Adventure Day: Pawhuska Trip #2

Weather in Oklahoma these days is no joke. We’ve had over a week’s worth of warnings, terrible storms, tornadoes, the works. In short, it’s been the pits and I’m hoping Mother Nature decides to take a break here real soon.

I planned a trip to Pawhuska to go back to Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile store the day after my birthday. We went through a downpour on the way up but ended up having a gorgeous day after all the rain passed. I made Pyro Man take me last year for the first time ever and I think I’m going to make this a yearly trip. It’s the perfect combination of things for me, things for him and we get to enjoy four hours of just us on a round trip drive together. Not to brag, but we travel pretty well together and I’m super grateful for that.

Food at the Mercantile is still amazing. No photos this time as we were both famished and ready to chow down, but I highly recommend the Chicken Fried Steak and their Ranch Hand Sandwich. I’ve got to try making this one at home, it was delicious! Pyro Man also requested we try PW’s Ranch Dressing at home, that stuff is not your everyday ranch at all! He also kept talking about their $0.25 sweet tea and must have had a gallon while we were there.

Definitely fueled up on caffeine and good food, we (read: I) shopped for some goodies before we headed over to try Charlie’s Sweet Shop. The Maple Pancake ice cream really does taste like pancakes, but I highly recommend the Huckleberry flavor. Superb and perfect for for summer.

We finally got to go on a tour of the Lodge which I have been wanting to do forever and ever amen! It’s not open all the time so I was thrilled we were able to plan a trip on one of those lucky days. The whole place is wide open for all to walk through and see. Open a drawer, any drawer and see all the props, tools, labels and whatnot. The pantry is a dream come true and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when I found her back room full of all sorts of gorgeous plates, bowls, dishes and more. In short, I was kid in a candy shop.

So that part of the trip is fun for Pyro Man, but not as fun as the second half of our day, snagging for spoonbill. If you’re not familiar, I definitely wasn’t until a couple years ago, spoonbill or paddlefish are these massive fish, part of the catfish family, with giant bills that can get to be about 100 pounds. They don’t take bait so you have to snag them, there’s a whole technique to getting the hook to snag on. Yes, you can keep them through a tagging process and eat them. No, we haven’t done that, just catch and release for us. Not being much of a fisherwoman myself, Pryo Man filled me in on all the details, the rules, the tagging process as well as the release rules. Let me tell you, there’s so many things to know so if you think you want to just run out there and try this or that your husband might want to, read up on your states website to find out all the regulations first.

Kaw 1.jpeg

We headed out to Kaw Lake, Pyro Man’s preferred spot to snag and changed into some fishing clothes. I forgot my tennis shoes and had to wear his. With my hat, his camo jacket and shoes, I looked like a bad doppleganger of my husband but better that than getting my good outfit all fishy. It turned out to be a perfect day to be on the water. All the rain had made the lake rise and the fish super active. Since then I’m sure the lake is overflowing.

We caught several and yes, I partook for a bit learning how to snag and reel. Pyro Man would help cast and when he got a hold of one he let me reel in to know what it felt like. I got a little 10 pounder and that sucker was pretty hard for me so I can only imagine how much more difficult a larger one would be. The last fish Pyro Man snagged is a crazy story. He got caught on some line and when he tried to reel it in he felt a giant tug and knew there was a fish on there. Get this, he reeled in an 80 pounder by snagging on a line that was still attached to the fish! How crazy is that?!

Had to end on that one because I just don’t think it gets better than that. Another two hours back home, crime podcasts playing and we were home. Days like that are always a joy because we’re both able to partake in things that interest us. I feel really lucky that my adventure loving husband wants to explore things that light me up and that he enjoys teaching me about the things that make him happy. Is there a better win-win out there? I don’t think.


Adventure Day: Pawhuska, OK

I feel so dadgum lucky that Pyro Man and I have had a few weeks off together! He's embarking on his own adventure in pursuing a second degree and wouldn't you know, our breaks don't actually align together very often. BUT, summertime is a different story! 

With these weeks free we've been spending our time together doing fun things! It's like a light bulb went off in my head: Hey! We don't have to work all the time. We can just do things that bring us some joy. Who'd a thunk it, right? It's been so lovely and I'm soaking in every minute I have with him. I don't think there could have a been a better way to spend my time, really. 

So far we've done matinee movies, ice cream trips in the afternoon, walks with the pup, fishing excursions to Lake Arcadia with a stop off at Pop's and of course, our garden work. Last week I had a wild hair to take an adventure day to a place I've been dying to go ever since it opened: Pioneer Woman's Mercantile Store

Who's had coffee and who hasn't? 

Who's had coffee and who hasn't? 

Ever since I found her website, thanks to a casual mention from a friend, I've been obsessed. That woman pretty much got me through grad school and I'm not joking. I read her blog religiously, I'm talking every day. When I ate breakfast in the morning, I practically studied her first cookbook and then I tried out her recipes on my friends. In short, I became a fan girl, big time. 

I was fascinated with her life, as was half the world, and I loved her wit, humor, and down-to-earth personality. All the colors in her kitchen, all the delicious recipes with butter and flavor, it was everything I wanted to have in my own some day. I'm still fascinated with her today, almost ten years later, and I still love her recipes, products, blogs, pictures and whatnot. So, going to visit the mecca of her world, the Mercantile Store, was bound to happen. 

I made a deal with Pyro Man that if he took me to the Pawhuska we could go snagging for spoonbills afterwards and in no time flat, my trip was planned! It's about a two hour drive from the city and it's beautiful right now. We popped in a podcast and coasted out early in the morning to beat the crowds. 

First stop, the deli! I know lines can get long and the wait can be bad, but I was hoping a Wednesday in the middle of May might hold in our favor, and it did! We were able to get seated right away and have a nice long lunch in her gorgeous dining area. Here's where I would show you gorgeous photos of her wood cutout flower wall and the coffee bar and even the dining area...but I was too interested in this: 

Come on! This is heaven on earth! Pyro Man had the chicken fried steak half order with fancy mac 'n cheese while I had Ladd's Favorite sandwich (it's undergoing a name change) with her classic mac 'n cheese. Deciding between her nachos, the chicken fried sandwich, her lasagna or anything else was tough! We each enjoyed her sweet ice tea in those giant glass jars which Pyro Man thinks we need around the house. I'm all in. 

We skipped dessert but checked out her bakery upstairs. The room up there is gorgeous with tables and chairs, sofas and wingback chairs to sit in. There's a beautiful view of the area around town through giant windows and it smells like a heaven, sugar and vanilla and coffee. We each treated ourselves to something, me the new chocolate cupcake with the marshmallow filling and Pyro Man the traditional snickerdoodle. And they were divine! 


Downstairs in the actual Mercantile store, there is so much to see! I must have circled the whole room about twelve times before I actually picked up a basket. She carries quite a few of her own items and a ton of different nicknacks for men, women, children, and they're all cute and fun. Her walls are lined with shelving that has all sorts of beautiful plates, dishes, glasses and what have you. She also carries a number of salt & pepper shakers that are really unique. My favorite was the BBQ salt & pepper shaker

As I'm going back through, I'm wishing I had snapped a few more pictures of what I liked! There's so much and I just kept talking it in, going back through the counters and humming along to classic country tunes. Even Pyro Man found a few things he really enjoyed! 

I had some restraint and only walked away with a couple of ceramic strawberry baskets, a Mercantile hat, magnet and a special wrapped gift for Mom. I think she would love this place so another trip is definitely in order! Plus, the tours for the Lodge weren't happening and that's something I'm dying to go check out! 

Super happy with my loot and the whole visit! 

Super happy with my loot and the whole visit! 

When you drive two hours to someplace, I think it's a shame to just hit one particular highlight and go. We were curious what else was in Pawhuska so we pulled up Trip Advisor to see. We attempted the Swinging Bridge and yes, it does swing. Essentially it's a hanging bring strung across a large creek. When you step out on the planks, you can immediately feel the bounce and sway of the bridge. I feel like I was in an Indian Jones movie and clung to the chainlink fencing on either side. I made it halfway across with sweaty palms and feet, heights are just not my thing, but it was fun to try! Pyro Man made it all the way across and back, even he got a wee bit nervous. 

We checked out the local Pawhuska museum which was charming. It's a one story building full of memorabilia, stories, pictures, and information on local town heroes. Pyro Man enjoyed the encased guns and military information while I tend to gravitate towards dishes, stories, and of course, the clothing. Learning a little history of where you are, I think, gives a little more heft to your visit and allows you to appreciate the place you are a bit more. Occasionally there's not time for that, but why wouldn't you find out more about a spot if you have the time? 

We had fun tootling around the town and yes, we did go snagging and by "we," I mean Pyro Man. I sat out with him for a bit, getting my vitamin D intake and then went to read in the car for the last twenty minutes. The sun was out and not a stitch of shade anywhere! I have a nice watch tan line now! 

If you've been thinking of going to the Mercantile, do it! The food is ridiculously good and if you're a fan of her cookbooks, you already knew that! There's something for everyone, it's fresh, and the prices are just right, not too expensive, totally affordable. There's even a coffee bar if you want to stop in for a treat and a cup of joe! The items in the shop range from kitchen doodads to clothing to soaps to kids toys. There's a lot but it all fits together beautifully! Eclectically chic and totally Pioneer Woman The employees are lovely and helpful with everything, including other sites to see in the area--we're eager to come back and try the newest Pioneer Woman store, her pizza shop! 


If you couldn't tell, I had a ball and geeked out the whole time! Plus, I got to spend a day with my man--truly, couldn't get any better! 

Yeah, you can totally tell I'm still cheesin' from the day and Pyro Man is just hanging in there like a champ! 

Yeah, you can totally tell I'm still cheesin' from the day and Pyro Man is just hanging in there like a champ! 



The first musical I was ever in was "Showboat" and I fell in love with it completely. How much more of a southern name can you get than Magnolia? PS, those flowers are gorgeous! I would love to have a magnolia tree in my backyard some day. But I'm not writing about about a flower or character today. No m'am sir! I'm talking about the Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas! 

My big sister came up with this brilliant plan to hop down to Waco for a day trip and see what all the excitement was about. A quick group text between Mom and our Aunt Diana and the whole thing was set! 

Dad saw us off with a big breakfast at Le Madeline (Thanks, Dad!)!. 

We all piled into my car and off we went! 

A short two hour drive and a trolley ride and we were there! I'll admit, I don't actually watch Fixer Upper--I'm afraid I'll dive down a demolition hole I won't be able to recovery from. All the ideas for redo's will be too much for my poor husband right now!  I've enjoyed reading about Joanna and Chip Gaines and I certainly liked their style.  Without being a huge fan of the show, I didn't know what to expect from this place but I figured it out pretty quick! 

We made it! Upon seeing this picture I'm starting to seriously consider getting a selfie stick...

We made it! Upon seeing this picture I'm starting to seriously consider getting a selfie stick...

Here's what to expect: people. Lots and lots of people! The lines inside the actual marketplace were long and it was wall to wall people. As soon as you saw something of interest, it was snatched up by a quickly moving shopper. Just when you thought said item was gone, a store clerk had already replaced it. The way that place operated was amazing! 

Of course the merchandise was incredible, farm house and rustic looking, very much the in style and one I like a lot. I kept wandering around taking it all in, trying to remember what I could do to improve my own home decor. 

We didn't really stick around long in the market place for too long. It's definitely not a spot you can linger and peruse for while; it's a hot spot with tons of folks wanting to make their purchases quickly. 

There were several food trucks that lined the inside of the marketplace with all sorts of decadent options including a small trailer for their bakery. Excellent cupcakes! 

We had a peanut butter chocolate cupcake and split the lemon lavender, a sweet surprise we all really enjoyed! 

The coolest part of this place is the giant lawn full of corn hole games, soccer balls and footballs, and even several swing sets. Kids were running around playing, men throwing footballs back and forth and everyone of all ages jumped on the swing sets. They had great big porch swings out where cute couples cozied up on and picnic tables with black and white stripped covers full of people savoring their lunches and treats. 

We took a tour through the garden, incredibly beautiful. Nature is already amazingly beautiful but what people can do and what they put together using gorgeous herbs and plants, I'm amazed all over again!  

Cutest little fairy gardens! 

Cutest little fairy gardens! 

It was such a fun experience and we all had a great time spending the day together in a cool hub. I'm sure some day I'll want to go back but I'm looking forward to the next adventure, Pioneer Woman's Mercantile store in Pawhuska, OK!

Overall, one awesome girls trip to Waco! Can't wait for the next one! 

Thankful Thought #10

10. I'm really glad that I'm just a drive away from family. I can hop in the car and spend a couple days with the people I love and get back home without much more than a traffic issue. Not many people live close enough to do that so I'm pretty thankful for that.  

Got a place you're dying to take a day trip to see?