Monday, June 19, 2023

Birthdays, Hannibal, Graduation and more!

Good evening, friends!

Life has been a bit too busy to find time to sit down and post. This is the first opportunity I have had to visit with ya'll and I'm glad I finally found some time to sit down. I hope this finds ya'll well, happy and healthy!

This may end up being a long post with lots of pictures. I hope I don't bore you with all of the craziness from June 1st to now.

At last post Kayla was preparing to go visit her bio-mom in southern Missouri. On the way down we made a few stops. Kayla has been begging to eat at Lambert's Cafe for more than a year, so we decided to have a late lunch in Springfield. We also stopped at Osceola Cheese Company to get beef sticks and cheese curds...yummy! The girls had a ton of fun and were so happy!

Aaron and the Girls at Osceola Cheese Company

Kayla and Alysia at Lambert's Cafe

On Sunday (June 4) I had a catering job to complete while I waited for Kayla to arrive back home. The meal was prepared for 20 people and served at Historic Mount Gilead School and Church. We served an Asian salad with vinaigrette, pulled pork, baked beans, tater tot casserole and apple, coconut cream and chocolate cream pies. The meal went well and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. 

I was super happy to have Kayla back home. Everything always seems so quite when she is away. After she got home she helped Dad with some house repairs. She even diagnosed what was wrong with the bottom step of the back porch and fixed it all by herself with her own tool bag.

Kayla Fixing the Back Porch Step

On Wednesday June 7th we went to Warrensburg to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday with her. I took all the stuff and made salad, baked ziti, garlic bread and birthday cake for her. We had a good evening!

Lisa's Birthday Cake

Lisa Makes a Wish Before Blowing Out the Candles

On Thursday (June 8th) my niece Kelly turned 1! I wasn't able to make it down for her party unfortunately, but got sent this cute photo of her enjoying her birthday decorations by my mom.

Kelly Turns 1!

We spent the rest of the week preparing for our upcoming trip. We have been planning a trip to Hannibal for somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-8 months. My mom was going with us, so on Sunday (the 11th) my mom drove to Harrisonville and we picked her up there and brought her home with us. On Sunday night we finished preparing for an early departure and grilled out for dinner.

Grilling Out in the Gazebo

On Monday morning last week we left for Hannibal with several state park stops planned alone the way. Aaron, Alysia and myself have been to all the Missouri State Parks and State Historic Sites. My mom would like to go to all of them as well, so we took her to a total of 9 of them on this trip.

On the way over we stopped at Wallace State Park (Cameron), Locust Creek Covered Bridge State Historic Site (Laclede), Pershing State Park (Laclede), Pershing Boyhood Home State Historic Site (Laclede), and Long Branch State Park (Macon). 

Alysia and Kayla at Locust Creek Covered Bridge State Historic Site

Aaron and I Stroll Down the Path Towards the Locust Creek Covered Bridge

Pershing Boyhood Home State Historic Site

After we arrived in Hannibal we checked into our hotel and then spent the evening exploring the area. We visited the Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse and Lover's Leap. The area was so beautiful! I love the Mississippi River, and I really enjoyed getting to explore Hannibal. Even though I have passed through and seen small things a few times I had never stopped long enough to enjoy the sites.

Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse

The Whole Crew at the Scenic Overlook

Riverboat on the Mississippi River

Aaron and I Enjoying the View from Lover's Leap

By the time we got done we were pretty hungry, so we set out to find somewhere unique to eat...and were drawn to a particular spot solely on a cute name...The Lil O Hickory Hut. The gentleman that owns it is so nice and friendly, and the food was delicious! They just opened in November 2022, but I hope they are there for a very long time. I definitely recommend them if you head to Hannibal! I had the brisket sandwich on a ciabatta bun with coleslaw and baked macaroni and cheese.

Dinner from Lil O Hickory Hut

On Tuesday morning we boarded the Mark Twain Riverboat and set sail for a one hour sightseeing tour. We really enjoyed it and the Captain was an amazing man with over 40 years of experience with running riverboats. At some point we would like to go back and take part in the two-hour dinner cruise. This was, by far, one of our favorite parts of the trip.

The Girls Watch the River Go By

Aaron and I Enjoy the River View

After leaving the riverboat we headed to Becky Thatcher's Diner for lunch. We left with mixed reviews. My loaded BLT (with an egg), Aaron's Reuben and Kayla's pancake were all good. Alyisa's chicken strips were "just ok", and Mom's regular BLT and onion rings were anything but good. The onion rings tasted more like fried mushrooms than onions and the BLT had a hug chunk of lettuce on it (too thick) and only one thin slice of tomato and one slice of bacon. It was pretty sorry.

From there we went over a few blocks where we visited Huckleberry Finn (Tom Johnson), Tom Sawyer (Samuel Clemmons) and Becky Thatcher's (Laura Hopkins) homes, the Mark Twain Interpretive Center, Grant's Drugstore and the Mark Twain Museum.  

The Girls Whitewash Tom Sawyer's Fence

We made our way to Mark Twain Cave and took the one hour 3/8-mile long tour. Our tour guide was amazing and the cave was so interesting in the fact that there are over 250 passages in the cave. It is the first cave I have been in that has so many passages and I find it one of my favorite caves that I have been in just due to its uniqueness. 

Kayla in Mark Twain Cave

Alysia, Aaron, Mom (Rebecca) and Kayla in Mark Twain Cave

After we finished touring the cave we were all very tired so we made our way back to the hotel and ordered pizza for supper. However, we all wanted to enjoy the river at night so we made our way back down to the Hannibal landing and enjoyed the beautiful night view. While we were there the Captain of the riverboat happened by and the girls ran up to talk to him. They ended up getting their picture taken with him. 

Hannibal Landing at Night

Mom at the Landing

Aaron, The Girls and I at the Landing

Alysia and Kayla with Captain Steve

The Riverboat at Night

On Wednesday morning we started towards home, but just like the trip there, we had lots of stops planned for the way home. We made our way to Mark Twain State Park and Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site. After that we made our way to the Union Covered Bridge State Historic Site. This is by far my favorite of Missouri's covered bridges. It sits on the Elk Fork of the Salt River, which is a beautiful view in its own right.

The Cabin Where Mark Twain Was Born

Crossing Union Covered Bridge

Elks Fork - Salt River

Mom at Union Covered Bridge

On our way back we drove through Chariton County. I have driven through Chariton County many times, and each time think of the fact that the Ingalls family made their home there for about a year near Rushville. I have always wanted to find the spot, but never we drove over and searched it out. I was so happy to finally make it there. I eventually would like to visit all of the Little House sites, but that will take a long time.

The Little House Site in Chariton County

We finally made it home Wednesday evening. We did laundry and repacked to prepare to leave again.

On Thursday morning Kayla had a dentist appointment. She got her teeth cleaned and checked, and will have to have a cavity or two filled at some point.

Kayla at the Dentist's Office

After we left the dentist we headed to Harrisonville to take mom back to her car and then headed towards southern Missouri to help my sister's family prepare for my niece's graduation party on Saturday. We did a lot of cooking, and my sister baked about 130 cupcakes. I helped her frost them, as well as helping with some of the other cooking and general running.


On Friday evening my brother looked at my computer which has been giving me lots of issues recently. Turned out my hard drive was in the process of going out. I ran and picked up a new one and within a short amount of time he had replaced the old hard drive with a solid state hard drive, reloaded everything back onto my computer and it works better than it did when it was new. He is so smart when it comes to technology.

On Saturday my sister fixed my hair, and she did a good job with it. I really liked it. 

Graduation Party Hairdo

In the afternoon the graduation party was held. I cannot believe that my beautiful niece Audrey has graduated from high school and is only a couple weeks from her 18th birthday. I still see her as an itty bitty baby. I was a bit emotional when we got ready to leave.

Audrey at Her Graduation Party

On Saturday I was finally able to get a photoshoot done with Kayla that I have been trying to get done for two years. She is all about poufy dresses and frilly girl things, but also likes to get her hands dirty working with Dad under the cars and in the yard. My brother took the photos (James Knox Photography), and he sent me a preview. I think they are going to turn out great as they capture both sides of her so well. 

Kayla Working on the Car

Kayla's Personality - Fancy Dresses and Grease on Her Face

Speaking of Kayla...the other day she told me she had made an art gallery in the carport with her sidewalk chalk. I hadn't really had a chance to look at until yesterday. She gave me a tour of her art gallery. Each piece had a name and a story and she was great docent as she took me through. I was thoroughly impressed.

Kayla's Art Gallery

We got home Saturday night and went to church yesterday. We took Aaron out to lunch for Father's Day and then he returned to work last night. I spent all of yesterday evening and today doing laundry and running errands.

Well all...I started this blog at 4:30 p.m. and now it is 10:15 p.m. I have gotten stopped multiple times, and this one is incredibly long since it has been a couple weeks since my last post, and we've had so much going on. There is more to write, but I don't have any more time tonight. I have to be up at 3:45 a.m. tomorrow as I have to be in Warrensburg by 6:00 a.m. as my mother-in-law is having surgery. Please pray for good doctors, smooth surgery and fast healing for her. 

Please forgive any typos as I don't have the time or energy to check through it all right now. I'll check in again soon!

Love to all!


Thursday, June 1, 2023

Hail Storms, Ambulance Rides and Tadpole News

 Good evening, friends!

I hope this blog post finds you well and happy! 

Our week has been crazy as usual. I will start by backing up to Tuesday of last week.

On Tuesday the girls and I worked hard on school and got school done as quickly as we could. In the afternoon we went to Warrensburg to visit with my mother-in-law, Lisa (A.K.A. Mimi). We spent some time visiting at her apartment. Kayla enjoyed playing out her balcony, as that was the first time Kayla had been to her new apartment.

Kayla Stares In the Balcony Window Behind Me

After we visited most of the afternoon away, we took Mimi and went to have supper at Country Kitchen.

Mimi and Alysia

After dinner we headed to Knob Noster State Park to visit with my mom, who was there for Spring Interetation Training for Missouri State Parks. It was good to see her, as well as many other friends that I don't get to see very often. We had a good evening, and didn't head home until close to 10:00 p.m. We got home around 11:00 p.m. 

While we were visiting with my mom I also found out that my brother and sister-in-law found out their baby is a girl! Yahoo!

Baby Girl K. Due August 27th

On Wednesday morning I had to be up for a doctor's appointment in the morning, and then afterwards I worked with the girls on school and Aaron started working on installing the new front screen door.

Kayla finished school and went outside to play. As soon as Aaron finished the door, it started sprinkling. Kayla was thrilled because she recently told me she had never played in the rain and she wanted to. 

Kayla's First Frolic in the Rain

Kayla's rain playing came to an abrupt end when it started hailing. At first the hail was small, and I got her in. But a few second later it turned to golf-ball size. Aaron got our car under cover quickly, and there was no damage except to our porch roof. The porch roof is corrugated plastic sheets, and it knocked a bunch of large holes in it. Now I'm going to have to replace the porch roof since it is now impossible to stay dry under it. It seems every time one thing is finished another item gets added to our list. 

Hail Damage Holes in Porch Roofing

On Friday in our "Our Mississippi" study the girls were studying the great flood of 1927. The girls had to create a news broadcast about the flood. They did a good job, and it was super cute. 

Alysia Gives Her News Broadcast

On Friday our new porch furniture arrived. We have had a pink chair and an old green plastic table on our porch. We have wanted some good porch furniture for awhile. We didn't have enough money to order everything we wanted, but we did order two chairs and a small glass-topped table. Once we get some more we will remove the old stuff, but for right now, at least we have more seating.



On Saturday mid-morning we found Buddy (our tadpole) wasn't doing too well. Unfortunately, he passed away in the late afternoon. Tadpoles have a habit of gulping air at the top of the water for some reason. Sometimes when this happens their abdomen fills with air, and they rarely recover from it. I felt bad for the girls, and Kayla cried for a couple of hours. He was given a water burial.

Sunday we got up and came downstairs. Everyone was hungry. I was at the stove cooking some bacon up. Kayla was unloading the dishwasher, which is one of her chores. Kayla said her legs felt weird, and a second later she passed out on us. We grabbed her before she hit the floor, and I cradled her in my arms. I gently patted her face and tried to wake her up while Aaron called 911. She came around but was kind of out of it. When EMS arrived they checked her blood sugar to see if maybe it had dropped since she hadn't eaten yet, but it was normal. We loaded her up in the ambulance and I rode with her while Aaron and Alysia followed. 

Kayla in the Ambulance

When we got to the hospital they ran several tests, and couldn't find anything wrong other than being a bit dehydrated. I am always on her to drink, but now I have to be on her even more. We got home, and she bounced back pretty quickly.

Kayla Was a Trooper

After we got home we found out that my niece had her gender reveal party. They found out they will be having a first great-nephew.

Baby Boy H. Due October 20th

Monday was Memorial Day. We ended up relaxing and grilling out. I was also able to finish my paint by number that I had started for one of the girls for Christmas. I have a second one to do. I haven't decided which one I am going to give which girl, but I thought this one turned out pretty well!

Christmas Painting for the Girls

I went to the store the other day. Not only did I need to pick up my own groceries, but I needed to pick up groceries for my catering job this weekend. I have started going to both Aldi and Wal-Mart in order to compare prices while I shop. Sometimes I can save a few pennies on an item...sometimes a couple dollars. Regardless...I'm saving on average around $10 per trip. It might not be much...but $40 a month extra will pay another bill. Is it more work? Yes. Is it worth it? Definitely.

This week we found out Aaron's promotion at work was approved and he is now a maintenance tech 2! It is something he has been hoping for for awhile now, so we were super excited. They also have kept changing his schedule around recently, which has been pretty annoying. His boss gave him a gift card as a thank you for being willing to help extra where needed, so at least that was nice.

We were supposed to go to the cosmosphere in Kansas tomorrow, but due to several things we have decided to push that trip back to the fall. As we already had the day scheduled off school, we are going to go ahead and take it off since now we will be going to Springfield. As such, we are done with school for the week other than an essay that Alysia is currently writing. Woo-hoo!

Alysia's essay is on Robert Edwin Peary and Roald Amundsen...the gentlemen primarily credited with first exploring the north and south poles. These explorers were active in the late 1800s and early 1900s. She has to write 200 words and is mostly down to spell checking and correcting errors.

Tomorrow we are taking Kayla down to southern Missouri to spend a couple days with her mom. On the way down we are going to go through Springfield to eat at Lamberts. Kayla has been asking to go there to eat for months, so we are going to take the girls there before we head further south. Tomorrow is Aaron's only day off work in a stretch of 7, so hopefully we'll be back in a reasonable amount of time. 

On Saturday I have to start preparing for my catering job on Sunday, and then Sunday evening Kayla will be home. Her mom is bringing her all they way back here, so that will be good.

All in all it's gearing up to be a very busy weekend. I hope you all have great plans for the weekend, and I look forward to visiting with you again soon!


Sour Dough Biscuits and Upcoming Changes

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