sister visit recap

As most of you know by now, I grew up in Ohio and now live in the great southwest. Our immediate family is all over the US, and it makes seeing them very difficult. I am a HUGE promoter of moving away from the "norm" for a few years. It does amazing things for you, your relationships and your well being. What's life if you don't experience different cultures, new ideas and new people? Its invigorating!

That being said, we miss family, a lot!  Both Ryan and I's families were so close growing up, it is important to me that Luke has that same connection. So, trips that we make to visit family are extra special. We don't get to go over to my sister's for Sunday dinner, if I need a last minute babysitter, I can't call my mom, it is different but it makes the time we spend together so important. 

Recently, Luke and I made a 12 hour trek across a few states (make sure to check out my road trip post), so we could spend some quality time with my older sister and her family. It was two weeks of fun! 

We had such a wonderful visit, filled with so much love, laughs, and a few scary moments.  

The area that my sister lives has such great parks. Every city and every neighborhood has an amazing space, most with shade and some even have a splash pad! You really get the sense that it is family friendly and they want to put money into teaching their kids to play and enjoy being outdoors. I love that! We frequent parks a lot, they are free and fill the mornings with fun. 

Not only did we enjoy the local parks. But we also took advantage of Sea World's, Waves of Honor, promotion. Sea World San Antonio offers active duty, and family, one free admission a year. It is an amazing promotion and we were so lucky to have been able to use it. Make sure to look into the discount, if you are around a Sea World or a Busch Gardens! We love military discounts! 

Luke loved this place! He has never really been to an amusement park, so I wasn't sure what to expect but he really enjoyed all the activities. 

My sister loves cooking with her kids as much as I love cooking with Luke, so one night we suited the kids up with aprons and put them to work. We had so much fun making chocolate chip cookies (make sure to check the bottom of this post for my secret ingredient) and assembling a pizza. It was a fun way to pass the time and the kids did so well! 


I love, love, love running in their town. It is full of hills, which is not something I am used to, and the scenery is magical and much different than the desert. It is amazing! This time I explored some of their local trails and was very impressed. Trail running is so different depending on the terrain you are in, this one was challenging but exactly what I needed. My sister and I also got in a few workouts together, which is so much fun. If I was brave I would post the video of her and I doing Shaun T's new program, CIZE,  so you will have to take our word that it is AMAZING! 

My sister and I were lucky to be able to have a few sister dates, THANK YOU to her husband for holding down the fort and treating us to an amazing dinner out! We even got to visit a trendy bar, which is not something we SAHM's get to do very often. We have been close for many years and have gone through a lot together, she has acted as my voice of reason on many occasions and it is always nice to be reminded of how deep our friendship is. 

Thanks for the reinforcements, the laughs and the words of encouragements those two weeks! We love you all!! 

Below is my favorite cookie recipe. 
Yes, it is very similar to the nestle toll house recipe, which is where my inspiration came from, but I always add my secret ingredient, cinnamon. Trust me, you will never go back to the original!! 


2 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 ¼ cup butter
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 ½ cups chocolate chips


Preheat Oven to 350°

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. 

Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 

Gradually beat in flour mixture. Add chocolate chips and hand stir until well mixed. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto baking sheets, lined with parchment paper. 

Bake for 9-11 minutes, let cool on cookie sheets for 2 minutes and remove to wire rack to continue cooling! 

I often like to enjoy my cookies with a glass (or a bottle) of chardonnay! 
Hope you enjoy! 

Happy travels, 


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