Free Fun in Austin

Austin readers, do you all subscribe to this website? You should! I stumbled upon Free Fun in Austin a few weeks ago, and I’m so glad I did. Stephen and I have done so many interesting things lately that I would have never known about otherwise.

Driskill Hotel Tree Lighting

Wednesday evening, we met our friend Claire at the Driskill Hotel to watch its 6th annual tree lighting. The place was packed! I didn’t take many pictures, but it was fun to stroll around the lobby after the crowds thinned out. The tree was beautiful, of course, but the gingerbread house was really special. We took in a few caroling performances before heading out to dinner.

Carolers at Driskill Hotel Christmas

Thanks to Free Fun in Austin email updates, we heard about the Extreme Home Makeover open house event in Bastrop and drove out for a tour on Saturday afternoon. We missed the episode when it aired in early December, so everything about the house and the Zdroj family was a surprise to us. Mizzy Zdroj is a volunteer firefighter, and her family’s home was destroyed in the Bastrop wildfires last summer. The show built her family a 2,500 square foot home and remodeled the local volunteer fire department.

Bastrop Extreme Home Makeover

The living room was so cozy and beautifully decorated for Christmas.

Living Room Bastrop Extreme Home Makeover

There were volunteers throughout the house to answer questions and offer more information. We were told that the bookcase in the background of the photo above holds several toys that were salvaged from the fire.

Kitchen Bastrop Extreme Home Makeover

I thought the kitchen was pretty unique. At the far end of the room, there’s a large storage area for dishes and bakeware, and the window above the sink and stove is actually a sliding glass door, making it an indoor/outdoor kitchen for entertaining.

Laundry Room Extreme Home Makeover

The laundry room was pretty much every woman’s dream. Granite countertops, deep cabinets, front-loading appliances, a huge sink… swoon.

Bastrop Extreme Home Makeover Stairs

Master Bedroom Bastrop Home Makeover

Upstairs, we toured the master bedroom. The headboard was custom-designed for the family, modeled after a mural Mizzy once painted.

Curtains master bedroom Bastrop home

A volunteer told us that the curtain rod is a piece of wood reclaimed from the fires.

Master bath

Master bath Bastrop Extreme Home Makeover

Millennium Falcon room extreme home makeover

Just off the master bedroom, the building crew created a unique play area modeled after the Millennium Falcon for the family’s two boys, who are apparently big fans of Star Wars. How fun is that?! The boys can also access the play area by climbing a ladder from their bedroom on the ground floor.

Boys' room Bastrop Extreme Home Makeover

Outside, there are a couple smaller buildings: a studio for Mizzy and shelters for the family’s farm animals.

Studio Extreme Home Makeover

Garden Bastrop Extreme Home Makeover

Farm animals Bastrop

Rabbit Bastrop EHM

Chicken Little Bastrop EHM

Chicken Little, the family’s sole surviving chicken of the wildfire, is pictured above. In addition to chickens, the family keeps rabbits (providing them with 3,200 pounds of meat per year, one volunteer said), guineafowl (to keep snakes away from the rabbits), and a donkey (to scare off coyotes).

Rooster Bastrop EHM

I’m so glad we heard about this event. It was really interesting to learn more about what went into building the home and the family’s experience with the fires.

Saturday evening, we shopped at the Domain and watched Home Alone on a big outdoor screen. We had a blast. Stephen and I had both forgotten (or never noticed) several hilarious scenes in the movie. You miss a lot of the jokes when you’re a kid!

It was a really fun, festive day, and I’m feeling very much in the Christmas spirit now. Seriously, check out Free Fun in Austin next time you have an open day with no plans.

Leave a comment


  1. Thanks, Linny! You made my whole week. Glad you had a fun weekend. I just read your “Meet Linny” page. I went to Virginia Tech and miss my VA mountains every fall ;).

    • Heidi, small world! My boyfriend is also a Hokie. I went to UVA… split family! I’m surprised at how many VT grads we meet down here. Austin really is a tech city 🙂


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