Today was a stay-put-in-one-place day. My kind of a day and my spot. My daughter mentioned in our last blog that we each got to pick a spot in the country that we wanted to see. My spot is Waco, Texas. Since Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite were taken by my kids, I got to pick another place. I’m sure everyone knows Chip and Joanna Gaines – the stars of the HGTV show, Fixer Upper. I realized that more people know about them than I thought.
My brother actually called me while we were in Waco and I told him where we were.
I asked, “Do you know Chip and Joanna Gaines?” I didn’t know that guys knew who they were. He said, “What kind of dork do you think I am? Everyone knows who they are – the Fixer Upper people.”
Anyway, lest you think that we’re having a conflict-free trip across the USA with 4 kids in tow – you’re wrong! I’ve already heard 100 times, “He’s hitting me, He’s touching me, He’s on top of me.”
Jimmy and I have said in return 100 times, “Stop hitting your brother, get off your brother, can you keep your hands to yourself, can you serve your sister…?”
But hey, I’m the mom of 4 kids and I live with 5 people who are not the neatest people I know, if you know what I mean. God has taught me a lot about letting go of my idol of cleanliness and order. I’ve learned to “go with the flow” and let go of the small things – like boys getting showers on a regular basis, picking up their underwear, and keeping my personal space free of bodily odors. God has definitely prepared me for a chaotic trip like this.
All that to say that we didn’t get out the door of our hotel until about 10 a.m. We ate a nice (FREE!) breakfast at the hotel with sausage, eggs, and even waffles in the shape of Texas.
Then the chaos ensued when some people weren’t obeying their mom. After long talks between father and each son in the hotel hallway, we finally left for Magnolia Market.
By 10:15 a.m., Magnolia Market was hopping as we drove by.
We parked in a free parking lot near The Findery – a store with everything you could need for modern farmhouse style.
The outside of the building says:
Percy Medicine: For Intestinal and Stomach Upsets.
We got a chuckle out of that.
Outside The Findery is a cool mural about Waco that we got some cute pictures in front of.
Then we walked down the street toward the Magnolia Market. There is a cute black and white mural for Magnolia Market on the side of the building. We got the kids ready to take a picture there when a black Mercedes Benz sedan pulled around the corner and almost hit us. As the driver backed up, I got a good look at her. It was Joanna Gaines’ mom. I’ve seen her on the show before. I didn’t want to disturb her. She was trying to sneak in the back entrance, probably trying to get to the private offices. Jimmy, my husband, on the other hand was so excited. As I walked the other way, my husband went right up to her and introduced himself. He asked her if we could get a picture with her.
She readily agreed and the man trying to open up the back entrance for her took our picture. These are the times when I’m thankful for my husband.
Hey, if you can’t meet Chip and Jo – why not get a picture with her mom? So fun!
We finally got to the entrance to Magnolia Market where we took some fun pictures. The landscaping and flowers are striking – just what you’d expect to see from Jo. There are so many picture-worthy spots that it’s hard to pick just one.
My husband made me walk into the actual store twice just so he could get a video as I walked in. Oh my! He was also his characteristically loud self on the video so he could welcome us into the store on the video. My goal was to walk in inconspicuously but that’s never how my husband rolls. I should be used to it.
The store was an assault to the senses for someone like me who loves the farmhouse style. If you don’t know, I actually designed and built our own farmhouse. I’ve tried to imitate much of Joanna’s style – just on a much lower budget. I’m more the yard sale type of girl. Most of my house is decorated in furniture and décor I’ve bought at either yard sales or off Craigslist. So naturally, I can’t afford the items in the Magnolia Market but it was fun to see all the options. I did buy myself a Magnolia Market “baseball tee” as a reminder of my trip there.
Pretty quickly after the boys walked into the Magnolia Market, they spied the turf area just outside. I joyfully sent them outside to play so I could actually pay attention to the merchandise and not who was touching who. The outdoor area is brilliant – a perfect spot for husbands and kids to play while mom shops.
My daughter and I also visited the garden area and admired the plants – especially the Magnolia trees and their beautiful flowers!
Of course, we also had to try something at the Magnolia Bakery. We only waited in line about 3 minutes to get inside. The bakery is small so they only let a few in at a time. We ordered the “Chocolatier” and the “Strawberries ‘N Cream” cupcakes to share – each $3.50 and a bottle of water since it was 93 degrees at that point. The strawberry cupcake felt like it weighed 5 lbs. It was all in the icing. Both cupcakes were fabulous!
At that point, we headed back to our car to get some more water and drive to The Magnolia Table – Chip and Jo’s new restaurant. We heard that the wait is usually long and that it closes at 3 p.m. A Magnolia Market employee told us to get there at 10 a.m.
Another travel tip – always ask a lot of questions of employees or other visitors. They are a wealth of information and you can usually get the inside scoop.
We arrived at the restaurant right around 1 p.m. but beware, “The Circle of Death” is what I call the road out front of the restaurant. It is a 2 (or maybe 3) lane roundabout that cars fly around. The roundabout rules are not super clear (nor our the lane lines) so it’s every man (or woman) for himself. Waco’s roads, on- and off-ramps, and intersections in general were pretty wacky – just be aware.
The nice young lady at the hostess stand told us that the wait was 2 hours. But don’t worry, they have a very efficient system for waiting in line. They took my cell phone number and sent me a text right away with a link for our reservation. The hostess told me that I could use the link to keep up with the number of parties in front of us and to see the estimated wait time. Sure enough, the first time I checked it, there were 25 parties in front of us. We had enough time to explore some more.
We decided to drive around Waco and try to see a few of Chip and Jo’s renovated houses – since I’ve seen every episode. I was really surprised by the area that we went to. There are a lot of very rundown houses right near the houses that they’ve renovated. Surely, a show called “Fixer Upper” would have a lot of opportunities in Waco.
This house at the corner of 20th and Gorman was one I remember them renovating for a young family.
After the short house tour, we dropped by Clint Harp’s store. Clint is Joanna’s woodworker on the show. The store is very small – fun to visit. But personally, I think he should sell some larger furniture items.
Then, we found a couple junk stores to wander through. I kept checking the Magnolia Table reservation link and the number of parties before us was dropping rapidly.
25 down to 20 down to 12… I checked one more time and all of the sudden it was down to 1 party in front of us but it still said it’d be a 32 minute wait. I didn’t believe the wait time so we booked it back to the restaurant. The hostess had told us that we had 7 minutes from the time of the text to get back to get before they gave our table to the next group. Sure enough, almost as soon as we got through The Circle of Death and back to the restaurant, I got a text saying our table was ready.
The restaurant is really beautiful – classic Jo style – black and white with wood/leather accents. It’s just like I imagined it would be.
And the food…the food was excellent. In Stopper style, we ordered 3 entrees to split between the 6 of us. We got 2 Gaines Brothers Burgers – each $14 and one French Toast Breakfast with Eggs, Tater Tots, and Bacon – $12. The french toast meal was large – a perfect size to share. It came with strawberry butter. My boys never tried the butter. 🙁 The burger was excellent. It came with arugula, an orange heirloom tomato (that I got on the side because my husband didn’t want it), bacon jam, and a side of homemade potato chips. It was all delightful. My husband even liked the arugula on it.
I’m realizing that this is getting really long because I’m so excited about this day. I had a wonderful time connecting with Chip and Jo in there hometown even though we never met face-to-face.
We ended the day off at the Waco suspension bridge at sunset with a picnic dinner of pulled pork and kale salad – even though only my daughter and I only ate the kale salad.
Thank you Lord for another special day!