Posted on 06-29-2012
Filed Under (Educational Ideas, Vacations/Travel) by Charla

If you ever need a map of time zones, here is a good map that not only gives the different zones but also the time and date in each zone.  It’s especially good for those who are traveling to Hawaii.  It’s been a while since we went to Hawaii with our family after our daughter graduated from high school, but I can remember trying to figure out the time difference.  For example, looking at this map I can see that Hawaii is five hours behind us here in Central Mountain Time.  I’m a visual learner, so it helps me remember to look at an actual map.

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Posted on 06-26-2012
Filed Under (Product Reviews, Vacations/Travel) by Charla


We discovered Dad’s Original Scotch Oatmeal Cookies while visiting the famous St. Louis Gateway Arch two summers ago.  These unassuming cookies we bought at the gift store appeared to be just your average cookie, something to snack on until we had supper later that evening.  We were pleasantly surprised how delicious these crispy, brown sugar oatmeal cookies tasted.

After researching, we were disappointed to find out that these cookies are only sold in the St. Louis area.  However, you can order them online.  This year, we wanted the experience of visiting the actual bakery, Dad’s Cookie Co., where the cookies are sold.  Once again, these unassuming cookies originate in an unassuming bakery.  This location is over 100 years old and carries a lot of history with it.  Upon visiting the bakery, it was not what we expected (very small and not updated).  However, it was an enjoyable experience that surprised us just like the cookies did.

If you visit the actual bakery, they bag up the cookies the way they always have:  in a brown paper bag tied with string.  And you get a much better deal on the price:  1 pound of cookies (we got 35-36 cookies) for $3.69 plus the cookies they sell out of their cookie barrel in the store are larger cookies than the pre-packaged ones they sell online.  We were pleasantly surprised again!

I talked to a St. Louis local earlier this year and found out she has relatives who make it a point to get Dad’s cookies every time they come to visit.  After reading online, there are Dad’s Cookie Co. fans all over the country.  I told the local lady that these cookies remind me of ones my mother used to make when I was growing up.  She said a lot of people say that!

Here’s what I wrote about our first encounter with these famous St. Louis Cookies, Dad’s Original Scotch Oatmeal Cookies.

 

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Posted on 06-22-2012
Filed Under (Vacations/Travel) by Charla

We have a family tradition when we go visit my mother-in-law, and that’s to take a day trip and travel to Arthur to see the Amish buggies on the road and visit the little downtown section (and I do mean little).  We also have a tradition to eat at Monical’s Pizza.  Yum!  They have one of the most delicious super thin, crispy crusts I have ever tasted.

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For those of you who like to listen to books while traveling, I found a site that has free online audio books.  Looking through their list, I already see one that would be interesting to me, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice which is the most famous of her novels.

I read the book several years ago and have the movie on DVD (the long version starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle).  It’s such a great story!  (Actually, our daughter and s-i-l gave me the movie years ago for Christmas, and Christi and I stayed up late watching the movie.  It was that good!)  I imagine the audio book would recreate flashbacks of the movie for me, and it’s good to know about this site in case I’m ever in the mood to listen to the book online.

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Posted on 06-08-2012
Filed Under (Household Ideas, Vacations/Travel) by Charla

Colorado has always been my very favorite place to visit since I was a young girl.  What would be a dream of mine would be to live up in Colorado during the summer months in a nice cabin with a porch or deck with rustic outdoor furniture and a beautiful view of the mountains, a complete kitchen (dishwasher included), complete bathroom (absolutely no out-house), and nice neighbors.  I would love to get up every morning and sit on the deck while drinking a cup of tea and looking at the gorgeous scenery.  I guess I’ll just have to keep on dreaming!

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Posted on 06-04-2012
Filed Under (Vacations/Travel) by Charla

If you happen to be traveling to Fort Worth, here are a few ideas from a Metroplex Area local.  When we travel, we like to visit the one-of-a-kind, local places as much as we can, so here are some tips that I hope will be helpful in planning your trip:

 

ATTRACTIONS:

  • Bass Performance Hall @ 4th and Calhoun Streets in Sundance Square, downtown Fort Worth.  Free tours of this absolutely beautiful performance hall are offered on Saturdays at 10:30 a.m.  Check their Events Calendar for events and concerts.
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  • Blue Bonnet Bakery @ 4705 Camp Bowie Blvd. in an historical 1920s-era church building which received the Historic Fort Worth 2011 Preservation Award.  For over 75 years, they’ve been well-known for their sugar cookies, desserts, & more!
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  • Bureau of Engraving and Printing @ 9000 Blue Mound Road, one of only two currency printing facilities in the United States.  Admission is free.  This is geared more for adults and older children.  The tour is interesting but involves a lot of walking and standing.
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  • Casa Manana @ 3101 West Lancaster Avenue off University Drive features a stage that extends into the audience on three sides.  For over 50 years, they have provided professional theatre performances.
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  • Fort Worth Botanic Garden @ 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd. off University Drive.  This is the oldest botanic garden in Texas and such a pretty place to walk or drive through.  There is free admission to nearly all of the gardens, however, there is an admission fee for the Japanese Garden.
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  • Fort Worth Stock Yards @ Exchange Avenue and N. Main Street.  There are numerous attractions, restaurants, and shopping in this area, including the Stockyards Championship Rodeo, Stockyards Museum, Cowtown Coliseum, Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, Grapevine Vintage Railroad, and Petting Zoo.  There’s a lot to see and do in this area!
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  • Fort Worth Zoo @ 1989 Colonial Parkway.  Admission is half-price on Wednesdays.  It’s  ranked #5 in the nation by USA Travel Guide, a top zoo by Family Life magazine, the Los Angeles Times and USA Today,  and named the #1 attraction in the Dallas/ Fort Worth Metroplex by Zagat Survey U.S. Family Travel Guide.
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  • Forest Park Miniature Railroad is close to the Fort Worth Zoo.  (CASH only: prices).   The ride is about five miles long and lasts 35-40 minutes for the round trip.  This train is a Fort Worth family tradition since 1959 and is a favorite for children of all ages!  We love it, especially our grandsons, even our college-age son, and actually…the whole family!
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  • Log Cabin Village @ 2100 Log Cabin Village Lane, located close to the Fort Worth Zoo, contains six log houses, dating back to the mid 1800s and furnished with authentic furnishings. Popular for school field trips.
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  • Montgomery Plaza @ 2600 W. Seventh St. in Fort Worth’s Cultural District.  A renovated Montgomery Ward building, originally built in 1928 and once the largest building in Texas.  This is a favorite of ours!  We like to eat at Pei Wei and also Pie Five Pizza.
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  • Sundance Square is located in downtown Fort Worth and is a hub for hotels, events, restaurants, entertainment, and shopping.  This includes Bass Performance Hall and Circle Theatre as well as P.F. Chang’s China Bistro and Razzoo’s Cajun Cafe.   And it’s fun just to walk around the area on a pretty day.
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MUSEUM DISTRICT:

These museums are located in close proximity to each other:

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  • Amon Carter Museum of American Art  @ 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd.  Note the exterior walls of the museum.  Texas shell stone was used which, in my opinion, makes the walls a work of art.  Admission is free to this museum.
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  •  Fort Worth Museum of Science and History @ at 1600 Gendy St. (off Camp Bowie Blvd.)  Each Bank of America  cardholder gets free admission through their Museums on Us Program the first full weekend of every month.  Children are charged regular children’s admission.  Great museum for families, and I highly recommend it!
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  •  Kimbell Art Museum  @ 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd.  The building was designed by a renowned architect and is widely recognized as one of the most significant works of architecture today.   The landscaping and skylights add to the museum experience.  The museum always has free admission to their permanent collection.
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  • Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth  @ 3200 Darnell St. (not far off Camp Bowie Blvd.)  Admission is free on the first Sunday of every month & half price every Wednesday.  The Grand Lobby, Café Modern, and the Modern Shop are always free.  This museum was named one of the “World’s Most Beautiful Art Museums” by Travel + Leisure Magazine.
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  • National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame @ 1720 Gendy St. (off Camp Bowie Blvd.)   Ages 2 & under are free with a paid adult.  The museum’s slogan is “The only thing pink about growing up cowgirl is a sunset,”  and they honor women in the past and present who help shape the American West.
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RESTAURANTS:

There are many, many other restaurants, but here are just a few ideas (several are family owned)..

  • Kincaid’s Hamburgers @ 4901 Camp Bowie Blvd.  The Grocery started in 1946 and began making hamburgers in 1964.  Their hamburgers were chosen as the best burger in the USA in the late 1960’s and have been the best burger in Fort Worth many times.  Note, the original Kincaid’s on Camp Bowie is the only location that still serves the way they did back in the 60’s.
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  • Paris Coffee Shop  @ 704 W. Magnolia is not a French cafe.  It is like taking a step back in time to the sixties, full of nostalgia.  However, the definition of a “Parisian Cafe” is a center of social and culinary life, and that is the Paris Coffee Shop.  It is the meeting place!  Well known for their homemade pies, their Coconut Cream Pie is a favorite.
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  • Mexican Inn Cafe with several locations in the Fort Worth area, originally opened in 1936.   Their family tradition is to make their own masa for their chips and tortillas.  Their chips are unique, more like homemade fritos, and are a favorite of many.  Eating at Mexican Inn is a tradition of many families in the area.
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  • Pie Five Pizza opened last year in Montgomery Plaza @ 2600 W. 7th Street. Its trendy atmosphere, pizzas ready to eat in five minutes, and awesome selection of toppings are three reasons why it’s a favorite.  It reminds me of a Subway for pizza because each personal size pizza is made exactly to your specifications with no extra charge.
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  • Riscky’s Barbeque with several locations, dates back to the late twenties with Polish immigrants, and the Riscky family has been in business ever since with six locations in the Fort Worth area.  They serve the best quality meats and their barbeque sauce is a favorite of many, as well as their seasoned french fries.  The atmosphere is truly Texan!
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  • Shaws Patio Bar and Grill @ 1057 W. Magnolia Avenue (Magnolia Ave. – a popular hub for restaurants) is a family owned restaurant with a family fun atmosphere, including flatscreens, a juke box, and live music.  They have “Hamburger Happy Hour” every Tuesday-Thursday from 4:00-7:00 p.m. and feature 1/2 price burgers.
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