How to Survive Cedar Season in Central Texas


Sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, runny nose, sinus congestion, fatigue…it’s cedar season in Central Texas! Cedar trees pollinate between Dec. 10 and March 1, with the highest levels in the first three weeks of January

This year is proving to be particularly bad. Last year Central Texas was still recovering from a severe drought. But steady rain and warmer weather encouraged more pollen production this winter. On windy days this pollen can travel for miles where it attaches itself to whatever it can find- including you!

Allergists agree that prevention is the best treatment- that means staying indoors at peak hours which are typically from early morning through mid-morning and keeping windows closed, especially on windy days.  They also suggest a nasal rinse and a shower at the end of the day to clear out any pollen you’ve come in contact with. Wash your bedding at least once per week with hot water, vacuum regularly, and change air filters often. If you have indoor/outdoor pets be sure to bathe them frequently so they’re not bringing cedar pollen into your home. You can boost your immune system by eating local honey and taking a good multi-vitamin. To combat symptoms, use a nasal spray, an oral antihistamine and eye drops.

Is it cedar fever or a cold?

If you are still having symptoms after taking allergy medicine you probably have a cold. Also, despite being called “cedar fever” cedar allergies do not cause a fever. If you have a fever and are experiencing body aches, it might be time to head to the doctor.

Do you have any more tips on how to combat cedar pollen? If so, comment below! We would love to hear from you.

Happy Birthday America!

This July 4th, the United States of America celebrates its 239th birthday!

Here are some fantastic places for the entire family to enjoy fireworks safely:

Please check the links for updated information and remember most fireworks are not allowed in and around Austin.  Check your local laws.  Fortunately there are plenty of places nearby where you can enjoy fireworks!

Bluebonnet Season in Texas

Taking pictures in among the bluebonnets has become a fun Texas tradition. Here are some ways to get the most out of your photo sessions:

The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland, the cherry blossom is to Japan, the lily to France, the rose to England and the tulip to Holland.   -Jack Maguire

  1. Be safe! So many people pull over on the sides of busy highways to photograph their children and pets. Instead, scout out a location that is in a safer location. Also keep in mind that ants love bluebonnet fields and you never know when a snake might decide to show up so definitely check out the area where you plan to have your children pose.
  2. Keep the bluebonnets safe. You may have heard that it is illegal to pick our state flower but that is only a myth. However, we need bluebonnets to make seeds for next year so it is a good idea not to pick them. Also look for areas that are already crushed and use that spot to take your pictures. There’s no reason to smash more flowers.
  3. Know the law. People get so excited when they spot a beautiful field of bluebonnets that they sometimes completely ignore the law. Make sure you’re not trespassing onto someone’s property to get to the flowers. Also it’s illegal to damage anyone’s property – that includes making ruts in the grass or causing any type of damage to the landscape. And be sure you’re not blocking traffic with your vehicle when you stop to photograph the flowers.
  4. Take your pictures now. April is the prime month for bluebonnets!
  5. The best time of day to take outdoor pictures is before 10 am or after 4 pm. Avoid the middle part of the day to decrease squinting and shadows.
  6. Use your flash. This will also help eliminate shadows. You don’t need to worry about red-eye because you’ll be outside and your subject’s pupils are already dilated.
  7. Bring the camera down to your subject’s eye level and zoom in. Sure, the bluebonnets are beautiful but your kids’ smiling faces are the best part.
  8. Wear long pants or bring a blanket. The grass can be itchy so it’s best to cover up bare legs. Also solid colors tend to look best in bluebonnet pictures. The bluebonnets create a lot of pattern so solid colored clothing creates a more balanced picture.
  9. Pay attention to the background. Signs, cars, other people, and telephone poles – they can all ruin an otherwise great bluebonnet picture.
  10. Bring a tripod. You need to be in the pictures too!

If you come across a beautiful bluebonnet field please comment below! Texas-bluebonnets-field

bombay2austin on flickr

Your Guide to the Best Christmas Lights in Central Texas

One of my family’s favorite Christmas traditions is driving around looking at Christmas lights. I’ve compiled a list of some of the more extravagant displays around Central Texas from Fort Hood all the way down to San Marcos.

Be sure to check the links below before heading out, in case any of the schedules change.


Fort Hood

Nature in Lights, a Holiday Tradition

Enjoy the drive through over five and a half miles of holiday-inspired scenes. Like magic, BLORA is once again transformed into a winter wonderland for all to enjoy: kids and kids at heart

  • When: Until January 4, from 5:30-11 p.m.
  • Where: Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area
  • Cost: $7 per car




Christmas Stroll

Bring the family and walk through the many wonders of Whoo-Village, enjoy live entertainment, a special kids activity area, treats in the food court and browse more than 250 arts and crafts booths. Children will love the various FREE activities and rides and visiting with Santa. There’s even a parade on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. If you can’t visit during the stroll, stop by any evening to see the Downtown Square lit up for the season.

  • When: Friday, December 5, from 5-9 p.m. and Saturday, December 6, from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Where: Georgetown Square
  • Cost: Free

Spindler’s Family Light Show

Tune your car radio to 88.5 FM to listen to the music.

  • When: 6pm to 10:30pm
  • Where: 2441 Candle Ridge Trail
  • Cost: Free, but please bring an unwrapped gift for Brown Santa.

Harlien Family Christmas

Tune in to 94.1 while viewing 40,000 lights synchronized to 48 channels of animation. Multiple lit trees, arches, Christmas features, and Santa!!! This year will be the 20th year the Harlien Family has decorated their home to bring joy to neighborhood kids and families. Inspired by a wish granted to their dear friend’s son, this year the Harlien Family has chosen to raise $5,000 to adopt a family wish.

  • When: 6-10 p.m. on weekdays and 6-11 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
  • Where: 400 Liscio Cove. (For safety reasons, all guests are asked to enter Liscio Loop from Lancaster Drive & exit Liscio Loop at Champions.)
  • Cost: Free, but a donation to the Make a Wish Foundation is encouraged.

Shady Oak Christmas Display

The show lasts about an hour if you watch the whole thing, but each song averages around 6 minutes.

  • When: Visit the Facebook page for updates.
  • Where: 107 Shady Oak Drive
  • Cost: Free




Tree Lighting and Christmas Parade

Pictures with Santa, Holiday Hayrides, Yule Fire, Choral Performances, Christmas Parade, and Tree Lighting.

  • When: Saturday, December 6 at 5 p.m.
  • Where: City Hall, 200 West Willis St.
  • Cost: Free



Cedar Park

Anna Court Light Display

This Cedar Park cul-de-sac is decked out with thousands and thousands of festive lights. Tune your radio to 89.1 to listen to the music.

  • When: Nightly until December 31st from 5:30-11:30pm
  • Where: 1321-1333 Anna Court
  • Cost: Free, but please bring a toy to donate to Blue Santa.

Holiday Tree Lighting and Santa’s Workshop

Over 60,000 lights will illuminate the largest Live Oak Tree in Cedar Park. Santa’s Workshop will kick off immediately following the tree lighting ceremony. Enjoy live music, free carriage rides, games and prizes, inflatables, photos with Santa, and arts & crafts projects. Bring the whole family for what promises to be a festive evening.

  • When: December 5, from 6:30-9 p.m.
  • Where: Heritage Oak Park, 875 Quest Parkway.
  • Cost: Free

Chinati Court

  • When: See the Facebook page for updates.
  • Where: Just off Sun Chase Blvd in the Ranch at Cypress Creek. Park on Sun Chase and walk, if you can. (Map)
  • Cost: Free but the neighborhood is a collection point for Brown Santa.



Round Rock

Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour

Come and experience the Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour at Old Settler’s Park, from the comfort of your car. With 2 million lights, the 1.5-mile path is the must-see event of the season.

  • When: December 1 to 30, starting at 6 p.m. (closing times vary)
  • Where: 4111 E. Old Settlers Blvd
  • Cost: $15 per family vehicle

Christmas Family Night

Watch as Main Street is illuminated and Santa arrives in his sleigh

  • When: Friday, December 5 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Where: Historic Downtown, Main Street.
  • Cost: Free




Christmas Parade and Pfestival of Lights

The city’s Parks & Recreation Department joins forces with the Knights of Columbus this year and adds activities to the annual Christmas Parade. Blending the two events makes a larger, more fun holiday celebration for the community. The city will bring a stage with live performances from local elementary schools and dancers on the stage at 200 W. Main Street. There will be FREE arts and crafts activities for children, a bonfire, the traditional tree lighting, and photos with Santa Claus at the end of the parade.

  • When: Saturday, December 13, starting at 5:30 p.m. Activities until 8 p.m.
  • Where: The parade travels down Railroad Avenue to Main Street. (Parade route map.)
  • Cost: Donations for the Blue Santa program welcome.



North Austin

Holiday Light Shows at The Domain

Watch the holidays come to life with hourly lights show in Domain II. More than 82,000 lights and 2,200 strobes will dance to holiday music for the first 15 minutes of each hour.

  • When: Until December 31, hourly between 5 and 9 p.m.
  • Where: Domain II (mall map).
  • Cost: Free

Frozen Medley Christmas Light Show

Viewers can hear the songs from the house’s speakers or from their car radio by tuning in to 106.9 FM.

  • When: Nightly until New Year’s, from 5:30-9:45 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and from 5:30-10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
  • Where: 16412 Rockgate Dr., Austin (near Avery Ranch in Round Rock).
  • Cost: Free

Lanicek Family in Wells Branch

10,000+ lights programmed to 20 minutes of music.

  • When: Until January 3, from 6 – 10 p.m., weather permitting.
  • Where: 2207 Klattenhoff Drive
  • Cost: Free, but the house is a collection point for non-perishable food items for Saint Louis Catholic Church food pantry.



Central Austin

Mozart’s Coffee Roasters

15-minute light show at the top of each hour. Come drink some hot chocolate while you and your family enjoy the fun decorations and show, including the song “What Does the Fox Say” for the kids.

  • When: Every night from 6 p.m. to midnight
  • Where: 3825 Lake Austin Blvd.
  • Cost: Free

Zilker Holiday Tree

The Zilker Tree stands 155 feet tall and is composed of 39 streamers, each holding 81 multicolored, 25-watt bulbs, totaling 3,309 lights. At the top of the tree, a double star measures 10 feet from point to point. The double star displays 150 frosted bulbs. This unique spiral pattern of lights was created by City of Austin electricians. At its circumference, the tree measures 380 feet. The diameter is 120 feet. The base of the tree is made up of 19 utility poles, each 14 feet tall, arranged in a circle around the Moonlight Tower. Go take a spin under the tree and buy some kettle corn from one of the onsite vendors. REMINDER: December 7-21 the area roads will be closed as thousands visit the Trail of Lights. If you are planning to visit the Holiday Tree itself, make sure to plan around those nights!

  • When: Until December 31, from 6 p.m. to midnight.
  • Where: Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Rd.
  • Cost: Free

Lighting of the Capitol Tree

The fun starts at 6 p.m. when crowds gather on the south steps of the Capitol to sing the songs of the season with John Aielli, host of the long-running show “Eklektikos” on KUTX 98.9. As the clock strikes 7 p.m., the crowd begins the countdown to the lighting of the Capitol tree, featuring a programmed light show at the top and bottom of every hour, set to holiday songs of local Austin musicians. From 7 to 9 p.m. Congress Ave. will be abuzz with holiday cheer during the Downtown Stroll. Shops, restaurants, galleries and museums will be open late and will feature special activities and offers.

  • When: Saturday, December 6 at 6 p.m.
  • Where: Texas State Capitol, Congress Avenue & 11th Street.
  • Cost: Free

Trail of Lights

To get a sneak peek of the Trail, join the two-mile Fun Run on Saturday, December 6, 7-10 p.m., rain or shine ($20 for adults; $10 for kids).

  • When: December 7-21, from 7-10 p.m.
  • Where: Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Rd.
  • Cost: Admission to the Trail of Lights is FREE on Opening Night (December 7) and on Monday to Thursday nights. Admission is also FREE for kids under 12 every night. Admission for adults (age 12+) is $3 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays (excluding Opening Night). With the purchase of a ZiP Pass for $15, trail-goers can enter the Trail early, starting at 6:15 p.m. on most nights. Shuttle tickets cost $5/person on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights ($4 on weeknights) and provide admission into the Trail of Lights (no additional gate admission ticket is required). Lap children ride free. Zilker Parking Passes are $15. All passes can be purchased online in advance.

Luminations at Wildflower Center

Enjoy Luminations, a Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center holiday tradition. Make plans to visit the lighted gardens, filled with thousands of luminarias and twinkle lights. In addition to the beautiful holiday lighting, there will be hot chocolate and food for sale, plus children’s activities and musical acts throughout both evenings. Kids can get a hug from Frosty the Snowman and make crafts in the Visitors Gallery.

  • When: Saturday and Sunday, December 13 and 14, from 6-9 p.m.
  • Where: 4801 La Crosse Avenue
  • Cost: Admission is FREE with two canned food items for the Capital Area Food Bank.





Trail of Lights

Get in the holiday mood by strolling through the park and enjoying the lights! FREE shuttle parking is available at Cabela’s. No parking is permitted in the park. Walk in visitors are welcome and may bring leashed pets. The trail is approximately 1/2 mile long. No pets are allowed on shuttle buses. Hot beverages and concessions will be available for purchase.

  • When: December 12 -13 and 18 – 21, from 6 – 10 p.m
  • Where: Historic Stagecoach Park, 880 Main Street, Buda.
  • Cost: Free



San Marcos

Sights & Sounds of Christmas

Come out for free Santa photos, holiday performances, ice skating, enjoy festival foods, holiday gift shops, laser light show, free petting zoo, pony rides, carnival, town of Bethlehem, 5K Run, Kids 1K Run. Want to volunteer and get free entry? You can do that too!

  • When: December 3 to 6, from 5 – 11 p.m.
  • Where: San Marcos Plaza Park.
  • Cost: –13 and up is $5; kids 12 and under are FREE.



River of Lights

The River of Lights features 120 lighted displays and music. The trail continues all the way down the Lower Colorado River to Ferry Park, about a half mile.

  • When: December 6-31, from 6-9 p.m.
  • Where: Fisherman’s Park, 1200 Willow St.
  • Cost: Free




Dripping Springs

Christmas on Mercer Street

The public is invited to attend the day-long festival on Mercer Street, hosted by the City of Dripping Springs and the Dripping Springs Lions Club. The charming downtown setting of Mercer Street will be transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with lights, holiday decorations, festive music, fire pits for warmth and plenty of holiday cheer. Photos with Santa, train rides, pony rides and a variety of arts, crafts and specialty food and drink booths will be in full swing. The highlight of the evening will be the annual lighting of the Christmas Tree at the Triangle, located at Hwy. 290 and RR 12. At sunset, attendees are invited to gather for the illumination of the tree, showing off its twinkling lights, and joining in festive songs. This year features a special High Steppers performance, in addition to multiple choirs from local Dripping Springs churches and schools. Hot chocolate and coffee will be available for all to enjoy.

  • When: Saturday, December 6, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Where: Mercer Street, Downtown Dripping Springs
  • Cost: Free




The EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens Trail of Lights

Stroll a walking path with more than 100 lighted exhibits created by local businesses, churches, organizations and families. Roast a marshmallow at the yule log and listen to live entertainment on most nights. See the schedule of when Santa will be in his house.

  • When: Until December 31, from 6–9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and from 6-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
  • Where: EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens, 1101 FM 2325
  • Cost: Free




Town Lighting

Watch as Cowboy Kringle rides into town on horseback and lights Gruene for the holidays. Celebrating with live musical performances with festival food and wine available for purchase. Afterwards, get some holiday shopping done at Gruene’s 30+ stores and cozy up to a fireplace for dinner at the Gristmill.

  • When: Saturday, December 6, from 5-6:30 p.m.
  • Where: Downtown Gruene
  • Cost: Free



Johnson City

Lights Spectacular, Hill Country Style

This holiday season, bring your family to enjoy the magic and beauty of over two million LED lights spread over a mile-long drive through light display. To book a hayride through the lights for your family or group this Christmas season, or if you have any questions, call 512-955-1706.

  • When: Until January 1, from 6-11 p.m
  • Where: 1 mile outside of Johnson City, on Hwy 281.
  • Cost: Free but donations are accepted to help keep the display burning bright!

Toungate Klub Kringle

Come out to see a brand new show, with more lights and new songs!

  • When: Starting December 6 at 8:30 p.m.
  • Where: 2305 Arroyo Grande
  • Cost: Free

November Happenings

With its cooler temperatures and festive traditions, fall is such a fun time of year! Although fall in Texas may be fleeting, there are plenty of things you can do to make the most of this beautiful season.


  November 8

Airfest – Georgetown Municipal Airport – Free – 12-5

Come see the Ford Tri-Motor, a 1929 metal aircraft that was the first mass-produced airliner. Tour several other WW II-era warbirds, book a ride, and watch Falcon Flight, a precision formation flying team perform. Event is free, however attendees are encouraged to bring a canned food donation.

November 27 – Thanksgiving Day


Earn that slice of pumpkin pie by participating in the 2nd Annual Georgetown Turkey Trot! Choose between a 1 mile family fun run or a 5 mile run; they both start at 8am at 701 S. Main Street. To register and guarantee yourself a shirt, click here.


An easy and delicious side dish is candied yams.

1 (40 ounce) can cut sweet potatoes

½ cup white sugar

2 eggs

1/3 cup butter

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 2 quart baking dish.
Drain and mash the sweet potatoes.
In a medium bowl, mix the mashed sweet potatoes, white sugar, eggs, 1/3 cup butter, milk, and vanilla extract. Spread evenly into the prepared baking dish.
In a separate bowl, mix the brown sugar, chopped pecans, flour, and 1/3 cup melted butter. Sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture.
Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Serve Others

Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to help the less fortunate. One way you can help is to donate items to a local food pantry. The Capital Area Food Bank is the largest hunger-relief charity in Central Texas and they offer many opportunities to serve. The Caring Place also has a food pantry. To find out what items they are currently in most need of, click here. If you would like to serve at the Caring Place on Thanksgiving, call them at 869-4735 or visit


Texas Football!


I hope that you are all having a peaceful transition into the school year. Can you believe it’s already football season? Below you can find the schedules for several of our area high schools as well as the home games for Southwestern and UT.



8/29       Westwood          (Parent Night)                   GISD Athletic Complex  7:30

9/5         Hays Cons.                                                          Bob Shelton Stadium      7:30

9/12       Pflugerville         (Homecoming)                 GISD Athletic Complex  7:30

9/19       Leander                                                               GISD Athletic Complex  7:30

9/26       Cedar Park                                                          Gupton Stadium               7:30

10/03     Open

10/10     Marble Falls                                                       GISD Athletic Complex  7:30

10/17     Eastview              (EVHS is home)                 GISD Athletic Complex  7:30

10/24     Vista Ridge                                                          GISD Athletic Complex  7:30

10/31     Dripping Springs                                               Tiger Stadium                    7:30

11/07     Vandegrift                                                          GISD Athletic Complex  7:30



8/29       Austin Travis                                                      House Park                         7:30

9/5         Waco University                                               Away                                     7:30

9/11       Austin Crockett                                                 GISD Athletic Complex  7:30

9/19       Vandegrift                                                            Monroe                                 7:30

9/26       Vista Ridge          (Homecoming)                  GISD Athletic Complex  7:30

10/03     Open

10/10     Dripping Springs                                             Away                                     7:30

10/17     Georgetown                                                      GISD Athletic Complex  7:30

10/24     Leander                                                               Bible                                      7:30

10/31     Cedar Park          (Senior Night)                    GISD Athletic Complex  7:30

11/07     Marble Falls                                                        Away                                     7:30



8/29       Temple                                                                 Wildcat Center                  7:30

9/4         Killeen                                                                  Leo Buckley Stadium      7:00

9/12       Copperas Cove (Senior Night)                    Dragon Stadium                7:30

9/19       Stony Point                                                         Dragon Stadium                7:00

9/26       Pflugerville                                                         Kuempel Stadium            7:00

10/03     Open

10/10     Rouse                                                                   Dragon Stadium                  7:00

10/17     Cedar Ridge                                                        Dragon Stadium                 7:00

10/24     Hendrickson                                                       Hawk Stadium                    7:00

10/31     Westwood (Homecoming)                          Dragon Stadium                   7:00

11/07     McNeil                                                                  Kelly Reeves AC                 7:00



8/29       Killeen                                                  Leander High School                        7:30

9/5         Pflugerville                                         Pflugerville High School                  7:30

9/12       Rouse                                                   Bible Memorial Stadium                   7:30

9/19       Georgetown                                      Georgetown High School                  7:30

9/26       Vandegrift                                          Bible Memorial Stadium                  7:30

10/03     Open

10/10     Cedar Park          (Rivalry Game)  Leander High School                      7:30

10/17     Marble Falls                                        Marble Falls High School             7:30

10/24     East View                                            Leander High School                       7:30

10/31     Vista Ridge                                          Vista Ridge High School                7:30

11/07     Dripping Springs                               Leander High School                     7:30


Southwestern University

9/6         Hardin Simmons                                                                                               7:00

9/13       Sul Ross St.                                                                                                           1:00

10/4       Austin College                                                                                                   3:00

10/11     Oklahoma Panhandle State                                                                           1:00

11/8       Trinity                   (Homecoming)                                                                  6:00


University of Texas

8/30       North Texas                                                                                                       7:00

9/6         BYU                                                                                                                       6:30

10/4       Baylor                                                                                                                   TBA

10/18     Iowa State                                                                                                          7:00

11/8       West Virginia                                                                                                     TBA

11/27     TCU                                                                                                                       6:30

Central Texas Daytrips

I hope you are enjoying your summer! Last month I shared some fun things to do around the Georgetown area, but perhaps you want to try something new. Fortunately, Central Texans are just a short drive away from many amazing places. Here are some ideas for your next Day Trip.

 Enchanted Rock

Fredericksburg and Enchanted Rock

2 hour drive from Georgetown

Fredericksburg is a small city with unique German flavor. You can walk down Main Street and visit boutiques and generations-old peach orchards or drive over to Enchanted Rock, where you can hike, backpack, camp, rock climb, picnic, bird watch, geocache, or stargaze. Climb the massive pink granite dome for amazing Hill Country views.


New Braunfels and Gruene

1.5 hour drive from Georgetown

New Braunfels is home to Schlitterbahn, voted the World’s Best Waterpark for 16 years in a row. Come explore this massive water park (over seventy acres!) nestled along the beautiful banks of the Comal River. It features world-famous attractions, epic river adventures, kid’s water playgrounds, and beautiful spots to relax and share a picnic – there is truly something for everyone!

Just down the street, in the historic district, you’ll find Gruene. There is so much to do in this tiny town including shopping and wine tasting. The Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar is amazing. Your trip won’t be complete until you visit Gruene Hall. Built in 1878, it is Texas’ oldest continually operating and most famous dance hall. By design, not much has physically changed since the Hall was first built. The 6,000 square foot dance hall with a high pitched tin roof still has the original layout with side flaps for open air dancing, a bar in the front, a small lighted stage in the back and a huge outdoor garden.




1.5 hour drive from Georgetown

The Salt Lick in Driftwood has appeared on The Food Network, as well as The Travel Channel. The scenic drive to this legendary BBQ joint will take you through rolling hills and century-old oak trees to an open pit where they have been smoking meat since 1967. It’s BYOB and they have live music on the patio. Driftwood Estate Winery sits on a bluff from which visitors can enjoy a fine wine from a majestic perch overlooking the Driftwood Vineyards below.

I hope this gives you some good ideas and, as always, if there is anything I can do for you or someone you know please don’t hesitate to call or email me anytime.

Edwin Lui, Realtor

GRI, Certified Negotiation Expert


Keeping Your Cool This Summer

With temperatures already in the 90s it’s sure to be a hot summer! Here are some tips to help you keep cool in the upcoming months:


Inside your home: The average home spends hundreds of dollars a year on energy costs. But there are ways you can lower your energy bills. Cutting back unnecessary energy use is an easy way to reduce energy consumption while saving money. Here are some suggestions you can do at home at absolutely no cost to you.

  • Turn up your thermostat

Set your thermostat to 78 degrees when you are home and 85 degrees or off when you are away. Using ceiling or room fans allows you to set the thermostat higher because the air movement will cool the room. Always take into account health considerations and be sure to drink plenty of fluids in warm weather.


  • Use your appliances wisely

Avoid running your appliances during peak hours, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.


  • Replace air conditioner filters

Dirty filters restrict airflow and can cause the system to run longer, increasing energy use. Replace filters monthly for maximum benefit.


  • Plug your home’s leaks

Weather-strip, seal, and caulk leaky doors and windows and install foam gaskets behind outlet covers.


Outside your home:  Community pools and splash pads can be a fun, kid-friendly, and cost-effective way to get out of the house and cool off.  There are plenty of community pools available where you live.



  • Georgetown

Purchase a season pass and have unlimited access to all five Georgetown pools. For more information call the Georgetown Parks and Recreation Department at 512-930-3596, visit, or go to the Rec Center located at 1003 N. Austin Ave, Georgetown, 78626.


  • Round Rock

The Quarry Splash Pad opened May 17 and admission is $2/person.  It’s also a great place to hold birthday parties, but reserve the pavilions early!


  • Pflugerville/Austin

You may have noticed the construction near the southwest corner of SH 130 and FM 685 in Pflugerville. It’s a new water park and it’s scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend!  For more information contact Hawaiian Falls Pflugerville at (972) 232-2918.

April Newsletter: Farmers Markets

Spring has arrived in Central Texas! There are so many fun things to do this time of year: have your picture taken in the bluebonnets, attend the Red Poppy Festival in Georgetown, or watch a Round Rock Express game at the Dell Diamond. Another great springtime activity is visiting your local farmers market. offers several great reasons why you should consider shopping at a farmers market.


  • Farmers markets are easy to find.

Simply Google “Central Texas farmers markets” to find one near you or visit Austin Area Farmers  Market. Due to their flexible locations, some community farmers markets provide fresh, healthy foods when other sources aren’t as easily accessed.

  • SNAP and WIC cards are accepted at most farmers markets.


  • You can try a new fruit or vegetable!

Have you ever tasted gooseberries or rhubarb? Many farmers markets offer lesser known fruits and vegetables, providing a variety that can be both tasty and nutritious.

  • Farmers often have good recommendations on ways to prepare their products.


  • Farmers markets can be important anchors for vibrant communities.

Meet your local farmers, learn about foods grown in your area and catch up with friends and neighbors while stocking up with local goods. Supporting your local farmers market strengthens your community.  

  • It’s a great way to get your kids involved.

Let them pick out something new to try; it’s a great way to get kids to try new foods!

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables are full of antioxidants and phytonutrients.


  • Shopping at farmers markets supports your local farmers and keeps the money you spend closer to your neighborhood.


  • Freshly picked ripe food is at its peak in flavor and nutrition.

Stop by your local farmers market today, learn about where your food comes from, and enjoy some delicious and nutritious food.





Red Poppy Festival

The whole family is sure to have fun on the weekend of April 26 & 27, 2014 at the Red Poppy Festival! Featuring over 100 artisans from across the nation, the Open Car Show, the Kids Zone, Live Entertainment and the Saturday Night Concert and Street Dance! Friday Night Kickoff Concert April 25 at 7pm!  Saturday Night Concert featuring The Belamy Brothers!



Campout Comparison: Jim Hogg Park VS Berry Springs Park


Camping in Georgetown, Texas

Every year the Lui Family has a family reunion that we usually fly to.  This year we decided that we would take the money we usually spend on 5 airline tickets and a rental car and invest it in camping gear.  Our plan was to finally use our minivan for a long distance trip and camp along the way now that the kids are a bit older.  It is also a chance for us to create some memories and adventure with our children.

So to prepare for the camping trip, over the past 2 months we’ve camped locally to “test drive” our camping equipment (and the kids) and find out where we come up short.



Jim Hogg Park in Georgetown, Texas

lake-georgetown-synder-familylake-georgetown-sabrinaWe went to Jim Hogg Park two months ago and it was sweltering hot.  The scenery was nice, lots of trees, but also lots of cedar, and I found myself sneezing my nose

off.  Our friends rented a kayak and we spent some time in the water with the kayak to cool off a bit.  We also made it a point to camp next to the bathrooms since the kiddos would be making trips quite frequently.

Surprisingly the bathrooms were decently clean and every campsite had overhead cover over a picnic table.  The convenient thing about Jim Hogg Park is that you can have a water pump and an electrical outlet at your campsite.  Having electricity is nice for small luxuries like having a fan inside your tent.  Or if you’re like 90% of the campers out there, for plugging in your yuppie RV and pretend to camp.

Bathroom Cleanliness:  7 – clean, but lots of bugs hanging out just waiting to be squashed

Kid Friendly:  8 – Quite a bit of traffic since the campsite was so large; but having electricity and water close-by was a huge plus; Lake Georgetown also provides a great venue for many different activities

Overall:  7 – Although a convenient campsite (close to HEB in case you forget anything), it seemed more geared towards RVs, 5th wheels and pop up campers and not for tent camping.  I felt like I was in an RV park more then a campsite.



Berry Springs Park in Georgetown, Texas


A month after that trip, we went out again with our camping buddies, Brett and Lorree, but this time to the eastside of Georgetown at Berry Springs Park.  Although it was later in the summer, the weather was benefitting from a cool front and amazingly we were the only campers that day! Autumn and I liked this location better, it didn’t have the ruggedness that Jim Hogg had, nor did it have the cedars.  More of a park-like setting, but still with plenty of large Pecan trees to provide some nice shade.  The bathrooms were hotel-caliber clean (not motel 6 hotel).  The only downside to these sites, was that there was not a water and electricity source at each campsite.  Not a big deal, and just another excuse to buy cool camping gadgets and tools to compensate.



Bathroom Cleanliness:  9 – Almost Ritz-Carlton hotel caliber; I can’t give it a 10 though because I’ve never been to the Ritz.

Kid Friendly:  8 – Not as much traffic, since there aren’t as many campsites as Jim Hogg…maybe it was also because we were the only campers there.  However, there is a playground close by and a donkeys that you can feed your leftovers to.  Lack of electricity and water….big deal, the bathroom is so close by and that’s what lanterns are for.

Overall:  8 – We really liked the picturesque setting, and it just felt really peaceful and relaxing out here.  Lots of shade trees and seemed more “tent-friendly” due to the lack of electricity at each campsite.

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