Discovery Green


After seeing the gingerbread house, we decided to walk around Discovery Green, which is a park in downtown.

We had a good time enjoying some nature in the middle of the city, and I had some fun photographing nature.

Might I also add that it was hot out! 78 degrees on Christmas Eve! A lot of people had the same idea we did, and were out and about.

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Gingerbread House


I unexpectedly had Christmas Eve off, and I am so used to working that day at all my other jobs. With a free day ahead of me, I looked into Christmas type activities to do.

I found a large one-and-a-half story gingerbread house set up in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel.

Some facts about the house:

It took 75o hours to build. The builders used 500 pounds of gingerbread, 350 pounds of dark chocolate, 725 pounds of milk and white chocolate and 325 pounds of sugar!

The team really did a nice job with the details. We especially thought that being able to see inside the house was a nice touch.

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The Galleria


The Galleria is an upscale shopping mall in Houston. Originally I had figured that I wouldn’t ever have a need to go inside. My wallet would cry just being in the vicinity!

But, when I was looking for things to do over Derek’s winter break, I saw that there was a huge Christmas tree in the middle of an ice skating rink (!!) in the Galleria. Well, if anything, it would be a good photo op.

However, the more that I looked into the Galleria, I realized that, while there are mostly high end shops, there are also plenty of stores for us poorer folks too!

We ended up going to familiar stores such as Hot Topic, Game Stop, Disney Store and Aeropostale. We also stopped at Nestle’s to get cookies to go (snickerdoodle), and a macaroon stand. I got mint chocolate and almond. Yum!

The mall is definitely huge. In fact, it is the largest mall in Texas! Although I must point out that the mall by my Grandma’s house in NJ is bigger! I guess not everything is bigger in Texas…

We kept getting lost trying to find our way to specific stores. Thank goodness for the directories! Funny, there was always a line to use them! At least we weren’t the only ones walking in circles.

I enjoyed coming here. I may come again during a day off when Derek is back in school just to kill a couple of hours and get some exercise.






Breakfast at Hotel Derek


We pass Hotel Derek every once in a while on the 610 inner loop, depending on where we are headed.

It cracks us up, because obviously, my husband’s name is Derek. He thinks it is cool because growing up he always knew Derricks, and had assumed that his spelling was the odd ball spelling.

We started talking about checking the hotel out just for the fun of it. I looked it up online, and discovered that there was a restaurant inside. Lunch and dinner prices are out of our budget, but breakfast was doable.

We went yesterday morning, and it was a good breakfast. I had a waffle with fruit, and Derek had a broken yoke sandwich.

Friends and family joked that Derek should get a discount, and we did, sort of. Tea was listed on the menu for $5, and but we were only charged $3! Perhaps it was because Derek ordered a certain flavor that was only available in the Starbucks variety, because it came in a Starbucks to go cup.

The hotel looked nice itself, and there were lots of cool decorations.

It was something different to do for the day. I enjoy coming up with little things like this, and I am sure there will be plenty more.












Houston Zoo Lights


We visited the Houston Zoo last week to see their Christmas light display. This event made me feel like I was “back home” because we’re so used to going to Hershey Park almost every Christmas to see their lights.

A major difference between here and there was that it was 60 degrees! I commented that the zoo was crowded, and Hershey never seemed this crowded. Derek replied that it was probably because it’s cold in Hershey!

We didn’t see any animals, except for a giraffe, a few flamingos, and the aquarium. It was too dark to see anything else, so don’t go to the Zoo Lights expecting to get the full zoo experience. But the theme of Zoo Lights is obviously animals, so you don’t feel like you’re losing out on anything. Overall it was very beautiful!

One thing I found interesting was that there was a section of Texas themed lights. There were lines to take pictures in front of each one! Of course, Derek and I took pictures with some of these lights, but we’re technically still tourists. People in Texas really do love that they are from Texas! I told Derek that it would have been strange if there was a Pennsylvania section of lights in Hershey Park!

Some pictures:

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Santa’s Wonderland


I was insistent on finding a bunch of Christmas things to do, mostly because it doesn’t feel like Christmas at all! Although I have to admit today was really cold and windy, and tonight Houston is getting it’s first overnight freeze in many years! But no snow in sight though!

I came across Santa’s Wonderland in College Station, which is northwest of Houston, an hour and a half away. It is a drive thought light show on hayrides (reminded me of our times seeing the Sweet Lights in Hershey, PA) and a little Christmas village.

I was able to buy a ticket in advance to save a few bucks, and I was able to save even more by committing to go on a “value night” or a week day in the beginning of the season. This worked out in our favor because I have off Wednesdays and Thursdays.

We had a nice time. It seemed to be more for families, but if you are a little kid at heart and like being in the Christmas spirit, then this place is still for you too. While the kids can get pictures with Santa or with Marshal Frostbite (the sheriff snowman) there were stores for adults to shop at (clothing, housewears, decorations, etc) and even a mini winery where you could do tastings.

There was a big bonfire with lots of seating around it in front of a stage that hosted different bands all night. Bands played a host of Christmas music. There was a movie screen so we caught a few minutes of The Christmas Story and Elf. We shared a peach cobbler that was cooked in a big cast iron pot over an open fire. Yum!

For extra, you could do things such as a mini train ride, a big slide and a petting zoo.

But the main highlight is the drive through lights. You can go as many times as you want! We went twice to sit on opposite sides to be able to see everything (and get the best pictures!)

Here are pictures from our night:

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