<![CDATA[Travel Time Mama - Travel ]]>Mon, 01 Feb 2016 12:48:23 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Autumn Adventures: Dallas Area]]>Thu, 28 Jan 2016 06:52:08 GMThttp://traveltimemama.weebly.com/travel/autumn-adventures-dallas-area
 The perfectly lovely Autumn weather was partially responsible for one of my most impulsive day trips EVER. Who can resist an autumn adventure? Not me!   I was googling things to do while we ate our breakfast at home and within a few hours we were on the road to Grapevine, Texas. Which happens to one of my favorite places in the Dallas area to visit. 

Our first stop was the Grapevine Botanical Gardens at Heritage Park for the butterfly Fluttery release event. The website listed the last butterfly release at 12:30. I knew that if we hit ANY traffic in Dallas we would not make it on time. So, I opted NOT to tell my kids about the butterfly release - Just in case we missed it. Which we did not. They were pleasantly surprised. 

We made it EXACTLY on time to see the butterflys released from there cage.  A small amount of butterflies.  I was a tiny bit disappointed because in my mind I imagined a large Texas sized swarm of butterflies.  However, It was still amazing to see them released and follow the slow moving ones around the garden before they took flight to Mexico for the winter. The kids enjoyed some close encounters with the butterflies. However, I was irritated that so many of the parents were allowing their kids to TOUCH the butterflies. 
The event had information stations set up where volunteers would spend as much time as you were willing to give them passionately sharing information about the butterflies and the migration process.  My kids enjoyed that. Turns out they were actually MORE educated about butterflies that I was. There were also many free craft and game stations  set up around the garden  but my kids were not in the mood for that. 
 We spent some time touring the small gardens, which would have been much more peaceful without the hordes of families that were milling about. A lot of the kids were dressed in butterfly costumes for a costume contest. The garden was well decorated for the event. 

On our trek back to the car we stopped off at a nearby pumpkin patch to drool over pumpkins and take more photos. Because you can never have too many pumpkin photos.
Our next stop was the Nash Family Farm. It is a historical working farm right in the middle of the city and has been on my list of places to visit for a while . It was also very crowded because they were a part of the Flutter-bye Butterfly event as well.  We toured the farmhouse and were greeted by  enthusiastic historical dressed volunteers. Some of which had just completed a  cooking demo of a period accurate meal on a very old fashioned wood stove.  The food smelled amazing and the volunteers enjoyed share their knowledge with anyone who was willing to listen and learn.
Next up, we headed over to the petting zoo - as requested by the princess. Where my princess then refused to touch any of the animals for some reason. She normally loves petting zoos but she just was not having it.

Then we jumped on the tractor pulled hayride for a short bumpy ride around the garden. 
My kids favorite part was actually walking around the garden. They were able to pick cotton, okra, and marvel at the growing fruits and vegetables. They were amazed by the cotton and  I came to the conclusion that they spend a little too much time inside.  I did not realize that they knew so little about where some foods came from. 

Everyone was getting hungry but I convinced them to stay for the butterfly release.  Which I was a little confused about, because I found a crowd of people but no butterfly cage. As it turns out they were handing out little squares of paper to the kids that had a live butterfly inside. They did a big countdown and everyone released the butterflies  at (almost) the same time. Unfortunately, I only managed to get a photo of the crowd and not the butterflies. 
All in all, it was a fantastic impromptu trip. If we decided to visit again during the event I would arrive earlier, dress my princess in a butterfly costume, and WALK from the Botanical Garden to the Farm because parking was a nightmare.   
<![CDATA[Me & You Date: Waterpark Edition]]>Thu, 21 Jan 2016 02:14:31 GMThttp://traveltimemama.weebly.com/travel/me-you-date-waterpark-edition

Me & You Time 

 One tradition I have with my children it to have "Me & You" time. It is simply planned one on one time with each of my children. Sometimes it is just a trip to the park, going out to eat or just playtime together.  Of course, because we love to explore and travel, we love to have a bigger destination in mind sometimes. 

I would love to say that I do this on a regular basis with each child, but it is a little more hit and miss than that. How often, where, and when often depends on our schedules, the stage my children are in and a lot of other factors. However, it is enough of a tradition that if I let it go to long my kids start to ask about their "Me & You" time.

I love our one on one time and combining it with a big or small trip makes it even more special. There is something about travel that helps my family bond and grow closer together. One on one travel allows me to edit our experiences to one child instead of 5! If you have tried to plan a vacation with a toddler, elementary, pre teen, teen and adult child- you know that finding something that will please everyone can be a challenge. At the end of summer I snuck away with my 9 year old for some waterpark fun. 

Hawaiian  Falls Waterpark : The Colony, Texas 

sThis was our second trip to the Hawaiian Falls in The Colony, Texas but it had been a few years since our last trip. We quickly snagged some chairs and drug them into the shade and then headed straight for the lazy river and wave pool. Those are always our go to spots at the water park.  Then of course we had to grab some burgers and a FREE personalized coke. The share a coke booth was onsite and allowing everyone to personalize two cans of coke with their names. The Free coke samples while you waited for your turn were a nice treat. 
Josh drank his right away and I was saving mine. Not sure what I was saving if for because I never did get to drink it. Some unnamed child drank it for me without asking when we go home. My money is on the little princess. She loves to sneak a coke. 
Next up we got brave and hit the waterslides. There was a moment of confusion when we wound up on the wrong slide and Joshua chickened out and we had to take the walk of shame back down the stairs. Then we decided it was time to for photos. I made Josh pose on some of these rocks. They were very hot so he demanded I do the same. Check out my bloody knee... that happens when you crash into the walls of the wave pool. 
Once the crowds rolled in we avoided the slide with there long lines and rotated between the lazy river and wave pool. I spend a good amount of time lounging in the shade and people watching while Joshua did his thing.  We had a lot of laughs and enjoyed out time together ! 
Tell me, what are your favorite things to do with your kids one on one?
<![CDATA[Dino Days: A Local Adventure Day]]>Wed, 22 Jul 2015 15:01:00 GMThttp://traveltimemama.weebly.com/travel/dino-days-a-local-adventure-day
It is no secret I love a good trip. Preferably one that ends at a breathtaking beach, but I love local travel as well. It is alway fun to find new places close to home.  While they may not be the biggest or most breathtaking places they can present a great learning opportunity .

 I have made it my goal to visit all the small museums in our small rural area. Some of them are very small. I am talking one room kinda small. I don't go in with high expectations but I usually manage to find something to love about each one. 

My 4 year old daughters class trip to the Dino Days Exhibit presented the opportunity to visit a small museum that was was new to us.  I decided that it was also the perfect time to take Joshua to see the new Jurassic World movie in 3D.

Amber wanted to ride the bus with her class, so Joshua and I decided to meet them at the Sherman Museum. We left early because we a had a very important stop to make. With Josh's pockets full of his hard earned allowance the Target toy aisle was calling his name. 

 After some heart breaking toy shopping we left empty handed and hungry. I decided we needed a snack so we stopped at Panera Bread. A giant chocolate chip cookie and iced tea saved the day.

We found the museum with time to spare so we decided to pop into a few of the local stores while we waited for Amber's class to arrive. We spent a good 3o minutes looking at charms for charm bracelets and smelling candles before moving on to Dinosaurs.

We began our tour upstairs with the heard of eager 4 year olds. The Dino tour featured 4 complete dino skeletons, the largest being the Triceratops. The other 3 were small dinosaurs. They also had casts of Dinosaur foot prints from the Glenn Rose, Tx area which is on our list of places to visit. The staff did their best to give historical information and hold the interest of preschool class. No easy feat! 

After that we headed downstair to dig for dinosaur bones. My kids have done this many times before so it held there interest for about 2 minutes. We crept away from the group and checked out the non dinosaur exhibits. The pioneer kitchen was my daughters favorite part. She declared that the rest of the trip was boring. We rejoined the group to watch a short dinosaur cartoon that did not keep my interest. Amber and her class ate sack lunch and headed back to class.

Joshua and I had more dino plans. We headed to the movie theater to eat ridiculously large amounts of popcorn and watch the movie. The movie was the highlight of the trip for Joshua and I enjoyed it as well.

All in all, it was a fun day. Nothing breathtaking for me but better than sitting at home reading travel blogs all day. 
<![CDATA[Sunny Summer Days In Galveston]]>Wed, 22 Jul 2015 00:50:12 GMThttp://traveltimemama.weebly.com/travel/sunny-summer-days-in-galveston
Sunny Summer Days In Galveston, Texas
Galveston Tx has quickly become my go to vacation spot. I love it for so many reasons. First, of course, because of the port and cruise ships that can take me to more exotic destinations. Second, because it has beaches. Granted, the beaches are not nearly as nice as those in a tropical location but it does quench my thirst for the beach.  Third, it is only a 6-7 hour drive from my land locked home in Oklahoma.  It is also one of the places my husband and I traveled to before he passed away, so nostalgia plays a part in my love of Galveston.  My latest trip to Galveston was supposed to be a 2-3 day beach camping trip but it ended up only being one night of camping. You can read more about that in my Beach Camping post. Here is a little bit about how we spent our non camping time.
Is it any surprise that our very first stop after checking in (early) to the hotel was The Spot? Seriously, I can not come to Galveston without grabbing a bite to eat on the out door patio.  We all opted for burgers and waffle cut fries except for my daughter who had chicken strips. I usually get the shrimp cocktail but I love the burgers as well.  I regretted ordering a full meal for the 4 year old.  She ate one bite of chicken and a half of a waffle fry.  Of course, we boxed our leftovers and ate them in the hotel that night as a snack.  The kids meals come with a cute cup. Do beware that if you over fill them the drink ultimately squirts out of the straw with an amazing amount of force. We used the cups while camping to pour the kids canned sodas into. That was handy because the cups I had packed ended up being used as beach toys.
The next stop was the beach. We opted for the Stewart Beach. Can you believe that as many times as we have been to Galveston, it was our first time at Stewart Beach? Okay, my mom and I did go there in the winter but is was empty and cold, so it doesn't count. It cost $8 to park/beach pass. You can rent chairs and umbrellas but we took our own.  

I really enjoyed knowing that there were lifeguards on duty. I was able to spend some time relaxing in the sun while the played in the water. Amber was a bit afraid of the waves because they were pretty forceful but it did not take her long to get over that.  She spent a long time playing in the sand. We stayed late at the beach. Late enough to confiscate a few sand toys that had been left behind by other beachgoers. 
After swimming and heading back to the hotel for a brief rest, we went to check out the camping options at The Galveston State Park.  I was impressed with their beachside camping facilities but I was pretty certain that they were sold out. I thought we might be able to grab a campsite at the bayside part of the park but it was full as well.  The staff at the state park were friendly although they did tell me that the closest camping area would be the Andy Bowie Park, which was no where near Galveston. I guess they were only giving info about other state parks because I was already aware that it would be much closer to camp on Crystal Beach on the Bolivar Peninsula. I was really glad I had researched that as a back up camping option. It ended up saving us a good deal of money. I believe the rate for the state park camping was $35 a night plus a $5 daily entrance fee per person.  We ended up paying $10 for beach access permit at the bolivar peninsula that is good for a full year.  

Another bonus was that we got to enjoy riding the free ferry back and forth from Galveston to Boliver. It was really fun the first couple of trips, but the novelty wore off after a few trips. Once the ferry leaves the port, you are free to exit your car and watch the dolphins and birds.  The kids enjoyed standing at the front of the ferry so they could be splashed with the water spray from the ferry as it picked up speed. 
After swimming and heading back to the hotel for a brief rest, we went to check out the camping options at The Galveston State Park.  I was impressed with their beachside camping facilities but I was pretty certain that they were sold out. I thought we might be able to grab a campsite at the bayside part of the park but it was full as well.  The staff at the state park were friendly although they did tell me that the closest camping area would be the Andy Bowie Park, which was no where near Galveston. I guess they were only giving info about other state parks because I was already aware that it would be much closer to camp on Crystal Beach on the Bolivar Peninsula. I was really glad I had researched that as a back up camping option. It ended up saving us a good deal of money. I believe the rate for the state park camping was $35 a night plus a $5 daily entrance fee per person.  We ended up paying $10 for beach access permit at the bolivar peninsula that is good for a full year.  

Another bonus was that we got to enjoy riding the free ferry back and forth from Galveston to Boliver. It was really fun the first couple of trips, but the novelty wore off after a few trips. Once the ferry leaves the port, you are free to exit your car and watch the dolphins and birds.  The kids enjoyed standing at the front of the ferry so they could be splashed with the water spray from the ferry as it picked up speed. 
We spent our second day and night beach camping on Crystal Beach. For more detailed information about our beach camping experience check out my post about that.  The beach was  lovely and clean. We also spent some time driving on the beach and exploring the area. 
After deciding that the kids were not up to camping another night, I scoured the web to find a cheap hotel. I ended up paying around $135 a night for this one. It was not in our budget but the teen was sick (strep throat) so we did not have any other option. I couldn't subject him to campfire smoke, sand and salt from the ocean for another night. 

My kids were perfectly happy with the hotel room. They love hotel rooms- of any sort. I thought it smelled funny and the bed was lumpy and hard. I can't believe I am going to say this, but my camp air mattress was more comfortable than these beds.  We were all so happy to shower the sand away.

Board Game Cafe

Please excuse the bad photo. The lighting was terrible and my indoor photography skills stink sometimes. We needed lunch and a break from the heat so we headed over to the Game Board Island Cafe.  I love the concept. It is just a little cafe with only 1 -2 staff working and over 2000 board games to choose from. 

I ordered a pizza for the kids and a pulled pork sandwich for me. Drink refills are free but you must take your drink to the counter to get it refilled. That was really my only complaint. It took forever to get a refill if someone was ordering in front of you. The food was okay. 

We played Jenga, pass the pigs and a few other crazy games that I had never even heard off.  They had a great selection. I even saw a FIREFLY board game.  ( Yeah, we made everyone in the cafe jump every time our Jenga game crashed- by me of course!) 
The boys wanted to hang out in the hotel room. Does anyone else have weirdo kids like mine who love to spend time in the hotel instead of explore?  I decided they needed a break from their little sister, so we set out to explore.  Naturally, she fell asleep 5 minutes before reaching our fist stop. So I spend 1 1/2 hours driving around Galveston sightseeing from the car. Because, there was no way I was waking that whiney child up if she was ACTUALLY napping. It was not what I had planned  but we all enjoyed some time apart. 
The next day the teen was feeling even worse. I knew we were going to have to head back home but I still wanted to enjoy a few hours visiting a few of my must go places.  This time the teen and the preschooler decided to stay in the hotel.  Josh and I went to explore. 

We took a long walk on the beach along the seawall. We stopped in at Murdochs our favorite little shop on the seawall. We love looking at all the souvenirs and trinkets as much as sitting in the rockers and looking out over the water. 
We also took time to enjoy all of the sights along the seawall.  I love people and birdwatching. Joshua took notice of the hand painted art tiled benches on the seawall and we stopped to read the facts and enjoy the art on each bench. 

 The teen called to say he was hungry.  I tried to talk the kids into eating at Bubba Gumps and riding a few rides on Pleasure Pier but for whatever reason they were not interested. Crazy right? I really wanted seafood. I wanted to ride the ferris wheel on the gulf. I think I am a kid at heart.  We ended up eating what the kids choose. McDonalds. For the 2nd time during our trip. I was not impressed.  I was actually sad. It was a better budget choice. 

After McDonalds, we repacked the sand filled car and headed home. I planned a quick pitstop at the Woodlands, Tx but I changed my mind at the last minute and ended up at Kemah Tx. Be sure to check out my post on that. We are certainly going back! 

Now, tell me, do your kids or fellow travelers prefer a little downtime in the hotel during your vacations or are mine just weird? 
<![CDATA[Our Top 5 Road Trip Mistakes]]>Tue, 21 Jul 2015 15:31:00 GMThttp://traveltimemama.weebly.com/travel/our-top-5-road-trip-mistakes
#1  Not taking time to learn how to get the spare tire out from under the van.  My sister and I spent quiet a while trying to change the flat and most of it was me reading the directions from the manual while she tried to figure it out. In the parking lot of a creepy dark motel parking lot. 

#2  Packing to much! Okay, it was a 10 day road trip. We needed everything we brought, but I underestimated the amount of luggage we would be adding to the van after picking up the oldest son in Savannah, Georgia. It was crowded but we made it work. Lesson Learned: Always plan more space than you think you will need for the return trip.

#3  Not being prepared for throw up. With kids in car... there is a good chance someone will get sick and it is a terrible thing not to have extra bags, wipes and towels. An empty container with a lid comes in handy if someone is feeling sick. 

#4  Not bringing extras of the little things. Keeping a stash of extras in the car can be a lifesaver. From bandages and bottled water, to extra cups and car friendly snacks, these things can be a lifesaver on both long and short trips.

#5 Overly High or low Expectations.  That's right, put all of your high and low expectations away and be prepared to go with the flow. All the best planning, preparation and   schedules will not create the perfect road trip. There is no such thing and it it is the worst road trip, well at least you will have learned something and have some interesting memories. 
<![CDATA[Great Wolf Lodge Getaway: Part 2 - The Hotel ]]>Wed, 06 May 2015 17:24:04 GMThttp://traveltimemama.weebly.com/travel/great-wolf-lodge-getaway-part-2-the-hotel
Great Wolf has several different types of rooms that you can select. Part of the fun for my kids was the room itself. I know that sounds weird, but they love hotel rooms. The like to spend some of their vacation time chilling in the room. Knowing this about them, I did splurge for one of the Wolf Den rooms.  It is basically a room inside the hotel room for kids. It features a lodge style bunk bed and a flat screen TV. Keep in mind it doesn't have a door!

The rest of the room maintains the lodge/cabin feel. It has Log bed, table and chairs, coffee table and end chairs. Not exactly a luxury feel or my favorite look but the theme carries out well with the rest of the lodge. 

The room has a microwave, coffee maker and mini fridge. This is great for keeping your snacks and meals in if you want to save some money. We brought our own drinks,bottled water, snacks and even picked up a birthday cake from the nearby target to celebrate my daughters birthday in the room.  Great Wolf does offer a birthday package but we decided to save money by doing it on our own. The room will have bottled water but at $2.00 a bottle you may want to come prepared so that you don't let your thirst override your money saving sense!

Food Options 

If you don't want pack all of your meals and snacks, you will have no trouble finding something to eat. The most affordable options for us was The Hungry Wolf Pizza. We ordered and picked up our pizza 45 minutes later and took it to the room to eat. We had brought our own plastic wear and plates but I do believe that the pizza place had them available. The pizza place is mostly carryout because there is not many places to sit and eat it unless you are returning to your room. It was affordable and not bad pizza. 

The Bear Paw has ice cream, candy and bakery items. The ice-cream was good. However, I did get a chocolate muffin that was so gross I ended up tossing it in the trash. 

They have also have a buffet. The adult price is almost $20 and the kids price was around $6. This can add up pretty quick if you have a large group. We actually did not intend to eat there, but we decided to give it a try because we were to tired to venture away from the Lodge like we originally planned.  The had a huge selection of food, lots of kids friendly options, and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food. The also have a breakfast buffet but we ate breakfast in our room. 

For your coffee fix, they do have a Starbucks. I loved that you could save the regular coffee or iced tea cup from your first order and get $1 refills for the rest of your stay.

I mentioned in part 1 of this series that they also have concussion stand in the waterpark portion as well. I do love all of the options but the cost adds up pretty quickly. I recommend deciding where to splurge and where to save when it comes to eating at the lodge. 

Glitter Tattoos &  Other Things to Do

Believe it or not my kids

<![CDATA[Great Wolf Lodge Getaway Part 1: Waterpark ]]>Thu, 30 Apr 2015 19:00:19 GMThttp://traveltimemama.weebly.com/travel/greatwolflodgewaterparkgrapevinetexas
   The kids have been begging for a return trip to the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Texas.  For them, it rates right up with cruising on the their list of all time favorite vacation spots.  I do enjoy it but I won't lie and say it is better than a cruise. It is a very kid friendly hotel and indoor waterpark. My biggest disappointment was that the outdoor portion of the pool doesn't open until Memorial Day. It is really nice to be able to slip outside and get away from the heavy chlorine smell and inclosed noise. The indoor outdoor hot tub was open but always crowded. But, all in all, it was a great vacation. 
The great thing about Great Wolf Lodge is that is only about one hour and 45 minutes away from our home. My 9 year old was asleep about 5 minutes after we took our "we are off to the Lodge" car photo. My almost 4 year old did not fall asleep until about 15 minutes until arrival. Our first stop was food! If you read much on this site, you may have noticed that our first stop is almost always... food. In this case, we stopped at Steak & Shake for burgers and shakes. 
   Check in was quick and easy. Except for the last minute fear that I had left all form of photo ID as home. Lucky me, a quick sprint back to car cleared that fear up. We were on the 5th floor. After changing, unpacking and the claiming of the top bunk (by the 3 year old!) we went back downstairs to the waterpark. 
   My mom and Joshua (9) quickly abandoned me and Amber (3) at the kiddie pool. It is a nice kiddie pool complete with 3 slides, lots of water spray areas, a couple of small fountains, and all sorts of pint sized fun. If that is not enough you can always count on kids to make their own kind of fun. For example, lying down and pretending you are dead. Always a crowd pleaser. 
Having a younger child means you are often confined to spending most of your pool time hanging with the tiny tots in the kiddie area. I did managed to convince my girl to venture into the wave pool and the lazy river a few times. She wanted absolutely nothing to do with play area with big bucket of water that dumps on your head.  They do have an adults only hot tub area. The slides are always a bit hit with the older kids and kids at heart, but sadly, I did not venture to either this time.

There is also a new ropes course located outside. It was open and I saw lots of kids and adults giving it a try but it was bit to windy and cool for me to venture out to see more of it.  My mom spent most of her time in the lazy river. Joshua hung out with her until the "howl" that signaled the waves starting in the wave pool would sound and then he and half the people in the park would make a mad dash for the wave pool.  

Honestly, I prefer outdoor water parks but as far as indoor parks go this is my favorite. Here are a few things you may want to know to make your next trip a blast. 

Great Wolf Lodge Water Park Tips

1.  Towels are provided in the waterpark. No need to bring your own or drag them from the room.
2. No need to worry about sunblock- unless you are going to using the outdoor pool & hot tub
3. No outside food or drinks. There is a handy concession stand (huge amazing pretzels). You can keep drinks/snacks in your room and head up for a break at any time. I did keep a bottle of water in my beach bag- no one called me out on it but the good two shoes in me still felt guilty. 
4. Get there early to steak your claim on a table, chairs or lounger so that your family can leave their towels and stuff and have a central meeting area. Early mornings and late evenings can be less crowded. Take advantage of the slides with shorter lines. 
5. The do have lockers but we did not feel the need to use them.
6. The lazy river is small and not that lazy! You will float through and under sprays of water and people will dump buckets of water on your head. Use caution if you have young one who may not like that.
7. Take a waterproof camera for some great photos. We did not- I wish we had!
8. Two days of waterpark are included with your one night stay.
9. Relax and enjoy the fun. 
I would love to hear from other visitors to Great Wolf Lodge! Please share your waterpark tips an comments below.
<![CDATA[Travel Fail: OK City Day Trip]]>Sat, 06 Dec 2014 16:28:18 GMThttp://traveltimemama.weebly.com/travel/travel-fail-ok-city-day-trip
   It may not be completely fair to call our day trip to Oklahoma City a complete fail. We did have fun, saw some new things and had an experience that we will remember as "the time we were evacuated!". Yes, I said evacuated but more on that later.

   After our failed camping trip that turned into my mom, my three year old and I sleeping in a tent in the backyard while everyone else went inside, I decided we needed a day trip. We normally go to the Dallas area for such things, because it is closer to us than OKC or Tulsa. I decided to head to Oklahoma city to check out Bricktown, grab lunch, shop and visit the Myriad Botanical Gardens.  So, I loaded up the car with  the sassy 3 year old, 8 year old, and the grown up child and off we went for a day of family fun and exploration. 

   Now, I knew not to expect a full river walk experience as in San Antonio, but I still was not overly impressed Bricktown. Don't get me wrong, it was lovely and there were plenty of restaurants to choose from but not much else going on. They did have the boat rides available and we had planned on doing that but it just did not happen. The kids were impressed for about 5 minutes. Then they were done. And hungry, even though we still had about 45 minutes till it was even close to lunch.  We stopped in Bass Pro Shop and had fun exploring and shooting some fun targets.  Other than that, we did not find any shopping available along the canal area. 

Checking out the huge fish at Bass Pro.
The hungry mouths demanded to be feed so we headed over to Toby Keiths I love that bar and grill at 11:00 A.M. on the dot. We had trouble finding our way into the restaurant. All of the doors facing the canal walk were not entrances. 

The restaurant had a lot of interesting decor. The kids had a lot of fun looking at all of the stuff on the walls. We were on a budget so I had pre chosen where we would eat based on that. Sticker shock!! I had not considered that it was the weekend and had relied on the lunch menu prices and items. Not only was it more expensive, but what I wanted to order was not even on the menu. So we ended up getting burgers. Which were huge and good, but just not what I really wanted. 

Amber was less than impressed with the booster seat. Anyone else have a kid who prefers a booth or just no booster chair?
       Next, we headed over to the Myriad Botanical Gardens. We started out by letting the kids run through the splash fountains- fully clothed. It was so hot, I must admit I was tempted to do the same but I parked myself and the stroller in the shade watched instead. Honestly, we were starting to have a great time. I was just about to gather up all my wet chicks from the fountain to explore the garden when I turned around and bumped into a police officer who said something that I did not understand so I simply mumbled an apology. It took me a moment to realize that their were police everywhere evacuating the gardens. I was both freaked out and curious. 
     The adult child told me he overheard them say there was "something" in the dumpster. He was certain it was a body and I was leaning toward a bomb. Now, anyone with half a brain, would come to this conclusion and run. We evacuated slowly because we were trying to figure out what was going on. Not my proudest moment. At one point we took a wrong turn toward the car and back tracked, which earned us a very gruff reprimand from yet another police officer.  We made it to the car and I decided that at the rate this trip doomed and we headed home.
    The next day, I did find out that it was a backpack in the dumpster that prompted the evacuation. They had suspected it was a bomb but it was jus a backpack.  That sums up our ill fated but memorable day trip. 
<![CDATA[A Winter cruise from Galveston... on A budget]]>Sat, 06 Dec 2014 16:14:48 GMThttp://traveltimemama.weebly.com/travel/a-winter-cruise-from-galveston-on-a-budgetPicture
Our upcoming trip to Galveston has a lot of firsts for us, even though we have visited Galveston many times. First of all, it is our first Disney cruise. It as also our first winter visit and the first time we have gone without my late husband. I am sure there will be some bitter sweet moments as we remember him. For example, the kids loved catching crabs with him and that fun night that he was stung by a stingray. Yes, it happened and it hurt. 

Of course, being after Christmas and followed by the cruise, we are a tight budget. Here is our Galveston on a budget itinerary. Which is complete subject of change of course.

Day One: Arrive, Check in and Check it out!


The Beachcomber Inn will be our pre cruise hotel. I booked it for 2 nights for less that $65 total. That includes tax and a continental breakfast. So, it certainly fits in the budget category. 

A five star stay it is not, but the trip advisor reviews are decent and the price is right. I always try to book somewhere with a complimentary breakfast. It helps cut the food bill. However, we have also stayed at condo rentals where you can save by cooking your own meals. However, for me vacation is NOT cooking.

We plan to spend the first day checking things out and seeing what is new as well as families places. The first new spot to see is the new Pleasure Pier. It is  ironic to post in a budget post, because it is pretty pricey. $10 JUST to walk on plus rides. That adds up with a family of 4. 

 I have not decided if we will actually do this, but it will be our splurge if we do .I have a feeling the boys will decided this for me at first glance. The Sassy Girl will be upset she cant ride the big rides. Regardless, it is something new to see, even if from a distance.


The self guided tree sculpture tour is free. After the last major hurricane many of the towering trees were demolished. A talented artist has turned what was left of the trees into works of art. 

You can print a map of the sculptures and check them out. It seems like a neat way to tour Galveston. There are birds, guitars,and mermaids to see.  The details and map are available on the Galveston website. 

La King's Confectionery is a throwback to the 1920's when folks came out to the local confectionery to enjoy treats and visit. According to my research, you can watch them make handmade candy and then treat yourself to the oldest ice cream in Texas.

We enjoyed watching the candy making in New Orleans and loved eating the candy after ward, so we are looking forward to checking out these Galveston made goodies. 

To keep it budget friendly, we each order something different and share!

<![CDATA[The latest... staying close to home!]]>Sat, 06 Dec 2014 16:13:39 GMThttp://traveltimemama.weebly.com/travel/the-latest-staying-close-to-homeWow, when was my last post? It has been to long! In my defence, Not much travel happens for us in the fall. The rush of back to school, homework, and saving for our trip in January has had us hanging out at home the last few months.  Other than a few quick trips to the Dallas, Tx area we have had little to report but I will add a few updates on those trips soon as well as packing updates on our upcoming cruise.  

We over packed on the last Cruise. We had everything we needed and a lot of stuff we didn't . We must pack lighter this cruise for several reasons. One being that we downsized our vehicle from a van to car. We simply can not bring a lot with us.

Our other big news is that our family is growing up. The oldest daughter turned 18 and moved to Dallas. The oldest son is 19 1/2 now. So that whittles the majority of our family travel to a party of four- The boys( 12 & 7), Sassy girl (21/2) and me. 

I have been doing lots of crafting... unfortunately I can't post photos of that until after Christmas and our cruise. Don't want to spoil any surprises for family or fellow cruisers. 

Here are a few photo's of what we have been up to:

Playing around at work & at home....
Enjoying Ribs & Fries at our favourite local BBQ place.
Hey, look my kids to a photo of me that doesn't make me cringe! The are always snatching my phone & taking photos.
Playing outside... we have been doing lots of this. Swinging is the Sassy girl's first choice.