A Texan New Year – Part 1

With a few extra days off from work and school, the family headed southwest to the great state of Texas for some culture, science, friends and great food! The warmer weather was a big plus, too.

Hanging in Santa Claus Village

Santa Claus Village was a super fun place to be based for a couple days. While the activities like husky sleds, reindeers and snowmobiling were a thrill, the village itself had a lot to take in, too. Here’s what went down at the Arctic Circle.

Arctic Circle Fun

While Helsinki provided some city fun, and visiting Santa was a real treat, there was tons more to do in Finland, and specifically the Arctic Circle, where the lows got down to a chilling 5 degrees. But, armed with warm winter gear and the occasional hot chocolate or spiked gloggi, we were good to go!

Visiting Santa at the “North Pole”

While people may realize that Santa Claus comes from Finland, few get the chance to meet the big man near his home. We were fortunate enough to make the trek to his secret forest – Joulukka – outside the town of Rovaniemi (where we stayed at Santa Claus Village, of course). In what seemed like…

Hei, Helsinki!

We were off to see Santa Claus in the Arctic Circle (i.e., the North Pole) during Thanksgiving week, but we first got acclimated to the gem of a city – Helsinki! We took a bus tour to get a lay of the land, and explored central Helsinki by foot and even by ferris wheel…

Best of the Rest of Deutschland

While Oktoberfest was a main draw, and the countryside was beautiful, Munich itself was a lovely little city. We only scratched the surface (and the biergartens) so we’ll have to explore more on another trip!

Beautiful Bavaria

While Oktoberfest was a blast, we definitely wanted to explore other parts of the region while we were in Germany. For us, we ended up in the land of King Ludwig II – specifically at Neuschwanstein Castle and his hunting grounds at Linderhof Palace – with a little pit stop at a lovely restaurant over…


OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG – we made it to Oktoberfest! And what an amazing two days we had on the Theresienwiese grounds. We were quite surprised to find it more like a state fair, with tons of rides, games, food stalls and families running around during the day. And even inside the beer tents, it was lively but…

Best of the Rest of Destin

We covered a lot of ground in Destin, and took a lot of photos. Here are highlights of the rest of our week!