San Antonio, We Love You!

San Antonio has become our go to destination close to home. We’ve been there so many times  and each time we find new things to do. Heres a quick run down of our latest visit to SATX.

We made a quick stop at the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch before driving into the city. The animals were a bit slower and most of them tucked away in the shade, but who can blame them with this Texas heat! We did get to feed a few of them and it is still awesome to me how they will just walk right up to your vehicle and carefully take the food out of your hand. We didn’t stay too long but its a great stop and its right next to the Natural Bridge Caverns if you have time to explore.

Next we made it to the River Walk to finally take a ride on the boat tours down the river. Of all the visits we’ve made in the past this was our first time to ride down the river. It was a bit cramped and a lot hot but overall they covered great history. Of course we had to make a dinner stop and we stumbled upon Casa Rio which was mentioned on the tour. This restaurant was established in 1946 and was part of the history making of businesses to open their doors on the river.

The following day we took to the streets near the Alamo and gave the Ripley’s Believe it or Not! a chance. It was as weird as they say its going to be! The kids all enjoyed seeing the oddities. They packaged our tours nicely so we also had a chance to check out Louis Tussaud’s Wax Museum. It was fun taking photos next to a some of our favorite celebrities and characters. Lastly we hopped over to the 4D theater to see what it was all about. It was a semi roller coaster experience with all the effects but it was nice to know I could also just stand up and get off my chair at any point if I felt woozy. It made it more comical knowing that. Troy is a big roller coaster fan so he likes the real deal but this was just fine for me.

That evening we decided to go out for dessert and found this great little place called Snopioca. The shaved ice was a great touch to cool off for the evening. They offered a variety of flavors and the atmosphere was calm and relaxing. Even Lucas developed a taste for the the shaved ice, amongst all the other toppings I decided to throw on top, and he absolutely loved the color changing spoons.

We have heard great things about the San Antonio Zoo so we made a it a point to make it a stop on this visit. Did I tell you it gets HOT in Texas? Let me tell you, again, it gets HOT in Texas! We started with a train ride that was packaged nicely into our admission ticket. Also, a bit of savings tip, if you are a member of your local zoo ask at any zoo if they offer a discount. We are members of the Houston Zoo and were extended a discount. I was amazed that the animals were out and about with the exception of the tigers. They were napping away in the shade. We enjoyed the butterfly exhibit and I got a chance to get photographs of the butterflies as they flew all around us and stopped on the greenery in front of us. One butterfly even rode on my bum the whole time from beginning of the tour to the end. We all had a good laugh about that one. We finished our zoo visit with a carousel ride and Lucas was ready for a nap so that meant it was time to hit the road.

The whole zoo crew we travelled with decided to meet up at Big Lou’s Pizza and we ordered a giant pizza. I think the word giant may even be an understatement. Their biggest pizza is 60″ or maybe slightly bigger.  The wait was long but it helped everyone cool off from the zoo visit and it also helped pass the time under the shade and catch our second wind for our next adventure.  Once we got our 37″ pizza everyone fueled up and we were ready to hit the road again. Did I mention that the wait at Big Lou’s is long? They tell you about it, and once you’re an hour into the wait you really have no choice but to follow through but it is a lot of fun watching that giant pizza arrive at your table. A family had made a reservation for the biggest pizza they offer and watching that pizza make a landing on their table was pretty incredible. The kids get a kick out of it the most. The adults in our party just sat there wondering how in the world they were going to eat all of that pizza, good thing they give you to go boxes.

We closed our weekend with a stop at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Maybe eating that much pizza and then hopping on roller coasters is not the correct order of events, but our guys and girls who get on the rides are tough to break and nothing was going to stop them. I have to say that even though our visit to Six Flags was on a whim that afternoon, since we had been rained out the day before, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. There was little to no wait in line for the rides and the sun started to set and a warm summer breeze kept us all going. Our little guy had fun riding another train that weekend, a lot bigger than the zoo this time. And though he wasn’t able to get on the baby rides he still had a good time hanging out with his cousins. We found super hero capes at every corner and my obsession with Wonder Woman couldn’t help but suit us all up for a super hero family photo op.

This was another great trip under the Texas Sun and aboard all the cute trains plus a bunch of weird and random stuff because thats just how we do it.

Until next time SATX, we love you!

XOXO,

SaZa

 

7 Acre Wood

Sometimes it’s nice to get out in your own backyard and find what’s happening there. We did just that and ran into a homey ‘old fashioned family fun park’ called the 7 Acre Wood in Conroe, Texas.  It is a fun little outdoor space to get the family out without breaking the bank or sitting on the road for hours.

Upon entering the park you migrate to an old times far west type of setting. Though some of the themed areas were a bit worn down you are still greeted with a warm and welcoming hello from the park staff.

There is a petting zoo filled with goats of all sizes. But watch out as they signs say because they will get feisty for food, so you have to feed them from outside the fence.

Lucas hopped on his first pony ride, and funny enough we happened to have his Toy Story Woody with him so we couldn’t resit the photo op.

The park is a great open space filled with all t types of activities from pony rides, petting zoo, little tikes cars parked, barrel rides, swings and even a zip line for older kids to have a great family day out.

Under this Texas heat we only lasted a short while but we look forward to visiting the park again in the fall.

XOXO,

SaZa

A Presidential Father’s Day

This weekend we had the opportunity to visit the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas.

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We learned many facts and read stories about President Bush’s career and family. There are thirteen Presidential Libraries currently open around the country.

  • Herbert Hoover Library
  • Franklin d. Roosevelt Library
  • Harry S. Truman Library
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower Library
  • John F. Kennedy Library
  • Lyndon B. Johnson Library
  • Richard Nixon Library
  • Gerald R. Ford Library
  • Jimmy Carter Library
  • Ronald Reagan Library
  • George Bush Library
  • William J. Clinton Library
  • George W. Bush Library

and…

Barack Obamas Library is expected to open in 2021 in Chicago.

One of my favorite moments about touring George Bush’s Library was how it gave a very intimate view of the person behind the position. Learning about the personal hardships that he and Barbara Bush overcame made them relatable to us as people and parents. I was very young when President Bush was in office, and in school we learn about his political career, but the library offered an insight into the man as a whole.

I look forward to visiting more libraries soon located right in our backyard in Texas.

Xoxo,

SaZa

When in San Antonio…

This summer is all about little road trips to nearby places we love. One city that has a big place in our hearts is San Antonio, Texas. Each time we go, we get to do something new and also revisit old favorites.

We started our visit at The Doseum of San Antonio. Let me tell you, this place is a kid-tastic interactive learning wonderland! Lucas absolutely loved everything about the Little Town exhibit. He had fun driving the themed Little Tikes cars around the play roadway. He also sat upfront and pretended to drive a miniature trolley with dad as his passenger. The little ones can play and dress up in the various town places that keep it  running. From construction workers, veterinarians, taxi drivers, air traffic controllers, to passengers on a plane and a visit to the grocery store; the town has it all for endless fun for the little ones.

Although the other areas of the museum are geared for older children, except an area for younger babies, we continued to walk Lucas throughout and let him explore the different exhibits with help from mom and dad. We had a blast using our senses to explore light and sound as well as the simple machines exhibit. Lucas liked the robot in the robotics exhibit as well as waving hello to the crowd at the museum in Mexico via live streaming from both museums.

The summer heat kept us mostly inside but the great outdoor exhibits fall nothing short of spectacular with a gigantic waterworks interactive display exhibiting the power of water. A big playground is also available for the kids to climb and exercise their gross motor skills at maximum level. The Doseum has two stories to explore plus an enormous space outdoors to have fun learning! A definite must visit location when in San Antonio with your kids.

Our next stop was the very popular Mi Tierra Cafe and Bakery. The wait is long but the atmosphere is like no other and so is the pan dulce. Upon walking in you are taken to a festive place where the ceilings are covered in bright shiny piñatas, the waitresses wear traditional folkloric dresses, and the mariachi serenades while you dine. We ordered some conchas at the bakery and other goodies to snack on after lunch. Lucas had a few bites of the conchas and got his approval.

After lunch we made a quick stop at the Farmers Market next door. The shops reminded me of the markets in Mexico. As you walk around you find yourself surrounded by an array of luchadores masks, colorful embroidered dresses and shirts, talavera pottery and hand made trinkets posted at every corner. We found a traditional guayavera shirt for Lucas and couldn’t pass it up.

We let the afternoon heat settle a little and hopped over to Hemisfair Park for an evening walk. The park has a great relaxing ambiance. The kids have many play areas to choose from. There is a giant sandbox, water splash pads, jungle gyms, and a plethora of adirondack chairs for parents to sit back and relax while the kids play. You can also find the Paletería San Antonio in the park for a refreshing fruit bar to take the edge off the summer heat.

The next morning we tried to beat the sun and made a quick visit to Sea World since we still had our annual pass from our last visit. We enjoyed an entertaining and impressive show at the Pets Ahoy theater. Dogs, cats, birds, a skunk, and even a pig, showcased their talents in exchange for some yummy treats. It was a belly full of laughter and cuteness overload with the animals’ quirky personalities.  Another fun stop was the Sesame Street friends theater at the Bay of Play. The heat beat the fun out of us rather quickly so we decided it was time to wrap up our little weekend getaway. Perhaps we can visit the park again in December when the temperature stays below 80.

Until next time to the wonderful city of San Antonio, Texas!

Xoxo

SaZa

Peachy-Keen 

It’s about the journey getting there they say. Or the journey getting back. Texas highways are known for many landmark highway stops and we found a little gas station named Cooper Farms Peaches in Fairfield, Texas. It is a homey little country store stocked with homemade goodness. From the minute you walk in an array of homemade pies, turn overs, and cobblers catch your eye and of course their famous peaches. This store is stocked with plenty of peach made treats and more to satisfy that sweet tooth.

Of course I bought too many peaches so I did what anyone with too many peaches would do, cobbler! Bites that is.

I found a simple cobbler bites recipe from justapinch.com and topped them off with Cooper Farms Homemade peach cobbler syrup. Delicious!

 

Xoxo

SaZa

When in Waco…

A few weeks ago my sister thought it would be fun to take a girls trip with our mom to visit the Magnolia Market in Waco,Texas. We are big fans of the power couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines, from HGTV’s Fixer Upper and so I happily agreed. This is also the first time I have travelled anywhere without Lucas or Troy for that matter but this mom thought maybe it was finally time for a little getaway.

We arrived in Waco in time for dinner and to our surprise we came across a Ninfa’s Mexican Restaurant. It was located just a few blocks from the Silos and our hotel, and we knew it would not disappoint because who doesn’t love Mexican food? The original restaurant is located in Houston and we remember good times visiting that location as a family years ago.

 

Most of the shopping in the Silos and Downtown District close at 6pm so we decided to get an early start the next day. Our first stop was the Silos Baking Co for some cupcakes. The line expanded around the shop but moved fairly quickly. We got a menu card while we waited to have our cupcake order ready by the time we reached the counter. I was excited to try the cupcakes and knew I’d have help eating them so I bought myself an extra and some cookies to take back for the hubby. I generally don’t eat frosting but was totally enjoying everything about the cupcakes. Flavor to presentation made it completely worth the wait.

As we headed out of the cupcake shop we dove right into shopping at the market. The feel of the market just made me want buy it all and redecorate my whole house and shiplap a few walls fixer upper style. But I maintained my composure and hand picked a few great pieces for myself as well as some gifts. My favorite item was a galvanized watering can I got at the Magnolia Seed + Supply. I have been maintaining a few plants at home in the front and back yard and kept them alive for two months and counting. My green thumb hasn’t been too on point in the past but I think my new watering can will help keep me going with my minimalist gardening. The Silos was definitely a lot of fun, a great location to stop by and hang out with the family and kids as there is ton of outdoor space to enjoy.

Waco’s downtown district also has more sites to see of which include the Dr. Pepper Museum. I knew Waco was the home of the Baylor Bears and hometown to Fixer Upper, but when we found out about the Dr. Pepper Museum we knew we had to stop by. It is right down the street from the Silos, so very easy to hop over and take a peek as well as enjoy a treat at their gift shop and you know I could not leave without buying a bottle of Dr. Pepper.

We also visited Harp Design Co. It was wonderful to see Clint’s work, and I look forward to visit again with Troy, as he is the carpenter in our home. His biggest project to date is having built our dining room table and I could not be more impressed with his skills in being able to create furniture and decor ideas I present to him from scratch.

One of my other favorite stops in the area was at the Spice Village. It reminded me of several art and vintage markets I like to visit through out the year, but it was all indoors. You can literally spend hours perusing through the many shops housed under one roof. The Olive Branch Cafe was just below the Spice Village and it is a great place to have lunch.

Our final stops included the Waco Suspension Bridge and dinner at the Twisted Root Burger Co. The bridge lights up amazingly during the golden hour creating a picturesque ambiance for any special occasion needing to be captured. The Twisted Root Burger Co. was a colorful and laid back place to hang out and enjoy a shake and a burger. From the celebrity name cards they pass out when placing your order, to the bar stools sitting on kegs all around the bar. You won’t miss their vibrant murals covering each side of the building and the wall of kegs as you walk in the front door.

These were just a few of the many sites Waco has to offer. You can enjoy a weekend visiting more outdoor sites like the National Mammoth Museum and Cameron Park Zoo or if you’re short on time, simply enjoy a daytrip with your girls for some shopping and dining in the Silos District.

One of the best things about this trip was coming home and my husband letting me know how much I was missed. Even though we make a good team on a daily basis he said had big shoes to fill for the little one while I was gone. He did an amazing job of having a boys weekend and Lucas learned how to say Dada with a D instead of B! I think he just needed that little extra time with dad to make it happen.

XoXo

Saza

Los Angeles + Cabazon Dinosaurs

Our travels around Los Angeles deserved a post of their own. The city of Angels has so much to offer and a six day trip including Disneyland was not enough time to see it all. So that is why we made a list of places to visit while in the city. Everyday we had a goal to make it to the park and then break away for a little site seeing.

Before we even arrived at our hotel we headed up to the Griffith Observatory. The views of the city from the observatory were breathtaking. You can also get a great view of the famous Hollywood sign from the area. Inside the observatory they had so many installations about our universe that you can learn from and a little gift shop to take a little piece of science with you. We decided to get a baby Albert Einstein plush for Lucas and a cute sweatshirt for moi.

Another great location we made it to during our stay was the Santa Monica Pier. There were so many people and boy was it windy. Lucas was a trooper behind his baby blanket and just enjoyed people watching and making friends with the waitstaff at the Bubba Gump Restaurant located on the pier. We took a few photos and walked around by the beach and made way to a nearby park between the pier and Venice beach where we took a break from all the excitement and let Lucas crawl around and take a bottle before we got back into Los Angeles traffic. Bottle and crawling breaks are a must with a little one. Sometimes you just have to sit it out a few minutes in order to continue with the day.

A fun and quick stop was Beverly Hills 9.0.2.1.0. As a teen I loved watching 90210 so we got touristy and took photos in front of the Beverly Hills sign. We then walked over to Rodeo Drive and had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory and did a little window shopping. Troy enjoyed all the sports cars revving up their engines and cruising up and down the street.

We got an opportunity to visit the LACMA to see the Urban Light Exhibit in person and of course take a quick photo shoot while there. The lamps all stood so decorative by the street and it was fun to weave in and out of them. We were there pretty early in the day so it was easy to set up for a few snapshots. We went inside the museum to check out the Rivera and Picasso and were so pleased to see that Lucas was so engaged with the paintings. I often wonder what his train of thought is like as a baby. The staff at the museum were amazed at how in tune he was with the paintings and that he sat in his stroller and studied them for a bit. We were just as amazed and happy to give him the chance to see it. Troy and I had seen a Picasso exhibit at the MFAH so it was great to see more of his work in person. We wanted to visit the Automotive Museum across the street but it was almost time for a nap for Lucas which meant it was time for us to hit the road. Totally random trivia; we learned from the gift shop clerk, that in front of the automotive museum was where Biggie Smalls was shot.

Our next “near” Los Angeles adventure was visiting the Cabazon Dinosaur Museum. It is a great roadside attraction between Los Angeles and Palm Springs. Before you even enter the museum you are faced with an enormous T-Rex and a Brontosaurus. We had fun taking photos in front of these and moved on to go inside the museum shortly after. When entering you suddenly feel as if you’re stepping in to a set of Jurassic Park. They keep the dinosaurs well painted and the signage lets you learn a lot about the dinosaurs. We learned everything from the name changes to why they were called certain names. If Lucas was a few years older I think he would have learned a great deal but I think he still enjoyed all the new cool sites and colors. Troy was brave enough to climb inside the giant T-Rex that faces the front and went all the way up to inside his mouth. He tried taking some photos from up there but everything was mostly red. He tried taking some photos through the small holes in the barrier screen. We took a few more fun photos and then rolled our way back out to the front and made our way back to Disneyland to enjoy the rest of the day.

Traveling with Lucas proved to be a lot of fun and there was nothing new that we haven’t learned how to handle from how he is at home. When faced with the question are you taking the baby? The answer is YES and will always be yes for family trips. So far he has made his way around Texas from San Antonio to Dallas and we are proud that he had so much fun in California. Can’t wait to see what travel plans come up so he can travel to before he turns two.

Disneyland, here we come!

After a year of not flying anywhere, a preemie baby who is about to turn one, a ton of medical visits for everyone, a mom, dad and baby who’s birthdays are back to back, we were all due for a big birthday celebration trip. There was one place and one place only that could fill those shoes of fun for everyone. Disneyland! Lucas is a big fan of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show, mostly the intro and closing theme songs. Once he hears the tunes all eyes and ears are on the TV.  He also recognizes the characters so we thought it would be fun for us to see the characters in person.

So the birthday traveling week rolled in and it was time to hop on the plane and make way to California.Troy and I were a bit nervous about Lucas’ first flight. Was he going to cry the whole time? We’re his ears going to hurt? Was he going to have a diaper explosion? Let me tell you, we lucked out because none of those fears came true. Instead he made friends with all the passengers on the plane, and even the flight attendants. He slept most of the flight and woke up to have a snack, drink a bottle, or smile and make a new friend. Our boy is pretty friendly with people. Luckily the flight from Texas to Cali isn’t too long so we were on the plane long enough to get settled in but not too long to become restless.

California we are here! This was the first visit to Los Angeles for all of us and I have to jump the gun and say we had an amazing time and fell in love with the city of angels. I always knew I would love it and it fell nothing short of my expectations. Our main focus was Disneyland as we wanted to make sure Lucas had a fun time with entertainment fit for his age as much as we the adults would with the visit as a whole. Disneyland itself was a site to be seen and experienced first hand. There were a lot of people at the park at all hours of the day, and I mean a lot! But that did not come in between us having a good time. The Disney staff was so friendly and dedicated to hospitality despite the number of people. Considering that we were traveling with an almost one year old, we went on this trip with a plan, and that is very important to really get the most out of a trip to the happiest place on earth.

We knew Lucas would not be able to ride all the rides like the big kids and we didn’t really want to be separated so Troy or I can go ride a ride by ourselves. So instead we chose a few rides in advance that we knew we could ride with Lucas. Our plan included Dumbo and the Teacups as a must. We got more than what we originally planned for with the help of the Disney app that let us know in advance which rides Lucas could get on. Including the teacups and Dumbo we got a chance to experience the Monsters’ Inc. attraction, as well as Francis’ Ladybug Boogie and were so close to experiencing the Buzz Lightyear attraction. Our main focus wasn’t the rides, so we were happy to enjoy these and seek out the character experiences and photo ops. Also it is wise to pay close attention to little man’s energy level when deciding what to do next. This can save you from having to roam around with a fussy baby.

For a convenient way of taking photos I recommend the PhotoPass purchase. With a little pre-travel research we learned that it is a great idea to purchase the PhotoPass before your trip to Disneyland, and we did just that. We took over 100 photos with characters and around the park. One photographer even offered to do a mini shoot of our family in the Radiator Springs area. All of their photogs were super awesome. They knew exactly what to do to get the little one’s attention and make him smile. Now if you have older kids and want to stick to a specific budget then I recommend using the PhotoPass budget for fast passes for the rides. If you have a big enough budget then I recommend both! Once Lucas gets old enough to ride the rides we will be making this change. I would also recommend comfy and cute workout outfits and jeans, shorts and t-shirts, instead of accessorizing and trying to look cute if you will be riding the rides. I went with the cute and comfy with a bit of accessories because I knew there would be a lot of pictures and not too many rides where I could lose earrings, necklaces and purses.

You can spend an endless amount of time at the park and the best part is that its open until midnight. With a one year old staying out that late was not an option, but one of the nights we came back in the evening following an afternoon nap to watch the Electric Parade and Firework show. We had hopper tickets so we could go into California Adventure and go in and out of the park as many times as we liked, which helps a lot with the little one for naps, eating on and off the park grounds and just taking a midday break from all the excitement and California Sun. Sometimes we ate at the park restaurants, sometimes we snacked on park snacks and other times we toured around LA for a different scenery. At the park we found good quick eats at the New Orleans Square and Tomorrowland. The Rainforest Cafe is also always a treat in downtown Disney. It was a must to try a Mickey Pretzel and Mickey Popscicle. And of course we could not leave without having a churro. My husband has lost 40lbs and I 30lbs and want to keep it that way, so we shared a lot of food in the park because the portions were large and calorie packed. It’s also a great way to save money. The one thing we opted to go all out on was the character dining. This is a must to add to the top of your must do list. It is fast though so be ready with the kids and the camera! We did the Breakfast with Minnie and Friends at the Plaza Inn and had a ball. We met everyone from Minnie to Captain Hook. A part of me wanted to keep taking pictures but we also just enjoyed interacting with and watching the characters greet everyone.

Having your camera ready at all times is great but also remember to just enjoy the experience. I do recommend making a photo scavenger challenge. Ours included the 50 must take photos that we thought we would like to come home with. This really helped us pin point all the things we definitely wanted to see and keep memories of. You don’t realize until its all over how much more you are able to capture. It’s amazing how fast you can find your fifty photo ops. It also kept me and my husband searching for the characters and noticing all the detail that has been put into the park. Once again the Disney app came to the rescue, it let us know when the characters would be at certain locations and how to navigate the park.

Last but not least, the parades and firework show were stunning! It is truly magical and brings the whole experience to a great close for the day.  Lucas woke up for the last few minutes of the firework show and just smiled away at the happiest place on earth.