Native Texan Livin'

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Friday, September 2, 2016

RECAP - Great Wolf Lodge - Grapevine, TX

Well, we got the kids back to school & have been back from Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX for a month now, so I figured it was time to write a recap. :-)

In case this is your first stop ever to my blog, I like lots of pictures!  I'm also a slow talker & like lots of details, so.... this is a longy but a goody! ;-)  BUT, if you stick with me the whole time, you will be rewarded by 2 videos at the end. :-)

We arrived in Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX on a Thursday around 5pm after a 4+ hour drive.  There's a huge covered drive for you to pull into at the front door so you can check in & then there's self parking.  We walked in to check in & the first thing you see is a giant tree, a tree house staircase & the GIANT window overlooking the indoor waterpark! (Which I clearly didn't take a pic of!)

When you check into Great Wolf Lodge, you're given waterproof wristbands to wear for your entire stay.  These wristbands act as your room key & also have the capability to scan to make purchases.  The staff will ask you your preferences for each band, so for us, for instance, I let the girls bands be activated as a room key but NOT for purchases.

We booked the Kid Kamp Suite & the girls were so excited they had their own room!  The room was clean & pretty spacious.  I was kinda bummed that there was so much was "wear & tear" on the outside of the Kids Kamp (see the red/black sleeping bag below) & there was also some peeling theme wallpaper above the top bunk.  I'm guessing kids would climb on that sleeping bag to go thru that little window.  The only other thing wrong with our room was that we didn't have a drying line.  We had the contraption that should've held the string, but there was nothing in it.  We called the front desk multiple times to have them fix it, but it never got fixed.  For the amount we paid for the room, it was a bit disappointing.

After we got settled in the room, we went down to check the place out.  The girls put on their suits & jumped straight in!  Bo & I didn't get in the water the first night because it was already getting late & we wouldn't be able to be in there for too long.

These lillypads were Izzy's favorites!  And yes, they actually did make it across them. :-)

After swimming, we grabbed a pizza from Hungry as a Wolf to-go pizza place on site & ate it back in the room.  The girls changed and we went down for story time in the lobby.  The first part of it is called The Great Clock Tower Show...and it's kind of weird.  This animatronic boy talks to some animals & then an animatronic American Indian girl comes out from the shadows (but where you can see her the whole time) and starts interacting.  Maybe it's just me...but I didn't like it.  

After that, they bring out a giant book to read to the kids, Wiley makes an appearance & there's a photo-op afterwards...before the dance party begins.

The next morning, we ate breakfast in the room (remember, we brought it with us) & went down to the waterpark around 9am.  Most of the tables & chairs you see first thing when you walk in get taken pretty quickly.  We were able to find a table over by the lillypads & just left our stuff there for the day.  We could come & go as we pleased, came back for lunch & didn't worry about our stuff.

Since we planned this trip to celebrate our 12 year anniversary (& decided let the kids come with us) ;-) we ate a nicer dinner at the Lodge Wood Fired Grill one night.  The food was really good!  I ordered a crab cake with mashed potatoes, Bo had a steak & the girls both had macaroni.

We pre-purchased a Paw Pass for each of the girls at $79.99/each.  I knew they wanted to do the MagiQuest game & I could've just purchased it separately, but for just a bit more, they got all this stuff:

Package Includes

  • One MagiQuest or Shadow Quest game
  • Choice of classic or color wand, standard topper or belt
  • One Creation Station animal (outfit not included)
  • One Glitz Glitter Tattoo
  • One 6x8 3D Paw Prints photo
  • One 12 oz. Mike and Ike candy cup from Bear Paw Sweets & Eats
  • One Leather Treaty bracelet or keychain from The Name Shop
  • One pair of Great Wolf Lodge goggles from Buckhorn Exchange Gift Shop

Personally, I wouldn't purchase this package again...and here's why...
  • We have the MagiQuest wands now, so if they wanted to play again, I'd just pay to reactivate a new game.
  • They don't even play with their "build-a-wolf" stuffed animal they got.  They'd rather get something they pick out from the actual gift shop.
  • The Glitz Glitter Tattoo is one of those sticker templates you place on yourself & then add glue & glitter. I'm pretty sure I have a kit like this at home from Walmart or something.  When you go to get the tattoo, they'll warn you that it IS waterproof but is NOT chlorine proof & will suggest you probably wait until you're completely done with the waterpark before getting it.
  • 3D Paw Prints photo - you choose between 3 different backgrounds & take a pic in front of a green screen.  They tell you to pose but don't really tell you where to place your hands to "catch the water falling on your head" in the pic, etc.  (I don't even know where these are in my house right now!)
  • 12 oz. Mike and Ike candy cup - We don't need 1 cup of candy, much less 2!
  • Leather Treaty bracelet - The girls actually DO like these bracelets because they were able to put their names on them...and now we don't need anymore. :-) 
  • Great Wolf Lodge goggles - these are fine but the girls still wanted to wear the goggles we brought from home.
Here are some pics of the girls enjoying their Paw Pass activities...

The outdoor water park area was really fun...and really hot!  There are 2 outdoor water slides, more lillypads to walk across, a big "mountain" with a wolf on it that shoots water at random times, basketball hoops & lots of fun kiddie things.

I seriously could not get over how close the planes were flying!
It was awesome!

The Ropes Course!  So.Much.Fun!  The girls & I went out at 10am Saturday morning & Bo cheered us on from the solid ground. :-)  After we climbed & flew for about an hour or so, we went in to enjoy the waterpark & eat lunch.  Later that afternoon, we ventured back out on the ropes one last time.

This is seriously the sweetest thing I've ever seen!  Maggie was scared to cross a certain section (in the pic above) & Izzy comforted her once she finally made it across! :-)

I think this course is a little more Maggie's speed. ;-)  She hung out on this one while we were waiting for Izzy to come down.

As a side note, when you pay for the ropes course, it's good for the length of your stay.  We didn't realize this at the time, so we only signed up for it on our last full day there.

Now, for what you've all been waiting for....THE END!    Just kidding!...there's more! :-)  Enjoy these 2 videos of our fun time at Great Wolf Lodge.  It was a blast & we can't wait to go back again!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Simple Ways to Tailgate at Home (with a YUMMY recipe!)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GameTimeHosting #CollectiveBias
Simple Ways to Tailgate at Home with Coca-Cola, Powerade & Wise Chips from Family Dollar

By a show of hands, who is ready for some football?!?!  We normally don't get to make it out to the actual games, so we do the next best thing...tailgate at home!

On my way home from work the other day, I stopped off at Family Dollar to pick up some tailgating essentials...Coca-Cola™, Powerade & chips.  Be sure to look for the one-stop Coca-Cola and Wise snacks display at Family Dollar...everything you need, all in one place.  My store had this set up as soon as you walked into the store!  AND you can save $1 when you buy (1) 12-pack of any Coca-Cola® product plus (1) Wise snack 3oz. or larger at Family Dollar today!  I grabbed some Coca-Cola, Powerade, Wise brand Hot 'n Honey cheese puffs & White Cheddar popcorn, which would all go perfectly for what I had planned!
Tailgating essentials at Family Dollar Coca-Cola, Powerade & Wise Chips

Along with the snacks, I wanted to make something spicy, 1 to 2-bite-snackable friendly & portable enough for people heading off to the actual game.

Enter my Buffalo Chicken Crescent Roll-Ups!

Buffalo Chicken Crescent Roll-Ups

Let's gather up the ingredients.....
Ingredients for Buffalo Chicken Crescent Roll-Ups and easy Tailgating recip
1 bar of cream cheese, softened
2 cans cooked chicken
1/2 cup buffalo sauce
1/2 cup bleu cheese dressing
shredded cheese (handful)

Ingredients for Buffalo Chicken Crescent Roll-Ups an easy tailgating recipe

Mix all of the ingredients & start assembling.

Assembling the Buffalo Chicken Crescent Roll-Ups. An easy at home tailgating recipe.

Now, we fold.....
Assembling the Buffalo Chicken Crescent Roll-Up. An easy at home tailgating recipe.
 hug it with 1 arm
now bring around the 2nd arm
wrap it up like a baby in a blankie
tuck in & pinch all the edges together

Buffalo Chicken Crescent Roll-Ups

Once pockets are rolled up, place 12 on a sheet & bake at 350°F until golden brown.

Buffalo Chicken Crescent Roll-Ups. Easy recipe for at home tailgating or at the game! Wash it down with a Coca-Cola!

These are SOOO good & they're the perfect size for popability! ;-)  Wash it all down with a Coca-Cola & you're set for a great game!  How do yall tailgate at home? Be sure to check out your local Family Dollar to get some great deals for all your tailgating needs.

Monday, August 8, 2016

[ad] Quick & Easy Chicken & Waffles for Dinner

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SchoolFuel #CollectiveBias

It's almost here.  The first day of school.  The schedules.  The endless driving to & from.  Am I gonna be ready?  You better believe it!

Our girls are so excited to start this school year!  Find out who their teachers are, meet new friends & to get this new adventure started.  Bo & I were just talking recently saying it's time to start easing the girls back into their school schedules...getting to bed at a decent hour, eating dinner on time, etc.

Because we do stay busy with after school activities, one thing that's really important for us is to meal plan.  Every Sunday, Bo will tell me what the weather's going to be that week so we know if he'll be able to grill.  Then the girls & I will sit down to decide the week's dinner menu before heading to HEB for our weekly shopping trip.  This way, we have a plan & we're not trying to figure out what's for dinner at 5pm...or 5am when we're trying to get to work!

Quick & Easy Chicken & Waffles with Tyson® Better for You Lightly Breaded Chicken Strips & Wright Brand® Bacon

It's so important for us to eat dinner as a family & I'd say we pull it off more times than not.  Some nights, we might get to the dinner table at 6:30pm or 7pm so we're always looking for dinner options that are high quality & low effort!  My kids love Breakfast for Dinner!  Who doesn't, right?!  We decided to try Chicken & Waffles...Sweet, savory & full of high quality protein...can't beat it!

I ran over to my favorite place, HEB, to pick up some Tyson® Better for You Lightly Breaded Chicken Strips along with Wright Brand® Bacon & State Fair® Corn Dogs (which are both Texas brands, so you know...we HAD to buy it!)!  Do you have an HEB by you?  If not, I would suggest moving near one as soon as humanly possible! HEB has an awesome app where you can add online coupons directly to your account.  Login on the payment machine during checkout & BOOM... coupons applied to your order!  There's even a coupon you can use now for the Wright Brand® Bacon.  Just search for Wright Brand® Bacon in the coupon search box & add for your next shopping trip.  You should also look for the on pack stickers on your Wright Brand®, State Fair® and Tyson® back-to-school product and enter to WIN 1 of 20 H-E-B $100 Gift Cards!  HEB also has yellow in-store coupons for State Fair® Corn Dogs so we were winning all the way around!
Tyson® Better for You Lightly Breaded Chicken Strips at HEB

Wright Brand® Bacon at HEB

State Fair® Corn Dogs at HEB

Tyson® Better for You Lightly Breaded Chicken Strips & Wright Brand® Bacon from HEB

First things first...bake the bacon in the oven.  I set my oven to 375°F & baked until crispy.
Wright Brand® Bacon baked in the oven at 375F until crispy

Oh my goodness!  If all I ever had to eat again was bacon, I'd be a happy girl!
Wright Brand® Bacon baked at 375F until crispy

While the bacon was in the oven, I made the waffle mix.  Once the bacon came out, I got the Tyson® Better for You Lightly Breaded Chicken Strips in the oven.

Chop up some of the bacon to add to the waffle mix.
Chopped Wright Brand® Bacon

Set the waffle iron to medium heat.  Spray with non-stick cooking spray & pour in the batter.
Waffle batter for Quick & Easy Chicken & Waffles

Add as much bacon as your little heart desires!
Waffle batter with Wright Brand® Bacon for Quick & Easy Chicken & Waffles

 Top the waffles with whole slices of bacon & cooked chicken strips.
Quick & Easy Chicken & Waffles with Tyson® Better for You Lightly Breaded Chicken Strips & Wright Brand® Bacon

Heat up some syrup & drizzle all over your chicken & waffles!
Quick & Easy Chicken & Waffles with Tyson® Better for You Lightly Breaded Chicken Strips & Wright Brand® Bacon

Quick & Easy Chicken & Waffles with Tyson® Better for You Lightly Breaded Chicken Strips & Wright Brand® Bacon

YUM!!!  So quick!  So simple!  So delicious!

Got a more picky/traditional eater on your hands?  Just heat up a State Fair® Corn Dog, mix up a fun dipping sauce & you're done!  We went with a homemade honey mustard.  Just add honey & mustard together until it's to your desired taste.  Can't get easier than that, right?!  Plus, the State Fair® Corn Dogs are  portable, fun for kids, a good source of protein, high quality & low effort...just what this mama likes!
State Fair® Corn Dogs at HEB

State Fair® Corn Dogs at HEB with homemade Honey Mustard

This chicken & waffles would also be an AMAZING leftover breakfast option to energize your day!  Just pop the waffles into your toaster to reheat when you're ready!  How do you get fueled up for back to school?  If you have any easy school week dinner ideas, please feel free to send them my way!