Harker Heights, Texas
Harker Heights, Texas
We had family visiting from Wisconsin, and one of the places they all wanted to check out was the zoo. We headed out to Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, Texas. It’s one of my favorite here in Central Texas. I love the layout and the zoo is perfect size. Here are some of my favorite photos from our trip. I hope you enjoy!
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In one weeks time, the family and I will be standing in the Stubb’s Amphitheatre listening to our favorite band.
Michael Franti & Spearhead is coming to town!!!!!!
We have been looking forward to this for MONTHS!!!!
We got to see them a few years ago when they were touring for The Sound of Sunshine.
It was such an AAAHHHMAAAAZING show.
We took Monk with us thinking that she would enjoy the experience. She was only 1 year + 1 month at the time. We took photos and have talked about it from time to time. She is soo uber excited. At one point during the concert the band calls the kiddos up on to the stage so they can all dance and rock out together. Monk is really looking forward to that part. She says she will be going up onstage so she can give Michael Franti a hi-five.
Family friendly concert & beautiful music from an amazing band.
It’s going to be soooo much FUN!
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I took this photo a few years ago, back in October 2011.
The Sunset Deck at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge is overlooking the Colorado River in the distance.
I promise this is the last post about our recent camping trip to Krause Springs.
If you missed the previous posts you can check out the photos of the springs and campground here, photos of our camp set-up here, and photos of our food here.
Today I’m sharing with you what we did during periods of downtime.
Our favorite thing to do was play in the spring water. Monk favored the man-made pool.
The man-made pool was about 5 degrees colder than the natural pool because the spring water fed directly into the man-made pool. I definitely recommend bringing something to float on when you’re down at the pools. It gave us a chance to get our feet and bottoms wet, but the rest of our body was nice and dry. I also strongly recommend bringing water shoes. We’re so grateful that we all had a pair. The rocks were slimy and slippery from algae.
I brought the kids a few things to keep themselves occupied when Dana and I were busy.
I picked up this wind chime kit for Monk. She really enjoyed painting the little ceramic pots.
Monk enjoyed using the rest of the paint to paint a coloring book that we also brought along. In addition to the coloring book I brought some sidewalk chalk, a bubble machine, a jump rope, and Monk’s backpack was filled with books. I wanted to keep the toys to a minimum, after all we’re out there to enjoy nature.
At night time, we brought out the glow sticks and LED balloons.
Our first camping trip as a family was a complete success and we’re all looking forward to our next camping adventure.
I hope we’ve inspired you to go out and enjoy our beautiful earth.
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This was the menu that I had planned for our camping trip. In case you missed my posts, you can read and check out the photos of the campground and springs here, and our camp set-up here.
I didn’t remember to take photos of each of our meals, below are the few that I did manage to take.
I have to mention that we all like our sandwiches prepared differently. Dana takes his not toasted with mayo, sometimes with ranch dressing and/or mustard (Dijon or honey mustard depending on his mood). Monk and I like ours grilled on the iron skillet with butter, melted cheddar, lettuce and turkey. From time to time I would omit the lettuce on my sandwich and use avocado instead.
Day 1, Lunch: turkey sandwiches | chips | pistachios | fruit
|sourdough bread | deli turkey meat | grated cheddar cheese | sliced onions | mayo | avocado | butter | ranch dressing | mustard | chips |pistachios | frozen blueberries | sliced watermelon | sliced Bella Vitano Espresso cheese |
Day 1, Dinner: tri-tip | salad | sliced watermelon
| tri-tip with spice rub | salad mix | sliced bell peppers | sliced onions | boiled eggs | chopped tomato | feta cheese | avocado |croutons | ranch dressing | bleu cheese dressing | sliced watermelon |
Day 2, Breakfast: breakfast muffins | fruit | cheese | coffee
| blueberry cream cheese muffins | coffee cake muffins | sliced apple | sliced watermelon | sliced Bella Vitano Espresso cheese | coffee | whipped cream (for coffee) | sugar |
The muffins I made a couple of days before leaving for our trip so we would have something easy on hand if we got really hungry.
Day 2, Lunch: bratwurst | chips |fruit
| bratwurst buns | bratwurst | sliced onions | shredded cheddar | honey Dijon mustard | sliced watermelon | frozen blueberries | chips |
Day 2, Dinner: chicken fajita
| chicken | sliced bell peppers | sliced onions | shredded cheddar | sour cream | tortillas | jasmine rice | sea salt | pepper |
Day 3, Breakfast: pancakes | bacon | breakfast sausage | hash brown | fruit | cheese
| milk | vanilla | egg | maple syrup | ketchup | bacon | breakfast sausage | hash brown | frozen blueberries | sliced apple | avocado| sliced Bella Vitano Espresso cheese |
I ended up forgetting the milk so we scrapped the pancake idea and made scrabbled eggs instead. I also forgot to cook the hash brown.
Day 3, Lunch: turkey burgers | fruit | whipped feta
| turkey burgers | burger buns | sliced onion | american cheese | sliced strawberries | whipped feta |
Day 3, Dinner: bulgogi | jasmine rice
| bulgogi | jasmine rice | sliced green onions |
Day 4, Breakfast: turkey sandwiches | fruit | cheese
| deli turkey meat | shredded cheddar | mayo | sourdough bread | butter | avocado | sliced apple | sliced Bella Vitano Espresso cheese |
All the meat I had prepared and marinated ahead of time, stored in a vacuumed sealed bag and stuck back in the freezer. The only meat that was thawed was the tri-tip since that was dinner for our first night, I took that out of the freezer the day before we left and it thawed in the fridge and continued thawing in the cooler. The whipped feta I also prepped ahead of time and kept in a mason jar in the cooler. If I had to do it over again, I would cook the bacon and breakfast sausage at home and just reheat them when we were ready to eat them. I used the Coleman propane stove and a griddle to cook them and the heat from the stove was too high, even on the lowest setting and I ended up burning them a bit. I forgot the milk so we didn’t have pancakes or hot cocoa.
| graham cracker | marshmallow | chocolate | granola | cinnamon cereal | hot cocoa |
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On our recent camping trip to Krause Springs, I tried to create as much of a cozy atmosphere as I could for us. It was the kids first time camping and I didn’t want it to overwhelm them so I brought lots of familiar items. I tried to make our set-up as comfortable as possible. If you missed my last post, you can read and check out the photos of the beautiful campground here.
But really, there is only so much you can fit into a Jeep Cherokee. We squeezed as much as we could in between the kids car seats and the back was filled to the top. Not an inch of space was spared. I don’t know how those people who “glamp” are able to bring cake stands and chandeliers and tea lights complete with holders. We barely had enough room to bring the things we needed, let alone bring along all those unnecessary items.With a full cooler on top of the Jeep it made the ride a bit bumpy. The wind would push the Jeep from side to side. By the time we got to the campsite, both Dana and I were a bit sea-sick. The ride back home with an empty cooler on top wasn’t as bad. Dana did an amazing job packing everything into and onto the Jeep. Everything that I really wanted to take he was able to make room and find it a place. Can you tell he has played his fair share of Tetris?When we paid for our RV site, the lady at the front said we had our choice of either site #5 or site #7. She said the people who use the RV at site #6 were not there that week so we were welcomed to use the little stone pavilion during our stay. There was a nice little stone table in the middle of the pavilion and initially we thought we were going to use it to eat our meals but we ended up eating in our little netted canopy area. I hung up a laundry line to dry our wet clothes on and we also stored our river raft in there. It offered a nice shady spot for Monk to play in and we are grateful we were able to use it.
We should have brought a hose for the water spigot. It was about five inches off the ground (all the RV water spigots were the same height) so it made doing dishes a little more troublesome than it needed to be. In the future I will be adding a hose and a small inflatable kiddie pool to our camping gear box. You never know when it will come in handy.
I’m so soo happy that I picked up the little Coleman sink when we were shopping for our camping gear. It came in really handy but we do need to pick up another one so we can save ourselves a few trips back and forth to our mesh laundry hamper which we bought specifically to use as a dish drying rack. Thank you Pinterest for the idea! Another Pinterest idea that came in really handy was the shoe organizer that was used to store all the kitchen utensils. You can find the mesh drying rack pin here and the shoe organizer pin here.
A few other things that we picked up that really made it comfortable for us was the bamboo mat on the floor and the mesh screen that goes around the canopy. The area was really sandy and there were ants everywhere. The mat kept us from getting too many ant bites. We all got our fair share of fire ant bites but I truly believe the mat helped prevent many more. The mesh screen helped with keeping the flies and gnats at bay. There were a few that made it into the screened area but many more were kept out. I did bring a couple of fly swatter for those that made into our netted area. The floor wasn’t tacked down so creepy crawlies such as spiders could still be found inside but they didn’t stay for long. A really nice addition were my little banners. They really brightened up the space. I made it using a strand of twine and scraps of old clothes that Monk outgrew and were either too dirty to donate or give away. I have a handful of paper banners that I made a few years ago that hangs over the kids’ playroom and in my little crafting closet. To have these two banners hanging in our little outdoor space really made me feel at home.
Dana, Squish and I shared the queen size air mattress. Not the most comfortable, but it beats sleeping on the ground. Monk had a twin air mattress all to herself, but I think she preferred the ground. Well, two out of the three nights we were there she ended up on the floor of the tent. I don’t know if she just slipped off the mattress or if she just wanted to sleep on the floor. We had a little bit of space in the corner of the tent to store our duffle bag and shoes that were not being used.
The four of us were really comfortable in our 8-man Coleman tent. The view from inside were gorgeous as well. Cypress trees provided shade in the morning and in the late afternoon the patch of ancient oak trees behind the tent provided much-needed evening shade.
I hope you enjoyed the tour of our temporary home sweet home. There was a lot packing and unpacking but in the end it was worth all the effort. What are some of your must have items when you go camping?
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We’re back from our camping trip and we all had a fabulous time!
I absolutely love Krause Springs.
Before we left for the springs, I found out everything I could about the place.
I read every blog post, and article that I was able to find about the springs. I Google image Krause Springs and clicked on everything that Google pulled up. I read every Tripadvisor, Yelp and Google review about the place. Yes. I’m crazy like that.
We left home on Sunday morning. After a couple of hours on the road we arrived at the beautiful, magical place known as Krause Springs (pronounced Krau-see). We opted to pay the additional $12/night so we could have an RV spot which has access to water and an electrical outlet at each site. Let me tell you, it was definitely worth the extra $36 to be able to have water at my fingertips. With a one-year and a four-year old in tow, I had to make sure I was able to wash hands and dishes and whatever else I may need water for at a moment’s notice.
We spent the first day there just unpacking and making ourselves comfortable. On the second day, after we ate our breakfast we got ourselves suited up and decided to go down to the springs and explore our surroundings. We were definitely not disappointed. The ancient cypress trees gave us plenty of shade. It was nice and breezy and the cold, cold spring water chills you to the bone. Even though it was about 95 degrees (F), the water which is at a constant 68 degrees (F) was a bit chilly for us “old folks”. Although during Texas summers the temperature is known to soar as high as 120 degrees, I’m sure it’s quite refreshing to take a dip in the cold spring water.
The 70′ X 20′ man-made pool is fed by 2 of the 32 springs located within the property. The spring water overflows from the man-made pool into the natural pool down below by way of a gorgeous waterfall.
Dana and I were really hesitant about getting into the water after dipping our feet in and seeing how cold the water was, but we lugged our giant two person river raft all the way down from our campsite. We had to get in.
After you get used to the cold water it’s really quite relaxing sitting on our river raft. There were lots and lots of turtles. We were floating gently in the natural pool and were able to get within a few feet of the turtles before they took off. There were also tons of dragonflies. Some even rested on our arms and legs before going about their business.
Since it was a Monday when we ventured down to the springs we had it all to ourselves. We spent a couple of hours floating and watching the wildlife and just enjoying ourselves.
A lonely rope swing hung off one of the cypress trees for those adventurous souls. There is a nice little grotto underneath the waterfall and a cave nearby. I was really disappointed to see all the trash around the property. Beer cans and cigarette butts could be seen around the cave and other little nooks. It’s sad to see such a beautiful piece of paradise so disrespected by the public. If you’re too lazy to take out your own trash, don’t bring it in!
I almost fell asleep a few times while floating in the springs listening to the birds and squirrels and other wildlife.
On the third day of the trip, we celebrated my 31st birthday. I really couldn’t have asked for a better birthday. We spent most of the day playing at the springs. We even squeezed in a visit to the butterfly garden.
There in the gardens you can find the most massive wind chimes I have ever seen. Some were as tall as 6 feet if not taller. It’s hard to tell how big they really are, but they were definitely enormous.
I have no idea what the names of any of the flowers were, I just loved them and thought they were beautiful.
There were lots of fun little nooks to sit and relax. Lots of seating and even a hammock to lay on.
I can’t wait until the next time we get to go back to Krause Springs. I truly love this little piece of paradise. The day after we returned home, Monk asked me when will we go camping again. I’m already looking up different campgrounds and planning our next camping adventure. I’m hoping to make Krause Springs a tradition in our family. Something to look forward to each summer. I’ll share more photos of our trip in a future post. If you are in the area, I highly recommend stopping by and paying the springs a visit. If you are not a big fan of crowds (like us) I would suggest going sometime during Monday-Thursday. We camped Sunday-Wednesday, except for a few other people, we pretty much had the place all to ourselves.
For more information:
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It’s that time of year again.
The Central Texas State Fair has returned to the Bell County Expo! Center.
I’m ready to go feed some animals at the petting zoo, go on a few rides and make some fun memories.This photo was taken back in 2011. This was the first year we went to the State Fair. Monk was two at the time and unfortunately for her, she was too short to ride most of the rides.We ended up going on the Ferris Wheel a few times.
We fed the animals at the petting zoo area and Monk also got to ride a pony on our way out. We all had a great time.This photo was taken last year, 2012.
Monk was three and tall enough to ride pretty much all the rides. I was pregnant with Myles so I couldn’t go on any of the rides except for the Ferris Wheel, so Monk and Dana went on all the rides that she wanted to go on over and over again.
Last year at the petting zoo there was a kangaroo! Monk was really thrilled that she got a chance to hand feed a kangaroo.
As the sun was setting we made our way out of the fair grounds.
We all had an amazing time.
As we were walking back to the car to head home, I started having contractions.
We welcomed Baby Myles to the world about six hours after this photo was taken.
As I look back, I hope Monk had an amazing last day of being an only child.
We’re headed to the fair later today.
I’m looking forward to making new memories, taking some photos and just enjoying some family time.
For more information: Central Texas State Fair
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I snapped this photo a couple of days ago. I looked outside and thought the clouds looked amazing, so I quickly grabbed the camera and snapped a picture. Dana walked by and asked what I was doing, I told him, “The clouds look amazing!” He glanced outside and said “I’m amazed.” I have no idea if he was just humoring me or if he actually meant it. What do you think?