Monday, August 8, 2016

Grace Camp


Millie was mad at me. She was really mean for several hours. I had the crew drop me off in Houston and we stayed with Scott’s parents until we went to pick Grace up at camp the next day. Thursday night his parents had a dinner to attend, so we were on our own. We ate pizza and watched Jurassic Park, while Millie was scared and mean to me. The next morning we went to see Star Trek Beyond, which was very good, and had lunch at Red Robin, which was also very good. We finally left to go get Grace. After seeing her show and getting her luggage, we were on our way home!!!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Laura Trip

They picked me up around 10 and we headed out to Fort Worth. It was a nice trip. No real responsibility for me. When we arrived, I got my registration materials and had some nice down time to relax before dinner. We went to Bird Cafe. Unfortunately I had a headache and was nauseated, so I took most of it home and had it for breakfast. It was a Taso corn salad with proccutto and chicken, and some ricotta/mozzarella fried balls with pesto. The balls were totally delicious for breakfast the next morning.
I woke up early and went down to the fitness center. My knee protested every time I tried to ramp up to a run, so I walked a mile. We went across the street to the convention center so the rest of the group could get their registration stuff. The exhibits were open and a continental breakfast was available, so we wandered around a bit. One of the booths was a free trade vendor that I bought a little pouch purse from and some copper A&M heart earrings.
The first session was a general meeting with the key note speaker. He had started a charity called promise for pencils that built schools for children in other countries. Now that it is established and run by others, he is going after college debt and prep, which is interesting.  He had some good things to say. ( His step by step blueprint to change the world). I was able to sit and dream a bit about things. Like instead of doing Classcraft next year, making my own Pokeballs and letting kids buy things. I’m going to work on that.
The first real session I went to was one on how not to start a business. I went to get tips for my t-shirt quilt business. I was good. I learned some things, but mostly things I already know or had heard.
Lunch was at a little cafe where I had a pesto, chicken pizza. Delicious!
 The second one I went to was on Breakout edu - a puzzle box game that teaches kids problem solving, etc. I had heard of it before and found out that there are some strictly online, where you don’t have to buy the box materials. I will explore those and then put in for a grant for the materials.

The third one was DESSERTS spelled backwards - he had desserts to share and an activity that explores stress response. It was ok. The fourth one that day was on cancer curriculum - it looks like the case study site but with a little different angle. It has cancer, infectious diseases and some other useful things for anatomy. Biology too, but not for me next year.
That was the last one. After that, one of our group members’ sister lived in town, so she took us around. We went down to the stockyards and had dinner at the Cattleman. It was nice. I knew I couldn’t eat a lot, so I had a shrimp appetizer, but the ones who had steak said it was wonderful. We walked around awhile then went back to the hotel. Then went on an expedition. We found a nice little neighborhood with the hamburger restaurant one of us wanted to go to for the next night. We ended the night in the hot tub until they kicked us out at 10.

The next morning they had breakfast burritos available. The first session I went to was called Dead Teachers Tell No Tales about pathophysiology. It didn’t end up being what it advertised, but I got a lot out of it because she shared a lot of information and activities.  There was one on the urinary system at the same time and one of my group members went for me. It was neat too. The second one I went to was on Problem-Based Learning. It was ok. I got a few planning sheet. It was mostly information I already knew. The last one was on forensic science and it was a game changer for me. It got me thinking about teaching it and starting a club and competing for SkillsUSA. We’ll see. I did the research and I can teach it with my current certification. I’ve emailed the curriculum superintendent, so we’ll see. We will see.

After lunch at Riskey’s for BBQ, we just chilled the rest of the day. We went to that neighborhood and had a drink at the Dirty Crow so we could park there. We had great hamburgers at Fred’s, then went for another walk when we got back to the hotel. Downtown Fort Worth was such a nice place to walk around. Lots of little shops and galleries to wander into and out of.

Thursday was our last day, so we went to the first session but skipped the closing session to go see the “cattle drive” at the stockyards. My session was a bust, but we all got off in good time to just hang out at the stockyards and wait. We didn’t end up eating there, but got on the road.
It was such a good trip. I enjoyed the people I was with and the things I learned.

Friday, August 5, 2016


Saturday we packed up and left. Long drive to Longview for the Great Texas Balloon Race. I found this through an email from Texas Highways. We needed something to do between Galveston and dropping Grace off at Girl Scout camp in Conroe, so instead of going to Scott’s parents’ house, we went to see hot air balloons.
I wanted to go get the Longview row by row before they closed, but I got lost. Our data wasn’t strong in that area and we ended up really lost. I wished we had Tomtom as a back up butwe didn’t.
We got to the motel, then headed out to the festival grounds. We ate, then sat around until it got dark for the balloon glow. Unfortunately, a storm moved through and that part of it was cancelled. Sunday morning we got up super early and drove down to the festival grounds for the Sunday morning competitions. That was totally worth it. And it was free to get in. It was really awesome to see the balloons start out over the horizon then come closer and closer and bigger and bigger. Some tips for next time: bring chairs and blankets. Bring a cooler and stuff to do. Don’t pay for tickets on Saturday; you can sit in the parking lot and watch the glow (I think) and come Sunday morning.
Right after that, we went back to the motel and packed up. I took a nap and Scott and the girls went swimming for a very short time.
We packed up, loaded up and left for Conroe. About 3 hours. Got there at a good time. She’s at Misty Meadows this week at All American Girl theme camp. It was hot hot hot and we were glad to drop her off, leave and get some drinks. We drove out to Montgomery to get their Row, which is too cute!
Then we took 105 home, stopping at Pizza Hut for a pizza to go, which was a great dinner choice.

We finally got home. Only to pack me up for a conference in Fort Worth, the next day.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Galveston Trip III - Date night

Friday we hung out for awhile, spent some time in the pool then they went to the beach. Scott and I had dinner at Galveston Island Brewery, which was fantastic. They had a flight that you could pick yourself, and really great sandwiches. They had good beer too; not just pale ales or IPAs. I liked 3 out of the 4.
Then we went to on a Ghost Tour. It was ok. Hiking around downtown in the dark with spooky stories was fun.

After that, we went to Mikey’s Ice cream shop, then back to the condo.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Galveston Vacation Part II

My sister and her family also rented a condo in Galveston the week after my parents had their timeshare week, so my mom rented a condo in the same complex for all of us. It was a lot more fun that I had expected.
I was snotty and not feeling well, but we arrived finally. The kids went to the beach, then we went to the Rainforest Cafe to ride the ride and eat dinner. It was really good. As a treat for my girls and birthday presents for the boys, they all got animal build-a-bears. Grace and Millie both got one last year - Grace’s Layla snow leopard and Millie’s Flippy-Go Sea turtle. This year, Grace got an Okapi and Millie got a hippo. Brady got a tiger and Coco got a giraffe.  Brady spent the night with us and he and I cooked breakfast in the morning.

The next day, we went on a Dolphin sight-seeing tour. Coco was totally against is and cried and screamed for 45 mins. We did see some dolphins and it was really fun. Really hot.

We napped for awhile then spent some time at the pool. We got out long enough to make hot dogs for dinner, then spent the rest of the night in the pool.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Galveston Vacation Part I - Grace's birthday!

We started out on Grace’s birthday. For her special treat, we took her to the American Girl store in Houston for lunch at the Bistro. You have to make a reservation, so I did earlier in the month. She’s so into American girls and dolls, etc. Scott’s mom gave her $50 to spend there, which she did, of course.
The people there are really sweet and enthusiastic about their jobs. They have little high chairs that hook onto the tables for dolls. You can borrow a doll to eat with if you didn’t bring yours, which we did for Millie.
Grace was so grown-up. She ordered her drink and her own appetizer and a grown up sandwich. Millie didn’t eat, of course, but my turkey club was good.
She spent her money, then we headed to Galveston.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Houston Farmer's Market

I had a Girl Scout training day in Houston, so I made a plan to go to the super fabulous Urban Harvest Farmer's Market on Richmond. We went a few months ago on our way to visit Scott's parents and I loved it. I love Farmer's Markets. I like to go alone or with one of the girls. Scott is not fun. He doesn't enjoy it. 
My favorite so far was the one in Des Moines, Iowa last summer. It was huge and there was so much to see and try. I love ones that have premade food to eat. The one in Beaumont doesn't have that. It has some pastries and breads, but nothing pre-made. 
The Houston market has several food trucks/stands. I got a vegan tamale with diablo sauce for breakfast. I picked up some naan, goat cheese and hummus for lunch during my training, some Kombucha and potatoes for later.