Category Archives: The Odds and Ends

MOM Camp Day 9: The 23 hour journey home…

This was NOT meant to be an official day of Mom Camp.  In fact, today was the day we were meant to wake up in own beds with our snuggly dogs and get back to Mom Camp at home instead of on the road.  So much for that plan.

We arrived at Louis Armstrong Airport around 2:00pm–well in advance of our departure at 5:30pm.  No sense in taking chances these days with TSA screening lines and increased security after terrorist attacks.

Things turned ugly as soon we finished a rather hurried dunch (dinner/lunch).  I know some people prefer the idea of linner. I happy for people to comment on their preference between dunch and linner below.

Thunderstorms in Dallas meant our flight was canceled and there was no way to get to Las Vegas until the following day.  The Captain was less than happy…

Okay, it was off to a Garden Inn to watch a James Bond marathon and eat snack food from the 24 hour sundries shop.  At least, the Bondathon helped somewhat.

The kids still behaves well and I even offered to take them to the pool.  But, microwave popcorn, starburst and M&Ms seemed to be enough to keep them undercontrol.

Sadly, the following day did not get much better.. Before we even left the hotel room at 6:00am, I was getting text alerts that our 10:10 flight from DFW to LAS was delayed to 11:40am.  Things got worse from there…


AAXXX Departs DFW 12:30P Gate A13

Arrives LAS 1:19P Gate D10

WiFi avail onboard

Reply HELP for Help

Reply STOP to Cancel

Okay now it was a 12:30 departure, then it was a gate change. The next text of doom was:


AAXXXX Departs DFW 1:15P Gate A13

Arrives LAS 2:04P Gate D10

WiFi avail onboard

Reply HELP for Help

Reply STOP to Cancel

It was at this point that Cinco and I began walking through the airport.  We developed a game where we set a timer and went as fast as we could for 15 minutes.  After the 15 mins, I checked the paces on my upband–which I love–.  Our best score was .9 miles in 15 minutes.  Considering we were darting between other travelers, elderly in wheelchairs and mini-motorized courtesy carts, I think we did pretty well.

It was as we were playing this game for the 3rd time (and, yes that would mean we walked up and down the airport corridors for 45mins) that was saw the 11:40am flight depart.  The jealously and frustration were boiling over…  Why?  Why? Did we have to be booked on the loser delayed flight?  I rushed the counter to try and get us on standby–  but there were already 8 lucky souls infront of us and nothing we would do…

Through all this the kids remained pleasant and friendly with almost no fighting.  The Captain however was none to happy.

The terror struck! We boarded the plane and SAT!!!  There is truly nothing more horrible than being trapped on the airplane while you just sit on a tarmac.  It is sooooooo painful.

Finally, the plane took off and got home 23 hours after 1st arriving at Louis Armstrong Airport.  Talk about a long day.

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Filed under Mom Camp 2016, Travel with kids, Well Intentioned Disasters

Dad Camp…

We ended the summer with one final expedition to Great Basin National Park.  This was all The Captain’s idea and it even involved actual camping.

We arrived just in time to get the final camping spot on the mountain.  This was good because we got a spot.  But, it was bad because it was very cold and windy. In fact, we must have hit freezing temperatures because the water station had icicles around it in the morning.

After settling in at the camp ground, The Captain led us on a hike along the Alpine Lake Loop.  We saw Lakes Stella and Teresa.  We also collected several walking sticks on the trek.

Back at camp it we saw wild turkeys cooked dinner and made s’mores.  But the cold and wind drove the kids and I into the tent.   Once we were snuggled inside all was well.

A post-midnight potty break woke everyone up and we had a dazzling view of the stars.   It is amazing how many stars are hidden fr view especially in Las Vegas.

A chilly morning was made a little warmer with some hot chocolate and coffee plus a little oatmeal whipped up by The Captain.

Next, it was off to Lehman Caves.


All this was followed by a picnic lunch and a trip to an old mining ghost town.  Very little of the town is left and we mainly explored the cemetery.

Then came the long drive home.

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Oh the joy of planning a birthday party for the modern American child…  This month I happen to be planning two.  The Princess is having her party b.c she is a December baby and wants a party for her friends before the year is out.  And, it is actually Cinco’s real birthday in May.

I managed to talk him into an old-fashioned, plain park birthday without a bounce house.  How?  …..

At least, I can say it is educational, right?  Plus, it might even work with the Raspberry Pi computer system we got over spring break…

Summer, here we come!

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Mom Camp Goes Sideways: Day 9

Even the best planning can be undermined by good ol’ public transit. Our third day in London, the Tube’s Green line stopped working and our plans to head off to Hampton Court via Wimbledon were ruined! This sent me running sideways to figure out our next plan.

Going with the flow, we hopped a cab to Southwark to see the new Globe. Meanwhile the kids were holding a hunger strike because they didn’t like any of the British food. Priority number one was finding lunch. Based on their love of breakfast we opted to have breakfast for lunch– which satisfied my wild beasts for the time being.

MBridgeSadly, by the time we got to the Globe, the tours for the day were over! Ugh. I however, paid too much for the airplane tickets to be defeated so easily!

Pulling a page from the Harry Potter movies, I took the kids across Millenium Bridge.

Once across the bridge we went to St. Paul’s Cathedral.  I’ve been to England four times before this trip and not once did I ever make it to St. Paul’s.  I am rather surprised I never checked out the dome before.  I love a dome–St. Peter’s in Rome, The US Capitol Building in Washington, DC, Haigia Sophia Dome in Istanbul.dome

We all went in and headed straight to the Whispering Gallery.  It is located about half-way up the dome and you can whisper on one side of the gallery and be heard on the other side.  I resorted to asking a guard exactly how it worked because we had a little trouble figuring it out on our own.  Once we got if figured it out, the kids really had fun playing with acoustics over an over.

We kept climbing the dome and made it to the first outdoor level.  I tried to get Cinco to climb all the way to the top, but it wasn’t for him.  He stayed on level 2 with Queen Gram and The Princess and I went to the top!  She started to get nervous as the stairs got tighter and higher, but she made it.  Only 5 years old and she made it.  We took a few cute pictures and headed back down to Cinco.

London StoneBefore we left for England, Cinco and I studied some of the foundation myths of London.  One dated back to the story of Aeneas.  One of his sailors, Brutus, founded the city and this is the foundation stone. It’s in the old city and we walked by after the Cathedral.

Then it was off to bed!

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Filed under Mom Camp 2014, Mom Camp International-- Great Britain, Travel with kids, Well Intentioned Disasters

Scorpion suicide


Yes, that is a picture of a scorpion in my toilet! And no, I was not surprised to find it there.

Scorpion suicide seems to be something of a regular occurrence at my home. I have actually found other scorpions in toilets…

And I once found a scorpion that fell down the front of my shirt. No, I wasn’t bitten thank God! I mistakenly thought it was a piece of popcorn that I neglected to actually get into my mouth. When i pulled open my shirt to pull the popcorn out, it seems that instead a Scorpion had fallen from the ceiling and down my shirt! You can imagine there was quite a lot of bouncing around, yelling, jumping and startled folderol. But thanks for the fast action of The Captain I was not stung. And the scorpion meat an untimely death.

So I got to wonder why do so many scorpions come to my house to commit suicide?

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New Year’s Oooops.

2013 was not my best year for keeping up my New Year’s resolutions. But, I have to confront my failures so here goes.


  • Eat Healthier: I wanted to give up milk, cheese, and red meat. I did great job UNTIL I went to my niece’s bat mitzvah. Then, I completely fell off the wagon. I ordered the veggie dinner at the reception. But, with so much festivity in the air– I ate BACON at breakfast and cheese. After that, I was lost. Six weeks of healthy eating and then bust! I did manage to give up cows MILK, I am now 100% almond. So at least that is something!
  • Complete 40 Hot Yoga Sessions: I only made it to 22 sessions. I was going at least once a week until the kids summer vacation happened. After June, I never got back on track. I guess there is always this year.
  • Read 60 Books: Completed! 78 books, actually. I throw this one in every year. I know I can and will get it done so I have to add it to stack the deck in my favor! I did however say I was going to read 12 health related books. That was an epic failure, only 4!
  • Work out for 300 Hours: I go t the UP BAND for 2013 and declared war on sitting down. As part of that I wanted to see if I could log 300 hours of working out, gym, hiking, yoga. I managed to achieve 339 hours!

Now I have to come up with resolutions for 2014. Or I could resolve to just be.

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Crafting for a Friend’s FASCINATING Fortieth

What do you get someone turning 40?


I was at a bit of a loss. By the time you are 40 you have accumulated a lot of stuff and do really need your friends giving you more things? I think not! That of course leaves booze, spa gift certificate — the usable gifts. But once comsumed what is your friend left with?? A headache in the case of booze or a fleeting moment of relaxation in the case of the spa.

Therefore, Jillian and I teamed up to create a homemade, heartfelt gift for out fabulous, soon-to-be 40, friend Ginger’s Surprise Birthday Party. (Ginger is not her real name– as I am sure you have guessed. But she does have red hair…)

Okay, so what says GINGER? She is very fashion forward. In fact, even before the big royal wedding Ginger was wearing fascinators. Ginger also happens to be a straying member of a book-club I started. Put it all together and you get — drum roll, please….20130916-155901.jpg
A Bookish Fascinator!

Jillian and I got to work. We decided on a book theme and I went off to Goodwill to find a book. The idea was to make paper flowers out of the pages. When I got to Goodwill I started feeling the pages of the books. I was looking for thick paper over content. I did manage to pick up a collection of three Shakespeare plays with relatively strong paper. Other supplies included glitter spray paint, black tulle and some felt over odds and ends from our combined craft kits.

The next day, Jillian came over for an afternoon of crafting. I made the paper flowers.

20130916-165222.jpg The Captain even got in on it and spray painted the glitter on the flowers!

20130916-165342.jpg Meanwhile, Jillian was in charge of all sowing. She made a lovely fabric covered platform for the project and added the tulle.

The best part of the entire project was the hat box that Jillian packaged it all in!


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Well Intentioned Disaster I

A circus tent from behind

A circus tent from behind (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is my first well intentioned disaster since I started the blog.  You see, I always planning things that seem to somehow go slightly wrong– not on purpose or anything. It’s just I have a talent for messing things up.

The latest disaster involves a trip to the circus.  I bought five tickets– one for me, one for each kid, one for The Captain and one for a friend.  I THOUGHT I purchased them for today June 15th Saturday!  It turns out, I somehow managed to buy them for TOMORROW– June 16th Father’s Day.  Now, the problem is The Captain hates any and all things to do with child centered activities– this includes birthday parties, kids entertainment shows, Disneyland, Legoland, any child theme park.  I have learned this is not atypical when it comes to dads.  None-the-less, I somehow or other got The Captain to say he would go to the circus on the 15th.  But now, that I bought the tickets for FATHER’S DAY…well that’s another story.

Just another of my well intentioned disasters.


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Did I Mention Devil Dog was also a Cirque Du Soleil Cast Member?

Here in Vegas we have more Cirque shows than you can count on one hand.  Just about every casino has a show and I swear to god Devil Dog must have been in one of these shows in another life.

The no peeing on the patio saga continues.  Devil Dog will pee on the grass for my hubs.  However, every time she sets foot on the green stuff she act as if she is actually walking on hot coals.  I have never really seen a dog “prance” until now.  This is not the Cirque move I am talking about….

poopDevil Dog’s Cirque move is that she can some how crap on the side of the bath tub.  We have a tub with jets on the side and on each side of the tub is a ledge.  Somehow how Devil Dog is able to hang her butt over the side of the tub and poop on the tiny ledge without falling in the tub and killing herself.  I have cleaned up the poop, but you can see in my photo the potty area.  It is a favorite spot of hers and both my mother and baby/dog sitter can testify that Devil really does leave “presents” in this area!  This amazing fete leads me to believe that Devil Dog may in fact have once been in the show.

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Father’s Day Gifts

Lucky for me, my hubs doesn’t read the blog so I can blog about his Father’s Day gifts.

Every year with him it’s a challenge to find something he’ll like. He’s a beer drinking, guitar playing, mountain climber. Some years it’s a gift card from REI or Amazon, custom guitar picks, extra.

This year I am going with the beer idea. He never really wanted a brew your own beer kit, although I bring it up all the time. It seems he is more interested in having his beer without any work. So, He’s getting a beer-stein, a beer bottle opener, and the new fast cooling, Chillsner. You can find it at

(And, I know what it looks like, but this is a FAMILY blog!!!) What is super cool about the Chillsner, it has a whole in it, so you leave it in the beer and drink through it. I am ever hopeful this will be a hit with the hubs.

I am currently working hard to convince the kiddos to make “coupons” for dad to put inside the beer mug. Dad loves kid massages. Cinco is resisting this idea…it may come down to bribery.

I am also thinking if the kiddos will not do coupons, maybe we can make cards that describe what they like best about dad! I am not giving up yet!

There is also always the tie!

And, Cinco decided this weekend to a John Wayne movie. Not sure if the movie is for Dad or Cinco?

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