Thursday, October 28, 2010

Secrets & Sunsets

Risky Business
Liz Palmer had found home—and a refuge—in Cozumel for the past ten years. But everything changed when her employee and boarder was murdered and his twin brother stormed into Liz's well-ordered life with grief in his eyes and revenge in his heart. Liz refused to be sucked in by his quiet words and intense eyes. She had a life to lead, a business to run, a daughter to raise—and Jonas Sharpe was an unwanted intrusion. But soon Jonas had plunged them both into the shady world of drug smugglers… and the dangerous depths of passion.

Mind Over Matter

Aurora Fields protected her clients like a mother tigress—especially when one was her own mother! So it was going to take a lot more than charm to get her on side with David Brady's plans. Aurora could see he was a smooth operator, used to getting what he wanted, and she was usually immune. What was it about him that left her uncomfortably vulnerable? As for David, he'd always considered himself a good judge of people. So why did each moment with Aurora leave his head and heart reeling? She was an enigma, and he was determined to find the key.

Two great books. Nora Roberts is always an easy read. I started reading this book and realized I'd read it before, but couldn't remember the outcome. So I read them again. I always knew I had a problem with retention lol.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Beautiful Fall Days

Have we not had the most BEAUTIFUL Fall this year?! Today is another gorgeous sunshine filled example (it's supposed to rain this afternoon, but for now..). Last week the sassafras trees were the most beautiful yellow and this week - no leaves at all.

We have a tradition in our family of when we have a new baby we get a picture of said baby in a pumpkin. Well, we have a new baby, Punkin, and I've got the biggest pumpkin I can find. Now to just find time to get together and get the pictures. It's always so fun. I was looking at the other two babies in the pumpkin and was amazed to see the hibiscus in the background blooming. That is not happening this year! The hibiscus has been gone for weeks. The weather must have been a lot different this year than the falls of 2007 and 2009. Anyway, not this weekend, but hopefully Halloween weekend we'll take care of that.

Speaking of Halloween, I've got a few decorations out and bought the candy for the occasion. Love to see all of the kiddies.

Still have lots of yardwork to do before winter sets in. I think we're done travelling for awhile so maybe this weekend if the weather cooperates I'll get that done. So get out there and rake and burn those leaves and enjoy the last days of fall.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Play Station Move... I'm Ready

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of PlayStation MOVE. All opinions are 100% mine.

Our family finally came into the 21 Century when the kids got us a new Wii for Christmas last year. I have an addictive compulsive nature so you know I was hooked from the beginning. That's why when I heard about this new Move by Play Station I started really dreaming. Wouldn't it be fun to have the whole family involved in a 'family game night' or just more new exercise games? I sometimes need a little more variety to put some spark back into my workouts. Some of their games also add a good outlet for some fun sibling rivalry. Speaking of sibling rivalry did your kids ever open a Christmas present and say 'Wow! Grandma gave me $20.00'. That's when the other would say 'Only $20.? She gave me $50.' Yes, that went on in our house all the time. It was always funny especially when they were really little. To think that they had a sense of humor at such an early age.

I would also want to get 'Sonic 4 The Hedgehog' since it is rated for everyone. Our grandchildren amaze me daily at how quickly they adapt to and understand computer games. I'm pretty sure our daughter just got a PS3, but you can bring motion gaming to your existing PS3 for only $99. with the MOVE bundle package. Yep, this is going to be the Must Have this Christmas. Hours of games, movies and television episodes for everyone. Check, Christmas shopping DONE!!

Visit my sponsor: PlayStation®Move

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton

It's April, 1988, a month before Kinsey Millhone's 38th birthday and she's alone in her office doing paperwork when a young man arrives unannounced. He has a preppy air about him and looks as if he'd be carded if he tried to buy booze, but Michael Sutton is 27, an unemployed college drop-out. Twenty-one years before, a four-year old girl disappeared. A recent reference to her kidnapping has triggered a flood of memories. Sutton now believes he stumbled on her lonely burial when he was six years old. He wants Kinsey's help in locating the child’s remains and finding the men who killed her. It’s a long shot but he's willing to pay cash up front and Kinsey agrees to give him one day. As her investigation unfolds, she finds out Michael Sutton has an uneasy relationship with the truth. In essence, he's the boy who cried wolf. Is his current story true or simply one more in a long line of fabrications?

Grafton moves the narrative between the eighties and the sixties, changing points of view, building multiple subplots, and creating memorable characters. Gradually, we see how they all connect. But at the beating center of the novel is Kinsey Millhone, sharp-tongued, observant, a loner—"a heroine," said The New York Times Book Review, "with foibles you can laugh at and faults you can forgive."

This is my first Sue Grafton book and I'll be back for more. I think I got it as a book club selection. In the beginning I was only getting 10 to 15 minutes of read time at a sitting and it was definitely difficult to keep up with the characters. Lots of mystery and intrigue. Another "oh what a tangled web we weave" if you know what I mean. After years of covering up a bad past it will eventually come back to haunt you. Lots of little side lines going on at once including some from Kinsey Millhone who was orphaned at the young age of 4 and then raised by her aunt. Good read, you'll want to keep reading to see who dun it.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Final Day of Shows

We had a busy evening Saturday night. Our first show of the evening was Sons of the Pioneers Chuckwagon Dinner Show . It was a lot like Roy Rogers Jr. which MM really enjoyed. The chuckwagon dinner was good too. We were disappointed that we had to cut out a few minutes early, but good thing we did... there was a lot of traffic that time of night with people going to shows.

Cutting the first show short and running from one theatre to the next we made it to Noah the Musical without a minute to spare. It was a spectacular show depicting the tale of Noah and the Ark from the Bible. With live animals, 3D video effects, animatronics, a huge cast and an amazingly colossal set with a four-story Ark, the Sight and Sound Branson Theatre could be the new standard in Branson shows. Watch Noah and his family build an enormous Ark and fill it with animals, two by two. Featuring a 300-foot wraparound stage, hundreds of live and animatronic animals and a 40-foot-high ark, Noah - the Musical brings the Bible to life on stage in an experience you'll never forget!

After God reveals to the righteous Noah that a flood will extinguish all life on earth, He charges the man to construct an ark massive enough to shelter his family, any other true believers, and pairs of every species of living creature
. This is definitely a MUST SEE when in Branson. I absolutely LOVED Noah the Musical!! The production was a full 360 degree stage. I wasn't sure what that meant... well, I know what it means, but I didn't know what to expect. You were literally sitting in the middle of the ark with cages of animals all around you. There were cast and animals coming in from the back.... AWESOME. If there was one Must See show, this would be it.

So that's our week in Branson 10 shows (Showboat Branson Belle, The Baldknobbers, Fountains of Faith, The Platters, Jim Stafford, Roy Rogers Jr, Yakov Circus, Spirit of the Dance, Sons of the Pioneers and Noah the Musical) and 4 attractions (Zipline, Branson Scenic Train, Branson Landing and Behind the Scenes of Noah the Musical)and now we need a vacation to just rest.. maybe another time. For now we're hitting the road again for a long drive home. Back to work on Tuesday all refreshed and ready to go.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Getting Around Branson

We found getting around Branson to be very easy with this great map of the area.

The maps are available everywhere and have all the theaters and attractions noted along the highway. Most of the shows are on 76 (green), the main highway, but then they have highways color coded. Red is the Shepherd Hills Highway, the blue highway is also called Gretna, there is also a yellow highway. There are several roads that connect you from one to another and you can get out of the congestion as easily as taking a side road up to one of the other highways. Lots of hills and curves. Sorry this map isn't color coded, but the ones that they actually distribute are. Even traveling along 76 wasn't difficult. It's a three lane road that gets to top speeds of about 35 mph.. one lane going east, one west and a center lane to make getting onto the highway pretty easy. Big city made easy with common sense maps.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Behind The Scenes of Noah the Musical

We only had one thing today and really enjoyed it. We're planning on seeing Noah the Musical tomorrow night and while waiting to purchase the tickets someone came up and said 'you have to see Behind the Scenes'. This was the final opportunity to see it this season so I'm glad they told us. Talk about interesting. There were 8-10 groups of about 15 people per group going back stage with two guides each. I guess I'd never given it any thought, but they have about 65 live animals and some portions of backstage smell like a barnyard lol. There are also about 125 automated animals and 7 animal costumes that have people in them. We got to see the turtle and how a small woman fits inside and moves 'slowly' ;).

The props are everything from a simple scene that you'd see in any production to 4 story view of the ark. Very impressive. All props are built on the premises and everything is done in house. The staff and actors are all full time employees with full benefits.

All the information about the couple that started this production can be found at Following is an excerpt from their website.

Our Name
The name "Sight & Sound" was inspired by the teaching of Jesus found in Matthew 13:10-23. The disciples asked Jesus why he spoke to the people in parables or stories. Jesus replied that even though people were seeing, they did not really see. Even though they were hearing, they did not truly hear or understand what they heard.

It is our goal to visualize and dramatize Biblical truth through live stage productions - to illustrate truth in the same way that Jesus did, by storytelling. Our desire is that our audience will gain clear understanding and inspiration through these presentations, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and deepen their relationship with our Father through Him.

Our Mission
Our purpose is to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ and sow the Word of God into the lives of our customers, guests, and fellow workers by visualizing and dramatizing the scriptures, through inspirational productions, encouraging others and seeking always to be dedicated and wise stewards of our God-given talents and resources

They finish up this production for this year on the 16th of this month then begin rehearsals for The Miracle of Christmas. Noah the Musical will be back again next year. Following are a few pictures we took today. Picture taking behind the scenes was prohibited.

This is a small ark in the lobby, it's about 12-15' high

This was one of several scenes also set up in the lobby... way up high ;)

This sculpture of the Lion and the Lamb is out front as you approach the lobby. Again, very impressive. The picture doesn't do it justice.

We're really looking forward to tomorrows program and want to thank Al for telling us 'you have to see it!'.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Winding Down on the Shows

So to bring us up to date.. we caught the Roy Rogers Jr Show yesterday morning. It really brought back memories of our household when my brothers were young and playing cowboys. Roy Jr also told of his family history and how they are trying to keep the memory of Roy alive. We just don't have 'heroes' today like back then. I really enjoyed Roy Rogers Jr son, Dusty. He really looked like his grandpa. They're keeping it in the family ;)

In the evening we were entertained by the Yakov Smirnoff Circus Dinner Show. MM would have prefered the Yakov Smirnoff Show (Not the circus), but there was a little mix up on my part. Anyway, the circus was really cute... no animals except for dogs. Yakov wasn't even in the circus performance other than to narrate from his book about bringing his circus to America. We were curious as to how there was going to be a dinner since we were seated in auditorium seats that did have little writing tables that came up, but....

Yup, a Yak-in-a-box! They passed out glow in the dark boxes that glowed under the black lighting. It was complete with soup, meatballs, potatoes, roll and pudding. Have I had a better meal??? Okay, it was a Yak-in-a-box, what do you expect. Cute but not a "Dining Experience" :) The circus was good and the love story was cute. Like all of the shows here in Branson they really tried to get a lot of audience participation. They had a guy stand in front and one in back holding a string of tape dividing the section of seats and then they started tossing beach balls out to be played as volleyball. A member of the audience was brought on stage and strapped to a wall for a knife throw... they used toilet plungers lol. Lots of silly stuff but it was fun. Enjoyed the show, but next time it will be the Yakov Smirnoff Show, not the circus.

This morning we met friends for breakfast then headed for Branson Landing on the waterfront. When we got there we noticed the Branson Scenic Railway was getting ready to board so we grabbed some tickets and hopped on. The ride is a 40-mile roundtrip excursion thru Ozark foothills and tunnels. You learn the history of the area as you cross bridges and trestles and you experience the luxury of rail travel from yesteryear. So here's the train...

A fellow traveler grabbed our camera and caught us settling in for our ride.

The view from one of the trestle bridges.

I can't remember being on a train before unless you count the one at the zoo. It was a fun experience and I think if I were on a long trip I'd probably just sleep because it is very soothing to be lulled and rocked back and forth.

When we got back to the landing we walked around and did some shopping then sat at one of the sidewalk dining places and enjoyed some ice tea on this beautiful fall day. There was a water and fire display that danced to music. A great way to spend an afternoon.

Later we grabbed a quick bite to eat before our evening entertainment of Spirit of the Dance. I love the energy and excitement of Irish Dancers. This was a fantastic show with lots of singing and dancing. It was so fast paced that it seemed like we just sat down and the show was over!! Love the Spirit of the Dance!!

It's late and I'm ready to call it a night. Just a couple of more shows left, and I can't wait. Sons of the Pioneers and Noah the Musical...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

More Branson Shows

Monday we only had one show scheduled. The Platters. They put on a powerful show bringing back some great memories of the '60's. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Only You to name a couple. Just a GREAT show and they had a good diner in the lobby of the Starlite Theater that also brought back memories. Nice show.

We found a really nice BLM (Bureau of Land Management) Park just outside town that we plan on returning to when we have more time to just camp. It's an Army Corp of Engineers park right on Table Rock Lake. Very nice. We love to just drive around new towns checking things out. You find some real gems hiding out there.

Today (Tuesday) we had to move from the ABC (America's Best Campground) to the Coast to Coast park that we scheduled for the second part of the week. Treasure Lake RV Resort is right next to the IMAX theatre in town. Very big park and has everything we need including being right in town!!

Did a little shopping around town before going to the Jim Stafford Show. His biggest hit back in the '70's was I Don't Like Spiders and Snakes. We were a little disappointed that he didn't do all of his old song (kind of like Ricky Nelson not wanting to play the old songs). He did a lot of funny stuff and had his son Shea and Daughter GG doing a few numbers. One of his skits he broke a guitar and had to duct tape it back together lol

What sticks with me right now was at the end he said he had to go home and do some mechanical stuff.... Put a rearend into the recliner lol. Gotta remember that one. We did buy a few of his cd's because our olds ones of his got lost or damaged and MM really likes his stuff.

So here we are back at camp and resting up for a busy tomorrow. Checked out pictures of the girls on the internet.... I really miss them. They are so cute :)

We love talking to other couples that we camp near or sit near at shows. The couple we camped next to at the last camp were from GA and we're trying to find time to have dinner with them sometime in the next few days. The couple we sat next to at the Baldnobber show was from ST Louis MO and today a couple that was celebrating their 50th anniversary were here from Indianapolis IN. What really stands out is that travelling during October, in the middle of the week, is lots of old folks lol. Guess I found my niche. Tomorrow - Roy Rogers Jr and Yakov Circus.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Having a BLAST in Branson!

We arrived in Branson on Friday and are staying at the ABC - America's Best Campground. It is really nice and has a lot of friendly campers - MM is out now visiting with our newest neighbors.

Saturday we got up early for a pancake breakfast served here along with entertainment. Tucker was the entertainment and we visited with a nice gentleman Harry Hazzard... later we bought one of his CD's. He sounds just like Dean Martin.

Back at camp we went through all of the flyers of entertainment and coupons. We went back to the office and bought a handful of tickets and began our fun. Our first show was Showboat Branson Belle. This is a dinner cruise on Table Rock Lake. Dinner began as we cast off from dock with a salad and bread followed by Roast Beef, Chicken Marsalas, veggies and mashed potatoes. They had a band playing and served a yummy raspberry gourmet something for dessert. This was followed by a short intermission of sorts while we went uptop and walked on deck. It was a perfect day and we enjoyed watching the views as we sat soaking up the sunshine. When called back for the performance we reluctantly went back inside. There were four singer/dancers that were very good - the Showstoppers. They were followed by Todd Oliver and his talking dogs. Talk about funny... I was laughing so hard I could hardly breathe. He's a ventriliquist that's been on Jay Leno as well as other late night shows. This is his last season on the Showboat so get there fast to check him out.... FUNNY!!

We left there at about 6:30 and headed for our next show the Baldknobbers Jamboree (think we had tickets for the 8:00 show). Their family has been running this show for 50 years. The oldest show in Branson. The singer/entertainers were okay, but the comedic portion was hilarious!!! Once again, side splitting funny. Another show that I would definitely recommend.

This morning we headed out for my favorite so far... Adventure Ziplines of Branson. You start out getting set up in a harness that attaches you to something solid at every station. After a short learning process of how to stop, and how to stop spinning you climb a 65' tower. Yup, a spiral staircase to a platform looking out onto the world!! So now you're standing up there and they hook you up to a cable and tell you that whenever you're ready to just sit back and jump off. I'm first, of course, otherwise I might chicken out :) Look out, breathe, sit back and jump!! There I am floating across the sky and trying not to brake... oops, braked too much, the guy had to throw me a rope and pull me in lol. Forgot to tell you that you have two staff working with you, one goes first and one last. MM joins me fast and the last staff comes in doing hot dog moves lol. I think this next cable was the longest (I could be wrong :)) at 1600' long. Again, breathe, sit back and jump... try to hold your feet up so there's less wind resistance and you can make it to the next tower. One of the staff later explained to me that with the cooler temperatures and more clothing there is more wind resistance and therefore you go a little slower to begin with even if I weren't braking lol. Next comes a rope bridge that you have to cross from tower to tower. Have you ever seen a little old lady walking with a cane taking baby steps? Okay, everything but the cane. I felt ridiculous, but it was SCARY!! Whew!! I made it. We did this a few more times 5 zips and 3 bridges and the final one you land on the ground and can't believe you made it through it all. What a RUSH!! You know I'm recommending this to all my friends!! I've heard of others doing the zipline of sorts, but I think they just had a zipline and were done. This was so much more because you had to jump 5 times and the bridges!? Yikes!!

We had tickets for Fountains of Faith next at the Waltzing Waters Theatre. This was all gospel singing with dancing waters behind everything. The singing was by Tucker and Susan Hudson Carman. Harry Hazzard was there too, but he didn't do any performing. It was fitting for a Sunday morning... very inspirational and beautiful singing. Another performance I would recommend to those that enjoy gospel singing.. I do.

MM had been eyeing the Rib Crib every time we went by so we stopped in for a quick lunch/dinner before heading back and resting up from a very full morning. We have lots of tickets for the rest of the week and hope to rent a motorcycle (didn't bring ours) for a one day excursion. The weather looks great for the rest of the week and we're loving the time to just enjoy each other and all that Branson has to offer. Check back later in the week for more updates of our adventures.