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Monday, April 19, 2021

Taking a Step Back In Time At the Waxahachie Scarborough Renaissance Festival!

I absolutely love Renaissance festivals! This is my second time going to one. It is hosted in Waxahachie (Texas). Fun for the whole family. My husband and I took the kiddos. You can too! Every weekend through May 31st. The Scarborough Renaissance Festival is a must!

*Disclaimer: I was granted free entry passes to enjoy a day at the festival with my family through my association with US Family Guide. I was not otherwise paid or endorsed. All opinions expressed are strictly my own.*

Each weekend has its own thrills.

Festivals are such a great experience. There is food, music, shows, vendors - everything you need to have a good time.

This one in particular is geared for families. Before going, I like to check out their options. To know ahead of time which things I want to see and do. What don't I want to miss? Each weekend has a theme with specials running. The first weekend, for example, was kids free weekend. The weekend we went, second, was all about shopping! Artisan's Showcase is what they called it. I was worried when I realized I picked our weekend for this one. The themes each come with special activities. And I was thinking we wouldn't enjoy it as much as the others. The Live the Fantasy & Spring Celebration, Celebrating Chivalry, and Legend of the Seas were all ones I'd love to have been a part of. I even appreciate that they have Deaf Day on May 15th! Shows are signed for them. Way to go on exclusivity! But it worked out great. We brought our receipts in and earned 2 free tickets to go back! So excited. We are planning to try to go back for a date. Just us adults. I totally plan to cosplay on this next trip there. Before we even exited the SUV, we could see others in costume heading to the festival. I regretted not wearing my own!

As you will see in the interview I had with the Marketing Director, Helaine, there is something for every person. No matter when you go. And you can't get through everything in one day. Believe me, we tried! It's impossible.

Some events are pre-scheduled to happen every day of each weekend. You can get the full schedule HERE. My husband would have loved the Historic Weapons Demo. Sadly, we arrived too late the first time we went. I was wanting to see the Fire Whip Show. Totally worth going to!

And who doesn't like the Cannon Drill? There are lots of other shows for those who love music too. Next time we want to see the Glassblower show too.

Time for FUN! 

                                         Jousting is something we have always wanted to see.

We missed out on the Medieval Times show last year, due to the pandemic. So this year, we wanted to see it at the festival. I highly suggest you go and get your place early. Kiddos couldn't see by the time we got there from the heavy crowd around the arena. My daughters wouldn't be able to resist seeing a mermaid in the Mermaid Lagoon.
                                 Or how about all of them being knighted by Their Majesties!
I was impressed by the Games they had to offer. My husband and I are talking about knife and axe throwing next time we go. My son was fun to watch in the barrel ride.

Food to impress each palate. 

Doesn't matter what kind of food appeals to you. There is such a wonderful variety that each and every person should find something to be delighted by! The kids chose slices of pizza that were well seasoned.

                   My absolute favorite of the day was the peanut butter and chocolate crepe!

                                 Mmmm it was delicious. The kids loved the caramel apples.

These fruit smoothies were amazing. More like slushies. We tried the strawberry and the Dreamcicle (orange) versions.

My favorite was definitely the orange. My husband modeled off how good they are!

Another thing to try came from the Far East Stir Fry kitchen. This serving runs $6.
And the turkey legs on a stick?? Huge! Although the sausage on a stick was delicious too.

Don't forget to shop!

Finally, you can't leave without getting a souvenir. They have shops and vendors of all kinds. There is something for every age to appreciate. So don't forget to take a memento with you. I grabbed these two pins for my pin collection for just $1 each.

My absolute favorite shop was the Glass Dragon. You want to talk about amazing skills, this guy has them!

You can watch him work, and then purchase pieces that will blow the minds of everyone who sees them. We bought a beautiful glass sword with dragon claw necklace. It comes with a warranty. If it were to get broken, we could bring it back and he will fix it!

We bought a training bow as well. This too comes with a lifetime warranty from it's maker. Before I get any comments - I know I'm not holding it correctly! I simply wanted to show it off and wasn't thinking about form.

My husband says this is the gangsta version of archery...

I saw this and knew we had to get it for my husband. As you can see, he likes to goof around with it!

They have candle makers, word workers, blacksmiths - you name it, they most likely have the artisan to make it there. Check out the tiny pewter treasure chest that is the same size as my Minecraft figures!My little Drowned is the guardian of its secrets.

I appreciate their reactions to pandemic conditions. They have these handwashing stations set up everywhere.

Water fountains have Covid Cautious Cups to use too and they are constantly cleaning the bathrooms. Cleanest public restrooms I've seen in a long while. All the employees we came across, no matter the job, were funny and friendly. I didn't see a single frown anywhere!
If you go, let me know what you like best!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Best Sausage Comes From Waco!

I love sausage, but I'm picky about which kinds. There are name brands that I won't touch. Texture, flavor (or lack of) and I can't stand sausage having bits of 'hardness' or tendon-like pieces in it. Once, I even had a chip of bone in sausage. It only takes once to ruin me on a brand. My husband is totally opposite of me. He could live without sausage and be just as happy. He and some of his family have never been into eating sausage unless others make it. My children will eat it cooked in things like a casserole or pasta dish. They will also eat the brats that I bake in bbq sauce. 

Through my whole life, I have never found that perfect sausage. Not until now, that is. 

Farmers Market for the win!

We love going to the Farmers Market here in Waco. They meet on Saturdays. Vendors of all types will be there. You can get handmade soaps, peanut butters and treats, special blend coffees and teas, produce and even fresh made meats - just to name a few. My husband and I have GERD, among other things. So we have had to stop eating certain foods. Ground beef was one of those. Until we tried eating fresh made ground beef. We haven't had a single issue since! No abdominal cramping, no torso pains just under the ribs, none of that reflux problem. It is amazing! The meat is straight up meat. Not a bunch of fat and sinew shredded in to add pounds. No artificial dyes added to make it look fresher, longer. When I fry it up for shepherds pie, there isn't a cup full of grease left over. Actually, I had to add broth so that it wouldn't be too dry! This is what we have been missing. 

What about the sausage??

But I wanted to tell you guys about sausage. After seeing the lack of problems with beef, we were curious to try other things. Sausage was something I wondered about. I thought they were mostly the same. Flavors are set, right? No! We found a great group of guys who had pushed the boundaries on what could be done with sausage. 

Sir Sausage & Sons had a booth there. They let you taste the flavors they offered. They had beef sticks, summer sausages and then the sausages you would cook in meals. They had flavors that I would never have imagined  possible. Our initial favorite? Daybreak Breakfast Sausage. This is breakfast in a sausage. I kid you not, it has eggs, sweet peppers, cheddar, and bacon.Add a tortilla wrap to it and voila - a full breakfast! Normally, cheddar cheese tears me up. No gallbladder means I can't handle fatty foods. I ate this for dinner with my husband and not a single cramp! It was amazing. So much flavor. We are done with store bought sausage. It can't hold a candle to this. 

We also got the One Street Taco Summer Sausage. This one has everything you might want in a street taco, but in a sausage link instead! Fajita seasonings, salsa, cilantro, charred corn, pepper Jack cheese, and cheddar. It is a party I don't want to leave. 

Totally hooked now! 

My husband and I have come to the decision to adjust our budget to include orders from them. After all, they include free delivery! I messaged them when their website was down. I'm happy to report they have excellent customer service. They answered my questions, offered suggestions and set up my order. The next day, they delivered! No additional taxes and fees. They have other flavors we want to try out next. We served the Fajita flavored ones at a family dinner. My husband wasn't as much a fan of this one because of the courser texture it had. 

Suddenly, my husband wants sausage. And I'm happy for it. We are hooked now. If you are looking for unique flavors and sausage that is packed with taste, I highly suggest you check them out. They are the people to go to for sausage in Waco!

Monday, April 12, 2021

Packing For Our Trip to Israel

My husband and I are taking our first international trip that is scheduled for later this year, and we are going to Israel! I've been so excited as I prepare for it. Reading other travel blogs, gauging what we have versus what we need. I'd happily fast forward through most of this year just to get to that point! 

 Political Map of Israel - Nations Online Project

Traveling is so much work though! So much goes into preparing yourself for it. For someone who has only ever taken about week long vacations with the family, I'm certainly learning a lot. Trips overseas are a whole new experience for me. I can pack a bag. I can handle flights. Domestically speaking, that is. However, I've been learning a lot about packing for trips that involve more than a week in a foreign country. Here are the top 3 things that I think everyone should know. Hopefully, there will be more posts on traveling to follow. 

Tips and tricks I've been learning.

Tip 1 - Don't do check-in luggage if you can avoid it! Luggage gets lost, delayed or damaged. My in-laws can attest that. And we all know the response from the airlines. "We are not responsible." One thing I have seen time and again is that travelers are sticking to carry on. Cheaper fees, less risk. So that is the way we have decided to go as well. I bought this one for my husband's birthday and plan to get myself one later on. Both of these are TSA regulation for carry on's. The smaller one qualifies as a personal bag, while the larger one is considered standard carry on.

Tip 2 - Sensible shoes are a must. Walking over rough terrain and the uneven cobblestones are common over there. So having a good pair of shoes (and inserts for long days) is the proper path to take. I decided to get Puma shoes. I had a pair years ago. They lasted forever, felt amazing and went with anything.

Tip 3 - Condense where you can. Here is something I hadn't ever needed to do before. Since my husband and I are planning to be gone for just under 2 weeks, we have certain things we need to bring that could take up a lot of space. If you are familiar with my blog, you know by now that I have a broken back. Over the counter medicine is my go-to for the hardest days. I don't go blindly - 9 mile treks every day are about average for this particular trip. I'm probably going to cry myself into exhausted sleep at least once. Deep in my heart I know, it will be completely worth it. I typically need to rotate through Ibuprofen, Aleve, and Extra Strength Tylenol. I also use Excedrin Tension Headache for the migraines I get. But we buy the big bottles of these. I don't want to waste precious space on lugging them around. What to do? I saw this amazing idea of taking a plastic box with dividers instead.

I tried looking at a couple stores near me, but couldn't find one similar enough that had more sorting capacity. That is when I decided to check out Amazon. Talk about options! After going through several of these alternatives, we decided that the Pillsteer Travel Pill Organizer was the best.

It has 8 large compartments, comes with labels and it is waterproof! While I don't foresee taking it for a dip in Israel, there could be other times in the future where this feature can be appreciated. With this, I can easily carry enough pills for the both of our needs, that will last the whole trip. I don't want to have to stop off somewhere and look for meds. I will be prepared! 

                                                              My personal pharmacy!

It fits in my hand.

 Side note! 

This is one of the best $13.99, I have ever spent! Especially because of their customer service and dedication to excellence. This ships from an Amazon warehouse. My package was 'lost' temporarily. On the day it was scheduled to arrive, the Pillsteer company reached out to make sure I was satisfied with my order. Sadly, I didn't have my order yet. They told me to reach out to Amazon since there was no delivery updates to go on, but keep in touch if there were any problems. Amazon gave me a little of a run-around at first. I ended up waiting a few more days than was expected. Right before requesting a refund, however, the package finally arrived! I'm glad it did. I had been in contact with the customer service rep again. She told me to request a refund and they would gladly send my money back. After I told her I got it, she asked what I thought of it and said they would send me a free gift! So now I have two for the price of one.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Easter 2021 Was Different, But Beautiful!

Our lives have changed so much since 2020. The way we do things has changed. Easter has changed in the ways we celebrate too. While Easter has a deeper meaning for us as Christians, we do enjoy the activities that used to be done with extended family members. While they aren't important, they bring fun the children. This year, we celebrated with what I like calling "family we chose". Sometimes, we are blessed with people that are closer than family. Good friends. That is what the Sanders family has become for us. They planned out a bunch of games and an egg hunt that was just fantastic. I'm so glad to have met them! I hope you guys were able to have a fun Easter. And to remember the true reason we get to celebrate. Either as your own family or with others! 

I don't usually post photos of the kids on here, but I had to share these beauties with you guys. The egg hunt was so much fun. Kara gave the girls some Paparazzi jewelry in their eggs. Since then, my toddler in particular has been glamming it up!

                       After the egg hunt, they played sack races with trash bags for the sacks.

This was followed by other games that involved raw eggs. In an attempt to keep them clean, we ripped holes in the bottom of the bags for their legs.
I was finally able to get a visual of what it would look like if my husband had his way in making the boys wear bags since they keep outgrowing their clothes about once a month.
    My sons dramatics definitely gave us laughs! It was a great time overall. I hope you all had fun too!