Family, When in

Old Settlers Park, Texas

Old Settlers Park, Round Rock, TX

Round Rock’s Old Settlers Park is one of the best parks in the state of Texas and known as the best sports destination in the youth and amateur sports leagues. The park’s 640 acres provides lots of options for hike and bike trails and plenty of ample space for recreational pursuits such as disc golf, cricket, baseball, softball, soccer facilities, and more. You will never run out of things to do and there is lots of space for social distancing. This is a great idea to tour your own city; not sure how to get started? Check out my post here for some creative ways to tour your own city.

We decided to take the trail closest to the disc jokey and cricket fields. It must have been disc jockey tournament day because there were lots of teams playing and making their rounds through the park. I would call this the scenic route as there were some great photo opportunities and lots of native Texas landscape to see. Of course the first things our kids spotted was the el chupacabra sign which led to lots of questions. Which some how turned into a Bigfoot conversation….needless to say their imaginations got the best of them! Old Settlers Park is also a great place to congregate outside, BBQ and have a game of horseshoes at one of the two pavilions available.

Brushy Creek that runs throughout the park and even has a mini waterfall that you can look over from the bridge. Our kids had some many questions and enjoyed the sound of the rushing water. Plus there are so many beautiful flowers to see and plenty of trees to provide lots of shade on hot days. Don’t forget your fitness tracker, you can easily walk a mile or more on the trails, just look for the mile markers along the way. We explored one of many trails at Old Settlers park so we will definitely be going back. Parks are a great opportunity to spend time with your family, experience nature first hand and spark your kids curiosity!

Surviving Chaos

In order to make the most of you time at the park and prevent kid meltdowns, I’ve provided some surviving chaos tips. Have fun exploring at the park.

  • Sunblock: Be sure to put on lots of sunblock to prevent sunburn. This is the first rule of thumb for any outdoor activity.
  • Early Morning: Best time to visit the park is early morning. It’s cooler, less crowded and your kids will have energy to burn. A fun filled morning at the park makes for a well rested and relaxed afternoon (I hope).
  • Backpack: This is the perfect place to keep water, first aid kits, sunblock, snacks, portable potty seat, etc. What ever creature comforts you need. Remember to keep it light weight since you’ll be doing a lot of walking and/or biking.
  • Snacks: Don’t forget the snacks! Apple slices, carrot and celery sticks, granola/protein bars, goldfish or whatever your kids like. You don’t want food meltdowns and HAN-gry kids in the middle of your hiking journey

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Road Trip Essentials

Whether your planning your next mini vacation or for the upcoming holidays, many families are considering road trips as their mode of transportation. Road trips can be so much fun, are perfect for family bonding and are a great opportunity for site seeing. But before you leave, be sure to pack the essentials so your road trip doesn’t go south! I’ve compiled a list of essentials to bring on your next road trip.

Car Essentials

  • Car Kit: Spare tire and jack, jumper cables, air pump, gas can, flashlight, etc are some of the essentials you need should anything happen to the car while your on the road. Also, invest in a good roadside assistance service just in case. Many of them have apps that can pinpoint your exact location, notify the provider you need assistance, closet gas station, etc.
  • Blanket/Sarong/Sweater: No matter what you put the temperature setting on, someones either going to be too hot or too cold. Have a blanket or light sweater ready for all the temperature fluctuations each person will go though. Plus, you’ll be saved from any A/C vs heat fights. I’ve listed my favorite travel sarong here. Surviving Chaos Tip: Use the blanket as a makeshift pillow for you car naps.
  • Mask: Currently, each state has a mask mandate that requires masks to be worn in stores. You don’t want to be caught without them because you will be denied entry. Not ideal if your stopping for a bathroom break. Pack at least 2 masks/person so you’ll be ready for pit stops.
  • Hand sanitizer: Perfect for cleaning everyone’s hands after your pit stop when you don’t have access to soap and water. But if there is soap and water…..wash those hands!!

Food Essentials

  • Gum: Perfect for family bubble blowing contests or releasing the pressure in your ears as you travel over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house
  • Snacks: Pack plenty of snacks that will keep you full between meals. Protein bars, granola, raisins, goldfish, etc are perfect options and come in bite sized portions. You definitely don’t sugar meltdowns and HAN-gry kids during your road trip.
  • Water bottle: You still need to stay hydrated while your driving so don’t forget to drink water.
  • Tissues and Toilet Paper: Tissues for the runny nose, to clean hands after snacks or to clean up spills. A roll of toilet paper just in case…you don’t want to be caught without it at during your pit stop.

Entertainment Essentials

  • Portable Device: When you or your kids are looking for some entertainment other than the mountains, rivers and forests. This is the perfect option for music, movies and games. Be sure your subscriptions and up to date and their is an option to download content when data is not readily available.
  • Headphones: 1 for each person and so there won’t be a who can turn up their entertainment volume the loudest competition or I can’t hear my movie argument. Surviving Chaos Tip: Moms…this is your quiet time. Your welcome!!
  • Portable charger: Be sure to get a universal one for your cell phone, tablet, etc and with multiple ports so you can charge multiple devices.
  • Non-tech Activities: If you need a break from screen time, why not sing a song or play “I Spy”. Flash cards, felt activities and game boards are just some activities that will keep your family entertained. A list of our road trip activities with links on how to make them or purchase them are listed below:

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Brushy Creek Lake Park, Texas

Brushy Creek Lake Park, Texas

If your looking for place with fresh air, wide open spaces and supports social distancing, then look no further than your local park. Our most recent adventure brought us to Brushy Creek Lake Park in Cedar Park, Texas. This park is absolutely beautiful! There are a ton of hike and bike trails to follow in this 90 acre park and plenty of picturesque landscape views. You’ll definitely need a map to make sure you don’t get lost. Our kids pretended to be wildlife rangers and loved discovering and exploring all the different flora and fauna withing the park. They had a ton of questions, of which we had to consult Google for answers, about all the things they saw. They even created their own sketch book of the flowers they discovered. If you want to get wet, you can rent a kayak and/or canoe to explore they lake or visit the splash pad to cool off. This by far is the most popular activity at the park. If your looking for more fun, check out the volleyball courts, playscape, fishing pier, exercise stations and much more. If your looking for more ways to tour your own city, check out my blog post here for more ideas.

Surviving Chaos

In order to make the most of you time at the park and prevent kid meltdowns, I’ve provided some surviving chaos tips. Have fun exploring at the park.

  • Sunblock: Be sure to put on lots of sunblock to prevent sunburn. This is the first rule of thumb for any outdoor activity.
  • Early Morning: Best time to visit the park is early morning. It’s cooler, less crowded and your kids will have energy to burn. A fun filled morning at the park makes for a well rested and relaxed afternoon (I hope).
  • Backpack: This is the perfect place to keep water, first aid kits, sunblock, snacks, portable potty seat, etc. What ever creature comforts you need. Remember to keep it light weight since you’ll be doing a lot of walking and/or biking.
  • Snacks: Don’t forget the snacks! Apple slices, carrot and celery sticks, granola/protein bars, goldfish or whatever your kids like. You don’t want food meltdowns and HAN-gry kids in the middle of your hiking journey

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Family, Food, Surviving Chaos

DIY Strawberry Banana Ice Cream

Strawberry Banana Ice Cream

Who wants ice cream??? How about DIY strawberry banana ice cream? This 2 ingredient non-dairy ice cream recipe is a perfect addition to our summer series and is a great activity to do with the kids. #kidfriendlyrecipes

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen banana, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries
  • Plastic or reusable freezer bags
  • This recipe makes 1 serving; double recipe for each additional person

Let’s Make It!

  1. Peel the banana and slice into smaller pieces. Remove tops from strawberries and slice into smaller pieces
  2. Place fruit in ziplock bag and freeze for at least 4 hours. For firmer ice cream freeze fruit overnight.
  3. Add frozen strawberries and banana slices to food processor or high speed blender.
  4. Blend the fruit until smooth. Fruit will initially look like crumbles during blending process, just keep blending. Stop the machine at least once to scrape the sides.
  5. Once smooth, serve and enjoy.

Surviving Chaos

  • Save Time: To skip the freezing time, use frozen fruit from the freezer section at your local grocery store.
  • Texture: For soft serve, serve the ice cream right after blending. For firmer texture, freeze the ice cream an additional 2 hours.
  • Change It Up: You can interchange the fruit or add different fruits to this recipe for a nice twist. Example….pineapple!

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3 Reasons You Should Rent A Boat

Lake Travis Austin, TX

Since we’ve been under quarantine for the last 3 months due to COVID-19 and the orders were finally lifted, we were ready to get out of the house and enjoy the fresh air. But we still had to follow social distancing rules while outside. So, we all put our heads together to find an activity that was fun, inexpensive and still allowed for social distancing. Renting a boat was the perfect activity! This was a new adventure for us but we were up to the challenge. We rented a pontoon boat, perfect for families, from Just for Fun Watercraft Rental for a half day. Once we received our driving course at the marina (yes, its literally is like driving a car) we were on our way to the open waters. If you love the outdoors and are looking for a great family vacation, boating is right up your alley. I’ve listed 3 reasons why boating is a great family and/or solo activity to do and some surviving chaos tips to help you navigate the waters.

  1. Social Distancing Safe: Whats between you, your boat and the lake……nothing! Absolutely nothing…..there is no one standing next to you and the closest boat or ski-do is zooming past you miles away. This meant it was just us, the boat and the water. We didn’t have to worry about maintaining 6 feet of social distance because we were totally isolated. Additionally, you can find your own private beach or alcove hang out spot for your family. There are tons of alcoves on Lake Travis to choose; you can spread out your blanket and toys and have a good time. Boating is another way of getting away without going too far.
  2. Advance Your Skills: So previously, I mentioned that driving a boat is like driving a car…..but that’s AFTER you figure it out! A boat is like a moving target! You are steering one way but the current of the lake wants to take you in a completely different direction. Nautical terminology is also something you’ll pick up quickly along with water safety rules. Also, you’re also trying to find your balance while driving which is no small feet! By the time you’ve learn how to drive, balance yourself using muscles you’ve never used before, kept the kids from going overheard due to a big wave and learned how to navigate a lake using Google Maps you’ll be exhausted…..but skilled! You’ll definitely come out of the trip with some MAD skills and an imaginary gold medal. Did I mention….that I parallel parked our boat? Yep, I did that. Score 1 for mom!!!
  3. Family Time: We had so much fun on our boat! But for me, the best thing was seeing the kids faces light up as we speed through the lake. Hearing their giggles and full laughter every time our captain (my husband) hit a big wave. Our son educating us on the geography, animals he saw and other nature facts was wonderful. His binoculars definitely got a work out! Watching grandma and the kids have their own concert and sing-a-long to the Trolls 2 soundtrack was quite entertaining. Seeing my husband steering our boat with an air of confidence like a true captain but look of nervousness on his face was priceless. This was by far one of our funnest activities we did as a family and we created a TON of memories.

Surviving Chaos

  • B.Y.O.F – Bring your own food: Pack some sandwiches, chips, fruit, juice and water and you’ll be all set. With your own meal you stop literally anywhere and have lunch. Plus you’ll save money as some of the restaurants can be expensive. And don’t forget the snacks, nothing worse than h-angry kids!!
  • Beach toys: Bring some beach toys or stop by your local dollar store for some inexpensive items. This will keep the kids entertained while on the beach our while on the boat while your traveling around the lake.
  • Sunscreen: I can’t stress how important to slather everyone down in sunscreen. When we started our boating trip it was cloudy but it quickly heated up once the sun came out. Please protect your skin during all your outdoor activities sunscreen and remember to re-apply.
  • Reserve Early: Beat the rush and reserve your boat early at the beginning of summer. Boat rental reservations start the first warm day here and companies get booked all the way to late summer. The best boat for families are pontoon boats which seat up to 16 people.

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