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Have Bible, Will Travel

A little over 24 hours from now, I will be headed to Greece.  This week I have been diving deeper into the word and reading my bible during any downtime, trying to prepare myself for this trip.  Our family is in the middle of moving to a new home and the kids will have to adjust with me being gone for 9 days.  You could say it’s a pretty stressful time.  But rooting myself in the word of the Lord and reading constant reminders of how good this life is, has made everything less chaotic and stressful.

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Um hello?

Well, it looks like it’s been a couple months since I have blogged!  Oops! Life has been a little hectic over here at the Leschber household.  Here is the short story of what I have been up to lately:

I quit my job!  I was not happy in the position I was in and the commute was ridiculous.  So the hubby and I sat down, went over our budget and came to the conclusion that I didn’t “need” to work full time in a job that I didn’t enjoy.  I lined up a part time job working retail (I know, I know, a little crazy but I like it) and a subcontract position doing kinship foster care studies.  The money is definitely not like it used to be but I am happy and I have more freedom to spend time with my family.

We decided to move!  Our house was getting too small and now that our oldest is officially a teenager, we knew he had to have his own room.  So we are smack dab in the middle of selling our house and buying another.  We are sad to leave Hutto (where we have lived for the past 12 years) but we are just headed down the road a few miles into Round Rock.  We will be super close to an elementary and middle school.

The move comes at the most inconvenient time.  I have a trip planned for Greece in October and of course we are scheduled to move the couple days leading up to that.  Awesome.  No stress here at all.  Did you hear the sarcasm???   Hopefully life will settle down soon and I can get back to writing.  Until then, want to come over and help me pack???  I’ll pay you with coffee or wine.

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10 Free Family Friendly Things To Do In Austin This Summer!

  1.  Watch the bats at the Congress Avenue bridge
  2. Take a tour of the Capitol Building
  3. Cool off at the Pease Park Splash Pad
  4. Splash around at Lake Plugerville
  5. Take a dip at Blue Hole in Georgetown
  6. Hike up Mount Bonnell
  7. Check out the Umlauf Sculpture Garden (free during the summer)
  8. Tour the Texas Military Forces Museum
  9. Learn about legendary Texans at the Texas State Cemetery
  10. Visit your local library PicCollage
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5 GREAT Reasons to Head to the JW Marriott in San Antonio!

Need a family getaway that won’t break the bank?  One of our favorite places to vacation is the JW Marriott in San Antonio.  It’s just a short drive down I-35 and you don’t actually have to drive into town when you come from Austin.  We took a family vacation and met our extended family there to celebrate my dad’s 70th birthday.

  • The pools!!!  There are so many pools including an adults only one!

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    This was the beach entry pool that was perfect for the kids AND the adults!
  • Waterslides!  They just added a couple more slides that the older kids and adults can enjoy.
  • Lazy river.  The lazy river is perfect for leisurely floating and has a bunch of entry/exit points.
  • Kids activities.  When you arrive, you get a weekly schedule of everything that is happening.  From s’mores to gagaball, there is plenty for the kids to do.

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    As we were waiting for our lunch, one of the Kids Activities employees started a kickball game with the kids!
  • The food!  So good!  Poolside ordering, lots of restaurants.  Our favorite was the jalapeno jelly and biscuits from the Crooked Branch.  And the sangria was refreshing as a poolside drink!DSC01634

This is one of our favorite hotels to visit!  We spend all day at the pool and let the older kids run around together.  There is so much to do here!

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Day 2 of Sisters Weekend in Brenham

Day 2 started off with a rainstorm that woke us up before 7 am.  With 9 kids between the 3 of us, we were looking to sleeping in, just a little!  Oh well, it left more time for mimosas in the morning before we were off to the spa.  Julie made us some sausage and eggs and we paired that with cran-pomosas (my version of a mimosa – champagne & cranberry pomegranate juice).  We finished breakfast and then took our cran-pomosas to the hot tub!  It was still early enough that the mosquitos weren’t quite out yet.  We soaked in the hot tub and talked all things sister.  Richelle is moving to El Paso soon (insert crying emoji here), Julie is putting her house up for sale soon and her kiddos are switching schools, and me…. well for now, there are no life changing events happening.

Let’s head back into Brenham!  We booked massages at the Thyme Day Spa & Salon.  While the massage (and masseuse) was awesome, the staff…. not so much.  It seemed like they only had 1 masseuse and 1 hair stylist.  It was a really cute place with alot of potential if they had more people working.  My advice – skip this and save your money to do some shopping.

Lunch was at the Funky Art Cafe.  This was one of the places I scoped out online the week before and it did not disappoint!  We ordered a Bucket of Bubbles (more champagne!), Chipotle Corn Dip, Chicken Artichoke Pot Pie and a wrap.  DELICIOUS!!!!  Check this place out next time you are in Brenham.  Food was great and so was the service.

SHOPPING!!!  This is the main thing I wanted to do!  I love antique shopping!  Hermann Furniture was next to the cafe and they were having a warehouse sale.  I found a box of huge outdoor Christmas ornaments for $4 each!  And Julie found a petite silverware set for her daughter that she knew she would love.  There were some great shops but alot of the antique stores were pretty pricey.

After shopping for a couple hours, it was starting to get hot so we headed to Burton, TX, off of Hwy 290 to Saddlehorn Winery.  The staff there was really sweet and we had fun doing a wine tasting of 6 different wines.  I ended up buying a bottle of Pinot Grigio, even though I’m more of a Chardonnay girl.  Saddlehorn usually pizza cooking in the evenings but they had cancelled it earlier that day due to all the rain.  We will definitely come back on a Saturday night to enjoy wine and pizza!

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When we got back to the cabin, we snacked on a meat, cheese and olive plate and sipped our wine.  We took a walk around the property and watched the sunset.  It was gorgeous!

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And that’s about it for Sisters Weekend 2016!  Sunday we didn’t do much but sleep in a little.  It was a fun weekend of relaxing, shopping, exploring and connecting.  Next year, Richelle will be in El Paso so Sisters Weekend 2017 will be in West Texas or maybe…. New Mexico.

 

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Sisters Weekend in Brenham, TX!

My 2 sisters, Julie and Richelle, are my best friends.  We like to take one weekend out of the year and take some time to ourselves.  This year we decided to meet halfway between Houston (where they live) and Austin (where I live) in the town of Brenham.  Julie found a cabin in the rolling hill country.  The cabin was easy to find and was ready for us along with a personalized sign on the door welcoming us.

We brought along our own snack foods, water and of course champagne and juice for mimosas!  The owners left breakfast in the fridge for us to prepare in the mornings – muffins, biscuits, sausage and eggs.  It was perfect!

After we settled in, we went to check out the closest winery, Pleasant Hill Winery.  It’s a pretty small winery.  We ordered a tasting to learn a little more about the wines but each time, we were told that the grapes from that particular wine came from Lubbock.  So we weren’t too sure if any of the wine we tasted actually came from grapes at this establishment.  Would I recommend this winery?  Mixed feelings…. The staff was very nice but the establishment was small.

Time for dinner!  We ventured into the town of Brenham to check out Volare.  These Italian girls had to check out the Italian restaurant!  Super cute restaurant with decent Italian food.  As we walked back to our car, we noticed the museum was having an event at that time.  The Brenham Heritage Museum was having an event to showcase the guns of the Texas Rangers and that included food and drink, typical of the saloons of Brenham and Washington County. Richelle and I let Julie do all the tasting!  

 

We decided to head back to the cabin with a quick stop to RedBox to rent the movie, Sisters.  HILARIOUS!!!!  We had been waiting until we were were all together to watch it and it did not disappoint!  We ended our fun Friday night in Brenham on a good note.

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Family Fun Park in The Woodlands Area!

“We had so much fun at this park we found in our neighborhood!”

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Art (Richelle’s husband) and 2 of her kiddos, Jonah and Owen.
That’s what my sister, Richelle, called to tell me a couple days ago.  So I asked her to send me her review so I could share it with y’all!

Sawmill Park is located in The Woodlands area of Houston.  The park has tons of great features!  Playground, swimming pool, pavilions and a “sprayground” and much more!    The park is free but if you want to hit up the sprayground when the pool is open, you have to enter through the pool gates and pay the admission fee to use it.  When the pool is closed, the sprayground is free.  Check out the pool schedule here.

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Jonah running through the spraygound.
The park has tons of shade but with that in mind, don’t forget the bug spray.  The bathrooms are convenient and a necessity when you have small kids that ALWAYS need to go to the bathroom!

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Here’s a great shot of the playground.  And yes, that’s Owen, almost naked. 
Thanks, Richelle, for the awesome insight on this park!

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9 Items You MUST Pack On a Disney Cruise!

When we started planning our Disney Cruise, one of the first questions was “what do we pack???”  I’ve compiled a list of the items we brought.

  1. Clothes – sounds easy enough, right?  If you are headed to the Caribbean, you are thinking swimsuits and flip-flops.  But you need to remember to bring at least one sweater for inside the ship and probably a pair of jeans or nice pants.  Our cruise left out of Galveston in January so we boarded with our winter outfit on and reused pieces when we got chilly.  If you are planning on dining at Palo, you will need a nicer outfit.
  2. Laundry Basket – go with a pop up one you can throw away at the end of the trip.  We found an inexpensive one at Dollar Tree.  You’ll want to contain all the dirty clothes into one spot and not all over the floor.  I would suggest buying 2.
  3. Toiletries – you won’t need shampoo, conditioner or soap.  Your stateroom will have those and can by restocked as needed.  Just bring your medicines and any other toiletries.  Don’t forget sunscreen!
  4. Nightlight – it gets pretty dark in the rooms at night and if you have little ones, you may want to plug in a nightlight.  We bought an inexpensive one from Target.
  5. Ziploc Bags – bring sandwich and gallon size.  I can’t tell you how many times these came in handy!  I grabbed a couple croissants at breakfast and packed them in our day bag when we went on our excursion.  Gallon bags are great for keeping clothes dry and to pack wet ones.
  6. Sunscreen – I know I mentioned it above but don’t forget it!  We packed 3 bottles and went through all of it with our family of 5.
  7. Autograph Book – the kids loved getting autographs from all the characters!  All you need is a small notebook for each kid.
  8. Passport – each cruiser needs their own passport as Disney requires this.
  9. Wine – yes wine!  I know!  Disney lets each passenger 21 or older bring 2 bottles of unopened wine or a six-pack of beer on board.  You must bring it in your carry-on bag.  Wrap up the bottles with bubble-wrap and use the wrap later to protect any souvenirs picked up on your travels.

Items not to pack:  alcohol, power strips (surge protectors), or an iron.  These items are not allowed on a Disney cruise.  If these items are in your suitcase, the crew will confiscate them and return it to you at the end of the trip.

So tell me, am I missing anything from this list?  I would love to hear any experienced Disney Cruisers list of packing essentials!

 

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Hutto Farmers Market

One of my favorite things about Spring time in Texas is our local Farmers Market!  It’s a short walk down the street for us so we try and go each week.  And each week we see something new!  The Hutto Farmers Market is every Wednesday evening from 5-8 pm at the Gin Co-op off Hwy 79. You can’t miss it!

I do have a few favorites that we love to shop from.  The first is my friend, Jessica, who roasts coffee!  Gathered Together Coffee Roasters is local to Hutto and the coffee is DELICIOUS!!!!  Tonight she had cold brew coffee for sale!image

Then we stop at Oma’s Brot.  They sell fine artisinal breads and our favorite is the French Baguette.  Tonight they were sampling Focaccia bread and it was so savory!


imageLockhart Farms is also at the Hutto Farmers Market and have many vegetables to choose from.  Our favorite is the Strawberry Jam and the Apple Pie Jam.  The jam tastes scrumptious on Oma’s Brot bread!image

There are more booths than the ones above and I encourage you to visit our local Farmers Market to check it out!  There is always something new!