Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Battleship Texas State Historic Site (with San Jacinto Battleground)

Yesterday we spent the morning visiting the Battleship Texas State Historic Site (website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/battleship-texas).  At this historic site we toured the Battleship Texas and visited the memorial on the San Jacinto Battleground.  

The historic site is about a half hour drive from our house and we didn't have to pay for admission to the Battleship because it is part of our State Parks membership.  

Battleship Texas

We spent about an hour and a half touring around the battleship.  There were no organized walking tours so we just wandered about and read the signs.  The boys loved it - there were lots of areas to wander around and so many things to touch!  There are even some "guns" on the sides of the boat that visitors can climb up, sit on, and aim.  They had to work as a team (one changes the angle of the gun horizontal and one vertical) and Big Boy and Little Boy had a lot of fun together.

We wandered around the open top deck and then the much cooler lower decks with their office and living spaces.  At the end we climbed as high as possible up the battleship to take in the view - a bit of a disappointing view but the kids loved the climb.

I would highly recommend this attraction for other people with kids who like to explore.  It's nice to give them a hands-on history lesson.

Here are some photos from our visit to the Battleship.  After the photos I will talk about the San Jacinto Battleground.

Battleship Texas
View of the ship from the deck.
Officer's dining area.

Sleeping bunks - my boys tried these out!

Dental office.



After Battleship Texas we drove over to the San Jacinto Battleground to see the memorial.  We decided not to go up to the top - it was crowded and hot, the kids were getting tired, and we had seen the view from the top of the ship (and it wasn't particularly exciting...).  We let the kids run about and took a few pictures before we went home for lunch.

The memorial is a lovely, elegant obelisk, but the grounds were a bit unkempt - there was stray grass growing around the reflecting pool and dishevelled greenery.  We had fun there, but I'm not sure it's a "must see" destination in my opinion.

The monument is topped with a multi-sided lone star.
View of the San Jacinto Monument from the Battleship Texas.
View of the Battleship Texas from the San Jacinto Monument.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Gerald D. Hines Water Wall Park and Wienermobile and Grady Park

I meant to post this last weekend but I had some delays loading the photos.

Last weekend we had a free morning and we decided to visit Water Wall Park.  I've wanted to see it since I read about it on a "top things to do" type of website.  The Park is next to the Galleria shopping centre.

I loved Water Wall Park!  It is probably my favourite thing in Houston so far.  It is a tiny park with just the Water Wall as it's only feature.  Here are some photos:

 I love the constant flow and the sound of the water.

This is the back of the wall.

As we drove away from the Water Wall we saw the wienermobile parked at a hotel.  Of course we needed to stop for some photos!

Then we went on to Grady Park.  This park had great potential but was was not very well-kept and had a lot of damage and vandalism.  We won't be going back!

How on earth did someone do this to a metal picnic table?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Painting Time

Yesterday the boys and I got a bit artistic.  We painted using watercolours and poster paints.  Here are our best pictures:

Baby Boy slashed around with red paint and gusto!

Little Boy, as usual, created very linear, modern art.
This took him ages to complete because he carefully placed every stroke.

Big Boy started by sketching with a pencil and created a very well-proportioned Ninja Turtle.
He even included a scar on the turtle's front.  

I was holding Baby Boy while I experimented with watercolours.
I gave up when Baby Boy started "helping" with his own wet and soggy brush -
you can see his contribution above the orange flower.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Big Lots! and Tuesday Morning

I had to kill a bit of time this week and I was in the same neighbourhood as Big Lots! and Tuesday Morning.  I had never been into either store so I thought I'd pop in to both.  I had about 10-15 minutes for each.

Big Lots! reminded me a little of an Aldi but without any of the fresh produce.  It had a fairly random selection of groceries, household items, toys, and other bits.  I actually bought something here - a bag of Bob's Red Mill beans and grains for soup.  I'm not sure it's a place I would buy things on a regular basis - it's a store that requires quite a bit of "hunting" and I usually don't have time - but I think I'd look there from time to time.

Tuesday Morning was a bit of a "crafty" store.  I think I could spend some time here browsing for notions and decorations.  It also seemed to be have different party supplies to other shops - I will definitely check back there when I'm planning birthday parties.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Driving By....

This morning when I was driving with one of my boys there was a bit of a traffic snarl.  Traffic was very backed up at a particular intersection by a public monument.  We sat and waited with the other cars and as we moved up I saw that loads of police cars were blocking one part of the road and traffic was travelling slowly down the other side.  As we got nearer I saw media cameras as well.

We drove closer and I could see that the police had taped off a section of park and I looked over and saw a dead person laying on the ground.  I won't go into a description about how the person looked, but it was far worse than what I've seen on television.  It was the worst thing I have ever seen.

According to the news, the police are conducting an investigation into what happened.  I drove by the same spot a few hours later and everything was gone - a couple was actually sitting on the bench having a drink of water.  I'm not sure why I'm feeling this way, but it seems horrible that (1) whatever happened happened; and (2) there is no trace of it anymore - no candles, no pile of flowers, no notes from loved ones.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Beauty Box Five

I decided to try a beauty box subscription.  What's a beauty box subscription?   Essentially it's a service that sends you a box of beauty products once per month.  You subscribe to the service and then fill out a questionnaire regarding your beauty routine and preferences.  A stylist sends you a box of beauty products (some full sized and some sample sized) to try out.  

I looked at a bunch of different beauty box subscriptions and I decided to try Beauty Box Five (http://www.beautybox5.com/).  I ordered my first box. The normal cost is $12.00 per box but I had a voucher and the cost was $6.00 for this box.  Beauty Box Five always contains 5 items (imagine that!).

This is how the box looked when I got it:

The box came with:  a hair treatment; travel wipes; a lip gloss; a sunscreen; and a nail polish.  Inside the box there was a card describing each product and how to use it.  The card also sets out the retail price of each item.

The sunscreen, hair treatment, and travel wipes are all products I will definitely use.  I love this brand of sunscreen but it's expensive so I don't normally buy it (it retails for $55.00 for 1.7 ounces and my sample is 0.5 ounces).  

The lip gloss is a bit of a shocking pink.  I tried it on with a full application and it looked a bit trampy.  But after blotting it was a nice healthy glow.  I actually quite like it....and I would have never picked it at the shop!

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My favourite thing is this nail polish.  It has some "confetti" in it and I can't wait to use it to do a pedicure.  

I'm not sure if I'm going to be a subscription "addict" but I'm pretty happy with this box and I will continue my subscription to see what September brings.  

Beauty Box Five doesn't currently have a referral program but they may in the future.  If you want to check them out after reading this, please use my referral link:  http://www.beautybox5.com/?u=15268.  Thanks!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


I have piles of school paperwork and school-related "chores" to do, so I just have time for a brief catch-up.

Big Boy is doing well in school.  He likes his teacher and seems to be settling in well.  It helps that some pals from last year are in his class.

Today was my first morning with all 3 of my boys in school - I had fun doing some errands alone and drinking a leisurely cup of coffee.

We had a busy weekend.  We swam all 3 evenings.  Swimming in the early evening is just lovely here. The pool water is warm from the sun and the air is no longer scorching.  

All 3 boys are getting more comfortable in the water.  Big Boy "swims" around and retrieves diving toys but he doesn't really do any actual swimming strokes.  Little Boy is becoming braver every day.  Now he jumps into the pool and will kick around following Big Boy.  Baby Boy was too brave a few weeks ago.  He developed a taste for jumping in and would jump whether someone was ready to catch him or not.  Now he also kicks around in the pool, happy as a clam.  He also loves to float on his back.

I bought Little Boy and Baby Boy each a Stearns Puddle Jumper (http://www.amazon.com/Stearns-Puddle-Jumper-Deluxe-Jacket/dp/B003648OQY#).  It is a combination life jacket and water wings - quite brilliant - and it keeps the child afloat and upright with their face out of the water.  The child can move his arms and kick around to control the direction of travel.  Also, Baby Boy can roll onto his back and float on his back (Little Boy would never try to float on his back).

While I would never ever leave any of the kids alone in the pool and I would never let Baby Boy or Little Boy stray far from me, the Puddle Jumpers give my boys a bit of freedom to jump into the pool and to kick around in the pool without being held.

We also bought Big Boy a desk for his homework this weekend.  It was from Ikea so there was much assembly required....but it was worth it.  He has used it for all his homework so far, and I think he enjoys the grown up work space.

Little Boy went to a birthday party this weekend at a gymnastics club.  Despite his initial worry and tantrum he had a great time!