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Things To Do With Your Little Ones - Austin, TX

I'm pretty sure Austin, Texas is the most family friendly city in our country. There are so many things to do... all the time! 

I don't know about you, but I love doing things for FREE .... (or as cheap as possible). So, I have made a list of things that I have taken L&L to on a normal basis. 

Story Times - 
There are many to choose from, and all of them are always free.

 

1. Barnes & Noble - story time + craft of some kind that goes with the story books that are read for that day. 

TIME: 11:00AM
DAYS: Every Wednesday and Saturday
TIP: Barnes & Noble opens at 10:00AM. We usually get here right at opening so we can take advantage of the quiet atmosphere and have the train table, and lego table to ourselves for just a bit of time. Once we've played the train table, the lego table, mom's got her coffee, and we've read and explored all of the books on the shelves it's time for story time! Sometimes I'll pack a lunch and head to a park nearby for a picnic and playtime. (also, free I might add) :) 

Bear Check up at our local library.  

Bear Check up at our local library.  

2. Visit Your Local Library!! - Austin, Round Rock, & Cedar Park Libraries all have monthly event calendars for toddlers and preschoolers. Check them out monthly and plan your trips. Super easy, super free. 

TIP: If you think "Listen, my kid won't sit still for story times, crafts, etc." How are they going to learn how to have these skills if you don't give them the opportunity to learn them? Suck it up, pray for patience, don't have any expectations, but at least try... and keep trying. Your child is just being a child, they're not an adult like you. They're going to do fine. The best thing to remember is we've all been there, if we aren't right there with you. 

3. Austin Nature & Science Center - 2389 Stratford Drive Austin TX 78746 -

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Completely FREE and there's so much to explore. My kids favorite is the dinosaur area where you dig for bones. The scenery is beautiful, and it's an awesome place to have a picnic. We love the Nature & Science Center. 

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4. Visit a Museum in downtown Austin - did you know our local museums have free admission on certain days of the month for families? Look up all of our awesome museums and see which days have free admission. They also always have something fun for the kids to do on these free admission days. 

TIP: just make sure to bring some cash for parking!

5. During the Summer - there are so many splash pads and natural pools / springs to visit! Just google these for your area and tons of options will pop up. There are so many beautiful places to swim or play in the water with little ones here in Austin... it's the best!

6. Lastly, check out DO512Family.com - I visit this site weekly, see what Austin has to offer for little ones in my area for free and plan my week accordingly! This might be my favorite website ever. It has everything that's going on in our area for families.. love it!

The Spontaneous Mom

I want to let you know that you can have the freedom to do fun things on a whim with kids. YES, I said with kids. You just have to do a little 'pre-planning'. Here's what I have in the mini van at all times: 

• sunscreen
• swim dipes
• change of clothes
• towels
• picnic blanket
• extra pair of shoes 
• maybe even a snack or two 

Have these things ready in the back of your vehicle and if you're out with the family, and you want to find something fun to do. Then go to the park and have a picnic, or go to the pool or splash pad, let the kids get dirty wherever you are and if you need to go to dinner afterwards or have to do a chore like grocery shopping all together... no big deal, you gotta an extra pair of clothes in the back just waiting for you. 

I go through my stash of stuff that's in my van once a month. With little ones you'll have to replace the clothing that often, cause they grow so fast! 

Don't not have a fun and exciting, spontaneous day with your kids just because it's a lot of work to get out the door. Just do it... even if you don't want to. I have the most fun with my kids and husband when we're out doing fun things with them, even if it is a lot of work getting out the door.

Ready... set... go be spontaneous with your family!

The Disobedient Mama: How I Gave Myself a Fatal Diagnosis

IMG_0032.JPG I'm not going to mince words here. I've been completely disobedient as of late. The picture above describes my fatal diagnosis perfectly.

Dry, barren land surrounds my heart. The well spring in my heart (representing Christ) doesn't even penetrate the surrounding wasteland.

Ineffective. Capable, but selfish. Hoarder.

I've been keeping all of this life-giving water to myself. I am essentially an unused well.

Anything beyond my heart is suffering. It's choking. It's starving for nourishment and beyond thirsty for something to quench.

Motherhood, is all encompassing. I've allowed it to swallow me whole.

My spiritual core has been given a fatal diagnosis. I've starved it to the point where I've left myself dry as bones.

I've become too busy, too involved in the day to day, and too exhausted in the evenings to even care about including the nourishment that my soul constantly craves.

It's too easy, in fact, to overlook this part of me. Just like waiting until tomorrow, or the next tomorrow, or maybe next week sometime to fold that basket of clothes. It'll get done eventually.

But, the problem with this is that there may not be an "eventually". We are never guaranteed our tomorrow's. We are also not guaranteed the rest of now.

Whew. How much time I have truly wasted. So much rubbish.

For this, I am grossly ashamed. I'm being honest. Completely transparent. I can't recall the last time I purposely sat in awe of my God. Nor can I recall the last time I spent more than a few seconds in His Word, save for the times I needed a quick reference.

My Bible shouldn't be my dictionary, my thesaurus, my "Google".

My relationship with my Creator should be as effortless as my next breath. It should be radiant, life-giving, contagious, and producing gardens upon gardens of fresh, succulent food.

I am in critical condition. By all appearances, I play the part well, but I am in need of much in the way of medicine. I have grown very weary of hoarding the joy I am supposed to share.

My hope is that I, and those mothers who can completely identify with this mumbling of a post, allow the Living Waters of my heart to seep into every crack and crevice of my life. May we pass it through to our husbands, our children, our daily encounters. May the walls of our homes echo JOY! Pure, ultra-contagious, God-giving LIFE! Real life. Where FREEDOM! HOPE! GOODNESS! and MERCY! abounds.

May everything else be put in its proper place after we put THE ONE back in His proper place.

We can't change our corner of the world by being calloused and selfish. We can't do much when we're dying. We certainly can't do much when we are living in disobedience having dammed up the water that should constantly flow.

Obey. Live.

***Do me a favor, and don't overlook the following verses. Please, I beg you to read them, chew them up and SWALLOW them. Then be humbled, encouraged, and reach out to the One who saves. Yahweh. A life without Him in the center is no life at all.

Philippians 3

10-11 I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.

12-14 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

15-16 So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.

17-19 Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites.

20-21 But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.