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A Monsterless Week & Craft Update

Mark this week down in history:  the monsters are going to be gone this week.  They’ve spent a night or two away before, but never all three gone at the same time for this long. 

Princess is going to church camp Tuesday – Friday with her older cousin, over on Lake of the Ozarks by Grandma & Grandpa.  It’s close enough that Grandma plans to go see them at least once.  When she heard that Princess was going, she invited the other two monsters to come spent time with them at the lake too.

So we dropped Littlest and Middle off today.  Princess leaves Tuesday afternoon.  Then we’ll be childless through Friday afternoon when she comes home.  Grandma & Grandpa will bring the two youngest home on Sat. when they drive over for Father’s Day.

That Man and I are celebrating………by working.  *rolls eyes*  Actually, I’m taking Wednesday off so I can dedicate most of the day to writing and Writer Wednesday.

I’ve promised some craft pictures since all our fun classes this summer.  The monsters aren’t here to model their finger-weaving scarves, but I have completed several kitchen scrubbies, crocheted from nylon netting:

Supplies from the class: strips of nylon netting and size J crochet hook.  One yard is supposed to make about 3 scrubbies.

Two completed scrubbies made with one strip each of blue, red, and white (the class had an Independence Day theme).  They’re supposed to be great for cleaning glass stove tops without scratching — which I severely need.

Immediately after the class, Princess and I stopped at Wal-Mart and bought some more netting in various colors. 

Want one?  Comment here and I’ll draw a name.

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Branson Ducks, Zombies, & King Kong

What a crazy day we’ve had in Branson! First, we slept in. Ah, love vacation! I did keep my iPhone handy, though, in case an EDJ call came through, but things must have gone smoothly today. *crossing fingers* Papa from Mexico (my dad) called and said he was going to be able to come down for awhile, so we just lounged around the hotel room until he arrived.

I did something I’ve never done on vacation before: I worked out. *dies* It’s a good thing, too, because I didn’t eat the best today.

After Papa arrived, we headed to the Branson Ducks.  The kids had a blast, but I was sorely disappointed.  For $120 the six of us spent about 10 minutes on the water and the rest of the time either in Branson traffic or driving up and down quarry trails.  I rode the ducks as a kid, and I swear we got to ride all over the lake IN THE WATER, along the dam and everything, but all we did today was make a big splash when the duck hit the water, and then drive around a little island. 

Plus, they gave us all those annoying quackers.  Forget waterboarding and ripping fingernails off — just trap parents in a vehicle with three kids blowing those duck calls at the top of their lungs.

Then we went to The Fish House over by Bass Pro at the Landing.  Another disappointment.  (See my last note about how I hate to eat in Branson.)  The service was lousy and they were not busy at all (we got there around 4 PM).  The food was okay but nothing to write home about, and the waitress spilled tea all over my lap and didn’t even say a word in apology.  The view was pretty awesome — the restaurant hangs out over Taneycomo Lake.

We had to make a quick trip to Wal-Mart because someone forgot to bring underwear (That Man).

Then off we went to the Hollywood Wax Museum where a huge statue of King Kong climbing a fake Empire State Building wars against the Titanic museum on the opposite side of 76.  We took a hilarious picture of all us clutched in King Kong’s paw, and yes, this time we were suckers and bought two copies for the low low price of $16.  *rolls eyes* 

Part of this attraction is a zombie ride called Castle of Chaos.  We weren’t going to do it — fearing the monsters were too little.  But the guy at the door told us the age requirement was only 5 years old, and it was like a movie.  Note to self:  never believe the guy trying to make money by selling tickets.

We LOVED LOVED LOVED the zombie ride.  We, as in the grown ups.  I cackled and shot zombies and squealed when a bat got in my hair (they rig the seats so that it’s “five dimensional”, e.g. things touch your head and the seat moves).  Of course I had to shoot with my left hand, because I had Middle Monster clutched in my right arm.  She kept her 3-D glasses on and only got near tears once, but she really didn’t like it much.  Littlest Monster started bawling as soon as the lights went out.  That Man said she kept hiding her face and shooting anyway.  Once, she shot her seat because it started moving.  Princess Monster sat with Papa and took her glasses off.  The big chicken.

The third part of this attraction is a Mirror Maze, which sounds kind of dumb, but I swear it freaked me out more than the zombies.  I had to walk with one hand out in front of me to keep from smashing my nose on the glass.  Once I reached the exit, I stayed put, while everyone else lingered looking for all five of the hidden characters.  They never did find the prince, but the monsters LOVED that maze.  They’d to that again in a heartbeat.

We topped the night off with ice cream at Coldstone, and then Papa headed home.  The monsters are swimming now and I’m protecting the netbook with a towel because we’ve got a bunch of rowdy spashers tonight.  *glares*

Sis, you have GOT to get down here and ride the zombie Castle of Chaos.  You will love it!!

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Our Annual Branson Trip

We only live 30 min or so from Branson but we rarely come down here (tourist traffic is terrible).  However, last year we started a tradition of coming down for a long weekend while the monsters are on spring break.  We find a hotel/condo with an indoor pool and in suite kitchen.  The monsters swim themselves silly and then eat frozen pizzas, etc in our suite, because eating out in Branson is ridiculously expensive and the food is…ugh.  I really don’t care for it at all.  The only place in Branson I can eat and not be totally disappointed (so far) is Famous Daves, but I swear it’s not as good as what we had in Minnesota.

Each time we come down here, I dread the traffic and tourist joints.  Everywhere, people are hitting you up for trinkets and junk.  Let me take your picture!  Oh, by the way, give me $40 (Dixie Stampede).  Drives me nuts, so I’m already grumpy.

But oh, don’t get me started on the lousy 3G coverage down here.  *sobs*  Last year, the hotel said “wifi” but we didn’t read the fine print.  The internet was down in the basement lounge — it wasn’t strong enough to reach each room.  This year, we’re in a different building (owned by the same co) and so far, I do have wifi in certain areas, but it’s not strong and I keep getting kicked off.  I’m just praying that the Evil Day Job doesn’t need me to log on for some reason.  I may be sitting out on the balcony shivering (it’s chilly and rainy) to get a decent connection!

Plus, Middle Monster just slipped and fell on the tile here surrounding the pool (she wasn’t even running).  I think she’s okay, but she doesn’t want to get back in, which concerns me.  She just told me she wants to go back to the room….and eat.  So I guess she’s fine!

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Monster Celebrations

With Princess Monster’s birthday on the 5th and Middle’s today, we had a combined birthday party yesterday.  For her birthday dinner, Middle requested homemade chicken & noodles AND chicken & dumplings; Princess requested Old Settler’s Beans.  Aunt BB and Uncle J arranged for a huge, beautiful cake (picture below).  I tried to get a picture of them with the cake, but Middle wouldn’t stand still long enough, and then I finally got a good picture of her, and Princess is rubbing her eye.  (The blue bear is Middle’s bday present from us:  Cutie Pie, a Peace Bear from Build-A-Bear.)

Today, we finally celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas with my Mom (Granny) and my beloved sister, Molly.  We had a blast playin Boggle, and Aunt Molly gave the monsters Twister.  I laughed until my sides hurt!

For the Twister pictures (I tweeted them):  one, two

Birthday pictures:



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Handmade Gifts II

If you know Princess Monster, you know she’s a pitbull when she has her mind on something.  She will. Not. Let. It. Go.  Well, a few days ago she came home with tales of a scarf a friend had made that was soooo cool and soooo easy, Mom, even we can make it!

All I had to go on was her description of the scarf and how she “thought” it was made.  You have to remember that Princess has never sewn in her life.  In fact, I haven’t sewn either, not for at least 15-20 years.  I did get a sewing machine a few months ago, but hadn’t even taken it out of the box yet.  I knew it would take at least an hour just to get it out and figure out how to turn the thing on. 

Of course, she brought all this up Sunday night while I was making cinnamon ornaments.  And of course, I’m a sucker, so I went to Wal-Mart and bought a selection of nice heavy flannels and polar fleece.  I spent all day yesterday getting the machine out and figuring out how to work it, and then began experimenting with the material.

Princess said the other girl had used two strips of material, sewn down the middle, and then cut the edges to make a fringe.  I googled scarves and saw an idea for fringed, knotted polar fleece, so I sort of combined the two ideas.  I sewed two pieces of flannel together (each about 6-7″ wide and 2 yards long) and gathered it.  Then I sewed that onto a longer strip of polar fleece.  I cut the edges, and then made the fringe on each end.

By this time, Princess arrived home from school and immediately placed her order for two more scarves.  I sewed and ruffled while she cut the fringes.  Then Middle and Littlest arrived home and placed their orders for their scarves.  That Man pulled out dinner (we were having left over ham and beans) so I could get the last one sewn together and after dinner, I helped them fringe the last two.

Today, I need to make at least three more.  They are fun, and they whip together pretty easily.  I count myself as a beginner sewer — I can barely sew in a straight line and can’t do anything fancy like zippers, button holes, etc. but these were really easy.

Flannel was a mixture of pink kitties, blue doggies, and orange giraffes, with pink, blue, and orange fleece.


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Handmade Gifts

I’ve totally lost my mind.  Seriously. 

I had planned to make cute little gift boxes and cinnamon ornaments for the monsters’ teachers.  I thought I had a couple of days to do so.  However, I got a note tonight that Littlest Monster’s gift needs to be taken to school TOMORROW.  *dies*  So we made a quick trip to Wal-Mart after the miserable Chiefs’ game and I bought all the supplies. 

First up, we made ornaments out of cinnamon, glue, and applesauce.  It sounded sooooo easy.  In reality, I couldn’t get my dough dry enough.  I went through 3 bottles of cinnamon and finally figured out it was easier to roll out small portions of dough at a time, liberally dusted with more cinnamon.  Since I needed them for tomorrow, I baked them in the oven at 250 degrees for at least an hour.

Meanwhile, I got the monsters started on their boxes.  I bought inexpensive brown boxes and paint.  Yes, I told you I was insane.  Monsters and PAINT?  *dies*  But they did a lovely job.  For the tops, I used small cross stitch pieces I did earlier in the year (the only smart thing in this whole evening).  The linen and silks are both from Vicki at Hand Dyed Fabrics.  The swan and flower are from Ackworth School designs that I picked up at Needleprint, and the heart was a freebie from somewhere.  I pulled out the glue gun and stuffed a little fiber fill underneath to give it a little texture, and then added a little trim.

They’re far from perfect.  The swam one came out the best — because it was the third one I did.  Hopefully the teachers will love them.  Just in case, we also stuffed the boxes with mini chocolate bars.


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Country Bonfire

I burned my boob at a bonfire tonight.

We had a long day planned with an hour and a half drive north to Granny’s for an early birthday, and then a bonfire at my Dad’s tonight.  We slept in, which was wonderful, and finally got everything loaded in the van around 11 am.  I ran into Wal-Mart to pick up stuff for smores while That Man ran over to Uncle J’s and Aunt BB’s apartment (conveniently located across the street from Wal-Mart) to walk their dogs.  Middle Monster went in with me because I was supposed to get her a reward of paper (long story).  Of course I forgot the paper, and she didn’t remind me until I already had our cart unloaded, and because she was nagging me about her paper, I forgot to get the ice for the cooler.

So I ran all the stuff out to the car, went back in for ice and paper.  (Trip #2 to Wal-Mart)

We finally got out on the freeway headed north when I said, “hey, did anyone get the bag of coffee on the table?”  Of course not.  So we decided to make a quick trip to Target so I could get a bag of Caribou.  I mean, we planned a nice dessert for Granny, which just wouldn’t be the same without coffee.  In pulling off the freeway, we were almost in a horrible car accident (it would have been at least a ten-car pileup), so we missed our exit and had to hit the next one.

FINALLY, we have coffee and we’re back on the freeway, now out of city traffic.  About that time, Littlest Monster, who was in the very back of the van, said, “Mom, I don’t feel very well.”

Uh oh.  I passed back the Target bag (sans coffee) and made the monsters switch positions.  We made it another few minutes down the road and Middle Monster yells, “MOM, SHE’S THROWING UP!”

So not even 5 miles north of Springfield, we pulled off the road and I dragged Littlest out of her booster seat.  About half of her breakfast hit the bag, while the rest went all down her shirt, seatbelt, and seat.  Of course I didn’t pack a spare set of clothes!  At least I did have napkins, but no wet wipes.  I cleaned her up as good as I could and stripped her shirt off.  She wore her jean jacket and we headed back down the road.  (She was fine the rest of the day — just carsick from riding in the back of the van.)

Of course she got cold, so we had to turn on the heater, which only served to heat up the puke smell.

After another 20-30 minutes of smelling puke, we pulled off the highway in Bolivar for trip #3 to Wal-Mart where I bought her a shirt, Febreeze, wipes, and trash bags.

Four hours after leaving the house, we finally pulled into Granny’s house for dessert and coffee.  We visited until almost 5 pm, when Uncle J called, wondering how to get to my Dad’s for the bonfire.  We loaded up the kids and rushed over so J & BB could follow us down the gravel roads to my Dad’s, where he had three horses saddled.  The monsters rode about an hour, and then we started the bonfire.

It only took diesel fuel and three cups of gasoline to get the wood lit (we had 4-6 inches of rain Thursday).  Breezy as the sun set, the blazing fire was more than welcome….until something HOT hit my throat and rolled down my neck to lodge in my BRA.  I was doing the jig, fishing around in my shirt, flashing everyone, and couldn’t get the burning thing out, so I raced inside the house and ripped my shirt off.  I have blisters down my neck and all over my boob where a piece of burning rock danced a jig down into my bra.

Other than the puke in the car, 3 trips to Wal-Mart, a trip to Target, and the burns on my boob, it was a wonderful day in the country!

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Monsters Strike Again

The laptop is in the shop.

Okay, I can’t know for sure that the monsters are to blame, but since they’re the ones who’ve been using the laptop the most to play Webkinz, I’m pretty sure they contributed–significantly–to the problem.  Once again, I’m having prong issues.  Not as bad as Toshiba #1–when the prong broke off completely, and yes, that was totally all me–but there’s something goofy with the connection and it won’t recognize that it’s plugged in unless I jiggle the cord and hold the beast exactly in the right position.

I’ve seen Middle Monster trip on the cord a few times, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

So I’m working on George the Mac and the monsters are computerless.  Since they’ve done enough chores to earn a new Webkinz (they’re supposed to arrive today), I suppose I ought to unpack their old boat-anchor desktop after work tonight.  It’s as slow as Princess Monster getting out of bed in the morning, but it’ll be better than nothing.

And yes, all writing WIPs (work in progress) were backed up and nothing will be lost.  (I e-mail my work to myself daily, so I have it in two different external sites.)

The monsters, on the other hand, might die if they can’t play Webkinz!

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Birthday Extravaganza

Wow, I’ve had an incredible birthday this year!  First two wonderful, exciting covers.  Second, two fun movies:  Wolverine and Star Trek.  Third, a monsterless night–they went to spend a night with Papa on the farm and had so much fun they didn’t want to come home.  Dad estimates they caught nearly 50 perch, and one bass so large that it broke Middle Monster’s cane pole.  They rode horses until they were exhausted (the horses, that is), had a bonfire, caught fireflies, and saw their distant cousins tonight.

But the icing on the cake for this birthday:  dinner at Mythos.  If you read Dear Sir, I’m Yours next month, you’ll see the restaurant mentioned.  It’s a real place in Joplin MO and has incredible food.  I was so stuffed that I could barely stay awake for the drive home.

Star Trek was fantastic.  I’m such a goob that I bawled in the first five minutes.  I cheered.  I clapped.  So much fun.  Once, I even swayed in my seat and bumped shoulders with That Man.  See, when we were kids, Sis and I would stumble and fall all about the house, pretending that we were in the middle of an Enterprise crash.

Wolverine was fun but not nearly as good as Star Trek.  It left me feeling sad and dissatisfied.

We also watched There Will Be Blood last net via Netflix.  That Man fell asleep.  I wish I had.  I hated the way it ended and was mad I wasted two hours of my life watching it.

All in all, this has been an incredible holiday weekend.  My allergies are acting up so I’m taking Benedryl, and it’s really kicking my fanny.  I can hardly stay awake.  I’m miserably behind on MayNoWriMo, but I hope to get some words made tomorrow and Monday.

Hope you’re all having a terrific Memorial Day weekend!