Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Chop Down Your Christmas Tree at Evergreen Christmas Farm in Elgin, Texas

You can chop down your own Christmas Tree at Evergreen Christmas Tree Farm in Elgin, Texas.

Once you arrive you hop on a tractor which takes you out into a field of trees.   They offer poles for measuring the tree and saws for cutting.  Once you have cut your tree down you put it back on the tractor and back to the main barn.  There they shake the tree and net it.  They also provide rope to help you transporting your tree.  

You pay for your tree inside where they have ornaments, nativity scenes, tree skirts, tree stands, toys and holiday decor. There are also fresh wreaths to purchase.   Bonus:  They take credit card.  If you but more than $20 you get to enjoy free marshmallows that you can roast in their fire pit.   They also sell hot chocolate, s’mores, sausage wraps and more. 

After cutting the tree there is tether ball, hopscotch and bean bag toss.  There is also a nature trail, farm animals (donkey), wood maze and monkey bars.   


There are 3 types of trees grown at Evergreen Farms: 

  • Virginia Pine -  These are small to medium  trees.  These are the most popular Christmas tree in the South. 
  • Leyland Cypress - These trees are dark green and are the most popular Christmas tree in the South-East.  Bonus: they do not produce sap.  
  • Arizona Cypress - These trees are pale-green to gray-green color. The leaves are tiny.  The Arizona cypress has a pleasing aroma.

They also have pre-cut:

  • Noble Firs - these trees needles turn upward. It has stiff branches good for hanging ornaments and the trimmings are good for wreaths and garlands.  (this was the tree we selected) 
  • Fraser Firs - These trees branches also turn upward. They are dark blue-green and have a pleasant scent.

If you have the time and want to check out a tree farm and see nature instead of buying you tree at a Box Store or Tree lot then drive to the country and check out a Christmas Tree farm. 

Saturdays 10am - Dark
Weekdays and Sundays 12pm - Dark
Open December 24 until 3pm  

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Annie the Musical at the Long Center in Austin

Annie the Tony Award wining musical is in Austin November 25 and 26.  It is traveling to cities across the country.   We went to go see this famous musical and it was fantastic.  It was my first time seeing Annie and going to the the Long Center.    We had seats on the 2nd level, which were still great.   Anyone who has seen the original movie will like this production.  The songs and the sets even impressed my husband.  My daughters were singing "It's a hard knock life" the whole way home.  Annie is set at Christmas and was a great kick off to the Holiday Season.

We passed on the $20 Annie program and headed to our seats but not before ordering drinks and cookies for intermission in advance.   They were waiting for us at intermission while everyone else was waiting in line.   They even allowed drinks inside the theater as long as they had a lid.   They sold Long Center coffee cups for this purpose.

There was parking for $8 next door or valet parking for $18 in front of the theater.

There even was a Annie cut out for photos.

Click here to get tickets for Annie in a theater near you.

Bonus: There was an amazing view of the Austin skyline from the front of the Long Center.  


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Voodoo Doughnuts Austin

Voodoo Doughnut shop in downtown Austin is CASH ONLY and open 24 hours a day 7 days a week except certain holidays.   It sells tons of unique doughnuts.   This shop started in Portland, Oregon and has a few locations nationwide and one of them happens to be in Austin.  If you like doughnuts you need to check this place out. 

We to went downtown Austin’s famous 6th street, stood in line and picked out a selection of doughnuts.   All of the doughnuts come in a pink box. However they also sell a bucket of doughnuts.  An assortment of day old doughnuts literally in a bucket for $10.  It sounds like a good idea but there are a lot of doughnuts in there and they get pretty messy.   But if you are up for the challenge go for it.   They offer a selection of Vegan doughnuts as well. 

There are over 80 kind of doughnuts click here to see a listing here. With so many choices we were over whelmed making our decisions but we landed on these.   They have them in a glass stand circling so you can see what they have that day to choose from.   I recommend getting an assortment and cutting them to share so you try out different kinds.   They are very sweet this way you can try more flavors.

We tried these doughnuts:
  • Voodoo Doll -  filled with raspberry jelly topped with chocolate frosting and a pretzel stake stabbing it. 
  • Pot Hole - Cream filled chocolate bar, with oreos and a trail of frosting to look like a road
  • Voodoo Bubble Doughnut  - vanilla frosting, bubble gum dust and a piece of bubble gum 
  • Marshall Mathers- a cake doughnut with vanilla frosting and M & M's
  • Maple Blazer Blunt - yeast doughnut dusted with cinnamon sugar. The tip is dipped in maple frosting and red sprinkle embers.  
  • McMinnville Cream - yeast doughnut filled with Bavarian cream, topped with maple frosting and a set of eyes and mustache
  • Fruit loop - yeast doughnut with vanilla frosting and fruit loops

They make everything bigger here in Texas including the doughnuts.   Voodoo has a Tex-Ass Challenge Doughnut, which is a giant glazed doughnut.  The equivalent of 6 regular glazed doughnuts.  If you eat the whole thing in 80 seconds it’s free.   

If you are looking for a unique doughnut experience then you need to check this place out.    


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Review of Wurstfest in New Braunfels, Texas

Sprechen sie fun?  Wurstfest just wrapped up last weekend but if you missed it and wanted to go next year this is what you need to know.

Wurstfest is one of the most popular festivals in Texas.   It is held each year in New Braunfels, Texas, which is between San Antonio and Austin and along the Comal River. (the same Comal River you can tube)  It is a 10 day festival held in November each year and will be on November 3 – 12, 2017. 

One of the many polka bands

Like you would expect there was lots of beer and sausage.   The beers come in a plastic souvenier wurstfest cup or pitcher.  Yes, you can get pitchers of beer and take them back to your picnic family style seating in one of the many pavilions with live polka bands.  There were many German beers to choose from as well as American beers plus wine, sodas and water.   The food was great.  Sausage on sticks, fried oreos, chocolate covered pickles, German tacos, sauerkraut, pretzels, cotton candy, snow cones, danishes and much more. 

There were stalls selling everything from crazy light up hats to full German dirndl and leiderhosen outfits, cuckoo clocks and art.   

My German hat that I purchased

We arrived around 3pm on a Saturday but if I go again I would try and go even earlier.   Less lines and less people.  By 6 PM it was getting crowded and dark.   You need drink tickets which is annoying as you need to wait in line for a packet of tickets and then again for drinks.  You can order tickets online but need to wait in line to pick up those tickets too.  You need cash and a lot of it as no one seemed to take credit card.  Why in this day and age they don’t take credit card is beyond me and really annoying.  Have they not heard of square?   How about linking the tickets to an arm band and to a credit card like ACL.   So with cash in hand we head on.   I purchased a book of drink tickets and 20 tokens for rides and we were off.   I quickly realized the $25 dollar wrist band would have been a better option as I went through $50 in tokens for rides and we only did a few.   The ride operators charge for adults to ride, which is annoying since they make kids who are under 42 inches need an adult.   I realized I spend 8 tokens / $8 dollars to walk through a maze and down a slide that took 1 minute.  With the arm band my kids could have gone over and over.   They also had carnival games and the good thing about this that one was $5 / 5 tokens and everyone was a winner.   This I liked.   My kids had fun, won prizes, rode rides, ate yummy food and saw a lot of crazy hats and we all listened to polka and tried to dance.   We all had fun.


Adults are $10 each but only $8 if purchased online.
Children 12 and under are free.

Mon – Wed - 5:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Thu – Fri - 5:00 pm - 11:30 pm
Sat - 11:00 am -  Midnight
Sun - 11:00 am - 9:30 pm.

There are lots near by by the cost between $10 - $30 dollars and you will need to walk.  There is also a shuttle service from area Park & Ride, local accommodations or for group pick-up from private locations. Check out Wurstwagon  

Final Recommendations:
  • Buy tickets for adults online
  • Buy drink tickets online too the line was way shorter
  • Go with a group so you have a home base in case you get lost and one or two people can wait in the drink line
  • Get the ride wrist bands for your kids they always are a better deal for kids rides
  • Bring cash
  • Go early


Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema for movies with servers and drinks

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is a movie theater where drinks, dinner, snacks and popcorn can all happened from your movie theater seat.   Servers come to you, take your order and deliver your food. you even get a table to go along with those chairs that have cup holders.  Need a refill on the popcorn?   Just raise a card.  Want another margarita or glass of wine with your show?  Raise a card.   Does your child want some warm fresh out to the oven cookies to go with his viewing of Trolls?   Raise a card. It is fantastic.   You even have space in front of your seats to run to the bath room with out disrupting a whole row.  

The seats are assigned you can not just sit anywhere.  You get to choose your seats from a picture of available seats.   There is a kids menu where they can “choose their own adventure” prix fixe option, with one main dish, one side, and one sweet dish available from a select menu for $7. We chose a ham and cheese sandwich, french fries and a cookie but I have always been pleased with their pizzas. They have a good beer selection and great margaritas.   We usually get a bottomless bowl of popcorn as well. 

Now for the rules:  No child under 5 are allowed at a movie that starts after 6:00 pm ever. No exceptions even for kid movies.  I know we tried to see a 6:00 pm showing of Finding Dory and were told no.  So we stick to the earlier showings.   Also no talking or cell phone use is allowed.   Seriously.  They will kick you outChildren under the age of two are not allowed except for showings on Tuesdays before 6:00 pm, which are designated "Baby Day" showings where parents are encouraged to bring young children.   Finally, no coming in after the show has started.  They will allow you to change your tickets but they really want people to enjoy the movie experience. 

The Alamo Cinema and draft houses might be sweeping the nation but did you know it started right here in Austin, Texas in 1997.   There are over 20 Alamos in Texas.  There are even 2 in my old home state of Virginia in Winchester and Ashburn plus 1 in California in San Francisco, where we just moved from.  Other states they are located include:Michigan, Missouri, Colorado, Nebraska and New YorkSo go on out and check out this Austin Movie Theater chain and grab lunch or dinner.    

If  you follow my blog  you know my last one was on Murals of Austin.   Did you know the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema on Slaughter Lane in Austin also has a mural?  It is part of the “Premier Project” celebrating the fusion of film and art.   The Alamo Drafthouse and Paramount Pictures had local Austin artist Mike Johnston, aka "TRUTH", paint the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mural on the side if the Slaughter Alamo and this mural can be seen when driving along Mopac in Circle C.   


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Foodie Kids - Kids cooking classes

Do you have a budding child chef?  Do your kids watch top chef kids? What about the Grace American girl book or movie?  My older one always wants to help cook.   We found this cool place that teaches kids to learn to cook.  Foodie Kids is located at 3818 Far West Blvd #107, Austin, TX 78731.   It is more than a retail store that sells kid’s lunch kits and kid-friendly utensils, safety knives, cookbooks and other fun items like a cotton candy machines.  It also sells coffee and cold drinks as well as kid-friendly snacks.  But the BEST part is the cooking classes and parties.

They have several kinds of parties for varying ages.
  • 1 hour Party for kids 3 and older starting at $325 for 10 kids.  The kids can make mini pizzas, fruit wands and decorate cupcakes. 
  • 1.5 hour parties for kids 6 and older starting at $375 for 10 kids.   The kids get to do a craft like Make Scented Sparkling Soaps and Glitter Lotion as well as the 1 hour party cooking activities.
  • 2 hour parties for kids 8 years old to teens starting at $425 for 10 kids.   At these parties kids can either learn to make sushi, hand crank homemade pasta, make a crocombouche tower, homemade French bread pizzas, fruit parfaits and crepes or decorate a cake with fondant
  • Parties in a Box are also available so you can pick up a box for $175 and have a cooking party in your house.  The box supplies a party for 10 kids.  It includes a cloth apron for the birthday child, plates, napkins, utensils, fresh fruit for kabobs, cupcakes with frosting to decorate them plus a mini cake for the birthday child, pizza dough, cheese and sauce and some colors craft items.

Foodie kids also allows drop ins at the Makery and kids can take a mini cooking lesson and make their own snacks.  The Makery is open from 11-5 Mon – Friday and Saturday 11-4.   Ages for the Makery are 1.5 or older so even the little ones can try.   Prices vary but activities include:
  • Frost and Decorate Giant Cupcake or Cookies
  •  Make Mini Pizzas or Pizza Rolls, Quesadillas, Brown Rice or Pasta Bowls or Cinnamon Rolls
  •  Microwave Mini 3-2-1 Cake
  •  Chocolate- Covered Banana Pops
  •  Frost an 8-inch vanilla cake with fondant candy

When my daughter went she did a private group lesson.  They also offer field trips, camps and holiday workshops.    She made white bean hummus and veggie dippers, tortellini salad and chocolate covered banana pops.  She was able to take the left overs and recipes home with her as well.   We can not wait to try this place out again. 


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Murals of Austin a Tour

Need a back drop for an interesting Christmas card photo shoot?   Or just want a free fun activity you can do with your kids?    Go on a hunt around Austin for the best or your favorite mural in Austin.   There are plenty.  

Here is a listing of the Murals of Austin we have found so far plus a map so you can find them.   

Comment if you know any good ones that I still need to check out.  There are always new murals around Austin so let me know you favorite.   

Don't for get the other every changing mural location in Austin the Hope Outdoor Gallery

1)“Greetings from Austin” 1720 S. First Street, on the southern exterior wall of Roadhouse Relics

2) “Hi, How Are You?” frog – At the corner of 21st and Guadalupe, across from The University of Texas at Austin

3) “I love you so much” – On the side of Jo’s Hot Coffee shop on South Congress.  242 West 2nd Street, Austin, Texas 78701 

4) "Living the good life" 1114 Cesar Chavez , Austin

5) "Til death do us part" located at 419 Congress Ave

6)  Austin, Texas Post card mural - located at 3700 Guadalupe 

7) "Alright, Alright, Alright" located at 1603 S. 1st St. 

8) South Side Austin Mural -  at the 23rd St Artisan Market

 9)  South Side Austin Mural -  at the 23rd St Artisan Market

10) North Side Texas Mural -  at the 23rd St Artisan Market

 11) University of Texas Tower North Side wall -  at the 23rd St Artisan Market

12 ) "Quiet the Mind" located on 2428 Guadalupe St

13) "Smile now cry Later" located on 2428 Guadalupe St

14) "He smiles, but he doesn't see" located on 2428 Guadalupe St 

15) "Wasabi" located on 2428 Guadalupe St

16) "Won't you be my Neighbor" on the side of Home Slice located at 1415 S Congress Ave,

17) "Willie for President" located at 1423 S Congress Ave 

** I Still need to get to “You’re My Butter Half” 2000 E. MLK Jr. Blvd  

Picture from 365thingsaustin

Here is a map with stars for the locations for all the murals I have listed.