Family, Travel, 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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Family, Surviving Chaos, When in

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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Surviving Chaos, When in

Tips for Surviving Long Haul Flights

Long haul flights can be brutal! These are flights that last 8 or more hours, a full day, from beginning to end in order for you to get from 1 side of the globe to the other, literally. Sitting in the same spot in a small confined spaced can be tough on the body….and mind! Once you finally land, you’ll feel some serious jet-lag that goes far beyond basic exhaustion. Whether your travelling to Australia or Singapore (hello 19 hours!) or Germany, we’ve got some tips and tricks on staying comfortable and sane so you survive your long haul trip.

  • Wear Comfortable Clothing: Forget about those jeans! Bring on the stretchy pants! Wear compression socks to reduce swelling and prevent blood clots. With all the changes in air pressure and temperatures, you’ll want something that’s breathable, easy to move in and stretchy. Your body naturally adjusts to these changes and you don’t want to be bottled up in jeans. Additionally, wear loose fitting layers i.e. a light sweater, light jacket or oversized scarf/pashmina to adjust to temperature fluctuations. Plus, they make great pillows when your ready for some shut eye.
  • Noise Cancelling Headphones: You’ll want these for a number of reasons….to hear the inflight entertainment, to listen to your favorite tunes or podcasts or to drown out the snores of the person sleeping next to you. Don’t forget them, you’ll be miserable without them.
  • A Book: A big long book would be ideal. A trilogy perhaps?? You would be surprised how much time elapses when you get lost in a good book….or two. Here are some recommendations: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (800 pages), The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara, Black Swan Green by David Mitchell.
  • Snacks: The last place you wan to be HAN-gry is on a flight at 30,000 ft in the middle of the ocean. Be sure to pack plenty of snacks but choose them wisely. Peanuts can be unforgiving on the tummy let alone pose an allergy risk to others. Opt for a protein bar, they’re the right portion to keep you satisfied until the inflight meal or after. Avoid alcohol and lots of caffeine (a cup of coffee is fine) as they can dehydrate you and cause more potty breaks. Remember to drink lots of water!
  • Keep Clean Bag: After you’ve travelled for 10 or more hours, you definitely want to freshen up. Travel size toothbrush and toothpaste, facial cleansing wipes, breath mints and lotion are easy to slip into your carry-on. This gives you the opportunity to freshen up mid-flight or right before landing. Plus your skin dehydrates so you’ll want to moisturize frequently. You can find more ideas on what to put in your carry-on bag here.
  • Grace and Patience: Remember to be kind to the person sitting next to you….your new neighbor. They may provide great conversation or snore the entire trip. Depending on what seat your in, EVERYONE has to go to the lavatory at some point. Regardless, be kind, gracious, courteous and friendly….your both in it for the long haul! And don’t forget about the stewardess who will tend to all your needs and requests. Always say thank you!

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Style, When in

What’s in My Carry-On

What’s In My Carry-On

During these unprecedented times, I’ve had to rethink and revamp my carry-on bag for when I travel. As you will see, I have eliminated quite a few things and added some travel necessities. Here’s a sneak peek at my travel bag:

  • Sakroots Tote: These bags are the perfect size for travel and fit perfect under the seat in front of you on the plane. There is also space for additional items needed for long haul flights. You can find my tips and tricks for those flights here.
  • Face Masks: 1 to wear through the airport and on the plane and 1 for just in case….
  • Sunglasses: A pair of “sunnys” are always in style!
  • Tablet: Perfect for inflight entertainment and listening to my favorite jams.
  • Hand Sanitizer: This is a necessity! TSA is now allowing up to a 12oz size bottle of hand sanitizer per person in your carry-on. Don’t leave home without it.
  • GermKey: The perfect tool to keep you from touching dirty surfaces. Use it for door handles, touchscreens, buttons, etc.
  • Earbuds: So you can hear the inflight entertainment or drown our the snoring person next to you.
  • Scarf: This scarf opens up into a shawl which is perfect because it always feels so cold on the plane.

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Buffalo Chicken Wraps

Here’s an alternative to sandwiches for your next picnic, park trip, work or school lunch: Buffalo Chicken Wraps! These wraps are easy to make, healthy, and a family favorite. This recipe takes 5 minutes to make so some of the ingredients are pre-made and ready to eat. They make the perfect travel snack and/or lunch no matter wear you are going. You can check out our more recent adventure to the park here. Enjoy!


  • 2-3 Iceberg lettuce leaves per wrap
  • 1 slice sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 grilled chicken breast, sliced and warmed
  • 2 slices of bacon
  • 1 tablespoon buffalo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ranch dressing

Let’s Make It!

  1. Cook bacon slices based on number of wraps you will be making. Set aside to cool.
  2. Place 2 lettuce leaves on a clean surface so that they slightly overlap creating a barrier.
  3. Add 1 slice of cheddar cheese in the center.
  4. Top cheese with sliced chicken, bacon and drizzle with buffalo sauce and ranch.
  5. Wrap ingredients tightly like a burrito.
  6. Slice down the center when ready to eat. Note: Add a toothpick in the center if needed to hold wrap together.

Surviving Chaos

  • Switch the Cheese: Switch out the Cheddar cheese with Swiss or Pepper Jack to change up the flavor and add a bit more spice.
  • Tortillas: If your really hungry, swap the lettuce wrap for flour tortillas. This will keep you fuller for longer and won’t make a dent in your daily carbohydrate count.
  • Warm it Up: Cook your bacon 30 minutes before you put together your wrap.
  • Ready To Go: Put wraps in insulated cooler so they will stay warm until you get to your destination.

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