Thursday, October 23, 2014

Waco with the babes

My sister and I both write for the family travel review website, Trekaroo and had the opportunity to go to Waco with our babes to explore and visit a few attractions for some writing material. Waco, TX is home to Baylor University, Jon's alma mater, and right smack dab in the middle of Austin and Dallas, where my sister lives. I packed up Ford on Tuesday morning and we headed northbound on I35. We stayed at Hotel Indigo Waco and I can't speak highly enough of our accommodations! If you are looking for a hotel to crash at to see a Baylor game or visit Waco, Indigo is your place. It is brand new, beautiful, boutiquey, and perfect for littles. I always get nervous going to new hotels with Ford because he goes to bed so early and it kind of stinks when the room is small and I have to sit in silence from 7:30pm on but Hotel Indigo had a little corner perfect for his pack and play and I was able to catch up on 19 Kids and Counting after he went to bed. Phew.

The first thing on our itinerary was visiting the Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat. The Baylor University mascot is the Bear and there are two adorable North American Black Bears, Joy and Lady, that live in the "Bear Pit". Embry and Ford were given their own Black Bear stuffed animals so we brought them along and they loved showing them to Joy and Lady. It was perfect timing because we saw the bears get their morning meal....peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! Ford had no fears and ran right up to the glass and squealed at the bears. Knowing we were going to the zoo the next day, I got super excited for him to see even more animals!

I mean... could they be any cuter?

After the babes took their afternoon naps, we headed to the Mayborn Museum Complex to check out the children's area. Cori and Embry frequent the Dallas Children's Museum quite often and Ford and I have been to the Thinkery in Austin a few times but the Mayborn blew us away! Two whole floors were dedicated to children and there was room after room of interactive play. Ford drove a huge firetruck and school bus and ran around on a life sized piano. It was incredible and the babies had a BLAST! They were so cute running up and down the halls of the museum, overwhelmed by all it had to offer. We had a tea party, created human sized bubbles, and made all sorts of music in the "country themed" room. We knew Embry and Ford would sleep hard that night because they did NOT stop moving for 2 hours. I seriously wish the Mayborn was in Austin!

It didn't surprise me that Ford dove for his crib later that night (although lately he loves going to bed so he can play with his loveys and blankets and roll around) and slept a solid 12 hours. We had a yummy breakfast at Chick Fila the next morning before heading to The Cameron Park Zoo. Ever since we met, Jon has been wanting to take me to that zoo. We are animal lovers and try to visit a zoo or aquarium on every trip we go on so a few years ago we tacked on a zoo visit when we were in Waco for a football game. You may be surprised to learn that Waco has one of the best zoos I've ever been to. They have every "big" animal you'd ever want to see (elephants, giraffes, lions, tigers, monkeys, rhinos) and it is really a beautiful area. The whole zoo is shaded by a canopy of trees which makes it nice and cool for a summer visit and it's almost as if the animals are in their original habitats. Jon was getting SO jealous as I was sending him pictures and videos of Ford at the zoo, wishing he could be there to experience it. Thank goodness I brought the stroller because the grounds are sprawling, but Ford did a lot of running around squealing, screaming, pointing, and having the time of his life. It was one of the highlights of being his mama thus far, watching him have so much fun and have his mind blown by all of the animals. His favorite area was the sea life (just like his dad) and he was hilarious chatting with them and running around.

Selfie with the jaguar for my leopard print loving mom

His cocked hip kills me!

A real life Sophie the giraffe

Ford was asleep before we even got on the interstate and remained zonked out our entire drive home. We pulled into our house and all he could talk about was "da da! da da!", I think he was ready to see Jon. It was so nice to get away, even for 24 hours a change of scenery with a toddler can be the perfect medicine for monotonous days. I loved getting to spend time with my sister and niece and the babies had so much fun together. Thank you to Waco & The Heart of Texas, Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat, Mayborn Museum Complex, and Cameron Park Zoo for hosting us. 

I was not asked to present a particular point of view and all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

White chocolate Halloween snack mix

I had this recipe pinned for years (not even joking) and finally made it for our Halloween Hootenanny last weekend! I knew people would bring cookies and brownies and baked good sweets so I wanted to have something that was sweet and easy to snack on. I didn't follow the recipe too closely and that is my favorite type of recipe!

Ingredients- choose as much or little as you want, go through your cabinets and add what you already have! You want the bulk of your mix to be carby (cereal/pretzels) with hints of sweet.

Mini pretzels
Honey Chex cereal
Candy corn
Chocolate chips
Peanut butter chips
Dry roasted peanuts
White chocolate bark

1. Like I said above, get creative with what you use. I used 6 cups Honey Chex, 4 cups mini pretzels, 2 bags candy corn, 1 bag peanut butter chips, and 1 package of white chocolate bark. Use your best judgement.
2. Mix all ingredients, besides white chocolate, in a large bowl. Stir to completely combine.
3. Melt white chocolate in the microwave.
4. Pour over the snack mix and use a rubber spatula to make sure each piece is coated.
5. Spread snack mix over parchment paper and let harden for 1-2 hours.
6. Break into chunks and serve!

In a few weeks you can bust out the red and green M&Ms and make a Christmas snack mix!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Halloween Hootenanny x 3

Yesterday was our 3rd annual Hart Halloween Hootenanny and it was a roaring success! Looking back over the past 3 years it is funny to see how the party has changed and evolved. Our first year we weren't even pregnant so it was an adult party that lasted until the wee hours of the morning and resulted in people sleeping on our couches and carb-o-loading the next morning. Last year Ford was a 2 month nugget so we moved the party up a bit and decided to BBQ with friends until after dark. This year we planned the party on a Sunday evening, between 2nd nap and bedtime and there were probably just as many babies and kids as there were adults. There is nothing better than my house being full of kids having fun. At one point I looked upstairs into our gameroom and there were a bunch of girls (elementary age) having a dance party. Life has done a 180 in the past 3 years and I wouldn't change it for the world! By 8pm the house was quiet, Ford was down for the count, and my whole house was clean, vacuumed, and mopped. And my heart was full. We planned the party a few weeks early because next weekend we have our neighborhood Trunk or Treat and then it is Halloween! I think the holidays are just going to get more and more fun as Ford gets older. One of his favorite things to do is walk around with his Halloween treat bag saying "teet teet", trick or treat. Oh and because of his recent obsession with his doctor kit, we went as a family of doctors....Jon and I malpractice docs.

We decided we can never have a baby during the month of October because we wouldn't be able to throw our Halloween party, what a tragedy! It's hard to believe we will have another little cutie to dress up next Halloween (a 6 month old!!!!).

Because Baby H2.0 hasn't been so easy on me, I wanted to make the party as easy as possible. We made hotdogs, pasta salad, chips, and a few treats and served beer, water and lemonade. Our friends brought tons of treats that are glaring at me from the kitchen right now, will power Ruthie, will power! We were blessed with great weather and brought tons of toys outside so the kids could run, it really couldn't have gone any better. 

We attempted a picture of all the "babies" and believe it or not, we were missing a few! 

It isn't a true Halloween unless we have a few kids screaming at the top of their lungs!

And the best part is, we still have 2 more weeks of celebrating Halloween!

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