The 7 Best Texas Historic Landmarks That Your Kids Need To See ASAP

The 7 Best Texas Historic Landmarks That Your Kids Need To See ASAP

Having given birth to my first-born on Texas Independence Day, March 2nd, it’s only natural that I’d be somewhat of a Texas history buff.

But alas, I am not.

History buff? Yes. Texas history? Meh.

I really only know about these historic sites because my dad IS a history buff - all the history, and I grew up being dragged around the state to visit these places, and they were always accompanied by a long and mind-numbing lecture, which I only now can appreciate.

Our Family’s Favorite RV Camping Spots In Texas

Our Family’s Favorite RV Camping Spots In Texas

As a mom of two boys, I’ve had to get on board with the whole camping thing. But - as you know - I have a tee-tiny window of comfort, so tent camping is out for me.

I love the outdoors, but only if the temperature is just right. And if there are no bugs. And there has to be a breeze. But it can’t be windy.

Best Books To Inspire Travel In Teens And Tweens

Best Books To Inspire Travel In Teens And Tweens

Years ago, when we first started working with our financial planner - which sounds very fancy, but I assure you it’s not like that.

Our decision to work with a financial planner came about when we were living paycheck to paycheck, and Mark and I finally acknowledged that we are children when it comes to being financially responsible, because we like shiny stuff, and we needed a non-biased person - who’s also smart with money - to tell us what we should spend and what we should save.

In the beginning of our working relationship with him, we were tasked with writing out our family’s priorities so we could finagle a budget that would work for us.

What To Do In Orlando Besides Disney

What To Do In Orlando Besides Disney

We’re lucky to have visited Orlando - Disney World, in particular - a few different times as our boys have grown up, and I know I don’t need to tell you this: everything Disney is magical and amazing.

But the parks themselves is not all there is to do in Orlando, Florida.

This city has so much to offer for travelers of all types: friend trips, couples, families with little kids, and families with older kids. And families with kids of widely different ages, like mine.

9 Musts To Carry With You On Your Flight

9 Musts To Carry With You On Your Flight

With the temperatures edging up, we’re starting to get antsy around here at the Braziel household, ready and just itching to get our next trip on the books. 

It’s travel season! 

Mark and I have an Orlando trip coming up in a few weeks, but that’s just for us - no kids on that one.

We’re meeting up with my cousin and her husband, who are flying in from England and I’m so excited to get to spend the weekend with them and to share our adventures with you!

What To Do In Waco Besides Magnolia Market

What To Do In Waco Besides Magnolia Market

A few weeks ago, I joined my sis-in-law and another girlfriend of ours for a girls’ weekend in Waco. Our friend, Sunday, and I live outside of Austin, and my sis, Jill, lives in Fort Worth, so Waco is the perfect meet-in-the-middle spot.

We’ve all been to the Silos before, and since the weekend we went was the annual Spring at the Silos event, we had no intention of going there and battling lines and crowds of crazy Chip and JoJo-seekers.

We were more interested in finding Waco’s hidden gems and places that locals call their favorite.

Tour Austin's Most Popular Murals

Tour Austin's Most Popular Murals

We finally have some gorgeous sunshine here in the Austin area and I’m in love!

If you ever get a chance to visit Texas, plan your trip for March/April or October, when the temps are mild and the breeze is yummy and cool, and you will have absolutely no regrets in your life.

7 Uses Of Technology That Made Traveling In England A Breeze

In case you're new here, my dad and I just got back from a 10-day trip to Manchester, England, to visit family and to do research for my upcoming book and it was as amazing as I'd imagined, except for a few annoyances, the first being my cousin's daughter was due to give birth while we were there and I was very explicit in saying that I expected to hold my new tiny cousin before I left to come back home, but alas, there is still no baby as of this writing.

The second annoyance was my inability to exhibit one ounce of control when it came to meals. I ate like a velociraptor and can now only fit in sundresses or waistbands with some "give."

Dad and I talked about how different travel is nowadays because of technology - more efficient and seamless.

I started to include the different apps we used in my last post, Texans In England By The Numbers, but once I started listing out the ones we used, I ended up with seven and decided it needed a post of its own. 

I didn't even include the social media apps, FaceTime, and email, but those were certainly big players in our daily travel, as well.

Here's the technology that made for a dramatically different travel experience than back in the day: 

Texans In England By The Numbers

4 - Butt-puckering close calls of death by stepping off the curb while looking the wrong way. Everyone knows they drive on the opposite side of the road in England, but our muscle memory makes us look the wrong direction, apparently. Combine that with complicated intersections in a busy city like Manchester, along with two clumsy-footed Americans, and you’ve got yourself a dangerous touristy cocktail.

0 - Air conditioned spaces. England is experiencing record-breaking heat at the moment, and - despite the weather being gloriously cool compared to the 100+ temps we’d left behind in Texas - when the buildings and homes are all closed up tight without any air movement inside, we Americans who are used to cold, recycled air blasting in our faces start to get panicky. And very sweaty.

"Making Memories" In Galveston

We just got back from a long weekend down at the Texas coast with my brother's family, and overall it was a great trip, but just like on all family vacations, I have to sometimes hide away in a bathroom and tell myself, "we're making memories... we're making memories."

Here's the thing about family vacations: they are not only memory makers, they're also memory triggers. As in, "Oh yes, I remember now why I swore I'd never go anywhere with a teenager," or, "Oh that's right, now I remember why you should remove sand pronto from the seat of your swimsuit."

Historic Geek-Out at The Bürgenstock Resort on Lake Lucerne

Historic Geek-Out at The Bürgenstock Resort on Lake Lucerne

In case you missed it, we just returned from Switzerland, where Mark went for a business trip and I got to jump in his suitcase and ride along. Here's a fun recap of our ridiculous trip over there. 

The company put us up in the one-of-a-kind, incredible and luxurious resort, The Bürgenstock Resort on Lake Lucerne.

Thursday was a day of meetings for Mark, so I signed up for the historical tour of the resort, which was - and this is a complete understatement: amazing.

Toodling The Mediterranean For 10 Days Aboard The Disney Magic

Hopefully I don’t come across as self-absorbed as a Kardashian by assuming you’ve read about our Disney Cruise through the Mediterranean over the summer.  

We chose a Disney Cruise because we wanted a trip where we could see beautiful and historic treasures for us and for our then 18-year-old, but would also appeal to our 10-year-old.

If you’ve ever experienced anything Disney, you know that the up-side to the price tag is their reputation for providing high quality service, cleanliness, safety, and - of course - fun for all ages.

And let’s be honest: despite my housekeeping skills, I’m a bit of a germophobe, so cleanliness is important, especially if it’s a place I’ll be laying my head. I have been known to abandon hotels and drive in the middle of the night to another town if even one little thing makes me feel gaggy.

First Stop On Our Mediterranean Tour: Monaco & Monte Carlo

The first port stop of our 10-day Mediterranean cruise on the Disney Magic was at Villefranche-sur-Mer, which means “free town on the sea,” per my French minor in college, which has gotten me exactly nothing in life, aside from a seat at the ass-end of jokes from my family for remembering how to only say “jar of mustard” and “shut your mouth.”

Villefranche is a tiny beach-side village in the heart of the French Riviera, with Monaco on one side and Nice on the other.

There are worse places in the world.

Austin to Barcelona

As usual, I've put the cart before the horse.

I told you all about all about the shippy parts of the cruise, and even told you about our first port, Villefranche, but I didn't even tell you about the first leg of our trip and how we even got there, yet. 

Isn’t life just the craziest thing sometimes?

We got to the Austin airport and ran into my son’s friend from high school, who also happens to be his college roommate! We had some fun chit chat about the odds of running into them there, and got to even have lunch with him and his mom before we boarded our flights.

How freakin’ random is it that they then headed to the same gate as us?

Y’all! We were on the same flight!

Prepping For A Disney Cruise And Beanie Weenies For Life

Mark and I haven't always had our head screwed on straight, when it comes to priorities (I'm thinking of one incident in particular to share with you as Exhibit A: we'd bought a massive fish aquarium that spanned the length of a wall in our new (to us) house, and then filled it with a bunch of fancy, expensive fish, maxing out our one little baby credit card and we couldn't even afford groceries.

It was so sleek and tacky, with its blue LED lighting and the shiny black pebbles at the bottom, it looked like the backdrop for a budget porn.

This was "back in the day," before we had kids and we made about three dollars too much to qualify for the government cheese line. 

We paid more for that damn fish tank than we did for our honeymoon to Mexico, and I am dead serious, y'all.

Family Vacations: Memories of Armpit Hairs and Salami

We're about two-thirds of the way to our destination - Panama City Beach, Florida - for a family vacation with my husband's side of the family, who we'll be hanging out with for the next week.  

This is the longest road trip we've ever been on with all four of us, and I'll admit that I was worried about being cooped up in a car for the 12-hour trip, mainly because I remember what road trips were like when I was a kid. 

The main things I remember about those trips was leaning up over the front seat to chitter-chatter with my parents, my mom reading a book in the passenger seat, responding with, " yah?  Hmmm..," my brother announcing to my parents that he could see a hair growing in my armpit, and my dad periodically leaning over the back seat with one hand on the steering wheel, the rest of his body almost completely in the back seat, as he swatted at anything he could with his other hand, shouting, "Do you want me to pull this car over?  Huh?"