Archive for the ‘Outdoor Activities’ Category

2014 Fun

Posted by: Frances

July 14th, 2014 >> Cooking, Crafts, Outdoor Activities, Travel, Workout

Since my last post, I have been doing lots of DIY projects, traveling, and adopted a new puppy.

Just a few of the things I have done…  I built a shelving unit and an entertainment center for our living out of an old barn window and pallets.  It turned out gorgeous and made our living room fell light and cozy.  I also made a wreath for the front door of the house.

B Wreath

Entertainment Center I made 2014


Matt and I went to San Clemente, CA for a relaxing afternoon one weekend in March.  We enjoyed our lunch at the seafood restaurant on the pier and strolled the beach in the beautiful weather.

San Clemente Beach Yummy crab, Matt and I (5)

I started working out with Zuzana at  Love her workouts.  They are only 12-18 minutes long and totally make me sweat.  It makes me feel great!

Matt and I spent our 2nd Wedding Anniversary (April 7) in San Diego, CA.  We had an amazing dinner at Lou & Mickey’s!  It was incredible!  We also went to the San Diego Zoo.  They weather was perfect and we had such a memorable time.  We also had breakfast at Snooze!  Wow, yummy!

Annual Anniversary Pics 2nd Anniversary San Diego, CA (4)

Stone Liberty San Diego, CA

2nd Anniversary San Diego, CA Zoo (28)

Annual Anniversary Pics 2nd Anniversary San Diego, CA (15)

Matt and I took a trip to Flagstaff, AZ in May to adopt our new puppy Molly.  She is a Shar Pei & CattleDog mix that we found at the Arizona Cattle Dog Rescue.  After picking her up, we went over to see the Grand Canyon.  WOW!  It was unbelievable.  We had all the dogs will us (Natasha, Maci, & Molly) and took some fun photos.  Then, on our way home we stop at Grand Canyon Brewery for a bite to eat.

 Grand Canyon Brewery Matt, Molly, Natasha, Maci, and I (13)

Grand Canyon Flagstaff, AZ (29)

Then, in July my sister got married.  Matt and I had a great time at the wedding and took some outrageous photos with everyone.




And now here is is the middle of July already with more fun to come….


1 Year Anniversary Waikiki on O’hau Hawaii 2013

Posted by: Frances

July 14th, 2013 >> Hang Gliding, Outdoor Activities, Travel

This year was my year to surprise Matt with an anniversary trip.  I chose to go to O’hau Hawaii and stayed at the Outrigger on the Reef.  We had a very nice time while we were there and did several things. We took a sunset dinner cruise around the island that made me quite sick, however we got to see a group of whales with a baby dancing in the water.  The sunset was absolutely gorgeous as well.  We also got to see a Luau that we did not think was all that great.

The best day we had was our drive across the island to Lanikai Beach.  It was voted one of the top 3 beaches in the U.S. with white soft sand and a beautiful view of the Makapu’u Islands.  We enjoyed a relaxing morning on the beach followed by an awesome challenging hike called Pill Boxes right off the beach. The hike had steep inclines and very slippery surfaces, but had extraordinary views of the island you couldn’t get anywhere else.  Then, off to have a quick bite to eat and up to Makapu’u peak for some Hang Gliding adventure.  The view from the launch was amazing and looking down at the crystal clear ocean water below was unbelievable.  After some fun hang gliding, we venture over to the Makapu’u Lighthouse hike.  This was a much less challenging hike with views of  whales in the ocean all along the way.  Finally, we ended up at Kona Brewing Company with some other Hang Glider pilots to satisfy our hunger after our active day in paradise.

On our anniversary we enjoyed the sands of the beach and soaked up some sun working up an appetite for our romantic dinner at Michele’s Restaurant.  Our dinner was AMAZING!!!  We also ate the top of tier of our wedding cake for dessert, that tasted just as fabulous as it did a year ago on our wedding day.


July 28, 2012 Big Spring, TX Hang Gliding Competition

Posted by: Frances

August 9th, 2012 >> Hang Gliding, Outdoor Activities, Travel, Uncategorized

It was really great to see everyone at the competition.  I really miss everyone.  We had so much fun even though it was really HOT!  One of the tasks was cancelled one day so we all headed to the small water park and had a lot of laughs.  At the end of the competition, Tim was nice enough to take me up in his 1969 150J Cessna plane.  That was a LOT of fun!!!



April 18, 2012 My mom and dad come to California with me

Posted by: Frances

August 9th, 2012 >> Educational, Outdoor Activities, Travel

My parents came to California to visit and we went to the Reagan Library and the Huntington Library.  The Reagan Library is one of the neatest places I have been.  We spent hours there and I learned so many things about politics and Reagan I didn’t know about it.  I highly recommend visiting!!!  It also has one of the most spectacular views of the mountains in California.  We got to see Air Force One as well as many other really neat things.  I really enjoyed reading the love letters he wrote to his wife!  They were short, sweet, and romantic.


Then, we went to the Huntington Library where they have an original Gutenberg Bible and Canterbury Tales Book.  This place is so beautiful!  The diversity of there gardens and outdoor trails are so relaxing.  This is a great place to just go and unwind.  How light bulbs evolved over time was my favorite.  They had different exhibits such as anatomy and space that were extremely interesting.


April 9, 2012 Off to the Honeymoon…

Posted by: Frances

August 9th, 2012 >> Holidays, Outdoor Activities, Travel

Matt surprised me with a honeymoon to Playa Mujeres in Mexico.  It was exquisite! We had to go through several gates just to get to the private 2 mile beach area with the Excellence Resort on it.  They have 9 restaurants and 7 bars and several pools and of course the private beach.  We were greeted with wet wash rags as we got out of the car to wipe our hands and face with.  Then as we walked up the stairs to two large doors without handles, they opened up (like open sesame) to another Bell Boy with champagne for us.  It was complete pampering!  I felt so spoiled and enjoyed every minute we were there.  The food was excellent as well as the service.  Our room was the coolest room I have ever been in.  (You will see when you look at the pictures)  We went on two excursions;  one to Jungle Maya and the other to Isla Mujeres.  We went repelling into an underground cave of water, zip lining, snorkeling in the largest underground cave of water in the world as well as one of the reefs, went out on a catamaran, drove golf carts around Isla Mujeres, and relaxed.  We met a lot of great people we will keep in touch with and made lots of memories.  We will be returning!



April 7, 2012 Wedding Day: The fine details

Posted by: Frances

April 26th, 2012 >> Holidays, Outdoor Activities

So… today is the day Matt Barker and I got married!  We had a 1920s classy glamor style wedding at The Lookout, a lavender farm over looking the valley in Austin, TX.  It was a Saturday and a full moon.  Our colors were that of a Peacock.  We had many details in the wedding that were very sentimental and things we noticed that were interesting.


For instance, we met 4 years and seven months ago on Sept 12, 2007 from today.

My engagement ring Matt gave me was his Grandfather’s Aunts engagement ring date around 1910 to 1920s.  Mine and his wedding bands were made and custom designed out of my Aunt Frances’ gold hook bracelet.  My wedding band also included diamonds that were my Grandmothers and the design was inspired by my Great Grandmother’s wedding band.


We also bought an authentic 1929 Websters Dictionary with the 1920s census in it as well as other important history from that decade.  Guests highlighted words in it to remind us of our day.  I also found an authentic jewelry charm of an April calender from 1920 with the 7th circled on it.

Wedding Decoration 1929 original Dictionary, Frances Tatted bookmark (9)


My bouquet was made of broaches I purchased on ebay as well as broaches given to me by family and friends.


We used postcards for people to sign in as guests on the table with a candy bar and wedding favors.  The wedding favors were homemade by my sister Jackie and were an assortment of jams.  The turquoise tatted ornament attached to the jars were all tatted by me.


We had a solid silver dinner bell made in the late 1920s with a tag on it that said “Ring for a Kiss.”  This is our “Truce Bell”.  It is meant to be kept out in our home and when times get tough, one of us is to ring the bell and remind of us what brought us together in the beginning.


Our appetizers were fruit (but no melon because I don’t like it), cheese, and sausage.  For our meal we had smoked pork tenderloin with a cranberry glaze, parmesan potatoes, green beans, caeser salad with La Madeline’s caesar dressing, stuffed quiche, and manicotti with shredded chicken and alfredo sauce.  We had a blonde, porter, and an IPA home brewed beer from Matt Barker and a buttery chardonnay and a bristol red wine made by my Uncle Bobby.  The cake was a wedding cake with almond creme filling for the top and bottom layers and a chocolate cake with a strawberry filling as the 2nd layer with butter cream icing.  The cake topper was a B for Barker and a South Carolina state groom and a Texas state bride topper.   Everything was made from scratch and was extra extra tasty!!!




My mother made Berit Raines dress, the flower girl.  My sister Jackie’s dress, the matron of honor.  And my new sister in law Laura Barker’s dress.  They are all in 1920 style dresses and beautiful!  I wore my mother’s wedding dress with very few alterations.  It turned out to be breath taking!


We also had a photo booth area with pearls, top hats, bow ties, camisole, headbands, and other props for people to make funny pictures.  This was so much fun and very entertaining.  We got a lot of fun laughs doing this.


To transport the out of town guests to and from the wedding venue, we had an original Austin Trolley.  That was a hit and a lot of fun with a hint of Austin.


Lastly, my mother, sister, Rachel, and many others dedicated a lot of time to make this day the most perfect day and it was more than we could have asked for with tons of details and thought put into each and every decision.

You can also find our story and more wedding pictures at:

January 2012: The New Year

Posted by: Frances

February 3rd, 2012 >> Educational, Outdoor Activities, Travel

Well on New Years Eve, Matt and I were so exhausted from the previous days activities, we didn’t even make it to 9:30pm.  I can’t believe it is 2012 already!  In the last year, I have traveled to several different places, moved into a new residence, started my Master’s Degree in Accounting, and got engaged!  This year I will be getting married, traveling to many more places, graduating with my Master’s in Accounting from Kaplan University in December (with a 4.0 I hope), and working to start a position in the Accounting world.  It will be a year full of many new doors for me and I can’t wait.  More news to come….

Christmas 2011 in Florida

Posted by: Frances

February 3rd, 2012 >> Outdoor Activities, Travel

Matt and I went to Florida to join his Dad, Nelson, and sister for a fabulous Christmas.  It was great seeing everyone together and being able to relax for a few days without work.  I have to admit it was a little weird for me on Christmas Day because it was so warm outside!  We also headed to Busch Gardens for a day full of roller coaster riding.  Just a few fun pictures below:

frances-matt-laura-tom-nelson-xmasFrances, Matt, Laura, Tom, Nelson


matt-frances-xmas-busch-gardens-2Matt & I

matt-frances-xmas-busch-gardens-7Matt and I at Busch Gardens

matt-frances-xmas-busch-gardensMatt and I Busch Gardens


Thanksgiving in Austin, TX & Filmore, CA Christmas Tree Train

Posted by: Frances

December 6th, 2011 >> Holidays, Outdoor Activities, Travel

Matt and I went to Austin, TX to spend Thanksgiving with my family.  We had a fantastic time with everyone and I must say, man can my sister cook!!!  I miss them dearly.

Matt, Steve Pearson’s family, and I drove out to Filmore, CA to ride the Train and cut down our Christmas tree.  This train had a Steam Engine from 1913 and train cars from the 1920s and 1930s.  I loved it!  The water fountains on the train were really neat too.  We had a 45 minute train ride to the Christmas tree farm.  Then we roamed the farm and found our perfect tree to cut down.  I felt like Clark Griswald in Christmas vacation.  All of us had such a great time.  Here are some pictures below:


The train!



Our Christmas tree being cut down…


And off to load onto the train!


And the final result!!!

Bridge to NoWhere Hike for the 2nd time

Posted by: Frances

December 6th, 2011 >> Outdoor Activities, Travel

Matt and I took Jack on the Hike to the Bridge to NoWhere.  We only hiked about 3 miles in and 3 miles back because the trail is rough on his paws.  We had a great time and loved the hike.  The weather was perfect and Jack loved swimming in the water.  We had a lot of laughs and good moments on this hike.  I can’t wait to do it again.


water crossing!