Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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Chipmunks, a 2 Mile High Hailstorm, and a Miracle (Vacation 2015 Part 1)

Wow! Summer, she’s a-flyin. At first, time seemed to be slowed down. But as per usual, 4th of July rolls around and it hits hyper speed on the downhill to kids birthdays and back to school.

This year, our downhill turn to hyperspeed took a detour. A family reunion/50th anniversary celebration in Estes Park, Colorado. All I can tell you is if you have never been to Colorado, you are missing out. Big time. At least the mountainous parts. Eastern Colorado is pretty flat, mostly because it runs straight into Kansas, which is where the idea for pancakes came from. But the mountains, that is amazing.

We left our steaming home town heading north and west for a 10 hour drive to the city of Castle Rock, just south of Denver to spend the night with college friends. They were worried about how ‘hot’ it was there. After I stopped laughing, I reminded them of where we came from, and no, it most definitely is not even close to ‘hot’. Warm for them, but not hot.

If you’ve been hanging out with me for any length of time, you will remember our vacation disasters. Every. Single. Time. We either get trauma, drama or a puking kid. Without fail. It has gotten to the point that I really, truly question my sanity when we plan a trip. This, however, was not just a vacation, it was a special occasion, so I didn’t have the luxury of questioning anything. We’d initially planned to take my car, a Subaru Outback, with a car top carrier to put our luggage in. The problem, was that my car didn’t have the proper rails to secure the carrier to. No big deal, except we didn’t discover this until about 7:30 the night before we were leaving. I was pretty sure this was signaling the beginning of another trauma/drama filled trip.

Load up, hit the road Saturday. It was a great day for a drive and we made good time. The last 40 miles before our friends house was through a very remote area and incredibly beautiful, rolling hills and farms. My kids wanted to camp there and I just thought about how many stars we’d be able to see at night. A lovely dinner on the deck looking at the foothills and a beautiful sunset ended our first day.

Ok, I”m thinking. So far so good. But I’m not dumb enough to say anything out loud and jinx it. Neighbors that night decide to use their fire pit and have a party. Til after midnight. With open windows. Close windows=much better. An hour later, my girly is in our room ‘Mom. I think I’m going to be sick.”  Here we go, I thought. She’d just gotten over heated in a stuffy room. She was fine, thankfully.

Arrive at Estes Park Sunday afternoon and the home away from home in time to greet family and nose around the houses. Mom and sister in law and I make a list and hit the grocery store. You know, I never really thought of a grocery store trip as an adventure or anything requiring protective gear. But this is Estes Park. They apparently only have one in the entire town. The town that swells to 3 to 4 times it’s population in the summer. It felt like I was at WalMart on Black Friday. Or the local grocery following a blizzard warning. Between trying to maneuver the cart and the empty shelves, it was chaos. I don’t envy the people who have to recover and restock the store overnight. The cashiers really should get hazard pay. Here’s a tip, if you’re a grocery store owner, put one in Estes Park, you’ll make a killing!

Here’s the first half of our trip:

Sunday: A short trip from Denver to Estes Park. Which was nice, since the drive on Saturday was about 10 hours. See above adventure in local Safeway.

Sunset over the Rockies our first night

Monday: Rocky Mountain National Park. We drove up to the Alpine Visitors Center. On the way, we saw wildlife, got rained on, hailed on and snowed on! In the photo below, you can see the rain moving through. Those clouds dropped a single bolt of lightning and the PING of a lone hailstone that sent us all scrambling for our cars. A few minutes later and further up the mountain, a hailstorm at 11K feet was incredible and frightening all at once!

Rain moving through the valley, Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rain moving through the valley, Rocky Mountain National Park.

Above the treeline, Rocky Mountain National Park

Above the treeline, Rocky Mountain National Park

Mountain stream, RMNP

Mountain stream, RMNP

Tuesday: Rafting the Cache La Poudre river. It was very fun and yes, the water was ridiculously COLD! The bus ride up and back was an adventure in itself!

Cache La Pudre River. Water was in the 30's!

Cache La Pudre River. Water was in the 30’s!

Wednesday: We attempted shopping downtown. With 19 ppl, it’s more like herding cats! In the evening we had surprise anniversary party for Mom and Dad in law, it was their 50th we were celebrating. I don’t have any pics of the gang shopping, so I’ll share a few of the flowers and scenery.

These babies were everywhere!

These babies were everywhere!

A random bathtub. Why not?

A random bathtub. Why not?

Yes, this is near the home as well!

Yes, this is near the home as well!

Beauty around the home.

Beauty around the home.

Stay tuned for Part 2! More to come!

Visit Estes Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

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A Pack of Wolves, The Wild Woody, and The Case of the Mysterious Melted Gum

It is summer. Which means road trip & vacation season, right? Well you know, I hate to be left out of these things. Especially when I have a job that is extremely flexible and the boss lets me work around my husband’s schedule.

We have good friends who live in St Louis and we do our best to visit them every summer. St Louis is a very fun city that has so much to do for everyone. Our friends actually own three, count’em THREE haunted houses in St Louis, so needless to say, it’s never a dull moment when we visit! To answer your next question, yes, we’ve been through the houses, but only with lights on and no actors present (I’m a great big ole weenie!).

Last year, they partnered with a friend who had a business in Branson, aka Entertainment Capitol of the Midwest. I haven’t been to Branson in over 20 years, and in that time, nearly every single country star you can think of has opened a theater of some sort. It’s gone from a sleepy little regional kind of vacation spot, to a really jam-packed and popular destination. There is all manner of entertainment you can possibly want for the whole family. Shows, mini-golf, shopping, restaurants, lakes, I could go on, but I’ll spare you.

So this new business venture, Branson’s Wild World, is a really fun & cool place. It’s part aquarium, part zoo, part family fun center. They have sharks, gators, snakes, spiders, fish, and even a pack of wolves! Seriously, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a wolf before, but theirs are all black and beautiful. My kids were able to touch & hold snakes (ew, not me) and pet a tarantula. Again, not me! They also have black light indoor mini golf! I know! It was very challenging, but fun!

I took the kids up on Friday and we went to the Wild World, and I took loads of pictures. Saturday, that was our day to go to Silver Dollar City. If you’ve never been, it’s in a very hilly part of the world, and I am always surprised when I see women walking around in heels. Anyway, it’s an old-time western kind of theme park. they have rides, some really huge roller coasters, artisans like black smiths, leather workers, and many other craftsmen. Although, I have to say, it was quite frustrating. The roller coasters are run by software, unlike the ‘olden days’ when they were operated by a switch. The newest ride, Outlaw Run, is a wooden roller coaster and supposed to be a big deal. We went straight there when we got in, and were immediately greeted with a message that the ride was down and repairs were being made, but they didn’t know when, or if, it would be back up. At that point, many people decided to try their luck in other parts of the park. We decided to wait and just see what happened. You never know, it could be 5 min, or 55 minutes for them to get it going again. We waited an hour, they got it going and sent two cars with people through and just when we were in sight of the cars, the people who’d just gotten their seats, were told to get out, and resume their spots in line. Sheesh. We decided to go and do something else and come back later in the day. Of their big rides, they had malfunctions that day on 4 of them that we know of.

Because of my friends’ business, we were able to get discounted tickets. This didn’t make it any less frustrating, but if we’d paid full price to get into the park, and the rides were constantly out of services, I’d be really mad.

So, the gum. My son, whom I love more than air, is turning 13 next month. I’ve been told by parents of teenagers that boys tend to get a little ditzy when the hormones kick in. So far, we really haven’t had to deal with that much, but I know it’s only a matter of time. We rode a roller coaster called Wild Fire. It’s a HUGE coaster on the side of a mountain that does at least two corkscrews. Being an almost teenage boy, he thought it would be funny to spit his gum out on one of the corkscrews. Yeah, I know. So when we get off the ride, he tells me he’s done this, and that it bounced off his foot & disappeared. Great. That’s just charming. Later in the day, we decided to give Outlaw Run another try. After another 45 minutes of waiting, finally, they get to ride (I passed on it, having dealt w/vertigo and not wanting to take a chance of setting it off). When everyone makes their way to me, our friends daughter announced that my son had sat in someone’s gum. Hmmm, really? I think I know whose gum it is! And yes, it was melted to the shorts between his legs. He removed as much as he could and we carried on.

That night, the kids played tag & hide & seek outside our friends apartment. Did you know that high grass hides things like chiggers, burrs and spiders? Yep, everyone had bug & chigger bites on them the next day. My son still has burrs on his socks that I’m going to let him remove.

Sunday morning we hit one of the family fun centers and the Wild Woody! Go carts are so much fun! The Wild Woody is built of wood and has a spiral tower, kind of like a parking structure. Super fun, I was hoping my daughter would be able to drive, but not on the Woody, she rode with me. She was able to drive on one of the other courses. it was her first time, she’s nearly 10, and the look of concentration on her face was priceless! She wasn’t going to let the cart get the best of her! She kept having to shake her hands because she was white-knuckling the steering wheel!

We made our way home after a quick visit and were so glad we were able to go, even for a quick trip. It is really our only vacation this summer, so I’m glad it was fun!

What about your summer? Seen any wolves or found any mysterious gum on your shorts?

http://www.silverdollarcity.com
http://www.bransonswildworld.com
http://www.bransontracks.com

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A Missing Jacket, a Skinned Knee and a Fat Lip (AKA Summer vacation part I)

Wow! School is out (finally) and we wasted no time start our summer! Seriously. I don’t know that we’ve ever started it quite like this, but I have to report that unlike other vacations in the past this one was missing something (I’ll get to that later). By Thurs. both kids were out of school and on Sunday we were on the road baby! Take that summer! Right in the kisser!

Hubby’s job gives him 4 wks vacation a year. The problem: finding time to take it. I know I know. I’m all over him all the time to take his days, but so many times, the year ends and he still has vacation left. When he worked for Mervyn’s (I miss Mervyn’s) they were allowed to sell back any unused days. It was wonderful. But not his current employer. Use it or lose it.  And even though he’s taken some already this year, he’s still had a couple of wks left when we took this trip.  (their year is July to June, so you see our scramble) A few yrs ago, his parents moved back to Idaho, but we had a difficult time finding the time (shock!) and decent air fare (that’s the real joke these days). We didn’t want to drive- it’s two solid days’ drive-hard to give up that kind of time when you’ve only got a week.

I actually managed to find reasonable airfare and started planning our trip. The catch: we had to drive to another airport 1-1/2 hrs away (it saved us $400, I’d do it again in a flash). Ok, no prob. I can do 90 minutes for $400, wouldn’t you? Sunday we load up the car and head out at 9AM. Get to the airport, park, check in, grab a bite of overpriced airport food. Denver flight is 1-1/2 hrs. The crap part, we had a 4 hr layover in Denver. Boo. As we’re going to the gate for our connection, I spied a New Belgium Hub. New Belgium, in case you don’t know, is a brewery out of Colorado and they make my favorite beer, Fat Tire. Imagine my joy! They have my beer on tap and some really good food. Ok, that’s 2 hrs down, now what? we whiled away our time walking on the moving sidewalks and perusing the random overpriced shops. 1-1/2 hrs flight to Salt Lake City, pick up the rental car andcan it be? This time I spied In N Out burger! Dinner done, back on the road for the 2-1/2 hr drive to the in-laws house. Sheesh, for being a faster mode of transportation, it still took us 14 hours traveling.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit Yellowstone National Park, I highly recommend it. We only had a very brief visit, but it was amazing. To think it’s a prehistoric GINORMOUS volcanic caldera is really pretty intimidating. If it goes off again, we’re all toast. But until then, we’ll just admire the beauty. We saw geysers (Old Faithful, natch), basins, paint/mud pots and lots of wild life. Antelope, elk, bison, and……wait for it….bears! Yes, a black bear was just walking along the road eating. And a bit farther along a grizzly. My sister-in-law was in the lead car and saw the hump on its neck that says ‘i’m a grizzly, don’t mess with me’. The crazy part of the bears, people were OUT OF THEIR CARS, some were even crossing the road and dragging their small children to get a  better look!  Seriously people, I wanted to yell at them ‘THIS ISN’T THE ZOO!’ but I didn’t, we just kept driving. Sadly, I wasn’t able to get a pic.

This is Firehole River, not far inside the West Entrance of Yellowstone. It was very full from the snowmelt.

We saw hundreds of these.

We’d prepared for cold weather (it snowed over Memorial Day wknd), wearing layers and fleece. Because my daughter didn’t have any long sleeves with her, I packed two jackets for her with the thought she could layer if necessary. By the time we made it home, we only had one. How does that happen? Nine people and no one saw what happened. Oh, I nearly forgot snow! There was actually quite a lot of snow. So we stopped and let kids have a quick snowball fight. That’s pretty fun, considering we only got about 2″ of snow this year!

This is West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake. Just one tiny little part of it, it’s a huge lake.

Going south from Yellowstone is an area I’ve always wanted to visit, Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons. Wow. They are absolutely breathtaking. I’ve seen mountains, been in mountains, camped in mountains, but these were simply spectacular. Huge, rugged and snow-covered. It was worth the trip and they were even more amazing than I’d dreamed they’d be. There are truly no words to describe being there and even though I’ve got some really wonderful photos, there’s no way they can ever do justice.

Imagine coming around a bend and seeing this. Amazing.

We stayed in Jackson a night. It’s a really cute little old cowboy town. There are lots of log buildings and heavy wood used to give it all a real western feel. We went to the Million Dollar Cowboy Saloon. Holy cow! This place is old school. All of the wood was knotty pine that had been lacquered to a really deep brown, glossy finish. There were silver dollars IN the bar top and the bar stools, well, they were saddles, stirrups and all! Across from the saloon is the town square. The entrances to the square itself are marked by 20 foot high elk antler arches! It was just a cool little town. From what I understand there’s some really incredible skiing there in winter. And in case you get the idea of buying a home there, unless you’re independently wealthy, it’s not happening. Just for grins and giggles I picked up a real estate magazine.  Ha. For a few mil I could have 3 bed 2 bath condo.  It’s always fun to dream, but until I win the lottery….

Yippee kay ay cowgirls!

There are four of these and they’re about 20ft tall!

OMG I nearly forgot. Moose. We were hoping to see bears and moose. Day two on our way out of Tetons National Park, we came around a bend and there were several cars parked in a little pull out. There was a man with a camera that had a lens on it as big around as my thigh. Of course that means there’s something there so we stopped too. At the base of this hill, in a little grassy area right next to a stream was a female moose laying down and according to the people there, she was in labor. She’d pant hard, look at her behind, and relax. And do it again a few minutes later. Unfortunately we had no way of knowing how much longer it would be and didn’t have time to stand around to wait. Back in the car. On the road called “Moose-Wilson”, now I know why. Driving through the mountains on a rutted, dirt road, feeling like we were the only ones around is pretty cool. Another bend and we’re out of the trees, and in another field, we spy another female moose out for lunch. We were really excited. For a short visit, we saw quite a lot!

this is the mama moose we saw. I wasn’t nearly as close as it seems, I zoomed in to get a better look at her.

The weather was perfect for our entire trip. And then it was time to come home. Another 14 hour travel day. Did I mention the hail storm? Yep, the airport where our car was parked had a hailstorm blow thru and my car got some hail damage. Judging from the size of the dents, I”m glad the windows weren’t shattered!

Now comes the really incredible part. I didn’t say anything while we were gone b/c I totally didn’t want to jinx it. I think you may have read my posts about previous vacations. Something always went wrong. Be it delays and missed connections, or a puking kid. Not once were we able to take a trip without something going wrong and vomit playing a role in our trip. I waited until we were home and did my own little happy dance. Minus the missing jacket, a skinned knee (my boy) and a fat lip ( my girl during a game of hide & seek in the dark), our trip went perfectly! I was so freaking thrilled! Little blessings, I know. But hey, I’ll take them when I can get them!

Did you notice the title? “Part I”? things went so well the first time around, and with all the vacation hubby’s got to burn (plus a bonus!) we’re taking kids to Florida next month! I so hope I can share good things with you all about our trip then too! That would make my freaking year! How sad is it when you’re thrilled about no one puking?

One last shot, me and my honey.

Me and my honey at Signal Mtn, behind is us the Grand Tetons and Jackson Lake. Stunning. Our thing is the arm stretch, he’s gotten quite good, don’t you think?

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Wagon? What wagon? Where?

Where is this stupid wagon that I seem to have fallen off of and why can’t I get back on it?  I was so thrilled I’d been doing so well sticking to my eating plan. I’d lost about 3lbs. I know it was probably mostly water, but still, it’s nice to see on the scale.

And then, dun dun dunnnnn, we went away for the weekend and ate at all my favorite places. I think my eating plan got sucked out the window between here and there, b/c when we got back home, those 3lbs I’d managed to lose, they found me. Then last week I had some really weird stomach bug that gave me all sorts of strange symptoms. Normally, the whole stomach bug is an easy, albeit unpleasant, way to drop a couple. But I think once I was over it, I must’ve made up for the days I spent eating chicken soup, or nothing at all. 

This week is spring break. Our weather yesterday was horrible, not spring break-type weather at all. Cold, cloudy and damp. All I wanted to do was bake cookies. I didn’t do it, but I was perilously close! It seems I’ve picked up that bad habit again of grazing late in the day and not moving enough.

Ugh. Where is this wagon anyway? I’ve got to get back on it! this week will be tough, but I am going to do my best to eat well and stay away from the junk food and the late afternoon snacking and next Monday, I’m so on it! I will be feeling fine and have no kids home needing to be entertained.

Wish me luck! I think I can, I think I can…..

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A Grape, A Wolf, and Chlorine OD

So, do I have your curiosity up? We had a terrific weekend. And I”m glad because that’s probably going to be our vacation for the year. We just got back from Grapevine, Texas (the Grape). It’s a cute little suburb of Dallas, just north of  DFW airport. Amazingly enough, our little jaunt didn’t involve anyone puking (nearly every vacay we’ve taken for the past 4 yrs involved at least one of my children, and sometimes me too, puking.) or becoming seriously injured. I was thrilled! Unless you count the three times the day we left that my daughter inflicted injuries upon herself: 1. finger smashed in car door. 2. skinned back from standing up too quickly in a Mc Donald’s play area. 3. a bruised shin from falling down at the hotel.

The hubs had to go to San Francisco a few weeks ago for work and I didn’t get to go 😦 . So, we  planned a fun family getaway to just have some fun together.   I don’t know about you, my in my house, every single day of summer starts with the words, ‘Can we go swimming today?”. And since we don’t have the luxury of a pool in our backyard, it involves a trip to the public pool, and the expense of a gate fee to get in. And many times, lying on my towel on blazing hot concrete b/c all the chairs are taken. And let me tell ya, when the heat index is 115, that concrete makes me feel like a pizza baking in the oven!

I saw a story on MSN about indoor water parks. Hmmm. That could be fun. And then it got better! I found out there was one only 4 hours from our house. That’s a day drive, easy. So I booked a room for three nights. next time I know better, two nights would’ve been plenty. The Great Wolf Lodge is where we went. It was a beautiful resort, all the furniture was lodge style, family friendly and lots of fun. They have an 84,000 sq ft (I think) indoor water park that includes a lazy river, a wave pool, a fort with all sorts of water cannons, a kiddie pool, and 5 amazing water slides. Three of the water slides are 4 stories tall and the other two are 5 stories tall! Seriously! And if it’s been a while since you’ve climbed 4 flights of stairs, let me tell ya, it’s harder than you remember! But the upside of climbing those stairs all those times, I didn’t feel a bit guilty for having key lime pie at Pappadeaux!

After sitting four hours one day in the 84F humidity that reeks pretty heavily of chlorine, my head was pounding and I couldn’t get it out of my nose! My children spent so much time in the water, my son actually was tired of it and that was a shock! We could’ve spent time in the water yesterday, but he said he didn’t want to. My daughter wanted to go, but was only disappointed for about that long, and got over it. I think we were all ready to come home.

I do have to say though, I felt like a real genius. I had everything packed by the time our kids got home from school on Wednesday.  They didn’t know we were going, so it was surprise to them. We got on the road and two hours later, it hit me. DOH! My makeup bag, including my hairbrush and all my other necessary implements, was hanging on the doorknob of my closet door! Great. My husband was being a smart ass when he asked if I wanted him to go back! Oh well, I’ll be in the water most of the time anyway, and I’m not going to get all made up for that. I had an au naturale weekend.

We visited some of my favorites from my time living there: Einsteins bagels, La Madeleine, and Pappadeaux. And tried a restaurant that I’d only heard about when I was in school there, Babe’s Chicken Dinner House. One of my professors raved about it, but it was a bit of a drive from where I was and I didn’t have the time or the money to go hunt it down. However, since I left there 12 years ago, they’ve branched out and there was a location not far from the Wolf. Oh man, am I ever glad we went! It totally lived up to the reputation! The best fried chicken EVER!!! I never eat the skin of fried chicken, but it was so crispy and so good, I had to! The portions are served family style and the plate of fried chicken they brought out fed my husband, myself and our son for dinner, and then all four of us the next day for lunch!

Now, back to reality. Getting out of bed this morning was tough on all of us, but the kids made it out the door in time, and now it’s time for me to tackle Mt. Pile-o-dirties. I hope you have a fabulous week, I know I’m going to!

I promise, I’ll post some pics soon!

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You know you’ve had a really crappy day if…

Preface: All of these things actually happened, but not all to me.  The names of the innocent have been omitted to protect their identities. Feel free to add yours!

…you open the fridge to get something and find your laundry detergent. Or open the pantry and find your milk.

…the teenage cashier looks at you and says, ‘Looks like you’ve had a long day too.’ Thanks junior, that means I look like crap!

…the librarian asks your name, and you can’t remember it! It really happened, but after a long week of exams.

…your precious three year old tells you he’s made a poopy, but it’s not in the toilet, it’s in the window seat of his bedroom! Or in the backyard, had that one too!

…you’re using the self checkout at the library and the machine tells you there’s a problem with your card and you need to go to the front desk.  Wow! Those fines must be worse than I thought!  Then you realize, they don’t take Blockbuster cards at the library!

…you sacrifice your favorite bagels from your favorite bagel shop in favor of traction under the spinning tires of a truck in a snowstorm. Don’t laugh, they acutally worked!

…setting the alarm clock for your romantic get away weekend, you accidentally hit the ‘time’ button and change the time.  When the alarm goes off, you rush around in a total panic to get out the door in a flash, only to see the clock on the dash tell you you’re actually an hour EARLY!

…your mother forgets your birthday….AND YOU’RE AN ONLY CHILD!

…your mother ‘accidentally’ throws away your daughter’s $90 bottle of eye drops before you’ve even had the chance to use them!

…you turn on your computer and it does nothing.  After being examined by the computer geeks, you’re told there’s nothing they can do and all of the files (including 100’s of pictures) are gone forever and you know have a useless boat anchor on your desk.

…you arrange a romantic 10th anniversary getaway and totally screw up the return dates on the flight, and find out when you go to the airport after your wonderful weekend that your seats were on a plane that left three days earlier!

…you’re invited to a fundraiser and will be sitting at a corporate table (read free food) and wake up puking in the night before and spend the entire day paralyzed on the couch!

…you plan a family vacation, doesn’t matter where, happens every time, one of your children either wakes up puking right before you leave, or while you’re on your vacation!

…your husband forgets your birthday, and you’re 8 months PREGNANT!

…your oh-so-precious-love-of-your-life child smacks your thigh and says, ‘Mommy, your legs wiggle!”  thanks for that honey, I hadn’t noticed the cellulite until now!

…you think the stuff the kids listen to on the radio these days is crap!  then comes the realization you must really be OLD!

…your mom looks at you, with a very intent and questinong look on her face.  You’re thinking she’s going to make a comment about the ‘third eye’ zit you’ve got going on in the middle of your forehead, but instead says, ‘Are you alright?  Your skin looks yellow.  Are you sure you’re ok?’  yes mom, I’m fine, thanks for noticing.  The yellow cast comes from being out of the sun, it’s called pale.

…you get home from a family outing to a park only to see that you’ve left the garage door open while you’ve been gone!

Anybody else have things like this happen? Please tell me I”m not alone in my blonde moments!

http://alphainventions.com/rank?=https://1domesticgoddess.wordpress.com   

http://alphainventions.com/blog?=https://1domesticgoddess.wordpress.com

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You have GOT to be kidding me!

I’m really bummed right now. I wrote about our really fun vacation here https://1domesticgoddess.wordpress.com/2010/06/03/im-back-with-new-recipe-ideas/ . All day Thursday I felt hung over without the fun of actually enjoying adult beverages, just from pure lack of sleep. Running on 2 hrs and traveling for about 8 hours is tough on a person.

So, we get home, I unload all of our bags and start scaling Mt. Pile-o-dirties. Nine days worth of dirty clothes for 4 people gets pretty out of control. Mind you, the day after we got home, I was pretty much the walking dead. I had no energy and I don’t know that I had two brain cells firing at the same time for the majority of the day. Yesterday I woke up and felt pretty much back to normal.

that’s when i realized something was missing. I bought a new messenger bag with my favorite college logo on it (Oklahoma State) to carry at the park, it had lots of pockets for little things and we used it well during our entire trip. As we were packing the night before our departure, we decided to check all of our bags rather than have a carry-on bag. It seemed like a good idea. We were going to be at the airport at the butt crack of dawn, and on our way home, so if our luggage got lost, it was not going to be a complete disaster. My husband had been carrying the back pack at the parks b/c they were loaded with water and it’s pretty heavy, so he was the one who packed the bag in the suitcase. It was flat, so it made sense to just lay it on top of the clothes in the suitcase and zip it right up. I’d already done two or three loads of laundry when i realized my wonderful new messenger bag was missing. I asked my husband if he remembered what he’d done with it and he told me where he’d packed it. Hmmm. Well, all of the bags are now unloaded and it’s not here. Neither is my baseball cap that I’d taken with me. There were several other things in the backpack that I can’t remember. One thing I do remember is my son’s money. My children worked hard around our house to earn spending money for our trip. My boy had a difficult time deciding and was planning on buying a new Lego set when we got home and had about $25 to $30 left in the zipper pocket of the backpack.

I put a bag tag on the backpack before we left in the event that it was left behind somewhere, so I know it was marked. I phoned the hotel where we stayed and they had nothing from our room. I phoned the airline and left a message for their baggage service. It really bums me out. I have never had anything stolen from a suitcase while flying and it’s really disheartening. To think the people you trust to take care of your bags are stealing from you, is just sickening. I have seen things like this on the news before, but don’t know anyone who’s had it happen to them.

I’m very unhappy and disappointed, but really, whoever took that bag stole from my 9 year-old son. that backpack was going to be his for school next year and it was his money in the pocket. Who steals from 4th graders? I really hope I get some sort of resolution from the airline, but I’m not holding my breath. I will contact them again on Monday and I will send a letter to their corporate office. This is something they need to know about. They make a  big deal out of bags flying free, so they are responsible for keeping those bags safe. I understand sometimes accidents happen. I’ve had bags arrive torn, but not with contents missing. Urgh. Some stranger digging through my bags just makes me want to throw up. I’ll keep you posted on the outcome.

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I’m back with new recipe ideas!

Wow! Talk about a hair-on-fire week! We just got back from a week+ at Disneyworld in Orlando and I never thought I’d be so happy to sleep in my own bed! I can tell you that at least the hotel beds were very comfortable, pillow-top in fact and plenty big enough for my 6’4″ hubby and myself to sleep comfortably.

We went full-tilt for 7 full days, and a little of the evening we first arrived. I wore a pedometer, just for grins and giggles and got quite a shock! The first full day we were there, we walked 7 miles! i forgot how many steps that was, but we were all wiped out!  It was a good time, lots of rides, meeting characters, including many that we didn’t get to see on our last visit, good food, and, well, standing in line! We were able to avoid too much standing in line by hitting the parks early, but it’s inevitable when 20,000 people want to be in the same place at the same time, there’s going to be a line where you want to be! My husband and I made jokes about the ‘line simulation ride’ because there was alot of that. We refused to stand in a line that was longer than 20 minutes, 30 minutes was max that we would try. Normally they would move faster than was posted, but still….

We ate lots of good food, and many things I’m going to attempt to replicate. At Ohana at the Polynesian resort they have pineapple bread that is just to die for! It’s not overly sweet or frosted, but it was amazing!  Oh, that and the skewers of grilled steak, pork, turkey and shrimp! All you can eat can be a bad thing sometimes! I would loved to make the Dole whip, but I don’t have the frozen smoothie machine, but I bet I could make a sorbet or ice. Then there were the parmesan rolls at the Rose & Crown. They were warm and soft and I love the taste of the browned parm sprinkled on top.  Oh, and I can’t forget the Oreo bon bons! They were fantastic! Oreo’s topped with some kind of cookies and cream creation then sprinkled with cocoa powder and a dollop of chocolate mousse.

We ate at a drive-in theater that was an indoor restaurant made to look like a drive-in. Very cool! You sit in little cars to eat while watching B movies from the 50’s and 60’s. The walls are painted to look like night. Very unique and fun. We ate at a Biergarten in Germany at Epcot. We were very lucky to be able to have dinner with princesses at Cinderella’s castle. And for the end of our trip, we ate at an English pub called the Rose and Crown in the UK pavilion at Epcot. I can’t forget about the Mickey bars!

We were very lucky to go on this vacation and eat at some of the restaurants we did, they are difficult to get reservations at. I’ll keep you posted on my quest to replicate some of the recipes and share if I have any success!

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I haven’t fallen off the planet….yet!

Well, life, as is normal around here, is crazy and hectic, hence no new posts in a while. It was the end of baseball season, tumbling, school, and just about everything else you can think of around here! Hubby has been working like a mad man, it’s just that time of year for him.

I guess I’ve been really domestic lately, if you call shuttling children to baseball practice, games, from school, and basically running hair on fire domestic! I’m really looking forward to summer! We are going to go swimming, bowling, movies, the aquarium, and hopefully more fun things! It has been so crazy around here, I’ve been relying on prepackaged food *GASP* because of our time issues. Hot dogs, frozen pizza, and canned ravioli unfortunately have become de rigeur at my house and I don’t like it! Soon, everything will settle down and I’ll be able to return to my normal Betty Crocker-like state!

Right now we are getting ready for a trip to Disneyworld! Yay! We are getting very excited to visit the mouse once again. our good friends and neighbors will be there for part of our trip so we’re hoping we can meet up with them for a Mickey  Bar or a Dole Whip. It will be loads of fun, I mean seriously, how can it not? Although, I do know people who complain just to complain. But my thought is if you’re at Disneyworld and you’re not having fun, it’s your damn fault!  Something that will be particularly exciting is my daughter. The last time we went, she didnt’ meet the height requirement for several rides and was unable to ride. this brought much anger and many tears. She was only 4 and promised she would hang on with all her might, alas, they would not bend the rules for her. Which I totally understood, but she could not. this time, she will be well over the height restriction for almost all of the rides. I think the only one is the speedway, where you drive the race cars on rails. She won’t be able to drive it herself b/c she can’t touch the pedals, but I’ll work the pedals and let her steer.

Oh, and my container garden, well, it’s not doing too well these days. My basil has died, the cilantro has gone to seed and the grape tomatoes are hanging in there. They have some fruit and I’m excited about it. One of the major branches got broken off during a wicked storm we had a few weeks ago, so I’ve got about half the plant left, but it seems to be doing well.

I’ll post info about our trip when we return. right now, I’m off to sit in the hairdryer hot winds and cheer offspring #1 in his last baseball game of the year. Go Yellowjackets!

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I may have temporarily lost my mind, but…..

Ok, so on my other blog, I chronicled our vacation nightmare last year over spring break http://never1dullmoment.wordpress.com/2009/03/25/are-we-there-yet-part-deux-aka-attack-of-friday-the-13th/

After that trip, I swore I would never again plan another big vacation, or fly domestically. Well, the flying thing, that was thrown out last fall when my husband and I went to Napa for a long adults-only weekend.  I don’t know about time clouding our memories, well, that’s not true, I do know that happens. but for some reason, as we come to the end of  a school-year, our thoughts turn to vacation. It’s inevitable. Summer = vacation, right? I love taking our children to new and exciting places they may have never been to. Or that none of us has been to. And those damned Disneyworld commercials just get to me. We took our kids two years ago to Disneyworld in Orlando and had a great time.  We drove that time and it took us a day and a half to get there. That first day was a seriously LONG day.  But once we were there we had a ball. The only problem was that we didn’t have enough time and tried to cram too much into a really short period.  We both agreed that the next time we visited, we would take more time.

Fast forward to spring 2010. Those freaking Disneyworld commercials really make us start thinking. We started talking about vacation and decide where to go. We had a list of places that we were interested in : Disney, Destin, FL; Denver (we have friends there); Devil’s Den (a really cool state park in Arkansas that we may visit just as a long weekend); or Idaho (my in-laws just moved back there and they are only a couple of hours from Yosemite and Jacksonhole). My husband is crazy busy working at his new job and tells me to just start planning, he doesnt’ care where we go.

So I started doing some research and narrowed things down to Idaho or Disney. Because we are a solid month+ from any trip, I didn’t want to tell my kids just yet. I can’t handle the every day, ‘Mom, when are we going? Are we there yet?’ questioning. But we have been discussing taking a vacation, so they have an idea we’ll be going somewhere, we just don’t know where yet.

I have booked airfare and a hotel room (a 2 room suite w/full hot breakfast for an insane deal, $85/night!) but still haven’t told our kids. Last night I was tired, they were tired and getting on my last freaking nerve, and I started thinking, OMG what the hell was I thinking? I know we’ll have a great time when we get there, I just know it’s going to be a busy time and I’ll just have to go with the thought that we’ll sleep when we get home!

And you know, the people who post on their Facebook pages that they’re gone, they really are just inviting trouble, so don’t expect me to post when we’re leaving, I’ll simply post when we return!

Happy vacationing! I”ll post more when we get back!

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