Belize It!

Preface: For noteworthy experiences, there will be separate posts, with detailed information, so as to help you- in your trip planning to Belize. When I begin the process and research of a possible holiday location, I start with my husband and I’s … Continue reading

The Beekeeping Groupon

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If you know me, you know I’m all about a new experience. I like to try new things, and will most likely jump at an opportunity to do just that. My interests vary and change, and around Christmas 2014, I saw a groupon for Beekeeping and purchased it as a present for my husband (AND secretly myself as well!). It wasn’t a spur of the moment buy, as earlier in the summer I had thought it might be something I was interested in learning more about, and learn I did.

As the groupon was nearing its 6 month expiration, I thought, “no better time to check this out, than on my husband’s 30th birthday!”. So, the morning of his big 3-0, we arose and headed to a discreet, weedy, and chigger infested location within the city of Rowlett,TX. Lets just say, had i doused myself in DEET bugspray prior, my overall experience would get a 10 out of 10!

The Details:

  • Groupon: $79 for two adults
  • Beekeeping: Round Rock Honey, 10am on a Saturday morning.
  • Expectations:  wear badass bee suit, get near bee hives (actually boxes), and taste the honey. Check mark for ALL 3: this girl did it all AND, got to hold several bee frames that had combs on it!

*We arrived, parking in a small field, easily accessible by a nearby main road. After walking a short distance, we were greeted warmly by our beekeeping guru, a zany but confident woman. Our  expert had many years experience with bees AND absolutely zero fear of the flying striped bandits. Upon signing in, we were directed to tubs containing protective gear and gloves, in many sizes. Following our desired size pick, we continued down a short overgrown path, to a clearing in a field. We personally (along with everybody and their brother) had forgotten chairs to sit in, but our expert beekeeper pulled up her truck, as did another hardcore beekeeper, and we “tailgated” as we learned more about bee species, habits, and the importance of their existence in our lives.

Smoking the hive, to calm the bees

Smoking the hive, to calm the bees

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A not so developed comb.

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Interesting things learned:

  • bees don’t live long (workers- 6-8 weeks, queen- 2-3 years)
  • each box contains 1 queen
  • bees occassionally are transported across country, via semi-trucks. These semi trucks transport the hives on the truck bed, and are all enveloped by a huge lightweight mesh covering. Literally 1 week after my class, I was on a road trip to NE, and saw this very thing!
  • after purchasing pure honey, it can harden/crystallize-but this doesn’t mean it has gone rotten. You can actually microwave it, to be good as new!
  • honeys taste is reflected by the pollen and nectar gathered from the flowers and plants near the hive
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Yours Truly

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You can see the honey in this picture, as well as the queen bee. She is the longer one towards the top right. Her torso is darker than her surrounding workers.

While I cannot speak for other classes Round Rock Honey offers in different cities, I can commend the one I attended. I would highly recommend a similar introductory class for those that are just curious, interested in learning, and especially those interested in starting a hive.

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El Sanctuario de Chimayo

Driving to Chimayo, NM

En route to Chimayo, NM

Always up for an adventure, when my husband mentioned New Mexico for New Year’s Eve, I was packed in an hour. As it was last minute, I hastily researched where to stay, and it was decided: Chimayo, New Mexico. Chimayo, a great location between Taos and Santa Fe, is relatively small and can be driven through in about 10 minutes. Located about 40 minutes (scenic highway drive) to Taos, Chimayo is perfect for skiers, wanting to escape the overpriced rates (in Taos) charged during ski season. Within minutes of nearby town Espanola, one can also play the slot machines for a few hours, at the small-ish but clean, casinos (we did, and it was fun). Three things highly rated on Trip Advisor for the town of Chimayo: Casa Escondida-a bed and breakfast we enjoyed on this short jaunt, Rancho de Chimayo Restaurante – a good Mexican restaurant with strong margaritas, which we partook, and El Sanctuario de Chimayo-a religious and sacred site for many.

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El Sanctuario de Chimayo during the day

Sanctuario de Chimayo, a stone’s throw from the main road, is as lovely in mid-day as it is in evening hours. I am pleased I convinced my husband to do a drive by at night, as the grounds were lit with glowing Christmas luminaries (To potential travelers: I am unsure if there are luminaries throughout other seasons- but there definitely are during December holidays).

During Easter weekend, many make a pilgrimage to this place of worship, as it is believed to be sacred, and has been a location of various “miraculous occurences”. Within the church, there is a little room off to the front side of the altar, containing yet another small room which houses a shallow pit supposedly filled with healing “holy dirt” for the general public to take. As a skeptic, I wonder, how does the shallow pit stay filled with “holy” dirt, but again, a healing is a miracle, and miracles can not be explained.

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To visit the lovely Sanctuario, the location is easy to find, however the parking situation is somewhat of a hassle. The spots to leave ones vehicle are few, and are also difficult to get to as the entrance to the lot is barely big enough for two cars to pass. Once in, you could probably spend about forty five minutes, walking the grounds surrounding the church, neighboring church, and just reflecting on the moment and peaceful scenery. As a traveler, I would definitely suggest visiting at least once, however once seen, I don’t believe a second trip is necessary. For trip advisor, I would rate the trip and experience with several good gold stars.

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LYFE Kitchen restaurant review

Recently I tried a new restaurant, LYFE kitchen with one of my best girlfriends. After a light dinner and fun conversation- we agreed to definitely revisit in the near future. Personally, I truly enjoy trying new places- as every time is a … Continue reading

Gravy your Grandma would ask for…

Seriously. I freaking love the taste of homemade biscuits and gravy, but today we only have time for the gravy, gals! So grab yourself a bag of Pillsbury boy frozen biscuits at your nearby grocery store and get ready for your family to ask for seconds.

Some people list their ingredients at the end of a recipe, I like to tempt you with a picture first…..

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 and then give you your list (which since its the gravy your grandma would ask for, means, that you ALREADY have the ingredients!!!)

Only 6 Ingredients:

pepper

Lawry’s Seasoning Salt

sausage

Frozen biscuits

flour

milk

 

I’m Back!

Darlings, I know it has been some time since I have written on here-and a lot has happened. Starting off slow and brief today…..5 things:

1) I am officially in my 30’s! and pretty excited about it. As I am the oldest madam in our group of friends- I will admit-I don’t feel any different than when I turned the young age of 25. I’ve always believed age is relative when it comes to one’s self, and if you believe you are old, than you’ll notice your bones creaking and your skin sagging. Some in society today say age = limitations, but I like to think more positively and strongly believe we set our own countdown. So check it at the door, you negative Nancy’s!IMG_2099

2 ) Seriously, this has been the year of le bebe’s. First our own Mrs. Irvin, then our good friend Steph, a close cousin of mine, and then excitedly I will announce that I am a new auntie 2 x’s over. My sister and law gave life to a sweet little gal, and my little sister created an adorable little dude. Both babes are happy and healthy and the lovely mothers are also doing well.

3) New job-still in the design industry but completely different category. I now design ophthalmic and sunglasses for women, men, youth, and children AND I LOVE IT! The people I work with are freaking awesome and I’m challenged everyday (a good thing). Like I always say, “better to be extremely busy learning than stagnant and bored”!

4) I finally made it to Vegas AND its not my scene . I was there on business, and while the food is very tasty, and the gambling ever so addictive- I believe I will only ever go back specifically for business. Sidenote: While there, my team and I took a cab to Old Vegas- one evening after a day of meetings and it was exactly what I had imagined it to be. Lights, people of all oddities, dollar roulette, cheap diners- and I loved it WAY more than all the glitz and “created” glamour of the main strip.IMG_1960

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5) Lastly, I will mention a state of mind I have been experiencing lately, and it is thankfulness. God has placed me where I’m at in my life for a reason, and I can only be grateful for all He has provided. Some days I wonder why specific prayers have gone unanswered for years, but I have to be mindful there is perfect timing in His plan and only He sees the full picture, while I see only the present.IMG_2082

 

Until next time…

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Rock the Crock, with this Easy Porkchop Dinner

So Texas weather is always unpredictable, but lately the entire country seems to be affected by the recent polar vortex’s. One day its 60 degrees, the next 13! I only wish warm thoughts and large mugs of cocoa for those that … Continue reading

Taking to the Skies

Readers, if you live in the South, you know we are experiencing a ice storm. In a couple days it’ll warm up and life will go back to normal, so until then stay safe and warm. Most people from the South, do not … Continue reading

“Stay”cation…what is it?

outside waterfall cabinWe always need a vacation. Whether you’re a stay at home mother, work a full time job, or just got back from your vacation! I can’t tell you how many times I return from a trip, and am ready to hit the road once more, after the laundry is piled up from a week of fun, and I’m preparing for Monday.

A few people consider a “staycation” as taking a week off of work, and seeing the sights around town, but at night returning to sleep at their home. However personally, I consider a “staycation” as getting OUT of the house, staying in a hotel, motel, cottage or cabin…just so long as its still within a couple hours of home. On my “staycations”, I don’t want the distractions and duties that come along with my homebase. I physically have to leave the premise and not return at the end of the day, in order to welcome that fully relaxed state that occurs with “vacation”.

Earlier in the year I wrote a list of goals to try and accomplish for 2013, and while I won’t complete all, I was able to check #8 off. My #8 was to purchase a groupon getaway, for my husband and I to escape for the weekend. I found a site called “yelp“, which is similar to groupon’s deals, and purchased a one night $95 coupon that was good for $125 at the Anderson Creek Cabins located in Glen Rose, TX. We booked two nights: Friday & Saturday, applied the coupon, & were able to pay a little less than $300 lodging for the whole weekend!

I would recommend this refuge of accommodation for couples, families, or those not into “roughing it aka camping in tents”. We had all the amenities that are present with a normal hotel, except we were away from the hustle and bustle of city life., oh, AND we had a full sized kitchen.

The pleasant innkeepers of the quaint cabins provide: pancake mix, syrup, popcorn, starbucks tea, & coffee in each cabin, and then cut firewood which could be picked up any time throughout the day at a designated wood pile, for an enjoyable cozy campfire at night. Propane grills are provided on the deck of each cabin for grilling, and the spacing of the four cabins, is far enough from each, that you cannot hear or even see your neighbor “campers”!

We stayed in the “Waterfall Cabin”, which when provided with a decent amount of rainfall, produces a waterfall that can be viewed from your personal deck. Unfortunately, as we’ve been in a bit of a drought, there was just a lovely view of the rock face sans water.

If you enjoy hiking, nature, or have children who like dinosaurs, Dinosaur Valley State Park is less than five minutes from the Anderson Creek Cabins. The hikes are easy, not even intermediate, unless of course you are going to “get primitive” and decide to hike the path less traveled.dinodino printusAn amazing dessert place in downtown Glen Rose called, “Pie Peddlers“, creates homemade cream & fruit pies, so if you have a sweet tooth, make sure to try a slice of blackberry pie and key lime pie. It was delicious and so worth it!!pie peddlerspie

Next time you are interested in a inexpensive getaway for the weekend, check groupon or yelp, because you just might be packing your bags sooner than you realize! Have fun friend & share your finds!