Holiday Eats

Can you believe that October is almost over?!  We'll be deep in the warm comfort foods soon and gearing up for turkey season.  If you're like me, there's family dinners, dinners at work, dinners at church, etc.  Did you know that many of your favorite mixes from The Gourmet Cupboard come in larger, more economical sizes?

Instead of getting a mix or two, how about trying a Batch? Batches are great for the items you like the most or when you know you will be preparing for large or multiple events.  The first time you purchase a Batch, you will want the jar that it comes in. After that, you can just order refills saving even more money.

For instance, the Sweet Cornbread Batch is equivalent to 10 individual mixes and will save you $11.50.  The refill will save $14.50.

There are many others in the Batch category.  Don't forget to look for "Vajdak, Denise" as your distributor. Be sure to order early to get it in time for Thanksgiving get togethers and enjoy!

The Batch of Hawaiian Cheeseball will save you $8 in the jar and $9.50 for the refill and makes 8 cheeseballs.

So let's get ready for Thanksgiving and enjoy good food with family and friends and give thanks for the things that God has blessed us with. 

Saint Nick can wait until December where he belongs. Of course, he gets plenty of cookies, so he'd probably enjoy taking home a Batch of goodies for Mrs. Claus to fix after the long night of delivering toys. ;)

Munzee Mayhem

A Munzee event hosted by the Lone Star QRazy clan. A cap/deploy challenge with prizes!

Bryan, TX - July 12, 3-5pm  

Meet at the pavilion at Astin Park in Bryan, TX by 3:00 pm near http://munzee.com/m/NativTxn/303/.

Check in with your current score on your app. You have until 5:00 pm to cap and deploy anywhere in the Brazos Valley that you like within normal Munzee guidelines. There will also be 100 event-only Munzees deployed. Return to the park by 5:00 pm and show your ending score.

The person with the most points gained during the event wins a prize package including a $20 gift certificate to +Munzee and a Torch flashlight from +Beverly Edwards-Cathcart of GxProxy. There will also be a prize pack for the leader of the event-only Munzees.

Other prizes may be available as well, so stay tuned to the event listing for updates.

Pre-register here to help save time at check-in.


Add the event listing to your Google calendars.



PS...There is a growing Thumbs Up garden not too far away. If you have Mystery Virtuals and want to add a location, please check the spreadsheet at http://goo.gl/uhLQEB


On a New Trail

I am switching over to virtually walk the Tahoe Trail on +Walking 4 Fun. I was on the Pacific Crest Trail, but I switch off everyone once in a while for a change of scenery. This is a fun use of your Fitbit steps each day. Connect your Fitbit and it does all of the work. But, you may want to visit each day to see pictures of where you would be on the trail. 

You can see where I am by looking on the left side of my blog/site.
I created a "Munzee" public group there. Join it and you can see where other Munzeers are "on the trail". Search for it here. I am also in the AtlasQuest group with other letterboxers.  Anyone wanna race?

Happy Trails!

More Munzee



Join us tonight, June 5, at 8:10 pm Central, live on Google Hangouts as +Rob Vardeman returns to talk with +Chris Umphenour, +Darryl Wattenberg  and myself on what is new in the world of +Munzee

Call the voicemail line at 206-350-3647, email GeoGearHeads@CacheAManiacs.com or drop any feedback in the "Q&A" and we'll address those on the show.

Texas Challenge 2014

This weekend, I attended another Mega event in the Lone Star State.  The Texas Challenge 2014 took place in/around Bastrop, TX.  It is a reunion and competition for cachers in the state and for visitors as well.  The competition is fierce among the "regions" (anyone can join any region for competition).  Congrats to North Texas for the win!

I was not able to make it to any of the pre-events, but I did get there for the day on Saturday.  I met up with my geo-buddies, AgNav and Scrapnphotos and we shopped a little, greeted friends and capped and deployed some Munzees.  There were quite a few virtual and mystery virtuals in the area of the main Challenge event. New ones that I deployed had quite a few hits over the weekend.

At noon, those of us that were not on the hunt teams for the Challenge met at the Old Iron Bridge over the Colorado River in historic Bastrop for the official Bridge-spitting ceremony where we learned the song.

Dirty Lil, Dirty Lil
Lives on top of Garbage Hill
Never took a bath and never will
(Spit)
Dirty Lil!

  We came, we saw, we spit!  We got our certificates that said we were official members of the International S.O.B. (Society of Bridge-spitters). After the ceremony, I got to meet Rob Vardeman (CoachV), president of Munzee.  What a nice, down-to-earth guy!  Thanks for the extra Munzees to put out!

After lunch at the Roadhouse, Nov64 (Patty) and I took off to complete some of the new Lab caches that were only in place this weekend.  We saw many interesting sites in/around Bastrop, including a bronze foundry. We saw several of the Buc-ees beavers there. There was a candy shop, wine shop, rock shop, rain water bottling plant and more along our route.  We put out some Munzees and capped others.  I even found a couple of Sights and created a couple on Sighter.  I did not get a chance to go into Bastrop State Park on this trip, but from Hwy 95, it STILL looks like a battle zone from the fires two years ago.  All those burned pines just break my heart.

We made it back to Mayfest Park in time for Patty to make it to the Texas County Challenge Reunion.  Yes, she has found a cache in all 254 counties in Texas!

We took a big group picture, waited through announcements and raffles, visited with cachers/Munzeers.  Then came the announcement for the winners of the Challenge.  Congrats to the North Texas team for the win this year!

Sadly, I was busy using my phone for locating caches and Munzees and did not capture many pictures.


Spring Break Fun

This week was my son's Spring Break, so I decided to take a couple days off work so we'd have a long weekend to spend in Louisiana with relatives. We didn't get to come at Christmas, so it's been a while since we were here.

Our cousin and his wife have a new baby. Our aunt wasn't feeling 100%. Dang allergies!  I sympathize for sure! We didn't want to intrude on them too much, so we took the camper and made reservations at Fairview-Riverside State Park in Madisonville.  I LOVE camping, but my son doesn't.  So we both got to do some of what we liked. He has been dying to go see the baby and we both have been craving beignets.  We got to do a fish fry for Mama Amy's birthday celebration, which was soooooo good! Good job Matt and Uncle Dane!!!  I love fried catfish and it just hit the spot.  Max fell asleep on my chest for a couple of hours and all was good until my backside started to fall asleep. :)

This was our first time to camp in a Louisiana State Park, so we added another spot on our Places We Have Camped map.  The staff was friendly and the campground was peaceful. Restrooms were available in the various areas of the park and they were nice, large and clean. There was a boardwalk along the river and throughout the Swamp Trail.  I love the Spanish moss hanging on the trees and blowing in the wind. I know they exist there, but we did not see any alligators.  It's still a little cold though.

There was one couple from Illinois that had an entire garden of solar-powered moving "plants" in the front window of their motor home. How cute!

On Saturday morning, there was a guided bird talk/walk. Our knowledgeable guide, Lori, showed us feathers, feet and skulls of various birds including a Bald Eagle, Barred Owl and a Cardinal. You can really hear the difference between feathers popped in the wind from a Peacock and an Owl.  We walked around the park to locate the species that were out in the day use area, the river and the swamp.  Just as we got started on the Swamp Trail, it began to rain and the group dispersed.  We got to see several and a couple of them are lifers for me. (*)  The little warblers were very active in the park.  Note to self:  bring birdseed and binoculars on the next camping trip.

Bald Eagle skull
Birds seen at the park on this trip:
American Robin
Boat-tailed Grackle
Carolina Wren
Cormorant
Crested Titmouse
Eastern Bluebird
Laughing Gull
Loggerhead Shrike
Mourning Dove
Northern Cardinal
Northern Mockingbird
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-headed Woodpecker*
Red-winged Blackbird
Rusty Blackbird*
Swamp Sparrow*
Yellow-rumped Warbler*

I also got to do some of my favorite scavenger hunts on this trip.  I was unable to find the Munzee in the park, but I added a couple of my own. I did capture some Mystery Munzees on the way home, though. 65 points on just 2 of them.

On March 15, I completely filled my caching calendar on the Groundspeak site.  I had filled my calendar on March 28, 2012 with finds on multiple listing sites, but this is just on the one site. I like to share the love between the sites. Later on Saturday, we went down to New Orleans with my aunt, uncle and friends of theirs to attend the St. Patrick's Day Parade.

It's a bit like small Mardi Gras parade, but all in green. There were lots of small "marching" groups. Some in tuxedos, others in kilts.  The floats were throwing out beads, scarves, boas, cups and such. Everyone had some form of green on.

For the holiday, they also toss out ingredients for Irish Stew.  It's a treat to catch cabbages, carrots, potatoes, onions, noodles (packages of Raman noodles) and the like.  I'm quite sure that most of the parade walkers that were vertical at the beginning of the parade were not by the end of the parade.  Fun in New Orleans!

The camper is staying with both of my cousins and they will share it between themselves and with their spouses. They are excited to have it back on their side of the Sabine River.  I know they will get more use out of it now that they can use it together. Since hitting the teenage years, my camping buddy is not into it anymore.  On the way home, we fought a lot of wind.  It made for a tiring ride, trying to keep the car on the road. Good thing we weren't pulling the camper.

We used the Waze app on the way there and back.  It sure helps to see hazards (and police sightings) ahead of us.  There was a major accident in Houston and we were able to route around it to save a lot of time. I am now a Warrior Wazer. My brother liked it that I could send him our route and he could see where we were as we made our way home.




Outdoor Activities

I had the day off for MLK day, so I got together with one of my best geo-buddies to go find some geocaches. On the way to meet up with her, the morning was very misty-foggy. As I was driving down FM 50 near Brenham, I saw a Bald Eagle flying low over a pond just to my left. I always get so excited about seeing these majestic birds so close to home and over the last couple of months, I have seen 3 of them. I was driving so I didn't have a chance to try to snap a picture.
Photo by Suzzanne Britton
ironphoenix.org/gallery/

We headed northeast to an area where there were caches that neither of us have already found. The fog was beginning to lift and it turned into a gorgeous day. Our first stop, a cemetery. The wind was whispering in the pines and birds were everywhere. I could have just sat there for a long time soaking it all in.  A "V" of Snow Geese flew overhead heading south. Wrens where about as were some Robins. I saw a tiny bird with a bright red stripe on its head and it was flitting around in the cedars right in front of me, but not holding still long enough for its camera debut. I looked it up later and found out it is a Ruby Crowned Kinglet. A new one to add to my life list! Such a cute little fellow!

We started on a series of caches and then took a break for lunch on the Lake in Conroe. It was a little breezy, but nice, so we sat out on the patio.  I created a Sight on Sighter Game and we put out a few Munzees along the way heading home.  We stopped by the military tank that has twice eluded me and I FINALLY got to log that one and even completed a locationless cache on terracaching.com. 20 caches found along with a couple of Munzees for the day. We didn't do much pre-planning, so no letterboxes today.

I got home and started a couple loads of laundry. I know, ugh! While they were washing and drying, I went outside with my tablet to edit and publish my field notes as logs.  I just couldn't stand going inside any more than I had to. The Barred Owls across the road were carrying on a little early and I love to listen to them. Henbit and Spring Beauties are already blooming in the yard. Hopefully, Spring is on its way.

Scavenger Hunts

The first round of Munzee Clan Wars of 2014 has started. There are just over 300 clans this month and I am in the DudeClan this time with other Texas Munzeers.  I was able to get out at lunch and deploy 3 more Munzees around Downtown Bryan and one of them is a Mystery. If you scan it, you can get anywhere from 5-50 points.

Clans consist of up to 10 players who band together to play. Individual points are added together to try to earn special clan "weapons" which are special Munzees that can only be earned as part of the clan wars.  For more info on Clans, click here.  New clans start and end near the beginning/end of a month. Players can join, leave and change clans only during that time frame.

Because of the GeoGearHeads Podcast, I learned about another location-based game called Sighter. There are now a few of them in Downtown Bryan as well. It is a Photography Based Urban Treasure Hunt. Use the app for Android and Apple. Open it and it will show you the nearest sights. Arrows will show you the direction and distance of the sight.  As you get closer, you will play the cold - warm - hot game until you can get there and snap a picture of the item.  Since there are none in my area from other players, I will have to wait to describe that part of it.  When you create a sight, make sure your GPS is on and locked on location. Take a picture, type in a hint and you can type a secret about the location as well and submit. It's that simple.

I have a couple of letterboxes that had the stamps taken from them at some point. Now I had to disable the boxes so I can re-carve the stamps. Tiny details are getting tough for me lately. Time for an eye exam.

A note to geocachers:
Rubber stamps are NOT swag - especially from a letterbox hybrid! DO NOT REMOVE them!

Learn OneNote Conference 2018 Kicks Off

The Learn OneNote Conference officially starts today. I'm so excited to be a part of this 3rd Annual event!  If you haven't signed u...