Saturday, December 1, 2018

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas--2018 Georgetown Stroll

It's an annual tradition for our family to attend the Georgetown Stroll each December.  It's a wonderful way to welcome the Christmas season.  Usually we attend the parade on Saturday morning, followed by a visit to the stroll. However, this year we decided to attend after the Big 12 Championship Game (which was extra big this year since a lot was on the line for Oklahoma).  We were extremely excited that Oklahoma was able to avenge their one loss of the year to Texas.  After we watched OU win (Boomer Sooner!) we headed to the stroll. 
Surprisingly, the line wasn't too long for this HUGE inflatable slide.  So after our meal at the new Georgetown location of Greenhouse craft food, we stood in line for the slide.


Apparently it wasn't quite exciting enough for Luke, so he decided to add a big jump at the end.

Luke was excited to play these inflatable sports games, which happened to have no line!


Look how close he came to threading the needle with that football!

The kids enjoyed designing ornaments for free.

Abbey said "Hello" to the Texas Stars Hockey mascot.

And she said "hi" to a HUGE nutcracker.
 Our favorite part of the Georgetown Stroll each year is the Bethlehem Village.  A local church transforms this part of the stroll into a village that was similar to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born.  There is even a live nativity, with real animals. 


Learning about how they dyed fabrics back then.

Learning how they turned wheatberries into flour.

grinding the wheat.

getting some snacks at the market.

This part of the village is so precious.  The sweet volunteers make a "baby Jesus" doll while telling the children about the story of Jesus.


After watching the live nativity, we headed out of the Bethlehem village and wasted no time getting to the Home Depot tent.  Abbey was extremely excited about this and had been talking about it since the second she saw a child wearing the Home Depot apron shortly after we arrived to the stroll.  They let the kids choose from several different projects.  Luke chose to make an airplane and Abbey chose to build a race car.   Luke was excited to do the whole thing on his own with no assistance.   


The finished product.
It was fun to be there while the sun set--we got to see all the beautiful lights come on.


Drew grabbed the camera and got a photo of me--to prove I do exist.


Family selfie under the twinkly lights.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Urban Adventures: Metrorail, Google Event and Gingerbread Village

After I found out that Austin Capital Metrorail was letting kids (grades K-12 and younger) ride for free through 12/10/18 I knew it was time for a little urban adventure with the kids.  I was already planning on taking the kids to a Google Pixel 3 event, called Sights of Sound, that was located downtown.  And when I saw that the event was a short walk from the downtown metrorail station, it was a no-brainer to use the metrorail as our transportation to the event.  Because adventures are more fun with friends, we invited some to join us.

We met at the Howard Land Metrorail Station and took the 9:55 train.  


It was a very pleasant ride and we got to enjoy all the fall foliage through the big windows as we made our way downtown.  Austin sure is looking beautiful right now!


We arrived downtown around 10:30 and walked over to the google event.  At this event we were each (even the kids) given Google Pixel 3's and invited to explore four different rooms, each inspired by a musician. The rooms were unlocked using the phone and the spaces were great for putting Pixel 3's  camera features into action.  The immersive rooms featured: Ella Mai’s Inner Reflections, Future’s Trap Mansion, J Balvin’s Reggaeton World and Marshmello’s Happier Place (our favorite).  Here are some photos from the event:


Abbey got to "unlock" the Marshmello--Happier room by answering the question about who collaborated with the band on the song.  She answered the question by pulling on a string under the "Bastille" balloon.  Once she did, it released confetti everywhere and the song, "Happier" began playing loudly.  It was so fun! The room even had a trampoline in it. 

 






At the end of the event, we were each given the opportunity to play a bear claw game until we were able to capture a ball containing a prize card inside.  The prize card inside indicated whether we won a t-shirt or a Pixel 3 phone.  We all won t-shirts.



After the Google event, we walked over to the Fareground for lunch.  The Fareground is Austin's first food hall, which opened last year.  The marketplace hosts an "eclectic collection of cuisine from six premier local vendors, all openly seated to inspire culinary innovation and community building." (from their website).  It's great for kids because there are so many different options to enjoy.   Although, I will admit it can be a bit pricy.  If you are careful though, you can get away with not spending too much.  The kids tacos at Dai Due are almost the same size as the adult size and cost $3.  Abbey likes the Kolache ($4) at Henbit.  I usually enjoy the Ramen at Ni-Kome.  After lunch we walked over to the gingerbread village at the Four Seasons Hotel.  The Four Seasons has this display each year and sells the houses to benefit a local non-profit.  This year, the money will go to People'e Community Clinic.  The village has a theme of "white Christmas and features 11 traditional-meets-modern houses named after some of Austin’s most historic neighborhoods.  From their website: "The 100 percent-edible Village will be centred around a house that resembles the architecture of City Hall, with surrounding houses featuring exposed gingerbread and white frosting accents. According to Executive Pastry Chef Amanda Pallagi-Naim, the design and colour scheme was inspired by the Hotel’s newly renovated Lobby, which features a similar mix of classic and contemporary design elements.  In addition to the houses, Pallagi-Naim and her team create d three accessories, ranging from a vibrant ATX sign – the only colorful item in the entire Village – to a construction crane that represents the growth of the city."






After looking at the village, we headed out to the back lawn of the Four Seasons.  No visit to the hotel is complete without doing that.  Their lawn is gorgeous and has so many things for the kids to enjoy.  The Austin hike and bike trail runs right behind the lawn, as well as Ladybird Lake.  The colors of fall are just gorgeous right now and lined the lake.  Us moms enjoyed sitting in the sun while the kids rolled down the hills, played lawn Jenga and sat on the huge hammock.



It was time to head back to the train station to catch the 1:55 train.  We began our walk back on the lovely trail.  We love this statue along the trail--it's made of tons of metal bikes.

I always smile at these bike racks outside the convention center.



 Time to head back home.  What a wonderful adventure with friends!


Thursday, November 1, 2018

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Wednesday, August 1, 2018