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June 25, 2014

Westlake High School Summer Session (Eanes Austin)

The daughter asked to take P.E. during the Summer session. Seemed like an odd request to us, but now I understand. Not only does this fill a required class, allowing the kids more choices and (hopefully) classes that will count towards college credit, but they had a lot of fun. They exercise in the morning, then load onto a school bus for a daily excursion. Destinations include, Roller Skating, Krause Springs, hiking and swimming the Greenbelt, Bowling Alley, Top Golf (fancy driving range with table service). Some days they walked to Barton Creek mall.

I sent her with the underwater camera the day they went to Barton Springs Pool

barton springs pool 

underwater selfie 


barton springs pool austin 

rain at barton springs pool austin 

Final cost of the class was about $350 including daily costs: the kids are responsible for paying their own admission into each place ($18 for top golf, free for the mall etc).

When she asked me for the $18 for Top Golf, I asked "what happens when some kid says they just don't have enough money on them?" Daughter looked me in the eye and said, "THAT never happens" Oh yeah... Westlake. I opened up my wallet and was lucky enough to find one five and a ten.


I think the whole family should sign up for Summer School! 

Fancy Mexican from El Naranjo

We took the kids to one of the nicest Mexican Restaurants in Austin, El Naranjo.

Some people think Mexican food is all tacos and burritos, not true. Just like Americans don't always eat hamburgers... think about it... no, I'll just show you...

el naranjo ceviche 

Everybody LOVED the ceviche (even the daughter who often doesn't care for raw fish). #1 son could've eaten that whole bowl.

nopales salad el naranjo austin 

The BEST nopales salad we ever had! (prickly pear cactus leaves) 

green mole austin el naranjo fancy mexican food 

Pork Chop with a Green Mole and White Beans. 

sea bass mexican el naranjo austin 

Sea Bass with Achiote Sauce, Spinach Tamal and Ix-Ne-Pec sauce 

mole poblano el naranjo austin restaurant 

Duck Breast with Mole Poblano. Funny back-story related to my love of Mole sauce: years back when we lived in Santa Cruz, while dining at the Mexican food place about a block from our home, I ordered the Chicken Mole. Kat's Mom was with us, she's unfamiliar with most Mexican foods. I told the daughter "you should try this, there is actually chocolate in this sauce!". MIL (Mother In Law) quickly jumped in and told her"He's just kidding there is NO chocolate sauce, don't listen to him". "NO, it's true, there IS chocolate in this sauce" I insisted, and so it went for a while till I gave up in defeat.... and just as there should be, I can tell you as it's written on the menu, there IS chocolate in that there Mole Sauce, and it was GOOD!

if MIL ever returns to visit us, I'm gonna take her to El Naranjo, and we will order The Mole Poblano with Duck Breast, that's a promise! 

cochinita pibil austin el naranjo 

Cochinita Pibil, this was always a favorite of mine when I used to travel to Merida, capital city of the Yucatan State. (that was before three kids) 

cheers! el naranjo austin 

Yes, it all tasted as pretty as it looks. 

flan and tres leches el naranjo austin 

everything had been so good, we went ahead with dessert; Flan and Tres Leches  

el naranjo upscale mexican restaurant austin 

The Daughter always loves Tres Leches. 


June 23, 2014

Summer Fun 2014

It appears we are enjoying a staycation. I'll try to fit a few of the highlights from the past two weeks...

kolsch at banger's austin  

German style beers at Banger's

no va rainey street happy hour food 

Fed the family with very little $ at No Va on Rainey street during HH. The Chef was nice enough to come out and chat with us.

austin hike and bike boardwalk  

We explored the new Boardwalk section of the Hike and Bike trail. At 1.1 miles it's a 2.2 mile r/t.   

austin hike and bike trail bordwalk 

schlitterbahn new braunfels 

2nd Schlitterbahn of the Summer (season pass cost is down to $50 per trip)

schlitterbahn new braunfels

schlitterbahn pool bar 

june in austin  

It's been a mild spring. Boys playing RC cars in the back yard.   

west lake hills modern june 2014 

austin middle school drummer boy 

#1 son is still learning drums. Mostly on his own this year. He's playing from sheet music in an instruction book. 

trace happy hour w hotel austin  

We enjoyed Happy Hour with some friends in town from Dallas. Good fun at TRACE before attending the Jeff Tweedy taping at ACL (the tv show). We lucked into seats right next to the stage. They don't allow photography at those tapings, but our friend Chad is an official show picture taker, his pics linked here

not shown, we tried to see our friend Robynn Shayne sing with a local band. The club asked them to get on stage earlier than originally scheduled, so we missed most of the set.  


Spanish Gold at Waterloo and On-Airstreaming

#1 son and I ran down the street to catch Spanish Gold doing an in-store performance at Waterloo Records:

spanish gold live austin waterloo records 

spanish gold waterloo records 

spanish gold waterloo records 

Spanish Gold at On-Airstreaming Studios:

spanish gold austin on-airstreaming studios 

Kat and I ran downtown for a Spanish Gold taping.

deep eddy cocktails austin on-airstreaming 

The room was really packed. The only space we could find was next to the open bar... Thank you (again) deep eddy vodka. 

on airstreaming studios spanish gold 

Spanish Gold played inside the airstream. The airstream is inside a building next to ACL Live studio, W hotel etc.  

on-airstreaming studios spanish gold interview clacker 

There was a great interview after the performance.   

spanish gold austin on-airstreaming interview 

They even have fake grass to keep up the camping theme of the airstream.  

spanish gold on airstreaming austin 

lamberts bbq spicy deviled eggs austin 

We left hungry and quickly ducked into Lamberts. We've become a fan of their spicy deviled eggs (both fish and chicken eggs on that plate) as well as their ribs and brisket. 

lambert's fancy bbq austin brisket 


Due Forni HH

due forni austin pizza happy hour

We took the whole family to Due Forni for Happy Hour.  

due forni austin

due forni austin happy hour 

It was all pretty good, especially the carpaccio and the truffle pizza (#1 son did not like the pizza due to the runny egg yolk) 

austin texas congress archive angelina eberly

Angelina Eberly tribute.   


Shinyribs wine-down Monday at ACL Live

shinyribs austin acl live

shinyribs wine down acl  

shinyribs acl 


acl live wine down monday 

mulberry austin pea soup 

We had a really nice meal at mulberry after the show.

mulberry austin steak brulle 

June 18, 2014

Alpine TX, Lost Alaskan RV

We spent the night at the Lost Alaskan RV park in Alpine on the way to, and from, Big Bend.

Alpine TX mountain 


It's easy to get distracted with all the scenery. This pic (above) was taken from the window of a moving vehicle... just south of Alpine.


Lost Alaskan was nice. Kat even bought fresh eggs and got to meet the happy chickens that laid them at the Lost Alaskan. She was especially excited about the blue egg. 

lost alaskan rv park alpine tx 

alpine tx rv lost alaskan pool 

Afternoon swim and mini waterpark there at Lost Alaskan. 

lost alaskan pool alpine tx rv 

swimming in alpine texas lost alaskan 

lost alakasan alpine tx sunset  


lost alaskan rv alpine texas 

steakhouse alpine texas reata 

Dinner at Reata 


marfa pizza foundation 

I found Marfa frustrating. I don't suggest going on a Sunday, most everything is closed.  


Lajitas Resort and Maverick RV

We stayed at the Lajitas Resort Maverick RV park while we explored both Big Bend Parks. We appreciated the large clean pool each afternoon, the free wifi, the clean showers and bathrooms, friendly staff etc.

big bend margarita lajitas rv 


lajitas golf course big bend texas 






maverick rv park lajitas 

grilled tenderloin sous vide 

I took my sous vide to the desert. It made easy work of this tenderloin, finished on the grill and served with grilled mushrooms and fresh roasted corn and orzo. Yes, we had red wine too.  

airstream camping dinner lajitas 

lajitas dust storm 

I heard a big howling sound and saw a giant dust storm approaching. "GRAB YOUR FOOD AND GET INSIDE, NOW!" The boys made it in, some stuff had to be chased down as the wind made off with it. But we had a very windy dinner. 

wind dancer  

The Daughter really enjoyed the wind. 

dancing in the wind lajitas rv maverick 

lajitas dust storm wine grabbers 

and then it blew some of the clouds away and left us with that "golden light". 

vintage airstream lajitas rv 



lajitas texas big bend 


vintage airstream lajitas big bend 


terlingua american legion post  

made a quick stop at the American Legion on the way back to Alpine. 

terlingua american legion post  


June 14, 2014

Terlingua Ghost Town, Ghosts, Dogs on the Porch, Cold Beer, and a music man too.

We stopped by the Terlingua Ghost Town. Kat and the kids bought tourist stuff and I sat on the porch. The store sells COLD beers for $3 each, and it's a great place to kill some time in the heat of they day. You will usually find some local singer songwriter drinking beer, pickin' his guitar ans singing songs. Telling a few long tales inbetween the music too.  I loved it.

terlingua ghost town


terlingua ghost town

terlingua ghost town texas

terlingua ghost town texas big bend


Closed Canyon, Big Bend Texas State Park

I was thinking that'd we spend all our time at Big Bend National Park. A host at Lajitas suggested the River Road drive through Big Bend State Park. It was solid advice.

river road big bend state park texas


Mexico on the left side of the water. It's noted as a scenic drive. We stopped to do the Closed Canyon trail.

closed canyon big bend state park texas

closed canyon big bend texas

closed canyon big bend texas

Narrow and lots of wind, and shade too. 

big bend closed canyon texas


The daughter stopped here. We weren't positive we could get back up. She opted to stay if we needed somebody to go back to the truck for a rope.

big bend state park closed canyon hike


closed trail hike canyon big bend texas 2014


It was this pool of water that stopped us and sent us back. I probably could've waded across.... but it was time to head back.

closed canyon trail hike big bend texas


yeah, this boulder blocked part of the path. Either over, or squeeze through the hole...

closed canyon trail obstacle texas

I managed to make it through.

dirt clod explosion santa elena river big bend texas mexico border

We stopped at a green portion along the banks of the Santa Elena River. Kat tried to throw a rock over to Mexico. #1 son also attempted the stone throw. BUT he had accidentally selected a giant dirt clod instead of a rock! He gave it his best push and it disolved into a cloud of dirt that engulfed his mother. Amused, she was NOT!


June 10, 2014

Big Bend National Park, Santa Elena Canyon

big bend national park lajitas texas

Big Bend! the furthest we have ever drug our airstream.

old maverick dirt road big bend santa elena canyon

We opted to take the shorter (off-road) path to Santa Elena Canyon, Old Maverick Rd.

ford off road maverick santa elena canyon big bend

the truck did its job, we arrived a bit shaken by the washboard dirt road... but we made it. 

santa elena canyon big bend national park texas

Santa Elena Canyon! That's Mexico on the left side of the water.

santa elena canyon trail big bend

santa elena canyon shade rock big bend

It was near noon, almost no shade on our side of the canyon. We made frequent stops to take advantage of any we could find. 

big bend national park santa elena canyon trail end

end of the trail. (BIG)

big bend santa elena canyon


big bend national park clean up

We only saw one piece of trash the whole trip. Kat scaled down some rocks to pick it up and drag it back to Austin for recycling.

big bend kids

big bend santa elena river splash

Splashing is always fun, especially when it's 106 degrees outside.

big bend santa elena canyon cactus


big bend hiking with kids

big bend santa elena canyon with kids

steep steps hike at santa elena canyon big bend kids

yeah, those stairs and ramps are steep.

santa elena river canyon big bend mexico

VIVA May-Hee-Coh!

mexico side big bend santa elena

santa elena canyon river big bend national park

big bend shiner beer at castolon

We really appreciated the cold Shiner (and water, and iced tea) we found at Castolon inside the park. The kids enjoyed ice cream sandwiches. 

The Falls of Schlitterbahn New Braunfels

Summer Break is in progress..

schlitterbahn new braunfels

We renewed our season pass to Schlitterbahn. #2 son needed time to get used to the water, we started in the lazy river then moved on to the real fun.

lazy river schlitterbahn


the falls schlitterbahn

schlitterbahn new braunfels the falls worlds longest water park ride

the falls new braunfels tube

schlitterbahn new braunfels tx water park

The Falls is the world's longest water park ride. And, you can do it all day long as it makes a loop. A large "con-vader" (conveyor) belt and giant water auger keep the tubers and water flowing round and round. 

human water tube conveyor belt convader schlitterbahn

first trip to schlitterbahn this season, the cost of the pass is around $100 per trip so far. 

June 02, 2014

Palm trees can stay in Miami. Give me Mesquite and Retama...

A couple years back, we found some beautiful Queen Palms at the big box discount club store. They were cheap too! It was a lot of work digging the holes, and they survived one winter... but not the 2nd.

dead queen palm austin

It was a LOT of work digging them out too! A few hours with my pick axe.

mequite tree austin

While I had empty holes in the yard, we bought some Mesquite and Retama trees to fill them.

retama tree austin green trunk

deconstructed sushi spicy tuna

I was making spicy tuna rolls a few weeks back and my sushi skill was a bit rusty. They just didn't turn out well. I remembered a local sushi place that crams Spicy Tuna Roll ingredients into a bamboo cylinder, presses them out on your plate into a stack, and then mixes it all up. It was fun to watch, and required NO rolling of the sushi. And that is sort of how we are doing it at home, no rolling. I arranged the ingredients on the plate, then mix it all up before eating.

deconstructed spicy tuna roll

I added some "X sauce" to make it even spicier. That may look like Sriracha sauce, but that's the sauce I made from the pequin peppers we harvested from the back yard and fermented for 6 months. SPICY and GOOD!

louisiana hot sauce on popcorn

#2 son still prefers "jucka-jucka sauce" (louisiana hot sauce). He can't eat popcorn without it.

watermelon cocktail

Enjoying watermelon cocktails with some friends.

juniper tree austin

Kat fell in love with this Juniper tree. Although not native to the area, we agreed to try and make it work. It makes a nice potted plant for outside the Airstream.

Lyft launch party

lyft austin pink mustache launch party ride sharing

Lyft  has launched in Austin. We desperatley need new/more transportation options. Austin is growing faster than infrastructure can adapt.

lyft austin party at bungalow on rainey

The launch party was at Bungalow on Rainey St. They have a good beer selection available to us.

chocolate covered bacon

We also enjoyed a good meal of tacos, cupcakes and chocolate covered bacon.

rio rooftop austin w 6th

Then we made our way to a pool party at RIO. But only about 8 people showed up, our group was 4 of that. We enjoyed some cocktails by the pool and played selfie photo booth to occupy ourselves.

selfies at rio rooftop lounge pool

rio rooftop pool

french 76 at tapasitas

It was hot at RIO so we ducked into Tapasitas on the way home. We enjoyed some ice cold oysters.

another Eanes Elementary Graduate

eanes 5th grade talent show

#1 son performed for the 5th grade talent show as a closing act on his time (7 years) at Eanes Elementary.

suited up for eanes graduation


eanes graduation elementary austin

He was excited to be graduating and looks forward to Middle School.

graduates of eanes elementary