Hallie

In the heat one thing really makes for a nice treat.

Fruit salad.

Fruit salad is great for the heat and less expensive this time of year. Mix 1/2 pack of vanilla instant pudding mix with the pineapple juice from a can of pineapple to make a mildly sweet sauce. Add the pineapple, apples, mandarin oranges (in juice but don't add the juice), peaches, grapes, blueberries, kiwi, cherries, blackberries, plums, apricots, and whatever else you love or is on sale.

Pulled pork is a good main dish; drop a Boston butt in the crock pot for 8 hours and shred with a fork and add or offer BBQ sauce. You could offer slider buns too.

Homemade mac n cheese works great for a cookout since even if it isn't super hot it still tastes great.

I'm a picnic-er. I probably do one or two a week.

  • Mark Bittman is my herofor this list of 100 picnic ideas
  • I'm having a moment with roasted zucchini. It is great at room temp and would travel well (although it won't look like this picture since it doesn't really brown.) This recipe is also great with a touch of paprika.
  • If you don't mind taking things in separate containers this panzanella recipe is very good. You could combine everything but the bread beforehand and just dump the whole thing over the bread when you get there.
  • Lots of sandwiches (and salads!) work better if you let them sit. My fave is buttered toasted onion roll blue cheese roast beef or steak thin sliced red onion horseradish. Or kings hawaiian roll sandwiches without pork.
  • For a nice picnic I'm a fan of charcuterie. Pick 2 or 3 hard cheese, a meat or two, some cornichons and crackers. Done. Depending on what you've got some fruit might be nice (prosciutto and cantelope, blue cheese and figs, etc) For a more downscale I just make adult lunchables (turkey deli cheese good crackers grapes or apples)
  • Elote is amazing for picnics.
Hallie

I don't like to read Buzz Feed, mainly because I feel their their journalists do not put a lot of effort into their work. One example is the list of 35 things that one is supposed to do in Austin. I have the sinking feeling that they were never here, since half of the list seems to be random, and when I only have the option to pick 35 things to do there are better ones to choose from.

The Austin nature & science center is awesome and so is the prehistoric garden right next door.

I take my kidsthere all the time and we never get bored. There are definitely a few other great suggestions on here( Peter Pan, Hamilton pool, Umlauf) and some no brainers.

It seems like many of these items were just picked at random. Polvos , Spiderhouse ,Whip In, and once a month hipster karaoke for goodness sake? Here ; Baby A's ,Dominican Joe's and Billy's on Burnett or Z'tejas , Epoch and Draught House. Quick some one name a Mexican restaurant, a local coffee shop with people in it and a place with good beer on tap. That's totally like sooooo Austin !

Fireworks over a body of water whilst on a boat? Totally Austin.

I like Uncommon Objects but man is it overpriced. There are so many other little places like that are way more reasonable. It's pretty obvious whoever made this list has lived here a little while but it's really just the tip of the iceberg places that a lot of people know.

Are breakfast tacos really such a big deal to anyone? I understand if you're going out for breakfast you might want some fancy peppers and eggs and all but for your everyday morning taco it's usually just a piece of bacon and an egg on a tortilla.

Get over it people. If anyone in this town could make a decent roll we would probably be eating breakfast sandwiches instead of tacos.

I can't think of any place that I would rather not be than at a UT home game. I won't even go downtown if they are playing an away game. I guess if drunken crowds of Bros and fist fights are your thing.......

I don't know why I thought this buzzfeed list would be any different than any other 1/2 assed "article" they post. Or any different from the other best of Austin lists for that matter.

Oh and Ben's was way better than Franklins is (and you didn't have to wait all morning to get lunch) but I doubt the person who wrote this article even knows what Ben's is.

Hallie

I know a lot of people will say a trip like this is not filled with many sights, and I would agree, there aren't a lot. But there are some and it does make it a worth seeing.

Visit the Carlsbad Caverns and make sure and make a small stop in Flagstaff as well. Both really cool places. When I went from Houston to the Grand Canyon with a church group we stayed in the following places: Fort Stockton, Albequerque, Flagstaff, Lake Powell, and then of course the Grand Canyon.

Now as a family we like to head north into New Mexico on route 285 (north out of Pecos TX at I-20, or Fort Stockton TX at I-10) to Carlsbad; zig off to the west to visit the Carlsbad Caverns, they are breathtaking, and a VERY unusual experience.

Then continue north on route 285 to Roswell, and take in the UFO madness. Very entertaining, and you can thereafter say "I've been there," with a knowing look.

Then head west on route 380 and get to Socorro; from there take the drive west on 60 to the Very Large Array, the jaw dropping array of GIANT mobile radio astronomy dishes. Worth it even if you're not a tech geek, but if you are: pure nirvana.

Then north to Albuquerque.

By the way, west of Albuquerque along I-40 are the Petrified Forest National Park, Meteor Crater (huge), Flagstaff, and of course Grand Canyon south rim!

Hallie

What makes Austin really unique is the land, and the people. Austin is at the confluence of several climates and geographic areas in one small space.

You have aspects of coastal prairies, oaks and prairies, the Edwards plateau, and South Texas brushlands all mashing together in this area.

I would recommend getting together with the Hill Country Conservancy, the LBJ Wildflower Center, and other environmentally minded organizations to plan some day hikes or educational trips.

The Texas Memorial Museum has dinosaurs, woolly mammoths, more arrowheads than you need to kill a bison herd, and meteorites. 'Nuff said.

The LBJ library is pretty cool too; very in depth exhibits there.

I recommend googling info about the local caves. The local geology is conducive to their formation. There are several that are miles long forming vast underground ecosystems; some are large enough that they are treated as roadside tourist attractions and offer guided tours.

also, (probably of more interest to a MUN) there is UT and The Capitol building. It's too bad our silly state legislature only meets once every two years and won't be back until 2013. They'd probably give ya'll a special tour of the facilities, though, should you come.

Texas is growing by leaps and bounds and from a MUN perspective, the difficulties posed by rapid growth balanced with land/water issues (oh and don't forget border issues thrown on top of that) will be much more interesting I think.

The Perry Castañeda Library at the University of Texas is one of 8 UN Repositories in the world.

Perhaps you could get a tour and learn more about the need for Repositories and the logistics of the operation from a head librarian, as librarians do love to talk about their work.

Other than that our state does have an interesting history of being part of 6 different western states(France, Spain, Mexico, Republic of Texas, Confederacy, and USA) not to count the the native americans who were here before it was cool. Tours of the Capital, Bob Bullock State history museum and the such would shed more light on European imperialism being supplanted by American Imperialism, oh I mean "manifest destiny".

And last but not least we have the Ransom Center collects with such a "vengeance", that they've repeatedly pissed off other archives for hoarding cultural artifacts. I'm always astounded at the lack of awareness about the Ransom Center in Austin--it being one of the largest collections of Western historical documents in the world. There's always a cool exhibition going on, I'd highly recommend it.

Hallie

The community definitely isn't wholly gathered in any single area. The Far West neighborhood has the ighest denstiy of jewish families.

The Jewish Community Center is located there, and with that (and nearby) a couple of synagogues representing several different congregations. It's a great neighborhood, centrally located, and you've even got a grocery store with a kosher deli that folks walk to on Saturday. Nearby neighborhoods like Highland Park West, Allandale, Rosedale, Brentwood, and Tarrytown are all close to the community.

It's probably a smaller population than you're used to, but we're here! I know Jews from Cedar Park and Round Rock all the way down to south Austin. As with everything else, this is a commuter town, so live where it's best for you and drive where you need to go. I grew up in the suburbs and drove all the way into town for temple.

The Far West area apartments are still some of the more affordable ones in town, so if you aren't quite sure where you want to live, you can do it there at a reasonable price for at least a little while. The apartments are a mixture of students and families, so you get a little bit of loud but not a whole heck of a lot. The local HEB has a Kosher store with great traditional foods.

A new, affordable community is going to be popping up in the McKinney Falls area.

It's not in the "hip" or "trendy" part of Austin, but rather in a relatively sleepy area that is not very built up yet. Prices are going to be "right" for a while there, so it might be something to consider.

Hallie

Texas is a big beautiful state! And as an Austin native I think we have some of the best of what this state has to offer.

But there really is so much, it would be hard to see it all in a life time. This is a small list but it could take up a couple of years of family vacations.

  • Big Bend National Park.
  • Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
  • The international food scene, museums, and sports in Houston.
  • The Texas Hill Country for scenery, hiking, and swimming holes.
  • San Antonio for history and Mexican food.
  • Port Aransas for cheesy yet awesome beach town stuff.

Honestly, Texas is huge and you can find pretty much anything you want. If you're outdoorsy, East Texas has dense piney woods; if you like the beach, we got that (Not the prettiest though, admittedly); you like the mountains? got that in West Texas; hills and rivers? Central Texas.

Depending on your interests and the amount of time you have, I would recommend renting a car, heading to Houston for bit, go through Central Texas and San Antonio, head west to Big Bend, and then back to North Texas to fly out of Dallas.

I think you'd need at least a week to make this a workable plan.