Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Good Times in Branson!

We have had such a great vacation here in Branson!

Memorial Day we grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, had baked beans, chips and cantaloupe for a late lunch.

Monday night we went to see A Tribute to Neil Diamond and we loved every single minute of the show!

Keith Allynn did a great job and we were thoroughly entertained!

He has an 11 piece band that was  awarded the 2023 Band of the Year here in Branson!

After the show, Billy took Brenda and my picture with Keith and that was fun!
I'll share more pics in a later post!

It was our only late night and we came back to the campground and went right to bed!

Today was our last full day and it was a special one.

Our long time friends, Jacki and JR drove from their Missouri home to meet us for brunch here at the park.

Billy outdid himself with cooking the bacon to crispy perfection and a plate of scrambled eggs while I made a fresh fruit salad and baked two cans of biscuits.
Everything tasted so good that I had seconds - something I have not done in months!

We have been friends for 14 years through blogging and Facebook but this was our first time to meet in person! It was like old home week since we have already shared our lives through the years.
They are famous for their beautiful 2 acre spread with a huge pond - they decorate lavishly for all the holidays and especially Halloween and Christmas!

Packages, cards, prayers as well as our joys and sorrows have been shared over time and we love each other. Thank you, Jacki and JR, for being such good friends to us and for driving over to see us!
Remember, we have full hook ups on our driveway and am hoping y'all come down to Texas soon!

We left this afternoon for our last attraction - The Branson Belle Riverboat, cruise/show/dinner!

We were the very last ones to board and at 4:05 were seated on the fifth row in front of the stage and being served the first course of dinner! We had no idea that we would be eating first thing!
We were all stuffed from the brunch but the food was so good we soldiered on and ate again!
None of us got the Clean Plate Club but what we did eat was delicious!

I misunderstood and thought they said absolutely no videos or photos - so I didn't take any.
Billy was listening better than I and he took some great pics which I will share in my next journal entry.

The entertainment was cruise ship worthy and we all had a good time!
It wasn't even dark when we were driving back to the campground for the last time. 

Missouri is Trump country and we stopped at this place to shop and take pics!

We came in and went right to bed!
It must be 'old age' but we were so sleepy.
I woke up after a few hours and thought I would go ahead and write this journal entry.
Louis Dean is still asleep - but I will be waking him up in order to give him his medicine in a few minutes. I hope he can go right back to sleep.

There have been severe storms all over the south this Memorial Day weekend and they have caused a great deal of damage, injuries and even loss of lives.

Summer has been staying at our house and taking care of the kitties.
Early this morning another storm blew in and the power went out.
Seems Irving had three transformers that were knocked out in the storm.
Power is remains out to many parts of the city - including our neighborhood.
Amber and Mike's neighborhood was especially hard hit but they did not suffer any damage to their home but had a good bit of trees and parts of trees come down.
Other neighbors did not fare so well and trees fell on cars, houses and even blocked the entrance to their neighborhood.

So far our electricity has been out 12 hours and Oncor is working on restoring power but says it may be days. 

Summer will be going back to Arkansas tomorrow as we drive home.
I'm thinking we will be having another adventure on our return!
My friend, Jean, suggested we buy some dry ice to save some of our freezer food - good idea!

Monday, May 27, 2024

We are in Branson!!!

 It was such a smooth drive up to Branson, Missouri - thanks to Brenda and Billy!

We arrived around 5:00 - only having to stop THREE times for potty breaks!
What a blessing to NOT have a constant UTI!
Yesterday we were in Walmart and I told Brenda, "Watch me! I'm walking PAST a restroom!"
The new has never worn off of being free from all that misery!

This is our beautiful two bedroom log cabin at America's Best Campground in Branson, Missouri!

It is spotlessly clean and has all the little things we need - except flyswatters and we bought a couple at Walmart and will leave here.

What a blessing to travel with Billy and Brenda!

Louis Dean stayed at the cabin when we went to Walmart on Saturday.
I had no idea that they had a full 'Liquor Store!'
I bought LD sone wine and I spied this bottle of Jalapeno Pepper and Cucumber tequila!
My most favorite drink was a Ghost  Pepper Margarita at a movie theater with Amber!
I'm hoping I can duplicate that or one that at least resembles it!

There was a parade in the park and it was fun to watch!

Louis Dean is such a Happy Camper!

This is my spot on the porch..

And this is HIS!

Louis Dean has spent many hours out here on the swing just sipping coffee in the morning and people watching and wine in the evening doing the same thing.
He says this place reminds him of Mountain View, Arkansas, of which he has such fond memories.
Old memories are precious and priceless and he often takes them out in his mind and revisits.
Making new memories is important, too.

Saturday was a wonderful relaxing day!
We went across the path to Brenda and Billy's space and pooled our resources for lunch!

Brenda, Billy and I played Bingo in the afternoon (LD preferred to stay at the cabin and sit on the porch swing) and then that night they had a magician perform in the activity center and that was fun.

Brenda and Billy's rig is HUGE!!!


Sunday was beautiful after storming both Friday and Saturday nights!
The tornadoes went around us but there was a lot of rain and hail - which kept Charlie and Sissy (B & B's doggies) upset so that meant none of them got much rest while Louis Dean and I slept through both storms without waking up!

We went to our first show late Sunday afternoon!

Really good!!
Louis Dean was so excited!!

He loved every minute of the show.

All four musicians were wonderful!

We decided to eat dinner out and our choice was.......

Amazing food, service and delicious flaming margaritas!!

Brenda and I ordered 'small' ones - which didn't look small at all!

Jalapeno & Pineapple - FLAMING!!
So good!!!

I ordered the Mexican salad!

Brenda had tacos and a Strawberry mango margarita!

The guys had fajitas and everything was simply perfect!
By this time it was dark and we came back to the RV Park as Happy Campers!

Good food.
Good service.
Good margaritas.
Good company.
Good night from Branson!

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Ready to Head to Branson!

We took that extra day on Monday to wind up projects and Tuesday around noon we were ready to close up the camper and head home!

Our drive up to the gate was lined with beautiful wildflowers!

The Texas Lilac bushes were all abloom as was a ton of horsemint!
Our bees should be very happy and hopefully we will get a honey crop this year!

It was a smooth trip home and Louis Dean did a great job of getting us here.
He unloaded while I put up and since it was a short visit to the ranch this time, it didn't take long.

Soon we were sitting out on the driveway with tall glasses of tea.
We hoped to see our friend and neighbor, Ilene, but she must have been busy somewhere else!

The laundry was going and I fixed us something to eat and we even watched a Blue Bloods episode before calling it a night.

I absolutely LOVE the Girl Bunk at the camper but it was just as nice to crawl into our bed at home!

I spent Wednesday over at Amber's and we did some housework, ate a great lunch together and watched one of our favorite movies.....

We love Kevin Costner!

I came home after traffic on Wednesday night with my bucket filled.
I spent special golden hours with my daughter and had a meaningful conversation with Mike as well as visited with all four of my Bell grands!

Logan played her euphonium for me and shared some of her award winning art from school!
I wish I had taken some photos of her work!
She has true talent for art and I am so impressed!

Kailey is always a delight as she hugged and talked to me....and I can't get enough of her!
She made sure that I was to tell Granddad how much she loves him!
So far she is the tallest of the four and when she hugs me she actually has to stoop down! 

Trystan has a special place in my heart and I can't help but look at her and smile!
She is our Polly Perfect student and loves school and all the ins and outs of learning.
She received the Student of the Year award for Gifted And Talented English Language arts and also for PE!

And Harrison is the 'boy' and  yet he remains a sweet grandson who always makes me feel special!
He said I was excellent at being a wonderful MeeMaw!
He got the Student of the Year award for his Technology Applications class.

It doesn't get any better than this!

Today ( Thursday) we have been packing and preparing for our vacation trip to Branson, Missouri in the morning.

I'm hoping to travel light this time and pack most of my things in one suitcase!

Makeup is a must and I am trying to pack what I need in the top bag instead of taking all of it!

Louis Dean amazed me in how well he packed!

His music notebooks, plus his clothing and shave kit....
It's a win! WIN!!!

Thank you, Billy and Brenda, for the gift of this trip!
And I am hoping and praying we may get to meet some special blog friends from Missouri! 
If not now.....maybe later!

Monday, May 20, 2024

Catching up on my Days! Tuesday - Monday!

 I'm a little late in keeping up with my journal entries......

So this is a catch up kind of post from last week through the weekend.

Tuesday was my 'day out' and I absolutely love spending time with Brenda!
This LOVE canvas now hangs in my kitchen! It replaced the donkey with wine and that is now in the living room

Costume jewelry is aways fun!

As is greenery - aka debris!
The long ivy garlands are brand new and I am still playing with where I will use them!

I took apart the white flowers and trashed some of them and made two bouquets to use.
This is in our bedroom against the black  curtain over our window AC unit!

The stalks I saved are now in the foyer.

Tuesday's night supper was a gift from Stephanie - our beloved next door neighbor!
Stuffed shells - Italian style and I added a salad and garlic bread!
Don't you love neighbors who give you food??

I left the book I was currently reading in Brenda's car so I started a new one!
I haven't read the Memory Keepers Daughter - but I will!!

We left shortly after noon on Friday to head to the ranch stopping at the Lone Star Cafe for lunch!

Louis Dean said, "Gimme that LOOK!"
So I did!

I am continuing to eat healthy and this salad hit the spot!

Louis Dean, on the other hand, enjoyed his meal where nothing on his plate was healthy!
Fried okra, French fries, chicken fried steak and lots and lots of gravy!
He ate every bite!

We were here long before dark with a short stop at HEB for milk and eggs.
I was thankful Dean and Sherry had left the camper AC on but when we came in - it wasn't very cool and I couldn't get the lamp on.

Turns out the AC wasn't cooling but the fan was still blowing - that's one problem.
The other one is that there are five electric outlets not working.
All factory installed ones at that. The extra outlets Louis Dean has installed still work.
I knew there had been a power outage and thought it would be a simple matter to check the breakers and that would be that.
Not so.
Breakers all looked fine.
The fan would not blow when I set the control to 'cool' so I did the only thing I could think of doing - I jiggled the control - and it came on!

The thing is - if I so much as touch it - off it goes!
About 5 years ago we bought a new camper AC unit and Don the electrician installed it for us.
However he was going to come back and put in the new thermostat control and a part that goes up in the ceiling. 

I'm hoping and praying he will come and figure out what's wrong with the outlets as well as change out the AC parts.

In the meantime - I am beyond thankful the camper is staying cool!!

My nerves were a little strained by this time so I set up the art table and started painting!

Louis Dean put the new fan we bought together and as long as I have some air moving around me - I'm okay. No way we can air condition the front room!

Saturday afternoon Sherry came down and took me for a ride on their UTV.

It's a tough machine and she let me drive it for awhile.
We went all the way to the back of their property where another tank is surrounded by thick woods.
It was unbelievably COOL back there in the shade! So many wildflowers and lots to see.

Louis Dean loved using his brand new lawnmower!

A campfire closed out our Saturday!

Sunday I was back at my art and by late afternoon, I had made good progress on four paintings.

I'm keeping this one and will go ahead and hang it when we get home....
even if there is a Santa hat in it!

I did the final glaze on this companion piece to the other canvas I painted for son Jesse and it is finished!

The Mr. and Mrs. Claus is a gift to a friend....
one more session to finish it and then another for details and a third for glazing.

 I painted this one before but did another one for a gift.

Here is Tarzan - brother to Samantha and Tabitha....

And this is Mama Kitty - mother of them!

She's so much smaller than her offspring!

Tarzan is a muscular guy but he's just a puddy cat around me.
He crawls up into my lap and hangs over my shoulder and loves attention.
I love him, too!

Louis Dean has had a good time redeeming a picnic table.
He loves fixing things!

We celebrated Son Dean's birthday on Sunday with rib eye steaks, baked potatoes, baked beans, pepper poppers and a German Chocolate birthday cake!
Guess where we ate the meal?
At the picnic table!

Louis Dean has been a happy camper!
So much so that he wants to spend one more night and go home on Tuesday instead of today.

He loads his truck up with tools and STUFF and has unloaded everything and cleaned out the back of his truck. 

He still had a couple things to do on his project and will finish it next month when we come back down here to celebrate out 19th wedding anniversary!

So now I'm all caught up!
I'll spend the rest of this day getting our medicine boxes ready for a month and finish taking notes from my 2001 diary in preparation to writing the next chapter in my book - chapter 33!

Summer shared this pic with me and it is so true!