This was our fourth Christmas without gifts, our fourth Christmas to celebrate experiences and our family.
Three years ago was Galveston and Moody Gardens. Two years ago was Waco, Cameron Park Zoo, and the Magnolia Silos. Last year was Ox Ranch and Drive Tanks in Uvalde.
This year was a little limited… to a handful of things that I could squeeze into my tight budget… thanks to our sad camper situation. We couldn’t stay at an RV site (thanks to the camper’s disappearance), I couldn’t afford an airbnb, and I couldn’t tackle far travels or the best of the best outings. But, boy, did we make the best of it!
So, after we had a really fun and delicious Christmas Day with my parents…
We loaded everyone up to visit Stonehenge II in Ingram. It was a beautiful day for a drive and to be outside. So we spent plenty of time there. We explored the structure, took lots of pictures. The boys brought their Lego models and camera, so they could work on their photography. And we played around with our new drone.
On our way back to Boerne, we made a pit stop for dinner. At a place that a friend recommended at least two years ago, a screenshot that I’ve had saved for that long. We finally made it there! Toucan Jim’s in Center Point. Where you are sailed away onto a tropical island the minute you step out of your car! Loved the atmosphere; loved the large outdoor space. And we enjoyed the food (two of us had their fish tacos; three had hamburgers). I really wish we could have lounged at an outdoor table. But the minute the sun went down, it was too cold to be outside. So we’ll just have to go back when the temps warm back up.
Then, I just happened to have won a five-pack of tickets and s’mores kits off of instagram… for the lights fest at Enchanted Springs Ranch. So we drove through the beautiful lights display, explored the ranch, and roasted marshmallows all evening.
(Now, a little backstory… The boys and I had already been to the lights fest a few weeks prior. It was freezing cold and windy. But because there was so much to do, and because we went with friends, the kids had a wonderful time! They did the scavenger hunt, wrote to Santa, decorated cookies, enjoyed the band, played checkers, and more. And a couple of friends were brave enough to ride the mechanical bull! So fun!!!)
Day two was a day trip to Austin. And our first stop was the Hope Outdoor Gallery. This, I’ve known about for years too. And I’ve been watching the graffiti on the walls change and morph through the years, through instagram posts. Today was our day to finally see it. And it was everyone else’s too! It was busy! Everyone seemed to have their camera out… or their spray paint going. It was a sight to see. But the real gem was on the top level. The view of downtown and the Capitol was perfect!
Then, to travel around downtown, the boys wanted to rent scooters. How cool and convenient, right?! Well… I was able to rent a Bird for Evan really easily. But the app wouldn’t let me rent another one from my phone. I couldn’t figure out the second scooter brand’s app. Lime’s app was easy, but I couldn’t find a working scooter along our route. And the fourth brand? Couldn’t get that app to work right either. So Ben ended up renting a Bird from his phone. And I walked. Whew! So that meant we were slow. And we ended up missing the third fourth spot I wanted to visit. But we did make it to two of the most instagrammable murals in Austin!
(To find the exact spot of the three murals I wanted to photograph, I found this awesome mural guide on Carrie Colbert’s blog!!!)
And on the way back to Boerne, we made a pit stop in Johnson City for their Lights Spectacular! With part of the town almost completely wrapped in lights, you could see the glow as we were turning off 281! And it was beautiful to see. Met up with some good friends, took some pics, and headed home to bed. Exhausted! And happy!
So… if you’re looking for things to do in the Texas hill country (on a budget), some of these outings might be right up your alley! We really did enjoy them all!
Now… what should we do next year?