Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Seeing Flamingos in Their Natural Habitat

This is another "should have been written a while ago posts".  Like months and months ago. Enjoy!

When I went on my cruise, one of the stops was to Grand Turk.  I was planning on just hanging out at the beach but then I went to the gift shop.  I was waiting on some of my group before we all headed to the beach when I saw it...a flamingo ornament.  Now, I didn't think much of it until I started to see a TON of flamingo souvenirs.  I asked one of the store clerks if there were flamingos on the island and they said yes, they  hang out in the middle of the island.  Huh?  OK.  I was thinking maybe there were a few at a local persons house or zoo type place.

We went on to the private beach and I was getting so hot and I was still dehydrated from my surfing trip so I wanted to go back to the ship.  I got a taxi and there were a few people in it.  I casually asked the driver about the flamingos and he said, "Oh yes, there are a lot of them.  I will take you there".  OK!!!!!!!

The island was formally used as a salt tank area so that is where the flamingos like to hang out.  When I got there I was sooooooooo exciteeeeeedddddd.

OMG. I can't believe it.  I actually got to see real life flamingos somewhere other than a zoo or a Las Vegas hotel.

Day/trip mad!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

That One Time I Went to Harry Potter World in Orlando

This is a ;post I had planned to write a whilllllllllllle ago, but as evidenced in the past, I didn't.  Here you go! 

I went to Orlando recently over the weekend to go to check off a bucket list item…Universal Studios to see Harry Potter land!!!  I have been wanting to go there since it opened but haven’t gotten the chance to go.

There are a couple options for tickets that you can choose from:  single park or multi-park.  The main difference is that you cannot go to both parks in one day and you cannot go on the Harry Potter Hogwarts Express between the parks.  I chose the single park option because I was going to be there two days anyway and I saw the ride on YouTube and it wasn’t worth the extra $80 (in my opinion).

The first day I went to Island of Adventure and the second day I went to Universal Studios.  If you have to choose between the two, I would choose Universal Studios.  I felt that Universal Studios Harry Potter land had more to see and do vs Islands of Adventure.  This post is only about Harry Potter worlds and I will detail the rest of the parks in another post.

I would also HIGHLY recommend going in the 'single rider' line if you don't feel the need to ride with your group.  I went almost straight to the ride each time I rode anything in either park (Harry Potter section or any other section of the parks)

Also, if you can, go back at night too.  There are so many things that light up after dark.  You will be amazed at all the stuff you didn't see while it was light outside.

There is so much to write but it would be too long.  Here is another persons blog that explains

Diagon Alley

Here are some of my favorite pictures though!

Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley both had different shops that you could use your ($40!!) wand to make spells and a the window shops do certain things.  Like you can use your wand at this fabric shop window display and the knitting needles are knitting a scarf (or sweater??) or another shop had a cauldron pot mixing by itself.  There is even a fountain where you use your wand and water shoots out on innocent people! :)
#12 Grimauld Place.  No, that isn't a shadow, it's hard "dark" it really is.

Knight Bus-you can get a picture with Stan in front of the Knight Bus!

One of the entrances to Diagon Alley. 

In Diagon Alley every 30 minutes or so the dragon on top of Gringott's breaths fire.  THAT is a cool thing to see.  You can kind of hear it getting ready before it goes off.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Sew Something I Can Wear
A while ago (#badblogger) I went to a kimono robe making class at Sew Houston.  I had so much fun and can’t wait to go back to sew another project. I was looking at my bucket list back in November/December and trying to figure out what items I can do in 2017 and saw “sew something I can wear” on it.  I googled sewing classes Houston and Sew Houston popped up.  Wouldn’t you know it, a sewing class for a kimono robe was scheduled for February.  Sold!  I had to provide my own fabric and ribbon-which was great because I could get what I wanted!  I actually picked out my fabric when I went on my camping trip a while ago.

Anyway, Yolanda is great.  She keeps the classes small so you can actually learn while sewing, not just watch someone or get lost and not be able to finish your project.  There were three of us in our class, but I believe a fourth person did not show up.

We set out our fabric on the table and cut out the fabric.  She had a super simple pattern that we were able to follow.  My fabric kept bunching up and since the class was so small; she was able to notice right away and fix the problem, which was that I needed a different foot to grasp the fabric.

The robe turned out great!  I love the fabric and how well the robe fits me.  If you are needing/wanting to sew something, consider going to Sew Houston.  She offers one-on-one tutorials as well as classes.  She also has a “get to know your sewing machine” private tutorial if you bought or were given a new sewing machine.  Pretty cool.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Chappell Hill Lavender Farm

This weekend, after my Blue Bell 10K race, I stopped by Chappell Hill Lavender Farm since it was so close to Brenham.  Do you know what that means?!?!?!?!  Bucket list item #2 done this weekend.

The drive in any part of that area is just beautiful.  I love Texas in general but the Brenham area with all of the bluebonnets and rolling hills is so amazing. 

Chappell Hill Lavender Farm is beautiful too.  There is a small pond with a gazebo, a field of lavender bushes, a small orchard of various trees/plants (not sure what), miniature goats, and a gift shop.  I went to the gift shop first and looked around.  I bought some lavender bug spray and some lavender essential oils.  I also had the BEST (OMG) ice cream, blueberry and lavender.  I want some more!  There are a ton of products in the gift shop ranging from gifts to home items. 

Afterwards I walked the lavender fields and saw firsthand what it looks like.  It is green I guess until it is ready to be harvested because it for sure wasn’t purple!  They are having a festival in May that would be interesting to attend.  The lavender will probably be ready to be harvested then.

After spending too much (I wanted it ALL) in the gift shop, I went to the gazebo by the pond and had a conversation with God.  That area of Texas just causes you to be so thankful for all of the blessings he has given you in your life.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Let's Go Fly A Kite

Can you believe it, I did three bucket list items this week?!?!  This one is a silly one, but I loved it.  I went kite flying with my niece.  No, it wasn’t a big fancy kite, it was a small $3 Cinderella one, but it was so much fun hearing Kali squeal in delight. 

We bought the kite at HEB for $3 and spent awhile just watching it fly.  At first the kite wouldn’t fly (no windy enough) but you could hear Kali say, ‘You can do it Mr. Kite.  I believe in you,” which is what we say to Kali all the time when she is learning something new that she hasn’t quite grasped yet.

She runs and pumps her arms and causes the kite to fall but she had a blast anyway.  At one point the bottom string wrapped around the dog and we all howled in laughter. 

Who knew a $3 kite would turn out so much fun?  We are going to bring it to my aunt’s house this weekend for Easter.  She lives on the water in Seabrook and it is always windy there.

Friday, April 14, 2017

2017 Blue Bell Fun Run

I have wanted to run in the Blue Bell Fun Run 10K for a few years now.  (#bucketlist) Every year I am either busy, forgot about it, or just miss the race.  This year though I was determined not to miss it so I signed up back in October of 2016, right when it opened for registration.

However, I almost completely missed it.  I wasn’t planning on doing anything this weekend but got an email about the race and packet pickup on Friday. I looked at the date…oh wait, the race is tomorrow!  Ooops!  I almost forgot.  Plans changed from doing nothing to running a 10K that I hadn’t trained for.  Oh well!  You never regret a workout!

I woke up at 4:15 am on Saturday morning to make it to Brenham in time. I wasn’t sure what the traffic situation on 290 would be (construction for dayzzzz) or the parking at the race.  As luck would have it, I got there so early I had a super close parking spot.  Score!  #RockStarParking

The race went well considering that I hadn’t trained. I didn’t break any records and I probably did really bad compared to my other races, but I don’t care.  The course was so spectacular that I kept saying thank you prayers to God for making it such a pretty day.  Afterwards my route home took me part of the way down my favorite parts of the race and I was able to take some pictures.

After the race I got some chocolate ice cream (#notplantbased #shameonme #itwasdelicious) and my 10K finishers medal and hit the road. 

Check out the race!  It has free, unlimited ice cream for participants and spectators during/after the race.  All proceeds go to Brenham High School’s athletic department.  PLUS, you get an awesome finishers metal and a t-shirt-we all know how I feel about finishers medals!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Vinyl Machine Crafts

My sister recently purchased a Silhouette vinyl cutting machine and has been making shirts like crazy.  She was using a regular iron but the vinyl didn’t always stick long term so I invested in a heat press.  Our agreement is we buy our own vinyl but we can both use each other’s equipment anytime (well, it stays at my sisters).

We started an Etsy store but we don’t have anything in it (I will make a post when we do).  She wants to focus on whatever she feels like making at the time and I want to focus on plus size athletic shirts.  I know that when I was running a lot, there weren’t a lot of shirts for bigger girls.  Yes, running made me lose a lot of weight, but I still had trouble with the fit.  I could always find shirts with cute sayings on them in smaller sizes, but I couldn’t find any in the sizes that I needed.  Hence, what I want to focus on.  We will still sell other items (my sister is creative) and custom items, but I want to focus on those types of shirts.

Thigh Gaps are for Flamingos

Laptop decorations

Anyway, if you need any shirts/water tumblers/other projects made for whatever occasion, let me know and we can make for you!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Garden Markers and Gnomes

I wanted some garden markers for my plants just in case I forgot which is which.  Plus, they are just cute and add color to your garden.  I looked on Pinterest and decided to paint my own with pictures of the various vegetables I planted.

Now, I know that I am not the best artist, but I think you get the general idea of what I had planted.  We used smooth stones (taken from my aunts flower bed-she had tons don’t worry) and used outdoor acrylic paint from Hobby Lobby.  After I painted them I also sprayed a clear coat of paint on top of them.

My other garden accessory is a gnome family that moved in overnight.  What a bunch of freeloaders! :)

I got this at Family Dollar for $5 and it is too cute.  I just love it.  Love does grow here.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

My 2017 Garden

I created a garden last year but didn’t’ want to do another one this year.  I have been travelling a lot and didn’t want the plants to die and asking someone else to take care of it isn’t the best solution.  My niece came over and we replanted some green onions.  (Did you know that if you cut off the bottom part of the green onion where the white roots are, they will regrow?!)  After we planted those, she brought her sunflower plant that she made at the Rodeo to plant and that turned into a huge garden.  Hmph. 

I can’t say no to that little face of hers!  We got three planter boxes and also planted in the 4x8 in ground box I planted in last year.  Here is what we planted:
-3 Roma tomato plants (planter)
-3 misc tomato plants (planter)
-Artisan Lettuce Blend (planter)
-Green onions (replanted stem) (in ground box)
-Carrots (replanted stem) (in ground box)
-Bell pepper (replanted seeds/stem) (in ground box)
-Carrot seeds (in ground box)
-Radish seeds (in ground box)
-Beet seeds (in ground box)
-Radish seeds (in ground box)
-Broccoli plants (2) (in ground box)
-Sunflowers (plant)-Kali stepped on this and we think it died. :/

So far the plants are doing well.  The tomatoes have three that are getting bigger and the seeds from the other plants are doing well.  The planters did not have holes in the bottom so a few of them had water staying inside and creating a mush.  We drilled some holes in the bottom and they are doing great now.  Fingers crossed that they stay that way.

I will let you guys know our “harvest” totals.  It is so cute seeing her get so excited about gardening!  She wears a little hat, has a pink (her fav color) watering can, and even has gardening gloves so her hands won’t get dirty.   We’ll see if she actually eats any of the vegetables she harvests.  One can only hope.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Rodeo Houston 2017

This year’s HLSR was my fourth and final year as a committee member.  I loved spending time with the ‘kids’ that we serve on the Special Children’s Committee, but it is time for me to focus on other things.

God has recently impressed it upon my heart that I have to let go of the ‘good’ to get the ‘great’ in my life.  I can’t keep saying yes to everything, I have to focus on what God has called me to, not everything that comes my way, even if they are worthy events/activities. 

I was always saying yes to being on this committee, or volunteering at this event but I wasn’t able to focus on the things that truly matter to me.  And I’m not just talking about the rodeo activities, I’m talking about all activities that I’ve been involved in.  I have been emptying things off my plate for a few months now and it is so freeing!  I don’t have to be at this activity or that activity, I can focus on what matters most in my life.

So, the rodeo.  I volunteered on my specific dates and was a little sad that this was my last year, especially on my last night.  I was saying goodbye to everyone and realizing that I would never dance in the aisle at one of the concerts with the ‘kids’ anymore (I say ‘kids’ because most of them are technically adults but they have disabilities so it is the Special Children’s Committee).

We went to the Agventure part one day with Kali, but other than that I didn’t go at all this year (besides my volunteer shifts), usually I go to at least one concert or the carnival.  Kali had a fun time seeing the cows, rabbits and other animals.  She is into gardening so she planted sunflower seeds in a cup and brought it home.  I love that the HLSR has a ton of information and hands on learning opportunities for kids.  Super cool.

Did you go to the rodeo this year?

Sunday, February 5, 2017

How I Choose Which Sports Team To Root For

So, the Super Bowl is today...who are you going to root for?  I put $10 in a Super Bowl square pot so that is the only reason I will be watching (and maybe for the commercials).  It is in Houston this year, which I am excited about.  I tried and tried and tried to find someone who wants to bring me as their distinguished guest, but no takers.  Tickets are really expensive and I am saving for a house, so I decided to be an adult about things and not pay $4K for a ticket.  #adulting

Back on subject:  I have always had a plan on how I choose who I am rooting for in any type of sport team situation.  I have outlined it below for anyone who needs help choosing a team.  You're welcome. LOL.

Family-This RARELY happens (as in never) but I do want to leave it out just in case my family ever plays a pro sport. For now, the teams that fall in this category are all considered Little League teams, but it could happen one day.  I could marry a pro-ball player. :)  That means you, JJ WATT.

SFASU Teams-I won't bet against SFA teams.  Sorry, it won't happen even if I know we are going to lose (i.e. football).  Exception: if for some crazy reason my nephews or my niece decide to go to rival college, I will still root for SFA but I will wear a pin or something to signify that I am rooting for that one person.  I am not willing to do this for another family member. #truestory

Houston Teams-As a person who has lived in the Houston area for the majority of my life (besides 2 years in Philadelphia and 3 years in Nacogdoches), I will always root for any Houston team. H-Town is in my blood. I don't care if I move far away, Texas will be my team.

Texas Teams-I love me some Texas.  Everything is bigger in Texas and that includes our sports teams.  I have to support my Tejas.

Southern Teams-We just seem to breathe a different air down here.  IDK.  They are just closer to home.

USA-Because, USA!  USA!  USA!

And if there are no other teams that fit any of the criteria above, I will go with:

Best Colors of Uniforms-I am partial to purple and pink but those are rare in sports teams.  I choose based on the best color combinations

So...which team am I rooting on for the 2017 Superbowl? The Atlanta Falcons because they fit in the "southern" category.  Honestly, I don't care who wins but I have to pick one of them.   I might be a rebel and wear a Texans shirt though.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Driving Jacks 10th Anniversary

10 years ago, at 10 PM on January 25th, a group of SFASU students were anxiously awaiting a phone call.  Everything was set up and ready to go, a phone number, member shirts, a Dodge Magnum, fliers, a birthday cake, balloons and even a few people who had been waiting on this day for years.

Driving Jacks first night of operations were a go and all we  needed was a phone call.  We knew there was a need for Driving Jacks at SFASU (any college campus really) but we were still nervous that no one would call.  We set up a "just in case" person to call in but we never had to utilize that person because we got our first call not long after we "opened".  Apparently someone had been itching to be the first rider of Driving Jacks and went down in history.

I still can't believe it had been 10 YEARS!  That is so crazy to me.  I think it's more crazy that I have been out of school for 10 years more than DJ has been operating that long-I always knew it would be great once it started.

The Road Trip with Kali Claire
My parents needed someone to watch Kali while they were going out of town but I had plans all day.  In the AM I had to volunteer for my Rodeo committee, Special Children's and in the evening I was planning on driving to Nacogdoches for the 10th anniversary party.  I said, "I can watch her if she can go to Nacogdoches with me" thinking they would say no, but nope, they said yes!  

Every time I have gone on a 'trip' Kali asks me if she can come too.  I always feel so bad saying no to that little face!  She was so excited to go on a trip and stay in a hotel. My mom even bought her a new little suitcase to bring with her.

We left the house about 2 pm and only made a few stops (chicken nuggets-Kali, Starbucks-me, restroom-both of us) and made it to Nac around 5 pm.  We checked into our hotel room that I had reserved by the phone.  Let me tell you, I will  NEVER stay at Days Inn in Nacogdoches again (see below for story).

Hector got to Nac shortly after we did and we headed to the park with Kali while waiting for Clarissa and Josh to get there.  We also had to pick up the cake at Brookshire Brothers before dinner.

This child loves balance beams.  Remember the railroad tracks from the Polar Express, same thing-she loved this!
Speaking of the cake.  Do you notice anything different here?  The bakery did a great job but's supposed to be 10 years, not 90.  Same difference, right?  Haha.  They did do an amazing job on the logo though!!

We made it to the party and it was super fun.  The news was there to do a story on the 10th anniversary and interviewed me.  I will not be posting it on my blog, but you can google it if you want on the Lufkin/Nac news channel.  I look awful and said "amazing" too many times.  Ugh, I always say stupid things in interviews!  I told my sister that if someone makes me into a meme for saying 'amazing' a million times, I will cry!  I tried to get Hector or someone else to take my place, but no one else did and they wanted to interview me since I was the President on the first night.

Kali Claire and Connor helping blow out the candles.
After the event we all went walking around the campus.  Kali decided that she wants to be Lumberjack and posed with Surfin' Steve. #axeemJacks

So, one quick story about Days Inn in Nacogdoches.  DO NOT book a room there.  There were bugs and the place was was not kept up.  That's not my biggest issue (though that is a huge issue).

At 2:30 am we were woken up by people shouting outside our window.  They were in a fight about something and I heard them say something about a gun.  I called 9-1-1 because I wasn't sure if it was a robbery or what was happening.  Someone kept saying "let me in" and "give me the money".  I wanted to leave right then but if it was a robbery and I opened the door to leave, he could have gotten me and Kali too.  I can't just drive away quickly without putting her in her car seat, plus she was sleeping and wouldn't be too much help getting away.  So we just stayed put and I was praying that we wouldn't get shot.

The Nacogdoches Police Department responded very quickly and diffused the situation.  I didn't hear what happened but in my brief glimpses outside I believe I saw someone being taken to jail.  There was a taxi cab outside and my best guess as to what happened was someone didn't pay their taxi bill and the driver was upset and trying to collect his money.  I don't know (I didn't want to go outside and ask just in case the friend of the guy that went to jail wanted to get revenge).

Anyway, the next morning we met back up with my friends at a local restaurant for breakfast/lunch before heading out.

Friday, February 3, 2017

What I've Been Up to Vol. 14

Dog sat for my Aunt while they were in Honduras.  He was really annoying me at first because he kept following me and peeing on the floor but by the end of the week, he grew on me. You actually can't help but love him because he is a special needs dog.  He was dropped on his head when he was a baby (seriously) and he can't hear, his tongue sticks out of his mouth permanently, he runs sideways, and doesn't understand things because of his brain being messed up.  He's too cute not to love (unless he just pee'd somewhere). 

Watched Hector complete his first marathon!  I have a video of him walking backwards down the steps and an old man having to help him.  Too funny.  Go Hector!

Took my niece to get a mani and pedi in the pedicure chair.  She enjoyed her spa day.

Celebrated the next 4 years with a new President!

Took my niece to Old McDonald's Farm to hang out with all of the animals.  The horse ride was her favorite.

 Got some new jewelry at Sam Moon!  I had a hard time between this design and a cactus design.  I choose this one after much internal debate.

Found this cup at Charming Charlie.  I am thinking about making it into a t-shirt.

Volunteered for Rodeo Houston's Special Children's Committee at the Top Hands Horse Show.  This is my 4th year on the committee and I still love it! 

Friday, January 13, 2017

My Garden Update

Now that it is winter and my summer plants have officially quit on me, it's time for an update!  Do y'all remember when I planted my garden last Spring?  Well, my harvest was quiet plentiful for my first try, in my opinion.

Here is the count:

Okra: 208
Cucumbers: 27
Bell Pepper:  1! It was tiny but it grew in December
Cilantro:  0 so ummm, these died almost right away in the Texas heat
Eggplant:  0  the plants themselves look awesome, but no eggplants came to be

Obviously, the okra did the best out of all of them.  I planted three plants and all three were very fruitful.  Okra is easy!  I had originally planned to pickle the okra but I never learned how to pickle stuff so that didn't happen.  I mostly just cut them up into small pieces to add to gumbos or bake as a side dish.  On my next garden I will for sure plant these.

The cucumbers were growing great at one point but tasted awful!  I heard that when they taste bad they need more water but I watered them a ton!  Oh well, I won't plant them again.  Towards mid-summer they just died all of the sudden due to what we think was some type of bug.  The bug didn't touch any of the other plants, but it loved the cucumber plant.  Plus, the cucumber took over everything in the garden so if I were to plant them again, they would be in a separate garden.

The bell pepper was always a tiny plant that didn't grow over a foot tall.  I think the Texas heat got to it because in the fall it started to have flower buds.  In late November/early December it started to have a little pepper on it.  BUTTTTTTTTT when I picked it to bite into it, it had been sitting there too long and it was moldy inside.  I KNOW!  I am grossed out again just thinking about it, but it happened.  LOL. I learned my lesson about biting into vegetables (that I grew at least) before I cut into them.  #dontdoit

Will I grow a garden next year?  Ummmm.  I'm not sure. I have been travelling a lot lately and I'm not sure if I want another one at this time. It isn't fair for them not to get watered or someone else to have to do it for me. I want to buy some land eventually and can just have one there in the future.

So, I will not be applying to get a date on ;) haha

Thursday, January 12, 2017

My First Solo Camping Trip

Over New Year's Weekend I took my first ever solo camping trip to do three bucket list items.  I had just bought my first tent and thought it would be a breeze.  Well, it was and it wasn't.

Yes, I went by myself.  Why?  Well, I couldn't find anyone else to go with and I decided that I am not going to wait on other people to do stuff with me to have fun.  People are always invited of course, but I didn't

The Tent
I got my tent at Wal-Mart for $30.  Yes, it was the cheapest tent but I figured it was just me and I didn't need a fancy one for my first trip.  I figured I could get a bigger/fancier one if I needed to one day.  I know it's Wal-Mart but I figured I would give it a try (plus, I had a gift card).  I really liked it. It was roomy enough for one person, but the package said 3 people.  I think two (plus your stuff) would be the max I would want to be in there with.  Maybe if it was really cold and you needed body warmth, but two would be the max.
I spy flamingos!!!!!!

My Gear
I thought that an egg crate mattress, a wool moving blanket (that my dad insisted I bring), pillow and my quilt would be plenty for me to sleep on, but nope!!  I was SO COLD the first night.  I mean shivering cold where I got under my wool blanket and quilt but was still cold.

The 2nd night I wised up and went to Wal-Mart (after my Dino Dive) and bought a sleeping bag and a set of those hand warmer things that you shake to activate and last 18 hours.  I am so glad I bought those things because I was toasty warm in my sleeping bag.  I added a hand warmer packet to my feet area plus one by my knees to keep warm.  It kept me warm until the storm woke me up.

The Weather
I picked a random spot close to a picnic table and an electricity box.  I almost picked another spot but it was too far away from where I needed to plug my phone in.  Luckily, I chose my spot because the 2nd night the other spot flooded in the storm.

Yes, the 2nd night was one heck of a storm. I was woken up about 3 am to a storm raging around me.  It was loud at first and didn't bother me since I was being kept dry (go tent!) but then the walls started caving in on me.  Yes, the wind was blowing so hard that the wall started to bend in.  I just put my hand up to steady it so the rods wouldn't snap (I don't think they would have but I didn't want to chance it).

After a few minutes of sort of laughing at myself for being in a monsoon on my first solo camping trip, I realized that I had put my tent right under a tree and next to an electric box.  Duh, Stephanie!  Lightening!  A while ago I heard about this girl who was killed while camping because a tree branch had fallen on top of her (not sure where I heard that) so I decided to spend the rest of the night in my car.

I wasn't sure if my stuff would get wet (especially if my tent collapsed) so I gathered my overnight bag my wool blanket and my pillow to bring to the car with me when the rain settled down a bit.  I also stuffed everything else in my sleeping bag, hoping that that would keep it dry if the inside of the tent got wet.

The tent held up great though!  The next morning the polls were still up right and the pegs were still in the ground.

The  Food
I packed some snacks and bought a bagged salad mix, but I thought I would just eat the rest as I went along because I didn't have a camp stove to use.  Before I go camping again I will buy one!  I looked at Cabela's and also Academy and I found one for $40ish.

I need to find some camping food that I can make on site that is plant based.  I don't have to worry about keeping the veggies cold during the night like I would with me or cheese.  I need to create a recipe book to have on hand.

The Campground
I stayed at a RV park that had electricity and a bathroom so I wouldn't have to go in the woods.  I wanted to camp but I didn't want to get too crazy!  The campgrounds (Oakdale Park)were nice and quiet since it was the winter, but I can still see it being a great site.  There was a security guard who went around at night (and probably during the day too) to check on things.  Everything had to be quiet between 10 pm-7 am.  For $20 a night, I liked it.  My only complaint was that the shower water was so cold! I tried to let the water get hot, but it never did.  Maybe I missed a button to turn on our something but I just don't think the water heater is working.

What I Would Do Different
-I would come prepared for whatever weather and have more blankets.  I should be OK now since I have my sleeping bag but never underestimate the cold.

I would check the weather to make sure there wasn't a huge storm coming.  I would have probably gone anyway but you never want to put yourself in a situation where you are in harms way.  And I wouldn't put my tent underneath a tree either!  What was I thinking?!

-I would  bring flip flops for the shower-ewwww gross!  I just stood on a towel, not sure if that helped or not. LOL.

-I would bring a camp stove to make meals.  It really sucked when I needed to get food but all the restaurants are closed do to a holiday.   That probably won't happen too much since there are a lot less holidays during the year, but you never know.  Come prepared!

-I would buy this single person tent instead because it is off the ground and one person can put it together.  My current tent takes at least two people and if I go again I might not have anyone around to help me.  It is the Kamp-Rite Oversize Tent Cot that even folds into a lounger chair!  Kamp-Rite tent company, please send me a free tent!  We can partner together! :)  Your tent can come with me on bucket list adventures and be featured each time! :) Hint, Hint, Hint!!
All and all it was a fantastic trip and I can't wait to go again.  I am planning a backyard camping excursion with my niece and nephews soon!  I have also purchased a big, oversized tub to keep all of my camping gear in so I won't have to round it all up again the next time I go camping.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Visiting Waco, TX

My final destination for the weekend, Dinosaur Valley State Park, is 3.5 hours from Houston and you need to travel through Waco to get there.  I was reviewing the map and my bucket list when I realized that Jacob's Ladder was in Waco, too.  Perfect!  I can do that while passing through.

My GPS took me to the park easily and the signs inside the park led me directly to Jacob's Ladder.  Jacob's Ladder was originally an actual ladder but was replaced with  88 zig-zaging steps to the top of a steep hill.  It was just as hard going down as it was going up.  My thighs got a workout that day!

After Jacob's Ladder I had lunch at the Mad Hasher, which is a "hash" inspired food truck.  Mine was a potato hash with eggs (not plant based!), pico, assorted veggies, feta (??), and a creamy sauce.  It was so good and I highly recommend stopping by if they are open when you visit.  They were parked at a food truck area with several other trucks near the college, I believe.

After filling my belly it was off to the Waco Mammoth National Monument to see some still in the ground mammoth bones!  At first I was not really feeling this place but I figured that I  had some time to kill before I needed to leave and it might be cool. Let me tell you, it was one of the coolest things I have seen.

You have always seen pictures of fossils on TV or maybe fossilized rocks but these were actual bones that are still partially in the ground on a real live excavation site.  I LOVED it.  The tickets are only $5 and it is well worth the $$.

They take you to the actual dig site where some college kids back in the 70's thought they found a cow leg bone but it turned out to be a mammoth femur bone I think.  They turned it over to Baylor where they knew a paleontologist and they started excavating the site not too long after.

The area was a narrow strip of land between two rivers at one time and a flash flood came and wiped out about 20+ mammoths that were part of a nursery herd.  They figured out what had happened because the bones were sticking straight up as if they were caught in the mud when a flash flood came along.  They said that some of the mothers were even holding the babies in their tusks out of the water to try and save them when they died. ;(
These two were interesting!  They think they might had been in the mating process (not at that exact moment).  They also know that this male had been in a fight a few years earlier because of some extra calcium building up on one of his ribs.  

They have found a ton of bone sites, even on layered on top of each other spanning years.  So the area must have been known for flash flooding because they would dig a little further down and find more, like the mud created layer upon layer of accidental cemeteries.

This is a real life example of the size of the mammoth from back then!!

There are  more animals that they found in there including a camel and a sabor tooth tiger.  They believe there was a tiger cub den that collapsed at one time in the area.  So interesting!

The building itself is on the actual dig site and can move to protect more fossils as they unearth them and can be expanded as the dig site uncovers more.

So, Central Texas is full of pre-historic animals between this site and Dinosaur Valley State Park. I can only imagine what they will uncover in the area next!  For $5, it is well worth the hour you will spend there.  Go visit it!!