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In pre-COVID times, calling the Hoke family "busy" would be an understatement.
Hyper-social and community-oriented, Laura and Michael Hoke and their two children barreled daily through club meetings, social lunches, farmers markets, volunteer projects and more. In Austin, regularly ranked the best place in the U.S. to live by various magazines, it was easy to fill their calendar.
But after a month of staying home to help stop community spread of the virus, a different Hoke family is emerging.
They're home together every night. They eat their meals outside. There's extra cookie-baking. There are more family movie nights. Daily bike rides. Longer bedtime routines. Fewer plans.
"We do so much less than we did a month ago, but somehow life feels richer than ever," said Laura Stromberg Hoke, whose job in the nonprofit sector allows her to work from home. "I don't want this crisis to go on forever, but I desperately want our future as a family to look more like this."
Amid outbreak fears in mid-March, Austin's schools shuttered, and museums and social venues shut down. Families found themselves with little choice but to stay home together.
It's a stark change for Austin, where families like Melissa Huebsch-Stroud's often trade extra square footage in a suburban home and yard for a more compact house near downtown. They avoid traffic but rely on school, playscapes and museums for activity and to keep toys to a minimum at home.
"That's all out the window," said Huebsch-Stroud, whose family just installed a playscape in their minuscule backyard "to ensure physical activity and therefore sanity."
Families like hers say they are lucky to have the opportunity to stay safe at home with their jobs and families, even as financial, emotional or logistical challenges take their toll.
Working and parenting full time, at the same time, often feels like an impossible task. Huebsch-Stroud was even inspired to create a family life spreadsheet to process her feelings of being overwhelmed (see below).
Melissa Huebsch-Stroud made this spreadsheet to try and figure out why it felt so draining to work and parent full time every day. (Courtsey: Melissa Huebsch-Stroud)Melissa Huebsch-Stroud
Jobs are cut, electric bills are up, dishwashing is constant, bandwidth is strained, food bills are high.
"They eat like seven times a day," local mother Evelyn Escamilla says, almost incredulously, of her three teenagers.
But they find comfort in the new habits they've built around home life—daily walks, a stocked kitchen—after staying there, for a change.
"The benefit is having this more 20th century family life, like the kind that I grew up in," said Anthony Haley, whose two kids are ages 9 and 6.
Jimmy Stewart, owner and co-founder of Do512, built his livelihood on people going out and doing stuff. Earlier this week, he and the three kids built a campfire and pitched tents in the backyard.
"I'm already thinking about how when this is all over, I'm definitely going to miss parts of it," Stewart said. "I'd say these are definitely traditions that we will try to carry on."
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College ratings site Niche.com has released its 2023 Top Party School rankings.
One Texas college made the list: the University of Texas at Austin.
Longhorns know how to party with the best, apparently. But anyone who's spent time on the Forty Acres may wonder why the ranking was so low.
Here's the complete list:
- Univ. of California - Santa Barbara
- Tulane University
- Florida State University
- The University of Alabama
- Howard University
- University of Wisconsin
- University of Georgia
- Syracuse University
- University of Southern California ✌️
- University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
- West Virgina University
- Penn State
- University of Mississippi
- Ohio University
- Miami University
- Indiana University - Bloomington
- University of Iowa
- San Diego State University
- Florida A&M University
- Michigan State University
- University of Texas - Austin
- The Ohio State University
- University of Virginia
- Rutgers University - New Brunswick
- University of Colorado Boulder
Camp Fimfo Waco, a brand new camping resort, is kicking off football and fall camping season in style! With top-notch amenities, premium accommodations, and 10 weekends of fall fun, there’s no better place to have a fall camping getaway, especially if you’re a Baylor football fan!
Fall promises to be a one-of-a-kind camping experience. From Sept. 16 to Nov. 24, weekends will be packed with fall-themed activities, including special Halloween weekends in October. Campers can enjoy activities like fall crafts, campground trick-or-treating, costume contests, site decorating, outdoor movie nights, and more!
Packages and Ways to Stay
Camp Fimfo Waco
Located just 5 miles from McLane Stadium, Camp Fimfo Waco is the perfect place to stay during home game weekends. Skip the stuffy hotel room and embrace the great outdoors before cheering on the Baylor Bears! Campers can purchase a Baylor Tailgating Package that includes a pre-game meal from Executive Chef Sean Kelley and transportation to and from the game! Chef Kelley will also be cooking up delicious, elevated tailgating meals near the stadium so make sure to check out The Plaid Plate food truck before the game.
Stay in style and comfort, no matter your camping preference! At Camp Fimfo Waco, there are multiple ways to stay. Red Carpet RV sites come with a concrete pad and patio, full hook-ups, cable hook-up, a charcoal grill, fire ring and fire pit. Back-in or pull-thru options are available, as well as coveted spots tucked along the Bosque River!
Don’t have an RV? Not a problem, Camp Fimfo Waco has cabins too! Book a Riverview Firewheel Cabin if you’re looking for an air-conditioned oasis for the whole family. Complete with a kitchen and private bathroom, this cabin can fit up to 10 people. Elevate your stay by adding on a golf cart or snag a private cabana by the pool for guaranteed shade. With wifi available throughout the park, you can stay connected during your stay!
Amenities and Activities
Camp Fimfo Waco
Camp Fimfo Waco features lots of amenities to fill your days with fun, whether you’re a kid or kid at heart. After challenging your friends to a game of pickleball, basketball, or mini golf, go for a dip in the resort-style, heated pool - open daily through October! Stay on the weekends through October to enjoy the interactive splash playground. With plenty of ways to burn off energy, like the jumping pillow or playground, you can be sure to end the day with a peaceful night around the campfire!
Right now, you can get the fourth night FREE when you book three nights with the promo code BONUS! Check out the Offers page for full details and more promo codes!