Thursday, April 27, 2017

Sweet Caroline's Snow Shack

The weather is warm and what's a better way to cool off than with a snow cone. But not just any snow cone a Sweet Caroline's Snow Ball.  This is a Louisiana style snow ball.   

How is a snow ball different from a snow cone?  Their snowballs are light and fluffy which is different from a granular ice snow cone.  They use a snow wizard machine that makes ice that absorbs the syrup.  New Orleans is the home of snowballs. Unlike other snow cone places this place purchases all of our machinery and flavors from New Orleans.

Sweet Caroline's is an Austin based business with multiple Austin locations. 1) 13497 Hwy 183 N 2) 5700 W Slaughter Lane 3) 8012 Mesa Dr. They only take cash and the small for $2.50 is quite a big size. For kids I recommend asking for a flat top as this is a little bit less ice and has a better chance of not falling over and getting sticky colored syrup every where. 

They have over 50 flavors. Like Bubble Gum, Cotton Candy and Root Beer some of my kids favorites.  

Once you order you can sit and eat in the shade.   Get out there on the next hot day when you want a cool refreshing treat and try one. 


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Lady Bird Johnson Wild Flower Center

I finally went to the Lady Bird Johnson Wild Flower Center and it was really fun and educational. The center sits on 279 acres and is a mix of gardens, natural areas and wild lands. There are more than 800 species of native Texas plants growing there so keep an eye out and learn some new plant names. 

The center is open daily from 9AM - 5PM.   

Adults - $10
Seniors - $8
Kids (5-17) - $4
Kids under 4 are Free
UT Austin Students, Faculty and Staff (with ID) are Free

We became members for a tax deductible donation of $80 for a family of 4 membership.   This allows us to come for free as much as we want.   Plus access to Wild Families activities for families with children ages 3-16.  Acitivies like Member Game Night, Edible Native Plants, Bug Night and more.

Free Tours: Guided tours are free with admission Thursday through Saturday at 11 a.m. These tours start in the Courtyard.

Private tours are available for a fee. Click here to book a private tour. 

The Center is very large I recommend a a stroller or wagon for little kids.  My kids has a blast but were definitely tired of walking by the end.   Now onto what there is for kids to do here. 

There a was an area for kids to nature build and make a tee pee tent like structure.   

A grotto with mosaics where you can climb behind a water fall and a river you can play in and water plants.   


Giant Nests you can go inside. 

Out Side work our equipment?  Not really sure why this was here but the kids loved it. 

They have a tall tower you can climb to the top and see for miles.  

At the Children's Little House there are activities and this is where they have kid events. 

Of course there are trails and wild flowers and gardens all around.   We learned the names of several flowers blooming.  

If you take the Arboretum trial there are trees you can climb on and then a whole section of tress swings.   Baby swings and porch swings too.   All in the shade. 

There is even a cafe where you can have lunch with a kids menu or hot dogs and grilled cheese and PBJ.   They even have ice cream available to purchase.   Next time I come I think we will bring a picnic as there were lots of picnic areas to sit and enjoy nature. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

I tried the unicorn frappucino and this is what I think

The unicorn frappuccino is only available until April 23rd.  That is right only 3 more days for you unicorn lovers to run to your nearest Starbucks and try this pink, blue and purple confection.   This limited 5 day release of the unicorn frappuccino is crazy right now.   

I ordered mine via the order ahead Starbucks app so I did not have to see the look on the baristas face as I ordered 3 talls of this Unicorn drink on the first day they arrived at Starbucks. 

I ordered a tall (tall = small) as I wasn't sure I was going to like it plus getting a tall is a little less sugar than the grande (grande = medium).  The tall unicorn frap has 280 calories, 39g of Sugars and 4g of protein.    It also has zero caffeine as this is not made with coffee.  It is a Creme Frappuccino with Whipped Cream, Mango Syrup and Blue Drizzle and Pink Powder and Blue Sour Powder.  

Actual Ingredients from the Starbucks website:

Ice, Milk, Crème Frappuccino Syrup [Water, Sugar, Salt, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid], Whipped Cream [Cream (Cream, Mono And Diglycerides, Carageenan), Vanilla Syrup (Sugar, Water, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid)], Mango Syrup [Sugar, Water, Mango Juice Concentrate, Natural Flavor, Passion Fruit Juice Concentrate, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Turmeric, Gum Arabic], Blue Drizzle [White Chocolate Mocha Sauce (Sugar, Condensed Skim Milk, Coconut Oil, Cocoa Butter, Natural Flavor, Salt, Potassium Sorbate, Monoglycerides), Classic Syrup (Sugar, Water, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid), Pink Powder [Dextrose, Fruit And Vegetable Color (Apple, Cherry, Radish, Sweet Potato)], Sour Blue Powder [Citric Acid, Color (Spirulina, Water, Sugar, Maltodextrin, Citric Acid)].

What does all of this mean in terms of flavors or taste?   Well my first sip was fruity.  I must have had hit the mango syrup with my straw.  You are told to swirl the straw and see what kinds of different flavors and colors appear.   So I swirled and the next flavor was sweet creme.  Swirled again and it was sour.  Like really sour.  Think sour sweet tart.   The color changes from pink with blue swirl to purple as you mix.   Overall it was very sweet with pockets of sour. 

I'd tried it once but it would not be a regular drink I would choose.   My 8 year old loves creme frappuccinos but is not into sweets.  She likes to have caramel, mocha, brownie and creme fraps but said mom this unicorn one is not my favorite. Do not order me this again but I am going to drink it.  My little one who is 5 this was one of her first ever frappuccinos and she loved it.   Did I tell you she loves sugar.   She would live on sugar it I let her.   

Over all I would say what a great marketing ploy to get people to come in an order $6 drinks in mass. Also all the free publicity from articles and hastags.  Well done Starbucks I can not wait for your next limited time specialty drink.  I am sure I will be back again.  But for now I will stick with my regular Starbucks drink order a vanilla latte.    


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

County Line on the Lake - Lakeside dining that is fun for the kids

County Line on the Lake is located at 5204 FM 2222 Austin, TX and is on Bull Creek just off Lake Austin.

You can have water front dinning as there is a large redwood deck over-looking the water.


This is a great place to take out of town guests with kids and try some Texas Bar-B-Q or a lazy afternoon when you want to eat outside in the shade at a water front location.   They have all kinds of meats Sausage, Smoked Peppered Turkey Breast, Shredded Beef, Pulled Pork, Lean Beef Brisket, Marbled 2nd Cut Beef Brisket and Grilled Chicken Breast.   They offer plates or family style all you can eat.  For Sides they have  Potato Salad, Cole Slaw, Beans and Bread.  They have kids plates that come with a bowl of Homemade Ice Cream.  

Sun. & Mon. 11am - 9pm
Tue. - Thurs. 11am - 9:30pm
Fri. & Sat. 11am - 10pm

While waiting for a table or after you eat the kids will love feeding the turtles and fish.   Food is availble  for 25 cents.  You can feed them right off the deck.

There is also a giant gumball machine on the way out.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Tiff's Treats - fresh warm baked cookies delivered to your door.

Forget pizza delivery did you know you can get fresh warm baked cookies delivered?  

Yes, that is right Tiff's Treats delivers them all over Austin.   This Austin based business started in 1999 when Tiffany Taylor and Leon Chen were at the University of Texas.    I mean what college student wouldn't want to have cookies delivered to them.   What a great idea.   It has grown in the last 17 years and now Tiff's is located in Austin, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and even Atlanta.   If you live in one of these cities click here and enter your delivery address to see if you are in their delivery area. Order some and this cute little car could be rolling down your street with cookies in it soon.

They have lots of choices too.  You can get Sugar, Snicker doodle, Chocolate Chip, Peanut butter, Peanut butter Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, M&Ms, White Chocolate Chip & Almond and Chocolate Chip Pecan.   You can even mix flavors to try them all.

They also have brownies, ice cream and ice cream sandwiches.   Are you hungry yet?  Click here to order online.    I got an assortment.  They are so good.  You can even send them to someone else as a present.   Yes please.  Anyone wanting to send me warm cookies I will happily accept.

You can stop by their storefront locations as well and but cookies and take them to go.    They come in a really cute box as well.  So go on out and try some cookies.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Walk along the fairy trail at Zilker Park Botanical Gardens

Do your little ones love fairies?   

Well the Zilker Park Botanical Garden will be having their 5th annual Woodland Faerie Trail May 27th - July 30th 2017.  The Trail has Fairy houses made by local gardeners, architects, artisans, businesses, clubs, families and school groups.   You get to walk through a path and see all kind of different fairy garden homes that people have created. 

If you would like to participate you can enter your Fairy Home creation to be included in the Woodland Faerie Trail.  For registrations complete the online registration before  May 12, 2017. Fairy Gardens should use native materials and plants found in Texas, like local seeds, tree bark, twigs, stumps, grasses & shells. Placement of Fairy Homes is to be done through reservations weekend of May 20th. Participants will be given an assigned spot, with up to a 4' x 4' area with option to decorate. Space is limited as there are only 45 spaces available.

The trail is Free with Garden entry and open during regular hours.  

Garden Entry Admission cash or check
$1 for children (ages 3-12)
$2 for adults, Austin resident (ages 13-61)
$3 for adults, non-resident (ages 13-61)
$1 for seniors (age 62 & over)

Parking for Zilker Botanical Garden is available at the main entrance, located at 2220 Barton Springs Road. Overflow parking is located on Stratford Drive, to the east of the garden.