape for a quick overnight trip since it was a three day holiday weekend.  Colin did not object but you know he has a plan of his own!  I had been watching tickets at Bass Performance Hall for the musical School of Rock.  There were seats here and there but when I go to a performance I want to be in not just good seats but great seats!  So when I checked two great seats popped up and quickly bought them.  As soon as Colin arrived home we headed out for a quick trip.  I told him we would stop at one of his new favorites for dinner . . . he was not so sure what that was but when I told him he was thrilled to have dinner at Babe's Chicken Dinner House!  I decided to be different and get chicken fried steak but my favorite item at Babe's are the sides!
Colin was mortified that I wasn't ordering chicken!  Of course he eats just the chicken . . .
So four chicken legs later we were back in the car to check out a place I saw online that seemed interesting.  I did an online search for best dessert Fort Worth and one of the top places was called Lumi Snow Company.  I assumed it was a snow cone place until a bit more searching.  I knew we had to check it out.  I mean look at the menu!
I could not make up my mind and did not just want one because they all looked so fun!  So we decided to order three kid sized; Cookie Monster, Campfire Classic, and The Circus!
They were so fun and yummy too!  My favorite was Campfire Classic, and Colin loved his Cookie Monster.  I was glad we checked it out.  So what exactly is it?  It is not shaved ice . . . it is not ice cream . . . it is snow cream!  I really am lost for words on how to describe the texture but trust me it is unique and tasty!   Usually the flavoring is added after the ice is shaved but this is flavored before it is shaved so the snow is really rich in flavor.  I can not figure out how to describe it but here is a close up after we had a few bites . . .
One word?  GOOD!  FUN!  YUMMY!  You get the point!  So if you are near by GO!

A quick drive to the Hilton Fort Worth where we would get some interesting historical information about this hotel.  As we were checking in I noticed the guy and girl both had a presidential seal pin on their jacket lapel so I asked about it.  Oh wow . . . this is the hotel President and First Lady Kennedy stayed the night before he was assassinated in Dallas.  I had no idea!  Since we were the only people in the lobby, I asked at least two dozen questions . . . Colin wasn't even annoyed either!  I mean how cool and weird to know that this was the last hotel the President slept before he died.  Of course I asked what floor and what room and could you stay in that room . . . on and on and on . . . I tell you my brain was a spinning with questions!   I did ask if anyone that has stayed in the room has reported any sort of unusual behavior and was told no.  I was tempted to ask to go see the room but knew it was not what it looked like back in 1963.  Too bad they didn't preserve it and turn it into some sort of museum or memorial.  Who knew we would get a history lesson checking into a hotel late at night? 

The original Presidential Suite was located on the 8th floor.  Out of respect for the family that Presidential Suite was renovated and turned into regular hotel rooms.  So the even numbered rooms from 806-814 used to be the suite where the Kennedys spent the night.  The main sleeping areas were mainly in rooms 810 and 812 but when they were reconfigured it is a bit off.  So behind these doors . . .
Yes, I went to the 8th floor and just stood there thinking about what it must have been like on November 21, 1963!  Just a regular day of being President and First Lady and the next day it all changed.  There was not a person around; so I just stood there a minute.

So back to the 14th floor I went before calling it a night.

There is a memorial plaza outside the hotel we visited . . .
It was then show time so made the quick walk to Bass Performance Hall . . .
So when I bought the tickets I thought they were on row 4 but they were front row!
The show was good with some very talented kids!  I was impressed the kids actually played their instruments.  Of course on the drive home Colin was starving and suggested we stop for dinner.  Where did he want to go?  Back to Babe's Chicken Dinner House . . . I decided to just order the sides . . .
. . . he had four more chicken legs!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Summer 2018 Review

Just like that Summer 2018 is over!  It is hard to believe as this year summer break seemed to go by so fast!  I enjoyed all our trips and the time we spent at home too.  Some days it was nice to be lazy and wear pajamas all day.  Here is what we enjoyed the most . . .

1.  Iceland
2.  Canadian Rockies

It is hard for me to pick just two because I can always find something I like about everywhere I travel.
If I had to pick two specific things I loved this summer?
They both were in Iceland; Diamond Beach and Puffins!

1.  visiting cousins in College Station; twice
2.  Alaska . . . cruise
We both agreed that Canada was our favorite trip together!

And here is my funny story of the summer . . . I really was so looking forward to our trip to Sanibel Island.  We had a good time despite the awful conditions of the red tide.  Thankfully we were able to collect shells the first day we were there.  I brought back a lot of shells.  The day after we got home I opened my suitcase and the smell almost knocked me over it was awful.  Do you know how hard it is to get shells to not smell?  After a lot of trial and error this is how I finally solved the problem . . .
Yes, I boiled them on the BBQ grill!  I had read to microwave them but there was no way I was going to bring that stink inside my house.  They are so pretty and do not stink any more . . .

Saturday, August 11, 2018

more El Paso, Texas

I was up super early so decided to sneak away to explore a little bit of El Paso.  Since my time was limited I decided to drive the El Paso Mission Trail.  My first stop was at Presidio Chapel of San Elizario . . .
Then on to Mission Socorro . . .
Made a quick stop at Bowie Bakery for a treat.  This was a Mexican bakery and I had absolutely no clue what I wanted so just told her to pick out two things for me . . . plus I think I was the only non-Spanish speaker there . . .
Then on to my last stop Old Ysleta Mission . . .
On thing I absolutely love to do while in El Paso is eat Mexican Food . . . today we were treated to lunch at Su-Casa . . .
We also made a super quick stop at the Fort Bliss & Old Ironsides Museum . . .

Friday, August 10, 2018

El Paso, Texas

Sometimes travel is about WHO you see not WHAT you see!

I am sure some great person should be credited with this quote but couldn't find them.  This weekend it was the theme of our quick trip to El Paso, Texas.  So why are we in El Paso this weekend?  It is a big weekend for Mr. and Mrs. Sims as we have all converged to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary!  It isn't everyday that all their children (and spouses) and grandchild are in the same town for an extended time.  So we celebrate and enjoy time with family and friends . . .
Of course for me it is super bittersweet as my one connection to the Sims family is missing but happy to be here and be a part of their family.  Colin is loving his time with all his cousins too!  I also ponder the fact that I will never be married to someone for 50 years . . . it doesn't happen very often but at this point in my life it won't ever be something I can celebrate.  I am happy to celebrate their milestone and enjoy the life that I was given to live.  The party was a blast . . . until a huge storm hit!
That is super sized pinata . . . we did not fill it completely with candy as it might have weighed more than the kids!  It was also very tough and took forever to break . . .
 This has to be the biggest Tres Leches Cake I have ever seen . . . it was so good!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Fredericksburg Winery Review

I am not a huge drinker and honestly know very little about wine but here is what we enjoyed the most at each of our stops . . .

William Chris Vineyards 
-great outdoor patio area
-large open area with yard games
-wine tasting was very personal and laid back outside
-100% Texas grown
-2017 Cinsault was our favorite wine here.

Southold Farm + Cellar . . .
-best views of the area
-off the beaten path
-our tasting host was very fun and told great stories
-wines had fun names too; Trust the Pain, Devil Makes Three, Love Habit

Barrons Creek Vineyard 
-a lot of tour van groups
-super crowded so did not do a tasting
-beautiful grounds with onsite lodging villas
-had fun activities throughout the day like grape stomping and live music

Fat Ass Ranch and Winery 
-very relaxed atmosphere
-on site food truck 
-cheapest wine tasting 6 wines for $10 plus keep glass
-live music and fun vibe
-Country Peach and Texas Red were our favorite wines here.
-Prickly Pear JalaRaspberryPeno was least favorite; but glad tried!

Grape Creek Vineyard 
-best entrance and scenery as drove up
-very crowded parking lot
-did not stay because all guest in your group had to do a tasting!

Becker Vineyards 
-off the main road
-beautiful grounds and entrance
-on site food truck
-tasting area crowded so did not do a tasting

Signor Vineyards
-very new and only opened couple months ago
-beautiful inside and out!
-did a tasting and the staff was the best!
-our favorite tasting; very generous with the pours
-wine seemed super strong
-2017 Pinot Gris and 2015 Tempranillo were our favorite wines here.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

more Fredericksburg, Texas

Another day . . . Another winery to visit but first we decided to get a super early start and head to Enchanted Rock State Park for a little hiking!  I have wanted to go here for a long time but it has never happened.  It is usually packed but it is August and super hot so not that crowded.  We arrived around 7:45am to no line and it was opened early!  
We paid the fee and set off to explore.  The big question was would we hike to the top or just around the base?
Ready to do this . . .
So as we got closer to the uphill climb my aunt decided we should go for it and go to the top so to the top we went!  
It was really nice outside which really helped.  It isn't a long hike to the top but it is straight up!  
The views were worth the effort . . . 
Back down we go just as the sun starts to become blazing hot.  We decided to do part of the loop trail around the base . . . this is a view of where we just went to the top . . .
. . . but some how ended up a bit back where we started since the trails are not very well marked . . . by this time we were ready to head back to the hotel to shower and change before heading out to see how many wineries we could visit in one day!

Barrons Creek Vineyard which was very crowded with a lot of tour bus groups.  My cousin wanted to do the grape stomp so we stayed for a bit for her to do that before heading out.

Then on to Fat Ass Ranch and Winery where we did our first tasting of the day.  I was most excited about this one as they do several fruity wines such as peach and prickly pear plus it was the least expenisve tasting at only $10 for six tastings and you get to keep your glass.  
Grape Creek Vineyard was a bit of a disappointment.  It was the most beautiful to enter as you drive through the vineyard which was so cool but in order to enter all guest must purchase and participate in a tasting.  Total bummer as we are responsible and one of us was the designated driver and not drinking; so much for being responsible!

Becker Vineyards was off the main road and crowded when we arrived.  We were most excited to see a food truck there and quickly headed for some food; pulled pork nachos (left) and avocado egg rolls (right) . . . both were so yummy!

The tasting area was super crowded so we walked around a bit . . . 
. . . and decided to move on to next place.

Signor Vineyards was not on our list but we liked the old truck pointing the way . . . 

. . . so we stopped.  I must say it was beautiful and we were all excited to see what they had inside . . .
It was a bit crowded but they were very accomodating for us to do a tasting if we would stand at the bar.  So we stood . . . the employees were so kind and funny!  We were able to share the tasting which meant we were able to taste all 8 of the wines and would get our last sample of the one we liked the most.  I really liked this option!  
I will however say that the wine seemed very strong and by the time we finished I had eaten about 5 million oyster crackers and was feeling a bit tipsy!  So we went outside and walked around and acted silly . . . thankfully the grapes can't talk . . . 
My aunt decided that should be our last tasting of the day and we agreed.  My cousin wanted to go to Lukenbach, Texas (secretly I did too) so we went there to see if Willie Nelson happened to be in town . . . he wasn't but I can officially check that off my Texas Bucket List!
On our way back home, we detoured to Gruene, Texas; popped into Gruene Hall and had lunch at the Gristmill River Restaurant . . .
. . . it was good and can't wait to go back!