Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy Holidays 2018

The kids in their new PJs Christmas Eve!

I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas break.  Our family is looking forward to staying up late tonight playing games and possibly watching a few movies!  I am really looking forward to 2019 and a better year!  All in all 2018 was a pretty rough year for me personally but I am grateful to be here and excited that 2019 is fast approaching.  Cheers to you and be safe tonight!  Enjoy a few pictures from our recent break.

Meet Twilight - the newest addition

B got a hamster for Christmas.  David and I wrapped up a cage, water bottle, bowl, and a few fun toys for her to open.  She went the next day to pick her out.  She picked out a female, black bear hamster and named her Twilight.  She is super sweet and likes to be around people and noise - yay!

F in his new penguin costume.

Jesus' Birthday Cake this year!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Mama's Jewelry Special

I wanted to share with you Mama's Jewelry!  They have been designing rings for moms for 30 years and they are committed to creating exceptional mothers pendants, rings and earrings at affordable prices!  You can check them out by visiting

Love these pendants!

Use Code:  USFAMILYBLOG10 to save as well!  Stay tuned for my upcoming review.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

We Had a Blast at The Science Mill

My family had the privilege of visiting the Science Mill in Johnson City, Texas last Sunday.  I think we were the first to arrive and the last to leave (that's not unusual for us).  This place was amazing!  How have I not been here before?  I kept asking myself that question throughout the day.

The Kids in front of the Science Mill

Currently there are 50+ exhibits and they are set up around the mill to explore.  This is very much a place of exploration and discovery!

After checking in, all the kids were given these QRC badges.

F with his avatar!

A closer look

There are stations set up around the museum with many of the exhibits that the kids can use to check in with their badges.  They can learn about the topics and earn fun badges along the way.

F and G in front of the K'Nex Ferris Wheel Sculpture

This sculpture is in the lobby area and was created by a local high school student.  It is pretty fun to watch the ferris wheel in motion.  After the kids created their badges, we went to view Oceans 3D.

Oceans 3D

A, B and C ready to watch Oceans 3D.

F and G were excited to wear the glasses.

We really enjoyed this.  It was hard to keep our little ones quiet because they were mesmerized that there were animals that they could almost touch.  Check out the trailer below for Oceans 3D: Our Blue Planet.

After watching the movie, we spent time over in that area, Studio 5.  This area has the Race Track, IGlobe, Magnetic Ball Wall and Gear Wall, Dream Table, Young Explorers Area (for toddlers 3 and younger) and a Photo Booth.  There is also a beautiful mural on the other wall of the IGlobe that I love.

David and F building a custom race car at the pit garage.

What they are using.

F testing out his car.

A racing her car on the 25-foot racing track.  The track contains 3 racing stations.

 Your mission

The kids having fun with the magnetic ball wall.

Here you can see how the pieces can be rearranged

Your mission

A and E placing the gears on the wall in order to turn the windmill.

 Another view

D checking out the IGlobe.

The IGlobe lets you view the Earth from outer space.  It's a 4 foot diameter sphere of the Earth.  It covers oceanic, atmospheric, and geoscience topics.  It's a little dark in this room so I didn't get great photo.  On the other side of the wall from the IGlobe is a beautiful mural.  It makes for great photo opportunities!

Here I am in front of it.

B and D

And Miss E

G had a good time in the Young Explorers Area.


And our whole family had a great time with the photo booth.  You can e-mail the photos to your account.  There are 3 different backgrounds to chose from.

B in the photo booth.

One of the photos that was e-mailed to me.

Another one!

Next we headed to Studio 2.  Here they have numerous exhibits including Go With The Flow, Critter Bots, Create An Explosion, and Game Of Life.  Studio 3 is right next to it with the Banana Piano, Wind Turbine Test Bed, Mindball, Sailboats, Virtual Body Table and Realms.

The Studios

The shark teeth above were created with the 3D printer at the Science Mill!

C especially liked the Create An Explosion and seeing how high he could get the ping pong ball to fly.

There are 3 critter bots - armadillo, longhorn and rattlesnake.  Displays walk you through how to create your own program to get the critter bots to move.

 A with the Banana Piano

Sailboat Race

We spent some time exploring the Biolab as well.  This place was personally one of my favorites!  It has Virtual Reality, Zebrafish, Axolotls, Super Microbe Power, Cellphone Microscope and more.

A with the axolotls.  This is especially cool because A did a report on these last year.

Watching the axolotl.

B using Virtual Reality

D inflating a pig lung.

F exploring the stages of a frog.

Inside the various silos are other exhibits:  Fractalarium, Cell Phone Disco, Rainwater Collection, The Story of Water, and Dig In.

The Fractalarium

This was one of E's favorite things.  She loved the topographic mapping and making her own designs.

The Science and Art Park Outside has numerous exhibits as well including the Colossal Robotic Hand, Incredible Ball Machine, Giant Lever, and a Fossil Dig to name a few.

Check out B doing the Giant Lever like a boss!  The two sides may not be equal.

Controls for the Colossal Robotic Hand

What do you make with a Colossal Robotic Hand - Hook em'

G in the Fossil Dig

I didn't show you everything but I hope you get an idea of how fantastic The Science Mill really is.  It encourages creative thinking and learning all while having fun.  Kids are constantly being challenged and asking questions as they explore various exhibits and concepts.  I love that it works for such a broad range of children and is really fantastic for my older children as well!  My kids are already asking to go back!  If you are looking for something to do over the holiday break and live nearby, please check them out.  Your family will not be disappointed.  You can also stay for the fantastic lights all around Johnson City.  Find out more about the Science Mill and their exhibits on their website  I also want to mention that they have special events every month such as The Physics of Flight next week, January's Snow Day, February's Aquaponics Greenhouse Grand Opening, as well as monthly Homeschool Days (love that!).  Check them out at

B and G in the lights

General Admission (includes all exhibits and a 3D movie) is free for ages 0-2 years, $8.50 for 3-18 years, $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (65+) and military.  There are field group and pre-scheduled group rates as well.  So the pricing is extremely doable!  The Science Mill is open Wed - Sat 10am - 4pm, Sunday Noon - 4pm and they are closed Mondays and Tuesdays.  

Disclosure:  My family and I were able to attend The Science Mill for free in exchange for my honest review.  Opinions are 100% my own.