"There's no place like home."

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Children's Museum of Houston

Everything was so neat to look at!

Hello, folks!  Well, it's been a busy month and a half for me.  Had lots of family events two college graduations, a wedding, Mother's Day, husband out of the country and a nasty cold virus that swept through the house.  But, I am back!
Summer snuck-up on me, how about you?  But I don't mind, I really love summer...even when I am sweating up a storm and complaining about my electricity bill.
Collection of toy pedal cars.  My kids had a great time looking at all the different styles.

A few months ago (when it was much cooler), we gave the Children's Museum of Houston a try for the first time.  I got a pretty good deal for our family of six through Groupon.  They seem to rotate a deal every few months or so, so I would check them out if you have time to plan a visit.  I always try to find deals we can use because with four kids stuff can add-up fast....real fast.  I also noticed on the museum's website they offer discounts and FREE (my favorite word) days!  So, definitely check that out HERE!
We decided to go on a Sunday morning since we figured perhaps it would be a little less crowded with most people going to church, but it seemed that this place is so popular that there is always people going to enjoy the place.  If you have time to plan your visit you can call and ask when their less busy times are.  The staff was very helpful and did their best with the crowds that day.  There are all kinds of exhibits and things to do like: science, pretend play, exercise and even water activities outside.  There is seriously a lot of stuff for all ages!  The kids started to get tired and hungry (ok, my husband and I did, too), so we left after a couple of hours and went to visit a food truck before we headed home.  We missed the toddler area, which I was kinda sad about, but I know we will be back!
Huge dude made of phones!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bacchus Wine Bar/Chili Red

Wine my brother and sister-in-law enjoyed.
 Well, once in a blue moon my husband and I get to go out on a date night.  Last Friday was one of those nights (even if it was just for about two hours).  We joined my brother, his wife and my niece over at Bacchus Wine Bar in League City.  This little gem is nestled in League City's Historic District on Main Street.  It may look like small square building from the front, but it was quite the pleasant surprise inside.
First off, if you love wine or trying out new wines this is the place for you.  They had quite an impressive list of wines to choose from.  They also had some beers to try out too, including organic beers.
Organic beer my husband and niece tried.
I really loved their decor and set-up inside. It kinda reminded me a coffee bar I used to hang out at with my friends when I was younger.  Lots of soft warm lighting and a "chill" atmosphere. The decor was also very warm and relaxing.  They had several tables, a bar, and a comfy couch to sit and enjoy time with your date or friends.  Also noticed they had a basket with some board games by the couch, so if you go on one of their slower nights you could relax and have some wine and play a round or two of chess.  Outside, in the back, they had this awesome deck that sits under an old (over 100 years) oak tree.  Also read on their Facebook page that they have nights were you can take in your old LPs and enjoy everyone's music.
Cliff from Chili Red
However, on the night we went we were entertained by the musical stylings of  Chili Red.  Chili Red is a great husband and wife team.  He mostly sings and strums his acoustic guitar and his wife joins in on the vocals. The crowd really enjoyed the music which covered a little of everything including John Mayer, Johnny Cash, George Strait and Neil Young (Listen to one of their Neil Young covers here). It was nice evening with great company.  Can't wait to go back soon!

Local Inspiration

Took this pic a few weeks ago while driving on I-45 near downtown Houston.  I am sure whoever did this is quite brave (um, crazy) to get up there and write this over the busy highway, but I appreciate the message. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Cosmo's Gourmet Co. Bakery & Deli

It's been a couple of weeks and I am back with a great local place we recently tried.  After a few days of getting there after they closed or going on one of their days off, we finally made into Cosmo's Gourmet Co. Bakery & Deli.  In fact, I went in twice in one week!  It's a neat local business whose claim to fame is their awesome gourmet cupcakes. They also serve lunches that include sandwiches, salads and soups, but let's talk about what everyone wants to know about....cupcakes!
 On my first visit I got a mix of cupcakes.  Starting at top left and going clockwise around, we have Cookies and Milk, Maple Bacon (more on that in a bit), Lemon, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Banana Pudding and Rocky Road.  They were all quite tasty.  My husband tried the Maple Bacon and hasn't stopped talking about it since.  It may sound crazy, but it's an awesome flavor!
The next day my mom asked me to buy a few cupcakes since she had company coming over.  On this visit we had a Peach Cobbler (with the chunk of peach), two Key Lime Pie (lime wedge on top, which had a crust on the bottom of the cupcake), three Banana Split (the ones with the cherry on top) and three Hummingbird (the three with the crumbs on top).

They have quite a selection of flavors (more than what you see here) that they rotate throughout the week so I suggest friending them on Facebook so you can catch your favorite flavor!  Which flavor would you pick?   Enjoy!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Enjoying your Locale: Spring Break Ideas

Well, we here in Southeast Texas are just starting to enjoy the beginning of Spring Break. Today, in honor of Spring Break I thought I would share my family's day of enjoying local places and inspire you to explore your own area.  Not everyone gets to go out of town, but that doesn't mean you can enjoy what is around you.
A couple of weeks ago on a Saturday, we woke-up early and decided to go out, explore and enjoy what was around us.  A couple of the things we did, we had done before but a  couple were new experiences.  Most of what we did or accomplished that day was not planned and was on a whim.  It was nice and our daughters enjoyed it.
First thing we did (top left corner) was go and get swabbed and registered to be bone marrow donors.  There is a sweet girl three-year old girl in our area, named RORIE who desperately needs a bone marrow donor to help save her life.  When someone doesn't have a family match they need someone to step-up and help them.  If you would like to help Rorie, please click on her name in CAPS above or CLICK HERE to register and have a kit mailed to you (make sure you flag it for RORIE JOSLIN).  It's really easy; just paper work and swabbing the inside of your cheek.
Next (top right corner) we set out to find some lunch.  We remembered our favorite meat market which also has a smokehouse next door had chopped beef sandwiches on sale.  Bay Area Meat Market and Smokehouse is just an awesome local business.  The sandwiches were $1.99 and are HUGE.  We ordered four of them (since our little ones share) and some chips and drinks.  They are very tasty and an awesome value.  We also buy a lot of our meats for grilling, barbecuing and also cooking.  I am a big fan of buying their ground beef.  They usually have a special where they wrap one-pound portions in butcher paper and sell it to you 10 pounds at a time.  I just put it in the freezer and take out a pound or two to defrost as I need it.
Next (middle left), we headed on over to the Clear Lake Shores Farmer's Market.  Sadly, we got there about 10 minutes before they closed so we couldn't enjoy everything, but every vendor we came in contact with was super friendly and had a smile.  Hope to go back soon and check them out with more time.
After that (middle right), we drove down the road to the Kemah Farmer's Market.  My daughters enjoyed looking at all the jewelry and hair bows one vendor had.  Everyone was really friendly and it was a great day to enjoy being outside.  In fact we just went back this last weekend to buy some local raw honey.  So yummy on a peanut butter sandwich!
After enjoying the farmers markets we didn't know what to do next.  My husband hopped on the freeway (45) and just started driving south.  He loves to surprise us like that.  His surprise was the ferry in Galveston (bottom left).  The ferry is free to ride on in your vehicle or as a pedestrian passenger and is something my kids have always enjoyed.  We drove onto the ferry and enjoyed the ride over to Bolivar (bottom right).  The ferry is state run and takes about 15 minutes or so to cross.  Once we crossed we drove around and found a beach access.  It was a little too cold to enjoy the water, but my kids had fun playing with sand and collecting shells. 
When we got home, needless to say, we were exhausted. It really was a fun day.  We only paid for food, but all the sites and fun we had were free.  So, enjoy your Spring Break and go out and enjoy your town!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Oriental Gourmet Express

Yummy Dumplings
Here's a business that totally embodies what this blog is about.  My family and I were recently on our way to one of our favorite local eateries when we noticed Oriental Gourmet Express.  It sits at the back end of a small shopping center in front of NASA and Space Center.  When we walked in we were immediately welcomed by the owner and his small staff.  They were really friendly and suggested food items to us since we told them it was our first time there.  We ordered some pan fried pork dumplings as an appetizer, my husband ordered some beef pho and I ordered two orders of the Grilled Chicken Vietnamese Vermicelli for myself and my daughters (which I must add they kindly split into four plates for us). 
Beef Pho
We had never had Vietnamese food before and I must say, it was great.  Everything seemed to be made fresh and to order.  I had some questions on how to eat my Vietnamese Vermicelli and the owner was more than happy to give me some tips.
Grilled Chicken Vietnamese Vermicelli (half of the order)
Everything  tasted wonderful and you could taste the freshness.  Prices were great, too.  Nothing was over $8 and they were very generous portions.  If you live in the area and want to try some great food, give them a try.
They don't have a webpage so I am just gonna add their info here:
1354 NASA Parkway Suite D
Nassau Bay, Texas 77058

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Waffle Bus

Last month my little family and I went to the Houston Children's Museum (post on that coming soon).  After running around all morning we decided to give another food truck a try and drove on over to the Urban Outfitters in Rice Village in Houston.  I've noticed that the Urban Outfitters in Houston is always hosting a food truck and that Sunday afternoon it was The Waffle Bus.  Inside the "bus" the staff is preparing all kinds of goodness inside waffles or waffle fries.  The guy to took my order was really awesomely friendly.  It may have been because I still had my face painted like a cat from the museum and totally forgot, but I really think they are just a good staff!
My husband and I ordered the classic combo of chicken and waffles with their special sauce (which is like a spicy mayo).  I noticed as I waited for my food that they were doing everything fresh on the spot.  The chicken is buttermilk battered and fried there on the the bus.  Even noticed they were checking on the chicken's internal temperature to make sure it was cooked all the way through.  The chicken for me and my husband was the star of the show.  It was quite tasty and very moist. 
My daughters shared an order of their Cheeseburger and Chicken Fryders, which are little slider type burgers that use waffle fries instead of buns.  My husband and I got to taste at least one of each kind of Fryders since the kids didn't finish them all.  The burger was quite tasty.  Can't go wrong with beef, cheese and fries! We did notice the actual fries have a little kick to them, which my family enjoyed.
We hope to go back and give their sweet sandwiches a try, they looked delicious.