I don't know about you guys, but when I woke up and finally felt some amazing Fall type temps, I just HAD to grab the kids and get some outside time. Since adding two more kids to the family mix, I have been scrambling to find time to de-stress and relax. The two newest additions are always in tow. Alone time is almost a non-option. In an effort to be a more chill me, a better, more centered Mom and wife I have been on a journey to try and discover things that keep me grounded. Things that I can search out and do on a super stressful day. Things that help me to stop and smell the roses. One of the things I have discovered is, I haven't been feeding my soul enough. Self care. I sure don't have time for a lot of the alone, quiet moments so I am finding new ways to self care WITH the kids in tow. Being outside is one of the things my soul craves. I love walking around and exploring new things. We have lived in Southeast TX for 7 years now. People have been telling me how wonderful Shangri La Botanical Gardens are, but I had yet to venture out there until TODAY! The weather was perfect and it was time for a new adventure!
Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center is a private entity located in the center of Orange, TX. H.J. Lutcher Stark began work on Shangri La in 1942. It sits on 252 acres, roughly and is a fabulous place to visit for adults, kids, schools and the like. Everyone will find something to love in this perfect place of serenity and beauty!
Click here to learn more about Shangri La.
They had the place all decked out for Fall. Pumpkins everywhere! Since I love Pumpkins, I was tickled and so were the girls.
Emma is in this phase where she thinks she needs to throw up the "peace" sign in every photo. I think it goes along fine with the atmosphere today! It's so very peaceful out here! There was so much for us to look at and explore. So much beauty!
From the Greenhouses with gorgeous plants and moss dripping from the trees to the potted things for us to smell, we checked out every little detail. My favorite section had to be the area for kids where they encourage using your senses. They had herbs to taste, smell, listen to and touch. We tasted the garlic chives and MAN OH MAN they were delish!!
There's also a lake on site. Ruby Lake and she is a beaut. I am an earthly being so I love just sitting and watching bodies of water just like these. I could've stared at this all day!
There was even a blind for bird watching! We got to see a rather large bird perching on a platform in the middle of the lake. A man that was there told us that often, there are Alligators on that platform sunbathing...Now THAT I would've loved to see!
It just so happens that we decided to visit Shangri La during Scarecrow Festival and it was amazing! Scarecrow Festival is a friendly competition featuring dozens of unique designs from community organizations, businesses, schools, churches and families. We had a great time and saw some really creative designs. Then, at the end of our walk, we got to place our votes for the Scarecrow set up we liked the best...it was a fun time for myself AND the toddlers!
We stumbled upon some set ups that just blew us away!
First, there was a class of Sociology Students. This one had Emma's vote! Sociology Major in the making? Maybe!
Then we came upon an entire group of "Clean Gardeners". I was both entertained and impressed by this one. Totally goes with the climate we are in with global warming awareness these days.
We were stoked to stumble upon Five Little Monkeys! We have watched videos of this theme on YouTube and recited this song as a way to learn counting repeatedly so my girls knew exactly who these guys were and they were in love! So cute!!
Then we came upon a true gem.
I cannot say enough about this one. Orange Police Department Dispatch is responsible for this. I once worked as a Police Dispatcher for a HUGE city in TX so, this one touched my soul on so many levels. Kudos to whoever the brains were behind this one. All dispatchers in a 911 setting can relate. You guys are geniuses and should be honored as such.....This one is so on point, I cannot even describe it. Mad shouts and props people....
Then there was "her".
"She". The being of Free State Cellars. Impressive. I love her. She calls to me. She is eery and earthy and mystical. I was drawn to her so strongly from the moment I saw her. I had to vote for her. She and her surroundings were made in representation of Free State Cellars. A wine company coming to our area soon. She's haunting and wistful. Just up my alley. We ran in to several other people that thought so too. So nice marketing, FSC...nice marketing. I already like you and haven't even met you.
Learn more about Free State Cellars here...
The most valuable lesson I can pass to you from this blog post is this, feed your soul! Self care is important! As a MOM/PARENT of any kind, we often find ourselves in a position that means we have to think of others ALL of the time. But try, as hard as you can, to squeeze in activities that feed YOUR soul! The little ones will appreciate the outing and you are exposing them to types of self care that might work for them in the future as well. Put those tools in their tool boxes parents! They will thank you for it one day and to the participants of the Scarecrow Festival, good luck and great job!!
Until next time, love to you all!!