Native Texan Livin': July 2016

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

List of Must Haves for Great Wolf Lodge ~ Grapevine, TX

Can you believe summer is almost over?!?!  I mean, we have less than a month before school starts!  Since we took our "summer vacation" to Disney in April, we were ready for another getaway so we planned one last quick trip to Great Wolf Lodge.  What does that mean?!?!  Time to start making some lists!

List of Must Haves for Great Wolf Lodge Indoor Waterpark in Grapevine, TX

This will be our first trip out to Great Wolf Lodge but the girls have been talking about going there for quite a while.  Bo's & my anniversary is coming up & what better way to celebrate our love than to take the kids with us on vacation!  JK...we already got an adult trip this year!  It's the kids turn!

We booked a KidKamp themed room so the kids have their own bunk area that looks like a tent!  Too cute!  After talking to my sister who's been a couple times & then doing some research, I made a list of our Must-Haves:

Cute PJ's 
Great Wolf Lodge does daily evening PJ parties with games, dancing & a story time.  We must attempt to look our best you know! :-)  The girls will also be doing the MagiQuest wand-type-scavenger-hunt.  I'm not sure how it all works but sounds like you run around the hotel waving a wand at stuff.  Might as well have cute PJ's for that too!

Tennis Shoes
Great Wolf Lodge has a ropes course called Howlers Peak Ropes Course.  The last time we went on a cruise where there was a ropes course, we didn't pack closed toe shoes, which is a requirement, so we didn't get to do it.  Won't make that mistake again!

Items for the Water Park
The girls know how to swim but every now & again, Maggie likes to throw on her life jacket.  The resort provides life jackets but no other floating devices are allowed.  Perfect!  One (or 10) less things we have to pack!  Other than that, it'll be...
- underwater camera (we love ours & it's always lots of fun!)
- goggles
- small soft-sided cooler for snacks & juice boxes (coolers aren't allowed in the water park, so this will need to stay hidden in my bag. Sshhh, don't tell anyone!)
- swimsuit cover-up
*** The resort provides towels in the water park & they DO NOT allow you to take those towels back to your room.  It's crazy how many stories I keep reading about people just walking through the resort in their swimsuit.  That's odd to me, so.....don't forget the cover-ups!

Food & Drinks
All road trips require a rolling cooler, right?!?!  The rooms all have a mini fridge but why not have an "extra fridge"  Surely there's an ice machine, right?!?!  (There is....and please don't call me Shirley!) ;-)  The rooms also have a microwave & coffee machine but I'll be spending my dough at the Starbucks downstairs. (When there's an option between Starbucks & hotel room coffee...always choose Starbucks! ;-) )  Our plan is to eat breakfast in the room & then eat in the resort for lunch & dinner.  Yes, it'll probably cost us a million dollars in meals alone, but you only vacation once a year, right?  Oh yeah...nevermind!
- milk
- juice boxes (bag style...not boxes as they start getting squishy)
- OJ / Apple Juice
- cereal (small individual boxes)
- frozen breakfast burritos
- microwave popcorn
- lots & lots of snacks
- disposable plates, bowls & plasticware
- wine & beer (I did mention this is an indoor waterpark full of kids, right?!?!)

Of course, there's TONS more "regular" stuff we need to pack just like always, but these are the things that I really don't want to forget.

We're so excited to get on the road for this little adventure!  Have you been to a Great Wolf Lodge?  If so, do you have additional "must haves" that we might need to bring with us?  Can't wait to do a recap once we get back!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Maggie's 6th birthday - Shopkins Party

My sweetness turned 6 this past Friday so our weekend was full of food, cake, presents, swimming & funny little food items with big eyes & mouths!

Have your children jumped on the Shopkins train yet?!?!  Mine have been on it for a while now & this seemed like the perfect party theme for Maggie.

Our Shopkins Party with a Kooky Cookie Cookie cake & easy Shopkins cookies with royal icing.

I started getting ready for the party by making sugar cookies in the shapes of 4 different Shopkins for the goody bags.  I've gotten to where I don't waste money on junk anymore & give everyone what they!

I used cookie cutters I already had & improvised with the rest.  Here was our cookie menu:
Strawberry Kiss (strawberry) - heart cookie cutter
D'Lish Donut (donut) - circle cookie cutter w/ a small flower cookie cutter for center
Melonie Pips (watermelon) - triangle cookie cutter
Wild Carrot (carrot) - carrot cookie cutter

I'm not what you'd call a traditional cookie decorator who does it the "right way."  I'm always too rushed to do outlines, flooding, 10/20/etc-second icing, etc.  I just do the one giant bowl of royal icing & call it a day.  I just spoon all the icing on my cookies & hope it all stays in place.  Luckily, this process has been working for me so far.
Our Shopkins Party with a Kooky Cookie Cookie cake & easy Shopkins cookies with royal icing.

Our Shopkins Party with a Kooky Cookie Cookie cake & easy Shopkins cookies with royal icing.

Our Shopkins Party with a Kooky Cookie Cookie cake & easy Shopkins cookies with royal icing.

Our Shopkins Party with a Kooky Cookie Cookie cake & easy Shopkins cookies with royal icing.

Our Shopkins Party with a Kooky Cookie Cookie cake & easy Shopkins cookies with royal icing.

D'lish Donut, Strawberry Kiss, Wild Carrot & Melonie Pips easy Shopkins cookies with royal icing

I found these cute strawberry baskets at Hobby Lobby & they were the perfect packaging for the goody bag treat!
Shopkins Cookies in a strawberry container. Perfect goody bag idea for a Shopkins Party

Easy DIY Shopkins party goody bags. Sugar cookies with royal icing, decorated as Shopkins & packaged in strawberry baskets!

A party's not complete without a cake, right?!  But a Shopkins party isn't complete without a Kooky Cookie Cookie Cake!  I continue to use my friend's cookie cake recipe & it's always a winner!  I didn't feel like tackling eyes & a mouth with frosting, so I printed them out on cardstock & "glued" them onto the cake with a smear of frosting.
Easy Kooky Cookie Cookie Cake for a Shopkins Party

I was worried there wasn't going to be enough cookie cake to go around, so I made a couple boxes of cupcakes as well.  Funfetti, of course! :-)
Funfetti cupcakes for Shopkins Party

Keeping with the Shopkins theme, we made a chip display using a very large empty frame.  This was actually a "trash find" that I've been holding onto for about a year.  The kids threw some paint on it (& I literally mean they threw paint) to spruce it up a bit & make it a little whimsical.  Bo stapled some twine across the back & then attached all the individual chip bags with mini clothespins.  I think it turned out super cute!  Maggie was really proud of it & the display made it really easy for the kids to just come and get whatever they wanted.  If it got too empty...we just refilled it!
Chip bag display using an empty frame for Shopkins Party. Easy DIY.

This was my favorite decoration of all!  hahaha!  It's even still up in the half-bath...staring at us...holding its nose! ;-)  I found ALL the Shopkins characters here so I could just copy/paste them into Word & print the size I needed.
Leagy Toilet Paper Shopkin for easy decor for Shopkins Party

Thanks to all of our family & friends who were able to celebrate Maggie's birthday with us!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Pool Side Piña Colada

♫♪♫♪  If you like Piña Coladas...getting caught in the rain.... ♪♫♪♫

Or if you prefer them like I do, on a super hot sunny day, then you've come to the right place!

It could be hotter so I'm not going to complain!  Many moons ago, Bo actually gave me the choice for us to move somewhere colder but I chose here.  Family, friends & 150°F days...can't beat it!

Truth be told, I'm not normally a Piña Colada girl.  Pool side, I'm more likely to order a Rum Punch or Mai Tai...but something about seeing all these ingredients in the store got me in the mood for a Piña Colada!  Let's be honest though...the main selling point was that it included rum! ;-)  (hold on...I'm seeing a trend here in my drink preferences...)

FUN FACT about the Piña Colada....
Did you know it originated in Puerto Rico?  Did you know my dad is from Puerto Rico & living there right now?!?!  Did you also know the Piña Colada became Puerto Rico's national drink in 1978...the year yours truly was born?!?! (←that's me. I'm "yours truly") :-)  Coincidence?  I think not!

OK, back to the important stuff!  Here's what works for me....

2 oz. pineapple juice
2 oz. coconut cream
4 oz. coconut rum (reserve 1/2 oz)
ice (+/- 2 cups)

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth & frosty
Add more or less ice depending on your preference
Pour frosty goodness into a hollowed pineapple, an empty coconut or a regular glass (I hear they work just as good!) :-)
Top it off with the last 1/2 ounce of coconut rum
Garnish with a slice of pineapple & a festive drink umbrella

HEB had these cute personal sized pineapples, so I couldn't pass it up for this frosty concoction!  I didn't have one of those fancy pineapple peeler/corer/slicers so I made do with what I had...a knife!  I just cut around the inside edge of the pineapple & made an X thru the middle.  Then I scooped all the pineapple meat into a bowl with my handy dandy grapefruit spoon.

Bo enjoyed his Piña Colada too...and his beer! ;-) (Yes, that's how we roll!) The girls just enjoyed using their new donut drink floats in the pool.

This recipe was super easy & always a favorite!  What's your go-to pool side drink?  I guess next time I'll need to make a kid-friendly version for the kiddos!  Oops! :-)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Wordless Wednesday ~ 4th of July Fun

Nikon CoolPix Digital Underwater Camera.

Special effects using underwater Nikon CoolPix camera

Special effects using Nikon CoolPix underwater camera