Thursday, October 27, 2016

Trattoria Lisina Restaurant and Duchman Winery with kids

Like wine tasting and have kids?  This winery has a playground and an Italian Restaurant. Trattoria Lisina is an Italian Restaurant located in Driftwood, Texas.   It is in beautiful Texas Hill County and looks like an Italian villa with vines climbing up the walls.   You can get fresh made pasta and wood fired pizzas here.   On the day we visited we sat inside the restaurant.  I would make reservations if you aren’t going off peak hours as it was pretty busy.   We ordered ravioli, pizza and lasagna and all were delicious. 

Location 13308 FM 150 W, Driftwood, TX 78619

Sunday 11am - 9pm
Monday closed
Tues - Thurs 4pm - 9pm
Fri - Sat 11am - 10pm

This Italian restaurant has a bonus it is located next to the Duchman Winery.  This winery boasts 100% texas grapes and 100% texas wines.  They have daily tastings which cost $12 per person.  The tastings consist of a flight of 6 different wines you can choose from reds or whites.   You can also take a self-guided tour of their windowed barrel room, tank fermentation area, and production area where the bottling and labeling take place.  

Tasting Room Hours:
Mon. 12pm-6pm
Tues.-Thurs. 11am-8pm
Fri.-Sat. 11am-9pm
Sun. 11am-8pm

We joined the Duchman Wine club that day as it is free to join.  You just need to agree to buy 3, 6 or 12 bottles each quarter.    We chose the 3 bottles and red / white mix, you can choose all red or all white as well.   We enjoyed 2 free tastings that day and picked up 3 bottles of wine to take home.  

Member Benefits include:
Complimentary tastings for 2 members
Member only Pick Up Parties and special wine club events
30% discount on all bottles/cases purchased
10% discount on all merchandise

If you are going here with kids I recommend ordering take out from Trattoria Lisina and eating outside at one of the many tables in the shade and next to a pretty large playground or tables under the tress next to vast open fields for the kids to run around.  Then you can buy a bottle of wine at the winery and have a pleasant afternoon.    Bonus: you can go back in and get a scoop of gelato after you finish your food.   Kids will love the gelato and playground. 


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

High Tea at the Café Ruckus in downtown Austin.

The Café Ruckus is a locally owned coffee shop every day of the week but on Sunday’s they close their doors to serve high tea.    They only have 1 one time available 2:00 PM and you make reservations and pay for the tea in advance.  Click here to make reservations.  They have 3 choices available:
  • Traditional High Tea - $30 - Bottomless tea; three types of finger sandwiches (selections rotate periodically); scones with clotted cream, jam, and lemon curd; petits fours; and assorted tea cookies.
  • Sparkling High Tea – $35 - The same as Traditional but includes a glass of Prosecco (sparkling wine), a glass of white wine, or a Mimosa.
  • Children’s High Tea - $17 - A pot of tea or hot chocolate; one type of finger sandwich (child can choose from current selections); scone with clotted cream, jam, and lemon curd; petit four; and assorted tea cookies.

Being new to Austin I wanted to check this place out so my friend and I and our daughters headed down town for an afternoon tea.  We arrived right at 2:00 PM for our Traditional High Tea and Children Tea. Our table was waiting for us.   It had a lace table cloth and we each had real tea cups and a tea light pot holder to keep whatever tea we chose warm.  There was a menu for the teas we could choose from and both my daughter selected hot chocolate with whip cream.  In addition we also found flower pins as our seat to put on and selection of hats you can borrow during the tea.   We chose a few hats, put on our flower pins and waited for the food.   We waited a while, which seemed a little odd since I don’t think they actually cooked any of the food onsite.  Once the food arrived it was on a 3 tiered tray.   We had a wonderful assortment of Petit Fours, Cookies, Raisin or Chocolate scones with Clotted Cream, Lemon Curd or Jam, and of course a selection of sandwiches.   My one daughter chose Peanut butter Jelly and the other chose Turkey while I received 3 different kinds.   


We sat we ate and we enjoyed our time.   There was way too much food which we boxed up after our dressed up afternoon tea in the city.     I wish the décor of the place was a little more rustic like a cottage or house like instead of a coffee shop but liked the fact they close the shop to all others on Sundays.   This place is also super small it looks like it could only hold about 16 people and every table was full on the day we went.  My kids had fun and we left full so all in all a good experience. 

See a sample menu for the tea and sandwich selections.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

What is BOOing? Have you been BOOed?

Have you been BOOed?   I have lived in 3 states with my kids and every one of them has had this new tradition.   Mysteriously one day in the month of October a bag of goodies is left at our door with a note to leave a sign that we have been BOOed in our window.   The next part is you have 2 days to BOO 2 more neighbors.   This means you need to head out to Target fast and pick up a handful of Target $1 bin items and some candy and Ding Dong ditch other neighbors all in the name of fun.   You can be creative as you want. 

Our 2016 BOO bag we received

If this trend has not come to your neighborhood you can always start a chain reaction of BOOing your self because who doesn’t like getting a candy surprise at your door.  Just make 2 -3 bags of treats and down load one of these printables (see the pic below of the boo printable we used from this site.)  Make copies of the “You have Been BOOed” window signs and the directions and drop the bags, signs and directions off to unsuspecting neighbors in secret.  My daughter loves dropping the bag, ringing the doorbell then running like hell. 

BOOing has become so popular you can even buy pre-made boo bags and chocolates at Target like these ones. 

We love making the bags and have our bags ready to go out today.   If all of your on neighbors have already been booed you can always drive to a neighborhood nearby where you have friends and start the booing there.   Spread the BOO love.

Happy BOOing every one.   

P.S.  - It doesn't have to just have candy or toys.  Adults like BOOs too just drop off a six pack of beer or a bottle of wine with the signs and adults are sure to enjoy.

Monday, October 17, 2016

512 Rocks! #512rocks! Rock Treasure Hunt in Austin

Want a fun activity you can do with you kids?   Have you heard of 512 Rocks!?  512 Rocks! is a way for anyone to create public art and share it via treasure hunt.   512 Rocks was inspired by another group in Memphis,Tennessee called 901 Rocks.   "512" is Austin’s area code and of course "Rocks!" would be actual rocks that are decorated and place in public open space for other to enjoy. 

The rules are simple:
1)    Find a rock and paint it.   Smooth river rock works and acrylic paint and paint pens work best.  Seal with acrylic sealer if you want it to last.
2)    Tag the rock with #512Rocks! or 512Rocks!
3)    Hide it somewhere in the Austin area.
4)    Post and share if you find or hide a rock.

If you find a rock you can keep it or hide it in a new location.  Share a photo of your painted rocks or the ones you have found don’t forget to tag the photo with #512Rocks! as well.  You can even post a clue in the 512 Rocks! Facebook group if you want people to find it.   This is closed group you will need to request permission. 

See Instagram photos of the rocks here #512rocks to give you some ideas.

Happy painting and hiding rocks!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Sunset at the Oasis on Lake Travis

Sunset is getting earlier and it’s a great time now that the weather isn’t so hot to have dinner outside at The Oasis.  Sunset times for the rest of October are between 6:45PM – 7:00PM, which means you can enjoy the beautiful views and not have to eat a late dinner.  

The Oasis on Lake Travis offers lakeside dinning with stunning views of the lake at sunset.   When I say lakeside I mean you are on the top of a bluff that overlooks the lake giving you views for miles. View views like these this restaurant has earned the title the Sunset Capital of Texas. 

The Oasis does not take reservations.  It is first come first serve.  You check in at a hostess and receive a pager.   Then are directed to the bar to wait. When you head out to your table there will be hundreds of umbrellas blocking the sun from hitting you in the eyes as you eat but as sunset rolls around.   Workers from the restaurant start taking all the umbrellas down.  They are very quick about it.   This allows all the outside seats (of which there are many it can sit over 2,500 people and is the largest outdoor restaurant in Texas) to have amazing views of the sunset.  The menu is mostly Tex-Mex / American food with beer and margaritas.  The food is Okay but the views are what make this place worth it.    

You have to park pretty far from the restaurant but they offer golf cart rides from the parking lot to the door of the restaurant.  Our golf cart driver even showed us where the pokemon gos were in the area. 

Every year for the last 21 years the Sunset Capital of Texas holds The Sunset Photo Contest. The Sunset Photo Contest allows guests of all different ages and skill levels the opportunity to submit their photos.  See 2016 winner’s photos and rules here.  Take a picture of the sunset when you go and you can submit your own sunset photos next year.  Be creative.  

If you are coming without kids you can stay for live music.  They have two live music venues. Every weekend local Austin bands play in the Starlight Terrace and Overlook venues.  After certain hours these become 21 and over.

Monday - Thursday, 11:30am - 9:00pm
Friday, 11:30am - 10:30pm
Saturday & Sunday, 11:00am - 10:30pm


Monday, October 10, 2016

Barton Hills Farm Pumpkin Patch

Barton Hills Farm is a super fun pumpkin patch located in Bastrop, Texas about 45 minutes from Austin. It is $14 per person but only $13 if your purchase your ticket online.  Children 0-2 are free. It was rated #4 top pumpkin patch in Texas by  This place was big.  It had so many activities to do that are free with your admission price including the following:

A 5-Acre Corn Maze Lonesome Dove Corn Maze that takes 45 minutes to go through.  You get a map with clues.  There is also a Spookly’s Kiddy Maze, which is much shorter where you read the story of Spookly the square pumpkin as you go through.  It only takes about 10-15 minutes.

There was a Playground with Super Slides.  Giant grass area for kids to run, Ring Toss, Corn Hole and Pioneer Fort to climb on. 

A giant Jumping Pillow.  The kids loved this one.

Bessy’s Cow Train Ride was short and fun and went through a corn maze as well.   The line for this one was super fast.

Super Trike Track you can ride tricycles around a track.

Grain Cart Rides was a larger train and was a short ride but adults can fit.   This one had a really long line.

Pony Hoppers are inflatable horses you can hop around on.

Rat Rollers where you push giant tubes down and back a track.

50’ Ship Sand Box the kids can play in while you get food from with the food trucks or the food stand.   The food stand has your basic hot dogs, sausage, lemonade, snow cones and kettle corn. BONUS – this place sells wine and beer for the adults.

The only thing not included in the price of admission was food, pumpkins and face painting.

There is live music daily and plenty of tables and tents to sit and eat and listen to it.   There is the Great Pumpkin Patch to purchase pumpkins and the Barnyard Farm Animals are located in the pumpkin patch area.   You can buy food to feed them.  If you purchase a pumpkin you can paint it for free.

Recommendations – Bring a stroller or a wagon to haul those pumpkins and tired kids back to the car.   Bring a hat and sun screen and water.   No dogs are allowed.  They take credit card everywhere except for the face painting.  

Open Weekends - Now til November 13th

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions San Antonio

Last weekend we had the chance to go see the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions.   It was awesome.   They had gymnastics from the both the Men’s and Women’s 2016 Olympic gymnastics team. As well has men and women from the 2016 Olympic Trampoline Team, two sisters from the 2016 Olympic rhythmic gymnastics team and men and women from acrobatic gymnastics.

Both of my daughters do gymnastics and were excited to see the gymnasts they watched on TV at the Olympics live.   We got a chance to see the following women's gymnasts at the show but due to commitments the lineup is constantly changing so each show has different athletes:

  • Simone Biles - 2016 Olympic team, all-around, vault and floor champion, and balance beam bronze medalist; three-time World all-around champion (2013-15); 14-time World medalist (10 gold, two silver, two bronze); four-time U.S. all-around champion (2013-2016).
  • Aly Raisman –2016 Olympic team champion, and all-around and floor silver medalist; 2012 Olympic team and floor gold medalist and balance beam bronze medalist; 2015 World team gold medalist; 2011 World team gold and floor exercise bronze medalist; 2010 World team silver medalist; six Olympic medals (three gold, two silver, one bronze); four-time World medalist (two gold, one silver, one bronze).
  • Shawn Johnson –2008 Olympic balance beam champion, and team, all-around and floor silver medalist; 2007 World team, all-around and floor champion; 2007-08 U.S. all-around champion.
  • Nastia Liukin –2008 Olympic all-around champion; five-time Olympic (one gold, three silver and one bronze) and nine-time World medalist (four gold and five silver)
  • MyKayla Skinner –2016 Olympic replacement athlete; 2014 World Championships team champion and vault bronze medalist; 2015-16 U.S. vault silver and floor bronze medalist.
  • Jordyn Wieber –2012 Olympic team gold medalist; 2011 World all-around and team gold and balance beam bronze medalist; two-time U.S. all-around champion)
  • Ashton Locklear –2016 Olympic replacement athlete; 2016 and 2014 U.S. uneven bars champion; 2014 World Championships team champion

The show mixed today’s hits with dance routines and showcased the gymnasts.  We saw Simone Biles’s and MyKayla Skinner’s floor routine.  As well as many dancing and jumping and black light performances.   There were gymnasts dropping from the ceiling in Olympic rings truly a very entertaining show.  See a highlight video here from Flo Gymnastics

There were plenty of tables of merchandise to purchase at the show as well and I could not help but get this adorable leotard.  

We drove to see the show in San Antonio but this is a nationwide tour and goes through November 13th and tickets are still available in different cities.  See listing here:

·         Oct. 8 – Omaha, Neb./CenturyLink Center (Saturday)
·         Oct. 9 – Minneapolis/Target Center (Sunday)
·         Oct. 13 – Chicago/United Center (Thursday)
·         Oct. 14 – Milwaukee, Wis./BMO Harris Bradley Center (Friday)
·         Oct. 15 – Indianapolis/Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Saturday)
·         Oct. 16 – Grand Rapids, Mich./Van Andel Arena (Sunday)
·         Oct. 19 – Cleveland, Ohio/Wolstein Center (Wednesday)
·         Oct. 20 – Auburn Hills, Mich./Palace of Auburn Hills (Thursday)
·         Oct. 21 – Cincinnati, Ohio/U.S. Bank Arena (Friday)
·         Oct. 22 – Columbus, Ohio/Nationwide Arena (Saturday)
·         Oct. 23 – Pittsburgh, Pa./CONSOL Energy Center (Sunday)
·         Oct. 25 – Hershey, Pa./Giant Center (Tuesday)
·         Oct. 27 – Greensboro, N.C./Greensboro Coliseum (Thursday)
·         Oct. 28 – Charlotte, N.C./Time Warner Cable Arena (Friday)
·         Oct. 29 – Duluth, Ga./Infinite Energy Arena (Saturday)
·         Oct. 30 – Tampa, Fla./Amalie Arena (Sunday)
·         Nov. 3 – Rochester, N.Y./Blue Cross Arena (Thursday)
·         Nov. 4 – Philadelphia, Pa./Wells Fargo Center (Friday)
·         Nov. 5 – Hartford, Conn./XL Center (Saturday)
·         Nov. 6 – Brooklyn, N.Y./Barclays Center (Sunday)
·         Nov. 10 – Washington, D.C./Verizon Center (Thursday)
·         Nov. 11 – Newark, N.J./Prudential Center (Friday)
·         Nov. 12 – Bridgeport, Conn./Webster Bank Arena (Saturday)

·         Nov. 13 – Boston/TD Garden (Sunday)

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

San Antonio River Walk, Alamo and the San Fernando Cathedral Light show

Heading to San Antonio?   Well that means checking out the San Antonio River Walk The river walk is a network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River.  This walk is full of bars, shops and restaurants.  It is one level down from the street and has many turns and bridges. You can walk, have ice cream, stop for lunch or dinner and eat river side. You can even take go on the water with a 35 minute guided cruises with Rio San Antonio Cruises
$10.00 – General Admission
$4.00 – Children (1-5 years)
$7.00 – Senior Citizens (60 & older) & United States Military
All prices are tax inclusive. Discount prices require picture ID.

Hours of Operation:
Open Daily from 9:00 AM – no earlier than 9:00 PM.

Not interested in a cruise you can also take a River Taxi.  This boat stops at 39 stops along the River Walk.  

Statue of Saint Anthony along the river cruise

·         Downtown - (Up to Lexington Street)
Rio Taxi Yellow One Way: $10.00
Rio Taxi Yellow One-Day Pass*: $12.00
Rio Taxi Yellow Three-Day Pass*: $25.00

·         Museum (North of Lexington)
Rio Taxi Red One-Day Pass*: $12.00
Rio Taxi Red Three-Day Pass*:$25.00
     Downtown and Museum Reach
     Combination Red/Yellow One-Day Pass*: $16.00
·         *Unlimited Ride

Another fun attraction by the River walk is the San Fernando Cathedral’s 24-minute light show.  This is done by French artist Xavier De Richemont, and lights are projected onto the cathedral and tell the story of San Antonio from its beginning to today.   Show times are 9, 9:30 and 10 p.m. on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.  

     Don’t forget to “Remember the Alamo”   This historical landmark turned museum is free.  It was at this site during the Texas’ war for independence from Mexico, a group of Texan soldiers occupied the Alamo. On February 23, 1836, the Mexican army and led by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna attacked the fort. The Alamo had 200 soldiers including Davy Crockett.   The battle lasted for 13 days and Mexico won.  The Battle of the Alamo became a symbol for Texas’s independence.  You can watch videos, tour the church and see the cannons and other items still preserved at this historic site.